EuroHoops Scouting: FIBA U19 WC All Tournament Team: Ni…

EuroHoops Scouting: FIBA U19 WC All Tournament Team: Nikola Jovic (Serbia), Chet Holmgren (USA), Zach Edey (Canada), Victor Wembanyama (France), Jaden Ivey (United States). Tournament MVP: Chet Holmgren (USA).

More on No. 1 pick

Eurohopes: USA beats France (83-81) and wins the #FIBAU19 with a game to remember by Flag of France Victor Wembanyama ('04): 22 PTS, 8 REB and 8 BLKS. Flag of United States Jaden Ivey ('02) and Kenny Lofton Jr (‘02) combined for 32 PTS while Chet Holmgren (‘02) had 10 PTS and 5 AST in 23 MIN.
According to league sources, it’s believed the Rockets have been fixated on Cunningham but don’t believe in offering up to Detroit what it would take to move into the top spot. That leaves them just deciding to pick the next best player at No. 2, right? Not necessarily. Houston could look to trade out of No. 2 in exchange for a more definite young star, i.e. someone already in the league.
The Pistons will take Cade Cunningham at No. 1 … right? Detroit’s brain trust said all the right things after winning the NBA Draft Lottery — that it wasn’t wedded to the do-everything Cunningham, the brilliant Oklahoma State playmaker, that the Pistons would give strong consideration to Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs or G-Leaguer Jalen Green with the top selection. They’ll no doubt do their due diligence on everyone else, including USC big Evan Mobley. But you can’t overthink No. 1. There’s no one making a true compelling argument against the obvious choice of Cunningham, a 6-foot-8 guard with a 7-1 wingspan, amazing passing ability and poise.
Eastern Conference executive 1: All worthy candidates to at least consider, but Cade is hard to pass on. Eastern Conference executive 2: Now, maybe (GM Troy Weaver) sees something in Mobley that nobody else sees. And that could be him. Troy knows how to pick ’em. So maybe he sees something in Evan that he doesn’t quite see in Cade — long term, for their team. The other part about Evan is Wasserman. Arn (Tellem, the former mega-agent, who is now the Pistons’ vice chairman) created Wasserman, so there could be a connection there.
A few weeks ago, the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrated a victorious lottery night, claiming the third pick in this ballyhooed 2021 NBA Draft. But the Cavs could be looking to move up even further -- if the price is right.
A report from ESPN on Wednesday tabbed Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City as teams making “overtures” to evaluate what it would cost to trade for No. 1. Even though this is considered “smokescreen season” around the NBA, sources tell cleveland.com the Cavs are “definitely looking into it.”
So, what would it cost for the Cavs to move up two spots? “Go back and look at the Tatum-Fultz deal,” an NBA executive said. “I think it would cost more than that this year.” “It would be similar to what Boston and Philly did a few years ago,” another exec explained. “Probably No. 3 and an unprotected future first, maybe even one of the young guys (Collin Sexton, Darius Garland or Isaac Okoro) drafted recently.”
Brandon Rahbar: Per @Jonathan Givony, OKC is one of a few teams to engage Detroit about trading for the #1 pick. Not likely OKC gives what it takes to get Cade, but it shows the Thunder are looking at ways to move up. If OKC trades up, Cavs at 3 for Mobley or Raps at 4 for Suggs seem more likely.
But would the Pistons really pass on Cunningham if the draft were tonight? I still think the answer is no. I would put Cunningham as the overwhelming favorite to end up in Detroit at that spot still, which, by the way, I've been told he would be very excited about. The recent buzz about other options can be chalked up to a second-year GM doing his homework and trying to make sure he leaves no stone unturned with what might end up being the most valuable pick he ever has in his career.
There is noise about the Detroit Pistons considering multiple prospects. But they'll wind up taking the player every scout expected to go No. 1 all season. Sources say certain Pistons staff members were initially informed that Cade Cunningham would be the pick. Aside from most agreeing he's the top prospect, his fit and archetype are ideal for the Pistons, who could use a high-level creator to initiate offense.
Teams including Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans and Oklahoma City are among those making overtures to evaluate what it would take to move up to the No. 1 slot, sources say, but those talks are at an early stage, and any trade is unlikely to be consummated until much closer to the draft, if at all. From all accounts, Detroit is comfortable standing pat at No. 1 and taking Cunningham but will be active in exploring the possibility of trading down and obtaining additional assets, with Mobley a potential target if something gets done.
The Pistons are also high on USC big man Evan Mobley and G League Ignite guard Jalen Green, with Mobley being a close second to Cunningham, per sources. Other reports suggest that Green is a bigger threat than Mobley to supplant Cunningham as the pick. All three players have the tools to emerge as stars. There’s a clear favorite, but Mobley and Green also possess obvious star power. The Pistons are doing their due diligence.
After the lottery, I got texts from multiple sources that said the Pistons are also thought to be fans of Jalen Green. So look, I’m mocking Cunningham here. Pistons fans who want Cunningham shouldn’t have a meltdown based off this. But this isn’t like 2019 when Zion Williamson was a done deal and everyone in the basketball industry knew it. Cunningham is considered the likely choice here. He’s the overwhelming favorite. But everyone seems to be acting like this is unequivocally a done deal, and I’m not totally convinced of that as of right now, an hour after the lottery.
Based on some of the chatter I heard over the course of this season, there was enough love for Cade Cunningham atop the draft that he felt easy to pencil in, regardless of who won the lottery. That no longer appears to be the case. In addition to Cunningham, league sources expect USC’s Evan Mobley and G League Ignite’s Jalen Green to receive serious consideration from the Pistons’ front office, led by general manager Troy Weaver. The strong sense I’ve gotten is that Detroit will explore all its options before committing one way or another, and that the decision on who to take is far from a done deal.

https://twitter.com/excelsm/status/1380916172309344256
Cade Cunningham announced Thursday that he will enter the NBA draft after a dynamic freshman season for Oklahoma State that saw him named a first-team AP All-American. "I see them as more human now than I used to," Cunningham said. "I've been looking at those guys since I was a sophomore in high school. Those are the guys I've got to try to outwork right now."
Cunningham knows the work is just beginning. The Texas native has already been thinking of ways to improve before the July 29 draft. "Throughout the season, I was just adding things on in my head," he said. "We don't have as much time to just get in the gym and work. I definitely want to get my fluidity and my movement better, whether that's yoga and things like that. Just getting my range of motion and things a lot better. I still want to focus on tightening my handle, shooting the ball better, just getting more consistent at a lot of the things that I do now."
In the last 10 years, only two No. 1 picks had even reached the Final Four, with Kentucky’s Anthony Davis in 2012 being the only one to win an N.C.A.A. title. “Cade expects to be the No. 1 pick,” Cowboys Coach Mike Boynton said before the tournament. “He’s not going to talk about it but he believes he’s the best guy.”
Kevin O'Connor: Cade Cunningham is the real deal. pic.twitter.com/oR7koKCBHr

http://twitter.com/KevinOConnorNBA/status/1337880697864916993
And yet Fraschilla wasn’t sure he saw the No. 1 pick in the draft. That’s how spectacular the 2021 NBA Draft is shaping up and Knicks fans should pay attention. Knicks executives changed plans, showed patience and ultimately punted on 2020 free agency, putting them in No. 1 lottery seed contention. “You know how much I love the draft,’’ Fraschilla told The Post via phone after calling the game. “All these guys do the mock drafts. Honestly, they really don’t know what they’re doing. If you’re an NBA GM, this is going to be a very deep draft at the top. Seven-to-10 kids I believe, late in the college basketball season, we’ll be discussing as who will the league taken as the No. 1 pick.”
“2021 is loaded,’’ said VandeGarde. “Loaded.” VandeGarde said Cunningham, Green, Kuminga and Mobley would’ve certainly been the No. 1 pick in last week’s 2020 NBA Draft if high schoolers were eligible. “Could (Cade) be the No. 1 pick?,’’ Fraschilla, the former St. John’s and Manhattan coach, said. “Absolutely. He’s going to be a very good pro. Does he do things beyond his years? Absolutely. What he’ll be is a potential triple-double guy in the NBA in a 48-minute game. But I don’t want to say after seeing after one college game, ‘yeah, it’s over. He’s No. 1.'”
According to league sources, as of Tuesday night, the Timberwolves were still calling other teams and attempting to trade this pick. At this point, that would seem to be Minnesota’s clear preference. Interest in the top pick has mostly been tempered going into draft day, but there’s little time left for teams to put their cards on the table, and any real offers will come into play today. Minnesota has pulled out the stops to market this pick and will surely keep trying as long as it can, but the expectation around the NBA on the eve of the draft was that the Wolves would still make this pick and go with Edwards.
I’m told Minnesota’s asking price has been a stumbling block in talks to this point. But there’s still a chance something could materialize for the Wolves, and Obi Toppin would be a strong option if they move back. The Timberwolves were dealt a difficult hand: None of the consensus top three prospects are neat fits for their roster, nor are they ready to aid Minnesota in what they still hope can be an immediate push for a playoff spot.
LaMelo Ball has never lacked confidence, in his game or how he expresses himself. On the eve of the NBA draft, that hasn’t changed. The youngest of the three Ball brothers, the 6-foot-7 LaMelo believes he should be the top pick Wednesday night. “I feel like I’m born for this,” the talented point guard said over Zoom on Tuesday.
Eric Woodyard: Projected No. 1 overall pick LaMelo Ball said he feels he should be the top selection because, "I feel like I’m born for this whole thing going on."
Sources have told The Athletic that the Wolves have not made a decision yet on what they’re going to do at No. 1. The players in the mix here are LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards if they keep the pick. James Wiseman seems much less likely as the team is worried about the pairing with Karl-Anthony Towns. Over the last 24 hours, the tide has shifted a bit to where I think Edwards is a bit more likely than Ball. Essentially, the conversations boil down to this: do they take the guy who fits better on this roster in Edwards, who can clearly slide into the 2-guard spot? Or do they take Ball, who probably has a bit more upside? One thing worth noting: this front office led by Gersson Rosas will absolutely consider the idea of which player they believe will retain trade value best going forward as they develop this roster around Towns and D’Angelo Russell.
But if it were up to Edwards, bring on the winter coat and the honor of being selected No. 1 by the Minnesota Timberwolves. “Being the top pick would be exceptionally cool,” Edwards, 19, told The Undefeated in a phone interview. “Who doesn’t want to be the No. 1 pick? That’d be cooler than anything. … It would be a dream come true to be No. 1. But if that’s not a team that wants me, or if I’m not wanted there, then wherever I’m wanted, I’m happy with that. … “I don’t really care where I get drafted to. If you want to draft me and you are ready to take a chance on me, then I’m ready to give you my all.”
Sources tell Vecenie that the Timberwolves still haven’t finalized a decision on what they’ll do with their No. 1 pick, as they expect “real” trade offers to start coming in during the next couple days. However, Givony and Woo have both heard that most teams around the NBA are operating as if the Wolves will select Anthony Edwards if they stay put.
One thing is clear: Minnesota’s preference is to trade down, possibly with Charlotte for the third pick and other assets, or maybe even farther down the board. League sources say the Wolves love Tyrese Haliburton, and he could be their target if they move outside of the top three (or up from no. 17). Expect more rumors to swirl around Minnesota over the coming week.
Chase Hughes: Possible No. 1 NBA Draft pick Anthony Edwards (Georgia) says he has worked out for the Timberwolves, Warriors and Hornets. That's it, and those are the teams with the top three picks. Not surprising. He's going to go very high, if not first.
I’m fairly certain the first pick in the draft will be either LaMelo Ball or James Wiseman. Ball is the biggest talent, but Wiseman could end up No. 1 if the Wolves trade down with Charlotte. (One possible construction: The third pick, Miles Bridges and the 32nd pick for the first pick, Jacob Evans and Omari Spellman.) That would leave the Wolves in a position to gather some assets and select Anthony Edwards with the third pick, who fits better with the Russell-Towns pair than Ball does.
According to league sources, Minnesota continues to gauge leaguewide interest in the No. 1 pick. The Timberwolves are an opportunistic front office, and are still hoping to maximize the value of the selection via trade. But there’s an increasing level of skepticism from opposing teams that a suitable trade materializes. Dating back to the spring, this has been a draft class in which few, if any teams truly coveted the opportunity to pick first. The thought that another team might now surrender real assets to in essence pick atop a lottery nobody wanted to win? It doesn’t totally add up. If you assume they end up standing pat, Anthony Edwards continues to look like the most likely option for the Wolves.
LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman are expected to be the first three picks of the 2020 NBA draft in some order, sources tell Jonathan Givony of ESPN. Former Illawarra Hawks guard Ball is believed to be the most likely prospect to be selected first overall, according to Givony.
Multiple sources have told Bleacher Report the name they keep hearing now for the Timberwolves is James Wiseman. "Some within the Golden State Warriors think Wiseman is going No. 1, whether Minnesota keeps the pick or not," one source plugged into the conversation said.
It's an intriguing development given the obvious questions about whether Wiseman and Karl-Anthony Towns can play together. However, sources also say the Charlotte Hornets "want Wiseman badly," a plausible belief given the team's established backcourt and need for a big man.
LaMelo Ball has reportedly struggled in workouts and interviews, and many league sources believe he could fall out of the top three. Some teams may prefer to play it safe, but if a player with Ball’s upside does slip, a bidding war could commence.
The prevailing feeling is that three players are in the mix to be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NBA draft: Center James Wiseman, who played briefly at Memphis. Shooting guard Anthony Edwards, who played at Georgia. Point guard LaMelo Ball, who played in Australia. And that might be the case. Yet, there are indications a fourth player could be added to the aforementioned group: Tyrese Haliburton.
Chad Ford: I've got LaMelo Ball one, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards three, Tyrese Haliburton four, Killian Hayes five and again, this is not predicting where they will go with a particular team. This isn't a mock draft. This is just overall talent. This was an aggregate of talking to NBA teams and scouts about where they had particular players ranked. And I will just add, there was a lot of variability here as well and so guys are all over the place on NBA boards. There's not what I would call like a major consensus like there was last year was Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.
Chad Ford: I think everybody agrees Edwards is like one, two or three. He's probably the most consistent on boards. He's in the top three on every team. And there's some teams that don't have LaMelo Ball on their top three, interestingly enough, but I don't think I talked to a team that didn't have Anthony Edwards, one, two or three.
The Minnesota Timberwolves met in person with potential No. 1 draft pick LaMelo Ball in Southern California on Tuesday, sources told ESPN's Jonathan Givony. Timberwolves president Gersson Rosas and head coach Ryan Saunders both reportedly took part in the meeting.
Dane Moore: The Timberwolves are actively having trade conversations around pick No. 1, pick No. 17 and pick No. 33, according to Timberwolves executive vice president Sachin Gupta. "Conversations are happening and will continue to happen."
Those sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because they aren’t authorized to represent their teams publicly. Both sources work for teams with top-10 draft picks.
The Minnesota Timberwolves will come up with a handful of trade scenarios, but they could have a tough time finding the right partner. The level of interest in Anthony Edwards isn't overwhelming, and point-guard-needy teams hoping for LaMelo Ball don't seem to have the right assets for a trade. Most scouts and executives we've spoken with believe that Ball would have the edge if Minnesota stays put. Sources also tell Bleacher Report that the Wolves like Obi Toppin, but it's unclear if they'd be willing to take him at No. 1.
Not every NBA evaluator loves LaMelo Ball, whose shooting and professionalism have been questioned by some around the league, even if they still have him at or near the top of their board. And not everyone trusts Anthony Edwards' style and impact or sees James Wiseman's upside or value in today's NBA. Sources tell B/R the Minnesota Timberwolves are high on Toppin. The question is whether they'd be willing to take him first overall or if they'd only draft the big man out of Dayton in a trade-down scenario.
Multiple NBA front office members told B/R they feel they can mask Toppin's defensive weaknesses by playing him at center, where he won't guard as much around the perimeter and can still use his athleticism for shot-blocking at the rim. Toppin's age (22) has also rarely come up as a deterrent. Teams sound persuaded by his offense, which is something the Timberwolves (No. 24 in offensive rating), Hawks (No. 25), Cavaliers (No. 26), Hornets (No. 28) and Bulls (No. 29) could obviously use.
When it comes to where the Wolves are headed, Saunders said the team is in a great position with the Nos. 1, 17 and 33 picks in the NBA draft, which will be held on Nov. 18. But so far, they cannot do in-person workouts. “Can’t do any of that. It has been a lot of Zoom meetings and interviews and then just evaluating,” Saunders said. “We do a lot of work, and we have a number of people in this organization, [assistant general manager] Gianluca Pascucci, he does a lot of work with our draft. These guys are putting together a great plan and a great step-by-step process to what we’ll do.”
Why so much uncertainty? First and foremost, there is not a singular talent in this draft. Teams are all over the map in terms of who they like at the top. In that vein, the Timberwolves are doing due diligence on all of the top prospects. That also includes Ball, Anthony Edwards, and, yes, James Wiseman, despite the presence of Karl-Anthony Towns. I don’t think they’ll ultimately go the direction of Wiseman — hence why he’s not the pick here — but they’ve done enough work into him to where it would be wrong to totally take him off the table despite the positional overlap, per sources. Ultimately, though, this is kind of the issue for the Wolves. None of the three players who most executives consider to have the highest upside in this class particularly fit with the Wolves.
Why so much uncertainty? First and foremost, there is not a singular talent in this draft. Teams are all over the map in terms of who they like at the top. In that vein, the Timberwolves are doing due diligence on all of the top prospects. That also includes Ball, Anthony Edwards, and, yes, James Wiseman, despite the presence of Karl-Anthony Towns. I don’t think they’ll ultimately go the direction of Wiseman — hence why he’s not the pick here — but they’ve done enough work into him to where it would be wrong to totally take him off the table despite the positional overlap, per sources. Ultimately, though, this is kind of the issue for the Wolves. None of the three players who most executives consider to have the highest upside in this class particularly fit with the Wolves. Edwards and Ball are ball-dominant and poor defenders, skills that don’t particularly fit next to Towns and D’Angelo Russell. Wiseman is a center who would struggle to play with Towns even though his defensive prowess would help Minnesota.
Isaac Okoro says he deserves to be the top overall pick of the Minnesota Timberwolves on Nov. 18. “Yes, I feel I should be the No. 1 pick because I go out every game and I compete and I give 100 percent effort,” Okoro said Saturday in an exclusive interview from Auburn, where he has been training. “I’m just willing to do whatever any coaches want me to do, so I feel like me bringing a winning culture I should be the No. 1 pick.”
Omar Cooper, Okoro’s agent, said “every team in the NBA has reached out for Isaac Okoro,” including the Timberwolves. “I could see myself fitting in there, playing with D’Angelo Russell, Karl-Anthony Towns,” Okoro said. “I feel like I could come in there and play my role, do whatever the coach needs me to do in the game and just win.”
ESPN draft analyst Mike Schmitz says the Wolves should take LaMelo. “LaMelo Bell,” he said on air during the lottery. “I I take the talent and I figure it out from there and I think that this kid is the best talent in the draft.”
His older brother Lonzo was a former No. 2 pick and is now with the Pelicans. LaMelo said his brother has given him some tips on life in the NBA. “He gives me a lot of little hinters, it’s hard to break it down to just one,” he said. Asked why he feels he should be the No. 1 overall pick ahead of players like Georgia’s Anthony Edwards and Memphis’ James Wiseman, Ball said, “Talent, work ethic, all of the stuff like that..."
According to a Western Conference executive, word around the league is Minnesota isn't leaning one way at No. 1, sounds "confused" and feels pressure after "messing up last year by trading for Jarrett Culver." The belief is that Minnesota's priority is to trade, realistically down the board assuming an established star won't become available. If the Wolves stick at No. 1, multiple sources say they'd bet on LaMelo Ball having the edge over Anthony Edwards.
While Minnesota would love to pull off a blockbuster move and team up Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker with close friends Russell and Towns, Phoenix isn't going for that. Most league insiders expect the Wolves to take Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, considered the best positional fit among the top three prospects (including National Basketball League guard LaMelo Ball and Memphis center James Wiseman).
While Minnesota would love to pull off a blockbuster move and team up Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker with close friends Russell and Towns, Phoenix isn't going for that. Most league insiders expect the Wolves to take Georgia guard Anthony Edwards, considered the best positional fit among the top three prospects (including National Basketball League guard LaMelo Ball and Memphis center James Wiseman).
That makes this pick ripe for a trade. Rosas is one of the most aggressive general managers in the league. Sources around the league already expect that he’ll work the phones over the next couple of months at least to see what’s out there on the market. The consensus around the league is that this will simply be a value play for Rosas, not necessarily one based upon a specific timeline they want to adhere to. Remember: Rosas and executive vice president Sachin Gupta come from the Houston school of thought under Daryl Morey, where they think of most assets in regard to trade value. If they decide an offer is good enough, the thought is he’ll take whatever he thinks is the most valuable for the organization long-term, versus the one that will help them win this year. Maybe it’s player capital, maybe it’s additional draft capital in a trade down. One thing most teams want to do league-wide is potentially expand their draft capital in the much stronger 2021 draft, so may it’s a trade out involving a big offer. Maybe they do just stand pat. But the Wolves are absolutely going to explore what’s available.
One thing Penny Hardaway was gung ho about, was former Tiger James Wiseman’s chances of being the number one pick in the NBA Draft, despite Minnesota having the top pick with Big Man Karl Anthony Towns already on the roster. “He’s the Unicorn. That’s what he calls himself,” said Hardaway. “He can run the floor. Rim protect. He works harder than anyone, and he’ll get his shot down out to the 3 point line and be a threat from out there as well. I’m not just saying that because I coached him, I just know the NBA and what they’re looking for, so to me, he’s the number one pick overall.”
Storyline: No. 1 pick
More HoopsHype Rumors
September 21, 2021 | 2:49 am EDT Update

D'Angelo Russell looking great in workouts

Who would Wolves staff consider to be early candidates for the most improved player on the roster? 2) Do the Wolves see McKinley Wright IV as a sort of “Pat Bev-in-training”? 3) Will there really be a concerted effort to apply full-court defensive pressure? — @Tresio The two players I have heard a lot of buzz about looking great in workouts: McDaniels and (drum roll, please) … Russell. Sounds like he is locked in right now.

NBA execs expect breakout season from Darius Garland

The 21-year-old guard should thrive in pick-and-roll action with Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley as rim rollers, while the addition of Lauri Markkanen, who shot 40.2 percent from downtown last season, will help space the floor and open pick-and-pop opportunities. “I think Garland’s kind of gotten lost in the shuffle in terms of people knowing who he is because of Colin Sexton,” an NBA scout opined. “If he stays healthy, I like picking him.”
I have heard A-Rod and the new ownership is bully on the Wolves. What major moves do you predict they will make to improve the product in the next couple years? — @SPORTSviKINGs17 So far, it appears like the immediate target is just modernizing things, bringing a franchise that has often been at the back of the pack to more of the cutting edge when it comes to technology and innovation — that sort of thing. Of course, the main goal will be to make the Timberwolves more competitive on the floor, but I think there is a real emphasis on everything around the basketball, as well. What can be done to change the perception of the organization? They are taking a long look at culture and values and defining characteristics. Those might seem like mumbo jumbo to dyed-in-the-wool hoop heads, but those are things that Lore and Rodriguez are very familiar with in their other businesses. They can dive in on them right away as they work to get up to speed on the intricacies of basketball, the collective bargaining agreement and the team in general.