The NBA announced today that NBA Draft Combine 2020 has been reformatted to be conducted both in NBA team markets and virtually, taking place in phases beginning Sept. 28 and continuing through early to mid-November. The reimagined Combine will continue to provide NBA teams with player evaluation opportunities during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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“NBA Draft Combine is an essential part of the pre-draft evaluation process,” said Byron Spruell, President, NBA League Operations. “While the circumstances surrounding this Combine are unique, we’re excited to creatively deliver a valuable experience for our teams, who have remained flexible through the process, and for prospective draftees who are just beginning their NBA journeys.” NBA Draft Combine 2020 will give players the opportunity to participate in league and team interviews, both conducted via videoconference from Sept. 28 through Oct. 16. Players will also take part in an individual on-court program consisting of strength and agility testing, anthropometric measurements, shooting drills and a “Pro Day” video, all conducted in October at the NBA team facility nearest to a player’s home or interim residence. Medical testing and examinations will be performed by NBA-affiliated physicians in the same market.
Matt Babcock: Expect the agents for the top players to keep their clients out of the combine(s). They will pick and choose which teams get medical info and physical measurements.
Marc J. Spears: NBA teams are permitted to accept (and request) medical information of draft-eligible players. While medical will be a part of the combine, this would apply to players who don’t attend the combine or supplementary information on players who attend the combined, a source said.
More than six months have passed since Louisville played its last game of the 2019-20 season and Jordan Nwora competed in the final outing of his three-year college career. Since then he has prepped for the NBA draft, which was slated for Oct. 16 and now may be moved to Nov. 18. Neither Nwora nor his agent, Priority Sports President Mark Bartelstein, know the date or format of the Draft Combine, although Nwora has an invite.
In the meantime, the 6-foot-7, 225-pound All-American selection has spoken via Zoom or phone to reps from 27 of the 30 NBA teams. Bartelstein remains in daily contact with the franchises about his client. Nwora figures it’s wise during the COVID-19 pandemic to “be ready for the moment” due to roving dates, so he has immersed himself in preparations.
The NBA is progressing on plans for a virtual draft combine to be held at regional sites throughout month of September, sources tell ESPN. Formal plans could be completed and shared with teams in the next week, sources said.
In what’s likely to become one of the most wide open draft processes in years, prospective players would attend selected regional team facilities throughout the country, sources said. The plan would include team doctors administering physicals at local hospitals and league officials to recording body measurables and putting players through physical testing at team facilities, sources said. The NBA still hasn’t made a final determination on the location or format for the October 16 draft event, sources said.
Former Syracuse basketball star Elijah Hughes has received an invitation to participate in the NBA Combine.
Hard at work in Santa Barbara preparing for this year’s NBA Draft, ex-Gophers star Daniel Oturu has spent the month of July honing his skills and building up his body for the next level. Oturu hasn’t started the process of talking with NBA teams. But the 6-foot-10 Woodbury product learned recently he would be invited to the NBA Draft Combine when it takes place this summer.
Oturu and ex-Duke point guard and Apple Valley product Tre Jones received emails from the NBA in the last week informing them they were selected to the combine, sources told the Star Tribune. The NBA told invitees the combine’s date, location and format were not known at this time.
Rick Bonnell: You are going to hear a lot in the next few days about NBA draft prospects receiving Combine invitations. Important context: The NBA has not yet rescheduled the Combine, and is still wrestling with how or if one can be held. Very much TBD.
Bryan Kalbrosky: Baylor’s Jared Butler has received an invite to the ’20 NBA Draft Combine, per source. @J_Hooper11 currently has until Aug. 3 to decide if he will remain in this class or potentially return for another season in the NCAA. Full interview: bit.ly/333awil (via @HoopsHypea)
Bryan Kalbrosky: Illinois star Ayo Dosunmu has received an invitation to the 2020 NBA Draft Combine, per source. Awesome timing, as I published my interview with @AyoDos_11 on @HoopsHype earlier today. Full interview: bit.ly/2Ddd5Dh
Bryan Kalbrosky: BYU’s Yoeli Childs has officially received an invitation to the 2020 NBA Draft Combine, per source. Childs became the first player in BYU history to score 2,000 points and record 1,000 rebounds. My full interview with @yochilds22 on @HoopsHype: bit.ly/3bIDxjW #NBA
Bryan Kalbrosky: Penn State’s Lamar Stevens has received an invite to the 2020 NBA Draft Combine. @LamarStevens11: “I would definitely stand out in the vertical and speed tests. I tested last summer and I had a 42-inch vertical.” Full interview on @HoopsHype: bit.ly/2y53hsW #NBA
Bryan Kalbrosky: Charleston’s Grant Riller has officially received an invitation to the 2020 NBA Combine. Here is what Riller told @HoopsHype: “I want people to know that I’m ready.” My full interview with the @CofCBasketball star: bit.ly/3cuihzn #NBA
The list of potential combine participants was created based on votes from NBA teams. If the list is cut to 70, that would also be determined by a vote from front offices. Here is the list of 105 players, obtained by USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s Bryan Kalbrosky. Note that there are 104 players listed; Maker Makur was not included, as he committed to Howard in early July.
As the NBA continues to ramp up its restart inside the bubble on the campus of the Walt Disney World Resort, the league continues to move toward the resumption of its offseason. The memo informed teams of the 105 players that received the most votes to be included in the league’s annual combine — a number that will eventually be whittled down to the 70 players who will take part in it. The combine, which typically takes place in Chicago in mid-May in concert with the draft lottery, still hasn’t been officially re-scheduled, but the league said in the memo that it is still evaluating potential dates and formats to hold the event.
Speaking of the combine, league sources have characterized the possibilities for the combine as fluid. The feeling is that the league does want to have some sort of in-person combine. Particularly, the league itself and team personnel want access to players’ medical information. That has always been the most important part of the combine, but it’s heightened even more this year because teams are unlikely to have players into their own facilities. In a memo the league released in early April, NBA team personnel may not conduct or attend any workout of any draft-eligible player in any location until further notice.
Per league sources, there’s an ongoing push within the NBA to hold some iteration of the draft combine, which would take place after the Aug. 25 lottery, most likely some time in September. The event is held annually in Chicago, a convenient central location for teams and players, and could still take place there, pending shifting health and safety circumstances amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Nothing has been set in stone yet, with the league’s primary focus having centered on the initial return to play. Given how complicated it’s been for the NBA to set up and negotiate the logistics for the Orlando site, it’s kind of hard to see the combine taking place within that bubble. That situation is still evolving. But there are some feasible pathways to safely conducting a limited version of the combine, while minimizing close-quarters contact and still benefitting all parties.
The prevailing thought I’ve heard from teams in recent weeks is that the on-court portion, which typically includes individual drills and five-on-five play, seems likely (and, frankly, logically) to be limited, if it exists at all. The primary objective of a centralized combine would be to conduct player medicals and measurements, providing all 30 teams a common data set.
It seems feasible that the league could safely allow players to participate in athletic testing and shooting drills, as well. All of the above could take place digitally in a relatively short time span. Teams can benefit from the information without needing to physically attend. And for what it’s worth, several executives I’ve spoken with see minimal value in having prospects play five-on-five after a six-month hiatus from competitive play.
Jeremy Woo: As I understand it, there’s a level of hope that the NBA will still be able to hold the draft combine. Would take place at some point after the Aug. 25 lottery, may not happen until September. Conducting player medicals and measurements would (predictably) be the key components.
The road to being an NBA standout has been far from easy for Covington, as he recently discussed on an episode of Next Level Leaders with Dr. Joseph Walker, III. “There were so many people that told me I couldn’t do this that it made me want to do it even more because I wanted to prove them wrong,” said Covington. “I didn’t get invited [to the NBA Draft Combine] at first. I found out through Twitter that I had gotten invited because some people had dropped out. I ended up going to the combine and that’s where I started to turn heads. I put my name right back out there.”
While the league also indefinitely postponed the combine, it is still moving forward with the hopes of holding it at some point later this year, sources said. Last week, it sent a memo to teams asking them to vote for up to 70 players from a provided list of potential invites to the combine, just as they have in the past. In the memo, which was seen by ESPN, the league said that once it does decide on a scheduled format, player will then be invited to participate.
Several executives believed a virtual combine of some sort — where coaches, scouts and executives watched players work out from afar, rather than in person like in the past — would be the most likely way the event could be held this year. “I think, like everything they’ll severely restrict who can be there, and they can maybe stream it,” said an Eastern Conference executive. “But I do think it’ll happen.”
With the NBA increasingly optimistic about a return to play this summer, the NBA Draft Combine could potentially take place in Las Vegas or Orlando, sources said. Chicago is also an option, sources said. The NBA on May 1 announced the postponement of NBA Draft Lottery 2020 and NBA Draft Combine 2020, both of which were scheduled to take place in Chicago. “If there is a combine it will probably be in Chicago or Las Vegas or Orlando if that is where they are going to have the teams play if there is a season,” one NBA executive said.
Sam Vecenie: Got told similar stuff about this today, particularly about evaluating different options for what the Combine could look like this year. Seems like the league does want to try and have some version of one.
Brad Turner: NBA just announced it has postponed 2020 NBA draft lottery and NBA combined due to coronavirus. Both were scheduled to be held in Chicago later this month.
Marc Berman: The NBA announces no combine, which we knew, and postponement of Draft Lottery. Both in Chicago. Draft still on June 25th for now. NBA “continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic and consult with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government”
Shams Charania: The NBA has indefinitely postponed its NBA Draft Lottery and Draft Combine in May in Chicago due to coronavirus pandemic, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA postponed the May Draft Lottery and Combine today, sources tell ESPN.
Steve Kyler: Based on what I have heard from teams — they can conduct virtual meetings with draft prospects, which could include filmed virtual workout sessions or tape. There is also a belief that some kind of Combine event could take place but designed to be one-at-a-time type evaluations
An NBA official said no final decisions have been made on the lottery or combine. If the regular season is canceled, the Knicks would hold the sixth-best odds in the lottery at 21-45. That gives them a nine percent chance of winning the No. 1 pick and a 27.5 percent chance of a top-three pick. There’s also a scenario of falling to No. 10.
It should come as little surprise, then, that LaVar Ball began laying the groundwork for LaMelo to sit out of the combine. In an interview with Forbes’ Pat Benson, LaVar was non-committal when asked if LaMelo would take part in the Draft Combine. “I don’t know if he’s going to do the draft combine because I think he’s done enough. He’s proved enough on the court already. Now it’s just finding a good team, actually, a good coach who’s going to believe in him. That’s the main thing.”
Corey Williams: Melo Ball’s manager Jermaine Jackson aka @purplegoat1 has informed me @IllawarraHawks PG @melo is donating one month’s @nbl salary to victims of the tragic NSW Fires. Thoughts and prayers go out to the families and victims affected by the tragedy.
“We’re trying to help these young kids become better players,” Del Negro said of the close to 70 combine attendees. “Give them some knowledge and experience. I think the staff is doing a great job.” Kiki VanDeWeghe, the NBA’s vice president of basketball operations, asked Del Negro to serve as the combine director this year. The job involves overseeing coaches, helping assemble teams and formulating strategies.
Rod Beard: #Kentucky forward P.J. Washington said he met with the #Pistons at the #NBACombine
A sprained calf kept Jordan Nwora from participating in drills or 5-on-5 games at the combine. Instead of playing, Nwora is meeting with teams at the combine in advance of setting up individual workouts in the 10 days between the end of the combine and the NCAA’s May 29 deadline to make a decision on whether to stay in the draft. The injury has only added to the uncertainty about his final decision.
“I’m still 50-50,” Nwora said. “Just going to be the feedback I’m getting. Obviously, I wasn’t able to play this week, I wanted to play really badly. It happens. I should be good to start doing stuff next week, work out a little. If I hear what I want to hear, I’ll stay and if not I’ll go back to school.”
Eric Woodyard: Kentucky’s Tyler Herro and Louisville’s Jordan Nwora both confirmed that they interviewed with Utah Jazz brass during the combine. Brewster Academy’s Jalen Lecque didn’t compete today, but did speak to the Jazz earlier.
Louisville forward Jordan Nwora has a “small injury” that could affect his performance at the NBA draft combine this week, Cardinals coach Chris Mack told the Courier Journal.
Jeremy Woo: Source: after a strong first day, Luka Samanic will sit out scrimmages today at the combine.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Guard Jalen Lecque of Brewster Academy (NH) has decided against playing today at the NBA Combine based on feedback to his family, per source. Lecque’s athleticism was certainly evident for NBA executives on Thursday.
Ira Winderman: Turns out Kevin Porter Jr. and Cam Reddish misspoke, neither with a Heat interview at the Combine. Not unusual for players to presume such sessions.
Shams Charania: Projected high lottery pick Coby White of UNC has left the NBA Draft Combine, interviewing for some teams before departing, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
While dozens of NBA hopefuls were showcasing their on-court talents Thursday afternoon at the Draft Combine in Chicago, Kendrick Perkins was exhibiting his skills on the sideline in his first coaching gig. The former Boston Celtics center spent the day dishing out advice to the prospects, encouraging them during drills, and providing assistance from the sideline during one of the two 5-on-5 scrimmages that took place on the center court at Quest Multisport Complex.
Coaching is an avenue that Perkins has been considering since retiring from the NBA one year ago, and Thursday’s experience only reinforced his desire. “Whenever you’re able to drop knowledge on young kids that are trying to fulfill a lifelong dream, it’s always a pleasure,” Perkins said Thursday evening after wrapping up Day 1 of the Combine. “But I’m just trying to get my feet wet as far as with the coaching and trying to get as much experience as I can, and I think it’s turning out well.”
Scott Agness: People you run into at the draft combine: coach Roy Hibbert.
Eric Woodyard: The Utah Jazz conducted 10 pre-draft interviews yesterday in Chicago during the first day of the NBA Combine, according to a Deseret News source. Utah will pick 23 and 53 in the draft.
Chase Hughes: The Wizards will meet with forward Brandon Clarke of Gonzaga at this week’s NBA Combine, NBC Sports has learned. Clarke is 6-8 and averaged 16.9 ppg and 8.6 rpg as a junior this past season.
Tim Reynolds: Zion Williamson will not be the NBA Combine events that start tomorrow. He’s already met with teams in Chicago. (By the way, this is not uncommon for top guys to not take part in the on-court portions.)
The NBA has picked 11 players from the G League Elite Camp to stay for the NBA draft combine that starts Thursday. UCF’s Tacko Fall, Florida State’s Terance Mann, Miami’s Dewan Hernandez, Syracuse’s Oshae Brissett, Nevada’s Cody Martin, Tulsa’s DaQuan Jeffries, Auburn’s Jared Harper, Iowa’s Tyler Cook, Iowa State’s Marial Shayok, Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry and Ole Miss’ Terence Davis were invited Wednesday to stay.
Oshae Brissett is staying in Chicago to compete in the NBA draft combine, according to ESPN’s Jonathan Givony.
The entire list of advancing players: Iowa State’s Marial Shayok, Ole Miss’s Terence Davis, Tulsa’s Dequan Jeffries, Nevada’s Cody Martin, Miami’s Dewan Hernandez, UCF’s Tacko Fall, Auburn’s Jared Harper, Iowa’s Tyler Cook, Mississippi State’s Reggie Perry and Brissett.
Gonzaga forward Killian Tillie won’t be attending the NBA Draft Combine after all. Tillie, Auburn’s Chuma Okeke and Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter withdrew from the combine, ESPN’s Jonathan Givony tweeted Monday afternoon. Okeke has opted to stay in the draft, according to Givony, but no reason was given for Tillie’s and Hunter’s absences.
Washington star guard Matisse Thybulle received an invitation to the NBA draft combine, but is opting not to attend next week’s workouts in Chicago. “Matisse will not be attending the NBA Combine next week,” Thybulle’s agent Eric Goodwin said. “He was invited, but we decided to pass. We believe Matisse brings a unique basketball skillset to an NBA team and our focus will be on organizations that are interested and we believe are a good fit.”
Sam Vecenie: FWIW, Gonzaga forward Rui Hachimura not being on this list is not a mistake. A source tells me he’s not going to the combine. Will follow up with more when I get it. (Hachimura was obviously invited. His choice not to attend. Don’t really think this is a big deal, FWIW.)
Jeremy Woo: The NBA has released the official draft combine list: pic.twitter.com/wzA9groJ3O
North Carolina’s Nassir Little, Coby White, and Cameron Johnson all received NBA Combine Invites. The NBA Combine will take place over May 14-19 in Chicago, Ill.
Jim Meehan: Gonzaga’s Killian Tillie received an invite to the NBA Draft Combine (May 14-19 in Chicago). He sprained his ankle Friday at workout for the Atlanta Hawks, but it didn’t sound too serious. Previously reported that Norvell, Hachimura and Clarke received combine invites.
Bryan Kalbrosky: Daniel Gafford will attend the 2019 NBA Draft Combine, per source. He projected as a first-rounder on the latest aggregate mock draft we ran on HoopsHype. The 6-foot-11 prospect was one of the most accurate scorers at the rim in college basketball last season. #ElDoradoToTheDraft pic.twitter.com/dr74KrhGay
Kentucky will have a presence in the upcoming NBA Combine, which will be held in Chicago the week after next. PJ Washington, Tyler Herro and Keldon Johnson have accepted invitations to participate in the annual pre-draft event. Neither Washington, Herro nor Johnson plan to play in the five-on-five games staged at the Combine, their fathers said Saturday. Each will do athletic and medical testing, plus be interviewed by NBA teams.
A fourth UK player, EJ Montgomery, has reportedly accepted an invitation to participate in the Combine and plans to play in the five-on-five games. There’s no word yet on an invitation for Kentucky forward Reid Travis, who has exhausted his collegiate eligibility.
Bryan Kalbrosky: Brian Bowen will be in Chicago for the combine, source tells HoopsHype. He also participated last season before withdrawing from the draft and playing overseas in Australia. NBA personnel will be eager to see the year-over-year development from the 2017 Jordan Brand Classic MVP. pic.twitter.com/opLyEd5e4C
AJ Lawson respectfully declined an invitation to the NBA’s G-League Elite Camp and will focus on individual workouts for NBA teams, a USC spokesperson confirmed. That means that Lawson had a chance to advance to the NBA Combine and didn’t take it.
Zach Braziller: Villanova’s Eric Paschall announces he has signed with CAA. Has been invited to NBA Combine.
Alex Halsted: Iowa State’s Talen Horton-Tucker has been invited to the NBA Combine, per a source. That’s a big step in the process for him to go in front of the top talent in the 2019 NBA Draft. The NBA Combine runs from May 14-19 in Chicago.
Sagaba Konate’s path toward professional basketball continues. The West Virginia big man has received his invite to the NBA Combine, a team official told EerSports Tuesday morning.
Mississippi State guard Quinndary Weatherspoon received an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago from May 15-19.
Charles Matthews and his Michigan teammates Ignas Brazdeikis and Jordan Poole will attend the pre-draft showcase, per their respective agents.
Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes and Dedric Lawson received full combine invitations and Silvio De Sousa was invited to the G League combine, which also will be held in Chicago May 12-14, during the three days leading up to the main event.
Jonathan Wasserman: I’m told Jalen Lecque received an invite to the NBA Combine. Potential to go straight from Brewster Academy to NBA, turning 19 in June. Will be a priority/ big draw for teams in Chicago.
The invites to the 2019 NBA Draft Combine continue to trickle out. And while a full list is expected sometime around May 4th, another Virginia Cavaliers standout has been reported as being on the list. As reported earlier, courtesy of NBA Draft God on Twitter, both Kyle Guy and De’Andre Hunter have received invites to the combine. Now, NBA Draft God is reporting that Ty Jerome has also been added to the list of invites.
Nebraska forward Isaiah Roby is one of 60 players invited to the NBA Combine. Roby confirmed the news via text late on Saturday night. He received the invite via e-mail on Friday.
Approximately 60 players receive an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine each season. This year, three of them will be from Tennessee. Jordan Bone, Admiral Schofield and Grant Williams all received invites to the scouting event, which takes place from May 15-19.
Darren Wolfson: Even further proof that it isn’t easy to get an invite to the #NBA Draft Combine: Ethan Happ and Jordan Murphy didn’t get one. But like Travis, both will have workouts with individual teams in May and June. #Gophers #Badgers
Mark Ennis: Jordan Nwora has been invited to participate in the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago on May 14-19.
St. John’s guard Shamorie Ponds and Yale guard Miye Oni both received invitations to the NBA Combine May 15-19 in Chicago, they told ZAGSBLOG Friday night.
Zach Braziller: Owens has been invited to the G League Elite Camp in Chicago and is an alternative at moment for NBA Combine. #sjubb
Adam Zagoria: Villanova’s Eric Paschall earned an NBA Combine invite, coach Jay Wright tells me. They’re waiting on word on Phil Booth.
Jeremy Woo: Boston College’s Ky Bowman has received an NBA combine invitation, per source. Tough-minded, stat-stuffing guard has intrigued teams with his athleticism and defensive potential.
Jordan Bone’s NBA future got even brighter as it appears he has been invited to participate in the league’s draft combine, which is set to being on May 14. Bone made the announcement via Twitter:
Tennessee’s own Grant Williams has been invited to the NBA Draft Combine. The junior forward made the announcement on Twitter:
Adam Johnson: In minor NBA Draft Combine news, multiple league sources tell @2ways10days that the NBA is changing its handshake agreement with the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament to invite the top 5 players to the combine.
Cole is the second notable player from a historically black school to declare for the draft, as Shaw’s Amir Hinton made the announcement on March 7. While Hinton has hired representation, Cole will wait to see if he will be invited to the NBA draft combine in Chicago in May to gauge his future prospects. “I want to get a chance to make it to the NBA combine in Chicago, to show off my skills and catch a team’s eye,” he said.
That swish from the left corner was Huerter’s first of 15 straight made three-pointers in an individual drill. Los Angeles Lakers Coach Luke Walton, Starbucks coffee in hand, stopped mid-stride to watch Huerter move around the arc. Peja Stojakovic, one of the best shooters in NBA history and now the director of player personnel for the Sacramento Kings, paused a conversation to do the same. A Western Conference scout tracked Huerter’s shots on a chart, and when it was only makes and no misses he picked up his pencil and mouthed a single word: Wow.
The Cavaliers interviewed 20 players at the NBA Draft Combine this week in Chicago, a team source said, including most of the consensus lottery picks who attended the event. The Cavs, who have the No. 8 pick in the June draft, sat with marquee players including Trae Young of Oklahoma, Mo Bamba of Texas, and Mikal Bridges of Villanova, according to sources and media reports.
Isaiah Thomas: Oh yeah. That combine shit doesn’t mean anything!!! I remember preparing myself and killing every drill & being at the top in every category. Still picked last! Don’t get discouraged. They can’t HIDE out forever. At some point the “top” guys gotta compete
“They obviously had a really good year this year, surprised a lot of people,” Young said of the Sixers. “Really didn’t surprise me just because I know how talented Ben [Simmons] and Joel [Embiid] are. So they are looking for a playmaker all-around. I know they are interested in me. But you never know how things will fall.”
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September 24, 2020 | 12:47 pm EDT Update
“I think Billy Donovan will do a great job,” an Eastern Conference general manager told HoopsHype. “He has not coached a team without a strong personality, so we will really be able to see what Billy is about now with this young growing team. I think he and Arturas will work great together. I think (Wes) Unseld Jr. had a good shot at getting it, but I feel like Billy is the better coach for the team right now. Looking at the other jobs for Billy, the only one that might have been better for him is New Orleans, but I can see why he went with Chicago. They have young talent, lots of flexibility, a great city, and solid ownership.”
“It’s a great spot,” one Western Conference coach told HoopsHype. “I like their position. They’ve got to hit on that fourth pick, but you’ve got some talent at least.” Several agents with clients on the Bulls also praised the move. “I’m not too familiar with him personally, but they can only go up,” one agent told HoopsHype. “He’s obviously a winner. I’m excited to see what he does.”
When Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren came on the Tampering podcast with Denver general manager Tim Connelly in early September, the two executives discussed the unavoidable reality that front office executives will always miss the mark on some prospects. And the Celtics, Zarren explained, were still stinging from that choice to take Johnson over Butler. One is a five-time All-Star who has transformed this Heat team after signing with Miami in free agency in the summer of 2019, and the other played 36 games as a rookie (2011-12) before eventually heading overseas (he currently plays for Bayern Munich in the EuroLeague).
As Butler himself pointed out, though, there was sound reasoning for this choice. Johnson had the superior college career in his four seasons at Purdue, while Butler took the community college route before spending his final three seasons at Marquette.
“JaJuan Johnson had a tremendous college career,” Butler, who was taken by Chicago at No. 30 in that 2011 draft, told me when I asked if he was aware of the Celtics’ regret. “He probably did more in college than I ever dreamt of doing, and I hope he’s having a healthy career, wherever he is. But I don’t look at it like that, man. You don’t know. I got lucky. I fell into Chicago and turned into a player, and maybe if I’m (with the Celtics) I don’t pan out to be the player that I am. It’s funny how things work together to make something happen like that. I’m grateful for where I am, and I’m grateful for who did take me in the draft.”
September 24, 2020 | 12:10 pm EDT Update
Some are more skeptical that the interest is a two-way street. Multiple league sources who spoke with PhillyVoice have questioned whether D’Antoni is genuinely interested in the job or whether it’s a leverage play to get a better deal elsewhere. There are other teams, most notably the Pacers and Pelicans, with rosters that better suit his style of basketball.
On NBA draft night last year there was a collective moan among the Boston Celtics brass right about the time the Miami Heat used the No. 13 pick to select Tyler Herro. Knowing they were on the clock right after the Heat, and seeing what he has done for the Heat both during the regular season and during their current playoff series with the Celtics, can you blame them?
The Celtics were very much enamored with the 20-year-old leading up to last June’s draft, aware that there was a shot that he might be on the board when it was their turn to select at No. 14. But in came Heat team president Pat Riley, sticking it to the Celtics again by not only taking a player Boston had a major interest in selecting but also developing him into a difference-maker whose play may very well spell the end of the Celtics’ season.