Markelle Fultz among 67 players to attend NBA Draft combine, other top names to skip

1 Comment

On May 11-12, 67 NBA hopefuls will pour into a gym in Chicago to be measured, tested, interviewed, and do what they can to impress the NBA scouts and GMs in attendance.

Markelle Fultz, the likely No. 1 pick, will be there. The point guard almost certainly will not get on the court, but he will get measured and interviewed.

Other expected guys to go in the Top 5 are not showing up — Lonzo Ball of UCLA, Josh Jackson of Kansas, and Jayson Tatum of Duke all declined their invitations. That’s the norm now (both in the NBA and NFL), agents for these picks see only downsides to being poked and prodded at these events, so everyone stays away. Credit to Fultz for agreeing to show up at all.

Here is the list of invitees:

Adebayo, Edrice (Kentucky)
Alkins, Rawle (Arizona)
Allen, Jarrett (Texas)
Allen, Kadeem (Arizona)
Anigbogu, Ike (UCLA)
Anunoby, OG (Indiana)
Artis, Jamel (Pittsburgh)
Bacon, Dwayne (Florida State)
Beachem, V.J. (Notre Dame)
Bell, Jordan (Oregon)
Blossomgame, Jaron (Clemson)
Boucher, Chris (Oregon)
Bradley, Tony (North Carolina)
Briscoe, Isaiah (Kentucky)
Brooks, Dillon (Oregon)
Bryant, Thomas (Indiana)
Collins, John (Wake Forest)
Collins, Zach (Gonzaga)
Diallo, Hamidou (Kentucky)
Dorsey, Tyler (Oregon)
Dotson, Damyean (Houston)
Dozier, PJ (South Carolina)
Evans, Jawun (Oklahoma State)
Ferguson, Terrance (Australia)
Fox, De’Aaron (Kentucky)
Fultz, Markelle (Washington)
Giles, Harry (Duke)
Hart, Josh (Villanova)
Hayes, Nigel (Wisconsin)
Hicks, Isaiah (North Carolina)
Iwundu, Wesley (Kansas State)
Jackson, Frank (Duke)
Jackson, Justin (North Carolina)
Jackson, Justin (Maryland)
Jeanne, Jonathan (France)
Jok, Peter (Iowa)
Jones, Andrew (Texas)
Kennard, Luke (Duke)
Kuzma, Kyle (Utah)
Leaf, TJ (UCLA)
Lydon, Tyler (Syracuse)
Mason III, Frank (Kansas)
Meeks, Kennedy (North Carolina)
Mika, Eric (BYU)
Mitchell, Donovan (Louisville)
Morris, Monte (Iowa State)
Motley, Johnathan (Baylor)
Mykhailiuk, Svi (Kansas)
Ojeleye, Semi (SMU)
Oliver, Cameron (Nevada)
Patton, Justin (Creighton)
Peters, Alec (Valparaiso)
Rabb, Ivan (California)
Reed, Davon (Miami, FL.)
Robinson, Devin (Florida)
Simmons, Kobi (Arizona)
Sumner, Edmond (Xavier)
Swanigan, Caleb (Purdue)
Thornwell, Sindarius (South Carolina)
Trimble, Melo (Maryland)
Wagner, Moritz (Michigan)
Walton Jr., Derrick (Michigan)
Welsh, Thomas (UCLA)
White, Derrick (Colorado)
Williams-Goss, Nigel (Gonzaga)
Wilson, D.J. (Michigan)
Yurtseven, Omer (North Carolina St.)

There are a lot of underclassmen and not a lot of seniors on that list. Part of that is this is considered a weak senior class (the good players already went pro) but also it’s a change in the system. The NCAA used to require that players declare whether they were in or out of the draft well before the combine, but the organization finally changed it so that these young players can now get honest feedback from teams about where they might actually land in a draft, then they can back out (so long as they don’t hire an agent). That’s a good thing. Too many players got bad advice from family, friends, hangers-on, AAU coaches, or others trying to profit off them, now those players can go to teams and get a dose of reality. A lot of underclassmen are taking advantage of it.

Report: Michele Roberts to seek second contract as players’ union head

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Michele Roberts entered the NBA’s player union in a tumultuous time — long-time union president Billy Hunter had been ousted in a rancorous fight, the union felt adrift, and negotiations with the NBA on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement were looming (and players felt they had been screwed in the last CBA, following the lockout).

Roberts, the first female head of a professional sports labor union, settled things down. She cleaned up the union finances and made them more transparent to players, she worked hard to establish relationships with the players, and while she rattled some sabers with the NBA in negotiations, she also worked in a non-combative way with Adam Silver and team (unlike the Billy Hunter/David Stern relationship) and got a deal done the players liked without a lockout or labor mess.

Roberts’ contract with the union is up, but she is going to ask for a new deal — one she likely gets — reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

With an original four-year agreement set to expire in September, Michele Roberts plans to seek a new contract as the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, sources tell ESPN…

Roberts had strongly considered staying in the NBPA’s executive director role for only the length of her original contract — and expressed that to the union’s senior membership — but has recently decided to pursue a longer tenure, sources said.

NBPA president Chris Paul played a significant part in Roberts’ hiring in July 2014 and he has built a strong working relationship with Roberts.

Roberts also has a good relationship with the star-heavy executive committee of the union — CP3, LeBron James, Stephen Curry and others — making it likely she gets a new deal.

As for what’s next, at the front of that list Roberts is working with Silver and others on reforming the NBA’s one-and-done rule (it was supposed to be part of the CBA negotiations but was too big and complex an issue to fold into that timeline).

Neither the owners or players can opt out of the CBA for four more years (and if neither side does it runs a couple more beyond that) so labor peace will continue in the NBA for a while.

Isaiah Thomas rewarded on epic flop with offensive foul call vs. Heat

Getty Images

Why do NBA players flop on defense? Because it works.

While there is less of it than there was a couple of years back — when the NBA made a big show about calling more flops and warning (then eventually fining players a pittance) for the move — it still exists. Case in point, this impressive one from Isaiah Thomas of the Lakers on Tyler Johnson of the Heat Friday night (hat tip AminElHassavag at NBA Reddit).

Was there a little contact, sure, but Thomas fell back like he was shot by the second gunman on the grassy knoll. He exaggerated the contact, which is the definition of flopping. Thing is, he got the call (the ref who made the call, from his position, might only have seen the contact and not necessarily the extent of exaggeration, but that’s where the other officials need to step in).

Not that everything went Thomas’ way Friday night.

Suns’ Marquese Chriss, Jared Dudley fined $25,000 each for knocking down Ricky Rubio


Marquese Chriss and Jared Dudley got off light.

There should have been suspensions involved for the cheap shots leveled on Ricky Rubio by the pair during Thursday night’s blowout Jazz win. Instead, the pair were fined $25,000 a piece by the league Saturday for this incident.

Rubio has a knee contusion from the incident Jazz coach Quin Snyder confirmed, however, Rubio is available to play Saturday vs. the Kings.

Dudley was given a flagrant 2 and ejected at the time, Chriss was handed just a flagrant 1 for his escalation. I don’t completely buy Dudley’s explanation here either — I think they were pissed Rubio stepped over a down Chriss to inbound the ball and made him pay for it — but he did own up to it being excessive.

So to be clear, if you throw a haymaker and miss — as Aaron Afflalo did recently — that’s a two-game suspension. But if you throw or body check a player to the ground, that’s just 25 large, no time missed. Players wanting retaliation will take note of that.

Roulette tables are less random than the NBA’s enforcement policies.

Check out Terrance Ferguson’s acrobatic layup vs. Clippers (VIDEO)


It was supposed to be an alley-oop.

However, Raymond Felton‘s pass was low. And not just a little low, a few feet low.

Oklahoma City’s athletic rookie Terrance Ferguson was leaving the ground as the pass was thrown, meaning he had to make an in-air adjustment — and the results were spectacular.