NBA Draft green room invites expected to go out to at least 20 players

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The NBA invites players to attend the draft every year, obviously, because otherwise we wouldn’t have those stellar photo opportunities of gangly ballers dressed in suits with a team cap on their heads shaking the commissioner’s hand.

Those with green room access can give us a glimpse as to where certain guys are projected to go, especially in the later positions of the draft’s first round.

Thanks to Andy Katz of ESPN.com, we have a preliminary look at the list.

The NBA is expected to invite at least 20 players to the draft Thursday in Brooklyn, with as many as three from national champion Duke, two from national runner-up Wisconsin and four representing 38-1 Kentucky, multiple sources with knowledge of the list said.

Duke’s Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow and Tyus Jones will be in attendance, sources said. So, too, will Wisconsin’s Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, as well as Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Trey Lyles and Devin Booker. …

Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, expected to be picked in the top four, as well as 7-foot-1 Latvian Kristaps Porzingis also will be in attendance, sources said. …

Emmanuel Mudiay, who is from Dallas, signed at SMU but instead chose to play professionally in China, is also a lottery lock and a candidate to be picked among the top five. He joins Arizona’s Stanley Johnson, Texas’ Myles Turner, Murray State’s Cameron Payne and Kansas’ Kelly Oubre as invitees, sources said.

The rest of the invites, according to multiple sources, are expected to be Arizona’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arkansas’ Bobby Portis, Georgia State’s R.J. Hunter and Notre Dame’s Jerian Grant.

Nothing earth-shattering, here, as every name listed is widely-projected to be a first-round selection.

The best is actually when players attend without an invite, and walk down from the stands after hearing their name called, sometimes not until the middle or the end of the second round.