NBA Draft

Arizona’s Nico Mannion to declare for 2020 NBA Draft

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Following Arizona’s regular season-ending loss to Washington, Wildcats head coach Sean Miller confirmed freshman point guard Nico Mannion will declare for the 2020 NBA Draft.

Arizona is expected to return to the NCAA Tournament after a one-year absence. That will give Mannion a handful more games to improve his draft stock.

Mannion has played in and started 30 of Arizona’s 31 games this season. He’s averaged 14.1 points and 5.4 assists per game. Mannion is currently ranked in the 10-14 range as a lower-end lottery pick in this year’s draft class.

The 6-foot-3 Mannion holds both United State and Italian citizenship. He was born in Italy while his father, former NBA player Pace Mannion, was playing in Italy. As such, Mannion has played for the Italian National Team on the international level. At the age of 17, he debuted for the senior team during 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifiers.

In his freshman season with the Wildcats, Mannion has shot 39% from the field. It’s worry about his jumper that keeps Mannion from being higher in draft rankings. If he can prove that he can reliably hit shots and impress in workouts, Mannion is a player who could rise up draft boards.

A handful of teams that project to have lottery picks have a need at point guard, including the Knicks, Pistons and Suns.

Adam Silver says ‘one-and-done’ rule could be gone by 2022 NBA Draft


Just about everyone believes that the NBA’s one-and-done policy is bad for the league. Fans hate it, as it keeps players from earning a living despite their clear ability to do so. Players hate it for the same reason.

Seemly the only folks holding on to the one-and-done were the NBA and the NCAA. The Association liked the rule because it allowed teams to get a look at players in a more organized fashion before using draft picks on them. The NBA also liked to say this helped protect players who might flame out and could use a year boosting their draft stock and growing their basketball abilities, a point that is debatable. The NCAA wants to keep the restriction in place because it profits off universities’ ability to unfairly compensate athletes with regard to their market value. Keeping the most exciting players — NBA players — in that cadre is an added benefit.

Now it seems like we are moving toward a point where the one-and-done rule will be gone once again. Speaking on Thursday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said that he believes the 2022 NBA Draft will be the best place for high school entrants to jump to the league.

Via Washington Post:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has made clear he thinks the controversial one-and-done rule is no longer good policy, and he said Thursday at an event in Washington that the 2022 draft likely will allow the best high school players to jump straight into the NBA rather than playing a single season of college before turning pro.

“There are a bunch of issues that need to be worked through between us and the players association, so it’s something we’re in active discussions about,” Silver said. “It’s a few years away, I think.”

“So if the rule were to change, we and our players association, USA Basketball, other groups would be working much more directly with those young players to prepare them for the NBA,” he said.

Silver also said that he felt criminal proceedings, as well as his own understanding surrounding the recruiting of college basketball players, has swayed his opinion on whether the one-and-done rule should be abolished.

It doesn’t seem as though Silver would set a public date in this fashion without it being something that had a likely chance of becoming a reality. But time will tell, and all sides need to come together and make sure it’s beneficial for players and the NBA.

NBA revamps G League Elite Camp to help draft-eligible players get exposure

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The idea is simple: Get exposure for even more high-level college players eligible for the NBA Draft as well as some of the top G-League players.

In the days before the 60-man NBA Draft Combine this May in Chicago, there will be a revamped NBA G League Elite Camp, the league announced Monday. At this camp, 40 more players who declared for the draft will get a chance to be seen by scouts and team executives. To be clear, these are an additional 40 (ones who didn’t make the combine cut, voted on by teams).

“We’re thrilled to introduce the NBA G League Elite Camp as an essential addition to our comprehensive evaluation process of potential NBA and NBA G League talent,” NBA G League President Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement.  “This event will provide more players with exposure as they enter the next phase of their careers.”

The first day of the camp will be just top NBA G League players from the previous season, on day two both the G-Leaguers and college/youth prospects will go through workouts. Then on the third day, it’s just the draft eligible players.

These young college players will get feedback from teams on if and where they would be drafted should they stay in the mix. It’s the kind of honest feedback that young players need to make a decision about their futures. Players then have until May 29 to withdraw their name from the draft and stay in college.

The more exposure and honest feedback the players get at camps like this — as well as places such as Portsmouth Invitational or the Professional Basketball Combine — the better. While the focus is often on the lottery-level elite guys in the draft, there is a path to good paydays playing basketball domestically and abroad, and the camps like this can help players find that path if they put in the work.

Report: Negotiations to drop one-and-done at standstill over pre-draft issues

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Eventually, the NBA will again open the door for high school players to jump directly to the league — this time around teams are far better prepared to deal with and develop young players than when this was thrust upon them in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Everyone is awaiting the change, because one-and-done has not been good for anyone.

However, talks between the NBA and the players’ union to open that door again in 2022 have hit gridlock and reached a standstill over pre-draft issues. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN broke the news.

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are struggling to reach an agreement on lowering the age limit to 18, differing on the league’s desire to attach two conditions to ending the one-and-done NBA draft era, league sources told ESPN.

Commissioner Adam Silver is pressing NBPA executive director Michele Roberts to require that player agents furnish all teams with medical information on prospective draft prospects, league sources said. The league also wants to mandate players attendance and some level of participation in the pre-draft combine, sources said…

“We’re investing millions of dollars into players who we’ll now have even less information about coming out of high school, and we should have the right to have all the information available on who we are selecting,” one general manager told ESPN.

From a team’s perspective, it’s easy to see why they want these conditions. As the anonymous GM above notes for teams this is an investment and if a player has a medical issue — such as the heart issues that have led to surgeries for Jeff Green, Ronny Turiaf, and others now including UCLA’s Shareef O’Neal (Shaq’s son) — teams believe they have a right to know in advance.

However, medical information is not freely shared now — agents often withhold it from (and keep their player from working out for) teams they do not want to draft their player all the time. This doesn’t always work, teams draft guys without workouts and medicals every year, but it’s a bit of leverage agents have now to try and get their player to what they see as a better fit (that can be about opportunity or market size).

According to Wojnarowski, 11 of the 65 players invited to the NBA Draft Combine last year did not take part in the medical exam portion (every team has access to that report). That’s about some agents trying to gain a little leverage in the process, for teams the risk is higher if they don’t have that information.

As for the combine, while more and more players are skipping the drills and games part of the event, going through the measurements and interview processes are basically universal.

The NBA drafting straight out of high school is going to happen again — and it should. If a young player is good enough, or on track to be good enough, and he’s a legal adult teams should have the right to bring him in. The NCAA should adapt to a system that keeps the players that do enter college there a little longer — at least two years — allowing for more consistency and a better product for them. (Of course, the NCAA is the protector of a feudal system of “amateurism” that needs to go, so lord knows what they will ultimately do, but bet on it being whatever they must to protect all that money flowing into their pockets.)

The earliest the draft of 18-year-olds would happen is 2022, both giving teams more time to scout what is the current high school freshman class that would graduate that year, and giving teams knowledge of what was coming down the line when trading draft picks.

JJ Redick explains why he was upset at coverage of Markelle Fultz last year


JJ Redick famously lashed out at reporters last season for covering seemingly every moment of 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz’s workout routine last season. The Philadelphia 76ers guard chided reporters for zeroing in on a player who was just 19 years old at the time, and who was clearly going through some sort of odd mental block with his shooting form.

During Zach Lowe’s podcast on Thursday, Redick elaborated on his emotions at that time, saying that he felt it was out of line for media to continually publish updates on Fultz during practices.

Redick’s response comes at around 35:00 during Lowe’s podcast:

You have a responsibility to cover the story, I get it … There’s a tension to it. I think whatt made me angry that day, and it had been festering, was the way in which people were physically covering him with the cell phones.

That was like our third practice leading up to the trade deadline, and I think the trade deadline had just passed, so we had three practices in the span of that weak. Every time we’d finish practice, or finish shootaround, and the doors would open for the media … you’d see this mad rush to get prime footage location. Everyone would get their cellphones out and they’d start recording him … doing who the fuck knows. Dribbling a basketball, shooting a free throw … mundane things. We, by that point, had seen months of him shooting.

On that particular day, Bryan Colangelo had a press conference … and they all came in with body language like they were vultures preying over a dying, decaying body. The kid was 19, he’s clearly going through something. I got angry … basically cussed them out.

He was my rookie so I guess I was protective but also empathetic. Whatever he was going through, physically or mentally, as an athlete we’ve all been there. There’s varying degrees of extremes to that but we’ve been there.

Lowe: There were also people in your organization who were saying, ‘Why is he out there when the media is coming in?’

Redick: That was his choice. Markelle is an adult, he wanted to be out there.

As an athlete, Redick’s disposition is understandable. He is going to be loyal to his teammates, and have more empathy for the athlete’s side of things. But the line of morality for journalists doesn’t necessitate shielding legal adults who are struggling to perform on a basketball court. That was the duty of the 76ers, if anything. Readers seemed to eventually tire of hearing about Fultz and his issues, although local editors in Philadelphia probably saw less of that.

Redick doesn’t have the experience or training to decide what is newsworthy and when. That is up to editors and journalists covering teams. The real burden lay with the Sixers when it came to Fultz last season. Teams close practices to the media all the time, and the reality is it isn’t natural for media to attend one-on-one workouts for individual players. Media access for those types of things are decided by front office.

The 76ers decided not to (or could not) dissuade Fultz from being in front of the media during the time they were allowed into the practice facility. That’s on Fultz, and the Sixers. Fultz made an adult decision to allow the media to cover him during a vulnerable time. That’s probably not what Redick wanted — and my personal opinion is to concur — but that’s what happened.

The Sixers could have just as easily kept him away, and had private sessions with Fultz until he returned to some kind of form becoming of an NBA player. Videoing the No. 1 overall pick from a $1 billion sports franchise was not just within the realm of journalistic morality, it was necessary from a duty of coverage standpoint, particularly for local outlets in Philly.

Redick can feel the way he feels. He has that right. Journalists cover what they do, with years of training to dictate how to do it. They don’t have to agree. For Sixers fans, the hope is that trainer Drew Hanlen really has fixed Fultz’s jumper, so we can put this story to bed.

I’ll agree with Redick on one point: the whole story is quite tired.