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Mock Drafts

NBA AM: Do Mock Drafts Matter?

It’s been suggested that mock drafts hold no value to the process and are meaningless to NBA teams, but that’s simply not true.

Steve Kyler

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If someone walks into a crowded room and yells, “Hey stupid!” it’s really on you if you turn around and get offended.

This week Bleacher Report’s C.J. Moore ran a piece on the merits and value of mock drafts, a staple of traffic and interest in the NBA media world.

Moore’s piece was more of a response from Kansas head coach Bill Self, who got on the soap box after a question about freshman Kelly Oubre that was tied to his rankings as a top draft prospect in the 2015 NBA Draft class and his lack of playing time.

To paraphrase the piece: mock drafts are bad, kids change because of them, they don’t matter at all and they are disruptive to the process.

While nothing about this piece was pointed at me, or our team, it was in some ways made to feel like a shot at some really respected people in this business, specifically Jonathan Givony and his excellent team at DraftExpress.

By way of full disclosure, Basketball Insiders has had a business relationship with Givony and DraftExpress for more than a decade and we view DraftExpress as the leader in the draft information space. DraftExpress powers our Top 100 Prospect rankings and we spend a lot of time with them in the field, especially around the draft. We see first-hand how hard they work at their craft and how good they are at evaluating and scouting talent. Their tools are the best in the space and NBA teams value the information they provide.

So while none of the Bleacher Report article was directed at us specifically, I am going to respond to the idea.

In our world, we travel in the same circle with coaches, executives and the people that power NBA basketball, so I reached out to a couple of them to get their thoughts on the value and use of mock drafts inside the NBA.

These two executives are going to remain anonymous because I don’t want the story to be about them or their teams, as much as what they have to say. Some may have a problem with that, but if I say it is general manager X, then it becomes about him and not what he had to say.

But to state the credentials of the sources, both currently work in the Western Conference and have been involved in senior leadership roles for more than two decades. They both have been involved in drafting players, including several top-five players and are actively involved in scouting and drafting players in the upcoming draft class in a senior level capacity.

These two sources are not fringe scouts that watch a few basketball games and file a report; these are the guys who steer the process for two highly successful and respected NBA teams and have done so at every level of NBA basketball.

I spent the time stating this because I wanted the seriousness of their perspective to be clear.

Before we get too far into this, NBA teams do not use mock drafts to base their own draft decisions. They do that all by themselves, hundreds of times during the season leading up the draft.

I have sat with NBA executives and played the mock draft game with them – ‘You take this guy, then that means this guy goes next, then that guy next.’ It’s a common thing done hundreds of times throughout the year; a lot more frequently than any publication would update.

NBA teams don’t need our mock draft, mainly because they are building their own versions dozens of times a week leading up to the draft, with their specific needs and preferences in mind.

One executive, who is now a general manager of a Western Conference team, used to carry a wire bound notebook where he wrote out his mock draft in pencil each week. You could flip through the book and see how the draft evolved, in his view, from the start to finish. It was the least impressive or scientific process you could imagine.

So while NBA teams don’t use media-driven mock drafts as a guide for themselves, they do hold a lot of value to teams in ways you wouldn’t think.

“I use mock drafts only for the names,” one NBA executive said. “I believe there is a lot of people out there, unnamed people we’ll say for example, that don’t go and see games. That they use contacts they have in the league or contacts wherever they can find them to try and come to a consensus of where they’re going to draft people.

“I think a lot guys do a consensus. That being said, I use it just for the names and ranges. I don’t take anything like number one [in a mock] is number one. We do this for a living; I better have my own thought process of who I like 1-60.

“It’s always good to have names because in this industry a lot of information gets passed amongst people, especially at the higher levels. They’ll call a friend and say, ‘Hey my guys are saying that Joe Smith is really good.’ and then they’ll call all the scouts and say, ‘Hey have we seen Joe Smith? Well I hear he is really rising.’ You know that’s based on two or three mock drafts where names appear and he’s not on anyone’s radar. “

That concept was mirrored by the other executive.

“What they are is they’re a good source on getting a feel of what another guy that has experience feels,” another NBA executive said. “I will look at their lists just to see. Say they got a guy 15 and I got him 30 or reverse it, it sparks your attention a wee bit but it’s nothing to interfere my thoughts.

“We do monthly, actually every three weeks; I have my guys put in their top 40. So we’re on top of it and we meet all the time. I think it’s a good information place to go to. It’s interesting to evaluate because every team has a different feel. Some guy they like at number eight might be the same guy another team likes at 20. It’s the same guy. I think it’s the same process; every organization has a different way of doing the draft. Is it a good source to have? Yes.”

The issue most people have with the popularity and implied authority of many of the mock draft publications is that players and their families are making decisions based on where a kid is projected.

Some kids leave college early because ESPN has them ranked here or DraftExpress has them ranked there and they find out the hard way that NBA teams apply their own value structure to players. That’s not something that mock drafts can accurately predict.

“We were just talking about it the other day that whenever a big game is played, like they had North Carolina and Kentucky play, after that game two guys went into the top five based on the one game,” one NBA executive said. “I think it’s more of an indication that the draft is not really as strong as people think and that guys can go from 20 or 30 to two or four or five. Again, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it’s what have you done for me lately? The guy plays against a decent team and he does pretty well so he has got to be pretty good now?”

“It’s like an NBA season, its 82 games, a college season is 40 games,” the other NBA executive said. “I mean a guy can get hot for a week, a guy can do pretty well for a while, but can he sustain that effort and that energy and his skill level for the entire season?”

Both executives acknowledged that mock drafts affect how the kids on the list see the world.

“It does affect kids as to where they think they are,” he said. “It affects the parents. It affects the agents that are trying to get involved with them. What happens is an agent will say, ‘You’re 35 and I can help you get up to 15.’ There is some influence in all that.”

The NBA and the Players’ Association have an annual Draft Advisory Committee that disseminates information to would-be draftees and their college coaches. This committee is comprised of highly respected and accomplished executives that break the draft into tiers and offer expert level insight on where certain underclassman may get drafted. It’s usually a range with one kid being ranked a “Top Five” guy, while another might be a “Top 20” guy, with others being dubbed “Second Rounder to Undrafted.” The committee’s track record is pretty good and tends to be a lot more conservative, especially on fringe talents.

College coaches are provided this information so they can share it with the kid and his family.

That doesn’t mean every kid will like what they see or understand the value of that information, because the allure of the NBA is real – especially if your name is out there on a daily and weekly basis.

So this begs the question, are we any good at it? Are the guys powering these mock drafts that have so much implied authority really any good at evaluating who is and who is not an NBA talent?

“I value [some of them] because you see players,” one NBA executive said. “What’s more important than anything is your (the media’s) angle. It’s the players and the knowledge of them [off the court] and the background and the information, that’s invaluable to me.

“[A] team is going to pay a scout to know whether he can go right or left, if he can shoot a jump-hook or defend his position, that’s what they’re paying us to do.”

The idea of the media as background providers resonated with both executives simply because of the investigative side to reporting.

“What [most] media provides, at least for me, is all they’re doing is they’re just regurgitating things they’ve talked to other people that they’re close to,” the same NBA executive said. “They say, ‘I’m going to take your ideas and I’m going to make them mine.’ Those guys I have no time for.”

“The ones who go out, that will sit in the stands and be there, then you know what, there is some validity to, ‘Hey I think this guy is a draftable player.’ I’m going to check his list and make sure I have at least the 60 guys on his list because he’s probably talked to some NBA [people] and he’s probably got close to some names.”

The idea of name gathering and making sure the whole field is covered resonated with both, especially on the international side.

“The thing with [DraftExpress] is just the foreign component,” one NBA executive said. “I think for 90 percent of all NBA teams, they talk about going to Europe and, ‘Oh Europe this and that’, but there are really only four or five teams, and you can track them statistically, that even venture into the foreign market that actually take them. They may see them, but actually draft them?”

There is no doubt that way too much credit is given to mock drafts, especially among fans and the media. However, to say or imply they mean nothing to the process really is not true, especially when you’re talking about industry leaders like DraftExpress.

“The mock drafts are really good. They’re good for people to look at,” the other NBA executive said. “They’re great for the fans. They’re great for interest. They’re great stories. It’s all part of promoting the game and kids like looking at it.”

The irony of Bill Self’s anti-rant about mock drafts is that every college coach uses the same external media to power their own recruiting, whether that’s Rivals, ESPN’s Top 100 or another high school outlet to celebrate their recruiting successes in fundraising and to persuade future kids to attend their program. How many times have you seen a statement about how many four-star or five-star recruits a program has, or where a program’s incoming class was ranked?

It’s a little disingenuous to take shots at the media and then turn around and use that same process for your own means.

There is no doubting that college coaches have to battle massive external influences over their young players, some of which are media driven for sure. But some of that is also self-created during the recruiting process and some of that is just the slimy business of pro sports.

But let’s not blame mock drafts and mock drafters – or worse yet imply that they have no value. Clearly they do, and not just for the fans that power the industry.

Steve Kyler is the Editor and Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA and basketball for the last 17 seasons.

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 4.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2019 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders

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Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft. With every new version, you’ll see an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind; we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

As this process plays out, the mocks will evolve, so look for a new Consensus each Wednesday, all the way up to draft day on June 20th.

Here is this week’s Consensus Mock:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0 | 3.0

Spencer’s Notebook: With the NBA Draft Lottery set and the 2019 NBA Combine in the books from Chicago, there are some significant changes to my mock draft.

Brandon Clarke tested out at the top of his position with a 34-inch standing vertical, a 40.5-inch max vertical and a 3.15-second three-quarter court sprint. He was already a lock to go anywhere from the lottery to the early 20s before the event, so it’s clear that this performance should vault the Gonzaga forward leaped into the top 10.

Outside of the physical portion of the Combine, the rumor mill was churning. We learned of multiple promises for players going to teams, including one about Darius Garland being rumored as the Los Angeles Lakers guy once he left the combine. However, it is the Phoenix Suns that many also believe are interested in the Vanderbilt product with the sixth pick.

Another situation to monitor is the New York Knicks and the third overall pick. Everything seems to be hinging on what happens with the Anthony Davis situation in New Orleans. The Pelicans’ new vice president of basketball operations, David Griffin, would prefer the All-Star big man to stick around once they bolster the team’s core of Jrue Holiday and himself with rookie sensation Zion Williamson.

An ultimatum will be extended to Davis—if he changes his mind about wanting out, they’ll bury the hatchet. If he sticks to his original request, Griffin will begin looking for trade partners.

The Knicks would like to choose the second scenario. Their main focus is on adding marquee free agents to usher in a new era of basketball at Madison Square Garden. If the rumors are true and Kevin Durant and/or Kyrie Irving come to town, they probably won’t want to play with a rookie in the chase for a title. Offering the third pick along with a combination of their young talents—Dennis Smith Jr., Kevin Knox, Mitchell Robinson, Allonzo Trier—could be a package worthwhile for New Orleans in the Davis talks.

If Davis is moved elsewhere—Boston is a destination often mentioned with Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and picks or if the Pels persuade him to stick around for one more year before his free agency period hits in the summer of 2020, New York could be stuck in a predicament. RJ Barrett should be the pick at three, yet there are members of the team’s coaching staff who are enamored by another highly touted Duke prospect—Cameron Reddish.

The Cleveland Cavaliers met with Reddish last Friday, but at the same time, their front office is a big fan of Barrett’s. Should the Davis scenario not go the way the Knicks would hope, maybe the two could work out a deal to swap picks? Cleveland does have two first-round picks (five and 26) and quite a few assets to offer. New York is reportedly interested in moving Frank Ntilikina as well.

The trade idea is purely that, but it almost sets up perfect, doesn’t it?

Jesse’s Notebook: The NBA Lottery certainly shook things up last week with the New Orleans Pelicans winning the Zion Williamson sweepstakes and the Los Angeles Lakers landing the fourth overall pick. With the Lottery and Combine behind us, there is a bit more consistency in most mock draft boards.

The player I am keeping an eye on right now is Cam Reddish. Reddish didn’t have a standout freshman season at Duke, but his combination of athleticism, skill, and upside make him an intriguing prospect. I would not be surprised if a team with a top pick takes the risk that his game is well-tailored for the NBA and his lone season at Duke is not indicative of the player he will become. There is also a risk that Reddish slips a bit on draft night, but that is a less likely scenario in my opinion. For more on Reddish, take a few minutes to read this insightful article from Basketball Insider writer Shane Rhodes:.

Drew’s Notebook: The NBA Draft combine is complete, and we’ve walked away with a few key learnings:

First of all, it appears that some promises were made to a select few prospects including Darius Garland and Rui Hachimura. This sets a floor for them and their camp. While it’s not entirely clear which teams made them promises, in some instances, it’s pretty intuitive (e.g., PG-desperate Suns probably ensured Garland’s camp that they’d nab him at six).

The guy who I’m most enamored with based on the combine is Luka Samanic. Samanic is a 6-foot-10, 227-pound forward with a 6-foot-10.5 inch wingspan. He demonstrated a nice shooting stroke last week at the combine and proved he can stay in front of quicker guards for periods via the 5-on-5 scrimmage. While he’s incredibly unlikely to break into the lottery, I see Samanic climbing into the late first-round.

Bol Bol continues to be an enigma. His wingspan is impressive, and we know he can stroke. But at 7-foot-3 and 209 pounds, will he be able to impact that gain enough from a physicality standpoint and/or stay healthy? Those are huge questions for whichever team selects him – which will likely be team with a relatively high lottery selection.

I was discouraged by Naz Reid registering a 14% body fat percentage (highest of all prospects) –especially since he was someone I pegged as a sleeper in the draft. Now his position as a first-round draft pick may be in question. However, I still feel that Reid’s ability to shoot threes mixed with his 7-foot-3 wingspan spells huge potential. This should be viewed as an opportunity to snatch up a strong prospect at a lower spot considering NBA training regimens.

Tyler Herro represents another challenge for front offices. His 6-foot-3 wingspan was a bit of a surprise, and it presents a slight problem for whoever ultimately selects him – albeit one that can worked around given the right personnel. Fortunately for Herro, it was assumed by many that his floor is a three-point shooting specialist. So while his wingspan presents a physical limitation, he wasn’t assumed to be an above average athlete/attacker/defender anyway. He’ll still probably be a top-20 pick given the perpetual need for shooters.

Finally, the big news (pun intended) out of the combine was Tacko Fall. Fall is 7-foot-7, 289 pounds with an 8-foot-2 wingspan and a 10-foot-2 standing reach. Fall is definitely on the raw side of all serious prospects, but his mobility and skill set are fairly impressive considering his size. He is not a serious consideration for any team in the first round; however, it will be interesting to see who roles the dice on Fall in the mid-to-late-second round. While Fall and Mitchell Robinson are ENTIRELY indifferent players, teams may look back at passing on Robinson and think twice before passing up another unique big man.

With the draft less than a month away, teams have already begun ramping up their workout schedules. We will learn a lot more in the next few weeks. And we’ll probably be fooled by a number of smoke screens, too. Stay tuned!

Steve’s Notebook: With NBA teams now past the Combine and well into Pro Days, there has been a tremendous amount of chatter on where some players may have early draft commitments, and how teams may really feel about some of the notable names.

It’s important to clarify the role commitments have in the draft process. There are two kinds of commitments teams will offer a prospect, one is the hard fast promise. The promise is exactly what you think it would be, a team zeros in the player they want and offers to select that player with their pick removing the pressure and uncertainty of the draft process in exchange for the player shutting down workouts and access for other teams. Players and their agents take a little risk in trusting the team will keep their word, which is why teams typically shy away from promises unless its exactly the player they covet.

The other type of commitment teams make is what’s commonly referred to as the floor – the lowest level a player will likely fall. Teams tend to make these kinds of commitments to players they like, but understand that they may go higher, but in the event the player falls, they know they have a landing spot.

Why does either side care about all this? For teams it is hard to plan around uncertainty, there are so many things that can happen around the draft and knowing they can secure a player they want, means they can move on the seeing what else can be done to improve the roster or gain assets. For players, it allows them to lighten the workout load and possibility for an injury, and start focusing on their NBA careers. It’s always possible a team can grab a player earlier than expected, but for the most part teams and agents work fairly hard to make sure promises are kept.

With all of that in mind here is what’s being talked about in NBA circles:

Word is Vanderbilt’s Darius Garland received a promise in the top ten, with most believing is was the Phoenix Suns that made the promise with their sixth overall pick. League sources said it’s possible that the Lakers still consider Garland with the fourth pick, but the prevailing thought is Garland will not workout or meet with anyone below the sixth pick.

Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura is also believed to have received a draft promise in the top 12, with the Minnesota Timberwolves believed to have been the team to make the promise with their 11th overall pick. The problem with promises outside of the top five or six picks is the domino effect of players falling out of the expected range, but at this point, it seems Hachimura is headed towards being a lottery pick.

Oregon’s Bol Bol is something of a draft enigma. According to a team drafting in the mid-teens, they do not expect he’ll be on the board when they drafted, and there was a belief that he was the first name on the board for the Atlanta Hawks with their eighth overall pick. The Hawks hold two picks in the top 10, so they have the luxury of taking a gamble on Bol. While Bol doesn’t seem to have a promise, there is a belief one of the teams with two first round picks would grab him, simply because his upside is off the charts.

Washington’s Matisse Thybulle was believed to have a promise from the Oklahoma City Thunder at 21, however, a few days after the Combine wrapped, the tone on that promise changed. The current chatter has the Celtics making that promise with their 20th overall selection. One league source said that Thybulle checked all of the advanced analytic boxes that the Thunder covet in a player, so it will be interesting to see if the Thunder try and jump in front of the Celtics to nab a player they are believed to be very high on.

There are a couple of other players to watch as the workout process continues:

Boston College’s Ky Bowman has been doing very well in individual workouts, and there is talk that he may have played his way in the solid second round situation, if not a late first. Bowman has had some solid workouts and seems to be a name to watch as the process plays out.

Duke’s Cam Reddish had his pro day in Phoenix yesterday, and while he only did one on zero work, there are many in NBA circles that believe he’ll be a Paul George-type NBA player, and that he is firmly in the hunt in the top 10.

Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter skipped the annual NBA Draft combine, but there is a belief that he is high on the board for the LA Lakers with the fourth overall pick and the Cavaliers with the fifth overall pick. Hunter seems to be a player whose draft stock is improving simply be being absent.

Things on the team front will heat up the first week of June, that’s when teams are expected to start seeing lottery level players in their gyms, and that’s when will really lock in on players.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 3.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2019 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders

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The 2019 NBA Draft lottery produced some unexpected results. Here are the results:

Version: 1.0 | 2.0

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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Mock Drafts

2019 NBA Consensus Mock Draft – Ver 2.0

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ experts take a look at the draft class and weigh in on what they are seeing and hearing in the march up to the 2019 NBA Draft.

Basketball Insiders

Published

on

Each week, four of Basketball Insiders’ top writers will break down the latest news and notes surrounding the 2019 NBA Draft. Each week you’ll see an updated mock draft that reflects how each writer sees the draft landscape based on the latest news, workouts, and information from the pre-draft process as well as a notebook, outlining each writers’ thoughts, observations and reporting on the draft.

Keep in mind; we are trying to find commonalities, which is why it is called the Consensus. The writers involved do not see each other’s selections until these are posted. It is done deliberately to make sure each writer is not influencing the others.

As this process plays out, the mocks will evolve, so look for a new Consensus each Wednesday, all the way up to draft day on June 20th.

Here is this week’s Consensus Mock:



Version: 1.0

Jesse’s Notebook: The NBA Combine is set to take place next week with 66 players expected to attend. Many of these players are going to scrimmage, take measurements, go through a variety of drills, and interview with teams. The Combine should provide a good amount of intel on these prospects that either isn’t available yet or has thus far been overlooked. This is also the time when teams will start giving more clues about their thoughts on certain prospects, what their respective teams are looking for and who is catching the attention of several teams. Oftentimes prospects start setting themselves apart and climbing team draft boards based on their performance at the Combine. On the flip side, some prospects are likely to start falling down team boards as new information is discovered. However, this is also a time where some players may get too much hype based on their measurements and other data points (let’s not forget the hype surrounding Luke Babbit after the 2010 Combine).

Mock draft boards are already all over the place and are sure to start shuffling even more as we move towards the Combine. However, the overall picture should start to become a bit clearer as prospects interview with teams, receive feedback, and as front office executives start making soft commitments to players and leaking out information about the players they have an eye on.

Spencer’s Notebook: In version two of our consensus mock draft, my top nine draft picks stayed the same as they were last week, but there was some slight tweaking otherwise.

As Steve said in the inaugural mock, predicting selections outside of the top slots is difficult. A good amount of teams could be picking for their need first and foremost rather than having a simple “best player available” approach. The picture will be a little clearer next week when we learn the results of the NBA Draft Lottery on May 14.

My most notable observation—there is an abundance of talented wings, raw and polished, in this 2019 NBA Draft class. Younger players such as RJ Barrett, Jarrett Culver, Cameron Reddish and De’Andre Hunter have the tools to succeed. However, finding the right organization to put those respective skill sets to use in the correct manner will be imperative to every one of them to reach their full potential.

Playoff teams are going to be able to add the more pro-ready prospects at that position, with multiple upperclassmen forwards who may be able to help right away – regardless of what team they end up with. Rui Hachimura, Cameron Johnson, Brandon Clarke, Matisse Thybulle and Grant Williams all fit the bill in that sense. While collegiate experience hardly compares to that of the NBA, the maturation of playing the game longer puts these guys ahead of the curve if you were to ask me.

Drew’s Notebook:Not much has changed since last week. The most noise we’ve heard in the last seven days is around accepted invitations to the NBA Draft Combine, as well as workouts. But fear not NBA fans, the Draft Lottery takes place this Tuesday with the Combine beginning the very next day. Things will definitely heat up soon!

With that being said, I spent a lot of time looking at the top teams in terms of draft order and thought a lot about their needs: the Bulls, Suns and Wizards could all be interested in adding a lead guard. This is, of course, an exercise in futility because we have not yet landed on a final draft order. Never the less, this led me bump Darius Garland up a few spots. I think he is extremely NBA-ready. And while a little undersized, he has an IT factor that most prospects at his level do not possess (excluding Zion Williamson, Ja Morant and RJ Barrett). Garland could develop into Kyrie Irving-type of player, or he could end up closer to D.J. Augustin. But I really like his confidence and how he moves with the ball. And until the Draft Lottery dictates the final order on 5/14, I’ve got to arrange prospects by my feelings on overall talent.

Another guy I plan to plan to study more closely is Sekou Doumbouya. I was compelled to drop him a few spots after watching more film of him over the weekend, but his youth (18 years old) and perceived versatility indicate that he’ll grow into an effective NBA player, assuming he’s given the proper time and resources to develop. And potential is just as important (if not more) as refined skill. I’m excited to see what, if anything, we can learn about Doumbouya at the Combine.

Tuesday, May 14 can’t get here soon enough.

Steve’s Notebook: The invite list of the 2019 NBA Draft Combine is out, and 66 players accepted the NBA’s invite to take part in the NBA’s annual draft showcase event. It’s important to note that there are three types of invitations; the first is extended to those players expected to go in the top 20, which does not require participation in the on-court portion of the Combine. Those players will undergo medical testing and face to face interviews with teams. The next group will do the same medical and interviews but are also expected to participate in the on-court portion as well. The third tier are those players willing to be last minute alternates in the event players pull out.

This year the NBA is holding a G-League event for draft-eligible players, just prior to next week’s Combine, the NBA has pledged the possibility of a full Combine invite to players that stand out among those additional 40 plus players that were invited to participate.

Why is a Combine invite important? In a typical year, more than 70 percent of players invited to the Combine end up being drafted, making the Combine list a pretty solid barometer on who is legitimately in the draft discussion.

There are two notable players that declined the NBA’s invitations, the first being Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura and Washington’s Matisse Thybulle.

While it is not uncommon for players to bypass the Combine, especially if the players is all but assured to be drafted, it also usually signifies a player may have a draft commitment they are comfortable with making the dog and pony show of the Combine less desirable.

The 2019 NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14th, with the Combine itself getting underway on Wednesday with face to face team interviews.

Who are these guys anyway? Steve Kyler is the Publisher of Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last 21 years. Jesse Blancarte is a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last five years. Spencer Davies is also a Senior NBA Writer and Deputy Editor for Basketball Insiders and has covered the NBA for the last three years. Drew Maresca is an NBA Writer for Basketball Insiders and is finishing his first season covering the NBA.

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @TommyBeer, @jblancartenba, @SpinDavies, @JamesB_NBA, @MattJohnNBA, @DrewMaresca, @JordanHicksNBA, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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