Connect with us

NBA

Flip Murray Attempting NBA Comeback

At 36 years old, Ronald “Flip” Murray tells Basketball Insiders that he’s attempting an NBA comeback.

Alex Kennedy

Published

on

Please enable Javascript to watch this video

This offseason, a number of notable veterans have expressed interest in returning to the NBA. Ray Allen, Stephen Jackson, Richard Hamilton and Carlos Boozer are among the players who are reportedly thinking of making a comeback for the 2016-17 season. It makes sense that these players would want to return to the league, especially now that the NBA salary cap has reached an unprecedented high. Also, many of these individuals never lost the itch to play and want to compete at the highest level once again.

In addition to the aforementioned players, you can add Ronald “Flip” Murray to the list of veterans looking to get back into the league. Murray, who is 36 years old, told Basketball Insiders that he’s determined to make an NBA roster one last time.

Murray, a 6’4 combo guard, made a name for himself in the NBA with his ability to score the ball from all over the floor and provide instant offense as a sixth man. Over the course of his eight-year NBA career, he averaged 9.9 points and 2.3 assists while playing just 22.7 minutes per game. His per-100-possession stats for his career are impressive – 23.2 points, 5.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds – since his minutes were relatively limited.

Throughout his time in the NBA, Murray had stints with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets and Chicago Bulls. And that doesn’t even count the times he was signed by a team and cut before playing in a game, such as when the Memphis Grizzlies inked him to a deal on Oct. 1, 2012 and waived him later that month without playing him a single minute.

Murray hasn’t played in an NBA game since the 2009-10 season, when he suited up for the Chicago Bulls and averaged 10.1 points over 29 contests. However, Murray has remained in shape because he played overseas and in the D-League. Between these stints, he also participated in a number of professional competitions, including The Basketball Tournament (which has a $2 million prize, is broadcast on ESPN and includes many overseas stars and D-League standouts).

I work out every day,” Murray told Basketball Insiders. “I’m in Philly right now working out with a group of guys, a lot of college guys and guys who play overseas. Some guys who actually play for Philly work out at the same center down here. Some workouts are at La Salle and some workouts are at Temple University, but we’re working out every day. Usually, we go lift from like 8-9 a.m. and then we do workouts from like 9:30-10:30 a.m. and then play a little bit of pick-up afterwards. Dionte Christmas, who played in the league and played overseas as well, is one of the guys. The Morris Twins [Marcus and Markieff], Dion Waiters, Hakim Warrick, Mark Tyndale – who played at Temple as well as overseas and in the D-League – are some of the guys there.”

One reason Murray hasn’t played in the NBA for quite some time is because he fractured his hip during the NBA lockout, sidelining him for nearly half of a year.

“It was a bad situation because at the end of the day, that’s when we went into the lockout year and during the time of the lockout, we were doing a lot of charity games where we would be playing against different cities,” Murray said. “I actually ended up suffering a major injury, fracturing my hip. When I fractured my hip, I was out for about four to five months and it took me a while to get back to 100 percent after that.”

In an effort to get his confidence back and ensure he was completely healthy, Murray decided to play in the D-League with the Austin Toros. He essentially treated it as a rehab stint. It went even better than he could’ve imagined, as he helped the Toros win the 2012 D-League championship in his lone season there. He averaged an impressive 21.8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.5 steals in 38.8 minutes while shooting 43.3 percent from the field as the team’s go-to option offensively. Perhaps most impressive is that he says he was only at 80 percent at that time since he was playing himself into shape.

“I didn’t mind playing in the D-League,” Murray said. “A lot of people thought I was done playing basketball because I suffered that hip injury and nobody really saw me play for a while. Because of that, I wanted to just go out there and show people that I could still play and that I still love the game. It was a good experience for me; I had a chance to connect with some younger guys that were trying to make an NBA roster at the time. It was more of a leadership role for me playing down there with the young guys, but I also still had a nice experience playing there because there’s a lot of talent. And a lot of those talented guys I was playing against made it up to the NBA.

“When I came back from the injury, I went to the Austin Toros of the D-League and we won a championship in the D-League. At that time, I still wasn’t feeling 100 percent. I was probably around a good 80 percent. Following that, I just went overseas and played abroad for a couple years.”

As he mentioned, Murray would play with teams in Turkey, Ukraine and Lebanon, and he really enjoyed his time in these countries. He continues to receive interest from international teams to this day, but he doesn’t want to leave his family behind to go overseas again.

It was a great experience,” Murray said of playing abroad. “I got a chance to travel the world and see different countries and cultures. Turkey was beautiful. Ukraine was okay – where I was at, it was a little rough in the city, but I was able to travel and see other parts of Ukraine too. And Lebanon was just beautiful. Beautiful. The competition level over there is good as well. Turkey had good competition and the game is very physical over there. I mean, those guys play hard. Every second of every game, they never take a play off over there. Those guys play extremely hard. Like I said, there is a lot of talent over there and I’m glad I got the chance to experience that and play overseas.

“But I just didn’t want to go back overseas because of the situation with my wife and my family. I didn’t want to leave them here and go back, you know? So that’s why I didn’t take the option of going back overseas. But I have been playing a lot and working out daily. I played in The Basketball Tournament, which includes professionals and college alumni teams. I also played in the Danny Rumph Classic in Philadelphia, and other competitive tournaments and leagues too.”

In his last professional action, Murray played for Al Mouttahed Tripoli in Lebanon’s Division A. He averaged 24 points, 4.2 assists, 3.4 rebounds and 1.6 steals while shooting 34 percent from three-point range (on 9.4 attempts per game).

Teams looking to add an experienced veteran may give Murray a look, as he has played in 487 regular-season games and 45 playoff games in the NBA. He’s a savvy vet, and he insists he’s willing to embrace any role a team asks of him including helping young players develop (something he enjoys).

“I would definitely bring a lot of veteran leadership because I know the game of basketball,” Murray said. “The way the game is now, I feel like I could fit perfectly in. I could be someone who comes off the bench and produces for the team. I’d also like to mentor the young guys and pass on some of the experiences and lessons I learned from playing against some of the guys I matched up against during my time. If I come in right now, I could bring a lot of veteran leadership and still be able to produce on the court.

“The way the game is set up now, I think my game fits perfectly for the NBA. The way the game is going now with a lot of pick-and-roll and a lot of iso and [creating your own shot], that opens up the floor for the spread fours who can shoot the three. With a lot of isos, it opens the floor up a lot so you are able to make plays for yourself as well as others. I believe I could come in and fit perfectly.”

Murray knows that a job won’t be handed to him given his age and his time away from professional basketball. Because of this, he’s absolutely open to working out for NBA teams or attending free-agent minicamps to show what he has left in the tank.

“I have no problem doing that,” Murray said of working out for an NBA team to show what he can do at this stage of his career. “I’m working out every day anyway, so I have no problem going to work out for an NBA team and show what I can do.

“Given an opportunity, given a chance, I would love to go out there to show that I can still play this game at that level. I can still go in and produce, even at the age of 36. I’m still very athletic and still very quick, and I still want to play this game.”

It may be tough given his age and the basketball mileage on his body, but Murray has never let slim odds stop him. After all, he turned a Division II collegiate career into eight years in the NBA that netted him nearly $10 million. You can’t knock Flip’s hustle or work ethic.

It’s this determination and underdog story that has impressed so many of Murray’s peers. Many players – former and current – have nothing but positive things to say about Flip and they know how much damage he can do when he gets hot with the ball.

“I’ve always been a huge Flip Murray fan,” said Chauncey Billups, who played with Murray on the Pistons in 2007 when they advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals. “He’s always been a Jamal-Crawford-type guy. He can come off your bench and score with the best of them. As long as he’s in great shape, I’m confident he can really help a team win.”

Speaking of Crawford, he has a lot of respect for Murray since they are both sixth men known for scoring at will. Murray never won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year trophy, but he did finish seventh in voting for the award in 2009. That was one year before Crawford won the award for the first time; now, Crawford has been honored as Sixth Man of the Year an NBA-record three times, including this past season.

“Flip was always nice, always had game,” Crawford said. “He didn’t play much in Milwaukee or in Seattle at first. Then, Ray Allen went down for a while and Flip averaged like 20 points a game and they were winning in that stretch! I always enjoyed watching him and I had a lot of respect for his game.”

“He’s one of the most prolific scorers I saw on a daily basis,” said Brent Barry, who played two seasons with Murray on the Sonics. “He could get anywhere he wanted and used his body very well. I’m happy to hear that he is still chasing his dream and continuing his career. I will never forget ‘Flip Your Lid’ filling in for Ray to start the 2003 season.”

What Crawford and Barry are referring to is when Allen had to miss an early stretch of the 2003-04 season, which thrust Murray into Seattle’s starting lineup. At this point, Murray was in just his second NBA season and nobody expected him to do a whole lot. After all, he had appeared in just 14 NBA games as a rookie, averaging just 1.9 points in 4.4 minutes. The Sonics were hoping that Murray could be a serviceable stopgap until Allen returned.

Murray had other plans.

He dominated and led Seattle to five wins in their first six games. Murray averaged 23.9 points, 4.4 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals through the first 11 games of the season. In his 18 starts that year, he averaged 19.2 points, 4.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.3 steals in 35.6 minutes. When asked to perform on the biggest stage in basketball and fill in for a future Hall of Famer, Murray shined and turned heads around the NBA. That’s why over a decade later, Barry says he’ll never forget that stretch of impressive basketball and why Seattle native Crawford sounds like an excited fan when he talks about it.

Some have compared Murray’s remarkable stretch to Jeremy Lin’s “Linsanity” run in New York, but it honestly may have been even crazier. While Lin went undrafted, he played at Harvard and was somewhat of a known commodity after having success with the Dallas Mavericks’ Summer League team, playing particularly well against rookie John Wall and earning a spot on the Golden State Warriors’ regular-season roster. Murray not only went undrafted, he attended Shaw University (a Division II school) prior to joining the Sonics. Before bursting onto the scene in 2003, his previous career-high was six points. He had scored 27 points total in his NBA career before stepping in for Allen in the starting five. So the fact that he scored 20 or more points in 10 of the first 11 games that season – and topped 27 points on five different occasions that year – was incredible.

Once Murray showed what he could do when given minutes and touches, the Sonics used him more and other teams eventually showed interest as well. That’s what allowed him to suit up for so many different teams and sign numerous contracts – both in the NBA and, later, abroad.

Now, he’s hoping for one last NBA contract and a final chance to prove himself once again.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

Advertisement




Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

NBA DAILY

NBA Daily: One Year Later, Yogi Ferrell Continues To Rise

One year after a turbulent start to his NBA career, Yogi Ferrell is still thriving with the Dallas Mavericks.

Ben Nadeau

Published

on

It was never going to be easy for Yogi Ferrell.

At just 6-foot-0, there were major concerns about Ferrell and his ability to effectively contribute at the professional level, so the 24-year-old was a near-lock to go undrafted despite his impressive haul of collegiate honors. In 2016, he did not hear his name called on draft night — but for a gamer like Ferrell, pushing on was always the only option.

However, on this particularly cold mid-season evening, Ferrell sits at his locker and studies film on a tablet. He looks comfortable and focused as if he knows that this moment cannot be ripped away from him once again. Today, Ferrell is the Dallas Mavericks’ backup point guard and is settled into a consistent, steady role amongst a currently crowded backcourt. For Ferrell, he now finally has the life of an everyday NBA player.

But just over one year ago, Ferrell had to take the road less traveled to reach professional basketball for good.

“It was actually about this time [last year] when [the Nets] decided to waive me and I went back to Long Island,” Ferrell told Basketball Insiders. “I didn’t know I’d be here. I’m just thankful for the opportunity the Mavericks gave me and I’m just still trying to be here in Dallas.”

To be exact, the Brooklyn Nets waived Ferrell on December 8th, 2016. 365 days (and counting) later, Ferrell has earned his guaranteed contract but he’s still playing like he has something to prove.

* * * * * *

In order to fully understand Ferrell’s winding journey, it’s necessary to go back to where his story really kicked off: Summer League. Following a solid audition in Las Vegas — 8.8 points, 1.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game — Ferrell was shifted to Brooklyn’s G-League affiliate, the Long Island Nets. With the offseason signings of Jeremy Lin and Greivis Vasquez, plus the addition of rookie point guard Isaiah Whitehead, there was no room for Ferrell and he was the last man cut in training camp.

Before the Nets could even blink, Vasquez re-injured his problematic ankle just three games into the campaign, an ailment that would eventually require season-ending surgery. Lin, of course, lasted just two more games before a hamstring injury derailed the key free agent acquisition until deep into the season.

Out of nowhere, it was time for Ferrell.

After waiving Vasquez, the Nets signed Ferrell on November 9th — the same day as his NBA debut, where he logged five points and three assists in a 14-point loss to the New York Knicks. But as the Nets continued to free fall without their veteran point guards, Ferrell grew more confidently into his role and was a solid fit in head coach Kenny Atkinson’s three-point heavy rotation. Over 10 contests with Brooklyn, Ferrell tallied just 5.4 points and 1.7 assists in 15 minutes per game. Nonetheless, for a suddenly talent-deficient roster, it appeared as if the point guard was poised to stick around through the winter.

In a surprise twist of fate, the Nets waived Ferrell to sign Spencer Dinwiddie to a partially guaranteed three-year deal, opting to tie their future to a different G-League point guard instead. Just like that, it was back to Long Island for Ferrell — but surprisingly, it wasn’t something that he hung his head over for too long.

“I knew my next opportunity was going to come — I didn’t know when, but I just wanted to make sure I was ready for it,” Ferrell said. “I had a great coach — coach [Ronald] Nored — and he told me to still go about my business as if I was still in the NBA. I didn’t get all the luxuries, but if you treat yourself like a pro, like you’re there now, once you get there, it’ll make it easier and you can make a splash.”

Upon returning to the G-League, Ferrell continued his hot streak and ended up averaging 18.7 points and 5.8 rebounds over a total of 18 games — both before and after his NBA call-up with the Nets. Ultimately, it wasn’t long before another franchise took notice of the enigmatic guard and the Mavericks capitalized, signing Ferrell to a 10-day contract while both Deron Williams and Devin Harris were hampered by injury. His debut with Dallas saw Ferrell tally nine points and seven assists in a win over the San Antonio Spurs and future Hall of Famer Tony Parker — but somehow, that was only the beginning

Affectionately nicknamed Yogi-Mania — a play on Linsanity, Lin’s historic stretch with the Knicks back in 2012 — Ferrell re-joined the NBA red-hot, even leading Dallas to back-to-back wins over the Cleveland Cavaliers and Philadelphia 76ers. Quickly thereafter, Ferrell signed a multi-year deal with Dallas and then promptly torched the Portland Trail Blazers for nine three-pointers and a total of 32 points. Over his initial two-week stretch with the Mavericks, Ferrell scored 10 or more points in seven of his first nine games and made a serious claim for a permanent spot in the rotation.

Of course, the multi-year contract offered Ferrell something else he hadn’t yet experienced in the NBA: Job security. After Ferrell’s team option was picked up last June, he was happy to have a role with the Mavericks once again, no matter how big or small. Without the worry of being on borrowed time, Ferrell was able to train, learn the system and embrace of the city of Dallas during the offseason.

“The offseason was pretty good, I played summer league with some of the young guys,” Ferrell said. “It was great to work every day and get to know the coaches better, the area of Dallas better. Headed into training camp, I just wanted to work on my game and I had lot more confidence.”

One of those coaches he’s gotten to know better is Rick Carlisle, an old-school guard that has found success as both a player and coach. Under Carlisle, Ferrell has averaged 28.3 minutes per game so far as a sophomore, good for the third-highest total on the entire roster. Ferrell, who was in the G-League at this time last year, has merited more playing time than any other point guard on the team — a list that includes rookie sensation Dennis Smith Jr. (28.1), J.J. Barea (22.5), and the aforementioned Harris (18.9). For Ferrell, much of his second-year successes have come from simply putting Carlisle’s words of wisdom into action.

“He’s just always telling me to be a threat,” Ferrell told Basketball Insiders of Carlisle. “First of all, be a threat to score because that’s what opens up everything else. If you’re pushing the pace and getting in the paint, attacking, especially for somebody like myself in my position. You want to just cause 2-on-1s and kicks and find whatever the defense gives us.”

While Yogi-Mania was built off of an electric career-altering hot streak, Ferrell has been a contributor this season in a more consistent, experienced way. Building off the All-NBA Rookie Second Team berth Ferrell earned in just 36 games with Dallas last season, the point guard is now often one of the first guards off the bench, a role that Barea has long excelled in. The comparisons between Ferrell and Barea are all too obvious, the latter being another 6-foot-nothing guard that has carved out a 12-year career after going undrafted in 2006.

During the Mavericks’ championship-winning playoff run in 2011, Barea averaged 8.9 points and 3.4 assists, including massive back-to-back 15-plus point outings in Dallas’ series-defining Game 5 and 6 victories. These days, Ferrell is just thankful to have teammates like Barea and Harris to learn from on and off the court.

“I always say that I like watching them, especially how they play,” Ferrell said. “I try to mimic the older guys, Devin and J.J., they’re so synced together when they play, it’s something special to watch. I just try to go out there and mimic what they do, they’ve been successful at it and been in this league for a long time, so I’m just trying to learn from guys like them.”

* * * * * *

Precisely, it’s been 370 days since Ferrell was first waived by Brooklyn and found success at the NBA level that little believed was possible. Not one to let an obstacle get in his way, Ferrell went undrafted and still managed to earn a multi-year contract before he even hit 20 career appearances. For his dominating stretch in the G-League last season, Ferrell was named an All-Star — although he was too busy with Dallas to attend the festivities — and he still went on to earn a spot with the All-NBA Rookie Second Team as well.

Overcoming roadblocks and adversity at every turn, it’d be easy to now exhale and relax — after all, his contract is currently guaranteed and he’s got a solidified role in an NBA rotation — but Ferrell, forever hungry, isn’t ready to stop there. Staying motivated isn’t difficult for Ferrell because he knows that much of his journey is still left in front of him and he’s ready to keep climbing upward.

“I’m a winner, I came from a winning program,” Ferrell said. “My mentality is still to prove that I belong here. I just want to win, that’s it.”

For Ferrell, this isn’t the end of an underdog story — this is just the beginning of something even greater.

Continue Reading

NBA

Rookie of The Year Watch – 12/13/17

Shane Rhodes checks back in on what’s become a relatively consistent Rookie of the Year race.

Shane Rhodes

Published

on

It has been a pretty ho-hum Rookie of The Year race so far in the 2017-18 season, with the top rookies staking their claims to this list at the beginning of the season and, for the most part, staying there. While there has been some movement up and down over the season and since our last installment, for the large part those who were on the list remain on the list.

Those players have earned their spots on this list with their play, however. This rookie class is one of the better, more exciting classes in recent memory. These players have just managed to remain at the top of the hill.

Let’s take a look at this week’s rankings.

stockup456. Lauri Markkanen, Chicago Bulls (Last Week: Unranked)

By virtue of John Collins missing time due to injury, Markkanen jumps back onto this list. However, that’s not to say Markkanen has played poorly this season. On the contrary, the former Arizona Wildcat and current Chicago Bull has played very well; it’s just hard to get recognized when you are on the worst team in the league.

Markkanen is averaging 14.7 points and 8.1 rebounds per game, third and second among rookies, respectively, while adding 1.3 assists per game as well. Athletic enough to get his own shot and big enough to be a mismatch when he’s on the floor, Markkanen is probably the best (healthy) offensively player the Bulls have. While his defensive game isn’t great, his defensive rating of 106.4 still ranks ninth amongst rookies.

Perhaps most importantly, Markkanen inspires hope for a brighter future in Bulls fans that have watched the team plummet from the 50-win team it was just three seasons ago.

stockup455. Dennis Smith, Jr., Dallas Mavericks (Last Week: 6)

His shooting percentages continue to underwhelm and the Dallas Mavericks still have one of the worst records in the NBA, but Dennis Smith Jr. has been one of the Mavs’ bright spots this season while averaging 14.4 points, four rebounds and four assists per game.

While he hasn’t been a great shooter overall, Smith Jr. has managed to be a big contributor on offense for the Mavs, with an offensive rating of 101.4, ninth among rookies, and an assist percentage of 25.2 percent, fourth among rookies. He is second on the team in scoring behind Harrison Barnes’ 18.4 points per game as well. He is still a work in progress, but Dallas has found a keeper in Smith Jr.

stockdown454. Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers (Last Week: 3)

While the Lakers have stumbled over the past few weeks, Kuzma continues to play well when he is on the floor. He still paces the Los Angeles Lakers in scoring with an average of 16.1 points per game, third among rookies, while also dishing in 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.

Kuzma is now second among rookies in double-doubles with eight on the season and three in his last five games. With a diverse offensive game, the power forward should continue to impress as the season goes along.

stockup453. Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz (Last Week: 4)

Donovan Mitchell has been electrifying in recent weeks. Second in scoring among rookies, Mitchell is averaging 17.3 points per game to go along with three rebounds and 3.2 assists. As his confidence has grown, so to have his field goal percentage and three-point percentages. Mitchell has led the Utah Jazz in scoring in 11 of their 27 games, and is second on the Jazz in scoring too, behind Rodney Hood’s 17.7 points per game.

Mitchell became the second rookie ever, first since Blake Griffin in 2011, to score more than 40 points in a single game after going for 41 against the New Orleans Pelicans. Coupling that with his high-flying athleticism, Mitchell has been one of the best rookies to watch this season.

stocknochanges452. Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics (Last Week: 2)

Jayson Tatum is on pace to be only the second rookie ever to lead the league in three-point percentage. In over 38 years, the only other player to do it was Anthony Morrow, who shot 46.7 percent on 2.7 attempts per game during the 2008-09 regular season. Tatum is currently shooting 50 percent on over three attempts per game.

The 19-year-old forward has also made a near seamless transition from the isolation-dominated basketball that he played at Duke, and has flourished as the third, fourth and sometimes even fifth option on offense, having scored in double digits in 25 of 29 games and averaging 13.8 points per game on the season. His defense continues to be better than advertised as well.

Tatum has been Mr. Clutch among rookies as well. In the last five minutes of the fourth quarter or overtime, Tatum has 14 field goals on 21 attempts, seventh in the entire NBA and tops among rookies. In fact, Tatum is the only other rookie in the top 15 in clutch field goals.

While Mitchell has been on fire recently, Tatum has performed well enough to this point where he is still in control of the number two spot among rookies. But the race for this second spot is close and will continue to be close throughout the season. The race for the number one spot on the other hand? Not so much.

stocknochanges451. Ben Simmons, Philadelphia 76ers (Last Week: 1)

It would make for a very boring race if Ben Simmons remained at the top of this list for the entire season. And it looks increasingly likely that that is going to be the case.

Try as they might, the other rookies just can’t hang with Simmons; none of them have the right combination of production and physicality to keep pace with the point-forward. Tatum has been better than advertised while Mitchell and Kuzma have exceeded all predraft expectations, but none of them can produce what Simmons has. With averages of 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds and 7.7 assists per game, Simmons would be just the second rookie in NBA history, the first since Oscar Robertson during the 1960-61 season, to finish the season with that stat line.

So, unless they combine their powers to become a being with superhuman basketball skills, the other rookies don’t stand a chance against Simmons in the race for Rookie of the Year.

Continue Reading

Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: Another 2018 NBA Mock Draft – 12/13/17

Basketball Insiders’ publisher Steve Kyler drops his latest 2018 first-round NBA Mock Draft.

Steve Kyler

Published

on

A little less than a month ago we dropped the first 2018 NBA Mock Draft, which was met with a lot of disdain. Which is often a good thing because it sparks the discussion in NBA circles.

Since that Mock dropped, we’ve seen a bit more play out of some of the top prospects and many of the assumptions made almost a month ago are starting to settle into place a little more clearly.

The prevailing thought from NBA scouts and executives is that the possible 2018 NBA Draft class has a lot more questions than answers. The common view is that outside of the top 3 or 4 players there could be a very wide range on who the next 10-12 players will be; so expect for the second tier to evolve a lot over the course of the college basketball season.

A couple of things have started to surface among NBA scouts and executives, there seem to be three camps emerging around the top overall player – Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and international phenom Luka Dončić, seem to be the leading names mentioned most, with Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton making a strong push into the discussion. We can safely call this a three-horse race at this point.

The prevailing belief is that none of the three is far and away better than the other as a professional prospect, making it more likely than not that the top player selected will have a lot more to do with which team ultimately lands the pick, more so than the player themselves.

This class also seems to be brimming with promising athletic point guards, which unlike last year’s draft, could provide a lot of options for teams still trying to find that impact point guard.

There also looks to be 27 players in the projected top 100 that are 6’10 or bigger, eight of which project in the top 30. To put that into perspective, there were 11 players 6’10 or bigger drafted in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, and 17 total in the 60 2017 NBA Draft selections.

As we get into the 2018 calendar year, we’ll start to do deeper dives into the tiers of players and their possible NBA strengths and weakness.

So, with all of that in mind, here is the second 2018 first-round NBA Mock Draft.

Here are some of the pick swaps and how they landed where they are currently projected:

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Ricky Rubio trade this summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would not convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would not convey.

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors first round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets first round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects http://www.basketballinsiders.com/top-100-nba-draft-prospects/

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending Now