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Emmanuel Mudiay Ready to Learn Draft Fate

Emmanuel Mudiay talks to Basketball Insiders about his game and meeting with the Knicks and Lakers.

Eric Pincus profile picture
Updated 11 months ago on
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Point guard prospect Emmanuel Mudiay showed off his skills on Thursday, with an open workout for the media at Impact Basketball in Reseda, CA.

Mudiay, who played last season in China, is projected to be at least a top-six pick in the NBA draft.

Recently he worked out with the Lakers (No. 2 pick) in Los Angeles and the Knicks (No. 4) in New York.

“I did Lakers and New York so far,” Mudiay said. “I went to New York.  It was cool.  I liked getting to know Coach [Derek] Fisher and [President] Phil Jackson. Allan Houston is on staff, and I’m a big fan of his, so I learned a lot from them.”

On Thursday, the 6’5, 19-year-old showed off his strength and athleticism, working out individually with a trainer.  His NBA workouts have also been one-on-none.

“There’s only so much you can do being the only player in there,” said Mudiay.  “[The teams] do their homework.  I’m pretty sure they know enough about me.”

If there’s a knock on Mudiay, it’s the brief run he played in China before an ankle injury sidelined lined him.  He played just 12 games, averaging 18 points and 5.9 assists.  Some of the other top prospects have nearly 40 games played at the college level, giving a richer pool of opportunities to scout. Mudiay is enjoying this process, but is ready to see where he’ll land.

“It’s exciting, but at the same time I want it to be over with to just know where [I’m] going,” Mudiay said. “I always say the real work starts when you get drafted. I would love to get drafted high but wherever I go, I’m just going to have to put in the work regardless.”

It seems that the Timberwolves (No. 1) and Lakers will most likely take big men Karl-Anthony Towns from Kentucky and Jahlil Okafor from Duke.

Mudiay’s competition at guard is Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell, who is a better shooter but isn’t near the same athlete as Mudiay.

“I feel like I can be number one, but at the end of the day it’s the team’s decision,” Mudiay said, noting that he’s improved over the past year.  “I think I’m a better shooter … that’s been the biggest knock for me, but I’ve always been confident in my shooting. There were just a couple of things I had to fix.”

The Philadelphia 76ers (No. 3) are a viable option for Mudiay.  The Orlando Magic (No. 5) may not need a point guard after bringing in Elfrid Payton at the one last year.  The Sacramento Kings (No. 6) would seem to be Mudiay’s floor in the draft.

While in New York for his visit, Mudiay got to know Fisher over dinner.

“We just talked about the team and how he likes to run stuff,” he said.  “He’s a real good person; him just coming out of the NBA, I feel like he would teach me a lot.”

While he watched the Lakers win under Jackson with the triangle offense, Mudiay is curious to see how he would fit into the system.

“As a kid, you really don’t know what they’re running,” Mudiay said.  “[Jackson] showed me a couple of stuff they did with the Bulls and with the Lakers, now I know what it is … It puts you in spots to be successful.

“It’s challenging but I think the more you get into it, the more you understand it. I feel like I can adjust to any system or any style play.  I can play a half-court system too.”

Mudiay will work out next for the Timberwolves on June 20.  The NBA Draft will be held on June 25 in Brooklyn.

“I love to win,” Mudiay said. “If any team wants to win, I’m a competitor. So regardless of who I’m playing, I could be playing a five-year-old or grown men, I always want to win.”

He’s really someone who would take it to a five-year-old?

“If he’s taking me serious, I’m taking him serious,” Mudiay responded.  “But at the same time, I can be a people person.  I’d definitely tell him things and have fun with it, but I’m not losing.”

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Eric Pincus is a Senior Writer for Basketball Insiders, with a focus on the business side of the game.

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