While Tuesday's NBA Draft Lottery only affected the destination of a few players, the pre-draft workouts and interviews have heated up. Seven Big Ten players worked out at the NBA Draft Combine last week in Chicago and will continue to prepare for the NBA Draft with individual workouts and interviews leading up to the 2015 NBA Draft in Brooklyn on June 25th.
D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State
Russell was the highest regarded prospect to work out at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last week as Karl-Anthony Towns, Jahlil Okafor, and Emmanuel Mudiay all decided not to participate. Also, according to multiple reports, Russell has interviewed with the Pacers, Sixers, Knicks, and Lakers. The draft lottery shook out pretty well for Ohio State's freshman sensation as two of the teams he interviewed with will be picking in the top 3 (Lakers 2nd and Sixers 3rd). With Towns seeming to be a clear choice for the Timberwolves at #1, the Lakers will have their pick between Okafor and Russell. Ultimately, I think the Lakers take Okafor as he is widely regarded as the draft's second best player and the Lakers just had their point guard, Jordan Clarkson, named to the NBA All-Rookie First Team. This leaves Philadelphia as the most likely destination for Russell come June 25th, but a lot can happen between now and then with interviews and workouts.
Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Like Russell, Dekker participated in the combine last week and was able to show scouts his jump shot has improved some. In a drill where players shoot 25 3-pointers from different spots on the NBA arc, Dekker shot 16-25. Dekker reportedly interviewed with the Portland Trailblazers, who have the 23rd pick in the upcoming draft. I think Dekker will go before the Blazers pick, but they would be an ideal fit as they have great guards in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum but lack a versatile wing presence. Dekker will most likely go in the middle of the first round. I could see him as high as the Utah Jazz or Phoenix Suns at #12 and #13 as both teams are heavy on guards and bigs and will be looking for a wing in the draft.
Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
Kaminsky is a very intriguing prospect in this draft as the range of where he may fall is very wide. The former Badger's star was the tallest player measured at the combine and, according to several different reports, met with the Bucks, Magic, and Lakers. The Lakers seemed very high on Kaminsky, but as they moved up to the #2 pick in the lottery, the dream of playing in Hollywood is pretty much gone. The Hawks at #15 could quietly be in on Kaminsky as they are high on any big who can stretch the floor and Paul Millsap will be a free agent this summer. The Bucks will pick #17 and need a big so it is not surprising they showed interest at the combine. Keep an eye on Kaminsky to Milwaukee.
Terran Petteway, Nebraska
Petteway worked out for scouts at the draft combine which was probably a good move to try to solidify his stock as an early second round pick. The former Cornhusker took part in two five on five games, scoring 12 points on 4-7 shooting in the first game and 8 points on 2-8 shooting in the second game. Petteway worked out with the Sixers on Monday in a workout that included former Ohio State guard Shannon Scott. For Petteway, the Sixers would be a likely landing spot since they have five second round picks including two in the top seven, but it is hard to predict where a second round pick might end up.
Here are some of the other Big Ten players trying to find a draft spot this summer:
- Aaron White, Iowa
- Dez Wells, Maryland
- Branden Dawson, Michigan State
- Travis Trice, Michigan State
- Shannon Scott, Ohio State
- D.J. Newbill, Penn State
It's tough to tell if any of these five will be drafted. White has the best chance and participated in the NBA Draft Combine last week along with Dawson and Wells. All three played in the 5-on-5 games at the combine and their stats can be found here. Wells worked out for the Celtics Wednesday and Scott for the Sixers Monday. Newbill also has reportedly worked out for the Utah Jazz. Not too much workout news for the rest of the players so far, although I am sure each will have their opportunities over the next month before the draft.
The individual workouts for NBA teams will be crucial for these second round hopefuls. All it takes is showing one team they can be a valuable asset in the future for them to hear their name on draft night. The second round, however, has turned in to teams drafting heavily on international talent the last few years. Teams would rather acquire the rights to a player that may or may not come over to play in the NBA rather than drafting a player who they can probably acquire in un-drafted free agency anyway. Most likely, these players will be offered a chance to play on NBA summer league teams in Orlando and Las Vegas in July and will have to prove their worth to scouts then.