Brandon Clarke selected No. 21 giving Gonzaga two first-round picks for first time
The Gonzaga men’s basketball program has had two players selected in the first round of the NBA draft for the first time.
With the No. 21 pick the Oklahoma City Thunder took GU forward Brandon Clarke on Thursday in New York. Forward Rui Hachimura was picked earlier by the Washington Wizards at No. 9.
Clarke will reportedly be traded to the Memphis Grizzlies when the new NBA season begins on July 6.
Clarke put together one of the best seasons in Gonzaga history, shooting nearly 69% while averaging 16.9 points and 8.6 rebounds, to go from virtual unknown to first-round pick.
Wizards’ Rui Hachimura first Japanese player drafted in NBA first round
Rui Hachimura became the first player from Japan to get chosen in the first round of the NBA draft, taken with the No. 9 overall pick by the rebuilding Washington Wizards on Thursday night.
The 6-foot-8, 235-pound forward averaged a team-leading 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season as a junior at Gonzaga, where he was the West Coast Conference player of the year.
The only other Japanese player drafted in NBA history was Yasutaka Okayama, who went 171st overall in 1981. He never appeared in a regular-season game, something just two players from the country have done: Yuta Tabuse for the Phoenix Suns in 2004-05, and Yuta Watanabe for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018-19.
“Actually, I played baseball before I started playing basketball. Basketball … it’s getting bigger (in Japan), and a lot of people are watching basketball right now,” Hachimura said.
In explaining why he wanted Hachimura, Wizards interim general manager Tommy Sheppard mentioned the 21-year-old’s play for Japan’s national team.
“For Japan to qualify for the world championships, he’s the focal point. And when the (Tokyo) Olympics come in 2020, he’s going to be the focal point of that country on that basketball team,” Sheppard said. “To be able to shoulder that load at his age – the maturity he has – I think that’s going to bode well for him in the NBA.”
Hachimura is capable of playing either forward spot, which was something that Washington liked, given how much help they need up and down the roster after going 32-50 and missing the playoffs as the 11th-best team in the 15-team Eastern Conference.
“With the way the league is going, you can just put him out there. It’s such a ‘position-less’ (league). I know that’s the cool thing to say, but it’s true. You have to be able to have playmakers on the floor,” Wizards coach Scott Brooks said. “He can guard multiple positions. He can play 3, 4; in some small lineups, you can probably throw him at the 5.”
Soon after being drafted, Hachimura – who said the first NBA player he liked was Carmelo Anthony – was asked what his goals are in the NBA.
“First of all, I want to play in the playoffs. Of course, I want to help the team. I want a championship,” Hachimura said. “I think that’s the one thing I want to accomplish here.”
Coming off their worst record in six seasons and still in need of a permanent GM, the Wizards have a lot of work to do this offseason.
Washington still has not announced the hiring of a full-fledged replacement for Ernie Grunfeld, more than 2 1/2 months since he was fired as team president late in the regular season.
Sheppard, the senior VP of basketball operations under Grunfeld, took over the job on an interim basis and is the only acknowledged candidate for the job at the moment.
“I would be worried if Tommy wasn’t here and if it was just me. I’d be worried, and I’d let you guys know you guys should be worried, as well. But the last couple of months, I’ve seen Tommy and his staff in place and working hard every day and preparing for this pick. I trust Ted’s decision,” Brooks said. “I like what Tommy has done. He’s done an excellent job. We definitely worked well together during this process.”
The only valuable, healthy member of a depleted roster is Bradley Beal, an All-Star shooting guard and the first Washington player to average at least 25 points, five rebounds and five assists in a season. He was 12th in the NBA in scoring average last season at 25.6 points.
All-Star point guard John Wall is sidelined by a torn Achilles tendon that will force him to sit out most of, if not all, of next season, when his $170 million super-max deal kicks in.
The cupboard is fairly bare, and there is not a lot of salary-cap space available to try to lure any top-level free agents because of the large contracts Grunfeld gave Wall and Beal, along with backup center Ian Mahinmi, who barely plays.
The Wizards entered Thursday without a second-round pick in the draft; Grunfeld traded it away. – Howard Fendrich, AP
Miami ends Bol Bol’s slide in 2nd round at No. 44
9:05 p.m.: Bol Bol’s long wait is finally over.
The 7-foot-2 Oregon freshman spent the entire first round in the green room before Miami ended his slide by picking him with the 44th overall pick.
But Bol isn’t heading to South Beach. The Heat traded the rights to Bol to the Denver Nuggets, said a person with knowledge of the move. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because deal is pending league approval.
The wait was a big fall for the son of late NBA player Manute Bol considering he was projected by some as a possible late lottery pick and spent a very long evening in the green room.
His selection drew loud cheers from the fans who stuck around to watch the second round, prompting Bol to say afterward: “It feels pretty good, I didn’t know I had that many fans until right now.”
Busy night of trades early in NBA draft
8:22 p.m.: It was a dizzying night of trades at the NBA draft.
Lottery picks De’Andre Hunter, Jarrett Culver and Jaxson Hayes didn’t last long with the teams that picked them Thursday night.
Hunter was taken fourth by the Los Angeles Lakers in a pick they had already agreed to trade to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Anthony Davis. That deal can’t officially go through until July 6.
The Pelicans didn’t hold on to the pick, agreeing to trade it earlier Thursday to the Atlanta Hawks and acquiring Hayes, who was selected eighth.
“I didn’t know they were going to trade up to the fourth pick,” Hunter said of the Hawks. “I know they were trying to do something to get earlier in the draft.”
The move wasn’t a huge surprise as the Virginia star only worked out for the Hawks. The Pelicans also received Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who was taken 17th, Marcos Louzada Silva, along with a protected first-round pick from Cleveland in 2020 that Atlanta had.
New Orleans also sent Solomon Hill, Jordan Bone and a future second-rounder to Atlanta. The trade was confirmed by a person familiar with the deal.
The trade helped the Pelicans create more salary cap space by unloading the nearly $12.8 million owed to Hill next season. New Orleans also saved about $2.2 million by moving their second first-round pick down from fourth to eighth overall.
Hunter wasn’t sure what he would do with the Lakers hat he wore onto the stage to shake hands with NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
“I don’t necessarily know what I’m going to do with it,” he said. “Probably give it to a Lakers fan. Have them wear it.”
The Hawks and Pelicans weren’t the only teams making moves in the lottery.
Culver was selected by Phoenix with the sixth pick and the Suns agreed to trade him to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
“It’s kind of different. I’m just happy to be in the NBA and have this opportunity. It’s a lot of work to be done,” Culver said. “So wherever I end up, I’ve got to stay true to myself and give whatever team I’m playing for everything I’ve got.”
The Wolves traded Dario Saric and Cameron Johnson, who was drafted 11th. Saric’s agent, Misko Raznatovic, confirmed on Twitter that his client was headed to the Suns. – Doug Feinberg, AP
Warriors take Michigan guard Jordan Poole with 28th pick
7:44 p.m.: The Warriors have chosen Michigan guard Jordan Poole with the 28th pick of the NBA draft, hoping the late first-rounder will make an immediate impact given Golden State’s injury-plagued roster coming off an NBA Finals loss to the Toronto Raptors.
Poole averaged 12.8 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.3 assists during his sophomore season for the Wolverines. Warriors general manager Bob Myers sought a scorer and reliable shooter. The 6-foot-5 Poole made five or more 3-pointers in five games and shot 37% from deep.
Golden State’s roster is far from set after losing Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson to serious injuries in the last two finals games, and Durant is set to become a free agent with it unclear if he will re-sign with Golden State. In Game 5, Durant ruptured his right Achilles tendon and underwent surgery last Wednesday, then Thompson suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in Game 6. He will have surgery and endure a long rehab.
The Warriors picked 28th for the second straight year.
Trail Blazers select Nassir Little with 25th pick
7:34 p.m.: The Portland Trail Blazers selected North Carolina forward Nassir Little with the 25th pick in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
In Little, the Blazers added wing depth to their team with the 6-foot-7 wing. Little was one of the final players left in the Green Room, but he eventually found his way to a playoff team.
Little averaged 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in his lone season at North Carolina.
The Blazers have two forwards hitting free agency this summer: Al-Farouq Aminu (unrestricted) and Jake Layman (restricted).
The Blazers are fresh off their first Western Conference Finals appearance in 19 years.
NBA draft has international flavor in 1st round
6:50 p.m.: There is finally some some international flavor in this year’s NBA draft.
International prospects Sekou Doumbouya, Goga Bitadze and Luka Samanic all went in the middle of the first round.
The 18-year-old Doumbouya is a 6-foot-9, 230-pound forward who was picked at No. 15 by Detroit after playing last season in France’s top pro league. The 19-year-old Bitadze went at No. 18, bringing a 6-11, 250-pound frame to the Indiana Pacers after spending last season in the EuroLeague.
The 19-year-old Samanic went off the board at No. 19 to San Antonio. He’s a 6-10 Croatian forward who played in Slovenia last season.
There’s also a Canadian influence, too – which should come as no surprise considering the Toronto Raptors just won the franchise’s first NBA championship last week.
Duke’s RJ Barrett went third overall and is a native of Mississauga, Ontario. He was joined by Virginia Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker, a Toronto native who was picked 17th.
Spurs select Croatian forward Luka Samanic with 19th pick
6:50 p.m.: The San Antonio Spurs selected Luka Samanic with the 19th overall pick in Thursday night’s NBA draft.
Samanic is a 6-foot-10 power forward out of Croatia. The 19-year-old played for Petrol Olimpija last season.
San Antonio also had the 29th pick, which they received from Toronto as part of the trade for Kawhi Leonard, along with the 49th selection.
The Spurs are rebuilding after the franchise was turned upside down last offseason after relenting to Leonard’s trade demand and sending him and Danny Green to the Raptors for DeMar DeRozan and Jakob Poeltl. Leonard was named the NBA Finals MVP after leading Toronto to the franchise’s first championship.
San Antonio had two picks in the first round for the first time since 1987, when they selected David Robinson first overall and Greg Anderson at No. 23.
The Spurs were without a lottery pick for the 22nd consecutive season, the longest streak in the NBA history. San Antonio has made the playoffs 23 straight seasons despite that.
Pacers select European center with 18th pick in NBA draft
6:45 p.m.: The Indiana Pacers selected center Goga Bitadze with the 18th overall pick in Thursday’s NBA draft.
At 6-foot-11, 245 pounds, he adds depth to a front-line that could undergo major changes this summer with starting forwards Bojan Bogdanovic and Thaddeus Young set to become free agents next week. The Pacers have five players from their rotation who could hit the open market.
Bitadze, a native of Georgia, played last season in three European leagues, logging 47 games, 30 in the Adriatic League where he averaged 13.0 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks.
Indiana also reportedly tried to reinforce the front-line before the draft began. ESPN first reported that the Pacers acquired forward T.J. Warren and a second-round pick, No. 32 overall, from Phoenix in exchange for cash.
Virginia Tech wing Nickeil Alexander-Walker picked at No. 17
6:40 p.m.: The New Orleans Pelicans landed Virginia Tech wing player Nickeil Alexander-Walker at No. 17, a pick technically made by Brooklyn for the Pelicans.
Alexander-Walker played two seasons for the Hokies and averaged 16.2 points per game last season.
Magic pick Auburn’s Chuma Okeke No. 16
6:36 p.m.: The Orlando Magic have selected Auburn forward Chuma Okeke with the 16th pick of the NBA draft, adding a player they hope will bolster the team’s frontcourt depth.
The Magic are coming off a 42-40 finish, the team’s first playoff berth in seven years and drafted outside that lottery for the first time since 2012.
They selected sixth or higher in five of the previous six previous drafts, although only three of those picks – Aaron Gordon (2014), Jonathan Isaac (2017) and Mo Bamba (2018) remain on the current roster.
In Okeke, the Magic believe they acquired someone who has a chance to develop into a productive player but not necessarily contribute a lot as a rookie.
A knee injury sidelined the 6-foot-8 forward during Auburn’s run to the Final Four last season.
Okeke, 20, averaged 12 points and 6.8 rebounds per game as a sophomore for the Tigers.
Pistons take international prospect Sekou Doumbouya at No. 15
6:28 p.m.: The Detroit Pistons have drafted Sekou Doumbouya with the No. 15 pick of the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-9, 230-pound Doumbouya played last season in France’s top pro league. He does not turn 19 until December, but he could develop into a contributor for the Pistons at both ends of the floor.
Detroit made the postseason this year but was swept by Milwaukee in the first round. The Pistons did not have a first-round pick last year.
A native of Conakry, Guinea, Doumbouya moved to France when he was a year old. He began playing basketball when he was 12, and he averaged 17.8 points per game for France at the 2016 FIBA U18 European Championship.
Celtics select Romeo Langford with No. 14 pick in NBA draft
6:25 p.m.: The Boston Celtics have selected Romeo Langford with the 14th pick in the NBA draft as they look to fortify a roster facing massive uncertainly with free agency looming.
The Celtics also hold the 20th, 22nd and 51st picks.
In his lone season at Indiana, the 6-foot-6 Langford played through a thumb injury and led the Big Ten and finished sixth nationally in freshman scoring, averaging 16.5 points. He is the third wing player Boston has selected in the first round in the last four drafts.
It could be an interesting night as Boston trudges into the start of free agency on June 30 knowing that pursing All-Star center Anthony Davis is no longer a possibility after the Pelicans agreed to trade him to the Lakers. The Celtics also could potentially lose two All-Stars this summer with Kyrie Irving and Al Horford having elected to out of their player options for next season.
ACC has big night with record 6 lottery picks
6:15 p.m.: The Atlantic Coast Conference is already having a big night in the NBA draft, even though it’s only halfway through the first round.
The league had a record six players go in the lottery section of the first 14 picks. Meanwhile, Duke joined Florida in 2007 as the only programs with three top-10 picks in the same year after Zion Williamson went No. 1 to the New Orleans Pelicans, RJ Barrett third to the New York Knicks and Cam Reddish 10th to Atlanta.
De’Andre Hunter of NCAA champion Virginia is headed to Atlanta as the fourth overall pick. Then North Carolina had two early picks in point guard Coby White going seventh to Chicago and Cameron Johnson being a surprise selection at No. 11 to Phoenix – which had traded down in a deal with Minnesota.
Heat select Tyler Herro from Kentucky with No. 13 draft pick
6:08 p.m.: The Miami Heat selected Kentucky sharpshooter Tyler Herro with the 13th pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.
Herro was a 36 percent shooter from 3-point range in his lone college season for the Wildcats, and went 87 for 93 from the foul line. He was picked as the SEC’s newcomer of the year, and the Wildcats were 19-0 when he scored at least 15 points.
Herro will likely to get a chance for minutes right away, though it’s been a decade since a Heat rookie averaged double figures in scoring over a full season. Michael Beasley averaged 13.9 points and Mario Chalmers averaged 10.0 in the 2008-09 season, and the only other two rookies to average at least that much for Miami in the last 20 seasons were Caron Butler (15.4 in 2002-03) and Dwyane Wade (16.2 in 2003-04).
Herro was just the second pick the Heat made since choosing Josh Richardson 40th overall in 2015. The Heat had no picks in 2016, chose Bam Adebayo with the 14th pick in 2017 and made no selections again last year.
Miami also has the 44th pick in this draft, acquired Wednesday in a trade with Atlanta.
Hornets draft Kentucky forward PJ Washington at No. 12
6:05 p.m.: The Charlotte Hornets selected power forward PJ Washington from Kentucky with the 12th overall pick in the NBA draft.
The 6-foot-8, 230-pound Washington averaged 15.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game last season for John Calipari’s Wildcats. Washington boasts a 7-foot-3 wingspan and improved his shooting last year after returning for his sophomore season with the Wildcats. He shot 42.3 percent from 3-point range last year.
Washington says returning to Kentucky was a wide decision, saying he doesn’t think he would have been a first-round draft pick had he left after this freshman season.
The Hornets are growing a little long in the tooth at the power forward position with Marvin Williams still the starter, so Washington gives them a younger option.
The Hornets have two picks remaining in the second round.
Wolves pick Cameron Johnson in proposed swap with Suns for Culver
6:00 p.m.: The Minnesota Timberwolves have selected North Carolina small forward Cameron Johnson with the 11th overall selection, with the intent of sending him to the Phoenix Suns in a proposed trade that pushed them up five slots.
A person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press on Thursday the Timberwolves agreed to deal power forward Dario Saric and the No. 11 pick for the No. 6 overall selection from the Suns, who drafted Texas Tech shooting guard Jarrett Culver.
The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade cannot become official for salary cap purposes until July 6, when free agent contracts can be signed.
Culver’s last game was in Minnesota when the Red Raiders lost to Virginia in the NCAA championship game.
Hawks select Duke forward Cam Reddish
5:55 p.m.: The Atlanta Hawks selected Duke forward Cam Reddish with the 10th overall pick in the NBA draft.
Reddish joins Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter in Atlanta after the Hawks took Hunter with the No. 4 pick.
The 6-8, 208-pound Reddish is cut from the same mold as Hunter, but he’s coming off an uneven freshman year with the Blue Devils. Reddish arrived in Durham as a top-five recruit but was only the third option behind teammates Zion Williamson and RJ Barrett, both of whom went ahead of him in the draft.
Reddish was selected with a pick that Atlanta acquired in last year’s blockbuster deal that sent Luka Doncic to Dallas on draft night in exchange for Young.
New Orleans takes Texas center Jaxson Hayes at No. 8
5:51 p.m.: New Orleans added to its rookie class with Texas center Jaxson Hayes. The Pelicans had made a deal with Atlanta for the rights to the eighth overall pick right before the draft. The Hawks made the selection, though Hayes is heading to New Orleans.
Trades mean draft picks will wear many hats
5:40 p.m.: The early trades in the NBA draft mean several players are donning hats just for show – and they know it.
Because many trades can’t become official for salary-cap purposes until July 6, Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter wore a Los Angeles Lakers hat when he was picked fourth overall. The Lakers made the selection for Atlanta after the Hawks acquired the rights to the pick in a deal with New Orleans Pelicans, who had got the rights to the Lakers’ pick in the Anthony Davis trade.
Then at sixth, Phoenix selected Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver on Minnesota’s behalf after the Timberwolves made a deal with the Suns to move up five spots. Culver wore a Suns hat as he took the stage, while the Timberwolves will make the 11th pick for the Suns later in the evening.
Bulls draft North Carolina’s Coby White with No. 7 pick
5:37 p.m.: The Chicago Bulls drafted North Carolina point guard Coby White with the No. 7 overall pick on Thursday.
Executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson had said the Bulls would look for an upgrade at the position after Kris Dunn took a step back in his third season. He backed that up by taking the dynamic White, whose wild hairdo is as impressive as his game.
A McDonald’s All-American in high school, White made a big impact in his lone season at North Carolina. He averaged 16.1 points and 4.1 assists, helping the senior-laden Tar Heels reach the Sweet Sixteen. Chicago also has a second-round pick at No. 38 overall.
The Bulls missed the playoffs for the third time in four years and finished with one of the worst records in franchise history at 22-60 last season. They got hit hard by injuries in the second season of their rebuild, fired coach Fred Hoiberg after a 5-19 start and went 17-41 the rest of the way under Jim Boylen.
Suns take Jarrett Culver at No. 6, trade him to Timberwolves
5:29 p.m.: The Phoenix Suns selected Texas Tech’s Jarrett Culver with the No. 6 overall pick in the NBA draft and traded him to Minnesota.
A person with knowledge says the Timberwolves traded up five slots in the first round Thursday night, sending power forward Dario Saric and the No. 11 overall selection to Phoenix for the No. 6 pick.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot become official for salary-cap purposes until July 6.
Culver’s last game was, fittingly, in Minnesota when the Red Raiders lost to Virginia in the NCAA championship game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
The Suns came into the draft needing help at point guard, but could pursue one through free agency.
Point taken: Cavs select Darius Garland with No. 5 pick in draft
5:15 p.m.: The Cavaliers used the No. 5 pick in the NBA draft on point guard Darius Garland, who played in just five games at Vanderbilt because of a knee injury
Garland suffered torn meniscus in his left knee during a Nov. 23 game and underwent season-ending surgery. The 19-year-old might have salvaged his freshman year, but decided to focus on getting ready for the draft.
The Cavs will pair Garland in the backcourt with Collin Sexton, a lottery pick in 2018 who shook off a slow start to have a strong rookie season. Sexton played point last season, but is considered more of a shooting guard.
Cleveland is in rebuilding mode following a 19-63 season, and the Garland-Sexton tandem may help accelerate the process.
Garland’s stock has risen in recent weeks and the Cavs came away impressed after attending a private workout in Los Angeles.
The Cavs also have the 26th pick.
Hawks pull off trade to land Virginia’s De’Andre Hunter
5:05 p.m.: The Atlanta Hawks have added to their impressive young core by selecting wingman De’Andre Hunter from national champion Virginia with the No. 4 pick of the NBA draft.
The selection was technically made by the Los Angeles Lakers as part of the Anthony Davis trade, but Hunter will wind up with the Hawks after the team completed a deal with the New Orleans Pelicans just before the start of Thursday’s draft.
The Hawks got the fourth choice from the Pelicans in exchange for the No. 8, No. 17 and No. 35 picks, along with a protected first-round pick from Cleveland in 2020 that belonged to Atlanta. The trade was confirmed by a person familiar with the deal but can’t be finalized until the NBA’s new year begins on July 6.
Atlanta targeted Hunter as the seemingly perfect fit on a team that already has rising stars Trae Young and John Collins.
Timberwolves move up to take No. 6 pick
4:55 p.m.: Minnesota now has the sixth pick in the NBA draft.
A person with knowledge says the Timberwolves have traded up five slots in the first round by sending power forward Dario Saric and the No. 11 overall selection to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the No. 6 pick.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot become official for salary-cap purposes until July 6, which means the Suns will still make the sixth pick for the Timberwolves.
ESPN first reported the trade. Saric’s agent, Misko Raznatovic, confirmed on Twitter that his client was headed to the Suns.
The Timberwolves have a new president of basketball operations, Gersson Rosas, the former Houston Rockets assistant general manager who’s running a draft for the first time.
Pelicans take Zion Williamson with No. 1 pick in NBA draft, Ja Morant goes second followed by RJ Barrett
4:48 p.m.: The New Orleans Pelicans have selected Zion Williamson with the No. 1 pick, going with the Duke force who is considered one of the most exciting prospects in years.
The 6-foot-7, 285-pounder compiled a career worth of highlights into just one season, becoming the third freshman to be voted player of the year by The Associated Press.
His assault on the rims made him a favorite of college basketball fans, but his game is more than just dunks. Williamson averaged 22.6 points and 8.9 rebounds while shooting 68% from the field.
Wearing a white suit, he hugged members of his family and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after his name was called first Thursday night at Barclays Center.
Williamson will step into an open position in New Orleans, which recently agreed to trade All-Star Anthony Davis, the last freshman to win the AP award.
The Memphis Grizzlies also quickly addressed a positional need by taking Murray State’s Ja Morant with the No. 2 pick. The Grizzlies agreed to trade Mike Conley, their longtime point guard, to Utah a day earlier.
They got a good replacement in Morant, who led Division I with 10 assists per game as a sophomore while averaging 24.5 points.
RJ Barrett then made it two Duke freshmen within the top-three picks when the New York Knicks took the guard who actually edged out Williamson to lead the Atlantic Coast Conference in scoring. Knicks fans hoped they would get Williamson after finishing with the worst record in the league but seemed happy to end up with Barrett, loudly cheering and chanting “RJ! RJ!” when the pick was announced.
Memphis fans honor past players on draft night
4:40 p.m.: The Grizzlies own the second pick, a coveted selection in this year’s NBA draft.
But some Memphis fans still aren’t ready to let go of the past on draft night.
A few Mike Conley jerseys and one for Marc Gasol are visible among the early arriving fans for the Grizzlies’ draft party. Both of the longtime Memphis players are gone, with Gasol winning an NBA title with Toronto. Conley was dealt this week to Utah in a deal that won’t be official until July 6 when the new league year begins.
But some were looking forward to what’s next, including 17-year-old fan Ben Taylor from Huntingdon, Tennessee.
He had a T-shirt with Memphis lettering and Murray State’s Ja Morant’s name and No. 12 on the back thanks to a little craftwork by his mother and iron-on decals. Taylor said he wasn’t worried the Grizzlies would take someone other than Morant, saying he was “that confident” he’d be right.
Hawks trade up, get No. 4 pick from Pelicans
3:30 p.m.: The Hawks now have the fourth pick in the NBA draft.
A person familiar with deal says Atlanta has acquired the pick from the Pelicans. New Orleans had acquired the rights to the fourth pick in the trade that sent Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers. In the deal the Hawks, the Pelicans will get the No. 8, No. 17 and No. 35 overall picks, along with a protected first-round pick from Cleveland in 2020 that Atlanta had.
The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the deal can’t be finalized until at least until July 6 when the Davis trade can be finalized. That means the Lakers will be making the pick for the Hawks via the Pelicans.
In addition to the fourth pick, the Hawks are getting the No. 57 pick, a future second-round pick and forward Solomon Hill from New Orleans. – AP
Big night for the Zags; Zion projected to go No. 1
Thursday promises to be a historic night for Gonzaga men’s basketball, Rui Hachimura and Brandon Clarke at the NBA draft.
Hachimura, 6-foot-8 forward, is expected to become the first Japanese-born player chosen in the first round of the draft.
Gonzaga has never had two first-round picks in the same draft. The Zags have produced seven first-rounders overall. Clarke and Hachimura should add two more names to that list.
Clarke put together one of the best seasons in Gonzaga history, shooting nearly 69% while averaging 16.9 points and 8.6 rebounds, to go from virtual unknown to probable first-round pick.
Gonzaga has had two players selected in the same draft twice; most recently in 2017 with lottery pick Zach Collins and second-rounder Nigel Williams-Goss.
Wing Zach Norvell Jr. is listed as a second-round selection in several mock drafts. Point guard Josh Perkins has an outside chance of being drafted in the second round, but most expect he’ll go the free-agent route.
The draft begins at 4 p.m. (TV: ESPN) in New York with Duke freshman Zion Williamson projected to go first overall to the New Orleans Pelicans. The 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward was the biggest star the college level has seen in years, filling highlight reels with thunderous dunks and incomparable athleticism while becoming The Associated Press national player of the year.
Murray State point guard Ja Morant and Duke high-scoring freshman forward RJ Barrett are projected to follow Williamson in the top three picks, with the uncertainty starting with the No. 4 pick.
Other top lottery prospects include guards Jarrett Culver of Texas Tech and Cam Reddish of Duke; point guards Darius Garland of Vanderbilt and Coby White of North Carolina; and forward De’Andre Hunter from NCAA champion Virginia.