Villanova could make history, and the kid at Arizona almost surely will. And can’t wait to see who’ll end up with “Boo Butt.”
The NBA draft is almost at hand and the Sixers (at this point) have first-round picks Nos. 10 and 26. Here’s a look at the players expected to go early on.
1. Just about all the top prospects were college freshmen this past season. The notable exceptions are sophomores Robert Williams (Texas A&M) and Miles Bridges (Michigan State), junior Mikal Bridges (Villanova) and international player Luka Doncic.
2. Mikal Bridges’ mother, Tyneeha Rivers, is a global vice president of human resources for a company owned by Sixers owner Josh Harris. Her office, in fact, is in the complex in Camden where the Sixers practice and where Bridges worked out earlier this month.
3. Bridges averaged 17.9 points and shot 48.3 percent on three-pointers in Villanova’s nine postseason games. During the same span when the Wildcats won the title in Bridges’ freshman season, his numbers were 6.6 ppg and 36.4 percent from distance.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) June 17, 2018
4. Wildcats teammate Donte DiVincenzo registered a standing vertical leap of 34.5 inches, tops at the NBA combine in May. Since 2000, the highest recorded is 39.5 inches by Nick Young (2007) and Kenny Gregory (2001). Young just swagged his way to his first championship ring as a key reserve for the Warriors. Gregory never played in the NBA.
5. Villanova could have four players picked in the first round, which would certainly be a first for a City 6 school. Bridges will be a lottery pick, and DiVincenzo, Omari Spellman and Jalen Brunson also might go in the first 30 picks.
Multiple first-rounders/City 6 schools
|1994 – Temple||Eddie Jones (10th pick)||Aaron McKie (17)|
|2004 – St. Joseph’s||Jameer Nelson (20)||Delonte West (24)|
|2006 – Villanova||Randy Foye (7)||Kyle Lowry (24)|
6. International prospect Luka Doncic, a 19-year-old combo guard, became the youngest player ever to win the EuroLeague MVP.
7. Michigan State’s Miles Bridges, no relation to Mikal, surprised many by returning to Michigan State for his sophomore season. He was projected last year to be a mid-lottery pick, which is where many see him going in this draft.
8. Bridges’ MSU teammate Jaren Jackson Jr. is projected to go top-5. Jaren’s father played at Georgetown with Dikembe Mutombo and was with the Spurs in 1998-99 when they won the NBA title. Brett Brown was an unpaid assistant for San Antonio that season.
9. Barring a trade, this will be the first time Phoenix will select No. 1 overall. The Suns have picked second twice. In 1987, they took Armen Gilliam after San Antonio selected David Robinson. Yikes. And in 1969, they ended up with Neal Walk after losing a coin flip and watching Milwaukee take Lew Alcindor/Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Triple yikes.
|Career NBA stats||Points||Avg.|
10. Deandre Ayton, a 7-1 monster out of the University of Arizona, is the consensus choice to be the No. 1 selection. Ayton would be the first Arizona player taken with the top pick. Mike Bibby (1998) and Derrick Williams (2011) were No. 2 overall picks.
11. Ayton, who was born in the Bahamas, spent his last two years in high school in Phoenix before moving on to Tucson for college. He likely will become the third consecutive top pick who failed to win an NCAA tournament game. Neither Ben Simmons (2016) nor Markelle Fultz (2017) even made it to the dance, and Ayton’s Wildcats were thumped by 13th-seeded Buffalo in the first round.
12. ”I think the biggest misconception about the game is my love for it,” said Texas center Mohamed Bamba, who was born in Harlem, N.Y., but played at Westtown School in Chester County. “This is what I want to do. I owe [basketball] my life, and there is no other way around it. This is what I want to do for the next 20 years of my life.”
13. Bamba’s 7-foot, 10-inch wingspan is the largest measured at the combine since at least 2000. A standard backboard is 72 inches. Bamba’s stretch is nearly two feet wider.
14. Duke’s Marvin Bagley III was just the third player to lead the ACC in scoring, rebounding and field-goal shooting. Horace Grant (1986-87) and Tim Duncan (1996-97) were the others. Those two also combined to win nine NBA titles.
15. Wendell Carter considered going to Harvard, but chose Duke instead. His mother, Kylia, who played basketball at Mississippi, touched a nerve when she harshly criticized the NCAA for not paying players while coaches, administrators and others make millions. “My mom is my mom,” Carter said. “She has her opinions, and she doesn’t mind sharing them.”
16. The mom of Texas A&M forward Robert Williams, Tundra, tagged him with the nickname “Boo Butt” when he was a youngster. “When I ask her where she came up with the nickname,” he told the Houston Chronicle, “she just laughs every time.”
17. University of Miami guard Lonnie Walker IV will become just the second native of Reading to play in the NBA. Former UConn star Donyell Marshall, who ended his career in 2009 with the Sixers, is the other.
18. Walker led all Hurricanes with 12 points and 38 minutes in his final college game, a buzzer-beater loss that started Loyola-Chicago’s magical run to the Final Four. Walker missed a critical free throw, which allowed the Ramblers to win the game with a three-pointer.
19. No one from Loyola-Chicago will be drafted.
20. Oklahoma’s Trae Young became the first player to lead Division I in scoring (27.4) and assists (8.7), but as his father acknowledged to the New York Post, “he knows he’s got to prove he can be a defensive player.”
21. The weight of carrying the Sooners surely contributed to a late slump for Young, who shot just 23.1 percent from three-point range over the last two months of his season (28 for 108). Oklahoma lost in the first round of both the Big 12 tournament (to Oklahoma State) and the NCAAs (to Rhode Island).
22. The last time Alabama guard Collin Sexton played at the Barclays Center, site of Thursday’s draft, the Tide finished the last 10:41 of a five-point loss to Minnesota with just three players. Sexton (40 points) and teammates Galin Smith and Riley Norris actually outscored the Gophers down the stretch while shorthanded because of ejections, disqualifications and injuries.
23. Kentucky forward Kevin Knox, who worked out twice for the Sixers this month, attended Tampa Catholic, the same high school as A-list actor Channing Tatum.
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) June 19, 2018
24. Michael Porter Jr., who played just three games as a freshman at Missouri because of a back injury that eventually required surgery, is one of the most interesting names on the board. Porter was largely considered to be the No. 1 freshman entering last season, but enters this draft under a huge cloud of uncertainty.
25. “It’s about getting in the right situation,” Porter said. “I don’t need to go No. 1. I don’t feel like I have an ego that makes me want to go No. 1. I just want the right situation for me.”
With 2017-18 record
|1. Phoenix (21-61)||16. Phoenix (21-61)|
|2. Sacramento (27-55)||17. Milwaukee (44-38)|
|3. Atlanta (24-58)||18. San Antonio (47-35)|
|4. Memphis (22-60)||19. Atlanta (24-58)|
|5. Dallas (24-58)||20. Minnesota (47-35)|
|6. Orlando (25-57)||21. Utah (48-34)|
|7. Chicago (27-55)||22. Chicago (27-55)|
|8. Cleveland (50-32)||23. Indiana (48-34)|
|9. New York (29-53)||24. Portland (49-33)|
|10. Sixers (52-30)||25. L.A. Lakers (35-47)|
|11. Charlotte (36-46)||26. Sixers (52-30)|
|12. L.A. Clippers (42-40)||27. Boston (55-27)|
|13. L.A. Clippers (42-40)||28. Golden State (58-24)|
|14. Denver (46-36)||29. Brooklyn (28-54)|
|15. Washington (43-39)||30. Atlanta (24-58)|
Teams without a first-round pick: Detroit, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Toronto.