Draft Watch: Combine tips off this week in Chicago

  • 05/09/2017 8:25 am in

Indiana has three early confirmed early entry departures for the NBA draft and could have a fourth if Robert Johnson opts to keep his name in the draft. The deadline to withdraw is May 24.

In our second draft watch since the end of the season, here’s an updated look at projections for OG Anunoby, Thomas Bryant and James Blackmon Jr. along with some notes and analysis on their draft outlooks ahead of this week’s draft combine in Chicago:

OG Anunoby
ESPN: (13) Draft Express: (14) NBADraft.net (44)

Notes: Anunoby won’t be able to participate in this week’s draft combine in Chicago because he’s still recovering from an injury, but he is expected to attend and do interviews and also get official measurements. The measurements will be interesting as Anunoby hasn’t ever attended an event – like the Nike College Skills Academy or a USA basketball combine – where measurements are taken. As The Ringer pointed out last week, IU listed Anunoby with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, but this week will yield official measurements for the first time. As for Anunoby’s draft stock, he moved up in ESPN and Draft Express since our last update and appears to be in the mix for a late lottery spot.

Analysis: “Teams are eager to have their doctors check out his knee and provide a timetable for his recovery. Even if he ends up missing his entire rookie season, I still think he could end up going in the lottery. – Chad Ford of ESPN.com.

Thomas Bryant
ESPN: (47) Draft Express: (36) NBADraft.net (84)

Notes: Bryant won’t participate in the 5-on-5 portion of the combine, but like Anunoby, will be in attendance for interviews and measurements. He could also choose to participate in some of the skills testing. Right now, Bryant’s projections are all firmly in the second round, but Draft Express moved him up to No. 33 in its latest mock draft. Even if he isn’t picked in the first round, Bryant’s age (19) combined with his length and ability to shoot from the outside should help him earn a guaranteed deal for next season with the introduction of “two-way” contracts.

Analysis: “Bryant had a bit of a disappointing sophomore season for Indiana. On the plus side, he showed off more of his shooting range, hitting 23 3s at a 38 percent clip. That’s appealing to scouts. On the downside, his 2-point percentage plummeted and his below-the-rim post game has scouts worried that Bryant’s game may not fully translate to the NBA. He should go somewhere between Nos. 25-50 in this year’s draft.” – Chad Ford of ESPN.com.

James Blackmon Jr.
ESPN: (108) Draft Express: (NR) NBADraft.net (NR)

Notes: Blackmon Jr. confirmed his intentions to hire an agent and remain in the draft on Monday and while it was met with some criticism from fans on social media, it was a move that makes sense for his basketball future. Blackmon Jr. was unlikely to change his stock by returning for another season. Seniors aren’t much of a commodity in the NBA draft and Blackmon Jr. is already 22. He’s also had two major knee injuries and a third could further hinder his chances of a professional career. While he may not be destined for the NBA, he could have a shot for a training camp invite or a two-way contract. But even if that doesn’t work out, Blackmon Jr. will have a nice market overseas. He was not invited to this week’s combine in Chicago.

Analysis: “Blackmon is an elite shooter and scorer, but his lack of elite athleticism and size for his position has always hurt his draft status. While he has an outside chance of landing in the second round, most likely he’ll go undrafted.” – Chad Ford of ESPN.com.

Filed to:

  • Kyl470

    The way I’m approaching these draft decisions now is that it’s not about getting drafted or making the NBA, but it’s about moving on and getting paid to play basketball. I think it was five years ago Fred Glass announced that any athlete on full scholarship that stays at IU for at least two full years can comeback to the university at anytime later in life and their tuition would be paid for. So even if a player hasn’t earned his or her degree yet they are still covered if they want to earn it in the future.

    We all know JBJ won’t be playing in the NBA next year, but I think we can all agree that someone will pay him to play basketball. Not sure if it’ll be the Gatorade League (new name for D-League) or overseas somewhere. The same can be said for Robert Johnson if he decides to go pro. Also when looking at a guy like JBJ and his injury history he might only have 6 to 8 years left in his body to play high level basketball. If he stays in school another year that cuts down his years to earn money to 5 to 7.

    Either way I guess the main point I’m trying to make is that we shouldn’t come on this site and bash guys who leave the team to go pro just because they are not likely to make the NBA. It just means they want to start earning money. Besides if we are going to lose players I’d much rather it be to the pros than guys transferring to other college programs.

  • BannerOrBust

    Best of luck to the former Hoosiers. I appreciate everything you guys did for the Hoosiers. You will be missed, but I respect all of your decisions. Go get that money!

  • iudrew22

    go get ’em fellas! Hoosier Nation will be rooting you on.

  • John D Murphy

    Exactly. People even come on this site and post how NV is a bust in the NBA. A bust who’ll earn around $40M in his career probably. Call me old fashioned but that sounds successful to me. There were 137 college early entrants this year. Think about that, we wouldn’t even be that excited to sign the #137 recruit but that is how many declared (some have / will pull back). It is just the nature of game where there are opportunities to earn money (good enough money) beyond the NBA now and players are taking advantage of that earlier.

  • WhatsUpKnight2.0

    so our top 3 scorers from last season are gone. gulp! obviously we gotta have guys step up as scorers. right now, i’m not sure who our leading scorer will be. maybe RJ? or D’RD? maybe our soph guards surprise us? that would be nice.

  • John D Murphy

    “James Harden is shooting 29 percent from the floor when guarded by Kawhi Leonard in this series, including just 10 percent from three. When not guarded by Leonard, Harden is shooting nearly 50 percent.” – Article on ESPN this morning.
    This is why OG is where he is. Kawhi was drafted by the Spurs to be an elite defender. It has been a huge bonus what his offensive game has done. Elite defenders can get on the floor before their offensive games develop. If OG’s wingspan really is 7-6, I think he’ll go 12-15.

  • iubase

    Interesting article on 2 way contracts. Certainly creates more of an opportunity for someone like Bryant and also JBJ. Certainly think they both have huge upsides and have a shot at playing in the NBA. love watching Eric Gordon, and even got a glimpse of Troy. VO is doing well. OG will be a factor in the NBA in 2-3 yrs. JBJ is such a good shooter that some teams – eg Chicago – could use him. Bryant is interesting. He has a KG like motor. Shots from outside well. I still think that he is growing into his body and could be a decent player in 2-3 yrs. The 2 way contracts supports this type of development without going overseas – and this is a smart move on the NBAs side. Hope RJ stays. He can be a real leader for this team and his Defensive tenacity will fit in well with Archie.

  • marcusgresham

    Excellent point—especially in regards to a guy who earned that degree in the three years he was at IU.

  • marcusgresham

    Johnson has to be the odds-on favorite to be the leading scorer, but this may be a team of guys with a handful of dudes in the 6-10 ppg range.
    You figure Green’s minutes will increase quite a bit, and just hitting a couple of threes a game puts him in that category. Hartman will probably also be in that range. Davis should be a double-figure (or close to it as long as he can stay out of of foul trouble,) scorer, especially the way he shoots free throws. I think Morgan may well be the second-leading scorer behind Johnson. Hopefully Jones builds off of the flashes he showed at times.

  • mctravis2

    JBJ was fun to watch, battled thru some tough injuries, and even graduated early. I wish the best of luck to the kid!

  • Zora Clevenger

    These kids came to IU to further their basketball careers. They’re leaving prepared to make good money using what they learned here. If your kid is in Kelly or Jacobs or Law or Medicine, you want them to do the same – only difference is the basketball players spend a shorter time here. They’re products of IU and I’m proud of them.

  • Mark Bando

    same thing for Jimmy Butler. drafted for his D, and Thibs would give him minutes because of his D. then he worked like crazy on his offense.