Fraschilla, Goodman discuss draft prospects of Anunoby, Bryant and Blackmon Jr.

  • 05/09/2017 3:06 pm in

Ahead of this week’s NBA draft combine in Chicago, ESPN hosted a conference call earlier today for media with Fran Fraschilla and Jeff Goodman.

Here’s a transcript of comments from Fraschilla and Goodman on the draft prospects of Thomas Bryant and OG Anunoby, who both will attend the combine, as well as James Blackmon Jr., who¬†was not invited:

Fraschilla: In OG’s case, obviously, he won’t get much out of it (the combine) other than the interviews and he’s a relatively quiet kid. Where OG is going to have the most value to an NBA team, assuming that his surgery is coming along well, is he is an elite defensive player. He’ll be capable, in a league that covets versatility right now both offensively and defensively, of probably being able to guard four positions. He’s strong enough to guard a small ball five man. So he’s going to hang his hat initially on this elite defensive ability. Teams know he’s an elite defensive prospect. He looks to be able to someday become a good NBA 3-point shooter, although his consistency wanes. The other skills are below average. What makes him a guy that is going to be drafted in the first round is just the athleticism, the rawness of his game because he came out of nowhere and the fact that he could be the ultimate ‘3-and-D’ guy. He doesn’t have the ball handling ability of a Kahwi Leonard yet, but that’s the comparison. But ‘3-and-D’ for sure.

With Thomas, he’s going to have to show that he’s an athlete. I don’t know what he’s going to do at the combine that can show people that, but he’s going to have to show that he’s athletic enough to guard on the perimeter, as all big guys have to do in the league right now. It helps that he shot the ball well. He didn’t have a good year scoring inside in my opinion. Didn’t play with the kind of toughness that I think Indiana expected from him. He’s a young kid and he’s big kid who is reasonably mobile and from all indications, he’s got high character and is a worker so that bodes well for him.

Goodman: I think OG, as Fran said, is firmly entrenched in the first round somewhere. He’s probably going to be out through maybe training camp next year. I don’t know when he’ll be back and I think teams are going to take him for the future.

Thomas, I was surprised that he’s decided to sign with an agent, to be honest. I’m never going to say whether a kid should or shouldn’t do something because we don’t know their individual circumstances. So to me, somebody who says ‘hey, everybody should do this if they don’t get invited to the combine or everybody should do that,’ I’m not buying that. But I do think that, to me, Thomas Bryant’s stock was high going into this year. And because of what Indiana did or didn’t do and because of what Thomas Bryant did or didn’t do, it’s fallen a bit. And this is a very strong and deeper draft than next year. So I was a little bit surprised that he didn’t come back and play a year under Archie Miller. I think he could have benefited from it. I think his NBA stock could have benefited from it. And right now, almost every NBA guy that I’ve talked to says that he will not go in the first round, that he’ll go somewhere in the second round.

But second rounders, now, get guaranteed contracts, a lot of them. So that’s the difference these days. Some kids feel if they’re going to go from 30 to 40, they’ll get a guaranteed deal and that’s good enough for me.

Fraschilla: James is stuck as a 6-foot-2 scoring guard. I understand the decision. He’s got his degree, he wants to move on. He’s a guy you could see in the D-League. You could even see him as a two-way player. Someone might be willing to take a chance on having him under contract because let’s face it, he can really shoot it. There’s some things that he has to show teams that he can do. One of them would be guarding and staying in front of athletic players. But in a league that really, really is valuing shooting, that’s going to be his calling card. Bryn Forbes played in the NBA this year and had 29 in a game and he’s 6-foot-2. I get James leaving and he can shoot the cover off the ball.

Goodman: With him I think it was more that he graduated, or is graduating and maybe he felt like his stock is what it is at this point. And that may be the case. From people that I’ve talked to, he probably doesn’t improve his stock all of that much because like Fran said, it’s not like he’s growing overnight from this year to next year. I would anticipate he’ll be on somebody’s summer league roster and maybe he can catch on as one of those two additional two-way players that they’ve added this year for the NBA. That’s certainly going to help a lot of these kids that some people are criticizing for making these decisions. They’ll be making more money in the D-League this year, which is good. That’s how it should be. They shouldn’t be making $20,000, which is what a lot of them were making over the last few years. Now they can make $75,000 or $100,000.

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  • Outoftheloop

    Ok 75-100,000/yr in the D League, that makes sense for James to enter the draft this spring! Many NBA teams need a 3 point shooter, and James may be the best in this draft! Being taken in the late 2nd round does not mean anything to James. Playing in the D League with a chance for a call up between January to April for a team needing a shooter, then get lucky and hit those 3’s, sounds like a plan!

  • John D Murphy

    I hate to disagree with the experts but from what I’ve read Jeff Goodman is wrong on D-League salaries. Only two players per team will be designated as “Two Way Players”. They will make the higher salaries ($50 – $75k). The rest of the league is still quite low. From my reading I think this changed at the last minute. The two salary scales are $19k and $25k. The 10-day call up went up from a minimum of $31k to $47k and average call up is projected to be worth $205k. So if you get several 10-day contracts, you can make some money, but if you riding the d-leage pine you are much better off playing overseas. That is what an agent is supposed to figure out for you and why it is important to hire an agent sooner. So you begin discussions with overseas clubs.

  • Mark Bando

    Listen, I suffered through watching the worst three point shooting team (Bulls) in the NBA this year. I really believe there are teams that will want to take a chance on JBJ. Not only is he a great three point shooter, but he’s pretty good in the clutch and pretty consistent.

  • Logical Lurker

    In my opinion there’s always room for a shooter. Hoping for the best for JBJ!

  • Larry Brown

    Bet he sees time in NBA next season. Maybe not a lot, but he can be an instant offense guy off the bench, so long as his defense doesn’t equal instant offense for the other team

  • Missing Moye

    I think these assessments are pretty much in line with what I’ve been reading from most of the folks commenting on here. OG as a first rounder coming off an injury was a no-brainer. JBJ probably would have had a lot of trouble improving his stock significantly enough to make a difference. Bryant is the one that seems to confuse everyone because it seems he could have really put himself into a better position by staying a year with some solid coaching. Ultimately it’s not my place to second guess any of them and I hope it works out really well for them all.

  • Mark Bando

    yes. steve kerr, john paxson, kyle Korver and many, many others weren’t exactly first team all defense

  • Larry Brown

    Can anyone tell me one game when OG was a Lockdown Defender last year? Certainly he was several times during his freshman year but personally I was a little disappointed in his defense last year. In fact sometimes he did not seem to be fully engaged for the entire game. And for all this talk that he can guard every position, I never saw Coach Crean use him that way last year for some reason. A lot of games Crean never even put him on the other team’s leading scorer.
    I’m not trying to rip OG, I know his potential is through the roof . Us a little perplexed by all the hype in light of what I saw this past season. He certainly is always good for a few highlight reels but I would that he ends up spending a lot of time in the D- League for several years

  • IdahoHoosier

    You said the magic word: “potential”. OG has shown glimpses of doing pretty much everything positive in basketball. Doesn’t matter to NBA guys that he hasn’t shown consistency. My take is that for a guy like OG it is honestly better to not have a large “body of work” for NBA guys to pick his game apart. It is way better to leave a lot to the imagination, get drafted, let the pros work on you and make bank. OG will be just fine!

  • John D Murphy

    Rookies not taken by the first couple of picks on crappy teams are supposed to spend a lot of time in the D-League. That is why it is there and why teams can assign players whose contracts are with the “Big Club” to their D-League affiliates. It is also why almost every NBA team now has their own (owned) D-League team. Saying he will spend time in the D-League is like saying he will have to practice. Yes, he will.

  • He was talking about the two-way players when he was referencing the higher salaries.

  • HoosierDom

    Other than against Kentucky in the 2nd round can you tell me a game where he was a lockdown defender as a freshman? That’s the only game I remember where I felt like OG was playing at an NBA level and even then he only scored 7 points. I would be very surprised if he is ever an effective offensive player in the NBA. He might be a good defender, even great, but I think that is far from certain.

  • iugradmark

    The only surprise for me is to hear their thoughts on Thomas. Again, I never blame kids for chasing their dreams but it really sounds like there is a lot of doubt about his game. I assume some of the feedback he got when he filed to test the waters was that he could make it so he hired an agent. I hope for the best but after the last several ITH updates from various scouts, it sounds like he has a difficult road to make it. The things Fran mentioned were things that I wondered about this past year. Not strong enough or able to finish, not mobile enough on defense. I hope he proves everyone wrong but I am now thinking he may have benefited by another year in school.

  • GatewayHoosier

    I would need to rewatch tape to name specific games but I feel like there were several times we raved about his on-ball defense; case in point, while people were pumped, no one was *surprised* by his D on Murray in the U.K. game. He’d already established himself.

    That said he was never a good off-ball defender (see Michigan in B1G tourney), and I think that got magnified this past year on our terrible help defense team.

  • cbags05

    I just hope he got honest feedback and did not get dooped into this by an agent. I was honestly surprised. Thought there was no way after that season. Really hope he finds his way.

  • disqus_AmOG6I79Zj

    Against the Mavs Forbes hit 27 not 29.

  • disqus_AmOG6I79Zj

    $75K – $100k depends on him getting at least a training camp contract. The actual salaries for D league players are nowhere close to that.

  • disqus_AmOG6I79Zj

    The way D-league players get more than D-league scale (which is poverty level) is if they have a training camp contract with an NBA team. For example, Ryan Arcidiacono (hope I spelled that right Ryan) had a training camp contract fall with the Spurs that guaranteed him $75K. He didn’t make roster and was signed by the Austin spurs; where he earned D league salary on top of the $75K for training camp. He also got a few bucks for playing summer league with them.

    But yeah… a pure D leaguer – better have an off season job.

  • stavrogin44

    Is anybody else worried about the fact that we still haven’t heard anything about RJ? He has to know that he has a zero percent chance of getting drafted and with JBJ gone, he’s now our top backcourt player. Why continue to drag the process out if you’re coming back?

  • IdahoHoosier

    Very interesting to hear that. Thanks for sharing the insight! It appears the only way to make real money is to get real NBA deals (training camps, 10-day contracts, real contracts, etc.). I don’t understand why so many guys don’t just head overseas right away. For most it has to be better to go overseas and make guaranteed money while you can rather than play D-league game and wait and hope for a break.

  • Hardwood83

    I don’t claim to be a NBA scout- or even a particularly close NBA observer- but Bryant doesn’t look like an NBA player to me.

    He isn’t athletic. He struggles with his back to the basket, doesn’t guard well on the perimeter. Frankly he was the second best center on his own team. He has some skills, but not a well rounded game.

    I certainly wish him well, but will be shocked if ever contributes in the NBA or is even on a roster in 2-3yrs.

  • HoosierHawz

    Because in d-league you are 1 step away from getting called up to NBA. Where usually your 2 steps away over seas being you usually have to finish your seasons before trying for NBA again. So if Yogi or Troy would of just went over seas they wouldn’t be in the NBA right now.

  • IdahoHoosier

    True. “Bigger the risk bigger the reward” as they say. But also big risks sometimes result in big disappointment. The reality is for every guy like Troy and Yogi who get called up, there are tons more who wallow in D-league for years and miss making good money overseas in their prime years. I’m surprised more don’t take the conservative approach and go make hundreds of thousands if not millions overseas rather than 20k a year in D-league and pray for a shot at the NBA, which for many, will never come.

  • John D Murphy

    But there are only two of those per team. So the issue with low D-League salaries was not addressed in a meaningful way and his quote made it seem as if the problem were substantially improved.

  • John D Murphy

    Very true. I mentioned call ups but didn’t mention fall camp. Thanks.

  • The Lights Go Down

    I’d imagine he wants to still work out and get feedback from teams on what he needs to work on so he CAN be a first-rounder next year. If they say there’s nothing he can do to improve, then no reason to stay in the draft or maybe even coming back for another season at IU. He’d just stay in and take his chances on going to the D-League.

  • Fifty-fifty ball

    I didn’t realize “D” League players were making $75-100k per year now. I mean most of us would take that salary especially if it’s something that we love to do (basketball) with a chance to make more so it gives more some more credence to leaving early. That’s more than most get overseas also.