Around the NBA: Draft lottery, Conference Championships, and Beilein

Tonight is the NBA Draft Lottery, meaning the future of several franchises hang in the balance.

Two Around the NBA articles back-to-back? It must be your lucky day. Or, it could just be a busy time around the association. The Eastern and Western Conference Championships have been highly anticipated and the draft lottery has been on the calendar for a long time. We did however receive some interesting news from one of the organizations vying for a top pick.

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a surprising announcement yesterday. They have hired former Michigan coach, John Beilein. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported via Twitter that Beilein and the Cavs have agreed to a five-year deal.

At 65 years old, the contract could very well take Beilein right into retirement once his obligation is complete. The Cavs cited character as a large reason for the decision and referred to Beilein as a “culture driver.” In his 39 seasons as a coach at the collegiate level, he has had much success, especially leading the Michigan Wolverines over the last five years.

NBA Draft Lottery

Tonight is the night that teams around the NBA will learn where they will be picking in the 2019 Draft. The lottery will be televised on ESPN starting at 7:30pm (CST).

With a strong consensus for the number one selection in Zion Williamson, the order will have a big impact on the landscape of the NBA for years to come. The second selection will likely be Ja Morant or RJ Barrett, depending on team needs. The third of the Duke freshman trio, Cam Reddish is projected at seven. Darius Garland and NCAA Champion De’Andre Hunter are currently projected as the fourth and fifth picks, respectively.

A few picks have already been traded some time ago and could shift depending on tonight’s lottery. For example, if the Dallas Maverick’s pick is outside the top five, they owe it to the Hawks. Per ESPN: “If not conveyed, the pick remains top-five protected in 2020, falls to top-three protected until 2022 and becomes unprotected in 2023.”

ESPN lists the odds for each team as shown below:

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Conference Championships

In addition to the draft lottery, tonight also marks the start of the NBA Conference Championships. Beginning at 8:00pm (CST) on ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers travel to take on the Golden State Warriors. The Western Conference Championship is still Golden State’s to lose, though they will be without Kevin Durant due to injury, at least for the first game or two.

In Portland’s game 7 win over Denver on Sunday, they proved that on the rare occasion that Damian Lillard is not scoring in loads, they can still stay afloat. CJ McCollum carried the Blazers in that game 7, but will have his hands full with Klay Thompson this round.

The Eastern Conference Championship begins tomorrow with the Toronto Raptors coming to the United States to take on the Bucks in Milwaukee. The draw to this series should be self-explanatory. Giannis Antetokounmpo vs. Kawhi Leonard. The Greek Freak vs. The Klaw. This game is a true test of superiority for the Eastern Conference and should be thrilling throughout.

That should have you pretty caught-up on what’s happening Around the NBA. Keep checking back with us and follow along on Twitter as we continue to break down the action!

Zion Williamson is headed to the NBA

Zion Williamson has officially declared for the 2019 NBA Draft; he isn’t the only Duke Blue Devil either.

A couple weeks ago, we highlighted the early names that had declared for the NBA Draft or were at least testing the waters. That list was headlined by Murray State’s Ja Morant, who figures to be picked in or around the top three. Now, we are starting to see those other names at the top fill in as well.

The list of names of players that have declared has gotten long, so it may not be worth listing here. What you mostly need to know is that Zion Williamson has officially entered the fray.

Duke freshman Zion Williamson has been on this path for years. We started hearing about him from high school dunk highlights, but he really exploded on the national scene while playing for a stacked, but young team for Coach Mike Krzyzewski. Being built like a tank while maintaining athleticism has helped set him apart. We at The Basketball Movement also know that this has taken years of incredibly hard work, so, congrats to Williamson for making his dreams a reality.

As great as Zion is, he not the only Duke freshman looking to explode onto the NBA scene. RJ Barrett has also declared for the draft now and will likely be picked at two or three alongside the aforementioned, Ja Morant. Cam Reddish has also officially declared. While he had a comparatively quiet season with Duke, he is still an undeniable, elite talent.

A standout from the NCAA championship game, De’Andre Hunter of Virginia has declared along with teammate, Kyle Guy. Other big names like Darius Garland, Bol Bol, Devon Dotson, Quentin Grimes, Tyler Herro, Keldon Johnson, Romeo Langford, Nassir Little, EJ Montgomery, Kevin Porter Jr., Semisola Shittu, and Coby White, have also declared in addition to some overseas talent.

We will be bringing you draft reports and are as excited as you are to see these guys in action. Until then, the NBA Playoffs are underway, so keep an eye out for more news from all levels of the game of basketball!

Ja Morant headlines list of players declared for the 2019 NBA Draft

NCAA underclassmen must declare before April 22nd to be eligible for the 2019 NBA Draft.

If these NCAA players opt to withdraw their declaration and return to college, they have until May 29th to do so. The NBA Draft Combine runs from May 16-20. So, we are still early in the window of declaration, but things are getting real with NCAA March Madness standout, Ja Morant throwing his hat into the ring.

As it stands today, Murray State’s Ja Morant would be projected at or around the second overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. The consensus number one pick is still Duke’s Zion Williamson by a decent margin. Williamson has yet to declare, and his fellow Duke teammates have not either. Don’t worry; they will. Fellow freshman, RJ Barrett is projected to be picked in the top three with Zion and Ja.

Those players that have declared have likely signed with agents. How college students can afford professional agents is an article for another day.

Below is the list of declared players as it stands right now (per Yahoo! Sports):

Tyus Battle, Syracuse

Bol Bol, Oregon

Ky Bowman, Boston College

Daniel Gafford, Arkansas

Darius Garland, Vanderbilt

Dewan Henandez, Miami

Nassir Little, UNC

Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State

Ja Morant, Murray State

Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s

Naz Reid, LSU

Simi Shittu, Vanderbilt

Coby White, UNC

Kris Wilks, UCLA

The same Yahoo! Sports page names the following players as still “Testing the water.” This means that the players have declared to gauge interest, but have likely not gone so far as to hire agents and or go all-in.

Jordan Bone, Tennessee

Oshae Brissett, Syracuse

Charlie Brown, Saint Joseph’s

Amir Coffey, Minnesota

Steve Enoch, Louisville

Talen Horton-Tucker, Iowa State

Nathan Knight, William & Mary

Sagaba Konate, West Virginia

Jalen LeQue, N.C. State

Jaden Nwora, Louisville

Miye Oni, Yale

Reggie Perry, Mississippi State

Isaiah Reese, Canisius

Derrik Smits, Valparaiso

Jimmy Whitt, SMU

With the likes of ZIon absent from this list, you know that there are many names still on their way. It is still exciting to see players such as Ja Morant, Nassir Little, and Bol Bol already on here. As we near the April 22nd deadline, many of the names you are hearing amidst the March Madness will start to pop up.

You know we will keep you up-to-date if anything big happens leading up to the combine and the 2019 NBA Draft. Remember to follow us on Twitter @BBall_Movement, Instagram, and like us on Facebook to stay in the know!

2018 NBA Draft pick Alize Johnson - The Basketball Movement

Missouri State Alum Alize Johnson talks with The Basketball Movement after being selected in the 2018 NBA Draft.

The first Missouri State Bear selected in the NBA Draft since Winston Garland (1987), Alize Johnson is a versatile threat destined for professional basketball at the highest level. No stranger to The Basketball Movement, we had the opportunity to talk to him after the draft.

Fans of Missouri State basketball are very familiar with Alize's game. He is a capable scorer and is a 20-rebound threat despite his versatility as a stretch-big. With the size and quickness to guard multiple positions, he was coveted by several NBA teams.

Alize Johnson has had a very busy Summer, working out with 12 NBA teams all over the country. He said that it was a "Dream come true" being in all of those facilities and meeting the personnel.

Players or fans alike would recognize another versatile big man named Johnson that Alize got to meet recently. "Meeting Magic Johnson in LA was not normal" Alize said. "I had to act normal, but to meet someone on his level with his experience... it was definitely cool."

He has encountered players at all levels on his journey. He said of his fellow draftee, Dante DiVincenzo that he was not surprised in the least that he went 17th. He also mentioned De'Aaron Fox, who was drafted last season but is technically younger than Alize. "He has been great to defend this offseason. I've learned where I need to be in my lateral movement from his speed."

The Draft

Hearing your name selected in the NBA draft is an incredible accomplishment for basketball players from every corner of the world. In case he was not tired of answering the question already, we asked Alize what it felt like to get drafted:

It felt like a dream. I have worked extremely hard and been through a lot with my family. It was an emotional night, but now I’m looking forward to getting to play with the best players in the world.
— Alize Johnson

When asked what the next step is for him, Alize explained that NBA Summer League is the next big moment. "I'm learning plays and getting a feel for how they want to use me" Alize said. He aims to impress them with his ability to fill any role on the floor. He says he would be comfortable at the 3 or 4 position - whatever the team needs.

He said he is currently working on conditioning and getting back to being a knock-down three-point shooter like he was his Junior year at MSU. Speaking of putting in work...

Alize Johnson and The Basketball Movement

His time at Missouri State is what led to meeting Rob Yanders and working out at The Basketball Movement. He said that he heard this is where local guys came to get great workouts.

Rob is a great guy - very genuine. He can explain how to work out efficiently for you specifically. He’s a great trainer but an even better dude.
— Alize Johnson on Rob Yanders

As it is often goes with time spent at The Basketball Movement, it is easier to show you the work than to explain it in words. Check out the video below for some of the work Alize Johnson put in here at The Movement.

Asked to give advice to The Basketball Movement's up-and-comers on how to get your name called in the draft, he had a few simple tips.

Our personal favorite is "Use Rob." Alize explained that Rob has played as a professional and had players come through his doors from the highest level. Having such a resource here in the Midwest is a great way for players to get ahead.

Beyond that, Johnson spoke on the importance of character and leaning on whatever religion you may follow. He said to remain humble, but also to work extremely hard.

If working "extremely hard" doesn't scare you off of your path to the top, contact The Basketball Movement to get to work right away.

We wish our friend, Alize Johnson the best of luck in the NBA! Summer League in Vegas starts tonight with all games televised on either NBA TV, ESPN, or ESPN U, so don't forget to tune in!

2018 NBA Draft recap

The 2018 NBA Draft is done and a fresh crop of talent has entered the world's best basketball league.

Last season's rookie class is already looking like one of the best NBA draft classes ever. Many might have assumed that this following draft may be a bit on the weaker side, but talent was not in short supply once more.

Much of the draft played out as expected, though there were a few surprises. Deandre Ayton out of Arizona went number one overall to the Phoenix Suns as expected. The Sacramento Kings had seemed unsure about who to take at two, but went for Marvin Bagley out of Duke.

Euro superstar Luka Doncic was selected third by the Atlanta Hawks, but was traded to the Dallas Mavericks for Trae Young (selected fifth) and a future first round pick. Jaren Jackson Jr. of Michigan State went fourth to Memphis.

Texas standout Mohamed "Mo" Bamba went to Orlando with the sixth pick and Wendell Carter of Duke went seventh to the Bulls.

Villanova star Mikal Bridges went tenth to Philly. He and his family were gushing about staying home, only to be traded a short while later to the Charlotte Hornets. So goes the business of the NBA. Mikal's Villanova teammate and NCAA Tournament MVP Donte DiVencenzo went 17th to the Milwaukee Bucks.

One surprise was the draft-day slide of Mizzou's Michael Porter Jr. to Denver with the 14th pick. Injuries might have scared off other teams, but he could be a real value at 14.

Friend of The Basketball Movement, Missouri State's Alize Johnson was selected in the second round by the Indiana Pacers at 50. Johnson is the first MSU player selected in the NBA draft since Winston Garland in 1987. Congrats, Alize!

A few other noteworthy picks were Grayson Allen at 21, Mortiz Wagner at 25, and Kostas Antetokounmpo (Giannis' little brother) at 60 - the last pick.

There is a lot of promise in these young guys - it will be another fun Summer and season ahead. Keep an eye out here soon, as we talk with Alize about his experiences and expectations going forward.

Congratulations to all those drafted. For those who weren't, you've got next. We'd love to help.

 

NBA 2018 draft lottery order revealed

The Phoenix Suns are set to select first in the 2018 draft. Who will they take?

In the NBA draft, the first 14 picks are determined by their lottery system. Phoenix had about a 25 percent chance to come away with the top pick in this year's draft. The odds held true for them, while there were a couple of variances in the order.

Statistically, Memphis had an excellent chance at picking second or at least third. It was the Sacramento Kings that lucked into the second spot, however. The Atlanta Hawks also moved up, sliding into third by luck of the draw.

Memphis joins Dallas as the two "losers" of the lottery that were bumped down further than expected, though both retain top-5 selections. The draft order is below:

1: Phoenix Suns
2: Sacramento Kings
3: Atlanta Hawks
4: Memphis Grizzlies
5: Dallas Mavericks
6: Orlando Magic
7: Chicago Bulls
8: Cleveland Cavaliers (via Brooklyn Nets)
9: New York Knicks
10: Philadelphia 76ers (via L.A. Lakers)
11: Charlotte Hornets
12: L.A. Clippers (via Detroit Pistons)
13: L.A. Clippers
14: Denver Nuggets

Top basketball prospects in the world will be selected

This year's draft class looks strong, though it will have a tough act to follow after the dominant display by last year's crop of rookies.

The Phoenix Suns are expected to take Deandre Ayton from Arizona to fill there need for a reliable big man. However, their hiring of head coach Igor Kokoskov could suggest that they take European standout Luka Doncic. Kokoskov coached Doncic for the Slovenian national team.

Ayton's size and skill versus Doncic's savvy and athleticism will be an interesting comparison in this draft and likely years to come. The Kings will likely be thrilled to select the whichever player Phoenix leaves on the board.

Potential abounds for all of the remaining teams in the form of Duke's Marvin Bagley, Texas' Mo Bamba, OU's Trae Young, and more.

The draft is scheduled for June 21st. The Basketball Movement will continue to track the draft and it's prospects, so keep it locked right here.

Players that have declared for the 2018 NBA draft

Hundreds of college players and multiple overseas prospects have already declared for the NBA draft.

The NBA draft only has two rounds with 30 picks apiece. So, only 60 of these prospects will actually be selected in the 2018 NBA draft. Certainly worth a shot if you think you have even an outside chance.

Draft time is also excellent for getting yourself in front of NBA teams and scouts, as they will host workouts and combines. There is also the Summer league, so even if you are not a lottery pick in the draft, you can be invited to play and test your skills against NBA or near-NBA level talent.

Players like Villanova's Donte Divincenzo's draft NBA draft stock will never be higher, so stay heads up for some big names declaring sooner than later.

As mentioned, hundreds of hopefuls have already declared. There are likely more to keep popping up in the coming weeks. The 2018 draft is not until June, so this is not a draft preview. Now is just the time for players to put themselves on the map. Let's check out some of the top prospects from ESPN's top 100.

Top 100 underclassmen or internationals who have declared for the draft and foregone college eligibility.

Top 100 Prospects: In

PLAYER, YEAR, TEAM, HT, POS

Deandre Ayton, Freshman, Arizona, 7-0, C

Jaren Jackson Jr., Freshman, Michigan St., 6-11, PF/C

Marvin Bagley III, Freshman, Duke, 6-11, PF/C

Mohamed Bamba, Freshman, Texas, 7-0, C

Michael Porter Jr., Freshman, Missouri, 6-10, SF/PF

Trae Young, Freshman, Oklahoma, 6-2, PG

Collin Sexton, Freshman, Alabama, 6-2, PG

Miles Bridges, Sophomore, Michigan St., 6-6, SF/PF

Robert Williams, Sophomore, Texas A&M, 6-10, C

Kevin Knox, Freshman, Kentucky, 6-9, SF/PF

Lonnie Walker IV, Freshman, Miami FL, 6-4, SG

Mitchell Robinson, Freshman, None, 6-11, C

Keita Bates-Diop, Junior, Ohio St, 6-7, PF

Aaron Holiday, Junior, UCLA, 6-1, PG

Troy Brown, Freshman, Oregon, 6-7, SG

Anfernee Simons, HS Senior, IMG Academy, 6-4, SG

De'Anthony Melton, Junior, USC, 6-3, PG/SG

Shake Milton, Junior, SMU, 6-6, PG/SG

Chimezie Metu, Junior, USC, 6-10, PF/C

Justin Jackson, Sophomore, Maryland, 6-7, SF/PF

Landry Shamet, Sophomore, Wichita St., 6-4, PG

Malik Newman, Sophomore, Kansas, 6-4, PG/SG

Tony Carr, Sophomore, Penn St., 6-3, PG

Trevon Duval, Freshman, Duke, 6-3, PG

Ray Spalding, Junior, Louisville, 6-10, PF

Brandon McCoy, Freshman, UNLV, 6-11, C

Rawle Alkins, Sophomore, Arizona, 6-5, SG

Allonzo Trier, Junior, Arizona, 6-5, SG

Billy Preston, Freshman, Igokea, 6-10, PF

Matur Maker, International, Mississauga Prep, 6-10, C

 

Top 100 underclassmen who have declared for the draft but can still withdraw.

Top 100 Prospects: Testing

PLAYER, YEAR, TEAM, HT, POS

Zhaire Smith, Freshman, Texas Tech, 6-5, SF

Jacob Evans, Junior, Cincinnati, 6-6, SG/SF

Bruce Brown, Sophomore, Miami FL, 6-3, SG

Melvin Frazier, Junior, Tulane, 6-6, SF

Jontay Porter, Freshman, Missouri, 6-10, C

Jerome Robinson, Junior, Boston College, 6-5, PG

Jalen Hudson, Junior, Florida, 6-5, SG

PJ Washington, Freshman, Kentucky, 6-8, PF

Josh Okogie, Sophomore, Georgia Tech, 6-4, SG

Jarrey Foster, Junior, SMU, 6-6, SG

Shamorie Ponds, Sophomore, St. John's, 6-1, PG

Sagaba Konate, Sophomore, West Virginia, 6-8, C

Kerwin Roach, Junior, Texas, 6-3, SG

Kris Wilkes, Freshman, UCLA, 6-7, SF/PF

Carsen Edwards, Sophomore, Purdue, 6-0, PG

Issuf Sanon, International, Olimpija Ljubljana, 6-4, PG/SG

Lindell Wigginton, Freshman, Iowa St., 6-2, PG

Kostas Antetokounmpo, Freshman, Dayton, 6-10, SF

Ethan Happ, Junior, Wisconsin, 6-10, PF/C

Terence Davis, Junior, Mississippi, 6-4, SG

Cody Martin, Junior, Nevada, 6-7, SF

William McDowell-White, International, Bamberg, 6-5, PG

Caleb Martin, Junior, Nevada, 6-7, SF

And more! ESPN has a comprehensive list of the undecided players and player that are automatically eligible due to being seniors.

There are still plenty of undecided players, such as Villanova's DiVincenzo and Mikal Bridges. A few noteworth seniors that have yet to officially declare are Duke's Grayson Allen and Missouri State's Alize Johnson. The most notable prospect outside of the top 100 has to be LiAngelo Ball, who is currently playing in Lithuania.

These list are of course subject to change. The Basketball Movement will do its best to stay on top of player movement at all levels going forward. Stay tuned!