Three-Point Play: Strong '21 NBA draft class; G League; PG dominoes
There is concern within a number of NBA front offices that the talent atop the upcoming draft is not as promising compared to prior years. That will change once 2021 strikes. In Thursday’s Three-Point Play, Rivals analyst Corey Evans explains why, gives the hidden benefit of the ongoing pandemic with the G League initiative in mind and explains the potential dominoes that could soon fall.
1. Top of 2020 draft class is lacking, but 2021 should be stacked
I am sure you have heard by now how lacking in high end talent the 2020 NBA Draft is. Granted, James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards, Obi Toppin, Tyrese Haliburton and LaMelo Ball are all quality prospects in their own regards, but compared to just last year whenever it came to picking someone like Zion Williamson or Ja Morant, it is difficult to see how this year’s crop holds up. That should change next year.
After Jonathan Kuminga finally made his reclassification into the 2020 class official last week, which followed Moussa Cisse’s transition up a year, to say that the 2021 NBA Draft is promising would be an understatement.
Jalen Green and Cade Cunningham would likely be selected first overall in October’s draft, and we haven’t even broached the abilities of Kuminga, Scottie Barnes, Evan Mobley, BJ Boston and Ziaire Williams. The list goes on as far as the intriguing and super-high ceilings for those that are just a year out from being eligible for the Draft.
Sure, a few could fall off along the way, but there could be a handful of others in the mold of Caleb Love, Jalen Suggs, or Jalen Johnson that take the next step this winter. Keep that in mind as the draft approaches and teams starting deciphering between trading out of their selection in October and approaching a full-out rebuild due to the potentially franchise-altering talent awaiting in the wings.
2. Certainty of G League plays in its favor
If there was ever a year to run the new select G-League program, this would be it. Yes, navigating through the uncertainty that the ongoing pandemic has provided has not been the easiest for Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Rod Strickland, but they have been granted a benefit that they will never have at their fingertips which coincides with getting the initiative off the ground.
Granted, there is some concern regarding what can and cannot be done in California and it was just on Monday that the state pushed its high school basketball season into March. However, with the Sports Academy located in Thousand Oaks reserved for its use, there should be very little limitations regarding what it can and cannot do for those on the select team.
Better yet, during a time that has brought questions regarding if there will be a curtailed college season, if there is one at all, the Jalen Greens of the world know for a fact where they will be on say Nov.14, which is in southern California working under the tutelage of its head coach, Brian Shaw. However, go ahead and ask Greg Brown where he will be in mid-November and while he will likely say Austin, Tex., he doesn’t know if he will be gearing up for his one-and-done season, or if he will even be allowed to practice alongside his Texas teammates due to the persisting nature of the virus.
So, here we have Green, who is going to make over $500,000 and may be the least affected by the coronavirus, enjoying the primary benefit of the select program, which is skill development, compared to Brown, who could have taken such a route, didn’t get paid, and may not be allowed to touch the Texas locker room because of the dreaded virus. If Abdur-Rahim and Strickland hit their mark this winter, we may look back in five years and say that the pandemic may have enhanced their pitch further which then led to the overall success and growth rate of the initiative itself.
3. Point guard dominoes about to fall?
The chatter has picked up for Angelo Brizzi to pick Villanova. Wouldn’t that be a great string of days if Brizzi and Jordan Longino, who is set to announce his decision tonight, team up together on the Main Line? Brizzi picking Nova could impact fellow point guards Rahsool Diggins, Stevie Mitchell and Bensley Joseph.
With Villanova out for Diggins after Brizzi's commitment, it feels like a Florida-UConn battle, with the Huskies having a slight lead. North Carolina is silently working things behind the scenes but has not offered.
Meanwhile, the talk surrounding Mitchell is that he would like to play closer to home in college. Villanova could be out which means the nearest program to his Reading, Penn., locale is Temple. The Owls hold my FutureCast prediction and no one has recruited him harder than Aaron McKie and his staff. Marquette, which is also in need of a point guard, is also looking at Mitchell.
With Joseph, Miami holds my FutureCast prediction with a commitment not too far away, but Marquette is also involved here, too.