Transcript:  2016 ESPN NBA Draft Combine Media Conference Call with Fran Fraschilla


Transcript:  2016 ESPN NBA Draft Combine Media Conference Call with Fran Fraschilla

Yesterday, ESPN College Hoops and International Draft expert Fran Fraschilla discussed the 2016 NBA Draft Combine prospects and next month’s NBA Draft on a media conference call.

ESPN2 will televise the 2016 NBA Draft Combine from 3-7 p.m. ET, on Thursday, May 12 and Friday, May 13. The event emanates from the Quest Multisport Complex in Chicago, Ill. This is the first in a series of ESPN 2016 NBA Draft events, which also includes the 2016 NBA Draft Lottery presented by State Farm (May 17) and the 2016 NBA Draft (June 23).

Click here for the replay of the conference media call.

Q.  Is Deyonta Davis a guy that you can see making the NBA next year or is he going to take some time before he’s quite ready?

FRAN FRASCHILLA: Deyonta is in that perfect Storm of when you look at the first round, particularly, you’re looking at production versus projection, production being older players who you expect to come in and play right away versus projection, a young player, in his case, really good size, good length, pretty good motor, good athlete, but he’s 19 years old.

I expect him to go somewhere in the middle of the first round, late lottery, up to about 20. But when you’re taking a guy like Deyonta Davis, you are looking long term. In fact, he was a little bit of a project this year at Michigan State, as you know, and only played 19 minutes a game. So there’s a lot to like about Deyonta.

There are some things that I’m not comfortable with right now, if I were putting him on an NBA court, and a lot of that is on the defensive end, both guarding in the low post and on the perimeter. In terms of defending the way the game is played right now, it’s a speed and space game at the NBA level.

But you’re talking about a kid — it would be like drafting a 19-year-old high school pitcher who throws 95 miles an hour. You’re looking down the road a little bit hoping you got yourself a solid NBA player at the power forward position.

Q.  Would you talk a little about where you see Isaiah Briscoe fitting into the draft conversation, and also your expectations for Skal Labissiere?

FRASCHILLA: Well, I think Isaiah, I mean, I personally think he’s not ready to play in the NBA, and he may be going through some of these individual team workouts. I think this is a good opportunity for him to get a taste of what it’s like.

He’s in a program that manufactures NBA players like they are in a bakery, you know, cookie cutter-style. But I don’t think Isaiah in my opinion is ready for the NBA. He’s limited in terms of his ability to make outside shots and right now in a league that puts a premium on spacing the floor, unless you have an elite skill besides that, that would be my best advice to him.

As far as Skal, unfortunately Skal is the product of ridiculous expectations a year ago, because when you look at his body type, and I know Anthony Davis was the first pick in the draft. But Skal’s body type, along with his basketball experience, lent itself to this being a very trying first year for him.

What you like about Skal is his size and length and his ability to play away from the basket. Right now, he plays with no force around the rim. There’s no way he can guard an NBA 4-man for 5-man right now in the low post. And although he’s got a nice little touch around the basket, particularly with a jump-up over the left shoulder, his body type is such that he’s not getting into the low post anytime soon in the NBA game.

Someone is going to take him in the middle of the first round, and again, he’s what we call a projection pick. Where do you see him two, three, four years down the road, because that’s when he’s going to be able to make a mark on an NBA team, if then.

Q.  Had a question about Bender and what you thought about if there’s a comparison with Porzingis and how high you think he could go, how similar are they, and were you surprised that Kristaps — because looking at your transcript from last year, you said he was two years away, Kristaps. Are you surprised by what he did this year?

FRASCHILLA: Well, I was surprised more by the incident he had. I was always very high on Kristaps because he played at a high level, and I don’t remember exactly what I told you, but I thought the thing that got him through this first season, besides the elite athleticism was his heart. He doesn’t mind getting dunked on and doesn’t mind trying to dunk on you back at the other end.

Having said that, this is a different animal with Bender, because Dragan has not played enough basketball at as high a level as Kristaps Porzingus was thrown into at the ACB level. And he’s a little bit different in that I think Kristaps, while he’s a perimeter outside/inside player right now, Bender is more of strictly a perimeter stretch 4-man. He can shoot the ball well. He moves his feet well and he can defend.

I think he’s going to be a better defender than people think, but he’s not nearly the finished product right now that Porzingis was a year ago, and in that sense it’s unfair to compare them.

He’s going to be in the Top-10, potentially the top five, but I think his best days are ahead of him. Remember, he may be the youngest player in the draft. I haven’t checked that, but he’s very close to being the youngest player in this draft.

Q.  You actually said that Kristaps had as much upside as Towns and Okafor, do you still think that Bender doesn’t quite have that upside that?

FRASCHILLA: He’s less experienced. He doesn’t have the level of minutes played at the level that Porzingis played at the last two years in the ACB in Seville. He’s been in and out of the Maccabi Tel Aviv lineup this year, and rightfully so, by the way, because he’s 18 and a half years old. And Zinger might have been maybe a year older at the same stage, but you’re talking about a guy that was thrown into the second-best league in the world and he was able to swim rather than sink.

Bender is a terrific prospect but he’s a different kind of player than Porzingis is.

Q.  Celtics have a potential obviously to land one of the top two picks, which I guess the first two picks are pretty obvious. But if they land three, that kind of puts them in a predicament of, do you take a guy like Bender, or maybe Buddy Hield, who is maybe most NBA-ready. That third player outside of the top two, what kind of prospects — who is on that list, do you think, which might be the third guy that we like and what do you think of Buddy Hield and his NBA potential.

FRASCHILLA: I think my gut feeling is, given where the Celtics are and where a number of teams are thinking right now, that Bender is going to be in the five to seven, eight range. That’s just my own opinion, but obviously a very good long-term prospect.

In that third spot, you’re talking about guys who could make an instant impact because of their experience, and that would be Hield, Dunn, Murray, in that order, in my opinion. Poeltl and Ellenson are in that mix, as well.

But I think in Buddy Hield, that you have a guy who not only is a great shooter, but makes tough, contested shots because he has great footwork. He’s a product of four years of just being in a gym; you combine it with his athleticism and he’s ready-made to help a team right away.

Kris Dunn is similar but a different position. He’s likely to be the best point guard in this draft. He’s got NBA size, strength, ability to pass the ball, older, mature, and then the third guy that I think will be in that mix is Jamal Murray, only 19 years old, but way mature beyond his years. Anybody who watched him in the Pan Am Games last summer, as an 18-year-old, playing against a FIBA-level of player; not quite the NBA, but high-level, physical, mature players, he was dominant, really, and he dominated the SEC this year.

He’s a point guard who had to play off the ball this year because of Tyler Ulis; a lead guard, point guard, scoring guard, however you want to say it. And the beauty of Jamal Murray, as opposed to those other two guys, is there is more ceiling because he’s at least a couple years younger than both.

Q.  Just wondering with the international guys, there’s obviously a lot of them projected to be in the first round. I wonder if you could talk about some of the ones that you think are better, and are they projected in the first round more because it’s a weak draft domestically, are these guys as good as advertised?

FRASCHILLA: No, I think the international portion of this draft has got a lot of potentially good players, but certainly nobody ready to make an impact, let’s say, like Porzingis did a year ago.

In my particular order, and I really don’t follow what everybody has, per se, but to me, it’s Bender, it’s [Furkan] Korkmaz from Turkey, and I know you know these guys, I’ll describe them if you want. Then Hernangomez from Spain, young, stretch, 4-man, shooter, some toughness. I think the most ready to help a team in an NBA setting.

From there, it’s Zizic and Zubac, the two Croatian kids. Zizic is the more athletic and Zubac is the bigger. Those are my five, all capable of going in the first round.

Then you have a kid like Timothe Luwawu who has a lot of buzz. NBA teams are kind of lukewarm on him. I’m lukewarm on him. But he’s an athletic wing defender who is a very streaky shooter that’s still young enough that he has some upside. That would be six off the bat that all could go in the first round.

Q.  There’s more than we would normally see, or that we’ve seen in the last few years. Is that maybe a reflection of it being a bit of a down year here?

FRASCHILLA: I think it’s a combination of everything year-to-year. In this particular case, you’re looking at, I mean, for example, Bender, Korkmaz and Zubac are all born in 1987, so that makes them all 19 this year. Well, there’s a lot of upside if you like one of those guys, especially as you move down into the middle or end of the first round.

I think it’s really a confluence of events and it’s more about the fact that it’s not a strong draft, and less about the fact that these are all impact guys. Really, none of the international guys are impact guys this year, none of them.

Q.  Two of the better power forwards in all of college basketball this year were in the State of Iowa, Georges Niang and Jarrod Uthoff, and yet those two are not very high in any draft charts and maybe won’t be drafted at all. Can you tell me why you feel that is, what it is about them that the scouts don’t like?

FRASCHILLA: Well, I think the best way to analogize it is — and I’ve got to say this that it comes out the right way. College basketball at this level that these two young played at is AA baseball. The top Euro leagues are AAA and the NBA is the Major Leagues. There’s no question that a guy like George Niang or Jarrod Uthoff, and particularly George — they both were great. That’s like hitting .330 AA; they were magnificent players at this level.

But it’s a different sport, the athleticism is supreme and teams look at both of those guys and say, you’re going to have to show me that you can compete athletically at the NBA level.

I do think that both of those guys have a good chance to go in the second round. It’s a matter of taste. But both of those guys, they are going to have to prove in their different ways that they are going to have to keep up with NBA athleticism.

You know, George is an under-sized 4-man and Jarrod is really, he’s kind of got the body type of a 3-man because he doesn’t have the kind of girth that you need to play inside.

What helps both of them is the NBA is evolving into a space league and a perimeter league and shooting is at a premium and both of those guys are skilled offensive players. I think they are both going to have to prove their mark on NBA Summer League teams and go from there.

Q.  You mentioned Skal this year as a projection pick. I wonder what sort of success rate is there with projection picks in terms of becoming, you know, dependable, productive NBA players?

FRASCHILLA: Well, obviously when you talk about Draymond Green getting taken in the 30s, these teams miss on players, but NBA teams by and large know what they are looking for.

You know, in a draft like, this once you get past the tenth, 11th, 12th pick, you’ll see a lot of teams trying to trade out of the pick and making phone calls, because unless they have a guy they absolutely love, it becomes a crapshoot. Skal is a crapshoot kind of player. You love the length and athleticism. You love the fact that he made like probably 45 percent of his mid-range jumpshots this year, a lot of pick-and-pop shots.

He didn’t really show the range that he has at the NBA three-point line and he doesn’t have the physical presence to really hold his ground in the low post.

So these are all major factors in an NBA game right now. To me, he’s hit and miss as much as anybody who is taken between 50 and 60 is hit and miss, and that seems to be the case every year. Guys that go after the elite guys go, he’s really in that range where from 15 on down to, let’s say, 30 is his real range, there’s a lot of things that need to be polished up and improved on, and a lot of it is just physical maturity and strength. And some skills, like passing and dribbling the ball, because in watching a lot of tape of him, most of his mid-range shots came wide-open, pick-and-pop off Ulis or Murray, pass, because those guys were so important to a defense guarding them that he was the beneficiary of wide-open shots.

So these things to like but there’s things that are certainly, you know, chinks in the armor, so to speak.

Q.  And what do you think of Marcus Lee as a prospect?

FRASCHILLA: Energy guy, second round. If he runs hard, I know he’s a high-character guy. If he runs hard, plays hard, plays within his ability to defend and rebound and dunk, offensive rebound put-backs, run to the rim on pick-and-rolls, you know, he’s got a chance, he really does.

Because I saw him in practice in October, and to me, he’s a big man project who somebody is going to likely draft in the second round, and if he’s not drafted, you’ll see him in Las Vegas running up-and-down the court in the NBA Summer League where he prove himself.

Two-part question with the Warriors. They will be drafting at the end of the first rounds again. Just wonder how you’ve thought their front office handled their picks in the 30-range and who might be there this year?

FRASCHILLA: Well, let’s see, Festus Ezeli and Draymond Green, I’d say that’s pretty good.

But in all seriousness, it’s an ideal place, it’s an ideal place for two types of players here, actually three. You can go projection for three years down the road, you can go production, a veteran guy who slipped down to the end, and you can go international guy and figure out whether you want to stash him.

So let’s take one at a time, okay. A perfect projection guy, picking at 30, and I don’t think he’ll be there, but would be the aforementioned Skal, perfect guy. Or, they pick a lottery a second time and take a Damian Jones, a center out of Vanderbilt. I think Damian and Skal will both be gone by then.

The second type of guy you take is a production guy, a veteran who has proven to be a very good college player like a Malcolm Brogdon from Virginia, a guy that could be there. And the negative on him is he’s going to be 24 soon. The positive is, he’s perfect for a playoff-winning culture team, because that’s what he is.

And then the third kind of guy, you want a foreign guy at 30, you take an Ante Zizic from Croatia, 6-11, 19 years old, and down the road could be an Enes Kanter type of player. That’s what I think the Warriors are going to look at for the foreseeable future.

Q.  Obviously with Ben Simmons skipping the Combine how much do you think that will affect him at all, or do you think he’s still one or two — do you believe he’s one or two, obviously? Who do you like at one?

FRASCHILLA: It’s a lock for one or two, it really is. Not playing and not going to the Combine is no big deal. I don’t think teams expected him. There’s nothing to be gained by being there. His body of work is his body of work.

Now, the only thing is, where there was a huge gap three months ago between Simmons and Ingram, there’s no question the gap has shrunk. There’s things about Ben that have to be figured out in interviews, and he’s only going to interview for one or two teams anyway and the team is going to have to decide what to do.

But by and large, Ben is obviously locked in at one or two, barring an injury. His camp will go from there.

Q.  And also, Tim Quarterman from LSU, do you think he’s kind of a really late second, or do you think he could get in there at all?

FRASCHILLA: Well, I don’t have him in my top 60. But I’m just another ESPN talking head.

I watch a lot of tape and I do take this stuff seriously, but if I were him, I’d go back to school and with the returning group they have, I would try to show people, he couldn’t do the job as the second banana in my opinion. He didn’t handle it well. He needs to go back and handle being a team leader next year.

Although, is he gone? I don’t know if he has an agent or not.

He signed, yeah.

FRASCHILLA: All right. Well, he’s going to the D-League. Next time you see him, you’ll be watching him in Erie or Maine.

Wonder if there was a chance, if he had some workouts.

FRANCHILLA: To your point, there’s 450 guys that make the league every year. If he’s on an NBA roster come October, it’s not going to be a Shock, but I think even then, he’ll spend a lot of time in the D-League.

Q.  New Orleans is going to be somewhere in that top nine, if they don’t make a big jump, they will be in that six to nine range. Where do you see maybe a drop in the draft, and who do you see could be in that six to ten range?

FRASCHILLA: You know, it’s my opinion that the drop takes place around 11 or 12, and I’ve also had teams tell me, a lot of teams tell me that that’s what they see the cutoff is. So you are looking in the six to nine range at some intriguing prospects.

Obviously one of the guards that I mentioned earlier, a Murray, a Dunn or a Hield, could fall into that range. Jakob Poeltl or Henry Ellenson seem to be in that range, two, young, big guys with a lot of potential. And then a guy that I think may be the best athlete in the entire draft is going to be in that range, and that’s Marquese Chriss from University of Washington, a freak-ish athlete, young, one of the youngest players in the draft, and improving skill level.

So those are some names that are going to be right there staring the pelicans in the face, and each of those guys in their own way has a chance to be a very solid NBA player at various times down the road.

Q.  Obviously down in the bottom third of the first round, the Pacers would love to find a point guard, among other things. But who is in there as point guard, would Cat Barber be in there? What’s the crop look like in the bottom third?

FRASCHILLA: It’s a deep point guard draft but not deep in terms of NBA starters, but it is a deep point guard draft. When you start getting to where the Pacers will pick, you’re obviously looking at — it could be a Demetrius Jackson from Notre Dame, who is an Eric Bledsoe-type clean. It could be Wade Baldwin from Vanderbilt who has got a 6-10 wing span that by and large, those 6-3 point guards with 6-10 wing spans have had some success in the league.

It could be a — I’m just looking at my list here, because it could be a Dejounte Murray, who is only a freshman at Washington who is 6-5 who could play point who has got a lot of long-term potential. And it could be a guy like Tyler Ulis, who is 5-9; he’s an outlier, because there are not many 5-9 point guards in the league and a very skilled player, and you hope he’s an Isiah Thomas type of guy in terms of his impact.

Q.  Of those guys, is there anybody if you were an NBA GM you would want to hand your team to right away?

FRASCHILLA: No, I think they are all — I do honestly think they are all rotation backup point guards at this point. And in one case, Dejounte Murray is only 18 or 19, so he’s going to need to take some time. A very good athlete, very good decision maker, poor shooter right now.

My gut feeling is the Pacers will take the best player available and not worry about position.

Q.  How has the Warriors’ dominance with small ball shooting affected guys like Poeltl and Sabonis, as well as the draft as a whole?

FRASCHILLA: Well, it does affect it because first of all, it’s so ironic, like a lot of college teams have been playing fall ball forever, European teams.

But to your point specifically, it does affect how you draft, because for example, if you’re drafting bigs, you have to be very concerned about how they are going to handle themselves away from the basket, and whether they are guarding stretch bigs or whether they are guarding pick-and-rolls. Lateral quickness is a big factor right now if you’re taking a big man, unless you just know you have to have — you just love somebody that much.

Keep in mind, there’s a lot of good, young, big guys coming into the league right now. You look at Karl Towns and you look at Andre Drummond, so you still have to battle dinosaur-for-dinosaur at times. But a teams has to decide with drafting some of these young big guys, of which there are a number, how they are going to utilize them and how they are going to be both effective on an NBA court and ineffective, and how you cover for their weaknesses while embellishing some of their strengths within your system.

So it’s definitely a factor. Diamond Stone of Maryland, terrific young big guy with great hands, great size. He’s going somewhere in the middle of the first round, but you have to ask yourself if we take him, how do we protect him in pick-and-roll coverage, for example.

Q.  Could you talk about the difference between Simmons and Ingram? I heard a comparison that Simmons might be more like Lamar Odom than LeBron because of his mental makeup. Can you talk about that a bit?

FRASCHILLA: Simmons is as good a passer as you will ever see from a 6-10 guy. And I know; I’m old enough to go back Magic. The kid is gifted. He’s as good a passer as there is, and he makes your team automatically faster because of his ability to rebound and not outlet it, but push it.

There are some analytics that just blow you away. One of them is a minor one, but he has the best assists per 40 minutes for a power forward in the last 40 years with the exception of Draymond Green who tied the same amount of assists. So he’s a rebounder, he’s a great passer, and he’s a tremendous athlete. The shooting will scare some teams, but the way the NBA is right now, a guy that makes your team faster from the power forward spot is unheard of, really.

In terms of Ingram, you’re looking at a young combo forward who has got multiple offensive skills but still weighs 205 pounds. You’re going to have to figure out if you draft him, are we playing him at the three, or are we playing him as a stretch four, what I would call a floating four, and he’s got a world of upside.

But defensively right now, you’re going to be covering for him for the foreseeable future because he doesn’t have a position to guard at the moment. But an enormous offensive talent.

So you’re deciding between taking, do you like vanilla or do you like chocolate. To me, as long as the attitude checks out, Ben Simmons is a once-every-five-to-ten-years-type of draft pick.

Q.  Guys like A.J. Hammons, Demetrius Jackson to a point, they are at the Combine, Swanigan I think also is at the Combine, Troy Williams and Yogi Ferrell aren’t. What do you think they need to show to get the correct decisions made about the draft?

FRASCHILLA: Well, A.J. Hammons, there will be good buzz about him as long as his interviews check out and the background stuff checks out, because it’s hard to find a guy that’s seven feet tall that does what he does defensively.

Even though he’s a four-year player, and we talk about the speed and space game, you still need a number of big guys on your roster, and A.J. I think is a perfect guy in the middle of that first round.

Demetrius Jackson, you know, again, perfectly made for the NBA game because you can’t hand to hand (ph) check. He’s going to get wherever he wants on the court. I compare him to, as I said before, an Eric Bledsoe0type, terrific athlete. He has to shoot it a little bit better if he’s going to go from being a rotation guy or a backup point guard to a starter.

Swanigan, you know, not a lot of buzz from him right now. To be honest I think his best bet is to go back to school. I would say work on his hands and his lateral movement. You know, I’m not going to tell him what to do but that’s my opinion.

Yogi and Troy are going to be two guys, if they are not drafted, they are going to be in the NBA Summer League, playing for NBA teams, trying to prove themselves and to that point, Isiah Thomas was the 60th player taken a few years ago, and is now an NBA All-Star.

And by the way, one game doesn’t mean anything but I thought Yogi acquited himself very well against a guy that everybody has in the first round by the name of Tyler Ulis. He blew by him three different times in that game.

Q.  What do you think about Thon Maker as a wild card in this draft?

FRASCHILLA: Wild card. I mean, you know, he’s a very mature 19-year-old. It’s the best way I could put it. He’s long and athletic. I’ve gotten to know him. I run the Under Armour summer camps and he was a camper there last summer. He seems like a terrific kid. He plays with a high motor. His skill level is not at the NBA level right now, and I could see him going anywhere from 20 to 45.

Q.  Eight picks, five second-rounders. At 16 and 23, are those just guys that are — does the depth of this draft allow them to get a productive NBA player at either of those picks, or are those guys that are just going to have to be stashed or a kid like Murray who is going to be two, three years away?

FRASCHILLA: You know, I think 16 is a good pick for this reason: I have a lot of — I think Danny and his staff do a really good job, and I think 16 is a place where they are going to hope one of the guys they really like, slips.

Like I said before, I thought the Draft stopped at 12, for starters, particularly, maybe. But I think 16 is a terrific pick for them. My opinion, it’s somebody like a Sabonis, a Beasley, a Deyonta Davis, a Ben Bentil from Providence. There’s going to be somebody they like there that I think they are going to be excited about taking.

And then of course, because of all the picks, you’re talking about a team that could be wheeling and dealing, too, with trades. But I always think that 13 to 22 range is where a team picking there really likes somebody that they had in their Top-10 and just falls to them. I think the Celtics could be in that position.

Q.  Wondering about a guy like Stefan Moody at Ole Miss who was an entertaining player and productive player in college and I get the feeling absolutely no buzz, no combine invite. Why do you think that is?

FRASCHILLA: You know, I’ll get back to the fact that the league is first and foremost about athleticism and then positional size. Now there are outliers, so right off the bat, very good college player, explosive scorer, but not the size nor the kind of game that I think translates for a scoring guard.

But having said that, he’s a kid that will probably get signed right after the draft and have a chance to prove that we were all wrong. Happens every year. There’s always that guy that’s under-sized that finds a way to play in the league because they have got the skill and toughness and competitiveness, but there is no buzz about Stefan Moody right now and really not that much buzz when you think of the SEC, a little — obviously Baldwin and Jones at Vanderbilt, Smith as a second-rounder at Florida. There’s not a lot of there, there, from the SEC at the moment.

Q.  What do you think of Kay Felder?

FRASCHILLA: There’s a guy that can really play. And he and Ulis are going to be competing for, you know, which guy’s NBA team is most like Isiah Thomas. And again, an outlier because he’s 5-9, but supremely skilled, great passer, gets fouled a lot, fearless. There are a lot of attributes there that are similar to Tyler Ulis. I think Tyler Ulis could have averaged 26 and nine at Oakland, and Kay Felder could do what Tyler Ulis did at Kentucky, if that makes sense.

That’s high praise.

FRASCHILLA: Well, similar-type players, very similar and I think they will both be on rosters next year.

Q.  You mentioned Damian Jones a little bit. What do you like about him and where do you see him fitting in? He’s here in Baton Rouge.

FRASCHILLA: I know, he had a good high school career which I understand, and he’s a young guy, which I like.

I’m actually a fan of his. I think he’s one of those perfect guys that you take a playoff team, that a team takes around 18 to 25 and is going to be very happy with Damian. I know that there are people that think he did not have a great junior year.

But the biggest problem with Damian — and I’ve got him at 7-0, 245. I haven’t seen the measure amendments at the Combine yet. But the biggest problem with Damian is just staying out of foul trouble. He was in foul trouble in 21 of 33 games. But when you are looking at a kid with his size and athleticism and bounce; and the one thing NBA teams love is big men that can change ends of the floor.

I happen to be a fan of his and I think he’s got great value right there in the middle to end of the first round, because as my good friend Tommy Penn, who will be on the broadcast says so much, and he was in the NBA front offices forever: Size rises. You can’t get enough size in the first round, and I think with his size, wing span, intelligence, athleticism, he’s going to go in that middle part of that first round. He’s got to stay out of foul trouble.

Q.  I think John said earlier today that he thinks Marcus Lee is going to say in the draft. What is the likelihood of maybe some D-League time to develop, further develop?

FRASCHILLA: High. High. You know what, I think I might have said this earlier, I happened to like Lee as, again, I hate to say project, but we’re talking about the 450 best players in the world. If a team drafts him in the second round or they sign him, I could see him being part of an NBA veteran camp, being signed to play in the D-League and just starting his career there, if he doesn’t want to go to Europe.

But he’s a big man who runs the floor, plays with a good motor. He’s got a chance. He’s not skilled but he’s active and he’s got a good motor.

He’s a 50/50 guy. It’s a 50/50 proposition that he’ll be on an NBA roster.



Media contacts:  Gianina Thompson at [email protected] (@Gianina_ESPN).

Gianina Thompson

“Never wish for it more than you work for it.” My dad has told me this ever since we watched the New York Yankees win the World Series in 1996. Living by those words has brought me to ESPN as their Senior Publicist for NBA, MLB, FIBA, and Little League. Working for the World Wide Leader in Sports, it comes naturally that I have a competitive nature. Competing on a Division 1 college rowing team and receiving both my master’s and bachelor’s degrees before turning 22 years old, further illustrates that. Sports are more than entertainment; it’s hopes for something bigger than yesterday.
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