Transcript: 2020 NBA Draft Preview with NBA Front Office Insider Bobby Marks and NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz

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Transcript: 2020 NBA Draft Preview with NBA Front Office Insider Bobby Marks and NBA Draft Analyst Mike Schmitz

ESPN NBA Front Office Insider Bobby Marks and NBA Draft analyst Mike Schmitz discussed possibilities surrounding the 2020 NBA Draft this morning on a Zoom conference call.

Both Marks and Schmitz will provide analysis and commentary throughout tomorrow night’s NBA Draft coverage, exclusively on ESPN beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET. Full Details

Full Transcript Below:

Q. Mike, I wanted to just ask you, I’ve talked to a lot of scouts and people around the league about this — With such a delay with the draft, with obviously not having guys able to work out in facilities, how different is this year’s draft to you?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, it’s pretty close to unprecedented, just given it’s so far from when we last saw these guys play. If you look at James Wiseman and LaMelo Ball, it’s going to have been over a year since they’ve played a competitive game by the time they play their first NBA game. I think it’s definitely been a challenge.

Thankfully the teams were eventually able to get out to some workouts and see a limited number of prospects, but for all those months, it was a lot of Zoom interviews, it was a lot of film study, a lot of intel gathering. So you would think that teams, given all this time, would have a pretty good grasp on this class, but you can also talk yourself in and out of guys and talk yourselves in circles, as well.

Q. A few people I’ve talked to have said it’s going to create more guessing because the workouts that teams are seeing are agent controlled. They don’t have them in their facility, where they can really kind of get a gauge on them. Do you expect there to be more misses than usual because of that?

MIKE SCHMITZ: I think it’s possible. I think what we’ve learned with the draft is the second you think you know something is going to be one way, it’s maybe the other. I don’t want to say for sure teams are just going to be swinging and missing, but it’s important to keep in mind that we’re dealing with 18, 19, 20-year old young men who can very easily change over the course of eight, nine months. Some of these players are going to look incredibly different than they did during their college season. I think that’s the biggest thing that teams want to see from these workouts, especially with the top prospects, is like, were they able to see what their body looks like, how they’re shooting it, even if it is agent controlled.

But yeah, losing the ability to watch them in your facility go 3-on-3 or get up and down a little bit definitely makes this a more difficult process.

Q. This is a non-basketball question, but in your expert opinion, how do you judge a draft, and what criteria do you use to judge a draft? What I mean is not right now but next year or down the road? What makes a good draft or a bad draft, in your opinion?

BOBBY MARKS: Well, for me, I usually look at it probably eight years out, if anything. Like if you can go back to the 2011 draft, and it’s kind of comparable to where we are right now because it’s — that was the year with the lockout, so you had basically a shortened training camp. These players are going to go through a three-week training camp. It’s a little bit different because these players have not been in their own market. They’re basically going to get drafted and go.

So I look at it as an eight-year window as far as where these players are because there’s a player like maybe DeMarre Carroll who didn’t pan out when he was drafted, and then turned out to be a pretty serviceable rotation player.

I think if you have a draft where, I call them, cup-of-coffee guys, rotation B’s, guys who didn’t step in the league, rotation A’s, that’s probably a little bit below average. But if you have certainly when you hit on the franchise-level guys, All-Star, top starters, if it’s top heavy with that, I think that’s a success.

But it’s hard for me to say after the third year or fourth year that this player did not work because I think there is a track record of players maybe just a different setting that they can go to where they’ve had long careers here.

MIKE SCHMITZ: Just to piggyback off that, I would agree with Bobby. I think we’re probably a little too quick to judge a draft. We want to re-draft like a month after all the time and talk about how things should have been. But we’ve seen it with Kawhi Leonard, we’ve seen it with Giannis. These guys who maybe take a little bit to become the stars that they are.

And in terms of evaluating like the strength of a draft class, I always say it was a bad draft until it’s not, and there are always guys who emerge who end up being better than we thought. I think we can continue to expect seeing that, just with all the players coming from all over the world now.

I think we judge a draft probably a little bit too quickly more often than not.

Q. I just wanted to ask you about a couple local guys for us here: Myles Powell, Seton Hall, and Kahlil Whitney who was at Kentucky. Can you kind of say a little something about what you see these guys projecting, and if they don’t get drafted, which seems a real possibility and they go as free agents, how can that almost be an advantage where you can kind of pick your team and not get locked into a team?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, I think Myles is probably a fringe draft pick. He’s one of the most accomplished scorers in college basketball, though, so you kind of know what you’re getting. We’ve seen it over the course of his career. He can really, really shoot it. He’s one of those kind of microwave scorer type of guys, who I think could come in and give you points, if you want that, off the bench.

So I would see him, like I said, maybe being a guy who goes in the 50s or goes undrafted.

And to your point, we’ve seen a lot of players have success kind of picking their own situation, whether it’s Fred VanVleet or T.J. McConnell, just to name a few guards. I think we could see something very similar with Myles.

And then in terms of Kahlil, physically he’s exactly what teams want on the wing. Just kind of with the very limited sample size at Kentucky and then given the circumstances of the pandemic, he’s been kind of a difficult guy, I think, for teams to evaluate just because they haven’t been able to see much of him.

I think he’s an interesting name when you talk about a guy in the 50s who would maybe take a two-way, because teams, I think, in their two-ways, they want guys, not the same for every team, but they want guys who have a chance to play in the NBA. They want guys who are kind of a swing, who could potentially be a contributor down the road, and I think he fits that mold. Obviously former McDonald’s All-American and very accomplished player at the prep level.

I would look for him kind of in that mold.

Q. These guys are going to be in training camp in two weeks and playing games in a month. Have you heard anything or could the NBA expand training camps to allow more guys than the 15 in because of the short turnaround?

BOBBY MARKS: Well, you can go up to 20 in the off-season. So you can go up to 20, which includes your two-way, so you can add an additional three camp guys including your — whatever roster players you have, and then you’ve just got to cut down by — right before the season started.

So I’m under the impression it’s going to be 20 players max that you can bring to camp, and we’ll just kind of, as we know in this world, it’s kind of we’re in a day-to-day world right now and we’ll see if that changes. But the league, in their memo sent to teams, left it open that they would create additional roster flexibility based on certain health circumstances.

Q. Is that number normally 20 in past years or no?

BOBBY MARKS: It is normally 20, yes, in the off-season.

Q. Two pieces here: I wanted to get your thoughts on Killian Hayes as a prospect, and then with an international player, just maybe what some of the risks and what a front office looks at in terms of picking a guy that maybe they haven’t seen against NBA level competition, and in the Pistons’ case they’ve been hurt by Darko Miličić, but what do you think about in those circumstances?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, for Killian, I think his size, his passing ability, his craft in the paint are all things that really, really stand out, and he’s been probably scouted as much as any international prospect in this draft, not just in Germany but he’s been on the radar for so long. He was at the Jordan Brand international game as a 15-year-old. He was a mainstay on the FIBA circuit with French Junior National Team. He was at all the Adidas Eurocamp events, he’s been to multiple Basketball without Borders Camps, both of the ones in the States. So he’s kind of a known commodity around the NBA.

So I would think he’s a little bit different than some of those other guys, than maybe like an Alexsej Pokuševski, who’s in this draft who’s not quite as known.

Now, not every GM or president was able to go out to Ulm this year and watch him play, so you still have to kind of weigh what that level of competition is like for him, and I think you have to weigh the situation, also. He was in a situation where they put the ball in his hands and they said, you know, you’re young but we’re going to try to build around you and let you play through mistakes, and I think you kind of saw him reap the benefits of that.

I think he’s an interesting long-term play. I’m not sure he’s going to come in right away and save your franchise, but if you kind of surround him with good pieces and you’re patient with him, and he continues to get better as a perimeter shooter, then you really, really might have something because he’s a super talented kid.

Q. I was going to ask you about Okongwu from USC. I know a lot of people compare him to Bam Adebayo, which is somewhat inevitable, but what do you see as the type of player style-wise that he will become after a couple years?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, I really like his game. I think he reminds me of Bam defensively, not quite offensively. I don’t think he’s going to be some point center that we’ve seen Bam develop into, but defensively he’s as advertised. I think he’s what every team is looking for in today’s game on that end of the floor. He’s a great shot blocker. He’s a very versatile pick-and-roll defender. He can step out and switch.

And then offensively he’s someone who doesn’t really need any plays called for him to have an impact. We saw it at USC, they had a freshman point guard, they were playing with multiple bigs at times, and he still found a way to be as productive as he was.

I think he has a chance to be the best big to come out of this draft. He’s not quite as tantalizing or exciting of a talent as James Wiseman, but in terms of the productivity and kind of the fit defensively, I think he’s really, really interesting.

Q. Bob, about Okongwu, do you agree with that or anything else you would add?

BOBBY MARKS: Yeah, I think he’s the guy that teams have circled as far as in your team is in the teens, how you get into the top six, the top seven. That’s the name you hear the most about as far as jumping in there, and I think the Bam blueprint that we saw during — certainly during the playoffs and the Finals and how he’s developed, I mean, that’s kind of how the league has changed or is changing to. Those guys are rare; you’re not going to find them in free agency right now. You’re not going to do that. So if you can get them in the draft and you can get a player like that on a four-year contract on a rookie scale, you know, it’s well worth the risk.

Q. Bobby, two questions about the next two weeks. I am curious how you think this compacted schedule is going to affect the nature of free agency, and also now that the Suns have used their cap space, I wonder how you value the Hornets and the other three teams’ cap space that remains as far as very few teams you could turn to, to dump a contract.

BOBBY MARKS: Yeah, I think what we’re basically seeing right now is, as you know, June, July and August condensed into two weeks here, which is certainly unprecedented, and I think the reason we’re seeing so many agreed trades or trades that have occurred in the last two days is that teams do not want to go into training camp having to make a deal dealing with travel restrictions, COVID, a condensed training camp here.

Eventually we’ll probably get back to some type of normalcy next August, but for now I think we’re in uncharted territory comparable to 2011, but I don’t remember 2011 being as active as we’ve seen the last couple days here.

As regards to with Phoenix, yeah, so Phoenix removed themselves out of teams with cap space with the Chris Paul trade and now we’re looking at Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, probably New York as the four teams that are going to have significant room here. It’s just a matter of what your preference is going to be.

Usually when you have that much room, you have that rush to spend it all at once. I would be cautiously optimistic for these teams to take that conservative approach, especially if you’re in Charlotte and you’ve got $20 million in room. You might be in a situation where there might be an undesirable contract that might be willing to come your way, and it could help you with a second round or maybe even a first-round pick.

I think a good example is Brooklyn made a trade yesterday, got Bruce Brown from Detroit and gave them a future second from Toronto, and that pick they acquired from Toronto is because they took money back in a trade. So you never know when those picks are going to become a value. They’re probably not as valuable right now but they could be in the future.

Q. Do you think the compacted schedule could make for hasty free agent decisions the next couple weeks?

BOBBY MARKS: Well, considering most teams have been off since March, I would hope not. But yeah, I think there is a — I think in Milwaukee — I wouldn’t call that a hasty decision, I think that’s a well-thought-out decision but when you have the Giannis supermax extension that’s looming three, four days from now and a deadline that’s on December 21st, you’re more inclined to do something sooner rather than later.

I would say that you don’t have that time to think about maybe a deal comes your way on July 1st and you think about — you don’t have that time to have two weeks to think about it. You really have like a day to think about it. It’s almost like what free agents are going to go through in the next couple days. Free agents are going to be in a position where it’s going to be a take-it-or-leave-it scenario, where whatever offer they get they’re basically going to be on the clock right then to decide on taking it, and if they don’t take it, a team is going to move on to another player because we’re such in a time crunch right now.

Q. Mike, what can fans expect with this draft? Will it be similar to like the WNBA with players coming out, congratulating all the NBA draftees? And my follow-up question is for both of the guys: Do you think James Harden would be a great fit for the Brooklyn Nets?

MIKE SCHMITZ: I think in terms of the draft format, ESPN is going to do everything they can to make sure that you get kind of a behind-the-scenes look at each prospect’s draft night, get to hear from them, get to see their reaction, some of their family members, all that. And get kind of just an up-close and personal look at their pre-draft — or their draft experience that maybe you wouldn’t even get in person. So it’s going to be different. It’s going to be a different energy not being in Barclays, but I think we’re going to have some really, really unique elements that will bring out these players’ personalities and the emotion of getting drafted, especially in such a unique year for all of us.

BOBBY MARKS: Yeah, I think the Harden situation is a lot different because you’re not signing him as a free agent and you keep your roster intact. It’s basically kind of what’s left of your roster. What do you have left? You have three top-15 players on your roster, and then maybe you go out and sign Joe Harris. But most of your core players in any type of James Harden, with any team, are going to be gone. It’s different than with Milwaukee going out and getting Jrue Holiday, and although Eric Bledsoe and George Hill are good players, there’s still Giannis and Middleton and Brook is there. We’ll see what happens with some other moves here.

Having been around when you have three high-level players, I would say — I don’t know about fit, but I think there’s probably going to be more about sacrifice. I think if a trade ever did materialize, it’s all about these three players sacrificing; they’re not going to be able to play the style they’ve done prior.

Q. I’m curious, for Mike, who do you see as being potential targets for the Mavs at 18, or if they trade up when they’re looking for wing depth? And for Bobby, what do you see as being the likelihood or the capability for the Mavs to add a big name alongside Luka and Kristaps, whether that’s through a trade or a signing in the next couple days?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, on our most recent mock draft we had Alexsej Pokusevski who’s not maybe the instant contributors as maybe some of these other guys. I think the thought is with Dallas’ long-standing history of success with international prospects, he is a really, really talented young player, the youngest player in the draft. Seven feet tall, can really shoot, handle and pass, still only 18 years old. He would be more of a long-term play.

I think if you’re talking about wings who could help them right now, Josh Green out of Arizona is somebody that you’ll hear, 6’6″, long arms, one of the better defenders in the draft. Saddiq Bey I think is a name they would love to see fall to them. I don’t know if that’s realistic, but just with his defensive versatility, and he’s one of the more NBA-ready guys in this draft.

And then I guess the last name would be Aaron Nesmith, the shooter out of Vanderbilt. Could potentially be available for them, not out of the question, 6’6″, one of the better shooters. There are definitely some good options for them, both in the short-term and in the long-term.

BOBBY MARKS: Yeah, I think for me for Dallas from a roster standpoint, as great as Luka is, I’ve always said the X factor is going to be if Kristaps can stay healthy. That’s going to be the big thing there, and if he can stay healthy, they’ll have a chance.

This off-season the likelihood is Tim Hardaway is going to opt in or exercise the option to opt in. So they’re one of the teams that will have that full midlevel to use, especially with the cap staying flat that gives them an advantage over probably more teams, that $9.3 million number. They used the bi-annual, which was 3.6 last year, already. So I think it’s kind of like what player can you target that maybe would take a discount to come there, what are your needs going to be.

The roster is pretty much intact. So are you looking at guys like Danilo Gallinari or Serge Ibaka, who can maybe earn more with another team, that has a chance to come play there. Another name is certainly Jae Crowder.

As far as from big name, I think it’s going to be interesting as far as where they are cap-wise next year and what free agents are going to be there. They’ll have the flexibility to potentially go out and get a max player but it might have to cost them one or two players.

They’re well positioned. They’re probably not in that top-four level right now, but they’re in that probably five to six range, but they have the right contracts, good contracts, to go out and make a deal if it makes sense because they have kind of role players that fit.

Q. What do you guys see from Boston — obviously I think 26 would be a draft and stash, but what do you see from Boston at 14 and 30? And also, is this a good draft to have three first-round picks because you might be able to get a good player or better player maybe at 30 than you could at 18, given kind of the unpredictability? What would you say is the advantages and disadvantages of having three first-rounders in this draft?

BOBBY MARKS: I think the first one — you’ve been through it already with Boston in previous years, is that what is the value, can you move up? We always talk about — we did that in New Jersey back in 2001– where we traded out of seven and wound up getting two additional firsts. What is the value? Can you get 14, 26 and 30, and is there a team willing in the top 10 to kind of bite on that, right? I call it the quality over quantity-type trade.

I think for the Celtics, this is — although their roster is really restricted, there is limited flexibility based on where their finances are, yeah, this is a good draft to have three first-round picks because of these rookie contracts and you’re able to manage it here.

I think they’re going to have plenty of options here come Wednesday night as far as — we saw it last year when they moved around in the first round, if maybe 26 and 30 gets you to 22, maybe 14 and 26 gets you to 11. I think that’s all the different type of options that they’re going to have to look at and figure out.

Maybe there’s not much separation between 14 and 10 at all. But if you ask me right now do I think by midnight tomorrow night that the Celtics will walk away with three first-round picks, I would say probably not. I would say it’s probably highly unlikely. They’ll probably package it to take three to get down to two or maybe even one.

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, and in terms of the players, I think there’s some interesting options at 14. You have some wings who I think could step in right away like a Saddiq Bey or somebody like that. I think also getting a guard, adding to some backcourt depth, whether that be R.J. Hampton or Cole Anthony or Kira Lewis, I think there are some different ways that you could go there.

And then this is a strong draft, especially in the first round, for draft-and-stash type of prospects. One name I would think about is this kid Leandro Bolomaro. I’m not sure if he makes it to 26, but I think he’s a highly attractive draft-and-stash. He’s a 6’7″ Argentinian guard and he has a really good situation in Barcelona. He’s in the rotation there playing at a really high level. He’s going to be one of the more coveted draft-and-stash prospects that could be available when they’re selecting.

Q. Mike, I’m wondering about college upperclassmen; just how hard is it for those guys to sort of change the narrative once they get to their junior and senior years, like if they’re not necessarily flashing on draft boards as freshmen or sophomores, is it tough, or maybe what is the formula for guys that you’ve seen who have suddenly popped later in their college careers, and why would they do that, or is it even possible?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, I don’t think it’s the end of the world to be an older guy when you’re drafted outside the top 10. You know, just looking at Obi Toppin’s case, I went back and kind of looked at the 22-year-olds drafted in the top 10 over the last decade, and the list was not all that inspiring outside of I think Dame Lillard, who maybe I think was 21 the night of the draft. I can’t remember exactly, but almost 22 years old.

I think it’s a little bit different for kind of your later first-round pick. A lot of those guys we’ve seen have great success, and teams want — when you’re talking about the end of the first round they want somebody who’s ready to come in and have an impact right away. It’s more so if you’re investing top-5 type of money in somebody who is already 22 or 23 years old.

But I think for the players when they’re in college, I think it’s about winning, it’s about continuing to be an efficient player, a productive player. I look at Brandon Clarke as a pretty good example. He was at San Jose State, he was a no name, gets to Gonzaga, uses his redshirt year to get better, comes on for the Bulldogs and is one of the best players in the country, and is now a total steal for the Memphis Grizzlies.

Everyone has different circumstances, but I do think that upperclassmen drafted outside the top five or so have proven to have some success early on in the NBA.

BOBBY MARKS: And I think just jumping on that, I think this year is certainly more challenging for upperclassmen. No Portsmouth, no individual workouts, no Chicago Combine to be seen. Most of these kids would have played there in 5-on-5. I think it’s going to be interesting to go back three years from now and find out maybe who has made it, who had to go overseas and spend a couple years just because of all the restrictions that are placed.

I think it’s going to be interesting when we get after — when we get into the second round and after, the undrafted players, what teams commit to upperclassmen when it comes to two-ways. I think you’re probably more prone for teams to go the older players because they can maybe play right away if you need to, less than probably from a developmental standpoint.

They are certainly, for this year at least, they are certainly behind the 8-ball from an exposure standpoint.

Q. We’re a little taken aback in Charlotte about what Patrick Williams has become over the last 18 months. Mike, I’m curious what you think is Patrick’s appeal. And Bobby, I’m real curious how you think momentum can affect front offices in that last day or two before a draft. It’s obvious he’s becoming somewhat of an “it” guy right now.

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, I think his appeal is that he has the physical profile and plays a position that every team is looking for. Every team is looking for the guy that they could potentially throw on LeBron or Kawhi, Giannis, some of the best, physically gifted scorers in the NBA and try to slow them down. OG Anunoby is a good prototype that I’ve used in the past. Patrick Williams could potentially be that type of guy, and he’s proven to have so much value in winning at a high level, as well.

I think it’s just the fact that he has those physical tools, the fact that he’s the second youngest player in the draft. You’re definitely projecting out a bit with him. Obviously he wasn’t the most productive player at Florida State. But I just think that it’s just a really hard position to find, and the more teams have been able to dig into his film and not just look at his box score stats, and go back and look at his Nike EYBL numbers and his film, look back at their notes on him from the Jordan Brand Classic, because he’s a guy that we had project as one-and-done in our first round, but I think just the more homework teams have done on him, the type of kid he is, and then seeing that he has a little bit more game than maybe your traditional kind of 3-and-D type of guy has really helped him.

The further we’ve gotten from the college season, too, you kind of tend to shy away from what those numbers looked like and think more about what this player could become, and I think that’s kind of what’s happened with Patrick Williams.

BOBBY MARKS: And then from a momentum standpoint, I always say stick to your board. Like if you’re going to set your board, your draft board on — this is a little bit different. Let’s say if Charlotte maybe set their board like a week ago, stick to it. Don’t let anyone kind of influence — of course if there’s some medical or maybe there’s interview stuff or background that maybe you’ve changed your opinion and move guys around here, but don’t all of a sudden — if you’re picking that night and you have Patrick Williams as your 14th player best available and you’re picking at three, there’s no reason why he should be on your radar there.

I’d just say just stick to your board. Don’t get caught up in the momentum here.

Q. Bobby, do you think that happens, though? Two teams called me up yesterday and asked me what I know about the guy and I didn’t understand why I was suddenly getting these calls, so something is happening out there.

BOBBY MARKS: I think it happens more when there’s more exposure to players. I think it happens when players go through the draft workouts and the interviews and there is some momentum based off that.

It will be interesting how much momentum will teams get off of seeing them play 1-on-0 or maybe they’ve gone back and looked at his game footage, and they’ve kind of identified something that clicks and makes sense at the next level.

Q. With the Pistons having the seventh overall pick and roughly 30 million in cap space, what could they do to be successful on draft night?

BOBBY MARKS: Well, I think for cap space, that’s probably going to be two days later an answer for that. Unless there’s going to be a deal where they’re willing to take back a contract that allows them to move up in the draft or maybe they can take back a contract that gets them more — multiple picks. I think that’s certainly a direction there.

For them at seven, does it mean taking the best available or the best fit? The guy who can come in now, or is it going to be a little bit of a project? Last year I think they picked with Sekou, he’s certainly a project, but is it a guy like Obi Toppin, if he’s there at seven where he’s more of the safe pick or are they kind of looking outside the box.

I think you saw even with the minor move that Troy made on Monday with Brooklyn that he is kind of in that asset-building mode and what can you parlay that — can you parlay seven into something else? But as I said, these drafts won’t be determined until eight years from now. For a success, I think, as far as if you can build up — the more assets that you had compared to where you were going into Wednesday night.

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, and I think they can still get a good player there if they hold pat at seven. The name you would hear quite often is Patrick Williams, coincidentally, and just being, I think, a guy that Troy Weaver historically kind of covets during his Oklahoma City years, and having those physical tools and that kind of long-term upside, he’s bringing a long-term view with all this. So Patrick Williams is a name you’ll hear a lot.

I think you’re still going to have some ready-made players, like Bobby said, even Tyrese Haliburton if you do want to go point guard and you’re kind of looking for a guy who can come in right away and run the show for you, maybe Onyeka Okungwu is a guy who makes it to seven, gives you kind of a center of the future. So I think they have a lot of different options, whether it’s staying at seven or trying to move up.

Q. I have two questions for you: You mentioned this draft being very condensed. Is there any sleeper picks outside of the top draft picks that you’re looking to transition well into the NBA but might be affected because of this condensed draft? And then the other question was, what do you think the Lakers need in the draft to be contenders again?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, I think there are a handful of sleepers who could go outside the top ten who could be really good. Jaden McDaniels is a name that kind of comes to mind for me, somebody who if he were able to get in front of all 30 teams, especially in a workout setting, might end up going in the top 15 or 16 just because he’s a 6’10” wing who can shoot it and handle. Some other guys kind of later on, I think Tyler Bey out of University of Colorado is another guy who maybe would have popped in a combine setting. Robert Woodard from Mississippi State wasn’t overly productive but someone who has the physical profile that teams are looking for at that wing spot.

You know, there are certainly some names, especially kind of the long-armed athlete types who probably could have really helped themselves, whether it’s in a 5-on-5 game at the Combine or with some or competitive pre-draft workouts than teams have been able to see.

BOBBY MARKS: And I think for the Lakers, their first draft pick is going to go to Oklahoma City in the Danny Green trade. They’re going to trade out of that. I think can you buy into the second round like they did last year with Talen Horton-Tucker, maybe accumulate second-round picks there? But for them it’s more about free agency. It’s going to be kind of retaining your own, and then as far as what you can go out and get for that mid-level exception as far as to build back up that roster. You might lose some key parts to this team, but you do add Schröder. But I think how they get back to contending is in free agency.

Q. Speaking of Schröder, I wondered if either of you had memories of the 2013 Nike Hoops Summit when he sort of burst onto the scene, and what was the general feeling before and after that game and if that really propelled him to getting drafted where he got drafted by the Hawks?

MIKE SCHMITZ: Yeah, so I think that was — I don’t believe I was at that year myself, but I remember kind of studying him on film, obviously watching that game. That was one of the most loaded Nike Hoops Summit teams that we’ve seen, especially of the world team, if you look at Joel Embiid, Karl Towns, Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum. That was a ridiculous game.

And I remember watching his film from the German league with Braunschweig and kind of saw him as this — you would see some moments of him in pick-and-roll with his speed. At that time he was a little bit more of a pesky defender and just his quickness really, really stood out. It’s not something you generally saw much in that league.

I remember really liking what he could become, the talent that he had, and obviously he’s turned himself into a really good player.

Q. With the Hawks having the No. 6 overall pick coming up on Wednesday and Travis Schlenk being kind of a draft guru, who do you see Atlanta getting tomorrow night?

MIKE SCHMITZ: I think they’re going to have a few different options. You know, there’s so much still to be determined. Even though we’re less than 48 hours away. Whether it’s an accomplished player like an Obi Toppin, I think he would be a lot of fun with Trae Young. Adding another wing, a defensive-minded wing I think could make sense. Patrick Williams obviously is a name we’ve been talking about. Isaac Okoro, semi-local, played at Auburn, I think he would be a really good fit alongside some of those guys just with his defensive versatility. He doesn’t really need the ball to be effective.

And then I would expect them to look at Deni Avdija, too, the Serbian-Israeli forward out of Maccabi Tel Aviv. He’s 6’10” and I think he could slide in and kind of play off the ball and play multiple positions for them.

So yeah, I mean, I think they’ve been very active from everything I can gather, and that’s a somewhat coveted pick from teams just because I think that most of the league feels like you’re going to get maybe not a star there but a really, really solid player.


Shakeemah Simmons-Winter

I am a senior publicist for men’s pro sports, working predominantly with the NBA and FIBA properties. I’m a Jersey City, NJ native, so I cheer for all New York sports and athletes, win or lose. I began my sports career as a small forward for JCPS #9’s elementary basketball team, and then years later gave up my hoop dreams (sort of) to work as the Public Relations Coordinator for the New York Knicks. Prior to working in sports, I briefly worked as an intern turned production assistant for the Wendy Williams Show. I earned a B.A. in Communications from Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, where I met my husband Matthew, and later attended New York University to earn a M.S. in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. I am excited to continue my sports journey with some of the most knowledgeable professionals in the sports industry.
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