Rule Changes, Early-Entry Speculation, JaVale McGee/Lopez Twins

Rule Changes, Early-Entry Speculation, JaVale McGee/Lopez Twins
Apr 02, 2008, 10:41 pm
There are a number of rule changes that NBA agents and prospects need to be aware of as they figure out their strategy of attack for the coming months. Will the NCAA allow NBA teams to cover expenses for underclassmen workouts? Six players will now be allowed on the court in workouts, instead of just four. Introducing the Daryl Morey rule--teams are no longer allowed to conduct mass workouts in Orlando following the pre-draft camp. That, and plenty more scuttlebutt regarding early-entry prospects, including thorough breakdowns of the decisions of JaVale McGee, Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez to enter the draft.

Rules Changes

NBA Teams Paying for Underclassmen Travel Expenses?- One of the topics on tap as the NCAA prepares to meet this upcoming weekend at the Final Four in San Antonio will be regarding a proposal to let NBA teams pay for NCAA underclassmen to travel and work out privately for them in their facilities. NCAA rules currently state that underclassmen must pay their own way to travel and attend NBA private workouts, which is difficult for players coming from underprivileged families and at times makes them more likely to hire an agent early on rather than truly “testing the waters”. If this new rule indeed passes, it could lead to a flood of underclassmen entering the draft, since they would truly have nothing to lose. Who would that squeeze out? The senior class of course…which would make next week’s Portsmouth Invitational Tournament all the more important.

11:16 Update:- We've been informed that this rule has passed and received a memo from the NCAA laying out the details. We will break it down in depth shortly, but the gist is that NCAA underclassmen will no longer be limited financially by the number of workouts they can conduct between June 2nd and the pull-out deadline, June 16th.

Six Players Allowed on the Court: The NBA has also been hard at work revising their workout rules. Some executives had not given up hope on being allowed to conduct private workouts before the conclusion of the NBA pre-draft camp in early June, but that rule has been reconfirmed and extended for this year’s draft. One compromise that has been put in place allows teams to have more than just four players on the court simultaneously. Teams often have as many as eight players in their facility on any given day, but were limited to watching them play two on two (sometimes rotating players in and out) in addition to the drills they conducted. The new rule now allows them to have six players on the court at the same time, which should make for slightly more telling and interesting games, particularly for players who aren’t naturally great shot-creators.

The Daryl Morey Rule: The NBA also decided to close one “loophole” in the rules that last year allowed the Houston Rockets to organize a “workout marathon” spanning two days in Orlando immediately after the conclusion of the NBA pre-draft camp. The Rockets brought together 36 players to be evaluated in one gym by 12 NBA teams, in 9 different sessions, over multiple days, with the costs being split equally by all teams. This innovative idea gave teams involved a chance to watch a huge batch of players (some underclassmen who were able to save a significant amount of money on travel expenses, and others who did not participate in the pre-draft camp) simultaneously in a very cost effective way. The problem was that this was seen as being somewhat of a rogue event that may have hurt the credibility of the NBA pre-draft camp conducted just days prior in the same city. Ever conscious of anything that might cause players not to participate in the pre-draft camp (a huge concern and the reason for most of the workout restrictions today), the NBA has decided to disallow any team besides the Magic from holding workouts in the city of Orlando in the three day span following the pre-draft camp. Thus, they’ve effectively closed the window of opportunity to bring a great deal of teams and players together while everyone was in the same city immediately at the conclusion of the camp.

Early-Entry Rumor Mill

-Ryan Anderson will be officially announcing that he's entering the NBA draft in the next day or so, and will do so in a press release through his college. Anderson is just testing the waters at this point, and will not hire an agent until he feels comfortable that he's assured of a spot in the first round.

-Multiple sources informed DraftExpress this week that the LSU freshman Anthony Randolph has decided to enter his name in the draft, and will be closing the door on returning to school shortly by hiring an agent. B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group (Arn Tellem’s agency) is expected to be his choice. A representative of WMG had no comment on the report.

-If you’re an Indiana fan hoping for some unexpected good news from Eric Gordon’s press conference later this week, we’d advise you not to hold your breath…Gordon has been shopping for an NBA agent these days, and was even seen sitting court-side at a Lakers game last week with Kobe Bryant’s agent Rob Pelinka.

-Gerald Henderson had wrist surgery this week, shelving him for 3 to 4 months and ending any possibility of him declaring for the NBA draft. Henderson will be back at Duke next season, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.

-The Blake Griffin saga continues…after Jeff Capel got the extension he so coveted, it now looks likely that he’ll be able to keep Griffin at Oklahoma for at least another season. We’ve moved him to our 2009 mock draft after receiving multiple reports that he is very likely to stay in school now.

-Tom Crean leaving Marquette might cause Dominic James to think about declaring for the NBA draft now. The problem is he already used his “draft card” last season, and would be in for good should he decide to do so. James would be wise to return to Marquette for his senior season regardless of the coaching situation—as he is not a lock to get drafted even in the second round at this point.

-Bill Walker will be testing the waters 100% from what we were told, but will hold off on signing with an agent until his draft status clears up a bit more.

-Who’s in and who’s out? Check out our updated Early-Entry List.

-I'll be hitting the road for the next 10 days, traveling to the Final Four in San Antonio at the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament in Virginia.

Early-Entry List Breakdown:

JaVale McGee


Size: 7-0
Weight: 237
Age: 20 years old
Class: Sophomore
Team: Nevada (21-12)
NBA Position: Center

Stats: 14.1 points, 7.3 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, .6 assist, 2.4 turnovers, 53% FG, 52.5% FT, 33% 3P, 27 minutes

In Short:
Rare physical specimen—has an almost unprecedented combination of size, length (7-6), athleticism and fluidity, packed on a frame that should easily be able to fill out nicely. Has excellent hands, runs the floor exceptionally well, and is extremely reactive off his feet. Has an intriguing variety of skills too—the ability to knock down 3-pointers, put the ball on the floor, and execute some incredibly smooth pivot moves in the paint, finishing elegantly off the glass with excellent extension and touch. Gets off the ground impressively and can really be a factor as a shot-blocker or on the offensive glass. A late bloomer who barely played in high school and averaged just 10 minutes a game as a freshman—the sky is clearly the limit on his upside.

The problem is he’s extremely far from reaching his full potential—so far that you have to wonder if he’ll ever make it considering the way he looks at times on the court. Struggles to establish position and finish in the paint, settles for some incredibly awkward off-balance shots, and is virtually a black hole with his passing skills—averaging 4 turnovers for every 1 assist. Looks very disinterested at times, doesn’t hustle, gives up on plays, late getting back down the floor, and might be the worst man to man defender we’ve ever evaluated in the post. Gets pushed around, gambles excessively for steals, has no stance or fundamentals, doesn’t move his feet, and is a complete non-factor even against the mediocre competition he faces. According to Synergy’s “PlayType QuickTable stats,” McGee was scored on 66% of the time when being posted up in the paint (against the likes of Fresno State, Utah State, Houston, etc). Is light years away from being able to compete on an NBA level defensively, if ever.

Chances of returning to school: 0%. Surprisingly already decided to hire an agent, from the NFL ranks. Many scouts are very high on McGee, due to his incredibly high ceiling, which gives him “home run potential” once you get outside the top 10-12 players in this draft. McGee is the type of player that GMs love, but coaches hate, since he could make someone look great down the road, but will take years and years of hard work before he has any chance to do so. If he does, watch out.

Early Projection: 12-25

Source: (DraftExpress:) JaVale McGee Enters Draft, Hires Agent Roosevelt Barnes

Brook Lopez


Size: 7-0
Weight: 260
Age: 20 years old (yesterday)
Class: Sophomore
Team: Stanford (28-8)
NBA Position: Center

Stats: 19.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.1 blocks, 1.4 assist, 2.1 turnovers, 47% FG, 79% FT, 31 minutes

In Short: One of the best post scorers in college basketball. Possesses rare physical tools--Tall, long, coordinated, with a good frame, nice hands, and the skill-set and smarts to be effective on both ends of the floor. Somewhat predictable since he seemingly goes to the same exact move every time on the right block, but it’s hard to question his productivity, especially considering how little help he had offensively from Stanford’s backcourt. Establishes deep position in the paint and gets to the free throw line at a very good rate, where he converts at a near-80% clip. Settles at times for bad shots, is not much of a passer out of the post, and is not the most fluid big man you’ll find around. A very solid defender, especially when it comes to hedging screens on the perimeter. Likely a very solid role player, not a star, but has the makings of an excellent long-time pro, at a position of need. Very intelligent off the court.

Chances of returning to school: 0%. No surprises here, considering how high he is projected to be drafted, and how little he has left to prove. Has stated that he will be hiring an agent, likely Bob Myers/Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group.

Early Projection: 3-7

Source: Statement Released to the Associated Press.

Robin Lopez


Size: 7-0
Weight: 255
Age: 20 years old (yesterday)
Class: Sophomore
Team: Stanford (28-8)
NBA Position: Center

Stats: 10.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.3 blocks, .6 assists, 1.8 turnovers, 53.4% FG, 65% FT, 24.5 minutes

In Short: Tall, long, agile 7-footer with excellent hands and a very high activity level. Raw offensive prospect who drops glimpses of potential from time to time in the post—makes good, quick moves and has a decent framework of skills to build upon. Runs the floor well and is a solid offensive rebounder—not afraid to throw his skinny frame around in the paint. Plays hard and can be an excellent defender when he’s fully focused—blocking shots and being extremely physical contesting his matchup. Lacks great footwork inside and has very little scoring ability facing the basket. Intensity wavers at times and body is still far from being NBA ready. Strong intangibles.

Chances of returning to school: 0%. Has said to be in the process of hiring an agent. A likely first round pick barring poor workouts or unexpected red flags, but might be sweating on draft night if more players than expected enter their name.

Early Projection: 15-35

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