5 players from the 2020 draft class with the most to prove in 2022-23

Rookie Wire took a look at five players from the 2020 NBA draft class that need to have strong 2022-23 campaigns.

The rookie class of 2020 entered the NBA with plenty of hype but faced much uncertainty and other related issues due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The group was not afforded the opportunity of a summer league, and had a truncated training camp and preseason schedule due to the nature of the 72-game schedule that year. Certainly, the class had its fair share of hurdles it had to overcome.

Since then, several players have emerged and had tremendous starts to their careers, including NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and Tyrese Haliburton. Elsewhere, others have needed additional time to get going due to various factors.

Now, with the class entering its third year in the NBA, several players — including some high draft picks — have yet to really take off and are still looking to find their footing. The class is extension eligible next summer, and many still need to prove themselves.

As a result, we decided to take a look at some of those draftees that enter the 2022-23 campaign with a lot to prove for their respective teams ahead of such an important season.

Rumor: Mavericks nearly drafted Saddiq Bey over Josh Green last year

Some executives and scouts within the Mavericks were apparently upset the team took Green over Bey.

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When the Dallas Mavericks were on the clock last year in the NBA draft, the organization selected guard Josh Green from the University of Arizona with the 18th pick.

However, they almost took Saddiq Bey from Villanova.

According to Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report, some within the Mavericks organization wanted to draft Bey. Others wanted to take Green because of his analytical grade. Because of the split, some executives and scouts were upset when Green was the selection.

The revelation was made by Wasserman on Thursday after Bey was named to the NBA All-Rookie first team following a strong first season with the Pistons. He was chosen one pick after Green by the Pistons and certainly had a good year.

Bey averaged 12.2 points, 4.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 70 games while setting the Pistons rookie record for most 3-pointers made. His 175 3-pointers marked the third-highest by any rookie in NBA history and he also had the most games with at least six 3s with five.

While Bey certainly had the better season, it may not be fair to compare the two players. Green was on a veteran-heavy team competing for a championship and did not play often, while the Pistons allowed Bey to log heavy minutes and play through his mistakes.

Green can still develop into a heavy rotation player like Bey; he showed flashes throughout the season of his potential. The jury from last year’s draft is still out, obviously, and it is far too early to tell if the Mavericks made a mistake taking Green over Bey.

The Mavericks have a litany of issues to sort through, and the decision to select Green over Bey hardly seems worth sweating at this point. But, when it is all said and done, Bey could very well be one of the top players from the draft.

Dallas certainly hopes the same will be said about Green.

This post originally appeared on Rookie Wire! Follow us on Facebook!

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Notable undrafted free agents eligible for 2021 G League Draft

Among the eligible players for the upcoming 2021 NBA G League Draft are several of the notable undrafted players from the 2020 NBA draft.

The upcoming 2021 NBA G League season may give several players not selected in the recent NBA draft another opportunity in the pros.

The NBA G League is hosting a bubble tournament at the ESPN Wide World of Sport Complex in Florida. Once teams are assembled, they will arrive to the location by January 26 for physicals and onboarding. The first game is set for February 8 and teams are expected to play a “12-to-15 game schedule” before their single-elimination playoffs from March 5-March 9.

While teams may have the majority of their roster spots ready to go, they’ll supplement final spaces with the G League Draft. The event is scheduled for Monday, January 11, at 1:15 PM EST.

Some of the players with the most professional experience: Emeka Okafor, Mario Chalmers, Michael Beasley, Lance Stephenson, Hollis Thompson, Terrence Jones, Quincy Pondexter, Shabazz Muhammad, Tyler Ulis, Festus Ezeli, Allonzo Trier, Antonio Blakeney.

Also among the eligible players for the upcoming 2021 NBA G League Draft are several of the notable undrafted players from the 2020 NBA draft.

Some of the top prospects who did not hear their name called on draft night were signed on two-way deals, which allow the player to be active for 50 of the 72 games for their franchise. Many others were invited to training camps to compete for roster spots via Exhibit-10 contracts.

Typically, players with that type of deal end up playing for the G League affiliate of the squad that signed them. This year, however, eleven of the teams around the league are not sending their affiliate to the bubble:

Atlanta Hawks (College Park Skyhawks)

Boston Celtics (Maine Red Claws)

Chicago Bulls (Windy City Bulls)

Dallas Mavericks (Texas Legends)

Detroit Pistons (Grand Rapids Drive)

Los Angeles Lakers (South Bay Lakers)

Miami Heat (Sioux Falls Skyforce)

Milwaukee  Bucks(Wisconsin Herd)

Phoenix Suns (Northern Arizona Suns)

Sacramento Kings (Stockton Kings)

Washington Wizards (Capital City Go-Go; will utilize Erie)

That means, in addition to those who did not participate in an NBA training camp over the summer, any of the players who signed Exhibit-10 deals with these franchises are also sent into the draft pool for Monday.

While this draft will have three rounds, there will be a max of 26 players selected, though teams are not required to make a selection. All things considered, this is set to be an incredibly deep draft class on Monday.

Among the nearly 200 players who have NBA G League Standard Player Contracts but are not yet on a roster, here are some of the notable undrafted free agents who may have a chance to continue their professional journey:

2020-21 NBA rookie scale contract figures for first-round picks

Rookie Wire took a look at the rookie scale salaries for each of the first-round picks ahead of the 2020-21 season.

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Following the NBA draft, prospects are beginning to sign with their respective teams with the start of the 2020-21 season just around the corner on Dec. 22.

Contracts for rookies are each slotted based on where they were drafted. The amount is tied to a certain percentage of the salary cap and fluctuates each season. Players can sign for as much as 120% and as little as 80% of the rookie scale so each contract can be different.

While the amount of each contract is locked in, agents can negotiate different conditions for their clients. This is why some players sign earlier than others. Stipulations can range from salary advancement to payment dates.

Last year, Rich Paul negotiated that Darius Garland and Darius Bazley, along with the rest of his clients, receive the maximum advancement of salary on a six-month payment schedule, so they had already earned 90% of their season salary when the NBA shut down on March 11.

With teams set to begin training camp in early December, Rookie Wire took a look at the rookie scale salaries for each of the first-round picks for the 2020-21 season.

Note: The fourth-year represents the percentage over the third-year salary while the qualifying offer percentage is over the fourth-year salary

Pick 1st Year Salary 2nd Year Salary 3rd Year Salary 4th Year Option Qualifying Offer
1 8,131,200 $8,537,900 $8,944,500 26.1% 30%
2 7,275,200 $7,639,000 $8,002,800 26.2% 30.5%
3 6,533,300 $6,859,800 $7,186,600 26.4% 31.2%
4 5,890,300 $6,185,000 $6,479,500 26.5% 31.9%
5 5,334,100 $5,600,600 $5,867,400 26.7% 32.6%
6 4,844,700 $5,086,900 $5,329,300 26.8% 33.4%
7 4,422,600 $4,643,900 $4,864,800 27% 34.1%
8 4,051,700 $4,254,300 $4,456,900 27.2% 34.8%
9 3,724,300 $3,910,700 $4,096,800 27.4% 35.5%
10 3,538,100 $3,715,000 $3,891,800 27.5% 36.2%
11 3,361,200 $3,529,300 $3,697,500 32.7% 36.9%
12 3,193,200 $3,353,000 $3,512,600 37.8% 37.6%
13 3,033,500 $3,185,200 $3,336,900 42.9% 38.3%
14 2,882,000 $3,026,000 $3,170,300 48.1% 39.1%
15 2,737,600 $2,874,500 $3,011,400 53.3% 39.8%
16 2,600,900 $2,730,900 $2,861,100 53.4% 40.5%
17 2,470,700 $2,594,300 $2,717,900 53.6% 41.2%
18 2,347,300 $2,464,600 $2,582,000 53.8% 41.9%
19 2,241,600 $2,353,600 $2,465,900 54% 42.6%
20 2,151,800 $2,259,400 $2,366,800 54.2% 43.3%
21 2,065,700 $2,169,100 $2,272,400 59.3% 44.1%
22 1,983,200 $2,082,300 $2,181,500 64.5% 44.8%
23 1,904,000 $1,999,300 $2,094,200 69.7% 45.5%
24 1,827,900 $1,919,200 $2,010,700 74.9% 46.2%
25 1,754,600 $1,842,200 $1,930,200 80.1% 46.9%
26 1,696,500 $1,781,200 $1,866,000 80.3% 47.6%
27 1,647,500 $1,729,900 $1,812,400 80.4% 48.3%
28 1,637,300 $1,719,400 $1,801,200 80.5% 49%
29 1,625,500 $1,706,700 $1,788,100 80.5% 50%
30 1,613,700 $1,694,300 $1,775,200 80.5% 50%

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NBA 2K21: Complete rookie ratings for each first-round draftee

Now that they have been released, Rookie Wire went through and took a look at the ratings for each first-round pick in the NBA draft.

Just two days following the 2020 NBA Draft, 2K Sports released the complete rookie ratings for each prospect in NBA 2K21 ahead of the 2020-21 season.

The popular video was released worldwide on Sept. 4 and features cover athletes Kobe Bryant, Damian Lillard and Zion Williamson across the various platforms. On the initial release, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo each ranked as the top-rated players at 97, respectively.

Evaluating the incoming rookie class this year was a bit of a challenge since prospects did not play in the NCAA tournament and others had atypical paths to the NBA, such as LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton. Based on those limitations, the first batch of ratings could change once the season begins.

Now that the official ratings have been released, Rookie Wire went through and took a look at the grades for each of the first 30 selections in the NBA Draft.

Note: Order sorted from highest rating to lowest rating

Ratings via 2KRatings.com and Newsweek

Cole Anthony will wear the same jersey number as his father

Magic first-round pick Cole Anthony has chosen to wear the same number that his father, Greg, wore throughout much of his NBA career.

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Orlando Magic first-round pick Cole Anthony has chosen to wear the No. 50 as his jersey number, the same number that his father, Greg, wore throughout much of his 11-year NBA career.

Of course, Greg played four seasons with the New York Knicks and also had stops with five other teams. He kicked off his career by wearing No. 2 with the Knicks but switched to No. 50, which he also wore with the Portland Trail Blazers, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks.

He also donned No. 2 with the Vancouver Grizzlies and Seattle SuperSonics.

Cole wore No. 2 during his lone season at North Carolina after arriving at Chapel Hill as a top-five recruit. He had a rather disappointing season with the Tar Heels after battling through an injury that limited him to 22 games played but still showed flashes when healthy.

The Magic selected Anthony with the 15th overall pick on Wednesday and he arrived in Orlando on Friday. He is said to be 100% healthy now and is ready to begin his career with the Magic following an inconsistent showing at North Carolina.

“I ain’t never been more prepared for a moment in my life,” Anthony said. “I’m ready to step up to the NBA. I’m ready to go. It’s just not a matter of me being cocky. It’s just a matter of I’ve put in a lot of hard work. I’m ready to go.”

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James Wiseman was ‘down’ following Klay Thompson injury news

The Warriors’ draftee felt a bit emotional once the injury news of Thompson surfaced on Wednesday.

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19-year-old James Wiseman had an exciting evening on Wednesday after the Golden State Warriors selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the NBA draft but the former Memphis Tigers center experienced a down moment at one point.

Wiseman, along with the rest of the basketball community, learned just prior to the start of the draft that Warriors guard Klay Thompson suffered an injury to his right leg during a pick-up game in Los Angeles. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the fear is that Thompson endured a significant injury to his right Achilles.

Thompson was scheduled to have an MRI on Thursday morning.

Following the draft, Wiseman was asked about the injury to his new teammate and how he will be able to help the Warriors should Thompson miss extended time.

As soon as I saw it, it was kind of down for me emotionally. But as a team, we’ve got his back no matter what, and he’s going to be in great recovery. And in terms of my perspective, I just can’t wait to go in there and give my great contribution toward the team. Go in there and learn as much as possible, grow and adapt within that environment and play my position. All praise be to K.

Of course, Thompson missed the entire 2019-20 season after suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during the 2019 NBA Finals. The latest injury is to his other leg and he didn’t appear to reaggravate the previous injury from last year.

The Warriors were projected to once again make a deep playoff run next season with a healthy roster but the injury to Thompson could severely hurt their chances. In the meantime, the organization will be holding its breath on his test results.

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Damian Lillard reacts to Celtics drafting Payton Pritchard in first round

Pritchard was selected by the Celtics in the first round with the 26th overall pick on Wednesday.

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On Wednesday, the Boston Celtics selected Pac-12 Player of the Year Payton Pritchard from the University of Oregon with the 26th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Pritchard was most commonly projected to be a second-round pick but a strong showing during the pre-draft process helped improve his stock. In fact, a report surfaced last month that indicated Pritchard may have even received a first-round promise from a team.

Following the selection, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard congratulated Pritchard on social media for his hard work to be drafted by the Celtics with the 26th pick in the first round.

Pritchard averaged 20.5 points, 5.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals last season as a senior. He shot 46.8% from the field, including 41.5% from 3-point range on 6.8 attempts per game. He has proven to be a winner to this point of his career and the Celtics certainly valued that.

The 22-year-old was viewed by some as a player that can potentially contribute immediately, which could have been the attraction by the Celtics. He could help give the team additional depth off the bench behind Kemba Walker during stretches next season.

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R.J. Hampton had a hilarious hat snafu following trade to Nuggets

Hampton’s draft party had a bit of a difficult time finding the correct hat after a trade occurred just prior to the 24th overall pick.

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On Wednesday, the NBA hosted its first-ever virtual draft and things appeared to be running smoothly until the evening reached the 24th overall pick.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the NBA brought the draft experience to the prospects, who watched the event unfold from their homes or offseason residences. To help facilitate the coverage, 19 prospects had satellite trucks stationed outside of their location while the rest of the players received broadcast kits, which included an iPhone and a Microsoft Surface tablet.

Draftees also received receive an NBA draft gift locker that included a full set of New Era x NBA 2020 Draft 9Fifty gray-colored hats. Of course, once the prospect was drafted, they would find the hat of the team that selected them and put the cap on.

Unfortunately, R.J. Hampton had a bit of a snafu finding the correct hat.

The Milwaukee Bucks initially had the 24th overall pick in the draft but traded the selection to the New Orleans Pelicans as part of the deal in which they acquired Jrue Holiday. Since the trade hasn’t been finalized, the Bucks were making the pick for the Pelicans but, a new development had emerged just before the selection.

New Orleans, as it turned out, dealt the 24th pick to the Denver Nuggets, who will eventually acquire the draft rights to Hampton. In the midst of all the confusion, a young member of Hampton’s draft party was seen holding the Bucks hat, while another was searching for the right hat. The Bucks hat was eventually snatched from the kid and thrown across the room.

The pickup of Hampton by the Nuggets proved to be yet another high-upside get after the organization previously selected Michael Porter Jr. and Bol Bol in the past. The Nuggets have one of the best development systems in the league so landing in Denver could ultimately be the perfect fit.

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Spike Lee had a priceless reaction to the Magic drafting Cole Anthony

Award-winning film producer Spike Lee was among those in attendance at Cole Anthony’s draft party on Wednesday.

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With the 15th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic on Wednesday selected guard Cole Anthony from the University of North Carolina.

Anthony was widely projected to be selected in the middle of the first round and that proved to be true when NBA commissioner Adam Silver called his name at No. 15. Anthony said last week that the Magic were one of three teams he worked out with prior to the draft.

Following the selection, the camera panned to his draft party, which included his father, Greg, who played for the New York Knicks in the mid-1990s, and the rest of his family. However, one person caught fans a bit off-guard: Award-winning film director Spike Lee.

Of course, Lee has been a noted fan of the Knicks for several decades and often sits courtside at Madison Square Garden. He was in attendance in the mid-90s when Greg played with the Knicks and has known the Anthony family for quite some time.

As for Anthony’s reaction, the 20-year-old was visibly emotional after enduring a disappointing freshman season at North Carolina. He was excited to move onto the next step of his career and that will soon take place in Central Florida.

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