What NBA scouts are saying about Arkansas guard Anthony Black

NBA scouts offer their takes on Arkansas freshman guard Anthony Black.

Arkansas basketball enters the 2022-23 basketball season behind one of the most impressive recruiting classes in program history. The class is ranked No. 2 in the nation and includes three McDonalds All-Americans in Nick Smith Jr., Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh.

The most interesting prospect of the three might be guard Anthony Black. He’s a big guard, 6-foot-7 with a smooth handle and pass-first mentality, which is rare to find in young players in today’s game. Black is currently projected to go in the mid-to-late lottery of next year’s NBA draft by most major insiders.

What is concerning is that sometimes he’s too passive and generous with the ball when he needs to be aggressive and looking for his shot. He has a decent jumper, but it remains to be seen if he can knock down shots from the perimeter at a consistent clip.

Rafael Barlowe, of NBA Draft Junkies, asked a couple of anonymous NBA scouts their thoughts on Anthony Black.

“I think he’s a lottery pick,” said one scout. “There are some concerns because he’s not an alpha and not always aggressive, but he’s an unbelievable kid, extremely unselfish and wants to win.”

“He does a lot of different things on the floor, he passes and defends on a high level, but the shooting has a long way to go,” said another scout. “I think it’s some mechanical stuff [with the jumper] that he needs to figure out, but he does so many things well and the measurables are all there. He’s an underrated athlete, which we’re starting to see now.”

“He’s a normal age for this class, but he’s just starting to come out of his shell as far as being aggressive,” offered a third scout. “He was a late bloomer, so it makes sense, he’s just starting to understand how good he is and how talented he is.”

Black will have plenty of talent around him in Fayetteville, and with the uncertainty surrounding Nick Smith Jr.’s injury situation he may have ample opportunity to run the offense on his own early in the season.

In the season opening win against North Dakota State, Black finished with only 3 points, but had 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals in 30 minutes.

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What NBA scouts are saying about Arkansas forward Jordan Walsh

NBA scouts give their thoughts on Arkansas freshman forward Jordan Walsh.

Arkansas basketball enters the 2022-23 basketball season behind one of the most impressive recruiting classes in program history. The class is ranked No. 2 in the nation and includes three McDonalds All-Americans in Nick Smith Jr., Anthony Black and Jordan Walsh.

With a collection of talent like that, the intrigue and excitement for Arkansas basketball extends far beyond just the fanbase. NBA scouts and executives are also going to be keeping a close eye on this year’s team, as the trio of Smith Jr., Black and Walsh are all projected to be first round selections in the 2023 NBA Draft.

The most intriguing prospect of the trio might just be freshman wing Jordan Walsh. At 6-foot-7 with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Walsh has the combination of size, skill and athleticism that make him a perfect slashing wing in today’s game.

However, his skillset is still very raw and struggles to keep up with his freak athleticism. Going forward, he’s going to have to show some consistency with his playmaking and jumpshot to take that next leap in his development.

Rafael Barlowe, of NBA Draft Junkies, asked a couple of anonymous NBA scouts their thoughts on Walsh.

“He led Arkansas in scoring the other day [vs. Texas]. He’s an extreme competitor, [he] comes from a great family and talent-wise he’s a monster,” said one scout.

“The way he moves, I can’t even find a comparison,” said another scout. “You don’t see that often, at 6’7″ with a 7’3″ wingspan and ball skills. And he’s a freak competitor with a great motor. His ceiling is pretty high.”

In their exhibition loss to Texas a week ago, Walsh led the Hogs in scoring with 14 points (6-8 FG, 2-3 3PT) while grabbing 5 rebounds and 2 steals.

On the flip side, his outing in the season opening win against North Dakota State was rough, as he only scored 2 points, 2 rebounds and 3 assists before fouling out with 10 minutes left in the game. This is a prime example of the growing pains freshman players face when adjusting to the pace of the college game.

While he might not be getting the same attention as his backcourt counterparts Anthony Black and Nick Smith Jr., Walsh could be the key to how far this Arkansas team can go.

If he can put all aspects of his game together quickly and become more consistent, then Arkansas basketball will be a threat to make another run in March and Walsh could be hearing his name called in June a lot earlier than expected.

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Wembanyama Wednesday: Vic will play for France’s national team, and it could change international basketball

This will be good preparation when the Olympics come to Paris in 2024.

Welcome to Wembanyama Wednesdays, our new recurring weekly post that will provide you with everything you need to know about Victor Wembanyama, the once-in-a-generation talent coming to an NBA team soon.

Scouts have seen Victor Wembanyama dominate against the G League Ignite. They have watched him become the best player in the French League.

His next evaluation, however, will come when he suits up for France’s national team during the upcoming FIBA window. It will give NBA teams even further context to the ways that Wembanyama can impact the game regardless of the stage.

This will be the first time Wembanyama represents France’s senior squad.

Here is what Wembanyama said about playing for his national team:

“I have already played in the French youth team (European silver medalist in the U16s and world silver medalist in the U19s) And that always gives me extra motivation. It is very important for me. I also find it in my teammates, in my opponents: fighting for your country is totally different, it gives you greater energy.”

Also on the roster are Ismael Kamagate (a big man who was selected in the second round of the 2023 NBA Draft) and Axel Toupane (who has played in the NBA for the Nuggets, Bucks, and Pelicans).

Terry Tarpey and Andrew Albicy, who played for France when the squad won silver during the 2022 Eurobasket tournament, are on the squad as well.

The team is coached by Vincent Collet, who also coaches Wembanyama for Metropolitans 92. The big man said he expects to play a defensive-first role during his first appearance for France’s senior national team.

Collet, however, insisted that Wembanyama will be one of the team leaders and that they are counting on him to get the two wins during the international competition.

Wembanyama will likely play alongside Rudy Gobert for France when the Olympics come to Paris in 2024. The French national team received the silver medal competition at the Olympics in Tokyo, and they earned silver in Eurobasket as well.

But with the addition of Wembanyama, and potentially Joel Embiid, a new powerhouse could potentially emerge for the foreseeable future.

Caleb Love among ACC’s potential first round NBA Draft picks

UNC basketball guard Caleb Love is among the ACC’s potential first round NBA Draft picks this year.

The UNC basketball program is just one week away from getting its ‘redeem’ season underway. And if the Tar Heels are going to reach its potential, guard [autotag]Caleb Love[/autotag] will be a large part to it.

The junior guard is back after a terrific NCAA Tournament and sophomore season. During the regular season, Love averaged 15.9 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game. He had an 18.8 point per game average in the NCAA Tournament, including one 30-point game and two other 23+ point games.

Now, Love looks to take another step up in his production and leadership this year and if so, he could find himself higher up on draft boards.

According to 247Sports’ writer Adam Finkelstein, Love is listed as a potential first-round selection.

“Love’s two years of college basketball have been full of irony. He arrived at North Carolina with one-and-done expectations as a big and athletic lead guard. While he failed to live up to that early hype, he rebounded as a sophomore, having established himself as a lethal shot-maker who helped lead the Tar Heels to the finals of the NCAA tournament . In order to solidify his spot in the 1st round, Love needs to rediscover some of that ability to attack the rim he showed in high school while maintaining his shot-making ability. He also need to better utilize his tools on the defensive end of the floor.”

Entering this season, Love has been labeled as one of the most entertaining players in college basketball and is also an All-ACC First Team selection.

Last week, Love was also named to the Bob Cousy Award Watch List, given to the top point guard in the country.

North Carolina gets its season underway Nov. 7 at 9 pm ET against UNC-Wilmington.

Follow us @TarHeelsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of North Carolina Tar Heels news, notes and opinions.

Let us know your thoughts, comment on this story below. Join the conversation today.

Victor Wembanyama will now have games broadcast on the NBA app, and it’s a brilliant call

This is exciting!

If you had fun watching top draft prospect Victor Wembanyama face off against Scoot Henderson and the G League Ignite, you’re in luck.

The NBA will broadcast Wembanyama’s games for Boulogne-Levallois Metropolitans 92 games for free on the new NBA mobile application throughout the 2022-23 LNB Betclic ELITE regular season and playoffs. 

Wembanyama’s next game is on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 2 p.m. Eastern. He is scheduled to play against JL Bourg-en-Bresse. In addition to regular-season and playoff games, fans can also watch Leaders Cup Games (Feb. 17-19) and the LNB All-Star Game (Dec. 29) on the NBA app.

The jaw-dropping prospect is currently averaging 18.6 points, 8.0 rebounds, and a league-best 2.6 blocks per game during league play thus far. He is also 36.4% on 3-pointers through five appearances. He is 7-foot-4 with an 8-foot wingspan and that is not even the main reason why he is the projected No. 1 overall pick in our 2023 NBA Mock Draft.

LNB Betclic ELITE will officially become the first non-NBA affiliated league to have its games live-streamed within the NBA App.

This is not the first time that the NBA has broadcast non-NBA games on its platform. Earlier this year, Drew League became the first pro-am broadcast on the app. They also broadcast Jamal Crawford’s league, The CrawsOver, as well.

The NBA plans to continue to broadcast “live basketball from professional leagues around the world” with its reimagined global app. 

The best takes and the sharpest bets on all the hoops storylines you need to know. Sign up for our Layup Lines newsletter, hitting your inbox on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays

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UNC guard Caleb Love appears in newest NBA mock drafts

UNC basketball guard Caleb Love appears in some of the newest NBA mock drafts, both as a first-round pick and early second-round selection.

As the college basketball preseason got underway last week with UNC basketball’s first practice, NBA mock drafts are in full swing getting prepared for the regular season.

UNC has a few potential NBA players on its roster and the two most notable ones returned from last year, Armando Bacot and [autotag]Caleb Love[/autotag].

In ESPN’s newest mock draft, Love was the lone Tar Heel to be selected. He was projected to go No. 40 overall. 

In the SportingNews mock draft released on Tuesday, he was slotted slightly higher at No. 28 overall.

“Love had a breakout NCAA Tournament last year, playing a huge role in North Carolina’s run to the National Championship game. He’s a pure scorer and shot creator with all of the advanced pull-ups and stepbacks you see from some of the best guards in the NBA. Love’s shot consistency will determine where he lands in the draft, as the 20-year-old has yet to shoot over 40 percent from the field in college. He has the potential to be a microwave scorer off the bench at the next level.”

Love, who averaged 15.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last season, returns to UNC with the expectation to show NBA scouts that his shooting performance last season was on par with who he actually is, not his first season.

As a freshman, Love shot just 31.6 percent from the field and 26.6 percent from three. As a sophomore, he shot 37.1 percent overall and 36 percent from three — on 6.6 attempts per game.

Love clearly has the talent to play at the next level, so this season it’s about consistency.

Follow us @TarHeelsWire on Twitter and like our page on Facebook to follow ongoing coverage of North Carolina Tar Heels news, notes and opinions.

Let us know your thoughts, comment on this story below. Join the conversation today.

Victor Wembanyama on Scoot Henderson: ‘If I was never born, I think he would deserve the first spot’

This is an all-time great quote from an NBA prospect.

We already knew that Victor Wembanyama was a phenomenal player but as it turns out, he is also someone who provides great interview answers.

Wembanyama and France’s Metropolitans 92 will face Scoot Henderson and the G League Ignite for two preseason games later this week. Wembanyama and Henderson were projected at No. 1 overall and No. 2 overall in the first edition of For The Win’s 2023 NBA Mock Draft.

When asked about Henderson, the French-born big man delivered one of my favorite answers I’ve ever heard from a prospect. Wembanyama explained that if he had never been born, Henderson would instead be considered the best prospect in the upcoming draft class.

That quote is so good because it’s the perfect blend of sweet and confident.

Wembanyama assuredly meant this as a compliment for Henderson. He said that he has studied Henderson and feels he is the most “reliable” guard in the class.

Henderson, meanwhile, had some positive praise for Wembanyama as well (via Yahoo’s Krysten Peek):

“He’s very skilled, very tall. I respect his game for sure. With how lanky he is and how he moves, that’s nothing but work.”

Wembanyama will face Henderson on Tuesday, Oct. 4, and then again on Thursday, Oct. 6 at The Dollar Loan Center in Las Vegas. The games air live on ESPN2 and the NBA App.

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NBA prospect London Johnson will earn largest salary in G League Ignite history after reclassifying

This salary will exceed what was offered to Jalen Green, Jonathan Kuminga, and Scoot Henderson.

London Johnson, a four-star recruit, will reclassify into the 2023 recruiting class to sign with the G League Ignite.

His annual salary will exceed $1 million, per The Athletic, and Johnson is expected to play two seasons with the development program. Johnson, who led Norcross to win the state championship in Georgia, was one of the top combo guards in his recruiting class.

Johnson also considered North Carolina, Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, and USC before opting to reclassify and turn pro. His salary is a record-high for the G League Ignite.

The 6-foot-4 represented Jamaica on Team World in the 2022 Nike Hoop Summit. His best performance to date was at the 2021 FIBA Centrobasket Championship (U17) in Mexico. Johnson averaged 36.0 points, 9.0 rebounds, 4.4 assists, and 4.0 steals per game. He was the best overall performer at the tournament, per Cerebro Sports.

The 18-year-old will be joined on the Ignite by NBA draft prospects Scoot Henderson, Leonard Miller, Sidy Cissoko, Efe Abogidi, and Mojave King. Multiple players on the roster are expected to go in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft.

Johnson, however, is expected to declare for the 2024 NBA Draft.

He is set to join the team for two preseason games against Victor Wembanyama and the Metropolitans 92 on Tuesday, Oct. 4 and Thursday, Oct. 6 at The Dollar Loan Center. The games air live on ESPN2 and the NBA App.

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Podcast: Rockets-Thunder trade reaction and preseason opener preview

In today’s podcast, @BenDuBose and @PauloAlvesNBA share key takeaways from #Rockets training camp, along with a breakdown of Houston’s eight-player trade with OKC.

Friday’s episode of “The Lager Line” podcast features reaction from Ben DuBose and Paulo Alves to an eight-player trade between the Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder. The deal brought Derrick Favors and a second-round pick to Houston along with three other players.

Discussion topics include financial and draft motivations for the complex deal, along with a look at its basketball merits.

The episode concludes with a preview of Sunday’s preseason opener versus San Antonio and a look back at the first week of training camp, with an emphasis on the defensive culture being established by rookie Jabari Smith Jr. and insight on how Stephen Silas is tweaking Houston’s offense to best utilize Alperen Sengun.

Friday’s full podcast can be listened to below. Each episode of the show is also available via flagship radio station SportsTalk 790, as well as to all major podcast distributors under “The Lager Line.”

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Rockets trade four players to OKC for package led by Derrick Favors, future second-round draft pick

The Rockets are trading four veteran players to Oklahoma City in a deal bringing Derrick Favors, a future second-round draft pick, and more to Houston. Here’s our analysis of the move.

In a trade between rebuilding rivals in the Western Conference, Oklahoma City is trading Derrick Favors, Ty Jerome, Moe Harkless, Theo Maledon, and a 2025 second-round pick via Atlanta to the Houston Rockets for David Nwaba, Sterling Brown, Trey Burke and Marquese Chriss, as first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

All of the players involved have expiring contracts (see Rockets books, Thunder books), so it shouldn’t materially impact either team’s long-term salary cap planning. Oklahoma City is also sending $6.3 million in cash considerations to compensate for the substantial gap in salaries, per Jackson Gatlin of Locked on Rockets.

The Rockets had acquired Brown, Burke, and Chriss for salary matching purposes as part of the trade sending Christian Wood to Dallas in June, but none were in Houston’s future plans.

Keeping those players into the 2022-23 regular season, which begins in under three weeks, would have been difficult because the NBA’s offseason roster limit of 20 players shrinks to 15 standard contracts and two two-way deals. Thus, Rockets general manager Rafael Stone was searching to make something of those assets before the roster deadline would force many (if not all) of those players to be released.

Of the four players acquired from the Thunder, only Favors — a veteran who could figure into Houston’s backup center mix — would seem to have a plausible path to rotation minutes this season. While Houston is likely to evaluate all or most in the upcoming preseason, the roster deadline is likely to force a handful of releases.

Beyond any value from Favors, now 31 years old, as a player, the primary trade benefits would appear to be his salary and the future second-round draft pick via Atlanta. At $10.2 million, Favors could potentially help the Rockets match salary in trades closer to the 2022-23 trade deadline next February, yet he only occupies one roster spot. To reach that figure prior to this trade, the Rockets would have had to commit multiple roster spots due to the smaller annual salaries.

Moreover, because the Rockets are taking in more money than they are sending out and reducing Oklahoma City’s potential luxury tax figure, the Thunder are compensating Houston with a future second-round draft pick and cash. In effect, the Rockets are buying a future pick by absorbing a contract from a team looking to shed payroll, similar to the 2024 second-round pick they got from Brooklyn last preseason in a deal involving Sekou Doumbouya, who was subsequently waived by the Rockets.

According to Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Houston’s newly acquired 2025 second-round pick via Atlanta is protected for picks 31-40. If that doesn’t convey, the Rockets would then receive the second-best 2026 second rounder between Dallas, Oklahoma City, and Philly (all are currently owned by the Thunder).

Scroll on for recent statistics of players involved in the trade, along with further analysis and reaction to the move.