Brian Rauf | @brauf33 | 06/19/20
Welcome to another look at the latest rumors ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft!
The league has finally ironed out specifics regarding the draft, setting dates for both the lottery (August 25) and the draft itself (October 15). The NCAA’s deadline for early entrants to withdraw from school will be no later than August 3. These plans assume there are no more delays in re-starting the current NBA season, which has been on hold since March 11 and is set to resume on July 30.
Every Tuesday and Friday, we will be bringing you everything you need to know about whose draft stock is rising, whose is falling, and which prospects teams are targeting.
Here’s all the latest buzz you need to know.
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Kuminga exploring professional options
Jonathan Kuminga was the top-rated prospect in the 2021 class before reclassifying to 2020, allowing him to enter the 2021 NBA Draft rather than waiting until 2022.
It also will allow him to play professionally this coming season, which is something he is looking into. Kuminga, who has set a decision date for June 22, is exploring options with both the NBA G League and Australian NBL, according to Adam Zagoria.
Kuminga included the G League when he unveiled his top 5 last month along with Auburn, Duke, Kentucky, and Texas Tech. While the college route appears to have taken a backseat, the Red Raiders are thought to be the favorite should he opt to play college basketball. His brother, Joel Ntambwe, currently plays for Texas Tech.
If he chooses the G League, Kuminga would join fellow top prospects Jalen Green, Isaiah Todd, Daishen Nix, and Kai Sotto on the league’s new team in Los Angeles. He is projected to be a top 5 pick in the 2021 draft.
Bane’s stock is rising
Now, back to the 2020 draft.
Given the lack of depth and overall weakness of this draft class, there is an opportunity for players to make significant jumps up team’s boards, and one of the biggest risers so far has been TCU’s Desmond Bane, according to Sam Vecenie of The Athletic.
Vecenie points out that teams love him as a person along with the expectation for the role he can play in the league, with him referring to Joe Harris as a model for how can make an impact. Bane is an excellent three-point shooter (he shot 43.3 percent from deep in his collegiate career) and has defensive upside given his size (6-6, 215 lbs).
Bane is currently projected to be a second-round pick. He averaged 16.6 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 3.9 assists per game last season.
A.J. Lawson still in draft pool
South Carolina’s A.J. Lawson is another wing that could potentially be selected in the second round, but his stock currently ranges anywhere from the middle of the second round to undrafted.
He is keeping the option open to return the school but hasn’t made a decision to do so yet, as has previously been reported.
Since that report surfaced, Lawson’s camp told multiple outlets that he is still in the draft pool, which Gamecocks head coach Frank Martin confirmed.
“There’s no need to rush. He’s had probably six or seven interviews with NBA teams, which is what they’re all doing right now,” Martin told reporters earlier this week. “As long as NBA teams are offering interviews, I don’t see any reason why he should try to make a decision sooner than he has to. If no NBA team was asking to meet with him, I would think he’d make a decision by now.”
Lawson averaged 13.4 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season.
Brian Rauf is a college basketball writer for HeatCheckCBB.com. His content has been featured by Sports Illustrated, Bleacher Report, and FanSided, among other publications. Rauf is also a current USBWA member and Rockin’ 25 voter.