Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere is projected as the No. 1 pick, with LSU’s Ben Simmons at No. 3 and Newman at No. 4.
“Newman will be rated as the top point guard going into the draft next year, a scoring point guard,” one NBA scout told SNY.tv. “Skal will be the top big man and in the running for the No. 1 pick alongside Ben Simmons. Skal is a skilled big man that needs to get stronger but a big-time talent. Simmons is the best forward in the draft next year. He could actually be a point forward at the NBA level. He needs to develop a consistent perimeter jump shot but he could be the most complete all-around player next year in college.”
Jaylen Brown, the projected No. 2 pick, could still land in the SEC since he’s considering Kentucky and Georgia among his eight schools.
That should make for a lot of NBA scouts coming to SEC games.
“It’s always convenient for scouts to be able to watch top prospects playing against each other,” Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress.com told SNY.tv on Friday. “It won’t stop them from drafting a guy very high if they can’t do that (see Cameron Payne) but it definitely gives the prospects get more visibility from high-level executives which can be a positive or a negative depending on how they perform. Scouts sure do love knocking out a lot of birds with one stone, though, no doubt about it.”
Added a second NBA scout: “We’ll get two and three for one when we go to an SEC game.”
Both Simmons and Labissiere impressed NBA personnel at the recent Nike Hoop Summit, where Newman also played.
“Ben Simmons, he’s a better version of Lamar Odom without the problems,” the second scout said.
The SEC will also have several other talented freshman, including Antonio Blakeney and Brandon Sampson of LSU and Isaiah Briscoe and Charles Matthews of Kentucky and P.J. Dozier of South Carolina.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.