Grady, Mintz may not wait long after NBA Draft to get offers

Anyone interested in Kellan Grady and Davion Mintz’s basketball future may need to watch out beyond the end of Thursday night’s NBA draft.

“There’s the NBA draft and then there’s the second draft, which is about the players who don’t get drafted,” ESPN front office insider Bobby Marks said during a conference call Wednesday. “We’ll probably hear their names around one in the morning as far as they sign up for a summer league team.”

Shaedon Sharpe and TyTy Washington are widely predicted as first-round picks. Sharpe, who only coached after joining the team mid-season, is said to be a lottery pick. Washington, a freshman All-SEC second-team selection, is selected midway through the first round.

Grady and Mintz were the keys to Kentucky’s team. Grady led UK in minutes (33.0ppg) and three-pointers (88). The latter doubled the second most three-pointer: 44 by Mintz.

British trainer John Calipari promoted Mintz for the SEC Sixth Man of the Year Award. Mintz averaged 8.5 points, 24.8 minutes and was third on the team with 55 assists.

“I’m not expecting Kellan or Davion to be drafted,” ESPN basketball analyst Jay Bilas said during a conference call Tuesday. “But that doesn’t mean they aren’t NBA players. It’s important to reiterate that there are many undrafted free agents in the league.”

Grady’s shooting — 41.7 percent accuracy from last season’s three-point range — is a “coveted” skill, NBA adviser Ryan Blake said.

Blake dismissed the notion that Grady’s poor shooting late in the season was a factor. All of a player’s “work” overshadows any concern about missed shots in the short term, he said.

ESPN draft analyst Jonathan Givony said shooting is “that one skill that people are looking for.”

Givony said of Grady, “He did pretty well at that G League Elite camp (in Chicago in mid-May), especially on day two. I think he’s a guy that’s going to have a market tomorrow night as soon as the draft ends.”

ESPN analysts said Mintz’s game was harder to define.

“Not exactly a bankable skill . . . ‘ Givony said. “As a 6-3 guy, not exactly a point guard, not exactly an elite shooter. Adds some real toughness to the defensive end. Played a good role for (UK).

“So I think people want him on their summer league team and we could definitely see him in the G League next year.”

Blake said Mintz probably won’t be drafted, before adding, “but his phone will ring once this draft is finished.”

LEX_20220219_UKvALB_2489.JPG
According to a draft analyst, Kellan Grady’s ability to hit shots at long range is “the one skill that people are looking for.” Silas Wanderer swalker@herald-leader.com
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Kentucky’s Davion Mintz is not expected to be drafted Thursday night but could quickly find a home on an NBA summer league team. Silas Wanderer swalker@herald-leader.com

Assist for Maxey?

Former British player Tyrese Maxey was the 21st pick in the 2020 NBA draft. That came into question after averaging 17.5 points and playing in the 2022 NBA Rising Stars Challenge.

If the 2020 NBA draft were revised, where would Maxey be selected?

“Higher than 21, I know that,” said Bilas. “He was fantastic.

“And I think his performance along with Immanuel Quickley’s in New York makes you take another look at TyTy Washington and say, hey, if these guys from Kentucky are exceeding what you thought you were in college, maybe you’ll take a closer look on TyTy Washington.”

Bilas about Sharpe

When asked what he would say to Kentucky fans who are unhappy that Sharpe is practicing but not playing in his only collegiate season, Bilas showed no understanding.

“I don’t know if Kentucky fans or any college fans think they are owed (something of) a player,” he said.

Bilas downplayed the notion that Sharpe’s lack of college gaming experience could affect his forecast as an NBA draft pick.

“I don’t think there’s anything to worry about. . . ‘ Bilas said.

Had he decided to play for Kentucky next season, Sharpe would be considered a possible No. 1 pick in the 2023 NBA draft, Bilas said.

“If I was watching Kentucky practice, I should be watching the team,” said Bilas. “But my eyes kept coming back to Sharpe, where he worked part-time with one of the trainers. And it was hard to take your eyes off him. He’s incredibly talented.”

‘About Recruitment’

Not for the first time, BIlas questioned the validity of college programs that claim to produce professional players.

“I always ask myself: Which high school coach produces the most pros?” he said. “Or which NBA coach produces the most All-Stars? We don’t put it that way in relation to any other level of the game.”

Why do college programs trumpet the number of players who went on to become pros? “Because colleges are recruiting,” Bilas said. The trumpeting of the professional players who came out of a college program is part of a recruitment interview

“That’s not to say that (Nick) Saban or (John) Calipari or Hubert Davis aren’t doing a great job,” Bilas said. “They do. But you recruit pros. And in the years that you don’t have pros, you don’t look at those coaches and ask what happened? Why didn’t you develop more pros?

“It’s really about the recruitment.”

2022 NBA draft

When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday

Where: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York

TV: ABC-36 (first round only), ESPN (both rounds)

Jerry Tipton has covered Kentucky basketball from the 1981-82 season to the present. He is a member of the United States Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame.
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