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Wendell Carter Jr. gives NBA Draft prospects advice before early entry deadline

Wendell Carter Jr. gives NBA Draft prospects advice before early entry deadline

The deadline for early entrants to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft is fast approaching on April 26.

But with the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic still unfurling, many prospects — top-tier, fringe-level and everyone in between — are faced with a decision-making environment that is fraught to a level without comparison in NBA history. Without in-person workouts or meetings, and the status of the combine uncertain, teams will (as of now) be operating off game tape and limited remote meeting time, alone, in making their decisions come draft night. 

It’s an all-time curveball for college players (especially of the one-and-done variety) weighing the risk-reward calculation of declaring.

RELATED: Report: NBA issues pre-draft guidelines for teams amid COVID-19 pandemic 

Wendell Carter Jr., who entered the draft after one year at Duke and was selected No. 7 overall by the Bulls in 2018, recognizes that plight. He decided to offer advice and support through a column in The Players’ Tribune titled “What To Know Before You Jump.”

From the article, Carter’s advice to those who didn’t post eye-popping statlines in college and were hoping for a chance to assert themselves in predraft workouts:

“We’re living through unprecedented times right now. Obviously basketball stuff isn’t anywhere near the most important issue at this point, right in the middle of the coronavirus crisis, but what’s going on has meant that current draft prospects are in a tough situation that players like me didn’t have to deal with. No individual workouts? No combine? No predraft camps? No in-person meetings? Basically your game tape is going to have to be good enough. So if you’re someone who maybe didn’t put up huge numbers last season, but who kills it when it comes to measurables and workouts, this honestly might not be your year.”

Carter also revealed in the piece that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was one of the principle voices that convinced him to declare when he did — notable given Krzyzewski’s long history of developing three- and four-year players at Duke (a strategy he had adapted with the times).

Carter also detailed his approach to online mock drafts (avoid!), how he went about finding reliable mentors to lean on in his decision-making process, and the best advice he got from Bulls teammates upon his arrival to the league (when people come calling for cash, “find a nice way to tell people no”). 

Carter certainly doesn’t seem to harbor any regret regarding his decision. Through nearly two seasons with the Bulls — the fate of Year 2 is in the balance — Carter has flashed potential as a stalwart anchoring the Bulls’ defense, and savvy distributing ability on handoffs, from the elbows and from the top of the key. 

Injuries have riddled the early segment of Carter’s career, as has a limited role in the Bulls’ offense, but at 21 years old, his ceiling remains high. As further evidenced by The Players’ Tribune piece, he is also wise beyond his years.

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NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA hereafter) and commissioner Adam Silver recently joined the chorus of voices speaking out in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

A statement from the NBCA, signed by 33 coaches and almost 180 assistant coaches, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports:

 

The statement pinpoints “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism” as “shameful, inhuman and intolerable.”

And their call for “positive change” will reportedly be followed by some action. The NBCA has also formed a “committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities”  Wojnarowski reports, which will be comprised of at least Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale, Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, JB Bickerstaff and Quin Snyder.

Already, many in the NBA community have acted to protest systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. Stephen Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie demonstrated with many in Minneapolis. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to lead a peaceful march in Atlanta that also featured Malcolm Brogdon. Lonnie Walker aided in clean-up efforts after a night of protests in San Antonio. The list goes on from there.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote in an internal memo to NBA employees obtained by ESPN that he was “heartened” by those “speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.” Silver also called for introspection and promised the NBA will “continue its efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue and support for organizations working towards justice and equality.” He expressed condolences to the Floyd family, outrage over the wrongful deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and an obligation to not ignore the issues of “racism, police brutality and racial injustice.”

As of this writing, 26 of 30 NBA teams have issued statements on Floyd’s passing, either as entities or through organization spokespeople, ranging from executives to coaches. Hopefully, the words of many lead to action — and that action to appreciable change.

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Dennis Rodman asks looters to stop, protest George Floyd killing peacefully

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USA Today

Dennis Rodman asks looters to stop, protest George Floyd killing peacefully

Dennis Rodman isn’t sugarcoating things as he calls on looters to stop the destruction across the country, and protest peacefully.

“Please, please understand we have to live together,” Rodman said in a video on TMZ. “We’re human beings. We’re not f---ing animals, we’re human beings.”

Rodman likened the protests going on today to the Los Angeles riots in 1992, and said younger generations may not have a full appreciation for how things spiraled out of control back then.

“It’s a bad situation and I think we should all understand the fact that there’s a new generation,” Rodman said in the video. “People my age all knew about the Rodney King thing, and things start to happen, people looting, setting fires, damaging people’s homes, businesses and stuff like that. Now we have this incident.

“I think someone needs to come out and say, ‘Hey guys, why are we looting? Why are we stealing? Why are we creating more issues, more problems, stuff like that?’”

Rodman elaborated that he believes these latest protests across the nation are a symptom of a larger problem, and that the country needs to address the underlying issues.

“Let’s get to the head of what’s really going on,” Rodman said. “This is a bad, bad situation. If you’re going to protest, protest in the right way. You don’t have to go and burn down things, steal things… and stuff like that.

“We’ve got enough issues with the COVID virus right now. We’ve got enough issues.”

Finally, Rodman made an emotional appeal for people to come together, not create an even wider divide.

“Why are we doing this? Why are we hurting each other again? Why not just help each other, hold each other's hands and try to solve the problem? We didn’t create this problem, but guess what, we can help. Especially the new generation, the 24/7 generation, help us as older individuals to understand this. Don’t add to it. Do not add to it. Help us, and help everybody right now.”

RELATED: Michael Jordan issues statement of solidarity in wake of George Floyd's death

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