NEW YORK (AP) — The developments from Thursday’s NBA draft at Barclays Center:
Keyontae Johnson fought for his chance. Oklahoma City is giving him one.
Johnson was taken in the second round of Thursday’s NBA draft, going to the Thunder with the 50th overall pick. He starred at Kansas State this past season, but that’s just a tiny part of his story.
During a game for Florida — his former school — against Florida State on Dec. 12, 2020, he collapsed and was rushed to a hospital, where he spent three days in a medically induced coma. He sat out the rest of that season and all of the next, then transferred to Kansas State, where he began playing again and became one of the most important players on a team that reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.
Johnson could have accepted an insurance settlement worth millions, but that would have made him ineligible to play professional basketball. He didn’t take the money. He bet on himself. And the Thunder rewarded his persistence.
Getting drafted guarantees him nothing, but he’s got a shot.
The draft ended around 12:45 a.m. Eastern, with Kentucky’s Chris Livingston going to Milwaukee as the 58th and final pick.
What to know:
— Emotional Victor Wembanyama goes No. 1 in NBA draft to Spurs
— Hornets, Michael Jordan make Brandon Miller the second overall pick
— Scoot Henderson rounds out top-3 selections, heading to Portland
It took just over three hours, and thankfully sped up a bit toward the end, but the first round of the NBA draft is complete.
The final pick: Missouri’s Kobe Brown by the Los Angeles Clippers, right around 11:15 p.m. Eastern.
The second round goes much more quickly. There’s only two minutes between picks instead of five minutes between selections in Round 1, and no long family hugging sessions since most players selected in Round 2 aren’t physically present at the draft. And there’s only 28 picks, since two second-rounders were forfeited.
Philadelphia and Chicago were stripped of their second-round picks after the league found they broke rules last summer by talking to free agents too early. The 76ers had next year’s second-round pick stripped for the same reason.
Cam Whitmore waited and waited and waited. And more than two hours after the NBA draft started, his name finally got called.
Whitmore went to Houston with the No. 20 pick Thursday night. He was projected as a lottery pick — even a top 10 pick — throughout much of the pre-draft process.
He averaged 12.5 points at Villanova in his lone college season and was the Big East’s freshman of the year.
Jett Howard is officially following in his father’s footsteps now. He was picked by the Orlando Magic on Thursday night, going 11th overall.
He’s the son of NBA champion Juwan Howard, now the coach at Michigan. Jett Howard played for his dad this past season.
Juwan Howard was the No. 5 pick in the 1994 draft.
Victor Wembanyama was right. Bilal Coulibaly was a top-10 pick in the NBA draft.
Coulibaly was taken as the No. 7 pick on Thursday night; the pick was made by Indiana, amid reports that it is being sent to the Washington Wizards. Coulibaly spent this past season with Boulogne-Levallois of the French league — with Wembanyama on the same team.
Wembanyama, the No. 1 pick by San Antonio, lobbied that Coulibaly should be a top-5 pick.
The NBA draft just went twinning, and did so back to back.
Amen Thompson went No. 4 to Houston and his twin brother Ausar Thompson went No. 5 to Detroit. It’s the first time twins went in the top 10 of the same NBA draft.
The brothers played for the Overtime Elite program this past season.
There’s almost enough twins in the NBA right now for a full roster, now that Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson got drafted Thursday night.
This past season, there was Brook Lopez and Robin Lopez, Marcus Morris and Markieff Morris, Caleb Martin and Cody Martin, along with Julian Champagnie and Justin Champagnie.
Kris Murray of Iowa is expected to be drafted Thursday as well; he’s the twin of Sacramento Kings forward Keegan Murray.
Scoot Henderson believes he should have been the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. He’ll have to settle for being No. 3.
He was picked by the Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday night, behind Victor Wembanyama by San Antonio and Brandon Miller by Alabama.
And now it’s time to watch what longtime Portland star Damian Lillard does – and if the pick of another point guard will make him think about requesting a change of scenery.
Henderson spent the last two seasons with the G League Ignite, preparing for life in the NBA that way instead of going the traditional college route.
Charlotte offered the first intrigue of the NBA draft: Brandon Miller is going to the Hornets at No. 2, over Scoot Henderson.
Miller is widely considered the best wing in the draft, and was the SEC player of the year at Alabama in his lone college season.
He raised some eyebrows at the draft on Wednesday when he said he doesn’t consider Michael Jordan — the Hornets owner, who is selling the majority stake — the best player of all time, saying he holds Paul George in that regard.
There’s also Miller’s ties to a significant off-court issue: A murder case that led to former Tide player Darius Miles and another man being indicted on capital murder charges. A police investigator testified in February that Miles texted Miller to bring him his gun that night. Miller hasn’t been charged with wrongdoing.
It’s finally official. Victor Wembanyama is going to the San Antonio Spurs.
Wembanyama is the No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, as has been expected for many months. The Spurs took the French teen who is listed at 7-foot-4 with the first overall selection.
This is the third time that the Spurs had the top overall selection. They chose David Robinson in 1987 and Tim Duncan in 1997. Both of those players became NBA champions and members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
And Wembanyama will follow in their footsteps now. He instantly becomes the centerpiece of San Antonio’s hopes to return to the postseason and start contending for titles again. The Spurs have won five championships under coach Gregg Popovich, with the last of those in 2014.
There’s no debate at No. 1. Victor Wembanyama will be the No. 1 pick in the draft.
The intrigue at No. 2 will go down to the wire. As of 7:40 p.m. Eastern, or roughly 30 minutes before the pick, Brandon Miller was the significant favorite according to FanDuel Sportsbook. Scoot Henderson was the second choice in those odds.
The players have arrived at Barclays Center for the NBA draft. And as always, the preshow was a fashion show.
Soon-to-be No. 1 pick Victor Wembanyama wore a green suit and a special necklace, telling ESPN that the stone appealed to him because it was unusual — not expensive. “I don’t care about wearing expensive stuff,” he said.
Taylor Hendricks of UCF had a pinkish suit, the jacket lined with photos that represented his journey to the NBA and some of the people who mean the most to him.
And there was a lot of sparkly. Kansas’ Gradey Dick showed up in a dazzling red jacket, and Scoot Henderson of the G League Ignite wore black with a lot of accent stones in designs selected by his family.
Players arrived, by bus from their hotel, several hours before the 8 p.m. start to the draft, which can be viewed on ABC or ESPN and streamed on ESPN’s website and app.
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