NBA Draft links: Lonzo Ball favorite to win Rookie of the Year

Lonzo Ball is the favorite to win NBA Rookie of the Year next season. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

Despite competition including two No. 1 overall picks, former UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball has the best odds to win the NBA’s Rookie of the Year award next season.

The No. 2 overall pick of the Lakers at Thursday’s NBA draft was given 5/2 odds to win the award by oddsmaker Bovada. Ben Simmons, the 2016 No. 1 overall pick who missed all of last season due to injury, has 3/1 odds and is followed by 76ers teammate Markelle Fultz, the 2017 No. 1 overall pick at 5/1 odds.

2017-2018 NBA Rookie of the Year – Odds to Win
Lonzo Ball, Lakers (UCLA) – 5/2
Ben Simmons, 76ers (LSU) – 3/1
Markelle Fultz, 76ers (Washington) – 5/1
De’Aaron Fox, Kings (Kentucky) – 7/1
Josh Jackson, Suns (Kansas) – 9/1
Jayson Tatum, Celtics (Duke) – 9/1
Jonathan Isaac, Magic (Florida State) – 16/1
Malik Monk, Hornets (Kentucky) – 16/1
Dennis Smith, Mavericks (NC State) – 16/1

NBA Draft Links:

NBA draft: TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu land on opposite ends of spectrum

UCLA freshman TJ Leaf was selected 18th overall in Thursday’s NBA draft, but classmate Ike Anigbogu slipped to the 47th pick. (Frank Franklin II/AP)

It turns out TJ Leaf’s decision to declare for the NBA draft did indeed deserve less skepticism than that of UCLA classmate Ike Anigbogu – just not for the reasons we thought.

Both UCLA freshmen were selected by the Indiana Pacers in Thursday’s NBA draft. Leaf was the 18th overall pick and Anigbogu, a projected first-rounder, slipped to the 17th pick of the second round, 47th overall.

Concern about Anigbogu’s surgically repaired knee was reportedly the cause for the 6-foot-10, 252-pound center’s slide nearly an entire round later than his projections. There was little mention of his knee while Anigbogu was weighing his options after the season, which was understandable considering his meniscus surgery on Oct. 25 was minor enough for him to return to game action Nov. 25.

A sprained foot shelved Anigbogu for the only other game he missed the remainder of the season, a March 17 first-round NCAA tournament contest. In other words, he played four months of college basketball without knee issues only for concern to crop up shortly before the NBA draft. Continue reading “NBA draft: TJ Leaf, Ike Anigbogu land on opposite ends of spectrum” »

Ike Anigbogu hires agent, won’t return to UCLA basketball team

Ike Anigbogu hired an agent on Thursday, meaning UCLA’s entire three-man 2016 recruiting class won’t return for a second season.

Ike Anigbogu has hired an agent and won’t return to UCLA

Fifteen days ago, the 6-foot-10 freshman announced he would declare for the NBA draft. Since then, he has received favorable news about where he will be selected, leading to his decision to sign with agent Jason Glushon.

“With the feedback he’s been getting, I think it’s been made clear to him and his family that it looks like he’s going to be a first-round pick,” said Josh Giles, Anigbogu’s coach at Corona Centennial High School. “Nothing is a guarantee, but this is as close to a guarantee as you can get.”

READ: Ike Anigbogu hires agent, will take his chances in NBA draft

In seeking advice about Anigbogu’s next move, his family has relied heavily on Giles and Etop Udo-Ema, the founder of Anigbogu’s AAU team, The Compton Magic.

Anigbogu’s decision is based on a fascinating contrast. Continue reading “Ike Anigbogu hires agent, won’t return to UCLA basketball team” »

UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Ike Anigbogu

UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu didn’t earn the playing time expected of’s No. 17 recruit in the country last season. (Brian Rothmuller/Getty Images)

Strengths: Ike Anigbogu’s current situation perfectly illustrates the exceptional athletic ability of the UCLA freshman center. Despite averaging a pedestrian 4.7 points and 4 rebounds, the obvious potential he possesses could land him alone side some of college basketball’s elite in the first round of the upcoming NBA draft. He is more than six months shy of his 19th birthday, but he has the muscle tone of an NFL strong safety. He is at least 6-foot-10, but looks vastly different than the majority of gangly basketball players at his position. By the end of the season, Anigbogu’s off-the-charts body and athleticism were translating to a high level of defense on the court.

Weaknesses: Anigbogu was the very last offensive option in UCLA’s eight-man rotation last season. He didn’t get much opportunity to develop his skills on that end of the court, but it doesn’t mean Anigbogu doesn’t have the ability to score using more than just brute strength and leaping ability. He averaged 17 points per game as a senior in high school and showed glimpses of having soft hands and nice touch around the basket. It’s apparent that he is lacking polish at the offensive end, where he was most effective catching lob passes.

Best moment: Anigbogu started the season slow after a knee injury, but his coming out party happened on a grand stage. Continue reading “UCLA basketball 2017 report card: Ike Anigbogu” »

Ike Anigbogu declares for NBA draft, doesn’t hire an agent

Freshman Ike Anigbogu will declare for the NBA draft, joining classmates Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf.

Ike Anigbogu became the third UCLA freshman in the last 12 days to announce he will declare for the NBA draft. Unlike classmates Lonzo Ball and TJ Leaf, Anigbogu left the door open for a return by not hiring an agent.

“He’s not going to hire an agent for the time being, but that could change if he starts shooting up the draft boards and it pretty much becomes a lock that he’ll go in the first round,” said Anigbogu’s coach at Corona Centennial High School, Josh Giles. “If Ike really starts doing well in these workouts, I’ve had NBA people tell me he could be a late lottery guy.”

One the one hand, Anigbogu’s potential seems limitless. The measurables don’t nearly do his body justice. He is a chiseled 6-foot-10, 250 pounds and his legs look like tree trunks. And he only turned 18 five months ago.

On the other hand, he only played 13 minutes per game and averaged 4.7 points, 4 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. His opportunities were limited in part because he played behind Thomas Welsh, who probably has a future in the NBA, but Anigbogu’s statistics are underwhelming.

Giles and Etop Udo-Ema, the founder of Anigbogu’s AAU team, the Compton Magic, both did their homework about where Anigbogu might be drafted. Both coaches have served as mentors to Anigbogu and aided his parents in making basketball decisions throughout Anigbogu’s career. They both got similar answers when digging for information about where Anigbogu may be selected in the NBA draft.

“I’ve received calls from 15 to 17 NBA teams and I’ve talked to scouts and directors of player personnel,” Giles said “The overwhelming consensus is there are very few people who think Ike’s going to fall out of the first round. He could go as high at 15, but mostly what we’ve heard is the 18 to 34 range. I know a few people who have played and coached in the NBA and (Udo-Ema) has a ton of contacts. It would be different if we were getting different answers, but everyone we’ve talked to has given us the same numbers about where Ike will go.” Continue reading “Ike Anigbogu declares for NBA draft, doesn’t hire an agent” »