We are now under four weeks remaining before the 2019 NBA Draft, and there’s still something curious about Zion Williamson, the player on whom the entire draft world has been focused for about eight months: He still has not signed with an NBPA-certified agent.
Not that he needs to. There’s no doubt that Williamson will land in New Orleans, which lucked into the No. 1 pick on the night of the NBA Draft lottery. There’s also no doubt that Williamson will put his name on what likely will be a record-setting shoe contract once the dust settles.
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As long as Williamson has an agent in in place by the week of the draft, there will be time for him to hammer out all the details of his NBA transition.
Still, it is an odd thing that he is without an agent at this point. Sources told Sporting News that the reason behind the delayed process goes back to Williamson’s advisor, former NBA agent Chubby Wells.
Wells played at Clemson for three years in the late 1970s when he was a teammate of Lee Anderson, Williamson’s stepfather. Wells had been an Atlanta-area NBA agent going back more than a decade, representing players like Dale Davis and Ramon Sessions. But his certification with the NBPA lapsed.
Through his friend Anderson, Wells got involved with Williamson’s AAU team, SC Supreme, and the plan had been to have him recertify as an agent and represent Williamson. But when that plan fell through this spring, Williamson did not have an official agent and top agencies across the country piled into the process.
Among those were Creative Artists Agency, Roc Nation, Klutch Sports and BDA Sports.
While Williamson’s family will still lean heavily on Wells for advice, the goal for choosing an agency is, according to a source, “one that can be most effective at building his brand.”
A source told SN that Williamson and his family are nearing a decision, which will come possibly as early as next week.
NBA Draft 2019 rumors: Which team will pick Jarrett Culver?
Before the unveiling of the lottery results, some scouts and personnel execs said that if the Hawks had won the No. 2 pick, they would focus on wing Jarrett Culver – and that the Cavaliers might have done the same, passing on outstanding guards Ja Morant and RJ Barrett.
Rumors have even cropped up about the Knicks considering Culver over Barrett with the No. 3 pick. At the least, the Knicks will weigh the option.
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At No. 5, though, there’s a pretty good chance the Cavs can get their man, if the Lakers pass on him at No. 4 – though that is no guarantee. Culver had good numbers at the Chicago pre-draft combine, measuring 6-6.75 with a 6-9.5 wingspan.
The Hawks, having dropped to No. 8, have little chance of getting Culver without a trade up. According to sources around the league, Culver’s floor – the lowest spot he’d be drafted – is the Bulls at No. 7.
NBA Draft 2019 rumors: Nassir Little moving up big boards
UNC forward Nassir Little created a stir at the combine when he noted that he was unsure of his role in his year with the Tar Heels – as though his struggles were more about the coaches – but he did point out that he improved a lot in Chapel Hill.
Some NBA types agree. While he’s been pegged for the late teens or early 20s, Little has been moving up draft boards as teams focus more on his versatility rather than his shortcomings.
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He is a 6-6 forward – a classic tweener – but he has a 7-1 wingspan and has shown the ability to run an offense. That’s led, naturally, to Draymond Green comparisons.
That is obviously a stretch. But talent evaluators high on him say that if Little can show that his shot has the potential to improve (he made only 26.9 percent of his 1.4 3-point attempts per game), he could land in the top 15.