Longtime coach Larry Brown, now serving as an assistant at the University of Memphis, believes Tigers center Jalen Duren has a bright future in the NBA, writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Brown talked to Knicks general manager Scott Perry recently about Duren and teammate Josh Minott, who is projected as a second-round pick. Brown says Duren has similar skills as Heat big man Bam Adebayo.
“A lot of people compare him to Bam,’’ Brown said. “I spent time with Cal [Kentucky coach John Calipari] when Bam was there. Bam doesn’t shoot 3s either. Jalen is 3 inches taller than Bam. … I always teased him: I wanted him to be like [former Pistons center] Ben Wallace because he can run with anybody. He really can run. And can move his feet defensively.’’
The Knicks could consider Duren with the 11th pick if they’re not sure about re-signing free agent center Mitchell Robinson. There are concerns that coach Tom Thibodeau may not want to take the time to develop an 18-year-old center prospect, but Brown is convinced the wait will be worth it.
“If someone’s taking him to be starter on a playoff team, I don’t think it’s completely fair,’’ Brown said. “He’s 18. If you’re looking at a kid to develop and really be a factor, he’s the one you got to consider. … He wants to be coached. That’s important, especially with Thibs. He’ll coach him and demand things, and he’ll respond to that.’”
There’s more draft-related news to pass along:
- As a four-year college player, Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji is a rarity among potential lottery picks, notes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Agbaji said he’s been studying Desmond Bane, who followed the same path before succeeding with the Grizzlies. “That’s someone that I would say is similar to me game-wise. We’re both athletic, strong and can guard and make plays off the bounce, too,” Agbaji said after working out Friday for the Wizards. “He was a four-year guy, went under the radar and has his feet down in Memphis now. That’s really cool seeing that. He’s one of those guys who I saw his transition into the league.”
- TyTy Washington sat out the end of his workout with the Wizards on Saturday after banging his knee in a collision, tweets Josh Robbins of The Athletic. A team trainer checked Washington and said the knee will be OK. The Kentucky guard has also worked out for the Thunder, Knicks and Cavaliers and has upcoming sessions with the Spurs and Pelicans (Twitter link).
- Duke forward AJ Griffin will work out for the Pacers Monday, tweets James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star. Wisconsin guard Johnny Davis moved his workout with Indiana to Tuesday because of scheduling issues.