Terance Mann not only propelled the Los Angeles Clippers to an improbable comeback win on Friday night but also provided a timely inspiration for 40 Draft prospects as the NBA G League Elite Camp begins Saturday in Chicago.
In 2019, Mann was one of the 11 prospects who advanced to the NBA Draft Combine after an impressive run in the NBA G League Elite Camp.
The New York Knicks had a chance to grab Mann after moving up from 55th to 47th pick in a trade with the Sacramento Kings with cash considerations. But instead of selecting the four-year standout out of Florida State University, the Knicks went with the one-and-done Ignas Brazdeikis of Michigan.
Brazdeikis never found his footing with the Knicks, while Mann is the man of the moment following his career-high 39-point explosion that helped the Clippers erase a 25-point deficit. Mann confidently stepped into Kawhi Leonard’s role in the starting lineup.
In a game where the stakes are high, and pressure was reaching its boiling point, Mann was never afraid of the big moments.
â€œWhen you trust your work, you trust in yourself. Youâ€™re not surprised when any of this happens,” Mann said.
The Knicks will be looking for that kind of mental fortitude as the new regime under team president Leon Rose evaluates prospects slotted towards the end of the Draft. There was no NBA G League Elite Camp last year due to the pandemic.
The Knicks have two second-round picks (32nd and 58th) in addition to their first-round picks (19th and 21st). They have wasted no time rounding up the less-heralded prospects in the past weeks in the hope of finding a diamond in the rough like Mann.
“The second round is where the real Draft begins. It’s where the intel and in-person workouts and interviews become really valuable. First-round and lottery talents usually stand out in the group. But second-round talents are trickier to evaluate,” a league scout told Empire Sports Media.
Three of the 40 hopefuls in the NBA G League Elite Camp have already completed their pre-Draft workout with the Knicks.
Texas Tech’s star Mac McClung, ACC Defensive Player of the Year Jose Alvarado from Georgia Tech, and Maryland’s dead-eye shooter Aaron Wiggins all had their workouts, Empire Sports Media has learned.
Unlike McClung, who has already decided to stay in the Draft, Alvarado and Wiggins have until July 7 to withdraw and return for another college season.
According to a source, Alvarado’s teammate and ACC Player of the Year Moses Wright has also secured a workout with the Knicks ahead of Mondayâ€™s NBA Draft Combine.
Meanwhile, Syracuse’s Alan Griffin also had his workout with the team last Wednesday, per Ian Begley of SNY. Alan is the son of former NBA player and current Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin.
The Knicks also invited AAC’s Co-Player of the Year Tyson Ettiene from Wichita State last Tuesday, according to Forbes’ Chris Grenham.
Among this group, only Wright had received an invitation to the NBA Draft Combine. Wright hopes to raise his Draft stocks after missing the NCAA tournament due to COVID-19.
None of these prospects are ranked in most outlets’ NBA Mock Drafts. But Mann’s success from an obscure prospect to a playoff hero gives them a blueprint.
Now it’s up to the Knicks to find out who is that Mann.
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