Saturday, June 18, 2011
NBA issues 'green room' invitations
By Chad Ford
Every year, the NBA tips its hand as to who it believes are the top 14 or 15 prospects in the draft with its annual "green room" invitations.
These players are invited by the league to sit in a special room with their families and agent on draft night. When their names are called, they leave the room and go up on stage to shake commissioner David Stern's hand.
This year's invitees to the June 23 draft:
Kyrie Irving (Duke); Derrick Williams (Arizona); Enes Kanter (Turkey); Brandon Knight (Kentucky); Kemba Walker (UConn); Jonas Valanciunas (Lithuania); Jan Vesely (Czech Republic); Kawhi Leonard (San Diego St.); Chris Singleton (Florida St.); Klay Thompson (Washington St.); Tristan Thompson (Texas); Jimmer Fredette (BYU); Marcus Morris (Kansas); and Alec Burks (Colorado).
A 15th name has been added -- Markieff Morris of Kansas. Markieff is Marcus Morris' twin and also widely considered to be a top 20 draft pick.
The only conspicuous name left off the list is Bismack Biyombo from Congo. Several others, including USC's Nikola Vucevic; Providence's Marshon Brooks; and Texas' Jordan Hamilton have an outside shot of cracking the lottery as well.
In the past, the NBA has expanded the list as the draft date draws closer.
Of course, players aren't prohibited from attending the NBA draft without an invite to the green room. Players can sit in the stands with the fans and walk up on stage when their names are called.
Chad Ford covers the NBA and NBA draft for ESPN Insider.