Last week, word came down that four Kentucky Wildcats were invited to the NBA Draft Combine: PJ Washington, Keldon Johnson, Tyler Herro and EJ Montgomery.
The latter was a bit of surprise, given that there’s usually around 60-70 combine invites per year, and most projections have Montgomery going undrafted.
Turns out, Montgomery did not receive an invite, according to the list that the NBA released today:
The NBA officially announces the 66 players invited to the NBA Combine in Chicago pic.twitter.com/1o2U0XShtk— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 8, 2019
What makes this surprising is that Montgomery wasn’t on the list of G-League Elite invitees, which is essentially the next 40 best prospects after the NBA Combine list.
The 40 names for next week's G League Elite Camp in Chicago have been announced, per release: pic.twitter.com/ddSQ9gK1TK— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) May 6, 2019
That would seem to indicate Montgomery has little-to-no shot of hearing his name called this year if he does keep his name in the draft. Perhaps these developments will help sway Montgomery into announcing a return to school soon, but I would expect him to work out with some NBA teams before doing so.
I also would not rule out a transfer for Montgomery if Kentucky lands Jaden McDaniels and Kerry Blackshear Jr. while getting Nick Richards back to join Nate Sestina, Keion Brooks and Kahlil Whitney on next year’s roster. While Brooks and Whitney play on the wing, I expect them to get a lot of minutes at the 4 in small-ball lineups next season.
Speaking of Richards, his NBA prospects look even bleaker, so I’d expect him to be back in college next season. One can’t rule out a transfer for him either if Montgomery opts to stay in Lexington and those other guys are on the roster next season.
You’ve also got the fact that Blackshear was also not on either list. He too is testing the NBA waters, but this development is another indicator he’s better off returning to school and pursuing a graduate transfer.
As for Reid Travis, it’s not a real surprise to see he didn’t make either list. His best shot at making the NBA is likely to spend a year in the G-League or overseas before making a run at a roster spot in future years.
All told, the NBA Combine will still be a great chance for the other three Wildcats to interview with teams, which will hopefully boost their stock. None of the three are expected to do five-on-five workouts.
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