NBA draft: Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee both second-round picks
By RYAN MENEZES
Published June 23, 2011 in Sports: Bruin Sights
Updated:June 23, 2011, 9:27 PM
UCLA coach Ben Howland is fine with his players leaving early for the NBA, so long as they’re projected to go in the first round of the draft, where the team commitment is stronger and the money is guaranteed.
Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee added their names to a long list of Bruins to leave UCLA early, but on Thursday at the 2011 NBA draft in Newark, N.J., neither could find the landing spot in the first round many of their predecessors did.
Honeycutt was the first Bruin to be selected, going with the fifth pick in the second round, No. 35 overall, to the Sacramento Kings. Lee followed shortly after, going No. 43 to the Chicago Bulls, who are reportedly sending Lee’s draft rights to the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Honeycutt averaged 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore last year. The 6-foot-8-inch forward also led the Pac-10 in blocks (68) and garnered all-Pac-10 first-team honors. Lee was the Bruins’ second-leading scorer as a junior (13.1 points per game) but made his name with his tough perimeter defense. Howland hailed him as one of the best defenders in the country, and Lee landed on the Pac-10’s all-defensive team.
More to come, with reactions from Honeycutt and Lee, later tonight on dailybruin.com/sports.
NBA draft second round: Tyler Honeycutt selected by the Sacramento Kings at No. 35 and Malcolm Lee selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves at No. 43
By RYAN MENEZES
Published June 24, 2011, 1:55 am in Men's Basketball, Sports
While Tyler Honeycutt settled into his seat at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Thursday evening for the 2011 NBA draft, Malcolm Lee was at a movie theater across the country, choosing to keep his draft day draft-free.
And while Honeycutt was there to hear his name called, Lee stayed in Southern California and heard of his selection through a friend but not until he had finished watching “Super 8.”
The two Bruins who left UCLA early for the pros had vastly different experiences taking in the draft, but by Thursday night, both had found landing spots as second-round selections. Honeycutt was selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 35th overall pick, while the Minnesota Timberwolves acquired the rights to Lee – taken just eight selections later – during the draft.
Neither player achieved his goal of going in the first round, but neither had regrets about leaving UCLA early.
“I entered this draft not based on where I was going to go,” Lee said. “I’m just trying to get in the league because it’s been my dream ever since I was little.”
First-rounders are guaranteed five-year contracts according to the NBA’s rookie wage scale, while second-round picks are not. Honeycutt and Lee hoped to join former Bruins Jordan Farmar (No. 26 in 2006), Arron Afflalo (No. 27 in 2007), Russell Westbrook (No. 4 in 2008), Kevin Love (No. 5 in 2008) and Jrue Holiday (No. 17 in 2009) as early entry first-round selections but failed to do so.
Getting picked in the second round is far from an NBA death sentence, however. The pair find themselves in a situation similar to that of Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, who passed up his senior season at UCLA and was selected with the 37th pick in 2008. Mbah a Moute has become a starter for the Milwaukee Bucks and one of the best defensive small forwards in the league.
“It might be a blessing in disguise for me,” Honeycutt said of his selection.
When he declared for the draft in late March, projections had Honeycutt as a mid-first round pick. By Thursday, he knew there “wasn’t really any telling of where I could go.”
Despite the late selection, Honeycutt was pleased where he ended up. Sacramento – which selected Brigham Young standout Jimmer Fredette with its first-round pick – had a need for a small forward, and for Honeycutt, being just a short plane ride away from his hometown of Sylmar doesn’t hurt either.
“The only thing better could have been the Clippers or the Lakers,” said Honeycutt, who averaged 12.8 points and 7.2 rebounds per game as a sophomore last year while leading the Pac-10 in blocks.
The 6-foot-8-inch, 200-pound Honeycutt knows that most of the concerns about him revolve around his slender build, which could have caused him to slip out of the first round. He won’t get the benefit of the rookie summer league in Las Vegas, which was cancelled this year as an NBA work stoppage looms, but he is focused on packing on some bulk.
“Now I’m going to have a lot of time – especially with no summer league – to make sure I’m eating right and take care of my body and make sure I’m doing what I need to do to gain weight,” he said.
Six players from the Pac-10’s 2011 all-conference first team were selected: Arizona’s Derrick Williams (No. 2, Minnesota), Washington State’s Klay Thompson (No. 11, Golden State), USC’s Nikola Vucevic (No. 16, Philadelphia), Washington’s Isaiah Thomas (No. 60, Sacramento), Honeycutt and Lee.
Lee, who made his name as a tough perimeter defender, said he’s looking to play point guard for Minnesota. He saw time at the position in the 2009-2010 season with UCLA but was used almost exclusively as a shooting guard in his junior year. Lee joins a team that has two other point guards under contract, including Spain’s Ricky Rubio, who signed with the Timberwolves on Friday.
“I’m a (point guard), but I can play off the ball. If I end up playing off the ball, it is what it is, but I just wanted to show people I can play the point,” said Lee, a Pac-10 all-defensive team selection in 2011.
Lee was faced with the challenge of guarding the opposing team’s best player every night in college, but even he couldn’t come face a television when it came time to move on to the pros.
“The whole feeling of suspense, just watching, hearing the names called – I just felt like my nerves would be better if I didn’t watch it.”
The low draft picks of Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee result in extra effort to make their decision of going professional worthwhile
By DANIEL KHAYAT
Published June 27, 2011, 1:27 am in Opinion Columns, Sports
The 2011 NBA Draft is over, which means two things: We don’t need to hear ESPN analyst Jay Bilas rave about a prospect’s “rejumpability” for at least another year, and people will finally get to see whether former Bruins Tyler Honeycutt and Malcolm Lee made the right decision by forgoing their final years in Westwood to make the leap to the pros.
But whether their decision was the right one or not, there’s nothing anyone can do about it now. Both their names were called on Thursday night in New Jersey.
However, it was deputy commissioner Adam Silver who announced their respective new teams, not actual commissioner David Stern, which meant that both Bruins slipped into the second round despite hopes to the contrary.
Honeycutt was taken 35th overall by the lowly Sacramento Kings. Lee was drafted with the 43rd pick by the Chicago Bulls, who then traded him to the even lowlier Minnesota Timberwolves as part of a preconceived deal.
There are perks that come with being on two teams that won a combined 41 games in 2010-2011 and occupied the bottom two slots in the Western Conference at season’s end.
There’s a few reasons why the teams were terrible, but one stands out: a lack of quality players.
Make no mistake about it – both Lee and Honeycutt will make their new teams’ NBA rosters coming out of training camp (assuming the season isn’t obliterated by a lockout). It’s not like either of them is Chukw…
That guy the Lakers took with the 56th pick who somehow averaged less than one point per game in the D-League last year.
Having said that, however, it remains to be seen just how much playing time either of them will receive, both this year and going forward.
Honeycutt finds himself in an awkward situation as a small forward with the Kings – Sacramento already has Omri Casspi, Donte Greene and Francisco Garcia on the wings, and traded for John Salmons on draft day.
Unless he improves his strength significantly and becomes a more consistent offensive presence, I think Honeycutt could end up lost in the shuffle. He’s 6-foot-8-inch, but weighs only 200 pounds after a few dozen tacos and reportedly couldn’t bench 185 pounds even one time at a pre-draft workout.
You’re telling me he’s supposed to guard LeBron when the Heat come to town?
Lee’s situation is a bit more favorable, since the T-Wolves are thin on talent at … well, everywhere, but especially guard. Lee should contribute right away simply because of his defensive prowess – this is the same guy who held lottery picks Jimmer Fredette and Klay Thompson to two-of-eight and six-of-17 shooting, respectively, within two weeks of each other last season.
In short, don’t expect to hear the names of either of these former Bruins blaring through the P.A. system in any NBA arena too often this year.
However, look for them to contribute in any way they possibly can. On such bad teams, opportunities to prove themselves will come along far more often than they would on teams with deeper benches.
If you have any idea how to spell the 56th pick’s name, email Khayat at firstname.lastname@example.org.