Kobi Simmons wasn’t one of the 60 basketball players to hear his name called Thursday night during the NBA Draft, but he’ll still get a shot at making the league.
After going undrafted, Simmons — an Alpharetta native and graduate of St. Francis High School – signed a free agent deal with the Memphis Grizzlies, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski.
It seems that Simmons, who turns 20 on July 4, will have the opportunity to play for the Grizzlies in the NBA’s summer league and then compete for a roster spot and minutes as Mike Conley’s backup in the fall.
NBA scouts at DraftExpress.com said Simmons is an “elite athlete” who showed potential to be a “microwave scorer” with his “ability to glide to the rim … or create space off the dribble.” But the scouts were also cautious about his wavering mentality, streaky shooting and underwhelming defensive skills.
During ESPN’s draft coverage, analyst Jay Bilas said he thought Simmons made a mistake coming out of college to enter the draft.
“(Simmons) is really athletic, but the guy has got to listen,” Bilas said. “When the NBA is telling you ‘you’re not ready’ they’re not lying. They’ve proven they’ll take the guys that are ready— look at all the freshman that got drafted. They told him he wasn’t ready.”
In his one season at Arizona, Simmons averaged 8.7 points, 1.6 rebounds and two assists per-game as the Wildcats advanced to the Sweet 16. He was strong early in the season for Arizona, scoring 20 points in a win over UCLA, but the 6-foot-4 point guard fell out of favor in the rotation and played just five minutes in the Wildcats’ season-ending loss to Xavier.
In high school, Simmons played with Denver Nuggets guard Malik Beasley and Xavier forward Kaiser Gates. Simmons won two state titles at St. Francis, was a McDonald’s All-American, scored more than 2,400 points and was the AJC Player of the Year in 2016.
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