Adam Zagoria of Forbes reported that besides having worked for two NBA teams already, Bates is being looked at by the aforementioned teams.
“The Ypsilanti, Mich. native who was once compared to a young Kevin Durant and appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated has already worked out with the Charlotte Hornets and Dallas Mavericks and has one coming up with the hometown Detroit Pistons,” wrote Zagoria. “He’s also met with the Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Portland Trail Blazers.”
Interest by the Cavaliers comes on the heels of recent speculation that Bates could be selected by the Cavaliers in next month’s draft. At present, the lone draft pick the Cavs possess is the 49th overall selection.
Players who might not be selected until the latter part of the second round rarely get a great deal of attention. However, Bates is an interesting case of a player with lots of potential that might be available in the second round of the draft.
In looking at Bates’ performance at the 2023 NBA Draft Combine, ESPN analyst Jonathan Givony did offer some positives about what he saw in the prospect.
“He really showed his shot-making ability in the scrimmages,” said Givony. “He hit some really, really tough shots off the dribble. That’s what he does. He’s a scorer.”
However, Givony did point out that Bates’ wingspan and slight frame are issues that could preclude teams from considering him further.
“Nobody is gonna put up with Ja Morant issues unless you are a special player,” said the scout.
Another scout indicated that Bates’ ability to score and efforts to fit within a team framework are assets that could help him.
“For all of his issues, Bates can make shots,” said the other scout. “He helped himself at the combine. Took good shots and tried to play with his team. Low bar but it is a start.”
At one time, Bates was considered a special player, earning a spot on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Comparisons to superstars like LeBron James and Kevin Durant were also made.
However, after just one average season at the University of Memphis, Bates transferred to Eastern Michigan University. Even before he took the court there, he was arrested on felony charges for carrying a concealed weapon and altering identification marks on a firearm.
Even though the charges were later dropped, the controversy was a black mark on what was already becoming a checkered career.
Bates is still young enough to turn his image around and become the player once envisioned. His talent is such that a team choosing late in the first round might even take a chance on him.
Potential is something that some players either fail to take advantage of or simply throw away by making foolish decisions. The team that ends up selecting Bates could have a major steal on its hands if he’s able to stay on the right track and become a superstar.