EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. –– On a day when NBA GMs, coaches and scouts weren’t overly impressed by what they saw at the Nets’ Combine, Peyton Siva stood out.
In a good way.
Siva, who last month led Louisville to the NCAA championship, was one of the few brights spots on the court at the Nets’ training facility and clearly outplayed former Arizona floor general Josiah Turner in the 5-on-5 portion of the program.
“I think I played really well,” the 6-foot, 180-pound Siva told SNY.tv following the workout.
“I think I showed teams I can run the point guard and create for others and that was really my main thing coming out today, was just showing them that I can run a team and just play good defense and I think I did a pretty good job at that.”
Siva’s self-interpretation was validated by NBA personnel in the room.
“Real competitive, great speed, what do you say, winning culture, being coached, can take all you can give him,” said Nets’ Director of Player Personnel Gregg Polinsky. “He’s gonna get some looks.”
Siva, who is repped by Andy Miller and Steve Banks, is projected as a second-round pick in the June 27 NBA Draft, and one veteran scout in the room believes that’s exactly where he’ll go.
“Peyton has come so far, he plays completely under control now today,” the scout told SNY.tv. “Rick Pitino’s done a great job with him and he listened to Rick, so it’s a win-win. You had a great coach and you had a talented young man. I’ve always had problem with him playing out of control. I never questioned his ability and obviously he did what he needed to do to win the national championship.”
He added: “I think he’ll be drafted in the second round.”
Siva said he has “10 or 11” workouts set up right now and will work out today (Friday) with the Boston Celtics and then go to the Detroit Pistons. Fellow point guards Phil Pressey of Missouri and Pierre Jackson of Baylor will also work out in Boston this weekend.
“I’ve been getting a lot of calls after this workout and after Chicago’s workout and it’s really been great,” Siva said.
Having led the Cardinals to the NCAA title, Siva is feeling very confident in his abilities and in matching up against other point guards.
“I’m not really worried about anything else, any guys their names or anything,” he said. “I just go out there and play. I’ve played against the best my whole life. I’ve played against everybody my whole life so I’m just looking forward to going out there and just proving myself.”
As for his old college team, Siva likes Louisville’s chances of making another Final Four.
“I think they’ll be great,” he said. “I think Russ [Smith] coming back, Chane [Behanan] and Montrezl [Harrell], I think they’re going to play a bigger role this year and I think they’ll be really good.”
Junior college point guard Chris Jones replaces Siva in the backcourt with Smith.
“I think he’ll be really good for them,” Siva said.
He is already anticipating the potential showdown in the postseason between Kentucky’s loaded incoming class and Louisville’s more experienced roster.
“I think it will be great because it will be freshmens against proven seniors and juniors, so it will be a great matchup,” he said.
Can the state of Kentucky win a third straight title after Kentucky won in 2012 and Louisville in 2013?
“I think Louisville all the time,” Siva said.