Michigan's Isaiah Livers soaking up feedback, in no rush to make NBA decision
When Michigan forward Isaiah Livers declared for the NBA Draft in late March, he said he was entering the pre-draft process as an “open book.”
Nearly two months later, Livers isn’t any closer to deciding if his next chapter will include leaving Michigan early or returning to Ann Arbor for his senior season.
“I haven't really made up my mind yet,” Livers said Monday in an interview with WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids. “I'm still taking feedback and evaluations and really just what I hear from these teams. They're talking to my coaches on what they think my career will be or how it will entail if I come out this year or the year after.”
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the pre-draft process has been severely limited. The NBA has barred teams from conducting in-person workouts and having any in-person contact with players, and teams are also prohibited from requesting or watching any live video of draft prospects.
As a result, Livers has been left trying to make an impression through virtual meetings with teams.
“You get to do Zoom calls talking with (teams) and I'm telling them about myself," Livers said. "Even they tell me about themselves, so it's actually a perfect combo to see if we fit or not.
“That's the only way you can impress right now unless later…we actually may get a chance and they may see us work out like how it usually worked before the virus. But who knows at this point, so you've just got to do your best in the interviews.”
Back in March, Livers said it would take a guaranteed contract for him to stay in the draft. According to HoopsRumors.com, only 44 players selected in last year’s NBA Draft received guaranteed multiyear deals.
However, Livers isn’t listed in any two-round mock drafts by major outlets and is ranked well outside the 60-pick draft range in several top 100 big boards, including No. 87 by The Athletic, No. 92 by CBS Sports and No. 96 by ESPN. He’s projected to be a late second-round pick — No. 53 overall — in ESPN’s 2021 NBA mock draft.
Livers averaged 12.9 points, four rebounds and 1.1. assists per game while shooting 40.2% from 3-point range last season. He started all 21 games he was healthy, but he missed 10 games due to lower-body injuries to his groin, hip and right ankle.
Despite his up-and-down regular season that featured a strong start and rough finish, Livers didn’t get a chance to shine on the big stage in the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments to boost his draft stock.
“(The postseason) getting canceled really hurt because I was starting to actually feel 100% back to normal,” Livers said. “I was able to jump, move, run, cut like I was in the beginning of the season. I was getting back to the beginning of the season of how I was playing, and it really sucks that I couldn't go out there and perform.”
While Livers is still holding out hope he’ll be able to work out in front of teams — the NBA indefinitely postponed the draft combine earlier this month — he still has plenty of time to weigh his options.
The original deadline for underclassmen to withdraw from the draft and return to school was June 3, but the NCAA pushed that date back last week, a move Livers called a “big relief.” A new withdrawal date won’t be set until the NBA determines an updated timeline for its pre-draft process, meaning Michigan could be waiting a while before Livers picks his path.
“I'm basically trying to get the best knowledge possible that I can, come together with my family, mentors and coaches, and make the best decision," Livers said.