NBA Draft 2022: Where did three Alabama hopefuls land?

Mathey Gibson, Contributing Writer

For the third consecutive year, an Alabama basketball player has heard his name called at the NBA draft. 

Alabama guard JD Davison was selected with the No. 53 overall pick by the Boston Celtics on Thursday night at the Barclays Center. The former Alabama Gatorade Player of the Year, who was once projected as a first rounder, slipped to the second round after an up-and-down freshman year in Tuscaloosa. 

Prior to his selection, Davison saw action in 33 games, finishing the season leading the team with 4.3 assists per game, while ranking fourth in scoring (8.5 ppg) and second in steals (1.0 spg). 

Former Celtics head coach and current general manager Brad Stevens had strong opinions on the new pro. 

“He’s a guy that we’ve seen all year long,” Stevens said. “Very young. Very explosive. That’s pretty obvious. All you have to do is turn on a couple of minutes of clips and you can see the upside.” 

While Davison was the only Alabama player selected, he wasn’t alone in finding NBA opportunities. 

Shortly after the draft concluded, Alabama guard Keon Ellis signed a two-way contract with the Sacramento Kings.  

As a senior, Ellis earned a spot on the SEC All-Defensive team in 2021-22— leading the Crimson Tide in rebounding (6.1), steals (1.9 spg), free-throw percentage (88.1 percent), and plus-minus (+87).  

Introduced in 2017, two-way players are paid a corresponding daily amount based on the number of days played in both the NBA and G-League, respectively. NBA teams may have up to two players under two-way contracts. Players signed under two-way contracts will spend no more than 45 days with their NBA team. 

Two hours after Ellis inked his deal with the Kings, Alabama guard Jaden Shackelford signed an Exhibit 10 deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder.  

As a junior, Shackelford was named to the All-SEC second team— pacing the Crimson Tide in points per game (16.6 ppg), field goals made (178) and double-digit scoring outputs (11).  

An Exhibit 10 deal is a one-year, minimum-salary contract that counts toward a team’s 20-man offseason roster limit but doesn’t count against the cap unless the player makes the regular season roster. With built-in clauses, teams have the option to convert the deal into a two-way contract at their discretion. 

With the drafting of Davison, and the signings of Ellis and Shackelford, Alabama now boasts nine active players on NBA and G-League rosters.