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D.J. Carton & Dawson Garcia Invited To G League Elite Camp

The event at Wintrust Arena could lead to an invite to the NBA Combine.

Marquette v North Carolina
How will Dawson Garcia’s participation in the G League Elite Camp affect his decision to stay in the draft or return to Marquette?
Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images

The two Marquette Golden Eagles who declared for the 2021 NBA Draft have officially heard back from the NBA. On Monday, the NBA G League released a list of 40 prospects for the 2021 NBA Draft that have been invited to the G League Elite Camp. That event will take place June 19-21 at Wintrust Arena in Chicago, and both D.J. Carton and Dawson Garcia are amongst the 40 invitees.

Here’s the official explanation of what to expect from this event:

The 2021 NBA G League Elite Camp gives players an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of NBA and NBA G League scouts, coaches and front-office executives by playing in five-on-five games and participating in strength and agility drills throughout the three-day event.

In addition to that, “a select number” of guys at the Elite Camp will essentially be promoted to participate in the official NBA Draft Combine, which will start two days after the Elite Camp at the same location. If you ask me, the NBA/the G League saying “a select number” is code for “if we screwed up our evaluations of these guys, then we’ll put them in the Combine, and if not, then we won’t move anyone along to the Combine.” But who can say for certain?

At a glance, this certainly looks like a statement that neither Carton nor Garcia will be selected in the 2021 NBA Draft. It’s good news, don’t get me wrong, as this invite at least has to put both men somewhere in the top half, maybe top quarter of the 353 players who declared themselves eligible for the NBA Draft. However, this seems to be a note from the NBA general managers and scouts saying “yeah, we don’t actually see you as one of the 60 best prospects in the draft group.” If they were viewed as a top 60 prospect — and remember, there’s only 60 spots in the draft every year — then they would be skipping this event and going straight to the Combine.

This is, of course, worse news for Carton than it is for Garcia. Carton has left Marquette and hired an agent, thus ending his collegiate eligibility. Garcia, on the other hand, has left the door open to return to school by not hiring an agent at this point. In theory, since Garcia said he would return to school if that was the recommendation he got from NBA scouts, this would be a step somewhat in that direction. However, since it is a chance to prove he belongs as a top 60 prospect, it’s also easily a step in the pro career direction for the big man from Minnesota.

By NCAA rule, Garcia has until Wednesday, July 7th to withdraw from the draft if he wishes to return to college hoops. That’s about a week after the NBA Combine, so in terms of the timeline here, nothing has changed yet.

Carton averaged 13.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.1 steals per game in his one season at Marquette while struggling to shoot the ball. His 44.6% overall shooting isn’t terrible, but his 57% on two-pointers is propping up his very not good at all 28% on three-pointers. Garcia matched Carton in points at 13.0 per game to lead the team. He also averaged 6.6 rebounds per game as a freshman, and put up a shooting split of 48% from the field, 36% from behind the arc, and 78% from the free throw line.