Sixty players' names came and went on Thursday night during the NBA Draft, but Tyler Cook's name was not one of those read by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver or NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum over the course of the evening. While this was disappointing, I don't think it was particularly surprising -- at least not if you'd been keeping an eye on the mock drafts and prospect ranking lists heading up to the draft. Cook wasn't a common name in those mock drafts, even among the fluctuating crop of second round selections, and was generally listed outside the Top 60 on the prospect ranking lists.
But not getting drafted isn't the end of Cook's professional basketball ambitions -- nor even the end of his NBA aspirations. Good news on that front arrived on Friday, with word that Cook would be heading to Denver:
Mile High— Tyler Cook (@iamtc25) June 22, 2019
Granted, that good news comes with some caveats, which Mike Hlas detailed in an article for The Gazette. First, the Nuggets signed Cook to a "partially guaranteed contract." What does that mean? Per Hlas:
What that typically means for undrafted free agents is they get an invitation to preseason training camp, but with no assurance of earning a roster spot.
Cracking an NBA roster is exceedingly difficult, especially for training camp invitees. The second caveat is unfortunately injury-related, as Hlas reported that Cook's agent, Chris Emens, had indicated that Cook suffered a high ankle sprain in a workout with the Detroit Pistons before the draft and won't be unable to compete in the NBA's Summer League competition from July 5-15.
That's a brutal blow because Cook needs as many opportunities as possible to show out for the Nuggets (or any other potential NBA suitor, if Denver declines to keep him after training camp). Not playing in Summer League will rob him of his best opportunities to shine against his peers (and the players he's battling for a job). Hopefully Cook's ankle is fully healed by fall and he can have a standout showing in Denver's training camp. If not, Cook's next professional stop will likely be in either the NBA G League or trekking to Europe to follow in the well-worn footsteps of several recent Iowa hoopsters.
Meanwhile, in slightly related Summer League news, another former Iowa star will be competing in Summer League this year:
Some summer league news, per source: MiKyle McIntosh (Oregon) will play for the Indiana Pacers. Peter Jok (Iowa) will play for the Orlando Magic. Dakota Mathias (Purdue) will play for the Los Angeles Lakers.— Bryan Kalbrosky (@BryanKalbrosky) June 22, 2019
Best of luck to Jok and Cook with whatever comes next for them in their basketball futures.