The NFL Draft starts this Thursday and runs through Saturday evening. That means all your sources for sports news are overflowing with speculation, rumors, and mock drafts that will never come to fruition. In an attempt to be simpatico with our NFL brethren, we’ll take a look at the NBA mock drafts the Internet has to offer.
This is also the first mock draft round up since the Charlotte Hornets got assigned their (likely) draft slot at number 12. That’s kind of important too.
Away we go...
ESPN: P.J. Washington, Forward, Kentucky
Washington is a versatile forward that would pair well with Miles Bridges. He can guard the 3-5 spots reasonably well and has a burgeoning skill set on the offensive end of the floor.
The most appealing trait in Washington as a prospect is his improvement between his freshman and sophomore years at Kentucky. He increased his efficiency with increased usage, which is not easy to do. He went from being a non-shooter to hitting 42.3% of his 2.2 3-point attempts per game. He improved his scoring from 10.8 points per game to 15.2, his rebounding from 5.7 per game to 7.6, and his shot blocking from 0.8 per game to 1.2.
Tankathon: Bol Bol, Center, Oregon
It’s seemingly every online Hornets fan’s favorite mock draft target. Bol has all the makings of a unicorn. He put up astronomical numbers in his nine games at Oregon this season, averaging 21.0 points, 9.6 rebounds, and 2.7 blocks per game. He hit 13 of his 25 3-point attempts and showed a deft touch from the free throw line. He can handle the ball a bit and is extremely fluid for someone standing 7’2”.
The main drawbacks with Bol are physical. He missed most of this season with a foot injury, which is always terrifying when you’re dealing with big guys. He’s also thin as a rail, and there are concerns about how well he’d hold up against the physicality of NBA bigs.
NBA Draft Net: Keldon Johnson, Wing, Kentucky
Johnson is a prototype wing. He stands 6’6” tall with a 6’8” wingspan and explosive athleticism. He plays with tremendous energy and toughness and has proven capable of knocking down spot up 3-pointers. He projects as a quintessential 3&D player, but he isn’t the most creative offensive player.
Basketball Insiders: KZ Okpala, Forward, Stanford
This one seems like a bit of a long shot at the moment. Most other sources have Okpala going closer to the end of the first round.
That said, Okpala does have some intrigue. He’s got a great physical profile for a combo forward and his play took a leap from year one to year two at Stanford. But there are a lot of holes in his game, so I’d be surprised if he went this high.
Sports Illustrated: Nassir Little, Forward, UNC
Nassir Little has frequently been tied to the Hornets, and for good reason. Tar Heels can be found all over the organization, and it’s no secret that the team has favored prospects from powerhouse schools since Michael Jordan took over as Chairman.
Little is more potential over production as a prospect, which is partly a result of his situation. He had to play a bench role behind two seniors in UNC’s system that is notoriously difficult on freshmen. He’s got good size, athleticism, and basketball skill. It remains to be seen if he can put it all together at the highest level.