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NBA Mock Draft 2017: The Vertical and SB Nation Project Top 30 Picks

A pair of NBA Mock Drafts that have De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk going very high. What about Bam and Hami?

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-First Round-Kentucky vs Northern Kentucky Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats should have a strong showing in this year’s NBA Draft that begins as early as the first six picks.

Over at Yahoo Sports, Jonathan Givony of Draft Express did a first-round mock draft for The Vertical that includes a pair of Wildcats cracking the top six picks. It’s a familiar landing spot for Fox, who goes fifth overall to the Kings, followed by Malik Monk going sixth to the Magic.

5. Sacramento: PG De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

The Kings were perhaps the biggest winners on draft night, jumping up to the No. 5 pick where they’ll be in position to nab one of the draft’s top prospects. Fox, who has as much upside as almost any player in the draft, would also fill a position of need. Possessing great size and speed, Fox would be a great addition – on and off the floor – for a team hitting the reset button on the rebuilding process.

6. Orlando: PG/SG Malik Monk, Kentucky

The Magic were one of the worst offensive teams in the league this season because of their lack of shooting. Perhaps the most explosive scorer in the NCAA last season, Monk seems like a good fit for an Orlando franchise looking for direction.

It was interesting to see this projection have Monk listed as a shooting and point guard after reports of the Knicks eying Monk as a point guard. If teams think he’ll be able to play both spots, that will only increase his value heading into the draft.

As for Fox, his stock is at an all-time high as it’s looking more and more like he won’t fall out of the top five. Landing in Sacramento would be great news for former Cats Willie Cauley-Stein and Skal Labissiere, who would love to have a point guard like Fox running the show.

This mock draft does not have any other Wildcats cracking the first round, including Bam Adebayo and Hamidou Diallo. Those two have gotten a lot of first-round buzz, but this projection seems to think they’re more second-round caliber.

Perhaps that will help sway Diallo to remain at Kentucky if NBA teams have a similar feeling for his pro potential.

Elsewhere, the latest mock from SB Nation also has Fox and Monk going back-to-back to the Kings and Magic.

5. Sacramento Kings - De’Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky

Fox to the Kings at the fifth pick is the perfect storm of value, fit, and talent. He is exactly what Sacramento needs: A lightning-quick point guard who attacks opponents on both ends and projects to be the future face of the franchise. Buddy Hield’s knockdown shooting is a perfect complement to Fox’s game at the off-guard. The Kings still have a long way to go in their rebuild post-Boogie Cousins, but taking Fox with this pick would be a great start.

6. Orlando Magic - Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky

The Magic could really do anything with this pick. They could try to upgrade at point guard with Dennis Smith Jr. They could draft the player with the highest defensive upside in Jonathan Isaac. They could add shooting in the front court with Lauri Markkanen. In the end, the Magic just need star power and Monk is the chance to offer exactly that.

When Monk gets hot, he offers deep shooting range and elite athleticism. Orlando already has Mario Hezonja and Evan Fournier as options at the two, but adding another shooter and scorer never hurts. Maybe Orlando’s rebuild will end some day.

This projection also has Diallo going 17th overall to the Bucks.

17. Milwaukee Bucks - Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky

The Bucks like swinging for the fences in the first round and Diallo is this year’s lottery ticket. He posted the second-best vertical leap ever (44.5 inches) and has great length for a shooting guard. He essentially jumped from high school to the NBA, so he needs skill refinement, but that bet appears to have worked out OK for the Bucks with Thon Maker. Why not try it again?

The Bucks have been one of the teams to show strong interest in Diallo, so seeing him go 17th wouldn’t be a major surprise. I still think this is too high for shooting guard who hasn’t played at a high level of basketball yet.

This projection also has Bam slipping out of the first round. It’s hard to see a big man as talented as him would fall out of Round 1, but the experts seem to think it’s very possible.