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Where Kentucky players sit in new ESPN mock draft

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Good and bad news for the Wildcats in this new projection.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

We’re almost a full month into the new college season, which has given us a chance to get a better feel for who the top NBA prospects are.

For the Kentucky Wildcats, there’s really no question it’s Keldon Johnson. The freshman wing has clearly been Kentucky’s best pro prospect through the first six games, not to mention being arguably their best overall player.

That’s why Johnson is now a top-10 prospect in the latest NBA Draft mock draft from ESPN. This projection has Johnson going No. 7 overall to the Orlando Magic, where he would team up with former Wildcats guard Isaiah Briscoe.

The only other player in this projection is PJ Washington going No. 20 to the Portland Trail Blazers. Washington has certainly looked improved from his freshman season, enough to think he’ll sneak into the end of Round 1 if he keeps playing like this.

Saying this, I’d be surprised if these were the only two Wildcats to hear their names called in the 2019 draft. EJ Montgomery has shown a lot of potential thus far, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s a late first/early second-round pick next year. I also think Reid Travis could sneak into the end of Round 2.

Still, it’s become clear pretty quickly that guys like Nick Richards, Tyler Herro and Ashton Hagans aren’t remotely close to being as ready for the pros as initially thought coming into this season.

Coming into the season, we thought Kentucky could lose most of its players to the pros in 2019. And while it’s still early, it’s looking like there may not be quite as many defections as anticipated.

Here’s a look at what the top 20 of this projection looks like:

  1. Hawks - Zion Williamson
  2. Bulls - RJ Barrett
  3. Suns - Nassir Little
  4. Cavaliers - Cam Reddish
  5. Knicks - Bol Bol
  6. Celtics - Romeo Langford
  7. Magic - Keldon Johnson
  8. Wizards - Sekou Doumouya
  9. Hawks - Kevin Porter
  10. Nets - Ja Morant
  11. Heat - Darius Garland
  12. Timberwolves - Quentin Grimes
  13. Spurs - De’Andre Hunter
  14. Celtics - Rui Hachimura
  15. Pistons - Daniel Gafford
  16. Lakers - Jarrett Culver
  17. Hornets - Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  18. Pelicans - Jontay Porter
  19. Jazz - Luguentz Dort
  20. Trail Blazers - PJ Washington