March is always a wild month for basketball.
Huge upsets, big shots, and eventually one shining moment. But March is also the season for brackets galore and an abundance of mock drafts.
As of Friday morning, The Ringer jumped in the mock draft game.
While their mock draft only includes the lottery (first 14 picks), their analysts still have two current Kentucky Wildcats that made the cut. Surprisingly, they do not believe that Kevin Knox will be the first selection.
In a prediction that seems to have as much to do with fit as it does talent, they predict that Shai Gilgeous-Alexander will be picked 10th overall by the Philadelphia 76ers.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers): Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Guard, Kentucky, freshman (6-foot-6, 180 pounds, 19 years old)
Tjarks: Philly is in a weird position. There’s no point in drafting a frontcourt player with Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric already there, and taking Collin Sexton would mean giving up on Markelle Fultz a year after the Sixers took him at no. 1 overall. Their problem is there aren’t any obvious choices for 3-and-D wings after Mikal Bridges comes off the board. Gilgeous-Alexander doesn’t shoot a lot of 3s at Kentucky, but he’s a good free throw shooter with no obvious problems with his mechanics — which makes it easier to project him as a solid perimeter shooter down the line. The Sixers have all their stars. Now they just need to fill out the rest of their team. Gilgeous-Alexander fills a need: He can guard multiple positions on the perimeter and complement their stars on offense.
They make good points here about SGA’s versatility, but while he has shot 39% from three point range the sample size is very small at only 41 attempts this season. Perhaps he will be a solid role player on a good team down the line, but I have a hard time believing somebody would pick him in the top 15 in this draft.
Kevin Knox squeaks onto the board in this lottery draft as well. He is slated to be selected by the Utah Jazz with the 13th pick.
13. Utah Jazz: Kevin Knox
Power forward, Kentucky, freshman (6-foot-9, 215 pounds, 18 years old)
Tjarks: Knox has been Kentucky’s best player this season, which may not be saying as much as it would in most seasons. He may not be a star at the next level, but his skill set is a perfect fit for Utah. At 6-foot-9 and 215 pounds, Knox is a combo forward who can shoot 3s and create shots off the dribble, and he has the physical tools to guard on the post and the perimeter. He’s the small-ball 4 they have been looking to place next to Rudy Gobert for years.
I do believe Knox could be picked in the lottery if he continues to play the way he has in the last two weeks. He may even be picked by the Utah Jazz. But anyone that suggests that Knox could play power forward in the NBA has obviously not watched him play very much.
Physicality is not his strong suit, and he plays much more like a big guard than a stretch post player. However, in today’s NBA his skill set is just what scouts are looking for and perhaps a team would draft him hoping he could develop an inside presence.
Are the guys over at The Ringer losing their minds, or could you see SGA being picked ahead of Knox in June?