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NBA Mock Draft 2018: Sports Illustrated has 3 Kentucky Wildcats being drafted

A look at the latest NBA Mock Draft with the college hoops season now finished.

USA Today Sports

Now that the college basketball season is over, the next step for many of the sport’s top stars is entering the 2018 NBA Draft.

Just about everyone who’s projected to be a top-10 pick has already declared for the draft, including Duke’s Marvin Bagley, Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson, Texas’ Mohamed Bamba, and Arizona’s Deandre Ayton.

What about the Kentucky Wildcats’ NBA prospects?

For now, both Kevin Knox and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander are undecided, though the smart money is on both being part of this year’s draft. The latest NBA Mock Draft from Sports Illustrated only reinforces that, as both Knox and shai hear their names called within the first 14 picks.

First up is Knox going 11th to the Charlotte Hornets, where he’d team up with fellow Wildcat Malik Monk.

11. Charlotte Hornets HORNETS: KEVIN KNOX, F, KENTUCKY | FR.

Height: 6’9” | Weight: 215 | Age: 18 | Last: 10

Stats: 15.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 34.1% 3FG

The Hornets reportedly offered their GM job to Mitch Kupchak this week. Until it’s clear who’s running the show, it’s tough to really chart their draft course. A malleable talent like Knox, who’s still learning the game, would be a useful building block for the long-term. He had an up-and-down season, but overall he took steps forward and his scoring touch, three-point shooting potential and physical tools give teams a lot to work with. Knox may not progress into a star, but he’s far from a defined product and should be able to play both forward spots. There are a number of paths for him to become a useful rotation player.

Knox may be thinking about returning to school, but it’s really hard to see him passing on being a top 10-12 pick in this year’s draft.

Sure, Knox could return and go higher in next year’s draft, but John Calipari has said before it’s all about getting to that second contract. If Knox comes out now, he should be one year closer to getting that second contract that turns into a major payday.

Not far behind is Shai going 14th to the Nuggets with fellow Canadian Wildcats Trey Lyles and Jamal Murray.

Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last: 13

Stats: 14.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 1.6 SPG

Gilgeous-Alexander helped himself in the eyes of the NBA as much as anyone in the month of March, leading Kentucky to an SEC tournament title and what was a disappointing exit in the Sweet 16. He’s a crafty finisher with a good sense of pace and his size, length and instincts are all appealing. His shooting is a work in progress but his potential as a defender and playmaker is substantial. Gilgeous-Alexander would complement Jamal Murray and Gary Harris nicely in theory.

The only other Wildcat in this projection is Hamidou Diallo, who goes 43rd to the Brooklyn Nets. I think he’s gone regardless of where he’s projected, but he’d probably be better off returning to school and trying to go higher in a weaker 2019 draft.

Here’s a look at the entire draft lottery in this mock:

1. Phoenix Suns: DEANDRE AYTON

2. Memphis Grizzlies: LUKA DONCIC

3. Atlanta Hawks: JAREN JACKSON JR.

4. Orlando Magic: MOHAMED BAMBA

5. Dallas Mavericks: MARVIN BAGLEY III

6. Sacramento Kings: MICHAEL PORTER JR.

7. Cleveland Cavaliers: WENDELL CARTER

8. Chicago Bulls: TRAE YOUNG

9. New York Knicks: MIKAL BRIDGES

10. Philadelphia 76ers: MILES BRIDGES

11. Charlotte Hornets: KEVIN KNOX

12. Los Angeles Clippers: COLLIN SEXTON

13. Los Angeles Clippers: ROBERT WILLIAMS