As the pre-draft season rolls on, it continues to look like the Kentucky Wildcats will have two first-round picks in the 2018 NBA Draft, but what about Round 2?
The latest mock draft by ESPN has two Cats cracking the top 15, as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander goes No. 12 to the Los Angeles Clippers. They’re one of the few NBA teams that doesn’t currently have a UK player, and they also need to find a point guard for the future, making them a good fit for the Canadian star.
After that, Kevin Knox goes No. 15 to the Washington Wizards, who already have former Wildcat star John Wall. Seeing Wall and Knox together would be great to see in D.C.
The only other Wildcat in this projection is Hamidou Diallo, who goes 35th to the Orlando Magic. Diallo has been consistently projected to go in the early second round, which is probably a big reason why he’s already signed with an agent and locked himself into the draft.
While Diallo probably won’t be a first-round pick, a lot of those early second-rounders get guaranteed contracts, so perhaps he’ll end up with one as well, and it’s not out of the question he ends up being the final pick in Round 1.
After those three, no other Wildcats are in this projection. PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel don’t have a lot of stock right now, so it’s no real surprise to see them not even part of this mock.
Despite the buzz that Washington wants to stay in the draft, he needs to think long and hard about another year at UK, which could propel him into the first round of a much-weaker 2019 draft. The same goes for Vanderbilt.
As for Gabriel, he’s probably just waiting to see what those two do before making his decision.
Here’s a look at what the top 15 of this projection looks like:
1. Phoenix Suns - Deandre Ayton
2. Sacramento Kings - Marvin Bagley III
3. Atlanta Hawks s - Jaren Jackson Jr.
4. Memphis Grizzlies - Luka Doncic
5. Dallas Maverick - Mohamed Bamba
6. Orlando Magic - Trae Young
7. Chicago Bulls - Wendell Carter Jr.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets) - Michael Porter Jr.
9. New York Knicks - Collin Sexton
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Lakers) - Mikal Bridges
11. Charlotte Hornets - Miles Bridges
12. LA Clippers (via Pistons) - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
13. LA Clippers - Lonnie Walker IV
14. Denver Nuggets - Robert Williams
15. Washington Wizards - Kevin Knox