The NBA Draft is officially two weeks away, and predictions all over the internet continue to change.
ESPN’s newest mock draft update brings several shifts in draft order, and Kevin Knox is one player whose stock is on the rise. Knox has been projected everywhere between 10 and 15, but most projections have had him being selected near the end of the lottery.
However, Jonathan Givony at ESPN believes he will be taken at No. 11, by the Charlotte Hornets, but possibly even sooner.
“Knox didn’t have a very efficient freshman season, partially due to his playing out of position, but there’s a significant market in the NBA for combo forwards in his mold who can make an open shot, defend multiple positions and offer some offensive versatility.”
“He’s one of the youngest players in this draft, so he still has plenty of room to continue to grow. Knox’s appeal is reportedly growing on NBA teams as the pre-draft process has moved on, and there is a chance he could climb as high as seven or eight.”
Knox going in the top ten would be a surprise to many, but that does appear to be on the table at this point.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is the second Wildcat that Givony predicts to come off the board, selected at No. 12 by the Los Angeles Clippers.
“The Clippers could be looking at point guard as a position in need of supplementing, and the size, length and versatility of Gilgeous-Alexander could be attractive here, considering the type of lineup flexibility he brings.”
“The fact that he is 6-foot-6 (with a 7-foot wingspan), instinctual defensively and unselfish makes him easy to slot in alongside virtually any type of player. His offense has made significant strides as the season has moved on, helping him surprisingly emerge as arguably Kentucky’s best long-term prospect.”
The biggest question marks for the Kentucky guys in the draft are likely to come in the second round. Some have speculated that Hamidou Diallo could sneak into the first round with some impressive workouts, and there is still some question as to whether Jarred Vanderbilt will be drafted at all, although there are reports that he received a guarantee.
According to Givony, both guys will be picked but neither are likely to go as high as they’d like. He believes the New Jersey Nets will selected Diallo at No. 40, which is on the lower end of projections we have seen up to this point.
Vanderbilt is predicted to be picked at No. 57 by the Oklahoma City Thunder. I believe that would be a great fit for Vanderbilt, as scoring is not a skill that is lacking with the current roster.
But that is very close to the end of the draft, which would have to make Vanderbilt’s camp feel uneasy unless there is a guarantee. Could OKC be the team that promised Jarred that he would be selected?
All things considered, getting two guys into the lottery and all four players into the draft would be a success. Wenyen Gabriel is obviously not mentioned here, but he has always been expected to play internationally.
Here’s a look at what the lottery 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 - Wendell Carter Jr.
7. Chicago Bulls - Trae Young
8. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Nets) - Michael Porter Jr.
9. New York Knicks - Collin Sexton
11. Charlotte Hornets - Kevin Knox
12. LA Clippers (via Pistons) - Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
13. LA Clippers - Lonnie Walker IV
14. Denver Nuggets - Miles Bridges
Would you be happy with this draft class if ESPN’s latest predictions are correct for the Kentucky Wildcats?