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New mock draft has 3 Cats in top 20 and PJ Washington rising

These guys absolutely made the right decision in leaving early.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Florida Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

We are just a little over a month away from the NBA Draft.

And while a lot can change between now and then, there are three Kentucky Wildcats that should be thrilled with where they stand at this point. As long as they perform well at the draft combine, they are in line to make a lot of money.

The latest mock draft by NBC Sports has three Wildcats being selected in the top 20, and it seems to fit in with the feedback they received before officially committing to the NBA. Also, this mock is simply projecting which pick that each prospect will land, not the teams that will pick them.

No. 12 - PJ Washington

Washington was one of the most improved players in college basketball this past season, but he was frustratingly inconsistent. He had a six-week stretch where he was the best player in the country not named Zion Williamson, and spent the rest of the season making Kentucky fans wonder just where that superhuman had gone to. I think Washington is better playing in a complimentary role — he seems to thrive as a catch-and-shoot spacer and a post scorer than he does a guy you put into isolations — and I can see him having the kind of career that another Kentucky grad, Patrick Patterson, has had.

Given the players just above PJ in this mock draft, he could certainly move up a few spots and find his way into the top ten with a strong combine performance.

No. 15 - Tyler Herro

Herro does a lot of things that you want NBA guards to be able to do. He’s a really good shooter (better than the numbers he put up this season), he can play in the pick-and-roll, he can run off of screens and get shots up and he will play hard. He’s also a better defender than he probably gets credit for. You’re not drafting him to be an all-star, you’re drafting him to do a specific job, and he should be able to do that job well.

I suspect that Herro’s draft position will depend more on team needs than the other Wildcats in the draft. Depending on a team’s style and current roster, the draft order could dictate Herro falling, or even rising, a bit.

No. 19 - Keldon Johnson

Keldon Johnson is one of those guys that is good at a lot of things, but may not necessarily has one NBA skill. He’s not an elite athlete. His shooting dropped off in SEC play. He’s a straight-line driver and will give effort defensively but may not necessarily have the physical tools to shut-down NBA wings. If he can get quicker and become a more consistent shooter from three, there is a chance that he can be a useful role player in the league, but there are definitely some improvements that need to be made.

Johnson is a freak athlete, and that will become more apparent at the combine. If he shows he can shoot consistently there as well, he will absolutely stay in the top 20.

We will know a lot more after the combine, so stay tuned to A Sea of Blue for the must up to date draft predictions.