The NBA Draft is under a week away, and three Kentucky Wildcats are set to hear their names called in the first round.
For many weeks many have speculated that PJ Washington would be a lottery selection, and both Keldon Johnson and Tyler Herro would fall somewhere in the 15-25 range.
However, in Sports Illustrated’s latest mock draft, Herro joins Washington in the lottery while Johnson is knocking on the door.
Here’s a look at each soon to be NBA Cats projection.
13th Overall: PJ Washington, Miami Heat
Could PJ Washington team-up with former Wildcat Bam Adebayo in the Miami front-court? Sports Illustrated thinks so as they tabbed Washington as the Heat’s first-round selection.
“Washington had been injured and unable to participate in pre-draft workouts until last week, but his range begins in the late lottery. Sports Illustrated said of Washington. He’s a strong fit in Miami, where his versatility and inside-out potential would work well next to Bam Adebayo long-term. He’s made strides skill-wise and profiles as a solid frontcourt piece, particularly if his jump shot continues to improve. Washington seems to be jockeying for position with Jaxson Hayes and Brandon Clarke in this range, and he’s the most offensively skilled of that trio.”
In Miami, Washington would join a front-court with solid depth but would bring a shooting presence the team lacks. Thus, it’s no surprise the folks at SI see Miami as a good fit.
14th Overall: Tyler Herro, Boston Celtics
Several mock drafts have had Tyler Herro joining the Boston Celtics with one of their three first-round selections, but this one has him being the C’s lone lottery selection.
When talking about Herro’s potential fit in Boston Sports Illustrated wrote, “Herro has become a viable option for teams in the late lottery due to his potent jumper and developing off-dribble game. At this point, his floor is thought by some to be Orlando at No. 16. He’s one of the better perimeter scorers in the draft, and one of the few who couple outside shooting with some legitimate long-term upside.”
Outside of this projection, there’s another reason to speculate that Boston will be the place for Herro. Aaron Torres of Fox Sports Radio was told that Herro “blew away” the Celtics in his workout draining 80/100 shots from downtown.
Someone in the know just told me Tyler Herro "blew away" the Celtics in his workout this morning. Finished the workout having made 80 of 100 three point attempts. From all accounts, Herro seems to be picking up a LOT of positive buzz throughout the draft process— Aaron Torres (@Aaron_Torres) June 4, 2019
15th Overall: Keldon Johnson, Detroit Pistons
Back to back to back Wildcats selected? Sports Illustrated believes so. Keldon Johnson had fallen outside the top 20 in several mock drafts this past month but this one has the small-forward just outside the lottery at 15th.
Here’s what SI had to say about Johnson’s potential fit in Detroit.
“The Pistons have a clear need on the wing that they should be able to address with this pick. Johnson’s draft stock has been stabilized by his intangibles, and teams think his competitive makeup bodes well, giving him a good chance to find a useful role somewhere and add value. He’s not a great off-dribble creator, but he’s strong, can score at all three levels, and defends willingly.”
If Johnson were to be selected by the Pistons, he’d be the first Cat taken by the team since Brandon Knight in 2011.