The Kentucky Wildcats have been producing some of the nation’s best players for some time now, and that won’t stop in the 2020 NBA Draft. However, what will stop is their dominance in the first round.
In his most recent rendition of the 2020 NBA Draft, Sports Illustrated’s Jeremy Woo has three Wildcats taken in the 60-pick draft, but only one first-round pick coming out of Lexington.
The first one off the board is freshman point guard Tyrese Maxey at No. 10. He’s the only one in the first round, meaning he’s the only one in which Woo dives into his potential and placement in the mock.
At No. 10, Maxey would join superstar shooting guard and former Wildcat Devin Booker in Phoenix and potentially be the fix to the Suns’ long-time point guard need. That said, here’s how Woo envisions his fit.
“Phoenix has gone through a revolving door of guards the past few seasons and found some success pairing Devin Booker with Ricky Rubio, letting the former move off the ball more frequently and taking away some responsibility to create offense. Maxey would be an immediate upgrade off the bench and profiles pretty well as a third guard who can play on or off the ball, can finish capably and defend his position, and who most expect to end up shooting it better from distance long-term than he did at Kentucky. It’s easy to find undersized, bucket-getting two-guards, but what separates Maxey is his thicker build and potential to help close games defensively. Even after an uneven year in college, he figures to land in the back half of the lottery.”
Maxey had an up-and-down year at UK, having several terrific, potential-showing performances. But, he also had numerous duds which left his consistency one of the major issues entering the draft.
As for the other Wildcats, Woo has Immanuel Quickley to the Washington Wizards at No. 37. A shooting guard leaving after his sophomore season, Quickley should fit well with the John Wall and Bradley Beal-led Wizards.
The last Wildcat in Woo’s mock is Ashton Hagans. The floor general comes in at No. 47 to the Chicago Bulls. It’s surprising to both see him that low and to see Nick Richards left off the draft board after a stellar junior season.
EJ Montgomery, who is also getting feedback from the NBA, was also left out and is highly unlikely to be drafted if he goes pro this year.
Over at NBC Sports, Rob Dauster mocked the top 40 picks, and only Maxey made it, going No. 9 overall. No other Wildcats were selected, though there likely would have been several if it extended to the final 20 picks of the draft.
Still, it shows how volatile the NBA stock of Quickley, Hagans and Richards are, as all three seem to have an outside chance of cracking the end of Round 1, but none of them seem to be a lock to be selected at all.
And with all of the madness within the NBA right now due to COVID-19, perhaps we’ll actually see 1-2 Wildcats skip the pros and return for another season.