Tyrese Maxey makes huge jump on Sporting News NBA Draft board; 3 Wildcats in top 50

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Tyrese Maxey entered this season as a potential lottery pick. He was solidly in the first round, but in the mid-teens on most mock drafts.

But with his play on the biggest of stages this season, he has slowly worked his way up the draft boards. In fact, Chris Stone of Sporting News now lists Maxey as the No. 4 overall prospects for the 2020 draft.

“Kentucky’s Tyrese Maxey is someone who has moved from the back half of lottery toward the top five on this board in large part because he’s shown he can score at a high rate, carry a team offensively and succeed defending at the point of attack,” stone wrote. “Critics will point to Maxey’s poor 3-point percentage this season, but it would be a mistake to discount him for that reason. The 19-year-old has a history of success from behind the arc, is shooting 80.3 percent from the foul line and clearly has the confidence of his coaching staff behind him — he’s taking 5.2 3s per 40 minutes. Don’t let the small sample size fool you into thinking Maxey will grade out as a poor shooter.”

On some boards, Maxey was not even the top prospect on the Kentucky team headed into the season. Kahlil Whitney came to Lexington has a highly touted recruit and was widely believed to be a one-and-done player. And while that still may be the case, Sporting News now lists him at No. 30 on the big board. My guess is that Whitney would leave for the NBA if guaranteed a position in the first round of the draft. However, he certainly has not met expectations as of yet.

Ashton Hagans is the heart and soul of the Wildcats this season. He has been great in most aspects of his game this season, he has improved his shooting, and he may be the best perimeter defender in the nation. However, his stock is not rising as quickly as Maxey’s. According to Sporting News, Hagans should be an early second round selection and they list him at No. 49 overall.

I would not be surprised to see Nick Richards work his way onto this list in the next few weeks. The combination of size and agility that he brings to the table is something that all NBA teams are looking for, as long as he continues to build on his offensive skill set.

Read Stone’s entire big board over on Sporting News here. What do you think about where the Wildcats landed (or did not land) on his list?

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Crazy how Richards isn't on here but Whitney is.

When all is said and done, I think Richards ends up being a top 20 pick. He will be 2 years older than most prospects, but with his size and skill, he’s an NBA player.

Whitney is following more and more in Diallo’s path. Super athletic wing that just hasn’t been able to put it together in college. With the way he’s been playing, I don’t see how any team gives him a 1st round guarantee. I think he comes back for year 2 and, similar to Diallo, has some games where it looks like it’s clicked for him, and others where we wonder if it’ll ever click. With his size and athleticism, I would hope he could at least become a lock-down defender and great rebounder from the wing.

That's how the Draft works, my friend!

Potential/athleticism >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> college production. And that’s consistent college production.

Nick is going to have to average 15-10-2 from here on out and get some face time in big games to even be in play for the first round. As we always say, the greatest weapon against college prospects is college tape, and the vast majority of Nick’s is fairly mediocre.

That said, Whitney isn’t going in the first round if he averages fewer than 10 minutes per game from here on out.

Right now, I think Maxey is a mid-lottery pick and Hagans will be picked anywhere from 25-35 unless he starts splashing 3s at a slightly higher rate and avoids the dreaded 5+ turnover game with better success.

Diallo was far more productive

especially early in the season averaging 15 ppg and 5.2 rbg on 45% FG% and 35% 3P% going into January. This included 10 double digit scoring games (including 23 and 20 pt outings) as well 2 games snagging 10 rebounds. The ensuing inconsistency truly tarnishes the output and the promise he showed. After December Diallo only got 6 more double digit games and only once approached 10 rebounds – although that 22/8 game against Buffalo was one of his best.

While Kahlil doesn’t get quite as many minutes, he’s not shown nearly the impact that Diallo teased us with. Currently the prognosticators see stuff I don’t yet. Decent enough size 6’6" 210lb but can’t shoot from anywhere (40% FG & FT and 28.6% 3P%) and hasn’t shown particularly strong defense or rebounding instincts. Hopefully he’s just doing the opposite of Diallo and saving his best for the 2nd half of the season.

Agree on Nick. Sucks but that’s the do-wop for the NBA these days. Despite being an old-man he’s still intriguing with his agility – another guy that can guard 1-5? Seems he might still have more ceiling to reach on Offense with that hook shot or expanding his midrange shot or pushing out to 3. He’s bigger than he looks, but can his frame handle a little more bulk and will he play stronger? While 15-10-2 will definitely get him in thoughts of 1st round, but if he’s a little bit less with a solid combine he could still work his way into it. Would love to see Richards vs Azibuike and then against Wiseman.

I would like to have Nick back next year.

I’m sure he will probably leave but man with all the progress he has made this year he would be a NPOY candidate for sure (barring injury). ICAH

Cats go on the road..

At South Carolina
At Arkansas

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