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BOZICH | Updated NBA Draft outlook for U of L, UK, IU prospects

Posted: Updated:
The 2017 NBA Draft outlook is mixed for a group of local college basketball players. The 2017 NBA Draft outlook is mixed for a group of local college basketball players.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – With the first pick of the college basketball off-season, I select the 2017 NBA Draft outlook for local college basketball players. It’s a certain winner for office conversation.

Several guys have announced their departures, including the finality of hiring agents for three of the four University of Kentucky players who've declared. Others do not have to finalize their decisions until May 25. For undecided players, the wisest path will be to participate in the NBA Draft combine in Chicago from May 9-14.

Until everybody gathers in Chicago, the speculation will be continuous.

I checked the projections from seven mock drafts and scouting services – Chad Ford of ESPN.com; DraftExpress.com; Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com; SI.com; NBADraftRoom.com; Forbes.com and NBADraft.net. This is the consensus from those sites.

Donovan Mitchell, Louisville

High: No. 21, DraftExpress.

Low: Undrafted, NBADraftRoom.

Average: No. 26.

OUTLOOK: The most challenging guy to predict locally remains Mitchell, the Cards’ sophomore guard. In the NBA, Mitchell will likely be asked to shift from off guard to point guard, a position he played primarily when Quentin Snider was injured. Scouts love Mitchell’s athleticism but are concerned that he made fewer than 41 percent of his field goal attempts last season.

SynergySports ranked Mitchell a very good offensive player, who was a more effective scorer in spot-up situation than he was scoring off screens or in transition.

Jaylen Johnson, Louisville

Unlisted on mock drafts

OUTLOOK: Should return to school.

Deng Adel, Louisville

Unlisted on mock drafts

OUTLOOK: Should return to school.

De’Aaron Fox, Kentucky

High: No. 4 by NBADraftRoom  and NBADraft.net

Low: No. 8, Gary Parrish, CBSSports.

Average: No. 5.

OUTLOOK: Fox made UCLA point guard Lonzo Ball look like he belonged in the junior varsity game two weeks ago when the Wildcats defeated the Bruins in the semifinals of the South Regional. But Fox remains ranked below Ball, Markelle Fultz of Washington and Jayson Tatum of Duke on most mock drafts. His shot from distance (24.6 percent) requires work, but Fox showed a solid mid-range game and the ability to knife through defenders to get to the rim.

SynergySports ranked Fox as a very good offensive player, whose strength was in isolation situations where he scored 68 points in 71 possessions.

Malik Monk, Kentucky

High: No. 5 by DraftExpress and Sports Illustrated.

Low: No. 9 by NBADraftRoom and Forbes.

Average: No. 7.

OUTLOOK: A month ago, several mock drafts ranked Monk ahead of Fox, but they’ve flipped spots since the end of February. Monk failed to make 50 percent of his attempts in Kentucky’s final nine games, delivering a six-point game against Texas A&M and two-point game against Georgia. Monk will likely have a solid NBA career, but some worry about his slight, 6-foot-3-inch, 200-pound frame.

SynergySports ranked Monk an excellent offensive player, who excelled as a spot-up shooter, scoring 249 points in 212 possessions.

Bam Adebayo, Kentucky

High: No. 19, Chad Ford, ESPN.

Low: Out of first round by Sports Illustrated.

Average: No. 24, by six drafts that include him.

OUTLOOK: Adebayo did the right thing by not hiring an agent while making his draft decision. By improving his range, explosiveness and low post moves, Adebayo has the skills to play his way into the 2018 Draft lottery and improve his chances of a successful career. But if he plays well in Chicago, Adebayo could also secure his place in the first round (with guaranteed money) in 2017.

SynergySports ranked Adebayo as an excellent offensive player in transition or pick-and-roll situations.

OG Anunoby, Indiana

High: No. 14 by Sports Illustrated.

Low: Out of first round by Forbes and NBADraft.net.

Average: No. 17, by five mock drafts that include him.

OUTLOOK: Knee surgery limited Anunoby to 16 games this season. Any team that selects him in the first round must be convinced of its ability to project Anunoby’s offensive skills because he only scored 342 points in 1 ½ college seasons while averaging more turnovers than assists. He’s a skilled defender and rebounder, but it’s reasonable to question his ability to create his shot and make others better.

SynergySports rates his overall offensive game in the Top 10 percent in the nation, but ranked Anunoby below average in isolation situations.

Thomas Bryant, Indiana

High: No. 22 by Gary Parrish, CBSSports.

Low: Not ranked by four sites.

Average: No. 39 by three mock drafts that include him.

OUTLOOK: Bryant has not disclosed his plans for next season. Some thought he would participate in the 2016 NBA Draft Combine, but Bryant passed. Although he showed the ability to shoot from the perimeter, Bryant also struggled with turnovers and averaged less than 7 rebounds. Some are convinced he’d benefit from another season in college, others argue Bryant would remain a second-rounder next season, too.

SynergySports ranks Bryant as a very good offensive player with an effective field goal percentage of nearly 56 percent. But his ratings slip to below average in isolation and dribble hand off situations.

Additional notes:

*Kentucky guard Isaiah Briscoe has declared for the draft and will hire an agent, although he is not listed in the seven mock drafts I examined.

*Kentucky freshman forward Wenyen Gabriel is ranked the No. 80 prospect by Ford at ESPN.com, two spots ahead of Hamidou Diallo, the guard who sat out the second half of the season at UK.

*Jaylen Johnson and Deng Adel of Louisville are studying their positions in the 2017 but neither is considered a Top 60 prospect. At DraftExpress, Louisville wing V.J. King is ranked 32nd in the 2018 Draft while center Anas Mahmoud is No. 60.

*Indiana guard James Blackmon Jr. is reportedly considering his draft status for the third consecutive season but Blackmon is not ranked a Top 60 prospect.

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