BOZICH | Who's Hot (and Who's Not) in 2017 NBA Draft class
It's less than six weeks until the 2017 NBA Draft -- and local college stars like Donovan MItchell, Hamidou Diallo, OG Anunoby, De'Aaron Fox and Thomas Bryant are jockeying for position.
CHICAGO (WDRB) — There are only 41 more shopping days until the 2017 NBA Draft, which means there are 41 more opportunities for Stock Up/Stock Down looks at the prospects in what the wise guys consider one of the best drafts in years.
Day Two of the NBA Draft Combine is one of those opportunities.
Put down your tape measure and make your list, starting with prospects from Louisville, Kentucky and Indiana.
DONOVAN MITCHELL, Louisville: STOCK UP
Didn’t play in games here. Didn’t seem to matter. Mitchell has climbed to as high as No. 12 in one credible mock draft (DraftExpress.com) because teams have been impressed by his strength, athleticism, intelligence and poise.
He had the fastest time here in the three-quarter court sprint, the highest standing vertical leap and the fourth-best maximum vertical leap.
“Sure some people would have liked to have seen him play,” one NBA person said. “But his athleticism is special. He’ll benefit from the way that Terry Rozier has developed at Boston because there are some similarities to the way they were used at Louisville.”
HAMIDOU DIALLO, Kentucky: STOCK UP
“I don’t see him staying at Kentucky,” one source said. “He got a lot of people talking about him the way he tested. Some of the Kentucky people said he’s as athletic as Malik Monk and he showed that.”
Diallo showed that athleticism by maxing out in the maximum vertical leap at 44 1/2 inches, second best in combine history. Steph Curry wishes he had Diallo’s wingspan.
Can he shoot? Don’t know. Can’t he distribute the basketball? Wouldn’t you like to know? Handle the ball against NBA pressure? Legit question.
He’s ranked 37th by DraftExpress, seven selections outside the first round.
THOMAS BRYANT, Indiana: STOCK FLAT
Bryant worked with former NBA all-star Ralph Sampson here — and Sampson told one source that he was impressed by Bryant’s shooting fundamentals.
For a guy whose athleticism has been questioned, Bryant also tested well, ranking first among big men in the lane agility drill as well as the maximum vertical jump, second in the three-quarter court sprint and third in the shuttle run and wingspan.
“He looked good shooting the ball and he usually does,” one source said. “But he didn’t do anything that made you go, ‘Wow!’ like some of the other big guys did.”
ISAIAH BRISCOE, Kentucky: STOCK DOWN
Briscoe continues to scramble to make his way into the second round. Although he made one shot from distance in five-on-five play Thursday, questions continue about his crooked stroke from 10 feet out.
“I’d give him a 4 1/2 (out of 10) for the way he played in the first half and and 7 1/2 in the second,” one observer said. “He’s going to have to fight his way into the league.”
De’AARON FOX, Kentucky: STOCK UP
How can a player help himself without playing in games here?
By leaving NBA officials with those solid memories of the way he performed in the NCAA Tournament, especially on the night he outscored Lonzo Ball of UCLA (39-10) in the South Regional semifinal in Memphis.
As Michael Rosenberg of Sports Illustrated cracked this week: If Lonzo Ball’s sneakers are worth $495 a pair, wouldn’t a pair of De’Aaron Fox sneakers be worth at least $495.01?
MALIK MONK, Kentucky: STOCK DOWN
How can a player hurt himself without playing in games here?
Unlike Fox, Monk bypassed all parts of the combine, even the measurements. He did not finish the season strong, failing to make 50 percent of his shots in eight of Kentucky’s last nine games.
Look for Monk to remain in the Top 10 picks, but he has not been a buzz guy in Chicago.
OG ANUNOBY, Indiana: STOCK UP
Anunoby father, OG, told me last fall that his son could have made it in baseball as well as basketball. Mr. Anunoby said that his son had enough sizzle on his fastball as a pitcher that one Division I basketball coach told him he was worried that his school’s baseball coach could poach him for the baseball team.
That coach was not Fran McCaffery of Iowa, who recruited Anunoby relentlessly before the player signed with Indiana.
“But I can believe it,” McCaffery said. “I love that kid. I really wanted to get him. I felt terrible when he was injured (and lost for the season in late January). I texted him and reminded him that the road to where you want to be often goes through adversity. He’ll get through it fine and have a long career.”
Anunoby still projects as a player who will be taken in the middle of the first round be because of his wingspan and ability to guard four possessions.
MORITZ WAGNER, Michigan: STOCK UP
“He’s the number one sleeper in this draft, one source said. “Tremendous footwork. Can get his shot off. Kind of reminded me of Kevin McHale with the way he showed he could work his way 12 feet from the basket to get to the rim.”
FRANK MASON, Kansas: STOCK DOWN
Mason was the consensus pick as college basketball’s player of the year, but size matters more in the NBA. He measured 5-11 without shoes, which is more of a problem on defense than offense.
“I knew he was small, but he looked ever smaller out there with all those good players, one source said
FRANK JACKSON, Duke: STOCK UP
The surest confirmation that Jackson played well Thursday came Friday morning when he announced that he will hire an agent and not return to Duke for his sophomore season.
“Loved him,” one source said. “He has a nice big body for a point guard and can get his shot off.”
MELO TRIMBLE, Maryland: STOCK DOWN
“He’s small and just wasn’t very impressive,” one source said.
ISAIAH HICKS, North Carolina: STOCK UP
“Loved him,” said one coach. “He’s a better pro prospect that (his UNC teammate) Kennedy Meeks because he can make more pro moves. He pulled up and made an 18-footer off two dribbles. That was an NBA move.”
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