ESPN released a new mock draft on Monday and it includes three former Kentucky Wildcats, but only one in the lottery.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is projected as UK’s top and only lottery pick. ESPN has Gilgeous-Alexander at No. 12 overall to the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Clippers could be looking at point guard as a position in need of supplementing, and the size, length and versatility of Gilgeous-Alexander could be attractive here considering the type of lineup flexibility he brings.
The fact that he is 6-6 (with a 7-foot wingspan), instinctual defensively and unselfish makes him easy to slot in alongside virtually any type of player. His offense has made significant strides as the season has moved on, helping him surprisingly emerge as arguably Kentucky’s best long-term prospect. [ESPN]
Kevin Knox is next with a slight drop from his previous projection. Knox is now slotted at No. 15 overall to the Washington Wizards, one spot out of the lottery.
With Markieff Morris approaching the final year of his contract, the Wizards could very well start thinking of supplementing their power forward position with a player who fits the modern game.
Knox didn’t have an efficient freshman season, partially due to playing out of position, but there’s a significant market in the NBA for combo forwards in his mold who can make an open shot, defend multiple positions and offer offensive versatility. He’s one of the youngest players in this draft, so he still has plenty of room to grow. [ESPN]
Hamidou Diallo is the only other Wildcat expected to hear his name called on draft night. ESPN thinks he is a second-round pick, projected at No. 40 overall to the Brooklyn Nets.
UK’s three other NBA hopefuls — PJ Washington, Jarred Vanderbilt and Wenyen Gabriel — are not among the top 60 prospects in the class.