With the lottery over, the order is set for next month’s NBA Draft. Here’s where PJ Washington, Tyler Herro, and Keldon Johnson stand in the major mock drafts:
|ESPN Top 100||15||17||20|
|ESPN (Updated 5/14)||12. Charlotte||16. Orlando||22. Boston|
|The Athletic (Updated 5/14)||13. Miami||16. Orlando||20. Boston|
|Sports Illustrated (Updated 5/14)||14. Boston||18. Indiana||23. Utah|
|Sporting News (Updated 5/15)||14. Boston||19. San Antonio||22. Boston|
|Gary Parrish (Updated 5/15)||12. Charlotte||15. Detroit||19. San Antonio|
|Bleacher Report (Updated 5/14)||15. Detroit||20. Boston||18. Indiana|
And a sampling of comments on each player:
The Celtics have prized versatility in recent seasons, and Washington fits the bill from that perspective. At 6-7 with a 7-3 wingspan, he has the potential to defend multiple positions and even play some small-ball center in certain lineups deep in the playoffs. Washington also made some strides as a shooter at least in terms of 3-point percentage as a sophomore. His value, though, will mostly be felt on the defensive side of the ball.
For Miami, they’re about as good as any team in the league at getting guys into optimal shape and putting guys into position for success. Washington is a player that got into terrific shape last season, and experienced a legitimate jump in his game and the way he enforces his athleticism on the game because of it. He could use a team that helps him to stay in such shape. This isn’t exactly what I’d call a sexy, high-upside pick for an organization in desperate need of such swings, but this part of the draft is not really loaded with those type of players and Washington is a player that would fit on their roster and give them some added size, toughness, and perimeter shooting. His length could also help them in the smaller lineups that they enjoy employing.
Indiana can go a variety of directions with this pick, with a good chunk of their roster set to hit free agency. Trying to find help on the wing makes the most sense, and Herro’s ability to shoot from distance and surprisingly well-rounded skill set will make him an appealing fit to a lot of teams. While there are still some physical limitations he’ll face at the next level, he’s proven he’s more than just a specialist and added value in other ways for Kentucky. If he can refine his on-the-move shooting into an elite skill, Herro should be able to hang around the NBA for a long while.
Herro did a nice job this season proving he’s way more than “just a shooter” — which is what many labeled him coming out of high school, perhaps because of little more than stereotypes. At Kentucky, the 6-5 guard averaged 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 32.6 minutes per game while shooting 46.2%from the field, 35.5% from 3-point range and 93.5% from the free-throw line. So he’s a guard with size who can put the ball on the floor and consistently knock down shots. And that’s what makes Herro a real candidate to be selected either late in the lottery or just outside of it.
Johnson will be able to put pressure on defenses by attacking downhill and scoring around the key with his signature runner. He’s also proved to be capable of finding a rhythm as a spot shooter when set, though he offers little as a shot creator or playmaker. He’ll want to shoot well during workouts to ease concerns from his drop-off in accuracy and volume during conference play.
The Jazz can get younger and add depth on the wing with this pick. Johnson’s stock has dropped a bit as his limitations became evident at Kentucky, but he does enough offensively and brings strong enough intangibles to appeal to a playoff team as a future contributor. His competitive approach is easy to appreciate, and he should be able to shoot and defend enough to find a niche. Johnson has always been wired as a scorer, and may have to rein in some old habits to make it work.
Neither EJ Montgomery nor Nick Richards were listed in any of the major mocks. They have until May 29 to decide whether or not to return to Kentucky for another season.