The deadline to declare has passed, and that means NBA mock drafts across the board are becoming more firm in their projections. With the return of Marcus Smart at Oklahoma State, Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III at Michigan, and James Michael McAdoo at North Carolina, along with the somewhat surprising announcement to go pro from Miami’s Shane Larkin, CBS has nailed down its mock draft to only those certain in going pro.
And the two Cats projected to be drafted have both improved their stock. Nerlens Noel and Archie Goodwin moved up in the CBS rankings, with Goodwin just barely missing out on the lottery.
Noel moved up one spot from 2nd overall to the top of the list, replacing Ben McLemore out of Kansas. It’s unclear what made CBS flip-flop the two freshmen atop the board, but both have absurd potential.
1. Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky: He’s coming off the knee injury, but with modern technology the way it is, the 6-foot-10 big man will be back to full strength soon. He’ll give some team a game-changer on the defensive end with his ability to block and alter shots.
The one thing that will likely determine the first overall pick is which team wins the lottery. The Orlando Magic have the highest odds in the field, with a 25 percent chance at winning the first pick. The Magic already have a rising star in Nikola Vucevic down low, so drafting a center seems unlikely. They would be looking for guard help. The Charlotte Bobcats, however, have a 19.9 percent chance to win the top pick, and they would certainly look long and hard at drafting Noel.
Archie Goodwin improved four spots, up from 21st to 17th overall. CBS projected Goodwin to just miss out on the lottery and land with the Atlanta Hawks.
17. Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky: Looked lost at times this past season, but also had a difficult adjustment. Played without a point guard, and was even forced to having to run the team early in the season. Goodwin is athletic and can become a competent scorer in the NBA in due time.
The Hawks currently employ Devin Harris as its shooting guard, a guy who has been in the league for eight years and is averaging 9.9 points per game this season. Also on the depth chart at shooting guard for the Hawks is former Vanderbilt guard John Jenkins. Surely Goodwin can beat him out. Do it for Big Blue Nation?
Draft night is Thursday, June 27 and will air on ESPN.