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NBC’s Mock NBA Draft Has All 3 Cats Just Outside the Lottery

The absolute deadline for players to decide whether they want to return to school or take their shot in the NBA Draft is still a month and a half away, but at this point, it’s looking more and more certain that all three UK players looking to make the jump are locks to be first round picks.

NBC Sports released their latest mock draft over the weekend, and the way they see it, all three Cats will make it inside the top-20, but none of them will break into the lottery. Their highest projection is PJ Washington at No. 16 to the Orlando Magic:

16. Orlando Magic: P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky: Nikola Vucevic is an impending free agent and the Magic continue to bolster their front court for a third consecutive draft. Washington is strong around the rim and improved his touch from 10 to 15 feet and extended his range to the 3-point line after coming back to Kentucky for his sophomore season. He’s still got plenty of upside and would improve Orlando’s depth inside.

[NBC Sports]

From there, Keldon Johnson is projected as the next pick up, going 17th to the Brooklyn Nets, with Tyler Herro following closely behind at 19 to the San Antonio Spurs.

We know KJ wants to hear his name somewhere in the top 14, but it’s hard to imagine him passing up going just a few picks later. And after a breakout season, Tyler Herro is well worth a look in that neighborhood as well.


Article written by Jay Winkler

Avid fan of UK Athletics, WWE, and chicken wings. Preferably at the same time.

20 Comments for NBC’s Mock NBA Draft Has All 3 Cats Just Outside the Lottery

  1. UKCatAttack
    4:03 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

    NBC is not the best source for sports news.

    • N-UR-i
      6:16 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      Or “news” in general

  2. a21CATSfan
    4:14 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

    If Matthew Hurt and his family have really went through the process with a fine comb, and analyzed every aspect of committing to each program, theres only one choice; Kentucky. Cal should ask him if he wants to have one unbelievable year (hype and media attention), or does he want to have 15-20 unbelievable years? Even guys that Cal had to “settle” for have developed into great NBA players (Booker, Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander and Herro, eventually) lately while some guys we’ve missed on have sputtered (Parker, Giles, Bolden, Kennard, Jones, Winslow, Okafor, etc.). Cal should be preaching a 2nd and 3rd and 4th contract to Familia de Hurt. CATS

    • henderblue
      4:36 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      Good points a21C

    • UKWildcatNation
      12:14 am April 16, 2019 Permalink

      This is the exact same thing that is have been preaching a21CATSfan! I just do not understand the attraction to dUKe for ALLLLL of this young players that need to develop! Development and dUKe do not go in the same sentence!

  3. Swizzle
    4:24 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

    If keldon and herro go, they wont be there long.

    • Not Dan Issel
      4:35 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      I don’t know about that. Herro has displayed a wealth of basketball “instincts” that separate really good players from lesser ones. I think he will fit perfectly into today’s NBA game. His shooting technique is literally perfect, and as he matures his shot will become deadly. I think Tyler’s upside is greater than Keldon’s, to be honest. Keldon, I am still trying to figure out what all the hype is about.

    • ibescootch
      4:52 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      There are guys that are more cerebral type players, and will beat you by out-thinking you, like LeBron or Harden. They absolutely have elite skill, but utilize their mind the most. Then there are guys like Russell Westbrook and Giannis, who have a high motor and are constantly moving, they’re very active, they’ll go over or through anyone, and there’s no chess match with them. They just come at you in constant motion and aggression and passion. I think Keldon fits that mold well. He is a wrecking ball with a huge upside, if it can be directed at the right target. Without direction, he’s just another Archie Goodwin.

    • BlakeBlueNation
      4:57 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      I agree with what you said about Keldon but I disagree about him being another Archie Goodwin. Archie felt like a pure ball hog at Kentucky and he always tried to do so much. A lot of his baskets were hard contested shots, I feel like Keldon is at least a little smarter about his shot selection plus I believe his motor will get him places

    • ibescootch
      5:17 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      I know, that’s my point. Archie had a high motor and endless energy, but never really got the focus required to capitalize on his talent. Keldon, if out in the right situation can be a freakishly good NBA player, but the alternative path will be like Archie, if he continues to depend on pure energy.

    • michaelb
      5:36 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      Good one scooch. Right on

    • DirtyDave
      7:29 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      KJ is without doubt league material! That said he hasn’t yet figured out how not to drive right into the teeth of the defense in the college game…. it doesn’t get any easier at the next level and at this point he’s not jumping over too many players

    • TheMaxCat
      5:37 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      I wish nothing but the best for all our guys but I have my doubts about KJ’s game transferring to the NBA at this point. He could use another year to work on his handle and make himself more of a consistent threat from deep. It would greatly enhance his chances to show he can play some 2 guard. 6’6 small forwards that don’t excel in some area are not a viable commodity in the NBA. The bugaboo is the fact this is a really weak year for the draft overall..

  4. michaelb
    5:34 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

    Bucket would be lucky to start off with Pop @ San Antonio . There’s a lot of career killing franchises that you would not want to fall into . Best of luck to all our guys avoiding those .

    • ClutchCargo
      6:50 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      This was my first thought. He would be a great fit with the Spurs.

  5. Larkin123
    6:31 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

    Johnson will have a long NBA career.

  6. VirginiaCat
    7:14 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

    If Herro and Johnson stay in the draft, it will be yet another cause for celebration in the bluegrass. Sure, Duke will lose more talent than us this time around, but overall, no one comes close to Kentucky in shipping talent to the NBA. We do it better than anybody! Remember Cal’s proclamation that it’s the name on the back of the jersey that counts! Go Kentucky. Go June!

    • 1IH
      9:07 pm April 14, 2019 Permalink

      Definitely still a Virgin iaCat, definitely.

    • CATandMONKEY
      12:09 am April 15, 2019 Permalink

      Virg Cat – What is it like to look in the mirror every noon when you awake and see

      LLIGNESSAM – across your forehead?

  7. UKWildcatNation
    12:20 am April 16, 2019 Permalink

    I know that Keldon and Herro obviously want to leave, but both need another year. And I AM NOT saying this from a fan POV. I know that the draft is all about potential, but both players need a LOT of development and polishing if they want to be solid NBA players. Yes, I know, they can develop in the NBA without having to worry about anything else (school, etc,) but it is hard to move ahead of other players in the rotation when you are significantly behind. I do believe that Keldon will thrive in the the open court and up and down pace of the Association, but Herro really needs to work on his shooting consistency and overall game.