Credit: Murray State Athletics

Mock Draft Friday

Highlighting the top five picks from the updated mock draft

*Click on a players stats to see their highlights from that individual game

1. Zion Williamson Freshman 6’7″ 285 PF

Last 2 Games:

24 Points, 14 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 3 Steals, 3 Blocks vs. Michigan State

23 Points, 6 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 1 Steal, 3 Blocks vs. Virginia Tech

Zion and Duke closed out their season with a loss to 2 seeded Michigan State in the elite eight. Despite the loss, Williamson continued his strong freshman season through the tournament and showed why he is the projected number one pick in the draft. Dominating on both ends of the floor, with having to play against much bigger players like Tacko Fall of Central Florida. There are legitimate questions to his game and how it will translate to the next level, but barring something crazy he is a lock to go first overall. The Knicks need a star after trading Kristaps Porzingis, who many believed would be their long term anchor, and Williamson would bring star power from day one. His shooting stroke will need some work for sure, however it was promising to see Williamson make 7 three pointers over Duke’s 4 tournament games. Playing against college competition almost looked too easy at times, with the stats proving it was one of the best freshman seasons in the history of college basketball. 

2. Ja Morant Soph. 6’3″ 170 PG

Last 2 Games:

28 Points, 5 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 2 Steals, 1 Block vs. Florida State

17 Points, 11 Rebounds, 16 Assists vs. Marquette

It was a shame we only got to see Ja Morant twice in the tournament, and with the second half of the Florida State game not being a remotely close game. Nonetheless, he cemented the idea that his talent and athleticism are elite, going up against a tough defensive minded team in FSU, and fellow NBA prospect Markus Howard. If his shot improves, much like when John Wall was coming out of Kentucky, he will be virtually impossible to defend for most players. The jump from his freshman season to this past year has been impressive, and that was shown when he made 7 of 8 attempts from behind the arc in the first two rounds of the tournament. Where he will be drafted will depend on what the draft order looks like after the lottery, but if Phoenix is picking second, the best bet would be they will select Morant to join Devin Booker in the backcourt. 

3. RJ Barrett Freshman 6’7″ 202 SG

Last 2 Games:

21 Points, 6 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 1 Steal vs. Michigan State

16 Points, 4 Rebounds, 11 Assists, 1 Steal vs. Virginia Tech

Much like Williamson, Barrett’s freshman season is one of the most productive that we have seen, especially against the level of talent that the ACC brings to the table on game by game basis. His efficiency on offense will need to improve, but the fact remains he can create his own shot whenever he wants to get it off, and his ability to set up teammates is often overlooked. The Canadian’s performance in the NCAA tournament may not have guaranteed he will be going second in the draft, but it didn’t hurt either, with 4 solid games. Being in the same position as Ja Morant, if a team other than the Suns end up with the second pick, it might be more likely that we would see the Bulls, Cavs, or Hawks prefer Barrett given their guard situations. 

4. Jarrett Culver Soph. 6’5″ 190 SG

Last 2 Games:

19 Points, 5 Rebounds, 2 Assists, 3 Steals, 1 Block vs. Gonzaga

22 Points, 4 Rebounds, 4 Assists, 3 Steals vs. Michigan

Culver has definitely improved his stock in postseason play with his ability to take over games on both ends of the floor, and score in bunches stunting momentum for the opposing team. He has not shot the ball great from deep, and that is the main weakness in his game, but he has been great at getting to the basket as well as hitting mid range jumpers. Texas Tech as a team is dominating on defense through the tournament, and Culver’s ability to defend on the wing is a big part of that, making his upside as a pro one of the highest in this class. If he can lead Texas Tech to a national championship, just two wins away, he will have for the most part jumped as high as he can go in the draft. Williamson, Morant and Barrett are widely seen as the best three players available but the evolution of Culver’s game from his freshman year to the final four this season, has his name in the conversation of a top five selection.

5. Cam Reddish Freshman 6’8″ 218 SF

Last 2 Games:

8 Points, 4 Rebounds, 1 Assist, 2 Blocks vs. Michigan State

DNP (Knee Injury) vs. Virginia Tech

If a team that needs or wants a point guard ends up with the fifth pick, and Coby White is still available, there is a strong likelihood that he or Darius Garland would be the next name off of the board. With that current standings and trade protections, the Hawks are in line to have the number five and the number 7 pick, giving them some interesting options to pair with their young core Trae Young, Kevin Huerter and John Collins. Reddish would make sense, but they could go with other wings like Keldon Johnson, KZ Okpala, or Deandre Hunter just to name a few. There are serious concerns with his shooting from his one year in college, but teams are confident he can be an efficient enough shooter in the league to contribute given his other skills he brings to the table. The knee injury that kept him out of the Virginia Tech game is not seen as anything to worry about, however the injury could have played a role in his 2 for 8 performance against Michigan State in 37 minutes of action. Reddish is most likely a lock to go in the top ten, and could go as high as #4. 

Click here to the see the rest of the first and second round

Click here to see the updated 2020 mock draft

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