This morning, ESPN released a new mock draft, which included Isaiah Jackson as the No. 11 pick. Jackson’s draft stock is the one to watch as Stay and Go Season churns on; last week, his father told Kyle Tucker Isaiah only intends to stay in the draft if he receives assurance he’ll go in the lottery (picks 1-14). Of course, what basketball writers predict and what NBA teams tell players are two totally different things, but with a fresh crop of mocks out there, let’s look at where each of Kentucky’s draft hopefuls stand.
(Jackson is the only player to leave the door open for a return to Lexington, while BJ Boston and Terrence Clarke announced they will forego their remaining eligibility and stay in the draft.)
|ESPN (Updated 4/8)||11. Toronto||35. New Orleans||—|
|ESPN Top 100||11||34||71|
|Sam Vecenie (Updated 3/16)||17. OKC||34. Orlando||39. Chicago|
|Sam Vecenie Top 100 (Updated 4/2)||19||32||36|
|Sports Illustrated (Updated 4/8)||21. NY Knicks||33. NY Knicks||54. OKC|
|Bleacher Report (Updated 4/2)||19. Charlotte||32. NY Knicks||—|
|CBS Sports’ Kyle Boone (Updated 4/8 – First Round Only)||18. OKC||30. Utah||—|
|SB Nation’s Ricky O’Donnell (Updated 4/6 – First Round Only)||21. NY Knicks||27. Philadelphia|
Here’s a sampling of comments on Jackson and Boston:
Jeremy Woo, Sports Illustrated: 21. New York Knicks
Teams are all over the place on Jackson, who has lottery-level physical tools and the ability to be a monster shot blocker but with limited offensive feel and skill. He’s a likely first-rounder off the strength of that upside, but in some ways, the pure rim-runner model has become replaceable, with teams starting to favor skilled bigs and prioritize those who can space the floor on offense. Jackson isn’t that, clearly. He’s a total project and was highly foul-prone and unable to consistently stay in games at Kentucky. But as a gamble on tools for a team seeking developmental bigs, you could do worse.
Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report: 19. Charlotte Hornets
The Hornets could look past some guards to fill a major hole with Jackson. He’d give them a needed boost of athleticism at the 5, where he would work as LaMelo Ball’s lob target and the defense’s rim protector.
Kyle Boone, CBS Sports: 18. OKC Thunder
Modern-day big man from Kentucky who swatted 2.6 shots per game last season. Not a real threat as a creator or on offense, but can finish lobs, plays great defense, has good mobility and can make things happen around the rim.
Jonathan Wasserman, Bleacher Report: 32. New York Knicks
Late-first-rounds teams will still think about buying low on Boston, a 6’7” slasher, shot-maker and projected lottery pick to start the season who shot 35.5 percent at Kentucky. He’s probably more attractive in the second round, but Boston is still worth gambling on, particularly given the history of former Wildcats playing better as pros than students.
Kyle Boone, CBS Sports: 30. Utah Jazz
Started the season as a potential No. 1 pick contender, but Boston’s stock slipped after a really rough start to the season. He improved as the season went on though. Played with more confidence as a scorer and didn’t look out of place, with some nice games blended in. It’d make a ton of sense for a team like Utah to gamble on his potential here in hopes that his production becomes more consistent. Hard to find a 6-foot-7 wing with this kind of upside in the back half of the first round.
The NBA Draft Combine is scheduled for June 21-27, with the draft taking place July 29. The NCAA’s deadline for players to withdraw their name to return to school is July 7 at 11:59 p.m.