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ESPN has 'lofty' NBA physical comparison for Tennessee's Dalton Knecht

IMG_3593by:Grant Ramey05/23/24


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ESPN’s Jonathan Givony has a “lofty” physical comparison for Dalton Knecht at the next level: Klay Thompson. Knecht, compared to a 21-year-old Thompson at the time he entered the NBA Draft, have similar numbers.

Knecht measured in at 6-foot-6.5 last week at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. Thompson was measured at 6-7 in 2011. Knecht has a 6-9 wingspan, just like Thompson. Knecht checked in at 212 pounds while Thompson weighed 206. Knecht is two years older, at 23, heading into the draft.

“The (DraftExpress) database spit out a pretty lofty physical comparison for Dalton Knecht,” Givony wrote, “in 21-year-old Klay Thompson. Knecht’s 6-9 wingspan and strong 212-pound frame give him some positional versatility to work with.”

Thompson, the No. 11 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft by the Golden State Warriors, has shot 45.3% from the field and 41.3% from the field during his 10-year career, averaging 19.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists over his 793 games in the NBA.

He played in 98 games in three seasons at Washington State from 2008 to 2011, averaging 17.9 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game while shutting 42.4% from the floor and 39.0% from three.

ESPN mock draft: Dalton Knecht the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 9 overall

Knecht was a First Team All-American in his only season at Tennessee and finished as a finalist for the Naismith Player of the Year award after averaging 21.1 points per game last season. He averaged 25.5 in SEC play and was named First Team All-SEC and the SEC Player of the Year.

Knecht shot 45.8% from the field and 38.3% from the 3-point line in 36 games with the Vols.

ESPN had a new prediction for Knecht in its NBA mock draft update on Wednesday, dropping him one spot but keeping him in state, projecting him to be picked at No. 9 overall by the Memphis Grizzlies. ESPN previously had Knecht mocked at No. 8 to the San Antonio Spurs.

“An injury-plagued season gives the Grizzlies a chance to add more talent to a roster already featuring three significant building blocks in Ja MorantJaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane,” Givony wrote in the updated mock draft. “Considering the team’s timetable, and the urgency surely in place to make a run back to the NBA playoffs next season, finding plug-and-play options who can contribute immediately without too long of a development runway will likely be important.”

NBA Draft: June 26-27, New York

Knecht put up impressive numbers during last week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, posting the fastest time in the shuttle run (2.79 seconds), second second fastest in the lane agility drill (10.56 seconds) and 11th fastest in three-quarter sprint (3.07 seconds). He finished 12th in max vertical (39.0 inches) and 18th in standing vertical (31.0). 

He was also second in spot-up shooting, making 84% of his shots in the drill, and was fourth in on-the-move shooting, averaging 72.0%. 

“At 23 years old and coming off an All-America season,” Givony wrote, “Knecht looks like an attractive option with that in mind. He’s one of the best shooters in this class, but he can put the ball in the basket in a variety of ways and has the frame and length to play either wing position.”

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