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ESPN: Dalton Knecht has 'positioned himself pretty firmly as a mid-lottery pick'

IMG_3593by:Grant Ramey06/10/24


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Dalton Knecht is “drawing strong interest” in the NBA Draft in the middle of the draft lottery, according to ESPN, and could hear his name called as early as No. 6 overall.

ESPN’s Jeremy Woo reported that the Tennessee Basketball star wing has drawn interest from the Charlotte Hornets, Portland Trailblazers, San Antonio Spurs, Memphis Grizzlies and Utah Jazz, teams that pick between No. 6 and No. 10.

Knecht is No. 8 in ESPN’s ranking of the top 100 players available in the NBA Draft.

ESPN: ‘Teams expect (Dalton Knecht) to come off the board in the lottery’

“Knecht has positioned himself pretty firmly as a mid-lottery pick, drawing strong interest from Charlotte, Portland, San Antonio, Memphis and Utah in the Nos. 6-10 range,” Woo wrote. “The reliability of his skill set as a legitimate scorer with positional size coming off an efficient season bodes well in the long run, dispelling most of the concerns about his advanced age for a lottery pick. He has the size, instincts and shooting ability that should translate effectively in an offense-driven NBA.

“He can feasibly step into minutes and help a team improve next season and comes with some perception of untapped upside as a late-blooming prospect.”

The seven players ranked ahead of Knecht are French small forward Zaccharie Risacher, French power forward/center Alex Sarr, UConn center Donovan Clingan, Kentucky guard Reed Sheppard, G League Ignite small forward Matas Buzelis, UConn guard Stephon Castle and Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham.

“Knecht isn’t going to be a very good defender, at least not immediately,” Woo wrote recently. “But his lack of high-level experience prior to landing at Tennessee, as well as his impressive production there, creates a degree of intriguing upside, even for a prospect who’s already 23 years old. Teams expect him to come off the board in the lottery.”

Dalton Knecht teaming up with Grant Williams in Charlotte?

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

The Athletic’s latest NBA mock draft has Knecht not only as the sixth overall pick but also has Tennessee’s star wing teaming up with Grant Williams at the next level. Sam Vecenie last week projected Knecht to the Charlotte Hornets with the No. 6 pick.

“The Hornets’ pick is seen as an inflection point,” Vecenie wrote, “as teams around the league are unclear on the direction new head of basketball operations Jeff Peterson will take. Peterson was an assistant general manager in Brooklyn and Atlanta during times when his teams made varied picks.”

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