In Part 1 yesterday, I told you about the prospects I was able to select for the Wizards during a series of “NBA Twitter” mock drafts. Here in Part 2, I will cover the remaining guys. Both first-round picks in this article were more “high upside” guys compared to the selections of Chris Duarte and Corey Kispert from Part 1.
In the third mock draft, I went with who I thought was the highest upside wing left on the board in Ziaire Williams. He may have had as much working against him this season as any player in the draft and I think it was largely why he looked like a shell of the player we had seen on the youth circuit.
Williams was on a veteran Stanford team that didn’t try too hard to feature him, he wasn’t surrounded by high-level teammates, they were displaced from their home court and campus for the majority of the season, and due to strict COVID protocols they had limited ability to continue skill development and strength training. With my undrafted picks, I once again grabbed David Duke but this time added international guard Carlos Alocen.
Ziaire Williams, 6-10, Stanford, freshman
Statistics: 10.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, .9 steals, 29% 3P%, 79.6% FT%
Case for: looked like an elite prospect in high school, showed flashes of creative playmaking, free throw shooting is a good indicator of NBA shooting success, projects as a good wing defender based on size and length, still young with lots of time to develop
Case against: raw, looked lost for much of this college season, didn’t show of the skills that most expected to see this year, needs to add a lot of strength, are people trying too hard to find the next super long wing (i.e.: Kevin Durant, Brandon Ingram, Jonathan Isaac)?
Carlos Alocen, 6-5, Real Madrid, 20 years old
Statistics: 4.5 points, 1.6 rebounds, 2.2 assists, 28% 3P%, 68.5% FT%, 13.6 minutes per game
Case for: creative playmaker, crafty scorer, good size for a point guard, plays with good pace, good in the pick-and-roll, good handle, shot looks correctable, played in the second best league in the world, per 36 statistics are pretty good for the league he played in, still young
Case against: not a good shooter, not a great athlete
In the fourth mock draft, I took the darling of the draft combine, Keon Johnson. Johnson tested through the roof (almost literally) athletically and may have helped his standing on teams’ actual draft boards. For my undrafted pick-ups, I went with Johnson’s Tennessee teammate Yves Pons and super athletic international big-man Ibou Dianko Badji.
Keon Johnson, 6-5, Tennessee, freshman
Statistics: 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.1 steals, 27.1% 3P%, 70.3% FT%
Case for: probably the best athlete in the draft (at least top 3), good in transition, very young, got better as the year went along, good hands and instincts on defense, projects as a high-end perimeter defender,
Case against: doesn’t project as a high-end shooter, a bit undersized, raw, ball-handling, what is he in the NBA?
Yves Pons, 6-7, Tennessee, senior
Statistics: 8.46 points, 5.3 rebounds, 1.8 blocks, 27.4% 3P%, 78.9% FT%
Case for: Pons is a grown man — he could come in right away and not be bullied by any of the bigger small forwards in the league, he is already used to being a role player and checking his ego after being on a deep Tennessee team, his junior season was really intriguing (10.8 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.4 blocks, 35% from three, SEC DPOY)
Case against: never really looked comfortable this year, took a back seat to younger teammates (Keon Johnson and Jaden Springer), career 32% from three, offensively limited
Ibou Dianko Badji, 7-1, FC Barcelona B, 18 years old
Statistics: 5.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, 61.2% FT%, 16 minutes per game
Case for: he doesn’t just block shots- he volleyball spikes them into the 10th row, very coordinated for his height, crazy athlete who could go up and get any of Russell Westbrook’s lobs, young with a lot of untapped upside, perfect guy to take a flyer on if undrafted as he’s high reward and there’s no risk at that point
Case against: raw, limited production so far, reportedly was not a super hard worker this year, limited game tape to evaluate based on playing time at this stage of his development
Author’s note: If you’re not familiar with Badji, draft analyst Rafael Barlowe gave a really detailed breakdown of his game during our draft podcast with him.
Based on the options who were available in all four mock drafts, would you have gone with a more win-now option like Duarte and Kispert or a higher upside guy like Williams or Johnson? Let us know in the comments!