The names of NCAA underclassmen declaring for the 2017 NBA Draft continues to roll in. On Wednesday, Duke freshman wing Jayson Tatum and Cal sophomore forward Ivan Rabb both threw their hat in the ring for the upcoming draft.
Louisville’s Donovan Mitchell, Wake Forest’s John Collins and Texas’s Jarrett Allen are now joining the fray.
The 20-year-old Mitchell first appeared on draft radars midway through his sophomore season and for good reason. He finished the season averaging 15.6 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists while shooting 35.4 percent from three on 6.6 attempts per game. DraftExpress currently has Mitchell as their 22nd best prospect, and Liberty Ballers had him 19th on our last big board (I ranked him 17th personally). An excellent defender with a steadily improving jumper, he could easily make his way into the lottery range with a good showing at team workouts and the NBA Combine.
Collins, like Mitchell, was another late bloomer. He more than doubled his freshman year production in his second season at Wake Forest, averaging 19.2 points and 9.8 rebounds in just 26.6 minutes per game. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman noted most teams didn’t even have them on their board at the beginning of the season, but now view him as a first-round pick. DraftExpress has him as their 15th best prospect, and Liberty Ballers ranked him 17th.
DX’s Julian Applebome had this to say about Collins:
Collins still has plenty of work to do in terms of refining his offensive game (particularly his passing ability) and becoming a more consistent presence on the defensive end, where he is incredibly foul prone, but his physical tools and strong play in one of the countries toughest conferences has his name being discussed as a potential first round pick. The fact that he is younger than many of the freshmen in our mock draft, having only turned 19 in September, will certainly help his cause.
The highly touted Allen got off to an inauspicious start during his first year at Texas, but rebounded nicely during the remainder of the season. He finished averaging 13.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game. A great rebounder with an evolving offensive game, Allen’s still learning the ins and outs of the game and needs to grow into his frame. He’s far from a safe selection, but if a team is willing to devote a couple years to his development, Allen could pay off in the long run. DraftExpress has him as their 12th best prospect. Liberty Ballers did not rate him in the top 25.
It’s worth noting that all three are not planning to sign with an agent right now, meaning they are able to return to school if they choose. The deadline to make that decision is May 24, 10 days after the Combine ends.
Out of all three players, Mitchell makes the most sense for the Sixers. There’s certainly a need for a guard on this team, but I think Mitchell is a fantastic two-way guard who could plug in beautifully next Ben Simmons. I don’t think comparing him to Avery Bradley is too far off. Unfortunately, the Sixers don’t have any mid-late first-round picks like they have in previous years, so drafting Mitchell (if he chooses to even stay in the draft) may be a long shot.