It’s May and the NFL DRAFT is finally finished and everything associated with it is quieting down a bit.
So you know what that means...
The NBA Draft (read: the best draft) is approaching just-around-the-corner status — and that’s pretty exciting, right?! For those especially looking forward to it, here’s a reminder so you can mark your calendars: the 2018 NBA Draft will be Thursday, June 21. It will arrive before you know it.
In the meantime, it’s important for us Pistons fans to know a little more about the upcoming NBA Draft Combine and about quality second round prospects and the like.
First, the NBA Draft Combine:
The NBA Draft Combine is a multi-day showcase that takes place every May before the annual June NBA draft. At the combine, college basketball players receive measurements, participate in interviews, undergo shooting drills, take medical tests, go through five-on-five drills and perform various athletic tests in front of National Basketball Association (NBA) coaches, general managers, and scouts. Athletes attend by invitation only. An athlete’s performance during the combine can affect perception, draft status, salary, and ultimately the player’s career.
Second, as most of you dear readers know, the Pistons do not have a first round selection. That’s a legitimate bummer. However, if you try hard enough —and I mean really, really try — it’s not impossible to get psyched for second round talent. Manu Ginobili, Draymond Green and Paul Millsap are just three examples and, well, I could go on and on about other stellar second round talent. Maybe another day I will. Anyway, the Pistons have the 42nd pick (the 12th pick in the second round).
Jayhawks everywhere for the taking in the second round
The NBA Draft Combine runs May 16-20 and a ton of Kansas Jayhawk players are invited. In total there are five Kansas players invited to the combine, but the three that Pistons fans need to know most about are Malik Newman, Devonte’ Graham, and Svi Mykhailiuk. Graham and Mykhailiuk are seniors while Newman is an early-entrant (who signed an agent*, so he can’t back out).
Here are some rankings and predictions about the aforementioned Jayhawks:
The most recent top 100 prospect rankings from Jonathan Givony at ESPN project Graham (No. 43), Newman (No. 46) and Mykhailiuk (No. 55) as second-round talents in the two-round draft.
Only 60 players will be selected in the draft. ESPN’s mock draft predicts Graham will go 42nd overall, with Newman getting taken right after him, at No. 43. Mykhailiuk isn’t far behind, at No. 49.
6-foot-3/4 shooting guard with ability to hit shots from all over the court. Probably not going to be a good defender right away. 21 years old — only played two seasons of college ball (had to sit out a year after transferring from Mississippi State). Had a pretty good season in 2017-18, however, really came on in the NCAA Tournament, helping Kansas make the Final Four. Newman might sneak into the first round due to his potential as a Lou Williams type of weapon.
I’m not going to edit any video clips this time around, so here’s a full video of Newman displaying his stuff in early March.
Sviatoslav “Svi” Mykhailiuk
Ukrainian. 6-foot-8. Will be just 21 by draft time — but played four years at Kansas. Smooth shooter with a little bit of an off-the-dribble skill set that he’ll be able to display in the pros, too. Has been on NBA teams’ radars for a few years. If I had to compare him to any current NBA players, I’d go with a combination of Darius Miller and J.J. Redick.
I like this series of clips from Svi:
6’2, 23 years old. Started nearly every game since the beginning of his sophomore season. Big 12 Player of the Year in 2017-18. Clear NBA caliber skills, although his point guard skills will be put under the microscope due to his propensity for turnovers. Did show a much better level of play-making for others during his senior season with the ball in his hands much more often (thanks to Frank Mason Jr. graduating).
Graham during Kansas’ Final Four game:
*Interesting fun fact: Malik Newman’s NBA representation (Independent Sports and Entertainment) also has pro athlete clients such as Reggie Bullock (and Justin Verlander).
Which Kansas Jayhawk would be the best fit for the Pistons? Let us know what you are thinking!