With NBA Draft day — Thursday, June 22 — fast approaching, the consensus from analysts is that the University of Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox is a top-five pick and that Malik Monk will follow shortly somewhere from sixth to eighth.
However, Bam Adebayo’s stock is more difficult to ascertain. Projections have him as high as 20th, with a destination in the mid-20s more likely, and a drop out of the first round at least a possibility.
None of the Cats’ other draft entrants — Isaiah Briscoe, Isaac Humphries, Dominique Hawkins, Derek Willis and Mychal Mulder — are projected to be chosen in the draft, but all have worked out with NBA teams and could get a chance to audition during next month’s summer leagues.
Here is a look at what NBA Draft analysts are saying about Fox, Monk and Adebayo:
Latest mock draft (June 3): De’Aaron Fox fourth to the Phoenix Suns; Malik Monk eighth to the New York Knicks; and Bam Adebayo 24th to the Utah Jazz.
DraftExpress on Fox: “Fox’s intrigue at the next level starts with his tremendous size and speed for a point guard. Standing 6’4 in shoes with a 6’6 wingspan, Fox is both taller and longer than the average point guard selected in the NBA Draft Lottery among those our extensive measurements database covers. On top of his size, Fox possesses great explosiveness as a leaper and a degree of speed and quickness that made him next to impossible to stay in front of at the college level with the ball on his hands.”
“In a draft highlighted by the improbable rise to stardom and individual greatness of Markelle Fultz, and the program changing feel and instincts of Lonzo Ball, De’Aaron Fox, who got the best of Ball in the NCAA Tournament, has a chance to grow into the best point guard to come out of this draft. …”
DraftExpress on Monk: “Monk’s intrigue at the next level starts with his tremendous athletic ability, even if he is a tad undersized for a shooting guard at the NBA level at 6’3 in shoes, with just a 6’4 wingspan. A freakishly explosive leaper capable of finishing emphatically above the rim, registering a 42-inch vertical leap at Kentucky’s preseason combine.”
“Aside from his explosiveness, it is Monk’s prowess as a jump shooter that remains his most appealing trait as an NBA prospect. … The challenge for Monk moving forward will be honing his explosiveness into legitimate NBA-caliber shot creating ability.”
DraftExpress on Adebayo: “Measuring 6’10 with a 7’3 wingspan, Adebayo is a shade undersized for a center, but has the length and athleticism to compensate, as well as a chiseled frame that will allow him to hold his own against NBA big men from day one.”
“Adebayo is highly productive on the offensive glass, pulling down an impressive 4.1 offensive rebounds per 40 minutes and this is his most NBA ready skill that he has to offer.”
Latest mock draft (June 9): Fox fourth to the Phoenix Suns; Monk eighth to the New York Knicks; and Adebayo 20th to the Portland Trail Blazers.
Latest Big Board (June 9): Fox fifth, Monk seventh and Adebayo 23rd.
ESPN’s Chad Ford on Fox: “Getting Fox’s defensive versatility, intensity and playmaking should really improve the Suns and open the door to an Eric Bledsoe trade. … He was a big hit in interviews for NBA teams, and there is a handful of clubs that prefer him over (Lonzo) Ball.”
Ford on Monk: “If he lands here (at No. 8), Knicks fans will love him when he heats up. … He’s the best shooter and scoring guard in the draft — by a long shot.”
Ford on Adebayo: “Adebayo is steadily rising back up draft boards and a very strong pro day has scouts buzzing again, especially at the terrific feet that allow him to guard multiple positions. … Adebayo tested off the charts in his measurements and athletic testing portion of the combine. Teams were also impressed with his interviews. He seems to be putting himself back into the mix as a mid-first-round pick.”
CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish
Latest mock draft (June 7): Fox fifth to the Sacramento Kings; Monk sixth to the Orlando Magic; and Adebayo 25th, also to the Magic.
Parrish on Fox: “The Kings are desperately in need of a young point guard with a high ceiling, and Fox is exactly that. At 6-4, he has nice size for the position and is super-fast with the ball.”
Parrish on Monk: “The Magic shot 32.8 percent from 3-point range this season, which ranked next-to-last in the NBA. So they need shooting in the worst way. And Monk could provide it. … Why he doesn’t use his athleticism more to get into the lane consistently remains a mystery. But if Monk ever does that, he could develop into an All-Star.”
Parrish on Adebayo: “Adebayo lacks the skillset most NBA front offices desire from frontcourt prospects these days. But he’s still a high-energy, explosive forward who produced for a Kentucky team that advanced to the Elite Eight. Throw it near the rim, and he’ll dunk it.”
Lastest mock draft: Fox fifth to Sacramento Kings; Monk eighth to the New York Knicks; and Adebayo 36th to the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Ringer on Fox: “Lightning-quick point guard who constantly pressures opponents on both ends of the floor. Best-case scenario (comparisons): Mike Conley, John Wall, Elfrid Payton.”
The Ringer on Monk: “Supremely athletic scorer who, while undersized as a 2, has tools to grow into a point guard. Best-case scenario (comparisons): Ray Allen, Lou Williams, Zach LaVine.”
The Ringer on Adebayo: “Projects as an energy big man but needs to improve his awareness and proper technique to stay on the floor. Best-case scenario (comparisons): Bismack Biyombo, Montrezl Harrell”
Latest mock draft (June 13): Fox fifth to Kings; and Monk eighth to the Knicks. Adebayo was not projected to go in first round.
Top 50 prospects (June 6): Fox second, Monk seventh and Adebayo 26th.
SI’s Jeremy Woo on Fox: “He’s incredibly fast, can generate transition looks by pushing the ball, and has the strength and explosion to get it all the way to the rim and finish. His defensive instincts are also extremely impressive, and the legitimate strengths on both ends are a big part of his appeal. The big question is his jump shot, which doesn’t look broken but must become consistent enough to at least keep defenses honest.”
Woo on Monk: “Monk’s three-point range, elite athleticism and ability to get himself open cements his NBA value and gives him a shot at stardom if things break correctly. His skill set is a bit more diverse than the perimeter scoring role he played so impressively at Kentucky, and he could in theory become a lead ballhandler who can score inside and out. He’ll have a lot of learning to do in order for that to happen, which may mean a longer adjustment period as Monk figures out what still works for him and what doesn’t.”
Woo on Adebayo: “He’s got a great build, works hard on the glass, plays above the rim and doesn’t eat up a ton of touches in order to do his job. That much should translate. He’s made up for a lack of post skills with effort to this point. On the defensive end he’s a work in progress, but has the ability to make an impact protecting the basket with some added polish.”