ESPN analyst Chad Fordreleased his first NBA mock draft Tuesday, and it was a mixed bag for UK’s freshmen.
The good news: Ford projects Nerlens Noel — who has not yet officially declared — to be selected with the No. 1 overall pick by the Charlotte Bobcats. If that happens, it will give UK the No. 1 draft pick in three of the past four years.
The bad news: Archie Goodwin — who has officially declared — was not included in the first round.
Thirty players, no Goodwin.
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Goodwin is ranked No. 22 in Ford’s most recent “Big Board” update, but the ESPN analyst said Tuesday that the ex-Cat’s overall prospect ranking doesn’t necessarily correlate to his draft position.
“The mock draft is about both fit and finding teams who like a particular player,” Ford told the Herald-Leader. “While I think GMs generally think that Goodwin has a chance, I couldn’t find a team in the 20s that had him prioritized over other players on the board. You noticed that both shooting and size become really big as we get further down in the draft.”
Of the players Ford has slated in the last 10 spots of the first round, only three — Glen Rice Jr., Allen Crabbe and P.J. Hairston — are shorter than 6 feet 9. All three of those prospects are considered much better shooters than Goodwin, who was 26.6 percent from three-point range in his only season at Kentucky.
“His jump shot is the biggest concern,” Ford said. “Right after that, his lack of strength. Teams are worried he’s going to get pummeled going to the basket the same way he did at Kentucky.”
Ford released only his first round mock draft Tuesday. If he had gone a little deeper, he said he could envision Goodwin going to the Oklahoma City Thunder with the No. 31 pick or the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 36.
There’s no doubt Goodwin will be selected at some point during the June 27 draft. But he clearly has some work ahead of him to secure a guaranteed contract that comes with being a first-round selection.
“Most NBA scouts and GMs were surprised that he decided to go to the NBA,” Ford said. “Of the freshmen, they felt like he was the one who needed another year in college the most.”
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