5 Kentucky Wildcats have announced their intention to enter the NBA draft. Those players are Ashton Hagans, Immanuel Quickley, Nick Richards, Tyrese Maxey, and EJ Montgomery. Hagans, Maxey, and Quickley have already announced that they will be forgoing their remaining college eligibility to stay in the draft. Richards and Montgomery have not made a decision on that front yet. Draft profiles will be made for these players by scouts across the country.
Today I will be profiling each player in regards to their NBA status. I will be bringing each players strengths and weaknesses to attention, compare them to other players, and predict where they will land in the draft. Let’s hop right in.
Draft Profiles – Guards:
Tyrese Maxey, Combo Guard – 6’3 198 lbs (14 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG 43% FG 29% 3PT)
Strengths: Finishing, Quickness, Rebounding, On-Ball Defense, Raw Talent
Weaknesses: Shot Selection, Vertical, Consistency
Overview: Tyrese Maxey is the most NBA-ready player from this year’s Kentucky group. He’s the ideal frame and build for a Combo Guard, and has a quick first step. He is a crafty finisher who found many ways to use his elite touch at the rim to score. He showcased a serviceable jump-shot with solid mechanics, which will likely translate to him being a good shooter at the NBA level. His speed and ability to blow by the defender is a trait that few possess at that level. Maxey is a solid on-ball defender and is an amazing rebounder at his position. He can play the one or the two. He isn’t the best athlete in the world, but it’s not enough to consider below average. I think he will be a solid pro and will be a good pick for whoever drafts him.
Pro Comparison: Jamal Murray, Monta Ellis
Draft Projection: Mid to Late Lottery
Ashton Hagans, Point Guard – 6’2 198 lbs (11.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.4 APG, 40% FG 26% 3PT)
Strengths: Playmaking, On-Ball Defense, Rebounding, Toughness
Weaknesses: Jump-shot, Decision Making, Consistency, Athleticism
Overview: Ashton is a player that I believe would have really benefited from a third year. Despite being an amazing defender, Hagans game is still very raw and unproven. We know he can lock down opposing players, but he has so much to work on. Hagans isn’t a good shooter at all. His decision making makes him almost unwatchable at times as well. He isn’t the fastest and doesn’t have an unreal vertical, so his athleticism isn’t anything to write home about. He struggled in college with finishing at the rim, and never showcased an ability to score consistently from mid-range. Ashton is a solid rebounder for a point guard, and penetrates the defense rather well, but I don’t know how confident I am about him as an NBA level player.
Pro Comparison: Patrick Beverly
Draft Projection: Late Second Round/ Undrafted
Immanuel Quickley, Combo Guard – 6’3 188 lbs (16.1 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 1.9 APG 41% FG 43% 3PT)
Strengths: 3 PT Shooting, Midrange Shooting, Free Throw Shooting, Rebounding, On-Ball Defense, Shot IQ
Weaknesses: Athleticism, Playmaking
Overview: Quickley was the SEC Player of the Year and one of the most consistent scorers in the entire country. He was one of the best three point shooters in the SEC and was top 3 in the entire country in FT percentage. He was amazing off the ball and showcased an ability to defend and rebound. Some wonder why Quickley is so far down the draft boards. Although Quickley is a solid shooter, he doesn’t project to the NBA. He is undersized for the SG position in the NBA and doesn’t have elite athleticism to make up for that. From the PG spot, Quickley never showcased ability to run an offense at an elite level, so he doesn’t project well as a PG either. Despite this, I think Immanuel is too skilled as a scorer to not find a home in the league. I can see him being an important bench piece in the NBA for years to come.
Pro Comparison: Lou Williams
Draft Projection: Early to Mid Second Round
Draft Profiles – Bigs:
Nick Richards, Center – 6’11, 247 lbs (14 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.1 BPG 64% FG)
Strengths: Rim Protection, Defending, Athleticism, Mid-Range Shooting
Weaknesses: Three Point Shooting (?), Rebounding Consistency, Toughness
Overview: I would say that Richards has showcased a very solid skillset at the Center position, which is why it baffles me that he isn’t considered an elite prospect. The only thing that he hasn’t shown off is the ability to his the three point shot, but it’s common that John Calipari restricts his big men from shooting. Due to his consistent and borderline elite mid-range jumper, it’s safe to assume that Nick may end up being a solid three point shooter as well. He is a very solid shot blocker and specializes in altering shots at the rim. He tends to disappear in big games at times, so it’s possible that his toughness and consistency isn’t up to par. I’m not sure how well Nick will perform against other NBA level big men, which is likely why he is so far down the draft boards. Nick has not yet ruled out a return to Kentucky.
Pro Comparison: Willie Cauley-Stein, Myles Turner
Draft Projection: Mid to Late Second Round
EJ Montgomery, Power Forward – 6’10, 228 lbs (6.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.1 BPG (52% FG 16.7% 3PT)
Strengths: Mid-Range Potential, Talent
Weaknesses: Toughness, Defending, Rim-Protection, Consistency
Overview: This decision is one that baffled me, especially since it’s looking like EJ may keep his name in the draft. He believes he is ready, as does his family. EJ has a ton of potential, but is in no way ready for the jump to the NBA. He has shown no ability to be consistent in any facet of the game. He lacks a toughness gene and tends to get pushed around on the court, specifically when defending or going for rebounds. Montgomery tends to settle for ill-advised jumpshots that rarely go in, and it’s likely he led the nation in foot-on-the-line two’s. He has decent jump-shot mechanics, but rarely makes them. Despite being 6’10, he isn’t a very good rim-protector either. He’s an average athlete and doesn’t rebound all that well. I think another year at Kentucky is mandatory for Montgomery, as he is a talented player who could have a breakout season similar to that of Nick Richards this year. I feel like he needs to return, but I’m not sure if he will. As of right now, I don’t see EJ with much of an NBA future.
Pro Comparison: TJ Leaf, Skal Labissiere
Draft Projection: Undrafted
Those were my personal draft profiles based off my own knowledge and scouting of these players. These profiles may differentiate from the draft profiles of other scouts, as it is mostly opinion and conjecture.
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