Now that the NBA Draft combine and lottery have taken place, a slew of new mock drafts have hit the Internet.
Opinions remain varied on UNLV’s two hopefuls, though Stephen Zimmerman Jr. has slipped some, falling to the late first round in some mocks and completely out in others. Patrick McCaw is still rated as a late first-round pick to a second-round selection.
Attempts to reach both players were unsuccessful, but they said at last week’s combine in Chicago they didn’t pay much attention to mock drafts.
But others do.
First, the good news for the Rebels. Fox Sports and Yahoo Sports each project the 7-foot Zimmerman and the 6-7 McCaw to go in the first round of the June 23 draft.
Fox Sports projects McCaw to be chosen 26th by the Philadelphia 76ers and Zimmerman 30th by the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
On McCaw, Fox Sports’ Aaron Torres wrote: “The former UNLV product may be the best perimeter defender in the draft, after averaging 2.5 steals to go along with just under 15 points per game in Vegas last season.”
As for Zimmerman, Torres wrote the Warriors will be in the market for a big man with Marreese Speights entering free agency this year and Andrew Bogut possibly testing the waters next year.
“Zimmerman saw his draft stock tumble throughout his one season at UNLV, but there’s a reason that he was projected as a first-rounder prior to his college days,” Torres wrote. “His size and athleticism will be a perfect addition to Golden State’s front court at a time when they need it.”
Yahoo pegs Zimmerman to go 27th to the Toronto Raptors and McCaw 30th to the Warriors.
“Zimmerman’s freshman season was a disappointment in some ways, but there is a lot of potential on both ends of the floor with size and skill,” Ed Isaacson wrote for Yahoo. “He will need to work on becoming a bit more aggressive, and he should be a better rebounder for his size, but some playing time in the D-League should help.”
On McCaw: “While maddening to watch at times, McCaw showed potential as a shooter, passer and slasher, but his decision-making process seemed a bit out of whack. A great candidate for (D-League) Santa Cruz (California) to turn into a pro-ready player.”
“Size plus the ability to play in transition plus a nice touch from the perimeter plus the potential to defend both big-man spots,” Scott Howard-Cooper wrote for NBA.com. “It’s easy to see Zimmerman moving back up, after previously being in the lottery mix. The question is whether he will convince front offices he can play a physical style as well, at least on defense, and go after contact rather than rely entirely on finesse. It didn’t help that his freshman season was dotted by nagging injuries, illness and a coaching change.”
“Zimmerman’s freshman season was limited by injury,” Parrish wrote. “But he still nearly averaged a double-double in the Mountain West Conference, and he remains a skilled 7-footer who was a consensus top-10 high school recruit. So, late in the first round, he’s worth a flyer.”
His CBS colleague, Sam Vecenie, doesn’t think either Rebel will go in the first round, and neither do Sports Illustrated and Bleacher Report.
But USA Today’s Derek Bodner forecasts McCaw to go 26th to the Sixers.
“Another versatile wing, McCaw’s combination of athleticism, size, shooting and potential as a secondary playmaker would fit in well for a Philadelphia team that has a lot of minutes available on the perimeter,” Bodner wrote.
Contact Mark Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65
Findlay Prep’s Johnson headed to Washington
Findlay Prep’s Carlos Johnson, a former UNLV commitment, tweeted Thursday that he will play basketball at Washington.
Johnson, a 6-foot-4-inch forward, signed scholarship papers in November with the Rebels, but they weren’t binding. Heappeared adamant he would stick with the commitment, but pulled out of it April 15. He visited Boise State, Oregon Stateand Washington.
Johnson averaged 14.5 points and 4.7 rebounds last season at Findlay.