ESPN’s Chad Ford released his latest NBA mock draft Tuesday, and there are some nuggets that should interest local basketball fans.
He has the Pistons taking freshman Zach Collins from Gonzaga, and projects Michigan State’s Miles Bridges and Michigan’s Moritz Wagner to go pro and be first-round selections.
With the 11th pick, he has them drafting Collins, a center who led Gonzaga to the national-championship game.
Ford writes: “Collins proved he’s worthy of a lottery pick with a dominant 14-point, 13-rebound, six-block performance coming off the bench for the Zags in the Final Four versus South Carolina. He added another nine points, seven rebounds and three blocks in the title game vs. UNC, but played limited minutes because of foul trouble. And scouts look beyond the stat sheet — though the advanced analytics are very bullish on him — at what he did almost every time he stepped onto the court. He played above the rim, was bouncy and energetic, stretched the floor and competed with toughness. Plus, he’s used to playing with a more traditional center. In Detroit, he could make a very interesting pairing next to Andre Drummond.
Ford has the Michigan State freshman forward going No. 12 to the Charlotte Hornets.
He writes: “Bridges might be the most underrated of the elite prospects. He did it all for Michigan State — scoring, shooting, rebounding, shot-blocking, defense. He can be a bit wild on the court, but he has all of the tools to be effective at both the 3 and the 4. And his exciting style of play should be popular with fans.”
Ford has the Michigan sophomore forward going No. 25 to the Utah Jazz.
He writes: “Wagner impressed a lot of NBA scouts down the stretch, especially in an NCAA tournament game against Louisville when he dropped 26 points. He’s a very skilled big man who can stretch the floor and play in the post, and he’s just six months older that Markkanen, a prospect with similar skills. He’s really good value at this point in the draft.”
Neither Ford nor Bridges has announced an intention to leave college early and enter the NBA Draft, nor has Wagner’s teammate, Michigan junior forward D.J. Wilson.
Central Michigan junior Marcus Keene and Western Michigan junior Thomas Wilder have declared for the draft. Keene plans to hire an agent, but Wilder doesn’t, leaving the door open to return for a senior season with the Broncos.