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CBS Sports NBA mock draft: Onyeka Okongwu to Pistons at No. 5; 2 Spartans in first round

The Detroit News
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There's still plenty to be decided before the NBA holds a draft in October.

Like, the rest of the NBA season, for instance. And, which teams will be picking in what spots.

Gary Parrish of CBS Sports has the PIstons selecting USC forward Onyeka Okongwu with the No. 5 pick in his NBA mock draft.

With that said, Gary Parrish of CBS Sports gave a mock draft a shot Monday, slotting USC big man Onyeka Okongwu at No. 5 to the Detroit Pistons (based on their fifth-worst record) and projecting Michigan State standouts Cassius Winston and Xavier Tillman to go in the first round as well.

The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Okongwu played just one season at USC, averaging 16.2 points and 8.6 rebounds per game for the Trojans, while shooting 61.6% from the floor.

"Onyeka Okongwu mostly operated off the national radar this past season because he played for an unranked team on the West Coast," Parrish writes. "But he was fantastic rather quickly. ... He's the main reason USC won 16 of its first 20 games and would've been in the NCAA Tournament if the NCAA Tournament would've been played.

"Is he an undersized big? Yes, probably. But he's an undersized big who can play multiple positions. And, either way, the NBA is now littered with undersized bigs. So even though Okongwu wasn't thought of this way coming out of high school, it's now reasonable to call him the second-best big prospect in the draft."

Parrish has another undersized big — the 6-8, 245-pound Tillman — headed to the Boston Celtics at No. 26, should Tillman decide to stay in the draft and forgo his final season at Michigan State. The NCAA has set an Aug. 3 deadline, or 10 days after the scouting combine, for underclassmen to decide whether to remain in the draft or return to school.

Tillman averaged a double-double for the Spartans (13.7 points, 10.3 rebounds) as a junior.

"Xavier Tillman used his size and strength to be one of the best defensive bigs in the country this season, one who is also comfortable guarding in space or out on the perimeter," Parrish writes. "... he also made 37% of his 3-point attempts inside the Breslin Center, which suggests he should be able to stretch the floor in the NBA and spend many years in the league as a reliable and quality frontcourt presence."

Parrish has Winston heading to the Los Angeles Lakers at No. 29, joining an organization that knows a little bit about former Michigan State point guards, given it's Magic Johnson's former NBA stomping grounds.

"Cassius Winston is perceived to be limited because he's small and not the best athlete. He'll never measure or test great — and that'll turn some franchises away," Parrish writes. "But he's smart, great in pick-and-roll situations and someone who has proven to be a high-level shooter in all four years of college by making 43.0% of the 602 3-pointers he attempted in his four-year college career.

"Teams picking in this range are often good teams already winning in search of a piece who can maybe help immediately. And Winston is somebody who could probably help an NBA team immediately serving as a backup point guard and knockdown shooter."

The NBA will hold its draft lottery Aug. 25. The NBA draft is scheduled for Oct. 16.

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