ESPN names a pair of SEC players who could be steals in the 2018 NBA Draft
When the 2018 NBA Draft tips off on June 21 in Brooklyn, Texas A&M F Robert Williams and Kentucky F Kevin Knox are expected to be first-round picks.
However, neither are being projected as top-10 picks at the moment. Due to circumstances beyond their control, neither were able to maximize their potential in the college ranks.
According to ESPN’s Mike Schmitz, though, Williams and Knox are among five players who could be even better once they get to the NBA.
About Williams, Schmitz said the Aggies criminally misused the big man when it came to pick-and-roll plays:
There’s one stat in particular that tells the story of how Williams wasn’t used appropriately. At 6-foot-10 with a massive catch radius, elite agility and explosive leaping ability, Williams was used in only 16 pick-and-roll possessions in 30 games, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Sixteen. That’s just over one pick-and-roll possession every two games, and he rolled on only nine possessions all year. Nine rolling possessions in 30 games for the draft’s best lob-catcher who finished a ridiculous 73.7 percent of his shots at the rim.
About Knox, Schmitz said floor spacing will allow him to succeed as a pure shooter:
Expect Knox to spend the majority of his time at the 4 in the NBA with teams using him as a lane-filler or trail 3 threat in transition, while picking and popping him to space in the half court. Knox shoots an easy ball and has more shooting potential than combo forward foes Miles and Mikal Bridges, which will allow him to play off closeouts and rely more on his length and fluidity as opposed to fighting the lack of spacing we too often see in college. The fact that he doesn’t need many dribbles to get to his spots bodes well for Knox, who can take advantage of slower-footed defenders checking him in the NBA.
See Schmitz’s full comments about Knox and Williams here.