The Wisconsin Badgers have a pair of players heading to National Basketball Association homes early in the 2015 NBA Draft, according to the latest NBA mock draft offered by ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman.
In his latest NBA Mock Draft 4.o (subscription required), Goodman has former Badgers stars Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky as back-to-back selections, with Dekker heading to the Miami Heat with the 10th overall selection, and Kaminsky following as the 11th overall selection to the Indiana Pacers.
Both guys are clearly on the rise in Goodman’s eyes, as it’s a big jump for each since his latest mock, which saw Kaminsky heading to the Houston Rockets at No. 14 overall and Dekker heading to the Cleveland Cavaliers all the way back at No. 22 overall.
Dekker’s big jump is attributed to the great play out of the junior in the NCAA tournament. As Goodman says, the Miami Heat players — especially Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng — are getting older, and the team needs someone who can step in and play right away, complementing the newly added Goran Dragic and breakout player Hassan Whiteside.
Here’s what Goodman said about Dekker to the Heat:
"“The Heat need to hit a home run here, and Dekker showed the potential with his play in the NCAA tournament. He’s long, athletic and displayed a mental toughness with huge games on the sport’s biggest stage. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Luol Deng aren’t spring chickens. This team needs some fresh legs to go along with Hassan Whiteside.”"
With Chris Bosh a similar type center to Frank Kaminsky — both have the ability to play inside and out and each draws shot blockers away from the rim — it’s easy to see how Dekker would fit in Miami.
Dekker is the 4th small forward off of the board in Goodman’s mock, following the likes of Duke’s Justise Winslow (No. 5, Orlando Magic), Croatian small forward Mario Hezonja (No. 7, Denver Nuggets), and Arizona’s Stanley Johnson (No. 8, Detroit Pistons).
Meanwhile Kaminsky also sees a rise in his mock placement, moving up from No. 14 to No. 11.
In Indiana, as Goodman projects, Kaminsky would be a stark contrast to fellow center Roy Hibbert, who is glued to the paint on the offensive end. Kaminsky, meanwhile, as Goodman suggests, would be an able pick-and-pop partner for the Pacers guards.
Goodman sees the selection more as a “best on the board” selection, and had this to say about Kaminsky to the Pacers:
"“The Pacers’ two most glaring needs are a front-line point guard and a power forward to replace the aging David West. There’s no point guard in this portion of the draft, so the Pacers could trade down and grab Jerian Grant, Cameron Payne, Tyus Jones orDelon Wright or grab a power forward. Kaminsky was the best player in college basketball, is extremely versatile and could help fill an immediate role as a pick-and-pop big man.”"
Kaminsky is the 4th center chosen in Goodman’s latest mock, trailing only Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns (No. 1, Minnesota Timberwolves), Duke’s Jahlil Okafor (No. 2. New York Nicks), and Kentucky’s Willie Cauley-Stein (No. 9, Charlotte Hornets).
Clearly, Wisconsin’s performance in the NCAA tournament has helped increase the draft stock for its two players declared. The NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for May 19, and once the draft order is determined, the picture could become more clear as to where each former Badgers standout could be heading come the 2015 NBA Draft is Thursday, June 25.