With conference tournaments set to get underway, the best college basketball players in the country are getting set to display their skills on the national stage.
For Alabama, all eyes will be on Brandon Miller and Noah Clowney. The two scintillating freshmen have seen their names appear in recent NBA mock drafts. If both players were to get drafted in the first round, they would become the 18 and 19th players in Alabama history to be drafted that high. Brandon Miller is not only likely to get drafted in the first round, but he’s also looking to become the first lottery pick since Antonio McDyess was drafted No. 2 overall in 1995.
With that in mind, Tide Illustrated looked at four different NBA mock drafts to give a sense of where both players will be taken when the draft comments in June.
Who we used: The Athletic (Sam Vecenie), Bleacher Report (Johnathan Wasserman), Yahoo Sports (Krysten Peek) and Sports Illustrated (Staff).
Brandon Miller, forward
Brandon Miller’s combination of size, speed, ball-handling skills and scoring touch made him a sure-fire one-and-done. The only question that remains is how high will he go. At the beginning of the season, Miller was slotted in one of the first three picks of the draft but has slowly seen him slide down the board a bit as the year has gone on.
Miller’s name surfaced in court testimony during the capital murder case of former teammate Darius Miles and another man in the shooting of 23-year-old Jamea Harris on the Tuscaloosa Strip.
While the university and head coach Nate Oats said Miller has been a cooperating witness and not a suspect, the national attention could hurt his draft stock, however, it is unclear if that has already happened.
Regardless of the controversy surrounding Miller off the court, whichever NBA team selects the freshman, it will be getting a generational talent.
The Athletic: Orlando Magic (Round 1, Pick 5)
Bleacher Report: Oklahoma City Thunder (Round 1, Pick 7)
Yahoo Sports: Houston Rockets (Round 1, Pick 3)
Sports Illustrated: Orlando Magic (Round 1, Pick 4)
Noah Clowney, forward
Noah Clowney’s nickname “Stretch” perfectly exemplifies his game.
Clowney’s length makes him one of the most prolific defenders in the SEC. He can matchup at multiple positions and if guards try to blow past him, Clowney can make up ground quickly and meet players at the rim. The only downfall in his game is his shooting from deep. While he’s shooting 48.8% from the field, he’s only converting at a 26.5% clip from the 3-point line.
In a 3-point-happy NBA, Clowney will need to improve in that area to ensure a long career in the league. However, his skill on the defensive end of the floor and his ability to average nearly a double-double make him an interesting prospect for NBA teams.
Bleacher Report: Sacramento Kings (Round 1, Pick 21)
Yahoo Sports: Sacramento Kings (Round 1, Pick 20)