Now that the 2017 NBA Draft draft is less than a month away, basketball pundits and draft experts are releasing more and more scouting report tidbits about the prospects.
Here are some of the recent updates.
Ante Zizic (Celtics)
No, Ante Zizic isn’t a member of the 2017 draft class but he’s entering the NBA with this class and thus we’ll add news about the 7-foot Croatian, Center here.
Zizic is considered to be equivalent to a Top 10 draft pick if he were part of this current draft class. We heard this during the latter parts of the NBA season but it bears repeating and Keith Smith of Real GM did just that recently.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) May 19, 2017
Zizic, 20, managed to elevate his game a year after being stashed by the Celtics. He improved enough to make the jump from the Adriatic League to the Euroleague which is rated the second best professional hoops league behind the NBA.
He posted 9.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG in 21.9 minutes per contest under the tutelage of former Cavs coach David Blatt.
While Zizic doesn’t possess an explosive vertical he can play above the rim due to his size and has shown an ability to run the floor while making smart off the ball cuts to get open for midrange catch and shoot opportunities.
His rebounding acumen is what Celtics fans will really appreciate. The young Croatian battled on the boards against NBA bodies, proving he isn’t afraid to bang it up on the block.
Dennis Smith (PG/NC State)
Smith, once considered a potential Top 3 pick at the beginning of the 2016 NCAA season, slipped down into the 8-10 pick region after he and his Wolfpack team had an underwhelming season.
Much like Markell Fultz, Smith had a subpar supporting cast that allowed opposing teams to put a stranglehold on his time and space. Despite these challenges, Smith still got to the rim using elite ballhandling skills.
Cole Zwicker of The Step Back posits that Smith is the only three tier scorer in this draft outside of Fultz. Zwicker is so high on Smith that he has hm rated 2nd on his Big Board.
I question whether Smith has the type of athleticism to truly be a top scoring threat in the NBA but the possibility of extra space making that more plausible does exist.
Donovan Mitchell (SG-Louisville)
Mitchell’s rise has been pretty steady since the NBA combine per ESPN.
“Mitchell had the best combine of anyone, and he didn’t play a minute of five-on-five. His elite athletic testing numbers—combined with a crazy, Dwyane Wade-esque wingspan of 6-foot-10—have some lottery teams targeting him now.”
Mitchell has mostly been mocked around the 20s but Draft Express has him as high as 12th to the Pistons in their last mock draft.
Recent updates from Jordan Schultz of SI Now via Twitter
— If the NBA Draft was 2day, the Celtics would A). Keep the 1st pick and B). Take Markelle Fultz, source says. Ainge loves his versatility
— Re NBA Draft, 3 risers to watch for: Jordan Bell (great combine), Frank Ntilikina (scouts torn on him and Smith) and Terrance Ferguson.