New England’s NBA Draft
The 2016 NBA Draft takes place tonight, live from the Barclays Center and on ESPN with coverage beginning at 7pm.
So who are the New England products hoping to hear their name called? Here's a rundown of the list:
Kris Dunn, New London HS, CT Basketball Club, Providence College - The former McDonald's All-American spent the first two years of his college career sidelined by a shoulder injury but made up for lost time in his third and fourth years with the Friars. Now, he has a Big East Player of the Year award to his name and back-to-back appearances in the NCAA tournament. Both ESPN's Chad Ford and Draft Express' Jonathan Givony currently project him to go third overall to the Boston Celtics tonight, although he could also be in play for both Minnesota at 5 and New Orleans at 6. What seems certain is that he'll be the first New England product selected tonight and potentially the only one in the first round. Beyond his accolades at Providence, Dunn also has outstanding size for a point guard, the pedigree to be a lockdown defender at the NBA level and playmaking ability across the board.
Jake Layman, King Philip HS, BABC, University of Maryland - Layman had a strong four year career at Maryland and is hoping that his size on the wing, athleticism, and shooting range will be enough to hear his name called tonight. ESPN currently projects him as the 54th pick, as the second round selection of the Atlanta Hawks, while Draft Express has him slotted two picks earlier to the Utah Jazz. He's a guy who could provide a big three-man, or potentially even slide over to play some stretch-four in smaller trendy line-ups.
Wayne Selden, Tilton School, BABC, University of Kansas - Selden was a starter from day one with the Jayhawks and spent the last three years as one of Bill Self's top weapons. He left Lawrence a year early and is now projected as a secound round pick by both Ford and Givony. ESPN has him slotted at 58th to the Celtics, a scenario that would keep both him and Dunn close to home (to the delight of local fans), while Draft Express thinks Larry Bird and the Pacers could call his name with the 50th pick.
Georges Niang, Tilton School, BABC, Iowa State University - Neither ESPN or Draft Express currently projects Niang of being drafted tonight. Conventional wisdom suggests he isn't athletic enough, won't have a true position in the NBA and will struggle to translate his game from the college level. Of course conventional wisdom has been wrong in Niang's case plenty of times before. Many people predicted the exact same thing when he entered the college ranks and four years later he completed one of the most decorated college careers of any player in the country. Whether or not he hears his name called tonight remains to be seen, but he'll almost definitely find his way into the NBA Summer League and someone's training camp come October. Most would be surprised if he stuck, but most haven't seen Niang defy the odds plenty of times before.
Zach Auguste, New Hampton School, Mass Rivals, University of Notre Dame - Auguste, like Niang, is currently projected by neither major outlet to be selected tonight. Draft Express currently projects him 76th overall on their Big Board. He too will have his choice of Summer League rosters, regardless of what happens tonight, and he might have a chance to stick as well. At 6-foot-10 Auguste has good size for the four-spot along with the range to stretch defenses to the arc. The analytics say he's one of the best rebounders in this draft as well and so he has definite assets to intrigue front office executives with.
Kaleb Tarczewski, St. Mark's School, New England Playaz, University of Arizona - Once a concensus top 10 prospect in the country, Tarczewski recently completed a very strong four year career at Arizona in which he won, presumably, more games than any other individual player in the Pac-12 Conference. The seven-footer once tabbed "Zeus" during his high school career is currently the 99th prospect listed on the Draft Express Big Board but offers a true center with some Eric Montross type similarities for any team looking to add depth to their frontline.