Gary Harris and Nik Stauskas landed in the lottery picks of Chad Ford’s latest 2014 NBA Mock Draft at ESPN.com ($$$). Mitch McGary and Glenn Robinson III were nowhere to be found in the one-round prediction.
Harris was the first off the board of the five local products harboring legitimate draft hopes — the four mentioned plus Michigan State’s Adreian Payne. Ford had the Nuggets nabbing Harris at No. 11 overall, though he mentioned Stauskas could be in play there, too.
Sources say the Nuggets have had serious discussions with the Bulls about swapping No. 11 for Nos. 16 and 19. If the Bulls get this pick, they’ll grab either Harris or Stauskas here. If the Nuggets keep their pick, look for them to focus on their back court. Ty Lawson is the only real foundation piece they have. Nik Stauskas and a host of other wings are all possibilities here but the word is that Harris was a wow for them in workouts. Now that he’s fully healthy and explosive again (Harris measured a 40-inch max vertical in his Lakers workout) he’s another guy who could start rising.
Stauskas came off the board two picks later, Ford citing a recent shoulder injury as potentially damaging to Stauskas’ pre-draft stock. But Ford added: “I think this is really his floor.”
Payne landed at No. 20 overall, a selection currently belonging to the Toronto Raptors.
Payne would be a great get for the Raptors if he’s still on the board. He could go as high as No. 13 to the Wolves, but I doubt he slips past the Raptors.
Which brings us to Michigan’s two other prospects: McGary and Robinson.
Both are considered fringe first-round talents, though Robinson’s high-upside, ultra-athletic game ultimately could push him higher than his former teammate. Where McGary will end up is one of the draft’s biggest mysteries at the moment, considering both how dominant he was in stretches for the Wolverines and how his career ended unceremoniously, with a back injury and year-long suspension for marijuana use.
The Pistons hold the 38th pick in this year’s draft. If Ford’s first round plays out true to form, one or both Michigan players could be there for the taking.