Iman Shumpert, Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins have reason to be optimistic as Thursday’s NBA draft approaches. Each of them is projected to go in Round 1 in somebody’s mock draft.
The three local products also have cause to fret. Each is listed as a Round 2 choice in somebody else’s mock draft. The latest in mockeries:
• Shumpert, the Georgia Tech guard, is projected to be taken by the New York Knicks with the 17th pick of Round 1 (link requires registration) by Chad Ford of ESPN Insiders and by the Houston Rockets with the 23rd pick of Round 1 by NBADraftExpress. He’s also tabbed to go to the Portland Trail Blazers with the 21st pick of Round 2 (the 51st overall) by NBAdraft.net. If you’re counting, that’s a variation of 34 places from highest to lowest.
•Thompkins, the Georgia forward, is projected as going to the Boston Celtics with the 25th pick of Round 1 by NBAdraft.net. He’s also slotted to go to the Indiana Pacers with the 12th pick of Round 2 (42nd overall) by NBADraftExpress and to the Golden State Warriors with the 14th pick of Round 2 (44th overall) by ESPN’s Ford. That’s a variation of 19 spots.
• Leslie, the Georgia guard, is afforded the narrowest window of the three. NBADraftExpress has him going to the Chicago Bulls with the last pick (30th overall) of Round 1. Ford has him going to the Washington Wizards with the fourth pick (34th overall) of Round 2. NBAdraft.net has him going to the Houston Rockets with the eighth pick of Round 2 (38th overall). That’s a variation of eight spots.
The guess here is that Shumpert is the only one of the three who should feel reasonably confident about his Round 1 chances. He has created a buzz for himself with his postseason workouts. (Two months ago, the consensus on Shumpert was that he should have stayed in school.) Thompkins has gone from the low end of the lottery to perhaps out of the first round, which can happen when you arrive at the combine carrying a body-fat percentage of 15.5. Leslie has long been regarded as a late-first-to-early-second prospect, and he still is.
As for the Hawks, who hold only the draft’s 48th pick: Ford has them taking Jordan Williams, the Maryland center; NBADraftExpress opts for E’Twaun Moore, a shooting guard from Purdue, and NBAdraft.net projects them taking Charles Jenkins, a combo guard from Hofstra. If that school sounds familiar, there’s a reason.
The Hawks once had a guard from Hofstra. They signed him for $25 million over four seasons. He played a total of 44 games for them. His name: Speedy Claxton.
By Mark Bradley