ESPN’s NBA draft guru, Chad Ford, has made some interesting changes in his latest mock draft.
The top three remains the same, as it has looked for a while now, with Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker claiming those spots. The order of the three is still up for debate, but their inclusion is not.
After that, things get colorful. Ford has had Australian prospect Dante Exum fourth for a while now, although that may depend greatly on which team ends up selecting in that spot. For the first time I can remember all season though, Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon have been hopped by another forward at five.
Indiana’s Noah Vonleh now sits in Ford’s fifth spot in mock draft version 10.0.
While Vonleh has been in the lottery discussion all season, even with Indiana’s poor showing this year, he has always been a considerable step behind both Randle and Gordon. The reasons were pretty clear. Randle was the best-producing forward in the nation. He was a double-double machine and demanded an extra defender when he got the ball in his spot. Gordon was the best athlete at the forward position. He was a rebounding and finishing fiend, while being one of the best defenders in the country at his position.
And there sat Vonleh, a better body than Randle and a better offensive weapon than Gordon.
According to Ford, Vonleh really helped himself at the draft combine, not by playing well, since he skipped the drills, but by measuring well! His height, long reach and good athleticism may be enough to boost him over the top of the other forwards up for consideration.