Well, the day is finally here.
All of the mock drafts are drawing their last breaths and all the meetings and workouts have been wrapped up, now we get what we’ve been waiting for since the National Championship game. The 2017 NBA Draft will start at 7PM ET on ESPN tonight.
While players hear their names called and we become more and more optimistic about the paths that our favorite NBA teams are headed down, there are some important and interesting storylines to follow within the Big Ten on Draft Day.
Let’s take a look at a few of these stories.
1. Where will OG Anunoby land?
OG Anunoby seems to be one of the more interesting players in the mid-late first round projections. He is certainly athletic enough to play in the NBA, as long as his knee injury hasn’t hampered him too much.
That’s what teams will have to decide. If Anunoby isn’t physically ready to go into a training camp with a team and get a better feel for the NBA game right away, this could put a halt to some of his early development.
He has a lot of offensive question marks, shooting only 31.1% from the three point line and 56% from the free throw line. However, there are no questions about his defensive ability or versatility. He is a guy with size that can guard three or four positions on the floor with his strength paired with his athleticism.
The team that drafts Anunoby is, without a doubt, getting an unfinished product, but he has a very high ceiling if his health is in order.
2. Will Caleb Swanigan crack the first round?
Caleb Swanigan, Big Ten Player of the Year and All-American, was perhaps the most physically dominant force in all of college basketball last season. As we’ve seen in the past, however, college dominance doesn’t necessarily guarantee you a spot in the first round.
The opposite has also proven to be just as true, by the way.
So will this inspirational story continue when he hears his name called by Adam Silver in the first round? Or will he hear it called by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum in the second round?
Depending on which mock draft you decide to pay attention to, Swanigan ranges anyone from the mid 20s to the mid-upper 30s. While it may not seem like a huge deal, a first round selection means guaranteed money.
Swanigan will bring an elite NBA ready skill to whatever team pulls the trigger on him. He can rebound at an NBA level right away, and he showed a much improved stroke from the outside as well this past season. He could be an immediate key piece to a teams bench to start the 2017-18 season, and he is yet to reach his full potential as well.
3. Who else hears their name called for the Big Ten?
Along with D.J. Wilson being expected to hear his name called late first round or early second, there are some question marks around the rest of the conference. Guys like Thomas Bryant certainly expect to hear their name called, but what about somebody like Melo Trimble?
In almost all cases and mock drafts, Trimble ends up undrafted. He is also definitely the type of player who may go undrafted, get invited to a few summer leagues and impress an NBA team and wind up on a roster came the start of the season. The Big Ten has a handful of guys like that this season.
The later the draft goes, the more teams are looking for a specific skill. Can you do one thing very well? Somebody like Trimble can manage a team or a second unit and he is an artist at drawing contact and fouls around the rim and on drives.
Draft day is a night of optimism for 30 NBA teams and their fan bases, and also the realization of a dream come true for the 60 players to hear their name called.
Following these players at the next level is part of the reason we love the Big Ten conference, and we should hear at least a few of their names called in the 2017 NBA Draft.