Rounding up preseason mock drafts for Maryland men’s basketball
Forward Jalen Smith throws down a dunk during Maryland’s 94-71 win over Loyola (Maryland) at Xfinity Center on Dec. 11, 2018. (Frances Moyonero/The Diamondback)
Maryland men’s basketball has been garnering a lot praise from national media. The Terps enter the season No. 7 in the country, with many agreeing they have Final Four potential.
Along with the high praise for the team, some players have seen their names repeatedly pop up in mock drafts for the 2020 NBA Draft. With the season set to tip-off in less than a week, here’s a recap of what major outlets have said about the draft prospects on the Terps.
Jalen Smith, F/C
Sports Illustrated: 20 (San Antonio Spurs)
SI’s Jeremy Woo has Smith heading to the Lone Star state to play for legendary head coach Gregg Popovich. If Smith were to land with the Spurs, he would likely feature as a backup to all-star LaMarcus Aldridge, who has a comparable play-style to Smith.
NBC Sports Washington: 21 (Portland Trail Blazers)
Smith could have a very interesting situation with Portland. The Blazers have their center position set for a while, with Jusuf Nurkic under contract for a few more years, but have a hole at power forward. Smith could provide a good pick-and-pop option for guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum and could provide good interior defense for one of the premier offensive teams in the league.
Stadium: 9 (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Jeff Goodman has Smith as a lottery pick, citing his high upside. The Thunder are in a very interesting position right now, having traded both Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the offseason. If Smith were to land in Oklahoma City, he would be a part of a rebuilding team but could help form a good foundation next to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Bleacher Report: 26 (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Jonathan Wasserman of Bleacher Report also has Smith landing with the Thunder, but much later than Goodman. Wasserman believes that Smith will have to “execute more and raise his level of impact” this season following the departure of Bruno Fernando.
nbadraft.net: 15 (Detroit Pistons)
Going to Detroit could either be one of the worst or best options for Smith, depending on how you look at it. He would be playing behind Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond, but their tutoring and mentoring could pay dividends for Smith’s career.
Tankathon: 13 (Phoenix Suns)
Phoenix could be in need of a power forward this offseason, as current starter Dario Saric is set to hit free agency following the season. The Suns used the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft to select center DeAndre Ayton, and a paring of Smith and Ayton could be one of the better young frontcourt duos in the league.
Aaron Wiggins, G/F
nbadraft.net: 29 (Toronto Raptors)
After losing Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green in free agency, the Raptors are thin on the wings. They don’t have much shooting, which hampers their ability to space the floor. Wiggins would be able to be a reliable three-point shooter for the defending champions and play a multitude of positions on the floor.