Well, it’s mock draft season again, and even though NBA mock drafters aren’t quite as passionate as their NFL counterparts, there are still a million of them floating around in cyberspace right now as we prepare for Thursday night’s NBA draft.
In the Delaware Valley, the 76ers are always the center of interest on draft day and this year the Sixers have the No. 10 and 26 overall picks, so it’ll be interesting to watch them add to their mostly young and mostly talented roster, possibly through a trade.
But around here the big story will be finding out the eventual NBA home of Donte DiVincenzo, the Salesianum School graduate who lit up the basketball world this past winter when he led Villanova University to the national championship. That MVP performance in front of a national audience, as well as a superior showing in the NBA scouting combine, pushed the unheralded kid from Newark into the stratosphere of being a potential first-pick in the NBA, and somebody who will make a lot of money in a short amount of time.
So, we were naturally curious as to what the NBA mock drafters thought of DiVincenzo and where he would end up – and hopeful it’s not some West Coast team that rarely has its games televised and when it does they start at 10:30 at night.
Well, the only thing the mock drafts show is that nobody knows nothing. We did a completely unscientific study of 30 mock drafts, most of them from well-known publications and/or websites such as Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News, CBS Sports, NBC Sports, ABC Sports, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, ESPN and MSN.com, as well as several sites dedicated to basketball and run by, well, we really don’t know, but they sounded legitimate.
Anyhow, of the 30 mock drafts we checked out, there was a wide range of where they thought DiVicenzo will be drafted. The good news is that 27 of the 30 have him being drafted in the first round. The Los Angeles Times didn’t list him as a first-rounder and we have no idea where the writer of that mock draft thinks he’ll fall. But two websites called Metrosports.com and Draftsite.com have DiVicenzo being selected, respectively, by the Phoenix Suns with the first pick of the second round and the Memphis Grizzlies with the second pick in Round 2.
Total, of the 29 sites that list DiVincenzo (not counting the L.A. Times), there are 14 different opinions of where and by whom he’ll be drafted in the 30-team NBA. Nobody expects DiVincenzo to be a Top 10 pick and that limits the possibilities to the final 20 picks, so it’s obvious that everybody threw 14 different darts at the draft board.
And the teams most mentioned by mock drafters are the Minnesota Timberwolves (at No. 20, with six votes) and the Philadelphia 76ers (at No. 26, four votes). That second choice would be perfect for us, of course, to have the local kid play for the local team and have all of his games on local television.
Three mock drafters think DiVincenzo will go to the Chicago Bulls at No. 22 and three think he’ll go to the Indiana Pacers at No. 23. Two said he’ll go to the Milwaukee Bucks at No. 17 and two picked the Boston Celtics at No. 27. And getting one vote each are the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 13, the Phoenix Suns at No. 16 (although that one has to be questioned since the writer called him “Dante”), the Utah Jazz at No. 21, the Portland Trail Blazers at No. 24, and the Brooklyn Nets at No. 29.
For some reason – and I have absolutely nothing to back this up except a gut feeling – I say DiVincenzo is drafted by the Utah Jazz with the 21stoverall pick. I hope I’m wrong, because the Jazz aren’t on national television very often and they’re way out West, so we’d only get glimpse of his development as an NBA player.
By the way, we didn’t break down the mock drafts for their opinions on the Sixers, but the majority of them say the Sixers will draft DiVincenzo’s teammate at Villanova, Mikal Bridges, with the 10thoverall selection. And that’s even more reason to hope DiVincenzo falls to the Sixers at No. 26 – to have two guys who helped Villanova win a national championship also help the Sixers win a world championship.
We’ll find out how it falls out on Thursday night, which will be fun for us and life-changing for Donte DiVincenzo.