Running down the mid- to late 1st round, 18-26
The NBA mock draft continues with the middle and late stages of the first round, leading up to the Brooklyn Nets pick at No. 27 from the Denver Nuggets.
Keldon Johnson is a player who fits the mold for the Indiana Pacers — athletic, versatile and a two-way player.
As a freshman at Kentucky, Johnson averaged 13.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in 30.7 minutes per game on 46.3 percent shooting overall, hitting 38.1 percent on 3.2 attempts per game from long range.
The San Antonio Spurs make it back-to-back Kentucky prospects with wing Tyler Herro. Herro has great potential as a shooter, something the Spurs didn’t have in abundance this season, and he can also defend — a must if you’re going to play for Gregg Popovich.
Herro averaged 14.0 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.1 steals in 32.6 minutes per game as a freshman for the Wildcats, shooting 46.2 percent overall and 35.5 percent on 4.6 deep attempts a game.
The Boston Celtics go for another athletic prospect on the wing at No. 20. Kevin Porter Jr. is strong, powerful, has good footwork, can handle the ball and can score.
But for all his upside, Porter also has bust potential because of some persistent bad habits and poor decision-making. For all his tools, defense has not been his thing.
As a freshman at USC, Porter was limited to 21 games with quad and ankle problems to go with a suspension at mid-season. He averaged 9.5 points and 4.0 rebounds in 22.1 minutes per game, mostly as a reserve, and shot 47.1 percent overall and 41.2 percent on 3.2 triple tries a night.
A solid sophomore season pushed KZ Okpala up the board and he could fit well for the Oklahoma City Thunder as a future upgrade at the 4.
Okpala averaged 16.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.0 steal in 32.7 minutes per game for Stanford, shooting 46.5 percent overall and 37.5 percent on 3.0 attempts a game from 3-point range — all big upgrades from a poor shooting freshman season.
The Boston Celtics can add some shooting with their own pick in the first round in Virginia’s Ty Jerome.
He is a good shooter who can post up smaller defenders and makes up for a lack of athleticism with a high basketball IQ, something that fits well with a Brad Stevens team.
Jerome helped Virginia to its first national championship as a junior, averaging 13.6 points, 5.5 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in 33.9 minutes per game, while shooting 43.5 percent overall and 39.9 percent on 5.4 3-point attempts a game.
A long 6-foot-10 with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, Maryland big man Bruno Fernando could add needed frontcourt depth for the Utah Jazz.
He’s got the physical tools, but will need developmental time. As a sophomore, Fernando averaged 13.6 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.9 blocks in 30.0 minutes per game, shooting 60.7 percent overall and going 3-for-10 from deep.
Daniel Gafford could fit a big role as an insurance policy for oft-injured Joel Embiid for the Philadelphia 76ers.
Gafford can be a very good rim protector, even as his attention can waver at times and needs to improve his physicality.
As a sophomore, he averaged 16.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 28.7 minutes per game for Arkansas, shooting 66 percent overall. Not a shooter, he didn’t attempt a 3-pointer in two college seasons and shot only 56.2 percent at the line.
Grant Williams is bulky if undersized at the 4 at a listed 6-foot-7 and 241 pounds, but with a reported 6-foot-11 wingspan.
As a junior, Williams put up 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.5 blocks in 31.9 minutes per game to win his second straight SEC Player of the Year award. He shot 56.4 percent overall and 32.6 percent on 1.2 deep attempts a game after going 15-for-57 his first two years.
Cameron Johnson is a solid combo forward prospect who would add some potential to the rebuilding Cleveland Cavaliers.
A fifth-year senior who transferred from Pitt to North Carolina for his final two seasons, Johnson averaged 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 1.2 steals in 29.9 minutes per game on 50.5 percent shooting overall, hitting a very good 45.7 percent on 5.8 3-point attempts a game.