Maryland basketball star Kevin Huerter shocked NBA scouts during the NBA combine and skyrocketed his draft stock to a first-round selection in the 2018 NBA draft.
Following the end of Maryland basketball‘s disappointing 2017-18 season, Kevin Huerter was a lock to return to the University of Maryland for his junior year as Terps Nation anxiously awaited the decision of Maryland big man Bruno Fernando.
Fernando elected to withdraw his name from the 2018 NBA draft and return to Maryland for his sophomore season as the Terps were set for a preseason top 25 ranking.
However, Huerter impressed at the 2018 NBA draft combine with his flawless shot-making ability as he ranked near the top of many performance drills and scrimmages. As a result, Huerter’s draft stock surged and he immediately became a projected first-round draft pick.
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Now without Huerter, the Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team will enter the 2018-19 season with a young starting lineup with Maryland basketball recruiting securing five-star recruit Jalen Smith and four-star recruit Aaron Wiggins, who both expect to play big minutes.
According to Jeremy Woo via Twitter, the Los Angeles Lakers promised Huerter the No. 25 overall draft pick after Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson witnessed Huerter’s play at the combine. Unfortunately for the Lakers, Huerter isn’t likely to fall to No. 25.
Let’s examine the latest projections on where Huerter will land in the 2018 NBA draft.
Projection: No. 19 to Atlanta Hawks
NBADraft.net’s Aran Smith delivered his 2018 Extended Mock Draft 5.1 and supposes the Atlanta Hawks will select Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick.
Comparing Huerter to former NBA player and current head coach of the Chicago Bulls Fred Hoiberg, Smith believes the Hawks will grab Huerter in the first-round as they begin rebuilding their roster.
Below is NBADraft.net’s analysis on why Huerter will land in Atlanta:
Huerter figures to find a spot in the top 20 with a backstop at 25 as the Lakers may even have a promise in place with him. His inclusion on the USA Select Team while in High School is a feather in his cap, showing a level of dedication to team play. Atlanta is a team building from scratch, so having a young shooter to groom for the future would be beneficial.
Projection: No. 18 to San Antonio Spurs
SI.com’s Jeremy Woo has been busy crafting his NBA mock drafts and publishes his 2018 NBA Mock Draft 10.0 as he predicts Kevin Huerter to land at No. 18 to the San Antonio Spurs. Could we be talking about a Kawhi Leonard replacement in the making?
Here’s what Woo said about Huerter entering the 2018 NBA draft:
He’s one of the best shooters in the draft, and his size, feel and passing ability would seem to offer a level of safety and reasonable floor as a rotation wing. As long as his defense proves to be enough, Huerter should be able to carve out a career as a three-point threat and ball-mover.
Projection: No. 24 to Portland Trail Blazers
The lowest draft projection out of all the NBA mock drafts comes from Gary Parrish of CBS Sports with Huerter being selected No. 24 to the Portland Trail Blazers.
One pick shy of landing at No. 25 to the Lakers, Huerter could quickly become a reliable three-point specialist for Portland. Huerter would join former Maryland basketball star Jake Layman in Portland and have a serious shot in appearing in the NBA playoffs as a rookie.
Analysis from CBS Sports on Huerter:
He averaged 14.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.4 assists in 34.4 minutes a game for a Maryland team that finished 39th at KenPom. But the key stat is that Huerter made 41.7 percent of the 5.5 3-pointers he took per contest. So he projects as a wing with size who can be a reliable threat from the perimeter. No, the hand injury he just suffered isn’t ideal. But there’s no real reason to think it’ll cost him much, if it all, on draft night.
Projection: No. 20 to Minnesota Timberwolves
ESPN issued Our Ultimate ‘Grade A’ Mock Draft with Huerter landing No. 20 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. ESPN’s Schmitz states Huerter has “fluid athleticism, a smooth shooting stroke and an outstanding feel for the game.
Schmitz’s analysis of Huerter include:
If he returned to Maryland for his junior season, Huerter could have very well ended up as a fringe top-10 pick in the 2019 draft, so the Timberwolves are getting a young talent here at No. 20. His feel and ability to shoot on the move make him extremely valuable in today’s NBA, and the fact that he’s younger than freshmen like Mo Bamba, Michael Porter Jr. and Deandre Ayton bodes well for his long-term outlook.
Projection: No. 21 to Utah Jazz
In a series of NBA mock drafts, Basketball Insiders released their 2018 NBA Consensus Mock Draft- Final. With a round of experts building their mock drafts, Basketball Insiders’ Benny Nadeau tabs Huerter at No. 21 to the Utah Jazz.
Huerter could find himself in a good situation with the Jazz and join forces with another sharpshooter Joe Ingles. Also, outside of Ingles, Donovan Mitchell and Jae Crowder, the Jazz could benefit from Huerter’s shooting abilities as they look to advance deeper into the NBA playoffs.