Malachi Richardson and Michael Gbinije may be two of the most interesting players heading into tomorrow night’s NBA Draft. Both had extraordinary college careers capped off by an unlikely Final Four run. Now their journeys head to Brooklyn where they can only wait to hear their names called by Adam Silver. The former SU guards have both elevated through draft boards as of late, and both players have the ability to help NBA teams.
Richardson is one of the biggest climbers on draft boards since March. Originally projected as going undrafted, the McDonald’s All-American is a potential lottery pick with some reports suggesting he could sneak his way into the top 10. While Richardson’s more likely range is the 12-20 range, he has impressed a lot of scouts throughout the process which is why he ultimately kept his name in the draft instead of returning to Syracuse. The Trenton native fits the needs of every team in the middle of the draft order, so his exact spot Thursday night will largely hinge on how the beginning shakes out. There have been rumors that the Memphis Grizzlies have promised to select Richardson at 17, but the draft is a crazy night that can change with trades and guys slipping down the board. Ultimately, a team will probably bite on Richardson based off of his raw talent and potential.
The Pick: 15th to the Nuggets
Recent rumblings surrounding Gbinije suggest that he could sneak into the back end of the first round. The biggest knock on the fifth-year senior is his age. At 24, there is not much room for Gbinije to further develop his skills. That being said, the fact that he can still potentially be a first rounder essentially locks him into being drafted. As the NBA shifts to a more “small ball” approach, the 6’7 Gbinije is the ideal “3 and D” guy that teams love. It’s unlikely he finds his way into the first, but a team taking a gamble on a guy like Gbinije in the first 30 picks wouldn’t be the strangest thing we’ve seen in the NBA Draft.
The Pick: 38th to the Bucks