Dalton Knecht and Reed Sheppard might make NBA Draft historical past


This yr’s NBA Draft has been dubbed the weakest because the Cleveland Cavaliers wasted the primary general choose on Anthony Bennett. There’s no consensus prize, or catchy tank phrase. Simply the Detroit Pistons, San Antonio Spurs, Washington Wizards, and Portland Path Blazers vying to see who can most egregiously throw away a season. Nevertheless, there may be one storyline that’s gone neglected, one thing that hasn’t occurred in 50 years.

If Dalton Knecht and Reed Sheppard are chosen within the high 5 it could be the primary time two white Individuals have been taken within the first 5 picks since Invoice Walton and Bobby Jones in 1974.

In keeping with NBADraft.web, one of the best supply for non-paywalled mock drafts, Knecht and Sheppard are the fourth- and fifth-best prospects on this participant pool. The previous simply led Tennessee to its first outright SEC title within the common season since 2008, and the latter stole the hearts of Kentucky followers in all places like he does from so many unassuming ball handlers. (Why sure Wildcat trustworthy have hopped on Sheppard’s jock is lower than me, as a result of you recognize there are a ton of individuals within the Bluegrass State who’ve accomplished so for causes which are, shall we embrace, white supremacist.)

Knecht is a fifth-year man who spent two years at Northeastern Junior School in Colorado, transferred to Northern Colorado for an additional two seasons, and ended up enjoying for Rick Barnes at UT in his ultimate season. (Lengthy dwell the switch portal!) He’s a 6-foot-6 guard out of Fargo, North Dakota whose inventory rose following a late progress spurt.

Now he’s getting 20 per sport on the No. 4-ranked group within the nation, and could lead on the Volunteers to a No. 1 seed within the Large Dance with a stable convention match exhibiting. I don’t wish to go white-on-white for participant comparability, so consider the poorest man’s Glenn Robinson. Nice shooter/scorer, athletic however received’t wow you, and isn’t going to cease too many individuals on the opposite facet of the court docket.

Sheppard is the wildcard to me as a result of he’s a real freshman, is from Kentucky, and seems to be residing out his wildest goals in Lexington regardless of coming off the bench. Provided that he declares, which he ought to, as a result of if you happen to’re projected to go high 10 it’s important to — or else threat ending up like Tyler Hansborough and overstaying your welcome en path to the tail-end of the lottery.

If Sheppard finally ends up going the one-and-done route and forgoing the remainder of his profession in Large Blue, he’d be one of some notable gamers chosen within the lottery who didn’t begin in school, becoming a member of the likes of Zach LaVine, Russell Westbrook, Devin Booker, and Marvin Williams. Although at 6-foot-3, he’d positively be the shortest.

Sheppard has 53/51/83 taking pictures splits, averages two and a half steals per sport, and does the whole lot properly. Coming into the season, guards DJ Wagner and Rob Dillingham acquired extra hype, however Sheppard is main the trio in minutes, assists, and rebounds per sport. Whereas Dillingham scores extra per outing (15.1 factors on 11 pictures per night time), he’s far much less environment friendly than Sheppard (12 factors on seven makes an attempt).

The caveat to the whole lot I’m saying is that this draft sucks, the one outlet I might discover that has the pair going high 5 is a web site that ends in .web and, at greatest, Knecht and Sheppard are rotation gamers or perhaps a Sixth Man of Yr. Would I belief them over, say, anybody from this yr’s G League Ignite? Sure. Have they got extra upside? No, however the Ignite develops worse habits in gamers than John Calipari, and that’s regarding.

Regardless, it’s a enjoyable story for individuals who journey with Kevin Love, Larry Hen, Tom Chambers, and the like for causes that aren’t “Let’s restore the white man’s standing in basketball.” Who is aware of, perhaps Cooper Flagg follows it up subsequent yr as the primary white American No. 1 general choose since Kent Benson in 1977, and ushers in a renaissance of stateside caucasian hoopers.

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