The NBA Draft decision deadline is Wednesday night at 11:59 p.m. which means that John Beilein’s waiting game will finally come to an end.
DJ Wilson has always seemed like the more likely of Michigan’s two early entrants to stay in the NBA Draft, but the big question is when would he be picked and is that high enough to risk forgoing his last year of eligibility.
There are more reasons for Wilson to go — starting with the fact that he’s a year older than Wagner and has had injury issues throughout his career — but if he isn’t projected as a consensus first round pick then should he still make the leap?
The available information seems to point toward Wilson giving it a chance and remaining in the draft. He played great basketball down the stretch and the back half of the first round seems to muddied with players who could go ether way rather than sure things. Would someone in that group take a chance on a combo forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and a 37% three-point stroke? I could certainly see it.
Draft Express continues to project Wilson as the No. 30 pick to the Utah Jazz and the Jazz actually have two picks late in the first round. Other sites like NBA Draft.net and ESPN still don’t have Wilson listed in the 2017 draft. Here’s a rundown of his latest proejections:
- SBNation: No. 18 to Indiana Pacers
- ESPN: Not in first round
- The Vertical: No. 30 to Utah Jzzz
- Sports Illustrated: No. 28 to LA Lakers
Here’s what Jonathan Givony says of the situation at The Vertical:
The Jazz may look to roll the dice here. Wilson has a terrific physical profile with a strong frame and long arms to go along with a versatile offensive game and good defensive potential. He hasn’t put it all together to make an impact consistently, but he could grow into a solid role player down the line.
The Jazz are also the only team that Wilson has been publicly linked to a workout with other than the San Antonio Spurs, when Wilson suffered the quad injury early on and was forced to pull out of the NBA Combine. Speculation swirled before news of the injury regarding a guarantee at the time, but the lack of workouts adds another layer of confusion to Wilson’s decision.
All signs seem to point toward Wagner returning to Michigan at this point, mostly because he’s listed in very few recent mock drafts. He isn’t projected anywhere in the latest Draft Express/Vertical mock draft and drew below average reviews at the NBA Draft Combine.
Here’s a rundown of Wagner’s recent mock draft projections:
- ESPN: No. 30 to Utah Jazz
- SB Nation: Not in first round
- The Vertical: Not in first round
- Sports Illustrated: Not in first round
He’s worked out for teams like Utah, Orlando and Milwaukee, but doesn’t seem like a likely candidate to be a draft-and-stash pick — we certainly can’t imagine Wagner declaring with that as his intention — even if Chad Ford notes that he’s eligible to be.
Wagner’s performance at the combine was a mixed bag. He hit some shots and showed off his versatility, but it was clear he wasn’t in great shape, and it looked like he ran out of gas Friday. He’s very skilled and is an appealing modern big, but the team that drafts him will have to be patient.
He’ll probably return to Michigan for his junior season, but if he decides to stay in the draft, he’d be a great get for the Jazz. And given his German passport, he can be a draft-and-stash prospect if they want him to be.