DETROIT - The NBA Draft is Thursday night in New York and there are plenty of Michigan storylines to watch.
There are three local players who will likely be drafted into the NBA, but where will they land? Here's a look at where the experts see them landing.
Jaren Jackson Jr. - Michigan State
Sports Illustrated: No. 3 to Atlanta Hawks: If they keep the pick, Jackson’s defensive versatility and potential as an inside-out scorer would be a terrific fit with incumbent John Collins, who prefers to rebound and bang on the inside. Some scouts think Jackson could end up as the best player in the draft when it’s all said and done.
CBS Sports: No. 4 to Memphis Grizzlies: Jackson is the type of player a general manager can look at as a blank canvas: Big, long, athletic and versatile, with an outrageous ceiling on both ends of the floor. He has versatility as a playmaker and as a shooter; he shot 80 percent from the free-throw line, 40 percent from 3-point range.
USA Today: No. 6 to Orlando Magic: Jackson’s pro potential – length, timing, ability to stretch the floor and defensive versatility – was always evident even if not necessarily showcased at Michigan State.
Sporting News: No. 4 to Memphis Grizzlies: His ability to knock down 3-pointers and defend the perimeter would allow him to play some minutes alongside Marc Gasol as he grows into his eventual replacement. Memphis can just take the best player and figure out the rest later.
NBADraft.net: No. 4 to Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Post: No. 6 to Orlando Magic: The Magic would likely be doing cartwheels in this situation. While some have advocated for Young here, a front office led by Jeff Weltman and John Hammond — who have spent their careers drafting long, athletic guys — gets another prototype here.
Miles Bridges - Michigan State
Sports Illustrated: No. 15 to Washington Wizards: The Wizards’ frontcourt stands to get more athletic, and having Bridges in the rotation at forward could enable them to play smaller and faster—and to John Wall’s strengths—much more frequently. He’d be great value here if he slips.
CBS Sports: No. 14 to Denver Nuggets: Bridges could be the most explosive athlete in this draft. He's a tweener, though I'm not sure if tweener status matters as much in today's NBA as it used to. The dude is exciting, has incredible raw natural abilities, and is a capable shooter and rebounder. The Nuggets have some special pieces, and Bridges would fit in with them nicely.
USA Today: No. 14 to Denver Nuggets: An explosive athlete with three-point range, the biggest question for Bridges is on-court fit. He could be a valuable asset if teams feel comfortable in his ability to defend two through four.
Sporting News: No. 14 to Denver Nuggets: The 6-7 wing didn’t appear to improve much as a sophomore based on strict box score metrics, but he became a more diverse shooter and shot creator in his second season. Denver needs a long-term solution at small forward, and the 20-year-old could help.
Washington Post: No. 13 to Los Angeles Clippers: Bridges isn’t the top five pick he was expected to be, but he is the kind of player who should be able to immediately make an impact for Doc Rivers.
NBADraft.net: No. 16 to Phoenix Suns
Mortiz Wagner - Michigan
Sports Illustrated: No. 32 to Memphis Grizzlies: Wagner is another player with an outside chance at the first round, but whose NBA outlook can be divisive depending on who you talk to. His size and ability to shoot the three give him a chance to stick as a role player, following in the footsteps of many similar defensive-challenged but offensively talented big men.
NBADraft.net: No. 30 to Atlanta Hawks
Sporting News: No. 33 to Dallas Mavericks
When is the NBA Draft?
Thursday, June 21 at 7 p.m. in New York City.
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