ESPN’s Mike Schmitz believes that former Kentucky forward Kevin Knox and former Texas A&M forward Robert Williams are among the five players who could be the biggest steals of the 2018 NBA Draft.
Both players are expected to be selected in the first round, however, neither is currently projected to be a top-10 pick.
Still, Schmitz is high on both players, specifically noting that Williams was misused on pick-and-roll plays during his time at A&M:
“There’s one stat in particular that tells the story of how Williams wasn’t used appropriately,” Schmitz wrote. “At 6-foot-10 with a massive catch radius, elite agility and explosive leaping ability, Williams was used in only 16 pick-and-roll possessions in 30 games, according to Synergy Sports Technology. Sixteen. That’s just over one pick-and-roll possession every two games, and he rolled on only nine possessions all year. Nine rolling possessions in 30 games for the draft’s best lob-catcher who finished a ridiculous 73.7 percent of his shots at the rim.”
Schmitz also believes Knox can potentially be more productive at the pro level due to floor spacing, which should allow him to flourish as a shooter:
“Expect Knox to spend the majority of his time at the 4 in the NBA with teams using him as a lane-filler or trail 3 threat in transition, while picking and popping him to space in the half court,” Schmitz wrote. “Knox shoots an easy ball and has more shooting potential than combo forward foes Miles and Mikal Bridges, which will allow him to play off closeouts and rely more on his length and fluidity as opposed to fighting the lack of spacing we too often see in college. The fact that he doesn’t need many dribbles to get to his spots bodes well for Knox, who can take advantage of slower-footed defenders checking him in the NBA.”
The 2018 NBA Draft will take place on Thursday, June 21 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.