Could Jalen Brunson be a Sixers rival next season? Could he become a role player on a championship team?
Depending on which mock draft you trust (if any), he could be one or both, as Brunson’s late first-round draft status puts him in the reaches of teams like the Boston Celtics, Golden State Warriors, and other playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference (not to mention the Sixers).
Speaking of Villanova’s title team, Donte DiVincenzo might still be unsure if he will stay in the draft, but he helped his stock on Thursday, according to the analysts.
In one of the NBA draft combine scrimmages, DiVincenzo showed off his shooting stroke and physical ability.
Great first half from Donte DiVincenzo. Plays such a physical brand of basketball. Making the right plays passing ahead. Hit one deeeep NBA 3. Really playing confidently. I was skeptical about him playing here after his Final Four, but he's no question helping himself here.
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 17, 2018
DiVincenzo finished the scrimmage with eight points, six rebounds, and three assists while shooting 2-for-3 from three-point range.
Here’s where a few mock drafts have the two Villanova guards going in the draft:
ESPN: Brunson to the Warriors (28th pick); DiVincenzo to the Mavericks (34th pick)
The Warriors are way over the luxury tax and will want to find contributors on cheap rookie contracts.
Villanova’s NCAA tournament run and the efficient play of their floor general might cause the Warriors to take a look at the versatility and shot-making prowess of the Wooden Award winner. His leadership, toughness and intangibles could be attractive on a roster that already has quite a bit of talent. The fact that he has shown the ability to operate off the ball certainly helps.
– Jonathan Givony
Sports Illustrated: Brunson to the Celtics (27th pick); DiVincenzo to the Kings (37th pick)
The Celtics can go any number of directions here thanks to their roster depth. They may be priced out of keeping Marcus Smart this summer and Terry Rozier the next, and adding a guy like Brunson would be a prudent move for long-term backcourt depth. Brunson’s otherworldly feel for the game and shooting ability makes him one of the safest bets in the draft to have a long career. Boston has its stars in place and can focus on filling in the blanks.
– Jeremy Woo
The Ringer: Brunson to the Grizzlies (32nd pick); DiVincenzo to the Kings (37th pick)
[Brunson is] a classic point guard prospect that’ll fall in the draft because of his age, but then play play 10-plus years in the NBA. … [DiVincenzo is] a fearless offensive wing who can score in a variety of ways and displays playmaking upside.
– Ringer staff
Bleacher Report: DiVincenzo to the Lakers (25th pick); Brunson to the Hawks (30th pick)
DiVincenzo could have played himself into the first round with his 31-point explosion in the national title game. But he built a case all year with playmaking (3.5 assists), shooting (40.1 percent on three-pointers) and exciting athleticism and energy. The Lakers could overpay to bring back Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, or they could promote Josh Hart and add his former Villanova teammate to their bench.
Will the Hawks have this pick by the end of the night? At this point, they’ve already drafted two players, and other teams will likely look to make an offer for No. 30. Brunson could ultimately be a target for Atlanta or another franchise looking to acquire a good decision-maker to run its second unit.
– Jonathan Wasserman