clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NBA Draft Preview: What it looks like for Michigan Wolverines in the draft

Where and when will D.J. Wilson find himself getting drafted, and what is next for Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin in the future of their basketball careers.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Final-Michigan vs Wisconsin Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

For most players that enter the NBA Draft, today is the day they have been waiting for since they decided to enter the draft process and workout for NBA teams.

For D.J. Wilson, nobody's quite sure how he is feeling.

The 6-foot-10 forward hasn't said anything since May 13 when he last addressed reporters and talked about the injury to his quad which he strained.

He said, “I should be fine within a week or so,” but hasn't worked out for any NBA teams since and his agent said he will speak after the draft.

Nevertheless, the day has arrived where Wilson will hear his name called, and most would say it will be in the latter portion of the first-round, between picks 20-30.

He checks a lot of the major boxes for an NBA scout: athletic, versatile, long, mobile, and the list goes on. In the end, Wilson didn't have to do much to prove he has a lot of potential at this level.

Regardless, the Sacramento, California native will be taken at some point tonight, and will most likely talk to the media for the first time in over a month.

My Take

Wilson has fought with injuries since he was a junior in high school, and it has limited some of his overall playing time to this point.

What he did last season, cancelled out a lot of the questions surrounding what he could still do on the basketball court. While those injuries may seem harmful to his draft stock, at the same time it showed how good he still was after them.

With the size and athletic ability that Wilson has in his arsenal, NBA scouts have obviously looked past his nagging injuries and have seen the side of Wilson that averaged 11 points, 1.5 blocks and 5.3 rebounds per game last season.

I think that Wilson will get taken in the No. 22 spot by the Los Angeles Lakers, and will be in the same rookie draft class for the Lakers as Lonzo Ball from UCLA, forming a pretty lethal combination right out of the gate.

If he can avoid his injuries and build up strength, Wilson has nothing but potential from here in the NBA. What he showcased at the end of last season, looked like an NBA ready player.

Don't forget Walton or Irvin

While Wilson has been under the microscope for most of the attention towards Michigan’s draft picks (and rightfully so) there is two other players who just graduated from Michigan working towards the same goal as Wilson.

Former Wolverine guards Zak Irvin and Derrick Walton Jr. have been working out with multiple NBA teams and are putting work towards getting to the pros.

NCAA Basketball: Big Ten Conference Tournament Final-Michigan vs Wisconsin Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Walton has worked out with at least 11 NBA teams, Irvin has worked out with at least six in the NBA predraft combine.

For both of these staples over the past four seasons on the Michigan roster, they have a dream of playing in the NBA, and not being drafted won't end that aspiration.

More than likely both of these guys will get the chance to play on a summer-league team (if they aren't drafted) and will get to decide what will be best for them.

After his visit a week ago with the Pistons, Walton said that he has been “wowing” teams with his shooting, and it's “eye-popping for them.”

He plans to watch the draft with only his family, in a private area.

ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla told the Free Press a week ago that Walton will get his shot at the NBA.

“(Walton) played at a high level in the Big Ten and, at the end of his career, he played his best basketball,” Fraschilla said. “So, he is going to be in the NBA Summer League with a team or more. He’s going to get every opportunity to prove to people, even if he’s not drafted, he can play in the NBA.

“He’s your classic Earl Watson, C.J. Watson, he’s your classic NBA backup point guard,” Fraschilla said. “Because of his size and his athleticism, he’s not going to be looked at the high echelon at the most dynamic position in the league. But that doesn’t mean there’s not a place for him as a guy that can make a roster. Every team carries three point guards.”

My Take

I think what Derrick Walton showcased to end last season, which was basically leading his team and being a true-point guard, will be enough to give him a shot at the NBA and for sure a spot on a D-League roster.

His 15.5 points, 4.9 assists and 4.8 boards per game are very good numbers for any point guard and compare with the best in the country last season.

While I personally love the potential from Walton, who I believe finally figured out his game at the end of last season fully, I don't think any NBA team will risk a draft pick on him. I see the Detroit native getting picked up quickly after the draft and playing for a summer-league team.

Irvin on the other hand hasn't been talked about as much as Walton, and his draft stock doesn't seem to be very high at all.

While he did post solid numbers last season (13 ppg, 4.5 rpg and three assists per), he was inconsistent with his shooting all season and had plenty of moments where you wondered what he was doing with the ball, whether it be a forced shot or an erratic pass.

I see the 6-foot-6 guard going undrafted and playing for a summer-league team, and possibly making a D-League roster. I believe what Irvin showed in college is all he has to offer at the next level, which isn’t enough.

The NBA Draft will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday and it will be televised on ESPN or you can stream it on WatchESPN.