Basketball

NBA mock draft: Arizona Wildcats have two lottery picks

Allonzo Trier; is he a lottery pick?(Photo courtesy of Stan Liu/Arizona Athletics)

The Arizona Wildcats will have two lottery picks in the 2017 NBA Draft … well, at least according to the latest projections from CBSSports.com.

Freshman 7-footer Lauri Markkanen is a given. CBSSports.com’s Howard Megdal projects him fifth to Orlando, with the comment, “It isn’t exactly clear how Markkanen will fit on this Orlando roster, but you could say that about most of the people on the roster already.”

It’s also too early to know where each team will be drafting, so take that for what it’s worth, too, but that does seem to be the right range for Markkanen right now.

The top 14 spots are considered lottery picks, representing the 14 non-playoff teams who have varying chances of drawing the No. 1 selection.

CBSSports.com has Arizona sophomore guard Allonzo Trier going 14th overall to the Charlotte Hornets, writing: “The infusion of offense Steve Clifford’s team desperately needs, and with a bonus — he’s learned how to defend under Sean Miller, a must in Charlotte.”

Miller, based on comments after the most recent game, might disagree; he’s unhappy with a lot of his perimeter defense.

In any case, Trier has been popping up on 2017 mock drafts since his return from NCAA suspension six games ago. He is averaging 15.5 points. Markkanen, despite a three-game slump, averages a team-high 15.6 and is shooting 47.5 percent (57 of 120) from 3-point range.

As for a second opinion, draftexpress.com has Arizona players like this in its 2017 draft projections:

No. 7 — Markkanen
No. 45 — Freshman guard Kobi Simmons
No. 49 — Trier

That’s a big difference between No. 14 and No. 49 for Trier, but that is likely attributed to his small sample size so far this season.

For a third opinion, the latest mock draft from ESPN’s Chad Ford has Markkanen going ninth, with no other Arizona players in the first round.

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