With the 2023 NBA Draft just about a month away, Illinois basketball fans should stay up-to-date on where our players will land.
The draft is set to take place on June 22 at 7:00 p.m. CT. Currently, the Illini are eyeing two players who will get picked in the 2023 NBA Draft if they decide to stay in the pool.
Coleman Hawkins is a 6-foot-10 monster who can handle the ball well, play the point, can shoot the three-point shot, and he has the size to go back to the basket. Terrence Shannon Jr. is also on the radar, as he is an electric guard who can run the court well and has the ability to knock down three-pointers with the best of the best.
The 2023 NBA Draft Lottery was on Tuesday night, and this determined where each team will select in the top 14 picks. After the lottery concluded, Jonathan Givony of ESPN published an updated mock draft that had all 58 picks.
ESPN’s mock draft has the Illinois basketball teammates heading to different conferences in the 2023 NBA Draft
In the most recent mock draft produced by ESPN, they have Shannon going fairly early in the second round. With pick No. 40 overall, the Denver Nuggets would be the team to land the talented guard.
It looks like Hawkins wouldn’t have to wait too much longer for his name to be called either. You have to go down to pick No. 46 overall to find the Atlanta Hawks selecting the versatile big man.
At first glance I think to myself, these aren’t bad landing spots. The Nuggets are in the Western Conference Finals as we speak, and they could always use more guard help. They are a high-scoring team that could use another knockdown three-point shooter.
Hawkins going to the Hawks would be fitting name-wise and schematically. One of the biggest issues with Atlanta is the fact they don’t have anyone who can rebound and stretch the floor. Hawkins could come in and help facilitate the offense. It is Trae Young and that is about it for players who can run an offense. Hawkins would help alleviate that pressure.
If both Illinois players are projected to go in the early-to-mid second round, then I think they both should stay in the NBA Draft.
Older college players tend to not get drafted as high, so I don’t see Shannon improving his draft stock by coming back to the college game. I think he should start his professional career and develop at that level. For Hawkins, it shocks me to see him at No. 46. I firmly believe he could end up climbing and could even sneak into the late first round with a good NBA Combine showing.
When it is all said and done, I think both Illinois players stay in the draft process. Whatever they choose, I am going to root for them to succeed.