Looking ahead to the NBA Draft

The NBA Draft is one week away. Florida State has four candidates that are hoping to hear their names called next Thursday.

Jonathan Isaac is considered by most as a lock to be selected in the lottery (picks 1-14) and a lot of draft analysts are projecting him inside the top ten.

ESPN Minnesota’s Darren Wolfson said that Isaac will not work out for teams that are picking below fourth in the NBA Draft. In recent weeks, he’s spent time with the Boston Celtics and Phoenix Suns.

Isaac worked out for the Celtics in Las Vegas. He was pitted up against former Louisiana Tech big Erik McCree in a one-on-one workout. The Celtics are doing their homework on most of the top prospects, but it is likely that they’ll select Markelle Fultz out of Washington with the first pick.

A more realistic option for Isaac is the Phoenix Suns, who pick fourth. He has worked out for the Suns twice and Phoenix flew him in for a private workout on Sunday evening. Isaac would fit right in alongside Phoenix’s young big men Dragan Bender and Marquese Chriss.

It’s crucial for his body to continue filling out but Isaac could help the Suns protect the rim and stretch the floor with his versatility. His offensive game is still coming along, but he’ll have a chance to grow alongside players such as Eric Bledsoe, Devin Booker, and TJ Warren who can help create easier opportunities to score for Isaac.

Dwayne Bacon isn’t a lock to be drafted, but he’s worked out for teams all across the country. Bacon has worked out for the Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks, Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Lakers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers, Utah Jazz, and New York Knicks. He also participated in the Roc Nation pro-day, where even more NBA eyes were on him. Bacon was impressive during the pro-day and his stock is on the rise as the draft approaches.

His projected draft position varies by the team. Reportedly, some NBA teams have Bacon in the 20s on their draft boards, which could give him an outside shot at being selected in the first round. Most mock drafts have him going somewhere in the second round.

Bacon’s biggest problem at Florida State was his inconsistency. He would have games where he would dice up defenses with his ability to get to the rim, but there were also games where he struggled to generate any kind of impact. It sounds like Bacon is making improvements in his consistency and that could help make the decision easier for a team to pull the trigger on drafting him. His game is probably better suited for the NBA, where he’ll have more space to score. 

Xavier Rathan-Mayes is another former Florida State star who is looking to prolong his basketball career. It’s not likely that XRM is drafted but he’s looking to impress teams so he can receive an invite to a summer league team where he can fight to make a roster.

Rathan-Mayes came into his own as a point guard this year as he boasted one of the top assist to turnover ratios in the entire NCAA. He was solid on defense too and was selected to the ACC’s All-Defensive First-Team. His best basketball seems to be ahead of him, as XRM has only been playing point guard for two years.

So far, he’s spent time with the Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, New York Knicks, Washington Wizards, Charlotte Hornets, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings. XRM has done a great job of working out for a large number of teams and he should get interests from franchises if he goes undrafted.

However, drafting is a fluky business, especially in the second round. Teams typically take a lot of chances in the second round of the draft. If a team has fallen in love with Rathan-Mayes, we could see him selected in the latter picks of the draft. You honestly never really know. I do think he has a good chance to play himself onto an NBA roster, even if it means he has to play down in the G-League to develop more.

Michael Ojo struggled during his first few seasons as a Seminole, but he showed a lot of progress during his senior year. Ojo averaged a career-high 4.9 points and 3.2 rebounds during the 2016-2017 campaign. As a freshman, he shot 36.5% from the free throw line. He finished his fifth season at FSU by improving his free throw percentage to 81%.

Despite limited playing time and production throughout his career at Florida State, Ojo’s body is what has scouts raving. He is quite the physical specimen at 7’1” and close to 300 lbs. I don’t know any other way to say it. The man is JACKED. If an NBA team could bring him into their organization and work hard on developing his basketball skills, then maybe Ojo could make basketball into a career. He definitely has the body to battle with the biggest and baddest in the NBA right now. He does need to work on being more aggressive as that was one of the issues that stopped him from realizing his full potential at FSU.

Ojo is a long shot to be drafted and he’s trying to impress in workouts with teams so he can earn an invitation to someone’s summer league roster. He has worked out for the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons, and Orlando Magic. Ojo has a workout scheduled with Minnesota on Friday.

Dustin Lewis

Lead writer for NoleGameday. Majoring in English Editing, Writing, and Media at Florida State University. Writer for FSView Sports and Hashtag Basketball.

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