Few Virginia Tech basketball players have generated such high draft prospects as guard/forward Nickeil Alexander-Walker. The sophomore star showed drastic improvements this year, and his work is going to pay off on Thurs., June 20.
Here’s a look at where Alexander-Walker is projected to go in the 2019 NBA Draft, using some reputable publications’ mock drafts.
Pick No. 15 to Detroit Pistons
As a Pistons fan, I would most definitely welcome this selection. Detroit has lacked a difference maker on the wing for several years now, going all the way back to Richard Hamilton and Tayshaun Prince. What they lack is a wing player who can do a bit of everything, and that’s exactly what Alexander-Walker does. Luke Kennard developed into a bit of a scorer last season, but Alexander-Walker would have the opportunity to start right away this fall. Norlander has Alexander-Walker ranked as the 19th-best prospect in the draft, which seems a bit low to me.
Pick No. 15 to Detroit Pistons
Again, the pick makes sense for the Pistons. The team is cash-strapped at the moment and won’t be able to add an impact player in free agency. The draft and the trade market are the only options for the Pistons to add a high-upside piece, and Alexander-Walker might be the easiest and cheapest piece to acquire. Alexander-Walker may not make an immediate impact, but his ability to drive the lane is NBA-ready and his jump shot will get better with time.
Pick No. 17 to Atlanta Hawks
Finally, a deviation from the NAW-to-Detroit train. Atlanta has a bevy of draft picks this year, including picks No. 8, 10 and 17. It wouldn’t be surprising to see Atlanta trade this pick to move up or acquire a veteran, but adding Alexander-Walker here wouldn’t be a bad option either. Atlanta needs an infusion of young talent on the roster, and Alexander-Walker would be an all-around player who can play multiple positions.
Pick No. 22 to Boston Celtics
I think this range is the floor for Alexander-Walker. Boston would be a terrific place for him to develop and grow under head coach Brad Stevens. Kyrie Irving will most certainly hit the market this offseason, leaving Boston with a hole at guard. Though ball-handling isn’t Alexander-Walker’s primary skill, he could help create offense for a team without an heir apparent to Irving.
Pick No. 16 to Orlando Magic
This mock draft includes the blockbuster Pelicans-Lakers trade that sent Anthony Davis to Los Angeles, but that trade shouldn’t really have an impact on Alexander-Walker’s draft position. Orlando had two decent players on the wing last season in Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross, but Ross is a free agent and Orlando’s depth is questionable. If Orlando opts to not pursue Ross, Alexander-Walker would be a younger and cheaper option to plug in as the franchise continues to build around franchise star Aaron Gordon.
The NBA Draft is just days away, so there are certainly going to be more mock drafts after this article goes live. But here’s glimpse of where industry experts see Alexander-Walker going. Dell Curry is the only other Hokie to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft, and he went at pick No. 15. Alexander-Walker has a chance to be the highest Hokie ever taken in the NBA Draft, and we’ll find out on Thursday.