Okay okay okay.
It's in a 2019 mock draft. But still, it's interesting. Behind the paywall, ESPN's Jonathan Givony laid out a way-too-early mock for next year's NBA Draft, and had Tech guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker going 17th to the Pistons.
It may seem like a trivial thing to talk about now, but here are a few interesting points to think about:
He has all the measurables that scouts like. Long arms, cross-positional ability (both on offense and defense), and thinks the game as a point guard despite playing off ball.
That ranking still undersells his potential. In an age where the ability to perform certain tasks on the floor increasingly takes precedent over rigid positional designations, Alexander-Walker can bring more value to the NBA than many of the players rated above him. He can initiate offense in the half court, manufacture quality looks off the bounce, set the table for teammates, threaten defenses with his shooting range and check a range of perimeter players. Any team would welcome that package of skills in its backcourt, even if Alexander-Walker lacks the superstar ceiling of the most esteemed guards last year's draft class, which saw eight fly off the board in the first 13 picks.
He's also rallied back from a down stretch in December-January to put up consistent numbers over the last six games: 11 ppg, 4rpg, 49% from the field, 55% from three, and a few grown man shots:
Virginia Tech #Hokies PG Justin Robinson with perhaps his best pass of the year for @HokiesMBB finding Nickeil Alexander-Walker for the buzzer-beating 3-pointer. Virginia Tech took down No. 2 Virginia, 61-60. pic.twitter.com/G3TSczbTGR— Matej Sis (@MatejS247) February 11, 2018
I know this specific mock draft is for 2019, but if Alexander-Walker continues to play this way down the stretch, I have to wonder if his leaving this March is a possibility. SI has him ranked as the 41st best prospect on their Big Board, and had this to say:
Alexander-Walker continues to flash upside despite inconsistent play. While he may need a second year of college to round out his game, he's shot well from three, has played on and off the ball and been a nice piece for the Hokies. He needs to develop his body and learn to play more physically, but his size and versatility are a nice place to start. If he realizes his defensive potential and expands his playmaking skills (playing on the ball more will eventually accelerate that), Alexander-Walker will be able to contribute. He's a good candidate to test the waters and garner feedback.
If he continues to shoot above 50% from behind the arc, I'd imagine he'll receive positive feedback. I don't want to speculate on his future, but it's something to keep an eye on.