Photo Credit: John S. Peterson

Projecting Bryce McGowens’ Range on NBA Draft Day

June 23, 2022

Draft Day has finally arrived for the 2022 crop of NBA hopefuls, and that includes a few Huskers.

Trey McGowens and Alonzo Verge Jr. are unlikely to get drafted, but Bryce McGowens projects to be the third Husker in the last four years to hear his name called.

Here’s a look through a collection of the latest mock drafts to offer some insight into McGowens’ potential draft range.

>> The Ringer (Kevin O’Connor): 22nd, Memphis Grizzlies — June 17

O’Connor appears to be among the highest on McGowens’s chances, viewing him as a potential long-term fit next to Ja Morant in Memphis’ backcourt, especially with Tyus Jones’ impending free agency.

While O’Connor has McGowens slotted as a first-rounder in his mock, he has him listed 32nd overall on his personal board.

>> The Athletic (Sam Vecenie): 27th, Miami Heat — June 23

Vecenie: “McGowens’ value as a prospect is all about what he could be, not what he is yet … It might take some time for him early in his career as he works through his passing reads and gets stronger, but he’s an interesting upside flier for teams to take, given his size as a potential on-ball player. The Heat are as strong a developmental organization as any in the NBA, so getting their hands on a guy like McGowens could pay off down the road. His range is somewhere 20 to 40.”

Vecenie appears to be the highest on McGowens as a prospect of any of the boards I’ve seen as he has him at No. 26.

>> Yahoo (Krysten Peek): 29th, Memphis Grizzlies — June 20

Peek also sees McGowens as a fit for the Grizzlies, although with their second pick instead of their first.

Peek: “McGowens is Nebraska’s first one-and-done in school history and is making a late rise after solid workouts with teams. McGowens is the next great prospect to come out of South Carolina and could be playing alongside another great player from the state, Ja Morant.”

I’m not totally sure her read about him making a “late rise” is accurate, however. She also has McGowens at No. 34 on her board.

>> Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman): 33rd, Toronto Raptors — June 22

Wasserman has McGowens joining Dalano Banton in Toronto in his latest mock, though he has the former Husker slotted a few spots lower at 37 on his own board.

>> ESPN (Jonathan Givony): 36th, Detroit Pistons — June 22

Givony has been doing this as long and as well as anybody, and in his most recent update — post Detroit’s Jerami Grant trade that included a swap of second-round picks — he moved McGowens up five spots to No.36. McGowens is 37th on his board.

>> BasketballNews (Matt Babcock): 38th, San Antonio Spurs — June 23

Babcock had McGowens at No. 33 to Toronto in his previous mock, but the former Husker slipped all the way down to No. 42 in Wednesday’s update, the lowest I’ve seen him.

>> SI (Jeremy Woo): 36th, New York Knicks — June 23

Woo had McGowens at No. 36 in his previous mock draft, which is also where Woo had McGowens on his personal board, but his draft day update included a slide down to No. 42.

Woo: “McGowens is a gifted scorer who was buried in a terrible team context at Nebraska, where he had offensive freedom but there wasn’t a whole lot of structure in place. His size, craftiness and long stride makes him a pretty interesting prospect, but his shot selection, jumper and decision-making need some improvement. McGowens will also need to buy in a lot more on the defensive end and put his tools to better use. Still, on-ball creators with his type of size aren’t easy to find, and while he’s a ways away from helping an NBA team, there are certainly some things to like here, with the hope being that a better situation makes a difference in his development. McGowens should benefit from getting reps in the G League next season, and could be a nice value pick if he slips into this range.”

Round-Up

Sam Vecenie called McGowens’ draft range 20-40, and that truly does look to be the case. He could be the Huskers’ fourth-ever first-round draft pick and the program’s highest pick since Eric Piatkowski in 1994 (Tyronn Lue went No. 23 in 1998), or he could slide down into the same range as Isaiah Roby (No. 45) and Dalano Banton (No. 46).

As for Trey McGowens and Verge, they’ve both participated in multiple workouts with NBA teams throughout the draft process and will likely be hoping to hear their phones ringing with undrafted free agent deals or summer league invitations.

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