Following UNC’s unfortunate early exit from the NCAA Tournament, we took a dive into Coby White’s draft stock and where analysts have him on their draft boards. While a lot of attention is being paid to the dynamic point guard, there are two other players that will be entering the draft that could make an impact once they enter the league.
Nassir Little and Cameron Johnson are both recognized as players that will get picked up in the NBA Draft, with Little sitting comfortably in position to go in the first round. Johnson wasn’t given a great deal of attention before his final season at Carolina started, but is now looked at as a player that can come in and give a team in need of a shooter a solid boost.
Let’s take a look at where four major mock draft boards have the two Tar Heels going in the NBA Draft.
NBADraft.net: 11th pick
ESPN.com: 16th pick
SI.com: 12th pick
Bleacher Report: 29th pick
NBADraft.net: 32nd pick
ESPN.com: 21st pick
SI.com: 23rd pick
Bleacher Report: 26th pick
The most interesting thing about where both of these players currently stand in these mock drafts is that both have one draft board that serves as an outlier. Bleacher Report is noticeably low on Nassir Little because of concerns they have with his feel for the game and inability to create. NBADraft.net, however, is the outlier for Cam Johnson, stating that he could potentially climb higher after the workouts are completed if he can show enough promise on the defensive side of the ball. He is also 23 years old, which is older than most of the draft class, and so NBA scouts are likely taking that into account when they perform their evaluations.
While there were some negatives about each player, there were some positives to take out of the analysis provided by these outlets. Nassir Little is viewed as an explosive, high-energy finisher that has quick feet and knows how to finish through contact. He is also viewed as someone that takes a lot of pride in his defense, and isn’t afraid to take on challenging defensive assignments (his willingness to guard number one from Duke this year is a great example of that).
One has to wonder how much Little’s draft stock would’ve elevated during NCAA play had he not experienced flu-like symptoms against Auburn. While it’s rather presumptuous to say UNC would’ve gotten deeper in the tournament if both him and Johnson were healthy, he at least would’ve had a better chance to put together a stronger performance — he only finished with four points, compared to the 19 and 20 points that he scored in the previous two contests. Little finished his freshman season averaging 9.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
As for Cam Johnson, the surgery that he had last summer was life-changing considering how different of a player he has been ever since. Never really being fully healthy in college, we finally got to witness a 100% healthy player, and his numbers for the year were extremely impressive.
It is likely no secret that the biggest asset that Johnson possesses is his perimeter shooting, as he finished his final season at UNC shooting 45.7% from three. His consistency against what was a grueling schedule has caught NBA scouts’ attention, and teams looking for a catch-and-shoot guy are going to be taking a really close look at him. Analysts are saying that he potentially move up into the first round of the draft depending on how things shake out, and if he can show enough promise on the defensive side of the ball, he will likely be viewed as a three-and-D type of player. Johnson finished the season averaging a team/career-high 16.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.
While Coby White may be the star of the NBA Draft from a Carolina perspective, Little and Johnson have a good chance to give the Tar Heels three first-round draft picks depending on how everything goes at the combine. If there was ever a year to tune into the NBA Draft Combine, this may be the year to do it, as all three players have a chance to elevate their stock when they show what they can do at the next level. The combine will take place May 15-19 in Chicago, IL.