Before the 2016-17 season, Michigan forward D.J. Wilson had not averaged more than seven minutes per game in his first two seasons. A breakout junior campaign, however, has shot his name up NBA draft boards.
Wilson decided to forgo his senior season at Michigan to chase his NBA dreams. Despite only one year playing consistent minutes, ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla thinks that his traits will easily translate to the next level.
“D.J. is fortunate, he’s coming out at a time where his particular skill set fits the league,” Fraschilla said last week at Greg Kampe’s Coaches Beat Cancer event, per the Detroit Free Press. “He’s a big guy that can defend away from the basket and play away from the basket. I would sense going through the draft process he’s been given a pretty good sense where he’s going to fall in this draft. Which to me would be — I know it’s cliché — but the late-first, early-second round.”
Wilson averaged 11 points per game on 53.8 shooting from the field, including 37.3 percent from 3-point land. His 6-foot-10 frame and 7-foot-3 wingspan to go along with his ability to stretch the floor are what makes him a potential first-round selection.
In NBADraft.net’s latest mock draft, it has the Utah Jazz taking the big man with the No. 30 overall pick. Wilson’s meteoric rise is largely because he evolved as a two-way player.
“I saw a great deal of improvement because I did the early games in [Madison Square] Garden [in November], when they played SMU and [Marquette],” Fraschilla said. “His mindset [shifted] going from a guy that was strictly an offensive player and more of a finesse player to a guy that embraced defense, and that probably will be his calling card in the league.”
The 2017 NBA Draft takes place on June 22 at 7 p.m. ET.