NBA Mock Draft: Picks 6 and 7
Taylor Hendricks will be the name that casual NBA fans are most surprised by when his name is called, as he played for a small school and absolutely rocketed up draft boards over the past eight months. He is a 6’9″ shooter with elite defensive chops; you don’t usually get this level of weakside rim protection in a player who shot 39.4 percent from 3-point range. He is a bit upright and doesn’t have a ton of potential to be more than a spot-up player at the next level, but given his defense that’s already a high-end prospect.
The Orlando Magic have plenty of frontcourt players already, so Hendricks isn’t a natural fit. What they do need, however, is shooting, and Hendricks can provide that. The guard prospects available here are non-shooters, something the Magic can’t add more of into their backcourt. That could lead to Orlando exploring trades, but for now they stay put and add Hendricks.
Ausar Thompson is not simply his brother’s twin, but the two look nearly identical both physically and on the basketball court. Where Amen drew the point guard straw, Ausar has been able to develop as the “off-ball” player, which will help him fit into a rotation quickly but caps a bit of his upside. Even so, a player with his athletic traits has a long runway to become something special in the NBA.
The Indiana Pacers are built to play fast, so adding nuclear athletes who can handle the basketball, pass and finish makes perfect sense for their offensive system. Ausar’s shooting is his weakest element, but on a Pacers team with shooting at every position he could find a place to thrive. If his defensive ability translates to the NBA he would be a perfect fit on the Pacers.