2021 NBA Draft Promises to Be Exciting Night For Alabama Basketball

Josh Primo, Herbert Jones and John Petty Jr. are ready to hear their names called during the 2021 NBA draft at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Thursday evening.
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On Thursday night during the 2021 NBA draft (7 p.m, ESPN), Alabama basketball has the opportunity to do something it hasn't done since 1995, which is have two draft picks on the same night. 

In 2018, former Crimson Tide guard Collin Sexton was taken with the eighth-overall selection by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Last November during the postponed event, guard Kira Lewis Jr. was chosen 14th to the New Orleans Pelicans. 

Guard Josh Primo has the chance to become Alabama's third first-round pick in the last four years, while forward Herbert Jones is projected to be a second-round pick and wing John Petty Jr. is slated to go un-drafted by most mock drafts. 

Primo might be the most interesting of the Crimson Tide's prospects, as he is the youngest player in the draft pool at 18 years old. He has slowly seen his name creep up into the late first-round in many mock drafts after his impressive showing at the NBA Draft Combine back in June.

According to Sports Illustrated's latest mock, Primo is taken by the Houston Rockets with the 24th overall pick. His lone season with the Crimson Tide saw him start 19 games and average 8.1 points.

SportsBetting.Ag has the over/under set at 28 for when Primo is taken.

"I was very impressed with the way he played at the combine," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas told reporters on Tuesday.  "He's a good catch-and-shoot guy. I liked him a lot, and with the way he defended, as well, and he showed he could handle it, which I honestly wasn't sure that he projected necessarily as an initiating or handling guard.

"He's got a lot of ability. I was really impressed with him, and just — he can be a sniper shooting the ball. He's got — he really shot past, I thought — I thought Herb Jones was going to be the best prospect off that team and Primo wound up being."

Alabama coach Nate Oats revealed on the Paul Finebaum Show on Tuesday afternoon that one NBA general manager of a team selecting in the first round has been texting him asking for more information on Primo.

“I’ve got a GM of one of the better teams in the NBA shot me a text an hour or so ago," Oats said. "They’re looking to talk to me about Primo, and they’re a late, first-round pick. He’s one of those guys that they’re gonna project how good can he be, and that’s what they want to know — how good could he be in two or three years? And I think he’s got a ton of upside because he’s got a ton of upside and he’s gonna get there. He’s a long, athletic guard that makes shots at a high level.”

For Jones, who was the SEC Player and Defensive Player of the Year during the 2020-2021 campaign, SI draft analyst Jeremy Woo has him being chosen by the Atlanta Hawks with the 48th overall pick. 

"Jones isn't far behind Primo," Bilas added. "He's got 3-and-D written all over him. He just needs to become a more consistent perimeter shooter. But he's a really good handler, passer. His motor is great. Plays with energy, and his defense is fantastic. Just relentless on the ball. He has long arms. Tough guy to score on. He gets steals, he can block shots, rebounds at a good rate. 

"I think as a point guard because he was thrust into the point guard position based on what Alabama had, he turns it over a little bit too much, but I don't think that's that big of a deal. But I'm a big fan of his."

Petty, who is the Crimson Tide's all-time leading three-point shooter, is considered a long-shot to hear his name called on Thursday night. He is not ranked inside the top 80 of SI's best available prospects.

“In John Petty, you’ve got a shooter, an elite shooter that’s got range," Oats said. "The NBA’s become about shooting, and he’s one of the best shooters in the draft. He had some injury problems through the workouts, wasn’t able to work out as much as he would have liked in the spring and summer, so it’s probably not gonna help him a lot. But hopefully, he gets drafted."