We just finished the 2020 NFL draft but there's no indication as to when the NBA draft will take place. But while the league is currently shut down, that hasn't stopped the players from declaring or the mock drafts from controlling the news.
On Wednesday, the Athletic's Sam Vecenie released his two round mock NBA draft and had a very interesting landing spot for senior guard Skylar Mays. Vecenie mocked Mays to the Boston Celtics with the No. 46 pick in the 2020 draft, a popular destination for LSU hoopers in recent memory.
Mays was LSU’s key offensive creator on the perimeter and most consistent performer. He averaged 16.7 points, five rebounds and 3.2 assists while sharing the lead duties with JaVonte Smart. He’s a smart, efficient finisher both inside and outside, making 49 percent of his overall shots and 39 percent from 3. Mays is also a good defensive player, although he’s not quite as big as you want your role players to be on the wing. The idea here is combo guard off the bench who can fill a lot of different roles. You need a guy who can play next to a big initiator as the point guard? Mays can do that. You need a 2-guard next to a true point? Mays can do that, too. His versatility is useful. His feel for the game is high. Mays has a real shot to stick as a backup guard in the NBA.
In this particular scenario, Mays would be reunited with former LSU teammate Tremont Waters, who was taken with the 51st overall pick in the 2019 draft. Mays and Waters were part of a successful two-year run in Baton Rouge that saw the Tigers reach the NIT in 2018 and then the Sweet Sixteen in 2019.
The two displayed instant chemistry when on the court together, no better displayed than with this play in a Nov. 20, 2017 win over Michigan (skip to 1:39 mark).
Waters tore up the G-League in his rookie season, averaging 18 points and 7.3 assists, making the G-League All-Star team as a starter. There's a chance that's where Mays would start his career but he is a college vet that knows his role.
A strong two guard that can shoot and defend multiple positions is invaluable in this day and age. Those traits will help Mays be at the very least, a contributing player off the bench.
"My offensive game definitely took a big jump with having more opportunity this year," Mays told LSUCountry in March. "I think I proved I'm a better playmaker, which is something that teams wanted to see. When you talk to people, they're pretty broad because they don't want you to feel like you need to prove yourself. It's kind of more so just playing your game and improving on everything as the year goes by."
In addition to Mays, Darius Days, Trendon Watford, Emmitt Williams and Javonte Smart have all declared for the draft but haven't appeared in any mock drafts. It'll be interesting to follow which of LSU's underclassmen ultimately decide to return to school as all four have that possibility.
Coach Will Wade has already said that he thinks the Tigers are in very good shape this season, regardless of what happens in the draft.
"Certainly we feel like we're moving in the right direction. We're gonna have a very good team and a deep team, which is important," Wade told LSUCountry last month. "We're certainly going to have a few more pieces next year and we're excited about that. That's what you want as a coach, to put the pieces to the puzzle together to make it look good. I think we will have a very, very good team next year and we're looking forward to that.”