Mock Draft: Michigan State's Winston, Tillman In First Round

McLain Moberg

NBC Sports released their updated mock draft Monday, and according to them, the Los Angeles Lakers will select Cassius Winston with the 29th pick, while the Miami Heat will choose Xavier Tillman Sr. at 23.

Rob Dauster, the journalist who created the 2020 NBA Mock Draft 3.0 for NBC Sports, said he "truly believes Tillman is worth a first round pick, especially in this year's draft class."

He had his reasons.

"For starters, he is a terrific passer. No one in college basketball is better than making the right play in a 4-on-3 scenario when the defense traps a pick-and-roll ball-handler than Tillman. But he is also an excellent defender that can really read the game," said Dauster. "Talk to people around the Michigan State program, and they'll tell you he ran everything defensively. It was his voice that teammates heard. Now, the major question mark is his size. At just 6-foot-8, can he defend fives? Is he quick enough to play the four? If we knew for a fact that the answer to both of those questions would be 'yes, and he can do it very well,' I would have him slotted as a top 20 pick."

Cassius Winston, the Spartan superstar, is still predicted to go in the first round, albeit very late. However, Dauster stated he "did not have the season many of us expected of him to have as a senior – understandably, given the death of his brother in November."

"He still put up All-American numbers for a team that won a share of the Big Ten regular season title. He was playing his best basketball down the stretch, and he still have the highest basketball IQ of anyone in this 2020 NBA mock draft. He's an elite passer and shooter that thrives in ball-screens," says Dauster. "Yes, the defense and athleticism are concerns, but we said the same thing about numerous point guards that have made careers out of being backup point guards. Winston is the next in that pipeline."

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