Michigan State has a long and recent history of pumping out players into the NBA. Zach Randolph and Draymond Green represent the Spartans as some of the best forwards in the Western Conference. Last year, head coach Tom Izzo saw Jaren Jackson (Memphis) and Miles Bridges (Los Angeles Clippers) get snatched up in the first round.
After watching Cassius Winston last Sunday versus rival Michigan, you’d think the Spartan star point guard would be following suit. Playing the full 40 minutes, he racked up 27 points and 8 assists against the nation’s No. 3 defense en route to a 77-70 road victory.
On top of that, the 6-foot-1, 185-pounder enters Saturday’s road trip to Indiana (noon EST, FOX) averaging 19.2 points and 6.4 dimes a contest. He’s ripping the nets with a 42.9 percent rate from behind the arc. It begs the question:
Why is he getting little love in mock draft projections? We’re going to take a look at the latest on the Michigan State guard’s current draft stock and projections.
Cassius Winston NBA Draft Projections & Mock Draft
Despite his production, Winston simply doesn’t appear on a large swathe of mock drafts. What’s somewhat surprising is who appears instead.
The most recent mock draft from Rob Dauster of NBC Sports is very wing and big man heavy. However, he has Duke’s Tre Jones going No. 17 to the Brooklyn Nets. Dauster admits that Jones “needs to become a better shooter for this pick to payoff value.” The Blue Devil freshman is scoring just 8.6 points a game off 24.6 percent shooting from 3-point land.
For comparison’s sake, Winston averages over 10 points more, nearly 20 percentage points more from 3 and also dishes out more assists. Winston is also only an inch shorter. The only explanation would seem to be that the Spartan junior doesn’t have as much room to grow as the freshman guard out of Durham.
Our own Jon Adams also left Winston off his draft board. Most egregiously, Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype lists 83 players on his aggregate mock draft. None of them are from Michigan State. In fact, rival Michigan lists two Wolverines in Charles Matthews and Jordan Poole there, despite lower production overall.
Cassius Winston NBA Draft Big Board Rankings
Winston shows up well down the list on ESPN’s NBA Draft Big Board. He appears at No. 82 overall, a spot ahead of Michigan freshman forward Ignas Brazdeikis and a spot behind Marquette’s Markus Howard. This also pegs him as the No. 15 point guard in this year’s class.
This puts him behind Purdue’s Carsen Edwards, who is a far less efficient player. Winston posts an offensive rating (how many points produced every 100 possessions) of 123, while Edwards has mustered just over 107.
On NBA Draft Net’s list of 100 players, Winston fails to make an appearance, as well. There’s been some criticism of his defense in the past, but you can find positive moments. He demonstrates active hands to deflect passes.
At this point, it seems as if there’s an oversight being made towards the Spartan point guard. He is a highly productive offensive player with a sweet stroke, which would be a valuable asset off the bench for many NBA teams.
With these projections, he may end up settling for the G-League or Europe. That would be a missed opportunity for many organizations.