Dayton's Holmes a consensus first-round pick in latest mock drafts

Jun. 5—The NBA Draft will take place over two days later this month. That's a big change after years of both rounds taking place on a Thursday night in late June.

The draft will start at 8 p.m. on a Wednesday this year, June 26, and conclude a day later with the second round starting at 4 p.m. June 27.

Recent news indicates former Dayton Flyers forward DaRon Holmes II, who announced last week he would keep his name in the draft and forgo his final year of college eligibility, won't have to wait until the second day and the second round.

Jonathan Givony, who in May predicted Holmes would go to the Indiana Pacers in the second round with the No. 50 pick, released a new mock draft along with ESPN colleague Jeremy Woo that has Holmes going to the Denver Nuggets with the 28th pick in the first round.

"Sources told ESPN Holmes recently canceled several workouts," Woo wrote last week, "raising strong suspicions that he has secured a guarantee in the back part of the first round. Coming off a productive career at Dayton in which he made strides as a shooter (38% from 3 last season), Holmes appears to have helped himself in the pre-draft process, moving himself into the first-round picture.

"The Nuggets could be a landing spot, considering the need for front-court depth behind Nikola Jokic and their proclivity for targeting experienced college talent."

Kevin O'Connor, of The Ringer, released a new mock draft this week as well. Based on the ESPN report, he also predicted the Nuggets would draft Holmes at No. 28. In March, he ranked Holmes 33rd on his list of top draft prospects.

"ESPN reported that Holmes shut down workouts and the speculation is that the Nuggets made him a promise," O'Connor wrote. "If that's true, then Holmes could be the floor-spacing, versatile big man that the Nuggets wish Zeke Nnaji had become."

Krysten Peek, of Yahoo Sports, used the same information to make the same prediction: Holmes to the Nuggets.

"There have been rumblings around the league regarding a promise for Holmes late in the first round and sources say he's shut down all future workouts," she wrote. "Looking at what Minnesota has built with Rudy Gobert, Karl-Anthony Towns and Naz Reid, Denver could be targeting an inside-out big who shot nearly 40% from 3 this season."

On, Colin Ward-Henninger has Holmes going even higher in his latest mock draft released Tuesday: No. 22 to the Phoenix Suns.

"Holmes just knows how to play basketball," Ward-Henninger wrote, "and he'll be 22 by the time his rookie season starts, so he should be able to immediately slot into a Phoenix rotation that desperately needs low-cost, impact players. He plays much bigger than his 6-foot-9 frame, as a smart roller and finisher who can also pop out to 3-point range. Holmes isn't going to create his own shot very often, but he's the perfect player to put next to all of the Suns' top-end scoring and playmaking."

Sam Vecenie, of The Athletic, also predicted Wednesday that Holmes will be drafted in the first round: at No. 25 by the New York Knicks, who were the last team to take a Flyer in the first round — Obi Toppin at No. 8 in 2020.

How much do mock drafts matter? DaRon Holmes Sr., the father of the former Flyer, talked about that last month when he was interviewed by the Dayton Daily News.

"My take on mock drafts is that they don't matter in terms of what a kid can potentially accomplish in the league," Holmes Sr. said. "You see a lot of people that were marked in the second round and drafted late in the second round that are going to have very productive, long NBA careers. It's not as if the scouting departments are not doing their own homework and research on these players to the point where they have to just rely on mock drafts. These guys are doing their research. It's not like they rely on mock drafts to tell them anything about a player. These scouting departments put in hours of research. I have families and friends that are telling me they received calls and background checks on players."

Here's why the mock drafts do matter and can be helpful, Holmes Sr. said.

"Let's say a team drafts a player in the first round or the mid-first round, but the consensus across all the mock drafts had that player in the second round," Holmes Sr. said. "But a team took him 15 spots higher or 20 spots higher in the mid-first. That GM better be right about that player because even the owner's going to be like, 'Man, we just bypassed a lot of people to take someone that every other mock draft had in the second round.' That's where the mock drafts probably provide some cover for a GM. Even though they're going to be judged on the results of that player, it's not like they're out there in space about their choice because there's some rationale to choosing Player A in mid-first round because almost everyone sees them as a first-round talent. Whether the player turns out to be that, that's a different story, but there's cover for the for the GM to do that."