UTAH JAZZ

Mock Drafts Fond Of USU’s Merrill, BYU’s Childs

Nov 2, 2020, 12:53 PM | Updated: Nov 12, 2020, 11:40 am
BYU forward Yoeli Childs (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) and Utah State guard Sam Merrill (Pho...
BYU forward Yoeli Childs (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images) and Utah State guard Sam Merrill (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The NBA Draft is just over two weeks away. With the coronavirus pandemic ongoing, the predraft process has been radically different from years past. Draft hopefuls aren’t traveling cross-country to meet with teams, instead, teams are traveling to see players in their host cities, which they are limited to seeing only 10 workouts in-person leading up to draft night. With limited opportunities to be seen, what are the latest mock drafts saying about BYU forward Yoeli Childs and Utah State guard Sam Merrill?

Currently, both players are hoping to hear their names called in the second round, and by and large neither player is expected to have their name in the first 30 picks. Previously, we wrote predraft scouting reports on both Childs and Merrill.

Leading up to the draft, Merrill has seen more traction than Childs in the mock drafts, likely as a result of his strong Mountain West Conference Tournament appearance that resulted in an Aggies victory over San Diego State and a second consecutive Tournament MVP award.

Meanwhile, Childs senior season was derailed by a finger injury that caused him to miss nearly three weeks of basketball during his final year hurting his stock in the mock drafts. BYU’s conference tournament was cut short after a loss to Saint Mary’s before the college basketball postseason was canceled.

Sam Merrill – Projections in Mock Drafts

Yahoo Sports/Rotoworld: Round 2 – Pick 40: One of the highest projections for Merrill comes via the Yahoo Sports/Rotoworld mock draft. The site predicts Merrill landing with the Memphis Grizzlies early in the second round.

The Grizzlies qualified for the play-in tournament to earn the final seed in the Western Conference Playoffs and could use an experienced guard in the draft ready to help from day one.

The Athletic: Round 2 – Pick 42: The Athletic‘s Sam Vecenie has Merrill landing with the New Orleans Pelicans with the 42nd pick in the second round. The Pelicans have a young core and need to make the playoffs next year to prove they are on the right path.

New coach Stan Van Gundy has had success with bigger, slower, sharpshooting guards in the past like Hedo Turkoglu — could he be the right coach to open Merrill’s game up at the NBA level?

“Thus far through the interview process, Merrill has also stood out because of his understanding of role and ability to explain his fit at the next level,” Vecenie wrote. “His ability to shoot at an extremely high level off of movement gives him a very good chance to stick.”

Sports Illustrated: Round 2 – Pick 46: Sports Illustrated has Merrill landing with the high powered offense of Terry Stotts and the Portland Trail Blazers. Rumors continue to swirl around the future of the Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum backcourt and Merrill could add depth if they finally decide to break up the hot shooting but undersized duo.

CBS Sports: Round 2 – Pick 47: CBS Sports currently has Merrill projected to be drafted in the second round by Boston Celtics.

“One of my favorite projections here with Sam Merrill headed to Boston,” Kyle Boone wrote. “Elite shooter from Utah State who rated in the 90th percentile or better as a shooter in the pick and roll, in spot-ups and off isolation. It’s one thing to be a good shot-maker, but he’s a player who can make tough shots at a high level.”

Sporting News: Round 2 – Pick 50: Sporting News sees Merrill finding a new home in Atlanta near the end of the second round. The Hawks are young and have been rumored to be willing to trade their first-round pick for a win-now player.

That could up the importance of their second-round selection and Merrill’s shooting and steady playmaking would pair nicely with dynamo guard Trae Young.

Tankathon: Round 2 – Pick 51: Tankathon projects Merrill to be drafted by the Golden State Warriors in the middle of the second round. Merrill’s shooting would be a deadly addition to the Warriors roster.

NBA Draft Room: Round 2 – Pick 55: NBA Draft Room has Merrill being selected by the Brooklyn Nets in the second round. The Nets are hoping to compete for the East next season so getting a player as NBA ready as Merrill projects to be could be helpful, especially if they lose guard Joe Harris.

“One of the best 3pt shooters in the class who is also fundamentally sound on the defensive end.”

ESPN: Undrafted/58th Ranked Prospect: The official ESPN mock draft doesn’t have Merrill projected to be selected in the draft. However, the site does list the Utah State guard as the 58th best prospect in the draft.

The Philadelphia 76ers own the 58th pick in the draft by way of the Los Angeles Lakers. However, these picks at the end of the second are often traded for teams with their eyes set on drafting a player before they hit the undrafted free agent market.

Yoeli Childs – Projections in Mock Drafts

The Rookie Wire: Round 2 – Pick 40: The Rookie Wire, USA Today’s draft website has one of the most optimistic projections for Childs in the draft. The site has Childs projected to be selected by the Memphis Grizzlies early in the second round.

“His maturity, as a four-year college player, makes him one of the most NBA-ready prospects available.”

Yahoo Sports/Rotoworld: Round 2 – Pick 52: Perhaps the most friendly projection to our in-state prospects Yahoo Sports/Rotoworld has Childs getting drafted by the Sacramento Kings with the 52nd pick in the draft after having Merill drafted by the Grizzlies at 40.

Childs wouldn’t be the first recent BYU big to spend time in Sacramento. Eric Mika made a brief appearance in Sacramento last season playing in one game in early February. The Kings could lose reserve big man Harry Giles this offseason making frontcourt depth a priority in the draft.

NBADraft.Net: Round 2 – Pick 60: NBADraft.net is projecting Childs to be drafted by the New Orleans Pelicans with the 60th and final pick of the second round.

Childs would be in intriguing backup behind Zion Williams and is already older than much of the Pelicans young core. The BYU forward could add spacing alongside Williamson while creating one of the most athletic frontcourts in the NBA.

NBA Draft Room: On the Bubble: NBA Draft Room doesn’t have Childs being draft, but they do have him sitting as the 62nd best prospect of the draft, just two spots away from earning the title as the NBA’s Mr. Irrelevant.

ESPN: Undrafted/91st Ranked Prospect: ESPN doesn’t project Childs to be drafted but he does find himself in the site’s top 100 rankings.

Childs is the 18th ranked power forward on the board according to ESPN’s draft experts.

The Athletic: Undrafted/97th Ranked Prospect: Like ESPN, The Athletic has Childs projected outside of the mock draft itself, but still within its top 100 rankings.

According to these rankings, it’s unlikely Childs gets drafted but would be a priority as an undrafted free-agent to sign with a team.

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Mock Drafts Fond Of USU’s Merrill, BYU’s Childs