We could see as many as four players from last year’s Michigan men’s basketball team get drafted Thursday night, as Caleb Houstan, Moussa Diabate, Eli Brooks and DeVante ‘Jones are all pursuing their NBA dream. Two of them have been featured in many mock drafts, as Houstan and Diabate have been the Michigan Wolverines projected to go in the late first round or the second round.
Neither are perfect prospects, and that’s why they aren’t expected to go in the lottery; both guys will need to go to franchises who can be patient and let them develop.
One day before the 2022 NBA Draft, here’s where draft experts project Houstan and Diabate to be drafted.
ESPN 2-round mock draft (Jonathan Givony)
Houstan picked at No. 38 by San Antonio SpursDiabate not selected
San Antonio would be a nice fit for Houstan, as that franchise has quietly been able to develop young players while always staying in the mix for a playoff spot. The Spurs have a nice group of young talent with Dejounte Murray and Keldon Johnson at the forefront. At his absolute floor, Houstan could be a 3-and-D guy in that group, with upside to do even more.
The Athletic 2-round mock draft (Sam Vecenie)
Houstan picked at No. 34 by Oklahoma City ThunderDiabate not selected
Oklahoma City hasn’t had much structure the last few years, but GM Sam Presti has a track record of being an excellent drafter, and Houstan would be able to play next to one of the top three guys in this draft in Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. or Paolo Banchero.
Playing with one of those three guys, along with quality young guards like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey, could help Houstan’s development immensely.
USA Today’s The Rookie WIre (Cody Taylor)
Houstan picked at No. 26 to the Houston RocketsDiabate not selected
Taylor writes, “The Rockets acquired this pick from the Mavericks last week in the trade for Christian Wood. They are said to be interested in packaging this pick to potentially move up, but if they are unable to do so, they could take Houstan here. As a former five-star recruit, he possesses the physical tools and ideal skills to succeed. He is projected to be a first-round pick, as a result. The Rockets could take a chance here with the additional pick on a player and he fits the bill. ”
Yahoo Sports (Krysten Peek)
Houstan picked at No. 30 by the Denver Nuggets, Diabate picked at No. 56 by the Washington Wizards
Peek writes, “Houstan has a ton of NBA upside and is a lights-out shooter, even if it wasn’t put on full display during his one year at Michigan. Teams in the first round love his size and the way he can shoot over the defense with ease. He’s not as athletic as other players his size but is far from a defensive liability. ”
“Diabate was a five-star recruit coming out of high school and didn’t get many minutes to showcase his talent during his one year at Michigan. He’s an athletic big who runs the floor well and can be productive after a couple of years of development at the NBA level. ”
CBS Sports (Kyle Boone)
Houstan picked at No. 24 by the Milwaukee BucksDiabate not selected
Boone says, “Houstan had an up and down freshman season at Michigan but has all the physical tools to be a long and rangy two-way wing in the NBA. He rated in the 79th percentile as a spot-up scorer and shot 35.5% from 3-point range, which would translate nicely playing next to Giannis in Milwaukee. ”
This is the first time I’ve seen Houstan mocked to the Bucks, and I LOVE the fit. Playoff teams can never have enough three-point shooting, and Milwaukee should be able to cover up its potential weaknesses. He could at least come off the bench and make a few threes for them a few years from now.
Sports Illustrated (Jeremy Woo)
Houstan picked at No. 32 by the Orlando MagicDiabate not selected
If taken by the Magic, Houstan would get a chance to play with the No. 1 overall pick, along with fellow former Wolverines Franz and Moe Wagner. The Magic could use his three-point shooting; they only made 33% of their threes last season, the third-worst in the league.
USA Today’s For The Win (Bryan Kalbrosky)
Houstan picked at No. 33 by the Toronto RaptorsDiabate not selected
This pick makes a lot of sense; Houstan would get to stay close to home and the Raptors would have the patience to develop him. They’ve had a history of finding diamonds in the rough, so maybe Toronto can tap into its potential as a multi-level scorer.
I understand why many mocks don’t have Diabate being drafted – he lacks a reliable outside jumper, he’s not super versatile offensively and he badly needs to improve his hands. If he goes to the right organization, I truly think Diabate could at the very least grow into a reliable back-up center.
Big men who can protect the paint, stay in front of guards and catch lobs will always get a chance in the NBA. If he’s not drafted, as most experts are projecting, hopefully Diabate can find the right home and thrive with a stable organization.