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Dalton Knecht Projected to Join Young Superstar in Post-Lottery Mock Drafts

Dalton Knecht
Tennessee guard Dalton Knecht. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

There’s perhaps no better day out there for the college basketball/NBA mock draft gurus than the day after the lottery selections as the playoffs continue to roll.

The first 14 picks of the NBA Draft now officially have a team attached to it after the cards fell on Sunday afternoon. The Atlanta Hawks surprisingly won the first overall pick despite having just a three percent chance at it. The Detroit Pistons, meanwhile, fell all the way back to No. 5 after being the team with the highest odds heading into the event.

The first 14 picks are as follows:

1. Atlanta
2. Washington
3. Houston
4. San Antonio
5. Detroit
6. Charlotte
7. Portland
8. San Antonio
9. Memphis
10. Utah
11. Chicago
12. Oklahoma City
13. Sacramento
14. Portland

Tennessee’s Dalton Knecht, the SEC Player of the Year in 2023-2024, has widely been looked at as one of the top players coming out of the collegiate ranks after one season on Rocky Top. The 23-year-old prospect proved to be one of the top scorers in the country from the wing at Tennessee which has seen him leap up draft boards in the last handful of months.

In the six mock drafts looked at on Monday, Knecht lands as a Top 11 pick in each. Half of the experts think that Knecht will land in San Antonio eighth overall, especially if the Spurs take Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham with the fourth overall pick. A young trio of Victor Wembanyama, Dillingham, and Knecht would be a heck of a trio for the Spurs. Knecht’s maturity could also help with those young players early on, too.

If not the Spurs at No. 8, many think the slide will hault at No. 11 with the Chicago Bulls, with a potential to go No. 10 to the Utah Jazz. If Knecht does go with Chicago, he will be the second consecutive Vol taken by the Bulls after Julian Phillips in 2023.

More from RTI: What Rick Barnes Has Said About Tennessee Basketball’s Transfer Signings

Here’s a look at the six mock drafts following the lottery results on Sunday. Click each attached link to see more on that expert’s first-round lottery thoughts.

ESPN (Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo)

  • No. 8
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Note: Mock draft has S.A. taking Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham fourth overall
  • “The Spurs surely have eyes on being competitive sooner rather than later with Wembanyama about to become an MVP candidate in the near future, so picking a 23-year old plug-and-play shooter/scorer such as Knecht looks like an attractive option. His defensive shortcomings can be mitigated to an extent playing behind a future Defensive Player of the Year like Wembanyama,” Givony writes.


CBS Sports (Kyle Boone)

  • No. 8
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Note: Mock draft has S.A. taking Serbian guard Nikola Topic fourth overall
  • “He was a star at Northern Colorado who became an All-American last season at Tennessee and has scoring pop to surround Victor Wembanyama with more weaponry,” Boone writes.


Yahoo! Sports (Krysten Peek)

  • No. 11
  • Chicago Bulls
  • “Knecht was one of the best scorers in college basketball and, at times, carried Tennessee through tough games. His defense has improved, and he’s tough on both sides of the ball with his physicality and ability to finish through contact,” Peek writes.


Bleacher Report (Jonathan Wasserman)

  • No. 10
  • Utah Jazz
  • Pro Comparison: Wally Szczerbiak
  • “Few players in the draft spent more time running off screens than Knecht. He has a skill and mentality that should create an easy fit and quick transition to the next level,” Wasserman writes.


USA Today (Jeff Zillgitt and Scooby Axson)

  • No. 8
  • San Antonio Spurs
  • Note: Mock draft has S.A. taking Kentucky guard Rob Dillingham fourth overall
  • Strong on catch-and-shoot 3s, can drive to the basket with power and finesse and is athletic. Will need work defensively, and yes, he’ll be 23 years old by the draft, but that shouldn’t be a detractor,” Zillgitt and Axson write.


The Ringer (Kevin O’Connor)

  • No. 11
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Pro comparison: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
  • “Knecht is on the older side for a prospect, but he isn’t necessarily without upside. Every player is on a different developmental trajectory. And with DeMar DeRozan entering free agency (and aging) and Zach LaVine’s future uncertain, the Bulls could use some scoring support for Coby White,” O’Connor writes.


Click the links attached to each mock draft for a more detailed look at how that analyst sees the first round and Dalton Knecht’s landing spot in the Top 15 shakes out.

The 2024 NBA Draft will take place from June 26-27 from New York.

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