Scout sees Wright, Alvarado as potential second-round draft picks

Georgia Tech guard Jose Alvarado (10) and forward Moses Wright (5) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Georgia Tech won 81-77 over Duke in overtime. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)
Caption
Georgia Tech guard Jose Alvarado (10) and forward Moses Wright (5) in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game at Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 2, 2021. Georgia Tech won 81-77 over Duke in overtime. (Hyosub Shin / Hyosub.Shin@ajc.com)

Credit: Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Credit: Hyosub Shin/The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

At this point in the draft process, Georgia Tech’s Moses Wright and Jose Alvarado still have a lot to show NBA talent evaluators, and their positioning on draft boards could change. But, to longtime scout and NBA consultant Ryan Blake, both are draftable prospects.

Blake rated both players as candidates to get taken in the second round or to go undrafted. He left open the possibility that both will have opportunities before the July 29 draft to further ensure their NBA prospects as they perform before scouts and decision-makers.

“Both players can rise,” Blake told the AJC. “Is it possible that they’ll be in the league next year? Yeah. Nothing is off the table.”

Both are getting attention. Wright has been invited to the NBA draft combine starting Monday, and Alvarado has a spot in the G League pre-combine camp that begins Saturday and holds the possibility for him to earn an invite to the combine.

Wright has had workouts for the San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, with workouts for the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks to come this week. Alvarado also worked out for the Bucks and has a workout scheduled with the Knicks, according to Octagon, which represents both.

Blake considered Wright, the ACC’s player of the year, the stronger prospect to be drafted, although he cautioned that his opinion should be received with caution.

“If I’m running a team, I definitely want to see both,” he said.

Blake’s assessment of Wright: “Low-post scorer, a guy who can score off the dribble, a good rebounder, adequate defender, decent shot blocker, good motor. He has a lot of versatility, and that’s what you’re looking for.”

Blake noted that Wright didn’t shoot much from the outside this past season. However, when Wright takes part in the NBA draft combine in Chicago, Blake said he expects Wright to show an ability to spread the floor and to demonstrate his scoring and ballhandling abilities.

“And, in our game, as it evolves, those are the types of players that NBA teams want,” said Blake, a Woodstock resident. “He’s a guy that, as he continues to improve every year, his confidence will improve along with his game.”

Blake was confident that Wright ranks among the top 100 prospects in the draft, but finding a more specific range is difficult. Blake pointed out the tendency for teams to go for prospects with elite athletic ability over players whose games are more polished and aren’t as athletic, a category that Wright could find himself in. (Which is a bit ironic, because as a freshman at Tech, he might have been cast in the other grouping.)

Still, Blake said, “It only takes one team (to want him for Wright to be drafted), and there’s going to be more than one team focusing on Moses.”

As for how Wright can do in combine testing, such as the vertical jump or speed tests, Blake said that he is a “very good athlete, an above-average athlete,” while stopping short of calling him an elite or outstanding athlete compared with his competition. While his 28-inch standing vertical leap is impressive, for instance, of the 36 prospects who had their verticals measured at the 2020 combine, 26 did better. Still, there will be other ways that he can catch notice.

“People come up there, and we find guys that their lateral quickness is unbelievable that we didn’t know,” Blake said. “That just opens up doors and opens up the possibility of getting drafted higher. That’s why we do the combine.”

As for Alvarado, Blake saw what Tech fans have seen for the past four years.

“He’s just a grinder,” Blake said. “He’s all over the place. He facilitates the offense, and he also does it defensively. He’s just that gnat. He’s finding spaces, he can shoot it from outside. He has a good first step to get inside and the motor just constantly goes.

“He was in really good condition this year, and it showed with just everything,” Blake continued. “Defensively, rebounding – for a six-footer – facilitating the offense, all those things. Although he is small, it’s a good opportunity for him to get some exposure, to get some opportunity. If he doesn’t get drafted in the second round, he’ll be called (to sign as an undrafted free agent). He’ll be on a summer-league team, and he’ll have those opportunities. Both Yellow Jackets will.”

Alvarado was touted this week by Sports Illustrated as a draft sleeper, a player who can be a capable backup and facilitator.

“Thanks to his makeup and intangibles, he has a chance to be a unique, valuable version of that player, and come at a relative discount for an interested team,” Jeremy Woo wrote.

For either, going undrafted would not be catastrophic. Because of recent increases in roster size and each team allowed to have two spots for two-way players (who can play in both the NBA and G League), the number of undrafted players has risen in recent seasons. It would seem a certainty that both would sign as undrafted free agents in that event.

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