In advance of Thursday’s draft, Hoops Rumors has been talking with some of the most intriguing prospects in this year’s class. Today, the Hoops Rumors Draft Prospect Q&A series continues with LSU big man Jordan Mickey, who is ranked No. 31 in this year’s class by Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress and No. 44 by Chad Ford of ESPN.com.
LSU big man Jordan Mickey has been climbing up draft boards all spring and summer and, as Hoops Rumors reported Tuesday afternoon, his meteoric rise could land him in the first round when all is said and done. Mickey said that officials from a team picking in the 20s told him that if he’s available, they intend on pouncing on him. Meanwhile, the Celtics are bringing him in for a second look on Wednesday and it’s quite possible that they’re considering him for the No. 16 selection. The C’s could also be eyeing him for their No. 28 or No. 33 picks, but it doesn’t sound like he’ll be on the board at that point.
Why has Mickey been such a fast riser in recent weeks? There are multiple answers to that question, but his greatest appeal undoubtedly is his uncanny shot-blocking ability. Blessed with a 7′ 3.25″ wingspan, the 6′ 8″ big man plays much bigger than his size and swats shot with ease. In fact, as a sophomore this season at LSU, Mickey recorded an average of 3.6 blocks per game to go along with 15.4 PPG and 9.9 RPG.
Mickey spoke with Hoops Rumors on Tuesday to talk about his draft stock, the art of shot blocking, and much more.
Zach Links: I understand that you’re working out for the Celtics on Wednesday. What’s that workout going to be like? Will it be a solo audition or will you be going up against other prospects?
Jordan Mickey: You know, I’m not exactly sure. I haven’t heard anything about it yet, so as far as I know, it might just be me by myself.
ZL:The Celtics have a lot of picks (Nos. 16, 28, 33, and 45) this year. Have they indicated to you that they’re looking at you for No. 16?
JM: My understanding is that I’m being brought in for a second workout for that exact reason.
ZL: Obviously your shot blocking prowess comes largely from your athleticism and wingspan, but how much of that do you attribute to timing?
JM: A lot of it is about timing. You watch some guys in their first season and they have everything down when it comes to blocking, except for the timing, and it shows. You have to know when to jump and when to initiate body contact. Otherwise, you’re not going to get far as a shot blocker.
ZL: As an excellent shot blocker out of LSU, I’m sure that you’ve heard Shaq’s name mentioned more than once. Have you gotten the chance to speak with him?
JM: I haven’t had a chance to speak with him personally, but he’s come to our games before.
ZL: Growing up, did you emulate him at all?
JM: I can’t say I ever did. We’re very different players. He’s more of a post guy and I’m more of an athlete.
ZL: Who would you say you’re similar to in today’s NBA?
JM: Draymond Green and Paul Millsap. We’re all about the same height and kind of undersized for the position. When I look at Green, that’s a guy that can play the 5, 4, or 3 and he guards everything from the 1 to the 5. That’s something I feel I can do.
ZL: At LSU, you showed that you can score effectively with a jump hook, a move that some big men tend to neglect. Did you always have that in your arsenal or is that something you developed in college?
JM: I’ve always had a pretty good jump hook for as long as I’ve played the game. It’s one of the first things that I ever learned, and I always worked hard at that.
ZL: You had a pretty strong freshman season for yourself. Did you consider going pro last year?
JM: I did, I considered it. I looked at it but I thought that if I came back my sophomore year, I could continue to improve my stock.
ZL: I saw a report recently indicating that you have a promise from a team drafting late in the first round. Is that the case?
JM: This month a team picking in the 20s told me that if I’m available, they’ll definitely take me.
ZL: Your teammate Jarell Martin is also projected to hear his name called on Thursday. If someone asked you for a scouting report on him, what would you say about him?
JM: I would say he’s very athletic and he gets around pretty easily. He goes to the rim hard. … I’d also say he’s a pretty good jump shooter. He has a great three-point shot and he’s just a very capable shooter and scorer.
ZL: What led you to choose Adie von Gontard and Matt Babcock of APAA Sports Group as your representation?
JM: Well, I didn’t want to go with a big agency. I kind of wanted to stay small and I didn’t want to go to an agency just because of the big name appeal alone. I wanted personal attention and I felt like I could get that with Adie. He’s based out of Dallas too, and that’s where I’m working out of now. I just felt comfortable talking to him and he had confidence in me and believed that I could be a first-round pick. All of that made me want to join up with him.