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Potential lottery pick Arizona point guard Nico Mannion declares for draft


LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 29: Arizona Wildcats guard Nico Mannion (1) drives to the basket during the game between the Arizona Wildcats and the UCLA Bruins on February 29, 2020, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA.(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

His coach had said this was coming, and while it took a while to become official, it did on Tuesday.

Arizona point guard Nico Mannion is entering the NBA Draft.

In what is a down draft, Mannion looks like a late lottery or mid-teens pick. However, on an NBA court he projects more as a backup point guard.

Mannion is 6'3" with a good feel for the game who averaged 14 points and 5.3 assists a night for the Wildcats this season. He reads the game well and seems to understand when he needs to score and when he needs to facilitate. The challenge is he’s neither athletic or long by NBA standards, and his shot needs to get a lot better — 39.2 percent shooting overall and 32.7 percent from three last season. He’s had some challenges finishing at the rim against college-level defenders. His ability to improve his shooting will go a long way in determining his NBA future (that and how much he can improve on defense).

Still a smart move for a lock first-round pick to come out and start getting paid.

The NBA Draft is scheduled for June 25 but nobody knows when it will actually happen and in what form. There are restrictions on how teams can evaluate and talk to prospects. The league will decide when the draft will take place after it figures out what to do with the rest of the season and the playoffs, a decision that will not come until May at the earliest.