When the NBA draft is held on Thursday night, two local players could be taken within the first 10 picks according to a number of draft experts. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, a 6-foot-7 forward from South Jersey, who played for the University of Kentucky, is expected to be chosen with the third or fourth pick in the NBA draft. The Draft Express.com has him at No. 4 going to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Kidd-Gilchrist played alongside 6-foot-10 power forward Anthony Davis in helping the Wildcats defeat the University of Kansas to win the NCAA championship. Davis is expected to be the No. 1 pick overall going to the New Orleans Hornets. He averaged 11.9 points and 7.4 rebounds a game this season. He had 11 points and six rebounds in the big win over Kansas. He was named East Region Most Outstanding Player. Kidd-Gilchrist played his scholastic basketball at St. Patrick High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey.
Dion Waiters is another player with local ties who could be taken early in the draft. Waiters, who grew up in South Philadelphia, was a terrific shooting guard at Syracuse. He played with former Neumann-Goretti point guard Scoop Jardine and 6-foot-9 Rakeem Christmas from the Academy of the New Church. Waiters played his high school basketball at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J. He led the Orange to the NCAA tournament with his long range shooting. The 6-foot-4, 215-pound shooting guard, averaged 12.6 points a game. He shot 47.6 percent from the field and 36.3 percent from three-point range.
Waiters is expected to be selected with the No. 8 pick. The Toronto Raptors have the eighth pick in the draft. Waiters has the ability to play in the open court with his brilliant shooting touch. He can also create his own shot off the dribble.