It was a big night for the Hokies’ basketball program, having three draftable prospects for the 2019 NBA draft.
With the 17th pick in the 2019 NBA draft, a Hokie became a professional NBA player. Nickeil Alexander-Walker became the first Virginia Tech player to go in the first round since Dell Curry in 1986. The 17th pick originally belonged to the Brooklyn Nets but the Pelicans acquired it through a trade with the Atlanta Hawks. The former five-star recruit had a pre-draft visit with New Orleans and the Pelicans maintained that interest throughout the draft process, culminating in the selection.
Alexander-Walker joins Zion Williamson and Jaxson Hayes in New Orleans to create a formidable trio of rookies on what has quickly turned into the most intriguing roster in the league.
Nickeil Alexander-Walker headed to the New Orleans Pelicans! ⚜️ pic.twitter.com/6j9yLA2YZ7— Treadmill Horse (@treadmillhorse) June 21, 2019
It was unlikely Nickeil was going to find a starting role Day 1 in the association since there just aren’t many of those around especially at the guard position. However, he found a place with an opportunity to come off the bench and make an impact. Alexander-Walker projects as the fourth or fifth guard on the depth chart after Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, and E’Tuan Moore. If Brandon Ingram qualifies as a shooting guard, then NAW will be listed behind him as well.
Alexander-Walker provides shooting, which is something that most of the Pelicans’ guards lack. Lonzo Ball has yet to be consistent from the three-point range, Brandon Ingram is more of a midrange threat, and Jrue Holiday has been average over his career as a perimeter threat. That alone could lead to some consistent minutes on the floor in certain situations, as Nickeil shot over 36 percent from three on high volume in Blacksburg.
We will get to see plenty of Nickeil in the Summer League in July where he can hopefully make his mark early.
Robinson, a Manassas, Va. Native, will begin his professional career quite close to his hometown.
Sources: Undrafted Virginia Tech guard Justin Robinson has agreed to a multiyear deal with the Washington Wizards, with substantial guarantee.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 21, 2019
Clearly, the Wizards value the all-time assists leader in Virginia Tech history, dishing out a multiyear deal for an undrafted free agent with a “substantial” guarantee. That is just as good as being a second round pick, and depending on the guaranteed money, it could be even better.
Robinson, like Nickeil, found a spot that is a good fit for him. Currently, the Wizards’ guard situation aside from Bradley Beal is a bit chaotic. John Wall tore his Achilles in December and should be ready for the season opener in October, but he may not be 100 percent healthy by then. In addition, backup point guard Tomas Satoransky may or may not re-sign with the team since the Wizards are tight on cap space. Chasson Randle and Jordan McCrae had their moments last year, but neither seems to be the true answer as the backup point guard for a team that is chasing the playoffs this coming year.
Robinson’s collegiate career ended in the Sweet Sixteen at Capital One Arena, and that is the exact same floor where his professional career will begin.
Hill and Robinson both went undrafted, but Hill remains unsigned so far. A team should approach Hill with a contract offer, if not for the regular season roster but for Summer League.
We will update this if Hill signs somewhere in the next day or two.
UPDATE: Ahmed Hill has signed with the Brooklyn Nets for their Summer League Team.
Typically, Summer League players have a small chance of making that team’s NBA roster. For example, Justin Bibbs played for Boston’s Summer League team last year, was impressive, and had to carve out a role on the Maine Red Claws, the Celtics’ G-League affiliate. Hill may have to do the same thing.
The Nets are in a unique situation with the guard position on their roster. Spence Dinwiddie, Joe Harris, and Caris Levert are the only guards that will definitely be on the opening day roster. However, the Nets have two max slots open and it appears guard Kyrie Irving will take one of those up. In addition, Jaylen Hands was selected near the end of the draft. There is a long way to go for Hill if he intends on making the active roster, let alone getting playing time - the case with most undrafted players. Most likely, his best bet is to impress in Summer League and eventually the G-League.