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Joe Wieskamp spent 12 days with NBA teams, now one will draft him
Iowa forward can become first Hawkeye in NBA draft since 2015
The predominant prognostication about Joe Wieskamp’s NBA draft spot Thursday is early-to-mid second-round.
That would work. Wieskamp would have a foot in the NBA’s door, and will be playing for that team’s NBA Summer League squad (Aug. 8-17) in Las Vegas before you know it.
It’s also a lot higher than Wieskamp would have been slotted immediately after his junior season. But he felt sure he’d move up in NBA executives’ eyes once they got to see him in person, and he was right.
Wieskamp tested and played very well at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last month, and just completed an individual workout with his 12th different team, the Utah Jazz.
“I’m spending the next couple days at home,” Wieskamp said. “I haven’t seen much of my family the last couple months.”
Twelve workouts means interest is high. Why not for a 6-foot-7 guy who shot 46.6 percent from 3-point range last season and has the kind of length and balance to play in the league?
The workouts, Wieskamp said this week, benefited him “just by showing my athleticism more. The teams know I’m one of the best, if not the best, shooter in the draft. So I just wanted to show them that I can do other things, whether it be my cutting or showing that I can defend against these types of guys, just being physical through screens.
“I feel good about where I’m at. I think I’ve done a good job throughout this process of putting my best foot forward and showing these teams what I’m capable of doing and even the player that I can become in the future.”
Wieskamp is from Muscatine, where he will watch the draft Thursday night with his family. He can become the first former Iowa high school player selected in an NBA draft since Creighton’s Doug McDermott (Ames) in 2014.
Either Wieskamp or Luka Garza will be the first Hawkeye drafted since Aaron White in 2015. Garza, the unanimous National Player of the Year and the Big Ten’s 2020-21 Male Athlete of the Year, is widely viewed as a late second-rounder if he gets taken Thursday.
Garza’s minuses that get repeatedly mentioned by draftniks are athleticism and defense. His pluses include his shooting range and post-up strength. The man did score 24 points per game last season.
If Garza isn’t drafted, he’ll sign as an undrafted free agent with someone, and probably quickly.
The NBA is where Garza and Wieskamp have always wanted to go, and the time is nigh. The draft starts Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN.
“If I probably look back to some of my papers in grade school like ‘When I grow up I want to be …,’ I remember writing ‘an NBA player,’” Wieskamp said.
“To be finally here, this close, it’s a surreal feeling.”
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