ESPN ranks pair of Arizona Wildcats among top returning 2025 draft prospects to watch

Jun 29, 2024, 12:00 PM | Updated: 12:04 pm

The 2024 NBA Draft is less than a day old but that hasn't stopped ESPN analysts Jonathan Givony and...

KJ Lewis #5 of the Arizona Wildcats controls the ball against Chauncey Wiggins #21 of the Clemson Tigers during the first half in the Sweet 16 round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Arena on March 28, 2024 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The 2024 NBA Draft is less than a day old but that hasn’t stopped ESPN analysts Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo from looking ahead to 2025.

When peeking at the top returning prospects for next year’s draft, the duo is expecting big things out of Arizona Wildcats Motiejus Krivas and KJ Lewis.

On Krivas, Givony and Woo mock-drafted the big man 19th overall to the Los Angeles Clippers.

Krivas logged 12 minutes per game last season for the Wildcats, but with incumbent starter Oumar Ballo transferring to Indiana, the 7-foot-3 Lithuanian center is poised for a breakout opportunity. Krivas is offensively skilled with good footwork and touch around the basket and had some productive moments this season at Arizona.

While more of a traditional center, Krivas has the size and length to be highly impactful as a rebounder and scorer next season. He doesn’t stretch the floor, and his defense will be a key area for improvement, but the pieces are here for him to turn into a full-fledged prospect, with the NBA always intrigued by size and productivity.

Last season, Krivas averaged 5.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and shot 55.4% per game.

As for Lewis, Givony and Woo projected the guard at 27th overall to the Brooklyn Nets.

Another Arizona player set to step into a bigger role, Lewis produced good moments playing 18 minutes per game as a freshman, most notably on the defensive end. He puts his strength and lateral quickness to good use guarding on the ball and has shown excellent instincts, giving him a pathway to NBA appeal if he can make tangible strides on offense.

Lewis isn’t much of a creator on the ball, so his best route to finding a role is likely through improving his perimeter shooting (34.1% last year on 1.1 attempts per game). If he can make a convincing case with his offensive growth, Lewis could have a good amount of first-round interest.

Last season, Lewis averaged 6.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. He also shot 46.6% from the field while shooting 34.1% from three-point range.

Other Arizona Wildcats being mocked for 2025 NBA Draft

Givony and Woo also have freshman forward Carter Bryant going at No. 15 to the Memphis Grizzlies as well as guard Jaden Bradley going at pick No. 45.

Bryant is a five-star recruit from Centennial High School in Corona, California.

In his first season with Arizona after transferring from Alabama, Bradley averaged seven points, 2.4 rebounds and two assists per game. He also shot 46.2% while shooting 46.4% from three-point range.

How does Arizona look entering the 2024-25 season?

Arizona will be playing its first season in the Big 12 conference, joining Arizona State, Colorado and Utah.

In their final season in the Pac-12 conference, the Wildcats went 27-9 on their way to Pac-12 regular season champions.

In the 2024 NCAA tournament, Arizona made it all the way to the Sweet 16 before being eliminated by Clemson.

Arizona’s roster reshuffled this offseason, with the Wildcats bringing in the freshmen Bryant and center Emmanuel Stephen to pair with transfers Anthony Dell’Orso, Tobe Awaka and Trey Townsend.

Pac-12 Player of the Year Caleb Love is returning for his final season in Tucson while the Wildcats lost Ballo, Kylan Boswell, Pelle Larsson and Keshad Johnson to either the NBA or the transfer portal. 

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