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2016 NBA Mock Draft Tracker: Wade Baldwin, Damian Jones Rise in Pundits' Rankings

Vanderbilt's All-SEC staples are trending upwards as the NBA Draft nears.

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

With fewer than three weeks before the 2016 NBA Draft, Vanderbilt stars Damian Jones and Wade Baldwin IV look like locks as first round picks.

The two Commodore stars left three combined years of NCAA eligibility on the table between them, and it appears as though their gamble will pay off. Six of the seven most well-respected mock drafts have Baldwin's name among their first 30 picks. Five more include Jones with the lucky few who will receive a guaranteed NBA contract on June 23rd.

That iron-clad seat at the table would validate the duo's decision to leave a Vandy program that was primed to improve on an underwhelming 2015-16 season. Jones and Baldwin both showed flashes of greatness, but neither was able to carry the team past the opening rounds of the SEC and NCAA Tournaments. They could have run it back with a mostly-intact roster under new head coach Bryce Drew, but a relatively weak draft class likely makes this their best opportunity to find a spot -- and a seven-figure contract -- in the big leagues.

Baldwin is the more highly regarded of the two prospects. Five of the seven mock drafts sampled dropped the Commodore point guard into the NBA Draft Lottery. Only one, HoopsHype, excluded him from the first round.

Wade Baldwin IV
Mock Draft Pick Team Last Movement Last Updated
CBS (Gary Parrish) 17 Grizzlies 24 7 6/1/2016
Draft Express 12 Jazz 15 3 6/7/2016
CBS (Sam Vecenie) 14 Bulls 17 3 6/7/2016
USA Today 12 Jazz 12 0 6/6/2016
Hoops Hype n/a n/a n/a 0 6/1/2016
ESPN (Chad Ford) 13 Suns 20 7 6/3/2016
Sports Illustrated 14 Bulls 20 6 6/3/2016

Jones also enjoyed a solid stock boost in the weeks after measuring out impressively at the Combine.At worst, Baldwin held steady. At best, he jumped seven rungs up the draft ladder. He hasn't done much since the Draft Combine, but his combination of athleticism and size make him an intriguing player in the middle of the first round. The Jazz would add him to a core of young players where he'd battle Dante Exum for the role of "point guard of the future." Phoenix could add him to get closer of its goal of running an all-guard starting lineup. The Bulls could employ him in such a way that makes Derrick Rose's play look less depressing.

Damian Jones
Mock Draft Pick Team Last Movement Last Updated
CBS (Gary Parrish) n/a n/a 23 -8 6/1/2016
Draft Express 22 Hornets 22 0 6/7/2016
CBS (Sam Vecenie) 21 Hawks n/a 10 6/7/2016
USA Today 28 Suns 29 1 6/6/2016
Hoops Hype 19 Nuggets 23 4 6/1/2016
ESPN (Chad Ford) 30 Warriors n/a 1 6/3/2016
Sports Illustrated 21 Hawks 21 0 6/3/2016

Gary Parrish lost his appetite for the Vandy center, but his CBS partner Sam Vecenie is buying in to Jones' shot blocking defense and pick-and-roll capabilities on offense. Chad Ford, on the other hand, is pegging him to fill Festus Ezeli's role in the Bay Area should the former Commodore leave the Warriors in free agency this summer. He'd be filling a similar space in Atlanta, where the Hawks could be in search of a quality big man if Al Horford gets lured away by a big contract in 2016.