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2017 NBA Draft: Start time, how to watch and Gamecocks to go

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Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier will await anxiously to hear their names called tonight

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Sindarius Thornwell, PJ Dozier, NBA Draft Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Start time: 7:00 p.m. ET

Channel: ESPN

Livestream: Watch ESPN

It seems like it’s been 50 years since the Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games to capture the NBA title thanks in part to the crazy whirlwind of NBA offseason news that followed.

Between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Boston Celtics swapping the first and third picks, Paul George’s desire to be a member of the Los Angeles Lakers and anything dealing with Lonzo Ball and his father the 2017 NBA Draft has been one of the most anticipated in years. Bill Simmons said on his podcast this week he thought it was the best draft since 1999, so even better than the 2003 Draft which included LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.

He’s not the only one. Many pundits have called this iteration of the Draft the best in recent history and two South Carolina Gamecocks have a chance to be a part of it. Sindarius Thornwell and PJ Dozier are expecting to hear their names called tonight depending on who you ask, but there is one consensus between all the draft heads.

If Thornwell and Dozier are picked, it’ll be in the second round of the draft. Earlier on in the process a couple of sites had Thornwell being picked as high as 25th overall, but as we sit here on the day of the Draft those opinions have cooled and are nowhere to be found.

As a matter of fact, the closer the draft got the further Dozier and Thornwell collectively fell. Two major news outlets — Sports Illustrated and ESPN — have the duo going completely undrafted. Thornwell and Dozier have their flaws, but to think of both of them doing the whole night without getting their names called seems incredulous after everything that’s been written on them.

As of today, we were able to find nine mock drafts which projected both rounds instead of just the first. Here’s what they had to say about Thornwell and Dozier:

Updated Gamecock Mock Draft Projections

Source Sindarius Thornwell PJ Dozier
Source Sindarius Thornwell PJ Dozier
Draft Express Rd. 2, Pick 58 - Knicks Rd. 2, Pick 50 - 76ers
NBADraft.net Rd. 2, Pick 42 - Jazz Rd. 2, Pick 40 - Pelicans
Walter Football Rd. 2, Pick 52 - Wizards Rd. 2, Pick 41 - Hawks
SEC Country Rd. 2, Pick 57 - Nets Rd. 2, Pick 43 - Rockets
The Ringer Rd. 2, Pick 51 - Nuggets Rd. 2, Pick 53 - Celtics
ChatSports Rd. 2, Pick 59 - Spurs Rd. 2, Pick 48 - Bucks
ESPN Undrafted Undrafted
Sports Illustrated Undrafted Undrafted
CBS Sports Rd. 2, Pick 51 - Nuggets Rd. 2, Pick 48 - Bucks

Another noticeable trend that’s changed over the last two weeks has been who the better prospect is in the eyes of the experts. A week ago the mock drafts were almost 50-50 over who would get picked first: Thornwell or Dozier?

With that being said, Dozier seems to have won over the NBA internet in a big way.

It makes sense as to why Dozier would be the better NBA prospect in the eyes of NBA front offices. He has the longest wingspan of any guard who measured at the combine (six-foot-11) to go along with his defensive versatility and ability to create space off the dribble. When you look at what direction the NBA is going (long perimeter players, i.e. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant) Dozier fits the mold like a glove.

And considering he’ll turn 23 in November, there’s a legitimate question as to how much more developing Thornwell has to do as a player. Even with his superb senior season and NCAA Tournament run, the team who selects Thornwell would have to believe he’s NBA-ready.

Either way, this could shape up to be a historic draft for South Carolina’s basketball program. The last time two Gamecocks were taken in the same draft was 1979 when Cedrick Hordges and Jim Strickland were taken in the third and seventh rounds respectively. However, two Gamecocks have never gone in the top two rounds.

There’s a strong chance this year could be the year, so Gamecock fans would be advised to wait up late to for a potentially historic night in Gamecock basketball.