In this year’s NBA draft, there is no consensus top two prospects like last year with Zion Williamson and Ja Morant. However, the James Wiseman hype train has recently been gaining steam and all sources point to him being picked in the top 3 due to the increased demand for a center with freakish physical traits, athletic ability, and shooting potential in today's NBA. With a 7'6'' wingspan, James Wiseman can produce for a team right away on both sides of the court. His three-point shot has improved since HS as well, and if he continues to improve in that regard, he could become the next all-around big man to take the NBA by storm. Despite Wiseman’s talent, there are many doubters surrounding Wiseman’s love for the game of basketball due to the fact that he only played 3 games for Memphis, which is why no one can agree on the first overall selection this year. So hear me out…The biggest concern is his work ethic and love for the game, which was questionably hard to see when he played, but with Draymond Green around, I bet that can be changed. Wiseman's ability to produce on all aspects of the court is why many believe he is destined to be a routine starter for years to come.
Anthony Edwards was the highest riser throughout the CBB 2019-2020 season. His play at Georgia led him into the first overall pick conversation as he displayed elite athleticism, an ability to shoot the 3 ball, and play multiple positions due to his 225 lb frame. The Cavaliers are in an unusual situation as they have taken two guards in the past 2 drafts (Collin Sexton and Darius Garland) but still find themselves high in the draft. Edwards allows them to choose a direction to rebuild as they would have an athletic 3 paired with the two fast-paced, three-point oriented guards. One concern for Edwards is his work ethic, there were numerous possessions where he gave up, was not trying, or did not care about defense. Additionally, his inefficient shooting down the stretch of the season was worrying but could ultimately be attributed to the fact that he was forced into the role of offensive initiator. Cleveland should be in best player available mode, and Anthony Edwards fits that mold at #2.
Despite their core of Russell and Towns, they still are nowhere near contending for a title. Thus, they should be thinking about the best player available rather than fit here, and at #3, it is clearly Lamelo Ball. Ball is a 6'7'' point guard with the ability to set up his teammates and score the ball from inside and outside the arc. His positional flexibility on the offensive end is unmatched in this class, and his shot creation has an incredibly high ceiling. Many might say that the Timberwolves selecting Lamelo ball does not make sense given the presence of Russell. However, last season in Australia, Ball showed the ability to play off the ball and make plays as the secondary option. Some concerns include his size. At 190 lbs, he is a small body type for his height and might be bullied down low. At the next level, he is going to need to bulk up and increase his lateral quickness in order to become an above-average defender. Playing next to two proven stars in Towns and Russell, Ball could develop naturally and realize his potential as the best guard in this draft.
Atlanta seems to be a few pieces away from really taking off, but then again, we have been saying that for a few years now. Trae Young needs help, and if you did not see that last year, I am not sure what you are watching. The best decision here is Tyrese Haliburton, a 6’5 guard out of Iowa State, who can play the off guard position next to Trae. Haliburton’s passing ability and three-point shot complement the game of Trae Young and this backcourt combination could finally prompt the Hawks to make that expected leap to the playoffs next season. The only downside is that this backcourt shows no defensive potential. At all. However, I liked what Atlanta did to get to Clint Capela to pair with John Collins to have two great rim protectors. Thus, I believe that the defensive liabilities of Young and Haliburton can be masked by the big men's rim protection and Cam Reddish's great defense at the 3. This match makes too much sense.
The electrifying Wooden Player of the Year, Obi Toppin is one of the highest risers from the beginning of the year to now. In his sophomore year, he showcased the ability to play above the rim and even show a somewhat reliable three-point shot propelling him from an unknown to the top of experts’ draft boards. The Detroit Pistons are in dire need of durable puzzle pieces, and Obi Toppin could help Blake Griffin get more space down low as well as assisting Derrick Rose and Christian Wood in the pick and roll game. Despite Obi’s polished offensive game, he needs to improve his defense tendencies and IQ. Too many times, he was found in the wrong spot on defense due to misjudgment of plays or lack of intensity. Detroit would be a great landing spot for Obi to quickly produce and become a great secondary scorer to either Rose or Griffin.
The Knicks need everything except a SG and PF as they have RJ Barrett and 5+ power forwards on their roster. If Killian Hayes falls in their lap like this, the draft selection should be handed to Adam Silver in 5 seconds. Killian Hayes has one of the highest ceilings in this draft with constant spouts of supreme IQ as a playmaker and point guard in the halfcourt and transition settings in his French league. He is excellent at finishing at the rim as he uses both sides of the basket and understands how to contort his body to align with the basket and get fouled or score more often than not. His lefty shot has held up to this point, but in order to make it more sustainable over the course of an 82 game season, he will need to add more legs as he pushes it from deep too often. With this fixed, the Knicks may have found the point guard they have been searching for since 1980 with Walt Frazier.
The Bulls are one of the more refined teams at the top of this draft lottery. With a new highly regarded front office in place along with young talents Zach LaVine, Coby White, Lauri Markkanen, and Wendell Carter Jr., the Bulls are looking towards a bright future with a core that just needs to find stamina, durability, and good coaching. At 7, the Bulls should look for a 3 to start next to White and LaVine. The perfect selection is defensive-minded Isaac Okoro out of Auburn. Okoro is a defensive pest and has such fast strides on both ends of the court. His ability to play above the rim is top 5 in this class and showed spouts of supreme athleticism that can reinvigorate this Chicago team.
Another team familiar with this part of the lottery is the Charlotte Hornets. With Michael Jordan's project and free-agent signing Terry Rozier and emerging quality starter Devonta Graham, their backcourt is filled out. Still, there is not much throughout the roster except for PJ Washington. They need a player ready to compete and produce right away and someone that has the potential to be a franchise player. The perfect fit is Deni Avdija, out of Israel. Avidja has all the tools to be a great asset, as he showcased his exceptional IQ and passing skills in the Euroleague this year. Avidja, standing at 6'9'', even played point guard for Maccabi Tel Aviv because of his Nikola Jokic-like vision. This positional flexibility and IQ that Avdija adds to the Hornets would help them out on both sides of the court and allow Rozier and Graham to get open looks much more often. Deni must work on his efficiency from deep and his overall defensive intensity, but he could thrive right away in an off-ball role for the Hornets.
The optimism of having a healthy John Wall and Bradley Beal back next year is reinvigorating the Wizards, who seemed not to have a direction at this time last season. In this draft, they need to be focused on adding talent that will complement their star-studded backcourt on both ends of the court. The pick is easy here. Devin Vassell, out of FSU, can easily be the Donovan Mitchell of this class and be one of the best players in the league not far after draft day. His defensive intensity matched with his efficient scoring from all three levels makes him one of the most reliable prospects in the class. He is durable, plays hard every single play, and can help shore up Washington's porous defense right away. He needs to work on his consistency from deep and finishing at the rim, but given Vassell’s improvement from his freshman to sophomore year, he should become even more consistent as he gets more time to develop in the NBA. Due to Vassell’s ability to shoot the three and play great defense, Vassell is ready to be an important member of the Wizards rotation from the start.
The Suns can get a steal here at #10 in Onyeka Okongwu. Even though the Suns drafted Deandre Ayton two years ago, Onyeka's potential is too high to pass up. The 6'9'' center from USC is the exact definition of a modern-NBA big man. He is as efficient as it gets down low (61.6% down low) while grabbing almost 9 rebounds per game. He is a great rim protector as well, averaging nearly 3 blocks per game and finishing in the 90th percentile in paint defense during his freshman season at USC. He is also very efficient from the free-throw line (72%). Taking Okongwu here would be the perfect decision, as it would provide defensive stability and give them a modern big man to pair with Devin Booker.
The Spurs are aging and need a player here to initiate offense and rejuvenate the mystique that the Spurs have only recently lost. They have not had a durable go-to playmaker since Tony Parker and their lack of a point guard has resulted in their precipitous decline from the upper echelon of the NBA. They should look for a pass-minded, high IQ point guard with Nico Mannion first to come to mind. Mannion can help create open looks for the Spurs two most reliable offensive weapons, Demar Derozan and LaMarcus Aldridge, and drive to the basket when a lane opens up. This will seem like a surprise to some here but I am high on Nico’s versatility and speed in the open court, which are both imperative for the Spurs system to work. Nico shows the ability to get to the basket and pass teammates open often and with reliable shooters like Bryn Forbes and Trey Lyles around him, he will be given more space than at Arizona and blossom into a potential all-star.
At #12, Josh Green makes the most sense for the Sacramento Kings. Green's potential as an athletic scoring off-guard is too high to pass up on. In his freshman year at Arizona, Green showed spurts of the pure athleticism and potential that made him so coveted in high school. In addition to his athleticism, he displayed an ability to knock down the 3-pointer shooting 36% on almost 3 attempts per game. His overall basketball awareness must improve as he often shows tunnel vision and does not change speeds when driving to the hoop. Without improving these two elements of his game, it will be hard to produce on the next level. Overall, the Kings need an athletic wing player to complement their young core of Marvin Bagley III, and De’Aaron Fox. Josh Green fits that mold perfectly.
The Vanderbilt sophomore Aaron Nesmith is one of the biggest risers in the previous weeks. The 6'6'' forward has one of the best shooting strokes in this draft class, as evidenced by the fact that he shot an insane 52% on 8 attempts per game from 3 this year. He can be one of the best players in this draft class if he maintains that efficiency. His defensive potential is also very high as he averaged almost 1 block and 1 steal per game while guarding the other team's best player each night out. His ability to get into the lane is questionable, and he won’t be able to maximize his shooting ability if he can’t improve this part of his game. However, if New Orleans can grab Nesmith at #13, they should be celebrating in the Bayou because he is a perfect complement to pass-first point guard Lonzo Ball and can open up even more driving lanes for Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson.
Portland has shown a tendency to draft on future potential rather than players ready to help right now (Nassir Little, Anfernee Simons, Caleb Swanigan). One player that sparks a debate amongst scouts is Tyrese Maxey. In his freshman year at Kentucky, he showed flashes of being the best player in this class due to his speed, quick first step, ability to finish through contact, and athleticism. Despite these flashes of brilliance, Maxey was plagued by terrible turnovers and inconsistency, causing a divide amongst scouts about his true potential. I am fully on the Tyrese Maxey hype train and I believe that he will become more consistent and develop into a great player in this league for a long time. His offense is there even if it is in spouts, and a team like Portland will allow him to ease into the NBA game due to the established all-star backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum. Additionally, Maxey placed in the top 60 percentile of individual defense, a part of his game that is often overlooked. He is a great one-on-one defender with very fast lateral quickness and long strides, allowing him to stay in front of his man and closeout effectively to shooters. Look for Maxey to make a big splash in Portland.
Coming into UNC, Cole Anthony was a projected top-3 pick, but due to injury woes and ineffective shooting, his value has dropped substantially. However, the potential for an inside out scorer is there, but it will take a few years for any point guard or playmaking skills to show. This is a risk Orlando can take with a great core of young guys and a new and revenge-seeking Markelle Fultz at the helm. Cole Anthony has the makeup and size to be a successful point guard but shows a tendency to be one-dimensional. He is sometimes in a scoring mode and sometimes in a passing mode, but rarely does he just let the offense come to him. Defensively, Cole Anthony is a great on-ball defender that can disrupt many guards but needs to work on off-ball defense and not to overcommit to hunt for steals. Anthony should definitely be in the lottery, and Orlando would be ecstatic if they landed Anthony here at #15.
Touted as the best shooter in this class, Desmond Bane can help any NBA team as he looks like one of the most dynamic spot-up shooters in the past few drafts. Bane shot 45% from three on almost 7 attempts per game. The Wolves would love to have this shooting next to their centerpieces of KAT and D'Angelo Russell. His high, fluid release allows him to shoot over taller defenders, and his athleticism opens the door to him developing into a consistent, effective driver. Bane can bolster the Wolves guard depth and take some of the scoring load away from Russell, Towns and their #3 selection in this draft. Bane is also a great defender with a wide frame, allowing him to fit into the 3 and D mold that will earn him a rotation spot from day 1. The only downside for Bane is the fact that he is already 22 years old, so you are taking a gamble if his prime is close to over.
After all of their trades, the Celtics have accumulated a total of 4 picks in the 2020 draft, with three coming in the first round. Their young team has exceeded expectations this year and will continue to improve as their young core of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown become superstars. Given the fact that the team sits 3rd in the Eastern conference, it is clear that they do not have many needs. However, when Al Horford departed this summer in free agency, it left a gaping hole at the center position that the Celtics have yet to address. Thus, Aleksej Pokusevski is the perfect pick at #17. The 7'0'' 201 lbs 18 years old out of Greece is hailed as one of the most intriguing prospects in the draft. His play down low excites teams, but his consistent and high release from three is where his potential lies. His 32% clip from three-point range shows an ability to spread the floor well, and the spacing that he provides fits perfectly with the style and pace that the Celtics employ on offense. He would allow for more breathing room for Kemba and Jayson Tatum. Pokusevski needs to work on his rebounding and overall durability, but the 18-year-old can become a great pick up for the Celtics at #17.
Dallas is in an exciting position with the 18th pick as they want to build around their superstar Luka Doncic and the oft-injured Kristaps Porzingis. They need help on both sides of the court and someone they can rely on to play the third position in their "big 3." Saddiq Bey out of Villanova makes the most sense here. At 6'8'', Bey could play either the 3 or the 4 and would instantly help the spacing of the court and help the Mavericks create more sets for Doncic as Bey is one of the most consistent shooters in the class and one team would have to key on which would take attention away from Doncic. Bey shot 45% on almost 6 attempts per game from deep, which is precisely what a team could ask for in a rookie. Bey needs to work on his defensive consistency, but with his wide frame, he can still be a big body on the defensive end. The Mavericks would be very lucky if Bey landed with them at #18.
The Milwaukee Bucks, currently holding the best record in the NBA, have a high draft pick due to recent trades, and with that, they can get necessary help off the bench. The Bucks were only 10th in the league in bench scoring, and it can be argued that they do not have a real go-to scorer off the bench. Therefore, the Bucks should further enhance their high-flying offense with RJ Hampton from overseas. Hampton has excellent potential as a go-to-scorer in the mid-range and from deep and is crazy athletic in the paint. A top 5 pick in mock drafts out of high school, Hampton chose to forgo college and play professional basketball in Australia. Due to limited playing time and trouble showing actual ability to create separation on offense, Hampton fell down draft boards. Milwaukee's bench would be much improved with Hampton.
With a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, the Nets will be in a good position to take a huge step forward next season. They do not have any glaring need here at #20 but should take the highest potential player who is by far Patrick Williams out of FSU. The 19 year old small forward has a high ceiling as a catch-and-shoot three-point shooter with a high release consistently above his chest. He is also a pest on defense, with great lateral quickness and size to guard multiple positions. Williams would develop extremely well behind Kevin Durant, who has a similar build to Williams and similar versatility.
Mason Jones is one of the highest risers in the past month. The 6'5'' guard out of Arkansas was one of the most efficient high-volume scorers in the country. Averaging almost 5 rebounds and 5 assists per game, along with 22 points per game, Jones was an electric player for the Razorbacks. During his junior season, he showcased unique scoring potential and could immediately step into a high volume scoring role off of the bench in the NBA. He also showed a 96.2 DEF RTG against other point guards, which is in the nation's top 50. His great size at 205 lbs mixed with his quickness allows him to switch effectively and stay with his matchups. Denver would be thrilled if Jones fell to them at #21, as he could provide much-needed bench production to volt them into the championship conversation.
The Sixers need help off of their bench. With the team not reaching expectations for the past two seasons, it is clear that their core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons need some help off of the bench. A high IQ, and pass minded point guard is necessary for that second unit to thrive without their two primary scorers on the floor. The perfect pick is Kira Lewis Jr. Lewis Jr. is a 6'3'' point guard with great playmaking skills that he showed at Alabama throughout his sophomore season. His AST: TO is 1.32, which is not great, but it can be mostly attributed to the heavy workload and defensive attention that Lewis drew. His shooting touch is excellent too, but his release, as of right now, is low, which may result in him getting blocked often in the NBA. Defensively, he needs to work on his intensity, but with a team like Philly, Lewis can learn to play a prominent role off the bench and grow into a key contributor for one of the Eastern Conference’s best teams.
Freshman standout Cassius Stanley was another victim of lackluster play this year. At Duke, his game and ineffectiveness made many scouts and analysts scoff at the idea of him being selected in the first round. I disagree with those scouts though. I see a high-volume, athletic freak who profiles as the prototypical 2 guard in the modern NBA. Stanley's ability to get to the lane is unmatched, and his efficiency, which many complain of, will improve with increased volume that he will get at the next level. Stanley can help Miami right away by being a spark plug right off the bench. People have to understand that this is a 20-year-old kid with an insane vertical and upside, plus he is in the 74th percentile in overall man defense.
With a lackadaisical first year at Memphis, Precious Achiwua flew down big boards. The 6'9'' 223 lb forward exploded onto the scene at Montverde Academy, one of the best prep schools in the nation. However, he did not take this momentum into Memphis where inefficiency and questionable shot selection made many scouts pessimistic about his place at the next level. Utah is in a great position as a Western Conference contender and their requisite depth at the forward position will enable them to take a gamble on Achiuwa and allow him time to develop. The real problem is that in high school, he was taught to play guard and be the primary dribbler, and then at Memphis, he primarily played in the paint. He needs a destination that will help him find his identity, and if he does, Achiwua can become an excellent player.
The talent definitely drops off here, but Jahmius Ramsey flew up draft boards after a productive freshman season at Texas Tech. The fluid shooter has a great release and will improve into a great spot-up shooter in the league. Oklahoma City is not in a spot to really choose based on need and should just make this pick based on potential and worth, and Ramsey makes the most sense. Ramsey is an excellent on-ball defender and at 6'4'' he can switch onto smaller guards or bigger forwards. Despite his promising shooting stroke and very good on-ball defense, he must improve his consistency on both ends of the court. He shows little to no durability and patience on offense, and his team defense can improve. OKC is a great place to foster this development.
Many do not expect Boston to hold onto this pick as it is their second first-round pick, but if they or another team are looking for the best player available, it is 6'1'' pass-first point guard out of Stanford Tyrell Terry. In addition to facilitating for his teammates, Terry is one of the best sharpshooters in the class, shooting 41% from deep and landing in the nation's 90th percentile. He needs to build his game around that as the rest of his game is very raw. He needs to work out quirks in his game, such as his reliance on runners, where he shoots only 26.3% but takes up almost 10% of his shots. Terry is one of the best playmakers in this draft class but he will need to work on his offensive repertoire and defensive mindset. His efficiency at the basket must improve, but with his shooting from deep and natural playmaking ability, the potential can be fostered in Boston.
For the first time since 2006, the Knicks appear twice in the first round of the NBA draft and they need all of the help they can get. After landing Killian Hayes at #6, they should pair his playmaking ability with a high volume small forward. Jaden McDaniels standing at 6'10'' has shown an ability to spread the floor (shooting 34% from deep) and to defend well on the perimeter and down low. His downside is that he showed spouts of tunnel vision and a lack of patience when driving to the basket. But at #27, I do not think the Knicks are looking for a player to produce immediately. Mcdaniels has one of the highest ceilings in this class with remarkable speed and athleticism for a guy standing 6'10''. In a few years time, Mcdaniels could be viewed as one of the biggest steals in the draft.
19-year-old point guard out of France, Theo Maledon burst onto the scene because of great pass instincts and high potential as a playmaking point guard teams can rely on. His play is inconsistent at times, such as at the free-throw line, where he only shoots 69%. Additionally, he shows little growth since his early years in defense, so he will have to fix that to get NBA minutes. Toronto would be an excellent place to help with this and help him breathe in the g-league.
Another team with no glaring needs here at the end of the first round, the Lakers should be looking to bolster their forward depth, especially with the very small chance that Anthony Davis leaves them in free agency. Jalen Smith is the best player on the board here, as a bruising power forward with a great three-point shot. Smith sits in the 96th percentile in the nation in efficiency on offense and is in the 94th percentile in offensive putbacks. He is a great rebounder and brings fantastic energy down-low. Defensively, he is great around the basket and rarely allows open looks down low, but he shows a lack of switching and perimeter defense ability. The Lakers would be very happy if they can stay at #29 and get Jalen Smith here.
It is highly unlikely that Boston holds onto all of the picks that they currently possess, but Isaiah Stewart makes sense as the next man up. The 6'9'' center from Washington is a hulk of a man that can move like a guard. Stewart sits in the 9th percentile in overall offense and 87th in transition, and there is not much more you can ask for in a center these days. He needs to work on his defensive consistency and intensity as he's shown spouts of carelessness and lackluster play on defense, which has hurt his stock. Stewart also needs to find a way to make up for being a decent athlete because he often struggled against lengthy, athletic bigs. If he cleans it up on defense, Stewart can definitely see the floor this year for an NBA team.
With the first pick in the second round, Dallas should look for guard depth. Devon Dotson makes the most sense with how Dallas plays. Dotson's explosion in the open court is fierce and dynamic, His pick and roll game is highly developed, and with the shooters in Dallas, he could be very productive off the bench for them. However, he has dropped into the second round because he struggles in the half-court setting as a playmaking point guard. He shot 59% in transition compared to 46% in the overall half-court offense.
Xavier Tillman Sr. who originally was predicted to be a first-round pick, has fallen into the earlier portion of the second round. His intensity and leadership on the court are arguably the best in this class, and his play down low is efficient enough to trust on the next level. His defense is high caliber and intense, and many have compared him to Draymond Green. Just as Green, his switching ability and flexibility is excellent as well. He has shown little growth of spacing the floor and relies on the reverting to being a back to the basket forward, but he can definitely help Charlotte off the bench.
The Wolves should look for the best player available here to bolster their bench. Few know about the production Leandro Bolmaro has been doing in Barcelona. The 6'7'', 20-year-old guard played himself onto the scene with steller IQ all over the court and great man-to-man defense in the FIBA league. His shooting stroke has improved tremendously throughout the year, but the 20-year-old struggles to get balanced and set before every shot. Toronto has exceeded expectations once again, and someone like Bolmaro can help their second unit to levy time away from the starting five as well as helping production with all the shooters off the bench.
Grant Riller was the highest riser in the draft this year. The 6'3'' PG played himself onto the scene with steller vision and instincts on both ends of the floor. He was the vocal and integral leader of his team and teams loved how he's able to pass teammates open and see plays far in advance. The one downside is that he is leaving as a senior so it is a question of how much more potential will he show. He can be the second coming of someone like Fred Van Vleet and Philly would love to get that bench help.
The 2019-20 SEC player of the year has fallen into the second round in almost all mock drafts. Quickley is a fast point guard with lighting quick instincts and a very consistent deep shot. His playmaking and real position on the next level are questioned, which is why he has dropped. Sacramento could get a real viable backup point guard here if Quickley lives up to his former potential.
The 6'7'' forward out of Colorado has gained traction in the draft due to his elite and NBA-ready defense. His speed and ability to stay in front of defenders on the perimeter is the best in this class, and he has excellent defensive flexibility as he can defend down low as well. Bey loves to disrupt passing lanes and contest every shot. His weakness is on the offensive end, as he has trouble with his drive and shot consistently. His overall game on the offensive end needs to be developed as his handle, and passing instincts are inconsistent as well. A team like Philly will buy into his defense and hope to help his development to produce on offense.
6'8'' forward out of St. Mary's has excellent flexibility on both ends of the floor. His finishing touch is great due to his ability to contort his body well and always have his chest facing the rim. Also shot 41% from deep, so the spacing potential as a stretch four is there. However, his defensive ability on the perimeter is lackluster with slow lateral movement. Additionally, in the mid-range, he is not effective and takes touch contested looks. Washington could help develop Fitts with their farm system and roster of veterans.
Second Duke player off the board here. 6'2.5'' PG, Tre Jones exceeded expectations this year with high efficiency and one of the play point guard overall skills in the draft. The limited quickness and size are why he's in the second round but; he can definitely be a productive back up like his brother. Knicks continues to bolster their bench here.
Killian Tillie is pro-typical forward with huge upside as he's 6'10''. Tillie has a dynamic and elite shot-making skill as well as efficiency all over the court. The forward shot 40%+ from three each year of his 4 years at Gonzaga. New Orleans would love to have a shooter like that fall into their laps here at #39.
Another player that flew onto the scene this year was Malachi Flynn of San Diego State. His play jumped him into every team's big board with his stellar shooting and prominent pick and roll game. He shows the ability to shoot off the dribble, spot up, and off the catch efficiently. His playmaking is developing, and he sometimes shows tunnel vision but shows the ability to make a plethora of different kinds of passes out of the pick and roll. Defensively, he has high intensity but is often found flat-footed and beat on the dribble. He needs to work on his overall consistency and not just phases of good play, but in Memphis, he can definitely have room to grow as a player in the g-league or on few minutes in the NBA.
One player most scouts love is Yves Pons out of Tennessee, and he has started to gain traction among teams. His freakish athleticism is definitely the catalyst for this jump. Pons is one of the highest risers we have seen in the draft in recent years. Along with his athleticism, Pons is an above-average man-to-man defender and shows high IQ on both sides. He takes many shots but has also demonstrated the ability to continue to keep the offense moving. San Antonio would be the team to take the leap on a prospect like Pons here.
Cal St. Northridge's lengthy forward Lamine Diane had one of the highest PPG in the nation this year. The 6'7'' forward ability to play above the rim and has excellent post skills allowed him to run their offense. He also shows an ability to spread the floor and be a consistent shooter. However, His defense is lackadaisical right now and will be his Achilles heel if he cannot fix it. New Orleans takes a chance here on the lengthy, athletic big man.
Model modern NBA center that can space the floor well. Has no real ability defending other big men in the post and low potential as a real rim protector. He needs to show more feel and love for the game but Sacramento would be a great place to prove doubters wrong. It will be interesting to watch Nnaji develop in the NBA.
A high flying guard from Creighton, Ty-Shon Alexander is 84th percentile in the nation in his transition game. His ability to get into the open court is excellent, and he finishes well at the basket. The athletic freak is also in the 94th percentile in individual defense. However, His defensive play is not as consistent in the paint as it is on the perimeter. One of the safer picks in the second round and Portland would love to bring him in.
Another huge riser in the last few weeks has been Jared Butler out of Baylor. Butler's ability to get in the lane and utilize a runner is elite, and his shooting touch from outside is efficient enough to produce on the next level. He is an elite defender that can stay with any guard. The size is troubling as he is small for the off guard position, but Orland could get a steal here.
Isaiah Joe would be the second Arkansas guard off the board behind Mason Jones. Isaiah Joe has great size for the guard position. Still, he's inefficient from three (only shooting 32%), and switching ability on defense is questioned as he cannot defend in the paint. His potential lies within his consistency on both ends of the floor. Boston gets another young player for their farm system.
Payton Pritchard from Oregon is one of the best sharpshooters in the class. Others have him in the first round, but with all the comparable talent in this range, he could fall. Pritchard is known for his shot, but he's shown an ability to get to the lane effectively. However, He also has shown no reason to believe he can improve on defense. Many fear that he is merely a shooter, but Chicago would be an excellent place for Pritchard to show them all wrong.
Daniel Oturo would be the first center off the board since the end of the first round. Oturo out of Minnesota is a prototypical center that can play outside the paint well and is dominant in the post. He has trouble with turnovers and having tunnel vision at times on offense as well, having problems defensively against other centers in the paint. Golden State gets more center help here.
Freshman center from Duke was the biggest dropper on the big board since November. His play revolves around his dribbling ability and control, but other than that, he is limited to the paint. At 265 lbs, he moves exceptionally well; however, he shows no real confidence in his shot and can seem lost defensively. A team will pry on the potential at some point, and the Sixers stop his slide here.
Gonzaga off-guard Corey Kispert has a few more months to decide if he wants to go to the NBA or go back to school. There is no real consensus where Kispert should be placed in mock drafts. He moves so well for his size, and he shot 43.8% on 3 three per game. At that size, you rarely see those shooting numbers, which is why he should get some NBA looks. Indiana does not need any more young pieces, but Kispert has high potential to help Philly's perimeter game in a few years.
Elijah Hughes, out of Syracuse, is an elite sharpshooter with high athletic upside. The downside is he is already 22, and defensively he loses his man often due to lack of concentration or fight. However, his scoring ability and athleticism are intriguing. OKC would take a chance on someone like that.
The senior out of LSU, Skylar Mays is an athletic off-guard with a consistent and fluid shooting touch. His release is high enough to shoot over taller defenders and can be trusted in the NBA. However, his defensive consistency and pressure are questioned by all, and there is pessimism he can become a viable defender. Also hard to advocate for drafting a 22-year old based on potential. Though, a team like Atlanta will buy his shot and will give him a chance.
The player that carried Louisville to a great 2019 regular season, Jordan Nwora is triumphed for his excellent shooting from deep and play on the boards. He is projected to increase his 3FG% in the NBA, and at his height, he is an elite rebounder. He will be 22 when draft day comes around this year, and his defensive intensity is questionable, but he will be off the board before the final pick.
6'6'' Small forward out of Washington State, CJ Elleby is known for his post-up game and ability to beat other forwards off the dribble. At 200 lbs, he runs the floor very well and defensively moves laterally well and is often able to stay in front of his defender. His three-point shot and decision making are questioned, but his post-up game at that size is exciting to NBA teams, Indiana take him here at #50.
A fan favorite Cassius Winston led Michigan State for four years. He showed how great he is in the clutch and as the leader and facilitator of the team. However, he showed troubles on the defensive end as he falls on the shorter end of the stick in terms of athleticism and body frame. He will also be 22 come draft day, which is also a concern. Teams like 4-year guards like him and Brooklyn gives him a chance with their stacked roster.
The miracle man of the 2019 March Madness for Virginia finds himself falling into the second round. Diakite is a jack of all trades and master of none. Good interior defense was the catalyst for his leadership at Virginia but rarely showed an ability to space the floor and produce on the offensive end. Charlotte can take the chance here that he turns into someone like Draymond Green and continue to improve his offense when in the league.
Ranked in the top 5 in his position in the class by some, Paul Reed showed great scoring ability in all three facets of the court this year. He has potential as a stretch four in the NBA. His defensive is questioned as he had trouble down low consistently last year, and at only 6'9'', he might have immense trouble defending on the next level. Reed will probably start in the G-League, but if he can improve defensively, he can make it to the NBA.
Shooting guard out of Houston showcased dynamic defensive intensity and skills. Hinton landed in the 90th percentile in overall defense and was the anchor of the Houston defense that ranked 12th in the nation in OPP PPG. Hinton has an underdeveloped offensive game, but the defensive abilities will warrant a look at the end of the draft.
Robert Woodward III is a 21-year-old forward that is an excellent post-defender with great switching ability, as he ranks above the 80th percentile in every defense aspect. Offensively, Woodward shoots the ball well and with confidence, but in the paint, his FG% is abysmal and inconsistent. Woodward will get looks for his defensive ability and offensive potential.
One of the biggest sleepers in this draft class is Derrick Alston Jr., out of Boise State. He had a great season for Boise State this year, as he showed flashes of elite shot-making and athleticism off the dribble and on the catch. Many thought he would not be selected this year due to some spouts of tunnel vision and inconsistency on both sides of the court. Additionally, there are some concerns he has an inability or desire to bulk up as it will be hard on the next level at only 190lbs.