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  • The 2017 NBA Draft is a mere two weeks away, which means it's time to get familiar with the players who will be shaking commissioner Adam Silver's hand.
By Jeremy Woo
June 06, 2017

The NBA draft has either snuck up on you out of nowhere by now, or it’s the only basketball-related thing you’ve bothered to indulge in over the course of a snooze-worthy playoffs. Now that we’re two-and-a-half weeks out from the big night and teams are deep into their predraft evaluations, it’s a great time to catch up and get familiar with this class (or, if you’ve been reading every word of these boards for the last few months, pick up another hobby after you finish this).

We’ve expanded this board to 50, with a ton of players moving around thanks to the last month-plus of the process, dating back to the Portsmouth Invitational and draft combine. If you’re wondering whether draft “stock” is real, the answer is a tempered yes—although all 30 teams have different opinions, needs and decision-makers, there’s a lot of recency bias that comes along with draft preparation (which one can argue smart teams really ought to avoid). 

Players’ bodies of data vary in size and scouts have been doing their diligence for several years in a lot of cases, but things get serious when the top dogs in every front office sit down and start staring at this stuff, and a lot of that starts in March. Naturally, as teams gather information and it begins to travel and circulate, there’s fluctuation when it comes to projection. This board is our best attempt at offering an idea of players’ draft ranges, as well as making pound for pound evaluations and, yes, ranking them. Bon voyage.

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31. Isaiah Hartenstein | Zalgiris (Lithuania) | F/C | 6’11” | 225 | 19 years old 
Last Big Board: 17

The German international possesses NBA size and some versatile offensive skills, but remains more of a long-term upside judgment. He’s yet to put everything together on a consistent basis and has a wonky, unconvincing jump shot, although it has some range. Hartenstein rebounds well, can put the ball on the deck and make plays as a passer on the interior, but it’s unclear exactly what will translate for him against better athletes, particularly as a scorer. He probably won’t be a plus on defense, either. His tools are plenty to take a chance, but if his shot doesn’t get there, it’s not clear exactly what will work for him at the next level.

32. Frank Jackson | Duke | PG | 6’3” | 202 | Fr. (19)
Last Big Board: NR

A quality showing at the combine helped Jackson’s case to go one-and-done, plus the fact he’d begun to come on strong for Duke by the end of the season. He’s a strong, quick-twitchy lead guard and a scorer first and foremost, with a 42” max vertical and 6’7” wingspan that put him up there with any guard in the class. He’s a confident shooter from outside with a variety of ways to score off the drive, and has the tools to defend both guard positions. It’s a matter of Jackson putting it all together, particularly as a passer, where he’s not as instinctive as you’d like when it comes to finding teammates.

33. Jonah Bolden | Radnicki Basket (Serbia) | PF | 6’10” | 227 | 21 years old
Last Big Board: NR

After a brief stint at UCLA, the Australian-born Bolden headed overseas and had a strong year in the Adriatic League, which has become a haven for developing NBA prospects. Bolden showed strong versatility and legitimacy as a spot-up shooter (39.7% from three on 141 attempts this season), and has the skills to step out on the perimeter and surprise you. He’ll catch lobs and has enough athletic ability and length to become a useful defender as he fills out. His advanced skills for his size as an en-vogue stretch big are intriguing.

34. Tony Bradley | North Carolina | C | 6’10” | 240 | Fr. (19)
Last Big Board: 29

Bradley is part of first-round conversations and passes the eye test as an NBA center at nearly 6’11” with a 7’5” wingspan. He’s a low-maintenance player with good fundamentals who can make the game look simple as a rebounder and finisher around the basket. Thanks to his size and mobility, he could evolve into a useful positional defender. The biggest knock is a lack of verticality to his game: he doesn’t block a ton of shots and isn’t going to be dunking on people night to night. Bradley would have been a better fit for the league a decade ago, but it won’t preclude him from having success.

35. Jawun Evans | Oklahoma State | PG | 6’0” | 185 | So. (20)
Last Big Board: 32

Evans had some remarkable performances this season and has the end to end speed and ballhandling skills to make up for his small stature. He’s one of the better playmakers in the class, and has the ability to stop and pop, shoots the ball with some comfort and can force the issue with defenses as he darts around the floor. He’s generally quite good in the pick and roll. Evans is an active defender but is limited on that end by his size, and similarly, he may have trouble attacking the basket and scoring in the paint against NBA length. His future will be determined by how much he’s able to adjust. As it stands, he’s on the first round fringe.

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36. Semi Ojeleye | SMU | F | 6’7” | 235 | Jr. (22)
Last Big Board: 30

A steadying force for SMU, Ojeleye broke out in his one season there after transferring from Duke. His strength and body control are tantalizing from an offensive standpoint, and he’s shown the ability to attack the rim and score inside and out. He’s not overly long and could run into some trouble trying to play bully-ball in the NBA, and also stands to prove himself defensively. He may not really be an NBA three. But as a small-ball power forward who can create mismatches with his athleticism and strength, Ojeleye has a chance to carve out a niche.

37. Jordan Bell | Oregon | PF | 6’8” | 224 | Jr. (22)
Last Big Board: NR

Bell is one of the more difficult players to peg in the draft, but the more you watch of him, the more that feels like a good thing. Bell’s undersized but has done nothing but produce as a defense-first big man with the agility to step out on switches and guard basically anybody. He was terrific at the combine and also tested extremely well. His shot-blocking, rebounding and willingness to do the dirty work give him a lot of appeal, and his consistently high effort is also a plus. He’ll probably never be a go-to offensive option, but does so many other things well that he could sneak into the first round.

38. Josh Hart | Villanova | G | 6’6” | 204 | Sr. (21)
Last Big Board: 38

Hart might be the most experienced player in the draft, and that makes him a strong candidate to give teams immediate backcourt reinforcement. He’s an effective playmaker and improving shooter with a strong makeup and good size to fit in on the wing. Hart is also an intelligent defender and willing to rebound and fill a complimentary role. He’s not the quickest or bounciest player in the draft, which limits his ability to finish at the rim and create off the bounce. With his pedigree and skill set, Hart offers some safety in this draft range.

39. Matthias Lessort | Nanterre (France) | F/C | 6’9” | 250 | 21 years old
Last Big Board: NR

One of the top players in France this season, Lessort pencils in nicely as an explosive, rim-running, lob-catching modern big man. He’s not especially skilled, but he’s strong, a quick leaper and fights hard on the interior with solid timing as a shot-blocker. Think about how Houston has brought along Clint Capela (who was actually one of his teammates several years back). His production at a young age stands out, and as a potential overseas stash with bankable NBA strengths, Lessort has a lot of appeal.

40. Kyle Kuzma | Utah | F | 6’9” | 223 | Jr. (21)
Last Big Board: NR

After breaking out at the combine, Kuzma’s become a trendy sleeper pick. He capped off a solid year at Utah by showcasing a range of skills and three-point shooting potential as a floor-spacing forward. He only shot 32.1% from deep last season, but has begun to convince people he can stroke it with enough consistency to be a threat. He’s athletic with good rebounding and passing instincts and is an unpolished but projectable defender given his length. He has an outside chance to sneak into the back of the first round.

41. Tyler Lydon | Syracuse | PF | 6’9” | 225 | So. (21)
Last Big Board: 31

Shooters with size are always commodities in the draft, and Lydon has both, although he struggled with consistency at Syracuse. Lydon’s a legitimate floor-spacing threat with good touch around the basket who could be an impactful offensive piece. He’s a decent rebounder with a legitimate NBA frame (7’0” wingspan, 9’0” standing reach) but his body needs some work and he’s unlikely to contribute much defensively down the line. There’s some safety in knowing what you’re getting here.

42. Cameron Oliver | Nevada | PF | 6’8” | 239 | So. (20)
Last Big Board: 40

Oliver had some impressive moments at the combine and jumps off the page athletically. His exceptional explosiveness, rebounding ability and shot-blocking instincts help compensate for a lack of height. He shot 38.4% from three while attempting nearly five per game this season, which is significant. His defense is a work in progress. As an athletic floor-spacer who can impact the game in a few different ways, Oliver could develop into a unique role player.

43. Alec Peters | Valparaiso | F | 6’9” | 225 | Sr. (23)
Last Big Board: 33

Peters was a known quantity all year as far as mid-major stars go and finished as one of the best players in Valpo history. He improved his scoring and rebounding numbers in each of his four seasons and evolved into a dynamic player. Peters is a gifted shooter, has developed some post skills and profiles as a reliable offensive specialist, though he lacks NBA length and lateral quickness at forward. His inside-out offensive skills are attractive, but he’ll be forced to find a way to stay on the floor defensively to have a real chance at sticking.

44. Edmond Sumner | Xavier | PG | 6’5” | 170 | RS So. (21)
Last Big Board: 36

Sumner continues to rehab from an ACL injury that ended his college career and remains a promising prospect, though it’s yet to be seen where exactly he’s at physically. It’s also worth noting he was forced to redshirt due to serious patellar tendinitis as a freshman. His thin frame and injury history present some risk, but Sumner remains one of the most impressive guards in the draft from an athletic tools standpoint. The biggest issue remains his shaky jump shot, which will need to improve regardless.

45. Jaron Blossomgame | Clemson | F | 6’7” | 219 | Sr. (23)
Last Big Board: NR

One of the oldest players in the class, Blossomgame projects as a hard-nosed, multi-positional defender and quality athlete who could nicely fit into a low-usage complimentary role. He lacks an offensive calling card or consistent jump shot and comes with a history of serious leg injuries. He plays hard and was productive last season in spite of his shortcomings, working on the glass and finding ways to get himself open off the ball. He’ll need to make adjustments to his jump shot.

46. Thomas Bryant | Indiana | F/C | 6’10” | 248 | So. (20)
Last Big Board: NR

The conversation around Bryant starts with his size: he’s nearly 6’11” in shoes with a 7’6” wingspan and 9’4.5” standing reach. He’s not a leaper, but runs the floor hard and plays aggressively around the basket. He still has a ways to go skill-wise and probably should have been a much more productive rebounder and shot-blocker at Indiana. He’s a project, but in a simplified role he could be impactful down the line.

47. Frank Mason | Kansas | PG | 6’0” | 189 | Sr.  (23)
Last Big Board: NR

Most draft classes contain their share of talented but undersized college point guards, but few players at any position possess a resumé as strong as Mason’s. The Naismith Award winner makes up for his height with tenacity and creativity off the dribble, and was a clear standout at the combine. He’s a quality spot-up shooter who knows how to leverage his size to get into defenders and create angles around the basket. Mason isn’t quite the caliber of passer as some others in the class and will have to find a way to deal with inevitable mismatches as a defender, but he profiles as a capable rotational player who can be leaned on for scoring help.

48. Wesley Iwundu | Kansas State | G/F | 6’7” | 205 | Sr. (22)
Last Big Board: 37

Iwundu looked tentative at best at the combine, but still presents an intriguing combination of skill and size that could translate to the NBA game with time. His ball-handling, playmaking and potential to be a versatile defensive piece should get him drafted. It’ll take a leap on the offensive end in terms of three-point range and shot creation to make him a rotation piece.

49. Johnathan Motley | Baylor | PF | 6’9” | 230 | Sr. (22)
Last Big Board: NR

Over four years at Baylor, Motley refined his game and body and put up an impressive senior season on whole before tearing his MCL and missing the final stretch of games. He looks the part, with a 7’4” wingspan and developed frame that should play well in the NBA. He has some appeal as a rim-running energy big, but remains a little unrefined skill-wise. Some offensive development will be required for Motley to grow into a consistent contributor. 

50. Sterling Brown | SMU | G/F | 6’5” | 225 | Sr. (22)
Last Big Board: NR

The younger brother of former Lakers guard Shannon Brown, Sterling put together a pretty complete senior season and has sleeper appeal as a three-and-D wing. He’s well-rounded skill wise, a consistent spot-up shooter and rebounder, and has strong awareness and intangibles on both sides of the ball. His 6’10” wingspan and strong frame present some potential to guard bigger players. Brown’s not elite when it comes to explosiveness or attacking off the dribble, but does enough things well to warrant an investment.

Returned to school: Moritz Wagner (34), Rawle Alkins (35)

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