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.
1. Markelle fultz, washington
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 1
Fultz possesses the draft’s best blend of ceiling and floor, with high-octane athletic ability, scoring and playmaking chops. He’s at his best in the open floor, and has a range of dribble moves and tricks to create space for himself. His 6’10” wingspan should help him as a rebounder and defender, although the latter area will require added commitment. Fultz’s jumper was sound last season, but he’ll have to prove he can make it stretch from NBA range to maximize his ability. He checks all the major boxes for a lead guard and appears a presumptive and deserving No. 1 selection. He’d be a strong fit with Boston’s diverse group of guards.• Meet Markelle Fultz, the NBA's likely No. 1 pick
2. de'aaron fox, kentucky
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 3
Dating back to his impressive March, Fox has crept up draft boards, including this one, thanks to his tantalizing athletic ability and all that comes with it. He’s incredibly fast, can generate transition looks by pushing the ball, and has the strength and explosion to get it all the way to the rim and finish. His defensive instincts are also extremely impressive, and the legitimate strengths on both ends are a big part of his appeal. The big question is his jump shot, which doesn’t look broken but must become consistent enough to at least keep defenses honest. He’ll also need to strengthen his lower body as he fills out. With his change of pace ability and passing instincts, some teams prefer Fox’s slash-first game to Lonzo Ball’s measured approach. There’s enough reason for optimism for the Lakers to give Fox a hard look at No. 2.
3. jayson tatum, duke
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 2
Tatum’s comfort in generating offense and solid range of moves are his calling card, and it doesn’t take a ton of imagination to see him stretching out his range and anchoring an offense eventually. He’s quick and knows how to create space for himself, but is not a leaper who will finish over or around defensive length. It helps that he showed some willingness to diversify his game and look for his shot less over the course of the season. Tatum has never been a great defender despite having the ability to get the job done. The big questions are what he’s doing to help when the ball isn’t in his hands, and whether he can actually become a threat from distance. He tends to be a ball-stopper, and will have to be extremely efficient to warrant that type of usage and also lend himself to winning. There’s both safety and upside in his scoring.
4. Josh jackson, Kansas
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 4
An elite, active on-ball defender with a well-developed body and strong feel for the game, Jackson’s diverse play has one glaring hole: his jumper. He shot much better from three as the season went on, but needs some work mechanically to consistently extend his range and become a threat. He’s quick and strong and can get to the basket and finish, and passes the ball well enough to suggest he could ease into lead ballhandler duties down the road. Jackson’s body language and maturity leave something to be desired at times, and he can check in and out of games if he gets frustrated. If the jumper clicks, Jackson could be a lead scorer somewhere, but his more likely outcome is a strong second or third option who impacts the game on both ends.
5. lonzo ball, ucla
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 6
When you cut through the Lonzo narrative, or perhaps the LaVar one, there’s a really talented passer here, but he's certainly not a lock for NBA stardom. We know his instincts as a playmaker are as good as they come, and we know he also has the size and length to spot up off the ball and make an impact defensively. It’s hard to question those intangibles—he naturally makes teams faster and creates easy opportunities for others. What’s worth considering is how he’ll fare when the game grinds to a halfcourt stop (as it often does in crunch time) and isn’t played at his pace. When defenses lock in on him, Ball will have some trouble creating separation for his unorthodox jumper and attacking the basket, and he didn’t put together a great sample in pick and roll situations at UCLA. His best case could make him the best player in the draft, but Ball will face a number of fundamental hurdles to get there.
6. dennis smith, n.c. state
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 5
Often undersold in the conversation surrounding the top guards in the draft, Smith is a bit of a throwback to the 2000s NBA (really can’t believe I just wrote that) with his scoring, playmaking and all-around explosiveness at the point. He thrived in isolation situations this season and might be the best one-on-one scorer in this draft, which bodes well for him as a shot creator and presumable offensive fulcrum. He shone at times as a passer but has room to improve in that area, and the story with his jump shot is similar. Smith didn’t play much defense, but has the ability to cut it if he commits. There are fair questions to ask here, but the bottom line is that Smith is a truly gifted player entering a league that favors athletic point guards more than ever.
7. malik monk, kentucky
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 7
Monk’s three-point range, elite athleticism and ability to get himself open cements his NBA value and gives him a shot at stardom if things break correctly. His skill set is a bit more diverse than the perimeter scoring role he played so impressively at Kentucky, and he could in theory become a lead ballhandler who can score inside and out. He’ll have a lot of learning to do in order for that to happen, which may mean a longer adjustment period as Monk figures out what still works for him and what doesn’t. Otherwise, if he’s not scoring, he’s not doing a ton for you at this stage, and he doesn’t have ideal length or strength to defend his position. His willingness to expand his game will matter in the long run, but even if he’s just a scorer, he has the ability to become a great one.• Draft Sleepers: Six wins who could stick in NBA
8. jonathan isaac, florida state
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 10
Size and shooting ability are Isaac’s calling card, but the rest of his game requires some projection at the next level—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing in his case. There were nights where he faded into the background for Florida State, but it’s telling that he was often able to contribute on the glass and as a weakside shot-blocker even when he wasn’t scoring. He needs to bulk up considerably, but in an NBA where so much of the game is played in transition, his body may not require a massive overhaul. Isaac stands to improve in terms of aggressiveness and consistency on offense, and some of that should come with time and increased confidence. He’s shown he can put it on the floor, attack the basket and be a threat without the ball in his hands, but his success is largely a matter of how much he’s eventually able to put together on a regular basis. Isaac will need more time than most to adjust, but could become a unique piece if it comes together.
9. zach collins, gonzaga
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 9
Collins will undoubtedly be a beneficiary of recency bias thanks to his impressive play during Gonzaga’s tournament run. That said, his per-minute stats over the course of the year and his ability to impact the game on both ends place him among the top bigs in the class. Some around the league think his jumper can develop to the point where he can play a stretch role. He’s extremely coordinated and finishes well at the basket, with some ability to put it on the deck and face up. The offensive potential combined with his defensive understanding and mobility suggest he can be a strong two-way contributor in time.
10. frank ntilikina, strasbourg
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 12
An extremely well-built playmaker, developing shooter and aggressive defender, Ntilikina (Nee-lee-kee-na) projects as the top overseas import in this class. He’s extremely long with the size to see over defenses and defend both guard spots. However, he’s still a bit unpolished and will have to grow into the rigors of full-time point guard duties in the NBA, and doesn’t possess the best production sample. Several teams in the Top 10 have done plenty of homework on him, and Ntilikina may not make it past the Knicks or Mavericks.
11. justin patton, creighton
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 8
Patton’s offensive efficiency was impressive last season, particularly for a freshman who had barely played any high-level basketball in his life. His fluidity, touch, and passing ability really pops, and he has legit size to play the five, although he didn’t test especially well at the combine. He also has face-up ability, tied to a developing mid-range shot. He needs to improve as a rebounder and polish off his all-around game, particularly on defense, but there could be a ton of reward here if Patton begins to scratch at the upper echelon of his potential. He’ll need to land with a team fully committed to his development, and though he may not be drafted in the lottery, he could be a steal if he slips any further.
12. lauri markkanen, arizona
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 11
Whether Markkanen can do more than just shoot the basketball will determine the arc of his career—he could be a star if his offense breaks correctly, or could be otherwise be limited to a floor-spacing role rather quickly. We know he can really stroke the ball from deep, and it’s a rare talent for a 7-footer, but we also know he can’t really guard anyone right now. When his shot isn’t falling, he’s not all that useful as a rebounder, rim protector or any other capacity. Markkanen may need to bulk up to the point where he can passably defend big men, because he’s not staying with smaller players. As long as his eventual peak falls somewhere in the middle, he’ll still be a valuable asset a la Ryan Anderson, who can change the geometry of an offense simply by standing in the corner. If he’s more than that, things could get really fun. He could go as early as Minnesota at No. 7.
13. donovan mitchell, louisville
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 28
Mitchell has been one of the biggest risers over the last month or two and has a solid chance to be the first guard taken outside the top crop. He’s a truly elite athlete with a 40-inch vertical and 6’10” wingspan, which gives him the ability to play a little bigger than his size when he’s on. He was streaky at Louisville, but his best moments were impressive, and you can see him playing a complimentary role as he polishes off his actual point guard skills. Mitchell gets to the rim, makes set shots effectively and though his efficiency isn’t always great, putting him in a more defined role could do wonders. He’s a bit of a tweener offensively and his ceiling is tied to his development as a lead guard, but if his defense comes around, he should settle in anyway.• Markkanen isn't Dirk 2.0, but he's a proven shooter
14. og anunoby, indiana
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 15
Anunoby has plus-plus upside as a multi-positional defender with crazy length, and though he continues to recover from a bad ACL tear, he shouldn’t fall too far on draft night as long as his medicals are clean. He’s nearly 6’8” in shoes with a 7’2” wingspan and almost 9’0” standing reach, which coupled with his instincts and lateral quickness could make him a terror covering the ball and as a rebounder. He’s got a lot to learn when it comes to creating his own offense, but has shown some ability to hit set jumpers and attack the basket. Anunoby is a smart player who rarely forces things, and the sky is the limit as he begins to put his skill set together. Even if he’s just a specialist, he could be a game-changinng one.
15. harry giles, duke
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 14
When Giles is drafted will obviously depend a lot on his medicals, given his history of serious knee injuries. He didn’t show much of his old burst off the floor last season, but he also didn’t play a lot, which was understandable. He’s still a strong positional rebounder and continues to regain some comfort as his most recent injury grows more distant. Giles may never regain his enviable lift of old, but as his offensive touch comes back, it’ll be easier to gauge what he might become. He’s one of the biggest risks in the draft and has a wide range of outcomes, but someone will roll the dice on him. If he gets somewhere close to where he was a couple years ago, it’ll be worth it.• Five best fits for Kansas' Josh Jackson
16. ikE anigbogu, ucla
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 18
The mix of elite physical tools and relative youth make Anigbogu one of the more interesting projects in this class. He’s nearly 6’10” in shoes, with a wingspan over 7’6” and a 9’3” standing reach, and was an impact player on defense for UCLA in limited minutes in his lone season. He didn’t score a ton and certainly benefited from playing in the Bruins’ high-octane offense. He doesn’t turn 19 until October and is one of the youngest players in the class, which gives him a favorable-looking trajectory to develop into a mobile rim protector. He’s not going to be a go-to option on offense anytime soon, but if you consider the changing demands on centers, Anigbogu’s upside as a defensive anchor and rim-runner is drool-worthy.
17. luke kennard, Duke
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 26
Kennard has benefited from the predraft process and has a chance to sneak into the back end of the lottery at this point, thanks to his consistency as a shooter and comfort handling the ball. He’s among the top long-range threats in the draft and should be able to operate off the ball and also initiate some offense. Kennard isn’t very long or explosive, which will limit him attacking the basket and creating his own shot and raises obvious questions about his defensive fit. And yes, this is a Duke-white-guy cliche, but it’s legitimately hard to praise Kennard without mentioning his basketball smarts, decision-making and willingness to make small plays that lend themselves to winning. At worst he should be a playable specialist, and at best he could be a difference-maker.
18. justin jackson, north carolina
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 20
A title-winning year at UNC gave Jackson new life as an NBA prospect, and while he may never be a “wow” type guy, he does enough on both ends of the floor to warrant a first round pick. Not everyone is buying his improved three-point shooting and he’s not an above-the-rim type, but he’s talented enough to ably fill a complimentary role on offense if his jump shot sticks. Jackson has enviable length (6’11” wingspan) that could translate into some defensive matchup versatility and has always been a crafty finisher around the basket with a reliable floater, but he’s also pretty thin and could struggle against NBA defenders, particularly putting the ball on the floor. He should do enough things well to stick around for a while.
19. rodions kurucs, fc barcelona b
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 19
Kurucs looks like one of the top draft-and-stash options in the class, offering a nice blend of size, athleticism and smarts. He’s comfortable on the ball and developing a nice jumper. He appears a little stiff pulling up off the dribble and on the defensive side of the ball as well. His range of offensive skills should still play at the next level. Kurucs is young enough that teams shouldn’t have to rush him to the league, and does a lot of what you want from modern wing player.
20. john collins, Wake forest
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 24
One of the ACC’s most productive players and biggest surprises, Collins rode a huge sophomore leap into likely first-round status. He rebounds extremely well, has soft hands and shot 60% to lead an uninspiring Wake team through a difficult ACC schedule and into the tournament. His overall offensive package is a work in progress, but some believe he has untapped potential as a jump shooter, which would aid his outlook considerably. He’s been criticized for his court awareness, particularly on defense. Collins isn’t a guy who jumps out of the gym but has gotten by largely on instinct to this point, and that’s to his credit. He’ll need some time, but has a chance to be an impact player.• Five prospects with NBA All-Star potential
21. d.j. wilson, michigan
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 23
Wilson’s name has been linked to several teams picking in the 20s, and it looks unlikely his mix of three point shooting, size and defensive ability will slip out of the first round. He broke out for Michigan down the stretch as a critical, versatile cog and could play a similar role in the NBA as his body develops. Teams love his ability to switch screens and use his length to stay with different types of opponents, and his shooting form looks legit enough that it’ll play. It’s hard to find guys with his defensive attributes period, so the fact that comes with some palpable offense is gravy. Wilson’s consistency, rebounding and on-court maturity are minor question marks, but there’s plenty to like..
22. jonathan jeanne, nancy (france)
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD nr
More than just arms and legs (although that aspect of his strengths is substantial), Jeanne more than held his own at the combine, where European players have historically struggled. He may have cemented a first-round selection in the process, with his considerable length and bounce exuding upside in addition to a developing jump shot. He’s light on his feet, quick off the ground, and it kind of goes without saying, but he’s enormous. Adding bulk is a must, and he needs a lot of coaching, but Jeanne doesn’t appear to have too many bad habits established, and as malleable players come, he’s extremely intriguing.
23. jarrett allen, texas
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 25
From a physical tools standpoint, Allen is one of the draft’s most interesting cases. He’s one of the younger players in the class, and has shown some touch around the basket as a legitimate center. He’s about as raw as they come, though, and despite improving over the course of his freshman year, he still has a long way to go. His overall awareness is lacking and he’s probably a few years away from cracking a rotation. You can point to Deyonta Davis last year as a similar study.
24. t.j. leaf, ucla
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 21
Leaf led UCLA in scoring and has one of the more diverse offensive skill sets of any nominal big man in this class. He consistently hit threes with his feet set and showed promise as a rim-runner and with his back to the basket, and he’s a strong leaper and active rebounder. A lack of ideal lateral quickness and length leave him potentially stuck between positions on defense—he’s built more like a wing than anything else, and to stay on the floor he will have to leverage his athleticism into passable defense. Leaf’s unique scoring package is worth taking a chance.• The Case For: Lonzo Ball, the draft's best guard
25. terrance ferguson, adelaide 36ers
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 13
The Ferguson hype train has slowed a little bit, but he’s certainly talented as a shooter and leaper with a clear path to becoming a contributor on the outside if everything breaks right. He’s got a thin frame and will struggle early on against stronger players, but a year playing in Australia should at least buffer his adjustment a little bit. He needs a lot of work when it comes to putting the ball on the ground and creating his own shot, and whether he can be more than a specialist will be tied largely to that.
26. edrice 'bam' adebayo, kentucky
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 27
Comparisons are usually not that instructive, but Adebayo is basically a poor man’s Tristan Thompson. He’s got a great build, works hard on the glass, plays above the rim and doesn’t eat up a ton of touches in order to do his job. That much should translate. He’s made up for a lack of post skills with effort to this point. On the defensive end he’s a work in progress, but has the ability to make an impact protecting the basket with some added polish. If Adebayo’s jumper improves, there could be another level of role player potential here.
27. anZejs pasecniks, gran canaria (Spain)
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD NR
With extreme mobility for his size, Pasecniks has a chance to be one of the first international players drafted, following in the footsteps of Latvian countryman Kristaps Porzingis. He profiles as a guy who can catch lobs, hit open jumpers and affect games with his physical tools. He’s not a total stiff defensively, able to move his feet well laterally and alter shots. From those items alone, it’s pretty obvious that he’s a real prospect. Filling out his frame and adjusting to the physicality of the league will take some time (and he could stay overseas a year or two), but expect to see Pasecniks patrolling the paint somewhere soon.
28. derrick white, colorado
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 39
White looked like the best player at the combine and has built a ton of buzz off the strength of his predraft showings. A late bloomer, former Division II All-American transferred to finish his career at Colorado and made waves as one of the most productive players (18.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 4.1 assists) and top defenders in the Pac-12. He’s quick, decisive and big enough to play both guard positions. White is more scorer than passer at this stage, but will need to grow more comfy off the ball to play the two. Regardless, he’s an increasingly intriguing prospect with one of the draft’s better backstories and a real shot at the first round.
29. ivan rabb, cal
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 16
This could be a buy-low opportunity for someone. Rabb was a blue-chip prospect and once seen as a potential lottery pick, and despite averaging a double-double saw his stock slip as a sophomore. He’s not an eye-popping athlete but remains a quality rebounder and does enough to contribute on offense. Rabb didn’t take the step forward that many expected, but has the tools to be a useable roll man and finisher, and possibly a threat with his midrange shot. He struggles on the defensive end at times and doesn’t block a ton of shots, but he’s big enough to cut it. His strengths still look tailored for an NBA role, but there’s certainly less starry optimism to be found here.
30. caleb swanigan, purdue
RECORD: LAST BIG BOARD 30
Swanigan became an intriguing pro prospect last season, showing his ability to step out and hit threes with consistency, utilize his length (7’3” wingspan and nearly 9’0” standing reach) on the glass in spite of his height and score around the rim using impressive touch. He’s a strong passer and intelligent player who could be a dangerous option rolling and popping as a screener. This is all contingent on him continuing to staying in top shape, which poses a risk in itself, and even then, it’s not clear who Swanigan will be able to guard at the next level. His talent is worth the significant gamble.
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.
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)