With six weeks of college basketball and the first leg of international schedules around the globe now in the rearview, there’s been ample time to watch games and form opinions, and thus, lo and behold, here’s this season’s first Big Board. Georgia’s Anthony Edwards began the year at No. 1 in the mock draft, and remains the top overall prospect, with contenders LaMelo Ball and James Wiseman behind him in that order, and the big picture getting murky rather quickly after that.
The general attitude around the league is that the shape of this draft can best be classified as flat—there’s not a whole lot differentiating one prospect from another, and the drop-off in bankable NBA talent takes place relatively quickly in the draft in the minds of most. Once you get past the first couple groups of players at the top of the draft—which can be loosely defined—things get dicey. Few players have separated themselves, and the top handful of players don’t quite hold serve with the type of talent you’d hope to see in that range of a typical draft. So, as you read, it’s important to keep in mind how fluid things are going to be, more so than a typical year.
As always, the Big Board is an objective representation of how this year’s draft class shapes up, based on my own evaluations of players as well as intel and conversations with NBA executives, scouts, and others around the league. The aim is also to create an accurate picture of the draft and responsibly contextualize each player’s individual outlook. Unlike our mock draft, the Big Board makes no attempt to factor in individual team needs.
1. Anthony Edwards, G, Georgia | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 225 | Age: 18
Edwards began to fully stake claim to the No. 1 spot at the Maui Invitational, where a 33-point second half in a loss to Michigan State and buzzer-beater to down Chaminade put him squarely on the national map. Granted, Georgia is not a particularly good team, and Edwards sits at a notably nascent stage of his development. His ability to create shots for himself and others is potentially star-caliber, and his balance and plus athletic tools grant him real upside on the defensive end. Right now, he settles for far too many jumpers, and has had some issues attacking the rim and finishing. There are times where he’s obviously in attack mode, and times where he fades into the background entirely. Still, Edwards has made considerable progress already, and by cultivating better fundamental habit and impacting play more consistently, he may have the best case for the top pick come spring.
2. LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 18
Ball’s recent foot injury is set to keep him out a month, cutting short a stretch of strong performances that had bolstered his case as the top prospect. He boasts off-the-charts size for a point guard, remarkable vision, and a crafty handle. Right now, there’s a whole lot of trepidation in league circles surrounding his unspectacular shooting splits—it’s simply hard to take a guy 1 overall who's shooting 40% or worse from the field. Ball is an average athlete and struggles to get easy baskets in the paint, and while his counting stats are gaudy, his team isn’t actually winning many games. He needs to take care of the ball better, and he may just not be a good shooter, which of course, takes the shine off when put frankly. He can also be mistake prone and overly freewheeling, and struggles defensively on the perimeter. That said, it’s hard to ignore what Ball is doing at such a young age against professional competition, and on a good day he looks like the type of offensive maestro you can construct a team around. He’s an enticing, if flawed, proposition atop the draft.
3. James Wiseman, C, Memphis | Freshman
Height: 7’1” | Weight: 245 | Age: 18
In spite of a much-publicized, far from ideal 12-game suspension levied upon him by the NCAA, Wiseman’s elite physical profile essentially ensures he’ll be among the first players selected in June. Teams in need of an answer at center will have to think especially hard, as Wiseman’s sheer size and shot-blocking instincts will make a difference defensively, and his athletic ability should lead to consistent production beneath the basket. He’s begun to assuage widespread concerns about his motor and competitive makeup, and provided he displays a continued willingness to sprint the floor, rim-run and rebound, Wiseman has a clear path to being an impactful player. His ball skills and shooting potential are more the cherry on top, and offer additional offensive upside as his all-around game comes together. The hype has dimmed a bit, but he’s still a very appealing prospect in a number of ways.
4. Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona | Freshman
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 18
Mannion has looked like the top college point guard prospect through the season’s first month. He’s always been an incredibly impactful, positive decision-maker, and has needed little time to adapt to the college game, ably pulling the strings of Arizona’s offense and looking like a future starting-caliber point guard. He’s not overwhelming physically, but he’s a good athlete and is able to maximizes his quickness has thanks to an outstanding handle and a preternatural feel for probing defenses. Mannion has a strong understanding for when to score and when to defer, and can lean on a reliable array of floaters and a consistent jumper when creating for himself. Although he won’t lock opposing point guards down at the next level, he’s a tough, heady defender. With his polish and competitive makeup, Mannion should be running an NBA offense sooner than later, and may even offer some additional untapped upside as he matures physically. There’s a lot to like here.
5. Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 175 | Age: 19
Haliburton very well might be the best passer in college basketball, and his ongoing emergence as a legitimate lead guard has been one of this season’s more refreshing developments. A year ago, he was one of the sport’s best-kept secrets as a key role player for a quality Cyclones team. This year, he’s been tasked by Iowa State’s staff with uplifting a less-talented roster and taking a more aggressive approach as a scorer. Though his shooting mechanics leave something to be desired, and can’t be relied upon to create his own shot on a heavy basis at this stage, Haliburton makes a definite impact on winning basketball, with savant-like instincts that permeate both ends of the floor. With scorers and shooters around him, it’s possible his game goes to new heights. Scouts remain split on how well his individual scoring will translate and at what point in the draft he’ll be worth the dive. Still, the secret’s out, and while this is probably the high end of his range, there’s not a more enjoyable player to watch in this draft class.
6. Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina | Freshman
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19
Unsurprisingly, Anthony’s heavy responsibility to carry this year’s North Carolina team has led to big early counting numbers, as well as some inconsistency. He’s made some strides as a passer and can swing games when he gets hot from outside. A lack of supporting playmakers on the roster means his heavy usage will continue unfettered. That workload is a lot for any college player to bear and should buy Anthony some benefit of the doubt, but NBA teams have begun to hone in on some clear areas of concern, particularly his serious struggles to score consistently inside the paint, mustering an alarming 37.8% clip on two-point shots. Anthony’s smaller stature (6’3” is somewhat generous) makes it tough to project added physical maturation, so his path to success will rely heavily on skill expansion and better adjustment to the competition. Anthony’s competitive nature and perimeter shot-making skills give him a base to work with, and he should profile better with more talent around him. Teams will watch closely to see how well he can elevate the Tar Heels in conference play.
7. Tyrese Maxey, G, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
Maxey has been Kentucky’s most important player, primarily because he’s the only one who can consistently go get a bucket when they need one. That will be his likely fate in the pros as well, and although he’s an undersized shooting guard, his ability to handle and create some secondary offense is also attractive. Maxey’s strong build should help him on the defensive end and as a finisher, and it’s a fairly good bet that those strengths eventually translate to the NBA. He’s a creative, confident scorer at all three levels, and his enthusiasm can be infectious. Though Maxey can capably handle using a ball screen, the fact he’s not a true lead guard by trade limits some of the upside here. The fact he should be able to stay on the floor defensively helps. Maxey has been up and down to start the season, but as Kentucky settles in together, expect some improvement.
8. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington | Freshman
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
McDaniels has begun to shoot it more consistenly and his upside remains a tantalizing, abstract concept that should make him a first-round pick in spite of his struggles. He’s long and can cover a good deal of ground on the defensive end, but has a narrow build and lacks ideal physical strength, particularly for a forward with his profile. McDaniels’s struggles dealing with contact are connected to his frame (not his mentality), but how much he’ll really develop physically is tricky to project, and long-term position may be on the wing. If he’s able to add functional strength and puts in continued work on his jump shot, there’s upside given the way he can innately handle and pass. If not, it’s hard to see him being able to punish defensive switches and truly create a mismatch. McDaniels’ upside as a scoring wing is tangible, but there’s also real risk involved.
9. Deni Avdija, G/F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
After building up some hype by leading Israel to a title at the U20 European Championship, Avdija has fallen back into a supporting role at Maccabi, where he’s contributed primarily in Israeli League play and been unable to get a major foothold on minutes in EuroLeague competition. He’s had some productive games and contributes across the board statistically, but hasn’t been deployed in his preferred point-forward role and has been asked to fit into the scheme. Avdija’s skill level and general wherewithal at his age coupled with a serious approach to improvement would seem to have him ticketed for a lottery selection, statistical case aside. Scouts are still figuring out how he’ll best fit into the NBA, and his poor free throw shooting casts some doubt on whether he’ll end up being able to space the floor reliably. He’s versatile, but only to a point, and a lack of elite athleticism has also contributed to concerns.
10. Killian Hayes, G, Ratiopharm Ulm
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 18
Hayes was productive in France last year and has exceeded expectations after moving to Ulm in Germany, and while he’s still quite turnover-prone and has struggled to shoot the three, there’s a level of innate creativity and verve to his game that helps set him apart from the other guards in his range of the draft. Hayes has great size for his position and has filled out a bit over the past year, and while he’s very much still learning the game in all facets, his flashes of natural instinct and talent are often eye-popping. His competitive makeup and level of craft have always stood out. Although his team isn’t particularly good, and consistency hasn’t always been his thing, the fact Hayes one of the younger players in the draft helps his case in that regard. His natural ability to make plays grants him a bit more upside than the guards in his range.
11. R.J. Hampton, PG, New Zealand Breakers
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 18
Over the past few months, Hampton has shown some growth and appears more comfortable playing at his current level in the NBL. He looks a bit stronger and has been more aggressive on whole, with the crux of his offensive game stemming from his quickness and ability to get downhill off the bounce. Hampton is a plus athlete and has potential as a playmaker, but has a lot of work to do making reads and studying the game before being trustworthy to really run a team. The bigger issue projecting forward is his jumper: he has a long release and doesn’t shoot it convincingly. With his size, athleticism and improving ability to score in the paint, Hampton comes with some upside, but he’s also not an obvious sell in a guard-heavy lottery. Still, he’s showing improvement and dealt reasonably well in an adverse situation.
12. Théo Maledon, PG, ASVEL Basket
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 175 | Age: 18
Maledon’s season hasn’t gone according to plan, as he missed a month due to injury and hasn’t been stellar upon his return. But he’s still extremely young, and his size and strong instincts on both sides of the ball make him an intriguing long-term prospect. It feels like things just haven’t fully clicked for him yet, and he hasn’t shot the ball well, but his shooting mechanics are buyable and he has room to add more muscle to his frame, as well. Maledon is more of a ball-screen oriented guard who relies on craft, and may never be great in isolation, but he’s quite advanced for his age and is among just a few true pass-first guards near the top of this class. There’s some concern ] about his lack of aggression, and he’ll have to become a better scorer in all facets in the long term to maximize his potential, but his tools and skill set offer a solid floor.
13. Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn | Freshman
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 225 | Age: 18
Entering the season, it was no secret Okoro would be Auburn’s best prospect, but he’s also been the Tigers’ best player upon arrival, and one of the most impressive freshmen nationally. Gifted with grown-man strength and unusually light on his feet, Okoro combines elite-level defensive versatility with a strong feel for the game, rarely going beyond his means and consistently making smart decisions on both end of the floor. He’s a quality finisher and solid in the open floor, and relies on long, powerful strides to attack the rim. Okoro’s jumper is the only glaring hole in his profile, and it’s very much a work in progress. Turning himself into just an average three-point shooter would be a serious boon for his long-term profile, and he brings so much else to the table that fixing the shot will be a welcome project for his future team. Okoro is firmly part of the one-and-done conversation, and one of the more appealing wings in this class.
14. Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC | Freshman
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 235 | Age: 19
Although Okongwu flew somewhat under the radar as a one-and-done caliber prospect, he’s been one of the most productive players anywhere over the first month of the season, and has a relatively readymade path to contributing as a solid rotational NBA big. He’s an excellent multiple-jump athlete who routinely makes plays on his second and third efforts, whether it’s altering shots in the paint or grabbing defensive rebounds and putbacks. He‘s not the most versatile defender yet and lacks ideal height for a center, but his length, instincts and motor help split the difference. Okongwu neatly fits the rim-running, vertical-spacing role that’s earned a lot of players solid paychecks in recent years, and he’ll be an attractive option for teams in need of interior help. He’s a fairly safe bet to have a productive career in some capacity.
15. Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington | Freshman
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 250 | Age: 18
There’s a good chance Stewart ends up being a long-term NBA contributor, and that floor is the central part of his appeal. He competes, he’s got great length, and has worked hard to keep weight off and revamp his frame. He’s active in the paint, will rebound and do the dirty work to help his team win, and has been immediately productive for the Huskies, as expected. However, Stewart’s ceiling is somewhat limited as a big who operates primarily beneath the rim and lacks range on his shot—it’s much easier to survive as a non-shooting five in the NBA if you’re an elite athlete, and it’s somewhat concerning that Stewart checks neither of those boxes. For now, he profiles primarily as a screener and energy guy who can punish smaller defenders on the block when opposing teams switch. He should add value somewhere, but he makes more sense in the mid-to-late first than as a lottery pick. The fact Stewart is a big who actually likes doing big-man stuff is rarer than you think in this era.
16. Obi Toppin, F/C, Dayton | Sophomore
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 220 | Age: 21
Toppin has been a bit of a revelation to start the season, building buzz from where he left off at the Nike Skills Academy in August and solidifying his status as an obvious first-round talent. A powerful athlete who supplies legitimate role versatility on the offensive end, Toppin is comfortable rolling to the rim and pounding on the interior as well as catching and shooting from outside. While he doesn’t deal with contact as well as you’d think for a guy with his body type, his feel and skill level give him a clear pathway to a useful frontcourt role. He comes with some concerns defensively, as he’s on the smaller end of the spectrum for a center and may also have issues sticking with quicker forwards. But the way the league has shifted to favor speed and skill over sheer size is going to work in his favor. It’s worth noting he will turn 22 in March.
17. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
Green is off to a relatively sound start, and as an explosive leaper who looks the part and adds some value on both ends, he continues to track as a first rounder. He’s not always been the most aggressive scorer and has benefitted from playing off of a quality guard in Nico Mannion, with whom he played AAU as well. Green has racked up steals with his quickness and anticipation and is such a good athlete that he sometimes makes difficult things look easy. And while he may never create much offense off the dribble naturally, he’s improved slashing downhill and should at least be able to finish plays adequately. Green has to become a more consistent three-point shooter and stands to score a bit more efficiently in turn, but he offers a good amount for teams to work with, and at a position everyone needs.
18. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville | Junior
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 220 | Age: 21
After flirting with the draft in the spring and returning to Louisville, Nwora has successfully made the leap as one of college basketball’s top scorers. His catch-and-shoot skills are NBA-caliber, he’s a solid rebounder, and has begun to round out his game a bit with improved ball skills. Nwora likely will never be a great perimeter defender or playmaker, but there’s always been plenty to like—projectable perimeter shooting coupled with size and a nice complementary floor game can go a long way. He continues to profile pretty safely as a role player at the next level, and continued strong play from Louisville should help keep his stock steady.
19. Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona | Freshman
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 240 | Age: 19
The late-blooming Nnaji has been a breath of fresh air in a draft class relatively thin on bigs, bolstering Arizona with his relentless energy and soft touch around the rim and shooting an absurd 74% on two-point shots. He certainly doesn’t look like he needs much more time in college, and most scouts who have caught glimpses of him agree a first-round selection seems the likely outcome. Nnaji has been extraordinarily efficient around the basket and flashed some ability as a jump shooter, although he’s not taking threes within the Arizona offense. He’s a good rebounder who also offers above-average mobility on the defensive end, although he doesn’t make a massive impact as a rim protector. With his production and approach, Nnaji has put himself in good position to turn pro.
20. Amar Sylla, F/C, Oostende
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 190 | Age: 18
After moving from Real Madrid to find more playing time in Belgium, Sylla has begun to play much better over the past few weeks. He’s a uniquely gifted defensive prospect, with great length and mobility and a natural capacity to block shots. The game has yet to totally slow down for him, but his athletic ability and instincts are strong, and as his frame matures, there’s ample upside here. The simple fact that he’s logging heavy minutes on a team allowing him double-digit shots per game is great for his development. Sylla’s upside makes him an appealing, if somewhat raw prospect, and the chance to develop him should be an intriguing option, particularly given the way this draft class is shaping up.
21. Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech | Freshman
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 185 | Age: 18
Ramsey has been a terrific fit for Texas Tech after Jarrett Culver’s departure to the pros, filling a critical scoring role out of the gate. He’s missed the past week or so with a hamstring injury, but was feasting against soft competition beforehand and showcased his ability to score at all three levels of the floor. He’s been particularly impressive catching and shooting, and his body type and athletic tools are appealing from an NBA perspective. On the flipside, he still has to prove his worth defensively, and he doesn’t contribute much playmaking despite being relied upon to handle the ball and create offense. Ramsey’s productivity and capacity to score have put him in the first-round mix early on, but he has more to prove as conference play approaches to solidify that status.
22. Joel Ayayi, G, Gonzaga | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 180 | Age: 19
After breaking out for France at the U19 world championships over the summer, Ayayi continues to trend upward and has established himself as Gonzaga’s top prospect, and one of the more intriguing sleepers in college basketball. His creativity off the dribble, passing vision and shooting range are all impressive, and his size and skill set as a true combo guard is extremely appealing. Getting downhill and attacking more often is the next step for him, and he’s earned a significant portion of Gonzaga’s backcourt minutes. He redshirted upon arrival and is still just 19 years old, which helps create a good deal of optimism with his current trajectory. Ayayi might be Gonzaga’s most important player, and he’s building a strong case to test the waters this spring.
23. Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 190 | Age: 20
Nesmith has begun to blossom in a featured role and has been one of the top catch-and-shoot players in the country, hitting a blistering 51.5% of his threes on more than eight attempts per game. He relies on a sweet, repeatable stroke and has been better utilized by Jerry Stackhouse and his staff—although he’s not much of a creator off the dribble, Nesmith is dangerous running off screens and a threat to score as soon as he sets his feet. He has a good enough baseline as an athlete and defender to project as a viable floor-spacing wing who opposing coaches won’t be able to pick on relentlessly. Shooters with that type of profile don’t come along all that often, and it looks like he’s starting to put it all together.
24. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 270 | Age: 18
Unsurprisingly, Carey has been the most college-ready of Duke’s freshmen, flashing a much-improved motor in the earlygoing and doing a good job playing physically in the paint and finishing with touch. His continued productivity is essential to his draft case, as his skill set doesn’t project as cleanly at the NBA level, and he’s not an elite run-jump athlete who will be able to dominate with his physical tools in the pros. Carey has pretty good feet and has provided more defensive resistance than expected, but he’s not quite the type of physical presence or natural shot-blocker that dissuades opposition from attacking the rim by simply being present. He’s not a natural jump shooter, but any improvement in that area would go a long way. Credit Carey for working into good shape and being consistently effective, but he’s got more to do to solidify first-round status.
25. Scottie Lewis, SF, Florida | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19
Lewis, along with the rest of his team, has largely sputtered out of the gate on the offensive side of the ball, in keeping with the concerns teams held about him coming into the season. He’s easily sped up when creating off the dribble, his jumper is still iffy, and his decision-making skills have a ways to go. His natural, frenetic energy can help and hurt. But athletically, Lewis has always fit the bill, and his tenacity on defense and relentless style of play will add value even if the offensive component is only average. As hard as he competes with the tools he has, there’s a camp that will feel comfortable betting on Lewis to figure things out and carve out a useful niche in the NBA. Still, at this point in the season, it’s tough to label him a lottery pick—or even a great one-and-done candidate—particularly if his shooting percentages don’t improve.
26. Patrick Williams, F, Florida State | Freshman
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 225 | Age: 18
Williams has shown some nice things in the earlygoing, demonstrating a solid feel for the game in spite of his low scoring totals. Though not especially explosive, he’s an above-average athlete with a nice frame and good feet defensively, with real potential to be a switchable piece on that end. But Williams struggles to create off the dribble, rendering him in more of a complementary, floor-spacing and ball-moving role long-term. To create a real one-and-done case, Williams has to prove he’s a better shooter than this while making a more tangible contribution on offense. There’s a chance he ends up a solid rotation player, but he’s not a clear-cut one-and-done guy right now. The fact he won’t turn 19 until August makes his case more appealing.
27. Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis | Freshman
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210 | Age: 20
By no real fault of his own, Achiuwa was overhyped as a high school prospect, and while he’s been productive for Memphis and certainly useful in the absence of James Wiseman, his freakish athleticism is compromised by his rudimentary shot-creation skills and a below-average feel for the game. Achiuwa belongs physically and competes, which will give him a chance to make it, but there are plenty of skeptics around the league as to whether he can develop enough of an offensive skill set—either as a rim-running five or catch-and-shoot forward—to make it all work. He’s not the first-round lock he was widely billed as, and profiles as much more of a project than anything else.
28. Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 180 | Age: 20
After shooting an impressive 41.4% from three as a freshman on eight attempts per game, Joe’s volume has increased, but his accuracy has dipped (33.3% through nine games) in year two. His skill set as a catch-and-shoot threat is pretty legit, so it’s fair to expect some positive regression as the season goes on, and he remains an intriguing potential specialist at the NBA level. But his inability to score in the paint and get downhill is fairly concerning, and he’s going to have to turn it up in all facets to be a first-rounder this season. Joe was so good last year that he earns the benefit of the doubt, and Arkansas’ coaching change and the lack of a pass-first playmaker alongside him are also factors here. He’s still worth monitoring closely.
29. Kahlil Whitney, SF, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
It’s not altogether shocking that Whitney has struggled to acclimate at Kentucky, as he’s never really been asked to fit in before. His primary appeal as a prospect remains his appealing frame and athletic tools, and he has the potential to be a strong defender on the wing who can add some secondary scoring, as well. However, it’s clear he’s not especially close to reaching that point, and how he responds to adversity from here will dictate a lot with respect to his draft stock. His upside keeps him in the first round picture for now, but he’s done little to truly earn it thus far. Whitney will need some proof of production to stabilize his stock as a first-round caliber flier.
30. Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State | Senior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 185 | Age: 21
Winston has dealt with a good deal of adversity this season, with the death of his brother and some early team struggles, but his profile as a future NBA backup remains rock-solid. There are still scouts who can’t get over his body type, and there’s concern about how well he’ll be able to hold up physically, but his feel and passing acumen is unquestionable, and his scalding stretch at the end of last season is still fresh in the minds of many. He’s not an upside pick, and accomplished, older college guards in his mold have tended to land in the early second round, but it’s easy to see Winston offering value in this part of the draft as a qualified part of an NBA bench unit.
31. Wendell Moore, G/F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 215 | Age: 18
While Moore remains Duke’s most intriguing long-term prospect, he’s not quite as advanced or as eye-poppingly athletic as many of the other wings in this class, although the fact he’s extremely young relative to his peers is worth noting. He’s probably never going to be a spectacular offensive threat, but at present Moore’s well-rounded skill set profiles into a useful role as he matures, without any major holes beyond the fact he’s just not that explosive. That said, he’s smooth and coordinated, can shoot it a bit, and should be able to defend multiple positions with his length and anticipation. He could also certainly benefit from a second year at Duke.
32. Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 20
While it’s not necessarily likely that Hagans becomes more than an average jump shooter (if that) the fact he’s a potentially elite-level on-ball defender makes him an intriguing long-term prospect. If he works himself into a capable threat from the perimeter, he has a clear pathway to NBA value, and the fact he’s a good free throw shooter may point to some untapped ability there. If not, his defensive impact might still make him a useful bench player. Hagans’s length, quick feet and defensive anticipation can give opposing guards fits, and the fact he’s capable of running a team and making plays for others should at least tailor him for a backup spot. As it stands, he’s draftable, but more on the first-round periphery.
33. Makur Maker, C, Pacific Academy
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19
The NBA continues to review Maker’s case to go from prep school to the 2020 draft. In the meantime, teams are preparing as if he’ll be on the board. Maker compares favorably to his older cousin Thon at the same stage, with a large, lanky frame that’s filled out considerably and a decent skill level. Physically, he looks the part. He has range out to three, and there’s some concern that he views himself as a perimeter player, but any NBA future will unquestionably come at the five. Although the bar hasn’t been set particularly high, Maker could end up being the best player in his family, and his stock could be volatile in either direction from here.
34. Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State | Junior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 245 | Age: 20
Tillman specializes in doing the dirty work, and has been a largely unheralded yet invaluable piece of the Spartans’ success dating back to last season. He’s not particularly tall for a center, but has a chance to be a quality rotational big in the pros with what he adds defensively and on the glass. Tillman has worked on extending his shooting range, and if he ends up being able to shoot the three, he’ll have a fairly strong window of opportunity as a role player. A lot of the things he does as a screener and defender don’t show up in the box score, and while he’ll never be more than a fourth or fifth offensive option, he might be able to thrive in that capacity.
35. Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova | Sophomore
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21
Bey has looked like the Villanova prospect closest to being ready for the draft, able to offer a well-rounded floor game, strong frame and some role versatility. He’s improved statistically across the board in a bigger offensive role, most notably shooting 43.8% from three in the earlygoing, and it’s easy to see him evolving into a swiss-army-knife type forward in the pros. Bey may not be quite as good an outside shooter as his percentages indicate, but he’s been efficient and it’s evident that he’s started turning a corner offensively. If his production keeps up at this clip, Bey will have a legit case to at least test the waters in the spring.
36. Jalen Smith, C, Maryland | Sophomore
Heght: 6’10” | Weight: 225 | Age: 19
Smith’s production has been more consistent in year two, but he hasn’t quite jumped off the page yet, either, profiling best as an NBA backup for now. He’s big, can move and alter shots, but his offensive versatility has been a bit oversold—he does have potential to space the floor in a catch-and-shoot capacity. There are still moments where Smith looks somewhat uncoordinated, and it’s concerning how hard he tends to have to work just to generate easy points. The fact he competes and plays hard regularly helps, but his issues handling contact and playing under the rim would seem to limit his upside. There remains a deal of optimism, but Smith has become a divisive player among scouts.
37. Jared Butler, PG, Baylor | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 20
Despite a strong statistical start and the success of his team, Butler continues to fly under the radar nationally as one of the better point guards in college hoops. He’s sneakily an intriguing prospect as well, given the way he’s shot the ball from deep plus decent playmaking chop and a nice level of craft and physical strength. Butler changes speeds deceptively well off the bounce and has displayed a surprisingly mature floor game so far. Sustaining his lofty shooting splits may be a challenge, but staying the course into Big 12 play will certainly bode well for his stock. Butler’s playing so well on whole that it’s hard to deny him a spot on this list.
38. Kira Lewis, PG, Alabama | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 170 | Age: 18
After playing his entire freshman year as a 17-year-old, Lewis still hasn’t quite turned a corner as many hoped, with his decision-making skills still lagging behind his blazing end-to-end speed. He’s good pushing ahead in transition and a capable shooter who’s still learning the finer points. To play his way closer to the first round, Lewis will have to improve playing in the halfcourt, where his athleticism is less functional given he’s more of a ball-screen oriented guard than a dribble-breakdown one. Lewis stands to mature physically as well, and while he’s in the picture for 2020, he could also benefit developmentally from a third year of college given his relative youth.
39. Paul Reed, F/C, DePaul | Junior
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 220 | Age: 20
Reed has been at the center of DePaul’s modest resurgence and is off to a productive start. He’s made positive strides in terms of effort and consistency and has figured out how to maximize his length and athleticism on the defensive end. Reed is a solid shot blocker who covers a good amount of ground, and the tools make him a somewhat interesting project. However, there’s a chance Reed ends up somewhat stuck without an ideal role—he lacks the advanced type of skill, feel, and projectable jumper (his mechanics are messy) you’d want to handle the four-spot. He also lacks the physical heft and elite explosiveness you’d prefer in a rim-running five—he’s added muscle, but his frame is slender. He’s largely getting by off of his instincts and tools, and it’s tough to function as a hybrid big in that capacity against NBA frontlines. Regardless, Reed has played his way onto the radar for 2020.
40. Tre Jones, PG, Duke | Sophomore
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19
Jones has become oddly polarizing among scouts despite being a relatively steady player who most likely ends up being a backup in the NBA. Some love his intangibles and are sold on his defensive anticipation and ability to make his teammates better. Others see his struggles not only to shoot jumpers, but to efficiently generate halfcourt offense period, and question his actual value. Jones isn’t particularly big or strong, and just isn’t much of a threat operating in ball screens. He‘s great in the open floor and has certainly improved, but his upside is somewhat limited. Bottom line, Jones will have to at least shoot it well enough to keep opposing teams from going under every ball screen.
41. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State | Sophomore
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 230 | Age: 20
Queta made his return over the weekend against Fresno State after missing several months recovering from a knee injury sustained over the summer playing for his native Portugal. He had an outstanding freshman season and possesses the type of tools and size that tend to play up at the NBA level. Queta may not be a floor-spacing five, but he may have enough going for him to fit into a rim-running, shot-blocking role and impact games in the paint. It may take him some time to get acclimated, but once he gets back to full strength, there’s room for him to improve his stock with consistent performance.
42. Tyler Bey, F, Colorado | Junior
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21
Although he’s not a particularly consistent scorer and not a very good jump shooter, it’s tough to ignore how impactful Bey has been for Colorado over the last two seasons. He’s an impressive run-jump athlete, outstanding rebounder, and covers a lot of ground defensively, racking up blocks and steals as an undersized power forward. He lacks ball skills and doesn’t necessarily have a clean positional fit other than as an undersized energy big, but his case might end up so strong from a production standpoint that teams will have to look past the holes in his skill set. Bey turns 22 in February, but what he’s doing is hard to ignore, and if Colorado continues its strong start, his stock could rise.
43. Grant Riller, PG, Charleston | Senior
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 22
Riller is an intriguing second-round sleeper with a strong four-year résumé of production, albeit primarily against mid-major competition. He’s explosive attacking the rim off the dribble, finishes well in the paint, and is a capable playmaker with a strong feel on both sides of the ball. Riller’s advanced age and three-point shooting struggles are still giving teams pause, but his teams have won consistently and he’s been a consistent part of their success. As far as mid-major prospects are concerned, he’s one of the most intriguing guys in the draft.
44. Myles Powell, SG, Seton Hall | Senior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 200 | Age: 22
Although his size and frame aren’t ideal, particularly for a catch-and-shoot specialist, Powell has worked hard on his game and turned himself into one of college basketball’s top scorers. While that doesn’t mean much in terms of long-term job security, his ability to get shots off cleanly in a variety of situations and force defenses to account for him is significant, and will earn him a chance to prove he can do it against better competition. He has to be better scoring around the rim and doesn’t offer much shot-creation off the dribble, but the potentially elite perimeter shooting has a chance to play up. He’s on the second-round radar.
45. Aaron Wiggins, G/F, Maryland | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 200 | Age: 20
While he hasn’t been the pillar of consistency as a scorer, Wiggins has begun making major strides as an all-around contributor and key component of a strong Maryland team. He’s added strength and has looked more explosive off the floor and more poised defensively, and has real potential to become the type of low-maintenance, two-way wing player teams value highly. His biggest areas for improvement will be efficiency and shot selection — he still struggles to score on the interior, and his jumper is workable but in need of refinement and consistency. Wiggins’ athletic tools and steady improvement as a passer and defender should still put him on the radar, and if he cleans up the scoring a bit, he’ll have a sneaky case to turn pro.
46. Ochai Agbaji, SG, Kansas | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 210 | Age: 19
While Agbaji isn’t elite in any one area, his frame, motor and catch-and-shoot potential offer some role-player appeal. He’s a key piece for Kansas and has been bought in and solid on whole as a rebounder and complementary scorer playing off of Devon Dotson. Agbaji isn’t dynamic off the dribble or attacking downhill, and the fact he’s shot just seven free throws in eight game is concerning. But his intangibles, youth and projectability have on the radar as a potential 3-and-D prospect, particularly in a draft where the level of talent is so flat.
47. Paul Scruggs, SG, Xavier | Junior
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 195 | Age: 21
Though not an elite-level shot creator, Scruggs is a nice scoring-oriented guard with a chance to eventually become a solid NBA role player. He’s a fluid athlete with appealing length and foot speed, and has made strides developing his all-around game, emerging as Xavier’s go-to guy. He’s also pretty solid defensively and capable of handling bigger wings. Scruggs lacks one true calling-card skill, and needs to shoot the ball better from outside, but provided he continues to score efficiently, he may end up as a nice option in the middle of the draft.
48. Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga | Senior
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 220 | Age: 21
After battling lower body injuries throughout his college career, there’s real concern over how well Tillie will hold up long-term, particularly given he’s basically maxed out his slender frame from a physical standpoint. What’s not in question is his ability to catch and shoot, and as a relatively athletic stretch big, he’s the type of guy who will get multiple chances to succeed, in spite of his health and the holes in his game. If Tillie settles in and can string together some quality games, as he’s begun to do, he should be worth a shot in the second round.
49. A.J. Lawson, G, South Carolina | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 19
Lawson has always been slightly more interesting as an idea than in practice, but as a bigger guard with the ability to pass and handle the ball, he’s on the radar right now. He’s not a particularly good shooter or inspired defender nor has he been especially consistent in terms of production, but on a good day, his fluidity and athleticism help him look the part. Lawson has appeal in this range right now, but he’ll have to play better down the stretch to strengthen his case as more than a second-round flier.
50. Cassius Stanley, SG, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 195 | Age: 20
After injuring his hamstring against Winthrop on Nov. 29, Stanley ended up missing just one game. He’s exceeded expectations and been a valuable player for Duke, taking advantage of minimal offensive opportunity and adding some value on the defensive end. He’s athletic, plays hard, rebounds and has shown a commitment to doing the small things. His playmaking skills and handle leave something to be desired, but Stanley has shot the ball much better than expected thus far, and if he’s able to sustain respectable splits, it’s easy to see a team taking a second-round flier. His case is somewhat unusual given he’s a 20-year-old true freshman, but he’s certainly helped himself so far.
51. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19
Dosunmu’s stock has dropped a good deal in NBA circles. Once viewed as a potential first-rounder, his progression seems to have stalled somewhat. He has a great frame for a two guard and has noticeably improved his upper body from last season, and looks the part. But he lacks a discernible strength on offense at this stage, without advanced playmaking vision or a consistent three-point shot. He’s always had great defensive potential, but has yet to remake himself in that mold. There’s still room to grow, but Dosunmu’s struggles attacking set defenses have given teams pause. Assuming he turns pro, he’s more likely in the second-round mix.
52. Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas | Sophomore
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 180 | Age: 20
One of the better point guards in college basketball, Dotson’s toughness and elusive speed off the dribble are interesting from an NBA perspective. His lack of great physical tools and inconsistent jumper might make it difficult for him to really make a dent in the context of this year’s draft, but given he tested the waters last year, Dotson remains on the radar for now. There’s been some incremental improvement in his statistical profile, and he’s both crafty and quick off the dribble. Defensively, his size is going to work against him, but it’s certainly possible he develops into a quality backup. He’ll need consistently strong play and improved three-point shooting to force the issue over the rest of the season.
53. Jayden Scrubb, SG, John Logan | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19
Scrubb is committed to play at Louisville this season, but it remains to be seen whether or not he makes it to campus or opts to enter the draft. He’s got great physical tools, but lacks a great feel for anything other than scoring, and even then, his stats may be inflated somewhat by a ball-dominant, high-volume role at Logan. NBA teams are keeping an eye on him, but right now he’s more of a curiosity, and would likely benefit from going to college and learning how to fit into a more team-centric role. Scrubb can really score, but he’s extremely left-hand dominant, and the competition at his level isn’t very challenging, either.
54. Kaleb Wesson, C, Ohio State | Junior
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 260 | Age: 20
After slimming down considerably over the summer, Wesson has seen his game take off and become one of college basketball’s most productive players in the earlygoing. Already a physical, skilled post player with passing ability and feel, the added mobility and an improved three-point shot have bolstered his long-term prospects. The NBA has moved away somewhat from back-to-the-basket bigs like Wesson, but his role as the centerpiece of a very good Buckeyes team should give him an adequate platform to the draft if all goes well. If he stays consistent, he should be able to work his way into the mix in a draft that’s relatively thin on bigs.
55. Trevelin Queen, G/F, New Mexico State | Senior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 190 | Age: 23
Queen profiles as an intriguing sleeper with his size and ability to move the ball, and while his stats don’t leap off the page at face value, his feel and on-court makeup are somewhat interesting. He was MVP of the WAC tournament last season and put himself on the map there. He doesn’t have much talent around him and has taken an unorthodox path, spending time in junior college before landing at New Mexico State, but his best games leap off the page, and with increased consistency, he could play his way into the draft. Queen is more of a curiosity at this stage, and he’s extremely old by prospect standards, but if he can put it all together late, he could be worth a two-way contract or better.
56. Skylar Mays, SG, LSU | Senior
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 200 | Age: 22
A proven three-point shooter and competitor, Mays has been LSU’s primary constant the past two seasons and profiles fairly well as a potential NBA role player. He’s a natural shooter and plays with confidence, and has just enough size and athleticism to tie it all together. Mays will be better off playing alongside a real point guard (as he did last year next to Tremont Waters) and is slightly miscast as a ballhandler for the Tigers, where he’s splitting duties with Javonte Smart. He’s not a particularly natural playmaker or creator. But on whole, he should end up as a draftable player given the strides he’s made as a senior and how efficiently he’s scoring at the moment.
57. Desmond Bane, SG, TCU | Senior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21
Bane is an oversized power guard who’s been a similar player each of the last couple seasons — productive, but not especially dynamic with the ball in his hands. His size and explosiveness make him dangerous going downhill, and he’s a career 42% shooter from three, but he’s not really a strong positive in any other area, and will have to rely on his motor and athleticism to make a roster. He’s not especially good defensively, with his hefty frame perhaps inhibiting him from hanging with smaller guards on the perimeter. Still, the shooting profile and size should give him a shot, and he’s in midst of his best year to date. The fact he’s young for a senior helps a bit.
58. Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon | Senior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 195 | Age: 21
Granted, Pritchard’s small stature might be an impediment to his long-term success, but his tough-minded approach and feel for running a team can’t be discounted. He’s a crafty scorer and capable playmaker who’s put together a strong career on whole as a four-year starter, and remains one of the better point guards in college hoops. Pritchard is deceptive off the dribble, capable shooting from distance, and opportunistic scoring in the paint — if he can avoid being totally exposed on defense at the next level, there’s a chance for him to stick somewhere as a third point guard. He’s piloted two runs to the second weekend of the NCAA tournament in three years, and another strong season for Oregon on whole will be key for him.
59. Markus Howard, G, Marquette | Senior
Height: 5’11” | Weight: 175 | Age: 20
Limited size and strength aside, projecting Howard at the next level is tricky because he’ll likely never function in such a ball-dominant, volume-heavy capacity in the NBA. But he’s certainly proven to be an elite shooter over the last four years, has playmaking feel, and won’t turn 21 until March. He’ll be a liability on defense, but those strengths should buy him an opportunity, and playing off the ball alongside a bigger guard could create some situational opportunity for Howard to succeed. There are going to be obstacles here, but it would be a mistake to completely write him off.
60. Reggie Perry, F/C, Mississippi State | Sophomore
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 250 | Age: 19
Dating back to a positive showing at the U19 World Championships, Perry seems to have figured out how to play hard, and the fact that it’s his best pathway to a spot on someone’s bench. He’s limited skill-wise and plays a bully-ball style that won’t fully translate, but his heft and length should keep him an above-average rebounder, and he’s working on stretching his range out to three consistently. It’s not necessarily likely that Perry puts it all together and becomes a useful energy big, but there are teams who liked him at the combine last year, and he has a shot at a second-round selection if he continues racking up double-doubles. The upside isn’t super high, but he can sell people on his floor.