When we last visited this space, March Madness was still on the table. That, obviously, did not end up being the case, with most of the country spending the past two months primarily in quarantine. While there wasn’t an opportunity for players to improve their stock on the court, the additional, unexpected time away from the court has given teams time to review film, dive further into background, and conduct interviews with prospects. The draft combine and lottery have officially been postponed from their usual week in mid-May, which vibes with the common, league-wide thought that the draft itself will not take place in June. As long as the NBA wants to hold out hope of reviving the regular season and playoffs, the draft will have to wait, accordingly.
Normally, the past two months would have involved a lot of travel, between conference tournaments, the NCAA tournament, high school All-Star events and the Portsmouth Invitational. Instead, like the rest of the NBA, I’ve spent the time reviewing game film and stats, communicating with personnel around the league, and filling in the gaps as far as this draft class is concerned. Below is an updated set of rankings following the NBA’s release of its early-entry list. Between my own live evaluations and all the information available, this list is formed holistically, and serves as a representation of the current shape of the draft, not accounting for team fit. The Big Board is intended to offer a window into the league’s (admittedly fluid) consensus, and put the draft into context, while also objectively assessing the available talent.
1. Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia | Freshman
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 225 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 1
Edwards held steady in this spot all season, and remains the most palatable answer to a particularly convoluted question of who to take at No. 1 in a vacuum. He made some visible progress at Georgia, where he was afforded the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them. Despite being relatively raw and on the young end of the spectrum, Edwards owns the best combination of physical tools and shot-creation potential in the draft, and it’s less a matter of whether he eventually gets up to speed than how long it takes him to get there. His balance and strength bode well for his long-term capacity to defend. The big questions are primarily about how efficient he’ll be at his peak, and whether or not his style of play ever becomes conducive to winning games, given ball-dominant scorers tend to have thin margins for error in that regard. His development at Georgia from where he was a year ago offers room for optimism, and with the right level of nurture, Edwards has a pathway to being a long-term building block. But making this pick will come with a requisite degree of patience.
2. LaMelo Ball, PG, Illawarra Hawks
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 3
Ball presents one of the biggest risk-reward propositions in the draft, with undeniable flair and playmaking ability and legit size, but also some key rough edges that could hamstring his ability to anchor a winning team. He’s terrific in transition and profiles as a starting-caliber lead guard, but the skeptical view is that Ball has little history of actually being winning-conducive, and that he racked up counting stats more as a byproduct of high usage on a bad team. His shooting struggles are glaring, and he will need to be consistently dangerous from three-point range for his passing ability to truly shine in halfcourt play. Defensively, he’s often disinterested, but his size and anticipation should help him be close to passable. Bottom line, Ball has to score efficiently to lead a winning offense, and the types of shots he favors aren’t statistically the most conducive in that regard—he favors deep threes and floaters, and isn’t wholly convincing finishing against bodies in the paint. He may have to become a true outlier to hit the high end of his potential. Still, the possibility of that happening will be enough to entice teams early in the draft, and any team in need of a playmaker will have to think long and hard.
3. James Wiseman, C, Memphis | Freshman
Height: 7’1” | Weight: 245 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 2
Wiseman remains a likely top-five pick, despite a general lack of excitement surrounding him after playing just three games at Memphis. He was solid but not spectacular, and it’s hard to know how seriously to take small early-season samples, particularly with freshmen adjusting to new situations. The dwindling value of centers in today’s NBA also raises important questions about how high Wiseman should actually be drafted, relative to what contractual slot value will pay him. But 7-footers with his body type and measurables are few and far between, and his sheer size makes him a deterrent around the basket and should make him an impactful rebounder and finisher right away. He will have to continue making progress as an all-around offensive player, particularly the development of his jumper, to maximize his talent. The fact this draft is shallow at the top has helped Wiseman’s stock remain stable, but where he’s actually drafted will depend more on fit and philosophy than his sheer ability. He’s probably a productive, starting-caliber center, but he may not be a franchise-altering piece.
4. Tyrese Haliburton, G, Iowa State | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 175 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 4
Although nearly everything about Haliburton’s game is unorthodox, his advanced on-court intellect, winning-conducive skill set and rapid trajectory are noteworthy, and set him apart in some regard in a lottery where the talent gap between prospects is admittedly narrow. His actual draft range is fairly wide, given the fact his game is a bit of an acquired taste: what he lacks creating off the dribble or exploding past defenders, he’ll compensate for with a diagonal pass or narrowly-threaded drop-off that few of his peers would ever think about making. Haliburton’s real value lies in what it means for everyone else on his team, and how and when his game takes off may depend more on how long it takes for him to land in a great situation, where he’s able to accentuate, rather than anchor a team. Regardless, his floor is pretty substantive as a ball-moving facilitator who hits open shots and makes any five-man lineup more effective.
5. Killian Hayes, PG, Ratiopharm Ulm
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 9
Winning offenses stem from having great decision-makers, and Hayes appears to be on his way there after a breakout year for Ulm, where he took on full-time point guard responsibilities for the first time. He may profile best as a combo in the NBA long-term, and he needs to continue improving his perimeter shooting to get there. Hayes is not a high-end athlete and relies heavily on craft and timing to be effective. But his toughness and natural creativity with the ball are appealing, and he’s been consistent and productive as a true 18-year-old playing real minutes, which can’t be undersold. Given the prevalence of multiple-handler attacks and Hayes’ flashes of advanced shot-creation skills, he’s solidified himself as a lottery option with intriguing growth potential, even if he takes a year or two to adjust to the NBA. This is the high end of his range, but he won’t make it out of the lottery.
6. Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn | Freshman
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 5
This draft class isn’t rife with explosive wings, but Okoro has a strong case as the most intriguing one, with blossoming athleticism, great instincts on defense, and a knack for making things happen without dominating the ball. With his solid frame and natural anticipation, Okoro should be a tone-setting defender who can at least slow down bigger wings — which is valuable unto itself in a league driven by perimeter scorers. Granted, he doesn’t generate much offense on his own, and his jumper is a work in progress, but it’s not cripplingly bad. His feel for playing within an offense is encouraging, but he’s going to need shots created for him. If his ballhandling and shooting improve, he can be more than just a solid role player. He makes enough of an impact without having to score
7. Deni Avdija, F, Maccabi Tel Aviv
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 6
Avdija has intriguing traits for a modern combo forward, with some playmaking potential and a skill set well-rounded enough to fit with a variety of lineups. It’s worth wondering how translatable some of his offensive usage on the interior might be, but Avdija has size and plus vision as a passer, and should improve enough as a perimeter shooter to keep teams honest. He’s not an explosive athlete in tight spaces, nor is a he a creative ball-handler, which is going to limit his long-term ceiling. But the hope is that he’s a smart enough team defender to survive on that end, while growing into a plus offensive contributor as his frame fills out. His jumper and athleticism have to play up, bottom line. But his theoretical high-end outcomes make sense in the modern NBA.
8. Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC | Freshman
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 245 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 8
In a particularly down year for bigs, Okongwu separated himself from the pack, and will be off the board at some point in the lottery as an option for teams looking to shore up their interior defense. He projects safely as a useful rim protector, compensating for a lack of height with great instincts and length. He runs the floor well and should enable teams to play smaller and faster without sacrificing a ton defensively. Okongwu’s productivity and the fact he doesn’t need his number called to impact a game are appealing. He’s not exceptionally skilled as a scorer, which coupled with his size may limit some of the upside offensively—assigning star potential there requires a level of optimism. But Okongwu fits the mold for a modern center, and offers a degree of safety with those strengths, particularly relative to the field.
9. Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 7
Maxey’s stock cooled a bit after a statistically unimpressive year at Kentucky, and he was among the higher-profile players who really could have used a strong postseason run to help his stock. The back part of the lottery is the high end of his range, but he still has a good amount to offer, and provided his jumper improves—which, if you buy his free throw shooting and soft touch around the basket, is easy to buy—Maxey should still become a well-rounded contributor. He’s not a point guard, and becoming more of a threat without the ball in his hands is imperative to his success as a combo. But he has the tools to be a strong defender, and enough craft as a scorer to think he eventually pulls it all together. If he’s afforded more space to operate and asked to create a little bit less of his own offense, his efficiency should tick upward, and as long as he’s an average shooter, there should be a path to value here.
10. Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton | Sophomore
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 220 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 10
Typically, 22-year-old prospects don’t get much benefit of the doubt in the lottery. But in a down draft, Toppin has positioned himself to buck the trend after a prolific season at Dayton. Keeping perspective here is important—he’s a gifted offensive player, and a lot of what he does should translate, but he also dominated in a league where few teams could effectively counter his athleticism or take advantage of his weaknesses defensively. Toppin needs to add lower body strength and doesn’t move all that well laterally right now, both of which will have to improve for him to keep doing what he’s doing against NBA bodies. He might be best off playing alongside another big, rather than at center, where teams will attack him in space. But it‘s hard to bash a guy who made 70% on two-point attempts, dunks everything, and has range out to the three-point line. Lottery teams with an immediate need up front will have to consider him early.
11. Devin Vassell, SF, Florida State | Sophomore
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 14
After displaying some real progress as a scorer over the course of the season, Vassell neatly fits a utilitarian archetype as a strong team defender who can knock down open shots and doesn’t need a ton of touches to be valuable. He has appealing size and length on the wing and a nose for blowing up plays and forcing turnovers. The chief knock here centers on upside, as Vassell isn’t an explosive leaper or prolific finisher at the rim, and is still learning how to play off the dribble. But as an above-average shooter and disruptive defensive presence, it’s easy to pencil him into lineups as a competent floor-spacer and ball-mover. The fact he’s still 19 leaves some extra room for long-term growth.
12. Patrick Williams, F, Florida State | Freshman
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 225 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 17
Williams brings a lot to the table for teams to work with, as a big, legitimately versatile forward who can guard three positions, and the youngest college player in the draft. A lot of what he might do in the NBA is still theoretical, but there’s some floor here given the way his tools should play up on defense, and he need only keep progressing as a shooter to have a long career. Williams grew into his role as the season went on at Florida State and shot the ball well from the foul line, leaving room for optimism. For a team that doesn’t need its first-round pick to play immediately, he looks like a worthy project who could eventually fill a valuable, versatile role. Given his youth, raw skill set, and limited sample of production, it will take a glass-half-full mindset for Williams to sneak into the lottery. But in an iffy draft, he’s one of the more appealing long-term prospects expected to be available outside the top ten.
13. Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina | Freshman
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 15
Anthony’s stock was volatile for much of the season, and while he played better down the back stretch of conference play after returning from injury, he didn’t do enough to fully revive his reputation as a prospect. He’s athletic, capable of making tough shots, and put up big counting stats at North Carolina. But those numbers scarcely accompanied team success—and while the Tar Heels’ spacing was suboptimal and some of the blame falls on the coaching staff, Anthony’s decision-making left a lot to be desired, particularly while closing games. He didn’t get to the rim enough, and sometimes struggled to finish against bodies. He’ll surely be more effective at full health and with additional room to operate, but the fact his smaller frame might be maxed out—and that he’s about to turn 20—gives a lot of scouts pause. But Anthony has the tools to be a useful microwave scorer, and if he lands in a good situation, he can still deliver value. An optimist might view this as a buy-low opportunity, while a skeptic might say this ranking is still too high.
14. Théo Maledon, G, ASVEL Basket
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 175 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 11
After entering the year as a projected top-ten selection, Maledon’s stock ran aground amid a rocky season that included injuries and an inconsistent role. His team played a little bit of a restrictive style, to be fair, but he profiles better as a well-rounded combo than a true lead guard at this point given his lack of dynamism creating off the dribble. Maledon is a good athlete with speed in the open court and has the size and smarts to fit into a complementary ball-handling role, and teams believe strongly in his work ethic, which has helped prevent him from dropping too far on draft boards. He’s not a sexy pick, but he’s young and comes with a good amount of high-level experience. At this point, he figures to land somewhere inside the first 20 picks.
15. Kira Lewis, PG, Alabama | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 170 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 24
Lewis began to trend upward among scouts during the back half of the season, with his individual growth accentuated as the other top guards began to struggle. The fact he just turned 19—placing him in the same age bracket as all of the freshmen in this draft—is significant, and his blazing speed, improving feel as a playmaker and capable outside shot put a lot of pressure on defenses this season. He’s extremely thin and is going to take time to fill out and develop, but compensates by being able to beat people to spots going downhill and being a competent finisher with both hands. While Lewis isn’t exactly a floor general in the sense of controlling pace and dictating play, he’s so fast and naturally effective in two-man situations that he may be able to succeed just off those strengths. How high he can rise without individual workouts is worth monitoring as the predraft process moves forward, but he makes sense in the 10-20 range as an upside play.
16. Aaron Nesmith, G/F, Vanderbilt | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 19
Unfortunately, Nesmith’s season was cut short by a foot fracture, but he did put together a pretty convincing 14 games, in which he hit a remarkable 52% of his threes on 115 attempts. He’s one of the better pure shot-makers in the draft, can attack a closeout fairly well, and is competent if not jaw-dropping from an athletic perspective. If Nesmith’s shooting plays up in an elite capacity, which it could, the rest of his game should accessorize that skill pretty well, and he has a chance to at least be an average defender. His ability to catch and shoot under duress and off movement is a pretty rare, and capable floor spacing tends to come at a premium. He’ll likely land somewhere in the middle of the first round as long as his medical checks out.
17. Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford | Freshman
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 160 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 23
Terry has a case as the best pure shooter in the draft, with an offensive skill set that points to real long-term upside as his body matures and he adds strength. His compact release and feel for moving the ball around the perimeter made him dangerous right away at Stanford, and he finished well around the rim, particularly for a guy his size. He stands to improve creating shots for himself and others off the dribble, but he’ll be able to play on and off the ball, and profiles as the type of talent worth investing in early and developing. Terry will get targeted defensively given his size, but if his shooting keeps progressing and he fills out, at least some of those concerns should be mitigated. He’s an obvious first-round talent who flew under the radar for much of the season, and a particularly intriguing fit for guard-needy teams that can pair him with a bigger playmaker.
18. Josh Green, G/F, Arizona | Freshman
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 21
While Green’s game is somewhat unspectacular, his athleticism and generally well-rounded game are still intriguing in a complementary sense. Talent isn’t the holdup here: he’s quick, fluid and active in the passing lanes and is a passable shooter. But he can be too passive, and needs to reshape his shot selection to rely less on midrange jumpers to maximize his opportunity. Green’s frame, explosive leaping ability and flashes of playmaking talent offer some intrigue, and while he may never be a very creative player, simply learning how to pick his spots better could go a long way. His athletic ability and base skill set make him a worthwhile option in the mid-to-late first round for a team that can develop him into a rotation piece.
19. R.J. Hampton, G, New Zealand Breakers
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 12
It’s not entirely his fault, but preseason expectations were overly bullish on Hampton, and his play in the NBL wound up creating more questions than answers. His range is rather wide as a result, but he still figures to land in the first round based on his size, tools and pedigree. Turning pro early was a challenging adjustment for a player who would have been a high school senior, experience-wise, had he not reclassified. There are real concerns about Hampton’s jumper, particularly given he profiles best as a combo guard and will need to contribute away from the ball. All that said, he was a highly regarded high school prospect, and should benefit if he lands in a situation more conducive to building his confidence. His end-to-end speed and big frame will play up. But he’s a ways off from contributing to an NBA rotation, and makes for a tricky projection.
20. Leandro Bolmaro, G, Barcelona II
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 20
An intriguing talent who blends positional size with natural creativity and improvisational playmaking, Bolmaro continues to track as a late first/early second round option who can theoretically be stashed overseas. Although he plays primarily for Barcelona’s B team, it doesn’t take a whole lot to glance at him and see the upside, particularly given how difficult it is to find and cultivate legit wing-sized playmakers. If his jumper clicks, Bolmaro could offer some real backcourt versatility. Given the limited production sample here, it’s more about his flashes of brilliance than anything else. Bolmaro needs more seasoning, but he’s an intriguing project for a team that can afford to wait.
21. Saddiq Bey, F, Villanova | Sophomore
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 16
Bey profiles as a rock-solid role player, offering defensive versatility and perimeter shooting in a low-maintenance offensive package that should fit into most lineups. He’s skilled and big enough to play both forward spots, and took a big leap forward this season for a Villanova program that’s consistently churned out useful NBA players. His release is compact and quick, and up close, it’s evident his confidence level has really grown. Bey isn’t very dynamic off the dribble, but he’s far along conceptually and does so many things well that teams should feel fairly secure in what they’re getting. He doesn’t offer a ton of upside, but should be useful in most circumstances, and fits what a lot of teams are looking for at forward with his two-way impact.
22. Aleksej Pokusevski, F, Olympiacos
Height: 7’0” | Weight: 200 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 34
Pokusevski is one of the weirder draft-eligible prospects and should be an interesting case study moving forward. He’s the youngest player on this board and his ball skills, shooting and fluidity at his size are highly unusual, but he’s so physically frail and ill-suited to play on the interior that he may never have a real chance of contributing on a regular basis in the NBA. He has the size to play center, but may never fill out to the point where he can actually do the job. He’s become an intriguing proposition nonetheless, in a weaker draft where we might see teams place added priority on stashing prospects overseas. Pokusevski is still more of an idea than anything, but the thought of him as a versatile stretch big might be enough to roll the dice.
23. Precious Achiuwa, F/C, Memphis | Freshman
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 27
From a productivity perspective, Achiuwa has had a strong freshman season, putting his physical tools to use on the glass and around the rim, and proving a surprisingly solid defensive presence playing center in James Wiseman’s absence. The five is clearly his most natural NBA position, although he still seems more interested in floating to the perimeter and moonlighting as a skill player—which has always been a concern. Achiuwa’s actual skill level and feel are often called into question, as he’s not a convincing shooter and often relies on drawing fouls with his strength and quickness. He certainly fits the bill athletically, making him an interesting option for a team with multiple picks, or simply the patience to invest in his tools. But billing him as a lottery pick feels aggressive based on his limitations and questionable instincts.
24. Nico Mannion, PG, Arizona | Freshman
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 13
The needle continues to move in the other direction a bit for Mannion after what was on whole an uneven year at Arizona. In his defense, he was asked to do a lot as a true freshman, and he remains one of the better passers in the draft. But teams have started to view him as more of a long-term backup than a starter, which is a better value proposition later in the draft. Mannion’s youth and pedigree still hold weight, and he’s a natural floor leader with a lot of room to grow. There will always be concerns defensively, and the fact he didn’t finish well at the rim this season also raises some questions. But Mannion’s feel and skill level should enable him to succeed in the right system, and he’s a good decision-maker with strong intangibles. His ceiling will hinge on how well he adjusts playing against NBA length, and whether he can improve his finishing enough to be efficient.
25. Isaiah Stewart, C, Washington | Freshman
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 250 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 22
There’s nothing overly flashy about Stewart’s game, as a throwback, high-energy rebounder who’s lauded for his work ethic and leadership. Despite not being a mobile, modern center, he remains a likely first-round pick on the strength of that profile — as a grease man who understands exactly what he is. Stewart is long, hefty and competitive, but also struggles to finish plays and get off clean looks against guys who can counter his size. The upside here isn’t immense, but there’s still value in having a workmanlike guy like Stewart on the roster. Where he’s drafted will depend on positional need, but he might be able to give a team workable minutes right away. As his body type and skill set continues to develop, Stewart is a good bet to keep improving.
26. Jahmi’us Ramsey, SG, Texas Tech | Freshman
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 185 | Age: 18 | Last Rank: 26
Ramsey had a decent year at Texas Tech, but is more of an upside play in the back half of the first round for a team that buys his physical tools and scoring potential. Right now, he settles for too many jumpers and gets to the rim less often than you’d think for a guy with his type of strength. If he reverses that trend and embraces the defensive side of the ball, his ability to play on and off the ball could make him a nice backcourt piece. But other than scoring, he’s not particularly polished, and it takes a little extra projection to see him directly helping a team win anytime soon. Ramsey’s shooting and strong body type are certainly intriguing in tandem, and the fact he’s one of the younger players in the draft helps a bit.
27. Jaden McDaniels, F, Washington | Freshman
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 18
McDaniels was far more flash than substance this season, but those flashes, given his long frame and ball skills, have always been enough to intrigue scouts. But that window of curiosity may be closing a bit, as he struggled to string together consistent results in college and made an inconsistent impact on a surprisingly bad team. His slender frame and the fact he managed a negative assist to turnover ratio are pretty big detractors. McDaniels is a willing passer and rebounder, but has to be able to consistently shoot over opponents to tie the rest of his skill set together, and he just hasn’t been all that reliable or efficient. He’s a project in need of some G League time, ideally. But if McDaniels can add a significant amount of strength, rounds out his game and learns to fit into a smaller role, he could still find a way to make it work.
28. Xavier Tillman, C, Michigan State | Junior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 245 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 29
There may not a better big in the draft than Tillman when it comes down to the minutiae, and his hard-nosed, smart approach to interior play is tailor-made for an NBA role. He rebounds, sets great screens, can make plays for others in a pinch, knows exactly where to be on defense, and has flashed potential to shoot from outside. He‘s undersized for an NBA center, but Tillman should be able to help teams by simply continuing to be a better version of his current self. He would be a sensible addition to a playoff-caliber roster in the late first or early second round, and should be able to contribute early in the right situation.
29. Malachi Flynn, PG, San Diego State | Junior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 40
San Diego State’s unexpected dominance was due in large part to Flynn, who appears well-suited for an NBA role with his rock-solid guard play. His skill, feel and toughness leave some room for optimism that he can be more than just a great college player, particularly given how good he’s been operating in ball screens, and the fact he can also operate effectively on the catch without the ball. Flynn’s shooting from distance can improve, but he’s dangerous enough to set up the drive and comfortable finishing with both hands. There are no huge holes in his game, and an appealing degree of floor as a backup guard who makes winning decisions. He would have been in position to break out during the NCAA tournament.
30. Grant Riller, G, Charleston | Senior
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 23 | Last Rank: 30
It’s hard to ignore just how good a scorer Riller has been in college, and he’s arguably the best-finishing guard in this draft class, albeit playing mostly against lower-level college competition. His touch and vertical pop are high-end, and while he’ll be best off paired with a bigger playmaker, he shoots and moves the ball well enough to make it work—and he certainly won’t be asked to carry an offense in the same way. Because he’s not very big (6’3” is a bit generous), the primary holdup is how much of his efficiency translates around the rim against bigger bodies and better athletes. But Riller is athletic and tough enough to think he’ll figure it out in some capacity.
31. Zeke Nnaji, C, Arizona | Freshman
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 240 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 25
Nnaji was highly effective on offense this season despite playing a somewhat predictable style. He’s not really a dynamic post-up player and offers little playmaking, but he’s a good offensive rebounder and relies on great touch around the basket in short and mid-range situations. He also has potential to shoot it from outside, which would go a long way given the concerns about translation. Nnaji isn’t great defensively, both at the rim or in space, and looked lost at times at Arizona, pointing to some of the concerns about his overall feel. He’s not quite good enough as a rim protector right now and has just average length for his position. It’s imperative he starts to clean up his defensive mistakes to play center full-time. But given his youth and athleticism up front, Nnaji is a viable project who makes sense as a late first or early second round option.
32. Tyler Bey, PF, Colorado | Junior
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 37
With an aggressive approach, strong build and high-end vertical explosiveness, Bey has turned himself into a highly productive all-around player in spite of his relative positional height, and has been the primary driver on a solid Colorado team. The knock here would be that he’s caught between positions, but he’s so athletic and strong that he should be able to play up front at the four in small lineups. Bey is an excellent rebounder and racked up blocks and steals in college, and if he proves he can make quicker decisions and hones his perimeter shooting, he has a chance to be be a low-maintenance, productive rotation piece in the right situation. He’s one of the more unorthodox players in the draft, but in his case, it’s a positive.
33. Vernon Carey Jr., C, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 270 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 33
It’s hard to knock how productive Carey was as a freshman, but there’s lingering fear among scouts that he may end up a casualty of the NBA’s trend toward mobile, skilled bigs. Carey is a good athlete and strong offensive rebounder who has been a menace in the paint at the college level, but he’s not especially skilled as a finisher against bodies, and relies heavily on going to his left hand and drawing contact. He blocks shots well within his area, but given his average lateral mobility and length, teams are skeptical as to how well he’ll actually defend in space when opponents inevitably try to make him hedge and recover. He’s so young that there’s time for him to figure it out, and he’s in the first-round mix on the strength of a solid year, but it’s hard to find a scout who’s wholly convinced Carey will make it work.
34. Jared Butler, G, Baylor | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 46
Butler won over a lot of people with an impressive year as the leader of a very good Baylor team, and his mixture of skills, intangibles and the fact he’s still 19 are all working in his favor. He’s not always flashy, but he’s the type of player who grows on you. Butler doesn’t have elite tools, but he’s a terrific ball-handler, shoots it well enough to play on and off and was extremely effective using ball screens. He gives effort defensively and should be able to hold his own. Becoming a more consistent scorer around the rim is key, but he’ll never be tasked with quite as much responsibility to create as he had at Baylor. Butler has made an intriguing case in this range of the draft.
35. Desmond Bane, SG, TCU | Senior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 62
While Bane doesn’t come with a ton of upside—he’s physically maxed out and isn’t a great mover athletically—he might be a pretty useful role player as-is. He’s a dangerous shooter with underrated passing skills and a strong frame that should help him stay on the floor defensively, despite not being very quick laterally. The fact he’s measured with a negative wingspan in the past is a holdup. But Bane knows how to fit in offensively, and has improved his shooting off the dribble, despite less-than-ideal mechanics. For a team that prefers to slow the game down and control the halfcourt, Bane makes a lot of sense in this part of the draft.
36. Cassius Stanley, G/F, Duke | Freshman
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 195 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 38
Boasting freak athleticism and a nose for making energy plays, Stanley has reinvented himself as a complementary piece at Duke, and may have what it takes to eventually play a similar role at the NBA level. He lacks creativity with the ball and needs shots created for him, but he’s solid in the open floor, has shot well from three, and has the tools to keep up defensively, although his quickness sometimes covers for his mistakes on that end. It’s hard to see Stanley evolving into more than a fifth option offensively, and there’s a chance his lack of dynamism with the ball in his hands ultimately hinders him from being enough of a threat to carve out a serious role on a winning team. But his tools have a chance to play up, and if he continues to embrace an energy-centric role, it’s easy to see someone gambling on his ongoing development.
37. Immanuel Quickley, SG, Kentucky | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 67
Quickley rejuvenated his stock with a big year at Kentucky, transforming into a valuable off-guard who defends the perimeter, can hit open shots, and doesn’t hurt you in any one area. He does rely a good bit on drawing contact, and isn’t a high-end athlete, which begs some question as to what he hangs his hat on beyond catching and shooting in the pros. His assist-to-turnover ratio also leaves something to be desired at the moment, and he’s not a particularly inventive passer. But in a role where he isn’t asked to create beyond playing point guard in a pinch, Quickley has the chops to be successful.
38. Jordan Nwora, F, Louisville | Junior
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 31
Nwora’s athleticism, toughness and defensive acumen are often nitpicked by evaluators, but his jump shot is not. His ability to catch and shoot at a high level has kept his stock steady as a late first/early second-round option, although there are certainly skeptics. He does have a tendency to disappear in crucial games and shy away from physicality. He’s not quick enough to defend elite wings, and not big enough to bang with bigger fours. But if there’s an elite cure-all skill these days, it’s perimeter shooting, and Nwora should at least add extra value as a rebounder and ball-mover. He’ll get a chance to prove himself as more of a specialist moving forward.
39. Jalen Smith, C, Maryland | Sophomore
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 225 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 44
Smith turned a corner this season in terms of productivity, and his ability to protect the rim and shoot gives him a chance to survive in the NBA. The primary issue here is a lack of great athletic tools and poor lower body strength, and the fact he’s a stiff mover and a bit slow off the floor. While Maryland played a slower pace that insulated Smith in the halfcourt defensively, he’ll be asked to defend more in space moving forward, and he doesn’t read and recover all that well when pulled away from the basket. Given his lack of lift in tight spaces and rudimentary finishing skills, Smith will have to improve his shooting enough to make it work as a pick-and-pop five. But if it clicks, he has a pathway to utility as a rotational big.
40. Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga | Junior
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 47
It’s unclear if Kispert intends to stay in the draft, but he’s tracking as the top Gonzaga prospect in terms of draftability, as things stand. Kispert’s size and perimeter versatility can fit into most lineups. While he’s not an elite athlete, he’s capable of playing a similar role in the pros, with highly reliable catch-and-shoot play, feel for moving the ball and attacking closeouts, and smarts as a team defender. Kispert might be a liability guarding on an island, but he’s big enough that it might be less of a concern schematically. Whether it’s this year or next year’s draft, he has an intriguing case as a budget wing player who can help a team early on.
41. Cassius Winston, PG, Michigan State | Senior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 39
Some of the prospect shine came off for Winston after a tough season during which he dealt with the death of his brother, but he remains pretty much the same player as he was last year, when he led Michigan State to the Final Four with impeccable play. His body type (and how well it will hold up in the NBA) continues to be an impediment for some scouts, but he’s a great decision-maker and situational scorer with a knack for making positive things happen. Winston profiles well as a backup point guard, but he’s likely to get picked on defensively, and his lack of athletic upside limits some of a lot of the value proposition here. Still, it won’t be a shocker if he figures out a way to stick as a backup somewhere.
42. Skylar Mays, SG, LSU | Senior
Height: 6’4” | Weight: 200 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 56
Mays took a notable leap this season, making real strides in terms of poise and decision-making, and was the only true constant as the leader of an inconsistent LSU team. He can play on the ball but is better suited at the two alongside a true playmaker, which was a luxury the Tigers didn’t really have this year. Mays was superbly efficient anyway, and effective in spite of his average athleticism. He will have to become a more versatile shooter on the move, and finishing might become an issue given he doesn’t get great extension around the basket. But his consistency, intangibles, and well-roundedness make him a second-round option.
43. Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas | Sophomore
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 180 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 52
Dotson has put together another impressive year at Kansas, but in a potentially point guard-heavy draft, his lack of physical tools and average dynamism as a passer make it more likely that he ends up in the second round. Dotson’s game is predicated on his blazing speed and a lot of drive-and-kick, both of which should translate to an extent. But he may just be an average jump shooter, and he‘s not a prolific assist man, either. It’s hard to see him being effective away from the ball, which creates a narrower pathway to sustainable success, and he’s more likely a backup, at any rate. It helps that Dotson is a tough, dedicated defender, but at his size (6’2” is generous) and without great length, that will prove a more difficult task in the NBA.
44. Tre Jones, PG, Duke | Sophomore
Height: 6’2” | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 49
An unspectacular but solid floor leader, Jones was a key piece for Duke this season amid heavy roster turnover and the absence of elite talent. He improved incrementally as a jump shooter, but is still not a dynamic perimeter scorer, which limits him to more of a game manager type role in the NBA. It’s hard to see him thriving without the ball in his hands at his size, and guards who can’t consistently space the floor tend to be liabilities. Much was made of his on-ball defense in college, but Jones’s average athletic tools and smaller frame make it tricky to see him as a real defensive specialist. But to his credit, he works hard on that side of the floor and distributes the ball well, and has enough fans around the league that he’ll be drafted higher than this by a team hoping to score a solid long-term backup.
45. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota | Sophomore
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 51
Oturu was highly productive this season, but also benefitted greatly from being a high-minute, high-volume post player on a team with few consistent offensive options. So projecting forward, the question becomes how valuable he is against better competition if you were to limit his post touches. Oturu is a powerful athlete, but lacks the ideal size and skill level for an NBA five, and can be somewhat of a black hole when catching the ball in the paint. He’s got some potential to shoot it, and if he can space the floor, rebound and rim-run effectively, he could be a viable option. But the replaceability of centers makes this a trickier sell.
46. Paul Reed, C, DePaul | Junior
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 54
Reed has an intriguing statistical profile and has some attractive traits as a prospect, but was a bit of mixed bag over the course of the season and played worse down the back stretch as DePaul descended back into mediocrity. Defensively, Reed has a lot to offer in terms of blocking shots, rebounding and impacting plays. But his motor comes and goes, and he can still be prone to fouls and mental mistakes. He’s toolsy, but a little awkward athletically, and lacks the requisite feel to play much on the perimeter, making him a bit of a narrower lineup fit. Reed’s defensive impact and occasional flashes of brilliance should be enough to get him drafted, but he’s more of a project and may need G League time out of the gate.
47. Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga | Senior
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 220 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 53
Tillie’s long list of lower-body injuries has created a level of medical concern that’s hampered his stock as a prospect over the years. But he was almost always effective when healthy, and might be the most natural shooter of all the bigs in this draft. Granted, his slender body type is a negative and hasn’t improved much over the years. He’s not very long and may not be able to add a ton of strength. That said, his activity level is solid, and his ability to space the floor is pretty legit. Tillie is certainly worth a flier if the medical checks out, and in this part of the draft, the risk is mitigated.
48. Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas | Senior
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 275 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 43
His own sheer enormity made Azubuike an extremely effective college player. By simple dint of being huge, there may be a place for him as a situational option. He rebounds well, occupies a ton of space vertically and horizontally with his length, and is actually fairly athletic, all things considered. Azubuike will never defend overly well in space, and he lacks much skill on the offensive end beyond rim-running. But he made some major strides in terms of positioning and habits, and there may be some use for him situationally in a limited, defensive-oriented role when other teams play big lineups. He’s willing to do the dirty work, and it might go a long way, even if only in a sporadic NBA role.
49. Josh Hall, SF, Moravian Prep | HS Senior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 190 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR
A Top-50 high school recruit who was committed to NC State, Hall declared for the draft after taking a prep year (he turns 20 in October) and appears set on turning pro. Factoring in his immediately evident long-term potential as well as his limited NBA exposure, Hall is one of the more enigmatic prospects in the draft, but certainly worth taking seriously as a second-round flier. There’s limited film available on him, but he offers a tantalizing combination of guard skills and shooting potential at 6’8”. Granted, that’s a bit of a boom-or-bust archetype. But at a certain point in the draft, Hall might be worth the gamble for a team that’s done the proper homework.
50. Kaleb Wesson, C, Ohio State | Junior
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 270 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 50
Wesson has put together a strong year after slimming down in the off-season, and anchored Ohio State’s offense admirably with his post play, perimeter shooting and above-average passing skills. While he’s still somewhat inconsistent and isn’t much of a rim protector given his size and limited verticality, his skill level and consistent three-point shooting are still notable. He’s a high-level passer for his position, but there are very few bigs worth playing through at the NBA level, and the bar for him to clear there is pretty high. Ideally, Wesson fits next to another, more mobile big who can cover for him at the rim. But the fit questions are a bit concerning, particularly for a player who’s likely a backup center at best.
51. Payton Pritchard, PG, Oregon | Senior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 195 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 57
By all accounts, Pritchard is one of the most competitive players in college basketball, and his moxie and toughness combined with strong scoring instincts demand he be taken seriously as a potential backup guard. His lack of size is an issue and likely limits him to playing on the ball, which creates some additional concerns. His defensive limitations are obvious. Still, he may supply enough offensive value and leadership off the bench to make a roster and hang around. Pritchard isn’t an upside play, and there are a lot of quality second-round guards available, but he’s the type of player worth betting on to figure things out and carve out a spot somewhere.
52. Robert Woodard, F, Mississippi State | Sophomore
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 235 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 58
Woodard brings some intriguing things to the table with above-average tools, some defensive versatility and potential to shoot it. But lacked a degree of consistency this season, and makes more sense as a second-round project than a legit first-round pick. He played a low-usage role and wasn’t especially efficient in any one area, and while he shot the ball well from distance (42% on 70 attempts), his 61% career free throw clip looks like the more telling sample. Woodard brings good intangibles and might be able to fit in as a versatile four-man. But he doesn’t create any offense, his body of work feels a bit incomplete, and his long-term success will require a significant developmental leap.
53. Joel Ayayi, G, Gonzaga | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 180 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 41
While Ayayi may wind up back at Gonzaga, he remains an intriguing long-term prospect whose best basketball is firmly ahead of him, with his youth, advanced feel and well-rounded game. Right now he’s not quite dynamic enough with the ball to play point full time, but even as a combo who accentuates lineups, his size, unselfishess and shooting potential are intriguing. Despite the fact he’s their most talented guard, Gonzaga hasn’t really given him much freedom yet, and he should take on a bigger role next season if he goes back. He’d be a nice long-term flier in this part of the draft if he declares, but should benefit from a more featured role in college if he returns.
54. Isaiah Joe, SG, Arkansas | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 180 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 35
At this point, it feels like Joe will be back at Arkansas next season after missing a big chunk of this season with injuries and failing to assuage concerns about his ability to put pressure on the rim. He’s an extremely gifted distance shooter, but will need to become more multidimensional on offense and pack on more strength to have a chance of sticking in the NBA. It may be easier for him to prove he can do those things in the SEC next season, in a featured role. But if you’re going to take a second-round flier, shooting upside isn’t a bad place to turn.
55. Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky | Sophomore
Height: 6’3” | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 32
Hagans’ stock slipped as his play turned down over the back part of the year at Kentucky, and his individual struggles to score the ball became more pronounced. Winning intangibles and strong defensive instincts helped Hagans get on the radar, but there’s still a degree of hesitance surrounding his jump shot, and questions about what caliber of passer he really is. He’s tenacious and disruptive on the ball and in the passing lanes, and has the size and toughness that make his weaknesses more palatable. The fact he’s a strong free throw shooter helps leave room for optimism that his jumper eventually comes along. But he’ll likely need seasoning in the G League in the short-term to refine his decision-making.
56. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: NR
It’s generally expected that Henry will return to Michigan State, but he has an attractive NBA role player starter kit that makes him a viable second-round candidate. He’s not an outstanding shooter or consistent offensive option yet, but has the basic athletic tools to be successful with continued development. Henry is a big, rangy athlete who brings a lot to the table defensively at a position of value, but is still developing confidence with the ball in his hands. His stock could take off with another year of college.
57. Sam Merrill, G, Utah State | Senior
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 205 | Age: 23 | Last Rank: NR
Merrill turns 24 this month and is absolutely ancient by prospect standards, but given how good he is right now, he’s worth taking seriously. He’s a terrific shooter, solid passer and decision-maker, and owns strong career shooting splits as a four-year starter for Utah State. Despite what he lacks athletically, Merrill’s size and ability to play on and off the ball might make him a viable plug-and-play bench guy and potential budget acquisition. There’s not a ton of upside, obviously, but he fact he’s a legit shooter with real auxiliary skills still means something.
58. Colbey Ross, PG, Pepperdine | Junior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 180 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: NR
Despite flying somewhat under the radar in the West Coast Conference, Ross was one of the more intriguing mid-major guards in the country, with an innate feel for playmaking and unyielding confidence. He doesn’t have great NBA tools, will be a concern defensively in the pros, and struggled with turnovers at various points this season. Ross also shoots a slight push shot, which makes hitting jumpers on the move a bit of a challenge at times. But Pepperdine asked him to shoulder an enormous shot-creation load, and on a team where he can simply fit in and make others better rather than face pressure to score, his game could eventually take off in a big way. He’s one of the best pure passers in college basketball, and while it feels more likely he returns to school as things stand, Ross should be on the radar moving forward.
59. Naji Marshall, G/F, Xavier | Junior
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 220 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 72
Marshall is a pretty solid athlete with pop, size, and a nice range of ball skills, and was tasked with a lot of offensive responsibility at Xavier. He’s improved as a passer, rebounds well, and was extremely productive across the board over the past couple seasons. He’s never been a great jump shooter and still struggles with shot selection, meaning transitioning away from the ball into a complementary role might be a challenge. It’s hard to trust Marshall as a backup playmaker, and he may not be valuable enough without the ball in his hands otherwise. But at worst, he’s an an intriguing candidate for a two-way contract.
60. Jalen Harris, SG, Nevada | Junior
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 195 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: NR
An appealing athlete with some juice off the dribble, Harris had a big first year at Nevada after transferring from Louisiana Tech and sitting out a season. While his game is ball-dominant and occasionally a bit wild, Harris’s athleticism and scoring instincts are impressive. He takes and makes a lot of tough shots, but will have to pick his spots better to succeed in the pros. As far as scoring is concerned, he’s a viable second-round option. But Harris will have to figure out what else he can bring to the table as a role player.
61. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 185 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 51
Dosunmu had a solid season for a surprisingly good Illinois team, and sits in the second-round mix with good size for his position and an improving feel. The issue is that he’s not much of a jump shooter, nor is he creative enough to play point guard full time in the pros, leaving him in a bit of a tough spot when it comes to projecting a potential role. He’s an OK athlete who lacks great burst off the dribble and relies more on craft to set defenders up. Dosunmu has potential to defend effectively, but has never fully bought in on that end. It will take a major leap for him to stick, and he’ll likely have to prove himself in the G League.
62. C.J. Elleby, G/F, Washington State | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 200 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 80
Elleby is a talented scorer who had a lot of freedom on a bad Washington State team the last couple years, and who can look like a totally different player from game to game. When his three-point shot is falling, Elleby is somewhat tantalizing, despite less-than-ideal mechanics (he shoots left-handed, but brings the ball up from the right side of his body). He’s athletic and was pretty productive the past couple of years, but in losing situations. Right now, his game isn’t really geared toward making others better, and he’s not likely to keep scoring at this type of clip in the pros. He’s a solid candidate for a two-way deal and has some evident potential, but will be an easier eval when he’s no longer the most talented player on his team.
63. Elijah Hughes, G/F, Syracuse | Junior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 74
Hughes supplies just enough scoring, playmaking and shooting on the wing to think there’s an outside chance he can crack a roster next season, and he’s been tasked with some initiation duties at Syracuse and handled them well. He’s not elite in any one area, and it’s hard to assess him defensively in their zone, but Hughes is a solid athlete and finds ways to impact the game in addition to his scoring usage. In a more complementary situation, he could feasibly be a bench piece somewhere, and he makes for an intriguing two-way contract candidate or second-round option.
64. Paul Eboua, F/C, Pesaro
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 215 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 71
Elite physical tools alone make Eboua a potential second-round stash candidate as a powerful, athletic frontcourt piece worth developing in case his skill set ever clicks. Scouts question how good his feel for the game is, and his ideal long-term role might be at center, where his athletic advantage might create mismatches against slower bigs. Eboua’s ability to rim-run and beat basically anyone up and down the floor is noteworthy, and in an energy role, it’s possible he eventually succeeds, albeit his feel and ball skills aren’t great. His highlights tend to mask his overall poor efficiency, and he’s a inconsistent jump shooter who will need time to grow into a more confined role.
65. Yves Pons, F, Tennessee | Junior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 66
Pons has made steady progress over the past few years at Tennessee, and while he’s still not polished enough to walk in and be impactful as a pro, the French forward has made some improvements as a jump shooter that help augment his freakish athleticism. Pons is an explosive, strong leaper and a threat to catch lobs and block shots outside of his area, covering ground quickly in tight spaces in spite of his height. His production is mostly dependent on his energy and his teammates’ capacity to get him the ball, but it feels like he’s starting to figure things out. But whether or not he can survive as, effectively, a 6’6” big in the NBA is a fair question.
66. Myles Powell, SG, Seton Hall | Senior
Height: 6’1” | Weight: 200 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 60
Powell was one of the more prolific scorers in college basketball the past two seasons and is an elite catch-and-shoot threat who has worked hard to maximize his talent. How that translates into an NBA role is less clear, given he’s not great with the ball in his hands and doesn’t have ideal size for his skill set. But his shooting percentages should climb when defenses can’t key as heavily on him, and his overall feel is pretty solid, making him a potential specialist if he starts knocking down threes at a better clip. He just had the worst year of his career in terms of shooting splits, but is also handling extreme volume on a team that lacks other consistent scoring options. Whether he can succeed with his combination of body type and skill set is worth nitpicking, but Powell should be successful somewhere, even if it’s not the NBA.
67. Trevelin Queen, G/F, New Mexico State | Senior
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 190 | Age: 23 | Last Rank: NR
After losing time to injuries the past couple years and taking a bit of a roundabout path to New Mexico State, Queen has somewhat of an incomplete body of work at low levels of basketball, but his versatility and feel on the wing are intriguing enough to make him a candidate for an undrafted deal or second-round flier. Queen is a solid catch-and-shoot player with decent ball skills and above-average passing feel. His instincts are sound on both ends of the floor, albeit he’s already 23. While there’s not a lot of upside baked in here, nor is there a particularly useful statistical track record, there’s some 3-and-D potential here on the cheap.
68. Reggie Perry, F/C, Mississippi State | Sophomore
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 250 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: 79
Perry has great physical tools and has been highly productive the past two seasons, but lacks the level of feel and on-court awareness that would make him a surefire draftable player. He did earn a combine invite last season and has some fans around the league, but his shot selection and consistency have always left something to be desired, and his struggles also persist on the defensive end in terms of positioning and impact. He’s shown potential to shoot and has the type of frame teams like to gamble on. But he’s looking at a second-round selection at best as things stand.
69. Mason Jones, SG, Arkansas | Junior
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 200 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: NR
Jones capably led the SEC in scoring while given total freedom to jack shots in an uptempo offense, and profiles fairly well statistically given the heavy workload. But he’s not a great athlete, a bit one-dimensional, and there are doubts about how efficient he’ll be at a higher level and what value he’ll add beyond scoring. He relied heavily upon drawing fouls and getting to the line, and playing that type bully ball as an average athlete rarely vibes in the NBA. It wouldn’t be a shock to see him sneak into the second round, but Jones will likely have to continue proving himself in the pros.
70. Nathan Knight, C, William and Mary | Senior
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 255 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: NR
After an excellent, stat-stuffing career at William and Mary, Knight has some intriguing talent but isn’t exactly an eye-test guy, with an average build that’s been a hang-up for NBA scouts. Knight has terrific natural touch in the paint and has developed three-point range, but given he was so post-up dependent in a small conference, it’s hard to know how well he’ll translate into a role when he’s not an offensive focal point. He’s a good but not great athlete and doesn’t really play much above the rim. But given his statistical profile, Knight is an interesting candidate for a two-way deal.
71. Abdoulaye N’Doye, G/F, Cholet
Height: 6’7” | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 73
N’Doye is intriguing from an athletic perspective, with a long frame and some role versatility, although scouts remain skeptical about the quality of his offensive feel, and his inability to handle a significant offensive role playing in France. He does have elite length, and the agility to match up on a variety of opponents, and he’s managed a career best 42% from three this season, albeit on a relatively meaningless 35 attempts. But there’s enough feasible upside here to think someone might stash him in the second round. He’s been something of a tease for scouts in the past with his build and flashes of playmaking, and there’s a reason the needle has never really moved.
72. Markus Howard, G, Marquette | Senior
Height: 5’11” | Weight: 175 | Age: 21 | Last Rank: 59
It feels like he’s been in college forever, but it’s easy to forget that Howard is only 21, and turned in four straight prolific, mostly efficient seasons as one of college basketball’s elite scoring guards. He doesn’t have much to offer from a physical perspective and he’s likely to be a defensive negative, but he’s a deadeye shooter who can knock down shots from range and at various degrees of difficulty. Marquette’s system mitigated his struggles to beat defenders off the dribble as an average athlete, but his shooting profile is so convincing that you have to think he gets a chance somewhere on a budget contract. The physical hurdles might be too much to overcome, but Howard is certainly talented.
73. Chris Smith, SF, UCLA | Junior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: NR
Smith has been a notorious tease for scouts over the course of three years at UCLA, with a great frame and some perimeter skills that look the part. He took a step forward in terms of flashing actual production this season, but those moments are still a bit few and far between, and his overall feel for the game and turnover struggles remain concerning. If he stays in, he’s a viable flier, but a total wild card at this point. But if you catch him on the right day, he can certainly look draftable.
74. Jay Scrubb, SG, John Logan JC | Sophomore
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 75
After putting up big scoring numbers in junior college, Scrubb opted to enter the draft rather than attend Louisville, a decision that didn’t come with any real guarantee he’d be drafted. On one hand, you respect players betting on themselves, but Scrubb is a JUCO scorer with JUCO habits, as a big, ball-dominant, offense-only scorer. Athletic guys his size who can create shots are often afforded added opportunity, and if he turns pro, he’ll likely have time to adjust in the G League, which is likely to be his initial proving ground. If he can keep it up against a big step up in competition, the NBA will start to take him more seriously.
75. Nate Hinton, G/F, Houston | Sophomore
Height: 6’5” | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Last Rank: NR
Hinton has an intriguing base skill set for a 3-and-D prospect, as a rangy defender and appealing athlete who covers ground well and can knock down open shots. He’s not dynamic with the ball and won’t be much of a creator, but he’s a solid rebounder and willing glue guy who went somewhat unnoticed on a pretty solid Houston team. Hinton’s ability to add value without scoring is a start, but he may need another year of college to prove he can be a more valuable offensive contributor.
76. Nick Richards, C, Kentucky | Junior
Height: 6’11” | Weight: 250 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 76
After two disappointing years, Richards finally stepped up this season and gave Kentucky a huge boost with his activity and energy around the rim. He’s a good athlete and solid rim protector who has figured out how to impact games as a finisher without needing his number called, although most scouts still question whether his feel is good enough to succeed in the NBA. It’s likely Richards ends up in the G League next season, but if his trajectory continues, there’s an outside chance he can work himself into an end-of-bench center. The fact he’s already 22 hurts, and bigs in his mold pop up fairly often. But at the very least, he’s back on the NBA’s radar.
77. Kahlil Whitney, SF, Kentucky | Freshman
Height: 6’6” | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: 77
After struggling to find any type of foothold at Kentucky (he scored in double figures just once in 18 appearances), Whitney lost much of his shine as a former five-star prospect and now finds himself in draft limbo after choosing to leave Lexington. He seems more likely a priority undrafted type than a surefire second-round flier based off his appealing tools, but disastrous freshman season. Whitney has a great basketball body and simply has not had a ton of structure and development to this point, so there’s obviously untapped upside here. But teams will have to feel secure in his ability to handle the adversity that’s inevitably coming, and he’ll have to be prepared for a year or two in the G League.
78. Malik Fitts, F, St. Mary’s | Junior
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 230 | Age: 22 | Last Rank: 78
The versatility Fitts offers as a potential floor-spacing four-man has some intrigue, and while he’s not high-end athletic, he’s been productive the past couple seasons. Fitts has proven he can hit shots, rebound, and stay active defensively, but he’s a bit of a tweener given he’s not dynamic with the ball on the wing, and doesn’t hold up quite as well against bigger players defensively. The lack of playmaking and verticality here is concerning, but his feel is otherwise solid. If Fitts can defend both forward spots capably, hit open shots and blend in, he makes sense on a two-way contract.
79. Trendon Watford, PF, LSU | Freshman
Height: 6’8” | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Last Rank: NR
It’s not surprising that Watford is turning pro, but it would make a lot of sense for him to stay in college, as he plays a catch-and-hold, shot-first style in the paint that won’t translate any time soon against more athletic defenses. Watford isn’t explosive and relies on his height and craft to score in the paint in lieu of being able to consistently get to the rim. He simply isn’t a great jump shooter right now, either. But his pedigree at least puts him on the radar, even if his case isn’t extremely convincing. Going back to LSU and trying to expand his game might be the best solution.
80. Mamadi Diakite, F/C, Virginia | Senior
Height: 6’9” | Weight: 225 | Age: 23 | Last Rank: NR
Diakite is a known quantity at this point after playing four years for a highly successful Virginia program, and he handled a much bigger offensive role for the first time this season. He can shoot a little bit, but isn’t great in any one area, and his post-up touches aren’t likely to translate up a level. So his real value will have to come defensively, where he’s solid around the rim despite not being particularly big for his position, and has pretty solid timing. Diakite isn’t spectacular, but at least he knows how to fit into a role, and is a decent undrafted target.