NBA Draft 2020 Big Board 1.0 - Mavs Thoughts And Beyond
There is uncertainty about the scheduling of the NBA Draft, though the league has yet to back off from its June 25 plan ... and players rankings are still quite unclear, too, in terms of forming a consensus. Still, DallasBasketball.com can offer our early view, from a Dallas Mavericks perspective and beyond, of the 2020 NBA Draft Big Board.
A few notes going in:
*The Mavs will own a late-Round 1 pick (as if right now it'd be No. 18) and own the top pick in Round 2, No. 31 overall.
*The general agreement among draft analysts is that the top of the draft (1-10) are weak relative to past years, while the depth is elite. We see it similarly.
*One thing to consider when looking at stats is that this year was the first year of a couple of major rule changes in college basketball: the shot clock reset to 20 seconds after an offensive rebound, and the 3-point line moved back closer to the NBA distance.
*To better help understand the format of the stats, an index is provided:
PPG= points per game
APG= assists per game
RPG= rebounds per game
SPG= steals per game
BPG= blocks per game
TOPG= turnovers per game
x/x/x is in order of field goal %/3 point %/ free throw % Anthony Edwards, Guard, Georgia (Freshman)
Season stats: 19.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 2.7 TOPG on 40.2/29.4/77.
1. Anthony Edwards, Guard, Georgia (Freshman)
Season stats: 19.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 2.7 TOPG on 40.2/29.4/77.2
Anthony “Ant” Edwards reclassified to the 2019 recruiting class and became one of the top prospects heading into the season. He met expectations for most, averaging 19 points per game, 5 rebounds per game, and a notch below 3 assists per game. His scoring ability is one of the best in the class, as he’s incredibly powerful toward the rim, he can shoot off-balance and make defenders pay for committing to the drive by shooting off the dribble, and he can score from deep 3-point range. The 6-5 Edwards has to improve his effort consistency, primarily on the defensive end. His strength and high-level athleticism give him high overall upside.
2. Onyeka Okongwu, Power Forward/Center, Southern California (Freshman)
Season stats: 16.2 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.7 BPG, 2 TOPG on 61.6/25/72
Onyeka Okongwu was high school teammates with LaMelo Ball and lived in his shadow as a high schooler before Ball transferred. The 6-9 Okongwu came to USC and immediately wreaked havoc. Okongwu is what some consider a defensive unicorn: he can lock players up at any spot on the court, similar to Bam Adebayo on that end. Offensively, he shows some promise as a shooter, indicated by his free-throw percentage of 72%. One area that Okongwu is underrated in offensively is his passing, especially from the top of the key. He rarely makes bad decisions, which is an excellent trait paired with his size, athleticism, and shot-blocking skill.
3. LaMelo Ball, Point Guard, Illwarra Hawks (18 years old)
Season stats: 17 PPG, 7.6 RPG, 6.8 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 2.5 TOPG on 37.5/25/72.3
Ball is one of the most polarizing prospects in this class, and it’s somewhat easy to see why. Ball should be a triple-double threat, with an incredibly natural offensive game as both a scorer and playmaker. LaMelo Ball is very different from Lonzo Ball, primarily on the defensive end. The 6-8 LaMelo has to add lots of strength and be more disciplined to become an average defender in the NBA. Ball’s combination of intelligence, natural scoring ability, and playmaking make him one of the most enticing prospects in the 2020 Draft.
4. Cole Anthony, Guard, North Carolina (Freshman)
Season stats: 18.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3.5 TOPG on 38/34.8/75
Cole Anthony is one of the best pure scorers in the draft. He’s a bit of a combo guard at 6-3 with a light frame, which severely limits his defensive upside in the NBA, but has a similar play style to Monta Ellis. There’s a good chance for Cole Anthony to be in the top tier of offensive players in this draft due to his ambidexterity, scoring ability from all 3 levels, athleticism, and ability to draw fouls.
5. Killian Hayes, Point Guard, Ratiopharm Ulm (18 years old)
Season stats: 11.6 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 5.4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3.2 TOPG on 48.2/29.4/87.6
Killian Hayes is one of the youngest prospects in the class, and showed an incredible ability to run the pick-and-roll at such a young age in Europe. Born in Florida, the 6-5 lefty is one of the smoothest creators, both for himself and for others. While Hayes leaves profiles as about an average athlete, his ball-handling skill and ability to create open looks while being able to be both a spot-up shooter and a play initiator is widely appealing. Hayes' defense is somewhat of a mystery in terms of how it might pan out in the NBA, but it might end up being a bonus if his offense translates smoothly.
6. James Wiseman, Center, Memphis (Freshman)
Season stats: 19.7 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.3 SPG, 3 BPG, 1 TOPG on 77/0/70.4
It’s hard to evaluate the 7-1 Wiseman off of his Memphis tape because he only played 3 games. However, his physical traits, including length and athleticism, make him one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft. Wiseman has potential to be a defensive monster, and any created offense comes as a bonus. In the clips below, his elite “pop” is shown in a quick presentation by ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla.
7. Obi Toppin, Forward, Dayton (Sophomore)
Season stats: 20 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 2.2 TOPG on 63.3/39/70.2
Obi Toppin led Dayton to their best season in several decades, and has been a feature prospect due to his size & athleticism combination. At 6-9, the 2020 Naismith Player of the Year winner has the dunk contest wow-factor along with a smooth & quick jump shot. Defensively, Toppin leaves a lot to desire with poor lateral quickness which hurts his ability to defend on the perimeter. In order to live up to his draft status, Toppin will have to be a complete offensive player and have his slashing and shooting abilities translate cleanly.
8. Deni Avdija, Forward, Maccabi Tel Aviv (19 years old)
Season stats: 7.7 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 1.3 TOPG on 51.4/33.6/52
Avdija is a two-way playmaker from Israel who possesses a rare combination of defense, playmaking, and slashing. The 6-9 Avdija has dominated the Israeli league defensively, averaging one block per game. With his size and exceptional timing and instincts, he is very easily able to rotate and make the right play on a whim defensively. Offensively, Avdija has a quick first step to help him successfully finish at the rim. His main area to improve is his jumper, which is generally inconsistent.
9. Isaac Okoro, Shooting Guard, Auburn (Freshman)
Season stats: 12.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 2 TOPG on 51.2/28.6/67.4
Arguably the winningest player in the draft, Isaac Okoro lost his first game since his junior year in mid-January. The 6-6 Okoro brings just about everything to the table: incredible athleticism, versatile defense, a quick first step, and a high IQ. However, the one area he is missing is a major weakness for him, which is his jump shot. An ideal outcome for Okoro is to have an impact on a team early on like Andre Iguodala had in Golden State.
10. Tyrese Maxey, Point Guard, Kentucky (Freshman)
Season stats: 14PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 2.2 TOPG on 42.7/29.2/83.3
One of the best high school recruits to come out of DFW, Tyrese Maxey lived up to the hype at Kentucky. The 6-2 Maxey has a good floor game in the NBA due to his defensive effort and ability, as well as his ability to easily get to the rim and finish at a high level. The big question mark on Maxey is whether his jump shot will translate to being a high level shooter. Free-throw percentage often is successful in projecting shooting success in the NBA, and Maxey had a plus free-throw percentage of 83%. My comparison for Tyrese Maxey is Collin Sexton with better defense and less tunnel vision.
11. Patrick Williams, Forward, Florida State (Freshman)
Season stats: 9.2 PPG, 4 RPG, 1 APG, 1 SPG, 1 BPG, 1.7 TOPG on 46/32/83.8
Florida State tends to have hidden gems on their roster in recent years, and Patrick Williams is no exception. The 6-7 Williams fits right into the Leonard Hamilton style: a physical freak with an incredible natural understanding of the game and a capable shooting stroke. Williams’ physical and mental combination allows for him to already be a good defender, and if he continues along this development curve, he can become one of the top glue players in the draft, meaning he simply makes everyone better and connects the focal points of the roster, a la Draymond Green. Williams would be a great fit on a team needing a player who rarely makes mistakes, spaces the floor, is selfless, and has a high IQ.
12. Tyrese Haliburton, Point Guard, Iowa State (Sophomore)
Season stats: 15.2 PPG, 6 RPG, 6.5 APG, 2.5 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 2.8 TOPG on 50.4/42/82.2
Standing at 6-6 with a skinny frame, Haliburton might be one of the most intelligent players in the draft. He knows how to use his thin frame to his advantage on both the offensive and defensive end. Haliburton draws similarities to Delon Wright as being an inconsistent shooter, active defender who is a pest in the passing lanes, and likes the drive & kick. One area Haliburton has Wright beat in is his passing. Haliburton makes incredible passes and runs an offense smoothly with limited mistakes. As Haliburton continues to add strength, his game will evolve and allow him to be an effective starting guard for years to come in the league.
13. RJ Hampton, Guard, New Zealand Breakers (19 years old)
Season stats: 8.8 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.5 TOPG on 40.7/29.5/68
A local product who went overseas to the Next Stars program in the Australian NBL, RJ Hampton remains one of the mysterious prospects of this draft class due to missing a good portion of the season to injury. Hampton’s main appeal comes from his great size and athleticism combination. Shown in the video below, there are very few players in this draft class faster than the 6-4 Hampton, which helps him both off-ball and as the ball-handler. Hampton still needs to improve as a jump-shooter and continue growing into his plus frame.
14. Aleksej Pokuševski, Forward, Olympiacos Piraeus (18 years old)
Season stats: 10 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 2.8 APG, 1.2 SPG, 1.7 BPG, 1.8 TOPG on 40/32/78.3
If there’s one player who has a chance at becoming a unicorn in this draft, it’s Aleksej Pokuševski. Standing at 7-0, Pokuševski isn’t a traditional big; he can run a pick & roll and be a primary playmaker, as well as be a spot up shooter. He has obvious areas to improve, and may be one of the biggest boom-or-bust players in the draft, but his upside is hard to ignore. He is listed as 205 pounds, which is indicative of his need to add weight and strength in order to maximize his defensive potential. Pokuševski is a guard in a center’s body, which has become a popular trend within the last 10 years in the NBA.
15. Theo Maledon, Point Guard, ASVEL (18 years old)
Season stats: 7.3 PPG, 2 RPG, 2.7 APG, 0.5 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 1.6 TOPG on 42.1/33.3/77.6
Maledon is an 18-year-old with high upside thanks to long arms and a projectable jump shot. It’s unlikely for him to come over to the NBA right away, but the payoff when he comes over will be big for whichever team drafts him. Standing at 6-4 with long arms, Maledon projects to be a two-way scoring point guard. He still needs to continue improving his decision-making, like most other 18-year-olds, but his upside is high enough to consider taking in the lottery.
16. Kira Lewis, Point Guard, Alabama (Sophomore)
Season stats: 18.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 5.2 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 3.5 TOPG on 46/36.6/80.2
One of the latest risers during the basketball Hiatus, Kira Lewis brings lots of appeal as a speedy two-way point guard that turned 19 just one month ago. There’s a lot to like about Kira Lewis: his shot projects to translate to the NBA, he covers lots of ground defensively due to his incredible quickness, and he can run an offense effectively. Lewis should be able to be successful in two guard lineups as well. If Lewis continues along his current development path, there’s a good chance he could be the steal of the draft. As one of the youngest players in the draft, and the youngest sophomore in the draft, Lewis’ upside is perceived as quite high throughout the league.
17. Devin Vassell, Small Forward/Shooting Guard, Florida State (Sophomore)
Season stats: 12.7 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1 BPG, 0.8 TOPG on 49/41.5/73.8
NBA teams love length and high level defenders, which is what makes Devin Vassell so attractive to NBA front offices. Vassell is arguably the best team defender in the draft, meaning his rotations are sharp and his mistakes are limited on the defensive end. He’s similar to Mikal Bridges with his 6-7 length and defensive impact, but both still need to see improvements in their jump shots. The reason I have Vassell this low is because I’m still skeptical of buying into his unorthodox jump shot form. While Vassell will still easily have an impact on the game without his jumper falling, his ceiling may be limited if his scoring is hard to come by.
18. Josh Green, Small Forward, Arizona (Freshman)
Season stats: 12 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 1.6 TOPG on 42.4/36/78
Josh Green has steadily been in the top 20 for most big boards, and deservedly so. One of the highest effort players in the draft, Green goes all out in using his incredible tools to lock down opponents on the defensive end. As a plus athlete with a good frame, Green consistently made some of the best defensive plays of the year in the PAC-12. Offensively, the 6-5 Green is a flashy passer who always knows where his teammates are, but sometimes he can play out of control. His jump shot is likely to be his make-or-break factor, as his form needs to continue to improve, as does his shot selection.
19. Jordan Nwora, Small Forward/Shooting Guard, Louisville (Junior)
Season stats: 18 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 1.3 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 2.1 TOPG on 44/40.2/81.3
Jordan Nwora vowed to return to school during the 2019 NBA Draft process if he did not receive a first round promise, and his return paid off for him with improvements across the board. His main appeal is being a high-IQ shooter with good size at 6-7, but his game goes deeper than that. A coach’s son, Nwora understands his role and doesn’t try to do too much, and is rarely caught making mistakes. Defensively, while only an average athlete, Nwora consistently stays with his man and doesn’t make uncalculated risks. Nwora does have unorthodox shooting mechanics, but makes up for it with a quick release and excellent touch on his shot.
20. Jahmi’Us Ramsey, Shooting Guard, Texas Tech (Freshman)
Season stats: 15 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 2 TOPG on 44.2/42.6/64.1
Another local product, the 6-3 Jahmi’Us Ramsey had an excellent shooting season as a freshman shooting a hair below 43% from 3. Ramsey has excellent form with a quick release, so his shot is almost guaranteed to translate. Ramsey also is a good athlete with good strength for a freshman, as well as a great first step which makes him a pure scorer. He is still raw and learning to understand the game at a quick pace, but his scoring ability is appealing to teams that can afford to be patient.
21. Saddiq Bey, Shooting Guard, Villanova (Sophomore)
Season stats: 16.1 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 2.4 APG, 0.8 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 1.5 TOPG on 47.7/45/77
Saddiq Bey might be the easiest target for the Mavs as a 3&D wing that can switch onto guards and score from all 3 levels. He is very similar to Wesley Matthews as a defensive juggernaut who likes to post up a lot for a wing and is a steady shooter. As a sophomore, Bey shot 45% from 3 on over 5 attempts per game. The biggest drawback on the 6-8 Bey is that he’s not what most consider a “high-level” athlete, but his game doesn’t rely on athleticism to be effective. Bey should stick around in the league for a long time with his shooting and lockdown defense.
22. Jaden McDaniels, Forward, Washington (Freshman)
Season stats: 13 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.4 BPG, 3.2 TOPG on 40.5/34/76.3
McDaniels has the frame and athleticism combination that front offices dream of. Standing at 6-9 with well over a 7’ wingspan, McDaniels has the ability to guard virtually anybody on the defensive due to his length. He still needs to improve his tendencies, such as understanding when to take risks, but with added muscle and weight McDaniels should be able to hold his own defensively. Offensively, again, there are decision making concerns that he must refine. He has a nice jump shot and is comfortable shooting from a few steps behind the 3-point line, and his athleticism makes his driving attempts effortless. He can also create his own offense and has a variety of quick moves to create space and shoot over defenders. For McDaniels, it’s all about putting together his tools and becoming a better decision-maker.
23. Desmond Bane, Shooting Guard, TCU (Senior)
Season stats: 16.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 4 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.5 BPG, 2.3 TOPG on 45/42/79
The top senior in the 2020 NBA Draft, Desmond Bane has grown a lot as a player in his time at TCU. Last year at the Pro Basketball Combine, a secondary pre-draft combine, Bane showed out as the best player shooting 88% in the NBA 3 drill, which was the best in the combine. He also recorded a 41 inch vertical at the PBC, highlighting his overlooked athleticism. In game, Bane best provides shooting, excellent reads to make difficult passes to open shooters, and strong defense. In his first 3 seasons, Bane was primarily an off-ball player providing shooting and complimenting his teammates with higher usages and bigger roles. This season, Bane was handed the keys to the offense and played an entirely different role as one of the primary initiators in the offense. He adapted well and showed off his passing ability and ability to thread the needle in tight coverage. He needs to overcome his short arms to become a relatively effective defender and continue to become more consistent as a shooter off the dribble to reach his ceiling.
24. Tre Jones, Point Guard, Duke (Sophomore)
Season stats: 16.2 PPG, 4.2 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.8 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 2.7 TOPG on 42.3/36/77
Tre Jones has one of the highest floors in the draft thanks to an improved jump shot, strength on defense, and the ability to run an offense and find shooters. While the 6-2 Jones may never end up being a full-time starter, he seems like a lock to be a top-tier backup point guard for years to come. The biggest improvement Jones made in his return to Duke as a sophomore was adding more arc to his shot, which boosted him from a 26% shooter from 3 to 36% on one more attempt per game.
25. Trendon Watford, Small Forward, LSU (Freshman)
Season stats: 13.6 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.7 APG, 0.9 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 2.6 TOPG on 49/27/67.4
Trendon Watford might be the best rebounding wing in the draft class, averaging just over 7 rebounds per game. When he’s not cleaning the glass, Watford has a versatile game being able to defend multiple positions, be a secondary ball handler, and moving well off-ball to get to the rim. Watford doesn’t have the highest vertical, but he is quick off the ground and moves very well for his size to be able to guard virtually any position. While the shooting form and percentages may be alarming, I buy his talent and trust that he will eventually get his jump shot to be more fluid, thus producing near league-average shooting numbers. If he can do that while maintaining his plus defensive abilities, excellent rebounding, and ball-handling ability, he can be a starting-caliber player for years to come.
26. Isaiah Stewart, Power Forward/Center, Washington (Freshman)
Season stats: 17 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.5 SPG, 2.1 BPG, 2.2 TOPG on 57/25/77.4
Isaiah Stewart had an efficient freshman season, but there’s still some worries about his fit in the NBA. He has an NBA ready body with excellent strength and long arms and is one of the most proficient inside scorers in the draft. His shot is somewhat questionable, and will determine what his position is in the NBA. If his shot can extend beyond mid-range, he can be a power forward with an inside-out game that can punish teams for switches. While the post game is slowly being phased out, the 6-9 Stewart can easily make opposing teams for switching a guard onto him.
27. Paul Reed, Forward, DePaul (Junior)
Season stats: 15.1 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.9 SPG, 2.6 BPG, 2.3 TOPG on 51.6/30.8/73.8
Paul Reed is a do-it-all combo-forward who can rebound, pass, drive, and defend at a high level. His lone weakness lies in his jump shot, indicated by his 31% mark from 3 this year as a junior. The hurdle for Reed to overcome is his jump shooting to remain effective and keep spacing afloat. Reed (6-9) is one of the most versatile defenders in the draft, and with his ball-handling ability, he has the chance to be versatile offensively as well. Paul Reed is already polished in areas most forwards are not, so whichever team drafts him should primarily focus on developing his jump shot.
28. Precious Achiuwa, Forward, Memphis (Freshman)
Season stats: 15.8 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 1 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.9 BPG, 2.8 TOPG on 49.3/32.5/60
Precious Achiuwa may be the most polarizing player in the 2020 NBA Draft, largely in part because of his inability to shoot. The upside for Achiuwa is his versatility on both ends, being able to guard virtually anyone on the floor defensively, and also be able to play as a small ball center offensively with ball handling ability. Despite not being a shooter, Achiuwa (6-9) is excellent in the pick & roll and feasts down low and could immediately enter the league as an energy player. If he can improve his decision-making and shot-making ability, he could be one of the best value picks in the first round.
29. Tyler Bey, Forward, Colorado (Junior)
Season stats: 13.8 PPG, 9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 1.5 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 2.4 TOPG on 53/42/74.3
The PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year, Tyler Bey brings a lot to the table on both ends. He can switch and guard virtually anybody on the floor thanks to his long frame and athleticism, making him a matchup nightmare for opposing teams. Additionally, he cleans the glass well and can play small forward, power forward, or small-ball center. His issues mostly arise from his jump shot, where he can be hesitant and give in to the traps the defense sets. Bey’s potential fatal flaw that would hold him back in the NBA is his jump shot. Whichever team drafts Bey needs to specialize in developing his jumper.
30. Aaron Nesmith, Small Forward, Vanderbilt (Sophomore)
Season stats: 23 PPG, 5 RPG, 1 APG, 1.4 SPG, 1 BPG, 1.7 TOPG on 51.2/52.2/82.5
Nesmith is one of the top shooters in the draft, which may raise eyebrows as to why he is listed so low on this board. Nesmith only played 12 games, and the competition was mostly against lower D1 teams, which led to him shooting an absurd 52% from 3 as a sophomore. While Nesmith possesses an obvious jump-shooting threat, IQ, and a nice 6-6 frame, he has defensive question marks about his movement on defense and ability to remain a positive on defense. It is unlikely to see Nesmith slip in the draft, especially as the NBA continues to value shooting, as evidenced by Cameron Johnson’s lottery selection in 2019.
31. Isaiah Joe, Shooting Guard, Arkansas (Sophomore)
Season stats: 17 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.7 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 1.7 TOPG on 36.7/34.2/89
Another pure shooter in this draft is Isaiah Joe. While his efficiency is alarming with a FG% of 37%, most of his shots are 3s, where he shot 34% on over 10 attempts per game. Joe can hit jump shots on the move, but is best as a spot up shooter thanks to his quick release and quick feet to help him square up quickly. Joe is more than just a one trick pony though. He can be a creator for others and possesses a dangerous step-back 3. Defensively, his lack of strength and thin frame limit him from being effective, despite quick feet and a good defensive understanding.
32. Zeke Nnaji, Power Forward, Arizona (Freshman)
Season stats: 16.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.9 BPG, 2.2 TOPG on 57/29.4/76
Nnaji is one of the top pick & roll big men in this draft, and he fits in perfectly with a pick & roll maestro in Nico Mannion as freshmen. He was a threat both rolling to the rim and popping out for a mid-range jumper. He projects to play a role in the NBA that is similar to Dwight Powell as a rim runner with high-level pick & roll production. Where Nnaji beats Powell out is jump shooting, as Nnaji already is a threat from 15+ feet. Defensively, Nnaji is a difficult read because he moves well laterally and has the tools to defend at a high level, but his defensive reads can be tardy at times. Look for Nnaji to play a similar role as a rookie as Nic Claxton did for Brooklyn this year as an energy big that can step out to the three point line.
33. Grant Riller, Point Guard, College of Charleston (Senior)
Season stats: 22 PPG, 5 RPG, 4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3 TOPG on 50/36.2/82.7
Grant RIller had been hiding under the radar until the end of the season, when many draft pundits discovered his incredible performance for the season. He has arguably the best first step in this draft class, which is a big part of why he shot 70% at the rim this season and 72% at the rim last season. As a four-year player, Riller should be able to contribute to a team right away, and what makes him most promising is that he still has a lot of room to grow in areas that aren’t holding him back now. For example, since he was the alpha dog for College of Charleston and had an unusually large workload, he should be more efficient both as a scorer and in reducing mistakes such as turnovers.
34. Daniel Oturu, Center, Minnesota (Sophomore)
Season stats: 20.1 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 1.1 APG, 0.5 SPG, 2.5 BPG, 2.8 TOPG on 56.3/36.5/70.7
Oturu was the most productive players in the country this season, averaging 20 points per game and 10 rebounds per game on 56% shooting from the field and 36.5% from 3. Oturu is still somewhat raw, needing to continue polishing his feel for the game and keep improving his jump shot that he only recently started shooting in-game. Should Oturu continue along his current trajectory of development, he could be a value pick in the early second round. Oturu is a player that the Mavericks have scouted in-person several times this season.
35. Robert Woodard, Forward, Mississippi State (Sophomore)
Season stats: 11.4 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 1.3 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1 BPG, 1.9 TOPG on 49.5/43/64.1
Woodard came onto the draft scene at the Myrtle Beach Invitational, where he showed off his explosive athleticism and spot up shooting ability. As a sophomore, his 3-point percentage jumped from 27% to 43%, his free throw percentage jumped from 58% to 64%, and his points per game improved from 5.5 to 11.4. Averaging 6.5 rebounds per game, Woodard is also one of the best rebounding wings in the draft class. His defense is inconsistent and he needs to improve his ball handling, but NBA front offices can get excited by his combination of size, athleticism, and shooting ability.
36. Jalen Harris, Guard, Nevada (Junior)
Season stats: 21.7 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 4 APG, 1.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 2.4 TOPG on 44.6/36.2/82.3
Harris is a 6-5 combo guard with high-level athleticism and a successful shooting stroke, shooting 36% from 3 as a junior at Nevada this season. Harris is a high-level creator, slasher, and can run a pick & roll cleanly. Harris often had minimal defensive impact, but that may have partially been due to him not always being in stance and sometimes possibly preserving energy for the offensive end, as he was a one-man-show at Nevada. Despite not getting much coverage, it’s easy to see why his game pops and stands out enough to be in the top 40.
37. Jared Butler, Point Guard, Baylor (Sophomore)
Season stats: 16 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 3.1 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 2.4 TOPG on 42.1/38.1/77.5
The first thing that will stand out when watching 6-3 Jared Butler is that he almost never looks down, and instead plays almost purely with his head up. He also has a nice shooting stroke and a nice in-between game with great touch on his floater and at the rim. He needs to continue adding strength to be an effective defender, but he has all the tools to be an effective NBA player for 10+ years.
38. Nico Mannion, Point Guard, Arizona (Freshman)
Season stats: 14 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0 BPG, 2.6 TOPG on 39.2/32.7/79.7
Mannion was in my top 5 in December, but his poor conference stats dropped him into my second round range. In 18 conference games, Mannion averaged 13.5 points per game, 4.8 assists per game, 3 rebounds per game, 1 steal per game, and 2.8 turnovers per game on 36.5% from the field and 31% from 3. Mannion is a great pick & roll guard, which may have been a downfall for him in conference play since so many conference opponents ran zone defense. The 6-3 Mannion would have greatly benefitted from workouts and the chance to show off his skillset in a limited environment, but due to the unfortunate circumstances, his stock is unlikely to rise back to anywhere near his early season status.
39. Killian Tillie, Power Forward/Center, Gonzaga (Senior)
Season stats: 13.6 PPG, 5 RPG, 2 APG, 1 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 1 TOPG on 53.5/40/72.6
Killian Tillie is an interesting case, because his talent warrants him being a top 30 player, however, his health history makes many skeptical of him being able to fully utilize his talent. Tillie moves well on the perimeter to switch, he can defend down low, shoot well, and make plays for others. Standing at 6-10, Tillie is a walking mismatch for opposing teams due to his versatility and jack-of-all-trades play-style. The lone weakness beyond health for Tillie lies in his creating off the dribble, where he often struggles to beat slower defenders and create separation.
40. Jalen Smith, Power Forward, Maryland (Sophomore)
Season stats: 15.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 0.8 APG, 0.7 SPG, 2.4 BPG, 1.7 TOPG on 53.8/36.8/75
Jalen Smith registers as a hybrid big man, being able to space the floor by stepping out to take 3 threes a game and versatile defensively to handle switches. He still needs to improve his decision making defending pick & rolls, which will ultimately be a key swing factor for him in the NBA. Players with his athleticism, 6-10 size and shooting combination don’t come around often. While Smith’s tools look great on paper, he needs to find a home on a team that has a history of turning around players with questionable decision making and awareness flags surrounding them.
41. Cassius Stanley, Shooting Guard/ Small Forward, Duke (Freshman)
Season stats: 12.6 PPG, 5 RPG, 1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 0.7 BPG, 1.9 TOPG on 47.4/36/73.3
Arguably the best athlete in the draft, 6-5 Cassius Stanley is a raw project player with the chance to be a 3&D wing for a winning team. Stanley still needs to develop his jump shot, but his defense is almost NBA ready. Once Stanley adds strength, his finishing and defense will take another step forward. The most impressive part of Stanley’s defense is his ability to guard some of the quickest players in the country. If Stanley lands with the right team, he could develop into a useful role player that does a lot of the dirty work on the defensive end and plays off-ball offensively.
42. Ashton Hagans, Point Guard, Kentucky (Sophomore)
Season stats: 11.5 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 6.4, 1.9 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 3.4 TOPG on 40.4/25.8/81
There’s a good argument to be made for Ashton Hagans being the quickest player in this draft class. He also might be one of the peskiest defenders in the class, which can make for a lethal combination. Hagans (6-3) has quick hands, a high motor, quick recovery ability, and plays the passing lanes well, which make it easy to project him as a passable defender in the NBA. He needs to improve his jump shooting consistency from both a standstill and on the move, as well as continue sharpening his decision-making.
43. Vernon Carey Jr, Center, Duke (Freshman)
Season stats: 17.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 1 APG, 0.7 SPG, 1.6 BPG, 2 TOPG on 57.7/38.1/67
Vernon Carey Jr. (6-10) had arguably the most productive freshman season in the country this year, having near the best per 40 minutes averages: 28.6 points per game, 14 rebounds per game, 1.6 assists per game, 1.1 steals per game, and 2.5 blocks per game. The downside for Vernon Carey Jr. comes on the defensive end: he moves slowly on the perimeter and struggles on switches, and was played off the court by teams forcing him on switches in the pick & roll. Maximizing his minutes while minimizing his defensive limitations is key for whomever drafts him.
44. Cassius Winston, Point Guard, Michigan State (Senior)
Season stats: 18.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 6 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0 BPG, 3.2 TOPG on 44.8/43.2/85.2
I have had my doubts about Winston overcoming his undersized frame and awkward shooting mechanics, but he might be one of the most intelligent players in the draft. It’s hard to imagine Winston being a consistent starter, but high-IQ players with a high work ethic continuously overcome the odds, and the 6-1 Winston has a chance to continue that trend. Despite an awkward shooting form that he may struggle to find success in over NBA defenders, Winston still shot 43% from 3 over 4 years at Michigan State. Winston may end up getting drafted in the late 2nd round, and look for him to be competing for a roster spot right away.
45. Mamadi Diakite, Power Forward, Virginia (Senior)
Season stats: 13.7 PPG, 6.8 RPG, 0.6 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.3 BPG, 2.1 TOPG on 47.8/36.4/75.4
A year ago, Mamadi Diakite was a key player on the national championship roster for Virginia. Opting to return for a senior season as the star for the Cavaliers, the 6-9 Diakite saw an increase in volume throughout his entire statline, most notably increasing his scoring from 7.4 points per game to 13.7 PPG. However, Diakite’s best fit in the NBA is likely as a role player that cleans the glass, defends both forwards and centers, and can stretch the floor. In order to stay on the floor for long periods, he has to reduce foul trouble.
46. Udoka Azubuike, Center, Kansas (Senior)
Season stats: 13.7 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.5 SPG, 2.6 BPG, 2.5 TOPG on 74.8/0/44.1
Azubuike finished his senior year with yet another productive season, absolutely dominating the rim on both ends to shoot 74% from the field and 85% at the rim. Azubuike also has a nice drop step and other go-to post moves, which is an area of his game he developed in his age 20 senior season. Don’t expect Azubuike to do much outside of within 5 feet of the rim offensively though, as he shot 41.6% from the free throw line in his 4 years at Kansas. Defensively he is somewhat stiff in stepping away from the rim, but his length at 6-11 helps him recover on drives. The simple comparison for Azubuike is for him to be a Clint Capela type as a rim-runner and defensive anchor.
47. Isiaha Mike, Small Forward, SMU (Junior)
Season stats: 14 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 1.8 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.6 BPG, 2 TOPG on 48/37.7/80.5
One of the most under-the-radar players in the country, Isiaha Mike is an athletic 3&D wing that had stellar numbers while flying under the radar. Mike would likely have been a riser in private workouts, but for the teams that did their homework, they may find a surprise in Isiaha Mike. He can be inconsistent on the defensive end at times, but has the physical tools to help make up for any shortcomings in skill. As a 4th-year junior who sat out a year due to transfer, there’s a good chance that Isiaha Mike stays in the draft after the withdrawal deadline.
48. Abdoulaye N’Doye, Guard, Cholet Basket (22 years old)
Season stats: 10.2 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 2.1 TOPG on 52.2/43/75
I first started watching N’Doye in the summer of 2017, and he has developed quite well over the last 3 years. Once an awkward long guard with excellent defense, N’Doye has strongly developed his slashing skills and has tightened his ball handle. He still hasn’t shown major improvement on his jump shot form, but his free throw percentage and limited sample size of 3-point attempts leading to 43% shooting from deep suggest potential improvement. Abdoulaye N’Doye hosts a 7-2 wingspan, making him one of the best NBA bodies in the draft. N’Doye’s appeal of touch inside the arc, frame, passing, and defensive versatility make him one of the most attractive international prospects in this year’s draft.
49. Elijah Hughes, SG, Syracuse (Junior)
Season stats: 19 PPG, 5 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.2 SPG, 0.8 BPG, 2.3 TOPG on 42.7/34.2/81.3
Once an unknown freshman from East Carolina University, Eliah Hughes came onto the scene as a draft prospect this year as Syracuse’s star. Hughes has ideal size for a combo guard who can also play the small forward on both ends of the floor. The 6-6 Hughes is a hawk on the defensive end, always looking to make plays. With Syracuse notoriously running a 2-3 zone exclusively, Hughes’ on-ball defense is somewhat of a mystery. His athleticism and motor should be able to make him a positive on the defensive end in the NBA. Offensively, Hughes is ambidextrous and needs to make just slight tweaks to his jump shot to be effective on that end. His wrist has an awkward snap which creates inconsistencies.
50. Leandro Bolmaro, Shooting Guard, FC Barcelona (19 years old)
Season stats: 8 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 1.8 TOPG on 42.4/28/67.6
Another gifted passer, Bolmaro has flown under the radar as an international prospect with the ability to run an offense with good size at 6-8. There are very few players that the word nifty is more applicable to than Bolmaro. He loves to change speed and direction on a whim and toy with defenders, and suddenly ends up wide open at the rim just seconds after having a defender on his hip. While Bolmaro has found success in Europe as a floor general, there are legitimate concerns on his jump shooting threat, which could severely limit his effectiveness. Defensively, Bolmaro is intelligent in reading passing lanes, and his on-ball defense is a big swing-factor.
51. Emmitt Williams, Forward, LSU (Sophomore)
Season stats: 13.3 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.2 APG, 0.8 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 1.9 TOPG on 56/42.1/77
Emmitt WIlliams comes from LSU, where there’s a legitimate case for 6 NBA prospects from this year’s roster. Williams is highly unique, as he played center for LSU despite standing at 6-6. This may sound familiar to what the Houston Rockets tried this season, and with their successes, Williams may be a high-riser. He’s a freak athlete with length, a growing jump shot, and the ability to guard any position.
52. Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas (Sophomore)
Season stats: 18.1 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 4 APG, 2.1 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 2.4 TOPG on 46.8/31/83
Having the 6-1 Dotson this low may come as a surprise, but I’m skeptical in buying into his combination of a slow push shot, size, and uncertainty of his defensive future in the NBA. While Dotson is strong and ranks in the top tier of quickness, there are still worries about how he can overcome his size and short arms. If Dotson does stick in the NBA, expect him to be in the mold of JJ Barea: a high-IQ player with a relentless motor, good vision despite being undersized, and a pesky defender.
53. Mason Jones, SF, Arkansas (Sophomore)
Season stats: 22 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.4 APG, 1.6 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 3.2 TOPG on 45.3/35/82.6
Jones is an enigmatic wing, particularly due to his athleticism flags. A heavily below-the-rim player, Jones managed to finish with an elite 76% shooting at the rim as a sophomore. Jones is a modern wing, being able to drive to the rim, pass at a high level, and comfortably shoot from 3. Conversely, he needs to tighten his handle when dribbling and overall reduce turnovers, as well as be more consistent as a shooter. Ultimately, his NBA swing-factor is continuing to overcome his size/athleticism combination.
54. Saben Lee, PG, Vanderbilt (Junior)
Season stats: 18.6 PPG, 3.5 RPG,4.2 APG, 1.5 SPG, 0.3 BPG, 3.1 TOPG on 48.3/32.2/75.2
Saben Lee lived in the shadow of Aaron Nesmith’s phenomenal shooting season before Nesmith’s season-ending injury. However, teams continued to pay attention to Vanderbilt because of Saben Lee and his explosive athleticism and slashing ability. Despite being listed at 6-2, Lee is fearless going to the rim and can finish in a variety of ways. He needs to continue to develop his left hand, as well as becoming more consistent as a shooter.
55. Lamar Stevens, PF/SF, Penn State (Senior)
Season stats: 17.6 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 1.2 BPG, 2.5 TOPG on 42/26/72
Upperclassmen can slip under the radar, and I expect Stevens to be one who goes fairly unnoticed. NBA teams fear that Stevens is close to a finished product, and his lack of a jump shot is concerning. However, despite the uphill battle Stevens will face, his all-around production year after year at Penn State is undeniable. As a combo forward, he gets to the rim at ease thanks to his high-level athleticism and quick first step and plays above the rim. Additionally, Stevens has good vision and is almost always pass-first. If he can develop his jump shot to near league average, he will easily have a secure roster spot for many years.
56. Joel Ayayi, Point Guard, Gonzaga (Sophomore)
Season stats: 10.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.3 SPG, 0.2 BPG, 1.5 TOPG on 48.3/34.5/82.5
A long guard with good vision and the ability to pilot an offense, Joel Ayayi has a plus frame with sharp decision-making that helps project him to be a solid defender for years to come while controlling the tempo offensively with his plus vision. Ayayi must continue to improve as a jump shooter to make his presence strongly felt, otherwise he may get lost in the crowd. Ayayi is likely best-served as an initiator in a multi-guard lineup off the bench that can also guard the opponents’ best backcourt player.
57. Tyrell Terry, PG/SG, Stanford (Freshman)
Season stats: 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.2 APG, 1.4 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 2.6 TOPG on 44/41/89
The initial appeal for Tyrell Terry is that he might be the best shooter among guards in this draft. However, there are concerns among front offices that Terry’s 6-3 frame and not being a floor general may hold him back. Terry can work well with a two-point-guard lineup, but is going to be an automatic liability on the defensive end. Terry is still raw, but if he pans out, he has potential to be one of the best bench shooters in the league.
58. Jalen Crutcher, Point Guard, Dayton (Junior)
Season stats: 15.1 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3.2 RPG, 0.8 SPG, 0.1 BPG, 2.1 TOPG on 46.8/42.4/87
Obi Toppin stole the show in Dayton this year, but Jalen Crutcher cannot be overlooked. Despite being undersized at 6-1, Crutcher has good vision and is crafty around the rim both as a finisher and passing out of drives. He’s also a very good shooter and has no problem shooting over closeouts. Defensively, Crutcher might struggle due to his frame and defensive movement limitations, but a team that can maximize his offensive skill set and neutralize his defensive shortcomings will find a nice offensive weapon off the bench.
59. Xavier Tillman, Power Forward, Michigan State (Junior)
Season stats: 13.7 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 3 APG, 1.2 SPG, 2.1 BPG, 2 TOPG on 55/26/66.7
The depth and tightness of this draft is shown by the fact that you had to scroll to 59 to find Xavier Tillman on this board. There’s a good argument to be made for Xavier Tillman being top 30 in this draft, but my main concerns for him are his ability to consistently shoot and how he will continue to finish at the rim at a high rate in the NBA. He shot 72% at the basket as a junior, but at times shied away from contact and often played below the rim. How Tillman finishes against NBA length will be a key swing factor for his NBA success. Tillman has a good floor game thanks to how he uses his basketball intelligence, plus vision, and length to help him on the defensive end.
60. Chris Smith, SG/SF, UCLA (Junior)
Season stats: 13.1 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1 SPG, 0.4 BPG, 2.5 TOPG on 46/34/81
The PAC-12’s most improved player, the 6-8 Smith took a big step forward as a junior at UCLA. Smith has an incredible frame for his play-style with his long arms, which help him recover quickly on the defensive end and finish at the rim - where he shot 60%. He doesn’t pop as an athlete and needs to continue improving his jump shot, but his versatility and size and skill combination should give him a lengthy career.
We've gone 60 deep here, for obvious reasons ... and DBcom will update our thoughts as more NBA Draft Big Board info comes available. Please discuss this at DBcom Boards and with me at MavsDraft.com and at @MavsDraft on Twitter, where you can also find Fish Sports, Matt Galatzan, Bri Amaranthus, Matthew Postins and Dalton Trigg.