The Ringer's 2020 NBA Draft Guide

With Scouting Reports by Kevin O’Connor

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Welcome to The Ringer’s 2020 NBA Draft Guide. Up until the big night on October 16, this will be the hub for all of your draft needs. Below you’ll find 50 scouting reports and updated rankings from Ringer staff writer Kevin O’Connor, breaking down the top prospects’ strengths, weaknesses, and closest NBA comparisons. We’re introducing badges this year that highlight each player’s key attributes. And in the weeks to come, you’ll find more draft coverage and analysis here, including O’Connor’s full two-round mock, needs for all 30 teams, and expanded rankings that incorporate the latest news and developments.

While the NBA playoffs are underway in Orlando, teams are also deep into their evaluation process. And unlike last year’s class, headlined by Zion Williamson, it’s unclear who will go no. 1, with Anthony Edwards, LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Killian Hayes, and more competing for the top spot. Below, you’ll find our updated rankings in honor of NBA draft lottery week. What comes next? Find out by returning here early and often.


When you have a playmaker who’s the real deal on your team, it can make all the difference—on and off the court. That’s why this year’s playmaking badge is brought to you by State Farm. Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.®

   
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You’re reading Kevin O'Connor's Big Board, featuring the 2020 NBA draft prospects he considers the real deal. These rankings are O'Connor's personal top 50, and incorporate factors such as physical traits, college production, and skills that seem translatable to the next level. The Big Board will be updated to reflect all the twists and turns of the draft process.

You’re reading Kevin O’Connor’s mock draft, which is a breakdown of how he thinks the first round could unfold. The mock incorporates factors such as team needs and front-office preferences. Who are the Timberwolves targeting with the top pick? What will the Warriors do at no. 2? And where will LaMelo Ball land in the lottery? Let’s dive in.

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Killian Hayes Killian Hayes
Minnesota Timberwolves

KILLIAN HAYES

Guard, Ulm / France

  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 11.6 16.8 per 36
  • AST 5.4 7.8 per 36
  • 3PT% 29.4 102 3PA
  • FT% 87.6 89 FTA
Age18.8
Wingspan6'8.25''
Height6'5''
Weight215

Dynamic left-handed shot maker who’s made rapid progress at age 18, though he’s raw in some technical areas.

Shades Of: D’Angelo Russell, Manu Ginobili
PLUSES
  • Playmaking is his best skill. He can whip passes off the dribble with accuracy and hit cutters or rollers with precision.
  • Creative pick-and-roll facilitator. Despite his weak right hand, he gets where he wants and knows how to manipulate defenses to create passing angles and openings to score.
  • Fluid ball handler with the size to outmuscle smaller guards.
  • Excellent touch with his left hand finishing difficult floaters and runners, often after initiating contact.
  • Displays major potential as an off-the-dribble 3-point shooter with Hardenesque moves. Added a stepback and sidestep 3 to his arsenal and uses hesitations to get into pull-ups.
  • His catch-and-shoot shooting numbers are concerning, but he has smooth form, a soft touch inside, and a free throw percentage over 80—all of which suggest he’ll figure it out.
  • Tall, with a strong frame and long arms, making him a projectably versatile defender against guards and wings.
  • Active off-ball menace who could develop into a disruptive defensive helper.
MINUSES
  • Left-hand dominant: He might as well tie his right hand behind his back considering how little he uses it—there are some passes he can’t make since he relies on his left hand so much.
  • Limited athlete who lacks burst and bounce, which hinders his finishing ability, especially since he rarely uses his right hand.
  • Lacks an advanced handle. Picks up his dribble too often, which gets him into trouble. He’s shifty but doesn’t create a ton of separation and doesn’t string together advanced moves to break down defenses.
  • Experiences lapses on defense, missing rotations and falling out of his on-ball stance.
  • He needs to be more vocal as a lead guard to take better command of the team.
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Anthony Edwards Anthony Edwards
Golden State Warriors

ANTHONY EDWARDS

Guard, Georgia, freshman

  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • PTS 19.1 23.1 per 40
  • REB 5.2 6.3 per 40
  • AST 2.8 3.4 per 40
  • EFG% 47.3 505 FGA
Age18.8
Wingspan6'9''
Height6'5''
Weight225

Bruising scorer who can create space with his dribble and make tough shots from all over the court, but his decision-making leaves much to be desired.

Shades Of: Victor Oladipo, Eric Gordon, Dion Waiters
PLUSES
  • Powerful driving to the rim; when he initiates contact, defenders bounce off him. Finishes with athleticism and displays soft touch with either hand.
  • Dynamic shot-maker off the dribble; he fluidly transitions from complex dribbles, spins, and hesitations into pull-ups, stepbacks, and side steps.
  • A freight train in transition; though his shot selection was iffy at Georgia, wide-open spacing in the NBA could lead to far more shots at the rim.
  • Solid passer. Doesn’t possess elite court vision, and tends to react rather than create opportunities for teammates, but he can execute basic reads to shooters and cutters.
  • Potentially a super-versatile defender thanks to his rare blend of size, strength, and agility.
MINUSES
  • Not a pure shooter; he settles for jumpers even against mismatches, which is especially frustrating for a player with his size and strength.
  • Best suited to be in a multiple-ball-handler system next to a pass-first player because of his underwhelming playmaking instincts.
  • Inconsistent effort. At times he plays hard by cutting, running up the floor, and crashing the boards. But then he’ll disappear—teams will need to do extensive background to gauge his mentality.
  • Despite his athleticism, he struggles as an off-ball defender, lacking focus and often losing track of his man.
  • Fundamentals and effort must improve while defending on-ball; lockdown flashes are mired by far too many moments of apathy.
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LaMelo Ball LaMelo Ball
Charlotte Hornets

LAMELO BALL

Guard, Illawarra Hawks

  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • PTS 17.0 19.6 per 36
  • REB 7.6 8.7 per 36
  • AST 6.8 7.9 per 36
  • EFG% 42.5 199 FGA
Age18.7
Wingspan6'10''
Height6'7''
Weight190

Passes like he’s on the Harlem Globetrotters, and it somehow works; he needs to dramatically improve his scoring efficiency, but he has the upside to become one of the NBA’s best playmakers.

Shades Of: Jason Williams, Lonzo Ball, Shaun Livingston
PLUSES
  • Ambidextrous passer with pinpoint accuracy and omnidirectional vision. He sees everything on the court, creating opportunities for teammates that most players simply don’t see or can’t pull off thanks to his innate ability to manipulate defenders.
  • Excellent ball handler who uses hesitations to put defenders on skates. He uses advanced moves but always remains in control, dictating the pace like a drummer would a song’s tempo.
  • Elite touch. Though he attempts too many floaters and shys away from contact, his ability to score creatively with either hand suggests he could develop into a finisher at the rim.
  • Attentive off-ball player who cuts and adjusts to space well behind the arc.
  • Great rebounder for his position like his older brother Lonzo. His instincts pop up here when tracking down boards.
  • Versatile defender. He’s quick laterally and quite large for a point guard. He has the size to comfortably switch onto wings.
MINUSES
  • Ball is a great passer, but he can’t be classified as a great playmaker yet because of his decision-making. He jacks up poor shots early in the clock and settles far too often rather than attacking the rim.
  • Poor shooting mechanics: He has no consistency with his form, other than his low release. As a solid free throw shooter with good touch on floaters, he has obvious upside. But his form—much like his brother’s—must be overhauled.
  • Rarely initiates contact and avoids it around the rim.
  • He doesn’t stay in his defensive stance and often keeps his hands down when closing out—or as Mark Jackson would say: “Hand down, man down.”
  • Defensive discipline: He defaults to switching instead of fighting over screens and he falls out of position off-ball when chasing steals.
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Onyeka Okongwu Onyeka Okongwu
Chicago Bulls

ONYEKA OKONGWU

Big, USC, freshman

  • Hustle Hustle
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • PTS 16.2 21.2 per 40
  • REB 8.6 11.3 per 40
  • BLK 2.7 3.5 per 40
  • EFG% 61.8 284 FGA
Age19.4
Wingspan7'1''
Height6'9''
Weight245

Do-it-all big with rare versatility as a defender. Always competes and has a knack for making big plays.

Shades Of: Bam Adebayo, young Antonio McDyess, Taj Gibson
PLUSES
  • Excellent finisher with soft hands that catch tough passes, a pillowy touch around the rim, and the quick-leaping ability to score with power.
  • Good post scorer. He does a nice job of getting into position by sealing off defenders. Once he gets the ball, he displays flashes of advanced ability with spins, drop steps, and fakes.
  • Handles the ball like a wing. He has a quick first step with an arsenal of moves, including crossovers and rip-throughs, that he uses to get to the rim. But he doesn’t overdo it; he makes good decisions and plays within himself.
  • He makes slick passes, loves to throw outlets, and passes well out of the post. He needs to make quicker reads off rolls to the rim and from the perimeter, but he’s in a good place at his age.
  • Does the little things: He hustles, screens well, rebounds all over the floor, and makes clutch plays.
  • Excellent pick-and-roll defender. He’s mobile and versatile, able to drop, switch, or hedge. When he’s protecting the rim in either pick-and-roll or help situations, his positioning, timing, and instincts lead to effective shot alterations. He’s usually in the right spot, which is rare for a player his age.
MINUSES
  • Inconsistent shooting mechanics from the field and the line. He’ll have some bad misses, though his inside touch offers optimism for improvement.
  • He’s quiet and doesn’t communicate much on defense either. As a rim protector, he needs to be more talkative to help the defense stay connected.
  • Chases blocks. Bites on too many fakes inside.
  • He’s slightly undersized for a center at 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-1 wingspan. He also needs to get significantly stronger to contain elite post-up bigs like Joel Embiid.
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Devin Vassell Devin Vassell
Cleveland Cavaliers

DEVIN VASSELL

Wing, Florida State, sophomore

  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Hustle Hustle
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • PTS 12.7 17.6 per 40
  • STL 1.4 1.9 per 40
  • EFG% 56.5 294 FGA
  • 3PT% 41.5 106 3PA
Age19.7
Wingspan6'10''
Height6'7''
Weight194

One of the best defenders in this year’s class, with a developing offensive game that could make him more than just a shooter.

Shades Of: Khris Middleton, Robert Covington, Matisse Thybulle
PLUSES
  • Elite team defender who will immediately help any NBA rotation. He is hyper-alert on rotations, disrupts opponents’ actions with timely digs, and deters shooters from firing with fundamental closeouts.
  • Never stops hustling. Even when a play seems over, he’ll fly out of nowhere for a chase-down block or last-second deflection.
  • Impactful on-ball defender with the right blend of agility and length to defend guards and wings, though he must get stronger.
  • Good spot-up shooter with a high release and displays awareness moving and cutting off the ball.
  • Tightened his handle to become a potent shooter off the bounce; he hit a single dribble jumper as a freshman and then 39 as a sophomore, with many of them contested out of the pick-and-roll.
  • Displays high-level passing vision for a wing, though he’s not a primary ball handler.
MINUSES
  • Lacks burst to beat defenders off the dribble and get to the rim—and even if he gets to the paint, he struggles to finish against contact.
  • Wiry frame may limit his versatility against larger, stronger opponents.
  • Not a dynamic shooter off the catch, though considering his dramatic improvement off the dribble he may develop that ability.
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Tyrese Haliburton Tyrese Haliburton
Atlanta Hawks

TYRESE HALIBURTON

Guard, Iowa State, sophomore

  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • PTS 15.2 16.6 per 40
  • REB 5.9 6.4 per 40
  • AST 6.5 7.0 per 40
  • EFG% 61.1 244 FGA
Age20.2
Wingspan6'8''
Height6'5''
Weight175

Genius playmaker who can be a major building block of a contending team.

Shades Of: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Sam Cassell
PLUSES
  • Always in control; he lacks lightning speed or explosiveness, but he uses subtle gear changes to throw defenders off balance, create room, and then strike.
  • Takes long strides on drives to the rim and displays good timing when gathering his dribble before using his length to score at the rim.
  • Creative playmaker with extraordinary vision and ambidextrous handles to deliver passes at all angles; he manipulates defenders with his eyes and dribble in the pick-and-roll, and has pinpoint accuracy on passes to rollers and shooters.
  • Good spot-up shooter with deep NBA range, despite his odd form.
  • A coach’s dream: He does all the little things on the court, from smart, timely defensive rotations to making rapid decisions to keep the offense flowing.
MINUSES
  • Lack of athleticism and burst limits his upside as a primary shot creator.
  • Generally avoids contact at the rim, which forces him to settle for tough layups or low-percentage floaters.
  • Made progress off the dribble as a sophomore, but still didn’t shoot well, and his stiff form raises concern.
  • Man-to-man defense: He stands in too much of an upright stance and moves laterally on his heels. Also takes poor angles fighting around screens.
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James Wiseman James Wiseman
Detroit Pistons

JAMES WISEMAN

Big, Memphis, freshman

  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • PTS 19.7 34.2 per 40
  • REB 10.7 18.6 per 40
  • BLK 3.0 5.2 per 40
  • EFG% 76.9 26 FGA
Age19.1
Wingspan7'6''
Height7'1''
Weight237

Athletic marvel who flashes massive two-way potential, but in the short term will be best suited for a simple, rim-running role.

Shades Of: Mild-mannered Rasheed Wallace, high-energy Hassan Whiteside
PLUSES
  • Elite measurables with long arms and a strong frame. He runs the floor like a gazelle, and he explodes vertically when he has space to launch.
  • Active rebounder. He displays a high motor and great instincts tracking the trajectory of missed shots on the offensive glass.
  • His best offensive role is as a screener who rolls hard to the rim since he can finish lobs or with touch. But he can also mix in pops to generate shots from the perimeter and keep defenses honest.
  • Strong post-up potential. Displays a rare blend of power and finesse and does a nice job of sealing off his man. But he currently lacks advanced power moves, instead defaulting to fadeaways.
  • Shooting upside: He has good mechanics and soft touch. But he lacks range and doesn’t have a track record of success shooting from midrange and 3.
  • Athletic rim protector whose mere presence can deter opponents. He’s good at assessing what’s in front of him. If his positioning and court awareness improves, he has elite potential.
  • High-character person who works hard on and off the court. He’s intelligent, too; These are positive personality traits that could aid his development.
MINUSES
  • Poor shot selection in high school; he played like he thought he was the second coming of Dirk Nowitzki. In college, he played more to his strengths, which needs to continue at the NBA level; the context of his situation will be key to his success.
  • He’s an all-world athlete in an open gym, but he slows down in games when he has to read the floor. Simplifying his role will be vital early on.
  • He has a weak handle, which limits him off the dribble. And as a playmaker, he misses open cutters and delivers inaccurate passes. He’s best suited to finish rather than create.
  • Chases too many blocks and ends up falling for pump fakes.
  • Sluggish lateral movement on the perimeter due to a lack of quickness and shoddy footwork. Defenders blow by him too often. At this stage, he’s not switchable.
  • Shaky team defender who tends to find himself in the wrong position or a beat late when rotating. He reads the floor slowly, so his pick-and-roll defense is particularly underwhelming.
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Deni Avdija Deni Avdija
New York Knicks

DENI AVDIJA

Wing, Maccabi Tel Aviv / Israel

  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 7.7 14.1 per 36
  • REB 4.1 7.4 per 36
  • 3PT% 33.6 119 3PA
  • FT% 52.0 75 FTA
Age19.4
Wingspan6'9''
Height6'9''
Weight215

Versatile forward with the playmaking ability of a guard, though the development of his jumper will be key to his success.

Shades Of: Danilo Gallinari, Nicolas Batum, Dario Saric
PLUSES
  • Great playmaker for his position. He’s savvy in the pick-and-roll, rarely makes mistakes, and attentively locates cutters and shooters. He keeps the ball moving in the half court and pushes the ball ahead on the break.
  • Solid ball handler. At 6-foot-9, he doesn’t have much shake, but he knows how to change speeds with enough aptitude to clear room for his passes.
  • His best role could be as a playmaking hub from the post and on the short roll due to the combination of his height and passing ability.
  • Strong finisher who can use either hand and scores through contact. Loves to pump-fake. He’ll fearlessly drive into the paint and challenge rim protectors.
  • Excellent team defender who rotates well and typically finds himself in the right position. He’s not an athletic player, but can make an impact with his positioning as a reliable help defender.
  • Good intangibles. He knows how to use his strength: He plays hard and constantly competes. He also takes analytics-friendly shots by mostly scoring on 3s and layups.
MINUSES
  • Worrisome shooting: He has solid form but has posted poor percentages from the floor and the line. Off the catch, he tends to pause as he adjusts the ball in his hands. He’s streaky, but he also may just lack touch.
  • Doesn’t have top-end burst or springs, so he’ll really need to master his ball handling to maximize his ability to create space and shots.
  • He’s an active on-ball defender but lacks the lateral quickness to contain quicker players. He works hard, though, and NBA conditioning programs should help.
  • Lacks the length to be an effective rim protector—both as a small-ball big and as a help defender in traditional lineups.
  • He shot 56 percent on 363 free throw attempts since 2017, per RealGM data. There is little historical precedent for a player with such poor free throw numbers to ever become a reliable shooter.
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Tyrell Terry Tyrell Terry
Washington Wizards

TYRELL TERRY

Guard, Stanford, freshman

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Hustle Hustle
  • PTS 14.6 18.0 per 40
  • AST 3.2 3.9 per 40
  • 3PT% 40.8 152 3PA
  • FT% 89.1 110 FTA
Age19.6
WingspanN/A
Height6'2''
Weight160

Potentially a game-changing shooter with limitless range, but players his size historically have had limited potential.

Shades Of: Mark Price, CJ McCollum, Jason Terry
PLUSES
  • Elite shooter with a quick, high release. He can run off screens and find his balance midair (48 percent on catch-and-shoot 3s), or unload off-the-dribble jumpers from deep behind the arc (32 percent).
  • Advanced off-ball movement: He manipulates defenders with pivots and fakes to get himself open. The Curry family would be proud of his tendency to relocate for corner 3s after giving up the ball.
  • Crafty interior finisher with an expansive layup package. He has a keen sense for how to contort his body on layup attempts, and the soft touch to score from awkward angles or against contact.
  • Makes an impact in the pick-and-roll. He has the burst to turn the corner and generally makes smart decisions when deciding whether to shoot or pass.
  • Solid passer who can make fundamental plays, plus the more advanced ones like whips to 3-point shooters and wrap-arounds to rolling bigs.
  • Competitive defender who will take a charge and dive for loose balls. On switches, he’ll try to battle against bigger players.
MINUSES
  • Developing a stepback and side-dribble 3 is the next step for him. At this stage, the far majority of his dribble-jumper 3s are pull-ups.
  • When he takes wild shots—which were often necessary at Stanford—his mechanics often fall apart; he kicks his legs out and lands wide instead of releasing with sound fundamentals.
  • He needs to improve his off-hand to score better around the rim against length and contact.
  • Picks up his dribble too often on drives to the rim. He should keep it alive and learn how to circle through the lane or look for the open man.
  • Goes through the motions at times as a playmaker. He needs to put zip on the ball.
  • Undersized point guards get targeted on defense no matter how hard they compete, and at 160 pounds he’ll have a huge target on his relatively small back.
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Isaac Okoro Isaac Okoro
Phoenix Suns

ISAAC OKORO

Wing, Auburn, freshman

  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • PTS 12.8 16.3 per 40
  • AST 2.0 2.6 per 40
  • 3PT% 28.6 70 3PA
  • FT% 67.4 132 FTA
Age19.3
Wingspan6'9''
Height6'6''
Weight225

Superb defender with a perfect skill set for the modern positionless game, but needs to improve his jumper to have more value on offense.

Shades Of: Gerald Wallace, Justise Winslow
PLUSES
  • Great finisher who delivers through contact, draws fouls, and displays a pillowy touch with either hand.
  • Smart decision-maker who moves the ball, can run some pick-and-roll, and doesn’t force bad shots—instead of taking a contested runner, he’ll almost always kick it out to an open shooter.
  • Displays a good handle with either hand on crossovers, spins, and hesitations. He could have untapped, long-term upside as a shot creator.
  • Versatile on-ball defender with the strength to battle bigger players, and the ideal blend of fundamentals, quickness, and intelligence to play on the perimeter.
  • A high-IQ, competitive defender who excels within the team concept by rotating well and disrupting opponents’ actions.
MINUSES
  • Stiff shooter with clunky mechanics—defenses already sag off him. He brings the ball to his shot pocket too soon, ruining the timing of his release.
  • Nonfactor off the dribble.
  • Subpar free throw shooter, which doesn’t provide much optimism for the development of his jumper.
  • Lacks burst and quickness on drives to the rim, so his flashes of shot-creating ability may never translate to the NBA.
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Tyrese Maxey Tyrese Maxey
San Antonio Spurs

TYRESE MAXEY

Guard, Kentucky, freshman

  • Hustle Hustle
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • PTS 14.0 16.2 per 40
  • AST 3.2 3.7 per 40
  • EFG% 47.4 351 FGA
  • FT% 83.3 120 FTA
Age19.5
Wingspan6'6''
Height6'3''
Weight198

Shot maker with a knack for making clutch plays on offense and defense; he’s a winner.

Shades Of: Kyle Lowry, Bradley Beal, Carsen Edwards
PLUSES
  • Clever finisher at the rim who can score from awkward angles using the glass and absorb contact to find an angle using either hand.
  • Shot only 32 percent on jumpers, but his compact form, soft touch, and high percentage from the line bodes well for his future as a shooter.
  • Comfortable shooting off the dribble in either direction. He lacks elite burst but he makes rapid movements stopping and transitioning into his shot.
  • Good pick-and-roll scorer who can get to the rim or pull up and shoot.
  • Excellent on-ball defender with a strong frame and long arms. He plays hard, shifts his feet, and flips his hips to move well laterally and defend pick-and-rolls. He’s strong enough to power through screens or defend larger wings.
  • Off-ball defense: Stays engaged, rotates well, and anticipates where the ball will be to beat opponents to their spots.
MINUSES
  • Lacks top-end quickness and acceleration. He’s at his best playing off others, but he’ll need to improve his handle to be a reliable scorer.
  • Attempts a lot of tough, contested shots due to his inability to generate space off the dribble.
  • Low release may contribute to his streakiness as a shooter. He has good overall form but has some really inaccurate misses that occasionally clank off the glass.
  • Average pick-and-roll playmaker who makes simple passes but doesn’t show advanced vision.
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Obi Toppin Obi Toppin
Sacramento Kings

OBI TOPPIN

Big, Dayton, redshirt sophomore

  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • PTS 20.0 25.3 per 40
  • REB 7.5 9.5 per 40
  • EFG% 67.4 387 FGA
  • 3PT% 39.0 82 3PA
Age22.2
Wingspan6'11''
Height6'9''
Weight220

Pure athlete who runs the floor with grace and jumps with explosive power.

Shades Of: Amar'e Stoudemire, Kyle Kuzma, Bouncy Marcus Morris
PLUSES
  • Glides through the air for ferocious dunks; he’s a major threat in the pick-and-roll, cutting, and running the break. He also possesses a soft touch with either hand around the rim.
  • Nimble ball handler who can attack from the perimeter; he’ll be a weapon in fake dribble handoffs since he can facilitate, shoot, or get to the basket.
  • Good shooter from NBA 3-point range, but he hasn’t fallen in love with his shot like many modern bigs.
  • Strong playmaker. He makes quick decisions out of the short roll and could develop into a playmaking hub from the post.
  • Has the leaping ability and quickness to theoretically be an effective shot blocker.
MINUSES
  • Brutal pick-and-roll defender who displays little recognition or feel for reading a screen; he’s almost always out of position.
  • High center of gravity limits his defensive ability in the post. He’ll often get pushed around for low-post positioning—Zion would bury him under the rim.
  • Doesn’t change directions well laterally; he has tight hips, which means NBA offenses will attack him relentlessly one-on-one.
  • Poor help defender and rebounder who doesn’t play with great awareness or effort.
  • Lacks an arsenal of low-post scoring moves and is raw shooting off the dribble.
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Cole Anthony Cole Anthony
New Orleans Pelicans

COLE ANTHONY

Guard, North Carolina, freshman

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Hustle Hustle
  • PTS 18.5 21.2 per 40
  • REB 5.7 6.5 per 40
  • AST 4.0 4.6 per 40
  • EFG% 45.1 345 FGA
Age20
Wingspan6'4.5''
Height6'3''
Weight190

Energetic score-first point guard who at worst projects as a microwave scorer off the bench and at best can lead an offense.

Shades Of: Kemba Walker, Austin Rivers, Patty Mills
PLUSES
  • Talented shooter. He knows how to relocate off-ball, balance himself midair, and drain off-the-catch 3s. Constant threat to score thanks to his ability to hit stepbacks and pull-ups from all over the floor.
  • Ambidextrous finisher with hops, body control, strength, and touch; he’s much better than his numbers indicate because of North Carolina’s horrific spacing in the half court, often with two nonshooting bigs on the floor.
  • Dynamic ball handler who could thrive with more room as a pick-and-roll threat. He strings together combo moves, showing off a mix of change-of-pace dribbles with crosses using either hand. He looks to score first, but can make basic passes.
  • Dangerous transition threat. He’s an excellent defensive rebounder, and he can provide a jolt by sprinting down the floor on the break.
  • Feisty on-ball defender who has a sturdy frame and excellent lateral movement.
  • Impactful off-ball defender who keeps his head on a swivel and makes timely, fundamental rotations and occasionally flies in for weak-side blocks.
MINUSES
  • Shot selection: He forces too many contested looks instead of looking to pass, which causes bouts with streakiness.
  • Not a pure playmaker, nor does he naturally make his teammates better. He needs to work on making advanced reads, but even on the simple passes his accuracy is underwhelming.
  • Defensive versatility: He plays hard and smart, but he’s still undersized and likely to be targeted by opponents on switches or against elite guards.
  • Underwent surgery in 2019 for a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.
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Aaron Nesmith Aaron Nesmith
Boston Celtics

AARON NESMITH

Wing, Vanderbilt, sophomore

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Hustle Hustle
  • PTS 23.0 25.8 per 40
  • REB 4.9 5.4 per 40
  • STL 1.4 1.6 per 40
  • 3PT% 52.2 115 3PA
Age20.6
Wingspan6'10''
Height6'6''
Weight213

Possesses a flamethrower jump shot; he projects easily as a high-end role player, though he flashes raw ability off the dribble.

Shades Of: Dale Ellis, Danny Green, taller Buddy Hield
PLUSES
  • Unlimited range; spaces the floor by demanding a defense’s attention. Skilled shooter off screens who takes tight routes, makes smart reads, and has elite fundamentals from catch to release.
  • Comfortable shooting 3s off the dribble. He has a nice side step and stepback 3 with clean footwork.
  • Straight-line driver who is decisive attacking closeouts. With his size and strength, he could develop into a good finisher.
  • Understands his role and excels within it. He’s a great screener, executes plays, takes smart shots, and keeps the ball moving.
  • Competitive on-ball defender; with some improved fundamentals and athleticism, he could become far more versatile.
  • Intelligent defender. Though he’s not a great athlete, his positioning makes him a deterrent at the nail and around the rim.
MINUSES
  • Struggles finishing at the rim against length and contact. He’s not much of a leaper and is prone to getting his shot blocked or heavily altered.
  • Shot-creation ability: He lacks shake as a ball handler, burst on drives, and explosiveness in the paint.
  • Passing vision: He can make basic reads, but he isn’t going to make any advanced plays or deliver the ball with precision.
  • Man-to-man defense needs work. He’s slow laterally and would struggle against speedy guards. Improving his pliability would help him.
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Aleksej Pokusevski Aleksej Pokusevski
Orlando Magic

ALEKSEJ POKUSEVSKI

Big, Olympiacos B / Serbia

  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • PTS 9.9 16.7 per 36
  • REB 7.3 12.2 per 36
  • EFG% 48.1 105 FGA
  • BLK 1.7 2.8 per 36
Age18.4
Wingspan7'3''
Height7'0''
Weight201

A lanky 7-footer who moves like a wing and passes like a guard, but needs to grow into his thin frame to thrive in the NBA.

Shades Of: Detlef Schrempf, Lamar Odom, Dragan Bender
PLUSES
  • Versatile shooting potential: He has good footwork and body control, with a compact release coming off screens and off the dribble; he can rise and fire even with a hand in his face.
  • Nifty passer who can deliver a variety of precise dimes. At 7 feet, he can make passes over the top of the defense in the pick-and-roll that most players can’t.
  • He has good handles for his size, using hesitations, crossovers, and long strides to create separation. His movements are also decisive; there are very few record scratches when he possesses the ball.
  • It’s easy to envision an offensive role for him as a floor spacer and secondary handler in the half court, and as a transition playmaker who rips down rebounds and jump-starts possessions.
  • Potentially a versatile defender if he gets stronger. He has agility and fluidity, and he can swarm smaller opponents with his 7-foot-3 wingspan.
  • Attentive off-ball defender who communicates and jumps passing lanes to deflect passes.
MINUSES
  • He’s so skinny; few players with his frame find success in the NBA. He may never be a good one-on-one defender because of physical limitations. It is vital that he finds an excellent strength-and-conditioning program.
  • Inconsistent defensive effort. He plays like he’s 6 feet sometimes, not even bothering to contest shots with his long wingspan.
  • Tries to do too much on offense. He forces tough shots and tries ill-advised moves rather than making the sensible play.
  • Doesn’t hold his follow-through on jumpers, which is one of the reasons for his streakiness; better fundamentals will lead to better results.
  • Potentially a skilled interior finisher since he can use either hand, but he struggles against size and length. He also hasn’t shown any moves in the post.
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Kira Lewis Jr. Kira Lewis Jr.
Portland Trail Blazers

KIRA LEWIS JR.

Guard, Alabama, sophomore

  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Hustle Hustle
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 18.5 19.6 per 40
  • AST 5.2 5.6 per 40
  • EFG% 52.1 449 FGA
  • STL 1.8 1.9 per 40
Age19.1
Wingspan6'6''
Height6'3''
Weight165

Speedster point guard who pressures the rim and generates shots for himself around the perimeter.

Shades Of: Darius Garland, Lou Williams, Ish Smith
PLUSES
  • Dynamic shot creator who blends speed, acceleration, and body control with quality crossovers and hesitations to find high-percentage shots.
  • Pick-and-roll playmaking habits bode well for his potential. He does a great job getting into the paint and then whipping the ball to perimeter shooters.
  • Smooth stroke with bouts of streakiness, but his form, free throw percentage, and shot selection are all positive long-term indicators.
  • Agile on-ball defender who moves well laterally and fights through screens; but he needs to get a lot stronger to contain bigger guards.
  • Active off-ball defender who does a good job helping, digging, and getting in passing lanes without taking too many risks.
MINUSES
  • Drives recklessly since he’s still learning how to slow down and play with pace; doing so may also improve his vision and ability to finish.
  • A good-but-not-great playmaker. He doesn’t have the tightest handles or the most advanced moves. The ball often gets poked away and his inaccurate passes can cause shooters to fall off balance.
  • Needs to improve shooting off the dribble, especially when going right. He also lacks a reliable floater.
  • Shows a willingness to draw contact, but needs to improve at finishing off-balance shots with touch.
  • Not a switchable defender due to his size: He’s incredibly light, and lacks a frame to support much more weight.
  • Fundamentals must improve on defense: He stands too upright on-ball instead of staying low, and gets crossed up on closeouts.
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RJ Hampton RJ Hampton
Minnesota Timberwolves

RJ HAMPTON

Guard, New Zealand Breakers

  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Hustle Hustle
  • PTS 8.8 15.4 per 36
  • AST 2.4 4.2 per 36
  • EFG% 45.9 123 FGA
  • FT% 67.9 28 FTA
Age19.3
Wingspan6'7''
Height6'5''
Weight188

Shifty athlete with a speedy first step, but activating his talent will require developing his jumper.

Shades Of: Will Barton, Dante Exum, taller Rodrigue Beaubois
PLUSES
  • He can hit turbo on drives to the rim, and has explosiveness when elevating for layups. He stays low on crossovers, and displays advanced moves with herky-jerky hesitations.
  • Displays the fundamentals, craft, and body control to become a good interior finisher.
  • Playmaking potential. Loves one-handed whip passes off the dribble, and throws them with precision. Doesn’t make advanced reads but flashes the ability to develop in pick-and-roll.
  • Good off-ball player: He’s an aware cutter, relocates well around the perimeter, and runs like Forrest Gump in transition. Gotta love the hustle.
  • Long-term defensive upside because of his athleticism.
MINUSES
  • Inconsistent footwork hurts his jump shot. His feet always seem to be lined up differently, though they’re generally too close for him to cleanly release his shot. His upper body looks good, though.
  • Without a reliable jumper, his strengths will be diminished. Selecting him is a big bet on the development of his shooting ability.
  • Though his at-rim finishing is an overall positive, he must get stronger so he can absorb contact better and not overly rely on crafty finishes.
  • He’s a raw playmaker still figuring out how to make his teammates better. He makes some bad reads and occasionally forces passes.
  • Inexperienced defender with poor habits and fundamentals. Doesn’t stay in his stance and has yet to unlock his raw potential.
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Saddiq Bey Saddiq Bey
Dallas Mavericks

SADDIQ BEY

Wing, Villanova, sophomore

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Hustle Hustle
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 16.1 19.0 per 40
  • REB 4.7 5.6 per 40
  • AST 2.4 2.8 per 40
  • EFG% 58.4 367 FGA
Age21.1
Wingspan6'10''
Height6'8''
Weight216

Ideal 3-and-D wing with versatility on both ends, plus he makes an impact even if he’s not scoring.

Shades Of: Tobias Harris, DeMarre Carroll, Jae Crowder
PLUSES
  • Good spot-up shooter with a lightning-quick release, and a comfortable scorer off the dribble and off movement; he can take a pull-up or run off a simple screen.
  • Flashes secondary playmaking skills in running pick-and-rolls, attacking in straight-line drives, and while facing up in the post.
  • Smart decision-maker who attacks closeouts and delivers accurate passers to cutters and shooters.
  • Versatile defender capable of matching up across positions due to his blend of size and agility; he also sets the tone with his intensity.
  • Aware off-ball defender who rotates well and communicates with teammates.
MINUSES
  • Not an explosive player; he lacks a quick first step, and shows little burst on the drive or hops around the rim.
  • Clunky off-hand dribbler with limited shot-creation ability against pro defenders.
  • Screening must improve so teams can use him in set actions, taking advantage of his deft post abilities against smaller players.
  • Releases the ball in front of his body, and his shooting success has come within a small sample.
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Josh Green Josh Green
Brooklyn Nets

JOSH GREEN

Wing, Arizona, freshman

  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 12.0 15.5 per 40
  • REB 4.6 5.9 per 40
  • AST 2.6 3.4 per 40
  • EFG% 47.6 288 FGA
Age19.5
Wingspan6'10.25''
Height6'6''
Weight210

Fits into any roster as a 3-and-D wing who understands his role as a shooter, slasher, and cutter.

Shades Of: Gary Harris, Danny Green, Mickael Pietrus
PLUSES
  • Good spot-up 3-point shooter who boasts the touch to hit easy pull-ups.
  • Nifty player with a natural feel for making behind-the-back passes or spinning into a shot, though he needs to settle for fewer floaters.
  • Energetic on-ball defender with good footwork and anticipatory skills, mirroring movements of his opponent.
  • Versatility to switch on screens with the combination of lateral quickness against guards and strength against larger wings.
  • Energetic off-ball defender who stays engaged and rotates well; he’s a smart helper who will disrupt plays and rack up deflections and steals.
MINUSES
  • Displays some semblance of body control at the rim, but needs to improve against contact and with his left hand to become an effective finisher.
  • Loose handle; he shows flashes but currently lacks control. With a slow first step, he’s limited as an isolation and pick-and-roll scorer.
  • Though he is a smart decision-maker, he occasionally throws inaccurate passes that could otherwise have resulted in easy shot attempts.
  • Underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his left shoulder in 2019.
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Patrick Williams Patrick Williams
Miami Heat

PATRICK WILLIAMS

Wing, Florida State, freshman

  • Hustle Hustle
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 9.2 16.4 per 40
  • AST 1.0 1.8 per 40
  • 3PT% 32.0 50 3PA
  • FT% 83.8 74 FTA
Age18.8
Wingspan6'11''
Height6'8''
Weight225

Versatile offensive threat who can serve as a shot creator or as a screener; he can fill a range of roles.

Shades Of: Danilo Gallinari, P.J. Tucker
PLUSES
  • Efficient at-rim scorer who uses either hand on athletic extended finishes.
  • Talented scorer off the dribble who can rise—and sometimes hang —before draining tough, contested jumpers.
  • Sound decision-maker who plays within the system. He doesn’t pause possessions; he keeps the ball moving. Nor does he force bad shots; he looks for an open man.
  • Good playmaker for his size due to his solid handle and excellent passing vision. He loves to use hesitations, especially in the pick-and-roll, and he can deliver accurate passes off the dribble.
  • Does the little things like cutting, screening, and rebounding. With his size and skill, it’s projectable for a team to use him like a big as an on-ball screener who can pop for 3s or dive to the rim.
  • Smart, athletic team defender who communicates and disrupts actions with timely help defense.
  • Gritty player who hustles hard on defense. He’s had a handful of inspired chasedown blocks. As a rim protector, he’ll put in multiple efforts to get stops.
  • Flashes versatility on-ball in a switch-heavy scheme at Florida State. With improvements to his athleticism, he could shine.
MINUSES
  • Still developing as a spot-up shooter. He had to improve his form in high school to become a good free throw shooter (84 percent), but still struggles off the catch with a low, slow release.
  • He totaled nearly double the number of turnovers (50) as he did assists (29). Despite a knack for playmaking, he got called for countless travels due to raw footwork and forced drives into traffic.
  • Stiff man-to-man defender without the versatility to reliably switch onto guards and wings. He’s clunky moving laterally and changing directions, so he gets burned regularly.
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Which Playmakers Are the Real Deal?
Presented by State Farm Logo

An ace pick-and-roll playmaker who can also score at a high level is a ticket to a fruitful offense in the NBA. Unfortunately, it does not appear that type of player is available in the 2020 NBA draft. 

You could be optimistic when looking at this class and predict that Killian Hayes could grow into that. Many do. You could get intoxicated by LaMelo Ball's immense talent, but his audacious offense (shooting, specifically) can be so erratic that it makes you wonder whether he's capable of being more than a complementary option on a good team.

Let’s be careful not to oversimplify the places where playmaking can come from, though. 

Without game-changers available, teams will likely target strong decision-makers who can shore up their secondary pick-and-roll sequences and spot-up games. Players who can stretch the defense, disrupt it, and make the right plays.

Tyrese Haliburton is one of the best examples. The league should be praying that he's kept away from the Warriors. I’m praying for the opposite. The Iowa State guard would be an incredible fit within Golden State’s scheme because of the added jolt and intelligence he could bring to their healing offense, whether he's the primary initiator or not. In some ways he seems like Shaun Livingston reincarnated.

It's possible that teams could struggle to find starter-level playmaking talent that can also carry their weight as shooters and defenders. Nico Mannion did a solid job balancing his own offense with distributing for Arizona's young roster this season. He posted one of the better assist-to-usage marks (1.286) among the guards being considered in the first round. While his defense remains a question, his pedigree and personality offer confidence that he’ll find a place to contribute.

Among the wings, there are trade-offs. Isaac Okoro could be an elite defender, and his playmaking would make him an asset if he ever gains consistency as a shooter from deep. Deni Avdija and Leandro Bolmaro both have an ease with the ball and the size to function as secondary playmakers, but again—shooting. Desmond Bane has moments when he looks tailor-made for Daryl Morey, but will his athleticism translate in the NBA?

The sure thing or semi-sure thing isn’t really there this year, but depending on what you’re willing to be unsure about, value can be found.

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Precious Achiuwa Precious Achiuwa
Philadelphia 76ers

PRECIOUS ACHIUWA

Big, Memphis, freshman

  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • Hustle Hustle
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • PTS 15.8 20.7 per 40
  • REB 10.8 14.2 per 40
  • BLK 1.9 2.5 per 40
  • FT% 59.9 187 FTA
Age20.7
Wingspan7'2''
Height6'9''
Weight225

Energetic big with potential to be a multipositional defender and versatile scorer, though he’s still in the early stages of his development.

Shades Of: James Johnson, Montrezl Harrell
PLUSES
  • Pick-and-roll upside: He can roll and finish with athleticism or put the ball on the floor and get to the rim.
  • Active rim runner in transition. He can also pull down rebounds and sprint ahead with the ball himself.
  • Good rebounder, and he’s especially active on the offensive glass.
  • Athletic defender who makes plays in the passing lanes as a mobile helper. With his length and strength, he could develop into a rim protector in smaller lineups.
  • High defensive potential thanks to his physical measurements and quickness, but his fundamentals and discipline must improve.
MINUSES
  • Turnover prone: He doesn’t read defenses well and often forces shots or drives into a sea of defenders. In the pick-and-roll, he needs to master the short roll pass.
  • Poor shooting touch: He shot 60 percent from the line, 26 percent on floaters, and 30 percent on jumpers. With shaky lower-body mechanics, there’s a lot of work to be done to make him passable at the pro level.
  • Struggles with inconsistency as a defender. His footwork hinders his ability to slide and stay in front of quicker players, but it’s fixable.
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Desmond Bane Desmond Bane
Denver Nuggets

DESMOND BANE

Wing, TCU, senior

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Hustle Hustle
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 16.6 18.4 per 40
  • REB 6.3 7.0 per 40
  • AST 3.9 4.3 per 40
  • 3PT% 44.2 208 3PA
Age21.9
Wingspan6'5''
Height6'6''
Weight215

High-IQ guard who plays hard. He already has a veteran skill set and projects favorably as a rotation player.

Shades Of: Malcolm Brogdon, Alex Caruso, Lamar Patterson
PLUSES
  • Knockdown shooter who thrives running off screens and using manipulative moves to shake loose from defenders. Despite unorthodox mechanics, he shot 43 percent from 3 and 80 percent from the line in four years at TCU.
  • Comfortable shooting off the dribble. He won’t be an iso threat in the pros, but can attack a mismatch or pull-up to punish a scrambling defense.
  • Excels at pick-and-roll decision-making, playing with pace and delivering accurate passes all over the court.
  • Solid finisher who can use either hand around the rim. He has touch, which is vital since he lacks hops.
  • Decisive player who reads the floor at a high level. He cuts and relocates well and facilitates effectively and intentionally.
  • Excellent defensive fundamentals: He sits in his stance and rapidly reacts to cut off drives. With a strong frame and quick hands, he has versatility.
MINUSES
  • He needs to tighten his handle to create space against athletic defenders. Though he improved in that area at TCU, he still has room to grow.
  • Lack of burst or a quick first step, plus his short arms, could limit both his at-rim finishing ability and his defensive impact.
  • Defensive versatility is questionable on paper because of his physical and athletic profile.
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Jaden McDaniels Jaden McDaniels
Utah Jazz

JADEN MCDANIELS

Wing, Washington, freshman

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • PTS 13.0 16.7 per 40
  • REB 5.8 7.5 per 40
  • AST 2.1 2.7 per 40
  • EFG% 46.9 336 FGA
Age19.6
Wingspan6'11.5''
Height6'9''
Weight200

Hyped-up prospect who underwhelmed as a freshman but retains appeal with his size, shooting ability, and defensive versatility.

Shades Of: Rashard Lewis, Andrew Wiggins, Nemanja Bjelica
PLUSES
  • Excellent ball handler for his size with nifty side-to-side moves that help him get into pull-up jumpers out of the pick-and-roll. He has deep range, and is also comfortable launching from midrange.
  • Good spot-up shooter with smooth mechanics. He’s shown the ability to hit 3s off handoffs, though that might not be part of his NBA role.
  • Potentially a versatile defender thanks to his blend of length and quickness. He’s proved to be an effective weak-side shot blocker, and fared well in college on switches against speedy guards.
MINUSES
  • Poor finisher who struggles at dislodging defenders on his drives and at handling contact in the paint. With such a thin frame, he may never be able to pack on weight to be more effective.
  • Defenses can comfortably switch smaller players on him; he isn’t strong enough to exploit them with drives or post-ups.
  • Lacks playmaking skills. Coaches will be frustrated by his bad decisions; it seems like every quarter he hurls his body into a crowd rather than looks for a simple kick-out pass.
  • So skinny that beefier opponents will overpower him on defense. He’s incredibly foul-prone.
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Nico Mannion Nico Mannion
Milwaukee Bucks

NICO MANNION

Guard, Arizona, freshman

  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • PTS 14.0 17.3 per 40
  • AST 5.3 6.6 per 40
  • EFG% 46.5 367 FGA
  • STL 1.2 1.5 per 40
Age19.2
Wingspan6'2.5''
Height6'3''
Weight190

One of the best passers in this class. His physical dimensions may limit his upside, but he can thrive in an offense that shares ballhandling responsibilities.

Shades Of: Seth Curry, Landry Shamet, T.J. McConnell (with a jumper)
PLUSES
  • Shot maker who can fire 3s off the dribble or run off screens.
  • Comfortable finishing around the rim using either hand. He has one of the softest touches in the class, with a floater that’s effective out to the elbows.
  • Savvy pick-and-roll presence thanks to his change-of-pace play. He can pull up or split defenders to get into the paint.
  • Instinctual passer with a high IQ; he makes rapid decisions facilitating. He weaponizes his shooting ability to create passing lanes, and loves to attack the baseline before wrapping around passes to bigs.
  • Dynamic player in transition. He can race ahead of the defense for 3s and loud open-floor finishes, or handle the ball and facilitate scoring chances.
  • Active defender who’s agile moving laterally and attentive off the ball.
MINUSES
  • Lacks burst off the dribble, which hinders his ability to attack the basket. Struggles to turn the corner. Doesn’t possess advanced moves to create separation.
  • Settles for too many floaters, and he makes many of his at-rim attempts harder than they should be.
  • He hunches over when he shoots from deep. It’s a mechanical issue that may be the cause of his disappointing 3-point percentages in college.
  • Lacks defensive versatility due to his lack of size and length; he’s a one- or two-position defender.
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Jalen Smith Jalen Smith
Oklahoma City Thunder

JALEN SMITH

Big, Maryland, sophomore

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • PTS 15.5 19.8 per 40
  • REB 10.5 13.4 per 40
  • BLK 2.4 3.0 per 40
  • 3PT% 36.8 87 3PA
Age20.2
Wingspan7'1.5''
Height6'10''
Weight225

Coordinated big man who can shoot and handle the ball, though he’ll need to make strides on defense to become a full-time starter.

Shades Of: Serge Ibaka, Kelly Olynyk, Thomas Bryant
PLUSES
  • Talented shooter with sound mechanics. He excels off screens and handoffs. His size and position make him even more valuable.
  • Dynamic screening threat: He sets strong, fundamental picks, and forces defenses to respect his ability to dive to the rim or pop out for a 3.
  • Good interior finisher with either hand. He has touch, and he can finish with power, especially on putbacks when crashing the boards.
  • Runs the floor hard. He’ll beat defenses for dunks and layups, but he can also trail and drain 3s.
  • High-motor, high-IQ defender. Solid shot blocker with a savvy sense of timing. Boxes out on the boards and rebounds well.
MINUSES
  • A bit slow to elevate around the rim. He excelled in college but will need to become quicker in the pros.
  • Doesn’t establish deep seals to get ideal post positioning due to his weak lower-body strength.
  • Subpar passer. He panics when pressured, especially on the post. Even when he has space, he telegraphs passes like a quarterback staring down his receiver.
  • Lacks agility changing directions, which especially hurts him on defense. Even if he recognizes a play, he can be a beat late.
  • Stiff lateral movements hurt his pick-and-roll and perimeter defense. Guards blow by him too often. He needs to put in significant work on his body, especially his hips, to improve quickness.
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Isaiah Joe Isaiah Joe
Boston Celtics

ISAIAH JOE

Guard, Arkansas, sophomore

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 16.9 18.7 per 40
  • AST 1.7 1.9 per 40
  • 3PT% 34.2 275 3PA
  • EFG% 49.7 360 FGA
Age21.1
WingspanN/A
Height6'5''
Weight180

A dynamic and prolific 3-point threat, though he needs to round out the rest of his game.

Shades Of: Luke Kennard, Allen Crabbe, RJ Hunter
PLUSES
  • Versatile shooter with deep range off a full sprint and off screens; he also knows how to cut and relocate.
  • Effective marksman off the dribble; he loves to cross over from his right to his left hand into a stepback shot.
  • Displays great touch around the rim, though he rarely attacks the paint.
  • Solid passer within the flow of the offense, swinging the ball or delivering entry passes; if he starts attacking the basket more often, he could unlock some playmaking potential.
  • Possesses great fundamentals and lateral quickness on the defensive end, which makes him an effective on-ball defender despite a lack of strength.
  • Energetic off-ball defender who chases opponents through screens and makes smart rotations.
MINUSES
  • Inconsistent shooter. He hit 41 percent of his 3s as a freshman but only 34 percent as a sophomore. He also took a lot of difficult shots due to his demanding role in the offense, with over 10 3-point attempts per game.
  • Takes a lot of unwarranted shots, which is possibly attributable to his role, but also due to his tendency to jack jumpers rather than attack the rim or make an available pass.
  • Thin frame hinders his versatility defensively; he was often overpowered in college.
  • Underwent arthroscopic debridement surgery on his right knee, ending his sophomore season early.
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Theo Maledon Theo Maledon
New York Knicks

THEO MALEDON

Guard, ASVEL / France

  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • PTS 7.3 15.1 per 36
  • AST 2.7 5.6 per 36
  • EFG% 49.6 261 FGA
  • FT% 77.6 98 FTA
Age18.9
Wingspan6'8.5''
Height6'4''
Weight174

Strong floor general who’s become a potent shooter, though his lack of burst may limit his upside.

Shades Of: Derek Anderson, Nate McMillan, Kirk Hinrich
PLUSES
  • Plays with a controlled pace in the pick-and-roll. He loves to use hesitations to compensate for his lack of athleticism. He’s a dual threat, dangerous as both a passer and shooter off the dribble.
  • Shoots well off the catch and off the dribble. He’s not dynamic, but has nice form and can score when called upon.
  • Crafty finisher who is comfortable scoring off the wrong foot or with his off-hand. He has a nice touch on off-balance layups, finger rolls, and floaters.
  • Sturdy frame with long arms; he projects as a reliable man-to-man defender if his fundamentals improve.
  • He has made steady progress each season and possesses a high work ethic. He’s also mentored by Spurs legend Tony Parker.
MINUSES
  • Struggles to create space despite his change of pace and use of in-out dribbles and crossovers. He gets enveloped by quality defenders who beat him to his spot, and currently lacks the ability to counterattack.
  • Doesn’t put a lot of pressure on the rim as a ball handler, which may limit his value as a playmaker if he’s not creating angles for kickout 3s. The flashes are there, but he must master his handle.
  • Despite his size, he hasn’t had success on switches against larger players, offering little resistance.
  • He defends on his heels, which slows down his lateral slides. And he bites on too many shot fakes.
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Isaiah Stewart Isaiah Stewart
Los Angeles Lakers

ISAIAH STEWART

Big, Washington, freshman

  • Hustle Hustle
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • PTS 17.0 21.1 per 40
  • REB 8.8 10.9 per 40
  • BLK 2.1 2.6 per 40
  • EFG% 57.7 337 FGA
Age19
Wingspan7'4''
Height6'9''
Weight250

Muscular big man who plays his tail off and possesses a vintage, interior game.

Shades Of: Derrick Favors, Domantas Sabonis minus passing, Michael Cage
PLUSES
  • High-motor big who runs hard on the break. He frequently beats defenses up the floor, and displays great coordination on finishes.
  • Savvy post scorer who displays a wide range of moves, including drop steps, face-ups, and up-and-unders from either side of the block.
  • Battles hard in the paint, using his broad shoulders to seal off defenders and seize close positioning.
  • Flashes occasional shooting ability. He hit only 32 percent of his jump shots in college, but converted 77 percent of his free throws. He has the soft touch and confidence to improve.
  • Bully on the boards; he could be a weapon on the offensive glass because of his instincts for tracking the ball.
  • Aggressive defender with a knack for blocking shots; he did well playing in zone as the anchor of the defense.
MINUSES
  • Lacks explosiveness, which hinders his ability to finish inside on rolls or second-chance opportunities. He’ll need to master touch finishes.
  • Poor passer who looks to shoot too often with the ball in his hands. When he does pass, it’s often inaccurate or forced through traffic.
  • His shooting mechanics are inconsistent—his feet often flare wildly—but the long-term potential is there.
  • Needs to improve his lateral quickness to survive defending on the perimeter.
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29
Array
Robert Woodard II Robert Woodard II
Toronto Raptors

ROBERT WOODARD II

Wing, Mississippi State, sophomore

  • Hustle Hustle
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 11.4 13.7 per 40
  • REB 6.5 7.9 per 40
  • EFG% 54.9 275 FGA
  • 3PT% 42.9 70 3PA
Age20.7
Wingspan7'1''
Height6'7''
Weight235

Winning player who puts in constant effort, and his improved jumper promotes confidence in his ability to be a successful pro.

Shades Of: Marvin Williams, DeMarre Carroll, Dorian Finney-Smith
PLUSES
  • Smart team player who cuts and moves well off-ball. With his size and fluidity, he could have value as an on-ball screener in smaller lineups.
  • Skilled finisher at the rim who can pull off acrobatic layups.
  • Good passer; he makes quick decisions with the ball and tends to deliver with accuracy.
  • Improved as a shooter from his freshman to sophomore seasons (27 percent to 43 percent from 3 and 58 percent to 64 percent from the line).
  • Flashes the ability to pull up from midrange—his shot actually looks more fluid here than it does on catch-and-shoot attempts.
  • Active rebounder and terrific team defender. He’s sound inside, helping bigs and then closing back out on shooters. With a long wingspan, he can disrupt passing lanes.
MINUSES
  • Loose handle, which leads to the majority of his turnovers.
  • Lacks quickness to comfortably defend guards on switches.
  • Stiff-looking shooter. Despite his improved numbers, he needs to prove a lot from NBA range against high-level defenders.
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Ty-Shon Alexander Ty-Shon Alexander
Boston Celtics

TY-SHON ALEXANDER

Guard, Creighton, junior

  • Hustle Hustle
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • PTS 16.9 19.5 per 40
  • 3PT% 39.9 203 3PA
  • FT% 86.0 136 FTA
  • STL 1.3 1.5 per 40
Age22.1
WingspanN/A
Height6'4''
Weight195

Winning player who grinds on defense and makes big-time shots on offense.

Shades Of: Josh Richardson, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Alec Burks
PLUSES
  • Good shooter who hit 37 percent of his 3s and 81 percent of his free throws in three seasons at Creighton, and got notably better each season. He’s at his best off the catch, though he can also drain 3s off one or two dribbles.
  • Smart player who limits turnovers; he also makes plays that go beyond the box score by cutting or relocating to create proper spacing for his team.
  • If his handle keeps getting better, he has the skills to run more point in the NBA; he’s a secondary ball handler in the pick-and-roll who can score from each level.
  • Plays extremely hard. He runs the floor, crashes the glass, dives for loose balls, and chases down players on the break.
  • High-level on-ball defender who disturbs smaller opponents with his length, quickness, and instinctual positioning. He gets in their face and moves well laterally to contain penetration.
  • Excellent off-ball defender who busts plays with his instincts and navigates screens as if he knows the opponent’s entire playbook.
MINUSES
  • Basic ball handler without an elite first step or great burst; he needs to add more manipulative moves to improve his shot-creation ability.
  • Subpar finisher who lacks an off-hand.
  • A bit undersized to contain larger wings and forwards, which could limit his defensive versatility since they can shoot over him.
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Is This the Year of the Trade-Down?
Presented by State Farm Logo

From 1977 to 2016, a team with a top-five pick in the draft traded down only 13 times. Those types of deals used to be an anomaly, but they’ve happened in three straight drafts since—with Markelle Fultz for Jayson Tatum in 2017, Luka Doncic for Trae Young in 2018, and De’Andre Hunter for multiple firsts in 2019. Are trade-downs becoming a trend? The 2020 draft is ripe to keep the streak alive.

The 2020 class lacks the type of top-tier prospects we’ve been spoiled by in recent years, like Luka or Zion. The likely top-three picks (LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards, and James Wiseman) have obvious promise, but they’re complicated by severe flaws. Wiseman could go as high as no. 1, but he ranks seventh on my board and some team executives rank him even lower because of struggles in making quick decisions. My top-ranked prospect, Killian Hayes, doesn’t even crack the top 10 on some big boards, while some executives say he’s the draft’s most underrated player because of his playmaking ability. There is no such thing as a “consensus” ranking when fit and opportunity play such a central role in the success or failure of each player, but this year’s draft class is especially tough to project.

Prospects like Hayes could come to define this draft. While the class may be light on stars, it’s heavy on steals. A deep crop of potential high-end role players with foundational skills (like Devin Vassell, a ready-made 3-and-D wing from Florida State, or Tyrell Terry, a 3-point sharpshooter from Stanford) are lurking outside the top five. Many of them could naturally exceed expectations for their draft slot, and they don’t necessarily need to be taken early. If a team with a top pick has an evaluation of those players that is similar to mine, they could simply select that player up high and not sweat the details. But it’d be better to move down and add other assets from a team looking to move up—if anyone is willing to bite.

Thanks to the NBA’s rookie-scale contract structure, the no. 1 pick will earn $12 million annually for the next four seasons. Top picks will be wealthier than ever, but the league’s salary cap could drop next season due to the loss in revenue caused by the pandemic. If the first pick is Wiseman, that’s a lot to spend when many starting centers on playoff teams earn less than $12 million and many centers who earn more are considered liabilities in the postseason. Unless a center is a bona fide star like Joel Embiid or Nikola Jokic, a team is best served searching for a bargain and spending elsewhere. With such a premium being put on 3-point shooting in the modern game, is it worth gambling a top-three pick on LaMelo or Edwards when better shooters with higher floors (and arguably higher ceilings) like Terry and Tyrese Haliburton can be found later for less money and risk? Teams will ask themselves these tough questions between now and the draft, whenever it happens. Though the 2020 draft is dim on star power, stars aren’t the only piece of the championship puzzle—and this year’s best pieces might be hiding in plain sight.

31
Leandro Bolmaro Leandro Bolmaro

LEANDRO BOLMARO

Guard, Barcelona / Argentina

  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • PTS 8.0 16.4 per 36
  • AST 2.5 5.2 per 36
  • STL 1.3 2.6 per 36
  • 3PT% 27.9 68 3PA
Age19.7
Wingspan6'8''
Height6'7''
Weight180

Impeccable playmaking skills and instincts give him a foundation for success, but his jumper will determine his upside.

Shades Of: Joe Ingles, Evan Turner
PLUSES
  • He can make every pass in the book using either hand. He sees passing lanes that few others can, and makes the reads so quickly that it’s as if he’s two steps ahead.
  • Slick ball handler who gets where he wants on the floor with his change-of-pace moves and tempo despite a lack of elite athleticism.
  • Good touch on floaters, runners, and layups, which bodes well long term for his subpar jump shot.
  • Intelligent off-ball player who cuts and relocates like a veteran.
  • High-effort defender who beats opponents to spots and does a great job of fighting over screens.
  • Alert team defender who rotates well, digs down in the post, and provides overall cohesion.
MINUSES
  • He needs to improve his off-hand to compensate for the fact that he’s a below-the-rim finisher who struggles against length.
  • Without a reliable jumper, most of his strengths are moot. He shot 28 percent from 3 and 66 percent from the line in three professional seasons overseas. There are some quirks in his jumper, especially in his wrist, that need to be ironed out.
  • Less effective as a shot creator when defended by smaller players who get underneath him; he’ll need to make advancements to survive.
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32
Devon Dotson Devon Dotson

DEVON DOTSON

Guard, Kansas, sophomore

  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • PTS 18.1 20.8 per 40
  • AST 4.0 4.6 per 40
  • STL 2.1 2.4 per 40
  • 3PT% 30.9 123 3PA
Age20.8
Wingspan6'3.25''
Height6'2''
Weight185

Shot creator who pushes turbo to get into the paint, where he’s a talented finisher and playmaker. Needs to improve his 3-point shot to complete his game.

Shades Of: Jeremy Lin, Eric Bledsoe
PLUSES
  • Manufactures baskets even against a set defense because of his tight handle and speed. He has advanced moves and a quick first step, and accelerates in a flash.
  • Excellent driving to the rim; he’s fearless and draws a ton of fouls. Can generate space or contact with advanced footwork and an array of moves.
  • Ambidextrous finisher and explosive jumper who knows how to use his body to shield off defenders.
  • Shot 81 percent on 300-plus attempts from the free throw line, which bodes well for his long-term 3-point shooting ability if he improves his form.
  • Constantly improving as a playmaker; he’s learned how to draw defenders in to create open looks for teammates. He’s not a passing savant, but he does his job well and limits mistakes.
  • Feisty defender who plays bigger than his 6-foot-3 wingspan would suggest. With a strong frame, he can at least battle and mirror opponents laterally.
MINUSES
  • Shooting off the dribble: He doesn’t transition fluidly into his shot, and hit only 27 percent of his dribble jumpers in two seasons.
  • Spot-up shooting mechanics look tense; he hit only 35 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s in college.
  • Plays too fast for his own good at times, driving into the lane and tossing up wild shots or passes.
  • Lacks versatility on defense; undersized guards get picked on, and at 6-foot-2 he’ll be a target despite his motor.
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33
Paul Reed Paul Reed

PAUL REED

Big, DePaul, junior

  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • Hustle Hustle
  • PTS 15.1 19.1 per 40
  • REB 10.7 13.5 per 40
  • BLK 2.6 3.2 per 40
  • 3PT% 30.8 52 3PA
Age20.9
Wingspan7'2''
Height6'9''
Weight220

Impactful defender across positions who plays with a flare on the offensive end.

Shades Of: Paul Millsap, Taj GIbson
PLUSES
  • Athletic finisher who can score in a variety of ways. In the NBA, he could flourish from the dunker’s spot on the baseline or as a screener in the high pick-and-roll.
  • Good finisher with touch using either hand. Can get into the paint with advanced moves including Euro-steps.
  • Bouncy leaper who can block shots and rebound. He plays hard and pushes the break after boards.
  • Multipositional defender with the lateral quickness to contain perimeter players and the size and length to battle against leaner bigs.
  • Active help defender who closes out, rotates to contest shots, and jumps passing lanes.
MINUSES
  • Shooting mechanics: He’s as stiff as cardboard. There’s no fluidity to his shot. But at 74 percent from the line and 33 percent from 3, he clearly has potential if he’s able to improve his form.
  • Erratic decision-maker who forces frustrating shots and passes. The flare can work for him, but he needs to calculate when to take risks and when to make the safe play.
  • Lacks crispness as a ball handler. He flashes behind-the-back moves and Euro-steps, but they often force him to lose control or slow down. If he tightens his handle, it’ll unleash his dribble-drive game.
  • Takes too many risks defensively, especially trying to chase down blocked shots—it leads to opponents driving by him and often gets him into foul trouble.
  • Lean frame limits him defensively against true bigs; he gets swallowed inside, which again causes him to foul.
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34
Yam Madar Yam Madar

YAM MADAR

Guard, Hapoel Tel Aviv / Israel

  • Hustle Hustle
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • PTS 10.1 14.8 per 36
  • AST 3.4 5.0 per 36
  • 3PT% 26.7 86 3PA
  • FT% 81.2 85 FTA
Age19.7
WingspanN/A
Height6'3''
Weight180

Electric point guard who plays with fire on defense and flare on offense, but his upside will be determined by the development of his jumper.

Shades Of: Patrick Beverley, TJ McConnell, Jevon Carter
PLUSES
  • Nifty ball handler with high-level footwork who changes speeds and pace to generate space.
  • Crafty finisher around the basket who can hit layups and floaters from awkward angles; his touch is just as soft with his left hand as with his right.
  • Intuitive passer who uses his eyes to manipulate defenders, creating passing lanes to cutters or spot-up shooters. The flashy plays he makes—like no-look or over-the-head passes—are made with intention.
  • Great feel all around: He’s always moving, makes smart decisions, adjusts when he needs to, and plays hard on defense.
  • Hard-nosed on-ball defender who has quickness laterally, stays in his stance, and fights over screens; few players his age are so advanced on defense.
  • Physical defender against larger players on a switch; if he gets posted up, a coach might even feel comfortable enough to not send a double-team.
  • Aware off-ball defender who disrupts passing lanes, rotates, and recovers well.
MINUSES
  • Makes too many inaccurate passes, which is partially a by-product of the ambitious passes he attempts.
  • Subpar shooter who hit only 27 percent of his 3s last year; he has a rigid form that needs to be tweaked, but his soft touch around the rim and from the line (81 percent) are both encouraging long-term indicators.
  • Lack of size limits his defensive versatility; try as he might, teams with bigger scorers may exploit him.
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35
Tyler Bey Tyler Bey

TYLER BEY

Wing, Colorado, junior

  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • PTS 13.8 19.1 per 40
  • REB 9.0 12.5 per 40
  • STL 1.5 2.1 per 40
  • BLK 1.2 1.6 per 40
Age22.3
Wingspan7'1''
Height6'7''
Weight216

Versatile defender who can serve as a linchpin on defense and be a complementary component on offense.

Shades Of: Otto Porter, Trevor Ariza, thinner Larry Nance Jr.
PLUSES
  • Intriguing offensive upside as a center: He’s a good screener and an athletic finisher. If his 3-point progress is for real, he’ll also be able to stretch defenses.
  • Displays potential as a spot-up shooter. He has some funky mechanics, but they’ve gotten him this far. He has good touch from the line too.
  • Excellent off-ball defender who communicates well and keeps his head on a swivel. He’s fearless, too; he’ll contest shots even if he risks being put on a poster. Typically, he’ll alter or block shots with his verticality and length.
  • High-level on-ball defender. Quick laterally and can also switch on screens. He’s capable of containing guards and wings, though his thin lower body might limit him against bigs.
MINUSES
  • Used as an interior player in college, which won't be his role in the NBA. He’ll need to make adjustments to play on the perimeter.
  • Turnover-prone: Weak handle limits his scoring ability, and he doesn’t react well to pressure when he’s in control of the ball.
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36
Jahmi'us Ramsey Jahmi'us Ramsey

JAHMI'US RAMSEY

Guard, Texas Tech, freshman

  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • PTS 15.0 19.3 per 40
  • AST 2.2 2.9 per 40
  • 3PT% 42.6 141 3PA
  • FT% 64.1 78 FTA
Age18.9
Wingspan6'6''
Height6'4''
Weight195

Fearless shot-maker who needs to improve his playmaking but has intriguing potential as a two-way guard.

Shades Of: Lonnie Walker IV, Dion Waiters, J.R. Smith
PLUSES
  • Flashy scorer who has confidence to pull up from anywhere. He can comfortably step back or side-step into 3s.
  • Good shooter off the catch. Texas Tech ran him off screens and he showed upside manipulating defenders to create space before launching shots.
  • At his best in the open floor. He has fluidity scoring on the break, and explosiveness scoring around the rim.
  • Strong frame for a guard with long arms. If he’s able to improve some of his fixable weaknesses, it’s easy to see him becoming a dynamic scorer due to his ability to generate shots.
  • Potentially a good man-to-man defender if his fundamentals improve thanks to his length and frame.
  • Athletic off-ball defender who can make noise in passing lanes and disrupt shots.
MINUSES
  • Struggles scoring around the rim. His lack of burst is a detriment since he’s not able to shed defenders off the dribble. He rarely uses his left hand and ends up settling for too many low-percentage floaters.
  • Streaky shooter. While he made 43 percent of his 3-point attempts in college, he hit just 64 percent of his free throws. How real is his jumper?
  • Shot selection: He takes a lot of tough shots in situations when he should pass or drive to the rim. He’s presently not a primary option due to his shaky handle, but he plays like he is.
  • Subpar playmaker who lacks feel in the pick-and-roll and misses too many open teammates.
  • Loses interest on defense and lacks basic fundamentals. His NBA team will need to work extensively with him in pretty much all areas, from man-to-man defense to closing out on shooters.
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37
Killian Tillie Killian Tillie

KILLIAN TILLIE

Big, Gonzaga, senior

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 13.6 22.1 per 40
  • REB 5.0 8.1 per 40
  • 3PT% 40.0 90 3PA
  • TS% 63.0 230 FGA
Age22.2
Wingspan6'10''
Height6'10''
Weight220

Lottery talent with a game built for the NBA, but his injury history is concerning.

Shades Of: Robert Horry, Davis Bertans
PLUSES
  • Knockdown 3-point shooter with an effortless release from deep range. Gonzaga ran actions to get him spot-up 3s as if he were a wing. He’s not a threat off the dribble, but he can pick-and-pop or run off a flare screen.
  • Excellent ambidextrous finisher around the rim; he has a feel for finding open spaces to avoid getting blocked, putting English on the ball off the glass.
  • High-IQ player who can fit into any offense. He knows when to cut, relocate off the ball, and how to make the smart pass. Also capable of beating mismatches in the post, a valuable skill considering how often defenses switch.
  • Instinctive passer who reads the play before it happens; he’ll catch the ball then immediately fire a bull's-eye pass to get teammates open. In the NBA, he could feast in the pick-and-roll because he can shoot, finish, and pass.
  • Physical man-to-man defender who battles in the paint and moves well laterally on the perimeter.
  • Alert team defender who rotates well, communicates, and puts himself in proper position to help.
MINUSES
  • Endured a litany of injuries and surgeries at Gonzaga, including knee surgery, a torn ligament in his foot, a stress fracture in his ankle, a hip pointer, and sprained ankles.
  • Lost some of his mobility defending on the perimeter due to his injuries.
  • Not an effective rebounder for his size.
  • Underwhelming athlete: He’s not a threatening rim protector due to his lack of length and verticality.
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38
Tre Jones Tre Jones

TRE JONES

Guard, Duke, sophomore

  • On-Ball Defense On-Ball Defense
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • PTS 16.2 18.3 per 40
  • AST 6.4 7.2 per 40
  • 3PT% 36.1 108 3PA
  • FT% 77.1 140 FTA
Age20.4
Wingspan6'4''
Height6'3''
Weight185

 Floor general with an unselfish, team-first playing style and an impactful defender.

Shades Of: Mookie Blaylock, Cory Joseph, Chris Duhon
PLUSES
  • Reliable playmaker in pick-and-roll and transition. Plays with control and discipline; he limits turnovers by making smart decisions.
  • Improved shooter as a sophomore—he went from 26 percent to 36 percent on 3s. His soft touch from the line (77 percent) and on floaters offers more promise.
  • Lockdown defender against guards with advanced technique fighting over screens.
  • High-IQ team defender who rotates, communicates, and disrupts the opponent with timely rotations that put him in the passing lanes.
MINUSES
  • He knows how to conduct an offense at a high level, but he’s not an improviser who breaks down defenders off the dribble and generates magical passes.
  • Mediocre finisher, as he lacks burst off the dribble and explosiveness as a leaper. He shot only 43 percent at the rim, per Synergy.
  • Unproven shooter. Despite his progress, it came on a small sample; he’ll need to improve his abilities during (virtual?) pre-draft workouts.
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39
Cassius Winston Cassius Winston

CASSIUS WINSTON

Guard, Michigan State, senior

  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • PTS 18.6 22.8 per 40
  • REB 2.5 3.1 per 40
  • AST 5.9 7.2 per 40
  • 3PT% 43.2 169 3PA
Age22.2
Wingspan6'5.25''
Height6'1''
Weight185

Gritty, unselfish point guard who plays winning basketball and made progress each season as a scorer.

Shades Of: Kyle Lowry, Yogi Ferrell
PLUSES
  • High-IQ point guard who avoids mistakes and shows savvy in generating shots for himself and his teammates.
  • Excellent shooter who hit 43 percent of his 3s and 85 percent of his free throws in four seasons. He’s equally potent off the dribble and off the catch, displaying the ability to drain 3s off screens and make defenders pay if they go under.
  • Good ball handler who facilitates offense all over the court. He can step back or side-step into 3s, or use a hesitation to get into the paint for a floater or layup.
  • Displays nice feel in the pick-and-roll; he can get better at making advanced passes, but he’s above-average already.
  • Good team defender who stays focused off-ball when rotating and closing out. Plays with heart, performing well even while battling injuries.
MINUSES
  • Lacks a second gear off the dribble, which could limit his ability as a shot creator at the next level.
  • Undersized player without top-end athleticism, which hurts his defensive versatility and upside.
  • Injuries are a concern: He has dealt with nagging tendonitis in his right knee, and he played through a bone bruise in his left knee last season, among other injuries over the years.
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40
Payton Pritchard Payton Pritchard

PAYTON PRITCHARD

Guard, Oregon, senior

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • PTS 20.5 22.4
  • REB 4.3 4.7
  • AST 5.5 6.1
  • 3PT% 41.5 212 3PA
Age22.3
Wingspan6'4''
Height6'2''
Weight190

Sizzling scorer and steady playmaker who plays a winning style by making big plays and grinding hard from the opening tip.

Shades Of: Fred VanVleet, Shabazz Napier
PLUSES
  • Understands how to control the game with his dribble and his voice. He’s a team leader and could slide into a spark-plug point guard role and provide scoring and reliable playmaking.
  • Smart decision-maker who makes accurate passes and doesn’t force the issue. If he drives, he won’t force a shot; he’ll kick it out and then relocate to the 3-point line.
  • Knockdown shooter. His potency off movement and off the dribble suggests suggests he can be a dynamic offensive weapon.
  • Solid ball handler who won’t necessarily break down defenders, but has good ball control and limits careless turnovers. He's at his best in the pick-and-roll.
  • High-effort on-ball and off-ball defender who could become a pesky defender if he maximizes his limited athleticism.
MINUSES
  • Forced a ton of shots in college, which was largely due to his do-everything role. He’ll have to adjust to being a complementary contributor in the NBA.
  • Doesn’t draw many fouls largely due to his lack of explosiveness.
  • Undersized: He projects as a limited defender unless he makes dramatic improvements to his athleticism and plays full throttle in his minutes, much like Fred VanVleet did after making it to the NBA.
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How to Find Sleeper Wings in the 2020 Draft
Presented by State Farm Logo

One way to find sleepers in any draft is to look for prospects with the right NBA tools who were stuck in smaller roles in college. No one gets excited about an NCAA player averaging 10 points per game. But that may say more about the way he was used than his ability. Devin Booker is the most famous recent example. He went from a shooting specialist coming off the bench at Kentucky to an All-Star in the NBA. There are plenty of other similar success stories in recent years. Zach LaVine was a reserve in his one season at UCLA. Kelly Oubre Jr. averaged 9.3 points per game at Kansas.

Two prospects in the 2020 draft fit that mold: Josh Green (Arizona) and Cassius Stanley (Duke). They both have the combination of size, speed, and shooting ability that every NBA team needs on the wing. Both are elite high school recruits who served complementary roles during their lone college seasons. Green played with a pair of potential first-round picks in point guard Nico Mannion and center Zeke Nnaji. Stanley did the same with Tre Jones and Vernon Carey Jr.

If you caught them on the wrong night, you might’ve barely noticed them. They spent most of their time on offense waiting for the chance to shoot. But they both have the potential to be so much more.

41
Malachi Flynn Malachi Flynn

MALACHI FLYNN

Guard, San Diego State, junior

  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • PTS 17.6 21.1 per 40
  • AST 5.1 6.1 per 40
  • STL 1.8 2.1 per 40
  • 3PT% 37.3 204 3PA
Age22
Wingspan6'3''
Height6'1''
Weight185

Dynamic pick-and-roll playmaker with a polished offensive game ready-made for the pros.

Shades Of: Aaron Holiday
PLUSES
  • Delivers accurate passes in the pick-and-roll using either hand to rolling bigs or spot-up shooters. He isn’t a great athlete, but compensates with savvy hesitation moves.
  • Good perimeter scorer who is most comfortable pulling up for jumpers. His skills also translate off the catch, as he displays a feel for relocating then firing in rhythm.
  • Takes pride in his on-ball defense. He fights over screens and slides laterally quickly, and though he’s not a defender suited for all switches, you can bet that he'll give his all during the play.
  • His hard-nosed defensive mind-set also applies to the boards as he forcefully crashes to help secure the ball.
  • Aware off-ball defender despite his heavy offensive workload in college; he makes smart decisions and takes calculated risks when going for steals or deflections.
MINUSES
  • Lacks elite athleticism and handles, which limits his ability to get to the rim; to improve his driving, he must enhance his ball handling.
  • Below-the-rim finisher whose shots are easily altered by bigger opponents. It’s important that he add more crafty finishes so he isn’t overly reliant on his floater, which is a lower-percentage shot.
  • Doesn’t have great strength or length, so he’ll get overpowered by stronger guards; he also doesn’t have much versatility on switches.
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Grant Riller Grant Riller

GRANT RILLER

Guard, College of Charleston, senior

  • Ballhandling Ballhandling
  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • PTS 21.9 26.1 per 40
  • AST 3.9 4.7 per 40
  • 3PT% 36.2 130 3PA
  • FT% 82.7 214 FTA
Age23.3
WingspanN/A
Height6'3''
Weight190

Versatile scorer who can hit contested shots from deep, though he has limited exposure against top competition.

Shades Of: Ricky Pierce, Marcus Thornton
PLUSES
  • Ambidextrous finisher who hits turbo on drives and displays excellent body control and touch in the paint.
  • Keeps the ball on a string when getting to the basket or when generating space to launch stepback, side-step, and pull-up attempts.
  • Spot-up shooting: He hit 41 percent of his 256 catch-and-shoot 3 attempts in college, per Synergy Sports. He lacks experience off screens, but his ability to hit tough shots off the dribble suggests the skill could be unlocked.
  • Flashed defensive ability when he put in the effort. Teams will need to determine whether his lapses were due to conserving energy for offense.
MINUSES
  • Playing at a midmajor, he faced weaker competition, so his experience against top talent is limited. He played only four games against a top-25 opponent in four seasons. In those games, he scored just 45 points on 47 shots.
  • Often forces shots instead of hitting open teammates, largely due to his tunnel vision with the ball.
  • Poor defender who lacks focus, tends to bite on fakes, and doesn’t put in the effort defending man-to-man and closing out on shooters.
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Immanuel Quickley Immanuel Quickley

IMMANUEL QUICKLEY

Guard, Kentucky, sophomore

  • Perimeter Shooting Perimeter Shooting
  • Hustle Hustle
  • PTS 16.1 19.5 per 40
  • REB 4.2 5.1 per 40
  • AST 1.9 2.3 per 40
  • 3PT% 42.8 145 3PA
Age20.9
Wingspan6'10''
Height6'3''
Weight188

Elite shooter with a high basketball IQ, but lacks ideal passing skills for a guard his size.

Shades Of: Ben Gordon, B.J. Armstrong, Jeff Hornacek
PLUSES
  • Knockdown shooter who hit 40 percent of his 3s and 90 percent of his free throws in two seasons at Kentucky. He has a lightning-quick release off the catch.
  • Excellent shooting off screens by creating separation through deceptive, change-of-pace moves.
  • Potent off the dribble. With a speedy first step, he’s easily able to create space for one- or two-dribble pull-up jumpers.
  • Team player who swings the ball. He’s not a primary ball handler, but he understands his role and plays it well.
  • Undersized, but has a 6-foot-10 wingspan that made him into an elite defender in college; in the NBA, he projects as a plus defender, at minimum.
  • Competes on both ends. He rebounds well for a smaller guy and he’ll battle against bigger players. He accepted his role at Kentucky and excelled.
MINUSES
  • Poor finisher at the rim; he lacks verticality, an off hand, and a sense for using touch.
  • Lacks playmaking chops; he’s a reactive passer, not a creator. And though he can handle, he’s not breaking down NBA defenders.
  • Despite his length, he still lacks pure size and strength, which will limit his versatility against bigger wings and as an impact off-ball defender.
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44
Xavier Tillman Sr. Xavier Tillman Sr.

XAVIER TILLMAN SR.

Big, Michigan State, junior

  • Feel For The Game Feel For The Game
  • Playmaking Playmaking
  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • Off-Ball Defense Off-Ball Defense
  • PTS 13.7 17.1 per 40
  • REB 10.3 12.9 per 40
  • AST 3.0 3.7 per 40
  • TS% 59.3 300 FGA
Age21.4
Wingspan7'1''
Height6'8''
Weight245

Winning player who can easily pair with star shot creators because of his playmaking and versatility.

Shades Of: Horace Grant, P.J. Tucker
PLUSES
  • Good finisher in the paint; he knows how to use his thick frame to carve out space and has soft touch with either hand, which is necessary since he lacks explosiveness.
  • Decisive passer who makes rapid reads accurately all over the floor. He would fit best alongside an elite point guard, which would activate his secondary playmaking to pick apart defenses.
  • Pick-and-roll threat: He sets excellent screens and rolls with a veteran’s feel for the game. If his shooting improves, he’ll also be a weapon on the pick-and-pop. He’s a good ball handler who can attack closeouts and make smart decisions.
  • Solid rebounder who uses his strong body to box out; also an aware outlet passer.
  • Smart defensive player who communicates well and is usually in the perfect position to disrupt a play.
  • Stout interior defender; he’s strong defending the post, and though he’s not an explosive shot blocker, his high-level awareness and technique allow him to effectively alter shots.
  • Defensive mobility: He’s not a lockdown defender, but a coach can be comfortable with him switching on the perimeter.
MINUSES
  • Shot only 27 percent from 3 and 70 percent from the line in college; his form isn’t bad, so there may be room for improvement.
  • Undersized for a big man at only 6-foot-8, though in today’s NBA that’s less of an issue in small-ball lineups.
  • Lack of explosiveness around the rim could become problematic against NBA athletes; his shots tend to get altered by lengthier defenders.
  • He dramatically cut down on his fouls as a junior, but still bites on too many pump fakes, making him foul prone.
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Zeke Nnaji Zeke Nnaji

ZEKE NNAJI

Center, Arizona, freshman

  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • PTS 16.1 21.0 per 40
  • REB 8.6 11.3 per 40
  • AST 0.8 1.1 per 40
  • BLK 0.9 1.1 per 40
Age19.4
Wingspan7'1''
Height6'11''
Weight240

Fluid athlete who has all the tools to be an effective two-way big, though his defense needs to develop.

Shades Of: Ersan Ilyasova, Meyers Leonard, Channing Frye
PLUSES
  • Fantastic interior finisher with good hands who can explode at the rim. He can finish with power, though he’s equally effective scoring with finesse by using pump fakes to create space.
  • Good shooting potential: He hit 44 percent of his jump shots outside of 17 feet and 76 percent of his free throws as a freshman. He does need to extend his range to 3, though.
  • Runs the floor hard on the break; he does a great job of sealing defenders underneath the rim, catching the ball then quickly turning for a layup.
  • Active rebounder who boxes out and battles for the ball.
  • There are concerns defensively, but he does display the athleticism and hustle required to become a reliable defender; he also has a high work ethic.
MINUSES
  • Slow to read the floor as a passer; he looks uncomfortable with the ball in his hands. He'll miss passing lanes or struggle to execute simple plays like pick-and-rolls and handoffs.
  • Perimeter defense: Gets roasted too often. He's flat-footed and is slow to react.
  • Rim protection: Sometimes he doesn't contest shots at all, and when he does, his impact is inconsistent.
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Cassius Stanley Cassius Stanley

CASSIUS STANLEY

Wing, Duke, freshman

  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • PTS 12.6 18.3 per 40
  • AST 1.0 1.5 per 40
  • REB 4.9 7.1 per 40
  • 3PT% 36.0 86 3PA
Age21
Wingspan6'7''
Height6'6''
Weight193

Ridiculous athlete who competes hard, an encouraging mix for someone who has upside but needs improvement.

Shades Of: Gerald Henderson, Rodney Hood, Gerald Green
PLUSES
  • Major lob target in the half court and in transition. He’s unselfish and runs the floor, and executes off-ball plays in the half court to get open.
  • Good spot-up shooter, though he needs to show more dynamic ability by shooting off of movement.
  • Excellent rebounder for a player of his size, largely thanks to his hops.
  • High potential as an on-ball defender against guards with his quickness and athleticism, though his fundamentals must improve.
MINUSES
  • Tunnel vision is a problem on offense: Too often, he’ll catch the ball, aimlessly dribble, and take a tough shot instead of making an easy pass.
  • Struggles to execute the simple play, whether it’s an entry pass to the post or a bounce pass to a cutter breaking toward the rim.
  • Loose handle, which prevents him from creating much separation on drives or pull-ups.
  • Lack of length and size limits his defensive effectiveness against larger scorers.
  • Ball-watches far too often on defense, which puts him out of position to recover and make a play.
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Elijah Hughes Elijah Hughes

ELIJAH HUGHES

Wing, Syracuse, redshirt junior

  • Hustle Hustle
  • PTS 19.0 20.7 per 40
  • AST 3.4 3.7 per 40
  • 3PT% 34.2 228 3PA
  • FT% 81.3 166 FTA
Age22.2
WingspanN/A
Height6'6''
Weight215

A developing well-rounded scorer who performed well in college despite heavy defensive attention.

Shades Of: DeAndre’ Bembry, Marcus Thornton, Iman Shumpert
PLUSES
  • Ran the offense at times for Syracuse last season and displayed solid playmaking instincts. He’s not a dynamic ball handler, but he can make basic moves and positive plays.
  • While he needs to improve his shot, he does a nice job relocating off-ball to get open, attacking closeouts off the catch, or backdoor-cutting toward the rim.
  • Can be effective as a go-to scorer when pulling up or shooting fadeaways in the midrange.
  • Runs the floor hard in transition, chases down blocks on defense, and doesn’t sulk after committing errors.
  • Could become an effective man-to-man defender, though it was difficult to assess his game when he played in Syracuse’s zone.
MINUSES
  • Inconsistent 3-point shooter; he hit just 29 percent of his 3s off the dribble and 36 percent off the catch. He also forces too many shots, which might be a product of Syracuse’s lack of other shot creators, but it’s a habit that must change.
  • Inefficient interior scorer, as he lacks skill around the rim.
  • Subpar man-to-man defender during his freshman season at East Carolina due to a lack of agility, though his body and athleticism have improved since.
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Daniel Oturu Daniel Oturu

DANIEL OTURU

Center, Minnesota, sophomore

  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • PTS 20.1 23.7 per 40
  • REB 11.3 13.3 per 40
  • BLK 2.5 2.9 per 40
  • 3PT% 36.5 52 3PA
Age20.7
Wingspan7'2''
Height6'10''
Weight240

Throwback big man with an improved 3-pointer; he made dramatic overall progress from his freshman to sophomore seasons, but is still an unfinished project.

Shades Of: Alex Len
PLUSES
  • Skilled inside scorer. He does a good job of sealing off his defender and establishing post position; scores using drop steps, hooks, and face-ups.
  • Nimble ball handler who can score on the attack, whether facing up or driving on closeouts.
  • Sets strong screens. He would do well in a pick-and-roll system with skilled ball handlers.
  • Improved 3-point shooter. He shoots a set shot, though it works for him. He hit 37 percent of his 3s on only 54 attempts, but shot only 67 percent from the charity stripe.
  • Active rebounder; he has the prototypical size and intensity of a big man who can dominate the boards.
  • Agile and explosive interior defender. He’s blessed with a thick frame and long arms.
MINUSES
  • Turns the ball over too often in the post. He needs to be quicker at reading defenses and feeling pressure.
  • Lacks an off hand around the rim; he’d get blocked less frequently if he adds it to his game.
  • He’ll need to adjust to the NBA game; he was a primary post option in college, and may now go for games without being fed a single back-to-the-basket touch.
  • Conditioning seems to be an issue; his feet move like they’re in sludge toward the end of his stints on the floor, which especially hurts him in help defense situations.
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Vernon Carey Jr. Vernon Carey Jr.

VERNON CAREY JR.

Center, Duke, freshman

  • Interior Scoring Interior Scoring
  • PTS 17.8 28.6 per 40
  • REB 8.8 14.1 per 40
  • 3PT% 38.1 21 3PA
  • FT% 67.0 218 FTA
Age19.2
Wingspan7'0''
Height6'10''
Weight270

Throwback big man with a modern touch, though questions remain about his shot and effectiveness on defense.

Shades Of: DeMarcus Cousins on the Warriors, Jared Sullinger
PLUSES
  • Imposing post scorer. He’s good at establishing position and has slick footwork on his power moves; he also draws a ton of fouls.
  • Shows promise as a reliable spot-up 3-point shooter thanks to good mechanics.
  • Solid ball handler for a big man. He didn’t get a ton of chances to show it at Duke, but he can go coast-to-coast and attack closeouts.
  • Great rebounder with a sense for reading the trajectory of the ball; on the offensive glass, he’s stellar at grabbing the ball, staying patient, then scoring.
  • Nimble perimeter defender for a player his size; he’s inconsistent but has potential to be switchable.
MINUSES
  • Frustrating decision-maker: On one possession, he’ll throw a dart across the court to a spot-up shooter. On the next play, he’ll spin into a crowd and turn the ball over.
  • Overuses his dominant left hand. There are instances when he can dribble into a right-handed layup but settles for a lefty floater instead.
  • Despite his strong mechanics, he has always struggled at the line, shooting just 67 percent at Duke.
  • Lacks the explosiveness or fundamentals to make up for his average wingspan, which limits his upside as a rim protector.
  • Struggled as a ball-screen defender at Duke, especially in drop situations, because he’d find himself caught in no-man’s-land; his effort also remains inconsistent.
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Udoka Azubuike Udoka Azubuike

UDOKA AZUBUIKE

Center, Kansas, junior

  • Shot Blocking Shot Blocking
  • Athleticism Athleticism
  • Rebounding Rebounding
  • PTS 13.7 19.8 per 40
  • REB 10.5 15.1 per 40
  • BLK 2.6 3.7 per 40
  • TS% 68.5 242 FGA
Age20.7
Wingspan7'7''
Height7'0''
Weight270

Old-school bruiser with a thick, chiseled frame; he could be a valuable piece in a playoff series against an opposing big man.

Shades Of: Clint Capela, Omer Asik, Kendrick Perkins
PLUSES
  • Mammoth 7-foot-7 wingspan. He’s quite mobile for his size, as his agility improved in his four years at Kansas.
  • Excellent finisher around the rim. He can score over and through defenders when cutting or diving to the rim out of the pick-and-roll. And he has good hand-eye coordination to corral tough passes.
  • Bully on the low post when it comes to battling for position. He has a nice short hook shot. Though he won’t see the ball much, there’s value in his aggressiveness wearing down opponents.
  • Fights for offensive boards and does a nice job of kicking the ball back out to shooters when he’s not able to flush a putback dunk.
  • Imposing rim protector thanks to his size and relentless attitude. He does a nice job of defending without fouling.
MINUSES
  • Shot 42 percent from the line in four seasons and is a nonfactor as a shooter; it looks like he pushes the ball rather than releases it. Opponents will intentionally hack him.
  • He wasn’t asked to do much at Kansas as a passer. In the NBA, he’ll need to develop the ability to hit a quick pass off the roll to a corner shooter, or deliver a high-low pass from the elbow.
  • Commits too many avoidable turnovers when executing plays.
  • Has struggled with conditioning and weight issues in the past, although he showed significant improvement his senior season.
  • Looked better defending on the perimeter as a senior, but likely won’t be quick enough to do it effectively against NBA-level go-to scorers without further leaps in athleticism.
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Measurement data and player statistics via Sports-Reference, school bios, and RealGM.