The Ringer's 2019 NBA 2019 Draft Guide

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with Scouting Reports by Kevin O’Connor

Welcome to The Ringer’s 2019 NBA Draft Guide. From now until June 20, this will be the hub for all of your NBA draft needs. It includes detailed scouting reports by Ringer staff writer Kevin O’Connor, and we’ll update it regularly in the coming months with Big Board rankings from our draftniks O’Connor, Jonathan Tjarks, and Danny Chau; commentary from Mark Titus, Rodger Sherman, and others; a constantly updated mock draft; and some new features we’re excited to share.

As we all eagerly await May’s NBA draft lottery, allow us to present The Ringer’s top-30 Big Board. There’s a clear consensus no. 1. After that? Not so much.

   
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Ringer NBA draft guru Kevin O’Connor shares his top 30 prospects entering the 2019 draft. There’s no surprise about his no. 1 choice, but that’s where the consensus ends. Where does your favorite player rank?

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ZION WILLIAMSON

Big

Duke

Testing ranking moving Testing ranking moving Testing
  • PTS 22.6 30.1 per 40
  • REB 8.9 11.8 per 40
  • AST 2.1 2.7 per 40
  • EFG% 70.8 435 FGA
  • STL 2.1 1.8 per 40
  • BLK 1.8 2.4 per 40
  • 3PT% 33.8 71 3PA
  • FT% 64.0 203 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Versatility/athleticism
Age18.8
Height/Weight6'7''/285
Wingspan6'10''

Gravity-breaking athlete with the all-around skill to be one of the league’s best superstars.

Shades Of: Charles Barkley, Blake Griffin, Julius Randle
PLUSES
  • Capable of running pick-and-roll as a ball handler; the team that drafts him can use him in virtually any role on offense.
  • A potential five-position defender with a rare combination of strength, agility, and anticipation skills; he can comfortably switch on-ball screens.
  • Zion’s explosive jukes and hop-steps are glitches in the laws of physics; a player his size shouldn’t be able to create separation the way he does.
  • A wrecking-ball finisher who can finish through and above contact; his size, athleticism, and ballhandling ability will lead to a lot of defensive fouls drawn.
  • Dangerous on dives to the rim via pick-and-rolls and handoffs; he can flush lobs like DeAndre Jordan or pass on the short roll like Draymond Green.
  • A smart, unselfish passer who thrives in transition; he lacks supreme vision, but his excellent rebounding and coast-to-coast ability are valuable tools.
  • Punishes smaller players on perimeter drives and post-ups. Has basic moves now, but displays the dexterity and body control necessary to improve.
  • An active and aware cutter who can exploit holes in defenses, even when they sag off him on the perimeter.
  • Hustles and plays with a winning mind-set: dives for loose balls, rebounds out of his area, and pursues chasedown blocks.
  • Defensive playmaker who alters shots and jumps passing lanes to spark transition chances, though in a pro system he’ll have to gamble less frequently.
MINUSES
  • Clunky spot-up shooting mechanics; he brings the ball to his set point too early, which hurts momentum into his shot. Also needs to kick his strange habit of jab-stepping before he shoots.
  • Developing a jumper off the dribble is the key to unlocking his full potential; he shoots the ball flat and looks uncomfortable even from the elbow.
  • Must learn how to change gears to minimize sloppy passes or out-of-control drives that lead to charges.
  • He can be predictable: He overuses the drop step on post-ups, and he rarely uses his right hand on shots near the rim. He needs a more diverse arsenal of moves on drives and post-ups.
  • Defensive awareness could use fine-tuning; often falls into upright stance, ball-watches, and misses help rotations.
  • Defensive discipline is lacking; though he makes explosive plays, savvy opponents will throw moves that make him leave his feet, or crash the boards when he overhelps.
  • With his size and explosiveness, health is always a question: He suffered a right foot bruise in high school that put him in a walking boot, sprained his MCL at Duke, and has been out of shape in the past.
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R.J. BARRETT

Forward

Duke

  • PTS 22.6 25.7 per 40
  • REB 7.6 8.6 per 40
  • AST 4.3 4.9 per 40
  • EFG% 50.6 702 FGA
  • STL 0.9 1.0 per 40
  • BLK 0.4 0.5 per 40
  • 3PT% 30.8 237 3PA
  • FT% 66.5 224 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Scoring
Age18.8
Height/Weight6'7''/202
Wingspan6'10''

Physically gifted scorer who’s won at every level, but needs to sharpen his raw skills to flourish in the pros.

Shades Of: Jalen Rose, alpha Andrew Wiggins, Harrison Barnes, Rudy Gay
PLUSES
  • Good athlete in space with smooth footwork who seeks contact on drives.
  • Dangerous ball handler who takes long strides and uses a bevy of herky-jerky maneuvers like Euro-steps and hesitations to get to the rim.
  • Effective shooter off the dribble from midrange: He’s comfortable transitioning into his shot, especially when driving left, and he’s flashed a slick stepback.
  • Good ball handler and passer for his size who can make any type of pass off the dribble. Though he’s not a pure playmaker, he can fit into any multi-ball-handler offense.
  • Excellent rebounder for his position; when he snatches boards, he’s a constant threat to go coast-to-coast.
  • Competitive defender at lower levels, especially playing for Team Canada. He has the physical profile to be a versatile defender with long arms and strong frame.
  • Team Canada has poured resources into his development; he has a strong work ethic, and a history of improvement suggests he’ll continue progressing.
MINUSES
  • He induces face-palms by forcing contested shots early in the clock, barreling into defenders instead of passing to open players, and attempting wild passes to bail himself out.
  • He rarely uses his right hand, as if it were tied behind back. It’s critical that he improve his off hand to diversify his shot-creation ability.
  • His lousy percentages from 3 and the line are alarming since he has good, consistent mechanics.
  • Lacks natural touch, an issue that is compounded by his diminished athleticism in tight space, which hinders his at-rim scoring.
  • Inactive off-ball player on offense: He rarely ever cuts or screens at Duke, though his athleticism and versatility could make him a potential threat down the road.
  • He’s a ball watcher off-ball who routinely misses defensive rotations; on-ball, he often falls out of his stance possibly due to a lack of interest, awareness, or energy.
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JA MORANT

Point guard

Murray State

  • PTS 24.5 26.8 per 40
  • REB 5.7 6.2 per 40
  • AST 10.0 11.0 per 40
  • EFG% 55.3 531 FGA
  • STL 1.8 1.9 per 40
  • BLK 0.8 0.9 per 40
  • 3PT% 36.3 157 3PA
  • FT% 81.3 272 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Athleticism
Age19.7
Height/Weight6'3''/175
Wingspan6'7''

Athletic wonder and clever playmaker who needs to develop his jump shot and curb turnovers to unlock his true star potential.

Shades Of: Skinny John Wall, Donovan Mitchell, Dennis Smith Jr.
PLUSES
  • Electric passer who generates open space for teammates with speed and sleights of hand, and then accurately delivers the ball using either hand off the dribble.
  • Excellent shot-creation upside. He has a quick first step and uses slippery crossovers, spins, in-out dribbles, and changes of pace to create space.
  • Major potential as a transition threat with his handle, speed, and unselfish passing ability.
  • Touch from the line and around the rim suggests he could be a good shooter if he makes the necessary mechanical changes.
  • Terrific athlete who explodes for open-floor dunks and has the top-gear speed to zoom by defenders. Crafty finisher who absorbs contact well, though he still must get stronger.
  • Has the instincts of a role player, too: does the little things like cutting, rebounding, and facilitating within the flow of the offense.
  • Solid on-ball defender when he’s playing with intensity, which doesn’t happen often enough.
MINUSES
  • Too tricky with his dribble, forces passes into shutting windows, and is nonchalant making simple passes, all of which lead to avoidable turnovers.
  • Needs to overhaul his shooting mechanics: His release is too low and his elbow sticks out. The ball gets pushed from his forehead. He’s a natural lefty who shoots righty.
  • Must improve his right hand. Becoming more of a one-foot leaper would enhance his finishing, too.
  • Struggles shooting jumpers off the dribble largely due to his poor mechanics, which cause him to transition slowly into his release.
  • Motor and focus wane when defending off-ball, leading to backdoor cuts and open shooters. Is it due to his heavy offensive role, or is it for a lack of interest?
  • Narrow frame limits his defensive upside. He’s not someone who can switch onto larger players.
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JARRETT CULVER

Guard

Texas Tech

  • PTS 18.5 22.8 per 40
  • REB 6.4 7.9 per 40
  • AST 3.7 4.6 per 40
  • EFG% 54.2 551 FGA
  • STL 1.4 1.8 per 40
  • BLK 0.6 0.7 per 40
  • 3PT% 30.4 161 3PA
  • FT% 70.7 208 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: All-around game
Age20.2
Height/Weight6'6''/195
Wingspan6'10''

Versatile wing who can fill myriad roles and has a lane to become a primary shot creator if his handle keeps improving.

Shades Of: Khris Middleton, Malcolm Brogdon, Jeremy Lamb
PLUSES
  • Intelligent player who moves well without the ball, fills lanes on the break, and plays hard.
  • Good straight-line driver who mixes in spin moves and finishes with either hand around the rim, though he must improve at finishing versus length.
  • Solid dribble-jumper shooter; comfortable taking side dribbles into 3s, pull-ups, and stepbacks, though his footwork will need to improve at the pro level.
  • Makes tough shots, especially from midrange. If those 2s become 3s, he could become an end-of-game scorer.
  • Flashes upside shooting off screens and handoffs, though his below-average free throw percentage and lack of touch on floaters are worrisome indicators for his actual shooting ability.
  • Unselfish passer who facilitates well within the system and can make plays off the bounce for others. Shows good feel with change-of-pace moves in the pick-and-roll.
  • Competitive rebounder who can initiate a fast break as a scorer or playmaker.
  • Versatile defender who can comfortably defend multiple positions and be relied on off-ball to make smart rotations and take calculated risks going for steals.
MINUSES
  • Stiff ball handler with an average first step. He lacks shake after his initial move, which forces him into a ton of tough shots.
  • Tweaked his shooting form to remove a hitch, though his slow and rigid release raises questions about his accuracy at the next level.
  • Takes far too many unforced midrange 2-pointers early in the clock.
  • Telegraphs too many passes and lacks accuracy, so at this stage he’s more of a secondary ball handler than a primary creator.
  • Limited ceiling as a defender: He has room to get stronger, but he still has a relatively lean frame, and he has only average lateral quickness against guards.
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DE'ANDRE HUNTER

Forward

Virginia

  • PTS 15.2 18.8 per 40
  • REB 5.1 6.3 per 40
  • AST 2.0 2.4 per 40
  • EFG% 57.9 394 FGA
  • STL 0.6 0.7 per 40
  • BLK 0.6 0.7 per 40
  • 3PT% 48.3 105 3PA
  • FT% 78.3 157 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Defensive versatility
Age21.4
Height/Weight6'7''/225
Wingspan7'2''

Unflashy 3-and-D forward who will translate in the NBA as a multipositional defender and reliable spot-up shooter.

Shades Of: Luol Deng, DeMarre Carroll, Jae Crowder
PLUSES
  • Good spot-up shooter who has a sense for relocating and cutting, though he should quicken his shooting release.
  • His shot creation has improved considerably; he can get to the rim on straight-line drives, make basic one- or two-dribble pull-ups, and face up from the post.
  • Good on-ball perimeter defender due to his notable combination of mass, length, and quickness.
  • Plays sound positional defense off-ball; he rotates well, minimizes mistakes, and has the bulk to neutralize rim runners when helping in the pick-and-roll.
  • Stout post defender due to strength, length, and strong base; he’s hard to overpower.
MINUSES
  • Average first step and handle limits his scoring upside.
  • While a good defender, he does tend to get smoked by quicker, explosive players—which he’ll see far more of in the NBA.
  • Unless he has space to gather, he’s a below-the-rim finisher who doesn’t finish well inside against contact or lengthy defenders.
  • Questionable feel for the game; he’s a ball stopper who makes delayed reads, though he has made significant progress as a passer each season.
  • Lacks defensive playmaking skill; doesn’t log many explosive plays in the blocks or steals columns though it’s partially a product of Virginia’s defense scheme.
  • Solid rebounder, though he’ll need to show more skill to excel in a small-ball frontcourt role.
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DARIUS GARLAND

Point guard

Vanderbilt

  • PTS 16.2 23.3 per 40
  • REB 3.8 5.5 per 40
  • AST 2.6 3.7 per 40
  • EFG% 63.9 54 FGA
  • STL 0.8 1.2 per 40
  • BLK 0.4 0.6 per 40
  • 3PT% 47.8 23 3PA
  • FT% 75.0 16 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Perimeter scoring
Age19.2
Height/Weight6'2''/175
Wingspan6'5''

Vibrant score-first guard who can shoot from all over the court and has shown imaginative playmaking skills.

Shades Of: Damian Lillard, Jeff Teague, Nick Van Exel
PLUSES
  • Seasoned pick-and-roll playmaker with tremendous feel and tempo; he uses elusive moves like half-spins, hesitations, and hang dribbles to generate space.
  • The ball doesn’t slow him down; he’s a speedster in the open floor able to split defenders, and he’s agile when changing directions.
  • Smooth shooter with NBA range off the dribble, off the catch, and off movement; his versatility will enable him to easily excel in a multiple ball handler offense.
  • Dexterity makes him a constant threat to pass or score from anywhere; he’s not a great at-rim finisher yet, but makes acrobatic extension layups with either hand.
  • Creative passer who throws accurate lobs and cross-court passes with either hand off the dribble.
  • Son of a former NBA player, Winston Garland.
MINUSES
  • Undersized point guard; he’s thin, lacks length, and isn’t an elite athlete; who does he effectively guard?
  • Gambles too much as an off-ball defender.
  • Doesn’t draw a ton of fouls and is a below-the-rim athlete; with his lean frame, finishing could be a challenge despite his skill.
  • Shooting has never been an issue for him at lower levels, but his release is a little low, so it’ll be worth monitoring how it translates against NBA length.
  • Needs to limit unnecessary risks where he tries to be flashy instead of making a fundamental play.
  • A torn meniscus in his left knee ended his season at Vanderbilt.
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Which Lottery Teams Could Use Zion Williamson?
Which Lottery Teams Could Use Zion Williamson?

Not enough attention in NBA draft circles is paid to analyzing team needs. This is a point of obsession heading into each year’s NFL draft, as football teams rarely draft a quarterback in the first round if they already have a trusted passer on their roster. What about basketball teams? Should an NBA franchise really target Zion Williamson at no. 1 overall if Zion Williamson doesn’t fit a Zion Williamson–sized hole in its depth chart?

To determine this answer, I examined the lineups of every team in this year’s lottery to see whether Williamson would be a worthwhile pick if that team lands at no. 1. After extensive research, here are my findings:

New York Knicks: Yes, the Knicks should draft Zion Williamson.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Yes, the Cavs should draft Zion Williamson.

Phoenix Suns: Yes, the Suns should draft Zion Williamson.

Chicago Bulls: Yes, the Bulls should draft Zion Williamson.

Atlanta Hawks: Yes, the Hawks should draft Zion Williamson.

Washington Wizards: Yes, the Wizards should draft Zion Williamson.

New Orleans Pelicans: Yes, the Pelicans should draft Zion Williamson.

Dallas Mavericks: Yes, the Mavericks should draft Zion Williamson.

Memphis Grizzlies: Yes, the Grizzlies should draft Zion Williamson.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Yes, the Wolves should draft Zion Williamson.

Los Angeles Lakers: Yes, the Lakers should draft Zion Williamson

Philadelphia 76ers: Yes, the Sixers should draft Zion Williamson.

Miami Heat: Yes, the Heat should draft Zion Williamson.

Charlotte Hornets: Yes, the Hornets should draft Zion Williamson.

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CAM REDDISH

Forward

Duke

  • PTS 13.5 18.1 per 40
  • REB 3.7 5.0 per 40
  • AST 1.9 2.6 per 40
  • EFG% 45.9 432 FGA
  • STL 1.6 2.1 per 40
  • BLK 0.6 0.8 per 40
  • 3PT% 33.3 267 3PA
  • FT% 77.2 114 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Scoring upside
Age19.6
Height/Weight6'8''/218
Wingspan7'1''

Polarizing prospect who looks the part of a future star scorer, but his production leaves much to be desired.

Shades Of: Paul George, Rashard Lewis, bigger Ben McLemore
PLUSES
  • Wide upper body with a long wingspan that can support more muscle, though his hips are slender; added strength could improve some of his weaknesses.
  • Fluidity, size, and an array of ball-handling moves and hesitations enable him to hit pull-up perimeter jumpers that most players can’t.
  • Projects as a plus shooter off the catch due to his quick, high release. With his size, he could develop into a pick-and-pop threat.
  • Does a fine job of relocating off-ball and cutting, though the results aren’t great due to a lack of explosiveness inside and a streaky shot outside.
  • Good passer for his size: He’s adept at creating space and making reads in the pick-and-roll, though he’s had limited opportunities due to the presence of star teammates.
  • Switchable defender with long arms and quick hands to swipe at ball handlers; he defends on his heels too much, though, which hinders his lateral quickness.
  • Though Reddish underwhelmed at Duke, he accepted his role without any complaints, which bodes well for his ability to do what his future team asks of him.
MINUSES
  • Reddish doesn’t maximize his physical gifts. He’s long but takes short, choppy steps attacking the rim; he’s large, but avoids contact when driving or rebounding.
  • Loses balance on drives to the rim; he lacks coordination, slips and falls, and will fumble the ball even without pressure.
  • Settles too much for jumpers despite only appearing like a knockdown shooter; his mechanics look smooth, but he’s shot low 30 percent from 3 throughout his career.
  • Not an above-the-rim finisher in traffic, and he avoids using his off hand; converts on plays around the rim at a much lower rate than you’d expect.
  • Telegraphs too many passes; he plays a casual overall game, and needs to put zip on the ball to get it where he wants it to go.
  • Lacks discipline on defense: He falls for pump fakes, reaches too often, and gambles in situations when he should just play positional defense.
  • Defensive effort flutters too much; his mind-set could be the difference between becoming Paul George or Jeff Green.
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SEKOU DOUMBOUYA

Big

Limoges CSP / France

  • PTS 6.7 14.4 per 36
  • REB 3.0 6.4 per 36
  • AST 0.7 1.5 per 36
  • EFG% 54.9 147 FGA
  • STL 0.6 1.2 per 36
  • BLK 0.4 0.9 per 36
  • 3PT% 32.2 58 3PA
  • FT% 77.4 29 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Untapped athleticism
Age18.3
Height/Weight6'9''/230
Wingspan6'11''

Unpolished physical specimen with the potential versatility at the forward spots to be a mismatch nightmare if his skills continue to develop.

Shades Of: Tranquilized Pascal Siakam, Al-Farouq Aminu, Trevor Booker
PLUSES
  • Outstanding physical tools with a thick frame and long arms; he’s a fluid above-the-rim athlete who can dunk or block shots from afar.
  • Theoretically a versatile defender due to his blend of strength, length, and mobility, though he needs to stay locked in and dramatically improve his fundamentals.
  • Productive rebounder.
  • Good footwork on drives to the rim; his handle is still catching up, but his feet look natural on Eurosteps and rip-throughs; he played soccer growing up and his agility translates to the court.
  • Assertive offensive player with a quick first step and alluring shot-creation skills for his size.
  • Solid post scoring potential. He moves well and gets to his hook shot, but lacks advanced moves.
MINUSES
  • Fumbles the ball often—and that’s on straight-line drives, never mind more advanced maneuvers. He needs to learn to control the rock better to maximize his physical gifts.
  • Poor decision-maker who wears blinders, missing open teammates for easy passes. Often settles for jump shots, even though he’s a subpar shooter.
  • Untamed jump shot; he has good natural touch, but inconsistent mechanics and footwork make his percentages plummet.
  • Poor defensive fundamentals. He defends flat-footed, which slows him down laterally, and falls out of his stance, putting his hands down or wildly opening his hips when changing directions.
  • Effort wanes constantly. He goes from sprinting in transition to taking breathers and failing to contest shots; his conditioning may need to improve, too.
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GOGA BITADZE

Big

KK Mega Bemax / Georgia

  • PTS 12.1 18.4 per 36
  • REB 6.4 9.7 per 36
  • AST 1.2 1.8 per 36
  • EFG% 57.5 93 FGA
  • STL 0.5 0.7 per 36
  • BLK 2.3 3.5 per 36
  • 3PT% 31.3 16 3PA
  • FT% 71.4 70 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Two-way upside
Age19.7
Height/Weight6'11''/250
Wingspan7'2''

Strong-bodied center with a versatile offensive skill set, but needs his feet to catch up with his mind on defense.

Shades Of: Jusuf Nurkic, Shot-Blocking Enes Kanter, Kyle O’Quinn
PLUSES
  • Skilled interior scorer off of cuts and in the pick-and-roll. He’s a fluid ball handler and ambidextrous finisher with touch on floaters and layups.
  • Bitadze is the best screener in this draft class; excels at the little things that young bigs often struggle with, like dribble handoffs and high-low passes.
  • Capable of attacking off the dribble, which suggests long-term potential attacking closeouts, developing advanced post moves, and—hopefully—shooting.
  • Projects as a positive spot-up shooter; he has the touch and smooth, consistent mechanics to continue to extend his range beyond the NBA 3-point line.
  • Good passing vision, especially on the short roll, locating and accurately delivering the ball to shooters and cutters.
  • Smart and competitive defender who understands proper positioning and fundamentals; he’s long, and has the potential to effectively drop in pick-and-roll coverages.
  • Engaged off-ball defender who rotates well to alter shots or close out, though his lateral mobility must improve.
  • Hard-nosed rebounder who chases boards out of his area and boxes out.
MINUSES
  • Moves laterally like he has sandbags around his ankles; he currently struggles to stay in front of quicker forwards and is hopeless when switching against guards and wings.
  • Needs to be perfect fundamentally to thrive defensively since he’s so slow-footed; he’ll need to develop as a drop pick-and-roll defender like Jusuf Nurkic.
  • Gets into foul trouble because he leaps at pump fakes and gets too handsy on the perimeter when he’s a beat late due to his slow feet.
  • Lacks explosiveness, which hinders his finishing against larger players and limits his rim-protection upside.
  • Emotional player; got visibly frustrated in past seasons, though he’s gotten better at controlling his temper and not letting adversity impact his performance.
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BRANDON CLARKE

Big

Gonzaga

  • PTS 16.9 24.1 per 40
  • REB 8.6 12.2 per 40
  • AST 1.9 2.7 per 40
  • EFG% 69.3 374 FGA
  • STL 1.2 1.7 per 40
  • BLK 3.1 4.4 per 40
  • 3PT% 26.7 15 3PA
  • FT% 69.4 157 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Defensive versatility
Age22.6
Height/Weight6'8''/215
Wingspan6'10''

A super-versatile defender who plays team-first basketball and has made encouraging progress on offense.

Shades Of: Paul Millsap, Pascal Siakam, Kris Humphries
PLUSES
  • Impressively logged as many blocks as missed shots during the regular season at Gonzaga.
  • Explosive leaper with soft hands to catch tough passes, and the ambidexterity and spatial awareness to finish in a crowd.
  • Good decision-maker. The type of player who plays “good to great” basketball by grabbing a rebound and locating an open teammate instead of forcing up a careless, contested shot.
  • Handles the ball well for his size; he can take rebounds and go coast-to-coast. He’s mostly a straight-line driver but likes using a spin move to his right.
  • Sets solid screens, and has good feel and timing on dives to the rim; with his passing and dribbling skill, he could be a weapon on the short roll.
  • Strong indicators that he will develop a perimeter game: touch on floaters, post fadeaways, hook shots, and midrange jumpers.
  • Plays his ass off. Makes the extra effort, attacks the offensive boards, dives for loose balls, and hustles back in transition.
  • Excellent shot blocker. He’s a fast-twitch leaper who perfectly times his jumps and uses the rule of verticality to alter shots without fouling.
  • Projects well as a pick-and-roll defender. Has the agility to hedge and help, and the recovery speed, anticipation, and switchability to take on wings and guards.
MINUSES
  • Unless he develops a spot-up 3, he’ll need to play like a center on offense, which could create matchup issues for his team.
  • Ideal role is small-ball 5, but a lack of length and strength will hinder his ability to defend larger elite bigs like Joel Embiid and Karl-Anthony Towns.
  • Underwhelming defensive rebounder given his athletic gifts.
  • Shooting upside is only theoretical: He overhauled his form after transferring from San Jose State to Gonzaga, but he still has rigid release and shoots a mediocre percentage from the line.
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NASSIR LITTLE

Forward

North Carolina

  • PTS 9.8 21.5 per 40
  • REB 4.6 10.1 per 40
  • AST 0.6 1.4 per 40
  • EFG% 50.5 273 FGA
  • STL 0.5 1.2 per 40
  • BLK 0.5 1.2 per 40
  • 3PT% 26.9 52 3PA
  • FT% 77.0 100 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Defensive upside
Age19.2
Height/Weight6'6''/220
Wingspan7'1''

Explosive, highly regarded 3-and-D recruit who hasn’t shown much in college, but was a late bloomer in high school and history could repeat itself.

Shades Of: Andre Iguodala, Harrison Barnes, Stanley Johnson
PLUSES
  • Ideal body for positionless basketball with a thick, muscular frame, long arms, and explosive athleticism.
  • Switchable defender who can potentially lock down multiple positions due to his strength and raw quickness—but only if his fundamentals dramatically improve.
  • Stout defender against bigs and larger forwards due to length and strength; he’s hard to move with his strong base.
  • Good rebounder at the wing thanks to his athleticism.
  • Lob threat off cuts. He could also be used as a roller in the pick-and-roll due to his explosiveness and ability to absorb and finish through contact.
  • Comfortable attacking closeouts to get to the rim.
  • Shows flashes pulling up from short midrange. He’s also a good free throw shooter, which suggests he has long-term 3-point upside.
MINUSES
  • Flaky off-ball defender who loses track of his man due to ball-watching, fails to help, and has trouble navigating screens.
  • Gets caught out of position too often defending quicker players, which leads to blow-bys. He’s too much of a turnstile for a player with his physical profile and effort level.
  • Adding weight in college has allowed him to be a big for UNC, but it’s sapped him of the lateral quickness that made him an elite high school defender.
  • Looks puzzled on offense. He record-scratches the offense, pauses, settles for contested pull-ups, and dribbles into traffic instead of locating open teammates.
  • Lacks fluidity driving the ball. He has some crossovers and in-out dribble moves, but he’s stiff.
  • Struggles spot-up shooting. He has some bad misses, including air balls.
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GRANT WILLIAMS

Forward

Tennessee

  • PTS 18.8 23.6 per 40
  • REB 7.5 9.4 per 40
  • AST 3.2 4.0 per 40
  • EFG% 58.2 415 FGA
  • STL 1.1 1.4 per 40
  • BLK 1.5 1.9 per 40
  • 3PT% 32.6 46 3PA
  • FT% 81.9 260 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Glue-guy skills
Age20.4
Height/Weight6'7''/236
Wingspan6'11''

Team-first player who runs the show from the post in college but will need to expand his game to the perimeter at the next level.

Shades Of: P.J. Tucker, Spurs-era Boris Diaw, Treveon Graham
PLUSES
  • Crafty interior scorer who finishes with either hand and uses deceptive pump fakes to create space; loves to carve out space for his left-handed runner.
  • Excellent screener who can facilitate on the short roll or pop for 3s; can be a playmaking weapon on switches.
  • Tennessee runs its offense through him on the post; he loves absorbing contact, can finish over either shoulder, and throws accurate fastballs to cutters and shooters.
  • Improved spot-up 3-point shooter. He must extend his range, but his touch from the line and midrange is a positive indicator for his projected shooting ability.
  • A high-IQ defender who is always in the right position rotating as a help defender, and plays with strong fundamentals moving laterally.
  • Plays tough, physical individual defense. He closes out hard and shows active hands, plus he’s an instinctual rebounder who boxes out.
  • Hard-working, unselfish player. Lost weight and got better each season. He’ll take a charge or dive for a loose ball. Bonus: He does a good job of accentuating contact to draw fouls.
MINUSES
  • Reluctant to shoot 3s, passes up open looks, and dribbles into short midrange pull ups. Does he lack confidence or is he aware of his limitations?
  • Lacks verticality, so scoring inside against NBA length will require an adjustment.
  • He doesn’t project as a shot creator because of his average first step and lack of shake as a ball handler.
  • Tweeners don’t exist in today’s NBA, but athleticism still matters: He might not have the mobility to be a top-shelf defender on switches against guards and quicker wings.
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The Most Known Unknowns of the 2019 NBA Draft
The Most Known Unknowns of the 2019 NBA Draft

Three notable draft prospects who have generated buzz despite significant injuries (or, in one case, not having played basketball at all).

Bol Bol

Bol, the son of Manute Bol, was a polarizing figure in NBA circles even before his season ended in December with a broken bone in his foot. The stretch 5 has an absurd combination of size (7-foot-2 and 235 pounds with a 7-foot-8 wingspan) and shooting ability (52 percent from 3 on 2.8 attempts per game), but he doesn’t have the core strength or lateral quickness necessary to fully capitalize on his talents. It’s unclear how valuable a player like that can be in the modern NBA, and his injury means that scouts have only nine games against limited nonconference competition at Oregon to work from. Throw in the troubled injury history of supersized big men and Bol may have as wide a range of potential outcomes as anyone in this draft.

Darius Garland

Garland has even less of an NCAA track record than Bol. His freshman season at Vanderbilt ended after five games when he went down with a torn meniscus. He’s a very intriguing prospect on paper: The next point guard in the Trae Young school of lead ball handlers with unlimited shooting range. The problem is that so much of a point guard’s success in the NBA comes from his ability to manage a game as well as read and react to the defense, and Garland’s injury means there is very little available game film of him competing against high-level defenses. He had more turnovers than assists at Vanderbilt, but does that mean anything when dealing with a limited sample size of only 139 minutes? And how can scouts judge his basketball IQ from shooting drills in an empty gym?  

Darius Bazley

Bazley is a blank slate. He was a five-star recruit coming out of high school, but he wasn’t considered a lock to be a one-and-done player. The expectation among most NBA scouts was that he would spend multiple seasons at Syracuse polishing his game. Instead, Bazley opted to skip college entirely and spend the season working out with private trainers. The Knicks’ Mitchell Robinson slipped to the second round last season after taking a similar path, and now looks like one of the steals of the 2018 draft. Bazley doesn’t have Robinson’s absurd physical gifts, but he is a 6-foot-9 combo forward with NBA-caliber athleticism. While that isn’t enough to make it at the next level, it can be the foundation for a long and successful career. It’s almost impossible to say which direction Bazley will trend from the outside.

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JAXSON HAYES

Center

Texas

  • PTS 10.0 17.1 per 40
  • REB 5.0 8.6 per 40
  • AST 0.3 0.5 per 40
  • EFG% 72.8 169 FGA
  • STL 0.6 1.0 per 40
  • BLK 2.2 3.8 per 40
  • 3PT% 0.0 0 3PA
  • FT% 74.0 100 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Rim protection
Age18.9
Height/Weight6'11''/220
Wingspan7'4''

Athletic center whose experience playing wide receiver in high school has given him the ideal tools for a rim-running big.

Shades Of: Clint Capela, JaVale McGee, Deyonta Davis
PLUSES
  • Above-the-rim finisher with the hands and coordination to reel in tough passes. He runs the floor hard in transition, and can finish fluidly even after a couple of dribbles.
  • With a wide frame, he should get significantly stronger, which will help him finish against contact, rebound, and defend the interior.
  • Good free throw shooter who also has soft touch on hook shots from the short midrange; there’s a chance he could someday develop a spot-up jumper.
  • Has the potential to become an elite rim protector: alters shots with his mere presence, and his long wingspan allows him to clog passing lanes.
  • Excellent lateral quickness defending on the perimeter. May one day be able to switch, or defend pick-and-rolls regardless of the coverage.
  • High-effort, attentive defender who’ll recover for chase-down blocks, which can mask some of his raw fundamentals.
  • Multisport athlete until his senior year of high school, when a late growth spurt forced him to quit football and focus entirely on basketball.
  • High-character, hard-working player who was raised by parents who had successful athletic careers: His dad played 12 years in the NFL, and his mom played college basketball.
MINUSES
  • Gets caught in no-man's-land defending the pick-and-roll; he often looks confused, an understandable symptom of his inexperience.
  • Commits careless fouls biting on pump fakes and reaching instead of using the rule of verticality.
  • He gets overpowered on the boards, and sealed off underneath the rim, which currently limits his defense and rebounding. Does he lack toughness or strength?
  • Lacks basic post skills. Banging down low won’t be a focus, but he needs to improve at burying defenders underneath the rim and finishing at tough angles.
  • Inexperienced: He’s often a beat late making reads, doesn’t screen well, and sloppily executes simple plays like dribble handoffs.
  • Reluctant with his left hand; he dunked nearly everything in college, but finishing at an elite level in the NBA requires more dexterity.
  • Potential health concerns. He got banged up a few times over the course of the season, and sustained a bone bruise to his left knee, ending his freshman campaign.
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BOL BOL

Big

Oregon

  • PTS 21.0 28.2 per 40
  • REB 9.6 12.8 per 40
  • AST 1.0 1.3 per 40
  • EFG% 61.0 132 FGA
  • STL 0.8 1.0 per 40
  • BLK 2.7 3.6 per 40
  • 3PT% 52.0 25 3PA
  • FT% 75.7 37 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Defensive upside
Age19.4
Height/Weight7'2''/234
Wingspan7'8''

Massive physical specimen like his father, Manute Bol, though he has far more offensive upside. His medical report will make or break his draft stock.

Shades Of: Kristaps Porzingis in 480p, present-day Brook Lopez, Thon Maker
PLUSES
  • Fluid, coordinated athlete who moves surprisingly gracefully with the ball in his hands for a player his size; he’ll be a threat attacking defenders who are closing out.
  • Lob threat with an excellent catch radius and the soft hands to corral any pass. He keeps the ball high when finishing, not giving mortals a chance to swipe at the ball.
  • Terrific spot-up shooter, despite his funky mechanics. If his screening improves, he’ll become a pick-and-pop weapon.
  • Tantalizing upside as a scorer off the dribble; few bigs can dribble and shoot as well as he does. However, his lack of strength and burst do limit his upside creating against a set defense.
  • Flashes post upside with basic moves that culminate in a right hook. He’ll need to get stronger to carve out space closer to the rim.
  • Potential deterrent around the rim due to his sheer length. He’s so long that his presence can alter opponents’ shots. He’s mobile when he chooses to be.
MINUSES
  • Poor shot selection: He floats too much on the perimeter and settles for jumpers off the dribble. While that’s the most tantalizing area of his game, he needs to rein it in for now.
  • Beanpole frame hinders his screening; he barely ever makes contact, since defenders can so easily sneak around him. Putting actual effort into his screens would pay dividends.
  • Slow to react to pressure when playing in the post; it often seems like he doesn’t realize that passing the ball is an option.
  • Poor effort plagues his defense: He fails to contest shots, help, communicate, and box out for rebounds. You won’t find him hustling back on defense.
  • Lacks fundamentals; he plays high defending the post and can’t get low on the perimeter, which probably isn’t solvable due to his high center of gravity.
  • NBA scouts question his work ethic and conditioning, on top of the durability concerns due to his frail body: He suffered a stress fracture to the navicular bone in his left foot at Oregon.
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ROMEO LANGFORD

Guard

Indiana

  • PTS 16.5 19.4 per 40
  • REB 5.4 6.3 per 40
  • AST 2.3 2.8 per 40
  • EFG% 49.1 395 per 40
  • STL 0.8 0.9 per 40
  • BLK 0.8 1.0 per 40
  • 3PT% 27.2 125 3PA
  • FT% 72.2 194 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Isolation scoring
Age19.5
Height/Weight6'6''/215
Wingspan6'10''

Natural scorer at the wing who must refine his decision-making and jumper for his effortless offensive talents to translate in the NBA.

Shades Of: Larry Hughes, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, MarShon Brooks
PLUSES
  • Good physical profile with a wiry frame and long arms. He’s agile with or without the ball, and has a quick first step.
  • Innate scoring instincts show in the way he moves, creates space using crossovers and stepbacks, and handles contact at the rim.
  • Solid perimeter scorer off the dribble. He’s a confident shooter from anywhere on the floor who smoothly transitions from his dribble into his jumper.
  • Flashes pick-and-roll playmaking skills; though he’s raw, creating for others off the dribble should be a developmental priority at the NBA level.
  • Good rebounder for his position. He can turn defensive possessions into offense.
  • Defensive upside due to his strong body and athleticism; he could be useful switching screens if he starts to try consistently.
MINUSES
  • Needs to overhaul his shot form or he’ll remain an inefficient shooter. His feet are never set the same and he releases an inaccurate ball due to unusual wrist flexion.
  • Currently uncomfortable off the ball: He struggles at spot-up shooting and he’s not an aware cutter.
  • He’s a ball stopper. Though he can complete basic passes to rollers or to shooters for kickout 3s, he has a bad habit of pausing before making a dribble move or picking up his dribble before passing.
  • Decision-making needs to improve: He dribbles into traffic too often, and though he drew a lot of fouls at Indiana, he’s a below-the-rim player who may not draw as many at the next level.
  • Spacey defender who falls asleep off the ball and makes slow reads even when he’s paying attention, both serious concerns for his long-term defensive upside.
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COBY WHITE

Point guard

North Carolina

  • PTS 16.1 22.5 per 40
  • REB 3.5 5.0 per 40
  • AST 4.1 5.7 per 40
  • EFG% 51.6 444 FGA
  • STL 1.1 1.5 per 40
  • BLK 0.3 0.4 per 40
  • 3PT% 35.2 233 3PA
  • FT% 80.0 130 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Scoring
Age19.2
Height/Weight6'5''/185
Wingspan6'4''

Speed demon who has no fear when scoring the ball; he’s at his best in the open floor and should benefit from NBA spacing.

Shades Of: Jamal Murray, Brandon Knight, Rodrigue Beaubois
PLUSES
  • Effective spot-up 3-point shooter from NBA range with a quick release.
  • White has long-term potential off screens and handoffs due to his ability to balance himself midair, but he wasn’t efficient in this area during his freshman season.
  • Creates tons of space off the dribble, especially on his stepback jumper. There’s go-to scoring potential if he masters his shot and handle.
  • Can glide past the defense with an elite first step, yet also displays a feel for stop-and-go hesitations and hang dribbles.
  • Solid facilitator who can make basic passes off the dribble; will need to enhance this part of his game to complement his scoring ability at the next level.
  • Complete defender who moves well laterally and will spend the majority of his time defending the opposing point guard.
MINUSES
  • Has a quick release, soft touch, and good elevation on his jumper, but his low shooting release could be a potential fatal flaw against longer NBA defenders.
  • Doesn’t get much elevation at the rim on drives; he handles contact well but gets blocked often. Adding strength, improving his off hand, and mastering his floater would help.
  • Struggled to shoot off the dribble even after creating space for open looks. Has wild misses to the left and right when pulling up.
  • Forces shots and tries to do too much with his dribble to get through traffic; he’ll need to play a steadier brand of basketball at the next level to earn the trust of coaches.
  • Needs to add strength and play with sound fundamentals to overcome his slight frame and short wingspan; he’s not going to be versatile.
  • Mobility and effort can make him a good overall defender, especially off the ball, but at this stage his fundamentals remain sloppy in terms of footwork and positioning.
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PJ WASHINGTON

Forward

Kentucky

  • PTS 15.2 20.7 per 40
  • REB 7.6 10.4 per 40
  • AST 1.8 2.5 per 40
  • EFG% 56.7 364 FGA
  • STL 0.9 1.2 per 40
  • BLK 1.2 1.7 per 40
  • 3PT% 42.3 78 3PA
  • FT% 66.3 178 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Scoring
Age20.6
Height/Weight6'8''/228
Wingspan7'3''

Strong-bodied big man who has rapidly improved his scoring and passing as a sophomore.

Shades Of: Taj Gibson, Jerami Grant, Brice Johnson
PLUSES
  • Good passer for his position; has vision from all over the floor, though he does tend to force some passes into tight windows.
  • Makes up for below-the-rim finishing on drives with a quick first step, decisive moves, and ambidexterity on his layups.
  • Rapidly improving spot-up 3-point shooter who projects to have NBA range.
  • Mobile on-ball defender with long arms and a stout frame, though he doesn’t quite have the size to be an enforcer.
MINUSES
  • Lacks explosiveness in traffic, which means he won’t be much of a pick-and-roll threat to throw down lobs or finish with power.
  • Needs to diversify his offense: He rushes too many wild shots and lacks any advanced post moves; defenders will know he’s going to his right hook.
  • Below-average defensive rebounder who doesn’t display a nose for the ball; his teams may get abused on the boards if they use him as a small-ball 5.
  • Inconsistent motor and focus while defending off-ball or boxing out; doesn’t always make hustle plays like diving for loose balls and taking charges.
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JONTAY PORTER

Big

Missouri

Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Playmaking
Age19.4
Height/Weight6'11''/240
Wingspan7'0''

Skilled big who spaces the floor and does all the little things offensively, but has torn his right ACL twice in six months.

Shades Of: Thrift shop Nikola Jokic, Detlef Schrempf, Drew Gooden
PLUSES
  • Excellent passer from all over the floor; he makes quick reads and delivers accurate passes. Could become one of the NBA’s better passing bigs.
  • Fluid ball handler who uses crossovers, hesitations, and spin moves to attack the basket from the perimeter or high post.
  • Elite screener for his age; he could develop into a multidimensional screening threat on the pop, short roll, and dives.
  • Good shooter off the catch; a creative coach could even utilize him off screens since he’s effective setting his feet after movement.
  • Solid positional defender who tends to make good rotations; he’s not a rim protector, but there’s value in not screwing up.
  • Projects as a sturdy low-post defender if he adds muscle, due to his effort level and positioning.
  • Porter comes from a basketball family; Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. is his brother.
MINUSES
  • Subpar athlete who lacks quickness; an NBA strength and conditioning coach could help turn his youthful blubber into professional brawn.
  • Poor rebounder for his position, though his basketball IQ suggests he can get better at boxing out.
  • Doesn’t have the length to protect the rim nor the agility to roam the perimeter, meaning he may be exploitable on defense.
  • Struggles to score around the rim due to lack of pop; he misses an unusual amount of easy shots.
  • Can clearly shoot the rock, but his set form and low release could use some refinement to assure it translates to the NBA.
  • Tore his right ACL during a scrimmage in October 2018, then re-tore it in March; Porter admits he disobeyed his doctor’s orders and rushed back to the court.
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The Great Double Draft Prophecy
The Great Double Draft Prophecy

Many NBA teams believe that the draft that has long been prophesied is on the horizon. It will be a draft in which every first-round pick has lottery value, a draft that is virtually guaranteed to go down as the greatest of all time. I’m speaking, of course, about the vaunted Double Draft, which may well be nigh.

The Double Draft would coincide with the undoing of the NBA’s rule preventing 18-year-olds from playing in the league—the rule colloquially referred to as the “one-and-done” rule, since it generally leads to top prospects playing a single year of college basketball. This rule was installed in 2005 because … uh, David Stern wanted it. (He cited the “unseemly” nature of NBA general managers attending high school games and the need for black youths to consider college rather than banking on pro hoops success.) But there’s no real reason the sport’s best players should have to wait a year after graduating high school before joining the NBA, and all signs point to the rule being eliminated soon. The draft that would follow the elimination of this rule would be the Double Draft: It would include that year’s crop of top high school players and the last crop of players who had to attend college or play in a non-NBA professional league for at least one season.

As NBA teams have come to understand the value of tanking and fans have accepted throwing away full seasons in the hope of attaining future success, the Double Draft has been talked about like a second coming. But so far attempts at gaming the system to secure prime Double Draft picks have failed. The 76ers’ plan of hoarding picks in the 2021 draft was ruined when a report revealed the one-and-done rule wouldn’t be axed until at least 2022. And there’s always the possibility that the NBA decides to keep the one-and-done rule in place. It wasn’t so long ago that Adam Silver seriously discussed raising the league’s minimum age.

All draft analysis is essentially potentially inaccurate prophesying. Dreaming of the Double Draft is the grandest prophecy of all.

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RUI HACHIMURA

Forward

Gonzaga

  • PTS 19.7 26.1 per 40
  • REB 6.5 8.6 per 40
  • AST 1.5 2.0 per 40
  • EFG% 60.8 465 FGA
  • STL 0.9 1.3 per 40
  • BLK 0.7 1.0 per 40
  • 3PT% 41.7 36 3PA
  • FT% 73.9 222 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Offensive versatility
Age21.2
Height/Weight6'8''/230
Wingspan7'2''

Raw talent born in Japan who’s progressed considerably in college to become a versatile scorer, but still has so far to go before his game can translate to the NBA.

Shades Of: The Morris twins, Jabari Parker, washed Carmelo Anthony
PLUSES
  • Tremendous physical tools with a thick frame, long arms, and fluid athleticism. He’s activated these traits with improved ballhandling moves going coast-to-coast after rebounds.
  • Potential mismatch scorer who can be used all over the court: He’s an effective post scorer, a powerful straight-line driver, a willing cutter, and an improving spot-up shooter.
  • Comfortable handling the ball and shooting off the dribble from the short midrange; at his rate of improvement, perhaps he’ll someday extend his range to 3.
  • Versatile close-range finisher who can score above the rim with touch using either hand. He’s a willing screener and could be useful in the pick-and-roll.
  • Has the tools to be a versatile defender with a sturdy frame, long arms, athleticism, a willingness to learn, and a proven track record of making improvements.
  • Hard worker on and off the floor who has gotten better each season. Hachimura didn’t start playing organized basketball until he was 14; he’s in the early stages of his development.
MINUSES
  • The game moves too fast for him on offense; he’s a poor decision-maker who’s slow to read the floor. Even when he does pass, he delivers the ball inaccurately.
  • Needs to be stronger with the ball; he powered through college players but savvier defenders knew to strip the ball because of his tendency to bring it down.
  • Reads the floor on defense at Windows 98 speeds; he’s a liability in the pick-and-roll, gets caught in no-man’s-land, and is late to rotate in help situations.
  • Needs to be more physical to improve his rebounding, which would help compensate for his defensive imitations.
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2 0

NICKEIL ALEXANDER-WALKER

Guard

Virginia Tech

  • PTS 16.2 18.9 per 40
  • REB 4.1 4.8 per 40
  • AST 4.0 4.6 per 40
  • EFG% 54.6 401 FGA
  • STL 1.9 2.2 per 40
  • BLK 0.5 0.6 per 40
  • 3PT% 37.4 155 3PA
  • FT% 77.8 144 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Size and playmaking
Age20.6
Height/Weight6'5''/205
Wingspan6'9''

Versatile scoring wing who can play on or off the ball and serve as a playmaking presence.

Shades Of: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Malcolm Brogdon, Tyler Johnson
PLUSES
  • Ambidextrous dribbler and scorer, comfortable with executing in-out dribbles and crossovers, and at-rim finishes and floaters, with either hand.
  • Good spot-up shooter who displays instincts for relocating and cutting to get open.
  • Passing might be his best NBA skill: He’ll wow you with off-the-dribble left-handed passes to shooters in the corner.
  • Fluid ball handler who plays with poise in the pick-and-roll; it looks like he’s coasting but he’s always under control.
  • Flashes post scoring skills; with his playmaking, he could use the post as a source for playmaking as a big guard like Evan Turner.
  • Long, competitive defender who should be able to effectively defend both guard spots.
MINUSES
  • Struggles finishing in the paint since his average athleticism means he doesn’t get much elevation.
  • More likely a secondary playmaker than a primary due to his lack of burst.
  • Ineffective 3-point shooter off the dribble, possibly due to his catapult-like shooting mechanics, where he brings the ball back to his forehead and then launches.
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2 1

TYLER HERRO

Guard

Kentucky

  • PTS 14.0 17.2 per 40
  • REB 4.5 5.5 per 40
  • AST 2.5 3.0 per 40
  • EFG% 53.6 403 FGA
  • STL 1.1 1.3 per 40
  • BLK 0.3 0.4 per 40
  • 3PT% 35.5 169 3PA
  • FT% 93.5 93 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Scoring versatility
Age19.2
Height/Weight6'5''/195
Wingspan6'4.5''

Shooting is a premium skill in the NBA, and Herro displays the potential to be a dynamic shot maker and a well-rounded two-way player.

Shades Of: Devin Booker, C.J. Miles, Courtney Lee
PLUSES
  • Quick shooting release with NBA range; he’s capable of catching and shooting the ball at tough angles.
  • Herro’s upside shooting off the dribble is his most tantalizing skill. He’s comfortable with sidestep pull-ups, especially going to his left.
  • Natural feel for off-ball relocation to get open for spot-up jumpers or cuts to the basket; he’ll wear out defenders with his constant, deceptive movement.
  • Has potential as a crafty interior finisher; he has a soft floater and he’s adept at using his off hand on layups.
  • Intelligent passer who knows how to leverage his height to pass over the defense.
  • Runs hard in transition to the wings and corners for 3s.
  • Hustles on defense and crashes the boards. His physical profile should support more muscle, which would allow him to defend stronger NBA wings and forwards.
  • Works hard and models his game after Devin Booker, who had eerily similar strengths and weaknesses entering the NBA.
MINUSES
  • Struggled to shoot off of screens and handoffs at Kentucky; his form makes him look like an elite knockdown shooter, but results aren’t supportive.
  • Sluggish first step turning the corner on drives to the rim limits his shot-creation ability. Lacks explosiveness to regularly finish once he gets inside.
  • Doesn’t have the lateral quickness to effectively defend quicker players on switches; he got burned in Kentucky’s final game against Auburn.
  • Has the requisite length and effort to be an effective defender, but needs to develop more attention to detail.
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2 2

KEVIN PORTER JR.

Guard

USC

  • PTS 9.5 17.2 per 40
  • REB 4.0 7.2 per 40
  • AST 1.4 2.6 per 40
  • EFG% 56.1 157 FGA
  • STL 0.8 1.5 per 40
  • BLK 0.5 0.9 per 40
  • 3PT% 41.2 68 3PA
  • FT% 52.2 46 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Scoring upside
Age19.0
Height/Weight6'6''/218
Wingspan6'9''

Strong, stylish scorer who flashes the skills to someday become a star, but needs to put all the pieces together.

Shades Of: J.R. Smith, Rodney Stuckey, James Young
PLUSES
  • Excellent physical profile with a strong frame and long arms; NBA spacing could someday allow him to be an explosive force driving to the rim.
  • Projects as a shifty ball handler; his left-to-right crossover is currently his best move, though he’s too loose and high with his right-hand dribble.
  • Flashes perimeter shot-creation skills. He has confidence in his stepback jumper, which could someday be his go-to shot.
  • Showed solid passing instincts and a greater willingness to create for others after returning from a foot injury in February.
  • Great rebounder and shot blocker for his position, since he’s such a quick leaper.
  • Potentially a super versatile defender given his agility and strength—so long as his defensive fundamentals improve and he stays locked in.
MINUSES
  • Shooting form has issues: It’s a low, flat release, and there is a lot of lower body movement; inconsistent landings may be the cause of his inconsistencies, especially off the catch.
  • Inactive off-ball player, though that might’ve been a symptom of the college offense he played in.
  • His ballhandling is largely flash and little substance at this point due to his looseness while attempting most moves.
  • Lacks off-ball defensive awareness. He gets caught looking at the ball and loses his man. His motor is inconsistent, and he has to learn when to gamble.
  • Doesn’t stay seated in an on-ball defensive stance, and he’s often flat-footed; he also swipes at the ball and bites on fakes, causing him to stumble out of position.
  • Maturity is a concern: He was suspended indefinitely midseason at USC for an undisclosed off-court reason, and tends to take poor shots outside of the offensive system on the court.
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TALEN HORTON-TUCKER

Guard

Iowa State

  • PTS 11.8 17.4 per 40
  • REB 4.9 7.1 per 40
  • AST 2.3 3.4 per 40
  • EFG% 47.0 382 FGA
  • STL 1.3 1.9 per 40
  • BLK 0.7 1.0 per 40
  • 3PT% 30.8 159 3PA
  • FT% 62.5 88 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Raw talent
Age18.4
Height/Weight6'4''/233
Wingspan7'1''

Unusual athlete who has the body to defend large players and the raw skills to play guard on offense.

Shades Of: Eric Gordon, Deonte Burton
PLUSES
  • Shot-creation skills are uncommon for a player with his body: He unleashes NBA Street–style moves to generate space to get buckets.
  • Solid spot-up shooter from a stationary position, though his low, robotic release may not be as effective against NBA length.
  • Makes difficult cross-court passes off the dribble, and has keen passing vision that could be cultivated in the NBA.
  • Good rebounder who high-points the ball and sparks transition offense by taking the ball up the floor.
  • Long arms and strong frame theoretically give him the ability to switch screens, using his length to swallow guards and bulk to battle bigs.
  • Youth. He turned 18 in November, so there are untapped skills for a team to mature.
MINUSES
  • Poor free throw shooter who doesn’t display touch on floaters or layups, which doesn’t inspire much confidence in the upside of his jumper.
  • Shot selection is problematic. He takes far too many contested pull-ups with lots of time left on the shot clock.
  • Erratic decision-maker driving the ball. He forces wild shots underneath the rim instead of locating shooters.
  • Loose handle that sometimes comes up above his shoulders. He needs tighten it up or won’t be nearly as effective in an NBA setting.
  • Slow moving laterally on defense. He’s often out of position and plays float-footed, but with his thick frame and wide hips, he just might not be quick enough on the perimeter.
  • Low-effort defender who doesn’t play with passion, toughness, or focus. Defensive consistency is a teamwide issue though, so he could be a product of the environment.
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2 4
2 4

MATISSE THYBULLE

Guard

Washington

  • PTS 9.1 11.7 per 40
  • REB 3.1 4.0 per 40
  • AST 2.1 2.8 per 40
  • EFG% 50.0 270 FGA
  • STL 3.5 4.5 per 40
  • BLK 2.2 2.8 per 40
  • 3PT% 30.5 151 3PA
  • FT% 85.1 67 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Lockdown defense
Age22.1
Height/Weight6'5''/200
Wingspan7'0''

Disruptive defender who posted all-time great block and steal numbers as the pillar of Washington’s zone.

Shades Of: Danny Green, Gary Harris, Tony Allen
PLUSES
  • Beast off-ball defender potential: He’s both athletic and smart. He closes out strong, alters shots, and recovers well after penetration.
  • Remarkable anticipation skills and reaction time allow him to jump passing lanes like he’s Deion Sanders.
  • Doesn’t take his athleticism for granted; constantly hustles, pursues loose balls, and hurries back in transition to stop the ball or contest a shot.
  • Projects as a switchable man-to-man defender with long arms and good fundamentals moving laterally and staying seated in his stance.
  • Despite his hyperactivity on defense, he rarely commits fouls, though he’ll need to break his freelancing habit in the NBA.
  • Above-average 3-point shooter with compact form, and a good free throw shooter with touch around the rim.
  • Smart player who passes well within the flow of the offense and avoids careless mistakes.
  • Ambidextrous below-the-rim interior finisher who can score well off cuts and closeouts.
MINUSES
  • Tough to evaluate his man-to-man defense since he last played it as an underclassman when Lorenzo Romar used a switching scheme that hemorrhaged points.
  • Weirdly a nonfactor on the defensive boards despite his athleticism and instincts.
  • Timid, deferential offensive player. It’s not necessarily a bad thing since he knows his role, but he’s yet to tap into his athleticism.
  • Needs to speed up his jump shot release, and too often flares out his elbow, which may be a cause of inconsistency.
  • Not someone who will create many at-rim chances for himself. He can make simple moves but hasn’t shown he can keep the ball on a string.
  • At-rim finishing is lacking but could improve if he develops athleticism leaping off one foot.
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Matisse Thybulle Is the Most Intriguing 3-and-D Prospect in the Draft
Matisse Thybulle Is the Most Intriguing 3-and-D Prospect in the Draft

There have not been many prospects like Thybulle in the history of the NBA draft. His senior season at Washington breaks all of the statistical models: A 6-foot-5, 200-pound guard who averages 3.5 steals and 2.2 blocks per game shouldn’t be possible. While it helps that he was playing in a 2-3 zone that allowed him to freelance all over the floor instead of forcing him to stick to one man, plenty of future NBA players have played at zone-heavy schools like Syracuse and Baylor without putting up defensive numbers anywhere near Thybulle’s.

Thybulle is a fairly limited offensive player who should be able to shoot just well enough to stay on the floor (career 35.8 percent from 3 on 4.0 attempts per game), but it’s hard to say how much of his defensive dominance in the zone will translate to man defense at the next level. He doesn’t have great size, so will he be a defender who sticks in the backcourt without as much versatility in an NBA scheme? NBA teams are entering uncharted territory with Thybulle, an exciting but also scary place to be when it comes to prospect evaluation.

2 5
2 5

KELDON JOHNSON

Guard

Kentucky

  • PTS 13.5 17.6 per 40
  • REB 5.9 7.6 per 40
  • AST 1.6 2.1 per 40
  • EFG% 52.3 374 FGA
  • STL 0.8 1.0 per 40
  • BLK 0.2 0.2 per 40
  • 3PT% 38.1 118 3PA
  • FT% 70.3 155 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Effort
Age19.5
Height/Weight6'6''/211
Wingspan6'9''

High-effort defender and complementary offensive player.

Shades Of: Otto Porter Jr., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Garrett Temple
PLUSES
  • Decisive scorer; he grabs the ball and goes when attacking closeouts or sprinting in transition, taking long strides on his way to the rim.
  • Improving 3-point shooter who has good touch on floaters, which helps dampen any concerns about his funky, leaning shooting form.
  • Hard-nosed rebounder unafraid to mix it up with bigs.
  • Plays with effort and passion. He’ll dive for loose balls, close out hard on the perimeter, and take a charge.
  • Theoretically a good defender due to his energy if his fundamentals improve.
MINUSES
  • High, loose dribble limits his ability to create scoring opportunities for himself. He relies on brute force on straight-line drives, and lacks any finesse with the ball in his hands.
  • Robotic passer who doesn’t make advanced reads.
  • A below-the-rim finisher in traffic who doesn’t handle contact well and lacks the length to extend for layups. He also rarely uses his left hand finishing and dribbling.
  • He’s heavy-footed moving laterally since he’s on his heels, and he bites for far too many fakes.
  • He’s a ball watcher prone to allowing backdoor cutters and open shooters.
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2 6
2 6

TY JEROME

Guard

Virginia

  • PTS 13.6 16.0 per 40
  • REB 4.2 5.0 per 40
  • AST 5.5 6.4 per 40
  • EFG% 53.2 409 FGA
  • STL 1.5 1.8 per 40
  • BLK 0.0 0.0 per 40
  • 3PT% 39.9 198 3PA
  • FT% 73.6 91 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Playmaking
Age21.8
Height/Weight6'5''/195
Wingspan6'2.5''

Talented playmaker and shooter who moves at 3G, but his mind calculates actions on the floor at 5G.

Shades Of: Taller Jose Calderon, Malcolm Brogdon, Greivis Vasquez
PLUSES
  • Smooth 3-point shooter with a knack for relocating off the ball after making a pass, and the ability to hit shots off of screens and handoffs. He’s equally potent taking one- or two-dribble pull-ups.
  • Intuitive passer with touch and vision to throw strikes off the dribble to rollers, cutters, and shooters. Can already run pick-and-roll at an NBA level.Intuitive passer with touch and vision to throw strikes off the dribble to rollers, cutters, and shooters. Can already run pick-and-roll at an NBA level.
  • He gets where he needs to on the floor with exceptional footwork, deceptive ball fakes, and his ability to look off defenders.
  • Unselfish teammate who keeps the ball moving and knows how to execute plays. He plays hard, crashes the boards, and boxes out.
  • Competes hard defending man-to-man, plays with good fundamentals, and anticipates where opponents want to go.
  • He’s not a lockdown defender, but he can be a vital part of a cohesive defensive unit. He communicates, focuses off the ball, and is almost always in the right position.
MINUSES
  • Overcoming his athletic limitations is no guarantee at the next level. He will struggle to generate space in certain matchups, limiting his upside to that of a high-end role player.
  • Subpar below-the-rim finisher who tends to settle for floaters since he lacks the burst to get all the way to the basket.
  • With a somewhat low shooting release point, he’d benefit from increasing the speed of his gather to launch the ball quicker.
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2 7
2 7

KZ OKPALA

Forward

Stanford

  • PTS 16.9 20.7 per 40
  • REB 5.7 7.0 per 40
  • AST 2.0 2.4 per 40
  • EFG% 51.0 368 FGA
  • STL 1.0 1.2 per 40
  • BLK 0.5 0.6 per 40
  • 3PT% 37.5 88 3PA
  • FT% 67.1 173 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Offensive versatility
Age20.0
Height/Weight6'9''/215
Wingspan7'2''

Versatility is king in the NBA, and he has all the tools to be a malleable two-way wing if his raw skills continue to develop.

Shades Of: Brandon Ingram, Trevor Ariza, Wes Johnson
PLUSES
  • Impressive physical profile with long arms and the frame to add muscle. He’s an above-the-rim athlete who quickly covers a lot of ground in the open floor.
  • Improved his ballhandling ability following his freshman season, which activated his scoring on drives.
  • Solid passer within the offensive flow, and he has developed a feel in the pick-and-roll, delivering accurate passes with velocity.
  • Tweaked his shooting mechanics to remove a hitch and improved off the catch as a sophomore. There’s still room for improvement.
  • Flashes elite defensive potential with his length and mobility, though he’ll have to develop his strength and fundamentals.
  • Grew up a multisport athlete playing basketball and football, until a growth spurt turned him into the tall, slim athlete we see today; he’s still learning how to use his body.
MINUSES
  • Poor shooter off the dribble whose mechanics fall apart even on simple one-dribble pull-ups.
  • Gets stripped often on drives to the rim; his handle is still too loose and he frequently goes into traffic.
  • Average scorer in the paint because he’s not good at handling contact. Getting stronger could help, though his natural touch isn’t great.
  • Defensive fundamentals are lacking. He has poor footwork closing out and loses his man off the ball. He also should get lower to gain leverage when defending the post.
  • He should rack up impactful defensive plays with his length and mobility but he doesn’t, largely due to his lagging reaction speed.
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2 8
2 8

BRUNO FERNANDO

Center

Maryland

  • PTS 13.6 18.1 per 40
  • REB 10.6 14.2 per 40
  • AST 2.0 2.7 per 40
  • EFG% 61.2 285 FGA
  • STL 0.6 0.9 per 40
  • BLK 1.9 2.5 per 40
  • 3PT% 30.0 10 3PA
  • FT% 77.9 145 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Rim running
Age20.7
Height/Weight6'10''/240
Wingspan7'4''

Athletic marvel who projects as a skilled offensive big man, but his defense needs to catch up.

Shades Of: Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter, Festus Ezeli
PLUSES
  • Body seems to have been built in a lab; possesses a thick frame and long arms to go with agility and explosiveness.
  • Ambidextrous interior finisher who displays good footwork finding space for layups—that is, when he isn’t already in position to throw down pulverizing dunks.
  • Soft interior touch and clean shooting form suggest he has a projectable shot to the NBA 3-point line.
  • Made drastic improvements as a passer as a sophomore; he puts velocity on the ball and can effectively facilitate on the short roll and in the low and high post.
  • Maryland plays at a snail’s pace, but Fernando is a force like Montrezl Harrell running the floor when he’s empowered.
  • Good rebounder who can follow his boards with strong outlet passes. Considering his quick first step and aptitude for straight-line driving, maybe he can also handle in transition.
  • Long-term rim-protection upside; his fundamentals must improve but he has what you can’t teach—length and mobility.
  • Plays with better, more consistent intensity on defense than he did as a freshman; his overall improvement is a sign of a willingness to learn.
MINUSES
  • Sets a lot of moving screens that’ll get called early in his pro career.
  • Needs to be careful about bringing the ball down while loading up before dunks, since it leaves him prone to being stripped.
  • He doesn’t handle the pressure of college double-teams well; will standard NBA pressure and length by superior defenders also give him issues executing plays?
  • Unaware defender who often gets caught in no-man’s-land; he lacks positional awareness in the pick-and-roll and is still learning the intricacies of help defense.
  • Athleticism can only go so far without fundamentals: He has improved but still bites on too many pump fakes inside and reaches too much on the perimeter.
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2 9
2 9

CAMERON JOHNSON

Forward

North Carolina

  • PTS 16.9 22.6 per 40
  • REB 5.8 7.7 per 40
  • AST 2.4 3.2 per 40
  • EFG% 62.0 418 FGA
  • STL 1.2 1.6 per 40
  • BLK 0.3 0.4 per 40
  • 3PT% 45.7 210 3PA
  • FT% 81.8 110 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Shooting
Age23.1
Height/Weight6'9''/210
WingspanN/A

Effective shooter who presents value for teams in need of a tall, floor-spacing role player.

Shades Of: Nemanja Bjelica, Jonas Jerebko, Dorian Finney-Smith
PLUSES
  • Good spot-up shooter with a compact form and good footwork. He has the body control to balance himself midair to hit shots off movement.
  • Uses screens and relocates at an NBA level. If he masters his off-screen shooting, he could become a tough cover due to his size.
  • Runs the floor hard in transition. He’s a leak-out threat who will benefit from NBA pace.
  • Average passer who won’t be tasked with playmaking responsibilities, but he tends to make the right play within the flow of the offense.
  • Selfless player who accepts his role next to more ball-dominant players. He’s happy playing a role, cutting and spotting up.
  • Projects as a solid positional defender who resists fouling while sliding and has solid off-ball awareness.
MINUSES
  • Underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left hip in 2018 to correct a bone impingement and a torn labrum. He gets banged up often during games, too.
  • Unable to create much off the dribble. Average athlete with a slow first step; he takes short, choppy steps on drives. His shot also isn’t quite as accurate off the dribble.
  • Subpar at-rim finisher against length, and he rarely draws fouls. Despite his height, he’s also not a post threat.
  • Improved perimeter defender following his hip procedure but he’s still stiff moving laterally, and struggles to contain scorers who change directions quickly.
  • Lacks ideal strength to be an effective defender on switches against larger players. He’s also not a great rebounder for his size.
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3 0
3 0

DANIEL GAFFORD

Big

Arkansas

  • PTS 16.9 23.6 per 40
  • REB 8.7 12.1 per 40
  • AST 0.7 1.0 per 40
  • EFG% 66.0 324 FGA
  • STL 0.9 1.3 per 40
  • BLK 2.0 2.8 per 40
  • 3PT% 0.0 0 3PA
  • FT% 59.1 193 FTA
Main Selling PointMain Selling Point: Rim running
Age20.5
Height/Weight6'11''/233
Wingspan7'2''

An unheralded high school prospect who has emerged as an ideal, high-energy center.

Shades Of: Clint Capela, Willie Cauley-Stein, JaVale McGee
PLUSES
  • Explosive lob threat who finishes strong against contact and draws a lot of fouls; Arkansas rarely ran pick-and-roll, but that’ll be his primary skill in the NBA.
  • Displays fluidity that could translate into greater pick-and-roll upside if his ballhandling and touch develop.
  • Excellent on-ball and off-ball screener who displays an understanding of timing and angles.
  • Relentless rebounder.
  • Grinds hard defending man-to-man, plus has terrific shot-blocking instincts from the weak side and on the perimeter.
MINUSES
  • Partially tore his meniscus in high school.
  • Nonthreat outside of the paint due to average touch and funky shot form; he’s also a poor free throw shooter.
  • Lacks passing vision.
  • Heavy feet defending on the perimeter, which limits his effectiveness on a switch. His lean frame and average length also limits him against beefy centers.
  • Commits too many careless fouls biting for pump fakes, reaching, and attempting to block shots he has no chance at.
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Measurement data and player statistics via Sports-Reference and school bios.