Top-30 NBA Draft Big Board

The 2020 NBA Draft has been shrouded with questions the whole season, most notably about the star power at the top of this draft and the dearth of upperclassmen at the middle and how quickly they can carry their skills over. Recently though, the conversation has been taken over by questions of when the Draft will happen. Since the NBA suspended its season on March 11, it has been a waiting period full of mystery as rumors of how the NBA will start back up, and the NBA has already taken the step of postponing May’s Draft Lottery in anticipation of any changes made to the standings upon return. With the Draft Lottery and Combine postponed, and the NCAA lifting the June 3 “back out” date for early entrants, all signs point to a shift of Draft Day to a later time.

This class is lacking the obvious star power we have seen in previous seasons (especially with the number one and two picks looking like not only ROY candidates, but all-stars soon), but there is a variety of high level role players who can contribute to winning even if they are not putting up huge stats. The middle of this class is crowded, and teams will have to do a great deal of intel to feel comfortable with any draft picks after 20 or 25. I gave my best shot at picking my favorite guys in the 20-30 range to follow up my thoughts on the top-20 players in this class.

No. 1: Anthony Edwards, Georgia Bulldogs (SG, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’5”, 225 lbs.

Stats: 19.1 PTS, 2.8 ASTS, 5.2 RBS, 1.3 STLS, .504 2P%, .294 3P%, .772 FT%

First things first, Edwards is not the top prospect that the Draft has been blessed with in recent years. Edwards is still a project, an underdeveloped player, but the athletic and physical tools jump off the page, and the flashes of scoring potential are frequent. Edwards is relatively young in his basketball development having been focused on basketball rather than football for just a few years, and it is evident in his lack of feel on both ends of the ball. There are questions that are hard to pin on his basketball immaturity though: his low motor and lack of aggression on the offensive end and his low effort and execution on the defensive end. The question marks are troubling, but the flashes are enticing.

Edwards flashes start with his first step burst that get him past his man, as well as his ability to do it off the dribble. His physicality and strength to stay on balance through contact, and his explosiveness around the rim to dunk on players frequently follow. His lack of aggression is evident in a quick look at his stats for the season: he took nearly as many three-pointers per game (7.7) as two-pointers (8.1). His jump shot was inconsistent both in results and form, but he flashed the range of an NBA court, and an ability to get cleans shots up off the dribble. When watching Edwards for an extended amount of time, you can almost see him learning the game, processing the feel of the floor and how best to attack it. The shame is that those moments do not last long. Whoever ends up with the number one pick will have to make a choice between flawed prospects. Drafting Edwards will be an investment into a player they feel comfortable with on a personal level to grow into the All Star that his physical tools suggest.

Film Session:

Edwards most translatable skill is his driving ability. The first clip in the video shows Edwards blazing first step from a standstill, and his explosiveness when help defense is too late to react. The second clip shows his adjustment when help defense is in his way, and the ginger footwork and finesse he uses to finish anyway. The final clip shows how he is able to mix in dribble moves while attacking as he freezes the help defender with an in-and-out dribble, and the strength of his frame as he is able to take contact from the rotating big and still finish. Edwards can get into the tooth of the defense not only by attacking flat footed defenders on the move, but also off the dribble. Edwards ability to break down defenses will open more possible passes and give him the room to shoot more comfortably.

Expectation: All Star


No. 2: LaMelo Ball, Illawara Hawks (G, U.S.A. 2001)

Measurements: 6’5”, 180 lbs.

Stats: 17.2 PTS, 6.8 ASTS, 7.9 RBS, 1.5 STLS, .464 2P%, .279 3P%, .700 FT%

The Ball family has long been saying “the best is yet to come” even when Lonzo was being drafted second overall and even still this season when he put together masterful performances on the defensive end and throwing crisp lobs to Zion Williamson. LaMelo has handled the spotlight well in the last five years no matter the situations his father put him in, and that should not go unrecognized. Ball has routinely been praised for his dribbling exploits and his daring shots, but those are not the best part of his game. The best part of his game remains to be his passing, especially with one hand off the dribble. In his film session, there is a better look at the vision and the timing that makes his passing so excellent.

Ball is far from a complete prospect despite the showcased feel that is special for someone his age. His feel for when to be aggressive and when to allow others to be is a work in progress, he drives the lane at inopportune times and forces odd floaters that he has trouble knocking down. His shot pocket is still low with a slow release and has a high arc with questionable touch, he does not look the part nor have the success of a three-point threat right now. Defensively, he is often caught not paying attention taking time to dust off his shoes rather than make sure his man does not cut backdoor. I went into my time scouting Ball fully expecting to put him ahead of Anthony Edwards, but his bad habits as a player look like they will take longer to shed than those of Edwards.

Film Session:

LaMelo’s feel with the ball in his hands is constantly evident, and the passing off the dribble he loves to show off should immediately translate to strong playmaking at the next level. The first clip in the video shows the touchdown passing that makes for easy points out of defensive stops. He delivers the pass with excellent timing and right to the chest of his teammate who puts up a layup without even taking a dribble. In the second clip, he notices how his teammate sneaks behind the opposing big who is taking his time rotating down and passes it to the chest of his teammate for an easy layup on the other side of the rim. Next, we see him use the high screen that is so popular in NBA offenses and attacks the dropping big forcing him to commit, then whipping an overhead pass to the trailing big who gets a nearly uncontested layup. Then, a more uncommon baseline screen. Ball goes wide to allow the screener the space to run the baseline and keeps the opposing big focused on him rather than dropping. He then throws a beautiful behind-the-back bounce pass for yet another uncontested layup. The final two clips showcase more of his driving ability as he is able to get into the lane and find open teammates: the first a drop off pass to the big in the dunkers spot, the second a drop off to a basket cutting teammate. Ball’s greatest ability is the ease in which he gets teammates open shots, and with vision and timing at his size, it is hard to bet against his overall offensive game.

Expectation: Starter


No. 3: Deni Avdija, Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv (F, Israel 2001)

Measurements: 6’8”, 210 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 7.7 PTS, 1.7 ASTS, 4.1 RBS, 0.6 BLKS, .650 2P%, .336 3P%, .520 FT%

Avidja, at 6’8”, is a jumbo playmaker that has a great feel for how to get points for his team. He checks the boxes for NBA speed, and feel for the game. He is a very good team defender helping off the ball and closing out short to avoid getting driven by. He is supremely confident on offense, and really makes a difference as a playmaker with mature nuances that are much more developed than most players his age. His free throw shooting looks like a concern, but his infrequent playing time and even more infrequent trips to the free throw line lead me to trust the jump shot anyway. As an offensive player he is complete. He can shoot the ball off the catch or off the dribble. He can make advanced passes off screens to rollers and has the vision to find open wings when help comes. He routinely makes the right decisions look easy and will be a high-level starter for a long time in the NBA.

Film Session:

In the first clip, you see his burst off a simple head fake to freeze the defender behind the screen and burst into the lane for the layup. In the second clip he catches the ball off movement and glides around a high screen. After passing the screen with his man behind him he slows down and holds the defender on his back to create a two-on-one situation inside the lane. He sees that the dropping big man does not commit to him and uses a mini-Eurostep to get to the basket around him. The next clip comes from the same off ball movement into high screen, and this time he notices the big stays high and immediately throws a bounce pass to the roller. The next play shows a little more ballhandling from him with a high bounce pass from the sideline to the roller. In the last clip, he receives the ball on the weakside without help defense. Because of this, both defenders play the screen soft to not put either at a major disadvantage. With both defenders down a step, Avdija has the room to pullup and hit a three-pointer.

Expectation: Starter


No. 4: Devin Vassell, Florida State Seminoles (SG, Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’6”, 180 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 12.7 PTS, 1.6 ASTS, 5.1 RBS, 1.4 STLS, .532 2P%, .415 3P%, .738 FT%

Vassell is the latest in a long line of multi-year players to be drafted out of Florida State almost for their length alone. Vassell showed major improvement as a shot maker, shot creator, and all-around defense that make him a perfect fit in the NBA. Though this class is littered with guys his size who can shoot, Vassell’s switchability from slowing ballhandlers to blocking bigs at the rim make him special. On offense, Vassell is a knock down shooter with a high shot pocket that will not be bothered at the next level. Vassell showed a compelling in between game getting to spots in the mid-range off the dribble where he could shoot overtop of defenders. With a more filled out body and tighter handle, Vassell could develop into not just a quality starter, but even a third or fourth scorer on a winning team.

Film Session:

Vassell’s lanky frame at just 180 pounds may get him pushed around early in his NBA career, but there is no denying his wing defense. His swallowingly long arms, quick hips, choppy feet, and high IQ allow him to be extremely versatile on the defensive end. In the first clip, of the video, Vassell hounds a high level ballhandler all the way down the floor, switches the screen and fronts the post, then switches back out onto the ballhandler when he drives to force him back out to the perimeter where he hands it off and Vassell switches onto the new ballhandler and forces him into a tough, contested pullup jumper from an extremely inefficient area of the floor. In the next floor he plays denial defense and force his man to receive the ball near the mid-court line. He drops back to force a drive, and when crossed over, quickly shifts his hips to use his straight-line speed to recover and blocks the shot from behind. On the final possession of the video, he switches three times as his team switches to a zone and uses his long arms to poke the ball away.

Expectation: Starter


No. 5: Onyeka Okongwu, USC Trojans (PF/C, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’9”, 245 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 16.2 PTS, 1.1 ASTS, 8.6 RBS, 2.7 BLKS, .621 2P%, .250 3P%, .720 FT%

Okongwu had an extremely efficient season his first year out of high school and showed that his rim running dominance is ready for the NBA. He is a two-way big who can become a perimeter switching threat with cleaned up footwork. He has excellent timing for blocks on or off ball, and he has extremely soft touch around the basket to tip in rebounds, finish hook shots and floaters, and score through contact. Okongwu is not a jump shooter, his only made three-pointer on the season was from the opposite free throw line at the halftime buzzer, and he does not need to be to act as an effective NBA player. He has quick hips on defense, but his feet often lag behind. With more efficient footwork, Okongwu can be a player who can switch late in clock and stay in front of a ballhandler and has the potential to stick with wings consistently. He will fit in immediately for his role player style but will surprise with the efficiency that he scores with.

Film Session:

His video may just look like a highlight clip of his fun dunks but there is much more nuance in his game than just dunks. In the first clip he rotates the ball to the weakside and when he sees his man hedging, he immediately slips into the open lane where he catches a high pass and throws down an easy dunk. In the second clip he holds the screen since there is help in the lane, but as his defender is preoccupied trying to stop the guard, he runs to the basket looking to make eye contact with the guard, who responds with a lob pass for another dunk. The next clip is from the same game and they run the same play. This time he flips the screen, and immediately opens his hips to catch the ball at the top of the lane. The weakside help is supposed to step in, but the threat of Okongwu passing to the corner for an easy shot forces him back out, and Okongwu takes one dribble for a thunderous dunk. The next play is another weakside screen. He rolls late to get behind the defense and showcases his touch as he is fouled and still scores the basket with a soft layup. The final clip shows his strengths on the other side of the ball. He hedges the screen to contain the ballhandler, and when his teammate recovers, he drops back to his man where he cuts off any space for a dribble and swallows up his shot attempt with textbook verticality.

Expectation: Starter


No. 6: Killian Hayes, Ratiopharm Ulm (PG, U.S.A./France 2001)

Measurements: 6’5”, 215 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 11.6 PTS, 5.4 ASTS, 2.8 RBS, 1.5 STLS, .548 2P%, .294 3P%, .876 FT%

Hayes is the second international player born in the USA on my board, and, similarly to Ball, his expert playmaking has made him a contender for a top-ten position in this upcoming draft. Hayes at has a feel for the game many NBA players lack. His craft and calculated steps as a pick and roll ballhandler lead to easy shots that his teammates must be ready for. Hayes is a potentially worrisome left-hand dominant player, and it leads to struggles at the rim along with his slight frame and near inability to take contact. Hayes’ jump shot is pretty, and the skill he shows in flashes off the dribble are the most enticing aspect of his game. He shows supreme footwork in getting beyond the three-point line behind screeners and mean pull-ups driving at dropping bigs, along with the skip passes he throws to shooters and timely passes to rollers. Hayes, however, had difficulty making three-pointers, and he frequently shows bad body language afterwards slumping his shoulders and not getting back on defense. Hayes feel does not quite extend defensively. He often falls asleep off the ball. On the ball he does a good job, his feet are active, and he moves quickly to stay with ballhandlers. Hayes has a strong base for development, but his lack of success as a shooter could be a dangerous sign.

Film Session:

In the first clip below, this is clearly the case as Hayes goes right around the screen, crosses back to put the ball in his left hand and waits for the big to turn around and look for the ball with a mismatch on his hip. Hayes delivers a crisp bounce pass right at the front of the rim, and the big is fouled by the helpless guard sealed behind him. In the second clip we see Hayes ball handle a little more before passing to his teammate for an isolation against a mismatch. Hayes is kicked the ball after his defender drops to double the post, he attacks the open space with one dribble and whips an overhead pass to the opposite corner for a three-pointer as the shot clock expires. This type of pass is what separates good passers from great passers, and the presence of mind to make it with a short shot clock shows how trusting Hayes is in his skills. The final two clips are step back three’s, a shot that has gone from putting a player on the bench for taking to becoming the most unguardable shot in the NBA today. Hayes, right now, is not a consistent threat from three having shot just 29% this past year, but his footwork and confidence to take these step back shots can make him into a much more interesting player than just a passer and open up the floor for better drives.

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 7: James Wiseman, Memphis Tigers (C, Freshman)

Measurements: 7’1”, 240 bs.

2019-2020 Stats: 19.7 PTS, 0.3 ASTS, 10.7 RBS, 3.0 BLKS, .800 2P%, .000 3P%, .704 FT%

The number one recruit in the high school class of 2019, Wiseman was essentially forced out of college by an NCAA suspension and fine for his past relationship with head coach Penny Hardaway. He played only three games, two of which were a result of a restraining order filed against the NCAA to allow him to play. Only one of those games was against a high-major opponent, Oregon, which he fell into early foul trouble and barely played in the first half. He looks every inch of the 7’1” that he is listed at and showed off the footwork, timing, and discipline that lead to scouts calling him a future Defensive Player of the Year. Wiseman is not the shot blocker that Rudy Gobert is, so becoming an All-NBA defender will have to rely on his ability to switch against smaller players, sit in a low stance, and force tough shots. In the film session video, you can see an instance of just that. Wiseman is light on his feet and his quick hips will allow him to contain shifty ballhandlers and eventually switch screens. Offensively, his huge frame makes him an easy target in rolls to the basket, and he reads misses really well for put backs. He flashed a fancy step back jump shot against Oregon, before forcing a second step back jump shot that was disrupted by an opposing guard. Wiseman does not have a future as a featured offensive player, and his inability to find teammates with passes is a large part of that. His jump shot form is fundamental, though his left elbow tends to flare out, and he will be hitting three-point jump shots as a trailer and off pick and pop actions later in his career, but he will need to buy into a secondary role on offense.

Film Session:

The video starts with his advanced lateral movement as he slides under the screen to allow his teammate to squeeze through, then he bumps his offensive assignment taking away a straight line drive, and swats the shot attempt after he attempts to go baseline and shoot a floater. Next, we see him switching out onto a much smaller guard. He knows that the guard is not a strong threat from the three point line so he backs up a little to give himself space, and as he crosses over to the right, and then back to the left, Wiseman quickly shifts his hips to stay with him and force a miss at the rim. Wiseman ends up on his butt out of bounds. He gets up when he sees the offensive rebound and immediately recovers to help a mismatch under the rim. As the pass is swung to the corner, Wiseman shows excellent footwork in closing out short against a shaky three-point shooter. This type of footwork in space and body control on the perimeter make Wiseman a potentially special player that teams who pass on him could regret not taking.

Expectation: Starter


No. 8: Tyrese Haliburton, Iowa State Cyclones (G, Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’5”, 175 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 15.2 PTS, 6.5 ASTS, 5.9 RBS, 2.5 STLS, .592 2P%, .419 3P%, .822 FT%

Haliburton has an argument for highest basketball IQ in this draft. Haliburton was sort of hidden his freshman year at Iowa State, but burst onto the scene with the gold medal-winning U-19 USA team this past summer and rode that momentum through the college season. His advanced vision and ability to manipulate defenses into opening his teammates up will make him a perfect fit next to a variety of NBA players. Do not ask Haliburton to score and he will be an effective player at the next level. His change of speed and feel for spacing are special and he makes passes on time and on target. As a team defender he likes to play a free safety role and roam for steals in help defense, but he will need to be a more solid on-ball defender so that his skinny frame is not consistently picked on by opponents. His jump shot is funky, but he has shown consistent success shooting off a standstill. His midrange game is almost entirely floaters, even from 15 feet out, but his touch is good enough to hurt defenses who let him drive, especially with the passes he will find in space.

Film Session:

In his video, it starts with a him tracking down a rebound way out of his zone, and then pushing the ball in the backcourt and hitting his teammate in the chest with a 50-foot pass. The second clips show him flipping the screen, forcing a double team at the free throw line, and tossing up a lob for the big to dunk. The last two are clips are isolation drives, but when as he nears the baseline he does not go into the basket, but jumps towards the stanchion to get separation and drop off passes into the lane, first to the big, and second to a late cutter. Haliburton’s vision will translate into whatever role he has at the NBA level, and that makes it easy to see him fitting in with teammates better at scoring or shooting than he is.

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 9: Obi Toppin, Dayton Flyers (PF, R-Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’9”, 220 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 20.0 PTS, 2.2 ASTS, 7.5 RBS, 1.2 BLKS, .698 2P%, .390 3P%, .702 FT%

No 2020 Draft prospect better fits his college mascot than Toppin. Toppin’s highlights seems like a never-ending reel of high-flying dunks. Toppin is an ideal pick and roll partner. He rolls hard for lobs and finds passes when he is not open. He pops to three-point range where he can shoot, drive, and make effective passes. He has a clear role as an NBA player, but as NBA teams build their teams on the perimeter first, Toppin’s inside role is best fit at the center position, a position he will need major improvement to be effective in. As a pick and roll defender, Toppin is stiff and typically out of position. He is an unaggressive hedger, and in a drop-coverage he hides behind the screener and gives up space for ballhandlers to get into the lane. He is aloof off ball, making rotations under the basket slow and he will be giving up a few inches to the typical NBA center. If Toppin can become an average defender his versatility as a secondary player will make him a starter for a long time. His high center of gravity and lack of blow by speed will likely hold him back from ever becoming the MVP candidate that player comparisons to Amare Stoudemire and Blake Griffin would imply, but Toppin’s explosiveness can still be an asset and advantage to whoever drafts him.

Film Session:

Toppin may be relatively new to the big man position, but he has a highly developed skillset as a screener that will carry him through his NBA career. The first clip shows his extreme bounce. His head is at the rim on many of his dunks, and he has the explosion to get high off the ground with very little space or very few steps. The second clip shoes that he will be able to space the floor out to the three-point line, popping when the help defense is heavy, and the lane is not available. Toppin’s has a good sense of where his teammates are on the floor as well, and when he pops and the defender sloppily closes out, he is able to attack towards the basket and find the teammates who are open from defensive rotations. Toppin is nearly lethal when playing with the advantage that pick and roll play so often creates. His play will be a jolt into any offense, even in a backup role (where he can continue his bench energy excellence).

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 10: Cole Anthony, North Carolina Tar Heels (G, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’3”, 190 lbs.

Stats: 18.5 PTS, 4.0 ASTS, 5.7 RBS, 1.3 STLS, .402 2P%, .348 3P%, .750 FT%

Anthony is an effortless scorer beyond his age (even if he is older than some of the sophomores in this draft class). Questions surrounding Anthony are not about his ability, but how much of a team player he can be at the next level. North Carolina disappointed this year, even when Anthony was healthy. His passing is simple and largely due to his role as point guard running offense and pushing the ball in transition. He needs to be more of a pass-second player to last as a point guard as he is too small to play the shooting guard position consistently. On defense, he improved throughout the course of the season giving more effort and getting used to pushing ballhandlers into other defenders. He might be average as a defender, but that is probably a stretch. Anthony has not had great intel in the past with his personality that wants the spotlight to himself, which will not fly at the next level. In a league littered with scoring guards, Anthony looks the part of a backup who can maximize his scoring while diminishing the weaknesses that show in a larger role.

Film Session:

As a scorer, Anthony can get a bucket from all three areas of the half court: three, midrange/floater, and at the rim. The video shows him driving against one of the best guard defenders in college basketball and easily getting to the rim. It then shows his ability to get downhill and hit floaters over taller players and his ease getting off a midrange shot out of isolation plays. Finally, a sidestep three pointer that shows he has the range to make tough shots on the perimeter if his team asks him to stay out of the midrange. Anthony will continue to put the ball in the basket at the next level, but it will probably be in a smaller bench role where that is all he has to focus on.

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 11: Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky Wildcats (SG, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’3”, 198 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 14.0 PTS, 3.2 ASTS, 4.3 RBS, 0.87 STLS, .492 2P%, .292 3P%, .833 FT%

Maxey burst onto the college scene with 26 points and a game sealing three-pointer in the waning minutes over preseason No. 1 Michigan State in Madison Square Garden and forced his way into the starting lineup amongst a crowded backcourt just a few games later. He never reached the highs of his shooting that game again this season, but he continued his aggressive attacking offensive game throughout the season. Maxey is a crafty ballhandler who easily changes direction with the ball in his hands and uses a super quick first step to get by. His in between game was his greatest strength this past season as he struggled from beyond the three-point line. At points he almost seemed allergic to three-point shots and drove in just to flip floaters from 10 feet out. His floaters had nice touch, and at the rim he shot 65%, but his shooting off the catch will have to improve before he can get those same shots in the NBA. He hit just 25% of his catch and shoot jump shots, finding much more success shooting off the dribble, but that may be a sign he needs to make some mechanical changes to his shot. Maxey’s unrelenting motor on offense carries over onto the other side of the ball where he excelled as a defender in space. His quick twitch athleticism keeps ballhandlers at bay, and he is extremely efficient with his footwork recovering on the perimeter. Maxey will be quick to improve his shooting and decision making at the NBA level, his defense will carry over quickly, but his lack of playmaking at his size will largely leave him to a bench role.

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 12: Isaac Okoro, Auburn Tigers (SG, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’6”, 225 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 12.8 PTS, 2.0 ASTS, 4.4 RBS, 0.9 STLS, .603 2P%, .286 3P%, .674 FT%

Isaac Okoro’s name was frequently thrown around in late December after it came out that he had not lost an official basketball game the entire calendar year of 2019, a stroke that totaled nearly 18 months. Okoro makes a difference in every game he plays without notable numbers because of the defense and motor he brings. He makes timely steals, blocks, and free throws to seal games, and he constantly attacks the basket and makes life hard for the opponents’ best players. His poster-leaping ability when he gets to the basket leads a slew of efficient finishing (he shot 68% at the rim). He is light on is feet and uses a variety of Eurosteps and step throughs to get around the last line of defense. His jump shot is flat, and despite a strong shot pocket and release, the flow of his shot is not very smooth. If he can shoot three-pointers at a league average rate that will be a huge success. Defense is his best strength as he sticks in the shirt of opponents off ball and makes life hard on ball. The game is slow for him on defense, he has a high IQ and routinely forces his man into uncomfortable shots that he contests with his length. Okoro will be giving up a few inches at the next level, but his attitude and tenacity will more than make up for it.

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 13: RJ Hampton, NZ Breakers (PG, U.S.A. 2001)

Measurements: 6’5”, 185 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 9.6 PTS, 2.5 ASTS, 3.9 RBS, 1.2 STLS, .484 2P%, .294 3P%, .737 FT%

The Texas native followed in the footsteps of his AAU namesake (Mudiay Elite) by ditching college and heading overseas. Hampton is a toolsy guard who will need more attention at the NBA level, but his motor is high, and he already effectively uses a variety of crossovers to utilize his quick first step to breakdown defenses. Hampton is in the second tier of speediest guard in this draft. His burst in transition is alluring, and he occasionally uses some nice change of speed to leave defenders in dust. He was best in pick and rolls that he will run more in the NBA. He is an aggressive defender, who finds pride in slowing down better players, but his sloppy footwork lead to inconsistent results on that end. Hampton’s first year as a professional was not the success that he may have had staying in the states, but teams can hope he will be a little more ready than some of his peers for the business of the league.

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 14: Desmond Bane, TCU Horned Frogs (SG, Senior)

Measurements: 6’6”, 215 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 16.6 PTS, 3.9 ASTS, 6.3 RBS, 1.5 STLS, .461 2P%, .442 3P%, .789 FT%

TCU underwhelmed with Bane thrust into the spotlight, but his role player skills are undeniable, and he will make a difference in the NBA as soon as he gets on the floor. He is an undeniable shooter, he shot 43% for his career, and he leverages his shooting into playmaking opportunities where he is particularly adept at hitting rollers off pick and rolls and uses fakes to get the defenses moving to open up teammates on the wing. His jump shot is a little funky, he does not get off the floor much as he launches it, but he continues to be effective off the catch and off the dribble. Bane will be a versatile tool on both offense and defense as he can guard all types of wing players and his built upper body will hold up underneath the basket. He has a high IQ on both ends of the floor and is never rushed by defenders. He is a leader, constantly talking to his teammates and coaches, and could compete for a starting role in his rookie year, even if drafted by a good team.

Expectation: Fringe Starter


No. 15: Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama Crimson Tide (PG, Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’3”, 165 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 18.5 PTS, 5.2 ASTS, 4.8 RBS, 1.8 STLS, .507 2P%, .366 3P%, .802 FT%

Lewis is younger than some of the freshman in this year’s class after starting college at 17-years-old, and he the extra year of college really helped him mature into a much better player than he was a year ago. His offensive feel is still lacking, but there was an obvious uptick in decision making even if it is evident in his stats. He made the passes to open teammates he missed last year, and he took better shots, prioritizing getting to the rim. He is the fastest player in this draft, and his downhill speed attacking the basket is inherently valuable for the way it shifts defenses. He would be higher if he made any advanced reads as a passer, but every one of his assists seem to come in the flow of offense, or simple kick outs to his quick trigger teammates. At the rim, he gets swallowed up by stronger players and he does not have the vertical explosiveness that similarly quick guards in the NBA show routinely, so he will have to improve his touch around the basket as well as more frequently finding open teammates. Lewis’s jump shot is a strength, and he shows the ability to occasionally hit them off the dribble. He will struggle defensively with his small frame and his low IQ as a team defender, but his pressure on the ball and ability to get through ball screens is a good first step in that improvement. Lewis is much higher on a lot of big boards, but I just do not see his poor decision making getting to a point where he can consistently run a good NBA offense.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 16: Saddiq Bey, Villanova Wildcats (F, Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’8”, 216 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 16.1 PTS, 2.4 ASTS, 4.7 RBS, 0.8 STLS, .500 2P%, .451 3P%, .769 FT%

Bey profiles as a perfect three-and-D wing to fit in with any team. His efficiency from three the past two seasons has been undeniable, but his offensive game is not yet well-rounded, and his defense is slightly overrated. He does a good job keeping ballhandlers away from the lane, and can pound with post ups, but he is much more “solid” than “disruptive.” His footwork and sliding ability are impressive in space. He struggles around ball screens, but that might not matter because of the switching schemes most NBA teams run. Bey has room to grow offensively. Right now, he is a knock down shooter who can occasionally hit a shot or two off the dribble, but his assist rate was really bad for a player with his usage surrounded by good shooters. Beys handle is not a problem, and though he is frequently listed as a power forward, he will see most of his minutes at the small forward position. As a switchable perimeter defender, Bey fits in nicely, but asking him to do more will be an unsuccessful pursuit early.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 17: Abdoulaye N’Doye, Cholet Basket (PG, France 1998)

Measurements: 6’7”, 183 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 10.2 PTS, 3.9 ASTS, 4.3 RBS, 1.2 STLS, .553 2P%, .429 3P%, .750 FT%

N’Doye is a nothing fancy, do-it-all point guard ready for the NBA. At 6’7” he has a huge frame that he uses to look over defenders and find open teammates. He’s never sped up by the defense, and he takes his time getting to his best spots where he can flip in floaters and make kick out passes. He does not have much of a scoring package off the dribble, but a point guard who can break down defenses and hit an open three-pointer are valuable, especially at his size. He excels guarding ballhandlers on defense. His low stance and allows him to stay in front of his man, and his long arms block potential passing lanes. N’Doye is one of the oldest international prospects in this class, but his solid all-around play will be treasured by the team that drafts him.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 18: Skylar Mays, LSU Tigers (G, Senior)

Measurements: 6’4”, 205 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 16.7 PTS, 3.2 ASTS, 5.0 RBS, 1.8 STLS, .548 2P%, .394 3P%, .854 FT%

Mays improved his numbers without the star teammates he lost for the NBA Draft last year, but his value comes in the efficiency with which he plays his role. Mays will probably run more offense in the NBA than he did at LSU, and his ability to find open teammates, hit open shots, and create his own looks when asked will all show up immediately. He will be a solid NBA player off the bat and will surprise opponents with his mean change of pace play in the half court and the occasional poster he climbs for. Defensively, Mays will be able to toggle between guards and the occasional small forwards without getting burned due to his shuffling and sliding and his strong body. Mays can immediately help an NBA team in a way a lot of players will not, but that does not mean he is done improving. As he continues around smart players like himself, an uptick in assists and passing can be expected as well.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 19: Aaron Nesmith, Vanderbilt Commodores (SG/SF, Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’6”, 213 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 23.0 PTS, 0.9 ASTS, 5.9 RBS, 1.4 STLS, .500 2P%, .522 3P%, .835 FT%

It is hard to argue with Nesmith as the best shooter in this class after shooting 52% before an injury cut his season short. He sets his feet extremely quick coming off of screens, gets up in the air as soon as he catches the ball and his release is a smooth straight line towards the basket. His built-out frame will not need much work to settle in at the NBA level, and he took many of his shots from NBA range. However, there is no good answer to the question, “what else does he do?” He is an average at best athletically, he shows little effort on defense, and his high stance and slow feet leave his men driving past him frequently. His dribble is high and uncreative, and he has trouble getting to the basket and scoring in the cases when he does. Nesmith will make a difference as a shooter, but without much else, he will be relegated to a bench role.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 20: Leandro Bolmaro, FC Barcelona Lassa (SG/SF, Argentina 2000)

Measurements: 6’7”, 178 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 8.0 PTS, 2.6 ASTS, 1.7 RBS, 1.3 STLS, .535 2P%, .279 3P%, .676 FT%

Bolmaro bounced up and down between FC Barcelona Lassa where he was playing next to several former NBA players where he played the role of energy defender, and FC Barcelona II where he had a much more featured on ball role. Bolmaro has strong role player skills that will carry him in the NBA, and room to grow into more, he just needs to improve as a jump shooter. He does not get off the ground much and he relies almost entirely on his arms which lends questions as to how far he can extend his range or if he will be able to shoot off the dribble. His lack of success at lower levels and at the free throw line paint an ugly picture for his future as a shooter. He can still make a difference with his quick first step and his ability to look over shorter defenders on drives, and his physical advantage may be utilized in quasi-post ups or other inside sets where he can find teammates for assists. On the other side of the court, Bolmaro has quick, constantly active feet and he never takes a play off. He has great technique constantly talking to his teammates on how he is covering screens, or if he is helping or needs help. He is a very good help defender who recovers to close outs on balance and keeps it short to cut off driving abilities. He always contests the shots of his man, and his overall pride in playing defense will carry on into an NBA life.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 21: Josh Green, Arizona Wildcats (SG/SF, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’6”, 210 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 12.0 PTS, 2.6 ASTS, 4.0 RBS, 1.5 STLS, .449 2P%, .361 3P%, .780 FT%

The Australian native is a bit of a surprise to be the first Arizona player on a big board, but his efficient, team-oriented style of play will allow him to fit in and make an impact early in his career. Green is an efficient catch and shoot player with the necessary athleticism to drive open lanes and score off the dribble. He shot 40% on unguarded catch and shoot three-pointers at Arizona, which will make up much of his offensive game in the NBA. He moves well off the ball taking open space on the wings and cutting when plays get too stagnant. His touch on floaters is very good and he draws fouls around the basket when chased off the three-point line. His dribble is not very tight to his body right now, which could be a problem, but he will likely be playing in a role that does not require much ballhandling. He consistently makes the right passes beyond just simple extra passes as he almost always looks inside for a big man before he does anything. On defense, he constantly gives effort, but sometimes falls into ball watching habits and his footwork can get sloppy. He pressures ballhandlers up high and makes their lives difficult but is not a consistent disruptor.

His jump shot is slightly concerning despite the success and positive outlook. There is a noticeable lack of elevation and the load in his legs is inverted as his knees almost touch. Until a change is made to his legs, it is hard to see him becoming effective shooting off movement as the inverted load slows his body down and does not allow him to use the momentum gained from getting around screens. He can be successful off standstill jumpers, but sometimes jack-of-all-trades guys do not last long in favor of specialists, and shooting is his best attribute right now.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 22: Elijah Hughes, Syracuse Orange (SG/SF, R-Junior)

Measurements: 6’6”, 215 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 19.0 PTS, 3.4 ASTS, 4.9 RBS, 1.2 STLS, .508 2P%, .342 3P%, .813 FT%

Syracuse guys are perennially hard to predict in an NBA setting because of the zone defense Jim Boeheim has been known for. Hughes is an especially curious prospect because of the outsized role he had on offense not because of his ability but because of his teammate’s inability.

Hughes had to do a lot for Syracuse and will be maximized in a smaller role. His jump shot is compact, and he gets it off quickly. Hughes first step is not special, but he gets separation with his second and third steps, and he takes bumps without falling off balance. He scores well around the basket, and he makes the necessary passes when help defenders come. As a secondary player, utilizing cleaner shots, and more clear-cut driving opportunities, it is easy to see Hughes thriving as he is no longer stretching his game too thin.

Hughes best attribute is his relentless motor. Playing the wing in a high two-three zone, Hughes often has to cover a lot of ground to closeout to the corner or contest the dunkers spot under the basket when drives are dropped off. Hughes skies for blocks against larger players and gets in passing lanes for steals as the ball rotates. He chases down rebounds on both sides of the court and his general disruptiveness is a good sign for how he will be able to convert his game to the professional level. Hughes is another prospect without any particularly sexy qualities, but his easily recognizable role and floor make him valuable.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 23: Tyler Bey, Colorado Buffaloes (SG/F, Junior)

Measurements: 6’7”, 218 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 13.8 PTS, 1.5 ASTS, 9.0 RBS, 1.5 STLS, .545 2P%, .419 3P%, .743 FT%

At a quick glance, a guy who shoots 42% from three and won conference Defensive Player of the Year in a high major might expect to be a little higher on most lists.

Bey is an excellent defender, but he predominantly guarded bigs. Much of his isolation offense came in post ups, and his jump shot is still a work in progress having shot just one three-pointer per game.

The release of his jump shot looks good, his feet and arms are clean, but the shot has a really high arc that leads to a wide variety of misses. Almost all his shots came off pin down screens or high pick and pops, two actions he will not frequently be involved in at the NBA level, so he will have to get more comfortable shooting from a standstill. His success at the free throw line is a good sign of what is to come which will largely determine what type of player he becomes. His offense predominantly comes inside where he cleaned up offensive rebounds and was dumped the ball in the dunkers spot, and he showed a great physicality to bump opponents and get better looks for himself.

On defense, Bey uses all his physical tools efficiently. His quick feet slide with opponents, he uses his body to bump them as they try and drive, he keeps his arms wide and hands active to swipe shots, and he uses a quick jump to get vertical around the rim and contest shots. His effort is constant on and off the ball. Bey’s defense will translate without delay, but his offensive game could be slow to follow.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 24: Patrick Williams, Florida State Seminoles (F, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’8”, 225 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 9.2 PTS, 1.0 ASTS, 4.0 RBS, 1.0 STLS, .503 2P%, .320 3P%, .838 FT%

Every draft comes with several young, toolsy athletes who NBA teams feel they can make into strong role players. Williams is the first wing of this draft who comes in pretty unpolished as an offensive player. Williams half court offensive play seemed to almost come from cuts and offensive rebounds entirely. In transition he is explosive at the basket, often trying dunks with no chance of finishing them, and he made some interesting hit ahead passes. He showed some good offensive feel in transition and in the occasional ballhandling opportunity whipping passes to cutters or throwing lobs to rollers. His big body creates separation around the basket, and he is extremely bouncey getting off the ground quick around the basket. Defensively, he moves his hips quickly to stay with ballhandlers on crossovers and he keeps a wide stance with his feet that makes it hard to get past him. He rotates well on defense and uses his explosiveness to contest bigs at the rim. Much has been made about his waddle because of his enormous quadriceps that might hold him back as a perimeter defender. He will likely be stuck as a power forward early in his career and will continue to until his jump shot smooths out and he shoots it more consistently like his free throw percentage would expect him too. There is a lot here to like about Williams game, but a large investment into his development will need to be made.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 25: Isaiah Joe, Arkansas Razorback (SG, Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’5”, 180 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 16.9 PTS, 1.7 ASTS, 4.1 RBS, 1.4 STLS, .447 2P%, .342 3P%, .890 FT%

To frequent big board consumers, Isaiah Joe in the top-30 is surprising. I will explain.

First, context. Joe suffered a knee injury on January 11 that he attempted to play through. He tried to play through it and appeared in five of the next six games before an early February MRI showed arthroscopic surgery would be necessary. While attempting to play through injury for five out of the team’s next six games, Joe averaged 9.2 points, 1.2 assists, and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 18.2% on two-pointers, 27.7% on three-pointers, and 75% on free throws. His minutes were generally the same except for the final game before surgery when he played 21 minutes. Joe then had surgery and Arkansas went on a five-game losing streak in his absence. Upon return, Joe averaged 20 points per game on 35% shooting from three and 100% shooting from the free throw line, not missing any of his 34 attempts.

Outside of shooting, questions abound for Joe. He does not do much other than shoot threes and defense is not a strength. He makes the right rotations on time and is a willing helper without losing feel for where his own man is, and he stays on balance with good footwork on closeouts, but his lack of physicality often makes him unnoticeable inside except for the occasional charge. He easily gets discarded by screeners or more physical ballhandlers and will only be trusted to guard the least valuable offensive player on the floor. He will need to put on weight to make any difference defensively in the NBA. With the ball in his hands, he is a shoot-first, shoot-second player. He occasionally flashed some creative, smart one-handed passes to teammates all over the floor, but he still averaged less than two assists per game. As a driver, he gets bumped out of position, but he still succeeded at the rim shooting 68%.

Joe continued to jack up shots with a high frequency and confidence despite the slump. Confidence is one of the most important aspects of players entering the NBA, and he handled adversity with strength and confidence that should encourage potential employers. His shooting from the free throw line, successful freshman season, continued confidence, and beautiful stroke prove Joe is a good enough shooter to be a specialist at the next level.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 26: Jalen Smith, Maryland Terrapins (PF, Sophomore)

Measurements: 6’10”, 225 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 15.5 PTS, 0.8 ASTS, 10.5 RBS, 2.4 BLKS, .604 2P%, .368 3P%, .750 FT%

Smith may be the least physically imposing big in this draft, but his development around the edges of his stretchy skillset have made him a viable first round option. Smith shred many of the “theoretical” tags that came along with his game this season: He doubled his blocks per game (1.2 to 2.4), nearly doubled his rebounds per game (6.8 to 10.5), and increased his three-point percentage by 10% (26.8 to 36.8) on 16 more attempts. He continues to have room to grow with low urgency in his defense, his still thin frame (despite the supposed 30 pounds he put on), and his ability to score inside.

Smith often gets bumped off his position playing inside the arc, but his value comes in his shooting and should be used more often as a pick and pop partner. He can excel shooting three-pointers or one-dribble pullup shots with his smooth jumper that he gets off with ease, even against length. He will have to continue hitting three-pointers at the same rate as he did this past season or better to survive in the NBA.

Smith’s defensive feel will need to improve off the bat, though. In pick and rolls, he is a strong hedger, using a low stance to get in the way of the ballhandler and force him out towards the half-line to kill offensive momentum. His recovery time back under the basket is typically slow, which is an indictment on his motor. When he does not hedge, he gets driven under the rim where he is helpless to drop off passes or floaters. His feel will need to improve to understand the spacing of the lane better. His blocks generally come from help defense. His timing leaves very little room for drivers to drop off passes to Smith’s man as he rotates to block shots, and he can stay vertical and jump with guards attacking him at the rim. In the post, he looks like he is using every ounce of muscle he has, and his off-balance base does not allow him to stay vertical when raising his arms, so foul trouble may be a worry against post bigs.

Smith needs to continue the upward trajectory of the past two years to settle in as an NBA player, but the signs of a rotation big are evident.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 27: Nico Mannion, Arizona Wildcats (PG, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’3”, 190 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 14.0 PTS, 5.3 ASTS, 2.5 RBS, 1.2 STLS, .444 2P%, .327 3P%, .797 FT%

The Italian playmaker certainly underperformed what scouts and fans had hoped to see from him in his debut college season. Mannion’s athletic limitations were on display at the college level. His struggles as a shooter allowed defenders to play off him and he was unable to open the same passes he made at lower levels.

His vision passing up the floor in transition, to cutters in the half court, and finding open teammates when forcing help are at an NBA level. His dribble is tight, and he uses screens effectively. He showed in AAU that he did not need to be a scorer to affect the game offensively, but to survive at the point guard position in the NBA without special athleticism he needs to be able to make three-pointers. It is easy to be optimistic about Mannion’s pretty stroke from his success at lower levels and his success at the free throw line.

Defensively, he was unable to keep up with quicker guards and his slow feet and lack of physicality forced him to trail ballhandlers on screens rather than squeezing through. Mannion had one of the most interesting stats in this draft class: zero blocks. Even when Mannion was able to stay with guards on their drives to the basket, he put up very little resistance and was unable to consistently affect their shots. His straight line speed makes up for some of these weaknesses as he is able to recover when beat and shows signs of anticipation to get into passing lanes, but without the athleticism to challenge shots at the rim, it’s hard to see how effective Mannion can be as a defender.

Mannion is not and will not be the star he was hyped to be, but with a trustworthy jump shot he can be a solid table setter in the NBA.

Expectation: End of Rotation Player


No. 28: Precious Achiuwa, Memphis Tigers (PF, Freshman)

Measurements: 6’9”, 225 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 15.8 PTS, 1.0 ASTS, 10.8 RBS, 1.9 BLKS, .514 2P%, .325 3P%, .599 FT%

Achiuwa finished high school highly touted as a jumbo wing with a strong finishing ability at the basket, and he fell out of favor early in the season as he showcased no ability to dribble or shoot at an NBA level. After James Wiseman’s suspension and eventual departing, Achiuwa had to move into a much different role: screen setter and rebounder.

In scouting Achiuwa, I found a level of comfort in the progress he made in his role that would likely translate to the NBA as an energy big and small ball center. Despite being slightly shorter than most centers, Achiuwa will have a speed advantage that pick and roll or pick and pop plays can easily take advantage of. Most notable though, is Achiuwa’s defense. He will comfortably guard average shooting guards, small forwards, power forwards, and centers at his peak. He will need to put on more strength to consistently battle in the post against larger centers as he often got buried by centers deep under the basket in the post. Achiuwa improved immensely as a help defender staying vertical around the rim, but more improvements need to be made for teammates to feel comfortable funneling players towards him at the rim, and he will need to be more vocal to lead them.

Switchable defense and hard rolls to the basket are the bare bones of a valuable big, and much of this placement is a hope that the theoretical can become an actuality. There are a lot of ifs, but he was a productive player in college and there is a believable NBA path that make him a risk worth taking.

Expectation: Rotation Player


No. 29: Malachi Flynn, San Diego State Aztecs (PG, R-Junior)

Measurements: 6’1”, 185 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 17.6 PTS, 5.1 ASTS, 4.5 RBS, 1.8 STLS, .507 2P%, .373 3P%, .857 FT%

San Diego State finished the season in the top-10 of the country in both offensive rating and defensive rating, and no player stood out for them more than Flynn. Flynn has a very quick first step, and his dribble is tight. He stays low on drives and does not frequently get bumped off his position. He loves to stop on a dime and rise up in the midrange for jumpers, and though there may be an adjustment period going up against better athletes than those in the mid-major Mountain West, his quick and compact stroke will still be a strength.

Defensively, Flynn gets skinny around screens and uses his speed to recover quickly when trailing. He lacks the length to challenge shots when he is late on closeouts, when he rotates inside against big men, or when he’s late chasing around screens inside the lane, but within an NBA scheme his footwork and IQ will funnel opponents into the appropriate help defenders and he will continue to effect the game on the defensive end.

Flynn lead one of only four teams to win 30 games in this past shortened season and will continue to be a winning player at the next level.

Expectation: End of Rotation Player


No. 30: Myles Powell, Seton Hall Pirates (SG, Senior)

Measurements: 6’2”, 195 lbs.

2019-2020 Stats: 21.0 PTS, 2.9 ASTS, 4.3 RBS, 1.2 STLS, .500 2P%, .306 3P%, .795 FT%

Myles Powell likely will not be drafted in the first round of this upcoming draft due to his size, athleticism, potentially streaky shooting, and frequent defensive lapses, but in a draft with very little separation from players 25 to 65, I wanted to round out my top-30 with someone I trusted. His first team All-America selection came after a breakout junior season in which lead Seton Hall to one of their most successful regular seasons since they joined the Big East. I spent a countless amount of time around Myles as a team manager and seeing the way he played in practice away from the pressure of a scoring record, distributing the ball and allowing space for teammates to grow give me the confidence that he can thrive in a role smaller than that of his final two college seasons.

Powell’s professional status will be predicated on his original calling card: three-point shooting. His quick rise and release and picturesque motion will translate immediately, and he will instantly create an amount of spacing that most other rookies, and many current NBA players, cannot provide to their team’s offense. Powell does not have the first step, burst, or poster-leaping ability that many NBA players rely on, so his ballhandling will really have to improve if he wants to stick. His assists remained stagnant his final three years of college, and he will have to learn to recognize help defense earlier to find open teammates and be more trustworthy with the ball. The biggest question mark is his defense. Scouts are split as to whether Powell’s lack of defensive fortitude is by his own athletic inability and lack of feel, or a side effect of the offensive load he carried. Either way, there is a lot of improvement needed. Powell’s team defense is decent but inconsistent at best, which is a start, and he will have to show more than just the quick hands he used to get in passing lanes and strip bigs underneath.

His shooting has gotten him NBA attention, but his improvements in “the little things” will determine if teams regret passing on him.

Expectation: End of Rotation Player