Shoot or Pass Podcast – Episode 43: NBA Draft 2020 Recap

We’ve got Baseline’s very own college experts to recap the 2020 NBA Draft! Cody Guinn, who is leading all of our NBA Draft coverage on, and John Glasgow, host of the Big Northeast Podcast join Rhoby to break down the biggest steals (11:55), surprises (24:50), and even a prospect or two that have superstar potential from what is regarded as a weaker incoming rookie class (09:43). They also name their Studs and Duds of the NBA Draft (37:45) and share their All-NBA Draft Bust teams (58:07)

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NBA Draft 2020 Recap: Pick by Pick Analysis

Shoot or Pass presents the Baseline Times’ 2020 NBA Draft Recap featuring a breakdown of each pick in the first round as well as a look at each player selected in the second round.

For more details on trades during the draft, visit our Offseason Tracker page with recaps of each move made on draft night.


Who: 18-Year-Old Shooting Guard from Georgia (Freshman)
Good: Explosive, Athletic, Talented Scorer
Bad: Inconsistent, Defense, Passion for the Game
Shoot or Pass: Pass. I see bust all over Edwards. He may have a few break out games, but I feel in the long run, he won’t be one of the top five players to come out of this draft.


Who: 18-Year-Old Center from Memphis (Freshman)
Good: Rim Protector, Low Post IQ, Rebounding
Bad: On-Ball Defense, Conditioning
Shoot or Pass: Shoot! A great fit in the Golden State system especially in the inside-out game with players like Stephen Curry and, hopefully, Klay Thompson. Will have time to adapt to the NBA pace playing with an already established group.


Who: 18-Year-Old Point Guard from the Illawarra Hawks via Chino Hill, California
Good: Playmaker, Passing, Great Scorer
Bad: Defense, Inconsistent Shooting
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Charlotte needs someone to become the “face of the franchise.” While it may take LaMelo some time to adjust to the NBA game, he has the most potential of any player in the 2020 NBA Draft.


Who: 18-Year-Old Small Forward from Florida State (Freshman)
Good: High Energy Athlete, High Basketball IQ, Well Rounded
Bad: Awkward Shot, Turnover Prone
Shoot or Pass: Pass. I love the pick, but I had Williams at #15 on my Big Board. The Bulls likely could’ve moved down and still had Williams and a pick later on. Good fit nonetheless for Chicago.


Who: 19-Year-Old Small Forward from Auburn (Freshman)
Good: Versatile Defender, Strong Finisher, High IQ
Bad: Needs to Improve Handling, Jump Shot, Quickness
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Just happy Cleveland didn’t draft another shooting guard. Okoro will help defensively immediately.


Who: 19-Year-Old Center from USC (Freshman)
Good: Explosive Big Man, Two-Way Player, NBA Ready
Bad: Lacks Shooting Touch, Needs to Add Size to Lower Body
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. A fantastic big man who may end up the best big man in this year’s draft. Has many scouts comparing him to Miami star Bam Adebayo.


Who: 18-Year-Old Point Guard from ULM via Lakeland, Florida)
Good: Pure Point Guard, Playmaker, Underrated Defender
Bad: Left-Hand Dominant, Needs To Become Better Finisher at the Basket
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Hayes attracted a ton of attention late in the scouting process including some saying he should be a top five pick. A great get for the Pistons at No. 7.


Who: 22-Year-Old Small Forward from Dayton (Sophomore)
Good: Great Scorer, Point-Forward Potential, Aggressive
Bad: Not a Great Defender or Rebounder
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. The Knicks lucked up having the best NBA-ready player falling down to them at No. 8. Major steal for New York. Will be interesting to see how he meshes with R.J. Barrett.


Who: 19-Year-Old Small Forward from Maccabi Tel Aviv via Israel)
Good: Outstanding Playmaker, Terrific Defender, Fundamentally Sound
Bad: Athleticism, Inconstant Shooting From the Outside
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. I had questions about Avdija in the top five, but I like the pick at No. 9 to Washington to pair him with a solid group ready to make the jump to a playoff contending team in the East.


Who: 20-Year-Old Center from Maryland (Sophomore)
Good: Face-Up Big Man With Great Offensive Game, High Motor
Bad: Struggles on Defense Both On and Off the Ball
Shoot or Pass: Pass. Phoenix has a solid squad and needed depth here, but more-so at the wing rather than in the low post. Smith has a sweet offensive game, but is really green on defense. I’d rather the Suns take a player like Vassell or Bey here.


Who: 19-Year-Old Shooting Guard from Florida State (Sophomore)
Good: Elite Defender, Good Spot-Up Shooter, Ideal Three-And-D Player
Bad: Needs To Protect the Basketball, Struggles To Create His Own Shot
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Coach Pop loves strong defenders who checks all the boxes. Vassell could one day be a candidate for NBA Defensive Player of the Year.


Who: 20-Year-Old Point Guard from Iowa State (Sophomore)
Good: High Basketball IQ, Very Good Spot-Up Shooter, Playmaker
Bad: One-on-One Defense, Not Great Off the Ball, Quickness
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Haliburton fell in the draft which worked out great for the Kings. Haliburton will be a great co-pilot with Fox in the Sacramento backcourt.


Who: 19-Year-Old Point Guard from Alabama (Sophomore)
Good: Great Off the Dribble, Athleticism, Can Finish at the Rim
Bad: Must Improve as a Playmaker to Play PG in the NBA
Shoot or Pass: Pass. Losing Jrue Holiday means there’s an opening in the backcourt, but I like a few guards better than Lewis here at No. 13. Maxey, Anthony, or even Theo Maledon makes more sense here than Lewis.


Who: 20-Year-Old Small Forward from Vanderbilt (Sophomore)
Good: Great Shooter, High Basketball IQ, Defense
Bad: May Struggle to Get Shot Off Against Long Defenders, Not Great Off the Dribble
Shoot or Pass:
Shoot. Boston will have some decisions to make with so many players on their roster and still a ton of draft picks. Nesmith may be the best shooter in the draft, so he’ll find some playing time behind his jump shot alone.


Who: 20-Year-Old Point Guard from North Carolina (Freshman)
Good: Great Scoring Off The Dribble, Dangerous In Transition, On-Ball Defense
Bad: Forces the Shot at Times, Will Need To Become Better Playmaker, Injury Concerns
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Anthony was a projected top five pick before the season and I still think the potential is there. Anthony will be able to rotate with some other guards in Orlando, but I believe he’ll eventually become the go-to PG for the Magic.


Who: 19-Year-Old Center from Washington (Freshman)
Good: Vintage Back-To-Basket Big Man, High Energy, Rim Protector
Bad: Shooting Needs to Improve, Poor Passer from the Low Post
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. After a great pick at guard earlier, now the Pistons take an impressive big man who would’ve been a top five pick a few years ago, but low-post-style centers aren’t a commodity nowadays.



Who: 18-Year-Old Power Forward from Olympiacos B via Serbia)
Good: Long & Tall Sharpshooter, High Potential, Creates Floor Space
Bad: Must Add Some Muscle, Inconsistent Defender and Rebounder
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Pokusevski has a high ceiling due to his size and the new style of the NBA. He’s long and tall and can shoot both spot-up and off the dribble. If he can add some size, he’ll be a great NBA player.


Who: 19-Year-Old Shooting Guard from Arizona (Freshman)
Good: 3-And-D Player, Well Rounded
Bad: Needs To Cut Back On Turnovers, Must Improve at the Rim
Shoot or Pass: Pass. Way too many guards and wings on the board who have more to offer than Green. Green is going to be a heck of a 3-And-D player, but he would be available likely late in the draft.



Who: 21-Year-Old Power Forward from Villanova (Sophomore)
Good: High Basketball IQ, Great Defender Who Can Guard Multiple Positions
Bad: Needs to Improve Off the Dribble, Explosiveness
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Villanova always produces pro-ready role players and Bey seems to be the next guy. Detroit has had an outstanding draft moving some pieces around to add three great prospects.


Who: 20-Year-Old Power Forward from Memphis (Freshman)
Good: Rim-Runner Who Is Explosive, Impactful on Defense, Great Frame
Bad: Poor Shooter, Turnover Prone
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Achiuwa may not be able to play side-by-side with Bam, but the two will be trouble for teams in a rotation. This is a great fit for the Miami Heat.


Who: 19-Year-Old Shooting Guard from Kentucky (Freshman)
Good: Tremendous Scorer, Can Create His Own Shot, Very Good On-Ball Defender
Bad: Has To Improve as a Playmaker, Shot Selection
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. The 76ers entered the draft needing some more shot-makers and Maxey is one of the best all-around scorers in the 2020 Draft. Great pick-up at No. 21 for Philadelphia.


Who: 19-Year-Old Power Forward from Arizona (Freshman)
Good: Great Finisher, High Motor
Bad: Not Great as a Rim Protector Even With Size and Frame, Still Improving Everywhere
Shoot or Pass: Pass. There’s some potential for Nnaji to grow into a very good player, but at No. 22, there were some better options for the Nuggets.


Who: 19-Year-Old Point Guard from Barcelona via Argentina)
Good: Excellent Passer, Slick Handles, High Energy on Both Sides of the Ball
Bad: Jumpshot is Very Questionable, Struggles Against Small, Quick Defenders
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. Bolmaro is a unique player who I loved watching film on. His ball handling is very good and he can make some slick plays off the dribble. Not sure he’ll ever become a scorer in the NBA, but he’ll be a nice addition as a reserve guard.


Who: 19-Year-Old Point Guard from the New Zealand Breakers via Little Elm, Texas)
Good: Dynamic Athlete, Very Good Playmaker
Bad: Jumpshot Is Still Not Great, Raw Potential Was Frame Worries Some
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. I love R.J. Hampton, just not in the top ten. Falling down to No. 24 makes him a steal and Denver traded in the draft to get a solid future point guard.


Who: 19-Year-Old Point Guard from Kentucky (Freshman)
Good: Quick, Electric Scorer, Great Frame for a PG
Bad: Must Continue to Improve His Playmaking and Shot-Creation Ability
Shoot or Pass: Pass. This is way too early for Quickley. There are still numerous guards on the board I like better than Quickley, but the Kentucky-bias leads to a reach here.


Who: 21-Year-Old Point Guard from Oregon (Senior)
Good: Great Shooter, Even Better Leader, Hard-Nosed Defender
Bad: Not a Great Athlete, Struggles to Create His Own Shot at the Basket
Shoot or Pass: Shoot, but only because it’s Boston and anybody they draft is going to help them instead of hurt them. I also love an established team drafting a senior leader like Pritchard.


Who: 22-Year-Old Center from Kansas (Junior)
Good: Physical and Dominant Underneath the Basket, Although Older, Still Young in the Game of Basketball
Bad: Not a Good Shooter Including at the Free Throw Line, Inconsistent
Shoot or Pass: Pass. Azubuike is easy to cheer for as he’s awesome to watch, but I’m not sure he warrants a first-round pick. A reach here for Utah, but at least you know exactly what you’re getting with the big man.


Who: 19-Year-Old Power Forward from Washington (Freshman)
Good: Versatile On Both Sides of the Ball, Very Good Potential
Bad: Turnover Prone, Fouls Too Much, Extremely Inconsistent
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. McDaniels was a projected top ten pick coming into the season, but his play and attitude rubbed many scouts and pro teams the wrong way. Nonethless, the Timberwolves draft him towards the end of the first-round after selecting two other prospects earlier in the night.


Who: 21-Year-Old Point Guard from San Diego State (Junior)
Good: Well-Rounded, Tough to Slow Down in Transition and At The Rim
Bad: Smaller Frame, Needs to Improve Playmaking Ability to Stay at PG
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. If Flynn was 6’4 or 6’5, he’d be a top ten pick since he’s so well-rounded. Nonetheless, even as a shorter guard, Flynn will provide some solid depth for a great Toronto team.


Who: 21-Year-Old Shooting Guard from TCU (Senior)
Good: Great Shooter, Great IQ, Excels at the “Little Things”
Bad: Not Very Explosive, Lacks Great Frame with Shorter Wingspan Than Most Guards
Shoot or Pass: Shoot. I had Bane in my top twenty, so this is a great pick up by the Grizzlies to trade back into the first round. Bane is undersized which is why he fell in the draft, but he’s a smart player who just makes things happen. He’ll be able to do that in the NBA as well if he can work into a rotation.

SECOND ROUND – Let’s try to stay awake!

31ST PICK: Dallas Selects Tyrell Terry (PG out of Stanford)
– Sharp-shooter who can contribute as a shooter, but could become a key rotation player if he develops as a playmaker

32ND PICK: Charlotte Selects Vernon Carey Jr (C out of Duke)
– Great interior scorer and rebounder who is a bit of a throwback style big man. Does have a soft touch from mid-range and outside, but needs to find more consistency with his shot to stay in a rotation.

33RD PICK: New York (Via Minnesota) Selects Daniel Oturu (C out of Minnesota)
– Can stretch the floor with his nice shooting touch. Great length and can play both ways. Felt he should’ve been a late-first round pick, but it’s a nice pick up in the early-second by the Knicks.

34TH PICK: Oklahoma City (Via Philadelphia) Selects Theo Maledon (PG out of France)
– Protégé of Tony Parker, a hard-working point guard who will one day find a home in the NBA. Maledon has a great frame, just needs to continue to work on finding consistency in both his scoring and playmaking.

35TH PICK: Sacramento Selects Xavier Tillman (PF out of Michigan State)
– Undersized and a bit older, but those are the only things holding Tillman out of the first round. He’s a great finisher, especially off the pick-and-roll and a strong rebounder. A very solid second round pick.

36TH PICK: Philadelphia Selects Tyler Bey (PF out of Colorado)
– Athletic, two-way player who may move over to more of a small forward role in the NBA which means he’ll need to develop a better jump shot as well as improve his ball handling.

37TH PICK: Washington Selects Vit Krejci (SG out of Strakonice of Czech)
– Mostly unknown guard from Zaragoza, well-rounded with some good size. Can score well internationally, but we’ll see if it can translate to the NBA.

38TH PICK: Detroit (via Utah) Selects Saben Lee (PG out of Vanderbilt)
– Great speed and ball control skills, but not a great shooter which will hold him back in making an impact in the NBA.

39TH PICK: Utah (via New Orleans) Selects Elijah Hughes (SG out of Syracuse)
– High volume scorer who led the ACC in points per game last season. Very good off-the-ball as well and great at creating his own shot. If he improves his defense and becomes a most consistent shooter, Hughes is a second-round steal.

40TH PICK: Sacramento (via Memphis) Selects Robert Woodard II (SF out of Mississippi State)
– Versatile defender already built like an NBA player. Has a smooth shot, but doesn’t always make the best decisions when it comes to shooting and playmaking. With his size and dimensions, can help out on defense right away.

41ST PICK: San Antonio Selects Tre Jones (PG out of Duke)
– Great ball handler who can control the pace of the game. A very good shooter and an underrated defender. May take a few years, but I can see Tre working into a rotation.

42ND PICK: Charlotte (via New Orleans) Selects Nick Richards (C out of Kentucky)
– Richards has sky-high potential, but has been inconsistent in college. Good shot blocker and defender who is an impressive athlete. Outstanding physical tools will see him work into a rotation at some point this season.

43RD PICK: Sacramento Selects Jahmi’us Ramsey (PG out of Texas Tech)
– A wonderful grab in the second-round as many believe Ramsey could jump to the mid-first round, but he slid instead to the Kings at 43rd. Three-level shooter who can get red hot and make nearly anything he puts up. At the same time, he can force the shot and get cold as well. Improving his ball handling and defending will be the question marks going forward.

44TH PICK: Chicago Selects Marko Simonovic (C out of Montenegro)
– Traditional European stretch-big who can shoot the ball very well. Small frame and wingspan plus questions about him defensively and on the low post are what dropped him out of the first-round.

45TH PICK: Milwaukee (via Orlando) Selects Jordan Nwora (PF out of Louisville)
– Lights out shooter with a high motor, Nwora is a guy who will last in the league as a role player. If he can become more consistent as a defender and passer, he may end up a starter down the line.

46TH PICK: Portland Selects C.J. Elleby (SG out of Washington State)
– A very good scorer from Portland’s back yard. Elleby was a question mark on if he would be a draft pick or undrafted signing, but Portland clearly saw something they liked.

47TH PICK: Boston Selects Yam Madar (PG out of Israel)
– One of my favorite international players in this year’s draft, Mader may not play in the NBA for a couple more years, but he’s a name to remember. Great length with outstanding passing and playmaking ability.

48TH PICK: Golden State Selects Nico Mannion (PG out of Arizona)
– Mannion was projected to be a top ten pick one year ago, but his physical limitations were on display this season at Arizona. You know who else had “physical limitations?” Stephen Curry…and now he can take Nico under his wing. I love this pick and fit.

49TH PICK: Philadelphia Selects Isaiah Joe (SG out of Arkansas)
– Pure sharpshooter. If you need much else outside of his long-range shooting, you won’t get it. Joe is a pure off-the-bench-need-a-quick-three style player, which means he’ll likely bounce around the league for a few years.

50TH PICK: Atlanta Selects Skylar Mays (SG out of LSU)
– Very versatile on both sides of the ball with a great frame. Quick feet and can knock down the occasional three-point shot. Will likely be a better pro than he was a college player.

51ST PICK: Golden State Selects Justinian Jessup (SG out of Boise State)
– Jessup jumped up the draft boards in recent weeks due to his ability to everything pretty good. He’ll be a stash-prospect as Jessup will play in the Austraian NBL next season with a chance to continue to improve.

52ND PICK: Houston (via Sacramento) Selects Kenyon Martin Jr. (SF out of IMG)
– Labeled as many as the best athlete in the entire draft. While that’s a reach, Martin at No. 52 isn’t and a solid addition to the Rockets. He’s explosive on both sides of the ball and is a long-term project that could be a major steal late in the second-round.

53RD PICK: Washington (via Oklahoma City) Selects Cassius Winston (PG out of Michigan State)
– Great with the ball in his hands especially in pick-and-roll situations. Winston is NBA-ready, but isn’t likely to change too much as a player. What you see is what you get…which isn’t a bad thing! He could help the Wizards this season especially if Wall can’t play every night.

54TH PICK: Indiana Selects Cassius Stanley (SG out of Duke)
– Explosive scorer who can blow people away with his leaping ability. Will likely become a 3-and-D style player in the NBA, but has potential to grow into even more.

55TH PICK: LA Clippers (Via Brooklyn) Selects Jay Scrubb (SG out of USA)
– Raw prospect who’s best in the open floor or one-on-one situations. Built like a great defender, but it’ll take some time to get there. A project still a few years away from contributing.

56TH PICK: Charlotte Selects Grant Riller (PG out of College of Charleston)
– The mid-major star in the draft, Riller was projected to go anywhere from late-first round to the end of the second. Riller isn’t the most athletic guard in this draft, but he’s very efficient and can shoot the ball with ease especially off screens with or without the basketball. Not sure if he’ll be able to retain that scoring ability in the NBA, but he scored over 2,400 points in college with warrants a late-second round pick.

57TH PICK: Brooklyn (via LA Clipprs) Selects Reggie Perry (C out of Mississippi State)
– Was a dark-horse to sneak into the first-round, but instead Perry slid all the way to the bottom of the second round. Averaged a double-double in the SEC last season, but also makes too many mistakes. Has shown the ability to adapt and if that continues, he’ll eventually be a key role player in the NBA.

58TH PICK: Philadelphia Selects Paul Reed (PF out of DePaul)
– Long and lanky forward who must improve his quickness because he’s not built to be a center in today’s NBA. If can improve his quickness and start defending on the outside and also continue to evolve shooting the ball, Reed may be a good pick up late in the second-round.

59th PICK: Toronto Selects Jalen Harris (SG out of Nevada)
– Led the Mountain West in scoring last season and is a good shooter from the outside. Smaller frame will make it hard to score on the drive and doesn’t have the build to defend NBA guards.

60TH PICK: Milwaukee (via New Orleans) Selects Sam Merrill (SG out of Utah State)
– A very good scorer who can create his own shot from outside or at the basket. The issues with Merrill is his age (25) and questions about his athleticism will be what prevents him from making an impact in the NBA.

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NBA Draft 2020: Cody’s Big Board

It’s officially DRAFT DAY!

Which means it’s time for my official 2020 NBA Draft Big Board!

Each player (50 in total) has been scouted on a scale of 0-100 based on key attributes from scoring ability to defense as well as size, potential, and personality. (I also included my 2K rating because I want that gig!)

Of course, to each their own as you know! Remember to join Baseline Times tonight for LIVE Draft Analysis including up to the minute picks, grades, and trades through out the evening.

  1. LaMelo Ball, Guard (Illawarra Hawks via United States)
    Age: 18 Height: 6’7 Wingspan: 6’10 Weight: 190
    Strength: Outstanding playmaker who could lead the NBA in assists one day. Streaky scorer who can light it up when hot, but must improve consistency.
    Question Marks: Unknown on defense, must improve if he expects to guard fellow PGs in the league. Still not proven against top notch competition which may make first few months in the NBA difficult.
    Player Comparison: A better scoring Jason Williams if he develops as a point guard.
    Grade: 90 (2K Rating: 77)
  2. James Wiseman, Center (Memphis – Freshman)
    Age: 18 Height: 7’1 Wingspan: 7’6 Weight: 235
    Strength: Great shot blocker due to massive wingspan and low post IQ. Tremendous athlete who will provide some big plays underneath the basket. Shows promise to develop into very good low post as well as mid-range scorer.
    Question Marks: Still not seen much of Wiseman, so not sure how he’ll adapt to the NBA pace as at times he struggled to keep up in his few games at Memphis. As good as a shot blocker as he it, he struggles one on one defensively.
    Player Comparison: DeAndre Jordan due to his athletic ability and defense. More-so Chris Bosh in terms of offensive game.
    Grade: 89 (2K Rating: 77)
  3. Onyeka Okongwu, Center (USC – Freshman)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’9 Wingspan: 7’1 Weight: 245
    Strength: Explosive big man who is already a tremendous two-way player. High energy center with outstanding interior scoring ability. NBA ready today.
    Question Marks: Will be a bit undersized as a NBA center, but lacks the outside shooting ability to be a PF in today’s NBA. Will need to put on some more size or develop a better mid-range or outside shot to secure his place as a consistent NBA starter.
    Player Comparison: Bam Adebayo
    Grade: 88 (2K Rating: 75)
  4. Anthony Edwards, Guard (Georgia – Freshman)
    Age: 18 Height: 6’5 Wingspan: 6’8 Weight: 215
    Strength: Explosive with very good strength on his drives to the basket. Has the athleticism to make the difficult shots look easy especially off the dribble.
    Question Marks: There’s flashes of greatness, but Edwards is also very inconsistent especially as a projected top five pick. Still questions about his defense, pure shooting ability, and mentality to win.
    Player Comparison: Victor Oladipo at his best.
    Grade: 88 (2K Rating: 77)
  5. Devin Vassell, Guard (Florida State – Sophomore)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’7 Wingspan: 6’10 Weight: 194
    Strength: Elite defender out of college who will likely chase multiple Defensive Player of the Year awards down the line. Solid spot up shooter with potential to be much more than just a “three-and-D” type of player.
    Question Marks: Lacks a true position as he’s undersized to play the three, but not a dynamic scorer making it difficult to play as a true shooting guard. Still needs to tighten up a bit as a ball handler.
    Player Comparison: Robert Covington with potential to develop into more of a Khris Middleton.
  6. Grade: 86 (2K Rating: 74)
  7. Obi Toppin, Forward (Dayton – Sophomore)
    Age: 22 Height: 6’9 Wingspan: 6’11 Weight: 220
    Strength: Great scorer. Likely to help a team offensively immediately. If drafted into the proper situation, can lead a team in scoring as soon late this season. Underrated as a playmaker as well and could develop into a solid point-forward down the line. If 18 or 19-years-old, would likely be the top pick.
    Question Marks: Not very well rounded. Doesn’t have near the aggressiveness on defense or rebounding as he does on offense. Struggles against good athletes one-on-one.
    Player Comparison: A prime Blake Griffin or Amar’e Stoudemire.
    Grade: 86 (2K Rating: 78)
  8. Deni Avdija, Guard (Maccabi Tel Aviv via Israel)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’9 Wingspan: 6’9 Weight: 215
    Strength: Great playmaking forward who can score at the basket very well. Also a terrific defender and has very good intangibles including his pump fakes and creating contact on layups.
    Question Marks: Lacks athleticism which will hurt him on both offense and defense. Also is very inconstant shooting especially from outside.
    Player Comparison: Danilo Gallinari with better playmaking and worse shooting.
    Grade: 85 (2K Rating: 76)
  9. Killian Hayes, Guard (Ulm via France)
    Age: 18 Height: 6’5 Wingspan: 6’8 Weight: 215
    Strength: Maybe the best pure point guard in the draft. Great on the pick-and-roll and has excellent touch with his passes and shots. Off the ball, Hayes is a solid catch-and-shoot skillset and is an underrated defender.
    Question Marks: Doesn’t have the best handles and won’t make many too many plays one-on-one. Still left-hand dominant and lacks the athletic ability to play through contact against bigger defenders.
    Player Comparison: Manu Ginobili
    Grade: 85 (2K Rating: 75)
  10. Tyrell Terry, Guard (Stanford – Freshman)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’2 Wingspan: 6’4 Weight: 175
    Strength: Elite shooting ability who can score on the catch-and-shoot or off the dribble. Reminds me of Rip Hamilton with his off the ball movement finding his spot to find his shot. Very competitive defender who will likely develop even further as a defender in a couple years.
    Question Marks: Undersized as a shoot guard and lacks the playmaking ability to be a pure point guard. May struggle early to defend larger guards.
    Player Comparison: C.J. McCollum
    Grade: 85 (2K Rating: 74)
  11. Tyrese Haliburton, Guard (Iowa State – Sophomore)
    Age: 20 Height: 6’5 Wingspan: 6’8 Weight: 175
    Strength: High basketball IQ with great playmaking ability. Can make some great plays especially in transition. Has a very good spot-up shot as well with deep range. Haliburton, similar to Tobbin, would be a top five pick if a bit younger.
    Question Marks: Not a great athlete and lacks the ability to create at the rim. Many questions remain as a defender especially in one-on-one situations.
    Player Comparison: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
    Grade: 83 (2K Rating: 75)
  12. Isaac Okoro, Forward (Auburn – Freshman)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’6 Wingspan: 6’9 Weight: 225
    Strength: Versatile defender who can finish at the rim on offense. Okoro is well rounded with a high basketball IQ.
    Question Marks: Not a great shooter and doesn’t have the best handles especially once he faces a talented NBA defender. Questions about his quickness and true athletic ability may harm him in the NBA.
    Player Comparison: Justise Winslow
    Grade: 82 (2K Rating: 72)
  13. Cole Anthony, Guard (North Carolina – Freshman)
    Age: 20 Height: 6’3 Wingspan: 6’4 Weight: 190
    Strength: Very good scorer who can score from everywhere. A great shooter from both long range and mid-range with the ability to finish with both hands at the rim. Underrated one-on-one defender who is also dangerous in the passing lanes.
    Question Marks: Not a pure playmaker and struggled to get North Carolina into their offensive sets at times. Questions about his shot selection remain as well.
    Player Comparison: Austin Rivers, but ceiling could be more like a Kemba Walker or Trae Young.
    Grade: 82 (2K Rating: 74)
  14. Tyrese Maxey, Guard (Kentucky – Freshman)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’3 Wingspan: 6’6 Weight: 198
    Strength: Great scorer with the ability to create his own shot. Also a very good on-the-ball defender who is outstanding at getting steals and breaking out in transition.
    Question Marks: Forces his shot at times. Will need to improve his shot selection and his handles to be a consistent scorer in the NBA. Lackluster playmaking ability will lead to him not playing much PG in the league.
    Player Comparison: Kyle Lowry
    Grade: 82 (2K Rating: 75)
  15. Patrick Williams, Forward (Florida State – Freshman)
    Age: 18 Height: 6’8 Wingspan: 6’11 Weight: 225
    Strength: Great athlete who is high energy and can make players everywhere on defense. Great scorer at the rim who is still developing the scoring ability off the dribble. Maybe the most potential in the draft.
    Question Marks: Awkward shooting form leading to a low percentage outside shot. A bit turnover prone who struggles against top tier defenders.
    Player Comparison: Rudy Gay
    Grade: 82 (2K Rating: 73)
  16. Saddiq Bey, Forward (Villanova – Sophomore)
    Age: 21 Height: 6’8 Wingspan: 6’10 Weight: 215
    Strength: The ideal 3-and-D player with potential to earn a starting role down the line with the ability to play multiple positions. Very high basketball IQ as with most Villanova pros.
    Question Marks: Not the best off the dribble and struggles to create his own shot. Lacks the explosive ability to make plays at the basket.
    Player Comparison: Jae Crowder
    Grade: 81 (2K Rating: 72)
  17. Jalen Smith, Center (Maryland – Sophomore)
    Age: 20 Height: 6’10 Wingspan: 7’1 Weight: 225
    Strength: Great offensive player especially as a face-up big man. Great off the pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop. Finishes well at the rim and has a very high motor.
    Question Marks: Struggles defensively against strong, low post players and quick, stretch forwards. For all he brings on offense, Smith will be a liability on defense for at least his first year in the league.
    Player Comparison: Kelly Olynyk
    Grade: 81 (2K Rating: 74)
  18. Aleksej Pokusevski, Center (Olympiacos B via Serbia)
    Age: 18 Height: 7’0 Wingspan: 7’3 Weight: 201
    Strength: Well-rounded offensively with a great shot from the outside. Can space out the floor and use his size to jump-start possessions. Very high potential as he gets more floor time.
    Question Marks: He’s a skinny big man who will have to put on some size regardless of how he plays. Very inconsistent on defense and as a rebounder. Scoring ability may not translate to the NBA.
    Player Comparison: Dragan Bender
    Grade: 80 (2K Rating: 72)
  19. Kira Lewis Jr., Guard (Alabama – Sophomore)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’3 Wingspan: 6’6 Weight: 165
    Strength: Pick-and-roll specialist who can score well off the dribble with explosiveness at the rim. Has superb athleticism which helps him on both sides of the ball.
    Question Marks: Will need to improve his playmaking and outside shot to contend for a starting spot in the NBA. Very undersized as a shooting guard.
    Player Comparison: Darius Garland
    Grade: 79 (2K Rating: 74)
  20. Desmond Bane, Guard (TCU – Senior)
    Age: 21 Height: 6’6 Wingspan: 6’5 Weight: 215
    Strength: Dangerous shooter with high basketball IQ. Excels at the “little things” which will lead to Bane being a consistent rotation player in the NBA.
    Question Marks: Will struggle to find a true position, but his versatility will help that not be a major issue. Not the most explosive and is on the shorter-side of most players with a similar frame.
    Player Comparison: Malcolm Brogdon
    Grade: 78 (2K Rating: 71)
  21. Precious Achiuwa, Forward (Memphis – Freshman)
    Age: 20 Height: 6’9 Wingspan: 7’2 Weight: 225
    Strength: Rim-runner who is sensational in the pick-and-roll. While he’ll make some highlight plays on offense, he’ll be most useful on defense with his impressive physical frame and explosiveness.
    Question Marks: Very poor shooter and shows no signs of it improving with time. Also is a bit turnover prone with the basketball. Still very much in development.
    Player Comparison: Montrezl Harrell
    Grade: 78 (2K Rating: 72)
  22. Aaron Nesmith, Guard (Vanderbilt – Sophomore)
    Age: 20 Height: 6’6 Wingspan: 6’10 Weight: 213
    Strength: One of the best long-range shooters in the draft. Can known down the long ball either as a catch-and-shoot player or off the dribble. Also has a nice side step and step-back. High basketball IQ including on defense.
    Question Marks: Outside his jump shot, Nesmith struggles to finish at the rim and at times, has trouble getting his shot off against tight defense. Not the best playmaker when running the point.
    Player Comparison: Danny Green
    Grade: 77 (2K Rating: 73)
  23. Nico Mannion, Guard (Arizona – Freshman)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’3 Wingspan: 6’2 Weight: 190
    Strength: Pure scorer with good outside shot and finishing ability at the rim. Smooth mid-rang game as well including a very sweet floater. Very good playmaker especially out in the open floor in transition.
    Question Marks: Not great defensively and may struggle to adapt to the NBA game due to physical limitations. Shot can become streaky at times. Very hot and cold at Arizona.
    Player Comparison: Landry Shamet
    Grade: 77 (2K Rating: 71)
  24. R.J. Hampton, Guard (New Zealand Breakers via United States)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’5 Wingspan: 6’7 Weight: 188
    Strength: Dynamic athlete with turbo-boost quickness. Very fundamentally sound and has the potential to become an outstanding playmaker. Will also likely develop into a very good defender down the road.
    Question Marks: Bad jumpshot that’s not developed over the last few years. Smaller frame will make it difficult to convert at the rim and is under 70% at the free throw line. Raw potential, but still a couple years very being a consistent player in the NBA.
    Player Comparison: Dante Exum
    Grade: 77 (2K Rating: 70)
  25. Isaiah Stewart, Center (Washington – Freshman)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’9 Wingspan: 7’4 Weight: 250
    Strength: Vintage big man with solid inside game who will contribute right away on the glass. With high-motor and aggressiveness, will be a solid shot blocker at the next level.
    Question Marks: Vintage isn’t always a good thing. Poor passing ability will lead to teams passing if they’re looking for a solid inside-out big. While Stewart has a soft touch, his shooting is inconsistent at best. Potential though is there to become a starting NBA center.
    Player Comparison: Derrick Favors
    Grade: 77 (2K Rating: 74)
  26. Robert Woodard II, Forward (Mississippi State – Sophomore)
    Age: 20 Height: 6’7 Wingspan: 7’1 Weight: 235
    Strength: Very well-rounded. Good at everything, but great at nothing. Always on the move and is high energy. Will strive if placed in the right system like with a contending team.
    Question Marks: Not a great athlete and lacks quickness to defend great athletes. Shooting numbers improved last season, but still needs to improve to become more consistent.
    Player Comparison: DeMarre Carroll
    Grade: 76 (2K Rating: 70)
  27. Leandro Bolmaro, Guard (Barcelona via Argentina)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’7 Wingspan: 6’8 Weight: 180
    Strength: Excellent passer and can find open teammates anywhere on the floor. Also has slick handles, good touch on layups and floaters, and has high energy on defense.
    Question Marks: It’s all about the jumpshot. Very poor shooter from the outside which changes the way he’ll be guarded in the NBA. Struggles against smaller, quicker defenders. Questions about how he’ll defend at the NBA level as well.
    Player Comparison: Evan Turner
    Grade: 75 (2K Rating: 72)
  28. Yam Madar, Guard (Hapoel Tel Aviv via Israel)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’3 Wingspan: 6’4 Weight: 180
    Strength: Very crafty ball handler and finisher around the basket who can create against the biggest defenders. Beautiful passer who make slick passes to open teammates. Very hard worker on both sides of the floor. Darkhorse steal late in the draft.
    Question Marks: Similar to Bolmaro, his jumpshot will hold him back. Bad form led to shooting only 27% last season. While he is tenacious on defense, his size will add limitations to his defensive ability in the NBA.
    Player Comparison: Patrick Beverley
    Grade: 73 (2K Rating: 69)
  29. Paul Reed, Forward (DePaul – Junior)
    Age: 20 Height: 6’9 Wingspan: 7’2 Weight: 220
    Strength: Very good athlete with solid frame which will lead to him being an multipositional defender in the NBA. Averaged a double-double at DePaul, could one day do it again in the NBA if he continues to develop.
    Question Marks: At times, is over-aggressive on defense and makes questionable decisions on both sides of the ball. Also is very inconsistent shooting the basketball from mid-range and long range.
    Player Comparison: Taj Gibson
    Grade: 73 (2K Rating: 70)
  30. Josh Green, Guard (Arizona – Freshman)
    Age: 19 Height: 6’6 Wingspan: 6’10 Weight: 210
    Strength: High potential 3-and-D style player who can shoot the ball well from the outside and play outstanding defense both on and off the ball.
    Question Marks: Not great with the ball in his hands and needs to improve finishing at the rim when his shot isn’t falling. Shot selection must improve to be consistent on offense.
    Player Comparison: Hamidou Diallo
    Grade: 72 (2K Rating: 71)
  31. Ty-Shon Alexander, Guard (Creighton – Junior)
    Grade: 72 (32K Rating: 70)
  32. Jahmi’us Ramsey, Guard (Texas Tech – Freshman)
    Grade: 72 (2K Rating: 70
  33. Isaiah Joe, Guard (Arkansas – Sophomore)
    Grade: 71 (2K Rating: 70)
  34. Devon Dotson, Guard (Kansas – Sophomore)
    Grade: 71 (2K Rating: 72)
  35. Vernon Carey Jr, Forward (Duke – Freshman)
    Grade: 71 (2K Rating: 69)
  36. Cassius Winston, Guard (Michigan State – Senior)
    Grade: 70 (2K Rating: 72)
  37. Daniel Oturu, Forward (Minnesota – Sophomore)
    Grade: 70 (2K Rating: 69)
  38. Jaden McDaniels, Forward (Washington – Freshman)
    Grade: 70 (2K Rating: 68)
  39. Malachi Flynn, Guard (San Diego State – Junior)
    Grade: 69 (2K Rating: 67)
  40. Theo Maledon, Guard (ASVEL via France)
    Grade: 69 (2K Rating: 68)
  41. Zeke Nnaji, Center (Arizona – Freshman)
    Grade: 69 (2K Rating: 68)
  42. Udoka Azubuike, Center (Kansas – Junior)
    Grade: 69 (2K Rating: 69)
  43. Tyler Bey, Guard (Colorado – Junior)
    Grade: 68 (2K Rating: 66)
  44. Reggie Perry, Forward (Mississippi State – Sophomore)
    Grade: 68 (2K Rating: 67)
  45. Tre Jones, Guard (Duke – Sophomore)
    Grade: 67 (2K Rating: 69)
  46. Payton Pritchard, Guard (Oregon – Senior)
    Grade: 67 (2K Rating: 67)
  47. Jordan Nwora, Forward (Louisville – Junior)
    Grade: 67 (2K Rating: 68)
  48. Grant Riller, Guard (Charleston – Senior)
    Grade: 66 (2K Rating: 65)
  49. Immanuel Quickley, Guard (Kentucky – Sophomore)
    Grade: 66 (2K Rating: 69)
  50. Killian Tillie, Forward (Gonzaga – Senior)
    Grade: 65 (2K Rating: 67)

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NBA Draft 2020: Wise-Decision Leads Golden State Back To Championship

Not too many teams picking at the second spot in the NBA Draft are NBA Championship contenders, but that’s where the Golden State Warriors find themselves in 2020.

The chaotic 2019-20 NBA season wasn’t one to remember for the Warriors and it feels like decades ago we were talking about the “Curry Era” and the Golden State Dynasty.

So, it’s crazy to think the Warriors could be a draft pick away from taking back the top spot in the league.

While, as of today, there is still talk of the Warriors looking to move the second pick in the 2020 draft and while that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing, I feel there is significant production available at that spot via the draft itself.

As long as Minnesota doesn’t do anything crazy, it seems the Timberwolves will take LaMelo Ball at number one meaning the Warriors would have maybe the most impactful player in this year’s draft fall right into their lap.

That player is Memphis center James Wiseman.

Wiseman didn’t play much at Memphis due to some recruiting issues, but in three games, we were able to see some glimpses of his potential including his 28 point, 11 rebound performance against South Carolina State.

In high school and on the traveling circuit, Wiseman had all the intangibles to be a straight-to-the-league player if that was still available.

Nonetheless, Wiseman has drawn comparisons to players like DeAndre Jordan, Chris Bosh, or even a Kevin Garnett in terms of what he’s able to do on the floor both on offense and defense.

Of course, the big issue with Wiseman in this year’s draft is how little everyone has actually seen him play. Again, Wiseman hasn’t played an actual basketball game since November of last year.

That’s where Golden State comes in.

Wiseman is the perfect fit for the Warriors as he wouldn’t be option one, two or even three in his first season with Golden State.

He would be able to adapt to the NBA speed and style at his own pace while still doing the things he does well: rebound, play defense, and create inside-out opportunities for the sharpshooting Warriors.

Those three skills alone make Wiseman, in my opinion, the obvious choice for the Warriors at the two-spot in this year’s draft. Even trading away the pick doesn’t bring in as much value as Wiseman does in year one.

Now, as usual, the Warriors will shop around and may land a few veteran players to fill their roster, but the one good thing about the struggles of last year is the Warriors have had a bunch of time to recover from injuries and rest before the start of the next season while many playoff teams have had less than four months of an offseason.

With a healthy Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green plus the option of not trading away Andrew Wiggins and keeping Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Marquese Chriss, and Ky Bowman under contract with the addition of Wiseman make the Warriors the team to beat in the NBA in 2020.

Whether the Warriors have plans to pursue a big name in the free agent market next season or not, drafting Wiseman this year make Golden State yet again the elite of the NBA.

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NBA Draft 2020: Hey, Minnesota! Don’t Mess This Up

We get it. There’s a ton or pressure on the Minnesota Timberwolves again picking at the top of the NBA Draft.

But, let’s face it…they’re not a very good drafting team.

Since 2010, the Timberwolves have picked 12 times inside the top twenty of the NBA Draft. How many of those players have made an All-Star team? One.

And don’t get me started on how many games those draft picks have won with Minnesota (hint: not many).

Regardless, Minnesota has some options in 2020 with this year’s draft not featuring that one can’t miss player. Still though, only one player makes sense for a team that has made some moves the last two decades that don’t make any sense.

That player? LaMelo Ball.

Now, this pick isn’t necessarily a “franchise changer” as there are still some question marks about Ball and how he’ll fare in the NBA.

This pick also won’t likely result in a deep playoff run next season.

What it is though is the right pick to made.

Over the years, at least on paper, it seems Minnesota has over-thunk their draft picks.

Need some examples?

How about Kris Dunn over Buddy Hield and Jamal Murray in 2016 or Trey Burke over CJ McCollum in 2013?

Oh, and how about Derrick Williams at No. 2 overall over Enes Kanter, Kemba Walker, Klay Thompson, and Kawhi Leonard in 2011 and who could forget the Timberwolves selecting two point guards (Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn) over Stephen Curry in 2009.

Of course, I’m reaching a bit here since we didn’t know how good some of those players would end up being, but some times, it’s not rocket science.

LaMelo Ball has the highest ceiling in the draft. Ball is also a recognizable name that can bring some much needed fanfare and media attention to Minnesota that already features two all-stars on the roster.

Oh yeah, did you forget? Many people do.

The Timberwolves still feature one of the best duos in the NBA as both Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell are locked in heading into the 2020-21 NBA season.

With Ball, the Timberwolves add a guard to combo Russell. The two will have potential to be one of the best “push-the-pace” guard combos in the NBA in the coming years.

This also improves your overall line-up. With two talented offensive players at guard, you can freely rotate defensive specialist Jarrett Culver around one through three to guard the best opposing players.

Plus, Ball doesn’t have to average 20 points per game this season for the Timberwolves to be successful. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

I mean, if LaMelo Ball is the team’s leading scorer, this likely means Minnesota either traded both Towns and Russell, both are hurt, or Minnesota will pick in the top five again in 2021.

The focus of Minnesota should always be to build round Karl-Anthony Towns as he’s the best player on the team and still has the potential to be the best center in the NBA. Period.

Everyone else is a piece of the puzzle.

As soon as that is established in Minnesota, the Timberwolves can actually compete in the west instead of competing for a top ten draft pick year in and year out.

It all starts with selecting LaMelo Ball with the first overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday.

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The Future of the NBA: Top Ten Prospects In The Next Three NBA Drafts

The NBA Draft is next week and features some key prospects that will help many struggling teams improve for the 2020-21 season. With that said though, this is one of the weaker drafts in recent memories.

Outside the top ten, it’s hard to see any player in this year’s draft making a big impact in year one in the league. On top of that, there are currently multiple players about to begin college or even still in high school that many general managers would likely take in the top five over some of the prospects eligible that will be selected in this year’s draft.

The future of the NBA is extremely bright though with many players having superstar potential entering the league over the next three seasons and while I only see two players with that high of a ceiling in the 2020 NBA Draft, I want to look at my favorite ten prospects over the next three NBA Drafts.

First, here’s a few players that didn’t quite make the cut, but that I feel could be very good down the line. Starting with one of the top projected picks in the 2020 Draft: Anthony Edwards. Explosive with potential to be a top ten scorer in the NBA, but at Georgia, Edwards didn’t blow people away each and every night. Worries about his drive and discipline concern many including myself keeping him outside my top ten.

Jalen Johnson and Jonathan Kuminga are both projected top ten picks in the 2021 NBA Draft and I feel both are going to very good, but still stuck outside my top ten. Same with 2021 prospects Patrick Baldwin Jr and international sensation Victor Wembanyama.

Now, to the actual list of players:

10) Brandon Boston Jr, College Freshman (Kentucky) – 2021 NBA Draft
Top tier scorer who’s draw comparisons to Brandon Ingram due to his smooth style of play, Boston will be a go-to player almost immediately once he hits the league. Working on defense and putting on some size at Kentucky this season will likely lead to him shooting up draft boards for 2021.

9) Evan Mobley, College Freshman (USC) – 2021 NBA Draft
A fast, agile big man with an advanced skill set. Mobley is a coordinated athlete with great length and a lot of upside. Very good back-to-the-basket defender who can average 3-5 shot blocks a game at any level. Can handle the ball well in the open court and can score both inside as well as outside. High IQ player with a chance to impress as the “man” at USC this season as long as his body holds up.

8) Paolo Banchero, High School Senior (Committed to Duke) – 2022 NBA Draft
Like many Duke big men before him, Coach K’s offense will likely be ran through Banchero once he arrives next season. With his powerful frame, there’s times currently Banchero seems unguardable. With his high motor and ability to score underneath, off the dribble, or even stretching the floor from three, Banchero will wow many once he arrives at Duke.

7) James Wiseman, One & Done (Memphis) – 2020 NBA Draft
Outstanding big man with a great frame, long arms and excellent agility for a 7-0 center. His face-up game is as good as they come with the ability to score under the basket but also with a great mid-range game with the ability to gain the ability to shoot the three once in the league. Although will be a top pick, he’s still underrated as a defender and passer. Can disappear at times and is left-hand dominant, but those are things that will be fixed once he hits the NBA.

6) Jaden Hardy, High School Senior – 2022 NBA Draft
Hardy is a scoring machine who can fill it up against anyone at any time. He’s got too much size and quickness for most guards to handle. He can get to the rim, dominate from mid range and get streaky-hot from downtown. A guard who one day will likely lead the NBA in scoring. Hardy may go the G-League route following his senior year of high school and be a high draft pick in 2022.

5) Chet Holmgren, High School Senior – 2022 NBA Draft
Nicknamed “The Unicorn” due to his size and ability, Chet Holmgren is impressive to watch, but will without a doubt need to add some size before he’s an NBA superstar. Currently, he’s a triple threat machine with his scoring ability, rebounding over the top of his opposition, and, of course, his shot blocking ability. Holmgren is still undecided on his college, but with his unique blend of size and ability, he’ll be a top ten pick in a couple years as long as he stays healthy.

4) Cade Cunningham, College Freshman (Oklahoma State) – 2021 NBA Draft
Think of a smaller, more well-rounded, better shooting version of Ben Simmons. That is Cade Cunningham’s potential. He does everything on the court including scoring, assisting, defending, and he completely controls the pace of the game. Will be a “keys to the car” style player and will be a franchise-changer to whoever drafts him. Will likely be a triple-double machine one day in the NBA and likely the top pick in next year’s draft.

3) LaMelo Ball, International-American – 2020 NBA Draft
The star of the class of 2020, but still has may question marks around him. In the limelight since he was a high school freshman, LaMelo Ball impressed many with his play and growth at the international level the last couple seasons. Without question an outstanding scorer, but his true position has yet to be determined whether he’ll be able to play at the point or have the size to be a true shooting guard. Still worth the top pick though this season especially if it’s to Minnesota where he won’t have to be option one immediately.

2) Jalen Green, G-League – 2021 NBA Draft
All around star who has drawn comparisons to Kobe Bryant with his scoring ability. Ideal slashing-style shooting guard with a quick first step and the quickness to blow past even elite defenders. Also an outstanding shooter with a deadly step back. Not just a scorer as he’s an underrated defender and rebounder and will likely improve in those categories with time as he plays top tier talent in the G-League. Green will likely be an NBA Scoring Champion somewhere down the line.

1) Emoni Bates, High School Junior – 2022/2023 NBA Draft
If you don’t know by now, you’ve not been paying attention. There’s nobody that’s the “next LeBron,” but Emoni Bates has potential we’ve not seen from a high school player since, well…yeah, LeBron James. To be blunt, Emoni’s floor as an NBA prospect: superstar. He’s ceiling? There isn’t one.

Bates can score from anywhere on the floor with a high-set shot similar to Kevin Durant. Bates can score off the dribble with the best guards in the nation and use his wide arsenal of offensive moves to score against taller or larger defenders. Well-rounded as well with the ability to defend one through five due to his length and basketball IQ.

The one negative? He’s not eligible for the draft yet because if he was, the 16-year-old would be the top overall pick this year…and I’m not kidding. Emoni Bates is the next big thing and there’s no way around it.

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2017 NBA Draft: Winners and Losers


Sacramento Kings

A winner is not typically a word used to describe the Sacramento Kings. However, it’s hard to not like what the Kings did last night. The Kings got their point guard of the future in De’Aaron Fox. Fox fits perfectly with the young core the Kings are building. Fox should be able to use his speed to penetrate the lane and kick out to shooters like Buddy Hield and Ben McLemore should they decide to re-sign him. I also love the Harry Giles pick. The Kings are nowhere close to competing so why not take a chance on a guy who was arguably the best player in this draft class a year ago? Chances are Giles doesn’t work out, but guess what, neither do most late first round picks. Giles gives the Kings the highest upside of anyone left on the board at that time and if he can regain the bounce he had when he was the best high school player in the country, watch out.

Minnesota Timberwolves

I wavered on including the Timberpuppies on the winner’s list. In one sense the team definitely got better with the addition of Jimmy Butler, but at the same time even they gave up young assets without becoming close to championship contenders. While Jimmy Butler definitely helps them on the court, what he is going to give the Timberwolves in the locker is unquantifiable. Having a strong veteran presence like Jimmy who buys into Thibs defensive minded system will be huge. There are certain members of the Timberwolves who are immensely talented but don’t always apply themselves on the defensive side of the ball (looking at you Andrew Wiggins). That shit isn’t gonna fly on Jimmy Butlers watch. Jimmy got his start in this league being a defensive specialist and he’s going to bring a level of professionalism to the Timberwolves young core.

Philadelphia 76ers

Markelle Fultz is the last piece of the process. Simple as that. The Sixers needed a point guard and Fultz is not only the best one in this draft but also the best fit with the team the Sixers have in place. The Sixers did not need another big man and the 2018 NBA draft is loaded with them. Losing the Lakers pick next year doesn’t hurt them, and is well worth the sacrifice to get a player with the upside of a Markelle Fultz.


Chicago Bulls

In one sense the Chicago Bulls took a step forward in the draft. They FINALLY picked a direction for the franchise. The worst thing that can happen to an NBA franchise is getting stuck in the middle. Being stuck in the late lottery or consistently sneaking into the playoffs only to get eliminated in the first round. This territory is where the Bulls have resided for the last few years. Despite management accepting that tanking and playing the young guys is the best direction for the franchise Bulls fans have to be disappointed in the return they received for a top 15 players. In return for JIMMY BUTLER, a player who Bulls fan insist is an elite NBA player they received; Kris Dunn a player who definitely has upside if we are being honest was absolutely horrific last year. Zach Lavine a player whose game is based on freakish athletic ability is coming of a major knee injury. To add insult to injury they didn’t even get Minnesota’s first round pick straight up, they had to give up their own pick to move up seven spots. There were times where Jimmy Butler was going to get a Brooklyn Nets pick and more coming back to Chicago in return. Knowing what the price used to be for Jimmy Butler and was received in actuality has got to hurt Bulls fans.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics aren’t losers because of missing out on Jimmy Butler or not making a move for Paul George. The Celtics clearly feel that they have a good chance at Gordon Hayward and it doesn’t make sense on spending all your assets on an all-star small forward when you think you can acquire one without giving anything up. The Celtics are losers because they missed on Markelle Fultz. Danny can say all he wants about how Jayson Tatum was the best player on his board but Markelle Fultz was the best player in this draft. Unless Danny’s master plan ends up in a championship watching Markelle Fultz score 20ppg in the division for the next decade is going to be pretty tough to watch.

Portland Trailblazers

Portland didn’t nail either of their picks. Caleb Swanigan is fine in the late 20’s but I am not as high on Zach Collins as a lot of people are. Not only did Collins not even start on Gonzaga, He didn’t start in high school until his senior year! Besides the mistakes, they made with their picks they were unable to unload any of the bad contracts that they have. (Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe, Etc…) Much like the Bulls were before this draft the Trailblazers are firmly planted in the no man’s land of the NBA.

2017 NBA Draft First – Round Results

  1. Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz PG – Washington

  2. Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball PG – UCLA

  3. Boston Celtics: Jayson Tatum SF – Duke

  4. Phoenix Suns: Josh Jackson SF – Kansas

  5. Sacramento Kings: De’Aron Fox PG – Kentucky

  6. Orlando Magic: Jonathan Isaac SF – FSU

  7. Minnesota Timberwolves (picking for Chicago Bulls): Lauri Markkanen PF- Arizona

  8. New York Knicks: Frank Ntilinkina PG – France

  9. Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith Jr. PG – NC State

  10. Sacramento Kings: Zack Collins C – Gonzaga

  11. Charlotte Hornets: Malik Monk PG – Kentucky

  12. Detroit Pistons: Luke Kennard SG – Duke

  13. Denver Nuggets: Donovan Mitchell SG – Louisville

  14. Miami Heat: Bam Adebayo PF – Kentucky

  15. Portland Trailblazers: Justin Jackson SG – North Carolina

  16. Chicago Bulls (picking for Minnesota Timberwolves): Justin Patton C – Creighton

  17. Milwaukee Bucks: D.J. Wilson PF – Michigan

  18. Indiana Pacers: TJ Leaf PF – UCLA

  19. Atlanta Hawks:  John Collins PF – Wake Forest

  20. Portland Trailblazers:  Harry Giles – Duke

  21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Terrance Ferguson SG: Australia

  22. Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen C – Texas

  23. Toronto Raptors: OG Anunoby SF – Indiana

  24. Utah Jazz: Tyler Lydon SF- Syracuse

  25. Orlando Magic: Anzejs Pasecniks – Latvia

  26. Portland Trailblazers: Caleb Swanigan PF – Perdue

  27. Brooklyn Nets (will go to Los Angeles Lakers via trade): Kyle Kuzma PF – Utah

  28. Los Angeles Lakers: Tony Bradley C – North Carolina

  29. San Antonio Spurs: Derrick White PG – Colorado

  30.  Utah Jazz: Josh Hart SG – Villanova

Final 2017 NBA Mock Draft

1) Philadelphia 76ers: Markelle Fultz- 6’4 190 PG Washington FR

Fultz provides the 76ers with a much-needed scoring punch and secondary ball handler assuming Ben Simmons is the primary ball handler next season. Fultz is a natural scorer but has good play making ability. Fultz also has great size and good athleticism to be a good NBA defender.

NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford

2) Los Angeles Lakers: Lonzo Ball- 6’6 190 PG UCLA FR
No surprise here even though that had been rumors that the Lakers were thinking of going in a different direction. Lonzo Ball provides the Lakers with a much-needed player maker. In a similar mold of Magic Johnson, Ball is a big PG who is a pass first player and makes his teammates better. Ball also is a good 3pt shooter despite his funky shooting form which is key in today’s NBA. Ball hasn’t shown a lot defensively but has the tools to be a solid defender providing he puts forth the effort.

NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd

3) Boston Celtics: Jonathan Isaac- 6’10 210 SF/PF Florida State FR
If this pick stays in Boston I expect them to swing for the fences. Isaac would provide the Celtics with some much-needed length and another potential scoring threat. Isaac is in the similar build to KD and more recently Brandon Ingram. Isaac has the ability to shoot it from anywhere on the floor and has good ball-handling skills to create his own shot. His length on the defensive end would be ideal trying to defend the elite SFs of today’s NBA. Kansas SG/SF Josh Jackson is in play at this pick as well but he would only give the Celtics another player similar to what they already have in Crowder and last years 1st round pick Jaylen Brown.

NBA Comparison: Jonathan Bender

4) Phoenix Suns: Jayson Tatum- 6’8 205 SF/SG Duke FR
Tatum would provide the Suns with a true SF who is excellent in isolation. A very smooth player who is at his best as a mid-range shooter. He’s not a great 3pt shooter but is capable. Not the best athlete but can just flat out play. He’s a safe pick who should make an impact.

NBA Comparison: Paul Pierce sooner rather than later.

5) Sacramento Kings: DeAaron Fox- 6’3 170 PG Kentucky FR
The Kings get a young PG to add to their young core of players. Fox is arguably the best on-ball defender in this draft. An elite athlete at 6’3 Fox has the measurable to be a solid PG in today’s NBA. Has great character and is a hard worker. Doesn’t shoot the ball very well and is very thin at only 170lbs but has the speed and quickness to get to the basket at will. Scored 39pts against Lonzo Ball in a victory over UCLA in the Elite 8 of the NCAA tourney. Fox gives the Kings a solid building block for the future.

NBA Comparison: Mike Conley/John Wall

6) Orlando Magic: Josh Jackson- 6’8 205 SG/SF Kansas FR
Orlando possibly gets a franchise player they have been seeking since Dwight Howard said Goodbye. Jackson was arguably the best prospect coming into the college season last year. An elite athlete who is a menace on the defensive end. has great size to play either SG or SF. His jump shot is a work in progress but has potential to develop into a good shooter.  A lot of GMs have him as a top 3 pick so if he falls to the Magic at 6 you might have the steal of the draft.

NBA Comparison: Andrew Wiggins/Kawhi Leonard

7) Minnesota Timberwolves: Lauri Markkanen- 7’0 230 PF/C Arizona FR
Popular opinion has the Timberwolves taking a PG here but I don’t see them giving up on Chris Dunn that quickly and Rubio had a nice season so I got them taking a legit stretch big here. Now it is also rumored that Minnesota again has an interest in trading for Jimmy Butler. If Minnesota does that I can possibly see a PG go here. Markkanen, on the other hand, is a better athlete than given credit for and can finish at the rim along with his great shooting ability. Doesn’t rebound well for his size but adding a smooth shooting big alongside KAT could be deadly.

NBA Comparison: Andrea Bargnani

8) New York Knicks: Frank Ntilikina- 6’5 190 PG France 1998
It’s hard to determine where the Knicks might go here with all the Melo-drama nd recent rumors that Phil Jackson is possibly shopping Kristaps Porzingis. If nothing happens between now and the time they’re up to pick I expect them to take a PG and Frank Ntilikina fits the Triangle style of play more than any PG left on the board. With a 7 foot wingspan, Ntilikina has the tools to be an elite NBA defender. His playmaking and shooting have improved within the last year.

NBA Comparison: Roddy Beaubois

9) Dallas Mavericks: Dennis Smith- 6’2 195 PG North Carolina State FR
Possibly the most explosive athlete in the draft, Smith is an elite talent that seems to struggle with consistency. Smith showed flashed at NC State of being a dominant player as he did against Duke when he went for 32pts and 6ast in the upset. Smith finishes at the rim with authority and shot well from 3 this past season. Can he stay motivated is the only concern most scouts have.

NBA Comparison: Steve Francis

10) Sacremento Kings: Malik Monk- 6’3 200 SG Kentucky FR
With their 2nd pick in the top 10, the Kings add another Kentucky product in Monk. The Kings ownership loves shooters and Monk is just that. One of the best shooters and scorers in the college game last season Monk gives the Kings instant offense and a potential deadly shooting tandem of Monk and Hield who the Kings acquired in that infamous Boogie Cousins trade. Monk is also an elite athlete who is sure to appear on his fair share of ESPN top 10 plays. A bit undersized at SG his shooting ability and athleticism will compensate for his lack of size.

NBA Comparison: Jr Smith

11) Charlotte Hornets: Luke Kennard- 6’6 195 SG Duke SO
Kennard breaks the run of freshmen taken in the draft at 10. Charlotte will look to take the best player on the board if somebody doesn’t fall to them. Kennard is one of the better shooters in this draft and would give the Hornets a threat from the outside immediately. Kennard is also a very good passer and while not a great a athlete, an underrated one. He not great on the defensive end but will give effort. Kennard is a good ball handler and should be able to make plays for his teammates at the next level. Don’t be surprised if Charlotte goes with a big here if Kennard isn’t on the board or even if he is

NBA Comparison: Jeff Hornacek

12) Detroit Pistons: Zach Collins- 6’11 230 C Gonzaga FR
Last year Detriot took Henry Ellenson in the 1st round and Collins is a similar player. Detriot is in search of shooting and Collins provides that. Collins came off the bench at Gonzaga but his numbers 10pts 6rbs per contest were still nice stats for his freshman season. Collins shot 65% from the floor, 75% from the line and 44% from 3 in 18 attempts. Look for Detriot to potentially put Andre Drummond on the trade market as he is a terrible shooter and is no good to close out games and move into the future with stretch bigs

NBA Comparison: Raef Lafrentz

13) Denver Nuggets: OG Anunoby- 6’7 235 SF/PF Indiana SO
Anunoby saw his stock fall after suffering a season-ending injury in which he tore his ACL. Man scouts considered him a top 5-10 before the injury. At this point, he might be a reach but draft now starts to thin out.  Anunoby has a solid frame and an impressive 7’2.5 wingspan. He figures to be a Defensive ace at the next level. Good finisher at the rim and has good speed and quickness for a guy his size. Not an elite athlete but a good one. Showed ability to knock down NBA 3. Would help Denver on the Defensive end immediately.

NBA Comparison: Jae Crowder

14) Miami Heat: Harry Giles- 6’10 230 PF/C Duke FR
Giles was the top-rated high school prospect in the class of 2016 even after suffering 2 torn ACLs. Giles talent is undeniable. When healthy he runs the floor very well for a guy his size and is a great passer out the post. Has range on his jump shot and has good athleticism. Health is the main concern. Giles was once considered a #1 pick prospect but after struggling in limited minutes his lone season at Duke he’s a boom or bust pick at this portion of the draft.

NBA Comparison: Chris Webber (when healthy)

15) Portland Trailblazers: John Collins- 6’9 225 PF/C Wake Forest SO
Collins is an aggressive player who likes to play above the rim. A good rebounder and has some touch on his jump shot. Doesn’t have a face-up game yet but it could come with time. Would be a nice compliment to Jusuf Nurkic in the post.

NBA Comparison: Tyrus Thomas

16) Chicago Bulls: Donovan Mitchell- 6’2 210 SG Louisville SO
At just 6’2 he’s undersized at SG but with a 6’10 wingspan and great athleticism, he’s an intriguing prospect. Plays with toughness and has strong leadership qualities. Likes to attack the rim and jump shot has shown improvement. Would add athleticism to a team lacking in that category. Very good possibility Mitchell is gone by this pick

NBA Comparison: Avery Bradley

17) Milwaukee Bucks: Kyle Kuzma- 6’9 225 PF Utah JR
Kuzma prior to the Combine was probably a 2nd round prospect. After the combine, Kuzma is now looked at by many as a lock for the 1st round. Kuzma is the 1st upperclassmen to be drafted. Kuzma shows the ability to step outside and be a stretch 4 for a team that lacks shooting from the outside. Milwaukee got a steal with upperclassmen Malcolm Brogdon in last year’s draft. I see them sticking to that same formula and addressing a need.

NBA Comparison: Channing Fyre

18) Indiana Pacers: Justin Patton- 6’11 230 C Creighton FR
The Pacers currently have promised big Myles Turner playing Center right now with undersized Thaddeus Young playing PF. Taking Patton right here would allow the Pacers to potential move Turner to PF and add size to the front line with Patton at Center. Patton his a strong skillset on the offensive end and can be disruptive on defense. Lacks speed and not the most athletic player on the board at this point but can develop into a solid player.

NBA Comparison: Robin Lopez

19) Atlanta Hawks: Bam Adebayo- 6’10 245 PF/C Kentucky FR
Adebayo has good size and athleticism for the PF position. With the NBA now transitioning to stretch bigs Adebayo’s value falls some due to him not being a great shooter. He will be a hand full on the block and has better shooting ability than given credit for. He will be tough to handle on the block and ATL can use some interior scoring and ATL would be pleased if Adebayo is available here.

NBA Comparison: Derrick Favors

20) Portland Trailblazers: Jarrett Allen- 6’10 235 C Texas FR
Portland adds another young post to their roster. Allen is somewhat of a project as he could have used another season at Texas. Allen has good length and runs the floor well. Allen will likely spend some time in the D-League his rookie season but he’s a nice prospect to develop behind Nurkic.

NBA Comparison: Adrian Payne

21) Oklahoma City Thunder: Terrance Ferguson- 6’7 185 SG/SF USA 1998
The Thunder have a huge weakness at the SF position. Andre Roberson is a solid defender but is a liability on offense, so much so that he is prone to be part of the hack a Shaq strategy at the end of games. Enter Ferguson. Ferguson was a McDonalds All-American who originally committed to Arizona but ended up changing his mind and playing pro in Australia. Though he struggled in Australia Ferguson remains an interesting prospect. He has the elite athletic ability and can knock down the 3 consistently. Ferguson has also shown the ability to be a good defender in the NBA. He’s a project but could be a huge upgrade over Roberson if developed properly.

NBA Comparison: Nick Young

22) Brooklyn Nets: TJ Leaf- 6’10 225 PF UCLA FR
Brooklyn needs all the help they can get! Leaf would provide a solid PF prospect who is capable of knocking down perimeter jump shots. Leaf is an above average athlete and is a very competitive player which can help on a team that hasn’t won too many games the past few years. Leaf was consistent all year should be able to contribute sooner rather than later

NBA Comparison: Jon Leuer

23) Toronto Raptors: Justin Jackson- 6’8 200 SF North Carolina JR
Jackson gives the Raptors a potential replacement for Demarre Carroll who has underperformed since signing with the Raptors a few years ago. Jackson is a consistent 3pt shooter (38%) in college and a solid prospect defensively. At 6’8 with a 7’0 wingspan, he can contribute right away off the bench and is a perfect 3 and D prospect.

NBA Comparison: Danny Green

24) Utah Jazz: DJ Wilson- 6’10 235 PF Michigan SO
Wilson is another guy who is a winner from his combine performance. Has a nice feel for the game and size for the PF position. Has shown improved form on his jump shot but still is a bit of a work in progress. Landing in Utah can give Wilson the time to improve his game as they have a few young bigs. Teams are said to be high on his potential and could be taken much higher.

NBA Comparison: Taj Gibson

25) Orlando Magic: Ivan Rabb- 6’10 220 PF/C California SO
Rabb has been a known name in a mock draft for the past 3 years. A Former McDonalds All-American Rabb was one of the top prospects entering College 2 years ago. Had Rabb entered the draft last season he likely would have gone higher. Rabb is a smart player with potential on the defensive end showing ability to defend the pick and roll. Offensively Rabb can knock down mid-range jump shots and could add depth to the Orlando Magic front court.

NBA Comparison: P.J. Brown

26) Portland Trailblazers: Jawun Evans- 6’0 185 PG Oklahoma State SO
Extremely quick with the ball in his hands, Evans at 6’0 is undersized in today’s NBA but his explosiveness gives him a shot to be a productive player in the NBA. Evans would give the Blazers a nice backup option for Dame Dolla. Evans can score and distribute and could be brought along slowly.

NBA Comparison:  Eric Bledsoe

27) Los Angeles Lakers: Semi Ojeleye- 6’6 240 SF/PF SMU JR
Ojeleye is my personal sleeper of the draft. A Duke transfer, Ojeleye has the size, skill, and athleticism to be a productive NBA player. He can create his own shot and is a good spot up shooter as well as being able to shoot it on the move. I think he can have a Draymond Green type impact minus the playmaking.

NBA Comparison: Larry Johnson

28) Los Angeles Lakers: Wesley Iwundo- 6’7 195 SF/SG Kansas State SR
Emerged as one of the better college players in the country his senior season at Kansas State. Has a solid all-around game with nice athleticism. Played some PG for K-State and is capable of making plays for others. The Lakers are in need of solid unselfish players and Iwundo fits the bill. The only senior in the 1st round you could see Iwundo make an immediate impact.

NBA Comparison: Dermarr Johnson

29) San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Hartenstein- 7’0 250 PF Germany 1998
Hartenstein is the perfect draft and stash prospect that the Spurs have come to love this late in the draft the past 15 seasons. They hit more often than not on these picks and Hartenstein should be no different. Hartenstein has been of scouts radars for a while now as he was born in the states and raised across the pond as his father is a former pro. He has lottery potential but has dealt with some injuries as of late. The Spurs can afford to stash this pick and wait for him to join the team once he’s ready

NBA Comparison: Jason Smith

30) Utah Jazz: Frank Jackson- 6’3 200 PG/SG Duke FR
The Jazz PG situation is cloudy right now. Some team is probably going to overpay for George Hill and Dante Exum doesn’t seem to be ready just yet. Enter Jackson. The hometown kid returns. There have been rumors that Utah promised to draft him here at 30 and that’s why Jackson remained in the draft. Jackson had an up and down season at Duke but showed he has scoring ability and has good size and athleticism to play the PG at the next level. I think he prefers to play off the ball but at only 6’3 he’s somewhat of a tweener.

NBA Comparison: Jordan Farmer

3 in The Key Podcast – Episode 44: 2017 NBA Draft & Trade Rumors

Chevy is joined by Markus, Nate and newcomer Matt to discuss the latest NBA Trades and rumors. Nate and Matt headline talking the NBA Draft as they go in-depth of their sleepers and busts of the 2017 Draft. The team also sounds off on the latest Paul George scenarios and the Boston Celtics leverage.