People around the NBA are saying this might might be the strongest draft class since 2003. That’s impressive, considering most of this year’s lottery picks will be freshmen. Here are some of my thoughts and player ranks.
Note: These are my opinions, and many of my predictions are likely to be wrong. If you disagree with something I said, I encourage you to leave a comment about what you think.
Draft Board 1.0:
- Markelle Fultz
- Josh Jackson
- Malik Monk
- Lauri Markkanen
- Jayson Tatum
- Dennis Smith
- Lonzo Ball
- Jonathan Isaac
- DeAaron Fox
- Miles Bridges
- Harry Giles
- OG Anunoby
- TJ Leaf
- Bam Adebayo
- Frank Ntilikina
- Ivan Rabb
- Tyler Lydon
- Terrance Ferguson
- Omer Yurtseven
- Tony Bradley
- Jawun Evans
- Bryant Crawford
- Josh Hart
- Rodions Kurucs
- Jonathan Jeanne
- Jarrett Allen
- Thomas Bryant
- Grayson Allen
- Jaron Blossomgame
- Luke Kennard
Potential to be an All Star:
Markelle Fultz– He has the most complete game in the nation, has good size and athleticism, and literally has no weaknesses. Fultz might be the best prospect since LeBron. I would compare his game to that of James Harden, but he has the talent to surpass Harden, and become someone we measure prospects by in the future.
Josh Jackson- The main thing that stands out about Jackson is his athleticism. He is still fairly raw skill-wise, but he can create his own shot and slash to the rim. He has been looking similar to Jaylen Brown in college, but Jackson is much more efficient and a better offensive player. Jackson’s main weakness is his jumper, as he’s currently shooting 27% from 3 point land this year.
Malik Monk- It’s hard not to love a guy who just scored 47 points in a game, but he does have his flaws. First of all, his height (6-foot-3) might make him less effective as a 2 guard in the NBA. While he certainly can create his own shot, he does not get to the rim well. He does, however, have a lot of bounce, but this is compromised because he tends to settle for jumpers instead to going to the rim.
Lauri Markkanen- Markkanen may be the second coming of Kristaps Porzingis. He has an incredible skill set for a 7-footer, and has a good-looking jump shot. He is a below average rebounder, but stretch-4s like him are coveted in the NBA today.
Jayson Tatum- Tatum is only beginning to hit his stride as a Duke Blue Devil. He has his way in isolation situations, and no one can stop him from getting to the rim. When he gets in the paint, he sometimes throws up bad shots, and he has a developing jumpshot. Overall, Tatum is a very well-rounded prospect who will never be the best player in the NBA, but could make multiple All Star teams.
Dennis Smith- At worst, he’s the nest Emmanuel Mudiay. At best, he’s a poor man’s Russell Westbrook. He has impressive size and athleticism, can attack the rim from wherever he wants to, and is deadly in transition. His jump shot is still a work in progress, and he is prone to making bad decisions with the ball.
Lonzo Ball- Boom or bust. Lonzo Ball will be one of those two things. I don’t like him as a prospect, because of his broken shot that will never succeed at the NBA level, his inability to score in 1 on 1 situations, and his thin frame. But he is the best passer in the draft class, has good height, and NBA scouts seem to love him. Boom or bust.
Jonathan Isaac- At 6-foot-10, he has very good height for a wing. He moves extremely well for a guy his size, and has all the raw skills to be an effective NBA player. He will only be truly great if he can let those skills translate into game scenarios.
Harry Giles- He has produced terribly for Duke this season and he has injury problems. But there is no denying the athleticism and potential that he has. In fact, he has the potential to be a top 5 NBA player. I’m not sold on him yet, because I need to see him actually do good things in games. Overall, he has the second most potential in his draft class, but he may amount to nothing in the NBA.
Potential to be a Starter:
DeAaron Fox- Fox may be the fastest player in college basketball this season, but he is shooting terribly, at 15% from 3 and 30% on 2 point jump shots. His form really does look decent, so I could see him becoming a serviceable shooter in the NBA. But with the quickness and court vision that he has, it’s hard to believe that he won’t make it in the NBA.
Miles Bridges– Bridges has an NBA-like physique (6-foot-7 and 230 lbs) plus a good jump shot. Those are two things that NBA teams want these days, so look for Bridges to be a decent player in the league for a long time.
OG Anunoby- Anunoby’s frame and athleticism will make him a good defender and rebounder. But to be a starter, he needs to develop his offensive game, especially his jump shot. I could see him being a 3 and D player.
TJ Leaf- Leaf’s versatile skill set will make him a valuable player, but his average athleticism and average wingspan (6-foot-11) deter his potential greatly. He has been very good for UCLA so far, and has skills that will translate to the NBA.
Ivan Rabb- Rabb has not produced to the level that many scouts thought he would this season, but he could still be a valuable player in the NBA. He is a good scorer and rebounder, but will be eclipsed by more talented players in his class.
Terrance Ferguson- I do not like Ferguson as a prospect. His best skill is his above average jump shot. His handle is awful, he’s skinny, and he cannot get to the rim at all. He does, however, have insane bounce and athleticism. So I guess anything is possible if you’re a good enough athlete. But I don’t expect him to last in the league.
Bryant Crawford- He’s an elite scorer and the best player on an improving Wake Forest team. I expect him to provide a burst off the bench in the NBA, but he has enough talent to start.
Grayson Allen- Based on basketball ability, Allen should be a lottery pick. He is a very good shooter, attacks the rim aggressively, and plays with a passion. But concerns about his emotions getting the better of him (the tripping thing) and the fact that he is often out of control might keep him out of the first round.
The players I have not listed are the ones I believe do not have enough talent to start regularly in the NBA. Also, these groups are based on potential. Most of these players will not live up to their potential. Just because there are nine players that have all-star potential, it does that there will be nine all-stars in this class. As always, thanks for reading, and make sure to follow and share if you like this blog.