With the NBA finals set to begin and the draft combine and draft lottery in the rear view mirror, here’s a sixth look at this year’s first round extended mock, with just over three weeks before draft night.
|1.||Markelle Fultz 6-4 190 PG Washington Fr.||Fultz has a game tailor-made for succeeding in the NBA as he makes creating quality shots appear effortless with his change of pace dribbles and quick pull up ability. He also has great efficiency with the vision to create easy looks and the creativity to overcome speed or athleticism mismatches. The two main concerns are the fact that he was on a losing team, and that he wasn’t able to stay healthy for the entire year. But no prospect in this draft is perfect, and Fultz remains on top of most scouts boards as the premiere prospect available.
Why the Celtics take Markelle Fultz: Fultz is the prospect who offers the most upside as a go to scorer and playmaker. While consideration will need to be made about how he meshes with point guard Isaiah Thomas, the fact that he is nearly 10 years younger than IT gives him the ability to learn under him and presumably take control of the team when the time is right. The idea of trading Thomas is another option, but the Celtics can exercise all options and take their time with Fultz in the fold.
||Lonzo Ball 6-6 190 PG UCLA Fr.||
Ball’s ability to make those around him better and pass teammates open is truly special. He clearly has some major flaws, namely his corkscrew shooting delivery. His 3 point shot, as effective as it is, requires space in order to get off due to the impossible slow release he has. He actually has a very accurate deep 3 point shot that will translate, but the problem is he really needs to cut down on the unnecessary motion in his shot and revamp the form on it in order to be more effective as a shot creator in the mid-range. Regardless, he has that dominate-a-game-without-scoring a la Jason Kidd that should insure success at the next level.
Why LA Lakers take Lonzo Ball: The Lakers and Ball appear to be the big winners of lottery night. It has been reported that Ball is set to only work out for the Lakers, and Ball ending up in LA for the Lakers appears to be destiny.
||Josh Jackson 6-8 205 SG/SF Kansas Fr.||Jackson improved as the season went on as much as any freshmen or player in the country and is on a short list of scout’s top prospects available. He had some off court incidents but nothing that has scouts too concerned. He is among the draft’s elite athletes and the top two way talent. Kawhi Leonard is an optimistic comparison for any draft prospect, and while Jackson doesn’t have Kawhi’s length, he possesses the same type of intensity and passion for the game.
Why the Sixers take Josh Jackson: Jackson is the best prospect available and could end up the best player in this draft. The Sixers could also opt to trade back a few spots to draft a shooter such as Jayson Tatum or Malik Monk. Drafting Tatum here at 3 is another possibility as there are ties between the Colangelos and Coach K, and Tatum is a safe pick. However he seems to be a bit of a reach here. There are a number of teams that could move up to three to target DeAaron Fox or Josh Jackson, so a trade with Sacramento for 5 and 10 or a deal with Phoenix or another team are possibilities. Jackson gives the Sixers a stud defender and wing to match with Ben Simmons.
NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
||De'Aaron Fox 6-3 170 PG Kentucky Fr.||Fox is probably the most physically gifted player in this year’s draft. But he has one major Achilles to his game and that is his shooting efficiency. However when you watch him shoot, it’s easy to conclude that he can become a quality shooter over time. The form on his shot actually looks decent, not requiring a lot of time to get it off, and solid mechanics. He’s the quickest player in the draft and will instantly become one of the quickest at the next level. Combine that with above average size for the position and you have an absolute physical specimen capable of locking down opposing points and getting by opponents virtually at will. Fox had some nagging injuries through the season, but ended the season cementing his place in the top half of the lottery with his 39 point domination of Lonzo Ball, in the Cat’s run to the Elite Eight.
Why the Suns take DeAaron Fox: Fox would give the team a potential upgrade or eventual replacement for Bledsoe and a younger running mate for Booker. GM Ryan McDonough seems to have a thing for Kentucky guards as he has taken one in almost every draft (Archie Goodwin, Devin Booker, Tyler Ulis) plus the team’s starting point guard Eric Bledsoe is a UK alum. The team would like to target a big, however it’s unlikely any of the bigs available would be enough value to select at 4. The Suns could look to take Jackson if available, or listen to offers to move down into the 7-10 range and target a big like Zach Collins.
||Jayson Tatum 6-8 205 SF/SG Duke Fr.||Tatum showed excellent improvement over the course of the season. He took some time to hit his stride coming off a foot sprain that he suffered in the team’s pro day on October 25th that forced him to miss the first eight games. He became of the nation’s most impactful players over the second half of the year. He put the Blue Devils on his back with clutch plays at the end of close games to lead Duke to their first ever four wins in four nights ACC Tournament title. While not an elite athlete, he’s extremely smooth and has an advanced isolation game to create space for shots. He should have a chance to be a go-to player in the league, a la Paul Pierce. While he doesn’t have the upside of Jonathan Isaac, he may end up hearing his name called before him on draft night due to being such a sure thing and exhibiting such an advanced skill set.
Why the Kings take Jayson Tatum: Tatum would give the Kings a surefire high level starter and a player with go-to scoring ability on the wing. While he may lack some of the upside of other prospects, like Jonathan Isaac, he’s one of the most risk averse prospects available. The Kings are said to be looking to address their PG position with this year’s draft so Fox or Smith are possibilities here, and if they opt for one of the wings, they could gamble that French PG Frank Ntilikina falls to their second pick at 10.
NBA Comparison: Allan Houston
||Jonathan Isaac 6-10 210 PF/SF Florida St. Fr.||Isaac is another extremely promising player further giving this draft an insane amount of depth/talent in the top 10. He has been compared favorably to 2016 number 2 pick Brandon Ingram as he has a similar game with his great size, length and versatility. He’s a little older but he was a late bloomer and before suffering his early season ankle injury was getting some top pick hype from scouts. His ability to pull up and shoot over defenders is absolutely effortless.
Why the Magic take Jonathan Isaac: The Magic always seem to be one pick away from grabbing an elite player (see Porzingis). With the sixth pick this year, they should have the opportunity to grab a player with franchise changing potential. It’s a great draft to have a mid lottery pick as their is a lot of talent available and a lot of prospects with similar value. Picks 5-8 could easily challenge the top 4 in this year’s draft in the long run, which makes it a unique draft. Isaac could give the Magic the franchise talent they have been missing.
NBA Comparison: Rashard Lewis
||Dennis Smith 6-2 195 PG NC State Fr.||Smith struggled with consistency in his freshman season at NC State. It obviously was a difficult situation as the team lacked direction and saw their coach get fired before the season ended. Smith showed flashes of supreme talent, but just as he had developed a reputation for in high school, he struggled with bouts of inconsistency and lack of effort. He has the tools to be among the game’s elite PGs on the next level, but staying hungry will be the key.
Why the Timberwolves take Dennis Smith: After selecting Kris Dunn early in last year’s draft, it may be difficult for the Wolves to select another point guard high in the draft. But Dunn has been unimpressive and Smith offers the most value at their pick. Malik Monk is another possibility as he would give them a shooter to go along with Zach LaVine and Andrew Wiggins.
NBA Comparison: Steve Francis
||Malik Monk 6-3 200 SG Kentucky Fr.||
Mr. 47 proved all season to be one of the deadliest shooters and scorers on the college level. He not only can get scorching hot from deep and go on scoring barrages, he’s also proven to be extremely clutch. He capped off his legendary 47 point performance against North Carolina with two last minute 3 pointers to seal the game. His ability to create and the cojones he’s shown to rise in big games at big moments has obviously not gone unnoticed by scouts, raising his draft profile. Amazing to think that even a year ago he was viewed as nothing more than a solid shooter. While he’s seen as an undersized 2 lacking a great floor game, his athleticism and tremendous shot give him a great deal of intrigue.
Why the Knicks take Malik Monk: The Knicks could use a dynamic young guard to groom for the future to play alongside Kristaps Porzingis. While GM Phil Jackson hasn’t done the greatest job of signing free agents or hiring head coaches, his selection of KP at 4 was a magnificent one. Whether he can duplicate that draft magic at 8 remains to be seen.
NBA Comparison: Louis Williams
||Frank Ntilikina 6-5 190 PG France 1998||Frank Nitty is the draft’s man of mystery and figures to be the fourth PG off the board and go in the late lotto. He caught fire in Istanbul at the U18 European Championships in late December and impressed scouts on hand. He’s got a huge 7-foot wingspan and has really progressed as a floor general and shooter. He creates problems for opposing guards with his on ball defense utilizing his length and foot speed. His foot speed is an area that scout’s aren’t sure of and it may keep him from being an absolutely elite point in the NBA.
Why the Maverick select Frank Ntilikina: The Mavs traded for a French point guard by the name of Rodrigue Beaubois a few years back who had similarly long arms and quickness as Ntilikina. Beaubois never panned out for them but that’s unlikely to deter International guru Donnie Nelson from taking another French PG with high risk/reward. While Ntilikina’s readiness is probably not where you would like it, Dallas is looking to rebuild and probably can afford to wait for him. Dallas has scouted Frank Ntilikina heavily and he appears to be a real possibility at 9.
NBA Comparison: Dante Exum
||Lauri Markkanen 7-0 230 PF/C Arizona Fr.||The smooth shooting 7-footer from Finland has scouts extremely intrigued. He attacks the rim well off the bounce. While not the strongest athlete, his ability to stretch the floor at 7-feet gives him a great deal of intrigue. He needs to continue to add core strength and become a better rebounder and defender. Scouts have compared him favorably to 4th overall pick Dragan Bender from the 2016 draft. In order for him to realize his potential, he will need to land with the right team that is able to give him the correct strength and conditioning program to improve his physicality and defense.
Why the Kings take Lauri Markanen: The Kings would love to grab a point guard with one of their picks and if they determine that the Mavs are likely to take Ntilikina at 9, they may be forced to grab Smith (or Frank himself) at 5. Markkanen may struggle defensively but would give them a spread the floor big to play alongside Willie Cauley-Stein.
||Zach Collins 6-11 230 C Gonzaga Fr.||Collins came off the bench to the tune of 10 points and 6 boards in just 17 minutes per game. He is extremely big, coordinated and mobile and has an excellent stroke. His shooting numbers were highly efficient at 65% from the floor, 75% from the line and 44% from 3 (8-18). But he lacked playing time and the tourney exposed his tendency to get into foul trouble and inexperience. He enters the league needing a lot of time, but the upside is considerable as he has a very intriguing package of skills.
Why the Hornets take Zach Collins: Collins would compliment Frank the Tank with his ability to be a rim protector and inside presence. Charlotte appears to be in a spot to land one of the better power forward or center prospects in this year’s draft at 11. Look for Utah to possibly make a play to move up (at 10 or 11 possibly) for the sought after big.
||Jarrett Allen 6-10 235 C Texas Fr.||Allen was a bit of a surprise to enter and sign with an agent, but with players like Miles Bridges deciding to return to school, who can blame him? He’s a likely lottery pick and while he’s far from NBA ready, the NBA will get him physically ready faster than Texas could have. He’s a solid kid who just needs to learn to play with better intensity each time out. His length and mobility give him potential to develop into a solid starter in a few seasons. And he may not be done growing.
Why the Pistons take Jarrett Allen: The Pistons could look to grab a guard or forward here, however Allen would seem to be the player with the most upside available. Detroit isn’t a team that is close to contending at this point, so drafting for need this high wouldn’t make much sense. Andre Drummond remains the team’s most valuable player, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they wouldn’t draft a player at the same position if they felt they were the best talent available.
NBA Comparison: Lorenzen Wright
||Justin Patton 6-11 230 C Creighton Fr.||
Patton is a red-shirt freshman who had a surprisingly strong season and likely will end up going in the mid first round. While not the smoothest or most explosive athlete, he shows solid mobility and an excellent skill set for his age. He has very good size and played with decent consistency all year. His touch and post game are both at a good level for his age and with skills at both ends, he should have a chance to develop into a contributor at the NBA level over time.
Why the Nuggets take Justin Patton: The Nuggets moved Nurkic and added Mason Plumlee. They have Jokic as their starter at center but could use a young back up to groom behind him with such a strong stable of young guards. There’s a chance the Nuggets look to move this pick as they are a very young team.
NBA Comparison: Brendan Haywood
||John Collins 6-9 225 PF/C Wake Forest So.||
Collins had a solid showing in his lone "play in" NCAA tourney game in which Wake Forest lost to Kansas State. He’s an explosive athlete with solid aggressiveness. While he lacks a great face up game, his rebounding and skill around the basket is intriguing. While Collins old school skill set gives him a clear cut role, he doesn’t have a game that fits into today’s NBA as well as others and it could cost him a few spots on draft night.
Why the Heat take John Collins: Collins is more of a traditional power forward, although at times he showed some touch on his face up game. Assuming he maximizes his potential and develops into an NBA starter, he could pair with Hassan Whiteside to form an extremely athletic front court.
NBA Comparison: Richaun Holmes
||TJ Leaf 6-10 225 PF UCLA Fr.||Leaf has been a model of consistency all season. He proved what a tough competitor he is with his performance early in the year at Rupp Arena, outplaying Bam Adebayo in their individual match up. He’s a skilled, mobile big with solid athleticism and quickness. He shows a high level of skill with his ability to face the basket as well as play in the post and rebound. While his frame is thin, he competes hard and has shown excellent toughness. He may need some time for his body to fill out, but should find a role in the league with his great feel for the game.
Why the Blazers take TJ Leaf: Leaf seems to be a player that is currently being undervalued by NBA teams. Which doesn’t make a whole lot of sense as he figures to be a face up four that fits into today’s spread-the-floor style perfectly. Leaf is a skilled, finesse power forward who could fit well with their terrific backcourt and bull in a China shop brute in the paint, Josep Nurkic.
||Kyle Kuzma 6-9 225 PF Utah Jr.||Kuzma could be seen as a bit of a reach here which makes sense as not many viewed him as a first rounder before the combine. However for those that did see Kuzma as a first rounder going into the combine, his performance puts him among the tier of players (ie: Justin Patton, Bam Adebayo, John Collins, Justin Jackson and Ivan Rabb) just outside the lottery. Kuzma didn’t have the most efficient year, however his shot looks much better and he has the type of versatility to be a stretch four in the modern NBA. His combine performance and athleticism numbers are on par with a player with NBA starter level talent, if he can sustain his level of focus and intensity.
Why the Bulls take Kyle Kuzma: 16 may seem high for Kyle Kuzma, who is all over the place on team’s boards following a stellar Draft Combine. The Bulls could use some help in their frontcourt and Kuzma could push the inconsistent Mirotic for minutes. Despite being nearly 22, Kuzma offers a nice mix of experience and upside as a potential face up four.
||Ivan Rabb 6-10 220 PF/C California So.||Rabb made a questionable decision to stay in school and probably lost a few spots from where he would have been drafted a year ago. But it shouldn’t be much of a factor in the long run. He’s a bright kid with a solid skill set but he didn’t break out into the star in his sophomore season that some envisioned. While he has a good understanding of the game, and gives consistent effort, he’s not very physical or the most explosive athlete, lacking fluidity. On the positive side, he has shown the ability to defend the perimeter, guard the pick and roll and has very good size at 6-11.
Why the Bucks take Ivan Rabb: The Bucks are loaded with talent and could use more of a solid, dependable type as opposed to swinging for the fences once again. Depending on Greg Monroe’s decision to stay or go, the team could be looking to add a post player. Zach Collins would work well, but they would have to move up roughly 6-8 spots to land him.
NBA Comparison: Andrew Nicholson
||Luke Kennard 6-6 195 SG Duke So.||
Kennard lacks ideal size for a wing and isn’t a high level defender or athlete. But he’s an absolute natural with his ball skills and ability to shoot. He’s an excellent passer, and actually an underrated athlete. He surprised a lot of people by taking over the team from Grayson Allen in the early part of the year, but in reality Kennard was the better high school player and some expected it to happen a year earlier. Kennard is such a high level shooter, he should find a place in the league as a floor spreader, specialty shooter for years to come.
Why the Pacers take Luke Kennard: What happens with Paul George, or what the Pacers plan on doing with him this offseason could factor into which direction they go with this pick. Kennard would offer them a skilled shooter on the wing. While not the biggest or most athletic of players, some scouts see some Kyle Korver in his game.
NBA Comparison: Nik Stauskas
||Justin Jackson 6-8 200 SF North Carolina Jr.||Jackson was champion North Carolina’s top scorer this season. While he lacks ideal toughness and strength, the fact that he has developed into a consistent outside shooter (38% from 3) has elevated his first round chances. His near 7-foot wingspan gives him great length on the defensive end and boards. Concerns about his competitiveness and toughness have followed him since his prep days, but for a recruit that came in with a top 10 ranking, he finally delivered on that promise, proving to be the top junior prospect in the country, and helping guide UNC to their third title under Roy Williams.
Why the Hawks take Justin Jackson: Jackson is likely to benefit more than anyone from UNC’s title and provides experience and shooting. The Hawks are a playoff team that could use another shooter and also a player ready to come in and produce, so JJ checks a number of boxes for them. Jackson is a cerebral small forward who showed that he’s not afraid of the limelight.
NBA Comparison: Rod Higgins
||Bam Adebayo 6-10 245 PF/C Kentucky Fr.||Adebayo is more of an old school bigman as he lacks the shooting/scoring skill set that is coveted by so many teams in today’s NBA. But his athleticism and toughness will make him a handful on the block. He has been compared to Dwight Howard but that comparison only works to Old Superman, as a young Dwight would jump right over Bam. What he lacks for in skill, he seems to make up for in energy and aggressiveness and should continue to develop as a post player over time. Though he probably will always be more of a role player than a star.
Why the Blazers take Bam Adebayo: Bam is a player that seems to be undervalued as teams are shying away from the more traditional post players in favor of the versatile, multifaceted, spread-the-floor bigs. The Blazers dealt away Mason Plumlee when they landed their highly skilled center of the future in Josep Nurkic, but could find a similar player in Bam who would work well in tandem with Nurkic.
NBA Comparison: Mason Plumlee
||Donovan Mitchell 6-2 210 SG Louisville So.||Mitchell isn’t high on every scout’s list, and some write him off as a 6-foot-2 small forward. But he was a steadying force for the Cardinals all season and plays with great energy and emotion. He possesses toughness and leadership and despite lacking ideal height, he’s extremely long and athletic. He has a huge wingspan, close to 6-foot-10, which helps. But his 8-foot-1 standing reach is clearly small for a 2. He also has proven to be an extremely aggressive guard attacking the rim for ally oops and put back dunks. His jumpshot has shown enough improvement to be a late first rounder.
Why the Thunder take Donovan Mitchell: Mitchell should be one of the more NBA ready guards as his defensive ability is among the best in this year’s draft. He has been built up by some as a player that can become a point, and while he likely has a sharp learning curve to get there, learning behind Westbrook and spelling him wouldn’t be such a bad place to learn.
NBA Comparison: Norman Powell
||Harry Giles 6-10 230 PF/C Duke Fr.||Giles is a wildcard for the draft as he came back in late December and struggled to show much explosiveness off his surgically repaired knee(s). Giles was once seen as a potential #1 pick, but concerns about his knees have his stock falling. He’s no longer considered a likely lottery pick after struggling mightily in limited minutes at Duke. His inability to play physical and get any lift after contact is a major concern.
Why the Nets take Harry Giles: Giles is obviously a bigtime talent, but his inability or unwillingness to explode off his knee has left a lot of skepticism and concern about his future. The Nets are said to be very high on him, and after having been fleeced by the Celtics for their picks a few years back are having to be creative with finding marquee talent late in the first round. They proved last year that they are willing to gamble on guys coming off of injuries when they took Caris LeVert, two spots earlier.
||Terrance Ferguson 6-7 185 SG Australia 1998||
Ferguson is all over the place on draft boards, and while his thin body and ability to create remain concerns, his shooting and defense give him a lot of intrigue. His outside shooting was on display a year ago at the Nike Hoop Summit as he hit 7 threes in the span of a few minutes. But concerns about maturity continue to surround him. Regardless in a draft that is seen as relatively average outside the lottery, Ferguson offers the upside and intrigue that few others in this range possess. Feel like rolling the dice, he’s your guy. Interviews and workouts are sure to factor heavily in his draft position.
Why the Raptors take Terrance Ferguson: The mystery man drew positive reviews from those around him in Australia. He remains a bit of a project, but Masai Ujiri loves athletes, and if Ferguson is available, he may be the highest upside athlete on the board. Ferguson figures to be a three and D type of player if he develops.
NBA Comparison: Rudy Fernandez
||DJ Wilson 6-10 235 PF Michigan So.||Wilson was a bit of a surprise to enter and stay in the draft and scouts feel that he has a good chance to land in the first round. While not the most polished or consistent player, his talent level when focused is considerable. He is a player whose success figures to be more dependent upon landing in the right situation than most. Wilson has NBA starter potential if his offense and feel for the game can develop.
Why the Jazz take DJ Wilson: Utah has a solid core of young talent and is particularly strong at the center position with Gobert and Wing position with Hayward (assuming they don;t part ways). Wilson could compete for minutes with Trey Lyles, and provide depth behind Derrick Favors at the four.
NBA Comparison: Jared Jeffries
||Dwayne Bacon 6-6 220 SG/SF Florida St. So.||Bacon had a strong season overall and while he’s not on every scout’s first round board he has enough interest that he will likely find a spot somewhere in the 20s. He had a very solid year, despite his shooting numbers falling off some late in the year. He’s a solid kid who should impress teams in workouts with his versatility. He’s not a finished product but he gives a lot to work with and the effort needed.
Why the Magic take Dwayne Bacon: After nabbing Isaacs with their first pick, the Magic stay in State with his teammate Dwayne Bacon late in the first round. While Bacon has drawn some criticism for his lack of focus and skill development, he’s a talented, versatile kid with a lot of athleticism.
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wilkins
||PJ Dozier 6-6 200 SG/PG South Carolina So.||
Dozier was a key player for a South Carolina team that overachieved in making the Final Four. His game is not completely polished as his jumpshot needs work, as his outside shooting percentages can attest. But his versatility gives him a lot of intrigue with his length and ability to guard multiple positions. He’s able to legitimately play point guard, and his huge 6-11 wingspan gives him a lot of defensive and rebounding ability.
Why the Blazers take PJ Dozier: After taking bigs with their first two picks, Portland goes backcourt with an Evan Turner play-alike. Dozier gives them an additional defender and athlete in the backcourt off the bench to groom for the future at a low cap figure.
NBA Comparison: Shaun Livingston
||Wesley Iwundu 6-7 195 SG/SF Kansas St. Sr.||Iwundu is one of the draft’s sleepers. After flying under the radar for his first three seasons in college, Iwundu began to flash an all around skill level to accompany his stand out athleticism. Iwundu can legitimately be a playmaker from the point position, and play the small forward position. His ability to pass, defend and now create shots for himself makes him an intriguing prospect. Though he didn’t have a huge statistical career, he’s quite possibly the top senior prospect available this year.
Why the Nets take Wesley Iwundu: Iwundu is a bit of a dark horse for the first round, but his fluidity and athleticism has given him a lot of intrigue among scouts. He can legitimately be a playmaker at the point position and defend 2s and 3s. The Nets need talent, and the fact the Iwundu is a senior should allow him to contribute sooner, plus he still has upside left to develop.
NBA Comparison: Kent Bazemore
||Jordan Bell 6-8 225 PF Oregon Jr.||Bell is an undersized power forward and lacks a high skill level. He will make his living at the next level as a guy that is willing to do the dirty work with rebounding and defending. Undersized, high effort fours have done well over the past several years. Bell killed it in the tournament carrying Oregon to the Final Four. While some teams may struggle to find a role for him with his limited offensive efficiency, the fact that he plays with so much heart and determination should allow him to be a perfect role player.
Why the Lakers take Jordan Bell: The Lakers have another explosive young forward in Larry Nance, and Bell would give them a smaller, but scrappier forward to compete for minutes with he and Julius Randle. Bell was one of the big winners at the combine, exhibiting his freakish explosieness and speed, and high character in interviews.
NBA Comparison: Bo Outlaw
||Rodions Kurucs 6-8 200 SF Latvia 1998||Kurucs is a wing with solid scoring ability and very good run/jump athleticism by European standards. He has struggled some with knee injuries over the past two years but is back at full strength. He plays with a high level of intensity and energy and shows a lot of focus. The young Latvian is well liked by scouts and could impress enough to be a first round pick.
Why the Spurs take Rodions Kurucs: The Spurs have gone domestic the past few seasons with a number of tremendous picks (Kyle Anderson, Dejounte Murray) in the late first. They seem due to go with a International stash pick, and if Kurucs opts to stay in the draft, he or Isaiah Hartenstein, are possibilities.
||Tyler Lydon 6-9 215 PF/SF Syracuse So.||
Lydon is a tweener, but the fact that he has a pure outside shot, gives him a lot of intrigue with NBA scouts. The Syracuse defensive system also creates a certain level of uncertainty and skepticism about how well he can defend. He needs to add a lot of strength, but scouts have been high on Lydon for over a year. Despite an up and down, underachieving season for Syracuse, he has elected to sign with an agent and is considered likely to go in the late first round. Similar to Markkanen, Lydon will take some time to catch up defensively as his optimum playing weight is calibrated.
Why the Jazz take Tyler Lydon: Lydon fits into more of a half court system and the Jazz have a balanced team and can afford to go with a player they see as their best fit. If the team moves Gordon Hayward as it is rumored many teams are after him, they could be looking for more offensive firepower from the bench.
NBA Comparison: Nikola Mirotic