With the draft set for tomorrow (Thursday, June 22nd 7PM ET) here’s a final (7.3) look at this year’s first round extended mock.
|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. There are some that point to struggles in prep ball with consistency and winning as well. But no prospect in this draft is perfect, and Fultz remains on top of most scouts boards as the premiere prospect available.
Why the Sixers take Markelle Fultz: The Sixers were able to consummate the deal to land the top pick and add the player who fits their team better than any other in this draft. A "Big 3" nucleus consisting of Embiid, Simmons and Fultz should be a very good one for the Sixers to move forward with. They only gave up the Lakers pick next year, or Sacramento’s depending on whether LA wins the lottery again. Is Fultz a sure thing? No. But he has a chance to be a top level closer and a dynamic scoring guard along the lines of Harden or Kyrie.
||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 the Lakers take Lonzo Ball: After moving D’Angelo Russell to the Nets for Lopez, a late first, and cap space, the path is clear for the Lakers to make local product Lonzo Ball their point guard of the future. Ball has a rare ability to make those around him better and should do just that with returning players like Brandon Ingram, and Paul George, when and if he joins the team.
||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 Celtics take Josh Jackson: The big question heading into the draft is what Ainge will elect to do here at 3. The fact that Jackson’s agent BJ Armstrong refused to allow Jackson to work out for Boston adds some uncertainty here. The team had Jayson Tatum in twice, and some feel that he could be the choice. There’s also the chance that a team like Chicago offers Jimmy Butler for the pick in order to select Jackson and make him their new centerpiece to build around. Jackson fits in well with a Celtics team that already has a glut of point guards. He has as much upside as anyone in the draft, and despite the fact that he hasn’t worked out for the Celtics, it may not deter them from selecting him. As great as Ainge has proven to be at making trades, taking advantage of incompetent GMs and constructing a winner, he has not shown a great track record of evaluating college talent and building through the draft. Therefore, he may be more comfortable in trading for an established veteran like Butler.
NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard
||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 Suns take Jayson Tatum: Phoenix landed two power forwards in the top 8 in last year’s draft and could look to target a wing this year. Tatum would seem to fit in well as a midrange scorer along with Booker and Bledsoe. Other possibilities at four include De’Aaron Fox and Florida State combo forward Jonathan Isaac.
NBA Comparison: Allan Houston
||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 Kings take DeAaron Fox: Sacramento is enamored with Fox and would likely pounce on him if he gets to them at 5. He would give Sacramento a new face to the franchise to build around, and some feel he could leap frog everyone and become the best point guard from this draft class. The Kings are also said to be looking to move up to 3 using their 10th pick and other assets, targeting Josh Jackson, but that appears unlikely due to not having enough to offer.
||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 there is a lot of parity in the top 6 to 7 picks. Isaac could give the Magic the franchise talent they have been lacking since the Dwight Howard era.
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: It’s too early to call Kris Dunn a bust, but if he has another season like the past one, the team is likely to grow impatient. Ricky Rubio is aging quickly and the team appears to be in an excellent spot to grab a high level PG. Smith is not universally loved, but his talent is undeniable. Reports that Minnesota targeted Jimmy Butler last year with the 5th pick lead to an interesting trade idea. Minny gives 7, Zach Lavine and Ricky Rubio for Butler and 16.
NBA Comparison: Steve Francis
||Frank Ntilikina 6-5 190 PG France 1998||Ntilikina is the draft’s international 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. He is also seen as a guy that will need time and may spend a bit of time in the DLeague before being able to contribute.
Why the Knicks take Frank Ntilikina: The Knicks are said to be very high on the young, French point guard, whose length and size would fit in well in the triangle. After finding success going the international route with Porzingis, the Knicks could look to add another piece from across the Atlantic.
NBA Comparison: Dante Exum
||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 Mavericks take Zach Collins: Dallas has scouted PG Frank Ntilikina heavily and he appears to be a strong possibility if he’s available at 9. Lauri Makkanen is another possibility. Collins versus Markkanen is one of the draft’s most interesting debates. While Markkanen certainly has more hype surrounding him and was more prolific in his freshman season, a strong case can be made that Collins is the better two way prospect for the next level. Collins is a high level shooter in his own right, and could be Dallas’ long term answer at the center position.
||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 Kings take Malik Monk: The Kings are in a unique position to potentially pair the Kentucky bakcourt of Fox and Monk in Sacramento. The young duo proved to work extremely well together, becoming one of the most prolific freshmen backcourts of all time. Lauri Markkanen would offer a similar outside shooting threat in a less athletic, but bigger package.
NBA Comparison: Louis Williams
||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 Hornets take Lauri Markkanen: The Hornets could use a shooter to spread the floor and improve upon their offense. While questions exist about Markkanen’s ability to defend and add weight, his high level shooting ability makes him an intriguing pick at this point.
||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 Pistons take Luke Kennard: 12 would be a slight reach for Kennard, but for a team in search of shooting and scoring, he would fill a need. The Pistons could look at a big like Jarrett Allen or Justin Patton here, but with their top talent playing center, trying to find a starter at another position here makes more sense. Unfortunately for Detroit, the talent likely to be available at 12 won’t be nearly as strong as 2-3 spots earlier.
NBA Comparison: Nik Stauskas
||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 Nuggets take John Collins: Denver is in a good spot to land a PF or Center with players such as Collins, Harry Giles, Bam Adebayo, Kyle Kuzma, DJ Wilson and Ivan Rabb available. Collins is firmly in the mix here at 13 and the following two picks as well. Collins ability to play above the rim and the fact that he has shown some touch in workouts gives him an excellent shot to land in the lottery, and the Nuggets are showing a lot of interest.
NBA Comparison: Richaun Holmes
||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 Heat take Donovan Mitchell: Mitchell has been compared to Dwyane Wade by some, and while it takes a great deal of imagination and optimism to make the connection, not all dreams come true. Mitchell is a hard nosed defender and intense competitor like Wade, but he lacks the same world class size, strength and athleticism. He’s had a strong workout circuit, and could sneak into the lottery if the Heat decide to address the 2-guard position at 14. Harry Giles, Justin Patton and John Collins are other players the Heat are said to be considering.
NBA Comparison: Norman Powell
||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 Blazers take Justin Patton: Portland has a number of picks and can afford to roll the dice on upside with one of their picks. While Patton is just a freshman and will need time, his skill set is intriguing. He did not light it up on his pro day drawing concern over his lack of speed and athleticism. However, there’s a good chance he goes in this range on draft night.
NBA Comparison: Brendan Haywood
||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 Bulls take Jarrett Allen: Allen is a guy whose stock is low in relation to where he was seen after the season and could slide some. He has struggled in workouts and will likely need a lot of time before he can see the floor. But a team like Chicago could look to rebuild their frontcourt with a high upside, long term prospect like Allen.
NBA Comparison: Lorenzen Wright
||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. 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. Then again, Bam is showing some signs that he may be able to develop into more than the traditional big he’s been billed as.
Why the Bucks take Bam Adebayo: Bam has had some very good workouts, even impressing teams with his outside shooting. His medical reports were not the best and some teams could shy away from him because of them. Then again Malcolm Brogdon was flagged by a number of teams as a guy they could not select, and ended up the top rookie in the league last year. Bam will be one of the players that Milwaukee strongly considers at their pick in case Greg Monroe bolts in free agency.
NBA Comparison: Mason Plumlee
||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 Pacers take Kyle Kuzma: Top 20 may seem high for Kyle Kuzma, who is all over the place on team’s boards but possesses a lot of talent. With an aging Thaddeus Young as their current starting PF, Indiana has a need at the position. Despite being nearly 22, Kuzma offers a nice mix of experience and upside as a potential face up four.
||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: The Hawks are a strong possibility for Jackson as the team is said to have a real interest in him and could use a small forward. He is likely to benefit more than anyone from UNC’s title and provides experience and shooting. Jackson is a cerebral small forward who showed that he’s not afraid of the limelight.
NBA Comparison: Rod Higgins
||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. His frame is thin, but he is cerebral and competes hard. He may need some time for his body to fill out, but should find a role in the league with his solid feel for the game.
Why the Blazers take TJ Leaf: Leaf is a player that teams mention as one that has not fared well in workouts and is sliding down draft boards. But he figures to be a face up four that fits into today’s spread-the-floor style perfectly. His toughness and ability to extend his shot remain concerns. With multiple picks, the Blazers can afford to take a guy that likely will need a few years to adapt to the NBA game.
||Ivan Rabb 6-10 220 PF/C California So.||Rabb made a questionable decision to stay in school and without a doubt lost a few spots from where he would have been drafted a year ago. But he’s still probably a first rounder. 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 Thunder take Ivan Rabb: The Cal sophomore seems to be one of the more undervalued players in the draft at this point as there are some questions about whether he was at full strength this season and that some minor injuries (or possibly mono) may have affected his play. The Thunder could look to roll the dice with a higher upside guy like Giles or Wilson, but Rabb would add a very solid, high character player to their frontcourt. Wesley Iwundu is also seen as a possiblity here as a replacement for Andre Roberson.
NBA Comparison: Andrew Nicholson
||Harry Giles 6-10 230 PF/C Duke Fr.||Giles is a wild card 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 to the point where he was not a green room invite. 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 concern.
Why the Nets take Harry Giles: The Nets could target Harry Giles here as they’re desperate to add talent to the weakest roster in the league. Giles representation opted not to share his medical results, which clouds his draft status. Now that the team has moved Brook Lopez, they have space for a guy like Giles. While Giles did not receive a green room invite, there is still a chance he could go as high as 14 to Miami.
||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 6 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. Ferguson figures to be a three and D type of player if he develops.
Why the Raptors take Terrance Ferguson: Toronto’s first order of business this summer will be to attempt to resign Kyle Lowry at a reasonable price. But if they’re unable to do so, they have a couple of young PGs waiting in the wings in Cory Joseph and Delon Wright. Adding another point as insurance such as Jawun Evans or Frank Jackson here is a possibility. Despite limited production, Ferguson drew positive reviews from those around him in Australia. He remains a project due to his body and ball handling, but GM Masai Ujiri loves athletes, and if Ferguson is available, he may be the highest upside athlete on the board.
NBA Comparison: Terrence Ross
||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: Wilson is a hot name having performed well in workouts particularly shooting the ball, showing an improved form. He’s a bit of a late bloomer and has some holes to his game to work through, but teams are high on his potential. He could potentially give a solid Jazz frontcourt further depth.
||Jawun Evans 6-0 185 PG Oklahoma St. So.||A blur with the ball in his hands, Evans ability to push the rock and play somewhat under control at such a high velocity gives him a lot of intrigue. While scouts seem to be spilt down the middle on projecting Evans effectiveness at the next level, the fact that a number of smaller points in the same mold such as Ty Lawson and Kemba Walker have found success, gives him hope.
Why the Magic take Jawun Evans: The Magic may opt for a PG at 6, although we have them selecting Jonathan Isaac. If they indeed take Isaac (or Tatum) they could be looking for a PG at 25 making Jawun Evans or Frank Jackson possibilities. Evans, while undersized, has better scoring ability than current PG Elfrid Payton. Also helping Evans’ first round hopes is the fact that PGs value in today’s NBA seem to have been elevated. Plus after the big five (Fultz, Ball, Fox, Smith Ntilikina), there is a big drop off and teams looking for a PG outside the 10 picks aren’t left with many options.
NBA Comparison: Tyronn Lue
||Isaiah Hartenstein 7-0 250 PF Germany 1998||The son of a pro, who was born in Portland and raised in Germany. He had a solid showing at the Nike Hoop Summit in Portland in April. Hartenstein has been one of the top prospects in his age group and seen as a potential lottery level talent for some time. He struggled some with leg injuries over the past couple seasons and appeared to have put on too much weight at the Hoop Summit, and it seemed to weigh him down and affect his mobility to some degree. Finding a better playing weight and correcting the side spin on his jumpshot could turn him into an effective pro.
Why the Blazers take Isaiah Hartenstein: Hartenstein has been rated much higher than he currently is and could have a lot more upside left to develop. There aren’t a ton of draft and stash worthy players from Europe available this year, and with a number of draft picks, the Blazers could look to take a stash guy with one of their picks. Hartenstein was born in Portland and is familiar with the city, adding further intrigue for the Blazers.
NBA Comparison: Dino Radja
||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 obtained this pick in Tuesday’s D’Angelo Russell trade. While Bell isn’t the most well rounded player, he has made himself a possible first rounder through workouts and play at the end of the season. The Lakers are filling out their backcourt of the future with Ball and possibly Paul George, and could use a rugged front court role player such as Jordan Bell at this point in the draft.
NBA Comparison: Bo Outlaw
||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 Lakers take Wesley Iwundu: The Lakers are one of the teams that are high on Iwundu and could pull the trigger on him here in the late first round. His versatility could work well as a rotation player and the fact that he’s a senior, he should be more ready to contribute and be a positive influence on a young team than some of the other prospects available.
NBA Comparison: Kent Bazemore
||Frank Jackson 6-3 200 PG/SG Duke Fr.||Jackson had an up and down season at Duke, and while he’s a bit of a tweener lacking a true position, his physical attributes and scoring ability will get him a lot of looks in the late first round. He had a strong performance in the first day of the combine, showing the ability to blow by defenders and finish at the rim, as well as a promising outside shooting stroke. Unfortunately he suffered a foot injury after the combine requiring surgery that took him out of workouts and clouded is draft prospects.
Why the Spurs take Frank Jackson: The Spurs got a gem in last year’s draft at the same 29th position with Dajounte Murray miraculously falling to them. It’s unlikely that they will strike gold with the same level of talent this year. Jackson is rumored to have a promise in the first round. With a lot of uncertainty with Parker possibly retiring and Patty Mills free agency, Jackson could provide some insurance behind Murray. Despite having foot surgery that kept him out of workouts, he’s expected back in July.
NBA Comparison: Cory Joseph
||Caleb Swanigan 6-9 250 PF/C Purdue So.||Swanigan was one of the most dominant performers on the college level this season. He’s a brute under the basket showing high level rebounding ability. But on top of the post dominance, he shows excellent ability to drift out to the perimeter and knock down outside shots. Whether he can develop an NBA 3 point shot remains to be seen, but the makings are there. He’s one of those types that defies his athleticism profile with grit and determination. A 7-foot-3 wingspan doesn’t hurt, either.
Why the Jazz take Caleb Swanigan: With two late first rounders, the Jazz might look to trade one of their picks or even take an international here. Swanigan offers a potential rotation guy and would fit the Jazz slower style of play. He may not have the upside o some other players, but if the Jazz were to take a guy like Wilson at 24, a more ready to contribute guy like Swanigan here would make sense.
NBA Comparison: Ike Diogu