With the NBA playoffs heating up and the NBA draft lottery a couple weeks off, we take a second look at the extended mock with team fits factored in.
||Zion Williamson 6-6 280 PF Duke Fr.||Zion is a phenomenon, the likes of which we haven’t seen since LeBron James from a media and fan interest stand point. He made true on all the hype surrounding him, which was not easy to accomplish. He’s not only an athletic specimen, he proved to be incredibly consistent and coachable. He showed noticeable improvement as the season progressed, and even developed some confidence in his perimeter shot. His leaping ability seems to defy physics, and he’s not just an explosive juggernaut. He also shows amazing body control and speed to make adjustments on drives as well as defend smaller guards on the perimeter. His ability to anticipate plays before they happen is one of the keys to his greatness. He also plays with emotion, like Sir Charles, opponents often appear to wilt in his presence. While there are still some wrinkles to his game that need ironing out, he’s got the highest ceiling of anyone in the past few drafts.
Why the Knicks take Zion Williamson: If the Knicks are lucky enough to win the lottery, they would be obligated to take Zion as he is considered one of the best prospects to come into the draft over the past 10 seasons. His dimensions and mobility/athleticism seems to defy physics and he would be the perfect franchise piece to move past the Kristaps Porzingis and Phil Jackson era. Landing the top pick could also help their cause in landing some big name free agents in the offseason.
NBA Comparison: Charles Barkley
||Ja Morant 6-3 175 PG Murray St. So.||
Morant was the biggest breakout star of this year’s NCAA season. Entering the year he was seen as a mid first rounder at best by most talent evaluators. He had made a name for himself around 2018 draft time at the Chris Paul camp. But it was hard to envision him breaking out and becoming such an impactful player, efficient in both scoring and leading the nation in assists, and even drawing some consideration to be the number one overall pick. Morant doesn’t have Zion’s hype, but he deserves all of the recognition that came his way late in the season. Zion may have the higher ceiling, but if staying injury free is factored into the equation, Morant may have the higher floor.
Why the Cavaliers take Ja Morant: Until the lottery actually shakes down, the team drafting here obviously has yet to be determined. Should the Cavs land the pick, they would have a difficult decision to make. Take the best player available and move their best young prospect. Or trade down for a player such as RJ Barrett and pair him with Collin Sexton. While Sexton has been an electrifying scorer and point guard, Morant has a more complete skill set and ability to make those around him better. Many feel that Morant is the superior prospect, but Sexton has already proven it at the NBA level. Would they consider playing both together?
||RJ Barrett 6-7 210 SG Duke Fr.||Barrett was overshadowed on Duke’s team due to Zion’s excellence, but he’s a high level talent in his own right. His game is a bit unorthodox as he doesn’t have a clean shooting form and isn’t the smoothest of athletes. But he has high level competitiveness and a winner’s mentality. He may not have franchise level talent, but don’t bet against him as he’s got a lot of determination, as he proved in leading an undermanned Canada team to the 2017 U19 World Championships Gold Medal. Barrett can get caught up in playing hero ball and over-dribbling trying to create his own looks, but he’s young and still developing his decision making. He’s locked in as a top 5 pick with an excellent chance to be the third pick.
Why the Suns take RJ Barrett: If the Suns were to land the 3rd pick in the lottery, there’s a good chance they would try to make a move to trade up for Ja Morant. The Suns are in desperate need of a point guard and depending where they land, could target Ja Morant, or possibly look to move down a spot or so and target either Coby White or Darius Garland.
||Rui Hachimura 6-8 235 SF/PF Gonzaga Jr.||Rui made a great decision to both attend Gonzaga and not rush the process, allowing his game and confidence to mature over three years in Spokane. He’s a focused, hard working kid who figures to elevate the popularity of basketball in Japan as well as other Asian countries. While his size and skill set is still a bit tweenerish, he plays with such great energy and is developing into a knock down mid range shooter. He should find a spot in the top 10 and can even be a top 5 pick with good workouts. One of the highest character kids in the draft and his development curve seems to be as sharp as anyone’s.
Why the Bulls take Rui Hachimura: The Bulls are in need of talent at nearly every position and Rui gives them a great deal of readiness and upside. He has some versatility that could make him a solid pairing with Lauri Markanen, along with their backcourt including Zach Lavine. The Bulls could also look to go point guard here, but White and Garland may have a difficult time filling the expectations that going fourth would put on them.
||DeAndre Hunter 6-7 225 SF/PF Virginia So.||Hunter is a 3-and-D type. He’s got a strong frame with a massive 7’2 wingspan and really improved as a 3 point shooter in his sophomore year, displaying the ability to hit at a high rate and solid volume. Detractors will point to his lack of an ideal fit, being somewhat stiff as a SF and lacking the height and strength at PF. But in today’s position-less league, he offers a potential mismatch with the ability to defend 4s and knock down three pointers.
Why the Hawks take DeAndre Hunter: Look for the Hawks to focus on taking the best shooter among the top talents available to them at their pick, as Hawks GM Travis Schlenk apparently wants to fill his roster out with shooters. With three first rounders last year, the team took all shooters with their picks. If the Hawks don’t end up moving higher via the lottery, Hunter fits their draft strategy and would be a good fit with the ability to play both forward positions, depending on match ups. It would be interesting to see what the Hawks would do if they end up at the 2 spot, having their franchise PG already in the fold.
||Coby White 6-5 185 PG/SG North Carolina Fr.||White is a lightening quick combo guard who pushes the ball up the floor quickly and also terrorizes defenders off the dribble with his first step. Roy Williams called White the quickest guard that he’s had since Ty Lawson. High praise for a guy that is 3-4 inches bigger than Lawson. White is a solid defender who at 6’4 has the size and speed to play either guard position. He went on a tear mid way though the season and never looked back, becoming one of the deadliest weapons on the college level. His game figures to fit perfectly at the next level, and his competitiveness gives him a chance to be a star.
Why the Wizards take Coby White: .With John Wall’s career at an apparent crossroads, the Wizards could look to find another young point guard to groom for the future, as well as insurance in case the John Wall of old never returns to form following multiple ACL injuries. White is a dynamic scorer with excellent size and speed at the point guard position and gives Washington good value at this area of the draft..
NBA Comparison: Gilbert Arenas
||Jarrett Culver 6-6 195 SG Texas Tech So.||Culver really exploded into a star and a well rounded player as a sophomore. He expanded his skill set in his sophomore year, embracing the role of go-to scorer and offensive team leader. He made huge strides in his ability to create offense for himself, as well as his ability to shoot. He has a strong, physical frame and plays with consistent effort. He went from a great role player, as a freshman, doing the little things to help his team win, to the team’s superstar. He still has a ways to go to as a shooter and NBA shooting guard, and going too high could actually set expectations too high for him. But he’s one of the more talented prospects in this year’s draft after the top 2-3.
Why the Pelicans take Jarrett Culver: New Orleans had one of the league’s top talents and just like when Chris Paul left, it will be a tough blow to absorb for the city. The Brow’s face has literally been larger than life in downtown New Orleans, but the team failed to put the necessary pieces around him, and "That’s All Folks".. Culver had a breakout season, helping Texas tech on an improbable run to the title game. Culver could pair with Jrue Holliday to make an exciting backcourt to build around.
||Darius Garland 6-2 175 PG Vanderbilt Fr.||The son of former NBA point guard Winston Garland, Darius was seen by some as the top PG prospect heading into the season. That was before his injury and Ja Morant (and Coby White) blowing the hinges off the doors. He’s an extremely fast point with great shooting ability and decent size. What he’s missing is what should have been a year of development and college experience, which is more crucial at the point guard position. There are also question marks about his body strength and toughness, particularly coming off a knee injury.
Why the Grizzlies take Darius Garland: Garland could be the eventual replacement for Mike Conley. He’s got some of the same jitterbug speed and scoring ability. Missing most of the season puts him behind some as he may not be ready to run a team for a couple seasons. But that timeline could work, depending on how many seasons Conley sticks around for. Any higher than 8 would be risky for a player with a lot of upside, but a fragile floor coming off an injury, as well.
||Jaxson Hayes 6-11 220 PF/C Texas Fr.||Hayes is the son of long time NFL player and current Bengals tight end coach Jonathan Hayes. With this being a weaker draft, and potential always being at a premium, Hayes has a real shot to go top 10. He’s a bit of a risk to be a guy that takes up an NBA roster spot and develops on a team’s dime before finding his game and being a true contributor on his second contract, and possibly second team. His free throw percentage gives intrigue about his ability to develop his offensive game, but he will need to show more aggressiveness and toughness as he gains weight and experience in order to fulfill his upside.
Why the Hawks take Jaxson Hayes: The Hawks landed this pick by flipping 3 for 5, Luka Doncic for Trae Young in last year’s draft. While the value of this pick isn’t what it might have been, the Hawks could certainly find a talent here. Hayes isn’t exactly a shooter, but he does show some potential to improve in that area, and shot at a decent clip from the line. His ability to develop into a rim protector and his long term potential will get him looks in the 7-12 range, and the Hawks could roll the dice that he can be their bigman of the future.
||Cameron Reddish 6-7 215 SG/SF Duke Fr.||
Reddish’s talent level has never been in question as he’s an NBA athlete with an advanced skill set for his age. The main concerns revolve around his lack of consistency and how infrequently he plays to his abilities. He’s a charismatic kid who will impress in team interviews, but skeptics worry that he may always force coaches to expend energy in order to get him to fully apply himself. Apologists will contend that he was forced to assume the role of a complementary player, unable to fully stand out due to the fact that he wasn’t given the opportunity. But in reality he may be more suited in that role and may have been exposed at a program where he was expected to be the star. He doesn’t appear to be wired to be an alpha dog with ultra competitiveness.
Why the Timberwolves take Cameron Reddish: The Wolves could look to address their point guard position should one of the points fall to them. Reddish potentially offers a best player available at their pick and 10 seems like a steal for him based on preseason projections. Similar to another Timberwolves pick, talent has never been the issue. And while his attributes are somewhat similar to Andrew Wiggins, the Wolves would hope he is a player that just needs an opportunity to shine.
NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay
||Nassir Little 6-6 220 SF North Carolina Fr.||
Little is a borderline freak athlete with a sturdy frame and a 7′ plus foot wingspan. He excels at being an energy player and scores a lot of garbage baskets with his physical gifts. The form on his shot is decent, although his efficiency wasn’t ideal. Little struggled with consistency and didn’t fully live up to expectations. Some feel that was partially due to the short leash that Coach Roy Williams gives to many freshmen. Little can be a top 10 pick if he can impress in workouts, as he did put forward some solid performances at season’s end.
Why the Lakers take Nasir Little: While the Lakers may very well move this pick in an attempt to add talent that fits into LeBron’s window of opportunity, Little gives them excellent upside should they make this selection. He could learn a lot by being around LeBron and seemed to be held back to some degree at UNC. Little would give the Lakers a nice boost of athleticism and versatility off the bench with a high ceiling to develop long term.
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace
||Bruno Fernando 6-10 245 C Maryland So.||The bigman from Angola, Fernando, has a lot of composure and maturity for his age. He’s an above average athlete who is solid in nearly all areas. His footwork stands out, along with his great hands. He’s still developing the confidence to be a go to scorer and lead the team every time out. But he has a lot of determination and passion for the game. His spin moves and offensive skill are very good for a player that picked up the game at 9 years old in Angola, and really didn’t start playing at a high level until moving to the US during high school and playing at both Montverde and IMG Academy. Is he older than he’s listed? Possible, but unlikely as he looked like a 16 year old when he competed for Angola in Duba at the U17 World Championships. And even if he is, is it really a huge concern? He is already a polished player with above average athleticism for the next level.
Why the Hornets take Bruno Fernando: The Hornets continue to search for their bigman of the future. They have had limited success from lotto bigs such as Cody Zeller and Frank Kaminsky in recent years. Fernando has been underrated throughout his sophomore season and some scouts feel he’s the top center prospect available this year. He is an an excellent passer and has a great feel for playing in the post. He would work well along with Kemba Walker and a team that is close to making another playoff appearance.
NBA Comparison: Steven Adams
||Nickeil Alexander-Walker 6-5 205 SG Virginia Tech So.||Alexander-Walker is a highly efficient 2-guard with a smooth offensive game. He knocks down the 3 ball with excellent speed and efficiency, and can also create baskets for himself off the dribble. Adding some legitimate body strength would be very beneficial as he struggles to finish through contact at the rim. But he may just be a guy that will always be on the skinny side, a la Will Barton. He had some solid performances throughout the season, and helped Virginia Tech come very close to upsetting Duke in the NCAA tourney.
Why the Heat take Nickeil Alexander-Walker: The Heat have a solid track record of finding talent in this range, including Bam Adebayo. Alxander-Walker isn’t going to make anyone forget Dwyane Wade, but he could be a steal in the late lottery. He would likely get a lot of playing time as a rookie for the Heat and some scouts actually prefer his upside to Jarrett Culver’s.
NBA Comparison: Spencer Dinwiddie
||Keldon Johnson 6-6 215 SG/SF Kentucky Fr.||Johnson is an athletic wing capable of above the rim finishes as well as a solid offensive skill set. He possesses a lot of determination and leadership for his age. He still needs to become a better ball handler which would allow him to better utilize his athletic gifts as a basket creator. Keldon’s play grew in consistency as the season went along. He’s a bit of a potential pick, but a team willing to wait on his talent could grab him somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery, and be pleased with the results in a few seasons.
Why the Celtics take Keldon Johnson: .With the first of three picks, the Celtics can afford to draft for best player available with their first pick, the sensible approach no matter where a team is drafting, and in the lottery especially. Johnson had an up and down season and he still has some wrinkles to his game to iron out. But with all of the first rounders that GM Danny Ainge has acquired and parlayed into talent on the floor, the Celtics have a solid core and aren’t in great need at any position, giving them the luxury to target value instead of need.
NBA Comparison: Corey Maggette
||Sekou Doumbouya 6-9 230 SF/PF France Intl.||Doumbouya is a talented prospect combining great size and versatility as he excels at ball handling and passing. He gets caught up in making the spectacular play at times and needs to become a better decision maker and more disciplined. He’s a bouncy athlete but in need of American Weight training. He may be as dependent upon landing in the right situation as anyone. With the right coaching he could become a versatile forward in the mold of Boris Diaw. But his skill set shows a lot of promise but remains unrefined.
Why the Pistons take Sekou Doumbouya: Doumboya has top 10 talent but has regressed to some degree over the past season. He struggles with decision making and trying to hard for the spectacular play. Instead of just making the right play. If he lands in the right situation, he could really develop. Detroit has a solid frontcourt and Doumboya would offer solid upside at the SF position.
||KZ Okpala 6-8 195 SG/SF Stanford So.||Okpala was one of the biggest risers among the returning group of NCAA prospects for this year’s draft. He’s a highly skilled wing with the ability to attack the rim with a quick first step and solid ball handling ability. He is more of the lead by example type and will need to work on becoming more vocal, but at just 19 years of age, he has a lot of development in front of him. He was productive in a number of areas with 18 ppg, 6 rpg and 2 apg. He has excellent efficiency, shooting a high clip from 3 along with solid ability to create baskets off the dribble utilizing his quick first step. One legitimate concern is how much the Stanford team has under-performed this season. And the fact that weren’t exactly devoid of talent surrounding KZ. It brings into question Okpala’s impact and why they didn’t have a better record this season.
Why the Magic take KZ Okpala: Orlando has become a scrappy team as they made a nice showing in the playoffs shocking Toronto by beating them in the first game of the series. With Nik Vucivic and Aaron Gordon as their foundation, the team seems to be in position to be a playoff contender for the next few years. Okpala could push Johnathan Isaac for minutes with similar attributes, and potentially a more consistent motor.
||Romeo Langford 6-6 210 SG Indiana Fr.||Romeo is a high level prospect who seems to have perfected the nonchalant look. He’s a smooth athlete and scorer with above average ball skills. He can really handle the ball and create shots for a 2-guard. His outside shooting is still a work in progress as it wasn’t as efficient as one would like. He has a tendency to look as if he’s day dreaming, which doesn’t put NBA talent evaluators at ease regarding his focus and intensity. But he has a chance to be a steal if he falls.
Why the Nets take Romeo Langford: Lacking high picks following the Celtics fleecing, the Nets organization has made shrewd trades and excellent late round picks and have turned a dumpster fire into a dangerous team, with one of the top young nuclei in the league. If only former Sixer GM Brian Colangelo had been so wise to target a chaper commodity and similar player in D’Angelo Russell (who Philly had been extremely high on before the draft) instead of Markelle Fultz. Langford is a bit similar to both Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris Levert, but he offers excellent upside at their pick. The Nets are sitting at a good position to nab an upside player that falls at this pick.
||Bol Bol 7-2 235 C Oregon Fr.||Bol is the 2019 draft’s other Unicorn, with Zion being the first. He is extremely unique and difficult to accurately project or find a good comparison for. Porzingis was establishing himself as one of the game’s great young big men before his injury and off court issues. One thing that appears accurate, aside from the length, shot blocking and outside shooting is that both player’s size make them injury prone. With such extreme length, a lot of pressure is put on their lower legs. Bol is one of the biggest wild cards available, as some even speculated he could challenge to be the number one pick early on. Having missed a great deal of the season, and develop a bit of a questionable work ethic, look for Bol to slide to the mid-to-late first round.
Why the Pacers take Bol Bol: The Pacers have one of the top young teams in the East and they showed how solid they were by not falling apart, despite losing their top player Vic Oladipo for the playoffs. Bol Bol is a risky pick and will probably be better suited in a strong system with mature players. Indiana has a solid frontcourt with Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner and aren’t in desperate need at the position, However they sit at a draft position where the risk versus reward makes sense.
||Charles Bassey 6-10 245 C Western Kentucky Fr.||Bassey had a bit of a slow start to the season but improved as the season rolled along. While not the most fluid of big men, he possesses a strong frame and excellent explosiveness. He showed ability as a shot blocker, rim protector and rebounder and is a focused, competitive and high character kid. He excels when challenged but has shown a tendency to play down to the level of his competition at times, which begs the question of why he and his group chose Western Kentucky. He was among the highest rated prospects in his class throughout high school and figures to be a big sleeper if he falls this far.
Why the Spurs take Charles Bassey: Bassey figures to offer some help to a team right away. He still has some rough edges, but could end up a steal in the late teens, especially if he were to land in a great organization such as the Spurs.
||Goga Bitadze 6-11 250 C Rep. of Georgia Intl.||Bitadze is a tough nosed European center with a great set of skills. Sort of a Marc Gasol lite. Bitadze can really shoot it and has a toughness to him. He’s not the fastest or most athletic player but his skill level and knowledge of the game are advanced. He’s considered one of the few European prospects, along with Doumbouya, with a chance to go in the first round this year.
Why the Celtics take Goga Bitadze: With their second of three picks, Boston could look to take an international big like Bitadze. He’s a skilled big with a great deal of polish for his age, and could offer them the flexibility to bring him over or stash him depending on how he looks in summer league.
NBA Comparison: Nenad Krstic
||Tyler Herro 6-5 200 SG Kentucky Fr.||Herro combines a great feel for the game with elite level shooting ability. He’s a decent athlete that will surprise with his leaping ability at times. He may not have the strongest of frames and will need to focus on getting stronger in order to be more effective driving to the rim. His defense has shown steady improvement, and while he may always struggle with lateral speed, the fact the he could develop into a high level NBA shooter gives him intrigue. He’ll have to polish his ability to move without the ball and setting up open looks, but his shooting stroke is his biggest asset.
Why the Thunder take Tyler Herro: The Thunder’s lack of outside shooting was exposed in their first round, soul snatching match up with Damien Lillard and the Blazers. While Herro certainly isn’t going to solve all of their problems, he does offer a potential knock down shooter to come off the bench and spell Terrence Ferguson. What was once a dynasty with three of the best players of an era, not looks like a team heading no where and the thought of moving loose cannon Russell Westbrook has to be discussed.
||Daniel Gafford 6-10 230 PF/C Arkansas So.||
Gafford is perhaps the most athletic big man available this year. He’s a long, fluid bigman who runs the floor well and uses his length and athleticism well to convert alley oops, put backs and be a menace on the boards. He still needs to add strength to handle more physical players. Today’s emphasis on bigs that can shoot from the perimeter and spread the floor decreases Gafford’s stock to a degree. He lacks ideal touch on his shot, and is more effective scoring on the block.
Why the Celtics take Daniel Gafford: With a third pick in the first round, there’s a good chance the team looks to move one of them, perhaps this pick. Gafford is one of the premiere bigs in this year’s draft from an athleticism standpoint. He struggled to improve as a shooter and the fear it that he may always be a rim runner and rebounder that doesn’t become enough of a scoring threat.
||Brandon Clarke 6-8 215 PF/C Gonzaga Jr.||Clark is too old (22) and small (6’8 with a 6’9 wingspan) to be a first rounder, yet here he is. He’s one of the most explosive players not named Zion in this year’s draft. He also played with incredible energy and drive all season. His work in the offseason, revamping an ugly jumpshot and turning it into a consistent one with decent form in a testament to his dedication. Clark’s ability to play bigger than his size and convert alley oops as well as protect the rim gives him solid intrigue. Whether his game will in fact translate to the next level, despite his age and lack of length remains to be seen. But his quickness, motor and work ethic gives him a real shot to grab a spot in the first round, after such a strong season.
Why the Jazz take Brandon Clarke: The Jazz have a strong, defensive oriented frontline anchored by Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. Clarke would be an athletic compliment to these two with his tremendous energy and ability to rebound and defend. He would offer more NBA readiness than many of the other power forwards available.
NBA Comparison: Larry Nance
||Naz Reid 6-10 250 PC/C LSU Fr.||Reid had a bit of an up and down season. He struggled for much of the early part of the season, adjusting to having lost a great deal of weight and playing with a lighter body. He is a talented kid, but detractors wonder about his motor and whether he is a self starter. There aren’t many bigs with the type of mobility and body that he has that can knock down outside shots the way that he can. He’s also pretty skilled as a ball handler and passer for a big. Whether he has the drive to continue to improve his body and develop his game is the key.
Why the Sixers take Naz Reid: The Sixers hit a home run with their last selection out of LSU, top pick Ben Simmons three drafts ago, and Reid is one of the higher upside guys that is projected to go at the end of the first round. GM Elton Brand has pushed hard to turn assets into productivity, and may have traded away the next Klay Thompson with the Landry Shamet for Tobias Harris trade. While some feel the trade may ultimately work out for both teams, a good rule of thumb is that if Jerry West is inquiring about one of your young talents, respectfully decline.
NBA Comparison: Anthony Mason
||Mfondu Kabengele 6-10 250 PF/C Kentucky So.||Kabengele has excellent basketball genes as his mother is the sister of Dikembe Motumbo. He came off the bench this season for Florida State, and by the end of the year, he was having a huge impact on the team at both ends of the floor. His legs don’t appear to be very sturdy, so how he comes out in medicals will be instrumental in his draft position. His game impressed former Bull standout Horace Grant enough to compare him to himself, so he must be doing something right. He’s a big with a huge wingspan and the ability to face up and knock down shots. He obviously needs to add leg and core strength, but if he’s able to do so, his upside could have his stock much higher than this by draft night.
Why the Blazers take Mfondu Kabengele: The Blazers have one of the top backcourts in the league and appear to have struck gold once again in 2018 with their late first round pick of Anfernee Simons. With the gruesome injury of Jusef Nurkic, and his future uncertain, a big with upside to bolster the Kanter/Collins/Leonard group, and the versatility to slide down to the 4 spot could be in order.
NBA Comparison: Vin Baker
||Louis King 6-8 205 SF Oregon Fr,||With Bol Bol going down with a leg injury just a few weeks into the season, Louis King made the most of the situation. The Ducks made a surprising late season run and even made it to the Sweet Sixteen as a low seed. King will need to convince teams that the maturity question marks surrounding him in high school are no longer a concern.
Why the Cavaliers take Louis King: .The Cavs are in rebuild mode and taking upside guys is the name of the game. King is far from a sure thing, but he’s got a good deal of potential if things fall into place for him. Cleveland could be a good opportunity for him to gain playing time and develop. The Cavs could also look to go big here if they end up getting a wing with their top 5 pick.
NBA Comparison: Patrick McCaw
||PJ Washington 6-8 235 PF Kentucky So.||Washington had a strong sophomore season punctuated by an excellent showing in the NCAA tourney. He’s a versatile four, showing solid ability to handle the ball and pass it. While he lacks ideal height, his huge 7’2.5 wingspan allows him to play bigger. He projects as a solid role player for the next level. While likely not a standout, he can assist a team with some scoring and overall versatility. He proved to be an impact player for one of the elite teams in the nation in his sophomore season, and many are projecting him as a mid first rounder.
Why the Nets take PJ Washington: With their second first round pick, having scooped up Langford at 17, the Nets address their frontcourt with a versatile big in PJ Washington. Washington had an excellent season, and his offensive game has shown solid development. This is a team with a lot of playmakers, and PJ’s versatility would work well on alley oops and on the break.
NBA Comparison: Trey Lyles
||Jordan Nwora 6-7 225 SF Louisville So.||Nwora isn’t the fastest player or more impressive physical specimen, but he’s a solid athlete with an excellent feel for the game and can knock down perimeter shots. He showed solid improvement in his sophomore season, developing into Louisville’s top scorer and offensive focal point. He will surprise with his explosiveness at times, and is a cerebral decision maker. He figures to be a solid role player for the next level due to his dedication and maturity and desire to improve.
Why the Warriors take Jordan Nwora: The Warriors were two picks away from striking gold again with Landry Shamet last year, however the Sixers snatched him up leaving the dubs scrambling to make their pick. Nwora is a sneaky athlete and cerebral player. He became one of the more efficient young players in the ACC this year, and while he lacks ideal speed, his shooting and feel for the game help to make up for it. He would give the Warriors some fire power off the bench with his potential as an outside shooter.
NBA Comparison: Rick Fox
||Matisse Thybulle 6-6 200 SG/SF Wshington Sr.||Thybulle’s supreme length and attention on that end, makes him one of the top defenders in the entire draft. He struggled on the offensive end for much of his career at Washington. But his three point shot finally started to click, giving him excellent 3-D upside. With a 7+ foot wingspan, Matisse has elite defensive potential.
Why the Spurs take Matisse Thybulle: After taking Bassey at 19, the Spurs grab a defensive specialist in Thybulle. Thybulle could potentially give them what Rudy Gay gives them but at a cheaper price during his rookie contract. The Spurs continue to find excellent value in the bottom half of the first round, and this year should be no different.
||Ty Jerome 6-5 200 PG Virginia So,||Jerome is one of the toughest competitors in college. He overcomes his physical shortcomings with great intangibles and competitiveness. He impacts the game with his great passing ability, elevating his teammates and playing a steady and disciplined brand of basketball. A strong showing in the Final Four would be beneficial for his first round chances.
Why the Bucks take Ty Jerome: Jerome could potentially work as an excellent change of pace to starter Eric Bledsoe. The Bucks are coming off a season in which they elevated themselves to the top team in the league under the direction of coach Mike Budenholzen. With their superstar just entering his prime, the Bucks figure to be among the elite teams and a championship contender if they put the right pieces into place. Jerome is a proven winner, with an NCAA championship under his belt. He would work ideally from a chemistry and leadership standpoint.