The small forward position is seen by most as being the strongest in this year’s NBA draft. With the potential top overall pick (Zaccharie Risacher), and another player with as much long term potential as anybody in the draft and a likely top 10 pick (Cody Williams), plus two other likely lottery picks (Dalton Knecht) and (Ronald Holland), there’s a great deal of talent at the top, not to mention another four likely first rounders, and a few others that are on the bubble.

1. Zaccharie Risacher 6-9 200 SF/PF JL Bourg 2005

Risarcher is not the typical talent that teams look for in a number one pick, but the reality is that this year’s draft just does not have any sure fire superstars. He’s had a bit of an up and down past year and a half since emerging on the draft scene, but his outlook is bright. With that being said, he remains less of a sure bet, but perhaps the best bet for the Atlanta Hawks. What Risacher possesses is elite shooting potential and the chance to become a top level offensive wing, in the mold of a Hedo Turkoglu. His strong finish to the season, and versatility to potential to play multiple positions gives him intrigue. Best case scenario he becomes a multiple year all star and a guy that can be a top 2-3 player on a contender.

2. Cody Williams 6-8 180 SF Colorado Fr.

Williams is actually further ahead of his lottery pick older brother Jalen Williams at the same stage of their careers. Jalen had a similar body type at the same age and actually had inferior efficiency and production statistics playing at Santa Clara as a sophomore than Cody as a freshman. Cody had a lot of hype coming into the season, and there was a considerable backlash when he struggled some with production and injuries. There’s certainly some concern among teams about his toughness, durability and determination. And Williams could fall to the middle or back half of the lottery. However, the talent is clearly there for him to end up among the top players to come out of this draft. He can shoot it, (40% from 3), defend, as well as handle and pass the ball, having played point guard in high school. Landing in the right situation will be important to his development.

3. Dalton Knecht 6-6 210 SG/SF Tennessee Sr.

Knecht was one of the most productive players in the country this season. the Colorado State transfer lit up the SEC, reminding some of a young Mike Miller, with his length and shooting ability. it’s debatable whether Knecht has the talent to be a 1 or 2 for a top NBA team, but he certainly has proven over the past year that he’s comfortable carrying the scoring load and playing on the big stage. If not for the monster season from Zach Edey, Knecht would have likely been the National Player of the Year. There are realistic concerns about his ability to defend, but he will put in the work and effort necessary to be serviceable, His 6’9 wingspan also helps some. Knecht is likely to go in the second half of the lottery, and could end up one of the top players from this draft.

4. Ronald Holland 6-8 195 SF G-League Fr.

Holland entered the season with some first overall pick hype. His season did not confirm that level of talent and he struggled with shooting and turnovers. But as long as the expectations are tempered, there’s intrigue about his potential as a 3-D player, and a guy that plays with a great deal of intensity and desire. Holland figures to be selected somewhere in the mid-late lottery and should be able to contribute immediately on the defensive end and improve over time offensively.

5. KyShawn George 6-8 210 SF Miami Fr.

George is one of the real boom or bust picks for this year’s draft. There’s a lot to like regarding his upside and skill set as a point forward with really enticing passing, ball handling and shooting skills. The high level flashes are a bit sporadic. The problem is that he has not really proven himself at a high level with any volume, having played limited minutes. He’s already 21, and still lacks a great deal of experience. At this point, similar to Lonzo Ball entering the league, he needs a lot of space to get his shot off and will need to work on adjusting his form in order to to speed it up. The skills are very intriguing, but he’s a player that will probably need time and may struggle for a while, which could test the patience of the team that selects him. A candidate to make it with his second team, but too intriguing to pass up in the mid to late first round area.

6. Tristan da Silva 6-9 215 SF/PF Colorado Sr.

da Silva is one of many 23 year olds that are likely to hear their name called in the first round. He’s done well in the pre-draft workouts and is likely to go somewhere in the teens. While not the fastest player, he’s got solid length and could develop into a stretch four at the next level. The Brazilian by way of Bavaria has an athletic and smart family with a father who owns a Brazilian restaurant in Germany, and was formerly a boxer in Brazil, and a brother (Oscar) who was a researcher of stem cell at Stanford, and who is currently playing pro ball in Europe. da Silva brings readiness and versatility, both music to coaches ears.

7. Jaylen Wells 6-8 200 SG/SF Washington St. Jr.

Wells is a big wing with a very intriguing offensive game with his ability to knock down outside shots both off the catch and shoot, as well as off the bounce. Wells 42% three point shooting and 81% FT shows that he can really stroke it and his form is very promising. He also shows some play making ability as a pick and roll facilitator, and has a very smooth floor game. He is 6’6.5 barefoot, and while he doesn’t have a huge wingspan (6’7.25) for his height, he’s got excellent size for a wing. Wells is a player viewed as a likely early second rounder, but don’t be surprised if he ends up hearing his name called on Wednesday as a late first rounder.

8. Pacome Dadiet 6-8 210 SF Ratiopharm Ulm 2005

Dadiet is a young wing with a lot of intrigue as a “connector” type. With a big wingspan and smooth athleticism, he does all the little things to help his team win. He’s got a strong feel for the game for a young player and shows a good deal of promise. The 19 year old is seen as a likely late first round pick and despite being younger, he should be able to help a team right away with his two way play and passing ability. His versatility to guard multiple positions also adds to his intrigue.

9. Johnny Furphy  6-9 190 SG/SF Kansas Fr.

Furphy is much more of a prospect than player at this point. But in a weak draft, he showed enough to feel comfortable about his likelihood of being selected in the first round to keep his name in. He is a decent athlete with good size on the wing. He’s a determined young player that has shown steady improvement and “coachability”. Furphy has a nice shooting touch, with range that should continue to improve over time. His draft range is one of the tougher ones to predict as he could go as high as late lottery or slide to the end of the first round.

10. Justin Edwards 6-7 210 SG/SF Kentucky Fr.

Edwards came into the season as a 5-star recruit, having spent time as the top player in the class, and a projected top 5-10 pick. He really struggled to get on track for the first half of the season. His efficiency numbers and impact was very concerning. As the season progressed, he began to gain confidence and show some of the talent that made him a 5-star recruit. He’s a bouncy lefty who shows a solid ability to knock down mid-range and outside shots. He can impact the game getting out in transition and utilizing his size and athleticism on the break. There’s potential there for him to be a sleeper and find himself at the next level. He’s a likely second rounder, who could surprise, if dropping further than he believes he should lights a fire for him.

Honorable Mention:

Trentyn Flowers 6-8 200 SF/PF Adelaide 36ers, NBL 2005

Following his de committal to Louisville and decision to play in Australia, he had an up and down season. The experiment with him at point guard failed miserably, and sort of set the tone for an inconsistent season for Adelaide. Flowers showed flashes with his high flying finishes (42 inch vertical at combine) and ability to knock down outside shots, but struggled to gain consistent playing time and fully prove himself. Flowers should make for an interesting draft  flyer with talent to develop, if he’s dedicated, for a team in the early to mid-second round.


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