This year’s shooting guard class is the deepest and has the most parity of any position in the draft. After one, the list of players are all extremely close and have a wide range of opinions regarding them. Here’s ours.
1. Luka Doncic – Real Madrid
I don’t think there’s a basketball player outside of the NBA who had as prolific of a season as Luka Doncic did in 2017-2018. Playing against grown men at just 19 years of age, Doncic lead his team to the 2018 championship and became both the youngest Euroleague MVP and Euroleague Final Four MVP. Possessing high level basketball instincts, Luka is a terrific distributor, who excels in transition as well as creating in the half court. A 6’8” player with his gifts as a distributor, give him 3 position versatility, and still a great deal of upside. Doncic stands a great chance to go top 5, with the ability to help an NBA squad from day one.
2. Jerome Robinson – Boston College
One of the best pure shooters in the 2018 draft class, Robinson proved his ability to hold high shooting percentages while taking a large number of shots per game. Scoring 20.7 ppg as a junior, Robinson bore the brunt of the offensive responsibility for BC and still managed to covert 40% of his shots from beyond the arc. While 6’5” in shoes, he doesn’t have the length or strength many of the two guards in this class have, but he’s an extremely high level shooter with a good head on his shoulders, and could be a great team fit for a squad in need of marksmanship.
3. Zhaire Smith – Texas Tech
Despite being a weak year in terms of shooting guard prospects, I bet few had envisioned Texas Tech freshman, Zhaire Smith, making a case as a lotto contender in 2018 draft. Smith is an elite level athlete who’s massive 6’9.75” wingspan gives him the length to guard two positions at the NBA level. Hauling in 2.2 offensive rebounds per game at the guard spot in college reinforce his nose for the ball, and natural instinct as a ball hawk. Zhaire also showed promise as a shooter by knocking down 45% of his 3 point attempts (although a limited sample size) and hitting 72% from the charity stripe. While one of the more unproven prospects in this draft class, Zhaire Smith has the physicality, athleticism, and intangibles paired with that magic word "upside" to set him firmly in the mix in the late lottery to mid first round.
4. Lonnie Walker – Miami
Another prospect whose name is often associated with the word "upside” is Miami freshman, Lonnie Walker. Lonnie brings a lot of great physical tools to the table as well. His 6’10.25” wingspan is an awesome number for a player just under 6’5”. That number paired with his 40” max vertical leap give him a great physical profile for an NBA shooting guard. Walker is widely viewed as a player with great offensive upside who just didn’t find his rhythm during his freshman campaign. Possessing a high level first step, ball handling, and a scorers mentality, Lonnie Walker fits the bill as a high upside scorer who could potentially hear his name called pretty early on draft night.
5. Donte DiVincenzo – Villanova
After dropping 31 points in the National Championship game a few months ago, Donte DiVincenzo decided to test the waters in the NBA draft. He continued his upward momentum with a great NBA combine, in which he made waves with his 42” max vertical jump and a great all around shooting performance. At 6’4.5” in shoes, and a 6’6” wingspan, DiVincenzo doesn’t have quite the length or size Smith or Walker do, but he’s a high level shooter with a very well rounded floor game, and some really great experience playing in big moment situations.
6. Troy Brown – Oregon
At just under 6’7” with a 6’10.25” wingspan, and an 8’9” standing reach, Troy Brown is one of the biggest shooting guard prospects in this year’s draft class. Brown has a great all around game, which included hauling in 6.2 rebounds per game and dishing out 3.2 assists per contest as a Duck. While not a high level athlete, Brown’s length and size do give him the ability to line up at both the SG and SF spots in the NBA. At just 18 years old, Troy also has a great deal of potential, and his style of play really makes him a guy with the ability to effect the game in just about every stat column.
6. Khyri Thomas – Creighton
Khyri Thomas first drew some attention as a potential NBA defender, and his 6’10.5” wingspan and 8’5” standing reach more than make up for the fact he’s a little undersized at just 6’3.75” in shoes. Solid athletic numbers, including a 10.96 second lane agility further solidify his ability to guard both NBA point and shooting guards. Thomas also has a wonderful shooting stroke and demonstrated the ability to hit above 40% from deep throughout his 3 year college career. Despite being a little bit older player (22) two position defensive versatility and a pure outside stroke will make Khyri Thomas an intriguing option on draft night.
7. Gary Trent Jr.. – Duke
Standing 6’5.75” in shoes and weighing in at a solid 204 pounds at just 19 years old, it’s clear the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree when talking about Gary Trent Jr. Possessing a solid basketball IQ, good fundamentals, as well as a nice shooting touch, Trent looks to be able have the size and shooting ability to play the 2 spot at the next level. Gary shot 40% from deep during his freshman season, and solidified his all around athletic ability in Chicago with a 39.5” max vert, a 2.99 second shuttle run, and a solid 12 reps with 185 pounds on the bench press. The Son of ‘The Shaq of the MAC’ will certainly be in the mix throughout the first round of next week’s draft.
9. Kevin Huerter – Maryland
Tall, gritty, floor spacers usually can find themselves a spot on NBA rosters, and Kevin Huerter is exactly that type of player. Standing 6’7.25” in shoes, and coming off a season in which he nailed 42% of his long range attempts, Huerter’s height and ability to hit deep shots make him an interesting option on draft night. Kevin really as a good feel for the game, and even dished out 3.4 assists per contest as a sophomore. He also displayed a 38” max vertical at the combine, and was a solid defensive player at Maryland who looks to be at least serviceable at the NBA level. He’s currently rehabbing after a surgery to repair torn ligaments on his right hand. To show how deep this year’s shooting guard class is, despite being 9th on this list, Kevin’s considered likely to go in the top 20 by many scouts, with a backstop at 25 with the Lakers.
10. Anfernee Simmons – IMG Academy
Young, and unproven are two things that come to mind when talking about Anfernee Simmons, but so do high upside and elite athleticism. Despite being just 6’3.5” in shoes, Simmons sports a 6’9.25” wingspan and a 41.5” max vertical to make up for his shorter frame. Anfernee has those physical tools, as well as a nice foundation, which includes a promising jumper and good ball handling ability. For teams willing to wait a couple years and develop a raw prospect, Simmons might be the ideal selection, because there’s a lot to like about his future on the court.
Honorable Mention: Jaylen Adams 6-2 190 PG/SG St. Bonaventure Sr., Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman 6-4 190 SG Michigan Sr., Grayson Allen 6-4 200 SG Duke Sr., Rawle Alkins 6-4 220 SG Arizona So., Jaylen Barford 6-2 205 SG Arkansas Sr., Trevon Bluiett 6-5 215 SG Xavier Sr., Bruce Brown 6-5 195 SG Miami So., Donte Clark 6-4 195 SG Texas Southern Sr., Bryant Crawford 6-3 200 PG Wake Forest Jr., Terence Davis 6-4 200 SG Mississippi Jr., Hamidou Diallo 6-5 195 SG Kentucky Fr., Dikembe Dixson 6-7 200 SF Illinois-Chicago Jr., Matthew Fisher-Davis 6-5 185 SG Vanderbilt Sr., Marcus Foster 6-2 215 PG/SG Creighton Sr., Allerik Freeman 6-3 210 SG NC State Sr., Rob Gray 6-1 185 PG/SG Houston Sr., Devon Hall 6-5 205 PG/SG Virginia Sr., Egor Koulechov 6-5 205 SG/SF Florida Sr., JP Macura 6-5 205 SG Xavier Sr., EC Matthews 6-5 200 SG Rhode Island Sr., De'Anthony Melton 6-3 195 PG/SG USC So., Shake Milton 6-6 205 PG/SG SMU Jr., Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk 6-8 210 SG Kansas Sr., Malik Newman 6-4 190 SG Kansas So.