College basketball is in full swing, and that means that it’s time to reassess the standing of some prospects in the 2019 NBA Draft class.
As is customary, the first two weeks of the college basketball season have been about adjusting expectations for NBA Draft scouts. The years of high school tape we have on some of the class’s elite talent is now supplemented with the context of how players look against similar talent. Some players are put in new roles that better fit their skills; others have looked overwhelmed or pinned into bad fits for their style of play. We’re learning which freshmen are headed for being one-and-done, and which aren’t, and we’re learning which upperclassmen have taken significant leaps towards putting their names into the draft pool in June.
Granted, most teams have only played three or four games at this point, and outside of a few marquee matchups, a lot of that tape has come against the Stetsons and Portland States of the world. The college season is long, and there’s plenty of time for struggling players to improve and for hot starters to fall off. But so far, we have been able to learn a few good lessons about individual players, and the class as a whole.
Most notably, the class does not look as poor as initially thought. The top of the class looks quite a bit better than it did going in, with Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, and Cameron Reddish all looking like sure top-five picks on what appears to be a flying death machine at Duke. Predictably, there have been some players that have also risen up the board by looking much better than anticipated. Players like Kevin Porter of USC and Darius Garland of Vanderbilt might be giving the lottery more value, and with more cream rising to the top as the season goes on, it looks like the year’s depth problem may have been slightly overstated.
This week is tournament week, with the Thanksgiving holiday meaning that the Maui Invitational, NIT Tip-Off, and Las Vegas Invitational feature quality matchups for almost all of the top prospects. That means that it’s a little early for a full big board update. But for now, here are eight players who are migrating up or down the board, based on their early season play.