The Step Back 2020 NBA Draft Big Board: Hayes, Okongwu trending up


As we head into the NCAA Tournament, it’s Killian Hayes and Onyeka Okongwu, not LaMelo Ball and Anthony Edwards, who should be getting number one pick consideration.

We’re approaching the NCAA Tournament, and that means it is time to once again recalibrate our rankings as we focus in on the last real basketball we’re going to see a majority of prospects play this season. The 2020 NBA Draft class is as unsettled as ever, with no clear top overall prospect and players all over the map in terms of potential final drafting spot, but there are finally some prospects crystallizing at the top of the board.

Onyeka Okongwu is certainly the top big in the class, and is a top-two talent. Anthony Edwards, for all his flaws, looks like the only player capable of 20 point per game scoring, and he’s also probably locked into the top five. But we’ve reshuffled the top of our board, with the real star being Killian Hayes, the French point guard who has been lighting up the Bundesliga for the better part of two months and has been one of the few players who has steadily improved throughout the year.

Below, you will find a composite of Jackson Frank and my big boards, breaking our top 60s into five tiers. We disagree on plenty (This is a 73-man board if you include everyone we rank), but are fairly in line on the overall themes of the draft:

— It’s wide open at the top, with seven justifiable number one picks.

— Hayes and Okongwu are not star-level talents, but are probably the only safe bets to be top-three players on good teams.

— Certain players that are highly ranked in the mainstream (James Wiseman, Jaden McDaniels) are likely to disappoint.

— What was once an incredible point guard class is now a class with a bevy of primary ball-handlers best suited for a role off the bench. Underperformance from players like Nico Mannion and Tyrese Maxey, combined with more polished choices like Cassius Winston and Malachi Flynn being undersized, really limits the potential for an influx of primary ball-handlers.

Tier 1

The top tier remains crowded, and it’s shaping up to be a rough year to have a top-two pick. Anthony Edwards, for all his scoring talent, is loaded with flaws, and LaMelo Ball continues to feel like an incredibly risky proposition at one. Killian Hayes and Onyeka Okongwu have been playing like legitimate top-five pick options over the last couple of months, and have separated themselves nearly into a tier of their own for us. And based on how mock drafts from trusted sources are shaping up, that may mean that it’s not so bad for teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks if they get bumped out of the top-four because teams haven’t seemed to realize that these two are the best bets to be rotation players on winning teams.


Killian Hayes PG

Scouting Report

Hayes has a ton of things going for him as a prospect. He produces at every level, doesn’t turn 19 until next July and has made tangible athletic gains over the past year. He’s arguably the smartest and best passer in the class — using manipulation and IQ to torch defenders — has incredible touch, which is encouraging from an outside shooting perspective, and regularly is in the right spots as an off-ball defender. His poor burst and mediocre handle are troubling — the former on both ends, the latter offensively — but Hayes boasts some primary initiator equity and has improved as the year has gone on. In this class, that’s hugely valuable. — Jackson Frank


Onyeka Okongwu C

USC Trojans
USC Trojans /

Scouting Report

There have been few players as dominant as Okongwu this year. His quick leaping and length make him a forceful rim-protector while his lower-body strength and coordination are important traits as a roll man. His ambidextrous finishing touch allows him to be a go-to interior scorer as well. He’ll have to improve his tunnel vision and upper body strength but Okongwu has been nothing short of stellar this year and is a very good prospect. — JF


Anthony Edwards SG

Georgia Bulldogs
Georgia Bulldogs /

Scouting Report

Edwards continues to struggle with efficiency as a college scorer. He still has his moments of outright brilliance as a shot-maker, and he’s still at a healthy 19.6 points per game for the season. But a few duds of late — six points against Texas A&M, a scoreless first half against Kentucky — have combined with the realization that he has significant effort and awareness issues to work through on defense. There’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about Edwards’ translation to the NBA, as he’s the only player in the class who seems to project comfortably as a high-level NBA scorer. But like R.J. Barrett, the question of whether he’s the right type of scorer that you can build a good team around, or if he’s more of a Zach LaVine type, creates a question of how valuable his talent actually will be for a team picking number one.  — Trevor Magnotti


LaMelo Ball SG

Scouting Report

Ball’s season with the Illawarra Hawks in the Australian National Basketball League is over, as he decided to shut things down after a foot injury sidelined him for a month. It’s the third time in four years that Ball has left his team in the middle of a season. While you can argue that his decision was justified — he’s already proven himself enough to get into the top-five pick conversation, so why not rehab the foot and get healthy for the draft — we all know by now the off-court red flags that he comes with, and how this doesn’t help that.

On the court, we’re left with a sample that is off-putting if you look at the numbers, and incredibly encouraging if you watch the film. His shooting numbers are bad, but his form looks fixable. His finishing numbers aren’t great, but he showed the advanced handle required to get to the rim consistently. His passing feel and vision pop off the screen on film even more than his passing numbers do, and his defensive potential looks a lot more diverse than the steals that he generates. The best way to reconcile these things would, of course, have been more film to study. But for now, he looks like a good player to bet on in this class, even if he’s far from the perfect prospect. — TM


Tyrese Maxey PG

Kentucky Wildcats
Kentucky Wildcats /

Scouting Report

Maxey is another heralded freshman guard whose shooting numbers have underwhelmed thus far. But the on-ball defense, quickness and strength continue to be clear pluses. Maxey’s touch — emphasized on floaters and free throws — is far too good for him to struggle all year beyond the arc, though the issue seems to stem from inconsistent arc and lower-body involvement, often leaving his attempts short. There’s enough self-creation and shooting upside to remain intrigued but the ball-handling — he has a high and somewhat loose handle — and lack of defensive playmaking are somewhat troublesome. — JF


Deni Avdija SF

Scouting Report

Avdija is one of the smarter decision-makers in the class, showing the ability to make good reads with the ball and cut off drives with excellent timing. He’s also displayed a very strong scoring package in Israeli League play and youth international competitions, indicating a potential for growth based on his handle and finishing package. Avdija may never hit a Luka Doncic-type ceiling, but he looks like a good bet to be a useful role player on a good team. — TM


Cole Anthony PG

North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina Tar Heels /

Scouting Report

Anthony’s high school and AAU shooting indicators suggest he has the potential to be an elite pull-up shooter. While he’s struggled with decision-making and efficiency this year, he still flashes an array of live dribble shooting, with step-backs and pull-ups. He’ll need to improve his tunnel vision and burst as a driver but Anthony’s shooting and team defense have popped this season. — JF

Tier 2


R.J. Hampton SG

Scouting Report

Prior to his injury, Hampton was having a great month for New Zealand, showcasing the body control and decision-making that could make him an NBA initiator. Once he returned, he struggled, but there’s a reason for optimism that he can develop into a decent scoring two-guard. His ability to get to the rim is enticing, and he continues to make steady improvement in decision-making with the ball. No one has improved as much from the beginning of the season to now as Hampton, and if he continues to make the necessary improvements, he’ll be a sure lottery pick come June. –TM


Devin Vassell SF

Florida State Seminoles
Florida State Seminoles /

Scouting Report

A darling among certain crowds, Vassell is an elite team defender who debuted some off-the-dribble shot-making this year. He lacks the handle and strength to be much of an NBA on-ball creator, though. Nonetheless, the high release point gives him some added scoring versatility while the defense is legitimately special. — JF


Isaac Okoro SF

Auburn Tigers
Auburn Tigers /

Scouting Report

Okoro doesn’t have much offensive upside outside of his handle, which is atypical of a player that you’d normally put in your top tier. If you’re drafting at the top of the NBA Draft, there is an inherent expectation that you want offensive talent first, and players who project as defense-first or defense-only usually come later on. But this draft class is low on sure offensive value, and Okoro isn’t your typical defense-only prospect. Perhaps the smartest perimeter defender in the draft class, with incredible 1-through-5 versatility thanks to upper-tier strength and agility, Okoro looks like a near sure bet to raise the floor of a team’s defense, and his finishing ability and decision-making may allow him to assume a Draymond Green-style role on a good team on offense. Okoro may not ever become a viable offensive player on offense, but he is the best defensive prospect in the class outside of Okongwu, and that value, even on a rebuilding team, is good enough to not drop him beyond here. — TM


Tyrese Haliburton PG

Iowa State Cyclones
Iowa State Cyclones /

Scouting Report

Haliburton is among the nation’s top players this season. He’s arguably the best pure passer in this class, capable of making passes from a variety of angles, has maintained high-level scoring efficiency in a new on-ball role and is a great defensive playmaker with incredible IQ. The issue is much of his offensive upside is shakily translatable to the NBA. Haliburton lacks much explosiveness or strength as a driver and his awkward shooting mechanics leave me doubtful he’s a much of a pull-up shooter at the next level — not to mention that his wrist fracture will likely preclude any shooting in workouts. But despite these issues, he’s a darn good basketball player in a class that lacks them. Tough to drop him much lower. — JF


Kira Lewis PG

Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama Crimson Tide /

Scouting Report

Lewis is the last of the starter-caliber point guard prospects in this class, and while there are questions regarding how his physical tools will translate, he also has the right set of tools to compensate for them. Lewis will struggle to finish early on at a playing weight of 170 pounds, but the best way to compensate for a slight frame is a combination of elite quickness and agility, a quality handle, and good touch, all of which Lewis has. He’s also a useful defensive player for his size and is younger than most of the freshman class despite being midway through his sophomore season. There’s a lot to like here. — TM

Tier 3


Theo Maledon PG

Scouting Report

Maledon’s Euroleague minutes have become incredibly productive lately, and like Hayes, he doesn’t turn 19 until the summer. There’s more credence to the idea that he can cut it as an on-ball playmaker now that he is looking stronger and his pull-up game has improved, and he remains the guard with the best footwork as a driver in the class. The size is always going to be an issue, but Maledon looks like a variant of Darius Garland and probably will look more effective early on due to his comfort with NBA-level game speed. – TM


Patrick Williams PF

Florida State Seminoles
Florida State Seminoles /

Scouting Report

Williams is an upside play thanks to defense that looks ready to contribute at an NBA level and offensive upside as a shooter. Williams doesn’t play starter minutes for Florida State, but he makes the most of his time, running the floor well and showing very solid rim protection ability. He also has shown flashes of ball-handling and shooting potential, hitting 85.7 percent from the free-throw line and taking some transition opportunities to go coast to coast. He has to show that he can continue to do these things more consistently, but right now he looks like a great long-term project for a team to bet on. — TM


Tyrell Terry PG

Stanford Cardinal
Stanford Cardinal /

Scouting Report

Terry is another small point guard, but shows some interesting pick-and-roll scoring ability and pull-up mechanics. He’s also showed some good playmaking bonafides, even if his decision-making is sometimes questionable, especially under pressure. He also hints at some potential as a knock-off Trae Young-style shooter off the dribble, capable of pulling up from beyond 30 feet in transition reliably. If he can continue to take positive steps as a passer as the season progresses, it’s going to be very likely that he not only declares for the draft but is taken seriously as a lottery-level prospect. — TM


Nico Mannion PG

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats /

Scouting Report

After a red-hot start to the season, Mannion has cooled off. Nonetheless, he projects as a valuable pull-up shooter because of a quick gather phase and succinct mechanics, while his passing repertoire and creativity are among the best in this class. Mannion’s lack of burst is an issue for his viability as a lead guard and it also hurts his on-ball defense. Yet he’s displayed high-level off-ball awareness defensively and regularly cuts off drives with his anticipatory skills. There’s a clear avenue to Mannion being a very good NBA player, even if his athletic profile is concerning, though I’d like to see him display more confidence in the pull-up shooting against length or in traffic. — JF


Saddiq Bey SF

Villanova Wildcats
Villanova Wildcats /

Scouting Report

Bey is one of the more atypical skill sets in the class, and that should help him find a way to translate to the next level. A moderate-volume 3-point shooter at 44.7 percent on five attempts per game, Bey also doubles as a bruising post mismatch for guards, able to post even college wings reliably and steamroll his way to the rim. Defensively he’s both an agile perimeter defender and a useful stonewall in the post up to the 4. There’s nothing he does at a truly elite level, but he’s 6-foot-8 and a good inside/out mismatch, and that can earn you a spot in today’s NBA easily. — TM


Obi Toppin PF

Scouting Report

Toppin plays like a stronger Kyle Kuzma, and that is probably his NBA role, as well. A similarly crafty finisher with shooting mechanics that hint at being more than his college percentages suggest, Toppin is tailor-made to be a college scorer, as we’re seeing this season. He also probably has an NBA role as a guy who just consistently finds himself open and can prop up bench units and defensive-oriented units with his scoring in the right spot. The problem is that those opportunities do not always come along. For every Kyle Kuzma who has an impact in that type of role, there’s a Jarell Martin or Jarnell Stokes that can’t crack consistent rotations despite the ability to put up good scoring numbers. The question is whether Toppin can land in a spot that will allow him to make optimal use of his scoring talents by covering for the defensive deficiencies and playmaking that he takes off the table. So while he has more talent than a few guys ahead of him, his role has to be much more tailored to him to work, meaning his probability of sticking long-term is lower. — TM


Josh Green SG

Arizona Wildcats
Arizona Wildcats /

Scouting Report

Green has impressed with his strong frame, instincts and lateral mobility defensively. He struggles to score in the halfcourt but has hinted at some on-the-move passing when attacking from the wing. Pair that with his display of the requisite touch on floaters and from the line to inspire hope as a shooter, and you’re left with a good, 3-and-D forward. — JF


Paul Reed PF

Scouting Report

A tangle of limbs with an outside jumper, Reed is one of the most interesting athletes in the class, as long as he harnesses that athleticism in a more functional way. His ability to use a wide variety of seemingly unworkable shot angles to be an excellent finisher is a very important skill, especially because he doesn’t have great strength. He’s also shown the ability to be a fairly useful rim protector for the weak side, with good instincts and a very good second jump. — TM


Jeremiah Robinson-Earl PF

Villanova Wildcats
Villanova Wildcats /

Scouting Report

Robinson-Earl is a cerebral player with rare fluidity for a big. He’s a heady playmaker in the front-court, has face-up scoring potential and shoots a smooth ball, so it’s easy to expect him to develop from deep in time. He struggles against length inside and that curbs some of his interior scoring but he’s a smart team defender and overall basketball player. Given the right opportunity, he could be plus on both ends. That’s quite the chance in this class. — JF


Xavier Tillman C

Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State Spartans /

Scouting Report

Tillman is the ideal third big man prospect, a good playmaker and screen-setter out of the pick-and-roll, and a capable space defender who is Al Horford-like in his ability to deter shots at the rim without putting up outrageous block numbers. Rarely does Tillman make a bad decision, and that’s more important than his lack of high-level athleticism. He brings a lot of high-level attributes and should be effective as a change of pace big at the next level. — TM


Aaron Nesmith PF

Vanderbilt Commodores
Vanderbilt Commodores /

Scouting Report

Nesmith’s foot injury derails what was an interesting sophomore campaign, as the 6-foot-7 forward had established himself as one of the draft’s better shooting prospects. A solid three-level scorer at the college level, Nesmith’s real NBA utility appears to be in his off-movement shooting — he was hitting 52.2 percent from 3 on an absurd 8.2 attempt per game clip. His footwork and consistent mechanics with shooting off-balance are very promising, and with his touch inside and rebounding ability, he could succeed in a bench scorer role. The question is whether he can really shoulder offensive load reliably at the NBA level, given his relatively poor passing numbers (just 13 assists in 500 minutes this year). Whether this is a John Collins-like role-induced number or a symptom of larger black hole potential remains to be seen. — TM


James Wiseman C

Memphis Tigers
Memphis Tigers /

Scouting Report

The top-ranked recruit of 2019, Wiseman has great size (7-foot-1) and length (7-foot-6 wingspan), which makes him a valuable roll threat in ball-screen actions. Defensively, those same tools help him as a rim-protector but poor discipline and a slow load-up time leave us skeptical of his upside on that end. Pair that with poor touch, passing feel and decision-making, and you’re left with a big man whose best attributes are physical rather than skill-based. Nonetheless, his size is a major asset and mean he should stick around for a while, despite the limitations. — JF

Tier 4


Tyler Bey SF

Colorado Buffaloes
Colorado Buffaloes /

Scouting Report

An advanced stats darling, Bey has established himself as a quality shooter and has some weakside rim protection potential. While Bey’s defensive impact is to a degree system-dependent, his physical tools are certainly promising for him to be able to provide some value as a situational team defender at the next level. — TM


Devon Dotson PG

Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas Jayhawks /

Scouting Report

Dotson’s quickness and decision-making defensively are good skills, but at 6-2, it’s somewhat challenging to see him finding a role in the NBA while not being a good shooter. At just 31.4 percent from 3 this year, Dotson has shown more comfort taking those outside shots, but they aren’t falling. And that’s a big limiting factor for a guy his size, no matter how much utility he has as a passer and defender at the point of attack. — TM


Desmond Bane SG

TCU Horned Frogs
TCU Horned Frogs /

Scouting Report

Long thought of as a competent collegiate defender, Bane has really put on the jets as an offensive playmaker this year, creating the idea that he has enough playmaking juice to settle in as a 3-and-D wing. He’s a Malcolm Brogdon type, capable of playing multiple positions and roles on both ends of the floor, even if he’s probably at a lower skill level. That’s a valuable player even if he’s on the older end of the spectrum. – TM


Tre Jones PG

Duke Blue Devils
Duke Blue Devils /

Scouting Report

A legitimately pestering point-of-attack defender with quick hands, ability to wiggle over screens and make punctual rotations. Some of his defensive value is mitigated entering a league where offensive initiators continue to be bigger guards or wings. Jones also has questions about his jumper and if he’s not much of a scorer, his passing acumen is muted as well. But his jumper isn’t broken, he’s shown newfound confidence and success as a pull-up shooter this year, and the playmaking still has value while the defense is special for a guard. — JF


Aaron Henry SF

Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State Spartans /

Scouting Report

Henry is a 3-and-D forward with some facilitating chops and needs the outside shot to truly deliver value in the NBA. But he’s light on his feet, can finish inside with either hand and is probably a bit more developed as a slasher than Romeo Weems or Josh Green. I’d like to see him improve as a decision-maker, too, as his passing talents are curbed by inconsistent reads. — JF


Killian Tillie PF

Gonzaga Bulldogs Basketball
Gonzaga Bulldogs Basketball /

Scouting Report

A string of injuries have mellowed Tillie’s NBA allure but he remains a great playmaking big man who’s a career 44 percent 3-point shooter with a feathery touch. Tillie moves also moves well on the perimeter for his size and can function as a pick-and-pop or off-movement shooter. Underwhelming strength and length, along with the injuries, are all reasons for pause but he’s a very good player and worth the gamble at this stage. — JF


Scottie Lewis SF

Florida Gators
Florida Gators /

Scouting Report

One of the best on-ball wing defenders in this class, Lewis is an electric lateral athlete capable of shutting down drives. His springy athleticism propels him into help defense situations at the rim, too. But he’s incredibly weak for a big and a maddeningly poor offensive decision-maker. Even so, the defense — along with potential slashing upside offensively — give him value. — JF


Romeo Weems SF

Scouting Report

The third brother in the Henry and Green family, Weems is a great off-ball defender with quick hands, strength and awareness. He flashes instinctive playmaking as well and has a projectable jumper. He’s not a flashy pick but there’s enough to like with his game as it pertains to the NBA. –JF


Jahmi'us Ramsey SG

Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech Red Raiders /

Scouting Report

Ramsey is a bouncy athlete who is shooting 42.3 percent beyond the arc. He displays instinctual off-ball relocation tricks and is improving as a playmaker throughout the season. However, he lacks a downhill burst and still struggles mightily as an off-ball defender. But I’m encouraged by the growth as a passer and believe in his jumper. — JF


Kaleb Wesson C

Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball
Ohio State Buckeyes Basketball /

Scouting Report

Wesson is a good example of why you shouldn’t throw a ton of stock into non-conference play in college with upperclassmen. Built like a mountain, Wesson dominated the first 10-12 games for the Buckeyes and looked like a first-rounder. But against Big Ten competition, we’ve seen him struggle to have the same impact as a passer and shooter from the elbow, and his defense hasn’t been as effective, either. — TM

Tier 5


Myles Powell PG

New Jersey Seton Hall Basketball
New Jersey Seton Hall Basketball /

Scouting Report

Powell is a dynamite pull-up shooter who can hit off-movement jumpers and has great balance and deceleration skills. His passing is inconsistent while the defense can often be brutal at times but he has the potential to be a legitimate off-ball dynamo and works well to create looks for himself off the ball. — JF


Oscar Tshiebwe C

West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia Mountaineers /

Scouting Report

Tshiebwe’s touch around the rim and rim-protection skill despite being undersized is enticing, and there’s hope for him stretching out beyond the 3-point arc given his comfort in the mid-range. If he can shoot, he’s a probable starter-caliber big, and there aren’t many players you can say that about in this class. But he’s also shown underwhelming lateral quickness, and he’s a full-time 5 who stands under 6-foot-9. — TM


Jaden McDaniels SF

Washington Huskies
Washington Huskies /

Scouting Report

McDaniels has the length and pull-up shooting to lull one into thinking he’s a future star. But in terms of functionality, it’s very questionable whether he’s a good enough shooter from outside, or more importantly a strong enough finisher, to have that pull-up shooting be viable. Instead, he’s probably more of a role player type who can whip out the off-dribble game in advantage situations like transition or against bench units. The issue is that teams likely don’t see him that way, and will want him getting reps as a primary — especially if he’s drafted in the lottery. And that might send him down a much less favorable path. — TM


Jared Butler PG

Baylor Bears
Baylor Bears /

Scouting Report

Butler is a shifty off-the-dribble shooter with one of the best handles in the class among this year’s crop of guards. He’s a capable passer and defender as well, likely making him a viable rotation guard in the league for years to come. — JF


Isaiah Joe SG

Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball
Arkansas Razorbacks Basketball /

Scouting Report

Joe has disappointed somewhat this season and his 3-point shooting has regressed from 41.4 percent last year to 36.4 percent now. His true mark likely falls somewhere in the middle as he’s run hot and cold as a free throw shooter, so it’s tough to project him as elite from deep. He can’t score much inside the arc either (42.4 percent on 2s in 1.5 seasons). But he’s a smart team defender, with off-movement shooting upside, who occasionally flashes impressive passing reads, meaning there’s a chance he outperforms his draft slot with improvements as a 2-point scorer, largely reliant on bulking up his 170-pound frame. — JF


Malachi Flynn PG

San Diego State Aztecs Football
San Diego State Aztecs Football /

Scouting Report

Far from the only slight, undersized point guard in the class, Flynn has flown up the draft board as San Diego State has asserted itself as a legitimate national threat. He has pull-up range from 30 feet, and while his mechanics aren’t the best, he has shown value as an off-ball shooter. He’s also shifty enough as a ball-handler to keep defenders off balance and turn the corner in the pick-and-roll, giving faith that he can overcome his athletic deficiencies. — TM


Matthew Hurt PF

Duke Blue Devils
Duke Blue Devils /

Scouting Report

Hurt hasn’t met preseason expectations, but he still looks like a solid shooting prospect at the 4. Hitting 39.6 percent from 3, he’s shown good touch shooting off movement and under pressure. His inside scoring has also improved, and it’s obvious that he’s seen some good strength gains since the beginning of the season. He probably isn’t the one-and-done type that he was thought of coming into the year, but he’s certainly still got an NBA future as a Ryan Anderson-type. — TM


Jalen Smith PF

Maryland Terrapins Basketball
Maryland Terrapins Basketball /

Scouting Report

Bigs who can shoot and protect the rim are always intriguing, and Sticks has proven that he can do both at the college level. He doesn’t have ideal strength for the NBA level, and he’s always been an underwhelming finisher in the pick-and-roll despite displaying pretty good touch elsewhere. That is the big limiting factor for a player who otherwise looks like a perfectly capable plug-and-play bench big. How well he’s able to continue adding strength to his NBA frame will determine whether that shooting and rim protection can really matter. — TM


David Johnson PG

Louisville Cardinals
Louisville Cardinals /

Scouting Report

Johnson’s size and playmaking prowess at the point guard position are incredibly enticing, and he’s certainly an NBA-level passer. He’s the type of long-term project you want to bet on, because his film far outweighs his numbers in terms of where he has room for growth as a scorer. He’s also probably the best point of attack defender behind Dotson this year, and that adds another layer of value. The main hold up? He struggles to create separation off the dribble, and that will greatly limit his passing value at the next level. — TM


Precious Achiuwa PF

Memphis Tigers Football
Memphis Tigers Football /

Scouting Report

Achiuwa’s offensive impact is minimal, but he could legitimately play the 5 at a small forward size, giving him intriguing versatility. He’s best as a play finisher in transition on offense, and whatever upside he has on offense is going to largely depend on how well his handle improves in his first few years in the league. Defensively, however, he could provide some interesting versatility as a very strong rebounder who cuts off drives and contains well on the perimeter. Discipline is his main concern on both ends, but there’s a path to him as a high-end role player if he can play more under control. — TM


Grant Riller PG

Scouting Report

Riller’s ability to push forward and snake through traffic towards the rim is impressive. He’s firmly a below-the-rim player, but his strength and shooting ability is a good combination for him to potentially stick as a backup guard. — TM


Landers Nolley SF

Virginia Tech Hokies
Virginia Tech Hokies /

Scouting Report

Nolley deviates from my typical philosophy of relying on positive traits identified on film first and foremost, but he’s a player who is almost certainly being done a disservice playing out of position as a four at the college level. Nolley has good size to play on the wing at 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, but his skill set is not really made for playing on the elbow, setting screens, and posting up, as Virginia Tech has him do to a large degree. Instead, you look to his outside shooting indicators (6.8 3-point attempts per game, near 80 percent free-throw shooting), and you can see the role for him as a big wing that can shoot off movement. He’s a guy who, despite not looking incredibly dominant at the college level, has an easy path to an NBA role if he’s treated more like a modern wing. — TM


Zeke Nnaji PF

Arizona Wildcats Basketball
Arizona Wildcats Basketball /

Scouting Report

Nnaji is a perfectly capable energy big off the bench, a quality rebounder and finisher who shows the mobility to be useful in the open court. He’s not a great decision-maker, especially as a defender, but his raw athleticism and power will be useful. Guys like Nnaji are a dime a dozen on the fringes of the NBA, but that’s a sign that he’s probably worth drafting because guys with his skill set routinely find roles. — TM


Isaiah Livers SF

Michigan Wolverines
Michigan Wolverines /

Scouting Report

A big wing who can shoot, Livers also uses his frame well to create looks coming around curls and has improved to some degree as an on-ball creator this season. He is not a flashy pick but the shooting and size are a valuable combo at this stage of the draft. — JF


Terrence Shannon SF

Texas Tech Red Raiders
Texas Tech Red Raiders /

Scouting Report

One of my favorite second-round wings of this class, Shannon is a heady cutter, powerful slasher, twitchy and strong on-ball defender and intuitive off-ball defender. He’s a capable passer at the forward position but will need to improve his 3-ball to emerge as a starting-caliber player. There is nothing special about Shannon but his blend of skills and athletic tools are worth betting on. -JF


Leandro Bolmaro PF

Scouting Report

A quality shooting prospect who has also shown craft off the dribble, Bolmaro looks like a nice long-term play as an offense-focused combo forward. The Argentinian has shown consistency as a scorer in the LEB Gold for Barcelona’s junior team and has started to earn ACB minutes as the season has gone on. He needs to add strength to truly have an NBA future, but he’s a pretty good draft and stash option in the second round. — TM


Skylar Mays SF

LSU Tigers
LSU Tigers /

Scouting Report

A strong-chested combo guard, Mays’ NBA impact projects similar to Butler as a ball-handler who can operate pick-and-rolls and score beyond the arc with tenable perimeter defense. Mays plays the passing lanes well and his bulky frame allows him to stymie assignments on the ball. There’s not much upside but Mays feels like a solid reserve wing. — JF


Mamadi Diakite C

Virginia Cavaliers Basketball
Virginia Cavaliers Basketball /

Scouting Report

Another player who can potentially provide some value as a bench scorer as a big man. Diakite has a very well established face-up game, and his handle is one of the best among the big men in the class. He doesn’t get to show the full extent of his skills regularly for Virginia, but there’s some potential that he can become a useful post scorer at the next level. However, he’s not really a good enough defender or passer to really ever have that large of a role. — TM


Keyontae Johnson SF

Florida Gators
Florida Gators /

Scouting Report

Johnson is a very smart and aware team defender who moves his feet well on the perimeter. Offensively, his quick jumping ability, strong frame and straight-line driving project him as a valuable slasher and play finisher. If he can force defenders to close out on his jumper, the slashing potential expands, too. — JF


Vernon Carey Jr. C

Duke Blue Devils
Duke Blue Devils /

Scouting Report

The Duke big man is a traditional low-post center with interior scoring skills and deft touch but is tough to believe in as anything more than a bench spark because of questionable passing feel and shooting potential. Defensively, his slow load-up time as a leaper concerns me with regards to his rim-protecting upside, while his reaction time and lateral mobility are also underwhelming. — JF


Cassius Winston PG

Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State Spartans /

Scouting Report

Winston has proven the ability to finish despite his small frame, and he’s a very capable decision-maker in the mold of many a veteran college point guard of the past. But there are two major issues that could preclude him from finding a Jalen Brunson or Monte Morris type role – his pull-up shooting mechanics, which are slow and sloppy, and his agility, which limits him in creating separation off the pick-and-roll. It’s hard to see how he can be a capable scoring point guard if these two things don’t improve. — TM


Cassius Stanley SG

Duke Blue Devils Basketball
Duke Blue Devils Basketball /

Scouting Report

Stanley is a pogo-stick leaper and bursty slasher whose athletic gifts make him devastating while attacking off the catch and a potentially hounding on-ball defender at times. His shooting indicators suggest he’ll be a credible threat from deep but a lack of on-ball equity and playmaking cap the upside here. — JF


Aleksej Pokushevski PF

Scouting Report

Pokushevski has asserted himself as a high-riser on the international scene this season, averaging 18.7 points per 40 minutes as a four in the HEBA 2 league with Olympiacos’s junior team. The 7-foot big man has good rim-protection instincts and is an impressive vertical athlete, and his jumper off the catch looks pretty promising. He doesn’t look like a functional athlete, so it remains to be seen how well his skills would translate, but he looks like the go-to draft-and-stash option. — TM


Ochai Agbaji SF

Kansas Jayhawks
Kansas Jayhawks /

Scouting Report

The sophomore wing is a skilled downhill slasher with sharp off-ball instincts and intermittent playmaking ability. If the outside jumper translates, he’s a serviceable wing at the next level. — JF


Jon Petty PF

Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama Crimson Tide /

Scouting Report

An excellent shooting prospect at the four, Petty plays a little too out of control on defense to be a real viable prospect. But if he can add strength and learn to settle with the ball in his hands, he can be something. — TM


Naji Marshall SF

Xavier Musketeers Basketball
Xavier Musketeers Basketball /

Scouting Report

Marshall is a good ball-handler for his size and has some useful pull-up mechanics, but he is a mind-numbing decision-maker at times and has never put it together on the defensive end despite good size and athleticism. — TM

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