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2018 Big Board v 2

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Some slight tweaks to my prospect rankings following the NBA Combine. . .

No changes in the top 5:

1. DeAndre Ayton

2. Luka Doncic

3. Marvin Bagley III

4. Jaren Jackson Jr.

5. Michael Porter Jr.

The first change from my first big board comes in at number 6:

6. Mohamed Bamba

Bamba impressed scouts and executives at the combine. He set a record with a freakish 7’10” wingspan, along with a 9’7.5″ standing reach. His 3pt shot looks surprisingly fluid and greatly increases what his ceiling could be. He’s got me thinking of Joel Embiid, a bit. But he left his biggest mark during the interview portion of the combine. Bamba spoke articulately and answered questions specific to each organization with a confidence that overshadowed his peers.

Bamba is 6th on my prospect rankings – but his ceiling is every bit as high as the 5 guys above him. Don’t be surprised to see Bamba drafted in the top 5.

7. Wendell Carter Jr.

Wendell Carter Jr. rose one spot on my board, as did Bamba. Coming in at just 6’10” in shoes leaves him a little undersized, traditionally, but a 7’4.5″ wingspan more than makes up for it. He has the length to defend at the rim and on the perimeter. Carter’s got the tools to fit right in as a floor-spacing big man at the next level. Remember, he shot 40% from three last year at Duke. And his length and athleticism give him the potential to be great in a switching defensive scheme, which more and more teams look to incorporate these days.

8. Collin Sexton

We now know Collin Sexton is not 6’3″, as he was listed at Alabama. And his wingspan is not near the 7’0″ that had previously been reported. Instead, he measured 6’1.5″ with shoes (6’0.5″ without), with a 6’7.5″ wingspan. Not bad measurements for an NBA point guard, by any means. But given the usual emphasis placed on length when it comes to the Draft, I think this may cause Sexton to fall a bit. Also, not his fault that Bamba and Carter Jr impressed as much as they have. They deserved to rise, more than he deserved to fall. I still love Sexton as a pro prospect, and see several teams near the end of the lottery who should be ecstatic if he falls to them.

9. Trae Young

He’s still the biggest boom-or-bust candidate in this draft. But his potential ceiling is extremely high, and I’ll be shocked if he isn’t a lottery pick. He’s recently been rumored as high as #3 to Atlanta.

No changes for the next four. These players are solidly grouped together. Where they go depends on individual team preference.

10. Mikal Bridges

11. Miles Bridges

12. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

13. Kevin Knox

14. Khyri Thomas

Khyri Thomas had a good combine, and should remain in the draft. His 6’10.5″ wingspan measured out just as teams were hoping. Reminder that Thomas was the Big East Defensive Player of the Year each of the past two seasons. The offensive potential is there, too; but he’s ready to defend in the NBA right away as a rookie.

I have him ranked higher than most sites I’ve seen, but I’m a big fan of this kid. Teams drafting in the early-to-mid teens would be smart to take a serious look at Khyri Thomas.

15. Lonnie Walker IV

Lonnie Walker is built in the same mold of NBA two-guard as Thomas, listed above, and of a current Rookie of the Year candidate, Donovan Mitchell. Walker has an offensive-minded skill set that should transfer better to the NBA game than it did at Miami. He has a lot of upside, but still leaves a lot to question heading into the draft.

16. Troy Brown Jr.

Up two spots on my board, Troy Brown Jr is the beneficiary of others’ stock falling more than anything else. He tested well at the combine, but didn’t do anything to jump off the page and move himself into late lottery contention. Still, he is a solid mid-first round pick and could develop into a legitimate NBA small forward.

17. Robert Williams

Robert Williams stock drops slightly by not being at the combine where others were able to make a name for themselves. But I have a hard time seeing him fall very far. He’s still a potential pick at the back-end of the lottery, especially if the Clippers trade out of 13 or 14 (or if they plan to move on from DeAndre Jordan).

18. Mitchell Robinson

Robinson withdrew from the combine after reportedly receiving a 1st round promise from the Lakers. Rumors have yet to be confirmed, but he must have gotten a guarantee from some team to suddenly opt out like he did. The Lakers don’t pick until 25, and I have a feeling Washington or Milwaukee may be eyeing Robinson in the middle of the first round.

19. Donte DiVincenzo

After seeing his draft stock skyrocket by virtue of his outstanding play in the NCAA Tournament, DiVincenzo still was the biggest riser of the NBA Combine. He measured well for an NBA shooting guard, and tied for the highest vertical leap in the draft at 42″. He also performed very well in 5-on-5 play, and his shot looked just as good as it did in the National Title game.

DiVincenzo had suggested, himself, that he’s looking for a first round guarantee to remain in the draft this year. I believe, he’s gotten one by now (maybe from Boston at 27?). I think he’s a lock to go in the first round, maybe even higher than anyone predicts.

20. Keita Bates-Diop

Keita Bates-Diop has the potential to be one of those late first rounders who ends up having a better rookie season than some lottery picks. He could step in right away, for some teams, and fill a 3 & D wing/forward role that most so desperately need. At 6’8.5″ tall with a 7’3.5″ wingspan, Bates-Diop has the length that NBA teams covet. And after four years at Ohio State, he enters the draft as one of the more conditioned athletes in the class – his body fat %, max vertical, and lateral quickness numbers are all within the acceptable range for most guards.

21. Chandler Hutchison

Chandler Hutchison also withdrew from the combine after receiving a guarantee in the first round. His supposedly came from the Chicago Bulls at pick 22. Hutchison is a real threat to go higher than that, as well. I think San Antonio at 18, Atlanta at 19, and Utah at 21 are all options.

22. Melvin Frazier

The 6’6″ uber-athletic Frazier was already on NBA teams radar, but as a fringe first rounder. Safe to say he changed that perception at the combine. His 40″ vert and 7’1.5″ wingspan caught their attention, impressive strength and agility numbers kept them intrigued, and a dominant 5-on-5 session locked him in as a first round talent.

23. Josh Okogie

Okogie also benefited from a strong showing at the combine, and has since declared that he will sign with an agent and remain in the draft. Another former fringe first rounder who is now a strong bet to go in the mid-to-early 20’s. His 7’0″ wingspan and elite lateral quickness make him an intriguing potential 3&D wing. His 42″ vertical (tied with DiVincenzo for tops at the combine) also stands out.

24. Jontay Porter

Michael Porter Jr’s little brother is making a name for himself. His measurables weren’t off the charts, although he tested a little quicker than I anticipated. He’s shown a versatile offensive skill set, and as one of the youngest players to enter the draft in recent years has a ton of upside. He’ll enter the 2018 season still just 18 years old. He’s a project, for sure, but the potential of what his ceiling could be is worthy of a mid-to-late first round pick.

25. Moritz Wagner

Wagner checks every box, offensively, as a stretch-big man in the league. The question marks with Wagner exist primarily on the defensive end. Can he handle NBA Centers in the paint, and will he be able to hold his own if switched onto a guard out on the perimeter?

The growth he’s shown while at Michigan speaks well of his potential to grow at the next level as well. The success that Lauri Markkanen had during his rookie season also bodes well for Wagner.

26. Gary Trent Jr

Gary Trent Jr. still seems underrated to me. But the guards who are ranked above him have earned their rankings. Trent fared well at the combine, recording a 39.5″ vertical as well as measuring as expected of an NBA two-guard. His NBA lineage still feels like an asset, and he’s one of the better shooters in this entire draft class. In my mind, he is now, at least, firmly ahead of the next player on this list.

27. Zhaire Smith

There is arguably nobody who saw their stock fall more at the combine than Zhaire Smith. Formerly thought to be 6’5.5″, he measured 6’4″ with shoes – 6’2.75″ without. His 41.5″ vertical is still impressive, even if not quite as high as previously rumored. Zhaire is still one of the most explosive leapers in this class, and his 2nd-jump is NBA-caliber.

He falls on my big board also because of the guards who have risen past him. It’s hard to ignore the buzz around DiVincenzo and Okogie coming out of the combine. Smith is still almost certain to go in the first round, but might slip into the 20’s whereas before he was looking like a fringe lottery pick.

28. Dzanan Musa

Still largely enigmatic, Musa has an intriguing offensive skill set that makes him worthy of a late first round draft and stash. But maybe the right organization will be able to bring him over and start developing him right away.

29. De’Anthony Melton

Melton’s stock should rise as he participates in pre-draft workouts. He’s a very talented player, who is probably lower than he should be due to not being able to play at USC last year.

30. Chimezie Metu

Chimezie Metu wasn’t on my first big board, but probably could have been. He has jumped into the back of the first round conversation. Talk of his defensive versatility, paired with his offensive potential, have teams excited about Metu.

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About Preston Dubey

Lifelong basketball fanatic and Bucks' supporter I coach basketball; but I eat, sleep, and breathe the game.

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