Draft Lead

2020 NBA Draft: Top 5 ACC Prospects

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With college basketball right around the corner, it also means NBA teams will begin to create their draft boards for next year. In the next few weeks as we kick off the college season, we will be breaking down the top five draft prospects from each major conference. In no particular order, here are five of the best draft prospects from the ACC.

1. Tre Jones

A projected first rounder last year, Jones surprised a lot of experts by electing to return to Duke for his sophomore season. The guard from Minnesota was an elite on-ball defender– the key to Duke’s suffocating defense. He was also a very high-level decision maker, averaging 5.3 assists to just 1.5 turnovers. This year, Jones will need to hunt his own shot much more as a veteran on another inexperienced Duke squad. His biggest weakness last season was 3 point shooting, as he shot 26.2% from deep. Look for Jones to build his scoring repertoire, and remain a lockdown defender and elite distributor. Jones looks to be taken in the mid twenties to late lottery, especially if his three ball improves.

 

2. Cole Anthony

Cole Anthony is the highest rated recruit in the ACC this year, as he was the #2 overall prospect in the class of 2019, according to ESPN. With his scoring abilities and off-the-charts athleticism, Anthony is a perfect fit to fill the Coby White-sized hole at UNC. Anthony is an incredibly explosive shot making guard who will hunt his shot. In 30 logged games by RealGM, Anthony averaged 23.7 points on 42.2% shooting from deep. His biggest weakness is he’s very ball dominant. He will need to work on his playmaking and getting his teammates involved while at UNC. Anthony’s talent and athleticism, however, are incredibly advanced and he is almost a lock for a top five selection.

 

3. Matthew Hurt

The #11 recruit coming out of high school, Matthew Hurt has a lot going for him, but also a lot to prove with respect to his draft stock. Hurt has an incredibly smooth stroke that most guards would envy. His footwork on the perimeter allows him to stretch the floor in ways other bigs couldn’t. Many questions revolve around his strength and athleticism. Can he defend bigger and stronger centers? Will he be able to stay with smaller, quicker guards? Can he score inside? Despite these questions, Hurt is still immensely talented, and personally one of my favorite players in the class. If Hurt can show he’s a serviceable defender and can score in the paint, his stock will skyrocket due to his unique shooting ability. Look for Hurt to be taken in the late lottery, and potentially the top ten.

4. Patrick Williams

Williams comes in to Florida State ranked as the 28th highest recruit in the country. Standing at 6 foot 8, Williams is also an incredibly explosive, above-the-rim athlete. Williams is a strong shot maker, and is able to shoot over defenders with his size. He’s a good mid range shooter, and his range stretches past the three point line. Williams is a smart player who doesn’t try to do too much. He is also a willing defender who can slow down opposing ACC players with his combination of size and athleticism. Williams needs to work on his consistency and shot creation in order to warrant a high draft pick. He currently looks to be taken in the late first to early second range.

5. Vernon Carey Jr.

Vernon Carey Jr. is the latest in a long line of highly ranked Duke freshman that will dominate the ACC. Carey is a physical beast who has always displayed strength around the basket and his touch in the paint. Recently, Carey has shown an ability to make shots out to the three point line. Criticisms against Carey are often about his defense. He is known to sometimes take plays off as well as unable to be an effective rim protector. Carey also can become enamored with the perimeter and takes too many jump shots, neglecting his size and powerful build. For Carey to maximize his draft potential, he must become an effective interior defender while showing he’s an efficient three point shooter without spending too much time on the perimeter. Carey should be taken in the late teens to early twenties due to his impressive build and overall talent.

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