Tables are separated by tiers on my big board.
|2||D’Angelo Russell||Ohio State||19.3|
|17||Cameron Payne||Murray State||20.8|
|24||Jerian Grant||Notre Dame||22.6|
|27||R.J. Hunter||Georgia State||21.6|
|32||Richaun Holmes||Bowling Green||21.6|
|35||J.P. Tokoto||North Carolina||21.7|
|42||Pat Connaughton||Notre Dame||22.5|
|44||Seth Tuttle||Northern Iowa||22.7|
|48||Cedi Osman||Anadolu Efes||20.2|
|55||Branden Dawson||Michigan State||22.3|
|56||Alan Williams||UC Santa Barbara||22.3|
|62||Olivier Hanlan||Boston College||22.3|
|65||Daniel Diez||San Sebastian||22.2|
|66||Tyler Harvey||Eastern Washington||21.9|
|70||Shannon Scott||Ohio State||22.4|
|71||Juan Vaulet||Bahia Blanca||19.2|
|77||Sir’Dominic Pointer||St. John’s||23.1|
|78||Derrick Marks||Boise State||21.7|
|79||Keifer Sykes||Wisconsin-Green Bay||21.4|
-As I’ve made clear in my pieces on them, Towns, Okafor, and Russell are all pretty close in my mind, but all of them are a step above the rest of the field. If Towns and Russell were off the board when the Sixers pick came up I’d either trade down or just draft Okafor, even if he’s not a great fit there, he is a superior enough prospect to Winslow that fit doesn’t justify reaching for Winslow over Okafor.
-I didn’t mean to group Turner, Cauley-Stein, Kaminsky, and Porzingis all right next to each other, but it ended up happening. Winslow, Mudiay, Hezonja, and Johnson are all more well-rounded prospects than the bigs, and I’m more confident in their median outcomes as solid NBA players. The bigs may have slightly higher upsides than Johnson, but the gap isn’t big enough to justify their larger risks.
-Despite the recent hysteria around Porzingis’s workout, I continue to not buy the hype. It’s not that he strikes me as a bust, but instead that he just doesn’t seem like a smart enough basketball player to have a chance at realizing the upside suggested by his physical ability and skills. His shooting is a really high-level skill for his size, but I’m just not sure what else he does at an above-average level. His shot blocking is solid, but his weak frame and mediocre instincts prevent him from profiling as a truly dangerous rim protector. Offensively, if he’s not shooting or dunking the ball his feel for attacking defenders and seeing the floor isn’t good enough for him to profile as a real creator on that end. His skill set of shooting, diving for lobs, and blocking shots can make him a great fit and super valuable player on many NBA teams, but without better defensive instincts or offensive creation ability his ceiling is dramatically hindered relative to the media hype.
-Oubre’s draft “stock” has trended the opposite direction of Kristaps’s according to recent mocks, but critics are being a little too harsh. In today’s NBA, the value of true 3-and-D wings is very high, and while Oubre isn’t a guarantee in either the 3 or the D, he’s in a pretty good place in both areas. His jump shot probably will never be a threatening one, but he can likely hit at a respectable rate. Defensively his length and quickness more than made up for his shaky awareness at the college level, and with some NBA seasoning and work on his defensive fundamentals he could be a very good NBA defender. Additionally, he’s got more handles and feel for finishing around the basket than many other 3-and-D types, so he’s absolutely worth a late lottery selection.
-Delon Wright continues to strike me as the most undervalued prospect in the whole draft. He’s going to be an instant contributor at the NBA level, and whatever team grabs him in the back end of the first round is going to get a steal.
-The Cameron Payne lottery hype isn’t outlandish, but is still a little much for my taste. He’s not an elite shooter or passer, and he’s not a good enough athlete to consistently get in the lane or finish when he’s there. Not being good at making things happen in the paint and probably poor defense are enough to offset his good, but not great, shooting and passing combination. There are a lot of backup guards in the league who can shoot and pass well, defense or being special in one of those areas is what separates guys, and Payne doesn’t look like he distinguishes himself from the pack all that much.
-As of a couple days ago I had Christian Wood 13th, right in front of Delon Wright, sharing the mantle for most underrated potential first rounder. However, in recent mocks he has fallen all the way to the second round because teams are supposedly really concerned with his work ethic and mentality. He’s got poor feel on both ends of the court, and if he doesn’t work hard on his shooting and learning of NBA defense he’s going to struggle to fit in the league. I still really like him as a prospect and think the bad situation at UNLV did him no favors, but the reports are worrisome enough for me to move him down a bit on my overall board.
-Trey Lyles and Devin Booker have both been getting some hype as lottery guys, but I really don’t see it with either of them. Booker looks like a bad prospect in basically every area other than shooting, and catch and shooting alone isn’t enough to make someone a lottery pick. Lyles has the opposite problem of being pretty well rounded, but not really good enough at any one thing to see how he will fit in the NBA. His defense is probably below average, and on offense he’s not a true shooting threat or a finisher at the basket. He’s good making plays on the move, but not good enough to see him having a huge role in the NBA creating in the mid-range areas.
-There have been some reports about Robert Upshaw potentially having heart issues, but recently it seems those medical issues have been cleared. Mocks have had him all over the place recently so I’m not really sure what to think about his off the court stuff, but his exceptional defense and clear role on offense is enough for me to keep him in my late first round.
-After R.J. Hunter at 27 the draft talent takes a real drop, and in the real draft Wood, Wright, and possibly Upshaw are the only clear values to me. Even someone like Vince Hunter, who I have significantly higher than DraftExpress, isn’t an awesome enough prospect that I’ll be confident an NBA team is walking away with a steal.
-Overall, I really like this draft up to 27, but think it is generally pretty weak after that. The lottery and mid-first round sections of this draft both seem very above-average from a historical perspective, but the late first and second rounds are below par. After the top-3 guys, I don’t see a lot of star potential in this class, but it is full of guys who could end up as useful rotation pieces or even high-end starters. Trying to grade draft class strength before a draft is a largely futile exercise, but that would be my guess on how this class ends up looking historically.
-The tier from Jonathan Holmes to Chasson Randle is basically the end of the guys who are worth drafting at the end of the second round. At that point, the draft is a huge guessing game, and maybe one of those guys will pan out, but I have essentially no confidence whatsoever in anyone after Rayvonte Rice at 52.
-In the final tier, Juan Vaulet from Argentina is the one guy I really wish I knew more about. DraftExpress has him in the 90s, but he looks like a real prospect in a limited sample of minutes in Layne’s model, and it would be interesting to watch him and see if he might be someone worth drafting.
I’ll have two more posts up before the draft on Thursday, both being looks at the draft class as a whole. Also, if you don’t follow me on twitter I did a podcast with Coach Daniel talking all draft stuff, and it’s definitely worth checking out.