Ell’s Top 15 NBA Draft Prospects
- C Deandre Ayton, Arizona
Deandre Ayton has received comparisons to a few hall of fame Centers, mostly David
Robinson from the Spurs, as he really looked like a man amongst boys, as a new age big man who can score all over the floor while continuing to rebound and block shots at a high level. Teams are only expecting him to get better after only one season of college basketball and the body type and talent to compete now. Ayton can run the floor well and he would be the perfect fit to any team; playing with the confidence to know he is the #1 player, ready to bring instant offense, but teams would like to see him give more effort on the defensive end.
- C Marvin Bagley III, Duke
Marvin Bagley III was already a well-known top prospect before playing for Duke, but Coach K knows how to get more out of his players. Bagley was a physical scorer and double-double machine with good rebound and the ability to score all over the court even out to the 3-pt line. Bagley is the rookie that fans and scouts alike believe has all-star potential and the ability provide instant production with an easy transition, but his inconsistent defense is the main concern. Bagley plays with a high motor and can get in the grove of blocking shots when he’s fully engaged, but he will be expected to do this every night; teams wonder if he will be a better fit at PF because of his range or will you have to play him at Center against slower athletes.
- C Mohamed Bamba, Texas
No player has risen more since the NBA Draft camps than Mo Bamba with his freakishly long wingspan and ability to run the floor like a guard. Bamba’s relentless energy, hustle, and production on the defensive end has drawn comparisons to C Clint Capela from the Rockets, as Bamba was one of the top shot blockers and he can run the floor like a guard and defend outside the paint. His offensive game is improving and he has been working with a shooting coach to help improve his 3-pt consistency, as he did not shoot a very good percentage, but the skill set is there. Sky is the limit for Bamba and it will be interesting to see how high he goes.
- G Luka Doncic, Real Madrid
Luka Doncic is known as the wonder boy of international prospects as he has a solid overall skill set and plays with toughness on the defense end not usually seen by overseas prospects. Doncic has the size to play SG or SF, but may be best used as a big PG where he also sees time and has great court vision, handling, and passing ability. Doncic is a solid shooter and can score from anywhere on the court, as there appears to be no limits to his games, especially offensively. He must prove that he can play against NBA competition and at NBA speed, while continuing to improve defensively, but all of the skills are there for him to be impactful.
- C Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State
Jaren Jackson Jr. is ranked a lot higher on most boards, but he is majority potential based than production based because very rarely played high minutes. Jackson’s defensive awareness and presence is the key that has a lot of teams intrigued, as he is a high volume shot blocker and he has the footwork to step outside the paint to guard smaller/quicker players, as well. Offensively, Jackson earns his points in the paint and mostly at the free throw line, but he is a good shooter and has range out to the 3-pt line, although he doesn’t shoot them often, but it gives teams something to work with. Jackson must limit his own fouls and turnovers, which may have been the key to limiting his minutes. He was a good rebounder and should be even better with extended minutes, but he must find the right coach to help him continue to put his game together. With limited skilled big men in the league, Jackson could be an immediate starter and learn on the fly, if he is on a team that wants him to grow quickly.
- SG/SF Mikal Bridges, Villanova
Mikal Bridges is a two-way wing man who has improved each year, but he finally took a big step offensively in his junior year. Bridges is a prototypical NBA 3 and D player who can bring lockdown defense with a nice offensive touch, as he can score in volumes or knock down the catch and shoot 3, which is a very important skill in the league. Pure shooters are always welcomed in the league and when his shots aren’t falling Bridges has a knack for getting to the free throw line and knocking down his shots. Bridges is not the best passer, but he has shown the ability to do so with limited turnovers and his rebounding can be inconsistent. In the league Bridges may be best fit as a SG, next to a passing PG where he can play good off ball D and get open for 3’s or driving to the basket, but he may be best starting as a sixth man until he adds more weight/strength.
- PG Collin Sexton, Alabama
A lot of scouts have Collin Sexton ranked lowered, but in my opinion he is the best of the PGs, as his best skill is confidence; he loves playing for the crowd and in the clutch. Sexton is a good scorer with a decent 3pt shot, but he is a willing passer who keeps his turnovers down and he is a willing defender and good rebounder. Sexton doesn’t mind taking the big shot, was a one man show, and has a good overall game which makes me think he can come in and contribute immediately; he would best fit next to a combo or even scoring SG to play off giving any team a dynamic backcourt.
- PF/C Wendell Carter Jr., Duke
Wendell Carter is a high energy player who doesn’t mind doing the dirty work and plays a physical defense game. Carter is a solid rebounder and shot blocker who moves well up and down the court, but he needs to stay out of foul trouble. Carter doesn’t shoot 3’s often, but has shown he has range, but offensively he is more of a slasher and a solid passer who knows how to avoid turnovers making the smart play. Bagley clogged the paint so teams believe Carter will have even more to offer as a true Center, but other teams like him in the PF role he played with his ability to pass and the ability to possibly be a stretch 4 with increased shooting.
- F Miles Bridges, Michigan State
Miles Bridges was a very productive college player who showed even more versatility in his sophomore year moving to SF which would be his best position in the league, after playing as more of an undersized PF, which teams are questioning his best fit in the league. There may be questions about where does he fit, but no questions of his talent. He is a solid two-way player who can lockdown your best defender, score, and rebound in bunches. Bridges loves shooting the 3-ball and shoots it with consistency, while also attacking the rim when his shot isn’t falling. He is a very good rebounder from his time spent in the paint and an improving passer. On the defensive end, Bridges does a good job of staying with his man while picking up blocks and steals, but he must become more engaged in the end to be productive in the league. Bridges should be able to contribute immediately with his overall skillset, but finding the right system will be the key to becoming a starter.
- PG Trae Young, Oklahoma
Unlike many names on this list, Trae Young, is a household name and the star that most teams covet, especially with the comparisons to Stephen Curry. Young is an explosive scorer who plays with energy and playmaking ability; however the biggest concerns are his size, shot selection, and high turnovers. Young was relied on to bring the majority of the offense and will not be called upon as much in the league, which most teams hope will improve his offensive efficiency. Young can shoot you into or out of a game and has shown great passing ability which teams need to see more of from a player locked into the PG spot, instead of combo guard spot due to his size, but he is a very efficient rebounder and high motor player.
- F Michael Porter Jr., Missouri
Prior to his injury, Michael Porter Jr. was believed to go as high as #1 and as low as #3, but things have changed. Porter is a lanky SF/PF similar to Kevin Durant with the ability to score from anywhere and use his length to deflect and alter shots, but he must improve his offensive consistency. Porter is a good rebounder and has the ability to step out and play defense on Guards who can’t shoot around him which may be his best asset coming into the league, as more big men are stepping outside the paint on both ends of the floor as a mismatch, but Porter’s footwork must improve. Porter’s biggest weakness has been injuries, as they have even caused him problem during NBA Combine and workouts, but he has all the tools to be a star player when healthy.
- F/C Robert Williams III, Texas A&M
Robert Williams III was dominant on the boards and defensive end which has drawn comparisons to DeAndre Jordan, while he can be a Center in today’s NBA I see him more as a PF because he has shown signs of two-way player. Williams has a nice midrange game and can get to the rim, but needs to improve his free throw shooting; however, he does a nice job limiting his turnovers. As his offensive game grows, Williams will earn his keep doing dirty work and bringing excellent rim protection to any team, but I don’t see him as an immediate starter until he learns to assert himself offensively like he did in the games where the team needed someone to step up. He should start off, as a big man off the bench bringing a defensive presence at the 4 or 5, but he should eventually be a starter, as all the tools are there.
- F Kevin Knox, Kentucky
Kevin Knox has the size, talent, and potential to be a top scorer, but he needs to improve his overall consistency and physical effort (defensively and rebounding). Knox was the go to scorer on a young Kentucky team where chemistry had to be worked out, but he did well in his role showing that he will only get better. Knox can score all over the court and finish strong at the rim, but his passing and rebounding was extremely inconsistent; he must find ways to play off ball when his shot isn’t falling. Knox doesn’t offer any shot blocking skills for his size and will only get the occasional steal, but if he can improve his offensive efficiency he will be a starter by the end of the year, but until then he’s more of a possible sixth man who needs to add weight and improve off-ball play, mostly defensive effort.
- F Keita Bates-Diop, Ohio State
Keita Bates-Diop was a surprise for Ohio State, as he went from role player to standout scorer after missing his junior season to injury, which has led teams to think one year wonder. Bates-Diop is considered to be best fit as a stretch PF in the league where he would be quicker and more athletic, unlike at SF where quicker players might get by him and his lack of handles and passing would get exposed. He is a good rebounder, mid-range scorer, and willing defender who can rack up blocks and steals. Teams want him to improve on his 3pt shooting, but he has shown the ability to knock down 3’s consistently this season, but I believe his mid-range game would make him just as effective as a stretch 4 with some added strength/weight; he could be a consistent bench performer, with starter potential.
- G Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a tall PG from Canada with a long wingspan and a solid two-way game, but he needs to improve his outside shooting and continue to keep his turnovers down; however, his potential and talent is the key like many people in the draft. Gilgeous-Alexander has a knack for getting to the free throw line and he was one of the better perimeter defenders in college basketball. He has an improving passing game that seemed to get better as the year went along, as well as the other aspects of his game, which led people to think he would return for another year, but he has the potential to be a starter, just not immediately.