Continued from the last post we pick up right where we left off with number 11.
You’ll note that numbers 11 and 12 have the same max rating of Josh Jackson but I put players with the same rating in order of their likelihood to hit that number. Let’s get into it.
#11. Justin Patton (#1 C)
Rating: 70 – 84 (Athletic Big)
Key Strengths: Athletic, runs hard, great hands, defends the pick and roll well, A little bit of a jumper, Can put the ball on the floor, some post moves. Some shot blocking.
Weaknesses: Needs to be coached up a bit.
Watching Justin Patton play it’s clear he could be a really good player. He is an athletic center with long arms and good mobility. He is nowhere near a big stiff. In today’s NBA you need big men that move well and that’s exactly what he is. He’s great catching lobs or getting putbacks. Now he is missing one of my keys for big men and that is rebounding. He doesn’t box out and gets pushed around on the glass a bit which is a problem. He has the natural ability to be a great rebounder but needs a coach that will push him to work on the glass. If he get that then he can start in this league on a good team. There is also a question of his attitude as he does allow players to get into his head from time to time as well. Again, good coaching can help with this.
#12. Zach Collins (#3 PF)
Rating: 73 – 84 (Well Rounded Big)
Strengths: Runs well, Athlete, Attacks the rim, Good footwork and timing on D, Rim protection instincts, Solid jump shot, Developing post game, works on the glass
Weaknesses: Needs to get stronger, Doesn’t have great length. Defensive discipline
It was hard to find a picture of Zach where he isn’t beating his chest or screaming. One of the things I love most about him is that he’s a competitor. You’re not going to get a lack of effort out of him. Because he knows he’s not going to jump with everyone he’s developed a great understanding of verticality to help him contest at the rim and despite his slight frame he’s aggressive going to the rim and had 17 And-1’s this season. A lot of people have him pegged as a center but I think he’ll be best at the 4. He’s actually a blend of Zeller and Kaminsky in a sense (I know Hornets fans are dreading picking him). He’s a guy i think can have an immediate impact off the bench. He’ll need to be less jumpy to stay on the court however.
#13. John Collins (#4 PF)
Rating: 67-83 (Athletic Big)
Strengths: Athlete, Great in the pick and roll, Hustles on the glass, decent scoring game
Weaknesses: Has a lot of work to do on Defense.
John Collins is yet another athletic big man and is rated highly because of where the league is going. He doesn’t have a lot of tools defensively but has enough natural gifts to make up for it most of the time. That won’t work for him early on in the league which is why I have his starting point low but if he can be coached up the sleeper potential is there.
#14. Sindarius Thornwell (#2 SG)
Rating: 73-83 (Well Rounded Guard)
Strengths: Length, Defends 3 positions, Hustles on the glass, Looks for contact going to the rim, Some PG skills, some post skills, Versatile scorer.
Weaknesses: Not super athletic. Will his shooting translate to the next level?
Having watched Sindarius for 4 years I may have a slight bias but I also know that I never had to worry about him not showing up in a game. He loves to play defense and knows that’s where his bread will be buttered at the next level. While I think he will be able to knock down his shot at the next level. Even without a consistent jumper he has the ability to put the ball on the floor and score inside with floaters or by drawing fouls. I gave him the 83 assuming he does become an effective shooter. One key piece of his game that is underrated is his passing. There really aren’t many holes in his game and whoever gets him will be lucky. (It’s hard to say as a Mavs fans but I’ve been hoping the Spurs get him.)
#15. Isaiah Hartenstein (#2 C)
Rating: 65 – 83 (Athletic Big)
Strengths: Solid Frame, Can handle the ball, decent jumper, moves his feet on D, Athletic, Finishes strong at the rim, Some shot blocking, good hands, Fiery player.
Weaknesses: Tries to do too much at times. Sometimes a little too fiery.
Hartenstein originally had a higher grade for me but I decided to dial it back a bit. I think he has incredibly high upside. I almost went as far as to say he might be the closest thing to young Dirk minus the ridiculous shooting ability. He’s another athletic big man that runs the floor and should fit well in today’s NBA
#16. Thomas Bryant (#3 C)
Rating: 67 – 82 (Bully)
Strengths: Ridiculous length, Big body, Rebounds, Some shot blocking, Runs, Dunks hard, plays bully ball, Can hit the 3 off the catch
Thomas Bryant is another guy that has a lot of physical gifts. He can be great if he’s given the opportunity to develop. Once he learns how to use his body he’ll be a solid starting center in this league. If he REALLY puts it together he could burst through the ceiling I’ve put on him.
#17. Lonzo Ball (#6 PG)
Rating: 74 – 82 (Facilitator)
Strengths: Tall PG, Sees the whole floor, explosive in space, uses his length vs. smaller guards, rebounds, Passes with both hands, ugly but effective shot
Weaknesses: No mid-range game, Doesn’t have great handles, Can be a swinging gate on D.
Lonzo Ball’s ranking is another one that was likely questionable for most. I do think he can get above where I currently have him if he goes to a team that will allow him to get out in the open floor. When I say he doesn’t have great handles I mean he’s not getting by his man in the half court, and then if he does and gets cut off he has no mid-range game to fall back on. He also struggles with the ball when pressed or simply shies away from it because he can’t get his man off of him with his handle. I love his passing ability and he’ll be able to hit a few jumpers when he has space but his inability to get inside scares me. Then there’s the defense. He got away with letting guys go by him at the previous levels because with his length he can track guys down or poke the ball away from behind but that’s not gonna work as well at the next level. He’s also very soft. I worry that with the target on his back veterans are going to go at him and I’m not sure he has the mentality that’s going to allow him to use that as motivation. We shall see though.
#18. Jarrett Allen (#4 C)
Rating: 65-82 (Project)
Strengths: Huge Hands, Long, Runs well, Athletic, Rim protecting instincts, Active on the glass, Some skill offensively, able to guard the switch well enough
Weaknesses: Skinny, still makes youthful mistakes
Jarrett Allen is the type of guy I would want to stay in school and work on his game. Fortunately the D-League.. I’m sorry, G-League has come a long way and he can get similar experience there but I believe he is at least 2-4 years away from really contributing to a team. With that said his ceiling is high because of his natural gifts. He could definitely start in this league if he fills out well.
#19. Justin Jackson (#3 SF)
Rating: 70-82 (Elite Complimentary Player)
Strengths: Plays with energy, Elite scorer, Plays within the team, Nice jumper, long, solid ball handling, some post moves
Weaknesses: Small Frame, Not enough elite skills to be a star.
Justin Jackson was another player I fell in love with during the tournament. It’s easy to tell when a guy just loves the game and Justin fits into that mold. He loves the game and loves to compete and is willing to do a little bit of a lot of things to get it done for his team. He’s the type of sidekick a star needs and from time to time will be able to pace a team scoring wise as well. His skill-set should allow him to play some small-ball 4 but I’m not sure how much his length is going to make up for his lack of bulk at the next level. I’ll be curious where he ends up as he’s another guy that can contribute as a scorer, at the very least, right away.
#20. Ike Anigbogu (#5 C)
Rating: 62 – 81 (Defense and Rebounding Big)
Strengths: Huge body, Leaper, Big hands, Finishes strong, Shot blocker, good defending in the post, cleans the glass
Ike Anigbogu will land somewhere between Bismack Biyombo and Deandre Jordan. As of today I say closer to Biyombo but he’s only 18 and has plenty of time to grow and develop as a player. He could technically contribute right away but I think he’ll benefit from being given the chance to work out some of the kinks in the G-League at least early in the season. Long term, he’s the type of guy you want beside your stretch 4.
Hit the links below to check out breakdowns for the top 10 players, 21-25 + a few bonus players. Or to check out the full top 50.