If you saw my (top 50 prospects) post you likely had some questions.
In the top 10 those questions were likely:
- Why is Fox number 1?
- CALEB SWANIGAN at 3?!?!?
- Jawun Evans top 5???
- Fultz as the 5th point guard???
You probably also asked why Ball wasn’t in the top 10 as well but we’ll get to that later. Let’s get into 1-10 and why I have them where they are.
I went into a bit more detail on the ratings here. The first number is their day-1 rating, second number is their max.
#1. De’Aaron Fox (#1 PG)
Rating: 76 – 93 (Sure Thing)
Key Strengths: Length, Athleticism, Heart, Speed, Activity on defense, Ability to finish at the rim
Weaknesses: Small frame, not a great shooter.
When I look at De’Aaron Fox I can’t help but see Russel Westbrook so it was not surprising when he said he was a huge fan (while adding that he was a Westbrook fan before everybody else jumped on the bandwagon.) He plays with the same intensity and has a strong will to win. He took each of his matchups with Lonzo Ball personal and proceeded to drop 39 on his head on the biggest stage (while holding Lonzo to 10 with 4 turnovers.) That fire and competitiveness will take him a long way.
As for his shooting… When people told me that MKG would develop a jumper I laughed because of how terrible his form was. With Fox his shot is not completely broken. He just needs to take the time to work on it. As it stands he can be a highly effective player without it because of his ability to penetrate and force turnovers to get into the open floor. Because he is an elite competitor I have very few doubts he’ll put in the work to improve his shot. Once he does, the sky is the limit.
#2. Frank Ntilikina (#2 PG)
Rating: 72 – 89 (High Ceiling)
Strengths: Height, Length, Activity on defense, patience with the ball, pick and roll game, Uses his body well despite slight frame.
Weaknesses: Loose with the handle at times, sloppy passes at times, needs to get bigger.
French Frank is an intriguing prospect. I tend to read foreign players well and I feel really good about Frank. I love that he’s 6’5″ with a 7′ + wingspan first of all. In today’s NBA you better be able to guard more than 1 position because of the amount of switching and his length will allow him to do so. I also love his patience with the ball. Young point guards usually have a tendency to get sped up but Frank takes his time and allows plays to develop. He brings a level of maturity that is ahead of his age at the position. I also love that he tries to use his body already. Once he fills out some he’ll be a lot more effective but the fact that he isn’t afraid of contact is also a huge plus.
Because of his length he tends to dribble with the ball a bit wide and needs to tighten it up a bit. Some coaching and growing into his body should help with that. With his passing he definitely telegraphs his passes as well but because of his great pick and roll game I’m willing to call this a growing pain. I don’t think he’s going to come in and light it up right away but give him some time and he should be a very good PG in this league.
#3. Caleb Swanigan (#1 PF)
Rating: 74-88 (Grown Man)
Strengths: Size, Use of his body, 3 point shooting, Post game, Elite Rebounder
Weaknesses: Has to constantly work on his body
Here’s the deepest sleeper in the draft in my opinion. The first thing that struck my mind watching him was that he reminded me of ZBo so to hear him say he thinks he’s a combination of ZBo and Draymond was interesting. He’s a bruising big body in the paint and I was ready to think he’d be solid based on that alone but then I realized he has a deadly 3 point stroke as well. His ability to knock down the outside shot leaves no doubt in my mind he’ll be successful in the league despite the way the game is changing. I think a lot of people look at him as a sophomore and take points away from him but I’m guessing those people don’t realize he graduated from High School a year early so he’s technically a freshman. I love (his story) and I have no doubt he’s going to come in and do whatever he has to do to be successful. I’m curious where he lands on draft day.
#4. Jawun Evans (#3 PG)
Rating: 71-86 (Polished PG)
Strengths: Quick with the ball, Hits the 3, picks his spots and doesn’t try to do too much, nice ball handling, crafty around the basket, great passer, pest on D.
Ah yes, another year another slept on midget. It’s really starting to get old honestly. Last year it was Tyler Ulis. I said that Ulis had starter potential in the right situation and late last year he got an opportunity to prove it. I feel the same way about Evans. He actually reminds me of Chris Paul with the ball in his hands and I love his activity on defense most of all. He is another guy I think can start in this league and hope that he goes to a good situation. I think he’s ready to be a backup on a good team already so his late 1st grade may work out for him.
#5. Dennis Smith (#4 PG)
Rating: 71-86 (Dame-lite)
Strengths: Crazy hops, hard dunker, finishes through contact, has a solid jumper, Can create his own shot
Weaknesses: Not a leader, needs to be coached up.
Dennis Smith is an athlete and he’s going to get buckets in the league. I have no doubt about that but what will he bring to the table as a leader of a team. Right now he looks like a Dame/Kemba type point guard who is going to pace your team as a scorer and only secondarily look to set up teammates. He plays solid defense when he wants to and his size will allow him to check bigger guards despite his lack of length. With the right coaching he should hit his ceiling. His drive and kick game could be deadly.
#6. Jonathan Isaac (#2 PF)
Rating: 68- 86 (High Ceiling)
Strengths: Long, effective perimeter defender, quick hands, rim protector instincts, some handles, Creates his own shot, Rebounds, Active off of the ball.
Weaknesses: Slight frame, still adjusting to his new height. I think he’s 2-3 years away from us knowing what he’ll be.
I see a bit of KG in Jonathan Isaac and because of that I would like to see him play primarily as a 4. He has the length and willingness to rebound and defend the paint and in today’s league he would be the prototypical stretch 4. His ability to play on the perimeter on both ends is key. He will switch the pick and roll without hesitation and can hit a pull up jumper on the other end. I was most impressed with his rebounding with his slight frame. Once he fills out he’ll be a beast.
#7. Donovan Mitchell (#1 SG)
Rating: 72 – 85 (3 and D)
Strengths: Length, Hits open shots, Crafty handles, guards 3 positions, Hustle
Weaknesses: Over penetrates at times. Doesn’t always drive with a purpose.
Donovan Mitchell was the first prospect I thought was being overlooked when I went into my scouting. There was no doubt he was ahead of Monk for me as a 2 guard. I love that he is a defender and I love that he plays hard. I think he can come in and help a team right away. Between his defense and shot making he’s the prototypical 3 and D player. He reminds me of Wesley Mathews and any team could use a guy like this.
#8. Jayson Tatum (#1 SF)
Rating: 71 – 85 (Otto Porter-lite?)
Strengths: Solid Frame, Solid Jumper, Solid Handles, Some post moves, Solid passer, solid Defender, Solid rebounder
Weaknesses: Not very physical, Flat footed on D at times, Slow release on his jumper, Tweener
Jayson Tatum was a bit difficult for me. He is that 3/4 tweener type and I’m not sure how much 4 he’d be able to play in normal lineups. Fortunately for him the league is changing so he may get away with these shortcomings. For those reasons I boosted his rating a bit from where I wanted it to be. Also, he’s not a guy that needs some time to gain weight so he’ll be ready to bang a bit with bigger 3/4’s on day 1.
#9. Markelle Fultz (#5 PG)
Rating: 71-85 (Great Offensive PG)
Strengths: Long, Crafty ball handler, Can Create his own shot, Good court vision
Weaknesses: Lazy on Ball defender, doesn’t work over screens, Loses track of his man on D regularly, Very casual demeanor on both ends.
Fultz is guaranteed to be going to Philly and I actually think that is the perfect fit for him and may increase the likelihood of him reaching his full potential. Playing beside Ben Simmons will allow him some time off the ball so he won’t be stuck having to facilitate the full game. However, watching him play defense is painful. I’m guessing he modeled his defense after James Harden because there is just minimal effort or caring. His man gets him back door constantly, he sags off of shooters, goes under screens or dies on screens altogether. If a coach can get him to focus on D he jumps up there with Fox and potentially above but defense is about desire in my opinion and he doesn’t have it.
#10. Josh Jackson (#2 SF)
Rating: 71 – 84 (MKG +)
Strengths: Explosive, Attacks the rim, Hustles on the glass, Solid jumper, Creates off the dribble, Good passer, Active on D
Weaknesses: Skinny, Slight hitch in his jumper, 56% Free Throw shooter
When I saw Josh Jackson for the first time I was convinced he was a lights out shooter and was probably the best player in the draft. But as I studied him more closely I realized his jumper is not as deadly as I thought. With that said I think he will become what people thought MKG was going to become. His shot is nowhere near as broken as Kidd-Gilchrist’s and he has the same athleticism and aggressiveness.
Hit the links below for the next 15 players plus a few bonus players on Bib’s board. (that doesn’t have a ring to it)