Welcome back. It’s that time again. Somehow. The 2020 draft may have happened less than a month ago, concluding an interminable, pandemic-affected news cycle that tested our patience for an entire calendar year. The good news is, that’s over. But the 2021 draft (at least, we hope) should take place in late July or early August, and college basketball is underway (at least, for now). After spending the past couple weeks taking stock of new faces and watching film, this feels like as good a time as ever to release our first Big Board of the season.
Before you get started (unless you’ve already started scrolling down, in which case, whatever), there’s been a lot of talk about the quality of this draft—and while I agree it’s already superior to the 2020 class, I’d reject the thought that there are five or six prospects that would have gone No. 1 had they been eligible a year earlier. Projected No. 1 Cade Cunningham is a superior prospect and likely would have, and you can probably argue for Jalen Green and Evan Mobley over Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman. Beyond that, it’s in the eye of the beholder, but point being, let’s not oversell this. The lottery on whole is a bit deeper, but it’s still full of volatile freshmen getting their sea legs. But I’d certainly venture that based on what we know right now, the market value of a first-round pick in this draft will remain pretty high, with talent continuing to emerge over the next several months. This looks like a pretty exciting draft on paper, and it’s almost definitely more interesting than last year, but it’s a stretch to say this is ’96 all over again.
As usual, the Big Board is a mix of my personal player evals from live viewings and film, in many cases dating back multiple years (including high school in some cases), as well as the feedback and opinions I hear from scouts, executives, and other people around basketball I trust. This is not a mock draft, and we’re not matching these guys with teams, but I hope that in seven months (or whenever the draft is), this will be somewhat representative of the player pool and individual prospects’ ranges. This is meant as more of a primer than anything else. And as always, taking stock of the draft is a fluid, subjective process.
1. Cade Cunningham, PG, Oklahoma State
Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Freshman
While it’s too early to 100% guarantee Cunningham ends up as the No. 1 pick, based on everything I’ve seen him do in various settings over the past 18 months, he should inspire as much confidence as any top prospect in some time. I have little doubt he’ll hold down the No. 1 spot on this board from now until whenever the draft actually takes place. Cunningham’s plus-plus size, sublime basketball IQ, mature shot selection, ambidextrous, visionary passing and strong defensive chops make him as well-rounded a teenage guard prospect as you’ll find. He checks the right boxes off the floor, and is well-suited to assume leadership of a winning team early in his career. The Luka Doncic comparisons are obviously unfair—the Mavericks star is a generational, MVP-caliber player at age 21—but the fiber of Cunningham’s game is not dissimilar. He’s not an explosive athlete in tight spaces, but his internal clock and ability to process gameflow in the moment surpasses that of any college freshman in the past decade, at least. There is obvious All-Star potential here, with the worst-case floor being a highly capable starting guard. He’s in a class by himself atop this draft.
Cunningham is not perfect, and there are a couple contextual caveats to keep in mind as his season unfolds at Oklahoma State. So far, his assist totals have been modest, a byproduct of a somewhat limited team around him and the fact opponents are already defending him like a superstar, throwing bodies in his way, determined to let pretty much any other player beat them. His raw counting stats may not look quite as gaudy as you might expect based off reputation four months from now. Cunningham’s handle can get a little loose under pressure, and smaller guards have historically had a degree of success trapping and getting into his body. He occasionally struggles to finish inside against bigs. These are things he should be able to clean up; at this stage, he’ll inevitably be nitpicked. All that really matters is his skill level continuing to rise over time—he’s not an elite athlete, but he’s big, strong and quick enough to compensate. Cunningham’s overall profile is hard to argue with, and right now he’s the only player in the draft I’d feel totally comfortable staking a franchise to. Enjoy his time in college while you can.
2. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC
Height: 7‘ 0″ | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Mobley is almost certain to be the first big off the board in this draft, gifted with impactful length (he’s measured with a 7’4” wingspan) and timing as a shot-blocker and a budding face-up game. He’s the galvanizing force for an otherwise underwhelming USC team, and his ability to wipe away a segment of the floor as a mobile rim protector has been a pretty big equalizer at the college level so far. Mobley is also a plus passer and ball-handler at his size and has some basic shooting ability, giving him some extra perimeter value operating as a screener and eventually, as a secondary playmaker. He’s athletic but not crazy explosive, and needs to add more strength to his narrow frame, but rarely do you find gifted rim-protecting prospects with such projectable offensive versatility. That’s going to be the crux of Mobley’s case. His early play has eased some of the concerns I had coming into the season about his motor and level of care—while Mobley has more of an introverted presence on the floor, he’s been engaged more often than not in the earlygoing, and made a tangible impact on winning while involving himself in gameflow. His play was up and down as a high school senior, which saw him cede the top spot in most recruiting rankings, but at the end of the day, Mobley fits the bill as a top-five prospect. And as recent drafts have shown, the changing nature of the center position isn’t stopping NBA teams from investing in high-ceiling bigs anytime soon.
3. Jalen Green, SG, G League Ignite
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 180 | Age: 18
For now, Green’s athletic gifts and physical profile set him apart from a number of gifted scoring prospects in this draft. He boasts a terrific frame, quick-twitch burst, and the ability to consistently create separation and generate open looks for himself. Some of his bad high school habits manifested as a result, and he’s often been a little too in love with his jumper and less effective than you’d hope operating in traffic. His handle and shooting need to keep improving. Green did show some positive signs during his senior year, with flashes of strong passing ability and secondary playmaking potential. He has the balance and lateral quickness to be a strong perimeter defender. He’s still a streaky shooter, and refining his decision-making away from hero ball and toward a team concept will be crucial. His time with the G League program, playing alongside veterans and gifted peers, should hopefully excise some of those issues. If everything clicks, he may be the type of scorer to which you can hitch a winning offense. There’s really not much holding Green back besides himself at this point, and he appears ticketed for a top-five selection one way or another.
4. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite
Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
A native of Congo, Kuminga has been a somewhat elusive player to scout over the past year, with scheduled appearances at various events often scuttled by injury and unavailability. Whether or not teams will be able to get a better handle on him through the G League program remains to be seen, but his frame and physical tools are as good as any player in this draft, and last I saw him, his ball skills were trending upward. His long-term success is largely tied to the progress of his jump shot, but as a strong, explosive combo forward who can handle and playmake, Kuminga offers quite a bit to work with. His chiseled frame and ability to get into the paint and finish off one or two dribbles are strong selling points, and he’s worked hard on his perimeter game over the past couple years. On the other hand, his tendency to play bully-ball rather than beat defenders with skill does raise some concern about translation, and stresses a need to improve his handle (and for scouts to carefully assess his level of feel). He might be best suited at power forward in the NBA, where he could theoretically space the floor, create athletic mismatches and switch defensively. Kuminga may be a less fully-realized player than some of his peers, but he’s come a long way in a relatively short period of time. He’ll need to win teams over in the next few months, but his ceiling should be extremely attractive.
5. Jalen Suggs, G, Gonzaga
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Freshman
No player has used the first few weeks of college games to his advantage more than Suggs, who was generally viewed as more of a back-half lottery talent and is certainly trending up. It’s only December, and Suggs has benefitted from a favorable team context, but his all-around athletic package and improved floor game have shone through in the earlygoing. He plays with impressive burst off the dribble, finishes capably at the rim, and has passed the ball even better than advertised, looking like someone who can handle point guard duties and turning his combo-guard label into a positive. Suggs isn’t particularly long, but he’s laterally agile and covers ground quickly from a standstill, making him an obvious plus on the defensive end and in transition, where he loves to advance the ball with the pass. Teams will track the progress of his jumper closely — he’s looked a bit better mechanically, but he’s looked like an inconsistent shooter in the past, and has room to improve creating off the dribble. But it’s hard to be too critical of anything Suggs has done so far, and even if he’s more hyper-athletic utility guard than high-usage playmaker, there’s plenty to like. His fearlessness and competitive engine are an added bonus, and point to a reliable floor.
6. Brandon Boston, SG, Kentucky
Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Scoring has always come naturally to Boston, and he’s unsurprisingly assumed a leading role at Kentucky. Boston is a shifty ballhandler who can create his own shot effectively off the dribble, and he finishes plays and carries himself with a degree of toughness you don’t always see in players with his body type. His ability to change speeds and direction makes him a tough cover in space, and he’s sneakily explosive off of one foot. That stuff should all translate up a level, but the shot needs to start falling, and the early results have been iffy, with Kentucky struggling as a team as well. How highly he’s drafted will hinge to some extent on how much progress he makes as a shooter, and how much he can expand his game beyond scoring. Boston’s playmaking is an area of some concern, as he’s never been a particularly creative passer, and will need to start making his teammates better to make the most of a high-usage role. But Boston isn’t a one-note player, either, as a willing rebounder and competent defender with a good level of anticipation and effort. Kentucky will need him at his best to turn things around.
7. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Freshman
It became clear coming into the season that Johnson would need to shoulder the load for Duke’s group to fulfill its potential. Prospects with his combination of body type and skill set are few and far between, and rarely last long on draft night. Johnson is an exceptional passer and is at his best playing in transition, where his vision, strength and ability to change speeds make him difficult to stop. He’s a strong defensive rebounder and initiates the break comfortably. There aren’t many athletes his size at any level with the same caliber of creativity as a playmaker, and if he can begin to make it work more effectively in the halfcourt, where he plays more away from the ball, all the better. Johnson’s jumper has never been a strength and remains a key to fully unlocking his ability, but at a glance, his shot does look a bit better mechanically than it has in the past. Defenders will start to sag off if Johnson can’t keep them honest, but his sheer size is a major equalizer that should allow him to get into the paint and create for others effectively. When he’s fully engaged, Johnson tends to impact gameflow positively with small, intelligent plays on both ends of the floor. NBA teams have expressed maturity concerns in the past, but a strong year at Duke would go a long way.
8. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 19 | Freshman
It’s not totally unfair to posit that Barnes is the closest any prospect has come to fitting the Draymond Green mold, from his unique defensive versatility, intelligence and playmaking skills down to his iffy jump shot. With great size and agility and elite length (his wingspan has previously measured at 7’2”), Barnes is a one-man pick-and-roll defense at the college level, capable of switching onto guards and wings or battling with bigs under the rim. While his shooting is likely to be an impediment to some extent, his ability to handle the ball and make plays for teammates should allow for creative offensive deployment that masks some of his weaknesses. Barnes isn’t an elite run-jump athlete, but he’s strong, coordinated, and his basketball IQ is off the charts. He’s matured a lot over the past couple years and learned to channel his competitiveness, and it’s easy to see NBA decision-makers falling in love with him pretty quickly. Barnes is one of the more unique prospects in the draft, and should be fully-showcased at Florida State in a more obvious way than lottery-level predecessors Patrick Williams and Devin Vassell. He’s a more polished player than both at the same stage.
9. Ziaire Williams, G/F, Stanford
Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Williams appeared ready for a full breakout after a stellar game against Alabama at this season’s Maui Invitational, but has fallen back to earth since, pointing to the consistency issues that have held him back a bit to this point. Williams has made nice strides with his shooting mechanics in the past year, and looks every bit of a reliable, dangerous pull-up threat with the height to get his release off mostly unfettered at all times, but he runs hot and cold. His overall floor game is sound—he’s an underrated passer, understands how to be effective without dominating the ball, and has shown solid awareness on the defensive end, where his size and length are a plus. The primary concern right now is Williams’ inability (or unwillingness) to attack the paint in the halfcourt, which is a function of a few things—a somewhat loose handle, a lack of vertical explosiveness and physical strength, and his tendency to settle for jumpers. He’s such a good mid-range shooter that it’s a bit less problematic, but it’s pretty difficult to be an elite-level scorer in the NBA without drawing fouls (he’s shot just two free throws in three games) and putting pressure on the rim. These issues predate his time in college, and will ultimately be a crucial piece of the eval for teams. Struggles aside, he’s a lottery-level talent.
10. Daishen Nix, PG, G League Ignite
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 19
For the most part, NBA teams are a bit less familiar with Nix than some of the other elite prospects at this stage, as he didn’t play on the shoe circuit, didn’t take part in USA Basketball until 2019, and McDonald’s All-American week was cancelled. His decision to join the G League Ignite program rather than attend UCLA added another layer of complexity to the eval. But Nix has a chance to really solidify lottery status as scouts are eventually allowed more access to him, boasting great positional size, immense feel and competitive tendencies, and high-end passing skills and vision. He’s built thickly for a point guard yet isn’t physically dominant, but Nix has unusually nimble feet and quick hands that give him an advantage creating off the dribble as well as defending the perimeter. He processes the floor at a high level already, delivering accurate passes with both hands from different spots on the floor. His finishing at the rim and his jumper have to improve a bit—mechanically, he’s more of a set shooter—but Nix has all the makings of a starting-caliber point guard. He should be the second one off the board in this draft if all goes well from here.
11. Keon Johnson, SG, Tennessee
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 19 | Freshman
With COVID-19 complications having delayed the start of Tennessee’s season Johnson has yet to actually appear in a college game. He’ll debut with high expectations, after fully breaking out at USA Basketball last summer, showcasing a gritty, versatile game and making an impact on both ends. Johnson is a highly disruptive defender, with elite acceleration, instincts and hands that allow him to fly around and insert himself in plays. He’s the type of player who doesn’t need heavy touches to be valuable, and excels more in transition, where his athleticism and smarts become evident, than in halfcourt situations, where his weaknesses crop up a bit more. Johnson lacks a true calling-card skill on offense at this point, but he’s an exceptional leaper who can play above the rim and slash downhill, despite the lack of an advanced handle. His jumper has historically been inconsistent, and he’s not huge for a wing—he’s best suited as an off-ball player, and whatever progress he makes in that area will be critical. Still, his athleticism, feel and overall profile are highly promising, and a breakout season would likely solidify him as a lottery pick.
12. Usman Garuba, F/C, Real Madrid (Spain)
Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 230 | Age: 18
Garuba has earned a rotation role with Real Madrid as a teenager based on the strength of his outstanding athleticism, defensive versatility, mature frame, and advanced understanding of his role. Born in Spain to Nigerian parents, Garuba has been in Real Madrid’s program from an early age and has become a decorated youth player for Spain’s national team. As a result of being on the European fast-track, he’s been on the NBA’s radar for some time. Garuba has shown dynamic ability as as a rim protector and switchable defender, possessing unusual degrees of lateral movement, change of direction and vertical explosiveness. Offensively, he’s a solid finisher and plus passer, but concerns surrounding his jump shot, overall skill level, and that he may have been an early-bloomer. Regardless, he has a chance to anchor lineups defensively and add value as a rim-runner and roller. He’s regarded as the top international prospect in this group, and if he can answer some of the offensive questions this season, he’ll have a good shot at the lottery.
13. James Bouknight, SG, UConn
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
The top returning college prospect on our list, Bouknight has shown positive growth in the earlygoing and is on his way to affirming himself as a first-rounder. While he mostly flew under the radar from a draft perspective, he begin breaking out toward the end of last season and was drawing interest from NBA execs who paid careful attention before he decided to return to UConn. At this rate, he won’t be there much longer. Bouknight is an athletic slasher with a solid jump shot, and couples a nice all-around skill set with deliberate decision-making and demonstrable effort at all times. He’ll have to keep improving his handle and working on getting separation when creating shots for himself, but there aren’t many pronounced holes in his game. Bouknight manages to be high-volume without being selfish or ball-dominant, and has an advanced understanding of how to pick his spots and limit mistakes. There’s a lot to like here, and he should become a more popular name in league circles in the coming weeks.
14. Day’Ron Sharpe, C, North Carolina
Height: 6′ 11″ | Weight: 265 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Although Sharpe has been coming off the bench to start the season, he’s pretty clearly North Carolina’s best player right now, and has begun building a case as their most intriguing prospect. Sharpe is skilled and productive enough to break the stigma surrounding traditional centers. He’s incredibly active and involves himself in almost every facet of play, using his length and soft hands to rebound and block shots, and impressive passing vision to link possessions together and deliver assists. The Tar Heels are simply a better team when Sharpe is on the floor, and while he’s played just 45% of available minutes so far, that number should probably trend up. Sharpe isn’t a jump shooter, but has plenty else going for him right now, and that may come with time. It’s difficult to find bigs with his type of motor, skill, tools, and low-maintenance approach all rolled together, and it all adds up into what should be a starting-caliber package at the NBA level. For the sake of all parties, let’s hope Roy Williams starts to play him more.
15. Caleb Love, G, North Carolina
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Love was the higher-touted North Carolina freshman coming into the season, but has struggled majorly out of the gate, making just 34% of his twos and shooting 3-for-19 from three through four games. Granted, it’s a small sample size, and he’s adjusting to a lot of responsibilities, and it may not matter much as he gets more comfortable. There’s still a lot to like: Love brings nice size, speed and strength as a ballhandler, he’s comfortable playing in the open floor, he’s a good technical passer, he defends, and he’s competitive and tough. Though streaky, he’s made improvements as a shooter over the past year, and I’d expect those percentages to tick upward. Love has had some turnover issues as well, and he’ll need to start making better decisions to convince NBA teams he’s a full-time point guard and not a combo. The latter may actually be his best long-term role, anyway, as he’s naturally more of a scorer and a reactive playmaker. Love is on the one-and-done track, but will have to perform better to gain ground in what’s shaping up as a deep group of first-round prospects.
16. Josh Christopher, SG, Arizona State
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Christopher has been as advertised to start the season, racking up points without much issue, shooting streakily from outside, and remaining somewhat allergic to delivering assists. The downsides would be harder to live with if he wasn’t so good at putting the ball in the basket. He’s still learning how to strike the optimal decision-making balance, but has been highly effective thus far, and to be fair, not many of Arizona State’s other players seem to enjoy passing, either. Christopher is a good athlete with a strong frame and creative handle, he’s decisive when he does try to score, he‘s dangerous from all over the floor, and he plays with an unyielding confidence. Educated observers have always questioned how much his game accessorizes winning, but he can shirk some of that reputation if the results keep coming. Christopher will be tested as the schedule gets tougher, but he’s one of the most natural scorers in the draft, and could easily figure into the lottery conversation at some point.
17. Terrence Clarke, G/F, Kentucky
Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 195 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Clarke is a talented, athletic scorer with starting-caliber upside, but needs polish in a number of key areas to maximize his ability. He’s big, strong and comfortable scoring anywhere inside 18 feet, although he’s a streaky three-point shooter. He’s struggled with consistency over the past year or so and appears to have plateaued a little bit as a result, with some scouts holding concerns over his maturity and sporadic level of effort, particularly on the defensive end. Clarke is a capable scorer, but can be held back by his lack of attention to the other stuff. If he answers some of those questions, he’ll have a case in the lottery, and there’s been some talk about playing him as more of a lead guard, which would stretch his playmaking capacity in an interesting way. But without all-around improvement, I’d expect him to be a somewhat divisive eval for scouts, with doubts about how much he impacts winning.
18. Greg Brown III, F, Texas
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 19 | Freshman
A nuclear athlete with an intriguing long-term ceiling, Brown has struggled to start the season, but remains a person of interest. Clearly, college has been a big jump in level for him, and he’s going to arrive in the NBA as more of a long-term project. The late-blooming success of versatile athletes like Jerami Grant and Derrick Jones offers a blueprint. Brown has looked lost on offense, but has been somewhat stranded in Texas’s four-out scheme, and hasn’t shot the ball well, exacerbating the issues. Due to his sheer burst and strength, Brown is tough to keep out of the paint on drives, and has proven a capable finisher, but needs to shoot it better and improve his handle to open up the floor for himself. With those skills still coming together, he needs to improve as a cutter and offensive rebounder to better make his presence felt. He’s foul-prone, but projects as a plus, switchable defender in the long run. Brown will always be a tempting prospect with his tools and skill potential, and if he can make tangible strides over the course of the season, he could easily wind up in the lottery conversation. For now, it’s better to be patient.
19. Keyontae Johnson, F, Florida
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 230 | Age: 21 | Junior
A terrific all-around contributor with a mature approach and unyielding motor, Johnson profiles as the type of role player pretty much any team can use. What he lacks in height, he makes up for with strength and a measured 6’11” wingspan, enabling him to rebound in traffic and defend taller players effectively. He’s proven to be a consistent three-point shooter and is a tremendous fit for positionless schemes, with the right blend of skill, athleticism, and utility on both sides of the ball. Johnson isn’t a creative player and will be better cast in a complementary role, but he was already drawing NBA interest before opting to return to Florida, and the secret is out at this point. His productivity and low-maintenance style gives him a case in the mid-to-late first round, and he may not be far off from contributing in the pros.
20. Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 21 | Senior
Kispert was one of the better prospects to return to college, and his scorching start to the season will vault him squarely into the early mix as a mid-to-late first round option. He’s likely to be one of the best shooters available (he made 43% of his threes on legit volume last season), with deep range, easy mechanics and natural touch from distance that should play up right away. He can do damage running off screens or spotting up, remains a willing ball-mover, and should be a seamless fit as a floor-spacing wing. Crucially, Kispert’s strong build should enable him to get by on defense, as well. His shooting figures to come back to earth eventually, but he’s been unbelievably locked in so far, and there’s not all that much to nitpick. Kispert profiles as a high-end shooter and bankable role player, at worst.
21. David Johnson, PG, Louisville
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
With above-average size and impressive vision, Johnson is one of the most creative passers in college basketball, capable of delivering passes all over the court at difficult angles. He’s an above-average athlete but looks most comfortable playing with a ball screen, playing a measured style and having matured into a better decision-maker. Although he’s sharing ball-handling duties with transfer Carlik Jones, Johnson has looked like a more reliable player all-around. Johnson is also a plus defender, with active hands and good technique defending on the ball. The big questionmark has been his jump shot, but he’s been much more aggressive and confident shooting the three so far, which is a nice development. We’ll see how much the shift in approach leads to better results, and if there’s marked improvement, his stock will benefit. Johnson could be in for a serious leap this season.
22. Ariel Hukporti, C, Nevezis (Germany)
Height: 7‘ 0″ | Weight: 250 | Age: 18
Hukporti looked like the best prospect at this year’s Basketball Without Borders Global Camp, where he won MVP and left a strong impression playing front of numerous NBA decision-makers. Born in Germany to Togolese parents, Hukporti will spend this season in Lithuania after winning MVP of Germany’s Under-19 league with Ludwigsburg. A massive, athletic center with soft, active hands, a 7’1” wingspan, 9’1” standing reach and impressive defensive instincts, Hukporti has shown a strong understanding as a screen-setter and willingness to rebound, and he occupies a ton of space under the basket. He covers ground unusually well for someone his size. He’s also a solid finisher with touch in the paint, and has above-average ball skills and some shooting potential. Scouts have had questions about Hukporti’s motor over the years, and teams will track his development closely to see how he adjusts to playing older competition. If he continues trending in a positive direction, he’ll have a real shot at the first round.
23. Marcus Bagley, SF, Arizona State
Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Freshman
The younger brother of Kings forward Marvin Bagley, Marcus wasn’t as touted out of high school as some of his peers, but caught the eye of NBA scouts rather quickly, as a capable perimeter shooter with a pro-ready frame. He’s a solid athlete with a repeatable, compact shooting release and the size and strength to theoretically guard both forward spots, a package that makes sense for a combo-type role in the NBA. He can shoot comfortably off the dribble and the catch at 6’8”, and has looked dynamic early in the season, suggesting a pretty strong floor as an eventual contributor. Bagley doesn’t handle the ball very well, nor does he play as physically as his tools would suggest, preferring to settle for jumpers and attack the basket with finesse. He’s never been a particularly willing passer, nor is he particularly active on defense, two areas that will greatly help his chances of long-term success. But there’s been more positive than negative so far, and he’s likely to factor into the one-and-done conversation.
24. Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
Height: 6′ 6″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Moody is a promising catch-and-shoot prospect with an improving sense of how to play his role, putting him on the radar early as a draftable player. While he’s still working to improve his consistency, his repeatable, sound mechanics and projectable body type should eventually earn him an NBA opportunity. Although he’s not much of a ball-handler and won’t create much off the dribble anytime soon, Moody can hit a mid-range pull-up off closeouts and is becoming a smart off-ball cutter and useful rebounder, expanding his value away from the play. He’s usually in the right spot on defense, and shouldn’t be a negative there moving forward. More worrisome is his lack of explosiveness at the rim, which creates issues finishing off one foot going downhill and playing through contact — he’s not a great run-jump athlete, nor is he a very dynamic scorer. With the NBA always hunting for shooters, Moody may not be long for college, but he’s going to have to shoot it with real consistency to maximize his case.
25. Kai Jones, F, Texas
Height: 6′ 11″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
A late-blooming Bahamian native who’s quietly been on the NBA radar for a couple years, Jones finally looks to be putting things together, using his length to impact gameflow and showing off an improved-looking jumper. Though his offense remains dependent on others feeding him the ball, he’s been more active than ever in his minutes off the bench, showcasing his ability to defend, space the floor, catch lobs and provide energy. Jones is still a work in progress overall, and has to keep adding strength to hold up at the five, but bigs with his natural mobility, length and inside-out skill are hard to come by, and he can work his way more firmly into the first round picture if he keeps this up, sporadic minutes be damned.
26. Joel Ayayi, SG, Gonzaga
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 180 | Age: 20 | Junior
Although Gonzaga’s other players have received more fanfare, Ayayi has developed into an intriguing prospect in his own right, excelling in an off-ball role where he can maximize his impressive complementary skills. He has good size, is a competent spot-up shooter, and basketball IQ shines through in his ability to make quick, smart decisions and sneaky off-ball cuts. He’s not creative enough as a ballhandler to be a full-time lead guard at this point, but he’s highly effective moving the ball, playing in transition, and finding open teammates. Ayayi is also an opportunistic, quick defender with a nose for the ball. While he needs to work on creating his own shot, he’s such a solid role player already, and it helps that he has yet to turn 21. The Frenchman has been hiding in plain sight for a while, and as Gonzaga keeps rolling, he’ll have plenty of opportunity to keep bolstering his stock.
27. Roko Prkacin, F, Cibona (Croatia)
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
Prkacin has been highly productive this season in his native Croatia, where he’s been fast-tracked by his club to first team minutes over the past couple seasons and was named team captain prior to his 18th birthday. As one of the youngest draft-eligible prospects, the overall profile here is pretty positive. A skilled big with inside-out versatility and passing skills, Prkacin is fairly mobile but doesn’t get a ton of lift in tight spaces or move that well laterally. He has an NBA-type frame with a 7-foot wingspan, which helps, but there are some valid questions about to what extent his productivity will translate around the basket, and what type of players he’ll be able to defend. His skills are in a great place, but his NBA ceiling may ultimately hinge on how much more athletic he can become as his body matures. Prkacin’s ability to handle the ball and strong basketball IQ certainly help his case, and if he can improve an inconsistent jumper, it’ll firm up his case as a first-rounder. He’s been too productive to ignore, and he’s so advanced for his age that there’s room for optimism.
28. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky
Height: 6′ 10″ | Weight: 235 | Age: 20 | Junior
Bassey has made an impressive return from a serious knee injury, looking trim and more mobile and athletic than before. He may have dropped some weight over the course of his rehab, and he’s squarely back on the draft map as a result, with a 7’3” wingspan, natural strength, and shot-blocking skills that make him an interesting development piece. Bassey isn’t exceptionally skilled, but he’s good around the rim and has some shooting touch, which has become evident at the foul line. He’s a much more appealing prospect now that he’s healthy, with a strong motor and a clear level of competitive engagement, altering shots and rebounding at a high rate. He’s also looked more natural than ever moving his feet on defense. Bassey will have more work to do to convince teams he’s a first-rounder, but he looks the part right now, and has been a nice surprise.
29. Isaiah Jackson, F/C, Kentucky
Height: 6′ 10″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Jackson has been much better than expected upon arrival at Kentucky, earning a starting spot and maintaining strong production despite the team’s struggles. While he needs to get significantly stronger, he’s extremely athletic and long and has been a menace on the glass and as a shot-blocker. Jackson is fairly mobile as well, and projects as a potential energy big on the strength of his tools and motor. But his offensive skill set is rudimentary, and his points come almost exclusively from being fed under the basket and working the offensive glass. It’s a package that can certainly work in the NBA, and he’s off to a good start. Jackson will need to maintain this type of form to separate himself from the other bigs in this range, but he’s helped himself in a big way already.
30. Jared Butler, PG, Baylor
Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 190 | Age: 20 | Junior
As the leader of one of the best teams in the country, Butler’s intangibles and all-around game make him one of the more bankable guard prospects in the draft, having proven himself on both ends at this point as a quality player. He can play on and off the ball, score it inside and out, and make plays for teammates without forcing anything. His change of pace off the dribble is solid, and he’s a multiple-effort defender who’s been highly consistent. Butler’s ceiling isn’t massive, but there’s a lot to like, and he’ll make another run at late first-round status this year after testing the waters and deciding to return.
31. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F/C, Villanova
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 230 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
As rock-solid a college player as you’ll find, Robinson-Earl’s array of skills and general know-how project nicely at the next level. He’ll be a recipient of the annual Villanova bump, but it’s hard to poke holes in his game: he’s a capable jump shooter and finisher, gifted passer, and a smart rebounder and defender who always seems to be in the right spot. Due to his subpar positional size and length, Robinson-Earl won’t be a high-end rim protector in the NBA, but he should be able to play the four in double-big lineups and play some small-ball five situationally. He’s the type of complementary piece who’s only going to be as effective as the players around him, but Robinson-Earl does so many things well already, and he might be a plug-and-play bench piece on a good team in short order.
32. Franz Wagner, SF, Michigan
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
After an up-and-down freshman year coming off of a broken shooting wrist, Wagner has started coming into his own as a player. While he hasn’t exactly been racking up points to start the season, his skill level and coordination at his size are certainly impressive, and his feel for positioning and playmaking has stood out in spurts. He’s reportedly added 20 pounds over the past year to go with legit size on the wing, and he makes up effectively for his average explosiveness with craftiness and ball skills. He can be a legit inside-out scorer at the college level, and moves his feet well enough defensively that he might hold up at the NBA level. Although some of the hype that followed him from Germany has dimmed, Wagner could be poised for a major breakout as the Big Ten schedule gets underway.
33. D.J. Steward, G, Duke
Height: 6′ 3″ | Weight: 165 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Steward is a gifted scorer with innate creativity playing off the dribble, and his game has taken a major leap over the course of the past year. He’s been a bit inconsistent to start the season, but looks like Duke’s second-best prospect at the moment, with an improved jumper, the capacity to attack the paint, and a notable work ethic. He’s on the one-and-done radar, but shouldn’t be viewed as a lock to turn pro yet, with his eventual case hinging on his ability to contribute more consistently and be efficient. Steward is undersized for a combo guard and is more wired to score than pass, and he’ll need to keep answering questions about his jump shot, as well. But there’s clear opportunity for him to shine as Duke’s most talented guard, and they’ll continue leaning on him as the season rolls on.
34. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Yet another freshman guard on the first-round radar, Springer has more to prove this season after a somewhat iffy senior year at IMG, but he’s a full year younger than some of his peers and will be an immediate college contributor. He’s much more scoring combo than natural point guard, but can play on and off the ball and defend either backcourt spot effectively. He’s a powerful leaper with a mature frame who can get to the rim and finish with his strength. When discussing his upside, it’s worth noting that he’s always been listed a bit generously in terms of height. Springer also tends to hunt shots a bit too much and sometimes struggles with ball security and jump shot consistency. He’ll need to improve his decision-making skills and scoring efficiency to solidify a one-and-done case, and right now he’s not truly high-end in any one area. His progress bears monitoring.
35. Mojave King, G.F, Cairns Taipans (Australia)
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 195 | Age: 18
King looks like the most promising early product of the NBA’s Global Academy program, and will spend this season in the NBL’s Next Stars program, as will teammate Josh Giddey (see below). Both his parents played basketball (his father is an American who played pro in New Zealand, and his mother played collegiately at Duquesne), King is an athletic swingman with an improving outside shot and solid overall feel for his age. He’s has shown well at a variety of events, showing signs of putting his considerable athletic tools to use. He’s a little undersized for a two-guard, but has the strength and body type to compensate, and does a good job playing under control at his age. He can be a little passive away from the ball, but if he improves shooting off movement, continues to attack the paint effectively, and puts together a productive season in Australia, it wouldn’t be crazy to see him play himself into the first round. Keep an eye on him when the NBL starts up in January.
36. Juhann Begarin, SG, Paris Basket (France)
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 18
A freaky athlete who has begun to make a name for himself at youth levels, Begarin’s physical tools and improving skill level make him a fascinating long-term prospect and potential first-round talent. He competes hard, can play above the rim, has open-floor speed and has major defensive potential with his length and lateral agility. I watched him live at Basketball Without Borders in February and came away concerned with his loose handle and iffy jump shot. As a result of those issues Begarin isn’t a consistent scorer in the halfcourt, nor is he a very creative player, and he projects better as an energy wing than a legit scorer at this point. You can see a clear pathway to the NBA for him if his feel and skills improve, and he’s young enough that there’s plenty of time for that to happen. He’s raw, but the type of project a team could easily justify bringing over early to develop. Begarin will spend another year playing at a low level in France’s Pro B, where he’ll take on a larger role and have a chance at the first round.
37. Cameron Thomas, SG, LSU
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Freshman
Thomas is one of the better scorers in the freshman class and is off to a scalding start, with a reliable jumper and a knack for getting separation on the perimeter. He’s effective in spite of not being a great athlete or particularly tall for his position (he’s listed generously at 6’4” in shoes), but there are pretty significant questions about what else he does at a high level beyond score. What he’s doing is certainly notable, but his NBA fit hinges more on what else he can add to his game, not how many points he averages this season. He’ll need to do more to help himself, but Thomas is a name to keep in mind.
38. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech
Height: 6′ 6″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
Frankly, there were many times Shannon, not Jahmi’us Ramsey looked like Texas Tech’s best prospect last season, and he returns to college with a chance to work his way into the first round. An athletic, slashing wing who plays hard on both ends and is unafraid to do the dirty work, he profiles as the type of glue guy with upside a team should be eager to take a chance on. Shannon’s jumper isn’t where it needs to be yet, but his mechanics look a bit better at a glance, and he’s effective inside the arc and a good free throw shooter. He’s also a sneaky good passer who rarely gets a chance to make plays on the ball, with Chris Beard giving those duties to Mac McClung and Kyler Edwards. Shannon has a good chance at a Top-40 selection with continued growth, and the things he does well won’t fully manifest in his counting stats.
39. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State
Height: 6′ 6″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Junior
Although he’s shooting poorly from distance to start the season, Henry has been on the radar for a couple years and is just starting to really come into his own as a player. He looks more athletic and confident than last season and can be a disruptive defender, with strong instincts, quick feet, and a nose for the ball. Henry is also a smart passer who’s willing to make the simple play. He shot 34% from three last season and shoots free throws fairly well, so there’s obvious room for improvement on the catch-and-shoot front. Henry’s ceiling isn’t massive, but he’s looking like a draftable role player, and has asserted himself well so far.
40. Moussa Cisse, C, Memphis
Height: 6′ 10″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 18 | Freshman
It’s clear enough from Memphis’s early games that Cisse has a long way to go, but his immense length, catch radius and shot-blocking prowess make him an intriguing prospect and potential one-and-done talent. There are times where he hasn’t appeared to be moving particularly well, and his ball skills are rudimentary, limiting him to a simple role as a finisher and rim protector. He’s unskilled offensively, and is facing a big leap in competition right now. But his listed 7’4” wingspan and 9’4” standing reach create to long-term NBA potential, and will keep him on the map as a draftable prospect. He’ll need to greatly up the overall productivity to land in the first round, and it won’t be shocking at this point if he needs a second year in college.
41. Trendon Watford, F, LSU
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 240 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
With Skylar Mays gone, Watford has transitioned into a playmaking role that better showcases his versatility, and he also looks to be in better physical shape. He’s always been skilled, but looks much more comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter and delivering passes to shooters. If Watford can also prove he’s a better catch-and-shoot player, he becomes a much more interesting prospect. His ceiling is capped by a notable lack of lift around the basket that makes it difficult for him to operate in traffic and attack bigger players. Plus length should help him survive on defense. Watford looks much more draftable than he did eight months ago, and appears to have used the off-season to his advantage.
42. Justin Moore, G, Villanova
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
Moore didn’t get much credit nationally for his work as a freshman, but he was starting and playing heavy minutes for Villanova in February, and shot 39% from three on solid volume. He may be another year away from actually entering the draft, but Moore has a mature frame and approach, makes good decisions, rebounds well, can make small plays and space the floor. Moore isn’t particularly fast or explosive, but he’s strong and finds ways to attack the rim, and has shown he can play on and off the ball effectively. He might be on his way to a spot in the Villanova NBA role player assembly line, and will be a big piece of their success this season. This is more of a hunch, but wouldn’t be a shock to see his stock trend upward.
43. Carlos Alocen, PG, Real Madrid (Spain)
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 19
After Facundo Campazzo left to join the Nuggets, Alocen began seeing sporadic minutes for Real Madrid’s senior team. While he hasn’t done much yet, his ability to simply make the rotation speaks to his advanced basketball IQ and passing vision. Alocen profiles as a classic setup man, with good size for his position and a solid handle and creative sense of the floor. He’s a long-term prospect at this point, but played legit ACB minutes last season for Zaragoza and is in the process of finding his footing as a pro. Though he’ll need to get stronger to cover for his lack of explosiveness, Alocen is a name worth watching, and a good stash candidate if he opts to go that route.
44. Joshua Giddey, G/F, Adelaide 36ers (Australia)
Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 18
A product of the NBA’s Global Academy program, Giddey will play professionally in his native Australia this season, and should be a contributor with his advanced feel and exceptionally passing skills. He’s unselfish and has great size for a lead ballhander, which has enabled him to be productive at various stages against players his own age, and clearly prides himself on finding teammates. He made his debut with the Australian national team earlier this year, and looks to be on a fast developmental track. Giddey isn’t an explosive athlete, nor is he a consistent three-point shooter, and will have to keep improving his skill level and scoring ability moving forward to stick in the league. But he’ll get a lot of time to showcase his game this season, and should be on the radar early as a potential international draftee.
45. Ochai Agbaji, G/F, Kansas
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 210 | Age: 20 | Junior
Agbaji has looked like the most NBA-ready prospect on a Kansas team still figuring itself out, logging a huge percentage of minutes and proving solid on both ends. He has a solid frame and plays capable defense, while offering some floor-spacing potential and an unflashy, team-first style. He’s not a creative scorer, but he’s tough, smart, and understands how to fit in and add value. If Agbaji proves he can knock down shots more consistently, he’ll likely find himself in the draft conversation, with sturdy wings always useful in a plug-and-play sense. He could just as easily end up sticking around another year, but he’s back on the verge of draftability.
46. Chris Smith, F, UCLA
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 215 | Age: 20 | Senior
A late bloomer who entered college as a 17-year-old, Smith has always been something of a tease for scouts, with a huge frame, defensive versatility, and a guard-like handle.The knock on him has always been about feel, and those concerns haven’t dissipated. But he’s become a much more productive player and a much better shooter over the past few years, and there’s certainly enough here to make him draftable. Optimistically, Smith can transition into a low-maintenance wing who hits open shots and fits in physically on both ends. But as this point, he needs to string together a more complete season to further his case. Age aside, he’s a little bit more of an idea than you’d prefer from a fourth-year college player.
47. Dalano Banton, G, Nebraska
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Sophomore
Rarely do legit playmakers his size make it this far largely unnoticed by scouts, but Banton is just starting to break through, showcasing his excellent passing vision and overall feel effectively so far at Nebraska. The Toronto native sat out last season after transferring from Western Kentucky, where his contributions were sporadic, but he’s a massive ball-handler with legitimate point guard skills who can impact the game in a number of ways. He’s not explosive or particularly strong, but he’s a very good transition player and has an understanding of what he can and can’t do (which, unfortunately, appears to include shooting three-pointers). Banton covers a lot of ground defensively with his length, and has a good nose for the ball. His mechanics are a bit messy, but if he can figure out how to shoot consistently, there may be a pathway to the NBA for him. If his production holds up in Big Ten play, his stock should rise.
48. Romeo Weems, F, DePaul
Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 215 | Age: 19 | Sophomore
DePaul has yet to play a game due to ongoing COVID concerns, but Weems drew attention from scouts last season and was regarded by some as their most intriguing long-term prospect. Last we saw him, he lacked a well-defined floor game, but his motor, energy, and athletic tools made him something of a wild card, with occasional flashes of passing and highlight-caliber plays mixed in. He has a lot of appeal defensively, as a big, versatile athlete who can impact the game without needing touches. He did shoot 35% from three last season, but he’s wildly inconsistent as a scorer and his mechanics and handle need work. Weems is going to be a long-term project whenever he lands in the NBA, but he’s a person of interest for the time being.
49. Chris Duarte, SG, Oregon
Height: 6′ 6″ | Weight: 190 | Age: 23 | Senior
Although a February shooting slump tanked his percentages a bit, there were times Duarte looked like a nice sleeper last season, and he’s stepping into a much more important role this year on a team that otherwise lacks punch in the backcourt. A Dominican-born former JuCo transfer, Duarte will be 24 on draft night, which is something of a flag unto itself. He battled injuries last season, as well. But he’s a productive rebounder, capable passer and racks up steals, all in spite of his slender frame. If his three-point percentage inches closer to the high 30s this season, it’s easy to see him firming up a second-round selection, or landing a two-way deal at worst.
50. Ibou Dianko Badji, C, Barcelona II (Senegal)
Height: 7‘ 1″ | Weight: 240 | Age: 18
Badji has gradually gained more notoriety for his enormous, 7’6” wingspan than his actual play, but tools are tools, and if he ends up in the mix for this year’s draft, he’s the type of shot-blocking prospect someone will roll the dice on. That type of length changes shots and factors in at any level of basketball, and could ticket him for playable minutes as a defensive specialist down the line. The catch is that Badji is about as raw as you can be, with lob-catching as his only real offensive skill. He‘s fairly mobile for a guy that big, but is still learning to read and react defensively, and has little history of consistent production at any meaningful level. He remains part of Barcelona’s development program, and isn’t close to senior team minutes at this point. In a best-case scenario, Badji is likely a situational, defense-only role player — but he’s young and unique enough that teams should maintain a close eye on him.
51. Yves Pons, F, Tennessee
Height: 6′ 6″ | Weight: 215 | Age: 21 | Senior
With Tennessee facing real expectations, this might be the year Pons finally puts it together. He’s an unorthodox prospect to be sure, but as a legit freak athlete who blocks shots, rebounds, and can defend wings and bigs with his length and strong frame, the Frenchman deserves attention as a second-rounder who might be able to break convention. His defensive versatility is fairly real, and if he can keep fashioning himself into a set shooter, Pons could be a strange but useful rotation piece. He doesn’t create his own shot well, which has led to some inconsistency in terms of points, but he showed real signs of growth last season and will have a bigger platform thanks to Tennessee’s other prospects. He’s a sleeper to watch.
52. Trayce Jackson-Davis, C, Indiana
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 245 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
Despite only ever using his left hand to do anything and lacking three-point range, Jackson-Davis is a somewhat intriguing prospect simply off his productivity. He’s proven to be a good offensive rebounder and capable finisher, blocks shots, and has been able to draw fouls and rack up numbers in gameflow, looking like a quintessential energy big. The fact he’s so one-dimensional and undersized for an NBA center is concerning, and he’ll turn 21 in a couple months. But he’s an impactful player at the college level, and has genetics working in his favor (his father is longtime Pacers stalwart Dale Davis). He’s not the most skilled center available, but there’s something to be said for the things he does.
53. Jason Preston, PG, Ohio
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 21 | Junior
Preston has been one of the breakout stars of the young season, but was quite good last year, as well, ranking Top 10 nationally with a 39.8% assist rate with good shooting splits while logging 96.5% of available minutes. He’s been extremely sharp so far, making a name for himself in a win over highly-ranked Illinois, a game in which he was the clear best prospect on the floor. Preston’s change-of-pace, shooting and playmaking vision at his size make for an appealing package, and he’ll certainly parlay this into real looks from NBA teams. Right now, he’s an appealing sleeper in what appears to be a thinner group of second-round point guards.
54. Amar Sylla, F, Oostende (Senegal)
Height: 6′ 9″ | Weight: 190 | Age: 19
International scouts are still waiting to see if Sylla will ever put his game together, but his measurables, ability to run the floor and major defensive upside are still noteworthy. He’s now in the second year of his deal in Belgium, where he’s been productive on a per-minute basis, but nowhere near efficient as a scorer. His shot selection has been a point of contention, as he seems to fancy himself a perimeter player, but might benefit from added self-awareness of what he needs to do to succeed. Sylla’s length and fluid athleticism will always be fascinating, but he remains a difficult player to project with confidence.
55. Rokas Jokubaitis, PG, Zalgiris (Lithuania)
Height: 6′ 4″ | Weight: 195 | Age: 20
Jokubaitis has piqued NBA interest with his playmaking skills, but ultimately withdrew from the 2020 draft to return to Zalgiris, where he’s in a good developmental situation and logging regular time in Euroleague games. He’s not a particularly good mover, but he’s a crafty playmaker with size, and has an advanced feel for running a team. Jokubaitis’ individual scoring is a work in progress, but he’s a viable shooter, and has been a fixture for Lithuania at junior levels. He should be in the draft-and-stash mix again.
56. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 200 | Age: 20 | Junior
Dosunmu has worked himself into a very good college player, but his NBA fit still remains a bit murky. He has a pro-ready frame, has added strength, and improved as a passer, but he’s still a little bit stuck between guard positions. Dosunmu’s decision-making isn’t quite good enough to be a full-time point guard, and his three-point shooting, while improved, still has further to go before keeping defense honest at a higher level. He should be more impactful defensively with his size and length, but his contributions on that end are sporadic. If he can keep his strong start up in conference play, Dosunmu has a pretty good chance of getting drafted, but he’s long been divisive for scouts, and has more work to do.
57. Carlik Jones, G, Louisville
Height: 6′ 1″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Senior
There was some real preseason buzz about Jones, who transferred from Radford after a prolific junior season and has looked excellent in the earlygoing. He’s a capable scorer and playmaker with a slightly unorthodox style, relying more on his craftiness, length and ability to draw fouls in the paint, and using his jumper to keep people honest. He’s also a stellar rebounder and strong decision-maker with the ball. Jones turns 23 this month, and the dynamic between him and David Johnson as dual ballhandlers probably holds back both players to a small extent, but he’s clearly a high-major talent, and deserves looks in the second round in spite of his size.
58. Aamir Simms, F, Clemson
Height: 6′ 8″ | Weight: 245 | Age: 21 | Senior
Simms’ combination of size and perimeter skill is legitimately pretty intriguing, and he took a big leap forward as a junior as a shooter and playmaker while playing most of his minutes as Clemson’s nominal center. He projects as more more of a utility combo forward in the pros, with potential to space the floor, rebound, move the ball and pick his spots effectively. Simms is an appealing athlete with length and the ability to put the ball on the floor and attack closeouts, and had he played on a better team, he likely would have garnered more attention. Another strong season should land him squarely in the second round discussion.
59. John Petty, SG, Alabama
Height: 6′ 5″ | Weight: 185 | Age: 22 | Senior
While Petty has long been known as a dangerous shooter, questions have always surrounded what else he can do. He showed signs of improvement as a junior, upping his efficiency in a major way in a new offensive scheme playing off of a legit point guard in Kira Lewis. He’s also progressed a bit as a passer and rebounder, and has enough size to be playable on the wing. Petty isn’t a great athlete and could be better defensively. He’s an older prospect now and is likely a second-round selection at best, but as long as his shooting stays constant, he’ll be in the conversation.
60. Darius Days, F/C, LSU
Height: 6′ 7″ | Weight: 245 | Age: 21 | Junior
Days is kind of an intriguing sleeper for the small ball era, with a near 7-foot wingpan, relentless motor, and quickness getting off the floor. He’s been an elite offensive rebounder for some time, and should get a slight bump in minutes this season with Emmitt Williams gone. Days is tenacious fighting for the ball, has the athleticism to live under the rim, and is a streaky but able three-point shooter. Due to size and skill constraints, his offensive role may be a bit limited, and his game is pretty simple. If he blocked more shots, he’d be a bit more interesting. Days is a fringy prospect, but could be interesting on a two-way as a potential glue guy.