We’re back with the next round of my first NBA Draft Big Board of the season. As a reminder, I broke my top 50 players into 6 tiers and gave a little bit of information on each of them, as well as listing some honorable mentions and even players to look out for next season. We’ve already done Tiers 1 and 2 and Tiers 3 and 4, and today is the last entry with Tiers 5 and 6, plus the honorable mentions.
Reach out to me @AneeshNamburi for any questions or in the comments below and I would be happy to answer them. Please do it. I’m very bored right now.
34) Scottie Lewis (Florida, Wing, Freshman)
If you’re only looking at defense, Lewis might be a lottery pick. It pains me to say this, but offensively he has been a disaster and nowhere close to ready for even the college level. Part of that frantic energy that boosts Lewis’ defensive profile hampers his game offensively in terms of creation and decision making, and he has not figured out a consistent jumper. I probably have Lewis a little high, but I am willing to buy that he becomes a passable enough player offensively to match his defensive tools, skills, and energy.
35) Jared Butler (Butler, Guard, Sophomore)
Think of Butler as another dribble, pass, and shoot guard that so many teams covet. Leading Baylor to arguably its best season in program history, Butler averaged a team high 16.0 points while making 38% of his threes and might have the best handle in this draft class while also making the necessary reads to keep the offense moving. While he is not an elite defender, he was part of one of the elite defensive units in college basketball this season (5th in defensive efficiency) and can provide value at the NBA level with his strong frame for a guard and quick hands with his 1.6 steals per game on a 3.2% steal percentage in 2019-20.
36) Malachi Flynn (San Diego State, Guard, Junior)
Flynn has honestly been one of my favorite players to watch this season due to his abilities as a pull up shooter and out of the pick and roll. Leading San Diego State to a season as one of the best teams in college basketball, Flynn also displayed an handle, distribution skills, and enough separation ability that should translate against better athletes. It is tough to place him higher than this due to his lack of size (as a small guard it hurts to say), but Flynn should carve out a productive career for himself.
37) Devon Dotson (Kansas, Guard, Sophomore)
Dotson has been leading the charge for one of the best teams in college basketball, but his productivity has not been enough to vault him higher in draft discussions. He is one of the fastest players in the draft, a monster in transition, finishes at the rim very well, and is a pesky guard defender who utilizes his strength nicely. His just okay shooting and passing most likely requires some development, likely keeping Dotson off an NBA court early on and giving teams pause before drafting an “older” point guard.
38) Isaiah Joe (Arkansas, Wing, Sophomore)
After shooting 41% from 3 on 8 attempts during his freshman year, Joe had placed himself in consideration for a first round pick. While dipping to 34% from deep this past season knocked him off that top spot, there is still a significant case to be made for his NBA potential due to volume, shot variety, and overall accuracy over his two years at Arkansas. Furthermore, Joe has shown solid team defense indicators both numbers and film wise, and has flashed some passing acumen. The only thing keeping him from becoming a positive rotation player is adding a good amount of strength to his 170 pound body.
39) Joel Ayayi (Gonzaga, Guard, RSophomore)
While Ayayi slumped a little in February, his performances as the MVP of the West Coast Conference Tournament gave a reminder as to why some had him as a first round pick early in 2020. At 6-foot-5, he has flashed skills as a secondary play maker and shooter both on and off the ball. His still developing frame and lack of explosiveness limit his ability at the rim, but he still does a decent job of figuring out how to score without these physical tools. The issue is that these skills were kind of “come and go” this season, so teams who decide to take a flier on Ayayi would likely do so hoping that continued development can polish his game.
40) Zeke Nnjai (Arizona, Big, Freshman)
You can’t ignore the productivity of Nnaji this season, who is averaging 16.1 points and 8.6 rebounds per game on 57% shooting this season. While his current shooting range extends slightly beyond the mid range, his 76% free throw percentage offers a lot of hope as a potential stretch big. The issue is defense, where Nnaji struggle as a 4/5 tweener: not enough strength to guard opposing bigs in the post and not mobile enough to switch on the perimeter.
41) Isaiah Stewart (Washington, Big, Freshman)
Though Stewart has the physical tools of a modern big at 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, he has not really shown anything warranting a high draft pick. He has shown is a solid interior presence and a tireless motor, the second of which should lend positively for NBA evaluators. If Stewart’s outside shot improves and he figures out how to offset his subpar leaping ability to finish better around the hoop and protect the rim, Stewart could be a solid rotational big, even a low end starter.
42) Cassius Stanley (Duke, Wing, Freshman)
Stanley has been pleasantly surprising as a 3 and D wing. His athleticism makes him effective in transition, and he’s made enough shots and defensive plays to warrant NBA attention. The main concerns with Stanley are his age (HE’S BEEN 20 FOR HIS WHOLE FRESHMAN YEAR), lack of on ball creation, and defensive mistakes that his physical tools mostly cover, but in a class with so much uncertainty, Stanley seems like a decently safe, albeit limited option.
43) Cassius Winston (Michigan State, Senior, Guard)
At first glance, I had Winston penciled in as a classic upperclassmen guard that probably should have been picked in the first round but ended up sliding, as he has been one of the best point guards in college basketball for the past year plus. A couple of things caught my eye, and while I don’t think that it will prevent him from being a useful NBA player, it takes him away from the mold of point guards you’ve seen in the past that have translated well immediately. Winston’s ability to separate was already toeing the line in college, and I have reservations that he will be able to do so at the pro level. Additionally, I have seen people critique his pull up shooting form, and there does seem to be a little load/hitch, and combined with Winston’s questionable separation, there is a possibility that Winston will not be able to score well enough to be a back up point guard.
44) Vernon Carey (Duke, Big, Freshman)
Carey has been one of the most productive players in college basketball this season as a freshman, averaging 17.8 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. While Carey deserves All-American consideration, bigs who cannot defend in space, shoot (67% free throw percentage and taking under one three pointer per game), or pass (1:2 assist to turnover ratio) are very limited in terms of NBA role. Just ask fellow Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor.
45) Oscar Tshwiebe (West Virginia, Big, Freshman)
Tshwiebe is a beast physically. Despite being an undersized center at 6-foot-9, his 250 pound frame is among the strongest in his class, and his 7-foot-4 wingspan helps mitigate some of the size concerns. Tshwiebe is an excellent rebounder with great touch around the hoop, and has elite speed for a player of his speed. Defensively, he protects the rim very well for his size. Tshwiebe is a poor passer, hasn’t shown enough consistent flashes of lateral quickness, and is no sure bet to provide any sort of spacing, but fixing any of these issues puts him in a good position to turn into a solid rotation big.
46) Matthew Hurt (Duke, Wing/Forward, Freshman)
It has been an up and down season for Hurt, as he has been relegated to a bench role for the Blue Devils. However, he is still a very good shooter in a 6-foot-9 frame and a smart player on both sides of the ball, understanding what he needs to do and where he needs to be in order to make winning plays. Teams may take a chance hoping that his body (which is really far away) develops.
47) Jah’mius Ramsey (Texas Tech, Wing, Freshman)
Ramsey’s draft value is tied also strongly to his ability to shoot. Catch and shoot, off movement, pull ups, you name it: Ramsey can do it among the best of his class, shooting 43% from 3 this season on 5.2 attempts per game. The rest of his game is questionable at best with poor defensive effort/awareness and sub par play making, but shooters of his caliber are always given priority for opportunities.
48) Kaleb Wesson (Ohio State, Big, Junior)
Wesson has really proven himself as an NBA prospect after slimming down significantly before the season and still flashing modern center skills while maintaining his burly frame. Wesson shot 3.4 threes per game and made 43% of them. He also consistently created looks for his teammates, specifically out of the high post. His defense is somewhat questionable due to his lack of verticality as a rim protector, and despite his high IQ, his lateral foot speed on the perimeter will likely not cut in the NBA. Any NBA team picking Wesson will do so as a result of his offensive versatility and stout post defense.
49) Jaden McDaniels (Washington, Wing/Forward, Freshman)
I’ve never been too high on McDaniels as a prospect outside of about a two week flirtation with him in December. His skills as a wing scorer are undeniable, as evidenced by performances against Baylor in Washington’s first game of the season and versus Arizona last week. But those flashes have been overshadowed by inconsistency/inefficiency that led to him coming off the bench in 9 of his last 11 games, a worrisome level of strength and ability to add onto his frame, and poor decision making. However, some team will almost assuredly see upside in McDaniels and take a swing much earlier than I have him.
50) Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois, Guard, Sophomore)
While Dosunmu was high on my board entering last numbers, a further look at the film and numbers revealed that I couldn’t really point out what exactly would translate to the NBA. He has shown flashes in just about every area of his game and has a good frame/build for his position at 6-foot-5, but they weren’t consistent enough to be confident that he could be a good enough defender, shooter or play maker as a pro. However, he was at the forefront of the Fighting Illini’s rise to prominence this season and offers enough hope for a theoretical team to take a chance on him late in the second round.
I wanted to include these players, as many of them got a very strong consideration for a spot in my top 50. However, I couldn’t get there, whether it be a lack of games that I’ve watched or a significant concern in their game.
51) Abdolaye Ndoye* (Cholet, Wing, 1998)
52) Desmond Bane (TCU, Guard/Wing, Senior)
53) Jordan Nwora (Louisville, Wing, Junior)
54) Mamadi Diakite (Virginia, Forward/Big, RSenior)
55) Payton Pritchard (Oregon, Guard, Senior)
56) Ashton Hagans (Kentucky, Guard, Sophomore)
57) Corey Kispert (Gonzaga, Wing, Junior)
58) Joe Wieskamp (Iowa, Wing, Sophomore)
59) Udoka Azubuike (Kansas, Big, Senior)
60) Tres Tinkle (Oregon State, Wing, Senior)
61) Filip Petrusev (Gonzaga, Big, Sophomore)
62) Keyontae Johnson (Florida, Wing, Sophomore)
63) Tyler Bey (Colorado, Wing, Junior)
64) Myles Powell (Seton Hall, Guard, Senior)
65) Saben Lee (Vanderbilt, Guard, Junior)
66) Robert Woodard (Mississippi State, Wing/Forward, Sophomore)
67) Immanuel Quickley (Kentucky, Guard, Sophomore)
68) Nick Richards (Kentucky, Big, Junior)
69) Markus Howard (Marquette, Guard, Senior)
70) Elijah Hughes (Syracuse, Wing, Junior)
71) Daniel Oturu (Minnesota, Big, Sophomore)
72) Amar Sylla (Oostende, Forward/Big, 2001)
73) Ochai Agbaji (Kansas, Wing, Sophomore)
74) Terrance Shannon (Texas Tech, Wing, Freshman)
75) Nate Hinton (Houston, Wing, Sophomore)
Players that would be strongly considered on my board if they entered:
Wendell Moore (Duke, Wing, Freshman)
DJ Carton (Ohio State, Guard, Freshman)
Bryan Antoine (Villanova, Guard, Freshman)
Josiah Jordan-James (Tennessee,
Samuel Williamson (Louisville, Wing, Freshman)
Romeo Weems (DePaul, Wing/Forward, Freshman)
Isaiah Mobley (USC, Forward, Freshman)
Trayce Jackson-Davis (Indiana, Forward, Freshman)
Jay Scrubb (John Logan College, Wing, 2000)
David Johnson (Louisville, Guard, Freshman)