#20 – Jerome Robinson
Boston College- 6′ 5″, 188, 21
Notable Stats: 20.7 PPG, 3.3 APG, 40.9% 3P%, 83.0 FT%, 2.7 TOV
Pro Comparison: Floor – Tyler Dorsey. Ceiling – Gary Harris
It is so ironic that Robinson and Donte DiVincenzo are back to back in this board because they are absolute ballers. Athletically is a strong 6’5 with a wingspan similar to guys like Grayson Allen. Robinson can score in such a variety of ways and is so underrated. Put it this way, who is the best defensive team in the college basketball? Virginia. Robinson went 12-22 from the floor with 29 points and 6 rebounds. He single-handedly kept the Golden Eagles in the game. Just a couple other games to keep in mind 24 in a win against Duke, 28 against Clemson, 32 against Virginia Tech, 46 at Notre Dame, 29 and 30 versus Miami. Robinson can shoot from all over the floor, 41% from three and above 50% in terms of midrange jumpshots. Can create separation against defenders with a creative step back move that has Harden-esque similarities. Love the way he finishes around the rim. Recognizes where he is in retrospect to the basket and loves a little scoop layup that gets away from shot blockers. Great ball handling and is deceptively quick against other defenders. Can distribute but needs to improve in that aspect. Defensively? Average on-ball defender that can improve. I like his size for a 2 or small 3 and think he can contribute immediately to the NBA. For teams that lack scoring, he is an immediate threat and great 6th guy off the bench.
Best Fit: Oklahoma City
The Thunder had the least amount of points from their bench in the 2017-18 season. The two highest scorers, Raymond Felton and Jerami Grant are both free agents. If you look at players that can try to create their own shot the second unit does not have a player that can do, only catch and shoot guys like Abrines and Patterson. Robinson would bring immediate scoring and try to slot in at the 2 or 3. Also, best case scenario would be he plays extremely well and maybe slides into end game lineups to make shots.
#19 – Donte DiVincenzo
Villanova – 6′ 4″, 200, 21
Notable Stats: 13.4 PPG, 4.8 REB, 3.5 APG, 40.1% 3P%
Pro Comparison: Floor – Ben McLemore. Ceiling – Monta Ellis
As shown at the combine he’s a fantastic athlete. Not a long wingspan at 6’6 but can really get up with the highest standing vertical and max vertical. Has always shown the knack to elevate over others. Through down some nasty dunks at Nova’, had the terrific tip in against Virginia in his sophomore year and crashed the glass extremely hard to sky for rebounds. 6th man for Villanova but basically another starter with the minutes he played. 31 against Michigan in the National Championship but was even more impressed against what he did against Alabama in the round of 32. Only had 18 points but almost all came in the first half when Nova needed him more than anything. Had no problem with good defenders like John Petty and Collin Sexton and made terrific decisions on P and R. He hit dagger after dagger against them. Fearless shooter from anywhere on the floor, NBA range, and consistent. Great off the dribble or catch and shoot. Terrific ball handler that can create his own shot, beat defenders off the dribble and finish in traffic. Needs to make better decisions. Had a lot of turnovers (2.0 per game) on careless or sloppy passes. Will really frustrate NBA teams in his first couple seasons with those decisions. Poor inbounder and does not deal well with pressure in his face. Improved on defense dramatically from sophomore to junior year but still gets beat easily at times. Tries really hard on that end but the results are not necessarily there. Rebounds well for a guard and puts in a lot of effort.
Best Fit: Washington
A playoff team that needs some more athleticism and creativity among their bench guys. The league is going smaller and the Wizards struggle to find that 5th guy on the floor in crunch time situations that can score and create a shot if needed. Wall is not very good in the half court so putting a super athletic shooter around him and Beal could be helpful. An end of game lineup with Wall, Beal, Donte, Porter, and Morris/Oubre would be more effective. Especially helpful because the Wizards contract situation is very tied up and cannot find these guys in Free Agency.
#18 – Melvin Frazier
Tulane – 6′ 6″, 198, 21
Notable Stats: 15.9 PPG, 5.6 REB 2.2 SPG, 38.5% 3P%
Pro Comparison: Floor – Andre Roberson. Ceiling – Otto Porter
I love calling him a serial killer on defense because that is exactly what he is. Frazier will go after any player on the court and put the clamps down on him. He loves to be physical with opponents but not to the point where he fouls. Frazier moves his feet extremely quickly and gets to the spot effortlessly before the offensive player. Reads p and r extremely well and almost more importantly understands what players on the court. Frazier never pressed too high on a big man or backed off a three-point threat. Can block shots, protect the weak side and was the anchor for the Tulane team. Even thrived against talent like Shake Milton and Theo Pinson. Offensively he has a fascinating game. He is raw, but showed he could make catch and shoot threes last season. Has a good release point and uses his wingspan to shoot over defenders when they close hard. Can get to the rim off the dribble and through P and R. Loved how he finished around the rim with a lot of times contorting his body around defenders to score. Elevates and throws down monster dunks too. Even had some creativity to his game wherein the P and R he found teammates in difficult passing lanes. Off the dribble, shooting is a struggle for him where his release changes and misses a lot. Improvable and really liked how diverse his game was.
Best Fit: Golden State Warriors
Frazier could fall anywhere between 13 and 45 in this draft like many players. Golden State does not need a lot of course but the playoffs have shown that the older bench players are not getting it done. The Warriors love long, athletic and three-point shooters. Frazier fits that mold. Patrick McCaw was supposed to be that guy but the injury set him back and could get some nice money in FA this summer. Frazier would be the guy the Warriors draft which we would all turn around ask how does this always happen?
#17 – Miles Bridges
Michigan State – 6′ 2″, 220, 20
Notable Stats:17.1 PPG, 7.0 REB 36.4% 3P%, 85.3% FT%
Pro Comparison: Floor – Justise Winslow. Ceiling – Aaron Gordon
Another polarizing prospect in the draft who surprisingly decided to come back to Michigan State to refine his game. Most likely a 3 that can play small ball as a 4 in the NBA. 6’7 with only a 6’9 wingspan but terrific jumper off two feet. Averaged 17.0 PPG freshman year and basically replicated that when he came back to school. REB, 3P%, FG% all decreased in his year back. Strong isolation game in a variety of ways. Can take bigger players off the dribble with a quick first step whereas with smaller players he backed them down into the post. A couple great post moves that got more predictable as the season went along. Good shooting stroke but jumpshots were so inconsistent. Could not stand his shot selection at school. Every time he had the ball I wanted him to go to the hoop and punish defenders but so many times he took out of rhythm jumpers (usually 3s) or silly fadeaways.
This was something he did freshman year and it was frustrating to see a lack of development in that area. Much better at catch and shoot threes and good with p and r but can improve as the roll man which will be important in the NBA. Aggressive rebounder who was unafraid to throw his body around to gain the advantage down low. Defensively sticks with 3s well but did struggle in the post against 4s. Could be problematic if he has to play at the 4 in smaller lineups. Way too many games where he just went silent and stood on the wing when his team needed him. When watching the game against Ohio State, the Spartans struggled badly to create offense and Bridges almost never went to the ball and if he did settled for contested jumpers. Also, against the 7 NCAA tournament teams Bridges faced, only in one of those games did he score more than 20 points and shot 42% from the floor with 47% of those shots being from three with a percentage of 35%.. Against the best competition Bridges was typically quiet and settled for way too many bad shots. Needs to work on decision making and not settle for too many jumpshots to be effective.
Best Fit: Minnesota
Not sure how Minnesota will get rid of Andrew Wiggins and that ludicrous contract but Bridges could end up being a better version of him with more potential on a rookie deal. Even if they cannot he can be a more formidable wing off the bench. Thibs can help his defensive game and I like Bridges in a more off ball role and attacking backpedaling/closing defenders. Best way to get Bridges could be to swap Wiggins and Batum contracts with Charlotte as well as swap 20 and 11. Bridges could be a real spark for the Twolves for a team struggling to rid of a bad Wiggins deal.
#16 – Keita Bates-Diop
Ohio State – 6′ 8″, 223, 22
Notable Stats: 19.8 PPG, 8.7 REB, 1.6 BPG, 35.9% 3P%
Pro Comparison: Floor – Mo Harkless. Ceiling – Khris Middleton
Absolutely love this kid in the draft. Super long with a 7’2 wingspan. Redshirt junior who made really impressive strides this season as the leader of Ohio State. 20 points a game came in a variety of ways. Off the dribble can create separation well against different sized players. If bigger guy he blows past them, if smaller guy uses his physicality to his advantage and bullies him. Really great off of catch and shoot. Most of his three point percentage comes from that. Didn’t have many opportunities to catch and shoot because the Buckeyes relied on him so so much to score isolation. Loved how he expanded his post up game. Was able to back down defenders, shoot jump shots, make floaters and finish with contact. Really diverse game that translates well to the NBA and could be a great role player. Defensively excels too. So long that smaller guys get swallowed up by him easily. Even played well against Miles Bridges, Vince Edwards, and Jaren Jackson who struggled against him. Doesn’t fall for pump fakes and moves his feet incredibly well. Biggest problem is P and R. Still has yet to identify where he needs to be at times and can get lost when he needs to switch. Some of this could be because he had to be the hero at OSU and not just a lack of understanding. Rebounded really well and used his wingspan really well to snag boards away from others. Coaches raved about his leadership and how good of a person he is.
Best Fit: Denver
Both Wilson Chandler and Darell Arthur are out of contract next season, Will Barton out of contract now. Denver really struggled on defense and shot-making, KBD can give them that. Doesn’t have to be The Guy in this situation and will immediately make an impact. No need to ‘develop’ KBD he is a plug and play guy that can give 15 minutes in his first season and hopefully increase that in his sophomore year. Shooting, defense, rebounding; great fit for what the Nuggets need.
#15 – Khyri Thomas
Creighton – 6′ 4″, 198, 21
Notable Stats: 15.1 PPG, 4.4 REB, 1.7 SPG, 41.1% 3P%
Pro Comparison: Floor – Pat Connaughton. Ceiling – Prime Iman Shumpert
Very athletic two guard who has almost a 6’11 wingspan when only standing at 6’4. First two seasons at Creighton he shined defensively by typically taking the best guard on the opposing team. Faced Josh Hart, Jalen Brunson, Kris Dunn and stood up to all Big East foes. Just love the way he moves his feet and stays in front of guys. He understands the strengths of the players he guards. Had 5 steals in a game against DePaul at the end of the year where he was a menace by jumping passing lanes, always having his hands in front of him and swatting at guys. I think he is a versatile player at the next level who will guard teams’ best 1-3 in any matchup. Also rebounds well for a guard and not afraid to get in there with the big guys.
Runs the fast break well too when he gets a rebound. Head is always up and looking to find the best option. Offensively his game is not as limited as some people think. Terrific catch and shoot three point shooter where most of his makes were when the defense collapsed and left him open. Uses P and R very well but slow when coming off screens. Handle is okay but needs improvement so he can attack the basket more often. When he gets to the rim he has a variety of ways to finish. Has this sweet fadeaway mid-ranged shot, developed a nice floater senior year and even had some acrobatic layups that were gorgeous. Will struggle to beat players in isolation settings but also think his mid-range jump shot (very good) can help him avoid problems in that end.
Best Fit: Indiana
The Pacers have their two guard with Victor Oladipo, but after next season Cory Joseph, Darren Collison, Lance Stephenson, and Joe Young are free agents. For forwards, Thaddeus Young, Bojan Bogdanovic and Myles Turner come off the books. In a summer where more teams have cap space the Pacers will have to let many of these guys go. Thomas can provide immediate defense, allow them to go smaller and put the ball in Oladipo’s hands more. Impactful bench guy that would provide immediate help in end of game scenarios too.
#14 – Zhaire Smith
Texas Tech – 6′ 4″, 198, 18
Notable Stats: 11.3 PPG, 5.0 REB, 45.0 3P%, 1.1 BPG
Pro Comparison: Floor – Ian Clark. Ceiling – Avery Bradley
Most excited for him in the draft as I absolutely love his athleticism and potential. He can flat out jump. His vertical at the combine was typically top 3 but I honestly think he can get higher than what he showed at the combine. He had a game against TCU where he caught a lob that very few guards could actually get to. Offensively, I disagree with most people that say his game is limited. At the end of January and into February and March you saw flashes of off the dribble success, getting to the rim, and creating space against opponents. 41% from three and mostly catch and shoot jumpers. At the minimum he’s a catch and shoot guy and a great cutter that gets open layups. Defensively always took the best guy on the other team. Against Kansas in Phog Allen he played incredible D from taking Newman to switching onto Graham. Moves his feet extremely well and I could see him easily shutting down bigger guards that could try to bully him. Really high potential, incredible kid. Low star recruit that thrived at Tech and athleticism can keep him in the NBA alone.
Best Fit: San Antonio
I know they have a similar player with Bryn Forbes but Smith just meets that Spurs standard of developing super athletic and great defensive players. Helps them get younger especially when Ginobili, Parker, and Green are all likely to be off the roster by the end of next year. He would do great under Popp, stays in Texas and I could see him making an immediate impact.
#13 – Lonnie Walker
Miami – 6′ 4″, 196, 19
Notable Stats: 15.1 PPG, 4.4 REB, 1.7 SPG, 41.1% 3P%
Pro Comparison: Floor – Shannon Brown. Ceiling – Jrue Holliday
I tend to throw out Walker’s first couple games of the year because he looked so uncomfortable cutting and moving. After tearing his meniscus in the summer before his freshman year it took him a little time to get going and actually look comfortable on the court. Once he did, he was a dynamic athlete that really showed terrific two-way potential. 40 inch vertical and a 6’10 wingspan is impressive for a 19-year-old. The win against Louisville felt like the turning point in the season for Walker where he showed what made him such a high-rated recruit. TERRIFIC finisher around the rim.
One of few players that hangs in the air, can finish with both hand and even miraculously switch hands in mid-air. Some of the layups he made were so head-scratching as to how he actually got them to go. Absorbed contact well and would always try to get the ball towards the hoop for a three-point play. Shot an average 36% from three with most of his makes coming off catch and shoot and not off the dribble. 74% from the line is decent but I do like his stoke and believe those numbers can increase. His handle needs to be polished as he turns the ball over carelessly. Wingspan allows for him to get to difficult passes and clog passing lanes. Can pickpocket players easily too but does not have the lateral movement and gets blown by at times. Fierce competitor but did not like his lack of rebounding and assists combined with poor efficiency. Important to know that he is a project. I do not think he is as simple as a plug and play guy immediately like many people expect from him. He is a two guard and I do not think he can lead the offense which is a concern. The combo guard idea with him is tough because he was not great with P and R and very rarely found teammates. Has incredible potential but team fit is absolutely massive for Walker to fulfill it in this draft.
Best Fit: LA Lakers
Now I do not think he will get to 25, but he is a terrific fit for the young core they have now. Wings contracts like KCP and Julius Randle come off the books this summer while Tyler Ennis finishes his contact next summer. The Lakers would have a great core of young guards with Lonzo, Hart, Ingram, and Walker. Allows them to play small and have incredible athleticism. Walker does not have to be the ‘key piece’ to a playoff team and can refine his game around a fun and youthful team with a great head coach.
#12 – Collin Sexton
Alabama – 6′ 1″, 183, 19
19.2 PPG, 3.8 REB, 3.6 APG, 33.6 3P%, 2.8 TOV
Pro Comparison: Floor – Eric Bledsoe. Ceiling – More athletic Kemba Walker
Nickname is ‘Young Bull’ and boy does he play like it. Head down, let me get to the rim and I am better than you mentality. Such an explosive athlete first of all. Really long for his size with a 6’7 wingspan, great leaping ability and extremely quick. at 6’1 is a little small (in comparison shorter than Young). Uses both hands so well off the dribble, can finish with both at the rim but does prefer to go left and finish with the right which is a little odd (similar to Ben Simmons shooting). I love his aggression and explosiveness off the dribble, NBA defenders will struggle to guard him because his first step is so fast. Defensively he is much better than some of the recent point guards (Smith, Dunn). Can move laterally, block shots and put the clamps down. His attitude reminds me a lot of Marcus Smart as he is totally in your face and unafraid. Jump shot is a major concern. His misses are mostly really ugly bricks. Even some of his makes clang off the backboard where the audience throws up their hands. His left-hand moves forward in his release and probably should be corrected. 3.6 APG should really be higher because of his vision but turns the ball over so much with just horrendous decision making. Has blowup potential as seen in the historic 5 vs 3 game vs Minnesota and three-game run in the SEC tournament and NCAA Tournament. Sexton could end up being the best player in the draft or a very average player.
Best Fit: Orlando
This team needs a point guard so badly and Sexton can fill that need after shipping Elfrid Payton. The Magic have serious organizational problems and just need a spark. I really like a young energetic core with Sexton, Isaac, and maybe a re-signed Aaron Gordon. The Magic will not get good quickly but Sexton can take control over a young team and try to get better as a shooter and distributer. Six might be too high for Sexton so a possible trade back to someone like New York at nine to get him makes a lot of sense.
#11 – Wendell Carter
Duke – 6′ 11″, 251, 19
Notable Stats: 13.5 PPG, 9.1 REB, 2.1 BPG, 41.3 3P%, 8.6 FGA
Pro Comparison: Floor – Mo Speights. Ceiling – Kevin Love (Older, Cleveland)
Extremely efficient for the number of attempts per game he had. Not enough basketballs in the Duke offense but Carter took what he got. Shot well from three on limited attempts. Best at catch and shoot threes with lots of space, begins to struggle when closed out strongly on the wing. Off the dribble jumpers his release changes to an “old way” that could hamper him in the pros. Really loved his footwork in the post. Multiple moves, able to shift his weight without becoming erratic and did this against both smaller and bigger players. Finishing touch must be improved. A lot of gimmes at the rim he missed and sometimes doesn’t use the backboard to his advantage. Very long guy at 6’10 with a 7’3 reach but doesn’t have the vertical leaping ability. A big, big worry when it comes to the pro level if he can elevate above longer players. Defensively really is the thing Carter needs to work on. One of the main reasons why Duke went to zone. Against Portland State got absolutely shook which is a sentence that is not said a lot for a Duke player. First and second lateral strides are average but anything after that is the danger zone. Combined with his vertical struggles it spells problems in P and R when switched onto smaller guys.
Best Fit: LA Clippers
Most likely losing Harrell to free agency and Carter could fill the rim runner, bench spark forward role if he leaves. Also allows them to go smaller without Jordan on the floor and space the floor more which is difficult with Jordan. Jordan can help improve his D as one of the best defensive bigs in the league. Finally, allows for LA to move on from a big contract like Jordan or possibly Gallinari during the trade deadline if they want to go that route. (All this assuming the likely notion Jordan opts iinto$24mil option.)
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