This upcoming draft is one of the most difficult to scout we’ve ever seen. Most top prospects played a small sample size or are foreign and there wasn’t March Madness so the film available for some of these prospects are limited. That being said, even though the draft might be a little unpredictable and shallow at the top, there is a ton of depth. There could be 25+ players in this draft that carve out long and successful careers. Let’s take a look at my top 30 big board:
1. Lamelo Ball (PG, Illawarra Hawks, 19 years old)
Lamelo Ball is easily the most polarizing prospect in the draft. The dude has been on the spotlight since his early freshman years due to the success of Chino Hills, having a loudmouth father (Lavar), a reality tv show, and a brother who was draft in the top 2 (Lonzo). Many fans still view him as that shot chucking 5’11” kid that played no defense with the long fro. Even though the defensive part is still true to an extent, his game has completely changed. He’s now suddenly a 6’8” point guard with incredible vision and creativity that is a triple trouble threat every night. Yes, he shot 38/25/73 splits which is not encouraging. But come on, the dude was playing his first games in a pro league where he had to be all and everything for a subpar Illawarra Hawks squad. He averaged 24/9/9 on 48% his last 5/12 games… the improvement was there. If he played a full season, I don’t think we question his shooting as much. Highest ceiling in the draft.
Floor: Bigger Jason Williams
Ceiling: Better defensive version of current Luka Doncic
2. Deni Avdija (SF/PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv, 19 years old)
Many view Ball and Edwards as the undisputed top 2 prospects in this draft, I disagree. Deni Avdija is a 6’9” combo forward that is coming off an Israel League MVP, youngest Israel league MVP ever, and champ. He‘s a point forward with good athleticism, one of the best passers in the draft, can create off the dribble, has potential to score from all three levels, and guard 3-4 positions at a solid level. His free throw and three point shooting consistency needs some work but he has the quick release and good touch that gives him the potential to be an above average shooter. .His ability to do a little bit of everything, his resume, and intangibles make him one of the intriguing prospects in the draft. Deni has gotten some Luka comparisons and it’s certainly possible teams at the top regret passing on him like how Phoenix and Sacramento regret passing on Luka.
Floor: More athletic Dario Saric
Ceiling: Ben Simmons/Gordon Hayward
3. Anthony Edwards (SG, Georgia, Freshman, Freshman)
You can certainly argue Edwards is the most talented prospect in the draft. He’s a 6’5” 2-guard with a 6’9” wingspan with elite athleticism, great frame, and legit 2-way potential. Edwards was incredibly inconsistent at Georgia as he shot 40% from the field and 29% from three this year but that could certainly be because of what he was asked to do there… he didn’t have a lot of reliable teammates and was forced to make bad decisions. Even with his motor and decision making questions, his frame, 2-way, and shot creation potential is too immense to fall out of the top 3 on this big board.
Floor: Dion Waiters
Ceiling: Victor Oladipo+
Floor: Jeff Teague
Ceiling: Goran Dragic+
4. James Wiseman (C, Memphis, Freshman)
James Wiseman might be the hardest player to evaluate in this draft because of his evident talent but clear holes and small sample size. To start with the strengths, he’s a freak athlete, no other way to put it. He runs up and down in transition at an elite level, super explosive, long, and has great potential to add legit muscle mass. He also has great instincts on the glass, can be a lob threat immediately, protect the rim well, and has some potential as a shooter. From the games we saw at Memphis, he struggled knowing where to be both offensively and defensively, but that could certainly be because he was acclimating to a new squad and it was early in the season. He also has tunnel vision when finding others, is flat footed in the perimeter, and settled for fake shots too much. If Wiseman hits, could easily be the most dominant force in this class. If he doesn’t, might just be a rotational guy in the league.
Floor: Nerlins Noel
Ceiling: Dwight Howard with a jumper
5. Onyeka Okongwu (PF/C, USC, Freshman)
Frankly, I have flip flopped between Wiseman and Okongwu quite a bit but ultimately decided to put Wiseman ahead on my board but it doesn’t take anything away from Okongwu. Okongwu is 6’9” with a 7’1” wingspan and he might be the best defender in the draft. He is an amazing rim protector as he averaged nearly 3 blocks a game but also has active hands and can switch on guards when he can. Offensively, he is able to run up and down the court, function as a lob threat, pretty polished in the post, and has untapped potential as a floor spacer. Okongwu has drawn a lot of comparisons to Bam Adebayo which makes sense since they have similar size and both are incredibly versatile defensive menaces… but Okongwu doesn’t have quite the versatility offensively Bam does; Bam literally can function as a “point-center” and facilitate an offense which isn’t something I haven’t seen from Okongwu. Nonetheless, a very good prospect that fits the mold of a modern, small ball big in this league.
Floor: Tristan Thompson
Ceiling: Bam Adebayo
6. Killian Hayes (PG, Ratiopharm Ulm, 19 years old)
Killian Hayes is exactly what you want in a modern point. He’s a creative and crafty 6’5” guard that makes players around him better and can get his own shot off the dribble. He has a really nice step back and can finish around the basket whether that means throwing up a floater, attacking for a layup, or dunking it in fast break. Hayes also has shown flashes defensively! He will need to shoot better than 29% from three, reduce the turnovers, and work on his right hand and drastically improve his ability to play off the ball, if he truly wants to run an offense at a high-level, though.
7. Obi Toppin (PF, Dayton, Sophomore)
Obi came out of nowhere for the Flyers. He went from being just a solid piece on that squad to becoming the National Player of the Year. His offensive game is made for the modern NBA, he is incredibly explosive in transition, as the NCAA leader in dunks, he is a high flyer that essentially tries to slam it whenever he has the chance to. He also has a strong post up game, is an underrated passer, and can hit the open three. The questions about Toppin include his defense, he struggles laterally and doesn’t have great instincts there. He also is going to be 22 whenever the season starts so it could leave teams skeptical about his upside as a prospect. If he gets to play with a high-end playmaker, he could become one of the best offensive players in the draft.
Floor: Aaron Gordon with no defense
Ceiling: Amari Stoudimire
8. Isaac Okoro (SF/SG, Auburn, Freshman
Isaac is one of the best athletes in the draft. As a 6’6” 225 pounds wing, he has the frame to immediately hold his own against pros. The best trait he possesses as a player is his ability to defend. He has the potential to guard four positions, he has great instincts for poking the ball and has the ability to stay in front of and lock down anybody’s best player. Okoro has a pretty basic offensive game, he is great in transition and can finish around the rim with ease, he can also handle the ball and find the open but he doesn’t have go-to moves and needs to improve on his 27% from three and 67% on the line. Okoro has the work ethic is be a really good player on both ends, the organization he ends up in will be a big factor of how good he becomes.
Floor: Stanley Johnson
Ceiling: Jaylen Brown
9. Tyrese Haliburton (PG, Iowa State, Sophomore)
Tyrese Haliburton is one of the safest picks you can ever make. He can defend, hit open shots, rebound, and is one of the best passers in the draft. Despite his awkward and slow form, he shot 50/42/82 splits. Mike Schmitz refers to Haliburton as what Lonzo was supposed to be coming out of UCLA, I find that being an accurate description. Haliburton isn’t the sexy of flashy pick for a franchise but he is the most complete prospect in the draft with leadership traits and will be able to contribute day one.
Floor: Ricky Rubio
Ceiling: Lonzo Ball+
10. Kira Lewis Jr. (PG, Alabama, Sophomore)
Kira Lewis may be one of the fastest and most athletic point guards in this draft, but there’s so much more to his game than that. He’s an awesome finisher in transition and is able to finish inside unbalanced and has a strong overall layup package. He has a really tight release and shot 37% from downtown. He also is an underrated passer and has tools defensively. Despite being a sophomore, Kira is one of the youngest players in the draft. Considering his age, athleticism, and the leap he took from his freshman to sophomore year, he could become a really good player.
Floor: Ish Smith
Ceiling: De’Aaron Fox
11. Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey is one of the more interesting prospects in the draft. He was a flat out bucket in high school but wasn’t as efficient as you’d want as he only had 43/29/83 splits. You could also make the argument that his splits weren’t ideal because he had to play a role in Kentucky. Despite those numbers, he showed a lot of tools. He’s shifty, can create off the dribble, finish inside, defends, and isn’t afraid of the moment. Could he follow the amazing pedigree of Kentucky players that outplay their draft slot? Wouldn’t be shocking.
Floor: Jerome Robinson
Ceiling: Jrue Holiday
12. Saddiq Bey (SF, Sophomore, Villanova)
To me, Saddiq Bey is the best 3 and D prospect in the draft. He has a long, boxy frame and will be able to guard 2-3 positions at a strong level. He is a 45% three point shooter with a quick stroke that will translate early. He also has shown some life off the dribble. Bey has a chance to have a long, steady and impactful career.
Floor: Otto Porter Jr.-
Ceiling: Robert Covington+ some shot creating
13. Patrick Williams (PF/SF, Florida State, Freshman)
Patrick Williams is one of the most intriguing prospects outside of the top of the draft. He has an nba ready body, defends very well, finishes well around the basket and has promise as a shooter since he shot around 84% from the line, even though he only shot 32% from three. If Williams can continue to polish his overall skillset, could become one of the better players from this draft.
Floor: Al-Farouq Aminu
Ceiling: Poor man’s Kawhi Leonard
14. Cassius Winston (PG, Michigan State, Senior)
You won’t find Cassius Winston this high on a big board this often but I’m a big fan of him. He’s an incredibly skilled playmaker that makes players around him better, defends, and has shot 43%+ from three multiple seasons in his college career. He may already be 22, but so is Toppin. His range, defensive ability, creativity, and passing abilities will help him surprise many people. Could easily be the Malcolm Brogdon of this draft.
Floor: Monte Morris
Ceiling: Raymond Felton+
15. Devin Vassell (SF/SG, Florida State, Sophomore)
I initially viewed Vassell as the best 3 and D prospect in the draft but he’s slipping down my board. There have been videos of him shooting and his shot didn’t look encouraging. It seemed slower and he released it from behind his head which makes me question his ability to get that shot off against NBA defenses despite him shooting 40%+ from three in both of his college seasons. That being said, he is one of the best defenders in the draft, probably the best perimeter defender not named Isaac Okoro. If his shot indeed translates, he’s easily the best 3 and D prospect in the draft, though.
Floor: Andre Roberson with an average jumper
Ceiling: Jae Crowder+
16. Aaron Nesmith (SF, Vanderbilt, Sophomore)
Aaron Nesmith is an absolute sniper, as a 52.2% shooter from three in 14 games last years, Nesmith is arguably the best shooter in the draft. He is amazing using screens and running off the ball and sinking open shots. He is also a strong team defender with a solid motor. A question that rises with Nesmith is if his shot is for real or not. He only shot 33.7% from downtown in his freshman season and only played 14 games this year.
Floor: Dwayne Bacon
Ceiling: Joe Harris
17. Tyrell Terry (PG, Stanford, Freshman)
Tyrell Terry has been skyrocketing up my board these last few weeks. There have been reports about his measurements that has helped his case. After being listed at 6’1” 160 pounds, he’s recently been measured as 6’3” 174 pounds, shrinking his concerns about his size. Terry is an absolutely sniper. He shot 40.8% from three at Stanford and is gets that shot off the dribble and equally as well from off the ball movement, somewhat Steph like. He is also a capable playmaker and scorer from three levels. He really struggled defensively last year, needs to pick it up in that aspect.
Floor: Quin Cook
Ceiling: Seth Curry+
18. Precious Achiuwa (PF/C, Memphis, Freshman)
Precious Achiuwa must’ve been intrigued about the pairing between he and James Wiseman after commuting to Memphis but only got to play three games with Wiseman, unfortunately. Achiuwa is a versatile defender with a high motor and gobbles up rebounds at a strong level for his size. He also has a maturing offensive game, his NBA ready body should allow him to score effectively inside early on as he keeps working on that jumper.
Floor: Mo Harkless
Ceiling: Pascal Siakam
19. Cole Anthony (PG, UNC, Freshman)
If you told somebody 15 months ago that Cole Anthony wasn’t a top 15 prospect in this draft, they would probably laugh. Cole Anthony didn’t have an encouraging freshman year, he shot only 38% from the field and under 40% in the paint. He didn’t have an ideal situation at the University of North Carolina, though. He only played 22 games due to a meniscus injury and he didn’t have the high-end talent nor spacing a typical UNC roster would provide. His 41% from three off the dribble and the showing of his ability to get his own shot still gives him the upside to become a high-end talent.
Floor: Austin Rivers
Ceiling: Jamal Murray
20. RJ Hampton (PG/SG, New Zealand Breakers)
RJ Hampton is another prospect that was projected to be a top pick in this draft over a year ago but his up and down season at the NBL hurt his stock. Hampton going to the NBL probably wasn’t the best decision for his stock as his explosion and ability to finish inside alone would’ve led to an impressive freshman season in the NCAA, but playing against professional athletes in Australia didn’t allow him to display his talents. Hampton’s gifts fists, scoring ability and athleticism gives him one of the highest ceilings in the draft, if he ends up on the right team to develop him.
Floor: Dante Exum
Ceiling: John Wall
21. Jalen Smith (C/PF, Maryland, Sophomore)
Not entering the 2019 draft and spending for an extra year at Maryland was a brilliant decision for Jalen Smith’s stock. As a talented rim protector that hit threes at a 37% clip, he is what you want with a modern big. He will need to gain some muscle, especially in his lower body but his game should translate to the NBA quite smoothly.
Floor: Zach Collins
Ceiling: Myles Turner
22. Leondro Bolmaro (SF/SG, Barcelona, 20 years old)
Leondro Bolmaro is one of the most underrated international players in a loaded international draft. He possesses a strong 6’8” frame, he’s creative, makes players around him better, and is a scrappy defender. He needs to shoot better but he’s seen progress on that jumper. For a deep contending team, could be a valuable draft and stash asset, as he recently signed an extension with Barcelona.
Floor: Tomáš Satoranský
Ceiling: Manu Ginobili
23. Josh Green (SG, Arizona, Freshman)
Arizona had a big recruiting year last year after landing Nico Mannion, Zeke Nnaji, and Josh Green and Green appears to be the best out of the three. He’s athletic with a mature body and will be good defensive from day one. He is also a good finisher in transition and shot over 36% from downtown. Green projects to be a valuable 3 and D type wing in the league.
Floor: Wesley Matthews type
Ceiling: Kelly Oubre Jr.
24. Paul Reed (PF, DePaul, Junior)
My ranking of Paul Reed might be higher than where other people have him but I think his talent gets underestimated. He’s a defensive menace, he can guard the perimeter and paint, great shot blocker, and has a nack for stealing the ball. He also is a good rebounder and finishes around the basket at a strong level. He has a shot to be one of the best defenders from this draft.
Floor: Thomas Robinson
Ceiling: Jonathon Isaac
25. Aleksej Pokusevski (PF, Olympiacos Piraeus, 18 years old)
Pokusevski is the biggest boom or bust potential in the draft. It’s rare to find a 7 footer with the size, fluidity, vision, and scoring potential Pokusevski has. The reason why he’s so low is because he’s not near NBA ready yet. He needs to refine his skills and gain a ton of muscle. If he can maximize his potential, might have the highest ceilings in the entire draft.
Floor: Bruno Caboclo
Ceiling: Larry Bird-ish
26. Jaden McDaniels (SF, Washington, Freshman)
Jaden McDaniels had a down season at Washington. Despite being a projected top 5 pick before the season began, he struggled getting consistent minutes, and had engagement and decision making problems. McDaniels has a long way to go, but his 6’9” frame combined with his ability to score from all three levels and potentially create makes him a first round talent and if he hits his ceiling, he could have star potential.
Floor: Kevin Knox
Ceiling: Brandon Ingram
27. Zeke Nnaji (C, Arizona, Freshman)
Zeke Nnaji is another player rising on my board. He’s a good defender with a really high motor on tremendous character. Offensive, he can finish in the post and has upside as a shooter from outside. The tram getting Nnaji will get someone that has strong potential and will make a positive contribution to a team locker room.
Floor: Jordan Hill
Ceiling: Taj Gibson that can shoot
28. Desmond Bane
Desmond Bane deserves to be in best shooter in the draft conversation. He’s shot over 42% from three in 3 of his four seasons in college and he’s able to sink those shots from both off the dribble and in catch and shoot situations. His ability to score and space the floor will lead him to having a long career as a strong role player.
Floor: Jodie Meeks
Ceiling: More efficient Dillon Brooks
29. Grant Riller
Grant Riller is one of the most accomplished scorers in the draft. He is creative off the dribble and does a great job finding his spots, which has been a key reason for why he was a career 52% shooter from the field at Charleston. His passing could be better but he’s should be an alright reactive passer. Lots to like about his offensive ability.
Floor: Shabazz Nalier
Ceiling: Fred Vanvleet
30. Daniel Oturu
Daniel Oturu has a chance to be the first first round pick from the University of Minnesota since 2004 the Utah Jazz took Kris Humphries 13th overall. Offensively, he has a lot of ability in the post and can hit the open 18 foot jumper. Defensively, he is really talented at protecting the rim but is flat footed at times and has instinctual problems.
Floor: Skal Labissiere
Ceiling: Enes Kanter with defense