Author: Chip Williams

2021 NBA Draft Board

1.) Cade Cunningham (6-8, 220), Wing, Oklahoma State

2.) Evan Mobley (7-0, 215), Big, USC

3.) Jalen Green (6-6, 185), Guard/Wing, G-League Ignite

4.) Jalen Suggs (6-4, 205), Guard, Gonzaga

5.) Scottie Barnes (6-9, 230), Wing/Big, Florida State

6.) Moses Moody (6-6, 205), Wing, Arkansas

7.) Josh Giddey (6-8, 185), Guard/Wing, Australia

8.) Franz Wagner (6-9, 220), Wing/Big, Michigan

9.) Jonathan Kuminga (6-8, 220), Wing/Big, G-League Ignite

10.) Usman Garuba (6-8, 230), Big, Spain

11.) Jaden Springer (6-4, 205), Guard, Tennessee

12.) Ziaire Williams (6-9, 185), Wing, Stanford

13.) Jalen Johnson (6-9, 220), Wing/Big, Duke

14.) James Bouknight (6-5, 190), Guard, UConn

16.) Sharife Cooper (6-1, 180), Guard, Auburn

16.) Keon Johnson (6-5, 185), Guard/Wing, Tennessee

17.) Corey Kispert (6-7, 220), Wing, Gonzaga

18.) Jared Butler (6-3, 195), Guard, Baylor

19.) Nah’Shon Hyland (6-3, 175), Guard, VCU

20.) Alperen Sengun (6-10, 240), Big, Turkey

21.) Kai Jones (6-10, 220), Big, Texas

22.) Chris Duarte (6-6, 190), Wing, Oregon

23.) Davion Mitchell (6-2, 205), Guard, Baylor

24.) Miles McBride (6-2, 200), Guard, West Virginia

25.) Trey Murphy III (6-8, 205), Wing, Virginia

26.) Isaiah Jackson (6-11, 205), Big, Kentucky

27.) JT Thor (6-10, 205), Big, Auburn

28.) Tre Mann (6-5, 190), Guard, Florida

29.) Cam Thomas (6-4, 210), Guard, LSU

30.) Josh Christopher (6-4, 215), Wing, Arizona St.

31.) Josh Primo (6-6, 190), Wing, Alabama

32.) Sam Hauser (6-8, 220), Big, Virginia

33.) Kessler Edwards (6-8, 215), Wing, Pepperdine

34.) Aaron Henry (6-6, 210), Wing, Michigan St

35.) Joe Wieskamp (6-6, 210), Wing Iowa

36.) Quentin Grimes (6-5, 205), Guard/Wing, Houston

37.) Joel Ayayi (6-4, 180), Guard, Gonzaga

38.) Herbert Jones (6-8, 210), Wing/Big, Alabama

39.) Isaiah Todd (6-10, 220), Big, G-League Ignite

40.) Vrenz Bleijenbergh (6-10, 205), Wing, Belgium

41.) Ayo Dusomnu (6-4, 200), Wing/Guard, Illinois

42.) Brandon Boston Jr. (6-7, 185), Wing, Kentucky

43.) Austin Reaves (6-5, 205), Guard/Wing, Oklahoma

44.) Matthew Hurt (6-9, 235), Big, Duke

45.) Greg Brown (6-9, 205), Big, Texas

46.) Day’Ron Sharpe (6-11, 265), Big, North Carolina

47.) Daishen Nix (6-5, 225), Guard, G-League Ignite

48.) Santi Aldama (6-11, 215), Big, Loyola (MD)

49.) Neemias Queeta (7-0, 245), Big, Utah St.

50.) Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (6-9, 230), Big, Villanova

51.) Jason Preston (6-4, 185), Guard, Ohio

52.) David Johnson (6-5, 210), Guard, Louisville

53.) RaiQuon Gray (6-8, 260), Big, Florida St.

54.) Filip Petrusev (7-0, 235), Big, Serbia

55.) Juhann Begarin (6-6, 215), Wing/Guard, Guadeloupe

56.) Rokas Jokubaitis (6-5, 195), Guard, Lithuania

57.) Charles Bassey (6-11, 235), Big, Western Kentucky

58.) Yves Pons (6-6, 215), Big/Wing, Tennessee

59.) Isaiah Livers (6-7, 230), Big, Michigan

60.) Aaron Wiggins (6-6, 200), Wing, Maryland

61.) Jericho Sims (6-9, 245), Big, Texas

62.) Dalano Banton (6-9, 205), Guard, Nebraska

63.) McKinley Wright (6-0, 195), Guard, Colorado

64.) Jay Huff (7-1, 235), Big, Virginia

65.) Justin Champagnie (6-6, 200), Wing, Pittsburgh

66.) EJ Onu (6-11, 240), Big, Shawnee St.

67.) AJ Lawson (6-6, 180), Wing, South Carolina

68.) Scottie Lewis (6-5, 190), Wing/Guard, Florida

69.) Luke Garza (6-11, 265), Big, Iowa

70.) Sandro Mamukelashvili (6-11, 240), Big, Seaton Hall

2019 NBA Prospect Rankings

1. Zion Williamson, F — 6-8, 280 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) Duke

2. Ja Morant, G — 6-3, 175 lbs. (Wingspan N/A) Murray St.

3. Brandon Clarke, F/C — 6-8, 207 lbs. (6-8 wingspan) Gonzaga

4. Jarrett Culver, G/F — 6-7, 195 lbs. (6-9.5 wingspan) Texas Tech

5. R.J. Barrett, G — 6-7, 202 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) Duke

6. Goga Bitadze, C — 6-11, 250 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Georgia

7. P.J. Washington, F — 6-8, 230 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Kentucky

8. Grant Williams, F — 6-8, 240 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) Tennessee

9. Darius Garland, G — 6-3, 175 lbs. (6-5 wingspan) Vanderbilt

10. Jaxson Hayes, C — 7-0, 220 lbs. (7-3.5 wingspan) Texas

11. De’Andre Hunter, F — 6-7, 225 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Virginia

12. Jontay Porter, C — 6-11, 210 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) Missouri

13. Cam Reddish, G/F — 6-8, 208 lbs. (7-0.5 wingspan) Duke

14. Coby White, G — 6-5, 191 lbs. (6-5 wingspan) North Carolina

15. Chuma Okeke, F — 6-8, 235 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) Auburn

16. Bol Bol, C — 7-2.5, 210 lbs. (7-7 wingspan) Oregon

17. Sekou Doumbouya, F — 6-9, 210 lbs. (Wingspan N/A) France

18. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, G — 6-6, 205 lbs. (6-9.5 wingspan) Virginia Tech

19. Talen Horton-Tucker, G/F — 6-4, 235 lbs. (7-1 wingspan) Iowa State

20. Kevin Porter Jr., G — 6-6, 212 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) USC

21. Nicolas Claxton, C — 6-11, 216 lbs. (7-2.5 wingspan) Georgia

22. Cameron Johnson, G/F — 6-9, 205 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) North Carolina

23. Matisse Thybulle, G — 6-5, 200 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) Washington

24. Shamorie Ponds, G — 6-1, 180 lbs. (6-3.5 wingspan) St. John’s

25. Romeo Langford, G — 6-6, 216 lbs. (6-11 wingspan) Indiana

26. Tyler Herro, G — 6-6, 192 lbs. (6-3 wingspan) Kentucky

27. Ty Jerome, G — 6-6, 194 lbs. (6-4 wingspan) Virginia

28. Alen Smailagic, C — 6-10, 215 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Santa Cruz Warriors

29. Keldon Johnson, G/F — 6-6, 216 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) Kentucky

30. Nassir Little, F — 6-6, 224 lbs. (7-1 wingspan) North Carolina

31. Yovel Zoosman, G/F — 6-7, 200 lbs. (Wingspan N/A) Israel

32. Carsen Edwards, G — 6-0, 199 lbs. (6-6 wingspan) Purdue

33. Deividas Sirvydis, G/F — 6-9, 193 lbs. (6-7 wingspan) Lithuania

34. Ignas Brazdeikis, F — 6-7, 221 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) Michigan

35. Terence Davis, G/F — 6-5, 192 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) Ole Mississippi

36. Mfiondu Kabengele, F/C — 6-10, 253 lbs. (7-3 wingspan) Florida State

37. DaQuan Jeffries, G — 6-5, 215 lbs. (6-11 wingspan) Tulsa

38. Eric Paschall, F — 6-7, 254 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) Villanova

39. Dylan Windler, F — 6-8, 198 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) Belmont

40. Bruno Fernando, C — 6-10, 237 lbs. (7-3 wingspan) Maryland

41. Daniel Gafford, F/C — 6-11, 237 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Arkansas

42. Charles Matthews, G — 6-6, 195 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) Michigan

43. Luka Samanic, C — 6-11, 227 lbs. (6-11 wingspan) Croatia

44. Luguentz Dort, G — 6-4, 222 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) Arizona St.

45. Darius Bazely, F/C — 6-9, 208 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) USA

46. Jordan Poole, G — 6-6, 191 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) Michigan

47. John Konchar, G — 6-5, 210 lbs. (6-7 wingspan) Purdue Fort Wayne

48. Admiral Schofield, F — 6-5, 240 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) Tennessee

49. Rui Hachimura, F — 6-8, 236 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Gonzaga

50. Justin Robinson, G — 6-2, 195 lbs. (6-2 wingspan) Virginia Tech

51. KZ Okpala, F — 6-10, 210 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Stanford

52. Zach Norvell Jr., G — 6-6, 206 lbs. (6-6 wingspan) Gonzaga

53. Tremont Waters, G — 5-11, 172 lbs. (6-2 wingspan) LSU

54. Isaiah Roby, F — 6-9, 215 lbs. (7-1 wingspan) Nebraska

55. Cody Martin, F — 6-6, 190 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) Nevada

56. Josh Reaves, G — 6-4, 210 lbs. (6-7 wingspan) Penn St.

57. Quinndary Weatherspoon, G — 6-4, 207 lbs. (6-9 wingspan) Mississippi St.

58. Justin Wright-Foreman, G — 6-1, 190 lbs. (6-7 wingspan) Hofstra

59. Dean Wade, F — 6-10, 230 lbs. (Wingspan N/A) Kansas St.

60. Jaylen Nowell, G — 6-4, 202 lbs. (6-7 wingspan) Washington

61. Rayjon Tucker, G — 6-5, 209 lbs. (Wingspan N/A) Arkansas Pine Bluff

62. Jalen McDaniels, F — 6-10, 191 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) San Diego St.

63. Naz Reid, F — 6-10, 256 lbs. (7-3 wingspan) LSU

64. Jalen Lecque, G — 6-4, 185 lbs. (6-7 wingspan) USA

65. Louis King, F — 6-8, 195 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) Oregon

66. Terance Mann G/F — 6-6, 205 lbs. (6-7 wingspan) Florida St.

67. Kerwin Roach, G — 6-4, 185 lbs. (6-5 wingspan) Texas

68. Dedric Lawson, F — 6-9, 233 lbs. (7-2 wingspan) Kansas

69. Zylan Cheatham, F — 6-8, 220 lbs. (7-0 wingspan) Arizona St.

70. Brian Bowen, G/F — 6-8, 210 lbs. (6-10 wingspan) USA

What Jontay Porter does well and how he fits with Grizz

The Memphis Grizzlies signed 20-year-old Jontay Porter (6-10, 210 lbs.) for the remainder of the season with a team option for next season, according to The Athletic.

Porter, the younger brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr., is recovering from two ACL injuries–one suffered in October 2018 and the second in March of 2019 while rehabbing. The injury caused Porter–projected by some to be a lottery pick–to go undrafted last June. He finished 12 on my final board, sandwiched between De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish.

The plan for Porter, according to The Athletic, is for him to sit out the remainder of the season, continue to rehab and get ready for the 2020-21 season.

Porter, who gives the Grizzlies another shot at a young piece to pair with their burgeoning core, was highly rated among analytical draft pundits, despite the injury. The Grizzlies’ plan is becoming incontrovertible–collect as many young, low-cost, high-yield-potential assets as they can. That’s how you rebuild, and do it quickly. As for what they will do with all the young players they’ve acquired–let them grow together, which seems difficult on several levels*, or package multiple assets for the next disgruntled star**–only time will tell.

(*It’s difficult for multiple reasons, such as there are only 240 minutes available per game, at some point these guys want to get paid and there’s a salary cap/tax threshold, etc. Some can and will grow together but the idea that all–or even most–of the 11 Grizzlies 24 years old and younger will be on the team even two or three years from now seems far fetched.)

(**Wow, the Grizzlies have the young players (and draft capital!) to pull off a 3-for-1 or 4-for-1 type deal that nets the a star-level player is wild. This was basically unfathomable 365 days ago.)

Let’s take a look at what Porter brings to the table and how he might fit with the Grizzlies as early as next season.

3-point Shooting:

Porter made 40/110 from three (36.4 percent) during the 2017-18 season at Missouri–the only season he played college basketball.

Porter’s release is good, not perfect, but good. The best aspects are it’s fluid, it’s consistent and it goes in often enough. His gather is fairly quick for a guy his size. He does a nice job of getting his feet under him, though his toes are usually pointed right. He leans back slightly as he shoots instead of standing upright. He does a good job keeping his elbow in and staying fluid through his release.

Here’s a different angle of Porter’s shot:

Porter’s ability to knock down threes within the flow of the offense, especially in pick-and-pop situations, will fit well into the Grizzlies heavy ball-screen offense. Many Grizz possessions start with the bigs in the high post and the man bringing the ball up the court throwing to one of them. The big can then either pass over to the wing on his side and initiate a ball screen or take a dribble toward the wing and hand the ball off (examples from a game against this Bucks this season below where Porter could play the Jaren Jackson Jr. or Jonas Valanciunas role). Porter can pop whether passing to the wing and setting the screen or handing the ball off. Plus, he’s an excellent passer and decision maker who should be comfortable with the ball in the high post.

Passer/Decision Maker/Basketball IQ:

One reason I’m bullish on Porter fitting into Taylor Jenkins’ offense was briefly explained above. Jenkins asks his bigs to operate out of the high post frequently, which benefits two of Porter’s strengths–shooting and passing.

The Grizzlies have put together a group of high basketball IQ players who know where to be and how to find the open man. It’s one thing to know where the open man is, and it’s another to be able to actually recognize him and deliver the pass before the defense can recover. Porter did that as well as any big in the 2019 Draft. Once he understands the nuances of Jenkins’ offense, Porter shouldn’t have much trouble fitting in and making an impact within the flow of the offense.

Defense:

One of the main knocks on Porter is his lack of athleticism. He’s not particularly fast or quick, and he does not offer much of a vertical jump. However, he’s not a liability on defense like others with athletic limitations. Porter moves his feet well and consistently does a good job of making himself big, especially on pick-and-roll switches.

I would be surprised if Porter is ever an impact defender, but he does enough to not be a liability. The fact that Porter will often be flanked by either Brandon Clarke or Jaren Jackson Jr. helps tremendously. It means Porter can guard the least mobile opposing big when he’s on the court. Generally, Porter seems to have a good understanding of team defense and when it’s appropriate to help off his man for a weak-side block attempt. It’s not too often you see him caught out of position, though defending in the NBA requires much more awareness of offensive spacing than the SEC does, so an adjustment period should be expected like it is with almost all rookies.

When evaluating prospects, I always ask myself, “if all else fails and none of his potential skills pan out, what can he fall back on to make himself stick in the league?” For Porter I think it’s two things: his shooting and his overall understanding of the game. Simply put, I believe in not only his shooting production but his mechanics. His shot is legit, and I’d be shocked if it doesn’t become a weapon defenders have to respect in the NBA. As for the latter skill, Porter just understands basketball. He always makes the right play, whether it’s a pass, shot, screen, help defense or just being in the right spot because of his understanding of offensive spacing. Couple that with his high skill level and it’s easy to envision Porter making an impact in the NBA, as long as his body doesn’t fail him.

And on top of that he’s a really nice long term fit with both Brandon Clarke and Jaren Jackson Jr. The Grizzlies frontcourt is crowded next season with Jackson, Clarke, Jonas Valanciunas and Gorgui Dieng all under contract next season, plus Kyle Anderson and Justise Winslow are candidates to get minutes at the four. There’s not a direct path to get Porter minutes, but Jenkins and his staff have proven if you put in the work then they’re willing to give you can opportunity (see: John Konchar, De’Anthony Melton and even Josh Jackson to a degree). The culture and makeup of the team seems to fit Porter. He’s 20–the same age as Ja Morant and Jackson–and the majority of the locker room can’t rent a car without the added under 25 fee.

Zach Kleiman and the Grizzlies front office have done a great job since taking over. They’ve maximized every asset they were given, and Jontay Porter has a chance to add to the growing list of wins for Kleiman in his early tenure.

Ja Morant is (probably) a Grizzly, plus a bunch of draft thoughts

I was sitting on the couch eating dinner. ESPN was on the TV. I’d been here before on lottery night hoping the Memphis Grizzlies somehow jumped up to the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft.

I was relatively calm as the commissioner unveiled envelop after envelop, getting closer and closer to the spot that, according to the odds, would likely belong to the Grizzlies. But when the time came for the Grizzlies spot, the commissioner opened the envelop, and there was no yellow-eyed blue bear. The Grizzlies had jumped up.

But I knew better than to get too excited. One of the most talked about prospects since his high school days and an almost surefire future all-star was going to go number one. Surely he wouldn’t end up in Memphis, right?

During the commercial break I put my plate of food to the side and stood up and paced around.

The break ended, and I froze. The fourth pick was up.

Not the Grizzlies.

Third pick–not the Grizzlies.

I’m not sure if I blacked out but the next thing I know I’m in the fetal position, ready to explode or be devastated depending on which team is on the next envelop.

The commissioner opens it. It’s the Grizzlies.

I was crushed.

That was lottery night 2003 when the prize was LeBron James. Thankfully, on lottery night 2019–where almost the exact same scenario played out–the Grizzlies pick was top-eight protected, unlike in 2003 when it was top-one protected and owed to the Detroit Pistons thanks to a 1997 trade for Otis Thorpe (who’s only played 47 more games for the Grizzlies than I have).

10 thoughts on the Memphis Grizzlies draft (mostly Ja Morant)

1. While I was disappointed to see the Grizzlies logo on the number two pick envelop, much like I was in 2003, that was short-lived because I think Ja Morant is good–really good.

2. I’m going out on a very short, sturdy limb by saying yes, if the Grizzlies keep the number two pick, Ja Morant should be and will be the pick.

3. No one will, or should, blame the Grizzlies if they do select Morant and, for whatever reason, he busts. This is not 2009. The Grizzlies are not taking the unpopular pick–Hasheem Thabeet–over the popular pick–James Harden. I have seen almost no one suggest they take anyone other than Morant, and my guess is if you were the Grizzlies GM Thursday night, that’s what you’d do, too.

4. The Grizzlies absolutely should, and will, entertain offers for the number two pick. But it will likely take a team overpaying to get the Grizzlies out of that spot.

5. I am sure that the Grizzlies did their homework and seriously considered others at number two, but no one in this draft that’s not named Zion has more upside than Morant. The Grizzlies are in full rebuild mode, and being the small market team they are, they probably need to hit on two more picks like they did with Jaren Jackson, Jr. if they want a shot at being a contender. And, like we’ve already addressed, if Morant busts no one will blame them. Don’t be “The Process” 76ers in 2013 who took a much lower ceiling and presumably higher floor player in Michael Carter-Williams over Giannis Antetokounmpo. Take a home run swing.

6. Ja is going to be fun. His violent dunks are only outdone by his Chris Paul-like passing ability. The Grizzlies have never had a player so dangerous in transition (sorry, James Ennis). Every butt will be out of its FedExForum seat when the visiting team turns it over or a long rebound ends up with Morant. It’s going to be fun.

7. Ja probably isn’t going to play summer league.  That sucks, but I get it. He’s not far removed from a minor knee procedure and there’s no reason to risk it. (An aside: Everyone is always upset when the NBA Finals ends because it means no more NBA, but I have the opposite reaction. It means summer league is around the corner, and I love summer league.  It’s raw and the basketball is awful, but I love it and I think you should, too.)

8. Comparing draft prospects to past or present NBA players is dumb, but that’s what this space is for, so let’s do it. I had trouble coming up with one for Morant. You’ll see Russell Westbrook thrown out a lot, but that’s bad. Yes, they both dunk. That’s it. Rondo? No.  Morant isn’t even close to the defender Rondo was coming out of Kentucky. Trae Young? They’re both elite passers and suspect (at best) defenders, but no. De’Aaron Fox? Refer back to Rondo. Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum? They went to small schools, but no. The best one I’ve seen comes courtesy of @cosmis on Twitter, who compares Morant to a skinnier Kevin Johnson. That’s as good of a comparison as you’re going to see. (Click here if you’re not familiar with him). Johnson, a three-time all-star, averaged 18-9-3-1.5 steals for his career, and he averaged at least 20 points per game fives times and at least 10 assists four times with three 20-10 seasons. If that’s indeed who Morant turns out to be, Grizzlies fans should be thrilled, and he’d challenge (and probably surpass) Mike Conley as the best point guard in franchise history.

9. How does Morant bust? For starters, his defense is bad–very, very bad. It’s hard to overstate how bad of a defender he was at Murray State. It’s easy to explain it away by saying that he carried an incredible offensive load while in college and took his breaks on defense. That’s fair, but it needs to be noted that he has a long way to go on that end, despite averaging nearly two steals per game. Then there’s his shot. Morant’s shot made great strides from his freshman to sophomore season, increasing his three point percentage from 30.7% on 2.8 attempts to a respectable 36.3% on 4.8 attempts. He shot 81% on free throws during his two college seasons, which is always a good indicator for how a prospects shot will translate at the next level, but his release and pull-up jumper need work if he’s to be a star lead guard in the league. Finally, there’s the turnovers. It’s not often a guy averages double-digit assists and doesn’t have at least a 2-to-1 assist-to-turnover ration, but Morant accomplished that last season, averaging 10 assists and 5.2 turnovers per game. He’s the best passer in the draft, but he was guilty of choosing style over substance at times. I’d be surprised if Morant was a complete bust, but he, like virtually every draft prospect, isn’t bust-proof.

10. This is not a deep draft, but it would not surprise me to see the Grizzlies end up with a second round pick. It could come via a Mike Conley trade, a future draft pick trade or they could even buy their way into the second round, but the Grizzlies–no matter who’s running the show–always seem to end up in the second round.

5 prospects I’m higher on than the consensus

1. Brandon Clarke — I’ll release my final draft board on Thursday morning, but Brandon Clarke is going to be in the top five. He’s got a chance to be Shawn Marion-ish.

2. Goga Bitadze — There aren’t many 6-11, 250-pound bigs you’d feel comfortable playing heavy playoff minutes but Goga has a chance to be one. I’d easily take him in the back half of the top 10, and I think he’s one of the safest prospects in the whole draft.

3. P.J. Washington — He’s 6-8 with a 7-3 wingspan. He was a highly productive offensive player in college, and he projects as a good defender at the next level. I would also take him in the top 10.

4. Grant Williams — Grant Williams should go in the lottery, and he might sneak into the late lottery but odds are he’ll go in the twenties and some team will be very happy to have him. He has a great basketball IQ, good touch, good defensive instincts and, if his shot becomes reliable, he could be a playoff starter/rotation player. (Note: I hate Williams’ fit with JJJ for the Grizzlies, but if they end up with a pick in the twenties and he’s there, I’ll be upset if they don’t take him.)

5. Nicolas Claxton — Claxton went from a possible second round pick to a definite first round pick that could go in the late lottery. He’s a project, but he can already switch on defense and Georgia basically ran their offense through him last year. If he’s given time to develop, he could turn into a prototypical modern big man.

Honorable mention: Chuma Okeke and Jontay Porter

5 prospects I’m lower on than the consensus

1. RJ Barrett — I’m certainly not out on RJ Barrett as a prospect. I’m just lower on him than most. There’s a decent chance he ends up just outside my top five on my final board. He gives me Evan Turner vibes. The best chance of him succeeding is for him to be a primary ball handler on a team. Unless his jumper becomes more reliable, I just don’t see how he positively effects the game without the ball in his hands.

2. De’Andre Hunter — Good individual defender, but are we sure he’s as good of a defender as his reputation would suggest? I’m not. And can a guy who made less than one three per game for his college career be considered a 3-and-D prospect? I still like Hunter in the lottery, but he’s being projected as high as the top five and that too rich for me.

3. Nassir Little — I’m not sure how he sticks longterm in the NBA, and he might be picked in the lottery.

4. Rui Hachimura — What if I told you a big man prospect was 6-8, didn’t rebound well (12.6 REB%), didn’t protect the rim (2.4 BLK%), didn’t shoot threes (31.6% for his career on 76 attempts), and has a negative assist-to-turnover ratio? Meet Rui Hachimura. He’s a classic college basketball box score superstar that’s not a first round prospect, even though there’s a chance he’s taken in the lottery.

5. Romeo Langford — Good scorer, but shot just 27.2% from three at Indiana. There are rumors of a hand injury that may have hurt his jumper in college, and if that’s true he may heal and become a starting NBA wing. But there’s enough risk for me to not feel comfortable taking him before the mid-twenties.

5 second round prospects that intrigue me

1. Terence Davis

2. Mfiondu Kabengele

3. Charles Matthews

4. Shamorie Ponds

5. DaQuan Jeffries

Honorable mention: Danniel Gafford

Closing thought: Cam Reddish

I feel like Michael Wilbon is sitting across from me and I’m about to do a parting shot on PTI, but Cam Reddish needed his own section. It’s hard for me to remember a more polarizing prospect than Reddish. His floor is him being out of the league when his rookie contract is up, and his ceiling is starting wing on a playoff team. I see what the people who like him see, and I see what the people who think he’s a second round prospect see. Guys like Reddish are coveted in the NBA–a 6-8 potential 3-and-D wing–but his freshman season at Duke was not good. It’s also possible for guys to have a one-off bad seasons, but it was bad enough for me to not take Reddish before pick 20.