First Round Rookie Grades as the Season Comes to a Close

First Round Rookie Grades as the Season Comes to a Close

As we prepare for the 2018 NBA playoffs to get started in the coming weeks, let’s take a look back at the draft and grade what rookies taken in the first round have done so far.

 

 

The 2017 NBA draft board.

Photo Credit/hoopshabit.com

 

 

30. Josh Hart – Los Angeles Lakers

Hart after making a 3.

Photo Credit/lakersnation.com

 

Joining the Lakers after a full career at Villanova, Hart has seen increased minutes as the year has gone on. The 22-year old has showcased above-average rebounding ability for a guard and a solid outside jumper. He’ll continue to share minutes with KCP for the remainder of the season once he returns from his hand injury.

Grade: B-

 

 

29. Derrick White – San Antonio Spurs

White in summer league.

Photo Credit/ralphiereport.com

 

White wasn’t expected to have a huge bench role for the Spurs but he’s been non-existent all season. To spend a first round pick on a 23-year old who’s not ready yet isn’t a win.

Grade: D

 

 

28. Tony Bradley – Utah Jazz

Bradley in a game against a EuroLeague team.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Drafted as a project after one year at UNC, Bradley has yet to find barely any floor time in his rookie year. Even with the Rudy Gobert injury, the team favored Ekpe Udoh over Bradley for minutes. He has the potential to be a solid NBA center but needs to improve offensively and get stronger.

Grade: C

 

 

27. Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers

Kuzma during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Kuzma has been almost perfect for the Lakers so far and is a building block for them at the forward position. His outside shooting ability, offensive versatility, and length make him an exciting prospect and could be a 20pt scorer in just a year or two. He’ll contend for ROTY in June.

Grade: A+

 

 

26. Caleb Swanigan – Portland Trail Blazers

Swanigan fighting for the ball with Nikola Jokic.

Photo Credit/oregonlive.com

 

Though he rarely gets minutes, Swanigan was a great pick late in the first, as the Blazers got some much needed help in the frontcourt with his toughness inside and another outside shot. Rebounding is clearly his best attribute, but his 3pt shot has a chance to develop and make him a solid rebounding-stretch 4. The Draymond Green comparisons are fair.

Grade: B-

 

 

25. Anzejs Pasecniks – Orlando Magic

Pasecniks at a Blazers press conference.

Photo Credit/blazersedge.com

 

Pasecniks is already 22 and isn’t expected to make an NBA debut anytime soon. To pass up on a player like Kuzma and opt for a draft and stash with an older player is an awful choice by the Magic front office and is a symbol of the moves the franchise has made and continues to make that hinder their chances of being successful again.

Grade: F

 

 

24. Tyler Lydon – Denver Nuggets

Lydon in a rookie photo shoot.

Photo Credit/denverstiffs.com

 

Lydon has been a disappointment for a Nuggets organization with an already deep frontcourt that doesn’t have many minutes for the rookie. The Syracuse product has found himself in the G-League much more than on the Denver roster so far.

Grade: D-

 

 

23. O.G. Anunoby – Toronto Raptors

Anunoby going to the basket.

Photo Credit/espn.com

 

Anunoby was a clear steal for Toronto. The rookie swingman has shown an ability to knock down threes at a solid rate and displayed defensive versatility with his unbelievable length. He’s being compared to All-Star players at the moment and is the clear future for Toronto at the 3.

Grade: B+

 

 

22. Jarrett Allen – Brooklyn Nets

Allen passing the ball.

Photo Credit/newsday.com

 

Allen looks to be another steal as he’s putting up All-Rookie type numbers while still only logging around 20 minutes per game. With the dealing of Tyler Zeller to the Bucks before the deadline, Allen holds the reigns as big man of the future for Brooklyn.

Grade: A

 

 

21. Terrance Ferguson – Oklahoma City Thunder

Ferguson against the Lakers.

Photo Credit/basketusa.com

 

With the season ending injury to Andre Roberson, that would seem to open up some more minutes for Ferguson. He’s an explosive athlete with an improving jumpshot but he’s raw and needs to get stronger to ever be a starter for OKC. Ultimately, the Thunder are trying to compete now while they have Anthony and George, and Ferguson isn’t ready to produce yet.

Grade: D+

 

 

20. Harry Giles – Sacramento Kings

Giles in a rookie photo shoot.

Photo Credit/dukebasketballreport.com

 

After being highly touted coming out of high school, Giles was a disappointment at Duke and still is one with the Kings. He has massive upside but has been ruled out for the season with lingering knee problems.

Grade: C-

 

 

19. John Collins – Atlanta Hawks

Collins during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/peachtreehoops.com

 

Collins may be the biggest steal of the draft as he’s stepped in and already become one of the Hawks best players. His length, athleticism, and nose for the ball down low will turn him into a double-double big man with an All-Star future.

Grade: A+

 

 

18. T.J. Leaf – Indiana Pacers

Leaf dribbling up the court.

Photo Credit/hoopshabit.com

 

In limited minutes, Leaf has produced pretty well but still needs to develop more to see sufficient playing time in the Pacer frontcourt. Given some of the talents Indiana passed up on here, this isn’t a win.

Grade: C

 

 

17. D.J. Wilson – Milwaukee Bucks

Wilson backing down Patterson.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Wilson was a reach for the Bucks at 17. His length and versatility make him worth holding onto but he won’t be ready to make any impact for Milwaukee for a while.

Grade: D+

 

 

16. Justin Patton – Minnesota Timberwolves

Patton in a team photo shoot.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Patton has been another disappointment as he’s been thrown in and out of the G-League so far this year. He has great size and potential but after some injury issues early on, he hasn’t established himself at all yet.

Grade: D-

 

 

15. Justin Jackson – Sacramento Kings

Jackson driving to the rim.

Photo Credit/sacbee.com

 

There’s still a chance for Jackson to be the forward of the future for the Kings, but he’s been a little inefficient in his first year. He’s had steady production on the wing in limited minutes and should see increases in all his numbers as Sacramento plans to start sitting veterans more as the season goes on and into next year.

Grade: C+

 

 

14. Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat

Adebayo boxing out Mahinmi.

Photo Credit/allucanheat.com

 

Adebayo has been great for Miami so far, complimenting Whiteside well in the frontcourt. In just around 20 minutes a game, Adebayo is making a case to be considered for the All-Rookie 1st team. Given that the Heat passed on fellow big man John Collins here, it wasn’t a perfect pick.

Grade: A-

 

 

13. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

Michell running up the court.

Photo Credit/si.com

 

Mitchell is currently one of the frontrunners for ROTY, leading the Jazz in scoring and keeping them on the fringe of playoff contention. After losing Gordon Hayward in the offseason, Utah knew they needed to find their new star and they’ve taken care of that quickly as Mitchell has a chance to put up over 20 a game in his first season with the Jazz.

Grade: A+

 

 

12. Luke Kennard – Detroit Pistons

Kennard driving to the basket against Toronto.

Photo Credit/espn.com

 

Coming out of Duke, Kennard has been a reliable outside shooting option for Detroit as expected, but isn’t set to be the star that Mitchell is. Imagining Donovan Mitchell on a Pistons team with Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond would be a possible home court playoff spot for Detroit. Kennard is an NBA level player and could start at shooting guard for the Pistons a few years down the road but given who Detroit missed out on, it’s a disappointment.

Grade: C+

 

 

11. Malik Monk – Charlotte Hornets

Monk dribbling the ball up the floor.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

When the Hornets were on the clock with this pick, Monk seemed like the obvious choice, but the Kentucky product has been a massive disappointment for Charlotte. He’s been inefficient and sore in the Hornet backcourt. His rough start has led to him being underutilized, and Monk is a guy who needs the ball in his hands to excel. Again, Mitchell would have been the better choice at shooting guard here.

Grade: D

 

 

10. Zach Collins – Portland Trail Blazers

Collins during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/blazersedge.com

 

Despite playing on little minutes, Collins has been solid so far with Portland and looks like a future starter for the Blazers. Getting stronger to go with his long frame and possibly developing a better jumpshot should be the next steps in turning him into a star.

Grade: B+

 

 

9. Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks

Smith Jr. handling the ball.

Photo Credit/hoopshype.com

 

Though still fairly inefficient, Smith Jr. has been great for Dallas and is surely their point guard for the future. His athleticism and scoring ability will turn him into a star. When he improves his shot selection and playmaking ability he’ll be a perennial All-Star.

Grade: A

 

 

8. Frank Nitilikina – New York Knicks

Nitilikina during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/hoopshabit.com

 

Though Nitilikina has faced some tough criticism so far this season over not being as complete of a rookie guard as Smith Jr. or Mitchell, he’s shown some promise in his first year. Despite not getting starters minutes, the 19-year old Frenchman has displayed solid playmaking ability and has shot the 3 as well as most expected. Where he seperates himself from some of the other guards in the draft is his defensive potential. At 6’5″ with a 7-foot wingspan, Nitilikina can make several All-Defensive teams in his career.

Grade: B

 

 

7. Lauri Markannen – Chicago Bulls

Markkanen during warm-ups.

Photo Credit/sbnation.com

 

In the Jimmy Butler trade, the Bulls were able to move up into the top 10 and grab Markkanen, who’s put himself into outside ROTY contention in Chicago. The Finnish big man is putting up solid numbers while stroking it from the outside at an acceptable rookie rate. His size, combined with his somewhat guard skills could make him an All-Star soon.

Grade: A

 

 

6. Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic

Isaac pump faking under the rim.

Photo Credit/basketballinsiders.com

 

Isaac has had a quiet first year in Orlando after being drafted sixth overall by the new Orlando front office. The Bronx native has dealt with a few injury hiccups and has even spent some time in the G-League lately. At his length and athleticism, potential still reigns as the number one attribute for Isaac. More minutes and a stronger body should get him into double digits in scoring next year.

Grade: B-

 

 

5. De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings

Fox dribbling up the court.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Fox started the year coming off the bench for veteran G George Hill, but with the deadline trade of Hill to Cleveland, Fox is now running the Point in Sacramento. In a guard heavy draft, Fox went to a Kings team thirsting for a youthful PG and he seems to already be settling in as their most promising young player. Despite low numbers on the boards and a struggling outside shot, Fox has showcased All-Star potential and strong leadership for Sacramento.

Grade: B+

 

 

4. Josh Jackson – Phoenix Suns

Jackson driving to the rim.

Photo Credit/nbcsports.com

 

After a fairly slow offensive start to the season, Jackson has since picked it up and been better than expected in his rookie year in Phoenix. While putting up over 10 points a game and rebounding at a fair rate, the Kansas product has played stingy D all year and should be an All-Defensive selection someday. Continuing to work on his jumper in the offseason will further develop him into a two-way star.

Grade: A-

 

 

3. Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics

Tatum dunking in a game.

Photo Credit/masslive.com

 

Danny Ainge made a great move last June to move down and still take the most polished player in the top 10. Tatum has been lights out from deep all year, shooting over 40% consistently throughout the year, near league’s best from beyond the arc. His length and versatility on offense made him a solid replacement for Gordon Hayward who went down on opening night. Tatum should make a smooth transition to the 4 next year when Hayward returns.

Grade: A+

 

 

2. Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers

Lonzo Ball during a dead ball.

Photo Credit/latimes.com

 

As expected, Los Angeles took Lonzo Ball with the second overall pick and have gotten nearly exactly what they expected, an inefficient scorer with an innate ability to see the floor on offense, and length on defense. Ball has dealt with a few injury spells this season but has been out there for the Lakers most of the year. While his shooting has been a dry spot in his game, Lonzo has given the Lakers a future at point guard and a special passer, putting up around 7 assists a game. He’ll never lead the league in scoring but Ball has All-Star potential and could be a starter on a championship team in the Lakers future.

Grade: A-

 

 

1. Markelle Fultz – Philadelphia 76ers

Fultz driving to the basket.

Photo Credit/philly.com

 

Fultz, the number one pick in the 2017 draft, has seen almost no court time all season. His nagging elbow injury hasn’t just kept him off the court but also completely transformed his jumpshot and has forced him to pretty much re-learn to shoot the basketball. If he’s able to get healthy he has the potential to be a top guard in the league and would add to the budding young stars in Philadelphia, but Fultz may not even return this year and it’s uncertain how he’ll fair adjusting to a different jumper while learning the NBA.

Grade: Incomplete

 

 

 

How Jimmy Butler Injury Affects Western Conference:

 

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Expendable Players for Each Team at the Deadline

With the trade deadline now just hours away, who are some of the guys on each team who could be in a new jersey come their next time on the court.

 

 

Griffin at his introductory Pistons press conference.

Photo Credit/detroitnews.com

 

 

Atlantic Division: 

Smart during a dead ball

Photo Credit/usatoday.com

 

Brooklyn Nets: DeMarre Carroll, Joe Harris

After a bad stint in Toronto, Carroll has played his way into starters minutes in Brooklyn and despite his overpriced contract, should be an option for contenders. Harris is no star for the Nets but he’s been a surprising bright spot for the young team, stroking it from deep almost as good as anyone in the league. With a low salary at $1.5 million, any contender would be happy to have Harris’ sharpshooting in a offense-driven league.

New York Knicks: Courtney Lee, Michael Beasley

Lee is having likely the best season of his career and with Hardaway Jr. set as the future 2 in New York, look for the veteran to possibly be moved. Despite his tunnel vision and lack of defense, Beasley is one of the best bench scorers in the league, something several teams are looking for.

Philadelphia 76ers: Timothy Luwawu-Cabarrot

The Sixers are likely to stand pat at the deadline this year having already moved Okafor to Brooklyn, but if there was a moveable piece on the team that could attract buyers, Luwawu is the most likely candidate.

Toronto Raptors: Jonas Valanciunas

Valancunias’ playing time has been dropping over the past few years and with the coming up of young big men Poeltl and Nogueira, the Raps could deal him, though with the season they’re having it’s likely he’s in Toronto until at least the summer.

Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, Terry Rozier

The Celtics could make a number of moves on Thursday but Smart is the most likely player to be headed out of Boston. It’s highly unlikely Rozier is going anywhere as Danny Ainge loves the young guard but if a superstar deal is in place it’s possible he’s involved.

 

 

Pacific Division:

Randle and Clarkson after a play.

Photo Credit/sportingnews.com

 

Sacramento Kings: George Hill

The Kings may opt to move their veteran point guard to acquire a few assets and move forward with De’Aaron Fox for the future.

Phoenix Suns: Alex Len

After several years in Phoenix, Len has yet to fully grab hold of the starting job. He’s not being thrown around in too many trade rumors but he’s a possible trade piece for the Suns.

Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, Jordan Clarkson

Randle and Clarkson have been involved in rumors for months but Magic and the Lakers haven’t come up with a deal yet. The two could garner attention from several teams and result in some young assets and draft picks for LA.

Los Angeles Clippers: DeAndre Jordan, Lou Williams, Avery Bradley

DJ and Lou should be moved by LA by today along with possibly Avery Bradley in a different deal. The Clippers could end up with some high draft picks to get their rebuild on if they sell a few of their older starters.

Golden State Warriors: Javale McGee

Though it’s likely McGee stays with the Warriors given rookie Jordan Bell’s current injury, he’s been on the trade block for a while and may be in a different uniform in a few days.

 

 

Southeast Division: 

Walker, Howard, and Batum on the bench.

Photo Credit/swarmandsting.com

 

Atlanta Hawks: Marco Belinelli, Ersan Ilyasova

Both these players have shooting ability that any team would love to have and should be on the move if the Hawks are smart.

Orlando Magic: Everyone

The Magic are loaded with talent but have yet to fully find an identity. Aaron Gordon is clearly their most valuable piece but even he shouldn’t be untouchable at this point. With  new front office in place Orlando should be selling at the deadline.

Charlotte Hornets: Kemba Walker, Dwight Howard, Nic Batum

Though at this point it seems unlikely, Charlotte could move their top 3 players in an attempt to gain a top draft pick or a few young players. Michael Jordan doesn’t seem keen on the idea but it’d be smart for the mediocre franchise to shift in a different direction.

Miami Heat: James johnson, Justise Winslow

It’s likely one of these forwards are moved at the deadline. The Heat would receive more for Winslow but could dump the contract of Johnson while he’s still moveable.

Washington Wizards: Kelly Oubre Jr. 

The Wizards are another team that will probably be quiet tomorrow but with Otto Porter ahead of him for the future and the fact he’s still on his rookie deal, the Wizards should listen to offers for Oubre.

 

 

Central Division: 

Photo Credit/factoryofsadness.com

 

Chicago Bulls: Justin Holiday

The Bulls have already made the trade they needed to make by moving Mirotic recently. If they were to deal someone else, Holiday is a possibility with Zach Lavine just coming back.

Detroit Pistons: Stanley Johnson

Detroit has also made a recent trade with the acquisition of Blake Griffin. The team should now listen to offers for Stanley Johnson as the young forward hasn’t exactly panned out how they wanted it.

Indiana Pacers: Darren Collison, Thaddeus Young

These are two veterans who can still contribute as starters or off the bench. The Pacers are actually looking at a playoff spot this year but with some young stars ready to step up they may deal some older players if the right offer comes.

Milwaukee Bucks: Mirza Teletovic

Teletovic isn’t a highly desired player but his shooting ability could make him available for a low 2nd round pick at a deadline deal with a contender.

Cleveland Cavaliers: Everyone but LeBron

The Cavs have clear problems right now and to fix it, no matter what direction they decide to go in, anybody but the King should be available.

 

 

Southwest Division:

Evans dribbling.

Photo Credit/sbnation.com

 

Dallas Mavericks: Wesley Matthews

Despite his contract, several teams may be interested in a 3 and D guard who can come off the bench or start for a contender.

Memphis Grizzlies: Tyreke Evans, James Ennis III

The Grizzlies have recently stated that they’d like to keep Marc Gasol rather than dealing him, but they should listen to offers for these two cheap but valuable forwards, especially Evans.

New Orleans Pelicans: None

After the Cousins injury, New Orleans has already transformed their roster a bit and it’d be a surprise to see them move anyone else unless a drastic change in direction would be in place.

San Antonio Spurs: Danny Green

The Spurs rarely make mid-season trades but reports are that they are currently in talks with the Clippers to try to acquire Avery Bradley with Danny Green and a pick.

Houston Rockets: Ryan Anderson

There’s speculation that Houston is interested in George Hill, but the deal seems to have not gained much traction. They would likely need a 3rd team if they wanted to move Anderson’s contract and bring in a different player for the playoffs.

 

 

Northwest Division: 

Mudiay dribbling up the court.

Photo Credit/nba.com

 

Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood, Derrick Favors, Joe Johnson

Hood and Favors are both players that could bring in a first rounder for the Jazz and allow them to fully start the Mitchell-Gobert era. Johnson has reportedly been looking for an exit from the team, but expect him to be more likely bought out in a few weeks rather than traded at the deadline.

Portland Trail Blazers: Shabazz Napier

Napier is having the best season of his career and has been in trade rumors for months. If Portland does deal him they can expect a lot in return.

Denver Nuggets: Emmanuel Mudiay, Will Barton, Kenneth Faried

The Nuggets are one of the deepest teams in the league and could benefit from letting go of some of these bench players that could get them multiple draft picks or talent in return. They’ve been in some talks with Cleveland about sending a few key role players to the Cavs if the Nets pick is in play.

Oklahoma City Thunder: None

OKC is an expensive team with key players that they won’t trade right now so it’s unlikely to see them move anybody even if they wanted to.

Minnesota Timberwolves: Shabazz Muhammed

After a few years in Minnesota, Muhammed has yet to develop much and will be out of Minnesota by the summer if not now. He’s a good scorer who could benefit a contender off the bench if the Wolves find a partner to take him at the deadline.

 

 

 

With Boogie Out, do the Pelicans Move Davis?

 

Top 15 Point Guards Heading into Next Season

Top 15 Point Guards Heading into Next Season

The era of the point guard is here in today’s NBA, and the crop of players at this position have never been more talented. These are my predictions for the top 15 guys at the 1 heading into the 17-18 season.

*James Harden will be ranked in the shooting guard rankings due to the Rockets recent acquisition of Chris Paul.*

Just missed the cut:

George Hill

Jeff Teague

Patrick Beverley

Lonzo Ball

Derrick Rose

 

 

 

15. Jrue Holiday – New Orleans Pelicans

Photo Credit/www.bleacherreport.com

 

Holiday recently signed a huge new contract with New Orleans to continue to be the leader of their backcourt. His time in the Big Easy hasn’t exactly been ideal, though he’s shown he’s still an above average guard in the league. His efficient playmaking ability coupled with solid scoring ability, including the capability to knock down a 3 from time to time (35.6%) and quickness off the dribble to slash, make him an offensive threat every night. Don’t expect All-Star numbers from Holiday, but if healthy he could finally come into his own for the Pelicans.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 15.4   RPG: 3.0   APG: 7.3   SPG: 1.5

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 17.2  RPG: 3.6  APG: 7.8  SPG: 1.4

 

14. Markelle Fultz – Philadelphia 76ers

Photo Credit/www.celticshub.com

 

It’s rare that a rookie would make a list like this, but Fultz is the real deal. The former Washington star could come out putting up near All-Star numbers and majorly increase the Sixers win total from last year. If Fultz keeps his shot selection in check and trusts his teammates, expect a rookie of the year award to him and rookie point guard numbers that we haven’t seen since Lillard.

16-17 Stats: PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 17.9  RPG: 4.6  APG: 5.8  SPG: 1.4

 

13. Goran Dragic – Miami Heat

Photo Credit/www.cbssports.com

 

Dragic is the second piece of a star tandem in Miami with Hassan Whiteside. The team has assembled one of the best supporting casts in the league and should compete for an Eastern Conference playoff spot this season. Dragic hits threes at a pretty good rate for the Heat and is one of the best guards in the East driving to the rim. We’ll probably see a similar year from him this season.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 20.3   RPG: 3.8   APG: 5.8   SPG: 1.2

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 19.6  RPG: 4.1  APG: 6.3  SPG: 1.2

 

12. Dennis Schroeder – Atlanta Hawks

Photo Credit/www.sbnation.com

 

Schroeder comes into this year expected to have a breakout season. With Dwight Howard and Paul Millsap leaving the Hawks, Schroeder now becomes the team’s number one option and on his way to his prime, we should see his shooting percentages rise. It’s possible the young German posts career highs across the board in 17-18.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 17.9   RPG: 3.1   APG: 6.3   SPG: 0.9

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 20.6  RPG: 4.2  APG: 6.7  SPG: 1.2

 

11. Mike Conley – Memphis Grizzlies

Photo Credit/www.bleacherreport.com

 

Conley is coming off his best season as a pro, posting a career high PPG average. In my opinion he was one of the biggest MIP snubs last year. He and Marc Gasol will be carrying more of a load this season given the recent departure of Vince Carter and Zach Randolph to the Sacramento Kings. If the former Ohio State star is able to keep his percentages up, we could see Conley eclipse 20 points a game for the second straight season.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 20.5   RPG: 3.5   APG: 6.3   SPG: 1.3

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 21.4  RPG: 4.1  APG: 6.2  SPG: 1.7

 

10. Eric Bledsoe – Phoenix Suns

Photo Credit/www.brightsideofthesun.com

 

Bledsoe is now one of the older guys in the Phoenix starting lineup. He comes into this season paired with Devin Booker in the backcourt, which could end up being one of the best guard duos in the league this year. Bledsoe has been involved in trade rumors regarding Kyrie Irving, though I’d expect him to be in a Suns uniform this coming season none the less. If the Kentucky product is able to avoid injury unlike the past, expect another near All-Star caliber season from him.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 21.1   RPG: 4.8   APG: 6.3   SPG: 1.4

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 20.6  RPG: 5.3  APG: 6.7  SPG: 1.9

 

9. Isaiah Thomas – Boston Celtics

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Thomas has shown his offensive ability to be some of the best in the league and made himself a near MVP candidate last season. The  29-year old would be higher on this list if it weren’t for his two undeniable flaws, size and defense. He was ranked as one of the worst backcourt defenders last season and at just 5’9″ you can imagine how he has trouble keeping other guards under tabs. Thomas claims he had a “growth spurt” this summer, so we’ll see if this is true and if his defense improves, though he’s likely not a max player at this time.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 28.9   RPG: 2.7   APG: 5.9   SPG: 0.9

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 26.7  RPG: 3.3  APG: 6.5  SPG: 1.1

 

8. Kyle Lowry – Toronto Raptors

 

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Lowry recently signed a 3-year deal to stay in Toronto. The Raptors will again have most likely the best backcourt in the East with Lowry and Derozan, and have another shot at the conference finals this season. The former Villanova Wildcat is now on the wrong side of 30 and we could see his numbers drop just a tad over the next couple years, though he should still be putting up All-Star numbers. Where we’ve really seen Lowry struggle is in the playoffs, where he seems to always go ice cold. It’ll be important he finds his game come next postseason or the Raptors potential will continue to sit at a conference finals ceiling.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 22.4   RPG: 4.8   APG: 7.0   SPG: 1.5

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 21.7  RPG: 4.6  APG: 7.3  SPG: 1.9

 

7. Kemba Walker – Charlotte Hornets

Photo Credit/www.sportingnews.com

 

Kemba and the Hornets are coming off a disappointing year, missing the playoffs and not living up to preseason expectations. Their offseason additions of Malik Monk and Dwight Howard should help the team’s lone star, Walker, as we head into this season. The guard carries one of the largest loads of his teams offense in the league and has made himself into an All-Star with his unguardable ball-handling, solid outside jumper, and sweet slashing ability. Expect another 20+PPG season from Kemba and a playoff appearance for his Hornets.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 23.2   RPG: 3.9   APG: 5.5   SPG: 1.1

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 22.9  RPG: 4.2  APG: 5.7  SPG: 1.4

 

6. Kyrie Irving – Cleveland Cavaliers

Photo Credit/www.nypost.com

 

We’re all obviously hearing of all the rumors surrounding Irving, though as of now he is still a Cleveland Cavalier. Assuming he stays in the The Land, expect a similar season from him, though it’s not hard to see he looks to be out the door. Kyrie may just have the best handles in league history, though this will be debated for years, and has improved his jumpshot as his career has gone on. If Irving is still in Cleveland Cleveland come next June, it’s likely the Cavs are back in the Finals and Irving would’ve been coming off another 20+PPG season. We’ll see how this nightmare situation in Cleveland pans out.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 25.2   RPG: 3.2   APG: 5.8   SPG: 1.2

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 23.9  RPG: 3.8  APG: 5.7  SPG: 1.1

 

5. Chris Paul – Houston Rockets

Photo Credit/www.cbssports.com

 

Paul was involved in the first blockbuster move of the summer this offseason when he was granted a trade to the Houston Rockets. The new backcourt duo of James Harden and Chris Paul will be deadly in the West. With two elite ball-handlers and players now in the lineup, Houston could get back to the conference finals this year for a meeting with the Golden State Warriors. We’ll have to see how the two gel together, being that they were both considered point guards last year, and given his new team I’d say Paul’s numbers drop just a bit, though his importance doesn’t change.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 18.1   RPG: 5.0   APG: 9.2   SPG: 2.0

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 17.9  RPG: 4.8  APG: 10.3  SPG: 2.2

 

4. Damian Lillard – Portland Trail Blazers

Photo Credit/www.sportsonearth.com

 

Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are coming off last season as the reigning top scoring backcourt in the league. The Blazers were previously in talks with the Knicks to acquire Carmelo Anthony to add to their star guard duo, though it seems these communications have stalled. Dame in my opinion is one of the most underrated players in the league and has done well leading Portland since the LaMarcus Aldridge departure. If he is again able to stay injury-free, look for big numbers from the Weber State product.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 27.0   RPG: 4.9   APG: 5.9   SPG: 0.9

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 27.6  RPG: 5.1  APG: 6.2  SPG: 1.3

 

3. John Wall – Washington Wizards

Photo Credit/www.youtube.com

 

Wall comes off a disappointing final game in last season’s playoffs, when his Wizards lost to the Boston Celtics in 7. Had the Wiz taken that decisive game, it would’ve been Wall’s first conference finals appearance, which he’s still now looking for. Washington re-signed young F Otto Porter this offseason, keeping help for Wall and Beal to lead the team. The one real flaw left in Wall’s game is his shooting from the outside. In my opinion, it’s the attribute that separated Chris Paul from him earlier in his career. If I were Scott Brooks I’d want to see at least a 37% mark from  Wall next year from deep. Even with this continued problem, the former Kentucky star has repeatedly shown his unbelievable playmaking ability and defense, slotting him in at #3 in my point guard rankings.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 23.1   RPG: 4.2   APG: 10.7   SPG: 2.0

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 23.4  RPG: 4.6  APG: 10.2  SPG: 2.3

 

2. Russell Westbrook – Oklahoma City Thunder

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Westbrook could easily be number one on this list for many reasons. My analysis really just came down to which player, between Russ and Steph, would I pick for a team I was looking to win a title with, and I’d take the latter. However, that’s no disrespect  to Westbrook. He could possibly be the best rebounding and athletically explosive guard in league history. A year after losing KD to the Bay, the former UCLA guard has a new superstar alongside him in OKC. With the Paul George trade, the Thunder get a guy to take some of the weight off Russ’ shoulders and create a new star duo in the league. Having to watch out for these two slashing to the rim and playing off each other will be a nightmare for NBA defenses. We’ll most likely see some dips in Westbrook’s numbers, but I predict more team success for Oklahoma City this season.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 31.6   RPG: 10.7   APG: 10.4   SPG: 1.6

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 28.7  RPG: 8.3  APG: 10.9  SPG: 1.8

 

1. Stephen Curry – Golden State Warriors

Photo Credit/www.nytimes.com

 

Curry comes in at #1 in the point guard rankings. There will be guys who put up bigger numbers and throw down more thunderous dunks but much of what Steph does doesn’t show up in the box score. The two-time MVP  is one of the best screen-setting guards in the league and it’s not hard to realize the amount of space he opens up for Kevin Durant in the middle of the floor, drawing defenders attention out to the perimeter. His shooting percentages also illustrate his efficient offensive game. In my opinion, the biggest difference between Curry and Westbrook is their effect on their teams. Westbrook was there to do it all last season for the Thunder, not really allowing his teammates to have the ball in their hands or showcase their game. Curry has a much more positive effect on his team, mainly due to his ability to play off the ball. The way he commands attention on the court is easy to see even when he’s just running around in circles in the halfcourt, using his shooting prowess to make the game easier for others. It’s because of all these reasons that when trying to build a CHAMPIONSHIP team, Steph is the better bet.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 25.3   RPG: 4.5   APG: 6.6   SPG: 1.8

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 26.1  RPG: 5.2  APG: 6.9  SPG: 2.1

10 NBA Players Bound for a Breakout Year this Season

Sometimes we see talented guys in the league held back by players in front of them in the depth chart or not being one of the top options on offense. Here are some players to look for as possible most improved candidates next season.

 

Avery Bradley – Detroit Pistons

Photo Credit/www.clutchpoints.com

 

Bradley is now out of the stacked lineup in Boston and whether Detroit is a better situation for him or not, his numbers will likely jump. AB has shown time and time again his relentless on-ball defensive ability, but last season and playoffs displayed improved shooting and rebounding at just 6’2″. He’ll likely play along Reggie Jackson in the backcourt, and now should be the offensive go-to in terms of guards. The team of course has center Andre Drummond down low and he and Bradley should be the team’s new little-big duo, rather than Jackson.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 16.3   RPG: 6.1   APG: 2.2  STL: 1.2

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 18.7  RPG: 6.3  APG: 2.9 SPG: 1.6

 

D’Angelo Russell – Brooklyn Nets

Photo Credit/www.netsdaily.com

 

D’Angelo Russell is no longer a Laker. The young guard was traded to the Brooklyn Nets pre-draft after a messy beginning to his career in Los Angeles. Look for major statistical improvement for Russell now that he’s in New York. The Nets are currently in a rebuild and D-Loading is likely now the go-to scorer and biggest centerpiece for the team this year and going forward. A guard combo of Lin-Russell could be one of the best in the East in 17-18.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 15.6   RPG: 3.5   APG: 4.8   SPG: 1.4

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 17.9  RPG: 4.6  APG: 5.3  SPG: 1.4

 

Rudy Gobert – Utah Jazz

Photo Credit/www.nbahoopsonline.com

 

With the recent departure of Gordon Hayward from Utah, expect Rudy Gobert’s numbers to jump next season. The Frenchman finished top 3 in DPOY voting last season and has proven his innate ability to protect the rim and grab boards. Though last year was his best offensive season in the league, id look for increased scoring and touches for Gobert in 17-18, as Hayward and Hill will no longer be in Salt Lake shooting in volume.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 14.0   RPG: 12.8   APG: 1.2   BPG: 2.6

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 16.3  RPG: 13.7  APG: 1.1  BPG: 2.8

 

Kristaps Porzingis – New York Knicks

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I really think Kristaps can put up a double-double this season, assuming Carmelo Anthony is out of the Big Apple by opening night. With Melo gone, Porzingis will have the ball in his hands nearly every possession and will be the new leader of the team. As much as the new Knick front office apparently would love to keep Anthony, It’d be a bad move for Porzingis’ progression. With Kris being the flat out number one option almost always when he’s out on the floor, his numbers could skyrocket in his third year in the league.

16-17 Stats: 18.1   RPG: 7.2   APG: 1.5   BPG: 2.0

Projected 17-18 Stats: 22.3  RPG: 10.7  APG: 2.1  BPG: 2.2

 

Myles Turner – Indiana Pacers

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Turner lost his superstar teammate this summer in Paul George. The big man will be the new face of the Pacers entering his third year in the NBA. Indiana will most likely look to rebuild next season despite the East being wide open for teams.  Turner will certainly lead the Pacers now in the Post-PG era. The former Texas C has shown a rare ability for a big guy to shoot from the outside and has also become one of the best young shot blockers in the game. Look for him to be the centerpiece in Indianapolis in 2017-2018.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 14.5   RPG: 7.3   APG: 1.3   BPG: 2.1

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 17.3  RPG: 9.4  APG: 1.7  BPG: 2.6

 

Dennis Schroeder – Atlanta Hawks

Photo Credit/www.sportingnews.com

 

The Hawks lost their starting frontcourt this summer which handled a large load of the offense. With Millsap and Howard out of Atlanta, Dennis Schroeder will now be the top option for the team. He took over starting point guard duties last season for Jeff Teague, having the best year of his NBA career. If the German guard can stay healthy and improve his offensive efficiency and shooting percentages, expect a breakout year from him.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 17.9   RPG: 3.1   APG: 6.3   SPG: 0.9

Projected 17-18 Stats: 20.6  RPG: 4.2  APG: 6.7  SPG: 1.2

 

Dante Exum – Utah Jazz

Photo Credit/www.grantland.com

 

The Jazz lost PG George Hill to the Sacramento Kings earlier this summer, though traded for former Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio. Despite the Rubio acquisition, there should be plenty of playing time left for young Australian Dante Exum. Exum is labeled as pretty much a bust at this point in his career, struggling with injuries and not living up to his place on the 2014 draft board. With more opportunity and touches this season, look for Exum to have a solid year.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 6.2   RPG: 2.0   APG: 1.7   SPG: 0.3

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 10.9  RPG: 3.7  APG: 4.1 SPG: 0.6

 

Brandon Ingram – Los Angeles Lakers

Photo Credit/www.ocregister.com

 

Ingram came off the bench for much of last season but showed great potential and improvement towards the end of the 82. His length and athleticism are astounding and before suffering a minor injury early on, showed quick slashing ability and an improved shot in summer league. Ingram should come right out of the gate as a starter this season over Luol Deng, and I’d look for him to challenge Brook Lopez as the team’s top scorer this year.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 9.4   RPG: 4.0   APG: 2.1   SPG: 0.6

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 15.7  RPG: 6.3  APG: 3.4  SPG: 0.8

 

Bobby Portis – Chicago Bulls

Photo Credit/www.nba.com

 

With Jimmy Butler out of Chicago, the Bulls will likely be starting up a full on rebuild this season. This should give Portis a leg up on other bigs such as Nikola Mirotic and Robin Lopez, and we could even see him start at some points in the year. He’s shown flashes of potential in his first few years with the Bulls, though hasn’t seen enough of the court to turn heads. We’ll see if he gets his chance this season.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 6.8   RPG: 4.6   APG: 0.5   BPG: 0.2

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 10.2  RPG: 6.7  APG: 1.1  BPG: 0.7

 

Joel Embiid – Philadelphia 76ers

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Embiid had a breakout rookie year last year after being riddled with injuries in his previous two seasons in the league. Though he was able to play some, he was on minute restrictions all season and eventually was shut down due to injury. Playing only 25 mins a game last season , Embiid was amazing and had some of the best offensive and defensive efficiency ratings in the league. With presumably more playing time in 17-18, Embiid could put up KAT like numbers.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 20.2   RPG: 7.8   APG: 2.1   BPG: 2.5

Projected 17-18 Stats: PPG: 23.6  RPG: 10.2  APG: 3.3  BPG: 2.8

 

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 30-15

This draft class has been one of the most hyped in NBA history. What numbers will the players taken in the latter part of the first round post in the 17-18 season.

 

30. Josh Hart – Los Angeles Lakers

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Josh Hart has been signed to a rookie deal after being taken with the last pick of the first round by the Los Angeles Lakers. Hart shot just over 40% from 3 last season at Villanova and will be counted on to bring that jumper over to LA in his rookie year. Hart’s driving ability and offensive I.Q. will also be important for a Laker team who could use an offensive punch off the bench.

PPG: 6.2   RPG: 2.9   APG: 1.8   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Allen Crabbe

 

29. Derrick White – San Antonio Spurs

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White has been signed to a rookie deal by the Spurs. The 23-year old out of Colorado joins a San Antonio PG rotation of Tony Parker, Patty Mills, and Dejounte Murray. It could be tough for him to find minutes with these three ahead of him but his playmaking and shooting ability could make him an important piece for the Spurs soon.

PPG: 1.1   RPG: 0.4   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.6   BPG: 0.0

NBA Comparison: Jordan Crawford

 

28. Tony Bradley – Utah Jazz

Photo Credit/www.247sports.com

 

Bradley is coming off a Freshman season at UNC where he won a National Title. He now joins a Utah team coming off one of it’s worst offseason blows in team history. With the loss of Gordon Hayward to the Celtics, the Jazz could look for some young players to step up. Unfortunately for Bradley, he’ll be sitting behind young defensive stalwart Rudy Gobert to begin his career. He’s got the potential to be a solid center in the league but he’ll take some time to develop at just 19 years old.

PPG: 3.2   RPG: 2.4   APG: 0.3   SPG: 0.2   BPG: 0.9

NBA Comparison: Brad Daugherty

 

27. Kyle Kuzma – Los Angeles Lakers

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Kuzma appears to be another steal in this draft. He showcased tremendous shooting ability this summer in Las Vegas. At 6’9″ with a silky-smooth jumper, athletic frame, and the right mentality, Kuzma could be one of the next top stretch 4’s in the NBA. I think he could take over Julius Randle’s starting spot during his rookie year and play beside Brook Lopez in the frontcourt.

PPG: 8.7   RPG: 5.5   APG: 1.2   SPG: 0.8. BPG: 0.9

NBA Comparison: Detlef Schrempf

 

26. Caleb Swanigan – Portland Trail Blazers

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Swanigan brings frontcourt size and strength along with a nice shooting touch to Portland. The Blazers have one of the best backcourts in the league  but could surely use some help down low. With Swanigan’s 3pt shooting ability and overwhelming strength, he could find some minutes this season for the Blazers.

PPG: 5.6   RPG: 4.9   APG: 1.2   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 1.0

NBA Comparison: Marcus Morris

 

25. Andzejs Pasecniks – Philadelphia 76ers

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This was another draft and stash the Sixers traded up to get. Pasecniks won’t be in Philly this season, but he could be over in the NBA in the future. The Latvian 7-footer is a great athlete and defender, though needs more of a post game to be able to excel down low in the league.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Timofey Mozgov

 

24. Tyler Lydon – Denver Nuggets

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Lydon comes over to Denver due to a draft night trade with the Utah Jazz. His length and defensive potential is exciting but he’ll likely stay behind fellow power forwards, Trey Lyles and Paul Millsap for his rookie year.

PPG: 1.3   RPG: 1.1   APG: 0.6   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.9

NBA Comparison: Jonas Jerebko

 

23. O.G. Anunoby – Toronto Raptors

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Anunoby has the potential to be a lockdown defender. His wingspan is ridiculous at 8 feet long and he has the athleticism to guard multiple positions on the floor. Becoming a more consistent offensive player will determine whether Anunoby is able to grab the starting small forward spot in Toronto at the departure of DeMarre Carroll and P.J. Tucker.

PPG: 4.1   RPG: 2.6   APG: 0.8   SPG: 1.1   BPG: 0.7

NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard

 

22. Jarrett Allen – Brooklyn Nets

Photo Credit/www.247sports.com

 

The Nets make this pick shortly after sending Brook Lopez to LA. Allen joins the Brooklyn rebuild along with young talents D’Angelo Russell, Caris Lavert, and Allen Crabbe. If the big man can develop a 15-foot jumper or something around that, he should start in Brooklyn definitely by next year.

PPG: 6.3   RPG: 5.5   APG: 0.8   SPG: 0.3   BPG: 1.2

NBA Comparison: John Henson

 

21. Terrance Ferguson – Oklahoma City Thunder

Photo Credit/www.tucson.com

 

Terrance Ferguson took a different route than most top high school players by going to Australia and playing a year there professionally before entering the draft at 19. He’s recently signed a rookie contract with the team and will likely back up Andre Roberson at the 2. Ferguson is a slight project but his shooting ability will be huge for OKC.

PPG: 5.3   RPG: 1.4   APG: 1.7   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.4

NBA Comparison: Arron Afflalo

 

20. Harry Giles – Sacramento Kings

Photo Credit/www.journalnow.com

 

If Giles is able to stay healthy and forget his awful freshman season at Duke, he can be a very good addition to the Kings frontcourt. His athleticism is too enticing to not get excited about and confidence building and intangibles are what he must work on to become a great NBA player, but he most definitely has the potential.

PPG: 4.6   RPG: 2.9   APG: 0.7   SPG: 0.3   BPG: 1.1

NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka

 

19. John Collins – Atlanta Hawks

Photo Credit/www.journalnow.com

 

John Collins could be another late first round steal. With the Hawks frontcourt of Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard, Collins will have big minutes this year to showcase his game. At just 19, Collins can finish well around the basket, face up, and has shown crazy athleticism this summer. Becoming a more consistent low post defender and playmaker from out of the post will be essential for the Wake Forest product going forward.

PPG: 9.8   RPG: 8.3   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.4   BPG: 1.1

NBA Comparison: Chris Bosh

 

18. T.J. Leaf – Indiana Pacers

Photo Credit/www.bleacherreport.com

 

Leaf comes out of UCLA as a very good inside scorer but fairly inconsistent every where else. He has solid playmaking and defensive ability, though has occasional lapses and moments of carelessness on both ends. He should pair nicely in the future with Myles Turner in the frontcourt.

PPG: 6.3   RPG: 3.5   APG: 0.8   SPG: 0.3   BPG: o.9

NBA Comparison: Nick Collison

 

17. D.J. Wilson – Milwaukee Bucks

Photo Credit/www.247sports.com

 

The Bucks got another long forward here in Wilson. The Michigan product has great potential to be able to guard multiple positions and potentially be a stretch 4 if a jumpshot is developed. He’ll struggle to get minutes this season but should be a good piece at the 3 or 4 for Milwaukee for years to come.

PPG: 1.3   RPG: 1.1   APG: 0.4   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.8

NBA Comparison: Kevon Looney

 

16. Justin Patton – Minnesota Timberwolves

Photo Credit/www.omaha.com

 

Patton goes to Minnesota involved in the Jimmy Butler trade. He would’ve likely fought with Cole Aldrich for bench minutes at the center spot behind Karl Anthony-Towns if he hadn’t sustained a foot injury shortly after the draft. His inside quickness and athleticism make Patton an exciting prospect.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Dewayne Dedmon

15. Justin Jackson – Sacramento Kings

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Jackson is coming off a National Championship season at UNC. He joins veteran Vince Carter as small forwards coming in to take the roster spots of Rudy Gay and Tyreke Evans. Jackson has a fairly polished offensive game with a tremendous floater, sweet stroke from outside, and flashy playmaking ability at times. His length could turn him into a great defender on the wing.

PPG: 9.2   RPG: 3.7   APG: 1.8   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.4

NBA Comparison: Brandon Ingram

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 44-31

This draft class has been one of the most hyped in NBA history. How will early second round sleepers perform in their rookie years?

 

44. Damyean Dotson – New York Knicks

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Dotson has inked a three-year deal with New York since his drafting. The 6’7″ guard has great long-range shooting ability that could end up getting him some cash as an NBA player. Quickness driving to the rim is something he’ll need to work on with the Knicks.

PPG: 2.3   RPG: 1.6   APG: 0.7   SPG: 0.2   BPG: 0.0

NBA Comparison: Rashad Vaughn

 

43. Isaiah Hartenstein – Houston Rockets

Photo Credit/www.spurstalk.com

 

Hartenstein is a very skilled 7-footer coming out of Germany. He’s got a pretty sweet stroke from long range along with the ability to make plays for others and rebound the ball. At this point, it’s unclear whether Hartenstein will play overseas or with the Rockets this season. The only contract they could offer would be a two-way, allowing him to develop in their G-League system.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Zydrunas Ilgauskas

 

42. Thomas Bryant – Los Angeles Lakers

Photo Credit/www.247sports.com

 

Bryant recently signed a rookie contract with the Lakers. The Indiana product showed great energy and post strength in the Vegas summer league this year. Bryant joins a Los Angeles center rotation of Ivica Zubac and Brook Lopez.

PPG: 3.8   RPG: 2.9   APG: 0.2   SPG: 0.1   BPG: 0.7

NBA Comparison: Jordan Hill

 

41. Tyler Dorsey – Atlanta Hawks

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Dorsey signed a two-year guaranteed deal with the Hawks after being taken 41st overall. Out of Oregon, Dorsey brings shooting to the Hawk backcourt after the loss of Tim Hardaway Jr. If his defensive quickness on the ball can be improved, he could play off the bench in the league for a long time.

PPG: 5.2   RPG: 2.1   APG: 1.3   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Nick Young

 

40. Dwayne Bacon – Charlotte Hornets

Photo Credit/www.charlotteobserver.com

 

The Hornets recently signed Bacon to a three-year deal. It’s likely he starts the season at 3rd in the shooting guard depth chart behind Nic Batum and Malik Monk. Bacon is a great outside shooter but lacks defensive intensity on the ball.

PPG: 2.1   RPG: 1.4   APG: 0.6   SPG: 0.4   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: J.R. Smith

 

39. Jawun Evans – Los Angeles Clippers

Photo Credit/www.cowboysrideforfree.com

 

The 21-year old out of Oklahoma State has signed a three-year deal with LA. Evans was a star at Oklahoma State, averaging over 19 points a game last season. He could earn the backup point guard spot to play behind Patrick Beverley this year. While size is an issue, Evans’ scoring ability will make him a valuable player off the bench at the start of his career.

PPG: 5.2   RPG: 1.4   APG: 2.7   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 0.0

NBA Comparison: Lou Williams

 

38. Jordan Bell – Golden State Warriors

Photo Credit/www.goldenstateofmind.com

 

The Warriors appear to get a steal with this pick. Bell was mocked on some boards in the first round. His energy, defensive versatility, and I.Q. could prove worthy for Golden State off the bench in certain moments.

PPG: 2.3   RPG: 2.2   APG: 0.6   SPG: 0.8    BPG: 1.2

NBA Comparison: JaMychal Green

 

37. Semi Ojeleye – Boston Celtics

Photo Credit/www.cbssports.com

 

The Celtics find a great bench shooter in this pick. Ojeleye shot over 42% from 3 last year at SMU and will be counted on by Brad Stevens to spread the floor when he’s brought in, though it’s likely we see him play more power forward with the Celts being so deep at the 3.

PPG: 3.1   RPG: 1.7   APG: 0.6   SPG: 0.2   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: Patrick Patterson

 

36. Jonah Bolden – Philadelphia 76ers

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Bolden will play in the EuroLeague this year instead of coming over to Philly in 17-18. The Australian forward does have a solid long-range jumpshot though he isn’t yet consistent on the offensive side of the ball. He could come play for the Sixers next year or a few years from now to back up Dario Saric.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Anthony Tolliver

 

35. Ivan Rabb – Memphis Grizzlies

Photo Credit/www.barstool.com

 

Many thought Rabb would enter the draft last year, and deciding to stay at Cal for his sophomore season definitely hurt his draft stock. His rebounding and athleticism will get him minutes in Memphis, but he needs to expand his game in the paint in order to ever achieve a starting job in the NBA.

PPG: 4.3   RPG: 3.6   APG: 0.7   SPG: 0.4    BPG: 0.9

NBA Comparison: Gorgui Dieng

 

34. Frank Mason – Sacramento Kings

Photo Credit/www.247sports.com

 

The Kings have just recently signed former Kansas G Mason after selecting him 34th overall. The 23-year old is explosive and has a solid jumper which will help the Kings from 3 off the bench. Mason is able to run the floor efficiently and has experience in big games dating back to his years in college. He’ll likely be behind George Hill and De’Aaron Fox to start the season.

PPG: 5.4   RPG: 1.7   APG: 3.6   SPG: 0.8    BPG: 0.0

NBA Comparison: D.J. Augustin

 

33. Wesley Iwundu – Orlando Magic

Photo Credit/www.ridiculousupside.com

 

Iwundu is the do-it-all forward the Magic may need. His scoring, playmaking ability, rebounding, and solid defense make him a good fit for Orlando. Shooting remains in question but that could be the easiest fix for the Magic organization to tend to.

PPG: 7.2   RPG: 3.3   APG: 3.8   SPG: 1.2    BPG: 0.6

NBA Comparison: Andre Iguodala

 

32. Davon Reed – Phoenix Suns

Photo Credit/www.thescore.com

 

The Suns recently signed Reed to a 4-year deal. The former Miami guard is a solid playmaker and shooter at 6’6″, making him a possible backup for young offensive star Devin Booker. If Reed can be more explosive going to the basket he could give the Suns good minutes off the bench.

PPG: 1.3   RPG: 0.8   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.6   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Reggie Bullock

 

31. Frank Jackson – New Orleans Pelicans

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Jackson has been signed to a three-year deal by the Pelicans. He adds to a New Orleans backcourt of Jrue Holiday, Rajon Rondo, and Ian Clark. He’ll start the year third on the depth chart at point guard behind Holiday and Rondo. Jackson’s explosiveness and shooting ability will be valuable for the Pels this year as their frontcourt needs as much help as it can get.

PPG: 3.8   RPG: 1.2   APG: 2.6   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Jordan Clarkson

 

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 60-45

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 60-45

This draft class has been one of the most hyped in NBA history. What impact will some of the players at the back of the board have in their rookie seasons?

 

60. Alpha Kaba – Atlanta Hawks

Photo Credit/www.peachtreehoops.com

 

The 6’10” French forward was the absolute last pick in the draft by the Hawks. Kaba has tremendous defensive upside with a 7’5″ wingspan, though isn’t quite ready to play in the NBA just yet. He’ll be stashed in his home country of France for this season and possibly a few years more.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Drew Gooden

 

59. Jaron Blossomgame – San Antonio Spurs

Photo Credit/www.247sports.com

 

San Antonio selected swingman Jaron Blossomgame with their second round pick this year. One of the best players in the ACC last college season, averaging nearly 18 points a game, he could become a solid bench scorer for San Antonio eventually. It’s likely Blossomgame plays for the Spurs G-League affiliate in his first year, the Austin Spurs.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Caris Lavert

 

58. Ognjen Jaramaz – New York Knicks

Photo Credit:www.basketballcl.com

 

With this pick, the Knicks get a raw, explosive guard in Jaramaz who must make strides in his long range shooting and on-ball defense in order to make it in the league. It’s likely the 21-year old spends this year overseas in Serbia.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Marquise Teague

 

57. Alexander Vezenkov – Brooklyn Nets

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The Nets are essentially getting an undersized stretch 4 with this pick. Vezenkov needs to improve his defense and learn to create for himself on offense more before he’s ready for the NBA. He’ll likely stay at FC Barcelona for the 17-18 season.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Nemanja Bjelica

 

56. Jabari Bird – Boston Celtics

Photo Credit/www.celticsblog.com

 

Jabari will most likely not be the best Bird to ever wear a Celtic jersey but he is probably the first player on this list to see some NBA action as a rookie. Boston is reportedly very close to coming to terms for a two-way deal with Bird (per The Daily Californian). The G/F is an explosive athlete who can create his own shot and also has the potential to be a solid defensive player.

PPG: 2.2   RPG: 1.3   APG: 0.4   SPG: 0.3   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: K.J. McDaniels

 

55. Nigel Williams-Goss – Utah Jazz

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The Gonzaga product will likely get a two-way contract from the Jazz before the start of the season. Williams-Goss is a do-it-all PG who has the ability to drive and score, be a floor leader, and grab rebounds at a solid height for his position, 6’3″. It could be tough for him to find minutes in Utah behind Dante Exum and Ricky Rubio.

PPG: 1.7   RPG: 1.1   APG: 1.2   SPG: 0.4  BPG: 0.0

NBA Comparison: Marcus Smart

 

54. Alec Peters – Phoenix Suns

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The 6’9″ forward out of Valparaiso has recently been signed to a two-way deal by the Suns (per hoopsrumors.com). Peters is a great offensive player with shooting ability and an exciting post repertoire. He also has the ability to make plays for others from the post, something Phoenix doesn’t have much of. Defense will be the question for Peters going forward.

PPG: 2.9   RPG: 2.3   APG: 1.4   SPG: 0.1   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: Markieff Morris

 

53. Kadeem Allen – Boston Celtics

Photo Credit:www.tucson.com

 

Allen recently signed a two-way contract with Boston just as Jabari Bird has. He’s really an undersized shooting guard at 6’3″ with solid athleticism and scoring ability that could be helpful if an injury occurs in the Celtic backcourt. Allen will struggle to see the floor in Boston just as Bird will but he should have the chance to get some NBA minutes in his first year.

PPG: o.9   RPG: 0.4   APG: 0.3   SPG: 0.2  BPG: 0.0

NBA Comparison: Gary Harris

 

52. Edmond Sumner – Indiana Pacers

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Like many of the guys taken down here, Sumner is currently on a two-way contract with the Pacers. The 21-year old played for Xavier before declaring for this past year’s draft. Sumner has the ability to create his own shot and is really a solid all-around guard. It’ll be interesting to see if he gets minutes in a below-average Pacer backcourt.

PPG: 2.8   RPG: 1.1   APG: 1.7   SPG: 0.3   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Spencer Dinwiddie

 

51. Monte Morris – Denver Nuggets

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Former Iowa State guard Monte Morris will play on a two-way contract with Denver this year. Morris isn’t exactly a TRUE point guard, though does have reliable playmaking ability. An intangible player with a good shooting stroke, Morris will need to defend better on the ball to get minutes in the league, but could see some court time at points this year.

PPG: 1.9   RPG: 0.8   APG: 1.4   SPG: 0.2   BPG: 0.0

NBA Comparison: D.J. Augustin

 

50. Mathias Lessort – Philadelphia 76ers

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Lessort will spend this next basketball season playing in his home country of France. The 6’9″ forward has a solid post arsenal and can finish around the rim with his athleticism. Shooting is where he must get better which is probably the easiest thing for an NBA team to develop in a young player. If Lessort finds a jumper his defensive potential and finishing ability could make him some money in the NBA.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A  APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Jeff Green

 

49. Vlatko Cancar – Denver Nuggets

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The Denver Nuggets plan since selecting Cancar was a draft and stash. We’ll see if or when he gets to Denver in the future. The forward is an extremely skilled shooter who is unexplosive and is hugely lacking of quickness off the dribble and on defense.

PPG: N/A   RPG: N/A   APG: N/A   SPG: N/A   BPG: N/A

NBA Comparison: Bojan Bogdanovic

 

48. Sindarius Thornwell – Los Angeles Clippers

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Thornwell signed a three-year deal with LA earlier in the summer. I’d look to see if he makes almost a Malcom Brogdon type impact in his first season with the Clips. I believe he has the playmaking and scoring ability to even play the point at times given the recent departure of Chris Paul.

PPG: 4.1   RPG: 3.2   APG: 1.9   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Malcom Brogdon

 

47. Ike Anigbogu – Indiana Pacers

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Anigbogu was signed to a rookie contract by the Pacers shortly after he was drafted. The UCLA product’s shot blocking could be what gets him court time in Indiana. His low post strength is also a positive about him. His shooting and quickness can be improved to make him more of an all-around C for the Pacers.

PPG: 1.8   RPG: 2.3   APG: 0.3   SPG: 0.2   BPG: 0.9

NBA Comparison: Kyle O’Quinn

 

46. Sterling Brown – Milwaukee Bucks

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Brown was drafted by the Sixers before being dealt to Milwaukee. Out of SMU, Brown is an do-it-all 6’6″ guard who can score off the dribble and make plays for others. His lack of explosiveness could hinder him at the next level, but he should be a good addition to the Bucks backcourt.

PPG: 3.2   RPG: 1.4   APG: 1.5   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Archie Goodwin

 

45. Dillon Brooks – Memphis Grizzlies

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Brooks was originally taken by Houston before being traded to the Griz. He’ll bring much needed shooting to Memphis after the departure of veteran Vince Carter. Though Brooks seems to get a little tunnel vision at times, his aggressiveness will surely benefit the team.

PPG: 4.7   RPG: 2.3   APG: 0.8   SPG: 0.7   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Shabazz Muhammed

 

 

Credit to @nbascoutinglive.com