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:

 

Advertisements

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 Shooting Guards Heading into Next Season

At this time in the league, some say there’s a disparity in star shooting guards. We’ll see who’s at the top of the list for the guys at the 2 leading into the 17-18 season.

 

Just missed the cut:

Seth Curry

Eric Gordon

Buddy Hield

Victor Oladipo

Evan Fournier

 

 

 

15. Danny Green – San Antonio Spurs

Photo Credit/www.bleacherreport.com

 

You won’t see Danny Green put up 20 or more too often or be the number one option on any given night, though his relentless defense and sweet 3 point jumper get him into the top 15. The Spurs wouldn’t be nearly as good without Green. He’s one of the best backcourt defenders in the league and spreads the floor tremendously for LaMarcus Aldridge to work down low. Being on the Spurs will stunt Green’s numbers, but he’s definitely a huge piece for San Antonio.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 7.3   RPG: 3.3   APG: 1.8   SPG: 1.0

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 8.1  RPG: 3.2  APG: 1.9  SPG: 1.6

 

14. Gary Harris – Denver Nuggets

Photo Credit/www.denverpost.com

 

Harris will presumably fight for minutes with Jamal Murray this season, though I expect both of them to play 20+. Harris has tremendous offensive ability with a great jumper and solid quickness off the dribble, shooting above 50% from the field last season. If he improves his defense this year I think we could see him attain the starting shooting guard spot in Denver for good and spring himself into the top 10 on this list.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 14.9   RPG: 3.1   APG: 2.9   SPG: 1.2

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 16.3  RPG: 3.4  APG: 3.1  SPG: 1.5

 

13. J.J. Redick – Philadelphia 76ers

Photo Credit/www.usatoday.com

 

Redick appears to be just the player and shooter that the young Sixers need. It’s assumed he’ll join rookie guard Markelle Fultz in the backcourt this season and will be expected to spread the floor for Joel Embiid to score and make plays in the paint. Redick will likely go down as one of the best 3 point shooters in NBA history and his range from deep will make him money well into his 30’s. He’ll be an important piece for a possible Philly playoff team this year.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 15.0   RPG: 2.2   APG: 1.4   SPG: 0.7

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 14.7  RPG: 2.1  APG: 1.8  SPG: 0.6

 

12. Zach LaVine – Chicago Bulls

Photo Credit/www.twincities.com

 

LaVine was another young guy involved in a superstar trade this offseason. The UCLA product was sent to Chi-Town on draft night as the main piece in the Jimmy Butler-Timberwolves acquisition. He and Kris Dunn now join Dwyane Wade in the Bulls backcourt, though sources say the veteran guard and the Chicago front office will likely agree on a buyout in the coming months. If this happens, the reigns to the team will be turned over to LaVine, and he will be the new star of the Bulls. We’ll see how he handles the new freedom and spotlight of Chicago this season. His defense remains in question.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 18.9   RPG: 3.4   APG: 3.0   SPG: 0.9

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 20.3  RPG: 4.1  APG: 4.7  SPG: 1.2

 

11. Dwyane Wade – Chicago Bulls

Photo Credit/www.businessinsider.com

 

According to CBS Sports, Wade is eyeing a return to Miami or a reunion with LeBron James in Cleveland if bought out by the Bulls. As of right of right now he is still in Chicago and if things stay the same he’ll be in a position battle with Zach LaVine for the starting job, unless Hoiberg sees LaVine fit to play the point. Over the past few years we’ve seen Flash slow down a little bit, losing some jump and quickness, though his basketball I.Q. is still amazing and he’s able to provide leadership to the young guys. We’ll see what uniform D-Wade is sporting come opening day.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 18.3   RPG: 4.5   APG: 3.8   SPG: 1.4

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 16.7  RPG: 3.9  APG: 4.1  SPG: 1.2

 

10. Devin Booker – Phoenix Suns

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Booker is coming off of a breakout year last year, putting up over 22 a game and setting a career high of a whopping 70 points against the Boston Celtics. Defense continues to be the area Booker struggles in. With a better defensive efficiency rating he could’ve easily made his way into the top 6 on this list. There’s no questioning his shooting ability and star potential, but with the freedom of being the only guy in Phoenix last year came the laziness on defense. This problem must be tended to by Earl Watson to turn Booker into a superstar.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 22.1   RPG: 3.2   APG: 3.4   SPG: 0.9

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 23.4  RPG: 3.6  APG: 3.7  SPG: 1.2

 

9. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope – Los Angeles Lakers

Photo Credit/www.nba.com

 

Caldwell-Pope joins the Lakers this year on a one-year contract. He’ll likely beat out Jordan Clarkson to start at the shooting guard position and play alongside Lonzo Ball in the backcourt. Caldwell-Pope brings some of the best backcourt defense in the league as well as an improving offensive game and jumpshot. Being in new scenery this season, we’ll see how the new role affects him and whether the Lakers decide to re-sign Caldwell-Pope next summer.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 13.8   RPG: 3.3   APG: 2.5   SPG: 1.2

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 15.2  RPG: 3.4  APG: 2.9  SPG: 1.7

 

8. Nicolas Batum – Charlotte Hornets

Photo Credit/www.cbssports.com

 

Batum enters this season with a young guy in Malik Monk who’ll challenge him for minutes at the 2, though I’d expect the Frenchman to retain his starting position. He’s showcased his superb all-around game over the last few years and proven he can be used to guard the 2 and 3 and play multiple positions on offense. If Batum can avoid excessive shooting slumps and use his versatility to his advantage, look for another solid season from him.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 15.1   RPG: 6.2   APG: 5.9   SPG: 1.1

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 14.9  RPG: 6.6  APG: 6.3  SPG: 1.4

 

7. Avery Bradley – Detroit Pistons

Photo Credit/www.usatoday.com

 

Bradley comes into Detroit as Caldwell-Pope’s replacement and in my opinion, an improvement. We knew years before that Bradley was a tremendous lockdown defender but this year and especially in the postseason without Isaiah Thomas, showcased his improved offensive game and shooting ability. If he carries over that game and mentality to the Pistons, they’ll love him in Auburn Hills. If all goes well for Detroit next year, Bradley and Drummond could turn into a dynamic duo in the East.

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

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

 

6. Bradley Beal – Washington Wizards

Photo Credit/www.prioritysports.biz

 

Beal is currently in possibly the best backcourt in the East consisting of himself and John Wall. Both are 20+ point scorers, however Beal is clearly the better long range shooter. The Florida product has a career mark of 40% from deep and at just 23, can become a guy who shoots a plus 40% year to year. At 6’5″, Beal has the potential to become a better and more attentive defender to help the Wiz potentially get to a conference finals. We’ll see if he can keep his shooting percentages up while improving his D this year.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 23.1   RPG: 3.1   APG: 3.5   SPG: 1.1

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 23.7  RPG: 3.3  APG: 3.4  SPG: 1.2

 

5. C.J. McCollum – Portland Trail Blazers

Photo Credit/www.bleacherreport.com

 

Like Wall and Beal, McCollum forms a pretty formidable backcourt himself with Damian Lillard. The former Lehigh star had a career year last year and comes into this season eyeing another playoff appearance with the Blazers. McCollum put up a career high in points last year and improved his shooting percentages significantly. He’s never been a great defender but he must continue to hold his own against most matchups in order to continue to be a co-leader in Portland and get them back to the postseason in a stacked Western Conference.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 23.0   RPG: 3.6   APG: 3.6   SPG: 0.9

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 24.1  RPG: 3.7  APG: 3.8  SPG: 1.1

 

4. Jimmy Butler – Minnesota Timberwolves

Photo Credit/www.csnchicago.com

 

Butler joins the Wolves this season after being traded from the Chicago Bulls on draft night. It’s likely we see a slight drop in his personal numbers this year, though he will most likely find more team success now that he’s in Minnesota. We saw the keys to the franchise be handed over to him in Chicago over the last few years, and now he’s the leader of a young Timberwolves team who could make their first playoff appearance since the Kevin Garnett era. The thought of a Butler-Wiggins-Towns big three sounds great, but will it pan out?

16-17 Stats: PPG: 23.9   RPG: 6.2   APG: 5.5   SPG: 1.9

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 21.7  RPG: 5.9  APG: 5.8  SPG: 2.0

 

3. Klay Thompson – Golden State Warriors

Photo Credit/www.sbnation.com

 

Klay could easily be number two on this list, but given his recent playoff slump I think this is the spot for him. We all know of his tremendous outside shot which could go down as the second best in history, but his defense is really what separates him from those just below him in this list. Despite what some metrics say, Thompson can lock down several guards, point or shooting, across the league and can slow down even the craftiest of players such as Kyrie Irving. This, along with his superb ability to play off the ball efficiently on offense put him at #3 in the rankings.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 22.3    RPG: 3.7   APG: 2.1   SPG: 0.8

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 22.7  RPG: 3.3  APG: 2.2  SPG: 1.1

 

2. Demar Derozan – Toronto Raptors 

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Derozan made major improvements in his game last season, solidifying his place as a top 3 shooting guard in the league. His points per game jumped nearly 4 points and he improved his rebounding, appearing in his 3rd All-Star game along the way. Derozan’s biggest flaw is clearly shooting from the outside. His 3-pt% dropped over 7% to an atrocious 26.6% from deep. If the Raptors are to have any shot at all at dethroning the Cavs in the East, Derozan must improve that shot as he enters his prime. I’d expect similar numbers this year, but if that 3-pt% drops anymore the California native may be moving back in the rankings.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 27.3   RPG: 5.2   APG: 3.9   SPG: 1.1

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 26.9  RPG: 4.7  APG: 4.3  SPG: 1.2

 

1. James Harden – Houston Rockets

Photo Credit/www.nbahoopsonline.com

 

Though Harden started at point guard for the Rockets last season, with Chris Paul headed to H-Town this year I decided to list him as a shooting guard. The Arizona State product had the best season of his career last year and could’ve easily taken the MVP over Westbrook in my opinion. The Beard put up numbers we haven’t seen in years and led what looked to be a messy Rockets roster all the way to third in the West. Now with Paul by his side, Harden could see his numbers drop just a tad, but none the less he’s the best shooting guard in the league and will have another MVP-like season this year.

16-17 Stats: PPG: 29.1   RPG: 8.1   APG: 11.2   SPG: 1.5

17-18 Projected Stats: PPG: 28.3  RPG: 7.4  APG: 9.6  SPG: 1.8

Zach Randolph faces possible NBA Banishment

New Sacramento Kings signee Zach Randolph was recently arrested for possession of marijuana with an intent to sell. His mistake could turn out to be more harmful to his basketball career than he thinks.

 

Photo Credit/www.nba.com

 

Z-Bo was a long time member of the Memphis Grizzlies before signing a 2-year $24 million contract with the Kings earlier this summer. Most among the NBA seem to believe this move by Sacramento was an attempt to bring in leadership and a strong veteran frontcourt presence to mentor youngs in Labissiere, Cauley-Stein, and Papagiannis. This new news of Randolph’s affiliation in a possible illegal drug deal will surely give Vlade Divac and the rest of the Kings front office some buyers remorse. Though you can argue this offense is fairly minor considering many around the league have even promoted the legalization of marijuana in the NBA, the law is the law and he reportedly broke it.

 

Photo Credit/www.bleacherreport.com

 

An investigation is apparently still ongoing involving Randolph, and if convicted a possible full banishment from the league could be in line for the big man. This would obviously be awful news for him, as he just signed his new deal. Though at 36 years old, this is probably the best time for him to get in some trouble. It’ll be interesting to see how Adam Silver handles the issue as throughout his first few years as commissioner, he’s shown a very open stance involving some social problems. There will be a continued debate in really all major American sports over whether to make the plant legal in their league or not.

 

Photo Credit/www.nydailynews.com

 

The other big loser if Randolph is convicted is of course the Sacramento Kings. They’ll possibly lose their new addition down low and his expected bench production for this season. Randolph has already chipped away at his reputation for getting in the news for this, and his leadership role could be diminished even if he is allowed to stay with the team. If Zach can’t play, it’ll be up to Vince Carter and George Hill to lead the young prospects this season. Though I doubt we’ve watched the last NBA game Z-Bo will play in, the new King has himself in a bad situation at the moment.

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 14-1

NBA Rookie Mini Scouting Reports and Stat Predictions: Picks 14-1

This draft class has been one of the most hyped in NBA history. How will the players selected in the lottery fare in their rookie seasons?

 

14. Bam Adebayo – Miami Heat

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Adebayo will likely start the season as a PF for the Heat, though could play some at the 5. What he’ll bring down low for Miami is mainly strength, rebounding, and lots of energy especially on defense. The Heat definitely needed more help in the post for Hassan Whiteside and they have it in Adebayo. He’s shown a solid ability to score in the post in college and if he finds even just a 15-footer, he’ll be dangerous for Miami on both ends.

PPG: 6.3   RPG: 5.9   APG: 0.7   SPG: 0.4   BPG: 1.3

NBA Comparison: Bismack Biyombo

 

13. Donovan Mitchell – Utah Jazz

Photo Credit/www.espn.com

 

Out of Louisville, Mitchell comes to a team who’s star just left which could mean more minutes, touches, and shots for the rookie. I was very impressed by Mitchell’s ball-handling and shot-making ability in the summer league and believe he’ll be a go-to scorer for the Jazz almost right away. His size will always be talked about but the volume scoring will be huge for Utah in a league that demands points in bunches.

PPG: 11.7   RPG: 2.1   APG: 3.4   SPG: 1.1   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Lou Williams

 

12. Luke Kennard – Detroit Pistons

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Outside shooting was a huge problem for Detroit last year, finishing 28th among the league in team 3pt%. Kennard will provide relief from this awful stat, having a great outside jumper and spacing the floor for Andre Drummond whenever he’s out there. The Former Duke G put up over 19 points a game for the Blue Devils last year and was clutch in tight moments. We saw a difference in his offensive mentality from his freshman to sophomore year and we should see his game expand as he begins his rookie year for the Pistons. Athleticism, speed especially, is not a positive about Kennard, but his ball-handling, size, and shooting will greatly improve the Detroit offense this season.

PPG: 8.6   RPG: 2.9   APG: 1.8   SPG: 0.9   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: Marco Belinelli

 

11. Malik Monk – Charlotte Hornets

Photo Credit/www.seccountry.com

 

It was a surprise that Monk dropped this far to #11 but Charlotte took advantage when he was on the board at their pick. He put up almost 20 a game last year for Kentucky and was the Wildcats go-to scorer all year. The 19-year old comes to Charlotte to most likely backup Nic Batum at the 2. Monk’s playmaking and shot making ability will be great for the Hornets as they’re lacking a scoring guard off the bench.

PPG: 10.3   RPG: 2.2   APG: 2.7   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 0.1

NBA Comparison: Jamal Crawford

 

10. Zach Collins – Portland Trail Blazers

Photo Credit/www.sbnation.com

 

Collins comes to a Portland frontcourt bringing a solid back-to-the-basket game and elite shot blocking ability. He has the size and potential to consistently put up double-doubles, though could develop a jump shot to be able to stretch the floor and give Jusuf Nurkic room to work down low as well.

PPG: 6.8   RPG: 4.4   APG: 0.6   SPG: 0.2   BPG: 1.3

NBA Comparison: Cole Aldrich

 

9. Dennis Smith Jr. – Dallas Mavericks

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Smith Jr. is one of the best athletes we’ve seen coming into the league in this century. I think he’s one of the biggest ROTY sleepers taken this year. He’s shown a tendency to slash and penetrate easily in Vegas this summer and make plays for others by occasionally kicking out after a drive into the paint. Shot selection and turnover reduction are what Smith mainly needs to control to improve but he has the potential to be a perennial All-Star guard for Dallas in my opinion.

PPG: 12.7   RPG: 4.3   APG: 5.8   SPG: 1.6   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: Derrick Rose

 

8. Frank Ntilikina – New York Knicks

Photo Credit/www.denverstiffs.com

 

Expect Ntilikina to be a bit of a project for the Knicks. He probably won’t start this year despite the departure of Derrick Rose. The French guard has tremendous defensive potential at 6’5″ and long arms, but must improve his offensive consistency and shot selection to be an efficient PG for New York.

PPG: 7.3   RPG: 2.8   APG: 3.5   SPG: 1.4   BPG: 0.3

NBA Comparison: George Hill/Tony Allen

 

7. Lauri Markkanen – Chicago Bulls

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

Markkanen comes to the Bulls in the Minnesota trade for Jimmy Butler. He’s now a talented frontcourt piece for a Chicago team in rebuild mode. Markkanen’s outside shooting ability and size give him the potential to be a perfect stretch big if he polishes his game up a bit.

PPG: 10.6   RPG: 5.8   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.4   BPG: 1.1

NBA Comparison: Kristaps Porzingis

 

6. Jonathan Isaac – Orlando Magic

Photo Credit/www.nba.com

 

Isaac may take a while to develop for the Magic, but his length and athleticism make him an intriguing young prospect. He should be 3/4 type forward who can play center in some situations. He showcased flashy defensive ability and solid efficiency scoring above the basket at Florida State. He needs to improve his outside jumper and work on getting stronger, but once he’s ready and healthy he could be one of the best defensive players in the game and one of the most versatile forwards in the league offensively.

PPG: 7.1   RPG: 4.8   APG: 0.9   SPG: 0.8   BPG: 1.2

NBA Comparison: Kevin Durant

 

Before we head into the top 5, although the draft has passed, take a look at this “2017 NBA Draft Preview” clip on the Sports Fan Entertainment Youtube Page to see our video creator’s thoughts on busts and sleepers in this class!

 

5. De’Aaron Fox – Sacramento Kings

Photo Credit/www.slamonline.com

 

Fox is clearly the point guard of the future for the Kings and will get veteran help on and off the court this season with George Hill. It’d be a surprise to see him start at the beginning of the season with the addition of Hill, however, he should get an opportunity to run the team off the bench and showcase his game before his name is called. Fox’s speed is his most enticing attribute, often compared to John Wall for mainly this ability. His playmaking and size are two more positives about him after averaging over 4 assists last season at Kentucky and having an impressive 7’0″ wingspan. Shooting is certainly a problem for Fox at the moment, and though he can hit a 3 from time to time, he mainly gets his points driving to the rim and putting in layups and runners. If a jump shot is fully developed he could easily be a multiple time All-Star someday.

PPG: 11.6   RPG: 3.9   APG: 5.3   SPG: 1.4   BPG: 0.2

NBA Comparison: John Wall

 

4. Josh Jackson – Phoenix Suns

Photo Credit/www.si.com

 

The Suns were lucky this draft was so deep for Jackson to drop to them at 4. After one year at Kansas averaging over 16 a game, Jackson joins a Suns team in dire need of defense on the wing. With T.J. Warren still playing in Phoenix, I’d doubt Jackson starts right away, but we could see him in the starting lineup later in the season. The 6’8″ forward is already a solid defender and slasher on the wing, finishing strong around the rim on offense and guarding multiple positions well on D. His inefficient shooting was noticeable during last college season though that will improve as his career kicks off. Rumors are swirling suggesting he would be in a potential Suns trade for Kyrie Irving, however, Phoenix has said multiple times he is pretty much untouchable. Expect him to make a solid defensive impact his rookie year and possibly develop into a superstar in the future.

PPG: 12.3   RPG: 5.7   APG: 2.2   SPG: 1.3  BPG: 1.1

NBA Comparison: Andrew Wiggins

 

3. Jayson Tatum – Boston Celtics

Photo Credit/www.celticsblog.com

 

The Celtics were able to grab Tatum at #3 after trading the #1 pick down to the Philadelphia 76ers. Tatum might just have the sweetest jumper in this draft and is one of the purest scorers in the class. He’s the wing scorer the Celtics need to possibly surpass the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East this year. Tatum is also capable of dropping off passes to big men after penetrating the paint, grabbing rebounds at his 6’8″ size, and playing good wing D when he wants to, though he’s nowhere near the defender Jackson is. With the massive depth Boston currently has at small forward with Jae Crowder and Jaylen Brown, it’s possible we see Tatum at the 4 when he’s on the court and maybe start some at power forward. His numbers could be down due to being drafted by a contender, though he has a shot at appearing in the finals as a top rookie, which is rare.

PPG: 10.8   RPG: 4.3   APG: 1.8   SPG: 0.5   BPG: 0.7

NBA Comparison: Carmelo Anthony

 

2. Lonzo Ball – Los Angeles Lakers

Photo Credit/www.nba.com

 

Ball joins the Lakers with about as high of expectations as a rookie can have. His playmaking ability is far ahead of any other player on the board and he has the size and instincts to become a good on-ball defender and make steals in the passing lanes. All this said, don’t expect him to give you mass amounts of points and take over like Kobe did. Zo’s jumper worked in college but it’s about as ugly as it can get and might cause trouble for him in the NBA. His release point is high but it takes him far too long to get it off, making it easier for defenders to get out on the perimeter and contest. If he’s able to speed up that shot with the help of the Laker coaching staff, that shouldn’t be a problem anymore because when he has time, it goes in. His size at 6’6″ with a 7’0″ wingspan gives him the ability to grab boards at the guard position, come up with steals, and easily contest shorter matchups. Lonzo’s defensive quickness might be his biggest problem right now, though he’ll learn to defend the drive and stay with his matchup on the pick-and-roll as he gains experience in LA. With his insane court vision and potential, Ball could lead the Lakers for a decade and more.

PPG: 13.7   RPG: 5.9   APG: 8.6   SPG: 1.7   BPG: 0.8

NBA Comparison: Jason Kidd

 

1. Markelle Fultz – Philadelphia 76ers

Photo Credit/www.celticshub.com

 

Out of Washington, Fultz is probably the most polished and ready player in this class. He’s able to score from anywhere on the floor, make plays for others efficiently, grab rebounds at 6’5″, and create turnovers on defense. His fit in Philly is perfect as he comes to a team primed for a playoff berth and will play beside veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick where he’ll get leadership and a guy to kick it out to on the perimeter. Fultz’s numbers in his only year at Washington were ridiculous as he had one of the best freshman seasons of this century, despite not being able to grab his team a tournament bid. Where Fultz can really excel at the next level is on the pick-and-roll. He and Joel Embiid should be the duo on this play and could end up being more deadly than a Green-Curry pick-and-roll. Although he’s just a rookie and joining a team with a few great young players already on it, look for Fultz to be one of the go-to guys right away. He probably won’t make the Eastern All-Star team as a rookie, but expect Markelle to post rookie Curry/rookie Lillard like numbers in his first year.

PPG: 17.9   RPG: 4.6   APG: 5.8   SPG: 1.4   BPG: 0.6

NBA Comparison: Damian Lillard

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

Photo Credit/www.askthebookie.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.ralphiereport.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.silverscreenandroll.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.sbnation.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.youtube.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.ridiculousupside.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.hothothoops.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.addictedtoquack.com

 

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

Photo Credit/www.libertyballers.com

 

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