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Top NBA Draft Prospects


Various notes from around the web on top player prospects for the 2018 NBA Draft, which will take place on Thursday, June 21 in Brooklyn, NY. All of the notes below are from May or June of 2018, so everything is fairly recent:

Best 2018 Point Guard Prospects, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 18: 1) Collin Sexton, 2) Trae Young, 3) Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, 4) Aaron Holiday, 5) Landry Shamet. Best 2018 Shooting Guard Prospects, per the South Florida Sun Sentinel, June 18: 1) Zhaire Smith, 2) Lonnie Walker, 3) Donte DiVincenzo, 4) Kevin Huerter, 5) Gary Trent JR.

Not in exact order top to bottom.

On DeAndre Ayton: In what continues to be graded as the best big man draft in years, Ayton seems to have it all, beginning with a commanding post presence that produced a 20.1 scoring average and shut down ability on the defensive glass. Not a high volume 3-point shooter, but has shown scouts enough to believe that he will grow into a floor-stretching role, and was relatively automatic when presented with open mid-range opportunities. -- Boston Herald

On Marvin Bagley: It’s easy to understand why with a player who seems born to be a natural lead scorer after averaging 21 points in his only season at Duke. An extremely active offensive rebounder with a strong burst at the rim, range may be Bagley’s project area. He attempted even fewer 3-pointers than Ayton – 1.8 to be exact, though he shot just over 39 percent from downtown. -- Boston Herald

On Luka Doncic: A prodigious playmaker and basketball savant, Doncic will be the most accomplished player in the draft bar none. He enters with an unprecedented resume for a 19-year-old, having just led Madrid to a Euroleague title and winning Final Four MVP and also winning Eurobasket in 2017 with his native Slovenia. Though not a traditional point guard, Doncic is comfortable with the ball in his hands --

Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State, freshman, 6-11, 240, age 18, C/PF: According to the Dallas Morning News, "He won't turn 19 until Sept. 15. But he's got the great bloodlines as his father played in the league and since he's so young, there is loads of room for growth to his game, which already is pretty good. He's got great athleticism, is a terrific rebounder and can finish with both hands. He could end up being the prototypical big man who can stretch the floor because his shot has all the makings of a dangerous weapon -- good mechanics and he can release it quickly. All in all, there are not many knocks on him."

More on Jaren Jackson: Though Ayton and Bagley are the cream of the big man class – indeed, the entire class – Jackson may be the most intriguing in this group because of his broad range of skills. He shot 39 percent from downtown, though he played strictly a support role as the Spartans’ fifth leading scorer. -- Boston Herald

Wendell Carter, Duke, freshman, 6-10, 260, age 19, C/PF: Per the Dallas Morning News, "he won't turn 20 until after the 2018-19 regular season is finished (birthday is April 16, 1999). He has a good mix of size and speed and can pass, shoot and handle the ball well for a big man. What stands out most is his efficiency. He hit 58 percent of his shots from inside the arc and 46 percent from outside it. He is long on fundamentals, but not necessarily flashy."

More on Wendell Carter: Comparisons to Al Horford abound, and for good reason. -- Boston Herald

Mohamed Bamba, Texas, freshman, 7-0, 220, age 19, C: Per the Dallas Morning News, "size still matters in the NBA. The measurables are off the chart for this guy. He has a 7-9 wingspan and a 9-6 standing reach. Long arms, quick legs and good defensive instincts would make him the perfect athletic compliment for a team that has athletic perimeter players in place. Bamba averaged nearly four blocks per game, but less than three fouls per game, which is a pretty good combination of numbers working for him."

More on Mo Bamba: Posted some great numbers in workouts. As fast as some of the fastest guards in the league. How about that? Also refining his shooting stroke. We already knew he was smart. Question is his motor and how much weight he'll put on, and those are legit concerns. But there are some who think he has the highest upside of anyone in this draft. If you believe that, it seems like you ought to take him. The difference this year is that there are really good options in the first four or five picks. -- Dallas Morning News

More on Mo Bamba: Long, thin and a monster at the rim after blocking 3.7 shots per game in his one year as a Longhorn. Though seasons of emphasis in the weight room await him, his noted passion for defense should make Bamba an instant paint presence. -- Boston Herald

On Kevin Knox: One of the youngest players in the draft, Knox brings a bundle of intriguing tools and is beginning to get used to his body. He put together a solid year at Kentucky while functioning mostly as a spot-up option off the ball, and his impressive frame and improving set of skills suggest he’ll be able to do more than that at the next level. He’s built well enough to play both forward spots. --

Trae Young, Oklahoma, freshman, 6-2, 180, age 19, PG: Per the Dallas Morning News, "Drop-dead shooters are the most valued commodity in the NBA right now. Look back at the 2009 draft and the No. 1 pick would have been Steph Curry, who went 7th. Nobody gave his shooting skills enough credit, instead focusing on the perceived flaws, like lack of size. Those days should be over now. There is little doubt that Young has the ability to light it up from all over the court. His outside shooting is brilliant. Everything else is a work in progress."

More on Trae Young: Averaging 27.4 points and garnering comparisons to Stephen Curry, Young flew onto the draft radar early and is widely regarded as the top point guard coming out of college. Though his hot start was stifled slightly once defenses started focusing on him, he managed to lead the nation in scoring. He is a great ball-handler, creates off the dribble, and can shoot from long range, making his smaller frame (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) more palatable. He’ll need to bulk up to hang defensively, but that can be said for a number of 19-year-olds. --

Michael Porter Jr., Missouri, freshman, 6-10, 215, age 19, SF: Per the Dallas Morning News, "His freshman season at Mizzou basically was wiped out after back surgery -- Porter logged two minutes in the season opener and returned for the Tigers' SEC and NCAA tournament games (two losses). Scouts have virtually nothing to go on from the college level. But his combination of size, quickness, shooting and athleticism make him a guaranteed high pick. If he'd been able to come straight out of high school to the NBA, he might have been No. 1 overall last summer."

On Miles Bridges: Bridges is a strong, active scorer who might be a little bit stuck between positions. Athletically he fits the bill, and he showed some encouraging improvement as a spot-up shooter on the wing as a sophomore. Almost spite of his body and explosiveness, an average handle can make it difficult for Bridges to get past defenders and into the paint, and forces him to settle for jumpers. --

Mikal Bridges, Villanova, redshirt junior, 6-7, 210, age 21, SF/SG: Per the Dallas Morning News, "he may be the most polished 3-and-D guy in the draft. He's got good two-way potential and also put up a lot of 3-pointers and made a good percentage of them. He may be a Jaylen Brown or -- if you're looking for a size comparison -- a Robert Covington starter kit, which wouldn't be bad at all (even though he's older than Brown). Virtually all of his 3-pointers came in catch-and-shoot situations. He was not creating his own shot. But spotting up is one of the best attributes an NBA shooter can have these days."

On Lonnie Walker: An athletic, slashing two-guard, Walker had an uneven freshman season after recovering from a summer meniscus tear. While he didn’t set the world on fire, he’s a fluid, athletic player who can really attack the rim and elevate going to the basket. He has a nice-looking jumper and should improve shooting it from outside as he matures. --

Collin Sexton, Alabama, freshman, 6-2, 185, age 19, PG: Per the Dallas Morning News, "he's got charisma and ability that came out in the SEC tournament and in the first round of the NCAA tournament. He's not quite as cocky as, say, Jevon Carter of West Virginia. And that's a good thing. But he's got all those skills and more. He won't turn 20 until Jan. 4 and that makes him even more valued. He's got incredible speed and that's one of the things that will make him hard to guard."

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Kentucky, 6-6, 180, G: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander provides many of the traits Fultz did coming out of college. While not the same prolific scorer as the No. 1 overall pick a season ago, Gilgeous-Alexander did prove to be an all-around performer during his lone season at Kentucky. He averaged 14.4 points, 5.1 assists, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals for the Wildcats. Gilgeous-Alexander has combined that versatility with tenacious on-ball defense to become one of the top guard prospects in this year’s draft class. -- NBC Sports Philly

More on Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: A tall and athletic point guard, Gilgeous-Alexander was smooth and efficient running the offense at Kentucky. He scored, dished assists, rebounded very well for his position and forced turnovers on the defensive end. Gilgeous-Alexander is a smart player and seems like a relatively safe pick, especially for a team looking to start him as a backup point guard with the ability to start down the road." -- NBC Sports Washington

On Robert Williams: He has a 7-foot-6 wingspan, which eliminates questions about playing in the paint at his height. Rebounded at a 9.2 clip, blocked 2.6 shots per game, and can hold his own in the paint against bigger players. He’s also a project offensively. -- Boston Herald

On Jerome Robinson: A high-scoring combo guard with a nice degree of shake to his game, Robinson could become a useful rotation player given his shooting and ability to play on or off the ball. He excels at creating his own shot at all three levels, with a great ability to change speeds and some sneaky athleticism. --

More on Jerome Robinson: A three-year player at BC, Robinson developed into a big-time scorer before making the leap to the NBA. He averaged 18.7 points as a sophomore and then 20.7 points as a junior while improving his shooting percentages across the board. He went from 42.3 percent from the field as a sophomore to 48.5 in 2017-18. -- NBC Sports Washington

On Zhaire Smith: A tremendous athlete who makes an impact defensively, Smith has some level of feel for the game but his offensive skill set is unfinished, and there’s not much evidence at this stage that he can create off the dribble. While he’s unlikely to contribute much right away, his explosiveness, instincts and acrobatic ability are all tantalizing. --

Troy Brown, Oregon: Troy Brown Jr. on Thursday was among the latest batch of 3-and-D players to workout for the Trail Blazers, but the University of Oregon wing says he has something different than the other prospects who have passed through the Blazers’ Tualatin facility this month. He says he is not just a shooter and defender, he can also pass like a point guard. “I feel like a lot of guys when they say they are 3-and-D it’s offensive scoring and being a defensive player, but I feel like I bring more than that,’’ Brown said. -- NBC Sports Northwest

Kevin Huerter, Maryland, 6-7, 194, SG/SF: A 6-foot-7 swingman, Huerter is one of the best shooters in this draft. He shot 41.7 percent from three as a sophomore at Maryland on 5.5 attempts per game. Huerter had some big games from the perimeter in college. Nine times he hit four threes or more and twice he hit seven in a game. He has smooth mechanics, a quick release and a high release point; all things that bode well for the next level. -- NBC Sports Washington

On Aaron Holiday: Holiday impressed this season with steady performances as an outside shooter and primary facilitator and looks well-suited to lead someone’s second unit in the NBA at worst. With his scoring instincts and ability to use ball screens, he can provide an offensive spark. He’s a smallish guard and can only defend one position, but competes defensively and should be tough enough to hold his own. --