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Top NBA Draft Prospects

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2019 TOP NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS

Below, in no particular order, are notes from around the web on the best NBA draft prospects for the 2019 NBA draft, which will take place in late June.

As the draft approaches, we'll actually rank the top 2019 NBA draft prospects, either by overall ranking, or position, or both.

The quotes below are all from either May or June of 2019.

Zion Williamson: Williamson is not only considered the best player in this year’s draft class, but the best NBA prospect in years. He’s a powerful, yet freakishly athletic 6-foot-7, 285-pound forward who plays with high energy and drive. -- Arizona Republic

More on Zion Williamson: Williamson is one of the Davis trade’s biggest winners: The 6-foot-7, 285-pound Duke forward arrives as the undisputed face of the franchise, and his path to stardom received a major kick-start thanks to Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball and the Lakers’ many draft assets. Top picks like Davis, Kevin Durant and LeBron James typically land on barren rosters as rookies, but Williamson’s Pelicans should be both competitive and highly entertaining next season. -- Denver Post

Ja Morant: The 6-foot-3 guard projects as a hybrid playmaker capable of creating his own offense and running an efficient attack. -- Denver Post

On Morant: Ball-dominant point guards who can generate offense for themselves and their teammates have increasingly become one of the most valuable archetypes in the NBA alongside plus-sized wing creators. The best bet to fulfill that role in the 2019 class is Morant. -- Sporting News

On Morant: Morant may take a season or two to adjust to the speed of the NBA game, but his innate playmaking ability, elite athleticism and unique improvisational qualities give him a chance to be special. -- SI.com

R.J. Barrett: The 19-year-old scoring-minded wing needs the ball in his hands and an organization willing to be patient. -- Denver Post

More on Barrett: Now, after a season during which he averaged 22.6 points, 7.6 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game - numbers unmatched by any other freshmen since at least 1992-93 - he's generally seen as either the second- or third-best prospect in the 2019 NBA Draft. Weird, right? -- Sporting News

On Barrett: He can at times be aggressive to a fault, but the hope is that his decision-making becomes more team-oriented as he matures, and that his outside shot improves. -- SI.com

Darius Garland: The 6-foot-3 guard is already an advanced shooter with deep range and the ability to pull up off the dribble. His presence should immediately stretch defenses vertically. -- Denver Post

More on Garland: The 19-year-old has legitimately deep range on his pull-up jumper and is adept at using ball screens to find and develop his own shot. -- Sporting News

Jarrett Culver, Texas Tech: Culver is one of the best wing prospects in this year's class. He's a 6-foot-6 slasher whom mock drafts project to go anywhere from fourth to eighth. Culver wasn't considered a top prospect entering his sophomore year, but shot up draft boards after posting a season that earned him Big 12 player of the year honors. -- NBC Sports Washington

More on Culver: Some scouts compare him to Jimmy Butler because of his midrange scoring game, also his ability to defend multiple positions. Culver averaged 18.5 points this season, he shot 46% from the field but only 30% from the college 3-point line. At this point in his development, Culver’s ability to use his ball-handling skills to create shots in the midrange and also drive to the basket is a big plus. If he can improve his range, Culver could be a primary scoring option at the NBA level. -- NBC Sports Chicago

More on Culver: "Right off the bat, reminds me of DeMar DeRozan. But then when I watched an interview with him, he said that’s who he patterns his game after, meaning he’s the king of the midrange game. He shoots it really well off the bounce and he shoots it really well off the pass, coming off the screen, finding the open area. -- Also NBC Sports Chicago

More on Culver: Like Barrett, Culver can generate offense from advantaged situations and provide some playmaking on the ball. Culver is an underrated passer who can find teammates out of the pick-and-roll and keep the ball moving in a team concept. His pull-up jumper is better than Barrett's despite some funky mechanics, but he still suffers from some of the poor shooting numbers that plague Barrett's projections. -- Sporting News

Coby White: White, likely the best available lead guard, would add pop to a Chicago offense that ranked 29th last year. -- Denver Post

More on White: White is prized as a prospect thanks to his ability to knock down pull-ups from a variety of distances... White is still finding his way as a playmaker and facilitator offensively. -- Sporting News

De’Andre Hunter: If NBA-readiness drives [a team's] thinking, the 21-year-old Hunter makes sense. He would plug in as a 3-and-D wing -- Denver Post

More on Hunter: He's very good at a lot of things, but probably not necessarily elite at any one of them. He's already 21 years old, and his upside isn't very exciting on its face. Still, he's a near lock to be a lottery pick. Hunter's defense is his best trait. -- Sporting News

Cam Reddish: He fills a wing hole created by the Otto Porter trade, he was a highly touted high school prospect, he hails from an NCAA blue blood, and his size and comfort with the ball make him “look the part” of a future NBA star. -- Denver Post

More on Reddish: Reddish also made worse than 40 percent of his 2s. Finding rotation players, let alone stars, who did that is near impossible. Reddish was better in high school. -- Sporting News

Sekou Doumbouya: Doumbouya’s length, activity and physique leap off the screen in the highlight reels from his season playing professionally in France. -- Denver Post

Brandon Clarke: The 6-foot-8 forward’s ultraefficient finishing, shot-blocking ability and high energy level -- Denver Post

More on Clarke: He'll turn 23 before the start of the season, meaning his timeline doesn't necessarily coincide with many teams looking to build around younger rosters. Age also plays an important role in projecting potential. -- Sporting News

Jaxson Hayes: The 6-foot-11 Hayes fits perfectly as a pick-and-roll finishing partner... and as an agile rim-protector. -- Denver Post

Nassir Little, North Carolina: He is more known for his defense at this point. Little is an aggressive and physical perimeter defender who could develop into a Marcus Smart-like pest. Though he didn't force a ton of turnovers in college, Little clearly gave opposing teams problems with his energy and length. -- NBC Sports Washington

More on Little: Talent evaluators can easily argue that the 6-foot-6 wing’s forgettable freshman season at UNC wasn’t representative of his long-term abilities. -- Denver Post

Rui Hachimura: Given his natural strength, versatility and potential to extend his shooting range out to the three-point line, it’s quite possible Hachimura doesn’t last until the 13th pick. -- Denver Post

Cameron Johnson: A 6-foot-7 forward, Johnson spent the past two seasons in Chapel Hill after the previous three at Pittsburgh. He received a medical redshirt for the 2014-15 season after injury limited him to eight games. Then, he became a graduate transfer to North Carolina in the summer of 2017 after earning his degree in communications. All that behind him, he hopes to be a first-round pick in the June 20 draft. A small forward who could possible play some small-ball power forward at the next level, Johnson has a skill that is always in demand: shooting. He was 40.5 percent from the college 3-point line for his career. -- Charlotte Observer

More on Johnson: Beyond shooting, he said his strengths include “basketball IQ, understanding of the game, understand spacing offensively and defensively. Defensively, I’ve improved a lot the past couple years. Being another ball handler is something that I propped back up to speed later in my college career.” -- Miami Herald

Luguentz Dort, Arizona State: His biggest strength is probably … his strength. At 222 pounds, Dort is a wrecking ball when driving to the paint — something he can do pretty smoothly with both hands — and shows absolutely no fear. He has a lightning quick first step and is an elite athlete. He’s so smooth, takes such long strides and is so explosive that he plays much bigger than his 6-foot-4 height would suggest. It’s sort of like Donovan Mitchell coming out of Louisville, though Dort features more muscle. -- NBC Sports Philly

2018 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.

BEST NBA DRAFT PROSPECTS
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 -- SI.com

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. -- SI.com

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. -- PhillyNews.com

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. -- SI.com

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. -- SI.com

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. -- SI.com

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. -- SI.com

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. -- SI.com