Finally, I am back with big board 2.0!! We are a little more than halfway through the draft cycle and names are flying around. It has been two months since Big Board 1.0 so I figured it is time for another.
Because it is still early there are still players I don’t feel I have seen enough to scout such as…
|Bilal Coulibaly||Azoulas Tubelis|
|Keyontae Johnson||Malcolm Cazalon|
|Brandin Podziemski||Kobe Bufkin|
I list my top 60 below before discussing in more detail 20 of the prospects.
|Rank||Name||Position||College/Team (Country)||Height||Draft Age|
|1||Victor Wembanyama||Alien||Metropolitans 92 (France)||7’4||19.46|
|2||Scoot Henderson||Guard||G-League Ignite (USA)||6’2||19.38|
|3||Amen Thompson||Guard||City Reapers (USA)||6’7||20.39|
|5||Ausar Thompson||Wing||City Reapers (USA)||6’7||20.39|
|9||Nick Smith Jr.||Guard||Arkansas||6’5||19.17|
|12||Brice Sensabaugh||Wing||Ohio State||6’6||19.64|
|13||GG Jackson||Forward||South Carolina||6’9||18.51|
|23||Rayan Rupert||Forward||New Zealand Breakers (Australia)||6’6||19.05|
|24||Terquavion Smith||Guard||NC State||6’3.75||20.47|
|25||Tristan Vukcevic||Big||Partizzan Mozart (Serbia)||6’10||20.28|
|32||Nikola Djurisc||Wing||Mega Basket (Serbia)||6’8||19.33|
|36||Emoni Bates||Wing||Eastern Michigan||6’10||19.40|
|37||Leonard Miller||Wing||G-League Ignite (USA)||6’10||19.56|
|40||Baba Miller||Forward||Florida State||6’11||19.21|
|41||Sidy Cissoko||Guard||G-League Ignite (USA)||6’5||19.22|
|48||Matthew Cleveland||Wing||Florida State||6’7||20.77|
|54||James Nnaji||Forward||Barcelona (Spain)||6’10||18.85|
|59||Juan Nunez||Guard||Ulm (Germany)||6’3||19.05|
|60||Caleb Love||Guard||North Carolina||6’4||21.73|
Victor Wembanyama, Alien, France
A Victor check is necessary during each big board just to keep up with him. The French big man has hardly slowed down and is still the easy #1 pick. The LeBron vs Victor debate as the greatest prospect ever post-merger is a very interesting one that I think is really close. Whoever wins May’s lottery automatically adds a player that if he stays healthy is a surefire Hall of Famer.
Scoot Henderson, Guard, G-League Ignite
In most draft’s Scoot is an easy #1 pick, but this draft so happens to have Victor Wembanyama. I rank Scoot Henderson as the greatest small guard ever above the likes of Kyrie Irving, Allen Iverson, John Wall, and Derrick Rose. Henderson has everything you want from a lead guard as an elite playmaker, hard-nosed defender, and a jump shot that projects to be very good as it develops.
Amen Thompson, Guard, City Reapers (OTE)
Many in the draft community are cooling on Amen Thompson because of the concerns about his jump shot and alarming finishing stats (they are misleading) but I am steady with him at #3. Amen has a chance to be the best athlete in the NBA from the day he gets drafted. Pair that with elite playmaking and high-level defensive skills and I think you found a future all-star. People are overthinking Amen and if front offices agree it may cost some people jobs.
Brandon Miller, Forward, Alabama
Speaking of overthinking! I am not sorry that I am high on the best freshman in the country, a 6’9 sharpshooter with a high defensive floor (not sorry). Miller’s finishing numbers have increased throughout the year and will only continue to increase as he gets stronger and gets more spacing in the NBA. Miller might not have Paul George potential but he can still be an incredibly important NBA player given his tools.
Keyonte George, Guard, Baylor
Keyonte George is as fun of a prospect to watch as it gets. As a freshman, George is a dynamic offensive player who can score from three levels. Unlike other ball-dominant high-volume scoring guards, I like Keyonte George’s playmaking ability. I would have no problem with George going in the top 5 and think he is good enough to anchor the starting guard responsibilities in the league. I also sneakily like his defense…
Nick Smith, Guard, Arkansas
Nick Smith is finally back to my surprise. I did not expect Nick Smith to play again this season so it is beneficial to scouts that they will get more film and potentially will see him in high-stakes games. Smith was a great high school player but now that he is back it will be fascinating if he can regain the top 5 momentum that he had before the season.
Cason Wallace, Guard, Kentucky
Wallace is flat-out one of my favorite players in this cycle. His pick-and-roll IQ is incredible both on the offensive and defensive sides of the floor. Wallace is a great guard defender and has Marcus Smart-like defensive screen navigation. On offense, Wallace can take the point guard reigns and hit threes when it is asked of him.
Brice Sensabaugh, Wing, Ohio State
Maybe the best “pure” scorer in the draft (nice way of saying he doesn’t do much else). Sensabaugh is a threat to score anytime he has the ball no matter where he is on the court. If Sensabaugh gets drafted to a team with playoff asperations that can’t just give him the ball he can operate as a spot-up as he is shooting 45.6% on catch and shoots 3s. With the emergence of Cam Thomas as of late, Sensabaugh is a guy teams may see in a similar light.
Gradey Dick, Wing, Kansas
The best shooter in the class bar none. At 6’8 with his shooting abilities, Dick is a WEAPON that defenses need to keep an eye on at all times. A very high IQ player that always makes the right cut, pass, or decision. Dick is also a sneaky athlete (white) that finishes around the rim very well at 61%. The floor is not a question at all, the only concern is just how high is the ceiling.
Taylor Hendricks, Forward, UCF
I remember another 6’9 shot blocker with shooting potential that I was higher than the consensus on during the draft cycle. Now, Herb Jones is one of the most important players on a top Western Conference team (when Zion is healthy). Hendricks’s defensive ability is awesome at a position that is very valuable in the league. Offensively I am not sure he will ever be an all-star but he is capable enough from 3 that he must be respected.
Jordan Hawkins, Guard, UConn
Jordan Hawkins is a flat-out special shooting prospect. Hawkins’s ability to make contested moving shots on top of his already great spot-up numbers makes him intriguing. Defensively Hawkins is a negative as of now but in a league full of shooting he has value. Hawkin’s passing is his underrated skill and he may have some more wiggle and creativity than originally meets the eye.
DaRon Holmes, Big, Dayton
I will always be a fan of powerful finishers who can switch on defense and DaRon Holmes fits that mold. Holmes leads all prospects in dunks this season and has been very impressive defensively. I like Holmes in the extremely valuable switchable big role. Come playoff time it is soooo important to have a Claxton or Rob Williams type and DaRon Holmes has a chance.
Jalen Hood-Schifiano, Guard, Indiana
Honestly, I should probably move Hood-Schifiano higher up with how well he has been playing. A hard-nosed defender and a total table setter on offense, JHS has all the makings of a lead guard. 39% from 3 doesn’t blow your mind but if the shot is capable Jalen could have Tyrese Haliburton’s potential (I don’t say that lightly).
Tristan Vukcevic, Big, Serbia
Simply, people at Vukcevic’s height should not be able to move and shoot as well as he does. I trust Vukcevic’s shot and frame long term it is his decision-making that is questionable and makes me worry about his ceiling. I think there are enough tools that a team can feel good about taking a risk on him late in the 1st round.
Marcus Sasser, Guard, Houston
Marcus Sasser would be a lottery pick if he was just 3 inches taller. Shooting, scoring, and finishing are no problem for Sasser but how much will his size hold him back? Defensively Sasser is good but can that continue against bigger players? Can you be a shooting guard at 6’2? These are the questions front offices are asking but I would not be surprised if he proves everyone wrong.
Dereck Lively, Big, Duke
The former 5-star is starting to come into his own lately after starting the season poorly. The worry with Lively is that he will just be a dunker and help side shot blocker. Lately, Lively has shown his ability to guard the ball and that his shot blocking is so elite it can cover holes. If he can continue this run he is on, I would not be surprised if Lively is a first-round pick after all.
Emoni Bates, Wing, Eastern Michigan
I have no idea what to do with Emoni Bates. Bates fears NO man and can score up there with anyone… butttt he has a terrible frame, is a poor playmaker, and is a bad defender. The hope for Emoni is that he can be a Cam Thomas, Bones Hyland type that leads a bench unit. I am still not sold on that and don’t like drafting people when realistically they are bench players.
Trayce Jackson-Davis, Big, Indiana
Jackson-Davis is a GREAT college player the question is how translatable is that to the NBA. Trayce dominates around the hoop, can guard the ball, and is an underrated passer. The problem is, as of now Trayce does not stretch the court more than 10-15 feet. If Trayce can improve his shot he will be a fantastic NBA player but if he can’t the odds will be stacked against him.
Sidy Cissoko, Guard, G-League-Ignite
I will always be a fan of jumbo guards I just need to know what are you bringing to the court outside of that. 30% from 3 and 48% at the rim are bad clips and don’t scream that I need to draft you. Again though, 6’8 point guards don’t grow on trees, so if you believe in your organizational development team, swing.
Terrence Shannon, Guard, Illinois
Terrence Shannon might be the fastest 6’6 man I have seen. The shot at the beginning of the season looked like it was going to push him to the first round but it has since cooled off to about where it has always been. I like Shannon but I don’t love him, the ball handling, creation, and shooting all need work and he’s already 22.
Jordan Walsh, Forward, Arkansas
Walsh screams 2-year guy to me. Defensively Walsh is good but I don’t see an offensive role for him. The jump shot is ehh, but there is a post-fade shot that indicates maybe that could be developed. If I represented Walsh I would recommend he comes back to school develops and more and he could hear his name called in the first round in 2024.
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