For the last three years, I have studied the top college prospects and had put together mock drafts in which I would predict which team would take which player in the draft.
But I’m tired of that.
I’m tired of guessing which team’s general managers will make ridiculous mistakes in reaching to take a guy who they should not, or could take later in the draft.
So this year, I decided to do things a little differently. Instead of guessing who will get drafted to a certain team, here is a list of my top 10 prospects from this year’s draft class – my individual rankings of the top 10 prospects heading into tonight’s draft.
Here goes nothing…
1) Luka Doncic – PG, Real Madrid
He jumps off the screen when you watch him play, and he has been doing so against grown men in the Spanish league – he absolutely dominated.
Luka Doncic was 15th in the Spanish ACB league in points, fourth in assists, and 12th in rebounds. He’s a remarkable shot creator and shot maker – a smart, shifty, versatile, confident player.
He’s an unbelievable passer from all over the court and can has great vision.
Doncic has shown James Harden-like ability on jumpers off the dribble and can hit that smoove step-back three with ease.
A skilled post player, Doncic uses his excellent footwork to work into turnaround jumpers, up-and-unders, drop steps, and hook shots.
Excellent rebounder for his position, and he quickly turns boards into transition offense.
Competitive, physical defender who hustles, closes out hard, and battles on switches.
He needs to work on his speed and athleticism and his finishing around the rim in the NBA.
NBA Comparison – Manu Ginobili
2) DeAndre Ayton – C, Arizona
All the noise coming out of Phoenix is that they will take DeAndre Ayton, not Luka Doncic, with the number one overall pick.
I still believe Luka is the better talent, but I can certainly see why Phoenix want to take Ayton.
The 7 foot center, who went to school just down the road at Arizona has elite two-way potential. He has a perfect basketball body – wide shoulders and a thick frame meaning putting on even more muscle won’t be a problem for him.
At 7 feet tall, Ayton is an athletic big who is agile and fluid. He finishes well around the room and uses his footwork well to create shots from the post. Ayton can also step out and shoot the three.
As well as being a dominant rebounder, Ayton is a solid passer from the high-post and makes good decisions under pressure.
He has defensive potential due to his frame, but he has too many lapses in concentration. Might be an effort thing, rather than talent. He has to want to play defence more than he showed at college.
NBA Comparison – Karl-Anthony Towns
3) Jaren Jackson Jr. – PF/C, Michigan State
Jaren Jackson is a player who will be able to get significant minutes in any NBA team right now because he’s a do-it-all big.
He’s one of the best shot blockers in this draft and can jump out of the building with his athleticism. He plays fantastic defence, can switch onto anyone and do a good job even up against guards.
On offence, he’s a 40% shooter from 3pt, has a soft touch around the rim and can finish with either hand.
Like Al Horford and Myles Turner, he is an inconsistent rebounder and needs to add physicality to his game in the NBA, but that shouldn’t be a problem due to his frame.
NBA Comparison – Myles Turner
4) Mo Bamba – C, Texas
In my opinion, only four guys in this draft have a chance of being the best player with Bamba being the final guy.
He’s by far the best shot blocker in this draft and could anchor any NBA side as Rudy Gobert does for the Utah Jazz. He’s a freaky athlete, very mobile and agile and an intelligent player.
On offence, he has shown glimpses via social media that he could blossom into a reliable 3pt shooter, although he isn’t there yet.
Bamba can finish with both hands around the rim and can make smart passes to cutters from the high post.
He needs to add strength to his game and needs some form of a post-up move that he can put to memory.
NBA Comparison – Rudy Gobert
5) Marvin Bagley III – PF, Duke
I’m unsure on Bagley. He’s the one I could be majorly wrong about, but I feel like I’m sat on the fence here, so he’s in at #5.
The reason I’m on the fence is because there is serious talk of him going at #2 to Sacramento. I just don’t see that making any sense.
Whilst Bagley is already a great scorer from all over the court and is one of the best rebounders in the draft, I question his abilities on defence. I think he’ll get exposed when guarding small-ball 4’s and he’s just not big enough to guard the dominant 5’s.
He will have to improve his ball-handling, whilst also showing the ability to shoot off the dribble at times if he gets taken earlier in the draft.
NBA Comparison – Chris Bosh/Michael Beasley
6) Wendell Carter Jr. – C, Duke
Wendell Carter Jr will almost certainly be a better NBA player than college as his game translates so perfectly to the pros – what point guard wouldn’t want to play with his height, whilst also being able to space the floor.
Whilst Carter isn’t the best athlete in the draft, he makes up for it with his quickness and awareness to read and dissect plays.
He is an excellent rebounder who usually his body well to box out and is a good outlet passer.
On defence, he has the strength to guard post players and the length to protect the basket, whilst being able to switch and do a good job on guards if needed.
His lack of elite athleticism may very well hinder his upside and draft stock.
NBA Comparison – Al Horford
7) Michael Porter Jr – SF/PF, Missouri
Coming out of High School, Michael Porter Jr was the guy. The one who most expected would be the overall number one pick this summer, however a serious back injury, combined with questions on how his game translates to the NBA, has seen him fall down the draft boards.
It would surprise no-one if Porter turns out to be an excellent NBA scorer. He has a beautiful looking jumpshot and can shoot off the dribble or off the catch.
Porter has the length and quickness to be a versatile wing defender.
But can he be more than just a scorer, and will he be an efficient scorer?
NBA Comparison – Andrew Wiggins/Rudy Gay
8) Miles Bridges – SF, Michigan State
The perfect modern day wing player, Miles Bridges is an efficient scorer who does everything well.
At 6’7, Bridges is a fantastic wing defender and one of the better perimeter players on both ends of the court. He is a good spot-up shooter, whilst being able to cut, screen and make smart passes.
He is a high-energy and explosive rebounder, which can make him a fascinating option as a small-ball four.
His biggest weakness may be not having a huge strength. He has to improve on his consistency and effort on both ends. Some question his conditioning.
If he develops his ball-handling, he has the chance to become an all-star calibre player.
NBA Comparison – Tobias Harris
9) Mikal Bridges – SF, Villanova
No relation to Miles, but they are similar players.
Mikal is the prototypical 3&D wing player which every team looks to add to their rotation. Bridges is an unselfish team player who keeps the ball moving, and is fantastic as a spot-up shooter.
As well as being one of the better spot up shooters in the draft, Bridges likes to drive to the basket and can draw fouls whilst being ambidextrous around the rim.
His length and athleticism could see him blossom into one of the better defenders in the league.
Some question his poor ball-handling and whether it could hinder his progression.
NBA Comparison – Robert Covington/Tony Snell
10) Trae Young – PG, Oklahoma
I’m not so high on Trae Young, which you have probably guessed by now.
It wouldn’t surprise me if he has an Aaron Brooks-like career in that he bounces around the league as a back-up point guard.
At 6’2 with little athleticism, there is no questioning that he is going to be a huge negative on defence, and teams are just going to have to live with that. Especially in today’s NBA, you see teams look for the switch to take control of the point guards who don’t play good defence (see Damian Lillard in the play-offs).
Trae Young plays defence like he’s wearing cement shoes.
On offence he takes some bizarre shots and is turnover prone, but the exact same things were said about Steph Curry coming out of Davidson in 2009.
Young does have high upside and could easily become one of the better shooters in the league, but he’ll have to land in a perfect situation with a coach who will give him the freedom to iron out the flaws in his game.
NBA Comparison – Steph Curry or Seth Curry
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