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The Step Back 2019 NBA Draft Big Board: Post-Tournament Edition

With the last meaningful college basketball action finished for the year, here are the top 60 2019 NBA Draft prospects as we head into draft season.

The NCAA Tournament has come and gone. It provided us with an entertaining last three rounds, culminating in Virginia’s victory over Texas Tech in one of the best title games in years. Our last vestiges of the college basketball season will be Jarrett Culver taking over late in three straight late-game situations; De’Andre Hunter taking over the title game; and of course, Duke’s collapse against Michigan State.

Now we shift gears into draft season. The early entry deadline is on April 22nd, and that will be our first major landmark in determining which talented underclassmen will be in the 2019 NBA Draft pool. Over the next two weeks, players will slowly trickle into the pre-draft process, and we should start to get a better idea of where things stand. For now, though, here’s our current top 60 prospects as they stand after the NCAA Tournament.

Tier 1

Zion Williamson

PF, Duke

Williamson is an athletic freak with a rare combination of ball-handling skill and size. He’s a little short to play the four, but he should be a comfortable driving scorer at the NBA level. For more on Williamson, click here.

The man stays the man. Duke could have lost to a No. 16 seed and Zion would still be number one.

Tier 2

R.J. Barrett

SF, Duke

Barrett didn’t look the best at Duke, but it’s hard to ignore how easily scoring comes to him. When paired with his high school tape, it paints the picture of a future star. For more on Barrett, click here.

Jarrett Culver

SF, Texas Tech

Culver has some exciting playmaking skills and potential scoring upside. His finishing ability and defensive utility should earn him an easy rotation spot, giving him one of the highest floors in the class.

Culver and Barrett both had up-and-down tournaments. Culver’s bright spots were bright, like his explosion of points at the end of the Michigan State game that put Texas Tech in the title game, but he struggled to score against length for most of the tournament. Meanwhile, Barrett showed significant growth as a playmaker in the tournament and had a couple of big scoring games. But he also almost gave up a game-winning offensive rebound against UCF in the second round, and his defense remains deeply problematic. I value Barrett’s offensive value slightly higher than Culver’s defensive value and slim scoring upside, but there’s not a bad choice between the two at the number two spot.

Tier 3

Coby White

PG, UNC

A great open-court scorer with high level shooting potential, White can be erratic, but has star potential if he can reign his high-octane game in. For more on White, click here.

White seemed to improve with every game this year. His offensive ceiling feels highest of every point guard in this class, and he has the best defensive upside among the crop’s elite talents.

Bol Bol

C, Oregon

On some possessions, Bol looks like the best player in the draft. On others, he looks like he doesn’t belong on the floor in a Power 5 conference. With Bol out for the year with a foot injury, the Combine is very important for him. For more on Bol, click here.

Darius Garland

PG, Vanderbilt

Garland missed all but 5 games with a meniscus injury, but he could be the best point guard in the class despite his size. For more on Garland, click here.

Ja Morant

PG, Murray State

Morant has an interesting profile as an offensive player, and he appears to be taking the next step as a decision-maker. He’s getting hyped as a top-3 pick, but he needs significant development.

He had a triple-double and a 28-point game, but Morant still looked like the same awkward finisher, passive defender, and questionable game manager he’s been all year. He remains behind Garland despite what he did to Marquette in round one.

De’Andre Hunter

PF, Virginia

Hunter surprised by returning to school last year, and looks poised to benefit from it. He might be this draft’s best one-on-one defender, and he’s developing as an off-ball scorer as well. For more on Hunter, click here.

Hunter will be riding high on his title game performance into the combine. He is the best defender of the many three/four hybrids in the class, and probably has a higher offensive ceiling than he gets credit for.

Jaxson Hayes

C, Texas

A high-energy big with good rim protection skills and vertical spacing on offense, Hayes looks promising even if he didn’t earn big minutes. For more on Hayes, click here.

Brandon Clarke

PF, Gonzaga

Clarke has proved himself early as a scorer and rim-protector, and is another member of what looks like an incredibly deep wing class. For more on Clarke, click here.

The more tape I watch on Clarke, the further and further he climbs in perceived value, despite being 22. His dominant performance against Baylor was the single most impressive game of the tournament.

Tier 4

Nassir Little

SF, UNC

Little’s defense and creation ability have been disappointing, but it’s tough to ignore how strong of a scorer he is, even in limited minutes. For more on Little, click here.

It’s put up or shut up time for Nassir Little, who has gotten a lot of benefit of the doubt for his UNC performance, but really needs to impress in workouts to earn a lottery draft slot.

Grant Williams

SF, Tennessee

Williams has impressed this year with one of the draft’s most versatile skills sets. He’s young for a junior and looks like he will fit in a lot of different NBA systems.

P.J. Washington

SF/PF, Kentucky

It’s easy to get distracted by Washington’s post touches and defensive shortcomings, but he has the skills to be a solid complimentary wing at the NBA level. For more on Washington, click here.

Cameron Reddish

SG, Duke

Reddish has the tools to potentially be elite on high volume from three, but his finishing and shot selection are extremely worrying. His defensive progression shown at Duke is the most promising aspect of his play at Duke. For more on Reddish, click here.

Like Little, Reddish has significant leg work to do in draft season to prove his Duke performance wasn’t the whole story. His benching in the Michigan State game was not a good look.

Romeo Langford

SG, Indiana

Langford’s shooting has been a nightmare, but he’s been solid everywhere else. If the jumper gets going, he can definitely be a lottery pick. For more on Langford, click here.

Jontay Porter

C, Missouri

Porter’s skill set is incredibly valuable for the NBA, but a retear of his ACL reconstruction throws everything into doubt. He’s still a firm first round prospect if he can get healthy. For more on Porter, click here.

Porter’s second ACL tear puts his entire career in jeopardy, but I can’t in good faith drop him below where I had Harry Giles in 2017, given that Porter seems like a better NBA fit. He needs the right front office and rehab team, but Jontay is still salvageable.

Nickeil Alexander-Walker

SG, Virginia Tech

Alexander-Walker’s scoring explosion in his sophomore year has put him back on draft radars. He’s still probably too thin to translate as a scorer, but his off-movement shooting is promising.

Goga Bitadze

C, Buducnost

A massive Georgian center, Bitadze has shown flashes as a shooter and is one of Europe’s better young defensive bigs. His production since joining Buducnost in Euroleague furthers the idea that he can be an NBA center eventually. For more on Bitadze, click here.

Tier 5

The demarcation between tier 4 and 5 represents the end of the players I feel confident will have good shots at becoming rotation guys and the more risky tier. After Bitadze, I am not confident any of the players below make a second contract with their draft team.

Kevin Porter Jr

SG, USC

Porter’s athleticism and isolation scoring have intrigued many draft scouts, but his lack of production as an initiator is concerning. For more on Porter, click here.

Another member of this draft’s surprisingly deep “So the college season wasn’t helpful, time to prove how actually good you are” class.

Sekou Doumbouya

PF, Limoges

Doumbouya is an athletic energy big who is showing development as a ball-handler for Limoges in Eurocup. Since coming back from injury, he has been more aggressive, which is good to see.

Matisse Thybulle

SG, Washington

Another member of the deep role-playing wing class, Thybulle is a havoc play machine that’s a major disruptor despite playing 2-3 zone. Everything points to him being a solid defensive wing in the NBA.

Thybulle showing jumper improvement is vital to his draft stock. He should be in tier four, but his shooting holds everything back.

Keldon Johnson

SF, Kentucky

Johnson has shown flashes of a variety of offensive skills, and has the size and athleticism to be a strong two-way complimentary wing. He needs to improve his consistency to truly belong in the elite of the class, however. For more on Johnson, click here.

“What is Keldon Johnson good at?” is the hardest question to answer in the draft class.

Shamorie Ponds

PG, St. Johns

Ponds has established himself as an elite shooter, but questions about his finishing ability linger over his draft stock.

Neemias Queta

C, Utah State

Queta’s incredibly raw, but his rim protection skills are surprising and he has the foundation of a strong face-up big. His athleticism almost guarantees that he’ll be an NBA player.

This is a public plea for Queta to test the waters and declare. He probably won’t, but he could probably earn a first-round selection if he does.

Yovel Zoosman

SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv

Zoosman thrilled at the U20 European Championships, and has been strong for Maccabi Tel Aviv early on. He’s older, but could some day be an NBA level defender at the three.

Ignas Brazdeikis

SF, Michigan

Brazdeikis has emerged as a killer scorer for Michigan as a freshman. The Canadian wiing doesn’t have great athleticism, but his two-way play should make him a good bet to be a rotation wing.

Brazdeikis and Zoosman, the “International forward with high-level skills and low-level athleticism” tier.

Deivydas Sirvidis

SG, Lietuvos Rytas

He might weigh 170 pounds soaking wet, but his skill set is very advanced for being 18 years old. The Lithuanian shooter will definitely be in the sights of NBA teams wanting to draft-and-stash.

Terence Davis

SF, Ole Miss

Davis is a solid off-movement shooter and on-ball defender at the three. Improved off-ball defense will be his ticket to sticking at the NBA level.

Daniel Gafford

C, Arkansas

It’s not a high ceiling, but Gafford appears ready to be an NBA-level rim runner and interior defender, and fortunately for him that should go far in this class. However, his effort level this year has been dismal.

Starting center on the “So the college season wasn’t helpful, time to prove how actually good you are” team.

Tier 6

As always, the last tier on the board is about 45 players deep. There are 10-15 guys who could be on here as potential second-round picks in addition to the names listed below.

Josh Reaves

SG, Penn State

A pit bull defender who continues to progress as a three-point shooter, Reaves has a lot of potential value as a floor spacer that can defend at the point of attack. For more on Reaves, click here.

Devon Dotson

PG, Kansas

Dotson’s playmaking in the open court is excellent, and he has potential as a defender despite his size. For more on Dotson, click here..

Chuma Okeke

PF, Auburn

Okeke had a massive end to the season before tearing his ACL in the NCAA tournament. He’s a terrific defender and athlete, and even with the ACL tear, should be in the mix for a first round pick.

Okeke was a huge riser through the conference tournament and NCAA Tournament, despite tearing his ACL. He’s a versatile defender with shooting upside, and his skill set is still worth a draft pick despite the injury.

Naz Reid

PF, LSU

A massive four with ball-handling skill and great footwork, Reid needs to prove defensive viability to survive at the next level.

K.Z. Okpala

PF, Stanford

Okpala has good athleticism and is scoring with good numbers. He’s not quick, but could be a strong bench four in the NBA..

Naz Reid and K.Z. Okpala, the “I wish you were just five percent more fluid” tier.

Nick Claxton

PF, Georgia

Claxton has an impressive package of raw traits: Length, agility, passing vision, finishing, and shooting. With development he has a shot to be a steal in this area of the draft.

Talen Horton-Tucker

SG, Iowa State

Horton-Tucker’s massive 7-foot wingspan makes him an intriguing defensive prospect, and his offensive game may eventually reach an NBA level as well.

Nick Claxton and Talen Horton-Tucker, the “Draft Twitter darlings I’m not totally sold on” tier.

Charles Bassey

C, Western Kentucky

Bassey is essentially mini-Bol: He wows with his rebounding and efficiency at times, but most of the time looks extremely raw.

Ty Jerome

SG, Virginia

Jerome has proven to be a great off-ball shooter and defender, but he needs more on ball skill to survive at his size in the NBA.

Cam Johnson

SF, UNC

A solid shooter and off-ball defender, Johnson looks like a rotation player if his athleticism can translate to the NBA level.

Jon Teske

C, Michigan

Teske is one of the best defenders in college basketball. It may not translate, but he has good hands on offense and has proven to be switchable.

Cam Johnson, Ty Jerome, and Jon Teske, the “I wish I could put your brain in Nassir Little’s body” tier.

Eric Paschall

PF, Villanova

Paschall’s three-point shooting is a genuine plus, and he does a lot of things well, but the question is if he does anything else at an NBA level.

Aric Holman

PF, Mississippi State

Holman’s rebounding makes him a nice prospect by itself, and he shows enough versatility to hint at becoming more.

Rui Hachimura

PF, Gonzaga

Hachimura is a skilled rebounder and wows with his athleticism, and is getting lottery hype. But he’s also perhaps the worst positional defender among this year’s upperclassmen prospects, which significantly hinders his upside.

Xavier Johnson

PG, Pittsburgh

Johnson is a tall point guard with a lot of enticing potential, but he’s incredibly raw.

Johnson probably won’t declare in favor of being a potential lottery pick next year.

Isaiah Roby

PF, Nebraska

Roby projects as a weakside rim protector and pick-and-pop big with some handling ability. He’s one of the few second round prospects with star upside this year if he can refine his game further.

Dean Wade

PF, Kansas State

Wade’s perimeter defense is a rare find in this class, and he’s a decent shooter, too. With development, he could be a solid find later in the draft.

Ayo Dosunmu

PG, Illinois

Dosunmu has been promising on defense, but his raw offensive performance likely indicates he’s not ready yet.

Killian Tillie

PF, Gonzaga

Tillie has lottery talent, but strength has always been an issue, and now there’s the potential for his foot injury to significantly bother him. Is he durable enough to play the five in the NBA?

Jordan Poole

SG, Michigan

Poole is a creative guard with a strong reputation as a shooter. He needs to improve consistency and decision making to stick.

Dylan Windler

SF, Belmont

A terrific shooter who plays bigger than his size, Windler is a nice upside play for a team looking for a bench shooting wing.

Fletcher Magee

SG, Wofford

The best off-movement shooter in college basketball, Magee has flashed enough skill to make you believe that he can survive as an NBA rotation player.

Darius Bazley

SF, New Balance

Bazley wasn’t super promising before he decided to forego college and train for the draft. Now, he’s the draft’s biggest mystery, both in terms of development and how teams rate him.

D’Marcus Simonds

SG, Georgia State

Simonds is one of the better athletes in college basketball, and shows some potential as a secondary creator. He’s a dark horse lottery talent if he improves as a shooter.

Admiral Schofield

PF, Tennessee

Schofield’s combination of physicality and agility make him a very strong defensive prospect, and his passing improvement makes him an enticing development project.

Bruno Fernando

C, Maryland

Fernando has a great NBA body, flashes as a passer, and presence as a shot-blocker. But he’s older and still raw as a decision-maker, which is a tough sell.

John Konchar

SG, Fort Wayne

Konchar is hulking strong, grades out well statistically, and might be headed towards shooting on volume. He’s a project but a worthwhile one.

Miye Oni

PF, Yale

It’s cliche, but feel for the game is Oni’s avenue into the NBA Draft. Coupled with his frame, there’s a good case that he’s a bench four at the NBA level, or at least a dominant Euroleague four.

Mfiondu Kabengele

PF, Florida State

Kabengele is raw like many in this second round, but his energy and strength set his baseline as a bench energy guy with the potential for skill development.

Tyler Herro

SG, Kentucky

Herro can shoot it and improved drastically as a defender this year, but it’s worrisome how rarely he got to the rim.

Louis King

SF, Oregon

King’s improvement as the season wound down gives hope that he can look even stronger once he’s further out from his knee injury.

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