NBA, NBA Draft

The Step Back 2020 NBA Draft Big Board: The 7-man top tier

The top of the draft is as murky as ever, and there are seven players who could make lay claim to being the best player in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Tier 1

The 2020 NBA Draft class is not your typical class. That has been reiterated at the top of every board you’ll read this season, time and time again. The draft has drawn comparisons to 2013 and 2000, probably the least well-regarded drafts of the Millenium. That’s sometimes interpreted as the draft lacking overall talent, and that’s probably not fair. There are definitely players who will stick long term on NBA rosters, and probably at least 15 players will be in rotations at the end of their rookie contracts, which is typical.

The issue is that like 2013, there is a huge chasm at the top of the draft. For the first time since Nerlens Noel tore his ACL at Kentucky, there is no clear-cut number one option, and probably isn’t a player who is deserving of number one pick consideration (Consider it a mulligan for 2018 having four). James Wiseman was supposed to be that guy, but then his few games at Memphis identified significant holes in his game, and he hasn’t played since November. Then Anthony Edwards was the guy, until he stopped producing efficiently as a scorer when conference play started. Then LaMelo Ball was supposed to be that guy, but he suffered a foot injury in Australia and ALSO hasn’t played in a month. Now it’s……Onyeka Okongwu maybe? Edwards again? Still Ball? There’s no consensus.

Edwards is still my (Trevor’s) personal number one, and Jackson has moved Okongwu to the top of the board, but the previous Tier 1 of a singular player at the top is gone. Instead, we’ve decided to merge the top two tiers because there really isn’t much difference to us in the likelihood of translation to the NBA for Edwards and players like Killian Hayes and Isaac Okoro. There’s an argument for each player in here as the top overall pick.

You can go with Edwards if you value scoring, as he’s the guy with the best NBA scoring potential. Pick Okongwu if you want a safe likelihood of getting a quality starter. Cole Anthony is the best shot at getting good two-way play in the backcourt, and then there’s Ball, who is a ball of playmaking clay that could have a lot of avenues to success at the NBA level. And if you want to get really hipster, you can make the argument that Okoro’s switch defense potential is the best single skill package in the draft, that Killian Hayes has the highest long-term development upside, and that Tyrese Maxey actually has the most potential of anyone in the tier, if you do the typical adjustment for suppressed stats that happens at Kentucky.

The hope is that someone will separate themselves from this morass at the top, but for right now, the top of the draft is as chaotic as we’ve ever seen it.


Anthony Edwards SG

The reason that our tier 1 is so big in this update is primarily the gradual unearthing of Edwards’ weaknesses during SEC play. He still has his moments of outright brilliance as a shot-maker, and he’s still at a healthy 18.9 points per game for the season. But a few duds of late — 13 points on 17 shots against Memphis, a scoreless first half against Kentucky — have combined with the realization that he has significant effort and awareness issues to work through on defense. There’s still plenty of reason to be optimistic about Edwards’ translation to the NBA, as he’s the only player in the class who seems to project comfortably as a high-level NBA scorer. But like R.J. Barrett, the question of whether he’s the right type of scorer that you can build a good team around, or if he’s more of a Zach LaVine type, creates a question of how valuable his talent actually will be for a team picking number one.  — Trevor Magnotti


Onyeka Okongwu C

There have been few players as dominant as Okongwu this year. His quick leaping and length make him a forceful rim-protector while his lower-body strength and coordination are important traits as a roll man. His ambidextrous finishing touch allows him to be a go-to interior scorer as well. He’ll have to improve his tunnel vision and upper body strength but Okongwu has been nothing short of stellar this year and is a very good prospect. — Jackson Frank


Cole Anthony PG

Anthony’s high school and AAU shooting indicators suggest he has the potential to be an elite pull-up shooter. While he’s struggled with decision-making and efficiency this year, he still flashes an array of live dribble shooting, with the step-backs and pull-ups. He’ll need to improve his tunnel vision and burst as a driver but Anthony’s shooting and team defense have popped this season. — JF


LaMelo Ball SG

Ball’s season with the Illiwarra Hawks in the Australian National Basketball League is over, as he decided to shut things down after a foot injury sidelined him for a month. It’s the third time in four years that Ball has left his team in the middle of a season. While you can argue that his decision was justified — he’s already proven himself enough to get into the top-five pick conversation, so why not rehab the foot and get healthy for the draft — we all know by now the off-court red flags that he comes with, and how this doesn’t help that. On the court, we’re left with a sample that is off-putting if you look at the numbers, and incredibly encouraging if you watch the film. His shooting numbers are bad, but his form looks fixable. His finishing numbers aren’t great, but he showed the advanced handle requisite to getting to the rim consistently. His passing feel and vision pop off the screen on film even more than his passing numbers do, and his defensive potential looks a lot more diverse than his steals that he generates. The best way to reconcile these things would, of course, have been more film to study. But for now, he looks like a good player to bet on in this class, even if he’s far from the perfect prospect. — TM


Killian Hayes PG

Hayes has a ton of things going for him as a prospect. He produces at every level, doesn’t turn 19 until next July and has made tangible athletic gains over the past year. He’s arguably the smartest and best passer in the class — using manipulation and IQ to torch defenders — has incredible touch, which is encouraging from an outside shooting perspective, and regularly is in the right spots as an off-ball defender. His poor burst and mediocre handle are troubling — the former on both ends, the latter offensively — but Hayes boasts some primary initiator equity. In this class, that’s hugely valuable. — JF


Tyrese Maxey PG

Maxey is another heralded freshman guard whose shooting numbers have underwhelmed thus far. But the on-ball defense, quickness and strength continue to be clear pluses. Maxey’s touch — emphasized on floaters and free throws — is far too good for him to struggle all year beyond the arc, though the issue seems to stem from inconsistent arc and lower-body involvement, often leaving his attempts short There’s enough self-creation and shooting upside to remain intrigued but the ball-handling — he has a high and somewhat loose handle — and lack of defensive playmaking are somewhat troublesome. — JF


Isaac Okoro PF

Okoro doesn’t have much offensive upside outside of his handle, which is atypical of a player that you’d normally put in your top tier. If you’re drafting at the top of the NBA Draft, there is an inherent expectation that you want offensive talent first, and players who project as defense-first or defense-only usually come later on. But this draft class is low on sure offensive value, and Okoro isn’t your typical defense-only prospect. Perhaps the smartest perimeter defender in the draft class, with incredible 1-through-5 versatility thanks to upper-tier strength and agility, Okoro looks like a near sure bet to raise the floor of a team’s defense, and his finishing ability and decision-making may allow him to assume a Draymond Green-style role on a good team on offense. Okoro may not ever become a viable offensive player on offense, but he is the best defensive prospect in the class outside of Okongwu, and that value, even on a rebuilding team, is good enough to put him in this tier. — TM

Tier 2

Tier 2 isn’t far off of tier 1 (Which says more about the latter than the former), and any of these guys could play themselves higher with a good stretch run to the season. A couple of the lead ball-handler types that started the year at the top of the class have played themselves into this tier, mostly due to underwhelming performance; but a couple of guys, Tyrese Haliburton and Kira Lewis, find themselves here because they’re on the rise. Like the top tier, this is not your typical tier 2, with this group probably rating as late lottery options in your typical draft. But there still is talent here, and at least one of these players will likely hit and become one of the top players in the class.


Deni Avdija SF

Avdija is one of the smarter decision-makers in the class, showing the ability to make good reads with the ball and cut off drives with excellent timing. He’s also displayed a very strong scoring package in Israeli League play and youth international competitions, indicating a potential for growth based on his handle and finishing package. Avdija may never hit a Luka Doncic-type ceiling, but he looks like a good bet to be a useful role player on a good team. — TM


R.J. Hampton SG

Prior to his injury, Hampton was having a great month for New Zealand, showcasing the body control and decision-making that could make him an NBA initiator. Since returning, he’s struggled, but there’s a reason for optimism that he can develop into a decent scoring two-guard. His ability to get to the rim is enticing, and he continues to make steady improvement in decision-making with the ball. No one has improved as much from the beginning of the season to now as Hampton, and if he continues to make the necessary improvements, he’ll be a sure lottery pick come June. –TM


Nico Mannion PG

After a red-hot start to the season, Mannion has cooled off. Nonetheless, he projects as a valuable pull-up shooter because of a quick gather phase and succinct mechanics, while his passing repertoire and creativity are among the best in this class. Mannion’s lack of burst is an issue as it pertains to his viability as a lead guard and it also hurts his on-ball defense. Yet he’s displayed high-level off-ball awareness defensively and regularly cuts off drives with his anticipatory skills. There’s a clear avenue to Mannion being a very good NBA player, even if his athletic profile is concerning, though I’d like to see him display more confidence in the pull-up shooting against length or in traffic. — JF


Tyrese Haliburton PG

Haliburton is among the nation’s top players this season. He’s arguably the best pure passer in this class, capable of making passes from a variety of angles, has maintained high-level scoring efficiency in a new on-ball role and is a great defensive playmaker with incredible IQ. The issue is much of his offensive upside is shakily translatable to the NBA. Haliburton lacks much explosiveness or strength as a driver and his awkward shooting mechanics leave me doubtful he’s a much of a pull-up shooter at the next level. But despite these issues, he’s a darn good basketball player in a class that lacks them. Tough to drop him much lower. — JF


Kira Lewis PG

Lewis is the last of the starter-caliber point guard prospects in this class, and while he has questions regarding how his physical tools will translate, he also has the right set of tools to compensate for them. Lewis will struggle to finish early on at a playing weight of 170 pounds, but the best way to compensate for a slight frame is a combination of elite quickness and agility, a quality handle, and good touch, all of which Lewis has. He’s also a useful defensive player for his size and is younger than most of the freshman class despite being midway through his sophomore season. There’s a lot to like here. — TM

Tier 3

A solid batch of potential role players helps prop up the depth of the class, and most of those guys are here. It’s a good year for finding 3-and-D wing types with Devin Vassell, Aaron Henry, and Josh Green all looking like excellent fits as long term rotation pieces, as well as for finding effective third bigs, with guys like Oscar Tshiebwe and Xavier Tillman available. The issue is that outside of Vassell and maybe Tillman, no one in this tier looks to have quality starter upside.


Devin Vassell SF

A darling among certain crowds, Vassell is an elite team defender who debuted some off-the-dribble shot-making. He lacks the handle and strength to be much of an NBA on-ball creator, though. Nonetheless, the high release point gives him some added scoring versatility while the defense is legitimately special. — JF


Aaron Henry SF

Henry is a 3-and-D forward with some facilitating chops and needs the outside shot to truly deliver value in the NBA. But he’s light on his feet, can finish inside with either hand and is probably a bit more developed as a slasher than Romeo Weems or Josh Green. I’d like to see him improve as a decision-maker, too, as his passing talents are curbed by inconsistent reads. — JF


Josh Green SG

Another one of the wings in this class who’s cut from a near-identical cloth to Henry. Green has impressed with his strong frame, instincts and lateral mobility defensively. He struggles to score in the halfcourt but has hinted at some on-the-move passing when attacking from the wing. Pair that with his display of the requisite touch on floaters and from the line to inspire hope as a shooter, and you’re left with a good, 3-and-D forward. — JF


Jeremiah Robinson-Earl PF

One of our favorite players in this class, Robinson-Earl is a cerebral player with rare fluidity for a big. He’s a heady playmaker in the front-court, has face-up scoring potential and shoots a smooth ball, so it’s easy to expect him to develop from deep in time. He struggles against length inside and that curbs some of his interior scoring but he’s a smart team defender and overall basketball player. Given the right opportunity, he could be plus on both ends. That’s quite the chance in this class. — JF


Oscar Tshiebwe C

Tshiebwe’s touch around the rim and rim-protection skill despite being undersized is enticing, and there’s hope for him stretching out beyond the 3-point arc given his comfort in the mid-range. If he can shoot, he’s a probable starter-caliber big, and there aren’t many players you can say that about in this class. That’s why, despite less than ideal size and defensive impact, he’s still rated as our second-best center prospect behind Okongwu. — TM


Paul Reed PF

A tangle of limbs with an outside jumper, Reed is one of the most interesting athletes in the class, as long as he harnesses that athleticism in a more functional way. His ability to use a wide variety of seemingly unworkable shot angles to be an excellent finisher is a very important skill, especially because he doesn’t have great strength. He’s also shown the ability to be a fairly useful rim protector for the weak side, with good instincts and a very good second jump. — TM


Xavier Tillman C

Tillman is the ideal third big man prospect, a good playmaker and screen-setter out of the pick-and-roll, and a capable space defender who is Al Horford-like in his ability to deter shots at the rim without putting up outrageous block numbers. Rarely does Tillman make a bad decision, and that’s more important than his lack of high-level athleticism. He brings a lot of high-level attributes and should be effective as a change of pace big at the next level. — TM


Tre Jones PG

A legitimately pestering point-of-attack defender with quick hands, ability to wiggle over screens and make punctual rotations. Some of his defensive value is mitigated entering a league where offensive initiators continue to be bigger guards or wings. Jones also has questions about his jumper and if he’s not much of a scorer, his passing acumen is muted as well. But his jumper isn’t broken, he’s shown newfound confidence and success as a pull-up shooter this year, and the playmaking still has value while the defense is special for a guard. — JF


Patrick Williams PF

An upside play thanks to defense that looks ready to contribute at an NBA level, and offensive upside as a shooter. Williams doesn’t play starter minutes for Florida State, but he makes the most of his time, running the floor well and showing very solid rim protection ability. He also has shown flashes of ball-handling and shooting potential, hitting 87 percent from the free-throw line and taking some transition opportunities to go coast to coast. He has to show that he can continue to do these things more consistently, but right now he looks like a great long-term project for a team to bet on. — TM


Aaron Nesmith SF

Nesmith’s foot injury derails what was an interesting sophomore campaign, as the 6-foot-7 forward had established himself as one of the draft’s better shooting prospects. A solid three-level scorer at the college level, Nesmith’s real NBA utility appears to be in his off-movement shooting — he was hitting 52.2 percent from 3 on an absurd 8.2 attempt per game clip. His footwork and consistent mechanics with shooting off-balance are very promising, and with his touch inside and rebounding ability, he could succeed in a bench scorer role. The question is whether he can really shoulder offensive load reliably at the NBA level, given his relatively poor passing numbers (just 13 assists in 500 minutes this year). Whether this is a John Collins-like role-induced number or a symptom of larger black hole potential remains to be seen. — TM


Tyrell Terry PG

Terry is another small point guard, but shows some interesting pick-and-roll scoring ability and pull-up mechanics. He’s also showed some good playmaking bonafides, even if his decision-making is sometimes questionable, especially under pressure. He also hints at some potential as a knock-off Trae Young-style shooter off the dribble, capable of pulling up from beyond 30 feet in transition reliably. If he can continue to take positive steps as a passer as the season progresses, it’s going to be very likely that he not only declares for the draft but is taken seriously as a lottery-level prospect. — TM

Tier 4

This tier’s theme is players who have obvious talent that could help them become long-term NBA players, but it’s unlikely that they put it together. There are many reasons that could be; whether it’s outlandish expectations for their skill level (Jaden McDaniels), athletic concerns (Landers Nolley), or injury risk (Killian Tillie), these players are for the most part the guys who will make or break the class. At least a couple will go in the lottery; at least a couple will hit, and at least a couple will bust. Whether the guys who are lottery picks (likely McDaniels, James Wiseman, and Obi Toppin) hit or bust likely will determine how we remember the class.


Romeo Weems SF

The third brother in the Henry and Green family, Weems is a great off-ball defender with quick hands, strength and awareness. He flashes instinctive playmaking as well and has a projectable jumper. He’s not a flashy pick but there’s enough to like with his game as it pertains to the NBA. –JF


Killian Tillie PF

A string of injuries have mellowed Tillie’s NBA allure but he remains a great playmaking big man who’s a career 44 percent 3-point shooter with feathery touch. Tillie moves also moves well on the perimeter for his size and can function as a pick-and-pop or off-movement shooter. Underwhelming strength and length, along with the injuries, are all reasons for pause but he’s a very good player and worth the gamble at this stage. — JF


Obi Toppin PF

Toppin plays like a stronger Kyle Kuzma, and that is probably his NBA role, as well. A similarly crafty finisher with shooting mechanics that hint at being more than his college percentages suggest, Toppin is tailor-made to be a college scorer, as we’re seeing this season. He also probably has an NBA role as a guy who just consistently finds himself open and can prop up bench units and defensive-oriented units with his scoring in the right spot. The problem is that those opportunities do not always come along. For every Kyle Kuzma who has impact in that type of role, there’s a Jarell Martin or Jarnell Stokes that can’t crack consistent rotations despite the ability to put up good scoring numbers. the question is whether Toppin can land in a spot that will allow him to make optimal use of his scoring talents by covering for the defensive deficiencies and playmaking that he takes off the table. So while he has more talent than a few guys ahead of him, his role has to be much more tailored to him to work, meaning his probability of sticking long-term is lower. — TM


James Wiseman C

The top-ranked recruit of 2019, Wiseman has great size (7-foot-1) and length (7-foot-6 wingspan), which makes him a valuable roll threat in ball-screen actions. Defensively, those same tools help him as a rim-protector but poor discipline and a slow load-up time leave us skeptical of his upside on that end. Pair that with poor touch, passing feel and decision-making, and you’re left with a big man whose best attributes are physical rather than skill-based. Nonetheless, his size is a major asset and mean he should stick around for a while, despite the limitations. — JF


Saddiq Bey SF

Bey is one of the more atypical skill sets in the class, and that should help him find a way to translate to the next level. A moderate-volume 3-point shooter at 45.7 percent on five attempts per game, Bey also doubles as a bruising post mismatch for guards, able to post even college wings reliably and steamroll his way to the rim. Defensively he’s both an agile perimeter defender and a useful stonewall in the post up to the four. There’s nothing he does at a truly elite level, but he’s 6-foot-8 and a good inside/out mismatch, and that can earn you a spot in today’s NBA easily. — TM


Jaden McDaniels SF

McDaniels has the length and pull-up shooting to lull one into thinking he’s a future star. But in terms of functionality, it’s very questionable whether he’s a good enough shooter from outside, or more importantly a strong enough finisher, to have that pull-up shooting be viable. Instead, he’s probably more of a role player type who can whip out the off-dribble game in advantage situations like transition or against bench units. The issue is that teams likely don’t see him that way, and will want him getting reps as a primary — especially if he’s drafted in the lottery. And that might send him down a much less favorable path. — TM


Myles Powell PG

Powell is a dynamite pull-up shooter who can hit off-movement jumpers and has great balance and deceleration skills. His passing is inconsistent while the defense can often be brutal at times but he has the potential to be a legitimate off-ball dynamo and works well to create looks for himself off the ball. — JF


Landers Nolley SF

Nolley deviates from my typical philosophy of relying on positive traits identified on film first and foremost, but he’s a player who is almost certainly being done a disservice playing out of position as a four at the college level. Nolley has good size to play on the wing at 6-foot-7, 230 pounds, but his skill set is not really made for playing on the elbow, setting screens, and posting up, as Virginia Tech has him do to a large degree. Instead, you look to his outside shooting metrics (36.7 percent from 3 on 7.1 attempts per game, near 80 percent free-throw shooting), and you can see the role for him as a big wing that can shoot off movement. He’s a guy who, despite not looking incredibly dominant at the college level, has an easy path to an NBA role if he’s treated more like a modern wing. — TM


Precious Achiuwa PF

Achiuwa’s offensive impact is minimal, but he could legitimately play the 5 at a small forward size, giving him intriguing versatility. He’s best as a play finisher in transition on offense, and whatever upside he has on offense is going to largely depend on how well his handle improves in his first few years in the league. Defensively, however, he could provide some interesting versatility as a very strong rebounder who cuts off drives and contains well on the perimeter. Discipline is his main concern on both ends, but there’s a path to him as a high-end role player if he can play more under control. — TM


Scottie Lewis SF

One of the best on-ball wing defenders in this class, Lewis is an electric lateral athlete capable of shutting down drives. His springy athleticism propels him into help defense situations at the rim, too. But he’s incredibly weak for a big and a maddeningly poor offensive decision-maker. Even so, the defense — along with potential slashing upside offensively — give him value. — JF


Isaiah Livers SF

A big wing who can shoot, Livers also uses his frame well to create looks coming around curls and has improved to some degree as an on-ball creator this season. He is not a flashy pick but the shooting and size are a valuable combo at this stage of the draft. — JF

Tier 5

As always, this tier is a grab bag of interesting long-term projects, specialists, and players we’re unsure about. Order is not very specific here, as there’s not much difference in our eyes between Jahmi’us Ramsey (No. 35) and Cassius Stanley (No. 59) in NBA potential.


Jahmi’us Ramsey SG

Ramsey is a bouncy athlete who is shooting 43.4 percent beyond the arc. He displays instinctual off-ball relocation tricks and is improving as a playmaker throughout the season. However, he lacks downhill burst and still struggles mightily as an off-ball defender. But I’m encouraged by the growth as a passer and believe in his jumper. — JF


Devon Dotson PG

Dotson’s quickness and decision-making defensively are good skills, but at 6-2, it’s somewhat challenging to see him finding a role in the NBA while not being a good shooter. At just 29.1 percent from 3 this year, Dotson has shown more comfort taking those outside shots, but they aren’t falling. And that’s a big limiting factor for a guy his size, no matter how much utility he has as a passer and defender at the point of attack. — TM


Tyler Bey SF

An advanced stats darling, Bey has established himself as a quality shooter and has some weakside rim protection potential. While Bey’s defensive impact is to a degree system-dependent, his physical tools are certainly promising for him to be able to provide some value as a situational team defender at the next level. — TM


Jared Butler SG

Butler is a shifty off-the-dribble shooter with one of the best handles in the class among this year’s crop of guards. He’s a capable passer and defender as well, likely making him a viable rotation guard in the league for years to come. — JF


Jon Teske C

There’s reason to question whether Teske will be able to be the same level of pick-and-roll finisher at the NBA level with his lack of vertical pop, but he’s surprisingly mobile and a technically sound screen-setter. He also is one of the most instinctual big men in the class, making sound decisions consistently on both ends as a passer and backline defender. The upside isn’t high here, but in the right spot, he can absolutely be a rotation big man. — TM


Xavier Johnson PG

XJ’s scoring has fallen off a cliff in year two — he’s hitting just 34.7 percent from the field in conference play. He’s still a good athlete that can be a strong playmaker in the halfcourt, and he has NBA size. But you’re seeing his finishing issues really start to be schemed out by college teams, and that’s caused his jumper to start failing him. That will likely happen in the NBA, too. –TM


Matthew Hurt PF

Hurt hasn’t met preseason expectations, but he still looks like a solid shooting prospect at the 4. Hitting 42.3 percent from 3, he’s shown good touch shooting off movement and under pressure. His inside scoring has also improved, and it’s obvious that he’s seen some good strength gains since the beginning of the season. He probably isn’t the one-and-done type that he was thought of coming into the year, but he’s certainly still got an NBA future as a Ryan Anderson-type. — TM


Isaiah Joe SG

Joe has disappointed somewhat this season and his 3-point shooting has regressed from 41.4 percent last year to 34.0 percent now. His true mark likely falls somewhere in the middle but he’s only a 78.4 percent free-throw shooter, so it’s tough to project him as elite from deep. He can’t score much inside the arc either (41.7 percent on 2s in 1.5 seasons). But he’s a smart team defender, with off-movement shooting upside, who occasionally flashes impressive passing reads, meaning there’s a chance he outperforms his draft slot with improvements as a 2-point scorer, largely reliant on bulking up his 170-pound frame. — JF


Kaleb Wesson C

Wesson is a good example of why you shouldn’t throw a ton of stock into non-conference play in college with upperclassmen. Built like a mountain, Wesson dominated the first 10-12 games for the Buckeyes and looked like a first-rounder. But against Big Ten competition, we’ve seen him struggle to have the same impact as a passer and shooter from the elbow, and his defense hasn’t been as effective, either. — TM


Mamadi Diakite C

Another player who can potentially provide some value as a bench scorer as a big man. Diakite has a very well established face-up game, and his handle is one of the best among the big men in the class. He doesn’t get to show the full extent of his skills regularly for Virginia, but there’s some potential that he can become a useful post scorer at the next level. However, he’s not really a good enough defender or passer to really ever have that large of a role. — TM


Keyontae Johnson SF

Johnson is a very smart and aware team defender who moves his feet well on the perimeter. Offensively, his quick jumping ability, strong frame and straight-line driving project him as a valuable slasher and play finisher. If he can force defenders to close out on his jumper, the slashing potential expands, too. — JF


Aleksej Pokushevski PF

Pokushevski has asserted himself as a high-riser on the international scene this season, averaging 18.7 points per 40 minutes as a four in the HEBA 2 league with Olympiacos’s junior team. The 7-foot big man has good rim-protection instincts and is an impressive vertical athlete, and his jumper off the catch looks pretty promising. He doesn’t look like a functional athlete, so it remains to be seen how well his skills would translate, but he looks like the go-to draft-and-stash option. — TM


Terrence Shannon SF

One of my favorite second-round wings of this class, Shannon is a heady cutter, powerful slasher, twitchy and strong on-ball defender and intuitive off-ball defender. He’s a capable passer at the forward position but will need to improve his 3-ball to emerge as a starting-caliber player. There is nothing special about Shannon but his blend of skills and athletic tools are worth betting on. -JF


Trevelin Queen PG

Queen has NBA size as a 6-foot-6 point guard, and he shows good scoring potential out of the pick-and-roll. He’s averaging 19.8 points per 40 minutes and is a very good finisher at the rim. Queen should once again get an opportunity to put himself on the map with a strong NCAA Tournament performance, and that should put him firmly in the second-round conversation. — TM


Skylar Mays SG

A strong-chested combo guard, Mays’ NBA impact projects similar to Butler as a ball-handler who can operate pick-and-rolls and score beyond the arc with tenable perimeter defense. Mays plays the passing lanes well and his bulky frame allows him to stymie assignments on the ball. There’s not much upside but Mays feels like a solid reserve wing. — JF


Neemias Queta C

Queta looks like he’s lost some of the burst and agility that made him a very interesting prospect last season, but he’s still an elite level finisher with good rim protection instincts and passing feel. — TM


Ochai Agbaji SF

The sophomore wing is a skilled downhill slasher with sharp off-ball instincts and intermittent playmaking ability. If the outside jumper translates, he’s a serviceable wing at the next level. — JF


Isaiah Mobley PF

Mobley is a skilled passing big with rim-protecting instincts who lacks the functional strength necessary for a big and isn’t quite fluid enough to play on the wing regularly. Athletic advancements are the key to him developing into a first-round prospect. — JF


Joel Ayayi SG

Finally emerging in his third year with Gonzaga, Ayayi has flashed deep pull-up range, looks improved as a pick-and-roll passer with each game and is a silky finisher at the rim. He’ll have to make strides as a shooter in traffic, off-ball defender and add functional strength but the fact he doesn’t turn 20 until March is encouraging for his development, especially given how far he’s come since November. — JF


Grant Riller PG

Riller’s ability to push forward and snake through traffic towards the rim is impressive. He’s firmly a below-the-rim player, but his strength and shooting ability is a good combination for him to potentially stick as a backup guard. — TM


Nikita Mikhailovskii SG

Mikhailovskii is a good shooting prospect who has proven himself as a playmaker at the youth level. He needs to get a lot stronger to be a viable NBA option, but he’s another nice long-term prospect from the international class. — TM


Joe Wieskamp SG

Wieskamp’s allure rests in his shooting (40.6 percent from deep for his career) and is augmented by heady off-ball relocation instincts, team defense and a modicum of passing flair. But he lacks the functional handle and burst to do much of anything on the ball, which significantly limits his upside. Regardless, the shooting and general basketball IQ make him worthy of a top-60 slot. — JF


Vernon Carey Jr. C

The Duke big man is a traditional low-post center with interior scoring skills and deft touch but is tough to believe in as anything more than a bench spark because of questionable passing feel and shooting potential. Defensively, his slow load-up time as a leaper concerns me with regards to his rim-protecting upside, while his reaction time and lateral mobility are also underwhelming. — JF


Rayshaun Hammonds PF

Hammonds has good scoring skill, but there isn’t much to the rest of his game. There might be spots where he can be effective, but he’s not a good decision-maker, and his defense is mostly poor at this point. — TM


Cassius Stanley SG

Stanley is a pogo-stick leaper and bursty slasher whose athletic gifts make him devastating while attacking off the catch and a potentially hounding on-ball defender at times. His shooting indicators suggest he’ll be a credible threat from deep but a lack of on-ball equity and playmaking cap the upside here. — JF


Amar Sylla SF

Sylla is very much a hypothetical player but he flashes defensive mobility, passing talent and offensive fluidity to a degree most 6-foot-9 bigs with a 7-foot-2 wingspan cannot. But there’s not much in the realm of consistent skill or understanding of the game, leaving him as a bit of a dart throw rooted in his physical package. — JF

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