With the lottery set for May 17th, we are starting to get into the meat of NBA Draft season. With that in mind, it is time to unveil my first Big Board. Keep in mind these rankings are not necessarily the order in which I believe players will be drafted but are how I would have the players ranked if I were drafting.
For a more in-depth look at each of these prospects check out the Fast Risers Podcast hosted by yours truly and look out for weekly scouting reports posted here on the blog.
1 - Jabari Smith Jr | Forward | Auburn | 6'10 | 220
Somewhat controversially I have Jabari Smith as the top player on my board. Paolo
Banchero may have a higher floor and Chet Holmgren may have a higher ceiling but Jabari Smith is the happy medium. An incredibly polished scorer for his age, Smith should only get better with time and seems destined to be a 22-25 per game easily. If he reaches the higher end of his potential a scoring title isn't out of the question.
2 - Paolo Banchero | Forward | Duke | 6'10 | 250
3 - Jaden Ivey | Guard | Purdue | 6'4 | 195
4 - Chet Holmgren | Big | Gonzaga | 7'0 | 195
I almost didn't want to list Chet Holmgren as a big because I'm not sure that is how he profiles in the NBA but its hard to not have a guy who is 7'0 with a 7'6 wingspan qualify as a 5. Holmgren is the first or second player on most draft boards because of the potential many believe he has to be the "unicorn", a big man who can do it all. And while I do believe Holmgren has that potential, I also see a very
high bust potential and a player who may never be more than an effective weakside rim-protector. The most probable comp I see for Holmgren is a more athletic version of Mike Dunleavy Jr.
5 - Keegan Murray | Wing | Iowa | 6'8 | 225
6 - Bennedict Mathurin | Wing | Iowa | 6'6 | 210
7 - Jalen Duren | Big | Memphis | 6'11 | 250
8 - Shaedon Sharpe | Guard | Kentucky | 6'6 | 200
9 - Jeremy Sochan | Wing | Baylor | 6'9 | 230
10 - Blake Wesley | Guard | Notre Dame | 6'5 | 185
I am a lot higher on Blake Wesley than most people but I truly am wowed every time I put on the tape of this kid. Wesley has an extremely smooth handle and deceptive quickness which allowed him to get to the rim at will in college and should translate well to the NBA. His long arms (6'11 wingspan) make him a menace in the passing lanes and he has the potential to be a guy who can guard 1-3 with success if he is able to improve his strength.
11 - Mark Williams | Big | Duke | 7'0 | 242
12 - Malaki Branham | Guard | Ohio State | 6'5 | 180
13 - Dyson Daniels | Guard | G-League Ignite | 6'6 | 199
14 - AJ Griffin | Wing | Duke | 6'6 | 222
AJ Griffin walks into the league with an NBA-ready body from day one and is without a doubt the best pure shooter in this draft. With that being said his lack of lateral quickness makes him a concern on the defensive end. If the high-end athleticism he flashed before injuries late in his high school career comes back to him Griffin could be one of the best players in this draft but if it doesn't he will
never be more than a bench shooter.
15 - Johnny Davis | Guard | Wisconsin | 6'5 | 196
16 - Tari Eason | Forward | LSU | 6'8 | 215
17 - Jaden Hardy | Guard |G-League Ignite | 6'4 | 205
18 - Ochai Agbaji | Wing | Kansas | 6'5 | 214
19 - Ousmane Dieng | Forward | New Zealand Breakers | 6'10 | 200
20 - Kennedy Chandler | Guard | Tennessee | 6'0 | 171
21 - Kendall Brown | Forward | Baylor | 6'8 | 205
22 - Ty Ty Washington | Guard | Kentucky | 6'3 | 197
23 - Walker Kessler | Big | Auburn | 7'1 | 245
24 - Nikola Jovic | Forward | Serbia | 6'10 | 209
25 - MarJon Beauchamp | Wing | G-League Ignite | 6'6 | 199
26 - Bryce McGowens | Wing | Nebraska | 6'7 | 179
27 - Jake LaRavia | Forward | Wake Forest | 6'8 | 235
28 - EJ Liddell | Forward | Ohio State | 6'7 | 243
29 - Trevor Keels |Guard | Duke | 6'4 | 221
30 - Jabari Walker | Wing/Forward | Colorado | 6'9 | 215
Walker could very easily be the best defender from this draft five years from now. Shows ability to guard on the wing as well as protect the rim. His frame is perfect for the modern NBA and he has enough athleticism to guard 2-4 at a high level. He has a long way to go offensively but has shown the potential to knock down threes as well.
31 - Jean Montero | Guard | Overtime Elite | 6'2 | 172
32 - Terquavion Smith | Guard | NC State | 6'4 | 175
33 - Christian Braun | Wing | Kansas | 6'6 | 218
34 - Patrick Baldwin Jr | Forward | UW Milwaukee | 6'9 | 220
35 - Justin Lewis | Wing | Marquette | 6'7 | 245
36 - Wendell Moore Jr | Wing | Duke | 6'5 | 213
37 - JD Davison | Guard | Alabama | 6'3 | 195
38 - Jaylin Williams | Forward | Arkansas | 6'9 | 240
39 - John Butler Jr | Forward | Florida State | 7'1 | 190
40 - Michael Foster Jr | Forward | G-League Ignite | 6'8 | 250