2018 NBA Draft big board: Top-60 players that could be on Denver’s radar

A general view of a video board displaying all thirty first round selections in the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center
Jun 22, 2017; Brooklyn, NY, USA; A general view of a video board displaying all thirty first round selections in the 2017 NBA Draft at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The 2018 NBA Draft is now less than 36 hours away. With seemingly every draft selection available for trade and the Denver Nugget being rumored to be looking to move up or back in the draft, anything is possible, so I decided to put together a 60-player big board to refer to prior to the beginning of what is expected to be a chaotic and insane 2018 NBA Draft.

Let’s just start from the top, shall we?

1. Luka Doncic

First and foremost, let’s just get this out of the way; there is no player in the 2018 NBA Draft that fits the Denver Nuggets as perfectly as Luka Doncic does. The 19-year-old, 6-foot-7 Slovenian can only be described in superlatives after his historic season playing for Real Madrid. Doncic can do it all. He is a maestro in the pick and roll as a playmaker and scorer, rains down threes like mortar fire as a shooter, has the versatility on both offense and defense that NBA teams salivate over, will slice teams up with the ball in or out of his hands, and has a clutch gene that has taken basketball by storm. Now, with Spanish Cup Championship in hand and with the status of being the youngest Euroleague MVP ever, there are no gaps on his resume. Doncic is the best player in the 2018 NBA Draft for the Nuggets and overall.

2. Jaren Jackson Jr.

Jaren Jackson Jr. — the six-foot-11, 242 pound 18-year-old big man — has the potential to be the best defender in the 2018 NBA Draft as well as one of the best defenders in all of basketball over time. Sporting a 7-foot-5.5 wingspan, extremely agile feet, and a freakishly-strong build, Jackson has the physical ability that remind some of a young Kevin Garnett. For Denver, Jackson represents a big-time rim protector that could potentially cover up for Jokic’s defensive discombobulation. While there are real questions about playing two seven-footers at the same time, both Jokic and Jackson could step out and hit threes and have above average handles for their size. The potential of a five-out offense featuring two big-men — one offensive savant and one defensive terror — is as interesting as it gets.

3. Wendell Carter Jr.

This is going to surprise some. Yes, Wendell Carter Jr. is ranked ahead of his teammates Marvin Bagley. Yes, if you just looked at counting stats, this seems preposterous, but wait just for a second. Carter is a beefy 251 pounds while standing tall at 6-foot-11. He also has 7-foot-4.5 wingspan and is strong as an ox. He has a rare combination of herculean strength, nimble feet, and ridiculous length which allows him to defend anywhere on the floor. On top of that, Carter can finish with both hands, sets screens that could kill a man, is athletic enough to finish above the rim, and hit 41.3 of his three-pointers last year. Just to add a cherry on top, he is also the most polished playmaking big in the 2018 NBA Draft. Carter is very much so in the mold of an Al Horford, and the potential of paring Carter’s IQ and defensive chops with Jokic would likely be impossible to pass up if he is available to be selected by Denver.

4. Marvin Bagley

Marvin Bagley is one of the most interesting players to analyze from the Nuggets’ perspective. First off, Bagley averaged an obscene 21 points and 11.1 rebounds per game on a scorching-hot 61.4 percent from the field and 39.7 percent from three. If you just look at raw statistics, Bagley would look like the best player in the 2018 NBA Draft. Unfortunately, he still has a ways to go before becoming anywhere near the best version of himself. Defensively, he has the physical skills to be excited about but none of the fundamental ability to use those skills functionally. He averaged less than a block and steal per game in college and, considering his freakish skills, those numbers should be much higher. Still, Bagley put up numbers that drew comparisons to Anthony Davis. He could very well end up as the best player in the 2018 NBA Draft when things are all said and done.

5. Mohamed Bamba

Bamba is as hard to analyze as any player in the draft. The gap between his ceiling and floor is as large as anyone, but if things go right for Bamba, he could end up as the best player in the draft. First of all, he is a shot blocker who has a 7-foot-10 wingspan. That is absurd and the thought of that kind of length cleaning up for Jokic’s defensive issues is enticing. Add in a budding offensive skill set that features three-pointers, and the upside with Bamba is astronomical.

6. Trae Young

Young conducts an offense like a composer conducts a symphony. His shot making is what has gotten Young plenty of attention throughout his lone season at Oklahoma as he went on to have what is an unprecedented offensive season, but what really makes him a potential top-10 offensive player in the NBA at some point is his elite vision. It is all of the off the dribble pull-ups that warp the court for him, and once he gets his defender out to 30+ feet away from the rim, he proceeds to slice up his opposition like a surgeon. Young has the highest offensive ceiling of anyone in the 2018 NBA Draft and it isn’t close.

7. Mikal Bridges

Mikal Bridges is the most NBA-ready player in all of the 2018 NBA Draft after his three-years at Villanova under the tutelage of Jay Wright. He is arguably the most prepared wing defender in the draft, one of the best shooters in the draft, played in an NBA-style offensive and defensive system in college, and is the definition of a star-level role player. The potential of Bridges defending the opposing teams best player alongside Gary Harris and Paul Millsap on defense and then taking unguarded catch and shoot threes off of passes from Jokic on offense is a symbiotic relationship that could help the Nuggets reach the next level.

8. Miles Bridges

Miles Bridges is freakishly explosive athletically, has improved his three-point shooting functionality, and successfully made the transfer from being a power forward to playing on the perimeter. While his handles are still suspect, his ability to guard four positions and switch everything on the perimeter make him an ideal combo forward — or even shooting guard — at the NBA level. If his three-point shot continues to fall, Bridges could be another ideal defensive wing — who can also contribute on offense — for Denver to grab.

9. Michael Porter Jr.

There is no player in the 2018 NBA Draft as polarizing as Michael Porter Jr. Yes, he is one of the most effortless offensive players in the draft. Yes, he has prototypical size to play as a small forward or power forward. Yes, he has the potential to be a solid defender who can switch and guard multiple positions. The only issue is that he has been extremely injury prone and his offensive play style is much too forced and isolation-heavy for the modern NBA game. There is still tons of growth mentally and physically for Porter Jr., but his combo of scoring and size will be too much to pass up if he falls to Denver.

10. Deandre Ayton

I know that everyone reading this has been screaming wondering where Ayon is. Well, considering that Denver’s best player is a center, Ayton’s skill set is not one that would significantly raise the ceiling of the roster. Aston struggles defending in space, gets lost off ball, and is a post-dominated scorer just like Jokic. Pairing them together seemingly makes no sense, but on talent alone, Ayton gets ranked in the top-10.

11. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

The Kentucky point guard was a late arrival as a lottery pick on most mock drafts. He was rated lower than almost every freshman on the Kentucky roster, but by the end of the season he was being called the best point guard in the 2018 NBA Draft by many. He is a 6-foot-6 point guard who has a seven-foot wingspan. He is a terror as a defender, and couples that with high-level playmaking out of the pick and roll. His pull-up game out of the pick and roll has improved as has his three-point shot which has elevated his offensive potential by quite a bit. There is no two-way point guard better suited for Denver in the draft.

12. Zhaire Smith

The Texas Tech wing, Zhaire Smith, is arguably the most incredible athlete in the entire 2018 NBA Draft, and every single ounce of that athletic power is functional on a basketball court. Offensively, he gets most of his production from his athleticism. He is an offensive rebounding terror, freakishly talented lob threat for his size, gets great rise on his jump shot, and will finish with power and authority over the top of defenders when he gets to the rim. Defensively, he skies to block shots from the weak side, jumps passing lanes, and moves laterally as well as any other defender in the draft. If he falls to Denver, his defensive ability could make Nuggets fans feel much better for missing out on OG Anunoby in the 2017 NBA Draft.

13. Troy Brown Jr.

Troy Brown Jr. is a player that would fit seamlessly on the Nuggets roster offensively, defensively, and emotionally. He is the epitome of a leader, one of the most unselfish players in the draft, defended all five positions in college, and played as the de facto point guard for large stretches of the season where he showed of his wonderful vision and playmaking ability. Add in the fact that Michael Malone would fall head over heels for a player like Brown, and you have a player that could be reached for somewhere between the late-lottery and the late-teens. His jumper is still inconsistent, but in every other way, he is ready for the NBA.

14. Elie Okobo

Okobo may be the most unknown projected first-round pick, but he could end up as the third-best point guard in the draft. He is a 6-foot-3 point guard who has a 6-foot-8 wingspan who has shown some defensive versatility, but where Okobo really shines is in the pick and roll as well as shooting from anywhere within 35 feet wither off the dribble or off the catch. While the consistency wanders, Okobo has every skill you could look for in a modern day scoring point guard. He can make plays for others, creates his own shot at will (being a lefty helps), has enough quickness to break down defenses, and the vision coupled with the ambidexterity as a passer to get the ball to shooters or rollers anywhere on the floor while also having the size to defend either back court positions.

15. De’Anthony Melton

Melton, who had to sit out his sophomore year at USC due to eligibility issues, is one of the more polarizing prospects in the draft. He is a defensive-minded monster at the point of attack and has instincts that rival Spiderman’s ‘spidey senses’ which allow him to be a destructive weak-side help defender. Being 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan at 190 pounds of muscle, Melton can body smaller guards, but still lacks point guard polish. He has great potential, but there is also quite the low floor with him considering he is not quite a point guard yet, but does not shoot well enough to be a shooting guard.

16. Josh Okogie

The Georgia Tech standout wing player, Josh Okogie, was probably the biggest beneficiary of participation in the NBA Combine where he measured out to 6-foot-4.5 with a gargantuan seven-foot wingspan. Okogie is a incredibly jacked 210 pounds of pure muscle and he uses it well. Just to add to Okogie’s laboratory-built NBA body, he also registered a 42 inch vertical at the combine and had by far the quickest lane agility time. While he will likely not be asked to be the same type of scorer a the NBA level as he was at Georgia Tech, he has a solid offensive arsenal to go with an elite motor and an insane drive to defensively shut down whoever is in front of him. Okogie would give the Nuggets an immediate boost athletically and defensively.

17. Kevin Huerter

There is not a better off-ball shooter from the wing in the 2018 NBA Draft than Kevin Huerter. In terms of being an off-ball scorer, Huerter has been compared to Klay Thompson  more times than not and for good reason. His balance shooting the ball when moving, fading, from a standstill, off the dribble, or off the catch is phenomenal. Running him through a maze of screens puts an enormous amount of strain on any defense. The thought of Nikola Jokic feeding Huerter immediately as he comes off a screen is something that could take the Nuggets offense to even greater heights. He is not nearly the defender or athlete that Thompson is, but he is lethal as an off-ball scorer.

18. Jacob Evans

Evans fits the archetype of what every NBA team is looking for: a strong wing player who can hit threes and defend multiple positions. His basketball IQ is very strong, he has better than advertised handles, and can even do some secondary creating for teammates. While Evans is not an explosive athlete or even a high-ceiling player, he brings many skills to the table that are immediately translatable to the NBA level and to the Nuggets themselves.

19. Keita Bates-Diop

Bates-Diop, like Evans, fits the ideal wing archetype for the NBA. He is 6-foot-8.5 and boats an engulfing 7-foot-3.5 wingspan while weighing in at a strong 225 pounds. He does not get bullied down low, is quick enough to switch on the perimeter and uses his insane length to bother any and all opponents. He is a strong playmaker with the ball in his hands and is a strong shooter off of the catch. He lacks self creation on offense, but the Nuggets will only ask him to take open threes off the catch and defend at a high level. If that is his role, Bates-Diop could be a steal in the 2018 NBA Draft.

20. Lonnie Walker

Walker is one of the most clutch players in the 2018 NBA Draft and his tenacity is very real. Defensively, he can guard point guards, shooting guards, and even some forwards. His three-point shot should translate. The biggest issue is that his effort comes and goes like the wing. You’ll never now when or where he will become lackadaisical, but it will happen on both ends of the ball. Being more consistent would drastically raise is stock.

21. Colin Sexton

Sexton started the season as the one of the top point guards in the 2018 NBA Draft alongside Trae Young. By the end of his season, his stock began falling and, after measuring just 6-foot-1.5, questions began to surface about how good he could be. Flat-out, Sexton plays in a way that is the antithesis to how the NBA is evolving. He is a ball-dominant point guard who lives in the mid-range and struggles to find open teammates. He is a psychotic competitor, but lacks many skills beyond that.

22. Aaron Holiday

Aaron Holiday — brother of both Jrue and Justin Holiday — is coming out of UCLA ready to prove that he is ready to be a lead guard at the NBA level. His jumper is effortless, he is an absolute dog defensively at the point of attack, is developing as a playmaker, and has one of the better motors as a guard in the draft. Unfortunately, he measured below six feet without shoes which will hurt him. Even with that being said, he has the scoring and defense to find a home at the NBA level.

23. Landry Shamet

Shamet is one of the more fundamentally ready players in the draft. He is not incredibly athletic, but he is a great shooter from anywhere on the floor, works hard on defense and uses his IQ to positionally beat opponents, and does a great job of creating for others and can squeeze passes into small windows. He does not have top-end talent, but he is a mistake-free player who can carve out a niche in the NBA.

24. Kenrich Williams

Kenrich Williams is by far the most underrated player in the 2018 NBA Draft if you asked me. Williams is a 6-foot-7 forward has one of the best feel for the game of any player his size and that showed in his time as a point-forward. Williams is one of the few wings who can defend multiple positions, hit 39.5 percent of his three-pointers, rebound extremely well, and also throw in 3.9 assists per game. He is already 23-years-old, which hurts his stock, but whoever grabs Williams will end up with a role player who will likely play 10+ years in the NBA.

25. Kevin Knox

Knox, who is enticing as a prospect because of his length, size, athleticism, and shooting, struggled in his freshman year. He is still just 18-years-old and has a lot of growth left, but his shot did not fall the way that many had hoped and his athleticism did not turn out to be functional last season. Knox still has plenty of upside, but his floor may be much lower than others anticipate and he will need to prove himself rather quickly to keep his momentum going in a positive direction.

26. Shake Milton

Milton is a massive 6-foot-5 point guard who weighs in just under 200 pounds who also managed to hit 42.7 percent of his 445 career threes in college. For a point guard to combine that size with that kind of shooting stroke is as rare as it gets. Milton also boasts a 7-foot-0.75 wingspan which can drive opposing point guards insane, while also being a competent playmaker with the ball in his hands. Milton could make a team very happen in the later portions of the NBA Draft.

27. Jarred Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt is in a strange position. He has had multiple foot injuries and does not have even the slightest touch as a scorer. On the other hand, he is 6-foot-9, jumps out of the gym, can play either forward position, defends like his life depends on it, and is a surprisingly solid facilitator. He is a highly risky pick, but if his health and athleticism hold up, he could be a very helpful player in the NBA for many teams.

28. Dzanan Musa

Musa has all of the talent in the world. He is a 6-foot-9 forward with legitimate point guard skills. He runs the floor like a gazelle and is a creative and functional ball handler. The only issue is that his decision making leaves lots to be desired. He is turnover prone, tries to do too much, and also struggles to keep his shooting mechanics consistent. Musa has tons of upside, but could also never pan out as an NBA player. He could be an interesting fit in Denver due to his size and skill set on the perimeter.

29. Jevon Carter

There is no defender in the 2018 NBA Draft that is as tenacious on-ball as Carter is. He defends for a full 94 feet, uses his quickness to stay in front of opponents, and uses his strength to draw fouls and body other guards. He has a functional offensive game with some playmaking and shooting, but he will enter the NBA as one of the most intense guard defenders in the league.

30. Bruce Brown

Brown’s stock took a big tumble when his shooting percentages fell off a cliff and he went down with an injury. Because of those variables, he is drastically lower on mock drafts than anyone expected meaning the team that drafts him could end up with a steal. Brown can defend guards and forwards with great explosion as an athlete. As long as Brown’s offensive game continues to develop, he has the ability to make the team that drafts him very happy.

31. Jalen Brunson

Brunson, the two-time National Champion, is as mentally ready to enter the NBA as any player in the draft. Offensively, Brunson can do anything needed as a point guard. He is a high-level facilitator, fantastic shooter, crafty finisher, and is a terrific floor general. He also gets bonus point for having an Andre Miller-esque post game even though he is just 6-foot-2. Brunson may never be a starting-caliber point guard on a winning team, but he will help whatever team drafts him in some way. That is just who Brunson is.

32. Anfernee Simons

Simons is a very young combo guard who did not play college but found a loophole that made him draft eligible. He is likely more of a G-League candidate than a productive rookie on an NBA team, but there is tons of upside for him to unlock as a playmaker, shooter and defender. He is currently not a point guard and lacks any foundational skills, but a team will take a chance on him on upside value alone.

33. Robert Williams

Williams is a tough study because is effort waved consistently, he only relied on his athletic gifts, and was playing out of position in college. He is a non-shooter at this stage and also lacked the IQ and motor to make up for his offensive and focus deficiencies. For Williams to become a top-20 type player, he needs to learn to give full effort, learn the game on a more nuanced level, and add some semblance of a jump shot.

34. Mitchell Robinson

Robinson is an absolute freak of nature when it comes to athletic ability, length, and size. With that being said, no one has any idea what kind of player he will be at the NBA level. He tore through the EYBL and AAU circuits just to find himself dealing with the chaos that was Western Kentucky this season. Robinson ended up not playing college or overseas and all he did was prepare for the draft the entire season. For as tantalizing as Robinson is on the floor, he has serious issues off the floor that are big red flags for many teams. If he can get his head on straight, he could be a monster as a rebounder, shot blocker, and rim runner.

35. Mortiz Wagner

Wagner may be the toughest big in the draft to analyze because everything about his game is unique. His best skill is his shooting, but with his improved handles and playmaking ability, Wagner has become a 6-foot-11.5 off the dribble playmaker from time to time. Offensively, he can do tons of different things, but he will be a negative on defense due to his lack of athleticism and explosion. He does have a good bit of tenacity to his game and that does help make up for his defensive shortcomings.

36. Donte Divincenzo

Divincenzo is an offensive multi-tool. He can score on or off the ball in bunches, create for others, and even break down a defense using his surprisingly-quick first step to catch the defense sleeping. While all of his offensive skills are strong, he is just 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-6 wingspan. Simply, he is best as a mismatch as a forward, but he is not big enough to take advantage of that. It will be interesting to see how Divincenzo translates at the NBA level. He is a big unknown still, but hailing from Villanova means that he will play the game the right way and bring a strong IQ to the table.

37. Chandler Hutchison

There is one swing skill for Hutchison that will likely make or break him as a prospect and that is his shooting. He took 224 threes over four years at Boise State, and he hit 35.3 percent of them, but that is not enough. His shot was inconsistent and streaky. If his shot is falling, his ability to get to the rim and also make plays for others is great. If his shot isn’t falling, he is a negative on the floor. It is as simple as that. If he could become a better defender, that would change the equation, but as of right now, Hutchison needs his jumper to fall for him to be productive.

38. Melvin Frazier

Frazier is one of my favorite targets for the Nuggets in the second round. The phrase ‘quick-twitch athlete’ gets thrown around a lot, but Frazier really is a quick-twitch athlete which makes him a menace of a defender on the ball. He can shift speeds and direction on a dime and is a tenacious defender using his above-average athletic ability and size. On offense, he is not a shot creator; he is an off-ball shot maker. If Frazier is not forced to play with the ball in his hands, he can be a serviceable offensive weapon. Keep an eye on Frazier as a possible target of the Nuggets in the second round if he is still available.

39. Isaac Bonga

Bonga is one of the most intriguing players in the draft. He did not play in an especially talented German league, but as a 6-foot-8 point guard has great feel in the pick and roll and he is the youngest player in the draft so some team will have to roll the dice and see how good he could be. He has the length defensively, can get to the rim with a screen or when isolated, and has a budding three-point jumper to go with high-level vision and playmaking.

40. Khyri Thomas

Thomas is one of those players that scouts and teams will forever wish was two inches taller. He is a three-and-D player who is just 6-foot-3 and has no individual creation skills, which drastically limits his offensive upside. He will battle defensively from day one thanks to his strength and quickness, but he has an extremely long ways to go offensively.

41. Trevon Duval

When watching Duval, it is hard to ignore his similarities to Emmanuel Mudiay. He has almost no feel or awareness of the game going on around him, is very far away from being a dependable shooter from anywhere on the floor, but is 6-foot-3 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan. Duval has to improve his effectiveness scoring at the rim, IQ as a point guard, and develop some semblance of a jump shot. That is a lot to expect which makes his stock as a prospect pretty low.

42. Hamidou Diallo

The only reason Diallo is this high up is because the Nuggets need switchable defense, athleticism, and wing players. Diallo checks off all of those boxes, but basically none other. As of right now, Diallo is just an athlete and not a basketball player. His awareness leaves tons to be desired, he does not have a consistent jump shot, and has very shaky handles. Diablo simply need to learn to think the game before all of his athletic gifts become serviceable pieces of his game.

43. Kevin Hervey

The only reason why Hervey has not been talked about more throughout the draft process is because he’s had two ACL tears. Beyond that, he is a 6-foot-7.5 combo forward who has a 7-foot-3.5 wingspan and a 8-foot-11 standing reach. He can defend centers and forwards while also switching out onto smaller players and using his length to contain. He also can create his own shot and is able to take bigger defenders off the bounce and blow by them. Hervey will likely be available near the 43rd picks and could be a solid fit for the Nuggets.

44. Vince Edwards

Another player who arbitrarily fell through the cracks of the draft process was Vince Edwards of Purdue. At 6-foot-8, Edwards can do it all; facilitate, shoot, and even handle the ball a bit being that he played some point forward. He is a strong rebounder and also is a serviceable defender who uses his size well. He is a four-year collegiate player without much more upside, but he is already prepared to help out an NBA team in whatever way they need.

45. Rawls Alkins

Alkins calling card was his strength and his defense, but the latter did not come to fruition. His defensive focus waver as does his effort getting to the rim on offense. Unless Alkins decides to buy in, he will be nothing more than a strong prospect who has not tangible skill to fall back on.

46. Gary Clark

Clark is one of the smartest and most aware big men in the entirely of the 2018 NBA Draft, but he is a bit too small to play center consitiently at the NBA level, which drastically minimizes his potential contributions. He is an incredibly savvy passer, has a great motor, and works hard for positioning on both ends of the floor, but will need to prove he is quick enough to play on the perimeter.

47. Tony Carr

Carr is the flame throwing point guard coming out of Penn State. What is so strange is that when you watch him play, his handles need work, he isn’t an efficient scorer, he struggled finishing at the rim, and lacked size and athleticism. Yet, somehow he managed to shoot 43.3 percent from three-point distance and average 19.6 points, 4.9 rebounds, and five assists. Carr will need to prove himself in the G-League first and foremost, but if he continues to hit threes at a 43.3 percent clip, he may make it to the NBA.

48. Rodions Kurucs

Kurucs is a 6-foot-10 combo forward who went though the pre-draft workout and tested the draft waters last year. Now, a year later, his stock has fallen off a cliff after a rough year in the ACB league. His offensive game was nonexistent this past year, and he did not show signs of improvement. Now, Kurucs will have to prove himself likely in the G-League. He has legitimate upside defensively, but his game lacks everywhere else.

49. Arnoldas Kulboka

Kulboka could give Trae Young some competition as the best shooter in the 2018 NBA Draft. The only difference is that Kulboka is 6-foot-11 and has one of the prettiest jump shots in the draft. While he is a lights-out shooter, as of right now Kulboka is nothing more than that. He struggles finishing at the rim, playing any sort of defense, and he still has a long way to go in terms of getting his body at an NBA-ready level.

50. Gary Trent Jr.

The words that come up when you talk about Trent Jr. — selfish, forced, lazy, unaware — make it is hard to see what he brings to the table. Once you realize how talented he is, the frustration sets in. He is just 19-years-old, 6-foot-5.75 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan, has a picturesque shooting motion, foundational skills to build off of,  great size and athleticism to be a terror on both ends, but he just isn’t. Once Trent Jr. decides that he wants to be great he absolutely could be. For now, he is still a ways away.

51. Xavier Cooks

There are very few player on earth who fit the mold that Cooks does. He is a 6-foot-8 point guard who does a bit of everything. He blocks shots as a weak-side defender, has underrated athletic ability, can dribble, and pass. The only thing from his arsenal that he does not yet possess is a jump shot. If he can become a serviceable shooter, his game will expand like a balloon.

52. Daryl Macon

Macon is the off-ball guard that every team wants. He may not be physically gifted like some of the prospects are, but he is a great shooter, passer, and has a strong basketball IQ and awareness, and he works hard on defense. He checks a lot of boxes, but needs to improve with the ball in his hands to truly become an NBA player.

53. Grayson Allen

Grayson Allen is better than the 53rd player on any big board, but I am taking a look at him through a different lens. His off-court antics, public political affiliations, and complete lack of defense will immediately make almost any NBA team instantly frustrated with him. With that being said, Allen is an alright shooter when he doesn’t have to create for himself but that is really all he brings to the floor. People will say he is athletic, but that athleticism does not translate onto the floor. Allen is nothing more than a shooter.

54. Omari Spellman

Hailing from Villanova, Spellman is one of the better all-around bigs in the draft, but he does not have any high-level traits. He is a good three-point shooter with solid handles and the ability to make passes on the move. He has decent length, but does not project as a strong defender. Spellman will have to shoot well to open up the rest of his offensive game to make up for this defensive issues.

55. Dakota Mathias

Mathias is such an interesting prospect because he does everything right, but he has literally no athletic ability. He is a strong passer, has great vision, does not need much room to quickly get his shot off, and is a much better defender than his athleticism would signify. He has had to learn how to win without jumping out of the gym, and now Mathias is as well rounded as guards come.

56. Keenan Evans

Evans played for Texas Tech and was able to show off his two-way ability by attacking the paint relentlessly as well as bothering any guards who matched up with him on defense. Just like his courter part, Zhaire Smith, Evans is a feisty defender who does not let up. That defensive tenacity will translate well to the NBA level.

57. Devonte’ Graham

Graham will enter the league as a lethal shooter, but not much else. He took steps forward as a facilitator this year, but it remains to be seen if he will be able to be more than a scoring-first guard in the NBA. Defensively, he struggles with stronger players and does not have the size to battle through screens. If Graham can continue to be a big-time scorer on offense, he may find a role for himself in the NBA.

58. Ajdin Penava

Penava used to be a point guard. He showcased strong vision, creative handles, and even was becoming a solid shooter as well. Then, suddenly, he grew to 6-foot-9 and all of those skills he learned stuck with him. Now, he is an oversized point guard who added a very unique skill to his arsenal — the ability to erase shots at the rim. If he gets drafted, it will be because of the unique guard skill-set mixed with legitimate rim protection.

59. Aleska Ilic

Ilic is a special defender. Staining 6-foot-8.75 tall with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Ilic has the size and length to be a great defender. He has unbelievably quick feet, strong awareness as to what is happening around him, and does a fantastic job of switching and staying on a string with this teammates. He is still largely a negative offensively, but if his shot improves, he is without a doubt an NBA player.

60. Tryggvi Hlinason

Last, but not least, Hlinason, who is brand new to basketball. He only started playing organized basketball when he was 16-years-old, so the game is still very new to him, but he is leaning an an exception rate. The 7-foot-1 center is great rolling to the rim and is dong what he can to extend his range out to the three-point line. Hlinason is going to be a long-term project, but he has the interworking of an NBA player within his game.

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