Now that I have really dug into the 2017 draft class, it is time to post a complete big board of my top 60 prospects (and 1!). Age is as of draft night, and the only internationals I am including for now are Ntilikina and Kurucs because I just don’t know anything about the others:
I wrote that Malik Monk is not overrated, but I still rate him a hair lower than DX/ESPN. This is mostly because Lauri Markkanen is my one way shot maker of choice, as having an elite shot is more likely to be overpowered for a player who is 7’0″ and coordinated than a 6’3″ athlete. And I still do not want to glaze over Monk’s warts, because they are bad.
Harry Giles has not been ready to contribute his first two games after missing more than a year of action with an injury. He may not fully showcase his potential this year, and with his injury flags he will be one of the most challenging prospects in the draft to evaluate.
I’m aggressively sticking my big sleeper prospect Andrew Jones at #8. This may look silly if he falls flat in Big 12 play, but it is more likely that he does not and he ascends to the lottery where he belongs.
Dennis Smith Jr. has been playing better lately but still has not shown the big upside curve to go top 5.
De’Aaron Fox is a challenging prospect to rate. On one hand, he is extremely pleasing to my eyes, as he is ultra quick, a pest on defense, throws laser passes in transition, and has smooth touch near the hoop. On the other hand– he cannot shoot, he has a frail frame, and he has poor awareness. Against Louisville he lost track of the shot clock twice, resulting in violations both times. He already had concerns about his ability to be an effective offensive player, and mistakes like this suggest that we should err on the side of pessimism.
If you are wondering why stat models love Ethan Happ, it’s because he can make plays like this. He’s too similar to Draymond and Millsap to slide to round 2 just because he does not fit the traditional PF archetype.
Bryant Crawford is another sophomore that nobody is talking about. He has good height (6’3) and length (6’7) for a PG and has revitalized Wake Forest basketball as the leader of a very good offense.
Creighton redshirt freshman big man Justin Patton is 6’11”, athletic, and hyper efficient on offense. He’s similar to Bam Adebayo, except he is actually tall enough to play center and better at everything other than offensive rebounding. And if you want a young offensive rebounder, Tony Bradley is posting a whopping 22% ORB% that is almost as high as Patton and Bam’s rates combined. Bam is not bad, but he just is not special relative to the other young bigs on the board in the late 1st.
Shamorie Ponds and DeAnthony Melton are statistical darlings of the draft with major scouting flags. Melton is a combo guard who can neither dribble nor shoot, and Ponds is a combo guard in a diminutive 6’0″ body. Both are so young with such outlier stats that they should not be dismissed entirely for their flaws, but Michael Weathers of Miami Ohio is the stat beast who has the best shot of becoming a good NBA player. He is quick with legitimate vision and creation ability, as he is posting Westbrook level stats for his woeful mid-major team.
Omer Yurtseven has not looked great in his first 3 games for NC State, but it is still too early to judge him firmly.
Ike Anigbogu is an infant aged pogo stick who is difficult to project given how young and raw he is.
PJ Dozier and Dazon Ingram are a couple of 6’5″ SEC lead guards who do a little bit of everything. They may not be athletic and skilled enough to be lead guards in the NBA or shoot well enough to play off the ball, but are intriguing 2nd round gambles nevertheless.
Jarrett Allen has strikingly low rebound, steal, and block rates for a player of his size and wingspan. He was portrayed as a defensive prospect and he may be broken on that end, which makes him not that much of a prospect after all.
Edmond Sumner hype sounded reasonable pending a big junior season breakout, but thus far I am skeptical. He is completely out of control when he drives to the basket and does not make accurate passes or layups. He seems like a poor man’s Mudiay to me, which is just poor.
Thomas Bryant is adored my the numbers, and hated by my eyes. It is possible I am underrating him, but I just don’t see him fitting in defensively in the NBA and I don’t see him as any sort of special offensive player.
I really do not buy Tyler Lydon as a 1st round prospect. He is a good but not great shooter, as he makes 41% of his career 3’s but has a low 3PA rate and cannot rely solely on his shot to succeed in the NBA. He’s a decent athlete and passer, but unless he can switch onto NBA wings on the perimeter (I suspect he cannot), I do not see enough versatility in his game to complement his shooting.
I cannot fathom that a player who cannot score, rebound, assist, steal, or block is a first round pick, but Terrance Ferguson is consensus top 20. He is super young and most of the other 5* prospects in the class have turned out well, so maybe he is somehow good. But more likely he’s a weak 3 + D prospect with average 3 and average D and terrible everything else. Bruce Brown is older, but seems much better at everything else other than his inferior shot.
Markis McDuffie is my deep mid-major sleeper. He is baby aged for a sophomore, and he is 6’8″ and smooth and could become a good role playing wing as his frame fills out.
Chandler Hutchison is my deeper mid-major sleeper, pending discovery of his birthday. He is a 4* junior 6’7″ SF with a 7’0″ wingspan who does it all for Boise State. If he is reasonably young for his class, he becomes an intriguing second rounder.
Mikal Bridges is an elite NCAA role player who is often miscast as a sleeper 1st round prospect. He is a zero on offense without outlier tools or defense to make him an exciting gamble. His physical profile is nearly identical to Hutchison’s, except he has far less offensive creation ability.
Grayson Allen has a consistent habit of turning into a brick and turnover machine whenever he faces any sort of athletic defense, and it is hard to see him amounting to anything in the NBA without becoming an elite shooter.
I included Sindarius Thornwell as a 61st prospect because a number of people have asked me about him. I am skeptical of his ability to make the NBA as he is not particularly athletic, quick, skilled, smart, or tall. But he does a little bit of everything statistically, and appears to have an improved shot. He merits attention if he continues to shoot well whenever he returns from his suspension.
Marques Bolden being unranked may seem harsh after he missed games with an injury and has barely played since returning. But he sounded like a dud coming in, and it looks like he will be sparsely used for Duke. I do not see any reason to cling on to hype until he actually starts performing, as he will likely be back at Duke for his sophomore year.
Monte Morris gives me George Hill vibes.
Never thought of him that way. I somewhat see it, but I just don’t see him being the lockdown defender that Hill is. I always looked at him as a possible Jose Calderon with better defense and worse shooting. I’d say a hybrid of Calderon and George Hill is a reasonable upside scenario for him.
ivan alexander (@ivanalexander74) said:
Kind of a terrible big board. It’ll look nothing like that. Way too high on several, way too low on some and just all around a really poorly done board. It’d almost be impossible to intentionally make a worse board going off the information and scouting reports/tape we have on these prospects.
J Hill said:
IDK, he kept strong with Embiid at the top of his big board and he’s looking like an all-timer right now. Wiggins has still not moved the needle on T-wolves’ success.
Have you read anything about French prospect Mathias Lessort? I just watched his video on DraftExpress. He is a little old but he appears to have very good rebounding/defensive tools. I think I’d rate him higher than Bam and I definitely think he looks like he could be a solid role-player in the NBA.
I just skimmed his DX profile. I can’t get too excited about 6’9″ guys who with limited skill level without being a defensive god. And while I do love mobile bigs than can switch onto guards and wings, it sounds like that is his big feature defensively and is otherwise meh. He does not have great steals or blocks and DX isn’t wild about his defensive fundamentals.
What is his advantage over Bam? Bam is younger and more athletic, and Lessort’s only discernible advantage is that he is a slightly better rebounder. Overall they do seem fairly close but at a glance I’d err on the side of Bam.
And I really don’t care much about either of these guys. You aren’t going to advance your franchise too heavily by getting an energy garbage man off the bench. Even the ones that pan out like Hickson and Faried never find consistent roles on teams, and are likely easy to acquire via trade. Even if your odds of getting a mainstay in the late 1st or 2nd is low, may as well swing for the fences on somebody who at least has a chance.
J Hill said:
Just looking at your guys who are NR on the other sites. Justin Patton from Creighton, shooting like 55% from 3 but only 47% on freethrows. WTF kind of line is that?
It’s only 9 3PA, I’m sure it will come crash down with a larger sample. TJ Leaf has a similar split but with a bigger sample of 3’s
J Hill said:
Ah, I missed how many attempts he has. Is it his steal rate that has you so much higher on him than others? Also what do you make of Dedric Lawson, he’s putting up points like a madman and he seems like a decent passer and rebounder as well as good blocks and steals too. I don’t get to watch a lot of college until March Madness.
Honestly I don’t think I’m way higher on him than others, just that he wasn’t expected to be a 1st round prospect and DX/ESPN can be a bit slow to come around on those types. He is up to #33 on DX’s top 100 prospects and seems to be approaching consensus late 1st status. He is just an electric finishing 6’11” big with more assists than TOVs who sometimes shoots 3’s, that’s exciting. Sort of worried his D may be awful though.
Lawson intrigues the hell out of me because he’s also super young. Still not sure exactly what to make of him, but his team is playing well without much talent around him and I am more likely to move him up than down.