Last week I posted my draft projection system. This week brings the current version of my big board. I am still making small changes every day. You will disagree with the placement of many players. This draft has a lot of players with a lot of varying opinions. This draft also has a lot of players with boom or bust potential, and depending on how you value those types of players, your order may be drastically different than mine. Feel free to ask for more clarification on placement or why X doesn’t appear on my list or anything else in the comments.
1. Joel Embiid (27.7 FPg, 1.20 FPm, 20Mar) – Highest FPm, limited only by foul troubles. Ultimately edges out Smart because elite centers are simply more valuable than elite PGs.
2. Marcus Smart (38.5 FPg, 1.18 FPm, 20Mar) – Did you know he is actually younger than Embiid? Common refrain is that he didn’t improve from FR year, but increased from 1.01 FPm to 1.18 FPm, which is a huge jump.
3. Jabari Parker (32.5 FPg, 1.06 FPm, 19Mar) – There are questions about his defense and position. But his production as a freshman cannot be ignored. Every now and then, there’s a great freshman who goes back to school and has his production dip (Cody Zeller being a recent example), so there’s some risk, but it’s more likely that Parker will be a great player.
4. Kyle Anderson (37.8 FPg, 1.14 FPm, 20Sep) – The ultimate stats vs. eyes guy. He’s slow. He’s unathletic. He was also extremely productive. Third in the NCAA in defensive rebounds, fourth in the NCAA in assists this season. One of the hardest to project prospects, but I trust the numbers, so I rate him up here.
5. Dante Exum (No stats, 18Jul) – One of the youngest prospects in this draft. Has questions about his shot, but by all accounts has the type of elite athleticism you look for and has been productive in the limited games he’s played.
6. Jordan Adams (32.7 FPg, 1.09 FP, 19Jul) – Faces the same problem as Anderson. Super productive but tested horribly at the Combine. Rates out well in all the areas you like to see in projecting (steals, OReb, FT Rate, FT%). No reason to believe he won’t be a very productive SG at the next level.
7. Noah Vonleh (23.9 FPg, 0.90 FPm, 18Aug) – It’s a shame Vonleh didn’t play more minutes. The sample is almost too small to draw good conclusions, and I’ve moved him up and down my board a lot. But Vonleh is super young, and while the talk centers on his potential to be a fantastic offensive player, his rating this high on my board comes from his fantastic rebounding numbers and good steal and block numbers put with the offensive potential.
8. Elfrid Payton (38.5 FPg, 1.07 FPm, 20Feb) – It seems a good time to note that looking at year in college is not a good indicator of age. Despite being a junior, he’s just a month older than freshman Embiid. Profiles very similarly to Smart, but was less productive against lesser competition. Still profiles very well. Could slip in draft due to a combination of teams not needing PGs and multiple being ranked ahead of him.
9. Aaron Gordon (27.2 FPg, 0.87 FPm, 18Sep) – Pro: Really young. Con: An absolutely abysmal FT rate. Put simply, his young age means he has plenty of time to grow in to a great NBA player. But if he doesn’t improve his shot, he may not be able to get on the floor.
10. Andrew Wiggins (27.9 FPg, 0.85 FPm, 19Feb) – Wiggins was merely okay this season. There’s potential for sure. But he did not do any one thing particularly well this season. They don’t make many athletes like him, but he’s got a long way to go to become a superstar or even an above average NBA starter.
11. Dario Saric (No stats, 20Apr) – While there are stats for him, I don’t have a system for translating Eurocup or Adriatic League stats. But he has been productive, even against older professionals. Could knock him for not being guaranteed to come over right away or for not really having an NBA position, but his potential outweighs any such concerns.
12. Isaiah Austin (26.5 FPg, 0.95 FPm, 20Oct) – It’s not often that a rim-protecting center with potential flies under the radar, but here we are. He improved from last season and improved throughout this season. He’s super athletic and blocks a lot of shots. He needs to add strength and needs a lot of improvement on the offensive end (much of which needs to come through better shot selection), but all the tools are there.
13. KJ McDaniels (34.4 FPg, 1.02 FPm, 21Feb) – McDaniels made a big leap from his sophomore to junior season. Why is McDaniels this high? Two reasons. First, there simply aren’t SFs with his block rate. It doesn’t happen. McDaniels could be a three position shut down defender at the next level. Second, his FT%, which jumped 15% from his sophomore season, shows the potential for his long-distance shot to be improved.
14. Gary Harris (29.4 FPg, 0.91 FPm, 19Sep) – He’s basically Jordan Adams but worse across the board. Still, he should be a solid two-way SG, and in a league desperate for starting wings, he should be a long term starter.
15. Tyler Ennis (30.7 FPg, 0.86 FPm, 19Aug) – Led all major conference players in A:TO as a freshman, which is extremely impressive. Will likely never be a superstar, but having a PG who gets good shots for his teammates without turning it over will never upset a team.
16. Julius Randle (27.0 FPg, 0.88 FPm, 19Nov) – He can score and rebound. Good start. But there are major question marks about whether he can score outside the paint (and inside against bigger defenders), and his block and steal numbers are pitifully low.
17. TJ Warren (36.8 FPg, 1.04 FPm, 20Sep) – The major concern with Warren is that almost all of his value comes from scoring, yet he has no 3 point game (although his mid-range numbers were solid). May be ranked too low here, but most likely ends up as a scoring combo forward off a bench than as a solid NBA starter.
18. PJ Hairston (No stats, 21Dec) – Hairston had to play in the NBDL this season, but he was productive (1.01 FPm) last season in college, and he was fairly productive in the NBDL as well. Showed very good scoring ability, and if he can improve his 3P shot a bit more, could be a good NBA SG.
19. Khem Birch (34.7 FPg, 1.10 FPm, 21Sep) – Averaged a double double and almost four blocks a game. Lacks both height and bulk, but could develop in to a very good rebounder and elite help defender.
20. Roy Devyn Marble (30.0 FPg, 0.99 FPm, 21Sep) – Made a huge jump his senior season after a tumultuous junior year. A well rounded SG who could serve as a secondary distributor. Not a ton of upside, but should be a nice roleplayer at the next level.
21. Jarnell Stokes (30.4 FPg, 0.94 FPm, 20Jan) – An older version of Randle. Hard to see him not carving out a spot as a backup bruiser somewhere.
22. Doug McDermott (34.4 FPg, 1.02 FPm, 22Jan) – He has historically high scoring numbers. But he also has historically low steal and block numbers. Ultimately, he will probably end up as a 25 minute backup wing, but a guy who can score like him will always have a place in the league somewhere.
23. Clint Capela (No stats, 20May) – Very good athlete with good per minute numbers in Europe but needs to add strength and refine his game. Could be an impact NBA player in 3-4 years.
24. Zach LaVine (16.4 FPg, 0.67 FPm, 19Mar) – LaVine was forced to play out of position and just got lost in the guard shuffle at UCLA. He’s still a few years away from being an impact player, but his upside cannot be ignored, and the recent history of athletic PGs getting lost in the shuffle at UCLA and then making an impact in the NBA is good (Westbrook, Jrue).
25. Nik Stauskas (25.8 FPg, 0.73 FPm, 20Oct) – Stauskas has one NBA skill: shooting. He should be able to carve out a long career spotting up and knocking down off the bench, but he probably doesn’t have the athleticism or other necessary skills to be a starter.
26. Russ Smith (31.4 FPg, 1.07 FPm, 23Apr) – Stepped up his production, which is expected for somebody his age. There’s not a ton of upside, but you know with Russ you’re getting an aggressive defender who can run an offense. He’ll be a useful backup somewhere.
27. Kristaps Porzingas (No stats, 18Aug) – Extremely young with good size and tools. Won’t be NBA ready for a few years, but could develop in to a starting big man with a few more years.
28. Jusuf Nurkic (No stats, 19Aug) – A classic center. Most likely projects as a backup whenever he comes over due to his lack of athleticism, but could be a starter if he learns the craftiness an unathletic center needs in the NBA.
29. Shabazz Napier (34.4 FPg, 0.98 FPm, 22Jul) – Napier shoots well enough to find a spot as a backup PG somewhere. It’s a shame he’s not a few inches taller, he probably profiles better as a SG than a PG at the next level.
30. Adreian Payne (26.4 FPg, 0.94 FPm, 23Feb) – Slowly improved year by year at MSU. His ability to shoot 3s is what makes him an interesting prospect. Needs to improve defense and consistency to be more than a fourth big.
31. Cameron Bairstow (33.1 FPg, 1.01 FPm, 23 Dec) – Bairstow made the single biggest season to season jump I’ve ever seen from his Junior to Senior seasons. He’ll be a PF at the next level and may be able to play a little C. His ability to score on the block, from midrange, and draw FTs makes Bairstow an intriguing prospect.
32. Richard Solomon (27.4 FPg, 0.94 FPm, 22Jun) – Solomon isn’t really considered a prospect, but it’s not clear why. He’s 6’11 with a 41″ max vert and averaged a double double in a major conference. He could be a nice backup big at the next level but has potential for much more.
33. Bryce Cotton (35.5 FPg, 0.89 FPm, 21Aug) – Cotton played almost every minute of every game his team played this season, a ridiculous 39.9 mpg. Could definitely be a backup PG option at the next level, especially if he can make his outside shot more consistent.
34. Markel Brown (31.1 FPg, 0.88 FPm, 22Jan) – Brown was a solid second option next to Marcus Smart all season. Rebounds well for a SG. Could find a spot as a backup SG with upside.
35. James Young (21.1 FPg, 0.65 FPm, 18Aug) – James Young was not good this season. But he was also exceptionally young. Maybe there’s some potential in there, but this is a pure flier at this point.
36. Bogdan Bogdanovic (No stats, 21Aug) – Bogdanovic is playing over 30 minutes a game in the Euroleague and putting up respectable stats. May be more ready now than some other international prospects.
37. Spencer Dinwiddie (27.1 FPg, 0.87 FPm, 21Apr) – Dinwiddie tore his ACL, which must be taken in to account. But he could play SG or SF at the next level, can shoot the ball and get to the line. Interesting prospect if his knee properly heals.
38. Vasilije Micic (No stats, 20Jan) – Playing over 30 minutes a game in the Adriatic League, but the stats aren’t overly exciting. Still, he has shown the skills to be an NBA PG.
39. Alec Brown (29.6 FPg, 0.98 FPm, 21Jul) – A SG in a C body. Brown can really shoot the ball, but he really can’t rebound. Basically Andrea Bargnani. Not sure how useful that is.
40. Rodney Hood (24.1 FPg, 0.73 FPm, 21Oct) – He’s basically just a shorter version of Alec Brown. He can shoot, but he can’t do anything else, including defend. But if you can shoot, you’ve got a chance to stick somewhere.
41. Mitch McGary (No stats, 22Jun) – He didn’t play enough this year to get a reliable sample size for stats. He’s got good size. He’s got good energy. He could stick somewhere as a last big man.
42. Jerami Grant (23.4 FPg, 0.75 FPm, 20Mar) – He’s got good size and athleticism. Given his limited offensive game, may be better off trying to put on some weight and settling at PF.
43. James Michael McAdoo (28.4 FPg, 0.94 FPm, 21Jan) – Doesn’t do any one thing particularly well, but has the size, athleticism, and energy to potentially find his way on to a bench somewhere.
44. DeAndre Kane (34.4 FPg, 1.00 FPm, 25Jun) – The oldest notable player in this draft, Kane put up the numbers a 25 year old should against people 5 years younger than him. Still showed enough that he may be a decent backup guard at the next level.
45. Sim Bhullar (27.3 FPg, 1.04 FPm, 21Dec) – With the defensive 3 rule at the next level, Bhullar could struggle, and with his size will never be able to play starter minutes. But you can’t teach 7’5, so it’ll be worth a look for some team.
46. Jordan Bachynski (31.0 FPg, 1.00 FPm, 24Sep) – Made a big leap his senior season, but did a lot of padding against inferior and smaller competition. May find some time as a backup center somewhere.
47. Deonte Burton (35.3 FPg, 0.91 FPm, 22Jul) – Would be much higher if he was a better shooter, but as is, profiles as a third PG.
48. CJ Wilcox (29.8 FPg, 0.85 FPm, 23Dec) – Shot over 7 threes a game and made 39% of them. If he can keep shooting at that clip, he’ll find a spot on a bench somewhere.
49. Walter Taveras (No stats, 22Mar) – 7’3 international center still learning to play basketball. Some upside here, but not any time soon.
50. Cleanthony Early (24.7 FPg, 0.90 FPm, 23Apr) – Will likely to struggle to defend at the next level, which means his offensive production will need to translate. As old as he was, it’s more likely that he simply took advantage of younger players.