By Hocine LOUKKAF on 1/14/2020
With Wiseman getting ready for the draft and Edwards (and most lottery prospects) underachieving, this draft seems more open than ever in the top 10.
#1 James Wiseman, 7-1 C, Memphis, FR (19.7pts 10.7rbds 3bl in 23min)
Now that he decided to leave Memphis, Wiseman will have plenty of time to get ready for the draft. With most prospects having ups-and-downs through the year, Wiseman seems the legit contender for the top pick.
#2 Anthony Edwards, 6-5 SG , Georgia, FR (18.7pts 4.8rbds 3.1as)
Despite his potential, Edwards is still struggling to be consistent. He will have to improve his shooting percentages (six of his last games with 33% or under from three) and defense (only one block and no steal in the last six games) if he wants to remain in the race for the top pick.
#3 Tyrese Haliburton, 6-5 PG, Iowa State, SO (16.6pts 7.7as 5.9rbds 51% fg 41% 3pt 2.8st)
While his stats have become more human, Haliburton has shut down the critics about his ability to score. Put aside the game against Kansas, he had at least 15pts in each of his last nine games, including five games with 20+pts. He also had a triple double and keeps a 3a/to ratio.
#4 Lamelo Ball, 6-6 PG, Illara Hawks (Australia), 2001 (17pts 7.4rbds 6.8as)
After getting much hype in the early season despite his inconsistency, Ball has played his last game as he’s been out with a foot injury and decided not to return with his team. He still is the same special talent but will it be enough to hide his poor defense and offensive efficiency.
#5 Daniel Oturu, 6-10 C, Minnesota (20.3pts 12.1rbds 2.8bl)
The surprise of this mock, Oturu has been consistent dominating the paint while the other prospects have exposed their weaknesses. With only one game under 14pts and five under 10rbds, he has helped the Gophers win games against strong competition like Michigan or Ohio State. He’s also an efficient shot blocker and, cherry on the cake, has displayed the ability to stretch the floor with 36% from three, including 5/11 over the last five games.
#6 Deni Avdija, 6-8 SF, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel), 2001 (3pts 2.3rbds Euroleague 10.4pts 6rbds 2.2as in Israeli BSL)
Let’s be honest, Avdija is not Doncic as he is still struggling to gain playing time in Euroleague. Yet, he’s been a better shooter recently with 7/11 over the last three games and is a fierce comepetitor who’s working hard to be the best player he can. As the best SF prospect, he could easily land in that top 10 for a team in need of a wing.
#7 Killian Hayes, 6-5 PG, Ratiopharm Ulm (Germany), 2001 (9.2pts 6.2as in Eurocup, 6.8pts 4.8as in German BBL)
As his team has been eliminated from the Eurocup (25pts 5as for his last game), Hayes will now be able to focus on the tough German league. The French prospect, who is still learning the PG position, needs to post at least a 2 a/to ratio consistently and improve his outside shooting (2/10 from three over the last four games). Yet, in his last game, he impressed the many GMs present with 15pts 6as and only 1to.
#8 Obi Toppin, 6-9 PF, Dayton, SO (19.5pts 7.5rbds 2.3as 1.2bl)
The best PF of this draft, Toppin has been praised mainly because of his offensive talent and his spectacular dunks. The risk is that he may be limited as a rim protector as his 7.5rbds and 1.2bl are not impressive, above all for an old sophomore born in 1998. He’s also been less impressive from three as his 9/18 over the first six games has turned into a 3/16 over the last seven games before last night’s 3/6).
#9 Theo Maledon, 6-4 PG, ASVEL (France), 2001 (6.4pts 3.6as 1.2rbds Euroleague, 5.8pts 2.4as in french Jeep Elite)
Like Avdija, Maldeon is paying the fact that he’s playing for a good team, having limited playing time in Euroleague. When he plays, he can be productive as he’s been recently with 8pts 4as against Fenerbahce or last night with 10as 6rbds and 5pts (albeit on 2/8 from the field) against Anadolu Efes. If he falls out of the lottery, he may turn into a steal.
#10 Nico Mannion, 6-3 PG, Arizona, FR (14.3pts 6.3as)
Maybe a notch below the other PG prospects due to his lack of length, Mannion has a nice freshman season with Arizona and could be a top 10 pick by the end of the year. A nice shooter and creative passer, he could work on limiting his turnovers and gaining strength as he struggles finishing in the paint.
#11 Onyeka Okongwu, 6-10 PF/C, USC, FR (16.8pts 8.4rbds 3.1bl)
Lamelo’s former teammate has been a terror on the court for the Trojans. Shooting almost 60% from the field and a nicer 80% from the free throw line, Okongwu also is one of the best shot blockers in the nation with almost three swats a game. He will need to be more consistent until the end of the season to justify a top 10 selection.
#12 Jahmi’us Ramsey, 6-4 SG, Texas Tech, FR (17.3pts 5.9rbds 46% 3pt)
Despite his struggles over the last two games (18pts combined on 7/26), the Texas Tech freshman is a pure SG with the shot and defensive ability to be a nice two-way player down the road. Probably a better prospect than Culver last season.
#13 Precious Achiuwa, 6-9 PF, Memphis, FR (15.6pts 10.4rbds 2bl 42% 3pt)
After Wiseman decision not to return to Memphis, Achiuwa had to adjust to his new role. He had a rough early december with three games under 36% fg but since then, he has shot at least 50% from the field, including four games over 70% (and five double-doubles over the six-game span). He has also added a decent outside shot (5/7 from three during the same six-game period), good indications that he could develop as a reliable shooter by the end of the season
#14 Cole Anthony, 6-3 PG, UNC, FR (19.1pts 6.3rbds 3.6as)
After a so-so start with poor offensive efficiency and a lot to learn to be a real PG, Cole Anthony has been out with a torn meniscus. We’ll see if he will be able to come back early enough (if he fecides to come back) and if he will not have lost some of his athleticism through the medical procedure.
#15 Jaden McDaniels, 6-9 SF, Washington, FR (13.5pts 6.4rbds 2.2as 1.4bl)
Inconsistency would be the best word to describe McDaniels over his last five games. One game with six blocks, two 10+rbds games, four of his last five games under 40% fg with another 3pts game. Tools and potential are not enough to land someone in the top 10 if he doesn’t produce, and that’s the case of McDaniels, without talking about the fact that four of these games resulted in losses for Washington. Expect McDaniels to slip even more…
#16 RJ Hampton, 6-5 SG/PG, New Zealand Breakers, 2001 (8.8pts 3.9rbds 2.4as)
Playing much less since he came back from an hip injury, Hampton has only posted, 11, 4 and 3 points while combining 6as in 44min. The fact that he doesn’t appear as a great scorer or a great passer may hurt his stock. Like McDaniels, Hampton’s physical tools won’t be enough if he doesn’t have a streak of good games with less than ten games left.
#17 Vernon Carey Jr, 6-11 C, Duke, FR (17.6pts 8.5rbds 1.9bl)
Carey may lack some degree of length or athleticism but at least he produces. Shooting more than 60% from the field and displaying the ability to protect the rim and rebound, Carey will help a team in need of a big. Could still work on his overall IQ and FT shooting (only game with more than 50% over his last five).
#18 Jalen Smith, 6-10 PF, Maryland, SO (14.1pts 9.4rbds 1.9bl)
One of the most improved sophomores, the Terrapin has developed a reliable outside shot which is gonna help change the perception of the NBA teams concerning his game. Now averaging almost 40% from three, Smith has shot 11/18 from outside over the last nine games while posting at least 60% fg in four of his last five games, good enough numbers to be drafted in the top 20.
#19 Isaac Okoro, 6-6 SF, Auburn (13.2pts 4.5rbds 1.9as 1.1bl)
A versatile player who can defend multiple positions, Okoro is also an efficient scorer who scored on 50% or more from the field in twelve of his sixteen games this season. The main question around his potential as an NBA forward (and aspect of his game he has to work on) is his shooting as he’s averaging only 24% from three (3/13 over the last six games).
#20 Tyrese Maxey, 6-3 SG/PG, Kentucky (13.9pts 4.1rbds 3as)
A pure combo, Maxey is still inconsistent as a creator and as a shooter (eight of his last ten games with 33% or less from three). At his best, he can dominate a game (27pts 7rbds on 9/14 against Louisville) and could develop as a luxury 6th man a la Lou Williams.
#21 Isaiah Stewart, 6-9 PF/C, Washington,FR (17.9pts 8.4rbds 2.1bl
After a nice streak of double-doubles (including several 20pt games), Stewart has struggled recently with 4, 13 and 13pts over his last three games and a poor average of 5.3rbds despite playing 33min per night. He might be a notch below the other in term of upside but is a tough player who will do the dirty work (and score his free throws) for the team that will pick him.
#22 Paul Reed, 6-9 PF, DePaul, JR (15.2pts 10.4rbds 3.5bl 1.6st)
With six of his last ten games under 50% fg (and four losses in a row at this moment), Reed may have missed the opportunity to rise higher in the mocks. Despite his offensive inconsistency, he still racks an impressive amount of rebound,s steals and blocks. If he can be as good from outside as he used to be in the early season, he will have a long career in the league.
#23 Robert Woodard, 6-7 SF/SG, Mississipi State, SO (11.3pts 7.7rds 1.6st 1.1bl 51% 3pt)
Woodard may not have the upside of Okoro but he has the same ability to defend position 2 to 4. Moreover, he doesn’t need the ball much and has displayed great improvement from three, rising from a poor 27% last year to 50+%.
#24 Oscar Tshiebwe, 6-9 PF/C, WVU, FR (11.8pts 9.6rbds 1.4bl)
The defensive anchor of a strong WVU team, Thsiebwe is flying under the radar despite some monster rebounding games (17rbds against Kansas and against Texas Tech). His offense is a work in progress (1/5 vs Texas Tech in 26min) but his decent FT shooting is a good indication that he could develop into a decent high post shooter.
#25 Jay Scrubb, 6-6 SG/SF, John Logan College (Juco), SO (20.8pts 5.8rbds 2as)
The Louisville commit has all the tools to be a top scorer in the NBA with long arms, a 40in vertical leap and a sweet stroke. Yet, he may already be concerned with next year as his 3pt % has fallen from 46% to 22% while he’s averaging only 2as for 3.4tos.
#26 Tre Jones. 6-3 PG, Duke SO (15.1pts 6.8as 2.4st)
It’s funny how it’s hard for some players to come back in the draft conversation if they underachieved during their freshman year. After a good season but, not good enough to be a surefire first rounder, Jones has bounced back pretty well by improving in every category, above all in his offensive efficiency (44% fg 36% 3pt). He could at least become a nice back up PG like his brother.
#27 Zeke Nnaji, 6-11 C Arizona, FR (16.9pts 8.5rbds 67% fg)
Nnaji is a polarizing prospect. Offensively, he’s a special player with almost 70% from the field (only four games under 55% fg) while a solid rebounder. Yet, he has two major weaknesses. He is neither a rim protector nor a reliable outside shooter, two things that limit his upside as an NBA big man.
#28 Aleksej Pokusevski, 6-11 PF/SF, Olympiakos, 2001 (12pts 8rbds 3as 2bl in Greek 2nd division)
One of the most intriguing talent, Pokusevski has a combination of size, fluidity and talent that remain of Giannis. Unfortunately, he has that one big weakness that prevents him from being projected in the top 10, a very skinny frame that makes him hard for him to fight with the big boys in the paint (while still struggling being a consistent shooter).
#29 Jordan Nwora, 6-8 PF/SF, Louisville, JR (20.4pts 7.4rbds 44% 3pt)
The Louisville star may not have a lot of upside, but he makes the best out of his talent as he’s become a very reliable 3pt threat. That could be enough for a team to pick him in the late first and use him at both forward spots coming from the bench.
#30 Abdoulaye Ndoye, 6-7 SG/PG, Cholet (, 1998 (11.4pts 4.6rbds 3.as in French Jeep Elite)
An intriguing prospect despite his age, Ndoye is a versatile late bloomer with size who can play multiple positions. He’s been very efficient as Cholet is having a good season in French top league and has room to be better both on offense and defense.