By Hocine LOUKKAF on 1/19/2022
While Wemby and Scoot Henderson are pretty sure to hear their name first on draft night, it’s hard to predict who is going next between the Overtime guys, the injuries and the polarizing kids.
#1 Victor Wembanyama, 7-5 PF/C, Metropolitans 92 (France), 2004
After his streak of four 30+pt games, Wemby had slowed down but been very solid with at least 15 and 9 in all but one game since our last mock including 26pts 18rbds against Strasbourg or 27pts 11rbds against Euroleague contender Monaco. Yet, he had his worst game in term of evaluation in his last game against Fos, dead last in French Pro A. Another interesting stat is that he has shot 35/37 FT over the last seven games, good for 94.6% during that stretch (sic).
#2 Scoot Henderson, 6-3 PG, G-league Ignite, 2004
While some expected him not to come back with Ignite, Henderson has played at least 26min in each of the last eight games, including six with at least 20pts. The uber-athletic PG is far from perfect as during the same eight-game stretch, he has been struggling with his 3pt shot (4/20) while he has also lost the ball too much (five games with at least 5tos).
#3 Ausar Thompson, PG/SG, Overtime, 2003
This draft is pretty unsafe from the 3rd spot as most prospects have red flags. Ausar and his brother Amen are 19 playing in a league mostly made of high school kids, which make them very hard to evaluate. Hype puts Amen above but Ausar looks like the better shooter and defender, and also a good passer.
#4 Amen Thompson, 6-6 SG/SF, Overtime, 2003
Amen looks for many the better prospect of the twins but shoot is not even decent despite Overtime staff and training. If Amen can play PG, Ausar has around the same assist number and a/to ratio, that’s why I put Ausar first selected.
#5 Jarace Walker, 6-7 PF/SF, Houston, Fr
After a breakout game against then #2 ranked Virginia (17pts 7rbds 4as on 2/3 3pt), Walker had a slump with three games with 6pts or less, including an awful 2pts on 0/5 FG against UCF. That probably had an effect on him as he started 2023 with two 20pt games on 4/6 combined from three before his 6pts 9rbds game from last night. Probably not a franchise player but a potential luxury glue guy.
#6 Brandon Miller, 6-9 SF, Alabama, Fr
After an awful 4/21 FG against UNC, Miller did worse with 8pts on 0/8 FG against Houston. That could have destroyed his confidence but he bounced back with 24pts against Memphis and 36 on 6/11 3pt against Gonzaga as he has shot at least 43% FG over the last eight games, including five with at least 53% FG (30pts 10rbds on 10/16 FG 4/9 3pt last night).
#7 Gradey Dick, 6-8 SG/SF, Kansas, Fr
Since our last mock (last seven games), Dick had four games with 33% or less FG but also four with at least 53% FG. During that same seven-game stretch, he has averaged 7.4rbds, shot 23/45 3pt combined while losing the ball once or less in six of those games. Last game against Kansas State proved he was more than a unidimensional shooter as, despite his 4/13 FG, he scored 16pts on 7/8 FT, grabbed 7rbds ans racked 4st while losing the ball only twice.
#8 Anthony Black, 6-7 PG/SG, Arkansas, Fr
The oversized PG has struggled lately as he’s the centerpiece of Arkansas’ creation as Nick Smith has been injured. Black has been pretty incosistent like during the four last games as he has alternated two games with 6 and 5pts on 29% FG or less with two other games scoring 23 and 18 on 45+% FG before recording 15pts 8rbds 7as (but 5tos) last night against Missouri.
#9 Cam Whitmore, 6-6 SF, Villanova, Fr
Losing games will hurt Whitmore’s stock but he has been pretty good since he began playing with a solid 48% FG and 36% 3pt. He will also need to develop the other aspects of the game like passing to solidify his top 10 status.
#10 Nick Smith, 6-4 PG, Arkansas, Fr
12.8pts and 1.8as is not what you expect from a top five prospect. Smith may have been injured but he will have to be really good if he comes back healthy to prove the doubters wrong.
#11 Keyontae George, 6-4 SG, Baylor, Fr
George is a shooter, he’s a scorer but the efficiency is not consistent as he has shot three times under 30% FG over the last eight games. He mostly makes up for it by his 3pt shooting (five games with 40% 3pt or more during that stretch) and by his tenacity, going to the FT line 61 times over the last seven games (sic).
#12 Cason Wallace, 6-3 PG, Kentucky, Fr
After a streak of four games during which he scored at least 14pts, had 16as for 4 tos and shot 14/30 3pt, Wallace has combined 6pts 10as and 6tos over the next three games, combining an awful 3/19 FG. He bounced back in the last game with 17pts on 7/11 FG (2/4 3pt) and only one turnover against Georgia. Wallace has the tools (and the body) to be a killer on any night but is struggling too much with consistency to rise higher for the moment.
#13 Brice Sensabaugh, 6-6 SF/PF, Ohio State, Fr
The advanced freshman has a game of his own, ressembling a taller but heavier Donovan Mitchell. With at least 18pts in each of his last eight games, including six with 50+% FG and 17/38 combined from three, he has been as solid as an upperclassman. If he could get a bit more athletic and more focused on defense, it would help him crack into the top 10.
#14 Jett Howard, 6-7 SG, Michigan Fr
Howard is still rising as he had only one game under 10pts since the last mock), a game during which he proved he had an above-average bball IQ (6pts 6rbds 5as 0to against Maryland). Since this game, Howard has hit 15/30 3pt and 13/13 FT while recording 11as for 4tos. He’s a versatile swingman that could end up a projected top 10 pick sooner than later.
#15 Kyle Filipowski, 6-10, PF, Duke, Fr
There’s a huge gap between Vic and the second best big. As Lively and Ware have been disappointing, Filipowski’s rebounding and relative consistency makes him the most solid college big. The Blue Devil has grabbed 29rbds over the last two games and scored at least 14pts in each of his last four games, but he has also shot 40% FG or less in six of the last nine games, not exactly what you expect from your big men.
#16 Taylor Hendricks, 6-9 PF/SF, UCF, Fr
Hendricks is one of the players with the fewest holes in his game, as an athletic combo forward able to shoot. Consistency is a work in progress with six of the last ten games with 44+% FG but also four under with 40% FG or less. He’s also displayed his versatility during the last seven games with a combined 50rbds 21as 13bl for only 8tos.
#17 Maxwell Lewis, 6-7 SG/SF, Pepperdine, So
The 20 yo sophomore has been one of the hot names among these year’s prospects. Yet, the year has been difficult with Pepperdine being only 7-12. Lewis has been good scoring with at least 18pts in eleven of the last thirteen games, despite combining only 6/20 3pt over the last six games. Defense and ball handling need to be improved with only 3st for 28tos over the last eight games.
#18 Kris Murray, 6-7 SF, Iowa, Jr
With at least 45% FG in each of the last five games and 17pts in each of the last six, Murray is solidifying his top 20 status. During that same seven-game stretch, he shot 17/47 3pt and had a low 9tos combined.
#19 GG Jackson II, 6-9 PF, South Carolina, Fr
Like Whitehead, GG Jackson hasn’t lived up to the hype for the moment. 39% FG is not what you expect from your PF and his 7/33 FG combined over the last two games are not doing him any favour. Moreover, Jackson is trying to be a shooter but combined 4/27 3pt over the last five games while recording 5rbds or less in six of the last ten games.
#20 Leonard Miller, 6-10 PF/SF, G-League Ignite, 2003
The do-it-all Canadian forward is doing his thing in the G-League as he had only four games under 50% FG since the begininning of the season while 3pt shooting still is a work in progress (30% 3pt). If he can keep grabbing rebound at a high level, he could hope to hear his name sooner on draft night.
#21 Adem Bona, 6-10 C, UCLA, Fr
An important piece in UCLA 13-game winning streak, the Turkish bruiser has scored at least 7pts in each of the last six games while recording a combined 13bl during that stretch. Maybe the best big behind Wemby.
#22 Dariq Whitehead, 6-6 SG/SF, Duke, Fr
Whitehead is slipping mock after mock as he hasn’t proved yet he could be a consistent scorer for the Blue Devils. After a nice streak of four games during which he averaged 15.2pts and combined 11/26 3pt, Whitehead followed with two mediocres games where he shot under 20% FG.
#23 Sidy Cissoko, 6-7 SG, G-League Ignite, 2004
While he had recorded only game above 15pts, the French do-it-all forward has scored 20pts in back-to-back games against Fort Wayne. Still a lot of things to fix but the upside and versaitility are there.
#24 Terquavion Smith, 6-4 SG, NC State, So
Smith has score at least 20pts in each of the last five games, but with three games under 35% FG. The NC State guard could be a nice micowave from the bench but really needs to work on his consistency.
#25 Kel’el Ware, 7-0 C, Oregon, Fr
Another disappointing big, Ware has grabbed only rebound in 20min combined over the last two games. Upside is interesting but efficiency is far from being satisfying.
#26 James Nnaji, 6-10 C, Barcelona (Spain), 2004
Nnaji is your traditional big that will focus on rebounding and protecting the paint. He had 16pts and 4rbds againsy Coosur Betis but played only 7min against Murcia.
#27 Rayan Rupert, 6-7 PG/SG, NZ Breakers (New Zealand), 2004
After an encouraging first game since he’s been back from injury (14pts 3rbds on 2/3 3pt), Rupert’s stats have dropped significantly with 7pts on 1/7 3pt in the last game. What is more worrying is that, despite his extraordinary physical tools, he has recorded only 4rbds 2as and 2st in 49min combined over the last three games.
#28 Emoni Bates, 6-8 SG/SF, Eastern Michigan, So
The former HS superstar can switch from producing the best (36pts on 8/15 3pt against South Carolina) to being mediocre (3pts on 1/12 against Akron). The talent is definitely there but will Bates be able to hear NBA coaches and become more of a team player with better shot selection ?
#29 Trayce Jackson-Davis, 6-9 PF/C, Indiana, Sr
The only senior projected in that first round, TJD is a bit alone as Indiana has lost six of its last eighteen games. The Hoosier had some impressive games like his 18pts 24 rbds 8as 4bl against Northwestern, 13pts 6rbds 9bl against Kansas or his triple-double (12pts 11rbds 10as 3bl) against Nebraska.
#30 Jalen Wilson, 6-8 PF/SF, Kansas, Jr
More inconsistent that what you would expect from an upperclassman (seven of the last twelve games under 39% FG, including three with 25% FG or less), Wilson can also be impressive as he was during the last game with 38pts on 12/25 FG and 11/12 FT in the loss against Kansas State. He had 2bl in each of the last three games.