It’s March Madness baby. Buzzer-beaters are being hit like they are balls thrown at Corey Seager. This is the time of year that players are either making themselves a lot of money or losing money signs on their paychecks. Players have shined in the Tournament and there draft stock has shown that. Others that are missing out on the action(no names *cough cough* Ben Simmons) are regretting their college choice.
Most of what a player has already shown is going to dictate his draft position and unless something radical happens, their stock is already set. Private workouts will have an effect but it will only really sway those toss-ups. It still seems early for mock drafts since the draft lottery isn’t more another 2 months so a big board seems much more adequate. Earlier I made a top 10 big board and gave a small scouting reports on each of the players touching on what they are good at and what they still need to improve on. This time I decided to keep it a bit more simple with just a chart and some thoughts. Depending on how you guys like it, I’ll keep the same format.
Since we’re here, let’s address the difference between a mock draft and a big board for all those that are very ingrained with the draft terminology. A big board ranks the talent based on skill level and ceiling. It does not reflect the needs or draft philosophy of the team choosing in that specific spot. It is a pure list ranking the talent based on just that. A mock draft, on the other hand, takes all of those aspects into consideration so the mock reflects what a team would realistically do in that situation. The tricky part about that is the exact draft order isn’t set at the moment and once it is, the real guessing game begins. Enough with the fluff, here it is:
|1. Brandon Ingram||SG/SF||Duke|
|2. Ben Simmons||PF||LSU|
|3. Dragan Bender||F/C||Maccabi Tel Aviv|
|4. Jamal Murray||PG/SG||Kentucky|
|5. Jaylen Brown||SF||California|
|6. Ivan Rabb||PF||California|
|7. Buddy Hield||SG||Oklahoma|
|8. Jakob Poeltl||C||Utah|
|9. Kris Dunn||PG||Providence|
|10. Henry Ellenson||PF/C||Marquette|
|11. Timothe Luawawu||SG/SF||Mega Leks|
|12. Furkan Korkmaz||SG||Anadolu Efes|
|13. Demetrius Jackson||PG||Notre Dame|
|14. Skal Labissiere||PF/C||Kentucky|
|15. Denzel Valentine||SG||Michigan State|
|16. Domantas Sabonis||PF/C||Gonzaga|
|17. Marquese Chris||PF||Washington|
|18. Deyonta Davis||PF/C||Michigan State|
|19. Diamond Stone||C||Maryland|
|20. Malik Beasley||SG||Florida State|
As one of the very few still on the Ben Simmons is the #1 player in the draft bandwagon, this last 2 month stretch by Brandon Ingram has made it impossible to ignore and has now played himself into my #1 spot. I’ll probably still flip-flop 100 hundred more times and then another couple thousand times leading up to the draft.
Talk about another player that has been hard ignore, Buddy Hield’s evolution has been well documented but I was waiting for something to happen in the tournament and right on cue Buddy scores 29 points in the second half. He would be a top 5 player if he were about 2-3 years younger but with him being a senior, it lowers his ceiling considerably.
Jamal Murray stepped in a huge way in the SEC tournament and March Madness and has now shot a arrow straight through Kris Dunn’s draft stock. Now Dunn did most of that himself with his quiet play for some time now. His 29 point performance against UNC was more like the Dunn that we have seen before. Murray managed to capitalize on his poor performance later on in the season and is currently the top guard in the draft. Remember, he is still a freshman.
Sleeper European prospect: Timothe Luwawu. He is a potential 2 way wing that his very athletic and long. He is a bit on the older side by being 20 years old but he still is amazing athletic kid that passes surprisingly well. His jumpshot is very inconsistent but it is good enough to where it isn’t a major con. He is going to create a lot of buzz during workouts.
The contract situation with Bender causes problems for him because he might not be able to come play in the NBA until the 19-20 season because the contract he signed doesn’t let him opt out until the 4th year. That may scare teams away but the kid is ultra-talented and is deserving of all the hype he gets. He is very versatile because of his smooth stroke and 7″1′ body.
I happen to be one of the very few high on Rabb as I still have him in the top 6 because his ceiling is still quite high and was the best player on Cal for the beginning of the season. His mid-range shot and rim running gives him plenty of upside with only needing additional bulk.
Skal’s roller-coaster season has been one of the few times a player’s stock free falls after all the preseason hype. Draft Express had Skal at #1 before college play started but from the start he has failed to live up to that. There is still plenty of upside with him as he has one of the prettiest strokes from a big that has ever been seen. The entire motion is so smooth and effortless, not to mention he is still a good rim runner and has played better defense than his frame dictates. Skal is as raw as it gets but the potential is still insanely high.
As the Simmons hype train has slowed down considerably, the Ingram hype is at full force at the moment because of his great March Madness performance. All of his strength were put on display during college basketball’s biggest stage. The length, the jumpshot, the form, the playmaking, and even more tattoos. He brought it all to the table as if saying ” Fuck you Ben Simmons, I’m going to be the #1 pick”- (the way young Kobe would put it). Oh yeah, Brandon Ingram is the real deal.
What better way to close out than with the most polarizing prospect in this draft, Mr. I can’t shoot to save my life, Ben Simmons. The words “you can’t shoot” must be drilled into his brain by now because there is not one person that doesn’t ask him about it daily. The reason he fell was Ingram’s improved play, it is not because of his academics because they don’t matter( although @19yanks23 will give you 100 reasons why it makes him mad). In the end, dropping to #2 is one of the best things that could happen to him because it may light a fire that he seems to be lacking at the moment.