Apr. 08, 2018
FullerMetrics NBA Draft Big Board 2.0: Post-March Madness Edition
Since my first mock draft, March Madness has come and gone. Players like Villanova's Jalen Brunson and UCLA's Aaron Holiday boosted their stock with a fantastic showing throughout the tournament, where other players like Wichita State's Landry Shamet had poor showings, hurting their draft value. Anfernee Simons is skipping college to enter, whereas potential lottery pick Daniel Gafford is returning to Arkansas for another year to develop. The decisions on "Should I stay or should I go?" will be rolling in day-by-day now, but with one of the craziest tournaments ever now in the books, it's time for a fresh big board, and this one comes with tiers!
TIER 1: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona; and Luke Doncic, PG, Real Madrid (Slovenia)
1. DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona
Nothing changes here. Despite Arizona's poor showing in a bad first-round upset loss to #13 seed Buffalo, Ayton still showed his stuff. It wasn't his fault that his guards couldn't shoot down the stretch. With the pay-to-play scandal hopefully behind him, the need for difference-making bigs is greater than playmaking guards in today's NBA, making Ayton's stock more valuable than foreign superstar prospect Luca Doncic
2. Luka Doncic, PG, Real Madrid (Slovenia)
The newest video of Doncic, a 6'8" play creator who can score and distribute from the point, features the 18-year-old breaking ankles and nailing a step-back buzzer-beating 3-pointer for Real Madrid. He's not escaping the Top 3, no matter who ends up tanking the best.
TIER 2: Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke; Jaren Jackson, PF/C, Michigan State; Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas; and Michael Porter Jr. SF/PF, Missouri
3. Marvin Bagley III, PF/C, Duke
Bagley demonstrated his motor, rebounding, scoring and shot blocking abilities for Duke all the way through the Elite Eight. He did officially declare for the NBA draft, and he won't escape the Top 5.
4. Jaren Jackson Jr. PF/C, Michigan State
JJJ seemed invisible during Michigan State's short run in the tournament, but he's still almost 7' tall with a 7'4" wingspan, and demonstrated long-range shooting (40% 3-point), rebounding and shot blocking during an impressive regular season campaign. He officially declared, so he should hear his name called in picks 3-6.
5. Mohamed Bamba, C, Texas
Bamba is getting a lot of Rudy Gobert comparisons recently, and they're deserved. Mo is the best traditional Center in the draft, and his exquisite interior defense tool-set should translate impeccably at the next level. He won't escape the Top 6 either.
6. Michael Porter Jr., SF/PF, Missouri
Porter shot 5-17 in his copmeback game, and didn't look any better in Missouri's first-round loss. There are also questions about his work ethic and overall mental fortitude. He isn't a guaranteed Top 3 pick like he used to be, but the versatile 6'10" forward with game like Ben Simmons will still land between picks 4-8.
TIER 3: Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama; Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke; Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova; Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma; and Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
7. Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama
Sexton use both the SEC and NCAA Tournament to make a name for himself, showing high-scoring explosiveness and pesky defense. At this point, he looks more NBA-ready than Trae Young, and might have a higher upside as well. He'll find himself on stage between picks 7-10
8. Wendell Carter Jr., C, Duke
Carter's skills as a rebounder and shot blocker showed again during Duke's run to the Elite Eight. If he flashes his potential as a jump shooter all over the court during the draft process, just like he did during the regular season, he'll guarantee hearing his name during picks 7-10.
9. Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova
Bridges was critical in Villanova's second championship in three years. His ability to guard every position on the floor extremely well combined with his play-creating and clutch 3-point shooting was on full display, demonstrating just how much of a two-way threat he truly is. He may just have an upside of Kawhi Leonard. He'll land between picks 7-10.
10. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma
Trae Young showed his playmaking, crazy range scoring ability in Oklahoma's opening-round loss to Rhode Island, but the face of the team led Oklahoma to a mediocre 18-14 record. He's a flashy entertainer, but he's not a winner. His turnover troubles also raise concerns at the next level. He's not a Top 5 pick anymore, but he should hear his name in the 8-12 pick range.
11. Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State
Bridges makes up for his 6'6" frame with freak athleticism, stingy defense, and shot creating abilities. The ball handling and passing abilities round out a good skill set, one that will guarantee his mid-lottery status.
TIER 4: Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky; Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky; and Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
12. Kevin Knox, SF/PF, Kentucky
Knox was one of the best players on a good Sweet 16 Kentucky team. His playmaking and shot creating abilities were on full display. However, he still got exposed defensively, and his range (5-18 = 27.8% from 3) wasn't great. He's 6'9" and sturdy, so someone could teach him defense. However, there's apparently a good chance he comes back for another year learning under Coach Calipari. If he goes, the upside of a true scorer on the wing keeps him as a lottery pick lock.
13. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG/SG, Kentucky
The 6'6" combo-guard started the season on the bench, but put up 21.8 PPG and 5.4 APG in the tournament, while keeping his 40%+ 3-point percentage alive. He can pass, create plays, and score via driving or the long ball. He could come back, but if he leaves early, his incredible potential helps his case in rounding out the lottery picks.
14. Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M
Williams' production was limited this season, mostly due to Texas A&M playing him out of position far too frequently. The board-crashing, pick-and-roll-finishing abilities combined with natural shot blocking ability and his 6'9", sturdy frame draw a deserved Clint Capela comparison. He's the last guaranteed lottery pick in this class.
TIER 5: Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, None (USA); Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami; Mitchell Robinson, C, None (USA); and Dzanan Musa, SF, Cedevita (Bosnia);
15. Anfernee Simons, PG/SG, None (USA)
Simons has a lot of question marks surrounding his future, but he's 6'4" with crazy athleticism. He creates an exception amount of space for his pull-up shot, of which he goes on crazy scoring streaks. His defensive game is a mystery, but the Brandon Jennings-like 19-year-old should land in picks 15-20.
16. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami
Walker is athletic with tenacious defense and an innate clutch gene. He just isn't consistent. If someone can straighten his game out, they could get an efficient two-way Shooting Guard coming off the bench very soon. He's officially declared, and he should take the stage between picks 16-20.
17. Mitchell Robinson, C, None (USA)
The 6'11" Robinson possesses length, athleticism and natural shot-blocking prowess. Yes, he's far from being NBA ready. Like Simons, he'll go pro without ever touching a college court, and look how long it's taking Thon Maker to come along. However, Robinson is also has the highest efficiency rating in AAU history. That alone should give him cause in landing in the Top 20.
18. Dzanan Musa, SF, Cedevita (Bosnia)
Musa obviously didn't play in the NCAA tournament, but he's a natural scorer with a solid 6'9" build and elite production to match. Bojan Bogdonovic 2.0 will likely hear his name before the last third of the first round rolls along.
TIER 6: Troy Brown, SG, Oregon; Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State; Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton; Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA; Zhaire Smith, SG/SF, Texas Tech; Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State; Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri; Bruce Brown, SG, Miami; and Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova
19. Troy Brown, SG, Oregon
The 6'7" Shooting Guard defended well from everywhere in Oregon's short NIT run. His overall offensive game is raw, and being one of the youngest prospects in the draft can be seen as a negative in NBA-readiness or a positive in high potential. His effort on both sides of the ball could possibly clinch his first-rounder status.
20. Chandler Hutchison, SG/SF, Boise State
Boise State missed the NCAA tournament, but Hutchison's stock still improved as teams looked as his dual-threat development in his senior campaign. He can now shoot and defend from the perimeter as well as anyone in this draft class. The lack of natural perimeter-defending wings should help him land between picks 19-24.
21. Khyri Thomas, SG, Creighton
Thomas is only 6'3", but his 6'11" wingspan and high motor make him an elite defender against guards and forwards at the next level. He's also a decent shooter, efficient passer, and leaves it all on the floor. A playoff team in the early 20's
22. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA
Holiday developed nicely throughout his senior year, and although UCLA lost their play-in game to St. Bonaventure, Holiday held his own. He's 6'1" with a 6'7" wingspan, and his leadership and playmaking abilities should translate well coming off the bench of a playoff team in the latter portion of the first round.
23. Zhaire Smith, SG/SF, Texas Tech
Smith wasn't in my Top 60 at all before the tournament, but Smith skyrocketed his draft stock with an incredible tournament run leading Texas Tech. The 6'5" winger's athleticism was known when scouted, but his 3-point shooting (45%) and highlight-reel dunks were a nice surprise. He'll be a nice, quick bench piece for whatever playoff team takes him in the early 20's range of the first round.
24. Keita Bates-Diop, SF, Ohio State
Bates-Diop grewe significantly in his junior campaign, demonstrating leadership and bettering pretty much every skill on the floor. The athleticism and high motor on both ends of the court is much desired off the bench of a good early-20's-picking team.
25. Jontay Porter, PF/C, Missouri
The lesser of Missouri's Porter Bros wasn't expect to declare early, considering he fell short of 10 Points Per Game in his Freshman campaign, but now it's looking more like a 50/50 chance. If he does leave, he's a 6'10" big with a solid build and a 36%+ 3-Point rate, so a team somewhere in the 20's would take a gamble on his dual-threat upside.
26. Bruce Brown, SG, Miami
In an injury-shortened campaign, Brown's solid perimeter defense, natural passing ability and intensity shined. His shooting needs plenty of improvement, keeping him from from being a potential lottery pick, but his perimeter defense alone will prevent him from escaping the first round.
27. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova
Just like I predicted, Brunson won the Naismith and led his team to a National Championship. He can shoot from anywhere on the floor, especially when it matters most. Think of a shorter Malcolm Brogdon. That 6'1"/6'3" height/wingspan ratio will make some teams wary, but he's earned his spot as a guaranteed first-round.
TIER 7: De'Anthony Melton, PG/SG, USC; Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati; Melvin Frazier, SG/SF, Tulane; Shake Milton, PG/SG, SMU; Gary Trent, SG, Duke; Devonte' Graham, PG, Kansas; Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV; Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State; Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky; Chimezie Metu, C, USC; Trevon Duval, PG, Duke; Tony Carr, PG, Penn State; Grayson Allen, PG/SG, Duke; Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona
28. De'Anthony Melton, PG/SG, USC
Melton withdrew from USC in February, amidst a bribery scandal that Melton was never specifically mentioned in. During his two years in SoCal, he showcased an extremely high motor paired with grit and consistently good on-ball defense. In 2017, he was the NCAA’s only player to average at least 5 assists, 8 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes. The versatility is obvious, and depending on how the draft process develops, he could see his name rounding out the first round
29. Jacob Evans, SF, Cincinnati
Evans is 6'6" with a solid frame and proven scoring ability from anywhere on the court. His mental fortitude and maturity grew immensely this past season, and he's a good enough defender for some to consider him a two-way threat, either landing in the late first or early second round.
30. Melvin Frazier, SG/SF, Tulane
Frazier arrived at Tulane with incredible length (7' wing span) and athleticism, but he'll be leaving with incredible stealing ability and a polished offensive game. A dual threat on the wing could boost any team's bench, and he might just be the first player in Tulane history to be selected in the first round.
31. Shake Milton, G, SMU
32. Gary Trent, SG, Duke
33. Devonte' Graham, PG, Kansas
34. Brandon McCoy, C, UNLV
35. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State
36. Hamidou Diallo, SG, Kentucky
37. Chimezie Metu, PF/C, USC
38. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke
39. Tony Carr, PG, Penn State
40. Grayson Allen, PG/SG, Duke
41. Rawle Alkins, SG, Arizona
42. Jalen Hudson, SG, Florida
43. Rodions Kurucs, SF, FC Barcelona (Latvia)
44. Elie Okobo, PG, Pau-Orthez (France)
45. Moritz Wagner, PF/C, Michigan
46. Jevon Carter, PG, West Virginia
47. Tyus Battle, SG/SF, Syracuse
48. De'Andre Hunter, SF, Virginia
49. Isaac Bonga, SG/SF, Fraport Frankfurt (Germany)
50. Keenan Evans, PG/SG, Texas Tech
51. Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG, Kansas
52. Goga Bitadze, C, Mega Leks (Rep. of Georgia)
53. Arnoldas Kulbolka, SF, Brose Bamberg (Lithuania)
54. Malik Newman, SG, Kansas
55. Gary Clark, SF/PF, Cincinnati
56. Kerwin Roach, PG/SG, Texas
57. Allonzo Trier, SG, Arizona
58. Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin
59. P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky
60. Josh Okogie, SG, Georgia Tech