36. Tyus Battle
G/F – Syracuse
Battle feels like a hand-me-down version of a player we’ve seen a million times already. Syracuse wing. Decent but not great shooter. Gets buckets. Draws a lot of contact. Unsure how his defense will stack up after playing zone in college.
It’s enough of a package to see a future for Battle at the next level, if he can defend his position.
37. Lindell Wigginton
G – Iowa State
The Cyclones were a talented team this season, like a Swiss Army knife of options for Steve Prohm to play with offensively. Wigginton was the microwave on the roster, heating up at a moment’s notice.
In two seasons in Ames, Wigginton shot 40 percent from beyond the arc, often taking looks that were contested, well outside the arc, or off the dribble. Aside from that, he’s a mediocre ball-handler, ceding those duties to better dribbling and passing guards while at Iowa State. His defense is satisfactory but nothing more.
For Wigginton to build an NBA career, he’ll need to be a floor spacer and a secondary creator. It’s hard to see him greatly changing any of his other skills, given his age as an oddly old sophomore, having already turned 21-years old.
38. Miye Oni
G/F – Yale
I loved me some Miye Oni this season. He looked like a man amongst boys at times playing in the Ivy League. His athleticism was unmatched by nearly every opponent Yale faced in conference.
Against high-major opponents, Oni looked the part as well. As a freshman, in his first ever collegiate game, Oni scored 24 points at Washington. As a sophomore he had 18 points and 6 rebounds at TCU. This season he had a 12 point, 9 rebound, and 5 assist game against Duke at Cameron Indoor. He also hung 29 points on Miami (FL).
Everything looked like he would continue to impress and potentially earn his way into the early second round.
Then Yale made the NCAA Tournament and played LSU.
Oni played all 40 minutes. He shot 2 for 16 from the field and made just 1 of the 10 threes he attempted. Overall, he played a fine floor game, but just came up absolutely empty shooting the ball. He was often open and simply failed to convert. It’s a make or miss game and sometimes the shots don’t go down.
That’s the only way to look at that dismal performance, because Oni is a good shooter. At Yale he was a 36 percent outside shooter on 489 attempts. He made almost 80 percent of his free throws this season.
He just happened to go ice freezing frigid cold for the biggest game of this life. I can’t hold that against him. Everything else I’ve seen from Oni screams “NBA rotation player”.
39. Dylan Windler
F – Belmont
Teams in need of a shooter will give Windler a hard, hard look as early as the late first round. Over his last two seasons at Belmont, Windler attempted 350 longballs and made 43 percent of those tries.
Offensively, that’s pretty much all you get from Windler. He’s not going to do much with the ball in his hands at the next level and he’s not a high-level passer.
He does rebound exceptionally well for his position, grabbing 11 per game this year as a 6-foot-8 forward. That’s indicative of his athletic ability and springiness around the rim. He shows that now and again on a dunk or assertive rebound.
That athletic ability should mean Windler can keep pace defensively while earning his minutes with his shooting stroke.
40. Ignas Brazdeikis
F – Michigan
The Lithuanian-born, Canadian-raised forward presents an interesting case to sneak into the back of the first round. His height, at 6-foot-7, leaves him straddling the two forward positions.
Brazdeikis has an outside jump shot that sets up everything else he looks to do offensively. He shot 39 percent from long range during his freshman season, allowing him to explore chances to attack closeouts and get to the rim. Brazdeikis was skilled at doing so, with a firm handle on the ball and aggressiveness at the point of attack. That aggressiveness was a detriment at times, leading to tunnel vision while driving. Brazdeikis had only 31 assists in 37 college games.
His fate will be decided on the defensive end of the floor. Questions linger about whether Brazdeikis is a classic “tweener” or if he has positional flexibility. Is he too slow to chase 3s on the perimeter? Is he too small to bang with power forwards inside? If the answer to both questions is “No, not even a little bit,” his career is in trouble. If he can master one of those two or adequately handle both to even a minor degree, there’s a place for him on the floor.
41. Simi Shittu
F/C – Vanderbilt
After Darius Garland got hurt, Shittu’s season went down the Shittu, if you’ll allow me a terrible pun. Even with more to handle offensively, Shittu’s efficiency and counting numbers took a hit without Garland.
That makes sense, given Shittu’s game. He’s an athletic big man, perfect for lobs and transition baskets. He’s got really swift feet for his size, as he showed with this steal and slam:
Without his team’s primary playmaker, I’m willing to take the rest of his season with a grain of salt. He’s big, athletic, and young at just 19-years old. There are two red flags holding me back from thinking he’s worth a first-round flier.
First, he can’t shoot at all. He shot under 58 percent at the line and was just 1 of 18 from outside the arc this season. In his first 16 college games, he was 0 for 11 from outside. Why was he even shooting them?
Second, there are questions about his motor and his intensity. Without Garland on the floor, in the midst of a 19-game losing streak, that’s almost expected. I’d be curious how he competes in draft workouts to see if the fire is inside him somewhere.
42. Phil Booth
G – Villanova
In the five years we saw Booth play at Villanova, we got plenty of chances to see his skills on hand. He’s a gritty defender that should be able to cover both guard positions, even though he’s only 6-foot-3. Booth is a strong ball handler as well. Maybe he’s not a full-time pure point guard, but he has the chops to run an offense in a pinch.
This season he was pressed to be Villanova’s leading scorer, a role he took to surprisingly well. At 23 years old, you’d expect to see that kind of growth in a player. Now moving to the pros, his days as a primary scoring option are behind him. NBA teams will want Booth to stretch the floor with his outside shot and attack the paint for floaters and kick-outs. The latter shouldn’t be too much of an issue. Booth is a smart player who drives with his eyes up and his floater frequently dropped in softly.
Booth’s shooting is more of a question. He finished his collegiate career as a 37 percent outside shooter. That included some ups and downs, with plenty of hot and cold streaks. His freshman year Booth made a smidge under half of his threes. The following season, his percentage dipped below 32 percent. To stay productive in the NBA, Booth will need his outside shots to go down, otherwise he’s not bringing enough to the table offensively.
43. Jared Harper
G – Auburn
As the Tigers made their run to the Final Four, Harper’s draft stock improved to the point where he felt comfortable staying in the draft this year. The major question about his chances in the NBA has always been his size. At the combine, Harper measured under 5-foot-10 without shoes.
Players that size can make it in the NBA, but they have to possess the right combination of skills to make-up for their stature. Harper’s wingspan is a good start, at over 6-foot-5 per combine data. That helps Harper play like a taller, longer player.
His foot speed is also key, putting Harper one step ahead of opposing players. Because his height will make getting a good shot off even tougher, Harper needs his ability to get where he needs to go a split second faster than most.
Harper still needs to improve as a shooter. He increased his outside shooting from 34 percent his first two years at Auburn to 37 percent (on 6 attempts per game) this past season. With the kind of stroke to hit 82 percent from the free throw line, there’s certainly a chance for Harper to develop into an assassin from long range. If he does, that further helps compensate for his diminutive size and could lead to a lengthy NBA career.
44. Nic Claxton
F/C – Georgia
Not many players in this class have made a more recent rise than Claxton, who has seemingly shot up draft boards into the first round.
I’m not quite buying the hype. People have praised Claxton as a project player, who has shown the skills to develop into an intriguing playmaking big when the ball is in his hands. In two years at Georgia, however, Claxton has just 64 assists to 90 turnovers. Even if he might possess the underlying skills to improve upon that issue, Claxton is already 20 years old. If we were going to see a flash of something special, we should have by now.
He’s still valuable as a rangy rim protector, who does have a chance to blossom into something more. I just happen to see the lid on that something lower than many others.
45. Tacko Fall
C – UCF
In 2019’s NBA, where centers are being run off of the floor and every prospect over 6-foot-5 seems to be mentioned as a possible small-ball five, logically, there wouldn’t be much value in a 7-foot-7 Goliath.
Tacko Fall feels different. Every time he stepped on the floor for UCF, everything changed. For the Knights and for their opponents, the game was different.
He made even Zion Williamson and Duke change and think and react to his presence. Had Fall not struggled with foul trouble in that game, the Knights could have stolen the upset.
Fall is not your typical 7-footer. He is a FOOT taller than Draymond Green. Asking even a normal center to battle Fall in the paint is like asking a shooting guard to deal with a traditional big man. He is more than seven and a half feet tall. His standing reach is 10-foot-2. His wingspan is 8-foot-2.
He affects every shot within 12 feet of the basket when he is on the floor. Fall had the 12th best block rate in the nation this season and affected countless other attempts.
Your choices in the second round are simple. There are guards, wings, and big men who all have their respective skills and weaknesses, but who all are doing things relatively similar to one another. The wings available as undrafted free agents aren’t very far off from what you’re finding when drafting in the 40’s and 50’s.
There’s only one Tacko Fall. He’s the only true wild card available. Some teams are just looking for the safe play. There should be one team willing to try Tacko.
46. Naz Reid
F – LSU
Welcome to one of this draft’s biggest head-scratchers. Reid has the talent to have been picked as early as the late lottery. He’s a 19-year old 6-foot-10 freshman who can step out to shoot the three and protect the rim. That sentence alone would make most NBA scouts salivate. Reid is also an instinctual rebounder and a gifted roll or pop man as a screener.
Digging deeper into the tape and the information available about Reid is where the red flags start to pop up. He’s a low motor player, often disappearing for long stretches of games. His season included four games of 26+ points and four games of 6 or fewer points.
Whispers about his commitment to the sport and his competitive nature began to crop up. The NBA combine did not silence those questions. Reid had the highest body fat percentage at the NBA combine at 14.0 percent. None of the nearly 70 other players tested at the combine measured above even 10 percent body fat.
Those are major problems. I’d understand avoiding Reid. Yet for the teams stuck in the NBA’s wheel of mediocrity, I can empathize with the chance to draft a potential All-Star in the second round.
47. Jontay Porter
F/C – Missouri
From one prospect with interesting questions surrounding him to another. Porter has an interesting backstory. After his brother, Michael Porter Jr. of the Denver Nuggets, chose to attend Missouri prior to last season, Jontay decided to re-classify, graduate high school, and also attend Missouri a year earlier than expected.
Michael dealt with mysterious injuries during the brothers’ shared freshman season, while Jontay pleasantly surprised Tiger fans. He has legitimate center size but is light on his feet and showed himself able to stretch the floor with a nice jump shot.
Michael ended up playing seven total collegiate games before being taken in the lottery last June, on his sheer talent rather than what he’d shown in a shaky stretch at Missouri. Injuries continued to bother Michael and he missed this entire NBA season.
Jontay, meanwhile, tore his ACL and MCL in preseason practice this October, causing him to miss the entire season.
So if you’re keeping track, we’ve got two brothers who have played a combined 40 games out of a possible 180 games in their last two respective seasons. Is it fair to lump Jontay’s injury, which seems more like a one-time fluke situation, in with his brother’s chronic issues? No, probably not.
At the end of the day, Jontay Porter is 19-years old, big, and skilled. That’s worth taking despite any risks at this point in the draft.
48. Ky Bowman
G – Boston College
Every year at BC, Bowman was expected to make a leap that would make him one of the best players in the ACC or have him shoot up draft boards. For a variety of reasons, it never really happened.
That’s not necessarily a knock on Bowman. He’s still a super athlete for his size, can shoot from unlimited range, and is a tough-minded defensive player. That recipe should be enough to contribute off the bench in the NBA, with that leap potential still bubbling under the surface.
49. Charlie Brown
F – St. Joseph’s
It was hard to get a read on Brown this year, with St. Joe’s shuffling lineups and dealing with injuries all season long. Even through all of that, it’s impossible not to see what Brown brings to the table. He’s a 6-foot-8, long and athletic forward who can score from every level.
He’s not a strong passer or facilitator, but at this stage in the draft, that’s less of an issue. The right coaching staff should be able to mold Brown into a secondary scorer and strong defender.
50. Zylan Cheatham
F – Arizona State
The former San Diego State transfer is an interesting player. He sniffs out rebounds very well for a 6-foot-8 wing player, hauling in 12.7 boards per 40 minutes. Cheatham is also a very adept passer, particularly in transition or kicking out of the paint.
His size and tools make him a prime candidate for a 3-and-D type at the next level, especially after shooting 44 percent from outside the arc this year. That number, however, is a misnomer with a sample size of just 25 attempts. He could grow into a reliable shooter, but that remains to be seen if he can sharpen his mechanics and feel more comfortable taking long balls from NBA range.
At his age, turning 24 in November, he’s behind the curve, though he has a real chance to develop into a useless cog in someone’s rotation.
51. Jordan Bone
G – Tennessee
Bone had a strong junior season in Knoxville, quarterbacking one of the nation’s best teams while averaging 13.5 points and 5.8 assists. Without a consistently strong outside jump shot, Bone’s NBA chances seemed like a long shot.
Then he attended and dominated the NBA Draft Combine. No player helped themselves more during the athletic testing portion of the combine than Bone. He had the fastest lane agility drill, the fastest shuttle run, the fourth fastest three-quarter court sprint, and the highest standing vertical leap at 36 inches. In fact, his time in the lane agility drill was the first time under 10 seconds tested at the combine since 2002.
Bone is a smart player and clearly athletic enough to make his mark. That should be enough to make it in the NBA as a third guard.
52. Quinndary Weatherspoon
G – Mississippi State
An under the radar player with a nice recipe for success. Weatherspoon averaged double-figure scoring all four years he played in Starkville, plus averaged 1.5 steals per game in his career thanks to quick feet and fast hands defensively. He has a silky jumper (40 percent from deep this year) and his size should make him a versatile third guard. Weatherspoon measured 6-foot-4 with a 6-foot-9 wingspan at the combined and carries a weight of over 200 pounds well. I like his chances to contribute to a winning team.
53. Kyle Guy
G – Virginia
Anyone who watched college basketball this season is both familiar with Kyle Guy and knows exactly how he can succeed at the NBA level – with his jump shot.
Even while playing in Tony Bennett’s glacially paced offense, Guy was able to show off incredible range and the ability to hit threes on the move.
His combine performance provided mixed results for teams interested in Guy. He measured under 6-foot-3 in shoes and was the lightest player weighed at the combine at just 167 pounds. That could be disastrous defensively. Guy was quick in the athletic testing though, running the third best lane agility drill.
The hope for Guy is that he can defend point guards on one end of the floor and make up for any defensive mistakes with long balls at the other end. I worry about his body size and strength right now even when guarding players his height.
54. Terance Mann
G/F – Florida State
Like other current and former Seminoles, Mann got chewed up a bit by Leonard Hamilton’s tendency to spread minutes and play as many as 10 or 11 players in a game. Even as a senior when Mann led the team in minutes played, it never felt like he was given enough responsibility within the offense. He’s not an A+ scorer, but with the ball in his hands, Mann is super crafty and has fantastic court vision.
He showed that at the G-League Draft Combine, where most observers agreed that Mann was one of the best players on the court. NBA teams then vote on who from that camp they’d like to see move up to the main NBA combine. Mann and the media were shocked to see that he was not included on the list of rising prospects. Until of course many executives admitted to sandbagging the voting process. Why see more from a player that you already know you loved? That might just let the secret out.
Mann might be worth the whispers, if he shoots more like he did this season (39 percent on threes) than he had early in his career (sub-30 percent from long range in his first three seasons).
55. Sagaba Konate
C – West Virginia
Ten years ago, Konate would legitimately have had a better chance of going pro in the NFL than the NBA. Standing only 6-foot-8 and best suited for the center position would have had him laughed off most draft boards.
Now though, teams are looking for a player like Konate. He can switch and move defensively and is a monster of verticality at the rim. Konate averaged more than 5 blocks per 40 minutes last season, including some highlight reel swats:
Having made 76 percent from the free throw line in college, Konate will look like a good defender with a chance to develop a 3-point shot to at least one team drafting in the second round.
56. Mike Daum
F/C – South Dakota State
Even if you’re a real draftnik, that name might not ring a bell. I should know. I’ve been scouring and scrolling big boards and mock drafts looking for someone else who believes in Daum like I do.
If you’re a college basketball nerd, Daum needs no introduction. He’s been one of the nation’s best players for the last four years, absolutely tearing the Summit League to shreds.
That’s exactly why I find his complete absence from every draft board puzzling. At my heart, I’m a college basketball lover. And while I can totally see the upside, ceilings, floors, and the limitations of older players and small school guys, it’s just such a tough pill to swallow to accept that a player who scored 3,000 points in Division I can’t make it in the NBA. Daum scored 800+ points and grabbed 280+ rebounds three years in a row. He shot 41 percent from long range on 660 attempts from outside the arc.
At 6-foot-9 and 235 pounds, NBA teams either peg Daum as far too slow to play the four or too small to play the five. In today’s game, with everyone scaling down for small ball, I think he’d stand a chance at center. His slow feet might hurt him on defense, but Daum will pick and pop people to death offensively. I’m envisioning a slower Channing Frye and thinking that’s worth one of the 15 seats on an NBA bench.
Even if that’s not the case, I’d rather be wrong believing it than accept the alternative. Mike Daum is my Santa Claus, Tooth Fairy, and Easter Bunny. At this point in the draft, I’ll take my chances with some magic.
57. Justin Wright-Foreman
G – Hofstra
Despite smaller stature (6-foot-2, 190 lbs), Wright-Foreman has a chance to succeed at the next level because he’s mastered the skills he’ll need to do so. This season, the senior hit 43 percent from beyond the arc, making him a more attractive small guard option that a player like Tremont Waters from LSU, who appears a few spots lower in these rankings.
58. Garrison Matthews
G – Lipscomb
If Matthews was listed at 6-foot-7, he’d slide up these rankings by at least five spots. Alas, he’s only 6-foot-5, calling into question his role at the next level. He’s a really strong shooter, having made 38 percent of the 900 career threes he attempts in four years in college.
His pro career will hinge on his ability to defend. At 6-foot-5, he’ll need to do his best JJ Redick impression, surviving against quicker guards and battling when players try to post him up. He has the killer instinct to make that happen to a certain degree, even if can’t reach the same type of heights as Redick.
59. John Konchar
G – Purdue-Fort Wayne
Scroll up to the Mike Daum blurb and copy/paste it down here. Konchar finished his career with 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, 500 assists, and 200 steals. He was the first player to do that in a college basketball career since…
Well, no one. He broke the mold on that stat. The first EVER. The best players used to stay in college for four years and no one else hit those marks.
As for his pro prospects, Konchar is a good shooter at 42 percent from long range in his illustrious career. He’ll also bring the motor and intangibles of a player with a historically unprecedented college stat sheet, which is nice.
60. Max Strus
G/F – DePaul
He has the body to compete at the next level and a nose for making the right play at the right time. Strus was indispensable at DePaul, sorely missed any time he wasn’t on the floor.
In order to make an impact at the next level, he’ll need to upgrade from good shooting to great, when called upon as a catch-and-shoot secondary option.
61. Eric Paschall
F – Villanova
I’m low on Paschall for a few reasons.
First, I think he gets a lot of credit for being a great athlete when I think he’s more of an above average athlete. He had his way physically sometimes in college but was already fully developed at 22-years old, beating up on teenagers.
Second, his body type feels more like a “tweener” without a true position than one with tons of positional flexibility. He measured 6-foot-6 in socks at the combine, but was also weighed as the fourth heaviest player at the combine, tipping the scale at 254 pounds. At 6.3 percent body fat, that’s not a concern with conditioning, but with how he’s able to use and carry that frame.
Lastly, he’s a much more interesting player if he has a useful outside shot. He was a 31 percent shooter in college but he’s got questionable mechanics. Few players jump as high as Paschall when attempting a jump shot, leading to a slow, methodical release. The height of his release point allows him to rise up above college defenders, but I question the effectiveness of that motion at the next level.
Even if he can hang around because he works hard and knows the game, I struggle to see anything more from Paschall.
62. Tremont Waters
G – LSU
In order to believe in the shortest player in this draft class (among players invited to the combine), he has to have a lot of other things going in his favor. Waters does, with high end ball handling skills, good shooting, the requisite floater game for a guy his size, and some of the fastest feet in this draft. Waters ran the third fastest sprint time at the combine.
When he uses that speed to push and maneuver the offense to a scoring chance, he’s really effective, especially when he’s making shots from outside the arc. The difference between Waters’ effectiveness when he made 6 of 10 threes against Texas A&M and his 1 for 9 outside shooting night versus Houston is clear and obvious.
63. Charles Matthews
G/F – Michigan
Physically, it’s easy to see why teams like Matthews. He’s 6-foot-6 with a +3 wingspan and a quick first step. He was one of the main reasons Michigan’s defense has been so solid the last two years.
On the downside, he’s already 22-years old and can’t really shoot yet. If a team can tweak his mechanics and turn him into a threat from the corner, maybe he survives as a feisty 8th or 9th man.
64. Corey Davis, Jr.
G – Houston
Really hard for a 6-foot-1 guy who is not a true point guard to make it at the next level. For Davis to stick in the league, he’s got to shoot the lights out and be an absolute gnat on the defensive end. He made 40 percent of his deep balls at Houston and was a pesky defender, so the formula is there.
65. Fletcher Magee
G – Wofford
At a certain point, just forget everything else. Fletcher Magee can shoot a basketball into a 10-foot high iron ring. He can do it falling, flying, running, spinning, fading. Anything. He can flat-out shoot. If a coach needed him to shoot upside down, he’d figure it out by the end of practice. If a GM wants to out Moreyball the Rockets, shove Fletcher out there and tell him to fire away.
66. Ethan Happ
F/C – Wisconsin
At this point, you could play a drinking game and sip every time I overrate a great college player with super limited prospects at the NBA level.
Well, drink up.
Ethan Happ is a BRILLIANT, genius-level defensive player. He led the Big Ten in steals and steal rate twice as a 6-foot-10 center. Offensively, he made more 2-point baskets in his career than any other Big Ten player since 1993.
Problem is, he can’t shoot a lick and crafty baby hooks don’t get you far at the next level. My dream is one team can see past the stereotypes of a Midwestern white big man and see him as a rim-running, paint protecting center. Can he be like, if you injected Captain Steve Rogers’ brain into JaVale McGee, basically?
67. Shamorie Ponds
G – St. John’s
Late in the draft, teams are hunting for role players. Ponds ain’t that. He’s a shoot first, shoot second, shoot third point guard. When he is making shots and beating defenders off the dribble, he’s an exciting offensive player. I doubt his ability to recalibrate those skills into being a catch-and-shoot player or the third or fourth option to score in a particular lineup. Ponds will head overseas and thrive.
68. Dedric Lawson
F – Kansas
There’s just not a path for a below the rim, back-to-the-basket big man to succeed in today’s NBA. Lawson has some other skills. His shooting touch is pretty soft and he can defend the rim pretty well for his size. That being said, none of those skills are elite enough to make-up for his physical limitations. Unless the Spurs or Warriors draft him, in which case I reserve the right to totally change this ranking and my opinion on Lawson. A team like that may be able to re-tool his game into something that works in the modern game.
69. Justin Robinson
G – Virginia Tech
You’ll find few guys who love a high-IQ, tough-nosed point guard more than I do. With that being said, there’s an uphill climb for Robinson to make it as a pro. He’s only 6-foot-2 and he’s merely a good, but not great outside shooter. He’ll need to be one of the hardest workers in the league to carve out a career like a TJ McConnell or Tim Frazier, or develop more as a defender and shooter to blossom into the next Fred Van Vleet.
70. Jalen McDaniels
F – San Diego State
Remember all those previous sections about big men where I mentioned the athletic rim-runners that can be found late in the second round? Meet McDaniels. He doesn’t bring a ton of unique skills to the table, but he’s an NBA level athlete and has the body to compete at the next level. He’s not quite big enough to play center, but doesn’t shoot or move well enough to be a factor on the perimeter. With the right coaching, his ability to finish above the rim and attack off one dribble could make for a nice aggressive bench piece, not unlike Jerami Grant, who grew into a sharper, more skilled player in Oklahoma City.
Whew. Did you actually make it this far? Is there a prospect you were looking for that didn’t make our top 70? Submit any feedback or questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @PalestraBack.
Shane McNichol is the founder, editor, and senior writer at PalestraBack.com. He has also contributed to ESPN.com, Rush The Court, Larry Brown Sports, and USA Today Sports Weekly. Follow him on Twitter @OnTheShaneTrain. You can find every post from this blog on Twitter by following @PalestraBack.
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