The coverage leading up to the NBA Draft has mostly focused on Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram. With Simmons heading to the Sixers and Ingram likely on his way to the Lakers, the remaining teams will have to either trade picks or select from what’s been widely referred to as a weak draft class.
Even in drafts labeled as weak, there’s still the potential to hit on a mid first round pick like the Pacers did with Paul George, or the Warriors with Klay Thompson.
Here are 5 prospects that could make an impact.
Buddy Hield – Oklahoma SG, Senior (6’4” 215) – The Naismith winner is an elite shooter who racked up 25 a game in his last year at Oklahoma. His skillset is almost perfectly aligned with the current three point revolution in the NBA. Many projections have him going to the Timberwolves at #5, which would be an ideal fit.
Kris Dunn – Providence PG, Junior (6’4” 205) – A physical 6’4” all around point guard that put up 16 pts, 6 reb and 6 asst last year. The Big East Player of the Year is a mature, tough leader. He’s NBA ready and could be a franchise point guard in the mold of a Chris Paul. He could go as high as #3 to the Celtics, which wouldn’t make sense because they already have an established point guard in Isaiah Thomas. If they do pick him, he’ll likely be packaged in a trade. Dunn’s draft position will likely have a domino effect on how the rest of the first round plays out.
Jaylen Brown – California SF Freshman (6’7” 222) The freakishly talented wing player averaged 15 a game for a dysfunctional Cal team, and was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year. He has dominant physical tools and scoring that should translate to the NBA . Colin likes him as the steal of the draft outside of the top 5.
Domantas Sabonins – Gonzaga PF/C Sophomore (6’10” 231) The son of basketball great Arvydis Sabonis is a relentless rebounder and competitor that averaged a strong double double last year for the Zags (16 pts 10 reb). Immediately valuable as a rebounder and has a nice offensive game that should continue to improve. Mock drafts consistently have him coming off the board after 10.
Denzel Valentine – Michigan State SG Senior (6’6” 210) – The Big Ten Player of the Year averaged 19/7/7. He’s an all around beast and a triple double waiting to happen. Someone will have to take a chance on a 6’6” Michigan State Forward who has a genius basketball IQ and a tremendous all around floor game, but may not shoot well enough. Sounds a lot like a Draymond Green scouting report.