2018 NBA Draft: Top 50 Prospects to Watch for as New Season Begins

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterOctober 16, 2017

2018 NBA Draft: Top 50 Prospects to Watch for as New Season Begins

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    Al Goldis/Associated Press

    The 2017 NBA draft prospects raised the bar for star power and depth. And the early projected 2018 field appears capable of matching them.

    Scouts have already started making the rounds and attending practices in preparation for next June's draft.

    Our first big board of the season unsurprisingly is freshmen-heavy at the top. It reflects long-term NBA potential, so it's possible some of the following players will wind up staying and declaring in 2019.

Nos. 50-46

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    50. Andrew Jones (Texas, PG, Sophomore)

    Jones' 6'4" size and athleticism for a point guard suggest NBA potential, but 16.4 points and 5.1 assists per 40 minutes aren't enough. Neither is his 32.8 percent three-point mark. He'll start the year on the radar based on tools, speed and flashes, but Jones' skills must look sharper in 2017-18—from his shot-creating and playmaking to his shooting.

               

    49. Wenyen Gabriel (Kentucky, PF, Sophomore)

    One of the few returning Kentucky rotation players, Gabriel has a shot to make an NBA case with a bigger sophomore role. Scouts know about his nose for the ball and energy. They'll want to see his skill level jump, though. More flashes of faceup play and mid-range jumpers should do the trick.

                

    48. Omer Yurtseven (North Carolina State, C, Sophomore)

    Yurtseven's impact flickered too much last year. Now a 6'11" sophomore with experience at the NBA combine (where he performed well), he needs to make the jump from being a simple finisher and rim-runner to a more dominant post scorer and threatening offensive player. It wouldn't hurt to bring a little extra intensity and toughness to the paint, either.

              

    47. Lamar Peters (Mississippi State, PG, Sophomore)

    Peters turned heads after scoring 25 points last year against Kentucky. Then he averaged 15.8 points and 5.4 assists per game at Adidas Nations. Now he's on the breakout radar. A confident scoring point guard, Peters has the ball skills and game but needs more consistency and sharper execution. At 6'0", 188 pounds, He's not big or athletic.

               

    46. Bonzie Colson (Notre Dame, F/C, Senior)

    On paper, Colson isn't an NBA prospect. He's a 6'6", below-the-rim center. But he may have a shot in today's small-ball era. Colson made strides last year as a shooter, having hit 26 of 60 threes, up from 5-of-19 in his previous two seasons. He also averaged a double-double with 17.8 points and 10.1 rebounds per game. His calling card will be energy and rebounding, but Colson's improv offense—meaning he finds unique ways to score based on how the defense plays him—could translate as well.

Nos. 45-41

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    45. Allonzo Trier (Arizona, SG, Junior)

    Trier could have a giant season with Rawle Alkins now out until at least late December with a fracture in his right foot. He'll score his way into the NBA draft discussion, but he'd benefit from building on last year's improved playmaking skills. He more than doubled his assist percentage as a sophomore (7.6 to 16.6 percent) and needs to continue selling himself as a combo—not just a volume-scoring—2-guard.

            

    44. Landry Shamet (Wichita State, PG, Junior)

    Expected back by November after breaking his foot in July, Shamet is a breakout candidate who ended his sophomore year with a 20-point game against Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. More skilled than athletic, Shamet is on the map for his shooting (43.9 percent three-point percentage) and passing IQ, but he'd benefit stock-wise from improvement as a scorer and playmaker.

                 

    43. V.J. King (Louisville, SG, Sophomore)

    King shot the three well last year (16-of-38) but only played 13.5 minutes per game. He'll have a bigger role this year to work on his scoring repertoire. The 6'6", 190-pound King has good size and athleticism and can shoot, which puts him on the NBA radar. But he'll need to emerge as an effective go-to option for Louisville if he wants to draw first-round interest.

             

    42. PJ Washington (Kentucky, PF, Freshman)

    Washington's 7'3" wingspan opened eyes during Kentucky's pro day. At 236 pounds, he's strong and long, and he uses his body and arms to rebound and score with his back to the basket. The 6'7" Washington isn't explosive and plays mostly within 18 feet, limitations that point to a role-player ceiling.

                

    41. Kostja Mushidi (Germany, SG/SF, 1998)

    Mushidi has gradually fallen down the board, this time slipping for missing much of the summer and the start of the season for unknown health reasons. He has impressive physical tools, and last April, he led the World Team in scoring at the Nike Hoop Summit in front of dozens of scouts and executives. But too much inefficiency, as well as this mystery illness, raise concern.

Nos. 40-36

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    40. De'Anthony Melton (USC, G, Sophomore)

    Melton filled up box scores as a freshman with 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. He's a two-way playmaker capable of facilitating or forcing turnovers with pressure and anticipation. Melton does a little of everything, except for shoot the three well. Making more this year could get him into the first round.

              

    39. Austin Wiley (Auburn, C, Sophomore)

    More discomfort in Wiley's leg is concerning after he was supposedly recovered from an offseason stress fracture. He's coming off a strong showing at the FIBA U19 World Cup, where he averaged a double-double in fewer than 20 minutes per game. Wiley obviously needs to stay healthy and play, but assuming he gets back on the court, he'll draw looks for his physical presence, energy, nose for the ball and hands around the basket.

            

    38. Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1998)

    Robinson is worth tracking for scouts and NBA draft fans. But where? He left Western Kentucky to train, a risky move for an unproven prospect. He was a big-time recruit out of high school for his tremendous physical tools, athleticism and room for improvement. Now, he's a question mark.

             

    37. Shake Milton (SMU, PG/SG, Junior)

    Milton doesn't come off as a future star, but the boxes he checks still spell out NBA role player. He'll get looks for his passing and shooting. Milton, a 6'6" ball-handler, is a playmaking threat in the pick-and-roll game. And he's shot at least 42 percent from three in consecutive seasons at SMU. Milton brings strengths to the table the NBA covets. He'll just want to give scouts more than 14.1 points per 40 minutes as a junior.

                   

    36. John Petty (Alabama, SG, Freshman)

    Petty isn't as touted as backcourt partner Collin Sexton, so it should surprise fans and media when they see he's equally productive. With size for a 2-guard and a confident shooting stroke, Petty will benefit from all the attention Sexton draws at the point.

Nos. 35-31

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    35. Kris Wilkes (UCLA, SF, Freshman)

    Wilkes is raw and still needs work on creating his own shot and shooting threes. He may not be ready to declare by June. He's also one of the country's most explosive athletes and shows signs of scoring potential. Depending on how far away he looks, teams could be willing chase the upside and ignore freshman inefficiency or lack of production.

               

    34. Justin Jackson (Maryland, SF/PF, Sophomore)

    Jackson returns as a major breakout candidate after shooting 43.8 percent from three and earning an invite to the NBA combine. But he also shot 43.8 percent inside the arc. Did he add anything new over the summer? Jackson must show improvement as a scorer, defender and rebounder to create a more enticing all-around package for first-round teams.

             

    33. Tyus Battle (Syracuse, SG, Sophomore)

    The transfer of teammate Taurean Thompson hurts both Syracuse and Battle, who won't have talent to play off and could now be the focal point of defenses. It doesn't change his NBA prospects, but it could delay his declaration another year. Still, long-term, his size, toughness, shooting and slashing make Battle worth tracking for scouts. He's a fringe first-round talent waiting to break out. The question is whether it's this year or next.

               

    32. Alize Johnson (Missouri State, PF, Senior)

    From junior college to Missouri State to MVP of this summer's Adidas Nations, Johnson continues to rise. The arrow is pointing upward heading into 2018. His double-double average (14.8 points, 10.6 rebounds) flew under the radar last season. A 6'9" forward, Johnson brings not only athleticism and activity to the paint but also improving ball skills, which show up in transition when he's initiating the break.

               

    31. Isaac Bonga (Germany, PG/PF, 1999)

    Still 17 years old, Bonga has been generating buzz overseas for his unique point-forward skills as a 6'9" forward. He's a natural facilitator in a big man's body who cleans the glass and defends with energy. He'll rise from No. 31 if he shows any progress as a shooter. A below-average athlete for a perimeter player, Bonga needs a jumper.

30. Brandon McCoy (UNLV, C, Freshman)

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    Brandon McCoy will draw scouts to UNLV for his physical tools. He just averaged 26.1 points, 19.7 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes for USA Basketball at the U19 World Cup using mostly his 7'0 ½", 250-pound frame and 7'2 ¼" wingspan.

    McCoy has a powerful body and the ability to make an impact without demanding shots or post touches. He works as a rim-runner, finisher and offensive rebounder.

    A rim-protector who gives the offense a high-percentage target, easy baskets and second-chance points, McCoy comes off as a back-end first-round talent. Although, it wouldn't hurt him to show regular flashes of back-to-the-basket scoring and mid-range touch.

29. Dzanan Musa (Bosnia and Herzegovina, SG/SF, 1999)

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    One of the top young scorers overseas, Dzanan Musa has put up a lot of points for an 18-year-old.

    He's averaged 25 points in 31 FIBA games dating back to 2014. Musa isn't an exciting athlete, but it's tough to argue with his success. And at 6'8", he has strong positional size and instincts, plus a high skill level off the dribble.

    Musa won't explode by anyone. He uses crafty footwork and handles and has a knack for making pull-ups and runners. Being more competitive defensively and shooting the three-ball better would make Musa a worthy first-round pick.

28. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky, PG/SG, Freshman)

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    Shai Gilgeous-Alexander isn't a surefire one-and-done first-rounder. It may take two years at Kentucky. But there is clearly NBA potential tied to his 6'6" frame, 7'0" wingspan and two-way versatility.

    It wouldn't be shocking if that became more evident as this season progressed. Smooth over explosive, Gilgeous-Alexander works as a combo guard or point wing, capable of not only getting his own shot but also setting up teammates. And though his shooting has been iffy, his made jumpers and release still look encouraging.

    Both coach John Calipari and scouts will value his ability to guard multiple positions. Even if he appears overly raw at times, teams could be willing to bet on his multidimensional skills catching up to his size, length and fluidity.

27. Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, SG, Freshman)

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    Gary Trent Jr. lands in the preseason top 30 thanks to a lack of obvious talent among returning prospects. By March, he could easily be off the 2018 board. But he could also be higher than No. 27.

    A microwave scorer, Trent, 6'6", can get his own shot and make the tough ones off the dribble.

    This year, he projects as an instant-offense spark behind Grayson Allen. It wouldn't be shocking if Trent went hot and cold and struggled with shot selection and inefficiency.

    But with strong size, a valued skill—the ability to put the ball in the hole—and NBA genes (son of Gary Trent, former pro), back-end first-round teams may be willing to overlook the 18-year-old freshman's flaws.

26. Jaylen Hands (UCLA, PG, Freshman)

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    Jaylen Hands should draw NBA attention despite playing behind lead ball-handler Aaron Holiday.

    Zach LaVine did it a few years ago as a backup to Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Norman Powell at UCLA. Hands will similarly create intrigue with flashes of exciting athleticism and scoring, a mix that should buy him time with scouts when it comes to his underdeveloped facilitating and likely inefficiency.

    He has the chance to emerge as a potential pick—a semi-productive project who teams are willing to reach on for his long-term upside.

25. Emmanuel Akot (Arizona, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    After reclassifying, Emmanuel Akot could draw NBA interest in 2018 without producing like a typical first-round pick.

    He'll earn the project label, though one possibly worth reaching on for his long-term potential. An athletic, 6'7" wing, Akot can create and make plays with the ball as a passer and scorer on the move.

    He'll earn the most praise and minutes early on for his defensive versatility and energy. But it's those flashes of ball skills, attacking and facilitating ability that could intrigue teams enough to prematurely gamble on upside.

24. Chimezie Metu (USC, C, Junior)

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    Chimezie Metu cracks the preseason first-round range, but he'll only stick if he turns it up a notch as a junior.

    Athletic and skilled with plenty of size and length, Metu looks the part of an NBA center when his game is on. He shows good footwork and shot-making ability out of the post and has improving soft touch in the mid-range. The fact he raised his free-throw mark to 74.1 percent was an encouraging sign.

    He's still been too on-and-off, which kept him outside of the draft discussion last year. His 9.9 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per 40 minutes also highlight his underwhelming presence around the basket.

23. Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Senior)

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    Grayson Allen's pro potential hasn't expired yet. He made over 80 three-pointers for the second consecutive season in 2016-17, and the explosiveness is still there.

    Though he struggled to score efficiently alongside Luke Kennard and Jayson Tatum, he did build on his playmaking ability, having averaged 3.5 assists to lead the team.

    He'll need a setback-free season in terms of mental lapses to avoid being red-flagged. That's priority No. 1. But there is a role in the NBA for elite athletes who can shoot, attack closeouts and make plays.

22. Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, SF, 1998)

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    Rodions Kurucs' draft case last year didn't feel strong enough after he'd missed time with a knee injury and played for Barcelona's B team.

    He'll have a better shot to strengthen his image in 2017-18, assuming he sees more time in Euroleague alongside better teammates and stiffer competition.

    At this stage, the idea of Kurucs is appealing based on his 6'9" size for a wing, athleticism, slashing, shooting potential and defense. But he'll have to be sharper across the board. He doesn't currently have any specialty to bank on.

21. Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, PF, Sophomore)

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    Rui Hachimura looks ready for a breakout year after averaging 20.6 points and 11.0 rebounds this summer at the U19 World Cup.

    A benchwarmer as a freshman at Gonzaga, Hachimura exploded as Japan's No. 1 option. That won't be his role in 2017-18, but he'll still see extended time with Zach Collins and Przemek Karnowski both gone.

    An exciting frontcourt athlete, Hachimura is an off-ball weapon inside 15 feet but flashed perimeter skills over the summer that could take his game, stock and ceiling to new heights.

20. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech, PG/SG, Freshman)

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    Flying under the radar relative to the other top freshmen, Nickeil Alexander-Walker is in position to surprise and even make a case to go in the first round.

    He first raised his stock in summer 2016 by shooting 57.4 percent at Adidas Nations and leading the U18 Americas Championship with 17.4 points per game.

    He'll now run the show at Virginia Tech. A scoring playmaker, Alexander-Walker projects as a combo—a skilled ball-handler who can create or work off the ball as a shooter.

19. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

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    NBA teams had to evaluate Hamidou Diallo last May and June when he tested the waters. They had another chance to see him over the summer at the U19 World Championships, where he averaged 24.2 points per 40 minutes.

    Scouts have already seen him get up for 44 ½" verticals and explode past inferior athletes for transition offense. But how efficiently will he score against a set half-court defense in college?

    His skills are improving, but they're still well behind his athleticism. Never a threatening three-point shooter, loose with his handle, Diallo still has work to do after presumably failing to earn a first-round guarantee before last year's draft.

18. Mikal Bridges (Villanova, SG/SF, Junior)

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    Playing to his strengths, Mikal Bridges was remarkably efficient as a sophomore, having shot 69.4 percent inside the arc and 39.3 percent behind it.

    The departure of Josh Hart should mean more scoring and playmaking chances this year for Bridges, who's been mostly a spot-up shooter, line-driver and ball-mover.

    His main selling point is still defense. Bridges can lock down, guard multiple positions and make plays on the ball (1.7 steals per game).

    Given his projected three-and-D role, it shouldn't matter too much if Bridges looks similar to last season. But emerging as a bigger threat as a creator with the ball would certainly reflect favorably on his stock.

17. Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky, PF, Freshman)

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    A projected key member of Kentucky's 2017-18 rotation, Jarred Vanderbilt is now a question mark. Initially pegged to miss three months for a foot injury , the latest has the team optimistic that surgery won't be needed, per the Courier-Journal's Kyle Tucker.

    Even if he doesn't play much this season, Vanderbilt should still be intriguing enough for what he showed his high school senior year. A standout at both the Nike Hoop Summit and Jordan Classic, Vanderbilt, a 6'9" forward with length and upper body strength, separates himself with ball-handling and facilitating ability.

    Unique for his mix of playmaking and rebounding motor from the 4, Vanderbilt should be too enticing, assuming a full recovery is expected and he proves his jumper, which isn't a strength, can improve.

16. Trevon Duval (Duke, PG, Freshman)

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    Duke was missing a playmaker last season. That changes with the addition of Trevon Duval, whose explosive athleticism and terrific length fuel NBA potential.

    With a combination of quickness, ball-handling and change of speed, his calling card is putting pressure on and breaking down defenses. He'll open up shots for teammates by driving and dishing, and he'll score plenty of points in the paint.

    How far off he looks as a shooter could determine how high or low he's drafted. Duval needs to show scouts his shaky jumper can improve and that he's capable of balancing scoring and distributing running an offense.

15. Nick Richards (Kentucky, C, Freshman)

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    Nick Richards put up NBA center measurements at Kentucky's pro day, coming in at 7'0 ¼", 245 pounds with a 7'5" wingspan. His skills aren't as impressive as his tools and bounce, but they won't need to be for a shot at going in the top 20.

    Richards plays Nerlens Noel's game as a finisher, rebounder and rim protector, tapping into his length and athleticism for production and efficiency around the basket. Creating shots and scoring aren't a part of his current identity.

    With enough flashes of jump hooks and mid-range touch, he'll come off as a low-risk center worth taking once all the flashy names are gone.

14. Bruce Brown (Miami, SG, Sophomore)

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    Another step in the right direction pushes Bruce Brown into the mid-first round or lottery.

    He intrigued last year with athleticism, scoring and defense for a 6'5" guard.

    Brown averaged 25.5 points in two games against North Carolina and 20.0 in two games against Duke. Scouts will want to see more frequent and consistent stretches of takeover offense from Brown, who'll be a 21-year-old sophomore. That will mean improving his jumper and making more than one three-pointer per game.

    Still, his ability to attack and make plays at both ends (3.2 assists, 1.5 steals per game) are key ancillary strengths that should help buy him time as a shooter.

13. Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)

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    It wouldn't be surprising if Lonnie Walker IV struggles with inconsistency, considering his projected role behind Ja'Quan Newton and Bruce Brown as well as having missed the offseason recovering from a knee injury.

    Walker should still make it clear he's a quality NBA prospect with his tools, athleticism, perimeter scoring and defense. His body and athleticism say pro 2-guard. His jumper is already fluid from three, while his quickness and length point to two-way potential.

    A weak field-goal percentage won't ruin his stock. Scouts could see Walker as a Gary Harris type—an NBA fit who just needs a few years to sharpen his skill set.

12. Kevin Knox (Kentucky, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    Kevin Knox is an easy NBA talent. The question is whether he's ready to put things together this year or if it will take more time at Kentucky.

    He just measured 6'9", 218 pounds with a 7'0 ¼" wingspan—strong measurements for a wing or small-ball 4. 

    At this point, the skill set is there with Knox, who can face up, create shots for himself, pull up or shoot threes. But can he score efficiently? He tends to take hero jumpers as opposed to using his size and length.

    Still, look for Knox to emerge as one of Kentucky's top options alongside Hamidou Diallo.

11. Troy Brown (Oregon, SG/SF, Freshman)

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    Troy Brown should play a spotlight role at Oregon after it lost its top-five scorers.

    He'll have a good opportunity to showcase his versatility as a point wing. Brown, who just turned 18 years old over the summer, handles the ball, creates for teammates and scores off drives and pull-ups.

    Brown doesn't explode off the floor and still needs work on his shooting range, but he checks too many important boxes, from his physical tools and defense to his scoring and passing.

10. Wendell Carter (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

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    At 6'10", 257 pounds with 7'3" length and decent athletic ability, Wendell Carter passes the NBA eye test and shows enough skill to suggest he's more than just tools and mobility.

    Duke has a crowded frontcourt and potent backcourt, which likely means Carter plays a more simple, secondary role his freshman year. Finishes, offensive rebounds, blocked shots, the occasional back-to-the-basket post-up—that will be Carter's game this season.

    Teams will have to decide how much room for growth Carter has as a scorer. He won't wow with foot speed, bounce or the ability to play around the perimeter at either end of the floor.

9. Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG/SG, Freshman)

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    Collin Sexton's explosive mix of athleticism and competitiveness will spark conversation among NBA scouts. How high he goes in the draft will come down to his shooting and effectiveness running Alabama's offense.

    But the NBA potential is obvious. His tools, speed, leaping and style fit the Eric Bledsoe scoring-playmaker mold. Sexton, 6'3", 190 pounds, puts heavy pressure on defenses with his first step, handle and attacking mentality. He set an EYBL record last summer by averaging 31.7 points per game. 

    Sexton will be in the mix for top NCAA guard taken in the draft, but to challenge the other elite prospects for top-10 looks, he'll need to convince scouts his jumper and decision-making are on track to improve. 

8. Robert Williams (Texas A&M, PF/C, Sophomore)

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    Ron Irby/Associated Press

    "No. 1 pick, definitely," Robert Williams answered when asked about his long-term goals, per the Houston Chronicle's Brent Zwerneman.

    A potential lottery pick in 2017, Williams returned to boost his stock even further for the 2018 draft. It was perceived as a risky move, given the possible consequences that could result from Williams' failing to take a jump from 11.9 points per game.

    Scouts are drawn to his monster physical tools—6'10", 241 pounds, 7'4" wingspan—and explosive athleticism, which translated to a 55.8 field-goal percentage, 12.6 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes. He even swatted 11 three-pointers, a tribute to his foot speed, length and anticipation. 

    He'll need to evolve from a simple finisher and lob target to a more threatening scorer—both with his post game and jumper—to achieve his lofty personal goals. But a repeat of last season should still guarantee Williams a spot in the 2018 first round.

7. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State, PF/C, Freshman)

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    Sam Forencich/Getty Images

    Jaren Jackson Jr. starts top-10 based on his obvious NBA tools, the improvement he's shown and the value tied to his particular strengths.

    A breakout performer during last April's Nike Hoop Summit, Jackson should build a case this year with defense, shooting potential and NBA size/length. He's still raw and isn't a refined scorer, but teams will buy into his finishing, rebounding motor and shot-blocking, given his 241-pound frame and 7'4" wingspan.

    He'll have the chance to separate himself with his jumper and lateral quickness away from the basket. If he can convince teams he's a future three-point threat who can protect the rim and switch, Jackson could be the fifth freshman off the board. 

6. Miles Bridges (Michigan State, SF/PF, Sophomore)

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    Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

    One-and-done was written all over Miles Bridges until he announced his return to Michigan State.

    Some of the most explosive athleticism in the country buys him time with his skill level. Though a work in progress as a face-up scorer, he still averaged 16.9 points on 48.6 percent shooting, including 38.9 percent from three.

    Bridges also gave scouts reasons to be optimistic about his defensive potential, another selling point that increases his margin for error and raises his floor. 

    Looking sharper as a shot-creator while validating last season's three-point accuracy will put Bridges into this year's top-10 mix.

5. Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C, Freshman)

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    Mohamed Bamba will be a fun prospect to scout given his unicorn potential fueled by a mix of unprecedented length and developing skill we've never seen.

    His 7'9" wingspan measures longer than Rudy Gobert's did. Bamba won't have to be overly sharp with the ball to make an impact as a finisher, rebounder and rim protector. He gives guards a monster target above the rim and changes games defensively in the paint.

    But we've also seen flashes of post footwork and shooting touch out to the arc. He even showed off a three-ball during Texas' exhibition trip to Australia in August. If scouts buy into the idea they're looking at Gobert with a jump shot and moves, they could deem Bamba worthy of No. 1 overall consideration.

4. DeAndre Ayton (Arizona, C, Freshman)

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    Between high school ball, the McDonald's All-American Game, Nike Hoop Summit, Jordan Brand Classic, Adidas Nations and Basketball Without Boarders, scouts have already seen plenty of DeAndre Ayton over the past two years.

    A can't-miss talent for his eye-opening physical tools, including a chiseled 243-pound frame and 7'5 ½" wingspan, Ayton has looked the part of a pro since 17 years old.

    He owns the area around the basket, and NBA teams will feel confident in his potential to finish, score inside, rebound and protect the rim based on his strength, length and athleticism.

    They may also start seeing glimpses of Karl-Anthony Towns if Ayton continues to make strides with his post game and shooting. Depending on how much skill development he shows as a freshman at Arizona, we could be talking about the No. 5 pick or the No. 1 selection.

3. Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    No forward is more advanced around the perimeter than Michael Porter Jr. And it could give him an edge over every NCAA prospect since the NBA is a shooter's league.

    Porter, a 6'10" combo forward, has three-point range and the ability to knock down difficult jumpers. He'll generate his fair share of offense inside 15 feet as well. Porter has good scoring instincts in the paint as well as the handle to attack and body control to convert tough runners. 

    He'll get his points this year at Missouri, but unless he surprises as a playmaker and defender, scouts will want to see those points translate to wins and an NCAA tournament appearance. 

2. Marvin Bagley III (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

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    Marvin Bagley III could easily jump to No. 1 by conference play, but preseason, he's just not proved enough after reclassifying and skipping his senior year of high school.

    Still, Bagley screams NBA star with a mix of 6'11" size, explosive athleticism and expanding offensive versatility.

    A pogo stick around the basket, Bagley also creates mismatches away from it, with the ability to handle the ball and blow by slower 4s and 5s. He shows encouraging scoring skills inside 18 feet, both facing the hoop and playing with his back to it.

    Nobody in the draft has a higher ceiling based on his tools, speed, springs and developing skills. Consistent production and enough made jumpers will be keys to Bagley's draft stock and chances of going No. 1.

1. Luka Doncic (Slovenia, PG/SG, 1999)

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    Luka Doncic continues raising the bar for Marvin Bagley III, Michael Porter Jr. and the rest of America's top NBA prospects.

    He put them on notice by helping Real Madrid reach the Euroleague Final Four in May. His performance at EuroBasket last month, when he took it to both European and NBA pros during Slovenia's gold medal run, pushed him to No. 1 on some scouts' boards.

    His 2017-18 Euroleague debut Thursday helped strengthen his draft case even further. Doncic exploded for 27 points and four assists in a big, early win over Anadolus Efes.

    A strong 6'7" guard with terrific playmaking instincts and shooting range, the Slovenian legend has consistently showed improvement as a shot-creator and scorer. And he's proved himself against competition far tougher than anything Bagley or Porter will see predraft.

        

    Measurements courtesy of DraftExpress.com. Advanced stats courtesy of Hoop-Math.com.