2018 NBA Draft Big Board: Top 50 Players 1 Month into CBB Season

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterDecember 14, 2017

2018 NBA Draft Big Board: Top 50 Players 1 Month into CBB Season

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    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    College basketball is a month in, and we're already starting to see new names emerge into the NBA draft conversation.

    Some breakout prospects were easier to see coming. There have been a few others, including a pair of freshmen, who've cracked our top 30 after starting the season off the radar.

    The No. 1 overall debate is also heating up, with three contenders all producing at monster rates.

    The rankings on our updated big board account for long-term NBA potential. It's possible that some names on the list may return to school after the season.

                     

    Advanced stats courtesy of Synergy Sports Technology unless otherwise noted.

Nos. 50-46

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    50. Allonzo Trier (Arizona, SG, Junior)

    Trier continues to score at a high rate (22.3 points per game), but he's averaging more turnovers (3.3) than assists (3.0), and Arizona has underachieved. As good as he is at putting the ball in the bucket, NBA teams may question his fit in their offense.

             

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

    Milton lacks blow-by jets and explosiveness around the rim, casting a cloud over his NBA potential. But he's on track to make over 80 threes again, and at 6'6" with some playmaking vision, he'll hold a spot in the second-round mix.

                

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

    Johnson hasn't shot well early on, and he looks similar to last year, both physically and fundamentally. He's still an interesting second-round option for his versatility, which highlights ball-handling ability, three-point range and strong rebounding instincts.

               

    47. Austin Wiley (Auburn, C, Sophomore)

    Still out waiting to be cleared following the FBI's summer investigation, Wiley will remain on scouts' watch list. He earned a spot there by having a big U19 World Championships over the summer, when he averaged 10.3 points and 10.9 rebounds playing the energizer role for USA.

                

    46. Devonte' Graham (Kansas, PG, Senior)

    Graham can be a frustrating decision-maker, and he isn't a standout athlete. He's still a second-round guard for his consistent shooting (40.0 percent 3PT) and improved playmaking (7.7 assists).

Nos. 45-41

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    Otto Kitsinger/Associated Press

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

    Limited athleticism and weak playmaking ability are concerns with Trent, who's shooting 37.9 percent from the floor. Shot-making and scoring instincts could give him a chance, though. At 6'6", Trent has NBA size and a knack for putting the ball in the hole.

             

    44. Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, SF, Senior)

    An athletic 6'7" scorer, Hutchison also averages 4.3 assists and 8.6 rebounds, but he's still struggling to shoot threes (8-of-23). That's a potential swing skill he'll likely need. It will be worth seeing if Hutchison can be 2018's version of Kyle Kuzma—just not until the second round.

               

    43. Goga Bitadze (Rep. of Georgia, C, 1999)

    A strong, mobile 6'11" center, Bitadze has made himself easy to spot in the Adriatic League, averaging 11.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in just 24.3 minutes. Whether he's athletic enough to score, rebound and defend NBA 5s is the question, but with his size, skill level and production, he's worth stashing using a second-round pick.

               

    42. Chimezie Metu (USC, C, Junior)

    The switch just flickers too much with Metu, an obvious talent whose inconsistent impact has been a turnoff. He's still worth tracking for his offensive skill level at the 5—Metu shows impressive footwork and shot-making ability around the key. But until he emerges as a reliable No. 1 player for USC, it's tough to trust Metu as a first-round pick.

               

    41. Brian Bowen (Louisville, SF, 1998)

    Bowen is done at Louisville and could either transfer or test the NBA waters. It wouldn't be shocking if he chose to bypass the college system entirely. Bowen should have created enough intrigue out of high school to be drafted for his 6'8" size and perimeter scoring.

Nos. 40-36

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    Tony Ding/Associated Press

    40. Lagerald Vick (Kansas, SG/SF, Junior)

    Vick is scoring without creating, generating most of his offense by cutting or spotting up (combined 53.8 percent). Shooting 18-of-40 from three and averaging 18.7 points, Vick will look to convince NBA teams he can contribute in the same role he's thriving in with Kansas.

                

    39. Isaac Bonga (Germany, PF, 1999)

    Averaging 13.2 points over his last five games, Bonga is coming alive over in Germany. A versatile defender with unique playmaking ability for a big, the 18-year-old combo forward just needs the jumper to compensate for average athleticism. So far, he's improved, having made 12 threes through 17 games after making a combined 17 all of last season.

                

    38. Brandon Randolph (Arizona, SG, Freshman)

    Randolph is gaining steam, having hit double figures in scoring in four of five games after playing limited minutes through the first four. He's athletic with a smooth shooting stroke (9-of-19 3PT), but he'll likely need two years at Arizona to become a more consistent, complete player.

               

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

    Jackson is off to a slow start, but the NBA body isn't going anywhere, and his shooting should return eventually. However, he's in trouble if last year's 43.8 percent three-point mark starts to look fluky. He isn't a strong shot-creator or playmaker, and he doesn't jump out as a defensive difference-maker.

                

    36. Aaron Holiday (UCLA, PG, Junior)

    Holiday reminds me of Yogi Ferrell with his quickness, perimeter scoring and athletic limitations that keep him below the rim. He'll earn a chance to carve out a change-of-pace role off some team's bench. Averaging 17.7 points and 5.7 assists, Holiday is going to produce his way onto NBA draft boards.

Nos. 35-31

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    35. Jevon Carter (West Virginia, PG, Senior)

    Age and athleticism work against Carter, but he's leading the country in steals, and he's taken a big leap with his scoring (19.4 points), playmaking (6.0 assists) and shooting (43.3 percent 3PT). Fifth in the country in box plus-minus, per Sports-Reference.com, Carter could be the type of two-way competitor who inspires a team to look beyond age and bounce.

               

    34. De'Anthony Melton (USC, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    Melton is still being held out by the university during its investigation into his eligibility following this summer's pay-for-play scandal. There was excitement around him entering the season, after he'd filled up box scores as a freshman, averaging 3.5 assists, 1.9 steals and one block. Getting back on the floor and showing improvement as a shooter (28.4 percent 3PT) could push Milton into the 20s, but he'll stick with a second-round grade until then.

                 

    33. Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, SF/PF, Sophomore)

    Unless something changes, the 2019 draft may be the more appropriate one for Hachimura to enter. But the flashes continue to point to compelling NBA potential, given his athleticism for a 6'8" forward and his ability to score in so many ways. He'll need to start playing more than 18.6 minutes to build a 2018 first-round case.

                 

    32. Landry Shamet (Wichita State, PG, Sophomore)

    On the breakout radar entering the season, Shamet has arrived, averaging 16.3 points and registering a spectacular 73.0 true shooting percentage. He just went for 30 points Saturday in a win at Oklahoma State and now ranks in the 98th percentile in total jump-shot percentage in the half court. A versatile combo, Shamet just has to convince scouts that athletic limitations won't negate his offensive skills.

                

    31. Killian Tillie (Gonzaga, PF, Sophomore)

    It's unclear if this is a semi-breakout or a full one from Tillie, but he's done enough to make the watch list for scouts. A 22-point, eight-rebound, three-block, two-steal line against Creighton created buzz. Tillie isn't a great athlete in terms of speed or explosion, but at 6'10", he moves well defensively and has a high skill level with his footwork, jumper and passing.

30. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech, SG, Freshman)

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Half-court jumpers: 1.462 PPP, 96th percentile (excellent)

    Transition: 1.237 PPP, 74th percentile (very good)

    Finish around basket: 1.056 PPP, 35th percentile (average)

               

    Nickeil Alexander-Walker has a key matchup Saturday against Kentucky. The results could move the needle in either direction for Virginia Tech's freshman, who'll face NBA-caliber athletes around the perimeter and at the rim.

    He's been an efficient scorer despite lacking strength and burst, shooting 58.1 percent on two-pointers and 47.7 percent on threes.

    Alexander-Walker has worked mostly out of spot-up situations, either shooting off the catch or driving left. He's been more effective around the perimeter than around the basket, where he's converting at a 50 percent rate.

    Averaging just 2.2 assists to 1.6 turnovers, Alexander-Walker would also benefit from showing some playmaking ability. He's scoring out of pick-and-rolls, but he's not using them to facilitate as a passer (.714 PPP).

29. Daniel Gafford (Arkansas, C, Freshman)

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Post-ups: 1.111 PPP, 88th percentile (excellent)

    Roll man: 1.100 PPP, 63rd percentile (good)

    Overall spot-up: 0.500 PPP, 7th percentile (poor)

                

    Arkansas appears to have a sleeper NBA prospect in Daniel Gafford, a 6'11", 234-pound center who's light on his feet and active around the basket.

    Despite playing a supporting role off the bench, taking just 6.6 shots per game, Gafford has been tough to miss, putting up per-40 minute averages of 26.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 4.0 blocks and shooting 69.5 percent from the floor.

    He's been effective on the block, converting 12-of-19 post opportunities early on. Otherwise, he's worked mostly as a finisher while giving the Razorbacks rim protection at the other end.

    Raw with limited feel (7.9 fouls per 40 minutes), Gafford won't look ready by March. But that may not matter to teams willing to chase the long-term upside that's tied to his tools, athleticism, instincts and motor.

28. Jalen Hudson (Florida, SG, Junior)

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    Gary McCullough/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Half-court jumpers: 1.298 PPP, 90th percentile (excellent)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: 1.194 PPP, 95th percentile (excellent)

    Transition: 1.3 PPP, 80th percentile (very good)

               

    Jalen Hudson started drawing attention after going for 35 points against Gonzaga and 24 points against Duke. He's looked far more dangerous than he did two years ago at Virginia Tech, having suddenly added a dangerous three-ball that's connecting at a 43.6 percent clip.

    Hudson had an off night last week against Loyola-Chicago before bouncing back to score 17 points on 3-of-5 from behind the arc in a win over Cincinnati.

    Between his shooting, both off the catch and the dribble (40.7 percent), and his transition game, which accounts for 29.0 percent of his offense, Hudson has been a surprise producer worth monitoring as a potential first-round option.

27. Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Senior)

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Half-court jumpers: 1.25 PPP, 87th percentile (excellent)

    Isolation: .667 PPP, 30th percentile (below average)

    Transition: 1.236 PPP, 74th percentile (very good)

                   

    Grayson Allen is having the bounce-back year he needed to restore his credibility and draft stock.

    He'll be 23 years old by the start of his NBA rookie season, so his draft ceiling only goes so high. But he continues to make a case for himself with his athleticism and shot-making.

    Scoring 1.236 points per possession in transition, Allen has also been excellent in the half court, making 48.1 percent of his guarded catch-and-shoot jumpers and 46.2 percent of his shots off screens.

    He's also averaging a career-high 4.4 assists, showing good decision-making as a passer out of pick-and-rolls (1.226 PPP, 3.2 turnover percentage).

    Allen isn't a strong isolation player and won't ever be considered a defensive asset. But as long as he keeps strengthening his playmaking skills, converting outside shots and avoiding trouble, drawing first-round interest should remain a possibility.

26. Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky, PF, Freshman)

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    James Crisp/Associated Press

    It's unclear if we'll see Jarred Vanderbilt this year at Kentucky. Even if he never suits up, hesitant to aggravate a foot injury or jeopardize his stock, there could still be first-round interest based on what scouts saw in high school.

    Vanderbilt was a standout during last year's Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit.

    Teams seem to covet bigs who can grab and go off the defensive glass. Vanderbilt, a 6'9" power forward, should be a draw for his unique playmaking skills and quickness. He'll help himself by using this time off to work on his jumper, the major hole in his game and draft case.

25. Brandon McCoy (UNLV, C, Freshman)

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Post-ups: .875 PPP, 55th percentile (good)

    Cuts: 1.350 PPP, 74th percentile (very good)

    Post-up against hard double: 37.5 turnover percentage (average)

               

    Brandon McCoy hasn't flashed anything new in terms of added skill. He's just producing at a terrific rate by playing to his strengths as a low-post option, finisher and offensive rebounder.

    His 33-point effort against Arizona highlighted his presence and activity around the rim, which translates to frequent easy baskets.

    On the season, he's been more effective working on the right block (1.208 PPP) than the left block (.588 PPP), using a basic over-the-shoulder hook that's worked. Twenty-two percent of his offense is coming on timely cuts for catch-and-finishes.

    But McCoy hasn't been a standout on defense (5.4 block percentage), looking easy to score through in the paint. And without the ability to shoot and stretch the floor or protect the rim and switch, McCoy's ceiling will only appear so high.

24. Tyus Battle (Syracuse, SG, Sophomore)

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Isolation: 1.037, 78th percentile (very good)

    Half-court jumpers: 1.033 PPP, 33rd percentile (good)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler passes: .565 PPP, 7th percentile (poor)

               

    A complementary scorer a year ago, Tyus Battle is suddenly carrying the Syracuse offense, having played three straight 40-minute games and finishing with at least 22 points in each.

    He's averaging 20.7 points on the year, looking far more advanced as a shot-creator in isolation (1.037 PPP). Shooting 53.3 percent on runners and 44.0 percent on all jump shots off the dribble, Battle has been a player the Orange can feature and lean on for baskets.

    He's also making 2.2 threes per game, shooting 42.4 percent on catch-and-shoot chances.

    On the downside, Battle sports just a 10.3 assist percentage, per Sports-Reference.com, and averages a poor .565 points per possession as a pick-and-roll passer. He's limited as a playmaker and shows no signs of using screens (.455 PPP) to find ways to score off the ball.

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

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Transition: .903 PPP, 29th percentile (below average)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: .857 PPP, 62nd percentile (good)

    Half-court jumpers: .743 PPP, 23rd percentile (below average)

               

    Troy Brown keeps a spot on the top-30 board for his long-term potential, but he may not be the one-and-done first-round pick initially projected.

    He turned 18 years old over the summer, and he's taken a backseat role early on, suggesting 2018-19 could be the bigger breakout season. But there is still a lot to like about Brown's two-way versatility as a wing who can make open shots, operate out of pick-and-rolls and defend multiple positions.

    Brown will need improve his three-point numbers (29.4 percent) and shooting altogether (23.1 percent catch-and-shoot), particularly given how little he's used in isolation (4.4 percent of offense) and how few baskets he gets himself in transition.

    But he's making 85.7 percent of his free throws and generally looks comfortable with the jumper.

    He'll be a candidate to follow up on all season as he starts to build confidence and reps.

22. Anfernee Simons (IMG Academy, PG, 1999)

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    Reportedly interested in declaring for the 2018 draft, per ESPN's Jonathan Givony, Anfernee Simons could steal a first-round spot.

    Scout.com's No. 9 overall recruit, the fifth-year high school guard excites with flashy ball-handling, quickness and shot creativity. He's a scorer—teams will just have to decide how to evaluate his floor game without seeing him run an offense in college.

    He'd be a high-risk, high-reward option for a team willing to gamble on upside, uninterested in settling for an upperclassman in his early 20s.

21. Nick Richards (Kentucky, C, Freshman)

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Post-ups: 1.148 PPP, 91st percentile (excellent)

    Roll man: 1.6 PPP, 96th percentile (excellent)

    Offensive rebounds (putbacks): 1.25 PPP, 66th percentile (very good)

               

    Nick Richards is going to earn a bigger role as he learns to defend without fouling (6.0 per 40 minutes).

    Long and bouncy, he's been efficient playing to his strengths, shooting 76.7 percent at the rim, finishing pick-and-rolls (1.6 PPP) and converting 12-of-19 post-up opportunities. 

    Blocking 3.3 shots per 40 minutes, flashing the length and athleticism that translates to easy baskets, Richards looks like a center worth taking for his high floor in the 20s.

20. Trevon Duval (Duke, PG, Freshman)

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: .714 PPP, 38 percent (average)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler passes: 1.682 PPP, 98th percentile (excellent)

    Half-court jumpers: .575 PPP, 10th percentile (poor)

                 

    The inability to shoot is hampering Trevon Duval, who's 5-of-33 from three and 9-of-40 on half-court jump shots. He's now scoring just 15.8 points per 40 minutes. Unless it suddenly clicks, scouts will have to assess the severity of the problem and how much it could lower his value.

    Otherwise, Duval has been an effective setup man, averaging 6.7 assists to 2.3 turnovers, using his quickness off the dribble to break down defenses and create shots for teammates. And despite showing no signs of a perimeter game, he's capitalizing on his runners (.929 PPP) and finishes at the basket (64.5 percent).

    Duval has also caused problems for opposing backcourts with his defensive speed and length that's translated to 1.9 steals per game. He's far behind in one key offensive area, but NBA teams should still covet the pressure he can apply at both ends.

19. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

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    James Crisp/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Transition: 1.194 PPP, 70th percentile (very good)

    Transition ball-handler: 1.238, 85th percentile (excellent)

    Half-court jumpers: .694 PPP, 19th percentile (below average)

                      

    Hamidou Diallo has used the cupcake stretch of Kentucky's schedule to build some rhythm. He's now scored at least 19 points in three consecutive games, looking more confident and aggressive.

    He's still leaning on his athleticism, with 39.5 percent of his offense coming in transition. Diallo is averaging 7.6 points per game on those possessions, tapping into his exciting agility and explosiveness for easy baskets.

    But scouts will be monitoring the freshman's perimeter skills, and so far, they've been shaky, with Diallo just 6-of-19 from three, shooting 22.2 percent on catch-and-shoot jumpers in the half court.

    Not used as either a pick-and-roll ball-handler (3.2 percent) or isolation option (1.9 percent), shooting is the obvious key to Diallo's draft stock and potential.

18. Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

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    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Half-court jumpers: 1.229 PPP, 85th percentile (excellent)

    Transition: 1.438 PPP, 90th percentile (excellent)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: .636 PPP, 26th percentile (below average)

                

    Now packing a bigger punch offensively, Khyri Thomas has made a strong impression early, averaging 16.1 points, shooting 62.1 percent inside the arc and 43.9 percent behind it.

    He's not a strong shot-creator, which limits his upside. But his jumper and transition game could be enough, assuming Thomas' defense drives his value.

    Now in his third year at Creighton, he's established an identity as a tough, two-way role player. This would also be the third consecutive season he's shot above 39.3 percent from three.

    Thomas is the type who'd benefit from landing on the right team that gives him an opportunity to play to his strengths as a three-and-D off guard.

17. Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1999)

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Workouts will play a major role in how high Mitchell Robinson goes in the draft, since he isn't playing in college, the G-League or any other league overseas.

    A 7'1", 233-pound center with 7'4" length and destructive athleticism, Mitchell drew rave reviews following last year's McDonald's All-American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.

    Without seeing him in any competitive live-game action since high school, it will be difficult to determine whether he's anything more than just physical tools and explosiveness. But that mix could still be enough to warrant interest.

16. Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke, C, Freshman)

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    Steve Dykes/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Post-ups: .700 PPP, 27th percentile (below average)

    Offensive rebounds (putbacks): 1.276 PPP, 69th percentile (very good)

    Cuts: 1.68 PPP, 97th percentile (excellent)

                  

    With Marvin Bagley III, Grayson Allen and Gary Trent Jr. taking the lead, Wendell Carter Jr. hasn't been a focal point of Duke's offense. But he's been productive and efficient as a supporting big, averaging 20.7 points, 14.2 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per 40 minutes on 61.9 percent shooting. 

    Carter uses his wide frame to carve out space under the boards, and he's flashed sound footwork getting into his jump hooks, though he hasn't converted as many as you'd like, particularly given the level of competition Duke has faced.

    He's been most effective timing his cuts to earn himself easy baskets around the rim, where he's shooting 64.3 percent. 

    Carter has also shown soft touch on his jumper, even though he hasn't taken many.

    There are questions about his potential to defend pick-and-rolls and switch, particularly after the Boston College loss. Limited quickness at both ends, plus no obvious bankable offensive skill, knock him down a few spots on our board.

15. Dzanan Musa (Bosnia & Herzegovina, SG/SF, 1999)

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    Known for his scoring entering the year, Dzanan Musa hasn't disappointed, having already had a 35-point outburst in 27 minutes (November 18).

    He has a knack for creating and making tough shots, something he's improved even more by extending his range (38 percent 3PT). There is some concern over his lack of explosiveness and speed for a perimeter player, but the consistent production, which dates back to 2014, has become difficult to argue against.

    Now averaging 17.6 points over his last fives games, Musa, a 6'8" 18-year-old wing, looks like the next first-round prospect to come from the Adriatic League. That league has produced recently drafted players such as Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Ivica Zubac.

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

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    James Crisp/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    No-dribble jumpers: .788 PPP, 19th percentile (below average)

    Dribble jumpers: 1.000 PPP, 76th percentile (very good)

    Transition: 1.111 PPP, 59th percentile (good)

                

    Kevin Knox has emerged as Kentucky's top option, earning fans for his scoring versatility.

    He put up a 1-of-9 dud Saturday in a blowout win over Monmouth, but otherwise Knox has given the Wildcats a consistent source of offense.

    The 6'9" combo forward is making 1.6 threes per game, working mostly out of spot-up situations (39.4 percent of offense), where he likes to catch and shoot, drive in a straight line or toss in a floater (6-of-12). 

    But Knox has struggled to convert contested catch-and-shoot jumpers (5-of-24) and finishes around the basket in the half court (42.9 percent). And he's shown little shot-creating skills against a set defense, with only 4.8 percent of his offense coming out of isolation.

    Knox hasn't added much as a playmaker and rebounder, putting more pressure on his ability to score. He should have extra wiggle room with scouts, though, considering he only turned 18 years old in August and has next-level tools and skills.

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

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    Adam Hunger/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Transition: 1.258 PPP, 76th percentile (very good)

    Catch-and-shoot (half court): 1.083 PPP, 54th percentile (good)

    Dribble jumpers (half court): .476 PPP, 13th percentile (poor)

                  

    Nothing about Miles Bridges looks noticeably different from a year ago, which won't hurt him too badly on draft boards. But it could allow others, particularly freshmen, to leapfrog him. 

    Bridges is still one of the draft's top athletes, averaging 15.6 points, 1.9 threes and 1.6 blocks per game. 

    He hasn't shown anything new as a shot-creator, though, with only 6.6 percent of his offense coming in isolation. And he continues to look uncomfortable shooting off the dribble (.476 PPP). 

    Bridges' three-ball stands out as the swing skill that will determine his value. Teams will covet his explosiveness for transition and potential to defend multiple positions. But unless he improves as a one-on-one scorer (2.1 free-throw attempts per game) and playmaker, Bridges will need to lean heavily on his jumper.

12. Bruce Brown (Miami, SG, Sophomore)

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    Lynne Sladky/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Transition: 1.231 PPP, 74th percentile (very good)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: 0.800 PPP, 51st percentile (good)

    Jumpers in half court: .947 PPP, 50th percentile (average)

                    

    A hand injury will cost Bruce Brown at least two games, but he started to find a rhythm before going down, averaging 15.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists over his previous three contests.

    He's a do-it-all guard when he's on, quick with enough explosiveness to sky above the rim.

    Brown's scoring numbers are down, and he still struggles to create his own shot. But this year, he's making the threes he's given (9-of-22) and putting more emphasis into distributing.

    Showing combo-guard ability, Brown is generating an impressive 1.237 points per play as a pick-and-roll passer. His 5.0-1.7 assist-to-turnover ratio is much improved.

    An exciting transition weapon and 6'5" playmaker at both ends of the floor, Brown checks NBA role-player boxes and has the athleticism to make the jump.

11. Robert Williams (Texas A&M, C, Sophomore)

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Finishing around basket (half court): 1.667 PPP, 97th percentile (excellent)

    Post-up: .824 PPP, 48th percentile (average)

    Jump shots: 0 PPP

              

    Little has changed on Robert Williams' scouting report from a year ago. He's still building a draft case around defensive potential, leading the nation in defensive box plus-minus, per Sports-Reference.com, averaging 2.6 blocks in 24.3 minutes per game.

    Williams has a convincing NBA body fueled by explosive leaping ability that translates to easy baskets (83.3 percent around basket) and rim protection. 

    He is rebounding at a higher rate (17.2 per 40 minutes) and averaging four assists per 40 minutes. But Williams hasn't added anything offensively. His .824 points per possession on post-ups ranks as average. He also hasn't made a jump shot yet, and he's shooting just 36.4 percent from the free-throw line. 

    Unless he blooms late offensively, Williams will look to follow Clint Capela's path to success by playing to his strengths as a rim runner, finisher and interior defensive presence.

10. Mikal Bridges (Villanova, SF, Junior)

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    Corey Perrine/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Catch-and-shoot (half court): 1.571 PPP, 95th percentile (excellent)

    Transition: 1.444 PPP, 90th percentile (excellent)

    Dribble jumpers: .182 PPP, 1st percentile (poor)

                   

    We were high on Mikal Bridges entering the season, ranking him No. 15 despite his having averaged just 9.8 points per game as a sophomore. And he's looked every bit of a lottery prospect early on.

    His 28-point game against Gonzaga last week could have been a needle-mover with plenty of NBA evaluators in attendance at Madison Square Garden. 

    Making 48.1 percent of his threes through 10 games, Bridges' shooting has been key, both in terms of his production and draft stock. He's still a non-threat to create or score in isolation (4.9 percent of offense), and he's missed 10 of 11 jumpers off the dribble.

    But Bridges continues to make a case for being the top defensive wing in the draft, guarding multiple positions and averaging 2.7 steals and 1.7 blocks per 40 minutes.

    Currently No. 2 in the country in box plus-minus, per Sports-Reference.com, Bridges' three-and-D potential, plus winning intangibles that don't show in box scores, makes him a likable prospect with high-end role-player potential.

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

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    Corey Perrine/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Spot-up offense: 1.318 PPP, 90th percentile (excellent)

    Transition: 1.000 PPP, 42nd percentile (average)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: .929 PPP, 73rd percentile (very good)

                     

    After seven games, we finally got to see Lonnie Walker IV in a spotlight role with Bruce Brown Jr. out of the lineup. Walker capitalized in 28 minutes against Boston, scoring 26 points on five three-point makes. 

    He's seen the majority of his possessions (29.7 percent) out of spot-up situations, where he's been effective shooting and driving right or straight. Walker hasn't shown as much as a shot-creator or playmaker, though he's had some encouraging flashes as a pick-and-roll ball-handling scorer.

    Athleticism, a projectable jumper (41.9 percent 3PT) and defensive tools remain the major selling points for Miami's key freshman. Slotting him top 10 means expecting his role, confidence, skill level and production to increase as the season moves along.

8. Trae Young (Oklahoma, PG, Freshman)

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    Harry How/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Isolation: 1.348 PPP, 95th percentile (excellent)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: .938 PPP, 75th percentile (very good)

    Dribble jumpers: 1.056 PPP, 79th percentile (very good)

                 

    One of the more polarizing prospects in college basketball, Trae Young has created interesting debate among scouts with wild production, flashy offense, unmatched freedom and glaring physical limitations.

    The nation's leading scorer averaging 28.8 points, Young has torched defenses with clever ball-handling, change of speed, off-the-dribble shooting and 3.6 three-balls a game. He plays below the rim and lacks both bulk and length, but Young has demonstrated shot-making skills that tight pressure can't always stop.

    The fact that he's also third in the country in assists (8.8) takes some ammo away from skeptics who point to his reckless shot selection and 18 field-goal attempts per game. According to Synergy Sports, Young's passing to roll men off screens and teammates from isolation both grade out as excellent.

    The question is whether his success will continue through conference play and hold up against much longer, stronger, more explosive NBA point guards. He doesn't play inspiring defense, and he has one of the brightest green lights in the country.

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

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    Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Defense around basket (non-post-ups): 0.4 PPP, 96th percentile (excellent) 

    No-dribble jumpers: 1.25 PPP, 67th percentile (very good)

    Finishing around basket (half court): .781 PPP, 9th percentile (poor)

                   

    Though Jaren Jackson Jr. is raw, lacking a great deal of skill, his potential remains the primary selling point. Despite possessing minimal shot-creating ability, he's still finding ways to score, having averaged 14.3 points over Michigan State's last three games.

    The majority of his offense has come on spot-up opportunities and offensive rebounds (combined 43.0 percent), though it's slightly concerning to see him shooting just 50 percent at the rim.

    But Jackson, who's blocking 5.4 shots per 40 minutes with his 7'4" wingspan, ranks No. 3 in the nation in defensive box plus-minus, per Sports-Reference.com.

    The draw to this 6'11", 242-pound 18-year-old stems from his defensive upside and shooting potential. He's cooling off from three, though he's made eight of them through 10 games while converting 84.4 percent of his free throws.

6. Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG, Freshman)

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    Butch Dill/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: 1.066 PPP, 87th percentile (excellent)

    Isolation: 1.143, 84th percentile (excellent)

    Finishing around basket (half court): 0.912 PPP, 19th percentile (below average)

                     

    Collin Sexton's reputation out of high school is holding up. He's making his mark with takeover scoring and competitiveness, which we saw during his 40-point outburst against Minnesota, when he kept it close playing three on five. 

    With dozens of NBA evaluators on hand for a Saturday night matchup against Arizona, Sexton went for 30 points on 15 shots, giving scouts another glimpse of his ability to carry a team during key stretches. 

    He continues to draw praise for the constant pressure he puts on defenses. Through 10 games, he's already taken 90 free-throw attempts. And he's started off hot around the perimeter, having made 16 of his first 34 three-pointers.

    Averaging 3.3 assists to 2.3 turnovers, Sexton could stand to improve and show growth as a facilitator, but he's obviously shifty enough to create for others. His scoring punch and killer instinct should buy him time with scouts over his distributing.

5. Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C, Freshman)

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    Chris Covatta/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Offensive rebounds (putbacks): 1.429 PPP, 84th percentile (excellent)

    Cuts: 1.421 PPP, 82nd percentile (very good)

    Post-ups: .522 PPP, 12th percentile (poor)

                  

    The draw to Mohamed Bamba still stems from his defense, with his offense behind the other top bigs'. He hasn't scored more than 13 points since his 15-point debut, and he was outplayed by Duke's Marvin Bagley III during their anticipated matchup. 

    But Bamba's mobility and unique 7'9" wingspan continue to show throughout a game, even if his motor and skills appear to come and go. He can seemingly be in two places at once thanks to his recovery speed and length.

    And despite scoring just .522 points per possession on post-ups and being 2-of-14 on jumpers, Bamba is still bringing value offensively as a high-percentage finishing and lob target.

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

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    The medical results on Michael Porter Jr.'s injured back will determine how high he'll go in the draft. Doctors clearing him as 100 percent could push him up to No. 3 based on what scouts saw through high school, plus the fact he's a 6'10" perimeter scorer from either forward position.

    Teams should still have a good feel for Porter's game, which they've already seen in multiple settings, from the Nike Hoop Summit and McDonald's All-American Game to Adidas Nations and years of USA basketball.

    Until we hear more about Porter's recovery, he'll hang around the No. 4 or No. 5 spots on the board, which could depend on the performance of others.

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

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    Lance King/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Offensive rebounds (putbacks): 1.514 PPP, 91st percentile (excellent)

    Post-up: .979 PPP, 73rd percentile (very good)

    Isolation: .812 PPP, 48th percentile (average)

               

    With double doubles in 10 of 12 games, Marvin Bagley III's activity level has been high and consistent. Opposing front lines have looked helpless against his athleticism and motor around the basket.

    He's even starting to appear comfortable shooting threes, having made four over Duke's last three games. 

    Bagley is still using the offensive glass and low post for the majority of his scoring. He hasn't been as effective creating and executing in isolation (9-of-22), and despite the recent success from behind the arc, he's still 8-of-24 and 44-of-72 (61.1 percent) from the foul line.

    The bigger concern has been his defense, which Boston College exposed Saturday by running pick-and-rolls at Bagley and Wendell Carter Jr. Bagley doesn't have great anticipation, strength or length for his size, and some scouts may question what his position is defensively. 

    Regardless, the production, energy and flashes of inside-out versatility should be enough to keep Bagley from falling down boards. The glimpses of ball-handling, post footwork and shooting will be too enticing. 

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

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    Sonia Canada/Getty Images

    The bar keeps rising for the top NCAA prospects looking to make a case to be the draft's No. 1 pick. Luka Doncic turned the pressure up even higher last week with a 33-point game against Olympiacos.

    Euroleague's co-leading scorer at just 18 years old, Doncic is making history, diminishing much of the concern about the lack of star power among European guards and wings in the NBA.

    It may make some teams hesitant about using the No. 1 pick on an international perimeter player who isn't explosive. But given what he's consistently done to pros, both top ones overseas and NBA ones previously at Eurobasket, there is a case to be made that Doncic is one of a kind.

    With 6'8" size, handles and playmaking instincts to run the point and valued offensive skills like three-point shooting (1.9 makes per game) and the floater, Doncic is too advanced, both fundamentally and mentally.

    Unprecedented production only helps strengthen his credibility as a prospect, while Doncic's toughness adds to his likability as a teammate and leader.

1. DeAndre Ayton (Arizona, C, Freshman)

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports numbers (points per possession)

    Isolation: 1.385 PPP in isolation (97th percentile, excellent)

    Post-ups: 1.000 PPP post-ups (79th percentile, very good)

    Roll man: .946 PPP as roll man (42nd percentile, average)

                 

    DeAndre Ayton's 29-point, 18-rebound effort against Alabama may have moved the needle for those on the fence. 

    It did for us. Aside from scoring consecutive baskets in the clutch to seal the deal for Arizona, Ayton showed off his arsenal all game, from mid-range jumpers and the three ball to back-to-the-basket skills and offensive rebounding ability.

    There are no doubt questions about his defensive instincts and motor. Opposing bigs like Donta Hall (15 points), Tyler Davis (21 points) and Brandon McCoy (33 points) have each had big games against Arizona. Ayton's 4.1 block percentage is strangely low for a player with his tools and mobility.

    Still, his immaculate body, athleticism, NBA-friendly fundamentals and early domination point to a high floor and towering ceiling. Ayton has moved in front of Doncic, whose limited speed for a wing player creates just enough concern at No. 1 overall.