Best Comparison for Every Top-30 Prospect in 2015 NBA Draft
Each top prospect in the NBA draft is his own man.
He'll carve out a unique legacy for himself in the ranks of professional basketball, and he'll do so while building his own strengths and weaknesses. There will never be another Michael Jordan, but there won't be another Jimmy Butler, either. The same is true for literally every player who steps foot onto an NBA court, no matter how well or poorly he may play.
But that doesn't mean we can't try to find comparisons. The players who are actually in the Association are the ones we watch on a nightly basis, so it stands to reason that we'd try to look at the top prospects in terms we're most familiar with.
Comparing Prospect X to Player Y doesn't necessarily mean that they'll have similar careers. It's only an indication they play similarly.
Some of these top 30 prospects—listed alphabetically and determined by Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman in his latest big board—will exceed their comparisons. Others will fail to meet them.
But at least they'll play the same type of game.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 12.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 0.7 steals, 0.5 blocks, 23.8 PER
NBA Comparison: DeMarre Carroll
A streaky shooter who functions as one of the league's better three-and-D wings is currently suiting up for the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Finals. Soon enough, a player in his mold will join the NBA, likely as a non-lottery pick in the first round.
The former is DeMarre Carroll, who admittedly has a bit more size working to his advantage at 6'8".
The latter is the 6'6" Justin Anderson, fresh off an impressive season at Virginia, one in which only injuries could truly slow him down. He may have suited up in just 26 contests during his final season of collegiate play, but he left an indelible impression with his 45.2 percent shooting from downtown.
Much like Carroll, this 21-year-old likely won't develop into a star. But put him on the right team, one that allows him to serve as a defensive stopper and complementary scorer, and he'll more than justify his draft-day positioning.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 10.0 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.4 steals, 0.1 blocks, 19.4 PER
NBA Comparison: Danny Green
Devin Booker wasn't given many chances to assert himself as an individual standout, largely because he was playing as part of a stacked Kentucky roster. But if you take those per-game stats and look at what he produced over the course of 40 minutes, his line starts looking significantly better: 18.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 0.8 steals and 0.1 blocks.
This 18-year-old is already a lights-out shooter, and that figures to translate to the next level, even when the arc is moved back farther. He drilled 41.1 percent of his deep tries as a freshman, doing so while taking 6.9 attempts per 40 minutes, and his shooting stroke is both fluid and quick.
But Booker is being compared to Danny Green—not just any sharpshooter. That's because he's also able to lock down on defense, use his size to cover multiple positions and make good on his athleticism when he's darting toward the rim.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 8.9 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 1.2 steals, 1.7 blocks, 23.8 PER
NBA Comparison: Tyson Chandler
If you're expecting Willie Cauley-Stein to develop into a volume scorer at the NBA level, you should probably lower your expectations. Though he's shown flashes of a developing post game and a working mid-range jumper, he's still got lots of work to do at the collegiate level, much less against professional basketball players.
Expecting him to top out like a prime Tyson Chandler—11.3 points per game on 67.9 percent shooting during his first season with the New York Knicks—is much more reasonable, though he'll obviously be hard pressed to shoot so efficiently. Chances are, Cauley-Stein won't have the ball in his hands very often, and he'll be best as a dominant pick-and-roll threat who can finish nearly every play around the basket.
Why's he so highly thought of? Because his defense is absolutely superb.
His rejection tallies declined as a junior, thanks to Karl-Anthony Towns taking over the interior spot in the Kentucky defense, but he's a great shot-blocking artist with a knack for well-timed rim protection. Plus, his lateral quickness allows him to play more mobile defense—deterring smaller players from shooting on the perimeter while hedging and recovering against screens.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 13.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.5 blocks, 25.5 PER
NBA Comparison: Gordon Hayward
It took Gordon Hayward a few years to settle in as a No. 1 scoring option, and it'll likely be similar for Sam Dekker. Of course, that assumes he even gets a chance to lead his team on the offensive end, which isn't exactly guaranteed.
This comparison actually stems from the well-rounded nature of their play. Both Dekker and Hayward are able to contribute in virtually every scenario. They can score with aplomb, but they're also comfortable running the show while lining up at the 3, rebounding through traffic and settling down on defense to provide some non-glamorous production.
In fact, there's a solid chance we could go years before seeing NBADraft.net give out as remarkably consistent an across-the-board score as the one Dekker received. While also comparing him to Hayward, the site gave him an eight out of 10 in 10 of the 12 categories. He earned a seven out of 10 in the remaining two—ball-handling and passing.
Hayward wasn't quite as well-rounded back in 2010, when he received a scouting report that contained 12 scores between six and nine, but he's gradually shored up the weaknesses to the point that he's now a Swiss army knife for the Utah Jazz.
School: Notre Dame
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 16.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 6.7 assists, 1.7 steals, 0.5 blocks, 25.5 PER
NBA Comparison: Reggie Jackson
From March 17 through the end of his first stint with the Detroit Pistons, Reggie Jackson averaged 19.9 points, 4.9 rebounds and 10.9 assists while shooting 48 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc.
In an ideal world, that's the type of player Jerian Grant becomes. His experience at Notre Dame has allowed him to develop as a playmaker, and he's now fully comfortable running an offense that asks him to both excel as a primary scorer and constantly look for his teammates.
Perhaps the most impressive part of Grant's resume for the Fighting Irish was his constant improvement in the assist column.
As a redshirt freshman, he averaged just 5.5 dimes per 40 minutes. That rose to 6.1 as a sophomore, then 6.9 during his junior season. But throughout his final go-round under Mike Brey's supervision, he dished out 7.2 assists per 40 minutes and finished seventh in the nation for per-game dimes.
Now, he's ready for those talents to translate to the next level.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 15.7 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.2 blocks, 24.8 PER
NBA Comparison: Taj Gibson
You might hear Montrezl Harrell compared to Kenneth Faried as we head toward the June 25 draft, but don't be fooled by that.
Though both players are undersized forwards who rely on their relentless levels of energy to help them make an impact, the two play nothing alike. Faried (6'8", 228 lbs) thrives running the court and trying to score around the rim on the offensive end, and he lives to collect rebounds. But Harrell (6'8", 235 lbs) always seems happiest when he's making a defensive impact, even if he doesn't record an inordinate number of thefts or blocked shots.
Instead, he's best compared to Taj Gibson (6'9", 225 lbs), another big man who relies more on energy than pure size. Unlike Faried, Gibson's reputation stems from his work on the defensive end, and he has a decent mid-range jumper that he uses on occasion.
The only issue with this comparison is the blocking ability, as the Chicago Bulls power forward does record his fair share of swats. And that was even true in college, since he averaged 14.3 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.0 steals and 2.9 blocks during his final season with the USC Trojans.
But doesn't the rest of that line look awfully familiar?
International Team: FC Barcelona
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 6.1 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, 13.4 PER
NBA Comparison: Joe Johnson
Mario Hezonja can thrive as a spot-up shooter who patiently waits for his opportunity to help the offense. He can be more aggressive and cut to the basket, making use of his athleticism. And for what it's worth, he possesses far more springs in his legs than his NBA comparison.
But this 6'8" Croatian wing loves to score in isolation more than anything else. Who else could we stack him up against if not the one and only Iso Joe?
Joe Johnson is less athletic and better at distributing than this 20-year-old prospect will be when he hits his peak years, but he does attack in the same manner. Hezonja loves using size-up dribbles before exploding past a defender with a quick first step, and he's quite comfortable serving as the ball-handler in a pick-and-roll set. He even settles for contested jumpers in the same way Johnson so often does.
Plus, there's a solid chance Hezonja eventually uses his size to become a post-up wing player, much like Johnson and Arron Afflalo often do.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 11.2 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals, 0.8 blocks, 21.8 PER
NBA Comparison: Gerald Wallace
I'm not talking about the current version of Gerald Wallace but rather vintage Crash, back when he was leading the Charlotte Bobcats to a playoff appearance and making the 2010 All-Star team.
During those days, he was relentless with his assaults on the basket, he had a decent pull-up jumper, he played excellent, athletic defense, he didn't have to score in order to impact a game, and he loved, well, crashing the boards.
Now, here's what Josh Riddell wrote for DraftExpress.com in early April:
Hollis-Jefferson is a great athlete, measured at 6'7” with a long 7'0.5” wingspan with a strong frame as well. He will be able to match up athletically with many wing NBA players, as his combination of strength, quickness and explosiveness will be difficult to match. He complements his athleticism by playing with high energy, going full speed almost all game while bouncing all around the floor.
Hollis-Jefferson isn't a prolific offensive player at this point in his career and his 14.8 per 40 minutes pace adjusted ranked near the bottom of all players in our top-100. Most of his offense is derived from his athleticism and energy, as he runs the floor well in transition and is constantly cutting to open spaces in the halfcourt to get easy baskets. He finishes well around the rim, at a clip of 56.3% according to Synergy Sports Technology, as he uses his leaping ability to play above the rim. He absorbs contact well and can finish while drawing a foul, with his 7.1 free throw attempts per 40 minutes pace adjusted ranking as the most of any small forward in our top-100.
School: Georgia State
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.1 steals, 1.0 blocks, 25.8 PER
NBA Comparison: Kevin Martin
Don't be fooled by R.J. Hunter's shooting percentages during his final season with Georgia State. In fact, try to pick out which one feels like the aberration, keeping in mind that it's perfectly valid for the fluke to be the most recent data point:
What's most important is that Hunter has a quick, smooth release that should help him thrive as an NBA sharpshooter, especially when he's faced with far less defensive attention. His free-throw shooting is another indicator that he'll bounce back from his disappointing three-point percentage in 2014-15.
Combine that with above-average passing skills for a 2-guard and expected defensive struggles as he transitions from zone defense to the NBA style, and it's easier to see the comparison to one of the mid-2000s' better one-way shooting guards.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 13.8 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.4 blocks, 22.5 PER
NBA Comparison: Ron Artest
I'm not talking about Metta World Peace, who devolved into a player known more for his antics and reputation than his on-court contributions, which largely consisted of decent defense and some spot-up shooting. Instead, think back to 2004, when Ron Artest averaged 18.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists for the Indiana Pacers while winning Defensive Player of the Year.
That's the type of player Stanley Johnson can become.
He's already one of the best defenders in this class, and the combination of his athletic slashing and three-point shooting gives him plenty of upside on the offensive end. When he claimed that he was the best player in the draft, as reported by Jay King of MassLive.com, he might not have been that far off, so long as he develops and doesn't stick at his current level.
It takes a rare player to have enough point-preventing talent that he can actually win Defensive Player of the Year while guarding the perimeter. It's even rarer still to have that type of potential and be brimming over with offensive upside.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds, 5.6 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.1 blocks, 20.4 PER
NBA Comparison: D.J. Augustin
As Stephen Shepperd explained for UpsideMotor.com, it's easy to see D.J. Augustin when watching Tyus Jones:
One college player comparison that jumped out to me when watching Jones is D.J. Augustin during his time at Texas. Both shared the court with superstars (Augustin played with Durant in 2006-07) and were able to control the flow of each possession accordingly. Whenever Durant was triple teamed late in games, Augustin was known to take matters into his own hands by hitting big shots — something Jones also has experience with whenever Okafor is getting hounded.
For Jones, I believe his NBA-potential floor is D.J. Augustin. At the very least, Jones will be picked up by teams who have ailing point guards or holes to fill and will fill them just fine — just like the former Longhorn has over the past few seasons. But with every game Augustin blew up, you got a sense that he was reaching his full potential and having a stroke of genius, whereas Jones seems right at home in the spotlight.
Jones doesn't quite have the speed necessary to look exactly like the former Longhorns point guard, but it's that ability to control the pace and truly serve as a floor general that makes the comparison apropos. Plus, there's a solid chance that Jones becomes a rich man's version of Augustin, as he's only 19 years old and has plenty of time to develop on both ends of the court.
After all, Shepperd also notes that draft analytics point toward Chris Paul as another appropriate comparison.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 18.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.5 blocks, 34.4 PER
NBA Comparison: Brad Miller
Frank Kaminsky may not enjoy being compared to Brad Miller, as the Chicago Sun Times' Dan Cahill noted, but that's irrelevant here.
After all, it's by no means an insult.
Brad Miller was a versatile big man who could score in the post or stretch the floor with his jumper, and he was good enough to make multiple All-Star teams in the 2000s. Had he been around today, he likely would've fared even better, considering the priority so many organizations now place on spacing out the court.
During his two All-Star campaigns, Miller averaged 13.6 points, 9.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 0.9 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting 50.2 percent from the field. There's no shame in those numbers, and there shouldn't be any in drawing this type of comparison.
Especially because it falls on the low end of what Kaminsky could do in the Association.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 11.6 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 blocks, 21.9 PER
NBA Comparison: Poor man's Kevin Durant
To be clear, we're not saying that Kevon Looney is going to be the next Kevin Durant, though he certainly could emerge as one of the bigger gems from the 2015 class. The comparison stems from similar playing styles, not equivalent levels of production.
Looney is a lanky forward who's comfortable handling the ball and settling in on defense. He can dribble out on the perimeter comfortably and often ran sets for the UCLA Bruins, which should help him become somewhat of a matchup nightmare at the next level.
Plus, the 19-year-old has already been drawing this comparison for years.
"I think he's going to be one of those guys that can play all over the floor," Tom Diener, Looney's high school coach, told MaxPreps.com's Greg Bates in 2012. "More and more, the great players are the ones that can play all over the floor. He's a lot like Durant in the way that he plays where he can go inside, and he can play facing the basket, 20 feet from the basket. He's going to be pretty versatile."
And Looney himself is aware of this.
"It's an honor to be compared to someone so good like him," Looney said, per Bates. "I'll be honest, I watch him a lot. I take some of his moves."
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 8.7 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.5 steals, 0.4 blocks, 19.8 PER
NBA Comparison: Carlos Boozer
Carlos Boozer only dunked 25 times during his last two combined seasons. But let's not forget that he was rather athletic during his All-Star years, even recording at least 60 slams during each of the two seasons in which he was selected for the midseason festivities.
Despite what the above picture might lead you to believe, Trey Lyles isn't more of a high-flyer than Boozer was. Sure, he can throw down. But his primary skill lies elsewhere, and it's the same as Boozer's.
The 19-year-old power forward is already quite adept at getting off mid-range jumpers from along the baseline, but the results don't yet show it. His form is smooth and mechanically sound, even if it's largely his work at the charity stripe that indicates he'll be a floor-spacing threat down the road.
Throw in some nifty footwork and soft touch around the basket, and you can see why Lyles profiles as a finesse big man with a flair for contributing outside of the paint. He's even weak on the defensive end, just like his counterpart here.
Rest assured that whichever team selects him won't be showing him tape of Boozer while trying to shore up that area of his game. His new team will only bring out those videos when working on the offense.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 9.3 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 1.7 steals, 2.1 blocks, 18.9 PER
NBA Comparison: Rich man's Tyrus Thomas
Tyrus Thomas never managed to live up to the hype, but it's notable that he's still hanging around in the league. After spending years with the Chicago Bulls and Charlotte Bobcats, he spent a few games on the Memphis Grizzlies bench in 2014-15.
The uber-athletic big man might serve as the comparison here, but Chris McCullough doesn't have to follow a similar path. If he works on the finesse aspects of his game, he could easily exceed Thomas' best marks while thriving on the defensive end.
Already, the 20-year-old profiles as an impact defender, one who uses his relentless energy and fast-twitch muscles to explode all over the half-court set. He can jump into passing lanes, reject plenty of opponents and switch onto just about anyone for short stretches, just as Thomas seemed able to do when he was coming out of LSU.
As DraftExpress.com's Jonathan Givony writes, that versatility stands out:
He moves extremely well on the defensive end of the floor, covering ground gracefully and being quick off his feet to block shots on the perimeter or rotating from the weakside with impressive timing. Very few players in today's NBA show the quickness to step out onto the perimeter and contest smaller players, while still having the length and reach to protect the rim, and McCullough shows the raw tools needed to be that kind of player down the road.
Being compared to Thomas while coming out of school is a good thing. After all, the veteran big man was drafted at No. 4 in the 2006 NBA draft. The key is to exceed those expectations and draw a different player's name a few years down the road.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 15.4 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.9 steals, 3.6 blocks, 21.7 PER
NBA Comparison: Draymond Green (kind of)
I have to admit that Jordan Mickey defied comparison more than any other top-30 prospect. Coming up with a player who didn't require a disclaimer proved impossible, so we'll have to settle for saying that he shows some similarities to Draymond Green.
Mickey is more of a shot-blocker, while Green possesses more lateral quickness. It's unlikely that the LSU product will switch quite as much once he gets to the next level, but if all goes according to plan, he could have a similar defensive impact. Plus, these differences aren't major ones—Mickey does have a great deal of foot speed, after all.
On offense, the 20-year-old developed into a bit of a go-to scorer during his final season at LSU, but he's not going to fill that type of role in the NBA. Instead, he'll be one of those players who does all the little things and occasionally knocks down some deep jumpers.
Passing is the biggest difference between Mickey and Jordan, and it's also where the former could stand to improve most. If he develops into a distributing threat, I'll retroactively feel much better about this admittedly shaky comparison.
International Team: Guangdong Foshan
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 18.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 5.9 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.1 blocks, 18.9 PER
NBA Comparison: John Wall
This might be the single easiest comparison to make.
When you watch Emmanuel Mudiay play, it's impossible to avoid seeing some John Wall in him.
He looks for his teammates in every situation, and he's quite adept at diagnosing a defensive set and then immediately picking it apart. Whether he's in transition or working in the half-court set, he's always keeping his eyes up and looking to serve as a playmaker who can also score if he doesn't find an open passing lane.
Mudiay is a fantastic athlete, one who can speed by virtually any defender in transition and then elevate to finish plays around the rim. This helps him thrive on the glass, and it plays in his favor on the defensive end as well, where he can be a bit undisciplined but wreak havoc on a nightly basis.
Even the biggest weakness is the same—the dearth of a consistent jumper.
If you need further convincing, just watch the play that begins at the one-minute, six-second mark in the above video. Case closed.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 17.3 points, 8.5 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.8 steals, 1.4 blocks, 30.7 PER
NBA Comparison: Al Jefferson
Jahlil Okafor will likely be better than Al Jefferson if he lands in the right situation, but it's important to note that he actually will need to find the proper home in order to live up to his inevitably lofty draft position. A poor free-throw shooter who struggles immensely on the defensive end, he has to be paired with a rim-protecting big or surrounded by stoppers in order to make the most of his offense, much as was the case for Jefferson in Steve Clifford's defensive scheme.
But when he gets a chance to shine on offense, look out.
Okafor should be a 20-10 threat, thanks to his soft touch around the basket, fantastic strength and dizzying array of moves in the post. His foot work is as advanced as you'll see from a 19-year-old in nearly any draft class, and his massive hands make it even easier for him to focus on moving his lower extremities.
While Jefferson owns the left block, Okafor may end up owning the entire interior.
It's also worth noting that this 19-year-old's closest offensive comparison is easily Tim Duncan. The lack of defensive ability is the only thing that keeps him from serving as the best overall one.
International Team: Anadolu Efes
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 7.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.8 steals, 0.4 blocks, 13.5 PER
NBA Comparison: Hedo Turkoglu
Much like Hedo Turkoglu did between his rookie and sophomore seasons in the NBA, Cedi Osman will need to make major improvements to his perimeter shooting. He's not a potent marksman at this stage of his career, and that will need to change for him to emerge as a high-quality NBA player.
Fortunately, his mechanics are already getting better, as he no longer thinks of his arms as catapults, even if his left hand is too disengaged during the shooting process.
What really makes this comparison between international forwards work is the way they play the position. Turkoglu wasn't content to play off the ball and morphed into a point forward during his prime years, handling the rock and showing off his creativity as a distributor on a regular basis.
That's already the role that Osman fills for Anadolu Efes, even if his assist totals don't necessarily show it.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 9.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 1.1 steals, 0.4 blocks, 21.1 PER
NBA Comparison: Poor man's Paul George
A lot depends on Kelly Oubre's mental game, as he often seemed checked out of games at Kansas and can forget that he's supposed to share the ball. If he's not willing to work hard and fully commit to a career in professional basketball, he could look more like a homeless man's Paul George.
But if he is, he could touch the ceiling boasted by the Indiana Pacers superstar—maybe even without jumping, as his 7'2.25" wingspan helped him show off an 8'6.5" standing reach at the NBA Draft Combine, per NBADraft.net.
Those physical tools help him project as a plus defender at the next level, and more discipline on the less glamorous end could make him into an All-Defensive threat year after year. Plus, Oubre has a high release on his jumper that will enable him to shoot over most NBA defenders and become a two-way presence.
Now, throw in the lankiness and athletic ability.
Oubre certainly plays like George when he's focused. It's up to him how often that will be.
School: Murray State
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 20.2 points, 3.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists, 1.9 steals, 0.5 blocks, 30.1 PER
NBA Comparison: Jarrett Jack
Although he's a quick point guard, Cameron Payne isn't a terrific athlete and relies upon an intrinsic understanding of offensive basketball. He's a savvy player, but he can sometimes get caught up in trying to make too many plays, forcing his team to live with the bad right alongside the good.
You know, basically what Jarrett Jack has done for years.
Payne's ceiling is likely a bit higher than that of his Georgia Tech counterpart, as he's an incredibly gifted scorer who averaged more points during both his freshman and sophomore seasons than Jack ever has. Yes, I'm including the veteran's days as a Yellow Jacket, since he topped out at 15.5 points per game during his junior campaign.
But if Payne goes where he's commonly projected—DraftExpress.com has him as the last pick in the lottery, while Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman projects him to come off the board at No. 13—could you really complain about him following a Jack-like trajectory?
He'd never be a star, but there's value in getting a mid-tier point guard whom you can count on for offense year in and year out.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 17.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 1.1 steals, 1.4 blocks, 29.5 PER
NBA Comparison: Chris Bosh
As Jonathan Tjarks wrote for The Cauldron while profiling the reigning SEC Player of the Year, Bobby Portis' ever-expanding range is only making him more appealing:
Probably the most intriguing part of Portis’ game is the ever-increasing range on his jumper — he is 20–59 from beyond the arc this season. While he is probably years away from being a consistent NBA three-point shooter, if he can add that to his game by the time he is in his mid 20's, there’s no telling how effective he could become. A guy with Portis’ size, athleticism and shooting ability is pretty much the prototypical modern-day NBA big man, especially as more teams begin following the model of the Atlanta Hawks, who stretch out the defense and play five shooters the entire game.
But Portis can also score from the interior, much like Chris Bosh did during his early days with the Toronto Raptors. He's a well-rounded player who can thrive as the No. 1 option on a competitive team and hold his own on the defensive end.
"That kid [Bobby] Portis is a pretty damn good player," SMU head coach Larry Brown said after Portis torched his team for 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field in late November, per Tjarks. "He can step outside and post up. He's going to be playing somewhere else pretty soon."
International Team: Baloncesto Sevilla
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 11.1 points, 4.5 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, 19.7 PER
NBA Comparison: Poor man's Dirk Nowitzki
Remember, comparing Kristaps Porzingis to a poor man's Dirk Nowitzki is not akin to saying that the Latvian prospect will have a career that rivals the one put together by the legendary Dallas Mavericks power forward.
Far from it.
It's merely an admission that they play similar styles.
The 19-year-old isn't much of a defensive standout, and he's a non-threatening presence when rebounding opportunities are caroming off the rim—some putback chances notwithstanding. But he's a gifted scorer who can knock down all sorts of jumpers from the perimeter and mid-range zones.
Beyond that, it's the manner in which he makes them. Porizingis already has the touch and body control necessary to fade away and shoot over the outstretched arms of tall defenders, even if he's doing so off only one foot. He also thrives when he's curling around screens and letting it fly in a catch-and-shoot situation.
It sure feels like we've seen that type of player before.
School: Ohio State
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 19.3 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 1.6 steals, 0.3 blocks, 26.6 PER
NBA Comparison: Manu Ginobili
"I studied Manu Ginobili," D'Angelo Russell told NBA TV earlier this month, as relayed by Drew Garrison of Silver Screen and Roll. "Not a lot of guys really valued his play. Growing up that was a guy that I really focused on."
Not only are both prospects smooth lefties with great body control, but they each possess plenty of craftiness when they have the ball in their hands. Plus, they're perfectly comfortable lining up at either guard slot and serving as primary distributors, squeezing the rock into tight spaces and seeing plays develop mentally before they do physically.
Does the 6'5" Russell have the Eurostep down? That remains to be seen.
But even without the Argentine 2-guard's pet move in his arsenal, he's a shorter reincarnation of the 6'6" Ginobili with a longer wingspan.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 10.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists, 0.5 steals, 2.3 blocks, 31.4 PER
NBA Comparison: Andrew Bogut/LaMarcus Aldridge
Karl-Anthony Towns is too unique to draw a single comparison.
On defense, he plays quite a bit like Andrew Bogut, especially when he's sitting back against pick-and-rolls and waiting to defend the basket against whatever comes in his direction. He's not as versatile out on the perimeter as an Anthony Davis, but he doesn't have to be. He can still anchor an entire scheme with his timing and presence at the rim.
But none of the centers who play that style of defense are able to stretch out the court quite like this. You could make an argument that he's a taller version of Serge Ibaka, but that's still not quite going to cut it. Hence the need for a second player.
Who better than LaMarcus Aldridge? That's a name you'll hear bandied about quite often leading up to the draft, as Towns' touch around the basket and developing mid-range work make him an ever-improving threat to put up gaudy point totals on a consistent basis.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 10.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 0.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 2.6 blocks, 25.5 PER
NBA Comparison: Meyers Leonard
Meyers Leonard might not have done much in the NBA at this stage of his young career, but this isn't an insult to Myles Turner. Quite the opposite, as I'm rather high on the future of the young Portland Trail Blazer. There's a great chance he develops into an upper-tier starter in the near future, so long as he's provided the opportunity to do so.
It'll be the same for Turner, who needs to land in the right spot and find a team that's willing to be patient as he develops. Right now, he's not ready to be an impact player.
But down the road, he has a combination of skills that makes him—and Leonard—rather unique.
First, he's an interior presence on the defensive end who can protect the rim quite nicely. Leonard isn't a shot-blocker like Turner, but he's quite difficult to score against while working in the paint, and the Texas product should achieve similar results, albeit in a different manner.
Second, he has the potential to be a great shooter, even if he couldn't hit 30 percent of his deep looks as a freshman in Austin. The form is there, and more work should help him improve drastically in the coming years.
Leonard, who joined the 50-40-90 club this season, made only one of his 12 three-point attempts during his collegiate career at Illinois.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 10.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.4 steals, 4.5 blocks, 29.4 PER
NBA Comparison: DeAndre Jordan
Robert Upshaw's per-game numbers are already insane, but context is about to make them even more impressive.
The Washington big man played only 24.9 minutes per game during the 2014-15 season, and he still recorded the marks you can see up above. Per 40 minutes, he was posting 17.6 points, 13.1 rebounds and a jaw-dropping 7.2 rejections.
Oh, and he hit 59.3 percent of his looks from the field.
Upshaw might be modeling his offensive game after LaMarcus Aldridge, as he told Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman earlier this month, but it's on defense where he's going to thrive in the NBA. He's a force around the rim, though a bit more discipline on his rotations would serve him well.
There's a chance this wild-card prospect could break out on offense and eliminate the DeAndre Jordan comparison, but his excellence on the glass, knack for swatting shots, ultra-efficient (but limited) offense and miserable free-throw shooting earn him that tag for now.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 12.6 points, 6.5 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.9 blocks, 22.3 PER
NBA Comparison: Oklahoma City Thunder James Harden
No one truly matches up with the current version of James Harden, who's mastered the art of drawing contact but also thrives as a perimeter sniper, step-back magician and elite distributor. It's the last part that makes him defy comparison, but he wasn't so adept at looking for his teammates before he was traded to the Houston Rockets.
During his three seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Harden improved from 2.8 to 2.9 to 4.2 assists per 36 minutes. He just wasn't that featured offensive option yet, and during his minutes, he had to look for his own shot first and foremost.
That's the exact type of player Justise Winslow is right now, even though he's a capable distributor. The 19-year-old Duke product excels from the perimeter and loves slashing to the hoop, and the crafty nature of his body control allows him to spend lots of time at the stripe (5.5 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes as a freshman).
Plus, he even has the trademark celebration down.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 15.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.3 steals, 2.7 blocks, 25.5 PER
NBA Comparison: Brandan Wright with a jumper
Skinny. Lanky. Great on the glass. Limited in the non-scoring game. Adequate on defense.
Practically every description used to evaluate the 6'11", 220-pound Christian Wood can also be turned around to describe Brandan Wright, though the oft-traded veteran big man is certainly much more efficient on the offensive end. And that's because of the lone major difference.
While Wright rarely takes shots that aren't lofted up from right around the basket or thrown with a downward trajectory, Wood has a working jumper. He showed hints of three-point ability during his second season at UNLV, and he's already comfortable taking mid-range attempts.
Of course, Wood can play Wright's style of offense, as Jonathan Givony details for DraftExpress.com:
He's also a capable option in a set offense, particularly as a finisher around the basket as a cutter or in pick and roll situations, where he's a threat to go up and catch lobs at any time. He gets off his feet quickly, converting 70% of his 'around the basket' field goal attempts in the half-court this season according to Synergy Sports Tech, which is the 7th best rate among DX Top-100 prospects after Jahlil Okafor, Richaun Holmes, Sam Dekker, Seth Tuttle, Rakeem Christmas and Frank Kaminsky.
There's a reason we have a qualifier on this comparison.
2014-15 Per-Game Stats: 14.5 points, 4.9 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.1 steals, 1.0 blocks, 29.2 PER
NBA Comparison: Shaun Livingston
Delon Wright's 6'5" frame makes stacking him up against a big point guard rather obvious, even if his shorter wingspan doesn't give him quite as much length as you'd expect. But the ability to change speeds with the ball, control an offense and get into the lane rather than rely on a jumper narrows the potential choices to just one: Shaun Livingston.
After suffering that devastating knee injury while he was with the Los Angeles Clippers, Livingston worked hard to return to the NBA. Now, he's a valuable piece for the Golden State Warriors who often plays like he could start on quite a few teams.
Is either floor general going to space out the court with perimeter jumpers? Not at all. But they're both going to control the offense and use their tricky ball-handling skills to open up room for themselves and their teammates.
Adam Fromal covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @fromal09.