2015 NBA Draft Big Board: Ranking the Top 50 Players in Mid-June
With just over two weeks to go before the 2015 NBA draft, prospects and teams are currently in workout mode.
Except for those projected to go top five, most players are traveling from city to city auditioning for any general manager who will have them.
Murray State's Cameron Payne and UNLV's Rashad Vaughn seem to be the biggest risers over the past few weeks.
This big board ultimately reflects Jonathan Wasserman's personal rankings he created based off his own scouting and conversations with other scouts, as well as the overall buzz surrounding the draft.
These rankings measure each prospect's NBA potential—not necessarily their impact in college.
This is also not the exact order we expect the prospects to be selected in.
1. Karl-Anthony Towns, Kentucky, 6'11", PF/C, Freshman
Karl-Anthony Towns' breakout during the second half of the season launched him straight atop our board, and that's where he'll finish.
Despite reports, such as the one from ESPN's Chad Ford, that Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders has interest in Duke's Jahlil Okafor, it's tough to imagine him passing on Towns' two-way versatility and upside.
Compared to Okafor, Towns is the better athlete, shooter (81.3 percent from the line) and defender (4.3 blocks per 40 minutes), and though not as polished in the post, he's improved with each month.
With Towns, there really isn't much to question, while Okafor's struggles in rim protection—as well as his inability to stretch the floor—could potentially hurt his value as a big man.
If Saunders does take Okafor, look for the L.A. Lakers to snatch up Towns without thinking twice.
2. D'Angelo Russell, Ohio State, 6'5", PG/SG, Freshman
When it comes to projecting who'll be the better NBA player five years from now, D'Angelo Russell and Jahlil Okafor sit neck and neck. Both appear poised to become valuable franchise cornerstones.
But if Karl-Anthony Towns is off the board, I'd ultimately end up taking Russell over Okafor for the L.A. Lakers. And based on fit, I'd do the same if the Philadelphia 76ers or New York Knicks had the pick.
There are just fewer questions to ask about Russell, who you can also argue offers the higher ceiling.
He's extraordinarily skilled, from his playmaking (five assists per game) to his scoring (19.3 points per game) and shooting (95 threes, 41.1 percent). And at 6'5" with a giant 6'9½" wingspan and reported 39" max vertical, per ESPN's Chad Ford, he has the size and athleticism to comfortably play either the 1 or 2.
With Okafor, who isn't a shot-blocker or instinctive rim protector, the Lakers would have to worry about his fit alongside Julius Randle. Pairing Okafor with Randle could could mean committing to a fairly suspect interior defense for the next few years. And given the lack of quality guards expected to be available this summer, general manager Mitch Kupchak may be better off building his backcourt through the draft and his frontcourt through free agency.
Russell would fit beautifully in L.A., where he'd offer star power and an immediate offensive weapon to pair alongside Jordan Clarkson or Kobe Bryant.
We've also seen high success rates for recent top ball-handers right out of college (Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, John Wall Stephen Curry, James Harden) as well. Russell's game should translate quickly.
He's already worked out for the Lakers (as did Okafor), and he's expected to eventually work out for the New York Knicks, per Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News.
3. Jahlil Okafor, Duke, 6'11", C, Freshman
Jahlil Okafor is likely generating all sorts of debate in the Minnesota Timberwolves front office.
He isn't the same caliber athlete as Karl-Anthony Towns, and he is not as disruptive at the defensive end. But there is tremendous value tied to a player who can consistently create high-percentage shots against a set half-court defense.
Okafor projects as a center a coach can feature when the team needs a bucket most.
At 6'11", 270 pounds, Okafor has the strength to bully smaller centers, the footwork to separate from bigger ones and the touch to score from every angle around the rim.
There is no doubt he must improve in rim protection and pick-and-roll coverage. Adding a jumper and correcting that 51 percent free-throw stroke should also be priorities.
But Okafor's blend of physical tools and skills is just too special. He'll have the chance to become one of the game's tougher covers within 15 feet.
4. Emmanuel Mudiay, China, 6'5", PG, 1996
Emmanuel Mudiay is expected to work out for each team drafting in the top four, which tells you all you need to know about the intrigue surrounding his potential.
With 6'5" size, a textbook 200-pound frame, lightning quickness and above-the-rim athleticism, he's a can't-miss point guard talent.
Whether or not he evolves into one of the game's better ball-handlers will likely come down to how much he improves as a shooter and decision-maker—two areas of the game players can correct with reps and time.
There was a recent report from Sporting News' Sean Deveney that Mudiay won't fall past No. 6, but this shouldn't be considered groundbreaking news.
5. Mario Hezonja, Croatia, 6'8", SG/SF, 1995
Mario Hezonja is still playing overseas, where his minutes remain limited. But at this point, scouts (and fans) have seen enough to recognize his obvious NBA potential.
He's one of the top athletes in this draft with mismatch size for a 2-guard or wing—positions his handle, shooting stroke (2.87 made threes per 40 minutes) and passing allow him to play.
Hezonja can create his own shot with a step-back jumper or explode through a lane for a dunk off a ball screen.
With flawless physical tools, a versatile offensive game and a sharp competitive edge, Hezonja should be getting consideration from every team drafting No. 3 through No. 9.
6. Justise Winslow, Duke, 6'7", SF, Freshman
Justise Winslow should ultimately draw looks from every team drafting outside the top two. His world-class athleticism, motor, defensive versatility and positive energy are all things scouts have praised him for throughout the year.
Realistically, teams shouldn't expect much offensively from Winslow as a rookie. His ball skills, from his handle to his one-on-one game, are still a work-in-progress. The fact that he shot 2-of-19 on pull-up jumpers (via DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony) is a fairly telling stat regarding where he's at as a scorer.
But he did shoot 41.1 percent from downtown and pick up 60 buckets at the rim in the half court, per Hoop-Math.com (Arizona's Stanley Johnson finished with 29; Kansas' Kelly Oubre has just 19). Winslow has a promising shooting stroke and a dynamic drive-and-slash game.
He reportedly received positive feedback following his workout with the Knicks, who, according to ESPN's Ian Begley, will consider Winslow at No. 4.
7. Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7'0", C, Junior
The value tied to Willie Cauley-Stein's defensive versatility alone should generate interest outside the top three picks. You just won't find many 7-footers whose superhero athleticism translates to rim protection, as well as the ability to switch onto guards and full-court pressure.
Cauley-Stein could potentially be in play for the Knicks at No. 4, Orlando Magic at No. 5, Sacramento Kings at No. 6 and Denver Nuggets at No. 7—four teams that ranked bottom five in the league in defensive efficiency, per ESPN.
He could ultimately improve his draft stock even more if he convinces teams his shooting stroke, which he didn't get to show off at Kentucky, is actually much better than advertised. Cauley-Stein's jumper sure looked fluid in a recent Los Angeles workout (not with the Lakers) video DraftExpress released.
8. Stanley Johnson, Arizona, 6'7", SF, Freshman
With Duke's Justise Winslow and Kentucky's Willie Cauley-Stein each generating top-five buzz, Stanley Johnson has seemingly slipped under the radar. And it could make him one of the better value picks late in this year's lottery.
I'm not fully convinced that Johnson can't become the top wing from this class. There really isn't much to question, from his terrific defensive tools (6'7", 242 pounds, 6'11½" wingspan) to his above-average athleticism, promising shooting stroke (43 threes made) and developing in-between game (49 percent on pull-up jumpers, per DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony).
He isn't the most explosive player around the rim, but neither was Paul Pierce or Ron Artest—two highly successful small forwards he resembles.
I'd peg Johnson as a steal if any team grabs him outside the top eight.
9. Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia, 7'1", PF, 1995
Kristaps Porzingis remains one of this year's bigger risk-reward plays, with the potential reward great enough to justify top-five looks.
At 7'1" with incredible mobility, a natural shooting stroke and above-the-rim athleticism, we could be talking about one of the more versatile mismatches in the league. But at 220 pounds, he also lacks the strength to bang down low, man the glass and anchor a defense.
I got a chance to see Porzingis shoot around a little bit live in Brooklyn just one day after he arrived in the United States. He's undoubtedly skinny, but he's also extremely fluid for a forward his size. He was effortlessly tossing one-handed alley-oops to himself off the backcourt.
He should be considered a project, which could make him a tough sell for the New York Knicks at No. 4. But look for Porzingis to generate interest from the other teams picking No. 3 through No. 9.
10. Cameron Payne, Murray State, 6'2", PG, Sophomore
We've had Cameron Payne as a projected lottery pick for the past few months, so we aren't too surprised by the buzz he's recently generated.
The latest report (via ESPN's Ian Begley) has the Knicks potentially interested in trading down for the Murray State point guard.
Payne lacks Emmanuel Mudiay's physical tools and athleticism, but he's not exactly a stiff. Payne passes the eye test, while his skill level and feel for the game are both top-notch.
A deadly pull-up and floater game, as well as a dangerous three-point stroke (made 84 threes), translated to 20.2 points per contest. He also finished sixth in the country in assist percentage, per Sports-Reference.com, having demonstrated tremendous passing instincts in both the half court and transition.
The only knock on Payne is the competition he faced in the Ohio Valley conference. We aren't going to hold it against him. This kid can play.
11. Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin, 7'1", PF/C, Senior
Regardless of whether Frank Kaminsky's post game translates, his jumper, basketball IQ and handle still hold lottery value.
With shooting big men in demand, Kaminsky made 41.6 percent of his threes. He projects as a major weapon in the pick-and-pop and drive-and-kick games as a stretch 4 or 5.
His ability to put the ball on the floor, attack close outs and score on the move only enhances the threat he poses to slower-footed defenders his size on the perimeter.
A 4.5 percent block percentage as a senior suggests his defensive potential may be limited. But his shot-making and passing skills (3.1 assists per 40 minutes) should carry him to a long, productive career.
Look for the Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Indiana Pacers and Utah Jazz to all show interest. It's tough to imagine him slipping past the Phoenix Suns at No. 13.
12. Myles Turner, Texas, 7'0", C, Freshman
Unless someone gambles in the top 10, Myles Turner could end up being one of the better value picks in this draft.
Turner ultimately offers the rare versatility in the form of rim protection (2.6 blocks in 22.2 minutes per game) and perimeter shooting—a combination you just don't typically see.
Given his lack of strength on the interior, it will become important for Turner to continue refining his outside shot, though his mechanics (83.9 percent from line) and range (made 17 threes) are both encouraging.
There are some concerns regarding his mobility and explosiveness, but most seem overblown.
The Miami Heat, Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns could all be suitors late in the lottery.
13. Trey Lyles, Kentucky, 6'10", PF, Freshman
When you take into account his size, skill level and basketball IQ, Trey Lyles should represent one of the safer options in this year's field.
Lyles doesn't possess that jump-out-of-the-gym explosiveness, but he's mobile, nimble and exceptionally skilled.
Natural shooting in the mid-range, comfortable off the dribble and dexterous around the rim, his offensive versatility can threaten a defense from multiple spots on the floor.
Lyles is unlikely to offer much rim protection or perimeter defense, but his offensive fundamentals should be strong enough to generate interest from lottery teams.
14. Devin Booker, Kentucky, 6'6", SG, Freshman
Devin Booker projects more as a shot-maker than a scorer, given his lack of shot-creating ability. J.J. Redick should be a strong comparison in terms of his complementary skill set and role.
Booker is at his best stretching the floor as a spot-up threat (41.1 percent from three) or curling off screens into mid-range jumpers. He also flashed the body control to catch and finish at full speed in the open floor.
However, outside of being able to pull up off one or two dribbles, he isn't much of a one-on-one player or playmaker.
Booker would be a great mid-first-round option for a team that can surround him with talent and allow him to play to his strengths. That's ultimately what he had at Kentucky.
15. Jerian Grant, Notre Dame, 6'5", PG, Senior
I'd categorize Jerian Grant as one of the surer things in this year's field. He's flashed unteachable vision, passing instincts (6.7 assists to 2.2 turnovers per game) and size for a ball-handler.
Grant is terrific off screens, with the ability to read defenses and make plays over the top of it.
He's also a threatening scorer in the mid-range, an excellent finisher at the rim (73.1 percent, per Hoop-Math.com), and though his 31.6 percent three-point mark is low, he did nail 50 threes.
Grant will be 23 years old by the start of next season, which raises questions regarding his upside. But for a team looking to build its backcourt depth, Grant seems like a perfectly good option in the mid-first round.
16. Sam Dekker, Wisconsin, 6'9", SF, Junior
Though not particularly strong in any one area of the game, Sam Dekker's value comes in the form of versatility. Dekker does a nice job of letting the game come to him and capitalizing opportunistically, whether it's as a driver, shot-maker or passer.
His basketball IQ also plays right into his likability as a role player.
Dekker's jumper will have to become more consistent for him to maximize his offensive potential. He's shot below 34 percent from deep in back-to-back seasons without converting more than 71 percent of his free throws in three years at Wisconsin. Shaky mechanics also make Dekker vulnerable to some bad misses from outside.
However, by draft night, Dekker will have worked out for a handful of teams—including the Nuggets, Detroit Pistons, Charlotte Hornets, Suns and Atlanta Hawks, per Evan Caulfield of HoopsScoop.com—picking in the late lottery to mid-first round. Once all the upside picks are off the board, Dekker's high-basement floor should look appealing.
17. Bobby Portis, Arkansas, 6'11", PF, Sophomore
With 6'11" size, a 7'2" wingspan, 246-pound frame and a natural mid-range shooting stroke, Bobby Portis already looks the part of an NBA power forward.
His blend of physical tools and polished inside-out skills, from his jumper to low-post game, is strong.
The knock on Portis concerns his lack of explosiveness and heavy feet, which could make it difficult for him to beat defenders off the dribble or finish over them at the rim. His 31½" max vertical was one of the lowest at the combine.
Still, we aren't going to dock him too much for it, as he makes up for average athleticism with size, length and a polished offensive game.
Portis can likely go as high as No. 11 to the Indiana Pacers. He won't slip out of the top 20.
18. Kelly Oubre, Kansas, 6'7", SF, Freshman
Despite his limited production at Kansas (9.3 points per game), Kelly Oubre has still gotten workouts with lottery teams such as the Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns.
Oubre ultimately offers that NBA-friendly blend of athleticism and shooting. He has solid 6'7" size and a giant 7'2" wingspan.
But his 28 assists in 36 games is a slight turnoff. His defensive effort also sputtered at times, though his tools and potential on defense are promising.
To buy into Oubre as a lottery pick, you have to believe significant improvement will come and that the wait will be worth the reward. He'll need a year in the D-League to build up his reps and confidence after logging just 21 minutes a game at Kansas.
19. R.J. Hunter, Georgia State, 6'6", SG, Junior
R.J. Hunter's draft range should be wide, given the value tied to his shot-making skills and concerns regarding his 185-pound frame and average athleticism.
On one hand, he's made 253 threes in three seasons, having flashed infinite range and one of the prettiest jumpers in the country. He's at his best running off screens, catching and releasing in a blink of an eye.
On the other hand, Hunter is skinny for a mostly below-the-rim, 21-year-old off-guard. It's fair to question whether he'll be able to separate one-on-one.
Still, his shooting stroke and underrated passing ability (3.9 assists per 40 minutes) should work well in a complementary offensive role. He could probably go as high as No. 13 to the Suns, whom he recently worked out for.
20. Tyus Jones, Duke, 6'2", PG, Freshman
Tyus Jones wouldn't be the first below-the-rim, sub-200-pound point guard to succeed.
The big knock on Jones stems from his uninspiring athleticism and physical tools.
You can't completely overlook them. Jones lacks explosiveness, which hurts him as a finisher (shot 44 percent in the paint in the half court, per DraftExpress' Jonathan Givony). He also doesn't project very favorably defensively on the perimeter against the NBA's speedy power ball-handlers.
But Jones' offensive skills are extremely sharp, from his handle and vision to his pull-up game (shot 43 percent off the dribble). The fact that he's viewed as a high-character, high-IQ kid with a winning track should only play to his appeal.
Jones will have a chance to start for an NBA team one day. I just wouldn't Sharpie his name into any All-Star games.
The Houston Rockets, who need a point guard, should be a team to watch for with Jones. He worked out for them earlier this week, per ESPN's Calvin Watkins.
21. Christian Wood, UNLV, 6'11", PF, Sophomore
Christian Wood weighed in at just 216 pounds at the combine, which was lighter than some guards and wings. But at 6'11", he's an above-the-rim athlete with a 7'3¼" wingspan and an inside-out offensive game.
Wood shot 44.8 percent on two-point jumpers, per Hoop-Math.com, and he knocked down 25 threes. With the ability to face up, attack, spin off line drives and make shots on the move, Wood poses as a mismatch for big men who aren't as laterally quick.
He also blocked 2.7 shots and grabbed 10 rebounds per game.
There is some concern Wood slips between the 4 and 5 positions, lacking strength for the interior and ball skills for the perimeter. But if he can tie his versatility together and continue improving his jumper, Wood could be a steal in the second half of the first round.
22. Kevon Looney, UCLA, 6'9", PF, Freshman
Kevon Looney may be able to help himself in workouts, when teams get a look at his physical tools up close. At 6'9" with a tremendous 7'3½" wingspan and broad shoulders, Looney's frame and measurements are eye-opening for a power forward.
The big question is whether he has the game. Looney isn't a back-to-the-basket post scorer, and at 220 pounds, he isn't a banger down low, either.
On the bright side, his nose for the ball on the offensive glass resulted in 54 putbacks on the year, per Hoop-Math.com. And Looney has a promising shooting stroke (22-of-53 from three) and above-average ball-handling ability.
Looking ahead, we could either be talking about a face-up mismatch or a tweener—not strong enough to play the 4 or quick and athletic enough to play small forward.
There is upside to chase, but I'd rather take my chance on Looney outside the lottery.
23. Delon Wright, Utah, 6'6", PG, Senior
Delon Wright remains limited on the perimeter, where his pull-up game and shooting range are lacking. And that could make it tough for Wright to become much of a scorer.
But his NBA value will ultimately lie within his ability to run an offense, set the table for teammates and defend both backcourt positions.
He's a playmaker at both ends of the floor, having averaged 5.2 assists, 2.3 steals and 1.1 blocks in two years at Utah.
Wright should be able to lend backup services as a 23-year-old rookie next year. He could be a target for a playoff team looking to add a secondary ball-handler.
24. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona, 6'7", SF, Sophomore
Having shot 8-of-39 from three in 76 career college games, there are obvious offensive concerns tied to Rondae Hollis-Jefferson.
Quite frankly, if there is a good pair of footsteps for Hollis-Jefferson to follow, they belong to Draymond Green, who only made two three-pointers through his first two years at Michigan State. Green ultimately let his motor and defensive versatility do all the talking until he'd eventually become a threat to make open jumpers.
Right now, Hollis-Jefferson's value lies within his ability to lock down scorers and guard multiple positions. He might even be able to play some small-ball 4.
At some point in the near future he'll need to be able to connect from outside, but in the meantime, Hollis-Jefferson's athleticism, energy and defense should keep him afloat.
25. Rashad Vaughn, UNLV, 6'5", SG, Freshman
Rashad Vaughn was a big-time scorer at UNLV, having finished third among freshmen with 17.8 points per game.
A lack of explosiveness and versatility—he isn't much of a playmaker or defender—seem to limit his upside.
But Vaughn can create and make shots from all over the floor. And even if his one-on-one skills have trouble translating, his shooting stroke (2.3 threes per game, 38.3 percent from deep) should work just fine.
Vaughn has workouts completed or scheduled with a handful of mid- to late first-round teams.
26. Justin Anderson, Virginia, 6'6", SF, Junior
Justin Anderson doesn't offer much creativity, though he won't need it if he continues to shoot over 40 percent from three. Anderson finished his junior year as a 45.2 percent three-point shooter after finishing each of his first two years below 31 percent.
Physically, he's immaculate, with a diesel 231-pound frame, near 6'11¾" wingspan and springs that helped him get up for a 43" max vertical leap at the combine.
Anderson projects as your classic three-and-D wing, assuming his hot shooting can carry over. He'd be a great fit on a veteran team looking for a specialist. The Chicago Bulls and Portland Trail Blazers would make sense as potential suitors.
27. Montrezl Harrell, Louisville, 6'8", PF, Junior
By now, teams must be fairly familiar with Montrezl Harrell, whose strengths and weaknesses are well defined.
The obvious appeal to Harrell stems from his physical tools, athleticism and motor, which translate to easy buckets, rebounds, defense and activity.
He's capable in the mid-range, but having shot 9-of-37 from three and 59.7 percent from the line, Harrell's jumper isn't much of a threat. He also lacks polished one-on-one post moves.
I'd view Harrell more as an interior energizer or spark off a bench than a scorer at the next level.
28. Robert Upshaw, Washington, 7'0", C, 1994
From a talent perspective, Robert Upshaw looks like first-round material. At 7'0", 258 pounds with a 7'5½" wingspan and 9'5" standing reach, Upshaw was leading the country in shot blocking before Washington kicked him off the team—the second time in three years he's been dismissed from his college program (first time was Fresno State in 2013).
The big question with Upshaw is whether he'll be mentally up to the challenge. There are teams that have likely already crossed his name off their boards.
Despite his issues, Upshaw happens to be a well-spoken, seemingly self-aware kid. He also excels in an area of the game—rim protection—that is heavily valued in today's NBA.
He'll have the chance to become a real steal if he can turn things around in terms of his behavior and off-the-court problems.
29. Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse, 6'10", PF/C, Senior
Rakeem Christmas would have likely generated a lot more draft buzz this year if he were only a few years younger. He'll be 24 in December. But Christmas' offensive game has just gotten to the point of being too good to ignore.
Christmas refined his back-to-the-basket skills to become a threat to separate over either shoulder and finish with both hands.
He was the best player in five-on-five both days at the NBA combine, where he even flashed the mid-range jumper we didn't see him take much at Syracuse.
By draft night, Christmas will have worked out for more than half the teams in the league. He should be considered a late first-round option who could potentially give coaches 10-15 minutes right away.
30. Jordan Mickey, LSU, 6'8", PF, Sophomore
Jordan Mickey is working out for many of the teams picking in the 20s, coming off a year in which he led the country in shot blocking.
Mickey has fantastic defensive instincts around the rim to match a terrific 37½" max vertical leap.
He's a good—not great—low-post scorer. Mickey's mid-range jumper also stood out at the combine, which was a good sign, considering shooting had been labeled a weakness at LSU.
And though slightly undersized at 6'8", he makes up for an inch or two in height with a 238-pound frame, 7'3¼" wingspan and strong leaping ability.
He's not a major-upside pick, but Mickey has the tools and skill set to become a solid role-playing NBA big.
31. Chris McCullough, Syracuse, 6'9", PF, Freshman
There is both high-potential reward and plenty of risk tied to Chris McCullough, who played just 16 games before tearing his ACL. And quite frankly, McCullough only looked good through the first eight of those games, which mostly came against inferior non-conference competition.
McCullough has terrific physical tools and athleticism for a power forward. He's a crafty finisher around the rim and a promising mid-range shooter.
But he isn't great with contact, and he weighed in just 199 pounds at the combine—incredibly light for a big man, even if he has been inactive for months.
McCullough will ultimately be a late first- or second-round option for teams willing to wait on his recovery and development.
32. Cedi Osman, Macedonia, 6'8", SG/SF, 1995
Cedi Osman continues to soak up great experience overseas, where his team is currently in the Turkish League Finals.
At 6'8", he has excellent size and athleticism for a wing who can knock down open threes (made 52 threes in 62 games) and finish plays as a cutter and open-floor weapon.
Osman doesn't project as a plus one-one scorer or defender, which limits the upside he offers as a 2-guard or small forward. But his versatility could be a nice fit in today's NBA game.
Osman will be a draft-and-stash option for teams picking outside the top 20.
33. Guillermo Hernangomez, Spain, 6'11", C, 1994
Guillermo Hernangomez was one of the most productive young prospects in the Spanish ACB, and having played alongside potential top-five pick Kristaps Porzingis, his performance hasn't gone unnoticed.
Though not overly quick or explosive, Hernangomez has strong 6'11", 250-pound size and impressive skills in the post. He's shown he can score on the low block and make short jumpers around the elbows.
Hernangomez also pulled in 11.5 boards per 40 minutes between Spanish ACB play and Eurocup.
He doesn't block many shots and seems to offer somewhat limited upside, but as a center who can score and rebound, he's worth a look late in Round 1 or anywhere in Round 2.
34. Richaun Holmes, Bowling Green, 6'10", PF, Senior
Richaun Holmes generated buzz at the Portsmouth Invitational and looked competitive at the NBA combine. He's firmly secured a spot on teams' radar, as his predraft schedule should be filled with workouts.
Holmes has strong physical tools and a big-time motor, as well as the skill set to face up and attack off the bounce. He was also named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year after averaging 2.7 blocks.
Holmes should be in consideration for teams drafting early in the second round.
35. Arturas Gudaitis, Lithuania, 6'10", PF, 1993
Arturas Gudaitis' explosiveness translates to highlight plays above the rim off finishes, pick-and-rolls, putbacks and shot-blocking opportunities.
He plays mostly facing up, and has even flashed some ability to put the ball on the floor or make a jump shot.
Gudaitis will already be 22 years old by draft night, which would make him equivalent to a senior.
But he still looks like a potential NBA talent.
36. Terry Rozier, Louisville, 6'2", PG/SG, Sophomore
Athletic, physical and skilled, Terry Rozier passes the eye test for an NBA point guard. But his track record suggests otherwise.
Rozier finished with a negative pure point rating, per RealGM.com, and put up a 3-2 assist-to-turnover ratio. To his credit, his role was to shoot playing alongside either Chris Jones or Quentin Snider, but the fact is, teams haven't seen Rozier do much distributing and facilitating in two years at Louisville.
And at 6'2" with a jumper that connected on just 30.6 percent of his threes, Rozier doesn't project very favorably as an off-guard.
But Rozier can score against ball-handlers and make things happen off the dribble. He's also an above-average defender and rebounder at the position.
An NBA executive told Yahoo Sports' Marc Spears that Rozier has "solidified himself as a first-round draft pick."
He's an NBA talent. The question is whether Rozier is an NBA fit. I'd rather take my chances using an early second-round pick.
37. Jarell Martin, LSU, 6'9", PF, Sophomore
Jarell Martin looks like one of the bigger boom-or-bust prospects in this year's field. He's super-athletic for a 6'9", 239-pounder. And Martin has the ball skills to face up, attack and score on the move.
But he's a below-average shooter (26.9 percent from three, 69 percent from the line), a poor post player, an inconsistent rebounder and shaky defender.
Martin could look like a mismatch if he can add a jumper and play 25 feet away. But he's also in danger of falling in between the 3 and 4 positions. From Anthony Bennett and Derrick Williams to Michael Beasley and Thomas Robinson, we've just seen too many combo forwards like Martin struggle to fit in.
38. Aleksandar Vezenkov, Bulgaria, 6'9", SF/PF, 1995
After leading Greece's top league in scoring during the year, Aleksandar Vezenkov, 19 years old, has had some big playoff games, including a recent 23-point, nine-rebound outing in a win on Tuesday.
With a clean, quick release, Vezenkov has a lethal three-point stroke for a forward, having made 1.85 threes per game at a 38.7 percent clip.
Simply put: He has a knack for putting the ball in the hoop.
However, Vezenkov is a below-average athlete who lacks blow-by speed, lift and lateral quickness. He could have a tough time guarding whomever he's matched up against in the NBA.
The production he's put up makes him worth drafting-and-stashing, but the second round would be a safer place to do it.
39. J.P. Tokoto, North Carolina, 6'6", SG, Junior
J.P. Tokoto was a standout at the NBA combine, looking more comfortable as a shooter than he did at North Carolina.
The jumper is ultimately the only thing standing between Tokoto and most of the prospects who are considered likely first-rounders.
Tokoto is a high-flier who can defend multiple positions. He still needs work offensively, but his vision is unique for a 2-guard (5.9 assists per 40 minutes), and he at least made the threes he took (12 of 32).
He becomes a second-round steal if he's able to improve his shooting stroke. For what it's worth, it doesn't look completely broken.
40. Cliff Alexander, Kansas, 6'8", PF, Freshman
Not much has gone right basketball-wise for Cliff Alexander this past year. He only lasted 28 games before eligibility issues ended his season early. During the year, Alexander was up-and-down, while his limitations were badly exposed.
He lacks offensive polish in the post, a threatening jumper and an interior-oriented player's size.
Alexander is still a terrific athlete with a relentless motor under the boards (12 rebounds per 40 minutes) and strong finishing ability.
But he's a project with a ceiling that isn't quite worth reaching on. Don't be surprised if Alexander falls into the middle of Round 2.
41. Michael Frazier II, Florida, 6'5", SG, Junior
Odds are there are teams that currently have Michael Frazier II highlighted as a potential second-round target. He's a shooter with a lights-out track record, including 227 career three-point makes on 526 attempts (43.2 percent).
Frazier has picturesque mechanics, deep range and adequate physical tools for a 2-guard.
He doesn't offer much else outside of shot-making, but Frazier's jumper could ultimately earn him a contract with a team looking to add a sniper.
42. Anthony Brown, Stanford, 6'7", SF, Senior
Anthony Brown's track record as a shooter speaks for itself. He's shot at least 44 percent from downtown in back-to-back seasons, having established himself as a potential three-point-specialist prospect.
Brown has adequate size and athleticism for a wing, even if he doesn't project as a blow-by driver or scorer.
Assuming he can hold his own defensively, Brown's jumper should be worth targeting in the second round.
43. Joseph Young, Oregon, 6'2", SG, Senior
Joseph Young was an offensive machine at Oregon, where he put up 20.7 points per game and 91 threes as a senior. He can create and make shots with range from any spot on the floor.
Unfortunately, he's not much of a facilitator, and at 6'2", Young won't be able to match up with most 2-guards.
But in a role that allows him to come off the bench and provide instant offense as a scorer, Young could have a real chance. Lou Williams should be the player for Young to study.
44. Michael Qualls, Arkansas, 6'5", SG, Junior
Michael Qualls certainly checks out physically with 6'5" size and elite athleticism. He even averaged an impressive 21.1 points per 40 minutes, showing the ability to make shots in the mid-range and on the move.
But he took a step back as a shooter, having finished the year at 33.3 percent from downtown after making an average 35 percent of his threes as a sophomore.
I'd bet on Qualls spending the year in the D-League, where he'll be able to score and generate buzz, while continuing to fine-tune his jumper. He needs one more year to develop before having something to offer to NBA teams.
45. Olivier Hanlan, Boston College, 6'4", PG/SG, Junior
Olivier Hanlan is a second-round talent with first-round-caliber skills that translated to 19.5 points and 4.2 assists per game.
He's an average athlete, and at 6'4", he's undersized for a scorer. But Hanlan can handle the ball and create shots off the dribble for himself or teammates. He's also a threatening shooter from outside, having hit 65 threes in 32 games.
Louisville's Terry Rozier—a solid defender—told me at the combine that Hanlan was his toughest cover all year.
I'd take my chances on Hanlan just outside the top 40, with the hopes he can make it as a playmaking combo reserve.
46. Norman Powell, UCLA, 6'4", SG, Senior
Norman Powell's world-class athleticism and defensive ability are both NBA-caliber strengths. The big question is whether his offensive game is threatening enough to justify minutes.
Powell only shot 31.9 percent from three after making fewer than 30 percent of his threes in each of his previous two seasons. But he at least knocked down 38 of them and put up 16.4 points per game as a senior.
Powell can still pick up easy buckets in transition or off drives, and he's capable of making shots in the mid-range.
He would have received more first-round support had he improved his shooting numbers this year. If he ever does in the near future, taking Powell in the second round could pay off big time.
47. George De Paula, Brazil, 6'6", PG, 1996
George de Paula seems to be doing everything in his power to improve his stock, having attended the Nike Hoop Summit in April, the NBA combine in May and Eurocamp in June.
He'll get himself drafted just based on his physical tools alone, specifically his 6'6" size and 7'¼" wingspan—measurements you typically see on a wing.
However, De Paula is clearly a raw talent without much polish. He can pass, but his defense right now is better than his offense.
He'll be a second-round draft-and-stash option for a team hoping he can improve his handle, jumper and confidence.
48. Andrew Harrison, Kentucky, 6'6", PG, Sophomore
Andrew Harrison has his flaws, starting with his below-average athleticism and turn-the-corner speed. There are questions as to whether he'll be able to separate.
But at 6'6", Harrison ultimately has the handle and size to play over the defense as a passer and pull-up shooter.
He improved as a decision-maker this past season, having raised his assist numbers and lowered his turnover numbers per 40 minutes. He also shot a decent 38.1 percent from three.
Harrison will be auditioning for the most competitive position on the floor, but between his physical tools, skill level and experience at Kentucky, he should still draw second-round consideration.
49. Mouhammadou Jaiteh, France, 6'11", 1994
Over the years, Mouhammadou Jaiteh has played at Eurocamp, the Nike Hoop Summit and NBA combine, and he's spent the past season over in France's top division, where he was efficient and productive (11.3 points, 6.5 rebounds in 22.5 minutes).
Jaiteh looked like he belonged with the other second-round prospects at the combine, having controlled the glass and finished a handful of over-the-shoulder hooks down low in five-on-fives.
He's not much of an athlete or rim protector, but Jaiteh's physical tools (6'11" height, 7'3¼" wingspan) and overall presence could be worth trying to develop.
50. Dakari Johnson, Kentucky, 7'0", C, Sophomore
Dakari Johnson needed another year (at least) after averaging fewer than 17 minutes per game in back-to-back seasons.
He certainly has the physical tools for an NBA center, with 7'0" size and a 9'4" reach. But Johnson lacks athleticism, fluidity in the post and touch facing up.
Johnson doesn't project as much of a scorer. If he improves his conditioning and becomes lighter on his feet, his finishing, rebounding and rim protection could work in a backup role.