With prospects currently deciding whether to enter the 2016 NBA draft, we've reached a good point to rank them.
Personal opinion and feedback from scouts are behind these proceedings; This isn't necessarily the order I project the players to get drafted.
I also left off those who've announced they'll be returning to school, such as Duke's Grayson Allen and Indiana's Thomas Bryant. And I chose not to include certain prospects I expect will eventually decide to come back, such as the Syracuse duo of Malachi Richardson and Tyler Lydon, Kansas wing Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and North Carolina forward Justin Jackson.
The rankings are based on NBA potential, which is determined by a combination of factors such as physical tools, athleticism, skills, intangibles, age and production.
1. Ben Simmons (LSU, PF, Freshman)
Simmons can't leave LSU soon enough. Questions over his shooting stroke are reasonable, but I'm not ready to dock him for the team's lack of success. And despite his unproven jumper, the NBA's more open, fast-paced game will suit Simmons' strengths better than college did.
Meanwhile, his ball-handling, athleticism and strength should naturally translate to two-point scoring and easy buckets off drives, cuts, transition and putbacks.
Still, it's the playmaking that sets him apart. Simmons' ability to create quality looks for teammates should carry over as well.
Whether or not he's the game's next big superstar remains up for debate. But Simmons appears to offer both towering upside and a high basement floor, which makes him a low-risk, extremely rewarding option in this year's draft.
2. Brandon Ingram (Duke, SF, Freshman)
I'm not sure we're looking at a future superstar scorer capable of turning a franchise around, but Ingram is an obvious talent and easy NBA fit. His size (6'9"), length (7'3") and athleticism scream future mismatch, especially if he can add some bulk to his skinny 190-pound frame.
Ingram's shooting stroke allows him to slide off the ball, while a tight handle and difficult shot-making ability fuel one-on-one scoring potential. He finished the year averaging 17.3 points on 41 percent shooting from three. And he won't turn 19 years old until September.
Does he have the mentality to emerge as a go-to option? And can he physically be that player, given his glaring lack of strength? These are questions the team that wins the lottery needs to ponder. But they aren't alarming enough to justify passing on Ingram at No. 2 in a relatively weak draft.
3. Dragan Bender (Croatia, PF, 1997)
Bender doesn't have the production to back up the potential, but his strengths are just too convincing. A 7'0" big man with forward attributes and a 39.1 percent three-point stroke, Bender's versatility fits in today's NBA frontcourt.
If there is a reason to be skeptical, it's the fact he's not strong or explosive. But Bender is mobile, coordinated and highly skilled, with the ability to spot up from deep, handle the ball, take defensive rebounds coast to coast and pass.
And though not your traditional rim protector, he's quick to react and unafraid to challenge shots at the hoop. Bender projects as a plus pick-and-roll defender, with the foot speed to switch onto smaller players.
An NBA out in his contract allows him to come right over this summer, according to Sportando.com. In terms of weighing risk versus reward, I'd rather gamble on Bender's upside than settle on one of the remaining lower-upside prospects.
4. Buddy Hield (Oklahoma, SG, Senior)
I'm buying Hield's breakout senior year and the work it took for him to arrive.
He came back needing to improve his shot-creating and shooting consistency. Mission accomplished—Hield ended up averaging 25 points and a whopping four three-pointers per game on 45.7 percent from deep.
He's as good of a shooter as you'll find out of college, and though not a jump-out-of-the-gym athlete, he's fluid enough with measurements that mirror Bradley Beal's. Hield developed into a sniper capable of connecting off screens, spot-ups, pull-ups and escape dribbles. And he improved both his one-on-one and drive-and-slash facets.
There may be younger prospects who offer more perceived upside down the road, but once the big three (Simmons, Ingram, Bender) are off the board, Hield jumps out as the surest bet left.
5. Kris Dunn (Providence, PG, Junior)
Dunn looks like a surefire starting NBA point guard. He aces the eye test with 6'3", 205-pound size and world-class quickness. He's a master at changing speed and direction, which makes him difficult to contain in transition and off screens—two situations he'll find himself in quite often as a pro.
Creating shots for teammates represents his most coveted strength. Dunn projects as a terrific setup man in the pick-and-roll, drive-and-dish game and open floor.
His defensive pressure and activity are also big selling points. Finishing in the top five in steals during back-to-back seasons wasn't an accident. Dunn's foot speed, length and strength translate to heavy pressure, while his speedy hands and anticipation help force turnovers, whether by stripping a ball-handler or jumping a passing lane.
But becoming an All-Star-caliber floor general would mean making significant improvements to his jumper and decision-making. Though he shot better from three as a junior, the fact he finished below 70 percent from the foul line for the third straight year is troubling. Dunn also turned the ball over at least four times per 40 minutes for the second straight season.
6. Jamal Murray (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
I'd put Murray in the "sure thing" category of prospects I'm confident will produce. But how efficient will he be?
He is a tremendous shot-maker with deep range (113 threes) and the ability to improvise by using runners, leaners, floaters, fallaways and step-backs. Combine those skills with major confidence, and you get a guard who can score in bunches.
On the other hand, he relies on difficult field-goal attempts and doesn't have great explosiveness to separate. This season, though his role was to shoot, he still totaled more turnovers (84) than assists (79). He also doesn't project as a plus defender.
I wouldn't be surprised if Murray was averaging 15 points per game by his second year in the league. But I also see him as more of a quality third option than a first or second.
7. Ivan Rabb (California, PF, Freshman)
Rabb won't be in next year's Rookie of the Year race. Ranking him this high means buying into his long-term development.
At 6'11" with an improving body, plenty of bounce, fantastic hands and a live motor, Rabb has a promising foundation to build on. And though he wasn't featured in California's offense, we still saw flashes of post scoring and mid-range shooting.
Even without substantial polish, Rabb managed to shoot 61.5 percent, average 11.9 boards per 40 minutes and score at least 10 points in 27 of 34 games.
His basement floor is high. In a worst-case scenario, whoever drafts Rabb should get an interior energizer who finishes, rolls off picks and pounds the glass. But I'm betting on his skills, from his jumper to his back-to-the-basket game, eventually taking off.
8. Jaylen Brown (California, SF, Freshman)
Similar to Rabb, buying into Brown as a top-10 pick means expecting significant improvement. He's not a playmaker (68 assists, 105 turnovers), shooter (29.4 percent from three, 65.4 percent from the line) or high-percentage shot-creator.
But you can't teach his 6'7", 225-pound size, 7'0 ½" wingspan or explosive athleticism. A potent weapon in transition and aggressive attacker in the half court, Brown puts a ton of pressure on the rim (9.2 free-throw attempts per 40 minutes). And it's tough to ask for better defensive tools, given his size, strength, length and quickness.
With two-way wings so coveted in today's NBA, someone is bound to reach on Brown in hopes that his handle and jumper will develop.
9. Domantas Sabonis (Gonzaga, PF/C, Sophomore)
Sabonis made a strong case for himself with that 19-point, 10-rebound game against Utah in the NCAA tournament. I hate to put too much stock into one game, but Sabonis doesn't get the chance to play NBA-caliber bigs often. He looked confident against Jakob Poeltl while displaying his improved skills.
Sabonis is crafty with both hands in the paint. And he's even shown some shooting potential, having hit 76.9 percent of his free throws and five threes on the year. He's arguably the top rebounding prospect in the country (14.8 per 40 minutes).
Sabonis isn't a rim protector, but between his offensive development, nose for the ball and sharp competitive edge, he looks like one of the safest bets to emerge as a reliable frontcourt big man.
10. Marquese Chriss (Washington, SF/PF, Freshman)
The bounciest forward in the draft, Chriss' athleticism and coordination fuel enticing potential. You could argue they propel his ceiling higher than anyone's outside our top three.
He is a highlight waiting to happen, whether it's an easy bucket or high-flying rejection. Though he's raw offensively, his jumper looks smooth out to the college three-point arc. And we've seen flashes of fallaway jumpers and hook shots from the post. Chriss shot 56.8 percent on two-pointers despite lacking strength and polish. And he doesn't turn 19 years old until July.
On the downside, he was a poor rebounder (10.7 percent rebounding percentage) who averaged 3.3 turnovers and 6.5 fouls per 40 minutes.
As a project without a defined position, there is some risk attached to Chriss. But the potential reward is just too great. He's worth taking a home run swing on in this year's lottery.
11. Jakob Poeltl (Utah, C, Sophomore)
Poeltl made significant offensive strides, specifically with his post game. He developed into a refined block scorer with go-to moves and counters. Even his hands looked softer during his second year at Utah.
It's helped make Poeltl look like one of the lower-risk prospects in this year's field, given his 7'0" size, mobility, skills and production.
However, he wasn't as convincing defensively as he looked in 2014-15. Poeltl's 5 percent block percentage was notably low (two blocks per 40 minutes), which points to his below-average 7'1" wingspan. He also got burned badly by Sabonis during Utah's NCAA tournament loss to Gonzaga.
We know Poeltl doesn't stretch the floor. If it turns out he's not an effective rim protector, it would be a major blow to his NBA value.
12. Henry Ellenson (Marquette, PF, Freshman)
The big question with Ellenson: How much will his lack of explosiveness and quickness neutralize his sharp, polished skills?
He's fundamentally sound, inside and out, with back-to-the-basket moves and a promising shooting touch. Ellenson knocked down 42.7 percent of his two-point jumpers, per Hoop-Math.com, and 30 three-point field goals. A threat to roll or pop off ball screens, Ellenson's offensive game appears tailor-made for the stretch-4 position.
He's even flashed ball-handling ability, which allows him to initiate the break off defensive rebounds.
Finishing inside and defending quicker, hybrid forwards will be his biggest challenges in the pros.
13. Timothe Luwawu (France, SG/SF, 1995)
Luwawu's 6'7" size, length, athleticism and shooting stroke shout NBA potential from overseas.
He aces the eye test for a three-and-D 2-guard or wing, raised his three-point percentage to 37.2 percent (2.1 made threes per game) from 28.7 percent, and he's tied for fifth in the Adriatic League in scoring (14.6 points).
Luwawu doesn't have a great mid-range, in-between game. His offense now revolves around hard line drives, spot-up threes and transition opportunities. Occasionally, he's shown he can stick the pull-up jumper. With just an average handle, he's also not an adept shot-creator or a finisher, converting just 41.9 percent of his two-pointers.
14. Demetrius Jackson (Notre Dame, PG, Junior)
Having averaged 4.7 assists in 35.9 minutes per game, Jackson didn't showcase the type of playmaking ability shared by NBA starting point guards. But I wouldn't get too worked up over his numbers in a Notre Dame offense that ranked 327th in the country in tempo, per KenPom.com.
At 198 pounds with explosive bounce, sharp ball-handling skills, a clean stroke and high basketball IQ, Jackson looks like and NBA guard. It's tough to project him as a starter, but at the very least, he should settle in as a spark of toughness off someone's bench.
"Very ready," Notre Dame head coach Mike Brey told WNDU.com about Jackson's decision. "He has maxed out his experience here, and he is ready for that challenge. He'll be a first-round draft pick."
15. Furkan Korkmaz (Turkey, SG/SF, 1997)
At 6'7" with effortless bounce and a lengthy resume highlighting elite shooing numbers, Korkmaz's athleticism and jumper stand out under the NBA lens.
Between Turkish League and Euroleague, he's shot 46.9 percent from three this year, making 39.3 percent of his threes in 151 games (including FIBA) dating back to 2013. To a degree, he's also shown he can handle the ball and shoot off the dribble.
Just 18 years old, he'll need another year overseas to build up his reps and body. While a number of first-round prospects will likely spend season next on the bench or in the NBA Development League, Korkmaz will benefit from playing regular minutes against pros elsewhere.
16. Denzel Valentine (Michigan State, PG/SG, Senior)
Limited explosion and quickness will make it difficult for Valentine's scoring to carry over. And he doesn't exactly project as a plus defender.
However, Valentine's shooting and passing should hold value in a supporting role. He finished second in the country in assist percentage and knocked down 100-plus threes for the second straight season. He offers attractive versatility, with the ability to handle the ball and create or spot up off it from either wing position.
17. Taurean Prince (Baylor, SF, Senior)
Prince has his limitations, particularly as a shot-creator, but in an NBA lineup alongside better scorers and playmakers, he could fill a role.
At 6'7", 215 pounds, he's a wing with the potential to play a small-ball 4, given his shooting stroke and post play. Prince has shot at least 36 percent from three in each of his last three seasons. And this past one, he managed to rack up 35 more assists than he did a year ago.
He'll have a great chance at succeeding in a supporting role that allows him to play to his strengths as a three-and-D forward.
18. Wade Baldwin (Vanderbilt, PG, Sophomore)
The slow pace and methodical offense at Vanderbilt weren't suited for Baldwin, who'll be a better pro than he was a college player.
Physically, he's built for the NBA position with 6'3", 195-pound size and monster length (6'10" wingspan), blending speed, power and agility in the open floor. He's a transition weapon and disruptive on-ball defender. And he shot least 40 percent from three during both seasons.
Baldwin is turnover-prone and not the most creative playmaker, but he's a solid passer capable of making the right reads. Improving his pull-up game and decision-making will be priorities, but there could be sneaky upside tied to his physical tools, athleticism, length, shooting and passing.
19. Stephen Zimmerman (UNLV, C, Freshman)
Zimmerman flew under the radar at UNLV, where his usage was low (21.9 percent) and field-goal attempts were limited (8.2 per game). It makes him a draft-night steal candidate, assuming nobody reaches in the lottery.
At 7'0", he's a coordinated athlete who can jump and connect from outside. Zimmerman isn't exactly a shooter yet, but he looked comfortable in the mid-range and even capable from behind the arc (five three-point makes). Otherwise, despite lacking visible bulk for the interior, he managed to pull down 13.4 rebounds and block three shots per 40 minutes.
Zimmerman needs reps, having played just 680 total minutes against mostly weak Mountain West competition. But it's easy to buy his size, mobility, touch and footwork coming together long term. I'd imagine he'll rise up draft boards following workouts during the predraft process.
20. Skal Labissiere (Kentucky, PF/C, Freshman)
Labissiere raised a number of questions during his freshman season at Kentucky: Why didn't he show much toughness inside? Will he be strong enough to bang down low as a center? Is he quick enough to defend NBA power forwards? Will his 7'0" size, bounce and skill level still justify a team reaching in the first round?
We didn't see it often, but Labissiere has a pretty mid-range shooting stroke. And when given room to operate, he's flashed some nifty moves in the post, from lefty jump hooks to fallaway jumpers over the shoulder.
Unfortunately, he finished with only five more total rebounds than personal fouls, and he didn't show defensive instincts. Already 20 years old, it's tough to grade Labissiere as a lottery prospect based on what I saw over the past four months.
I'd feel a lot more comfortable grabbing Labissiere in the late teens or 20s as a potential value pick.
21. Deyonta Davis (Michigan State, PF, Freshman)
Davis is all physical tools at this stage, having only averaged 7.5 points in 18.6 minutes. At 6'10", 245 pounds, he's big, long and nimble. He showed nice bounce at the rim and lateral quickness away from the basket. Without much polish or skill, Davis managed to pull in 11.8 boards and block 3.9 shots per 40 minutes.
He did most of his offensive damage by seeking out catch-and-finish opportunities in dunking position along the baseline. He's also a big pick-and-roll target and a putback machine (41 total, per Hoop-Math.com).
Even if he struggles to develop as a scorer, his shot-blocking, ability to switch defensively, rebounding and inside presence should still hold NBA value. But at 19 years old, Davis flashed enough glimpses to suggest he has a post game and mid-range jumper up his sleeve.
22. Jonathan Jeanne (France, C, 1997)
Jeanne stood out over the summer at the European Championships, thanks to 7'2" size, a ridiculous 7'7" wingspan and mobility. He's spent most of the year playing for Le Mans Sarthe Basket's development team, and therefore, he seems like a better bet to declare in 2017.
The NBA interest should be there whenever he chooses to enter. Though he's an obvious project, we could be talking about a one-of-a-kind athlete, given his absurd measurements and intriguing offensive skills. Jeanne can actually handle the ball a bit and knock down jumpers with range.
23. Malik Beasley (Florida State, SG, Freshman)
Beasley didn't receive much national attention, but scouts caught on. He's an explosive, above-the-rim 2-guard who shot 38.7 percent from three while averaging 15.6 points on 47.1 percent without hunting for shots.
Beasley isn't an adept shot-creator, but he finds ways to make shots within the flow of the offense. He's athletic, plays hard and shows promising defensive quickness and shooting range. There may be a little Wesley Matthews in Beasley's game.
24. Tyler Ulis (Kentucky, PG, Sophomore)
Extreme efficiency and toughness squash the notion that Ulis' 5'9" size will prohibit him from offering much to the pros. He registered a ratio of seven assists to two turnovers, and despite focusing on setting the table for teammates, he still managed to pour in 17.3 points per game.
Ulis is also stronger than he looks, while his ability to read defenses and push the right buttons is undeniable. I'm not buying him as the next Isaiah Thomas, but Ulis looks quick, sharp and competitive enough to carve out an NBA career.
25. DeAndre Bembry (Saint Joseph's, SG/SF, Junior)
Bembry's versatility covers enough ground to go in the first round without a jumper. Even if it doesn't improve, his transition game, scoring and passing could still hold value from both wing positions.
At 6'6", Bembry is quick with bounce and skills that highlight unusual playmaking ability for a 2-guard or small forward. He's one of three players, along with LSU's Ben Simmons and Michigan State's Denzel Valentine, to average at least 16 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Bembry will need to focus on staying locked in defensively, but he has the tools to develop into a two-way player.He becomes a steal if his three-point shot suddenly starts falling with more consistency.
26. Ben Bentil (Providence, PF, Sophomore)
I'd label Bentil as one of the biggest sleepers in the draft. With most of the attention given to Kris Dunn at Providence, Bentil averaged 21.2 points and put up at least 30 five times in 2016.
There are holes though. From an NBA perspective, he lacks both athleticism and size (6'8"). He doesn't rebound or block shots at strong rates and doesn't project as a plus perimeter defender.
However, Bentil has developed into a serious scorer. He knocked down 52 threes and became a difficult cover from the short corners, where he can rise and fire or face up and put the ball on the deck. He's a sharp, inside-out threat with the confidence to take over games, and I'd gamble on his toughness down low improving and offensive game translating.
27. Dejounte Murray (Washington, PG/SG, Freshman)
Murray was both productive (16.1 points, 4.4 assists per game) and exciting while playing in Washington's offense, which ranked No. 2 in the country in tempo, per KenPom.com.
He's electric with the ball. Fast and athletic with 6'5" height, Murray gets into the lane at will. Runners, floaters, layups, dunks—those are his bread-and-butter shots on offense. Though he's not a true setup man, his ability to penetrate leads to drive-and-dish assists.
But he's not much of a shooter (48.5 percent true shooting percentage), while his 3.9 turnovers per 40 minutes and 41.6 percent field-goal percentage highlight questionable decision-making and shot selection.
28. Ante Zizic (Croatia, PF/C, 1997)
With averages of 14.1 points and 8.5 rebounds, plus a 21.3 player efficiency rating, per RealGM.com, Zizic wasn't difficult to spot. He's also been on the radar for a couple of years now.
At 6'11", 254 pounds with a 7'3" wingspan, this big man has the chance to make a living by running the floor, cleaning up inside and finishing. He's a high-motor, high-activity energizer.
29. Damian Jones (Vanderbilt, C, Junior)
There weren't many prospects more frustrating than Jones, an obvious talent who wasn't able to string together any convincing consistency.
However, despite seeing his scoring average drop to 13.9 points, his per-40 minute numbers (21.2 points, 10.5 rebounds) and field-goal percentage (59 percent) were up. At 6'11", 248 pounds, Jones' physical tools and athleticism are the real deal. And he does have skills to work with: fallaways and jump hooks he can go to in the post.
Staying assertive will be a priority, as will improving his touch; He shot below 60 percent from the line for the third straight year. Jones looks like a boom-or-bust option worth taking in the late first round.
30. Ivica Zubac (Croatia, C, 1997)
Zubac found the radar following big showings over the summer at the European and World Championships. Since then, he's left Cibona to sign with Mega Leks, where he's only been eligible to participate in scrimmages.
Though not overly polished, strong defensively or active on the glass, the intrigue surrounding Zubac's 7'1", 265-pound size, mobility, soft hands and high efficiency continues to build. He looks like a potential backup center.
31. Thon Maker (Athlete Institute, PF, 1997)
Maker is looking to enter the draft as a fifth-year high school student. He's worth thinking about for teams with late first-round picks.
A 7'0" power forward, Maker's identity revolves around high-energy play and competitiveness. He runs the floor hard and fights for loose balls and buckets at the rim. He's also comfortable when stepping out around the perimeter and handling the ball or knocking down jumpers.
But he lacks the strength to bang, and he isn't fluid or sharp enough more than 15 feet away. He'll have a shot at sticking in a role that calls for him to hustle.
32. Caris LeVert (Michigan, SG, Senior)
Chronic foot issues may keep teams from showing first-round interest, making LeVert a potential value pick in Round 2. He's only played 33 games over the past two years. However, he's shot at least 40 percent from three in each of his last three. And this past season, he was averaging 4.9 assists before going down, a tribute to his playmaking and versatility.
At 6'7", he has excellent size and athleticism for a 2-guard, as well as the shooting stroke and passing ability that should allow him to fit any lineup. The only question is durability and deciding at what point the risk is worth the possible reward. He'd be an interesting gamble in the late 20s if his medicals aren't red-flagged.
33. Brice Johnson (North Carolina, PF/C, Senior)
Johnson has limitations, including shooting range, shot creativity and defense. But there is a role in the pros for his bounce and motor around the basket. He'll be asked to perform the same duties that he did for North Carolina: Run, jump, finish, clean the glass. At 6'9", he's a big leaper and quick off his feet.
Johnson shot 61.4 percent and finished with one of the top rebounding percentages (20.4 percent) of any draft-eligible prospect. He projects as an efficient energizer capable of making plays without needing any run to him.
34. A.J. Hammons (Purdue, C, Senior)
Hammons finally made the jump that NBA teams were likely waiting for since 2014. Per 40 minutes, he averaged 24.3 points, 13.3 rebounds and 4.1 blocks on 59.2 percent shooting (all career highs).
He isn't bouncy, and he'll turn 24 years old in August. But at 7'0", 261 pounds, his physical tools, post skills and shot-blocking could work in a backup center role. The key for Hammons will be keeping his motor charged.
35. Patrick McCaw (UNLV, SG, Sophomore)
McCaw threw his name into the ring and could potentially see it rise up boards over the next two months.
An athletic, 6'6" 2-guard, he flashed some NBA-friendly versatility, having averaged 2.1 threes, 3.9 assists and 2.5 steals. McCaw isn't a one-on-one scorer despite his 14.7 points per game, but at 20 years old, his shooting, passing and defense could pack some hidden upside.
36. Diamond Stone (Maryland, C, Freshman)
Stone will draw first-round consideration just based on his physical tools and soft hands. At 6'11", 255 pounds, he's a tough cover on the block, where he uses his body to gain position as a back-to-the-basket, over-the-shoulder scorer.
But during a time when the NBA values bigs who protect the rim and stretch the floor, Stone does neither. He doesn't have a great feel defensively and rebounds at a poor rate (13.6 percent rebounding percentage).
He has shown some touch from the line (76.1 percent) and around the elbows, but will ultimately need that jumper to become an everyday weapon to justify top-25 value.
37. Juan Hernangomez (Spain, SF/PF, 1995)
Hernangomez has had a breakout year in the Spanish ACB, where he's averaging 9.4 points and 5.9 boards during 23.8 minutes against high-quality competition. He also added a three-point shot (24 threes in 27 games) and now gives off the impression he can play small forward or small-ball 4.
You don't have to watch much of Hernangomez to realize he's a competitor capable of making plays without needing dribbles or featured touches. His versatility and energy are the two big selling points.
38. Petr Cornelie (France, PF, 1995)
Cornelie has NBA center size, power forward mobility and a sweet 44.3 percent three-point stroke. His production (9.3 points, 5.4 rebounds in 19.1 minutes) and efficiency playing in France's top league (LNB Pro A)—as well as his identity as an athletic stretch big—may even lead to first-round interest.
39. Cheick Diallo (Kansas, PF/C, Freshman)
After getting a late start to the season (he was ineligible in the first five games), Diallo never had much of a chance with Kansas eyeing a national title. During his 202 total minutes, he didn't show many skills or strong awareness (7.5 fouls per 40 minutes, 19.4 percent turnover rate).
But he did put his athleticism, length and motor to use. For what they're worth, his 19.4 percent rebounding rate and 11.9 percent block percentage were high. Diallo needs a year or two in the D-League for reps, but he'll have a chance at carving out a role as an energizer.
40. Jake Layman (Maryland, SF/PF, Senior)
Layman may quietly be Maryland's top prospect, given his clear-cut fit in today's NBA. At 6'9", he's an athletic wing or small-ball 4 with a good-looking shooting stroke. He's raised his field-goal and three-point percentages in each of his four seasons.
Though not a shot-creator, he'll play the same role in the pros as he did in college. Layman should earn a living just by making open shots, finishing cuts or drives and moving the ball.
41. Melo Trimble (Maryland, PG, Sophomore)
With more weapons in Maryland's lineup, Trimble was able to focus on facilitating. He raised his assists per game to 4.9 per game from just 3.0, looking more like a point guard than a scorer in year No. 2.
Unfortunately, his shooting completely fell off: He hit just 29.7 percent of his two-point jumpers, per Hoop-Math.com, and 31.4 percent of his threes. Trimble isn't an explosive athlete and is likely to struggle both at the rim and on the defensive end. He'll need to make outside shots to stick as a backup.
42. Anthony Barber (North Carolina State, PG, Junior)
Barber's breakout year didn't create much buzz in this year's draft conversation. The 23.5 points he averaged weren't enough to erase questions regarding his limited athleticism or shooting range.
But Barber's insane quickness off the dribble and knack for scoring in the lane are worth looking into. He could make a living just by breaking down defenses and creating shots, both as a setup man and one-man layup line.
43. Isaia Cordinier (France, SG, 1996)
Cordinier made a name for himself in France's second division, resulting in an invite to last week's Nike Hoop Summit. Unfortunately, he looked outmatched against the United States, who exposed his ball-handling and playmaking limitations.
Explosiveness, shooting range and defensive potential will make him a prospect to watch, but the first-round hype seems premature.
44. Michael Gbinije (Syracuse, SG, Senior)
He's 23 years old, but Gbinije's versatility is tough to ignore. At 6'7", he's a playmaker, having led Syracuse in assists with 4.3 per game. But he also averaged 17.5 points and shot 39.2 percent from three for the second straight year. With wing size, the ability to create and a threatening jumper, Gbinije suddenly looks like an attractive second-round gamble.
45. Jaron Blossomgame (Clemson, SF, Junior)
It's no sure thing he keeps his name in, but Blossomgame sure flashed some NBA potential. He averaged 18.7 points on 51.3 percent shooting in a tough ACC. And he possesses next-level size (6'7", 215 lbs) and athleticism for a pro wing.
As exciting as the production was, the fact he shot 44.1 percent from three was his most important development. He's a second-round sleeper if he chooses to stay in the 2016 draft.
Blossomgame talked about his game and decision to Brandon Rink of the Independent Mail:
I just want to be most prepared as possible. There’s things I need to work on: my ball-handling, perimeter skills – that’s the main question marks people have. Can I defend the 3? Can I play on the perimeter and make decisions out of a ball screen and also can I shoot the ball from the NBA 3-point line at a high percentage?
46. Josh Hart (Villanova, SG, Junior)
Hart played a big role during Villanova's national championship run. He scored 23 points against Oklahoma in the Final Four before going for 12 points and eight rebounds in the title game. He oozes role-player potential with his ability to score within the offense, defend and help out under the boards (6.8 per game).
Hart will have a real shot at sticking if he can make enough spot-up threes.
47. Wayne Selden (Kansas, SG, Junior)
Selden always looked the part of an NBA 2-guard with 6'5", 230-pound size. He's strong and athletic in the open floor, but he never displayed much shot-creating ability or shooting consistency.
Selden fixed one of those issues as a junior, having raised his three-point percentage to 39.2 percent. He still lacks ball-handling and one-on-one skills, and if he's not making jumpers, he isn't likely to make an impact.
48. Gary Payton II (Oregon State, PG, Senior)
Payton improved his floor game and strengthened his chances of convincing teams there is a spot for him in the league. His selling point is still defense. Payton racked up a whopping 175 steals in two years at Oregon State. But the fact he increased his assist percentage to 32.9 percent from 22.3 percent was key as well.
At 23 years old without a jumper, Payton is nothing more than a second-round option. But his playmaking at both ends should be intriguing enough to draft.
49. Nigel Hayes (Wisconsin, PF, Junior)
Hayes is better than his disastrous 36.8 percent field-goal clip suggests. This past year, he was forced into a go-to role he wasn't prepared to play.
Hayes was ultimately a lot more efficient as a third option (49.7 percent field-goal clip) in a lineup with Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky two years ago. And chances are that jack-of-all-trades game will work better as a member of an NBA team's supporting cast.
He's shown he can knock down open shots, pass (three assists per game), score in the post or face up and drive. Hayes could actually be one of the sneakier buy-low draft options if he declares.
50. Isaiah Whitehead (Seton Hall, PG, Sophomore)
Whitehead had a big year for Seton Hall after a relatively disappointing freshman season. The 6'4" combo guard averaged 18.2 points and 5.1 assists on 36.5 percent shooting from three.
The only problem: He finished under 40 percent inside the arc for the second straight season. And he's racked up 192 turnovers in 56 career games (4.5 per 40 minutes). He's a confident offensive player who can make things happen, but he needs another year in school to tie together some loose ends.