Stock Report for the Top 20 Names in the 2017 NBA Draft Class

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterDecember 17, 2016

Stock Report for the Top 20 Names in the 2017 NBA Draft Class

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    NBA draft discussion is heating up with conference play just around the corner

    We're at the point in the season where scouts are starting to get a strong feel for players. 

    The conversation already includes some good debate at the point guard position, while injuries have helped shake up projections. Future NBA lottery teams looking for wings should also feel good about their chances of landing a good one.

    Our top 20 already looks significantly different from the preseason rankings, though nothing has changed regarding the No. 1 prospect. 

    Stats up to date as of December 16, 2016.

20. Ike Anigbogu (UCLA, C, 6'10", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: On the Rise

    Ike Anigbogu may not be ready to declare in 2017, but that doesn't change his long-term projection: He's broken out for UCLA in a 14.7-minute-per-game role.

    And though clearly a project in need of reps and development, his athleticism, tools and instincts are easy to envision translating. Light on his feet, despite standing 6'10", 250 pounds, Anigbogu is shooting 61.9 percent and blocking 6.8 shots per 40 minutes. He's an animal around and above the rim at both ends. 

    Anigbogu doesn't offer much else right now, but his elite finishing and defensive potential have drawn comparisons to DeAndre Jordan.

    In all likelihood, he'll return as a sophomore to build his offensive game and stock, though it wouldn't be shocking if teams showed a willingness to chase his potential in 2017.

19. Marques Bolden (Duke, C, 6'11", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Wait and See

    Marques Bolden returned from a preseason foot injury but has only received 27 minutes through three games. Scouts will be in wait-and-see mode with the big man whose NBA tools and post game look pro-caliber.

    Bolden isn't the bounciest athlete, though, and he'll need to rely on more than just upside for his draft stock. It would fall if he struggles to score and defend.

    For Bolden to hold his ground and keep from sliding, he'll need to reconfirm his offensive potential, which his size, mobility, footwork and touch create. He has the chance to become a difficult back-to-the-basket cover, with the ability to separate into quality looks and pass. 

    Looking competent in rim protection and pick-and-roll coverage would only help eliminate questions.

18. Robert Williams (Texas A&M, PF, 6'9", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Ready to Rise

    Robert Williams is climbing and could rise even higher with a big showing against Arizona on Saturday afternoon.

    He hasn't missed a shot in three games and has come out of nowhere to emerge as a top-20 surprise with NBA tools and heavy activity in limited minutes.

    At 6'9", 237 pounds with a 7'4" wingspan, big hands and destructive athleticism, Williams hasn't had trouble standing out. But it's been his per-40 minute averages—20.7 points, 10.4 rebounds, 5.1 blocks on shooting 64.9 percent shooting—that's led to first-round buzz.

    He's made the most noise with his rim protection and athleticism around the rim, though his passing (2.9 assists per 40 minutes) has been better than expected. He's even made 19 of 23 free throws—an encouraging sign for his mid-range shooting potential. 

    Williams is rawer than most, but between his sure-thing strengths (finishing, rebounding, shot blocking) and room to improve offensively, he's become a new must-watch name.

17. Isaiah Hartenstein (Germany, PF, 6'11", 1998)

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    Stock Report: Ready to Rise

    The Under-18 European Championships came at a good time (December 16) for Isaiah Hartenstein, who'd played fewer than six minutes through five of Zalgiris' last seven games. 

    He'll now get a chance to make an impression on scouts with Germany. He's already off to an encouraging start, having racked up nine points, five rebounds, five assists and four blocks in a blowout over Finland on Friday.

    A good run-and-jump athlete for a 6'11", 230-pounder, Hartenstein is also skilled, though he still leans on his tools and mobility for offense and boards. A capable three-point shooter, ball-handler and post scorer—as well as a terrific passersomething we saw against Finland—Hartenstein's versatility and interior presence should continue to draw attention at the European Championships.

    A big tournament would help convince scouts his lack of playing time with Zalgiris isn't a reflection of his talent.

16. Edrice "Bam" Adebayo (Kentucky, C, 6'10", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Bam Adebayo has given Kentucky more that just a finisher around the basket, though that still remains his bread and butter. With a powerful upper body and bounce, he's tough to deny at the rim when given room to elevate.  

    But he's now scored at least 12 points in seven straight games and continues to flash glimpses of back-to-the-basket jump hooks and spin move via better-looking footwork. 

    Adebayo also makes 4.2 free throws per game, which reflects some touch, even though his 66.7 percent mark isn't strong. 

    His floor is that of an NBA energizer, thanks to monster tools and athleticism that should translate to easy buckets, rebounds and blocks. But Adebayo has shown the potential to improve offensively as a post option and mid-range shooter, which helps raise his 2017 draft ceiling (late lottery).

15. Kostja Mushidi (France, SG, 6'5", 1998)

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    Stock Report: On the Rise

    He's been up and down, but Kostja Mushidi is still producing at 18 years old in both the Adriatic League and Basketball Champions League, averaging a combined 9.6 points in 24 minutes.

    Still in the flashes-over-consistency phase of his development, he's only shooting 36.8 percent, though he is knocking down 1.9 threes and competing on defense. Mushidi plays off confidence, and when it's pumping, he's capable of hitting threes, making tough shots and disrupting opposing scorers.

    Physically, he passes the NBA eye test with a strong 6'5" frame, long arms and plenty of athleticism. His handle and shot-creating ability, along with his jumper and defense, have all shown promise. 

    Though a project, he has two-way upside if he ever ties it all together.

    Mushidi will have the chance to move the needle for himself at the Under-18 European Championships, which kicked off Friday. He opened the tournament strong with 18 points and six assists against Finland.

14. Miles Bridges (Michigan State, SF/PF, 6'7", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Strong but Scattered 

    Before the season, Miles Bridges' NBA draft stock appeared unclear. But early production, elite athleticism and inside-out scoring shook the radar.

    His explosiveness has translated to big plays above the rim at both ends of the floor. Transition dunks, easy lay-ins, putbacks, blocks (1.5 per game)—Bridges has been active and effective inside by tapping into his motor and leaping ability, strengths that should carry over to the pros. 

    He's even made 15 threes through eight games, and when given space, he's shown he can rise-and-fire one-on-one. 

    But Bridges' 53.8 percentage from the free-throw line raises questions over the legitimacy of his 38.5 percent clip from downtown. And he hasn't shown wing-like perimeter ball-handling, averaging 4.2 turnovers per 40 minutes. 

    His game says NBA power forward, but not his height—he's listed at 6'7" and measured just 6'6 ¼" over the summer at USA Basketball. His talent is obvious—just not his NBA fit. 

    Bridges is still likely to earn looks in the lottery and get one top-15 team to bite on the upside his athleticism and versatility fuel, but he's also missed the last three games with an ankle injury.

13. OG Anunoby (Indiana, SF, 6'8", Sophomore)

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    Stock Report: Steady

    For the most part, OG Anunoby looks like the same player from last year: He's still a limited ball-handler and shot-creator who relies on transition, athleticism and open jumpers for offense. 

    His limitations won't kill the NBA interest—his three-and-D potential remains intact, with Anunoby looking just as exciting on defense, capable from beyond the arc (8-of-21) and effective at the rim (81 percent, per Hoop-Math.com).

    Outside of spot-up shooting, he's finding ways to score within Indiana's half-court offense by using his quickness in space, where he can spin or drive past defenders.  

    Even if he never improves his ability to create, there will be a role for Anunoby as a defensive specialist and complementary finisher/shooter. It's helped him establish a high floor that should lock him into the top 25. But he'll need to show more progress with one-on-one skills to raise his perceived ceiling and earn lottery consideration. 

    After missing three games with an ankle injury, he'll make his return on Saturday against Butler, per ESPN.com's Andy Katz.

12. De'Aaron Fox (Kentucky, PG, 6'3", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Steady

    De'Aaron Fox's strengths and weaknesses are well-defined through 10 games. 

    He may have actually helped himself in Kentucky's loss to UCLA on December 3 by going for 20 points and nine assists while showing off his breakdown quickness and handle. More than anything, NBA teams will be drawn to Fox's ability to set the table, both in the half court and transition. 

    Shifty with speed and some bounce, he can be difficult to contain off the dribble. It's benefited his teammates most, but also his scoring average. Fox puts up 15.1 points per game, and 36 of his 52 field goals have come at the rim, per Hoop-Math.com.

    He'll have to make NBA defenses pay with the pull-up, floater and three-ball, but he's shooting 31 percent on two-point jumpers and 14.3 percent (3-of-21) from downtown so far. Lack of strength makes it even more important for Fox to improve his shooting.

    Teams will still covet his playmaking at both ends of the floor (6.9 assists, 1.7 steals). Fox's on-ball pressure defense helps make up for his limited scoring potential.

11. Ivan Rabb (California, PF/C, 6'11", Sophomore)

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    Stock Report: Quiet and Vulnerable 

    It's been a strange start to the season for Ivan Rabb, who combined to score 51 points against Louisiana Tech (November 30) and Alcorn State (December 3) before the start of his current slump.

    He's finished with eight or fewer points through three straight games, including a loss to Seton Hall on December 7. 

    So far, Rabb has flashed the post skills, mid-range touch and rebounding instincts that put him in last year's lottery conversation. His 6'11" size, agility and motor pass the NBA eye test, while his back-to-the-basket footwork and developing jumper raise his ceiling. 

    A high floor won't allow him to fall outside the top 15—at the least, Rabb should be able to give NBA teams a high-percentage finisher, option on the block and competitive presence under the boards.

    But inconsistency in year two will make it difficult for him to maximize his stock and rise into the draft's premier prospects tier.

10. Malik Monk (Kentucky, SG, 6'3", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Strong but Scattered 

    Malik Monk has lit up the scoreboard with world-class athleticism and perimeter shot-making. From a scouting standpoint, it's helped alleviate concerns over his 6'3" size as a non-playmaking 2-guard. 

    Monk's leaping ability and jumper have been the driving force behind his 19.4 points per game. He's hit 30 three-pointers in 10 contests and scored 24 of his 42 two-point field goals in transition, per Hoop-Math.com

    But he's only made four shots at the rim in the half court all season, and he takes just 2.3 free-throw attempts per game. Once the game slows down, Monk struggles to get to the basket and has to lean heavily on outside shooting.

    It's worked so far—Monk can create space/separation from his man by elevating into pull-ups and step-backs, which he's been hitting (48.6 percent on two-point jumpers). The question is whether he can be consistent with this particular shot selection when guarded by 6'6" NBA 2-guards.

    There will likely be some scouts unfazed by his tools and style of play, and others who'll see the problems that limit his ceiling. The No. 8-No. 20 range sounds about right for Monk's draft projection.

9. Lauri Markkanen (Arizona, PF/C, 7'0", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Strong but Scattered 

    Lauri Markkanen grabs viewers' attention with unique perimeter scoring ability for a 7-footer.

    With the size of an NBA center, he's hitting two three-pointers per game at a 44.9 percent clip. But we've also seen ball-handling and the ability to create and shoot off the dribble. At his height, there aren't many defenders who can challenge those shots. 

    His offensive skill level and versatility have quickly caught the eyes of scouts; He appears to offer the stretch-big potential every NBA team covets. 

    But there are some concerns over his athleticism and lack of physicality that raise questions about his ceiling. While one executive expressed his admiration for Markkanen with words like "stud" and "special," a separate general manager compared the Finnish freshman to role-playing journeyman Channing Frye.

    Markkanen doesn't offer any rim protection (seven blocks in 350 minutes) and isn't a force under the boards (13.4 percent rebounding percentage, per Sports-Reference.com). Offensively, only 25 percent of his field-goal attempts have come at the rim, per Hoop-Math.com, despite the fact he's usually the biggest player on the college floor. 

    Still, it's easy to be enamored by his skill level and shooting. Markkanen could likely go as high as No. 5 and as low as No. 20.

8. Frank Ntilikina (France, PG/SG, 6'5", 1998)

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    Stock Report: Steady

    Frank Ntilikina's overseas production (5.5 points, 1.2 assists per game) isn't an accurate reflection of how effective he's been with Strasbourg IG. He's contributing efficiently (50.6 percent FG) at 18 years old in France's top league, showing he can fit and make plays within the offense from either backcourt position.

    Spending more time off the ball hasn't thrown off Ntilikina, who's hitting spot-up jumpers (16-of-34 from three) and taking what the defense gives him. It speaks to his maturity, basketball IQ and versatility. 

    Ntilikina isn't explosive or flashy, but he makes the right reads as a passer off penetration and ball screens. And he picks his spots as a scorer without jeopardizing the flow of his offense. Though he lacks takeover ability, he's still a threatening offensive player with crafty drives, pull-ups and floaters in the arsenal. 

    Ntilikina's defense is also a huge plus: He's disciplined with quick feet and hands that translate to pressure and forced turnovers, while his 6'5" size and length allow him to guard ball-handlers and wings.

    Without the freedom to run an offense and dominate the ball, he'll have a tough time selling himself as a future lead guard. That could keep him from earning top-five consideration. But based on his physical tools, polished skills and the fact he's contributing against pros at an early age, the risk tied to Ntilikina appears low.

7. Harry Giles III (Duke, PF, 6'10", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Wait and See

    Harry Giles III's debut may be coming (knee injury), and it could potentially change the 2017 NBA draft discussion. 

    For what it's worth, he looked healthy and loose during warm-ups against Florida (December 6) and UNLV on Saturday, when he was throwing down stylish dunks. 

    Returning before the new year and lasting the season without setbacks could catapult Giles back into the top five. At 6'10" with 7'3" length and explosive athletic ability, he has an ideal power forward foundation to build off. Though he's only played two full seasons since the start of high school (three different procedures), eye-opening flashes of post scoring, ball-handling, mid-range shooting and defense drive his ceiling through the roof.

    More knee trouble would crush his stock, however, while poor play would hurt it. But as long as he comes back and stays healthy, upside should keep him locked into the lottery.

6. Jonathan Isaac (Florida State, SF/PF, 6'10", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: On the Rise 

    Long-term potential was always visible with Jonathan Isaac, but the early production (14.4 points per game) and efficiency (56.9 percent FG) have been pleasant surprises. Despite a preference for the perimeter and lack of strength around the basket, he's consistently given Florida State a source of offense in a complementary role. 

    He's scored at least 10 points during seven of eight games and hasn't taken more than 12 shots in any. He's also hit 13 of 30 three-pointers (43.3 percent) and shown the ability to shoot and attack off the dribble. 

    What's more, Isaac has been effective under the boards (11.5 rebounds per 40 minutes), where he goes after and brings down balls in traffic. He's looked noticeably comfortable guarding wings and smaller, quicker opponents away from the basket.

    He missed three games with a hip flex and doesn't explode off the floor. But for a 6'10", long forward, his agility, guard-like handle and smooth jumper scream mismatch.

    Based on upside, Isaac could potentially rise into the top three if he can stay consistent throughout conference play.

5. Lonzo Ball (UCLA, PG, 6'6", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Booming 

    Lonzo Ball has flaws—funny shooting mechanics, no pull-up or floater game, a skinny upper body. But he's also in the process of convincing many that he's an exception—a special, unique player who thrives in areas of the game that scouts can't measure and coaches can't teach. 

    Ball has lifted UCLA to No. 2 in the country with his ability to single-handedly lower his teammates' shot difficulty. His genius passing is obvious: Ball sees plays before they happen and does a good job pushing the tempo and finding open shooters before defenses can set. 

    The fact he's 6'6" and throwing down alley-oops suggests his tools and athleticism meet NBA standards. 

    It's still difficult to get behind his jumper, but until he starts missing them, it's also hard to bet against it. Despite unorthodox form, he's making 2.5 threes per game at a 45.8 percent clip. 

    Ball has only made one two-point jumper all season, per Hoop-Math.com, and he gets to the free-throw line just 3.3 times a game. Limited scoring potential could keep him from leapfrogging Washington's Markelle Fultz, but the fact Ball may be one of a kind could still entice teams early in the draft.

4. Dennis Smith Jr. (North Carolina State, PG, 6'3" Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Wait and See

    Averaging 18.7 points and 5.1 assists, Dennis Smith Jr. hasn't hurt himself, but inefficiency and a mediocre strength of schedule haven't helped attract the spotlight either. 

    He's taking a number of tough shots a game (41.6 percent FG) and isn't ready to consistently make three-pointers (27.5 percent). But Smith hasn't had trouble generating offense, while his willingness to move the ball has been encouraging.

    Quick, with a tight handle and the ability to explode out of nowhere, he's a dangerous cover off the dribble. That's one of the reasons—along with an attacking mindset—he's taking 7.8 free throws per game. Smith puts pressure on the defense and rim, and though most effective getting to and scoring at the basket, he's still comfortable and confident in the pull-up and step-back jumper games. 

    He's also managed to take care of the ball despite handling it for long stretches. In terms of making the right reads as a passer and facilitator, Smith clearly knows what he's doing, but he still projects more as an Eric Bledsoe- or Damian Lillard-type score-first lead guard.

    This needle could move in either direction once conference play picks up. Raising his shooting percentages and team's win total could move Smith as high as No. 2 on this year's draft board.

3. Josh Jackson (Kansas, SF, 6'8", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Strong and Steady

    Josh Jackson's scouting report doesn't look any different since high school.

    His athleticism, versatility, defense and intensity are living up to the preseason hype. Averaging 14.8 points on 53.3 percent shooting, he's given Kansas consistent scoring production fueled by transition play, drives, mid-range jumpers and floaters.

    The 4.8 assists per 40 minutes highlight passing skills that differentiate Jackson from other top forwards like Isaac and Duke's Jayson Tatum. Between his vision/basketball IQ and improved handle, he's developed into a playmaking wing.

    Competitive with lightning feet, Jackson's defense has been equally convincing. 

    The only real hole in his game so far has been the three-ball. His mechanics don't appear built for long-range shooting because of a low release that nearly comes on his way down.

    Among his transition game, two-point scoring, passing and defense, Jackson still covers enough ground. Consider Kansas' star wing cemented into this year's top-five conversation.

2. Jayson Tatum (Duke, SF, 6'8", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: On the Rise 

    It hasn't taken Jayson Tatum long to catch on after missing the season's first eight games with a foot injury. He's blended right in offensively and already added some defensive playmaking. 

    His talent has shined most in one-on-one situations, where the 6'8" wing can create his own shot using advanced ball-handling and footwork. Through the just three games, he's flashed a quick first step into a drive, step-back jumpers, pull-ups and fallaways. He's shown three-point range with a pair of threes and looks every bit of the shot-maker he was in high school.

    Tatum has a sharp, versatile scoring attack, which he backs up via NBA physical tool and enough athleticism. Between his basketball IQ and ability to create, there are reasons to bank on his playmaking improving.

    Polished physically, fundamentally and mentally, he's going to come off as one of the safer options on draft night. His potential to develop into a go-to, two-way player also reflects top-three upside.

1. Markelle Fultz (Washington, PG, 6'4", Freshman)

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    Stock Report: Steady but not Unbreakable 

    NBA evaluators who had Markelle Fultz at No. 1 before the season aren't likely to have made a change. At least not yet—the Washington Huskies have lost four straight games, and Fultz's casual approach and questionable defensive effort have been unsettling. 

    One scout questioned how much Fultz cared about losing. 

    But there aren't any questions concerning his talent or skills. Averaging 22.8 points and 6.1 assists on 49.7 percent shooting, Fultz's scoring, playmaking and athletic ability are the real deal. 

    He's tremendous off the dribble, both as a one-on-one shot-creator and setup man. He buries defenses with advanced pull-ups and step-backs, and he finishes off hesitation drives. He's done a nice job of using his change of speed and elusiveness to slip through cracks, draw help and dish to the open man.

    Quick and bouncy with 6'4" size and 6'9 ¼" length, he gets to any spot he wants and consistently puts himself in position to make an uncontested shot or pass. 

    Long arms and fast hands lead to steals (2.1 per game) for Fultz on defense, but improving his level of concentration is a must. He lost his man multiple times in a highly scouted game against Gonzaga (December 7), and though there are different forms of leadership, Fultz's laid-back demeanor may turn some off. 

    At the same time, everything about his offensive game says NBA lead guard and potential star.

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