Pro-Player Comparisons for 2017 McDonald's All-American Game

Scott Phillips@@phillipshoopsFeatured ColumnistMarch 29, 2017

Pro-Player Comparisons for 2017 McDonald's All-American Game

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    DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba
    DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed BambaGregory Payan/Associated Press

    The McDonald's All-American Game means that the nation's elite high school players get one more opportunity to take the floor against the best competition in their class before heading to college and the national spotlight.

    Since many of these student-athletes have competed in prominent international competitions or in other major showcase events, there is already a good feel for what they might be capable of at the next level and beyond.

    So here are some loose pro-player comparisons for some of the top players in the McDonald's All-American Game. The 10 players on this list are the current top-ranked recruits competing in the marquee event. 

    Keep in mind that these player comparisons are only being used to spotlight certain parallels between skill sets. Comparing high school kids to pros is a delicate balance, and this will identify how these future stars could impact the game in ways similar to their NBA counterparts.   

    All rankings courtesy of and are current as of March 28. 

10. Troy Brown Jr.

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Pro-player comparison: Evan Turner

    How they compare: The versatile and multi-positional Troy Brown Jr. compares favorably with Portland Trail Blazers wing Evan Turner because they both thrive in various roles.

    With an ability to play the 1 through the 3, Brown can handle the ball and run an offense or play off the ball, as he's adept at scoring or distributing. Since Brown can also guard multiple spots on the floor, as Turner can, he stays on the court through a variety of lineup changes.

    Brown's perimeter jumper can be a bit shaky at times, so the majority of his baskets come from the mid-range and in. Turner's never been known for his outside shot, either.

9. Collin Sexton

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Pro-player comparison: Eric Bledsoe

    How they compare: One of high school basketball's elite scorers, Collin Sexton's 31.7 points per game led the Nike EYBL in scoring this past spring by nearly nine points. As a guard who does most of his scoring by driving to the basket, Sexton compares favorably to another explosive attacking guard in Eric Bledsoe.

    Sexton and Bledsoe are both wired to attack off the dribble and are also decent distributors when they draw collapsing defenses. Sexton will have to prove his proficiency as a perimeter shooter at the college level, but that is something Bledsoe also had to address during his younger days, and he's been able to figure things out.

8. Brandon McCoy

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    Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Pro-player comparison: Myles Turner

    How they compare: In a class of 2017 loaded with quality big men, Brandon McCoy has great natural size at 6'11", 244 pounds to go along with intriguing touch around the basket. 

    Since McCoy isn't an elite athlete, he conjures up images of Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner. Although Turner's athleticism isn't off the charts and he sometimes lacks fluidity, he brings a high degree of skill level with a knack for protecting the rim.

    McCoy's stature makes him an imposing rim protector, and he also has an intriguing jumper out to 17 or 18 feet. If McCoy's range improves to beyond the three-point arc, he may resemble Turner at the next level.

7. Kevin Knox

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-player comparison: Rudy Gay

    How they compare: Ultra-athletic wings with perimeter skills are hard to come by, but Kevin Knox is a smooth and fluid athlete who reminds a bit of Rudy Gay.

    The 6'8", 203-pound Knox is similar in size to the Sacramento Kings veteran, and Knox has a chance to add more strength and bulk up like Gay has done during his NBA career. Both Knox and Gay can elevate and finish well above the rim, while Knox also has a high-arcing jumper that is reminiscent of Gay's. 

    Knox's inconsistent perimeter shooting has been worth monitoring during his high school career, but Gay was also inefficient from long range early in his career before developing a more reliable jumper.

6. Mitchell Robinson

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    Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

    Pro-player comparison: Hassan Whiteside

    How they compare: As the best rim protector and one of the best rebounders in the class of 2017, it is natural to find similarities between Western Kentucky commit Mitchell Robinson and Miami Heat center Hassan Whiteside.

    Since Robinson moves so well as a 6'11", 215-pound center, he can cover an insane amount of ground and block shots that other players can't get to, which is largely how Whiteside has become one of the NBA's most productive big men.

    Both Conference USA centers are late-blooming big men, and Robinson has a chance to be a very strong pro if he continues to develop his game.

5. Michael Porter Jr.

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Pro-player comparison: Paul George

    How they compare: The next in a line of jumbo perimeter players who can also rebound, Michael Porter Jr. has lethal scoring acumen and makes an impact on the glass much like perennial All-Star Paul George.

    With great size on the wing at 6'10", Porter is a matchup nightmare with his ability to handle the ball and score from all three levels on the floor. Rebounding and pushing the ball up the floor is another asset Porter brings, which is something George has done plenty of times over his career.

    George has a stronger reputation than Porter as a one-on-one defender, but the Missouri commit has a chance to be a special prospect if he can continue to add polish to his game.

4. Wendell Carter

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-player comparison: Al Horford

    How they compare: Future Duke Blue Devil Wendell Carter is one of the most intriguing post prospects among the class of 2017, as he brings a high degree of skill to the block. 

    Not only can Carter score with either hand around the basket off of post touches, but he's also equipped with a decent face-up game and developing jumper. Much like Al Horford, Carter is intelligent as an offensive player and can be utilized in a number of unique scenarios.

    Efficient in the pick-and-roll and as a traditional post scorer like Horford, Carter is also a strong rebounder who can impact the game on the glass.

3. Trevon Duval

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-player comparison: Derrick Rose

    How they compare: High school basketball hasn't seen many point guards as explosive as Derrick Rose, but Trevon Duval comes close in terms of electrifying plays.

    An above-the-rim athlete who can throw down ferocious dunks on bigger players, the 6'3", 183-pound Duval has great size for a point guard. Since Duval also has tight handles and a quick first step, he can get in the paint whenever he wants just like Rose.

    Duval's outside shot is in need of major improvement. Similar to Rose, his jumper can be inconsistent, but both players are still offensive forces because of their ability to create off the dribble.

2. Mohamed Bamba

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-player comparison: Anthony Davis

    How they compare: It's very tough to find a natural comparison for Mohamed Bamba, since he is 6'11" with a ridiculous 7'9 ½" wingspan. Anthony Davis might be the closest because both of these big men possess elite athleticism in addition to freakish wingspans.

    Davis is a little more polished when it comes to his perimeter skills, like ball-handling and shooting, but Bamba is a tougher interior force who was an elite rebounder in the Nike EYBL this past spring, averaging a league-best 13.9 rebounds per game. Since Bamba has absurd length that helps alter a lot of shots, he also compares favorably to a noted shot-blocker like Davis.

    Gaining weight is also going to be a major factor in Bamba's development, since he is a very skinny 210 pounds. Davis also struggled to add strength during his high school days, so it will be another intriguing subplot to follow for Bamba.

1. Deandre Ayton

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    Gregory Payan/Associated Press

    Pro-player comparison: DeMarcus Cousins

    How they compare: It's difficult to find a pro comparison for Deandre Ayton since the 7'0" center is so unique, but he has the touch and skill level to dominate all over the floor like New Orleans Pelicans big man DeMarcus Cousins. 

    Ayton is a mobile and explosive athlete who elevates and runs very well, and he might actually be better in that department than Cousins from a long-term perspective. But Cousins possesses the full scoring arsenal that few big men in basketball can match. Ayton has a shot to match Cousins if he continues to develop because he's already a capable post scorer who also can step out and hit jumpers. 

    Sometimes Ayton can fall too in love with his perimeter game, but he has the type of touch that is something to watch for as he climbs the basketball ranks.