Projecting NBA Outlooks of Top Prospects at 2017 McDonald's All-American Game

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMarch 27, 2017

Projecting NBA Outlooks of Top Prospects at 2017 McDonald's All-American Game

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    Kelly Kline/Getty Images

    Just like it does every April, this year's McDonald's All-American Game will host a handful of future NBA players and high draft picks. 

    Two prospects playing in Chicago should wind up competing with Real Madrid star Luka Doncic for No. 1 overall looks. Eight others appear capable of becoming one-and-done, first-round selections in 2018.

    There is an appealing balance to this senior class that includes promising bigs, wings and ball-handlers. I projected the most likely pros, as well as their draft and NBA ceilings.

    Other McDonald's participants:

    Quade Green, Kentucky, PG, 6'1"

    Mitchell Robinson, Western Kentucky, C, 6'11" 

    Jarred Vanderbilt, Kentucky, PF, 6'8"

    P.J. Washington Jr., Kentucky, PF, 6'8"

    Kris Wilkes, UCLA, SF, 6'7"

    Brian Bowen II, Undecided, SF, 6'7"

    Jaylen Hands, UCLA, PG, 6'3"

    Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State, PF, 6'11"

    Brandon McCoy, Undecided, C, 6'11"

    Chuck O'Bannon, USC, SF, 6'6"

    Billy Preston, Kansas, PF, 6'10"

    Gary Trent Jr., Duke, SG, 6'5"

    M.J. Walker, Undecided, SG, 6'5"

    Trae Young, Oklahoma, PG, 6'2" 

Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, SF/PF, 6'10", 212 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: Top 2

    Likely NBA ceiling: Superstar 

    Pro comparison: Gordon Hayward

    Michael Porter Jr. may have changed colleges (from Washington to Missouri), but the NBA draft projection stays the same. He'll start the year atop our board and in the mix to go first in 2018.

    A face-up scorer with shot-making skills, takeover potential and vision, Porter plays an offensive game that's easy on the eyes. Bigs won't fare well against his perimeter shooting or off-the-dribble attack, and wings can't match his size. 

    Smooth, athletic and polished, Porter is going to put up big number as the Tigers' No. 1 option. And there shouldn't be any easy reasons for scouts to think his success can't keep translating. 

    Behind Kansas' Josh Jackson and Duke's Jayson Tatum, look for Porter to follow as one of the game's next up-and-coming star forwards.

DeAndre Ayton (Arizona, C, 7'0", 220 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: Top 3

    Likely NBA ceiling: Star

    Pro comparison: Karl-Anthony Towns

    DeAndre Ayton, the No. 1 player on high school boards for most of the past two years, has already been on the NBA radar.

    He immediately stands out as an NBA prospect with his body: 7'0", 7'5 ½" wingspan, 9'3" reach, 243-pound frame. Though not super explosive or bouncy, he's still a fluid athlete and a monster at the rim, where he gets himself easy baskets by finishing strong, cleaning up misses and wiggling free for one-handers.

    But Ayton has also flashed a promising shooting stroke, and though his jumper lacks polish and he's developed a tendency to hang around the perimeter, it's easy to picture him evolving into a threatening stretch or pick-and-pop big.

    Emerging as an impact rim protector and capable pick-and-roll defender should help land Ayton right into 2018's top-three mix.

Trevon Duval (Undecided, PG, 6'3", 183 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: Top 10

    Likely NBA ceiling: Star 

    Pro comparison: Derrick Rose

    The consensus top point guard (ESPN, Scout, Rivals) in the senior class, Trevon Duval also looks poised to emerge as the first one taken in the 2018 draft.

    Duval's quickness and athleticism for a long, 6'3" lead ball-handler immediately jump out. A nightmare cover off the dribble, he slices through defenses like a young Derrick Rose with explosive burst and nasty change of speed or direction. 

    His tools, bounce and playmaking skills combine to create a high-upside point guard foundation. Whether he can maximize his potential will come down to how he develops as a decision-maker and shooter, areas of his game that need the most work.

Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke, PF/C, 6'9", 254 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: Top 10

    Likely NBA ceiling: Quality starter 

    Pro comparison: Derrick Favors

    Expected to take Amile Jefferson's spot in Duke's starting lineup, Wendell Carter Jr. brings an impressive mix of strength, length and developing offensive skills.

    There aren't many 6'10" bigs with wingspans that reach 7'5". Carter's tools and athleticism pass the NBA eye test, while flashes of post moves, shooting range and straight drives to the basket hint at exciting offensive upside.

    The power, mobility and length projects favorably in rim protection as well. 

    Carter isn't a high-flyer, but between his defensive tools and scoring potential, everything else about him says one-and-done, top-10 pick.

Mohamed Bamba (Undecided, C, 6'11", 210 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: Top 10

    Likely NBA ceiling: Quality starter 

    Pro comparison: Rudy Gobert

    Eyes naturally drift toward Mohamed Bamba, who stands 6'11" with a ridiculous 7'9 ½" wingspan (longer than Rudy Gobert's). With all that size and length, he still moves fluidly running the floor, sliding around the perimeter and elevating at the rim.

    Super-raw offensively, Bamba unsurprisingly does most of his damage as a finisher, rebounder and shot-blocker. He projects as a giant, high-percentage target off dump downs, rolls and dives. He's also a center who can impact games defensively with his foot speed and length.

    At just 210 pounds with spaghetti arms and legs, expect strength development to become a routine talking point when analyzing Bamba's future potential. Improving his body and ball skills around the block will be obvious priorities over the next few years.

Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG/SG, 6'3", 175 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: Top 10

    Likely NBA ceiling: Quality starter 

    Pro comparison: CJ McCollum

    A fiery combo guard fueled by quickness, confidence and energy, Collin Sexton makes Alabama a must-watch team for fans and scouts.

    He's more of a scorer (led EYBL) than distributor, but in today's league that's no longer a knock unless it winds up disrupting the team's offensive flow. Shifty and decisive with the ability to change directions low to the ground, Sexton puts constant pressure on defenses by attacking and shooting off the dribble. 

    His passion could wind up dividing scouts, with some who'll likely admire his competitiveness and others who'll question his arrogance. But in terms of tools, athleticism, ball skills and playmaking potential, Sexton stands out as an obvious NBA prospect worth tracking from day one.

Kevin Knox II (Undecided, SF/PF, 6'8", 203 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: First round

    Likely NBA ceiling: Starter 

    Pro comparison: Marcus Morris

    Kevin Knox II's game isn't flashy, but it's effective, even without razor-sharp skills.

    He'll generate buzz for his versatility at both ends. Active off the ball, Knox efficiently finds ways to score off cuts, offensive rebounds, simple drives, finishes, transition and the occasional open jumper, a key weapon for unlocking his potential. 

    Defense should emerge as one of Knox's selling points as well, based on his size and ability to contain dribble penetration around the perimeter.

    He isn't overly explosive or big, and he lacks the traditional offensive game of a wing. But the new positionless NBA should be more welcoming of a player like Knox, who's more of a high-motor, jack-of-all trades than a high-level scorer.

Troy Brown Jr. (Oregon, SG, 6'7", 215 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: First round

    Likely NBA ceiling: Starter 

    Pro comparison: Evan Turner

    A point-wing with 6'7" size and facilitating instincts, Troy Brown Jr. will quickly draw interest for his two-way versatility and do-it-all game. 

    He'll be heavily involved next year at Oregon, especially if Dillon Brooks declares for the draft. 

    Brown operates at his own pace. He does a nice job of maneuvering off the dribble and picking his spots as a driver, passer and pull-up shooter. With quickness and length, he'll also defend multiple positions, including ball-handlers, forwards and small-ball 4s.

    Average explosiveness means there will be pressure on Brown to improve his jumper, which isn't considered a strength at this stage. Expect a handful of Evan Turner comparisons once the 2018 draft discussion starts up. 

Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, 6'4", 192 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: First round

    Likely NBA ceiling: Starter

    Pro comparison: Norman Powell

    The NBA lens should pick up Lonnie Walker's physical tools and athleticism, which will show next year in Miami off transition and drives to the basket. 

    Shifty in the open floor and strong around the rim, Walker is best attacking the basket using his first step and dribble. A physical, crafty finisher, he scorers in the lane by bouncing off contact and adjusting his body midair. And there are reasons to feel good about both his shooting and defensive potential.

    At 6'4", he lacks great size for an off-guard and isn't the most polished with his ball skills. But assuming he can continue tightening his handle and improving his jumper, Walker should generate draft buzz for being a coveted two-way wing.

Nick Richards (Kentucky, C, 6'11", 250 lbs)

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    Early 2018 draft projection: Mid-to-late first round

    Likely NBA ceiling: Role player 

    Pro comparison: Tyson Chandler

    Nick Richards won't give Kentucky or the NBA much offense. Instead, his future coaches will value his efficiency and defense. At 6'11", 250 pounds with a 7'3" wingspan and notable fluidity, his strengths should translate from level to level in a simplified role.

    Run the floor, finish, crash the glass and block shots—that's what John Calipari and whoever drafts Richards will ask for.

    The lack of ball skills may ultimately limit the height of his draft and NBA ceilings, but with the tools to succeed in key areas like rim protection, pick-and-roll defense, finishing and rebounding, Richards could still carve out a career by playing within himself.

    All measurements come from the McDonald's All-American listings. Wingspans are courtesy of