2018 NBA Draft: Updated Big Board Entering March

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMarch 1, 2018

2018 NBA Draft: Updated Big Board Entering March

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    Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

    Over the next two weeks, NBA teams will be sending out their scouts and spreading them around all the conference tournaments. 

    So far, we've seen 10 prospects distinguish themselves from the rest to make up the top two tiers. And at this point, the difference between our No. 1 player and No. 2 is minimal and debatable.

    Not all of the following prospects will leave school to declare this upcoming June, but this is the order we'd take them in if each made himself eligible. 

No. 50-41

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    No. 50. Devonte' Graham (Kansas, PG, Senior)

    Graham's age (23) and athletic ability (39.3 percent 2PT) are considered red flags. But he's developed into one of the nation's top pick-and-roll ball-handlers (88th percentile), and he's now guided Kansas to five consecutive Big 12 wins. He's also shooting over 40 percent from three for the third time in four years. 


    No. 49. Jalen Brunson (Villanova, PG, Junior)

    Concerns over his speed and athleticism at the NBA's fastest position will likely keep Brunson from drawing first-round consideration, despite his National Player of the Year-caliber season. IQ, shooting, wins and genes still make him worth drafting.


    No. 48. Tyus Battle (Syracuse, SG, Sophomore)

    Battle doesn't leave himself room for error, being that he's totaled just 56 assists in 1,125 minutes. He does have a knack for scoring, though, with slashes, floaters and streak shooting. 


    No. 47. Jevon Carter (West Virginia, PG, Senior)

    Carter's defense may be tough enough for him to carve out a specialist role that calls for on-ball pressure. Without any explosiveness, it's hard to buy into his scoring and playmaking carrying over.


    No. 46. Jarrey Foster (SMU, SF/PF, Junior)

    A torn ACL hurts his development and stock, but it could make him an interesting buy-low pick come draft time. At full strength, he's an explosive leaper, improving shot-maker (20-of-62 3PT) and versatile defender. Considering he's unlikely to be ready for a full workload by the start of his senior year, declaring in 2018 may be the preferred route.


    No. 45. Kevin Huerter (Maryland, SF, Sophomore)

    Taking on a larger role after Maryland lost Justin Jackson for the season, Huerter has thrived, shooting 60.3 percent on twos and 42.1 percent on threes. In the 40s, the limited athleticism isn't as concerning. He'll have a shot to stick as a role-playing shooting specialist.


    No. 44. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech, SG, Freshman)

    Extreme inconsistency suggests Alexander-Walker needs another year in school. Along with his 6'5", 210-pound size, performances like his 17-point effort against Duke on Monday will keep scouts tracking his development.


    No. 43. Gary Trent Jr. (Duke, SG, Freshman)

    Trent is a hit-or-miss player, capable of catching fire when he's on or disappearing when he's off. He's a below-average athlete who offers zero versatility, but his shot-making (2.6 3PTM, 42.9 percent) could hold value to the right team. 


    No. 42. Rawle Alkins (Arizona, SG, Sophomore)

    For an average athlete, Alkins is just missing a bankable strength or skill. He's currently hot, averaging 17.5 points over Arizona's last four games. With Allonzo Trier out, Alkins has a shot to emerge as a key scorer—and NBA draft riser—during the NCAA tournament.


    No. 41. Shamorie Ponds (St. John's, PG, Sophomore)

    With five 30-point performances since January 13, including a 44-point eruption against Marquette, Ponds is drawing attention for his scoring. He's still an erratic shooter (26.7 percent 3PT) and playmaker (4.9 assists, 2.8 TOs) for just a decent athlete standing 6'1". Teams could view Ponds as a potential bench spark. 

No. 40-31

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    Jessica Hill/Associated Press

    No. 40. Rodions Kurucs (Latvia, SF, 1998)

    Kurucs hasn't played enough in the Spanish ACB to make a convincing enough first-round case. The NBA lens still detects his size for a wing (6'10"), shooting potential, slashing ability and defensive tools, but he's more of a second-round stash until he proves himself on a more consistent basis.


    No. 39. Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, SF/PF, Sophomore)

    Hachimura only plays 20.2 minutes per game and will likely be advised to return as a junior. He'll have a better shot at the first round or even lottery in 2019. The eye test says yes on his 6'8" size, athleticism and face-up scoring, but he'll need to sharpen his skill level and add a jumper (4-of-24 3PT).


    No. 38. Chimezie Metu (USC, C, Junior)

    Metu appears similar to last year, showing a high skill level as a scorer from 15 feet in. And he looks the part, standing 6'11" with mid-range touch and post moves. But Metu struggles under the boards, defensively and around the perimeter. Inconsistent impact has been a theme throughout his career at USC.


    No. 37. Brandon McCoy (UNLV, C, Freshman)

    McCoy isn't an ideal fit in today's league, which values bigs who can protect the rim, switch and spread the floor. In the second round, his 7'1", 250-pound size is still worth adding. Per 40 minutes, he's averaging 24.1 points and 14.4 rebounds, making his presence felt on finishes and offensive rebounds, while threatening just enough as a low-post, back-to-the-basket scorer.


    No. 36. Kevin Hervey (Texas Arlington, SF/PF, Senior)

    Hervey has put his torn ACL injury from 2016 behind him, as he's averaging 21.1 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.4 threes. He lacks explosiveness and promise defensively, but for a 6'9", 230-pound interchangeable forward, Hervey's scoring versatility can be eye-opening. Per Synergy Sports, he ranks in the 70th percentile or better off spot-ups, post-ups, pick-and-pops, putbacks and cuts.


    No. 35. Trevon Duval (Duke, PG, Freshman)

    Without a jump shot or the ability to create for himself, Duval is difficult to fall in love with. He's worth taking for his ability to set the table (5.3 assists) and penetrate, but a lot of improvement will be needed for Duval to play NBA minutes anytime soon.


    No. 34. Hamidou Diallo (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

    Diallo is losing playing time at Kentucky, failing to add much of anything outside of transition offense. Tools, athleticism and youth still hint at potential worth reaching on, but poor shooting, limited creating ability and bad defense cloud his NBA projection.


    No. 33. Melvin Frazier (Tulane, SF, Junior)

    Frazier was gaining steam even before his 22-point, 11-rebound, three-assist game last week against Wichita State. Averaging 1.4 threes and 2.5 steals per 40 minutes, he has some three-and-D sleeper potential, though his offensive skill remains shaky.


    No. 32. Grayson Allen (Duke, SG, Senior)

    Allen averaged 23.8 points during the four games Marvin Bagley III missed over the last two weeks. He's just 9-of-27 since Bagley's return, however. And he'd been terribly inconsistent since the start of conference play. Allen ultimately plays better with more touches, which may not be the greatest sign when projecting him to the NBA, where he'll be a supporting cast member off the bench. His athleticism and shot-making are still worth looking at in the 30s.


    No. 31. Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Smith may not be one-and-done, but he's put himself on the breakout 2019 watch list. An explosive leaper, he has flashed potential in multiple areas, shooting 58.7 percent on twos and 12-of-28 from three while averaging 1.1 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. 

Nos. 30-21

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    Michael Owen Baker/Associated Press

    No. 30. Landry Shamet (Wichita State, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    Shamet has built a first-round case with high-IQ passing and a 44.8 percent three-point stroke. Late in the first round, teams can overlook his suspect athleticism for his potential to manage a second unit and make shots.


    No. 29. Shake Milton (SMU, PG/SG, Junior)

    Though he's missed seven consecutive games with a hand injury, Milton has established himself as a potential first-rounder for his 6'6" size, consistent three-point shooting (over 42.0 percent 3PT for third year) and improved scoring (18.0 points per game from 13.0).


    28. Bruce Brown Jr. (Miami, SG, Sophomore)

    Already ruled out for the ACC tournament (foot injury), Brown could be done at Miami, assuming he tests the waters and hears enough positive feedback about his first-round chances. He didn't have the breakout season scouts were looking for, but his 6'5" size, athleticism, two-way playmaking and all-around versatility remain attractive.


    No. 27. Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)

    Bates-Diop's breakout season (19.2 points, 8.9 rebounds) should result in NBA interest. A physical standout for his 6'7", 235-pound size, he projects as an interchangeable forward, capable of stretching the floor (1.8 3PTM) and attacking closeouts, being that he's 31-of-56 combined on pull-ups, runners and drives out of spot-ups. His potential to guard wings and 4s could complete his first-round sales pitch.


    No. 26. Aaron Holiday (UCLA, PG, Junior)

    Holiday has been one of the nation's top-performing guards during conference play, averaging 21.0 points and 5.9 assists on 50.0 percent shooting from three against Pac-12 opponents. Size (6'1") and athletic concerns have held him back from generating widespread NBA attention, but it's becoming easier to envision Holiday carving out a change-of-pace role off some team's bench. 


    No. 25. Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)

    Walker excites with athleticism, length and shooting, creating a strong 2-guard foundation to build on. The rest of his game is a work in progress, from his one-on-one skills to his playmaking and finishing (47.6 percent at the rim). He'll earn a first-round grade based on potential, but Walker will likely need a few years before emerging as a reliable rotation contributor in the NBA.


    No. 24. De'Anthony Melton (USC, SG, Sophomore)

    Lack of standout depth in this year's field benefits Melton, who's done at USC and plans to train for the draft. He created buzz last year with two-way playmaking, having averaged 5.1 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.5 blocks per 40 minutes. Assuming he spent the year working on his jumper, his swing skill, Melton could be a value pick late and an eventual jack-of-all trades combo guard.


    No. 23. Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, SF, Senior)

    An athletic wing, Hutchison averages 19.8 points by slashing through defenses and attacking the basket. He almost relies too heavily on downhill driving and free throws. Hutchison shoots just 19.6 percent on jump shots off the dribble. But he's also shown he can create looks for others (3.5 assists), and he's making a career-high 1.4 threes per game. His jumper form isn't consistent or convincing, however, which is a worrisome sign for a senior.


    No. 22. De'Andre Hunter (Virginia, SF/PF, Freshman)

    Hunter plays 19.8 minutes per game and may not be ready for this year's draft. The NBA scouting lens still picks up his combination of athleticism, shooting potential (16-of-46 3PT), IQ (10.0 TO pct.) and defensive quickness. Second in offensive box plus-minus for the No. 1 team in the country, Hunter has quietly become an intriguing freshman to watch, and he appears capable of improving his stock during the conference and NCAA tournaments.


    No. 21. Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

    Thomas had a few eye-opening games in February, but none more complete than his 16-point, eight-rebound, eight-assist, five-steal effort against DePaul on Tuesday. For the season, he's shooting 64.1 percent inside the arc and 41.8 percent behind it. He's backed up the offensive efficiency by playing pressure perimeter defense. A prototypical three-and-D 2-guard, Thomas has steal potential if given the right opportunity.

Nos. 20-11

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    No. 20. Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG/SG, Freshman)

    Sexton is slipping as questions build about his playmaking (3.5 assists, 2.5 turnovers) and shooting (31.4 percent 3PT). Teams will still be drawn to his ability to put pressure on defenses with penetration. The right general manager could also value his toughness and competitiveness.

    No. 19. Anfernee Simons (IMG, SG, 1999)

    Simons' athleticism and scoring have earned him a top-10 spot on 247Sports' composite rankings. They could also help him draw first-round interest once he tests the waters in May. A high school post-graduate eligible for 2018's draft, Simons has NBA burst and shot-making skills, though he'll need a year in the G League to strengthen his body and floor game.


    No. 18. Troy Brown (Oregon, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Brown lacks a go-to strength or skill, which has resulted in frequent no-show games throughout the season. But at 6'7", he checks boxes with complementary scoring, secondary playmaking and defensive versatility. In the mold of a point wing, Brown ranks in the 82nd percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and defends up to the three positions. The next step is improving his shooting range (29.7 percent 3PT) to compensate for average athleticism.


    17. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Kentucky, PG, Freshman)

    Gilgeous-Alexander isn't fast, explosive or bouncy, but at 6'6", he uses his size and instincts to compensate. He's generated 144 points out of pick-and-rolls (38.4 percent of offense). And teams value his potential to guard both backcourt positions. Shooting development will be key for Gilgeous-Alexander (16-of-41 3PT), who lacks blow-by burst and explosive finishing ability.


    16. Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1998)

    Workouts should benefit Robinson, one of the draft's top athletes, who'll enter without college experience. He'll look to sell himself on potential fueled by powerful tools, explosiveness and room to improve at 19 years old. Robinson will have to answer questions about leaving Western Kentucky. He won't be able to answer any about his skill development and feel for the game. 


    15. Jontay Porter (Missouri, C, Freshman)

    Porter isn't an exciting athlete, but for a 6'11", 240-pound center, his particular skill set and feel point to NBA potential. He's making a three-pointer per game and generating 1.147 PPP on pick-and-pops. And he shows timing defensively around the basket, blocking 2.9 shots per 40 minutes. Porter lacks bounce, shooting a poor 41.7 percent at the rim. But his ability to stretch the floor, pass and protect the basket creates intriguing versatility.


    14. Robert Williams (Texas A&M, C, Sophomore)

    Shooting 63.8 percent, Williams doesn't miss often. But we've haven't seen any noteworthy improvement since last year. His spectacular tools and athleticism still translate to easy baskets, 14.4 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per 40 minutes. He's worth taking in the teens for the chance he can follow in the steps of DeAndre Jordan and Clint Capella.


    13. Dzanan Musa (Bosnia & Herzegovina, SG/SF, 1999)

    At 18 years old, Dzanan Musa has been one of the top players in the Adriatic League, averaging 13.8 points with a 22.4 player efficiency rating that ranks No. 6 overall. And he's off to a noteworthy start at the European World Cup Qualifies, totaling 42 points through two games against Belgium and Russia. Musa isn't a flashy athlete or dynamic playmaker, but he continues to produce in every setting with 6'9" size, off-the-dribble scoring instincts and a sharp competitive edge. 


    12. Daniel Gafford (Arkansas, C, Freshman)

    Gafford has turned heads this year with his athleticism and activity. Averaging 21.5 points, 11.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per 40 minutes, he is also shooting 60.3 percent. Gafford doesn't have a jump shot (6-of-17), but he has been a walking easy basket, picking them up off cuts (1.348 PPP), putbacks (1.188 PPP), rolls (1.323 PPP) and fast breaks. His 1.576 PPP ranks in the 98th percentile. A 21-point, 10-rebound, seven-block game Tuesday against Auburn was a needle-mover. 


    11. Miles Bridges (Michigan State, SF/PF, Sophomore)

    Bridges is slumping following his game-winner against Purdue, shooting just 25.6 percent over Michigan State's last four heading into Wednesday. But his mix of explosive athleticism and shot-making (2.0 threes per game) remains too compelling. And though the inconsistency can be frustrating, he's playing out of position on the wing. He has been more effective creating, having generated 53 points as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (up from 20 last year) and 1.0 PPP out of isolation (up from .962). 

10. Wendell Carter Jr. (Duke, C, Freshman)

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Cuts: 88th percentile

    Putbacks: 91st percentile

    Post-ups: 38th percentile


    Wendell Carter Jr. continues to build a case with consistency and refined skill over flash.

    He doesn't come off as a high-upside prospect without bouncy athleticism, speed or face-up scoring. But he's fundamentally sound around the basket with his post footwork, his rebounding technique (13.9 per 40 minutes) and his ability to finish at awkward angles (93rd percentile). 

    Scouts also sound optimistic about his shooting potential, having seen him knock down 18 of 37 three-pointers with clean mechanics.

    Carter offers a convincing, Al Horford-like package with his back-to-the-basket game, jumper and interior presence. He just doesn't look as comfortable closing out or defending away from the basket, and his limited switchability hurts his value. 

9. Kevin Knox (Kentucky, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    Sam Craft/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Runners: 86th percentile

    Dribble jump shots: 39.5 percent

    Isolation: 4 of 17

    In the midst of one of his better stretches, Kevin Knox is averaging 18.8 points on 42.3 percent shooting from three over Kentucky's last five games coming into Wednesday. 

    He's scoring almost exclusively off the ball, mostly out of spot-ups, where he's effective attacking a closeout and either pulling up (42.9 percent) or shooting a runner (60.0 percent). But he's also shown the ability to work off screens (.976 PPP) and curl into mid-range shots.

    Knox won't turn 19 years old until August, so more stock goes into his 1.6 threes per game, which highlight shot-making range, than his average 35.3 percent clip. 

    He's still limited as a one-on-one player and playmaker, ranking in the 15th percentile on isolation possessions and averaging just 1.8 assists per 40 minutes. He also struggles with defensive awareness and rebounding (6.7 per 40 minutes).  

8. Marvin Bagley III (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

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    Gerry Broome/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Post-ups: 79th percentile

    At the basket: 96th percentile

    Isolation: 40th percentile


    During conference play, opponents have started to expose weaknesses in Marvin Bagley III's game the second times around. And it's raising questions about his fit and ability to be effective at both ends.

    Outside of his jump hook, he hasn't shown much ability to create his own shot. And Bagley has struggled to make reads on defense. Despite his quickness, he's offering minimal defensive playmaking, illustrated by his red-flag low 3.0 block percentage and 1.6 steal percentage.

    Over Duke's last 10 games, the team is 4-0 without Bagley (injured knee) and 2-4 with him.

    He's still averaging 20.7 points and 11.1 rebounds per game on 60.3 percent shooting. Bagley thrives with his explosive bounce around the rim, ranking in the 98th percentile in basket cuts, the 96th percentile in finishing at the rim and the 86th percentile in putbacks.

    He's also scoring .965 points per possession on post-ups, showing good ball control and footwork on his jump hooks.

    On the downside, Bagley is shooting 32.1 percent on jump shots (62.7 percent FT) and 38.5 percent on isolation attempts, and he ranks in the 30th percentile in points per possession generated from passes out of the post.

7. Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C, Freshman)

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    Eric Gay/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    At the basket: 96th percentile

    Post-ups: 36th percentile

    Jump shots: 27.7 percent


    Offensive efficiency, defensive impact and flashes of skill have kept Mohamed Bamba anchored into the top eight mix.

    Second in the country in blocks (3.8 per game) and sixth in defensive plus/minus, Texas' rim protector also has the Longhorns ranked No. 5 in defensive efficiency (93.3 points allowed per 100 possessions), per KenPom.com, up from No. 21 in 2016-17. 

    He's still limited offensively, though he's consistently given his guards an easy-basket target off cuts (1.481 PPP). Bamba plays high above the rim, helping him to convert 73.5 percent of his finishes. 

    He hasn't had the same success on pick-and-rolls (16th percentile) or post-ups (36th percentile). Bamba does showcase shooting potential, having hit 13 three-pointers. But his jumper still looks far away from being an every-game threat.

    Still, with teams viewing him through a long-term lens, a stronger, more polished Bamba could look like one of the league's most unique centers, capable of shutting down the paint and possibly stretching the floor offensively.

    A toe injury will be worth monitoring, since it kept him out against the Kansas Jayhawks on Monday night. 

6. Mikal Bridges (Villanova, SF, Junior)

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    Nati Harnik/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Half-court offense: 98th percentile

    Spot-up: 97th percentile

    Jump shots: 91st percentile


    Mikal Bridges had an off three-game stretch early in February, but he's back to looking like a lottery pick, averaging 22.3 points over Villanova's last four contests heading into Wednesday.

    He's hit 14 triples in that span as he continues to strengthen his three-and-D identity. Already in the discussion for top perimeter defender in the draft, Bridges has also emerged as one of its most consistent shooters, even if his mechanics are stiff. 

    The main question is whether he's on track to improve as a creator. He averages just 2.1 assists in 32.3 minutes, and he's only 5-of-15 out of isolation.

    On the other hand, he's become a threat to generate offense off ball screens (.949 PPP), and he's 15-of-29 out of the post. 

    Scouts view Bridges as a low-maintenance teammate with a high floor, but these flashes of expanding offense potentially hint at something bigger.

5. Trae Young (Oklahoma, PG, Freshman)

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Isolation: 90th percentile

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: 75th percentile

    At the basket: 48.7 percent


    Opposing defenses and fatigue seem to be catching up to Trae Young, who's shooting 34.7 percent (25.0 percent 3PT) and averaging 5.5 turnovers over Oklahoma's last six games. 

    The big picture still shows him scoring 28.0 points and dishing out 9.0 assists per contest. His skill level remains undeniably spectacular, from his perimeter shot-making (3.8 3PTM) and runner (88th percentile) to his passing ability.

    With better teammates in the pros, Young won't have to force the issue as frequently as a shot-hunter or playmaker. His shooting range, off-the-dribble creativity and vision aren't going anywhere at the next level.

    But how will he fare around the basket, where he ranks in the 40th percentile as a finisher? And how big of a liability will he be defensively at the point of attack against more explosive ball-handlers?

    Questions have started to arise during his cold streak and Oklahoma's slump, but they still aren't alarming enough. Young remains too intriguing of an option in the Nos. 4-8 range, particularly for a team that needs a spark.

4. Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    L.G. Patterson/Associated Press

    Doctors have cleared Michael Porter Jr., who was assumed to be lost for the season following back surgery in November.

    Whether he'll actually play and risk his stock is another story. Porter would still go in the top seven if the draft were tomorrow and scouts only had two minutes of college tape to evaluate. Many had him pegged as the draft's top prospect in October based on what they'd seen from 2014-17, which included events like USA basketball development camp, the FIBA Americas, Adidas Nations, the McDonald's All-American Game and the Nike Hoop Summit.

    At 6'10" with three-point range and wing-like scoring skills, Porter could be the top offensive forward in the draft. Scouts will be monitoring his situation closely with Missouri projected as a No. 9 seed in the NCAA tournament, per ESPN's Joe Lunardi.

3. Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State, PF/C, Freshman)

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    Paul Vernon/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Post-ups: 98th percentile

    Defense at the basket: 99th percentile

    Catch-and-shoot: 40.6 percent


    Continued flashes of expanding offense have propelled Jaren Jackson Jr. from No. 7 to No. 3.

    But his sales pitch still starts with defense. Jackson has allowed opponents to shoot just 20 percent at the basket against him, the lowest in the country among defenders who've faced at least 30 attempts in rim protection. 

    His 14.8 block percentage ranks second in the country, and he's shown he can slide and defend away from the basket. 

    Jackson remains raw offensively, but he's shooting 41.6 percent from three, 79.2 percent on free throws and 80.0 percent on 25 post-ups. And he's starting to threaten defenses by attacking closeouts, putting the ball on the floor and making plays off the dribble. 

    Throw in the facts that he's likely the youngest prospect in the draft, he leads the nation in box plus/minus and his father was a 12-year NBA veteran. With questions about Bagley, Young and Porter, Jackson has emerged as a compelling top-three option.

2. DeAndre Ayton (Arizona, C, Freshman)

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    Chris Pietsch/Associated Press

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Half-court offense: 98th percentile

    Post-ups: 90th percentile

    Jump shots: 41.0 percent


    Consider DeAndre Ayton more of a No. 1B and than No. 2. There are teams who'll have him first for his immaculate physical tools, scoring production and skill set, which together may hint at the highest ceiling in the draft.

    He continues to build a case for being the No. 1 prospect, averaging 20.3 points and 11.0 rebounds per game during conference play.

    One of the top finishers (1.52 PPP, 97th percentile) in college basketball shooting 73.0 percent at the rim, Ayton is also converting at a 60.0 clip on post-ups and knocking down 41.0 percent of his jump shots—efficient numbers that point to his advanced skill level.

    He's the most polished of all the bigs, both physically and fundamentally, with an inside-out offensive game that should fit today's NBA.

    And despite questions about his defensive instincts, he's starting to block more shots—10 over Arizona's last three games—while playing stretches out of position alongside center Dusan Ristic. 

1. Luka Doncic (Slovenia, PG/SG, 1999)

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    Sonia Canada/Getty Images

    Notable Synergy Sports Numbers

    Pick-and-roll ball-handler: 87th percentile

    Spot-up: 75th percentile

    Isolation: 44th percentile


    On his 19th birthday Wednesday, Luka Doncic ranked No. 1 in Euroleague in player efficiency rating and No. 2 in scoring, per RealGM.com.

    He's coming off two rough games, but he's also played 45 at a higher level than NCAA, where college prospects are only nearing the 30-game mark. 

    Doncic's perceived ceiling falls short of Ayton's, which is powered by superior strength, length and athleticism. The case for Doncic at No. 1 stems from his unprecedented success and experience, his obvious skill level that fuels NBA-friendly versatility and his basketball IQ and competitiveness that can't be taught.

    It's also easy to forget he's a strong 6'8" ball-handler and potential mismatch, even against NBA guards. 

    Ayton may wind up being the more dominant scorer, but you take Doncic for his impact. It doesn't look like teams drafting in the top two can lose either way.


    Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports Technology and Sports Reference unless otherwise noted

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