NBA Draft Big Board: Ranking the Top 30 Prospects After the Combine

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterMay 22, 2018

NBA Draft Big Board: Ranking the Top 30 Prospects After the Combine

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    There were plenty of takeaways for NBA teams scouting this year's combine in Chicago.

    Results from measurements, athletic testing and scrimmages led to heavy movement on our draft board.

    Five-on-fives were particularly useful from a scouting perspective. In what can only be described as a competitive All-Star setting, certain players were able to flash talent and skill they didn't fully showcase during the season. 

    The NBA is waiting to hear from multiple prospects who are testing the waters and still have time to decide whether to keep their names in the draft. But anyone who's still in was taken into account for this top-30 board, including Maryland's Kevin Huerter, who came from off the radar to earn a 2018 first-round grade.

Nos. 30-21

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    30. Kevin Huerter (Maryland, SF, Sophomore)

    Huerter was a big winner in Chicago, impressing in Thursday's scrimmage with his shooting and passing, but also during athletic testing, where he recorded a 38-inch max vertical and finished in the top 10 in lane agility, shuttle run and the sprint. He then sat out Friday and was likely advised to do so. Huerter's game doesn't scream upside, but his three ball is highly convincing, and his off-the-dribble game is better than advertised. He could still opt to return for another season to build a case for the 2019 lottery.

    29. Anfernee Simons (IMG, PG/SG, 1999)

    After skipping scrimmages at the combine, Simons will look to make a first-round case during workouts. He's an excellent athlete and a good-looking shooter—both advantageous strengths for this time of year. Teams will know they're getting a project unlikely to contribute next season, but in the 20s, few prospects are expected to.

    28. Melvin Frazier (Tulane, SF, Junior)

    Frazier shut it down at the combine after a solid performance on Thursday, when he showcased three-and-D potential that should appeal to all teams selecting in the 20s. He may never be a creator, but he'll benefit in the draft from the rise in value of two-way wings. 

    27. Jerome Robinson (Boston College, SG, Junior)

    Robinson has gone overlooked and falls under our sleeper category, after averaging 20.7 points on 53.3 percent shooting on twos and 40.9 percent on threes. He's 21 years old, but he's also faced three years of quality ACC competition. Boston College's 35-64 record during his time there has made it tough for him make national noise. 

    26. Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech, SG, Sophomore)

    Following one of the best showings in Chicago of any participant, Okogie will keep his name in the draft and now look to make a push into the first-round mix. He was a standout during scrimmaging after tying for the highest max vertical, recording a top-six shuttle run and the fastest sprint time. He's an aggressive scorer with a developing perimeter game and the quickness and length to guard both backcourt positions.

    25. Dzanan Musa (Bosnia and Herzegovina, SG, 1999)

    Luka Doncic has taken attention away from Musa overseas, where the 6'9", 19-year-old wing is averaging 13.4 points in the Croatian League and 12.5 points in the Adriatic League. He just went for 21 points, 10 boards and four assists in the Croatian League semifinals. A scoring specialist, Musa can convert from all three levels, but questions over his athleticism and posture will keep him in the Nos. 20-35 range. 

    24. Jacob Evans (Cincinnati, SG, Junior)

    Evans sat out Friday with a finger injury, but he played well during Thursday's scrimmage, giving scouts a glimpse of his shot-making and defensive toughness. He aces the role-player eye test and could wind up being a steal if he lands in the right situation.

    23. Khyri Thomas (Creighton, SG, Junior)

    Thomas measured well at the combine, coming in at 6'3 ¾" with a terrific 6'10 ½" wingspan. Athletically, he tested middle of the pack across the board. Thomas' shooting and defense should earn him looks in the 20s, though a lack of playmaking and one-on-one scoring ability will make it tough for him to rise any further.

    22. Mitchell Robinson (USA, C, 1998)

    Robinson will continue to let mystery fuel intrigue after pulling out of the combine. He'll use workouts to show off his powerful tools, explosiveness and potential to make mid-range shots. But front offices trying to evaluate his game will mostly be guessing, given how little tape they have on him in five-on-five game action. He's a total high-upside, high-risk wild card after choosing to skip his freshman season and scrimmages in Chicago. 

    21. Keita Bates-Diop (Ohio State, SF/PF, Junior)

    Bates-Diop put up some impressive measurements in Chicago with his 6'8 ½" size and massive 7'3 ¼" wingspan, numbers that say he'll be fine playing power forward. Teams should ultimately value his ability to stretch the floor, face up and score, but also his potential to guard both forward spots if coaches can unlock his defensive IQ and awareness. 

Nos. 20-11

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    Kelvin Kuo/Associated Press

    20. Kevin Knox (Kentucky, SF, Freshman)

    Knox has the chance to be a tough wing cover at 6'9", with the ability to shoot threes and score off screens. But being a weak playmaker, defender and rebounder means he'll have little margin for error. Still 18 years old, upside and room to improve should keep Knox locked into the draft's top 20. 

    19. Jontay Porter (Missouri, C, Freshman)

    Porter didn't help himself at the combine unless he blew a team away during interviews. He skipped the scrimmage, tied for the worst max vertical, had the highest body-fat percentage and the slowest sprint time. His shooting, shot-blocking and passing are what teams look for in modern-day centers, but Porter may be wise to come back and improve his conditioning and skill level. 

    18. Zhaire Smith (Texas Tech, SG/SF, Freshman)

    Smith measured just 6'4", a scary number for a non-creator. He did get up for a 41.5-inch max vertical, and special athleticism remains his biggest selling point. Smith has the chance to impact games with his energy and bounce at both ends. At 18 years old, the upside kicks in if he continues to improve as a ball-handler and shooter.

    17. Donte DiVincenzo (Villanova, SG, Sophomore)

    DiVincenzo validated his national title game performance (31 points) by looking like one of the top players during scrimmages at the combine. His athleticism, energy and offensive versatility as a playmaker and shooter should help him draw plenty of first-round looks and ultimately carve out an NBA role.

    16. Chandler Hutchison (Boise State, SF, Senior)

    Hutchison skipped all physical activities at the combine, a sign he may have earned a promise or some type of assurance he'd go first round. He just averaged 20.0 points as a senior and finally started making outside shots, having sunk 1.5 threes per game. 

    15. Collin Sexton (Alabama, PG/SG, Freshman)

    Sexton only measured 6'1 ½" at the combine, a disappointing number, considering Alabama listed him at 6'3". He'll still go in the lottery for his ability to attack, put pressure on defenses and score in bunches once his confidence starts pumping.

    14. De'Anthony Melton (USC, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    After being forced to sit out the season because of ties to the FBI's pay-for-play scandal, Melton looked great in Chicago, particularly on Friday, when he showcased his ability to handle the ball and pressure it, but also his jumper that appeared to be on the right track. He'll get looks in the mid-to-late first round, and if Melton lands in the right spot, he jumps out as a value pick and steal candidate for his two-way versatility and room to improve as a shooter.

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

    Without the smoothest jump shot or most exciting athleticism, Gilgeous-Alexander could have trouble rising any further during workouts. But he made a strong enough case in February and March, leading Kentucky as its facilitator and a skilled, crafty scorer inside the arc. At 6'6" with 6'11 ½" length, he has exceptional size and length for a point guard.

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

    Williams didn't bother to show at the combine—an overconfident move, given the lack of improvement scouts saw during his sophomore season. He's still a lottery-caliber talent for his elite tools and athleticism, which fuels his potential as a Clint Capela-like finisher and rim protector. 

    11. Lonnie Walker IV (Miami, SG, Freshman)

    Walker was one of the top performers during testing at the combine, leaping for a 40-inch max vertical and finishing second in the shuttle run and third in the sprint. His pedestrian numbers at Miami should have something to do with starting late after an offseason knee injury. Walker's tools, athleticism and shot-making point to an NBA 2-guard at baseline, but his room for improvement (similar to Jaylen Brown's out of California) suggests he's a value pick outside the top 10, and someone whose college weaknesses may be worth overlooking.

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

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    In today's NBA, teams should be more accepting of Miles Bridges' 6'6 ¾" size for a power forward. He also weighed 220.4 pounds and is one of the draft's most explosive athletes. 

    With an average 6'9 ½" wingspan, his measurements are right on par with Justise Winslow's (6'6 ½", 221.8 pounds, 6'10 ¼" wingspan) from the 2015 NBA combine.

    Bridges is easily the more skilled prospect entering the league, though he did play an extra season in college. 

    He converted at least two three-pointers per game in both seasons, and he showed signs of improvement as a pull-up scorer in 2017-18. 

    Bridges projects best as a small-ball, face-up 4, but the versatility to play the wing should appeal to teams like the New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers and Charlotte Hornets in the No. 9-11 range.

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

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    Wendell Carter Jr. put up eye-opening measurements at the combine and then skipped everything else except interviews. 

    At 6'10", 251.4 pounds with a 7'4 ½" wingspan, his numbers were close to Derrick Favors (6'10 ½", 245.2 pounds, 7'4" wingspan) from the 2010 NBA combine.

    But Carter should enter the league with more skill than Favors did. A fundamentally sound post player who also made 19 of 46 threes while averaging 13.5 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per 40 minutes, Carter excels both physically and offensively with the ability to play down low and the potential to stretch the floor. 

    He's a good bet to go in the Nos. 7-11 range, with the Chicago Bulls looking like possible suitors.

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

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    Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

    After back surgery limited Michael Porter Jr. to 53 total minutes as a freshman, it was no surprise to see him skip athletic testing at the combine. He did measure 6'10 ¾" in shoes, confirming his impressive height for a perimeter scorer. 

    Given the emergence of the other freshman bigs, plus Porter's injury and lack of production, it seems unlikely he fully revives his draft stock as a top-three or even top-five pick. But with the Orlando Magic, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks in need of straight talent and scoring, Porter won't slip far. 

    In the Nos. 6-10 range, teams will look at the prospect they saw from high school and ultimately view Porter as a buy-low value pick.

7. Mikal Bridges (Villanova, SF, Junior)

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Mikal Bridges met with teams at the combine but skipped measurements, testing and scrimmages. 

    He should be locked into the top 10 either way, unlikely to slip past the New York Knicks or Philadelphia 76ers. 

    A 43.5 percent three-point shooter and reputable defender, described by one scout as a "low-maintenance kid" and "good locker room guy," Bridges will fit in anywhere.

    He'll turn 22 years old before the season, which suggests his upside isn't as high as the other freshmen. But Bridges has made notable improvement to his scoring ability (17.7 points per game), much like Victor Oladipo did as a junior at Indiana after being more of an energizer through two college seasons.

6. Trae Young (Oklahoma, PG, Freshman)

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    Keith Srakocic/Associated Press

    Trae Young went to Chicago to meet with teams and get himself measured.

    The numbers were expected and relatively reassuring: 6'1 ¾" in shoes, 177.8 pounds, 6'3" wingspan. Young's measurements nearly mirrored Chris Paul's (6'1", 178.0 lbs, 6'4 ¼" wingspan) from the 2005 NBA combine, an encouraging sign that suggests his suspect tools can work in the pros. 

    It makes it easier to project Young's playmaking and shot-making carrying over. 

    He should receive his first real look from the Atlanta Hawks at No. 3, and unless someone else unexpectedly slips to the Orlando Magic, it's difficult to picture Young falling to the Chicago Bulls at No. 7.

5. Mohamed Bamba (Texas, C, Freshman)

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    Mohamed Bamba stole the show during combine measurements with his unprecedented 7'10" wingspan and 9'7 ½" reach that suggests he can touch the rim standing on his tiptoes. 

    The nation's second-leading shot-blocker clearly oozes elite defensive potential. And between that and the easy-bucket finishing target he represents around the basket, there is Rudy Gobert-type potential at baseline worthy of top-five consideration. 

    But during workouts, Bamba will likely flash more skill than he was able to showcase at Texas (14 made threes), particularly with his shooting touch. 

    His toughness has been questioned by some, but with the Atlanta Hawks, Dallas Mavericks and Chicago Bulls each needing rim protectors, Bamba should be locked into the top seven and capable of going as high as No. 3.

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

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    Ben McKeown/Associated Press

    Presumably figuring he had more to lose than gain by participating, Marvin Bagley III didn't even measure or test at the combine. 

    The eye test still shows an obvious, high-level athlete fueled by elite quickness and explosiveness.

    Bagley isn't likely to work out for many teams, unless there is one he specifically prefers outside the top four picks. He could go as high as No. 2 to the Sacramento Kings if Deandre Ayton goes No. 1. It seems highly unlikely he'll fall past the Memphis Grizzlies at No. 4.

    Bagley will come off as a safe pick for anyone, given his volume production, extreme bounce and offensive versatility that points to an All-Star ceiling. Whoever drafts him will just have to prioritize improving his defensive IQ, and he may require some patience, assuming his 62.7 percent free-throw stroke is more indicative of his shooting, and the fact he still leans on athleticism over skill for scoring. 

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

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    Andy Manis/Associated Press

    Jaren Jackson Jr. showed up in Chicago just to measure and interview, two areas of the combine where he presumably knew he'd earn fans. 

    He registered the third-longest wingspan at 7'5 ½". And at 6'11 ¼", he weighed 236.0 pounds, over 10 more than the skinnier, 7'0 ¾", 20-year-old Bamba.

    Jackson also had the second-largest hands in terms of length.

    Still 18 years old until September, he is super impressive physically. And given his 5.5 blocks and 2.0 three-pointers per 40 minutes, plus ranking in the 98th percentile on post-ups, per Synergy Sports, Jackson has the modern-day game and potential to emerge as the draft's top two-way big man.

2. Deandre Ayton (Arizona, C, Freshman)

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    Deandre Ayton chose not to show up for the NBA combine, and chances are, he won't be working out for anyone except the Phoenix Suns, who have the first pick.

    He appears locked into the top two of the draft, with both Phoenix and the Sacramento Kings in need of bigs. 

    Physically special with a high offensive skill level, a combination that led to 20.1 points and 11.6 rebounds on 61.2 percent shooting, Ayton looks the part of the NBA's next franchise center.

    The question is whether his inevitable stats will translate to wins and if he can learn to anchor a defense. Ayton had trouble at times making reads at Arizona, though he was also forced to play out of position at power forward.

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

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    While Ayton finished the season losing to Buffalo and then skipping the NBA combine, Luka Doncic continues to strengthen his draft case to the Phoenix Suns.

    Add youngest ever to win Euroleague MVP and Euroleague Final Four to the resume. Doncic—who's already played 73 games (more than double most NCAA players) since the summer and still isn't finished with Spanish ACB playoffs coming up—went for 16 points and seven rebounds and 15 points and four assists, respectively, in the Euroleague semifinals and championship.

    There will be skeptics until June 21 who question his speed and athleticism. But Doncic's size (6'8", 228 lbs), skill level and feel create far too special of a package. He controls the tempo of games, sets the table over the top in pick-and-rolls and routinely comes through with timely shot-making.

    We had him going first to the Suns on lottery night, and that was before he led Real Madrid to a Euroleague title. His versatility would give Phoenix the flexibility to either play a big backcourt with Doncic and Devin Booker or use them as wings with Josh Jackson or TJ Warren at the 4. 

             

    NBA combine measurements and test scorers courtesy of NBA.com