2019 NBA Draft: Updated Big Board Entering March

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterFebruary 28, 2019

2019 NBA Draft: Updated Big Board Entering March

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    After an important month of scouting heading into March, significant changes have been made to Bleacher Report's 2019 NBA draft big board.

    While the No. 1 spot is locked up, major movement has occurred within the third and fourth tiers, where the difference between prospects remains minimal. 

    This year, needs and fit could ultimately play key roles in determining how teams make their selection, given the difficulty they may have assessing the best player available. 

    Considering the erratic play of many NBA prospects in college basketball, there is a good chance the board continues to experience movement following the NCAA tournament and NBA combine.

           

    Reminder: A big board reflects personal rankings. Mock drafts reflect predictions for who teams will select.

Tiers

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    Our top 50 prospects have been separated into tiers. The difference between players within each tier is minimal.

    For example, once the only Tier 1 prospect is selected, the team picking No. 2 overall should only be considering prospects in Tier 2. And while we have two prospects in that tier, with one ranked over another, the team selecting wouldn't be out of line by taking any of the Tier 2 prospects. We'd consider it reaching if the No. 2 overall team picked a prospect from Tier 3.

    The team picking No. 4 overall should be looking only at prospects ranked No. 4 through No. 14. We recommend the No. 4 overall prospect, but it's also reasonable for that team to consider anyone inside that tier.

    Tier 4 represents the top prospects we'd consider taking just outside the lottery. 

          

    Tier 7: Nos. 50-46

    Tier 6: Nos. 45-32

    Tier 5: Nos. 31-21

    Tier 4: Nos. 20-15

    Tier 3: Nos. 14-4

    Tier 2: Nos. 3-2

    Tier 1: No. 1

Tier 7: Fringe Players

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    50. Aaron Nesmith (Vanderbilt, SF, Freshman)

    A 6'6" freshman making 1.9 threes per game, Nesmith has an intriguing foundation to build on. He's too raw to take seriously for the 2019 draft, but with most scouting eyes on teammate Simisola Shittu to start the season, Nesmith has managed to make the stronger impression.

         

    49. Luguentz Dort (Arizona State, PG/SG, Freshman)

    The NBA eye test approves Dort's physical profile (6'4", 215 lbs) and embraces his downhill-attacking style and confident scoring. The more in-depth scouting report questions his feel for the game as a finisher, passer and defender, plus his 29.9 percent three-point shooting.

        

    48. John Konchar (Purdue-Fort Wayne, SG, Senior)

    Averaging 19.6 points, 8.3 rebounds and 5.5 assists, Konchar could be a second-round draw for his versatility working as a pick-and-roll ball-handler and spot-up shooter. He's improved as a finisher around the basket since last year (58.5 percent to 66.2 percent), a noteworthy development given his lack of explosion. 

        

    47. Jon Teske (Michigan, C, Junior)

    At 7'1", 260 pounds with limited run-and-jump athleticism and production, Teske doesn't pop under the NBA scouting lens. But teams could potentially see a fit and need for a strong, defensive-minded center with soft hands around the basket and expanding shooting range (17 made threes).

       

    46. Louis King (Oregon, SF, Freshman)

    NBA teams will likely suggest that King returns for another year at Oregon to continue building on his shot-creation and scoring. He won't bring much else to the table, but with 6'9" positional size and a clean shooting stroke (1.7 made threes per game), he'll start next year on watch lists for potential breakout first-round options.

Tier 6: Backup Role Players

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    45. Jalen Pickett (Siena, PG, Freshman)

    One of two players in the country averaging at least five assists, two steals and two threes per game this season, Pickett has become difficult to ignore in the MAAC, particularly after his recent 46-point, 13-assist effort against Quinnipiac. He plays straight up and down in terms of posture, lacking blow-by speed and explosion. But for a 6'4" freshman, he's been effective enough as a passer and shooter to attract scouts to Siena. Pickett could be a trendy breakout pick over the summer when looking toward the 2020 draft.

        

    44. Deividas Sirvydis (Lithuania, SF, 2000)

    Sirvydis isn't receiving enough minutes to build a first-round case for 2019. But after a solid performance at the FIBA U18 European Championship over the summer, he's hit the radar this year with flashes of shooting, driving and passing for a 6'8" wing. 

         

    43. Charles Matthews (Michigan, SF, Senior)

    Matthews has plateaued offensively, but for a second-round option, his defense and slashing could carry him to an NBA supporting role. Between his mid-range game and open-shooting capability, he may offer just enough as a scorer.

           

    42. Eric Paschall (Villanova, SF/PF, Senior)

    Strong, explosive and standing 6'8" and 255 pounds, Paschall has developed into a draft prospect by improving this season as a scorer (17.3 points) and shooter (2.1 made threes). He's been an effective spot-up player (1.03 PPP), isolation option (.912 PPP) and roll man (1.231 PPP). The question is whether he's credible enough in any one area for a 22-year-old senior.

         

    41. Ayo Dosunmo (Illinois, SG, Freshman)

    Dosunmu has generated attention by checking boxes for a 6'5" combo guard. He's up to 14.3 points, 3.2 assists, 1.5 threes and 1.3 steals per game, giving scouts glimpses of slashing, playmaking, shooting and defense. Dosunmu needs to add strength and polish, which could require another season at Illinois. But it's also possible teams see long-term potential and show a willingness to reach early and control his development.

         

    40. Naz Reid (LSU, PF, Freshman)

    Reid's decision-making, effort and defense can be frustrating. But for a 6'10", 250-pound big, his scoring skill and shooting range (24-of-66 on threes) are worth targeting in the second round.

          

    39. Nicolas Claxton (Georgia, C, Sophomore)

    Claxton will need another year to sharpen his offense and max out his draft stock. But he's emerged as a long-term prospect worth tracking for his 6'11" size and athleticism, defensive versatility (2.4 blocks, 1.1 steals) and budding inside-out scoring (14 made threes). 

           

    38. Shamorie Ponds (St. John's, PG, Junior)

    Ponds busted out of a scoring slump with 27 points on Saturday against Seton Hall. His shooting and playmaking have fallen off, but at this stage, the streaky play is to be expected. He'll presumably settle in as a second-round option with scoring-spark potential for a team's bench.

           

    37. Jordan Poole (Michigan, SG, Sophomore)

    Poole's offense is streaky, and his defense is poor. At 6'5", flashes of perimeter shot creation and shot-making hint at NBA potential. They just don't happen frequently enough to offset concerns tied to his decision-making, limited playmaking and defensive struggles. 

               

    36. Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky, C, Freshman)

    Choosing Western Kentucky may come back to haunt Bassey from a draft-stock perspective. A cloud sits over his 14.9 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, since few conference opponents have bigs with his 6'11", 245-pound size. A whopping 45.0 percent of his offense comes from the post, and 15.3 percent is off offensive rebounds. He's a force around the basket, but questions about his scoring skill, passing (20 assists in 28 games) and defensive switchability raise concerns over his NBA fit and upside.

            

    35. Dylan Windler (Belmont, SF, Senior)

    Windler has averaged 25.8 points per game since January 26 and now looks the part of an early second-rounder due to his 6'8" size, shot-making and ultra efficiency (66.7 true shooting percentage). He does most of his work in the half court by spotting up (95th percentile) and cutting (97th percentile), strengths that could carry over if given the right role.

              

    34. Jalen McDaniels (San Diego State, PF/C, Sophomore)

    McDaniels has been streaky, and it's still unclear what bankable skills he can take with him to the pros. His defensive versatility remains appealing, however, and he has made progress with his shooting touch, having hit 20 threes and 41.9 percent of his mid-range jumpers this season.

            

    33. Cameron Johnson (North Carolina, SF, Senior)

    Johnson would be generating more draft buzz if he wasn't turning 23 years old in March. He was a standout in North Carolina's win over Duke, scoring 26 points on just two-pointers and free throws—a promising sign for a wing who's leaned on shooting (46.8 3PT%). Johnson isn't a flashy athlete or creator, but as one of the nation's elite spot-up (98th percentile) and off-screen (95th percentile) shot-makers, there are NBA roles for a player with his skill set.

            

    32. Ignas Brazdeikis (Michigan, SF, Freshman)

    Brazdeikis hasn't fallen back into a supporting role after starting the season looking like he might emerge as a go-to scorer. But his 25 assists through 28 games remains a turnoff. The 6'7", 215-pound small forward is still shooting 37.9 percent from three, slashing through defenses and averaging 14.4 points per game. He's a good bet to return for a sophomore season and take on an even greater workload. 

Tier 5: Role Players

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    31. Daniel Gafford (Arkansas, C, Sophomore)

    Gafford continues to win battles around the basket as a powerful finisher (76.3 percent) off dumpdowns, lobs and putbacks. There just isn't anything to love about his upside as a center who can't shoot or switch defensively in today's NBA.

           

    30. KZ Okpala (Stanford, SF, Sophomore)

    A 6'9", 215-pound forward, Okpala stands out for his positional tools and face-up scoring (17.3 points per game). He's also taken a notable step forward as a driver and shooter. But Okpala is still too far behind skill- and feel-wise, making just 1.4 threes per 40 minutes, eight pull-ups all season and 52.2 percent of his attempts around the basket.

           

    29. Nassir Little (North Carolina, SF/PF, Freshman)

    Little has played promising stretches lately, but none impressive or long enough to upgrade his overall evaluation. His physical profile is tremendous when you consider his strength, length and athleticism. And even without skill, he's been a threat to face up against 4s and score at the rim. Little's limited creation and feel for the game are problematic, however. Potential and room to improve still exist, but betting on it means betting on a major transformation. 

             

    28. Bruno Fernando (Maryland, C, Sophomore)

    One of the most physically impressive athletes, Fernando is built in the mold of Montrezl Harrell or Bam Adebayo. He improved as a post scorer, passer, rebounder and defender, but his 2.7 turnovers are too high, and he's still limited outside 12 feet. However, Fernando is clearly built for the NBA paint, where he's now a great enough threat to make a play and protect his basket.

          

    27. Matisse Thybulle (Washington, SG/SF, Senior)

    On pace to become the only player in at least 27 years to average a three-pointer, two steals and three blocks per game, Thybulle has emerged as a defensive specialist whose shooting could be enough offensively. He doesn't create, and his steal and block numbers may be inflated in Washington's zone. But Thybulle clearly possesses A-plus defensive instincts with the size and quickness to guard NBA wings. 

          

    26. Isaiah Roby (Nebraska, C, Junior)

    It's still been more about the flashes for Roby, who's only averaging 11.3 points on 44.9 percent shooting as a junior. But an athletic, 6'8" big with developing range (20 threes this season) and shot-blocking ability (1.8 per game) deserves attention. He needs to improve his body and shot, but Roby could check the boxes as a modern-day small-ball 5.

            

    25. Grant Williams (Tennessee, PF, Junior)

    At 6'7", 236 pounds, Williams grades out in the 98th percentile as a post scorer and the 28th percentile in transition, numbers that paint an accurate picture of NBA scouts' dilemma. He's skilled with basketball IQ, but the post is his office, and he isn't a flashy athlete. It also looks as if the early three-point shooting may have been fluky since he hasn't made a single three in 11 of Tennessee's last 12 games. Still, Williams comes off as an outlier prospect worth betting on in the No. 15-30 range based on his college success, gradual improvement, obvious defensive toughness and knack for making big plays under pressure.

           

    24. Tre Jones (Duke, PG, Freshman)

    Jones has hit a wall offensively, now down to 40.6 percent shooting from the field and 24.6 percent from three. His lack of explosion in the lane, plus a shaky jumper, raises questions about Jones' potential to score at the next level. However, there will be playoff teams who value his decision-making and defense, even if it's in a 15-minute role. General managers in the No. 15-30 range will put more stock into his floor as a reliable backup than his ceiling, which levels off at role player.

             

    23. Keldon Johnson (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

    Johnson has had a tendency to fade in and out, partly due to limited creation ability. He's totaled 11 points combined this season between isolation and pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions. Will Johnson be an accurate enough shooter to work mostly as a spot-up (32.3 percent of offense) player? He'll need to be considering his 10.4 assist percentage. From a glass-half full standpoint, he's still converting 39.1 percent of his threes and executing runners (20-of-40) at a high level.

            

    22. Ty Jerome (Virginia, SG, Junior)

    The right role for Jerome could jump-start his NBA career early. He ranks in the 96th percentile of spot-ups, and NBA teams will value his shot-making (40.3 percent from three), passing IQ (5.1 assists, 1.8 turnovers) and defense. In the mid- to late first round, more stock goes into Jerome's fit and floor than his limited upside.

            

    21. Tyler Herro (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)

    Herro is playing himself into the 2019 draft, catching fire early in February and running with it ever since. With 29 points on 10 attempts against Arkansas on Tuesday, he put on a shot-making clinic that highlighted his picturesque form and ability to convert off movement. He shot 51.4 percent from three during the month of February. Herro can be hit-or-miss as a decision-maker and defender, but if he continues to bury jumpers at this rate—he certainly has the confidence to build a lengthy hot streak—teams could target him this June for his off-ball shot-making.

Tier 4: Mid-Level Starters

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    20. Rui Hachimura (Gonzaga, PF, Junior)

    Hachimura's stock could be all over the place. There will be some teams enticed by his 6'8", 230-pound body, 20.5 points per game and 62.0 percent shooting from the field. His fit is questionable, however, with limited shooting range (0.5 threes per 40), poor passing instincts (9.8 assist percentage), weak rebounding numbers (8.8 per 40) and uninspiring defense. His tools and skills for scoring inside 17 are attractive, but his specific weaknesses raise questions concerning his upside.

         

    19. Sekou Doumbouya (France, SF/PF, 2000)

    Back from a thumb injury, Doumbouya had a strong return for CSP Limoges, totaling nine points and five rebounds in 17 minutes, but he's been quiet over the last two games. With Doumbouya, it's about scouting flashes, given the 18-year-old's limited role and polish. His potential defensive versatility remains a draw, and occasionally he demonstrates shooting touch (11 threes over 23 games) and the ability to face up and attack. But at this stage, Doumbouya is too raw and unproductive to feel good about taking in the top 10 or lottery.

         

    18. Romeo Langford (Indiana, SG, Freshman)

    Langford's 22 points and game-winner against Wisconsin on Tuesday represented the highlight of his season. He carried the Hoosiers (5-12 Big Ten play) to a win, working as the clear top option. For a 6'6" guard, he's consistently slashing through defenses, ranking in the 95th percentile in ball-screen drives to the basket and the 90th percentile on isolation drives. His shooting (27.3 percent from three) and mechanics remain the largest concern, particularly given his limited playmaking. Langford's casual approach and shaky defensive concentration are also reasons to question whether he can develop into anything more than a mid-level starter. 

          

    17. Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Virginia Tech, PG/SG, Sophomore)

    Steady all season, Alexander-Walker returned a more complete guard while continuing to shoot (38.6 percent from three) with convincing touch. He just finished with 13 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals in Virginia Tech's win against Duke on Tuesday. Although his lack of speed, explosion and strength hints at a lower ceiling, his shot-making, improved facilitating (3.8 assists) and defensive tools (2.1 steals) mean Alexander-Walker seems like a fine pick anywhere in the mid-first round.

         

    16. Coby White (North Carolina, PG/SG, Freshman)

    After a rough game against Duke, White may have won back some support by going off for 34 points against Syracuse. For a 6'5" guard, he's an excellent pick-and-roll passer (99th percentile) and dangerous spot-up shooter (97th percentile). On the negative side, at 185 pounds without explosion, he's affected by pressure and contact. Though he's a precision passer, he comes off as more of a secondary playmaker than primary NBA initiator.

        

    15. PJ Washington (Kentucky, PF/C, Sophomore)

    Averaging 19.9 points over his last 11 games, Washington has caught on, appearing more confident in his post game, shooting and overall scoring. He's made 19 threes during that stretch and has flashed the ability to face up and attack or separate around the key with textbook footwork into high-percentage hooks. Washington may not have a specialty skill or visible upside, but his enhanced offensive versatility looks like enough for the NBA. 

No. 14. Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga, PF/C, Junior)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Shooting 68.4 percent from the field and averaging 24.2 points, 12.2 rebounds and 4.4 blocks per 40 minutes, Brandon Clarke is registering the second-highest player efficiency rating in the country, per Real GM, ranking behind only the projected No. 1 overall pick. 

    His explosiveness and motor translate to easy baskets in transition (89th percentile), off cuts (72nd percentile), offensive rebounds (96th percentile) and rolls to the basket (76th percentile). And in an off-ball NBA role that calls for Clarke to run, jump and react, he figures to continue making plays at the rim.

    There will be plenty of value tied to his defense as well, given his shot-blocking tools and potential switchability. 

    Clarke's ultimate draw is his knack for impacting games without needing his number called. Energizers don't come with a ton of upside, but in this particular draft, his high floor and defined identity should look attractive in the mid-first round.

No. 13. Darius Garland (Vanderbilt, PG, Freshman)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Darius Garland created enough intrigue between last year's Nike Hoop Summit performance and the four full games he played at Vanderbilt before injuring his meniscus. 

    It's still difficult to get a confident read on his ability to run an offense. Before going down, Garland had more turnovers (15) than assists (13) with a high usage rate of 27.6 percent.

    He also generated 41 points on 41 pick-and-roll possessions (1.0 PPP, 91st percentile), made 13 of 23 dribble jumpers and shot 11-of-23 from three.

    Garland is shifty and skilled, particularly around the perimeter with his shot creation and shot-making. But his NBA value takes a hit if it turns out he's more of a 6'2" scoring spark than a lead guard and primary initiator. 

No. 12. Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State, SG, Freshman)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Out of the box for his 6'4", 233-pound frame, Talen Horton-Tucker has been polarizing. In some games, he wows with unexpected shot creation, finishing ability and defensive activity; in others, he raises doubtful eyebrows with wild attempts in traffic and badly missed threes.

    However, he should be the youngest NCAA prospect to declare; he turns 19 on November 25. And for his age and build, Horton-Tucker's skill level, feel for the game and competitiveness outweigh the mistakes and inefficiency. 

    NBA teams will want him to improve his body and decision-making. But between the 1.4 threes per game, slick step-back jumpers, acrobatic scoring in the paint and 1.4 steals, Horton-Tucker has flashed a wide range of scoring versatility and defense.

No. 11. Goga Bitadze (Georgia, C, 1999)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    A breakout season and lack of obvious NBA prospects in college basketball help push Goga Bitadze up the board.

    The 19-year-old center has been one of the Adriatic League's top producers while averaging 13.1 points, 6.6 rebounds and 2.9 blocks through eight Euroleague games.

    Though he isn't a creative scorer or flashy athlete, Bitadize has been effective using his hands, footwork and mobility around the basket, where he's a versatile finishing target. Flashes of improved shooting range (15-of-39 on threes combined) only add to his appeal.

    Bitadze may never be a switchy or high-impact defender, but that isn't a big enough drawback when evaluating prospects in the teens or 20s. He comes off as a high-floor, worst-case reserve big man with plenty of room to develop.

No. 10. Jontay Porter (Missouri, C, Sophomore)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Jontay Porter's appeal may be growing even while he recovers from a torn ACL.

    The draft's third and fourth tiers appear wide-open. Other big names are similarly sidelined by injuries, and there's a general lack of star power and in-season development from a majority of potential NBA prospects.

    Porter, who won't turn 20 until November, earned an invite to the NBA combine last year, turning heads with a coveted mix of three-point shooting, passing and shot-blocking.

    The long-term scouting lens sees past his knee injury and underdeveloped body and instead detects a stretch-5 suited for the NBA. There will be a line at the door for his medical reports before the draft.

No. 9. Jaxson Hayes (Texas, C, Freshman)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Jaxson Hayes quickly established an identity as a rim runner and shot-blocker upon his arrival at Texas, so his lack of improvement skill-wise throughout the season isn't concerning. 

    At 6'11" with speed and bounce, it's easy to picture his tools and athleticism continuing to translate to easy baskets and defensive playmaking.

    He's shooting 74.8 percent overall and ranks in the 94th percentile as a pick-and-roll finisher, the 95th percentile as a cutter and the 87th percentile in transition.  

    On the downside, his poor 13.0 percent rebounding rate is concerning, while his 6.1 fouls per 40 minutes suggests he still needs heavy defensive coaching. That should come in time, as he's only 18 years old and lacks NBA-caliber bulk.

No. 8. Bol Bol (Oregon, C, Freshman)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Every lottery team will want to look at Bol Bol's medical reports following the stress fracture in his foot. 

    He comes off as the textbook boom-or-bust prospect—a potential star for his 7'2" size, ball skills, shooting and scoring ability, but a major risk because of his skinny frame and limbs along with durability concerns.

    If doctors deem Bol no riskier health-wise than any other big man, it becomes worth thinking about drafting him in the second half of the lottery based on his effectiveness in college (21.0 points per game) and projected NBA fit. His three-ball (13-of-25) looked convincing, while the flashes of ball-handling and post moves he displayed point to even more offensive upside.

    He'll need to strengthen his body and defensive motor, but with a 7'8" wingspan along with the mismatch scoring, Bol becomes worth the gamble once the surer bets are off the board.

No. 7. Kevin Porter Jr. (USC, SG, Freshman)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    In an off-ball role that allows Kevin Porter Jr. only 7.5 shots per game, inconsistency is understandable. 

    He hasn't handled it perfectly. Porter fades in and out, occasionally breaking a silent stretch with a low-percentage shot seemingly just to get one up. There are also questions about his style of play, as there isn't much of an appetite for a one-on-one scorer who succumbs to the urges of drilling a hero jumper.

    But his talent pops, similar to the way Zach LaVine's did at UCLA when he was coming off the bench.

    With Porter, the positive flashes outweigh the careless plays, poor decisions and flickering impact. With solid 6'6" size and athleticism, he makes 39.2 percent of his threes and demonstrates both advanced shot-creation and shot-making ability.

    With more space and freedom as he gets older, Porter's long-term projection appears more favorable than what his current production and impact might suggest.

No. 6. Cam Reddish (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Scouting Cam Reddish has been an exhausting experience.

    Over Duke's last four games, he shot 2-of-15 in a win versus North Carolina State, followed up with a season-best 27-point outburst against North Carolina, shot 2-of-11 against Syracuse's zone and had an impressive 17-point effort in a tough loss to Virginia Tech, showcasing previously hidden shot creativity.

    Shooting 36.0 percent on the season, Reddish deserves a semi-pass for the adjustment he's had to make playing alongside two stars in RJ Barrett and Zion Williamson and another lead ball-handler in Jones. But some of his struggles are tied to weaknesses that he must address to produce like a top-five draft pick.

    He's making only 40.0 percent of his two-pointers, mostly due to poor finishing instincts around the basket, where he ranks in the 25th percentile in points per possession.

    NBA teams will focus on his combination of three-point shot-making (2.7 made threes per game) and defense, which could make him a valuable addition to any roster. If Reddish can improve as a creator, finisher and decision-maker, it's a bonus; otherwise, his three-and-D floor remains attractive.

No. 5. De'Andre Hunter (Virginia, SF/PF, Sophomore)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    De'Andre Hunter has moved up and down within the board's third tier all season, but he hasn't escaped or been demoted.

    He continues to come off as one of the perceived safer options for his strong physical tools, defensive versatility and three-point shooting, which is now up to 47.4 percent on the season.

    The big question has always concerned how much upside he has to unlock.

    Hunter has now hit the 20-point mark in three of Virginia's last four games, a potentially key development regarding his evolution as a scorer. He's flashing more creativity out of the post and around the perimeter.

    Hunter's top-five case will ultimately look more convincing if he can improve his pull-up jumper (14-of-39).

No. 4. Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech, SG, Sophomore)

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    Tier 3: High-end starters

    Obvious improvement propelled Jarrett Culver into the 2019 lottery discussion early in the season. Consistency has kept him there.

    Occasional scoring outbursts like his 26 points against Kansas on Saturday have pointed to more upside and gradual development, which pushed him further up our board. 

    Though he isn't overly explosive, he uses his long strides and length to attack the rim effectively. He ranks in the 74th percentile in isolation drives and has converted 10-of-13 drives to the basket out of spot-ups.

    As a shooter, the eye-test results are more persuasive than the numbershe's converting 34.3 percent of his threes, 68.1 percent of his free throws and 33.7 percent of his pull-ups. Slotting him as high as No. 4 means betting on his touch to improve based on his delivery and shot-making capability.

    But he's also evolved into a playmaking threat, ranking in the 86th percentile as a pick-and-roll passer. And he has the tools and mentality to add defensive value around the perimeter, though he's better suited to defend ball-handlers and guards rather than forwards.

No. 3. Ja Morant (Murray State, PG, Sophomore)

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    Tier 2: Potential All-stars

    While Ja Morant's explosive athleticism hints at star potential, it appears real because of his consistent domination. 

    He's averaging 24.4 points, leads the nation in assists (10.3) and is shooting 51.0 percent from the floor. 

    No player in the country averages more transition points than Morant, which highlights his speed with the ball and style. He's still a more polished distributor than scorer thanks to his special passing skill and vision.

    The key development surrounding Morant has been his uptick in three-pointers made—he's hit 44 in 27 games this year compared to 27 in 32 games last season. It's an encouraging sign, but going 7-of-26 on runners and hitting only 30.1 percent of his pull-ups suggests he still needs to round out his scoring arsenal.

No. 2. RJ Barrett (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

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    Tier 2: Potential All-stars

    Though Duke hasn't been the same without Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett is averaging 28.0 points on 57.9 percent shooting since the big man's injury. With more ball-handling and creation responsibilities, he's demonstrated poise, tighter shot selection and a willingness to set up teammates as an initiator. 

    The draw to Barrett will always stem from his scoring instincts off the dribble using pull-ups (42.4 percent), floaters (14-of-36) and in transition (6.4 points per game, tied for No. 3 in country). And though he isn't considered a shooter, he's now a credible a shot-maker, having hit 58 threes through 28 games. 

    Barrett's development as a passer and playmaker could prove to be crucial for his future value. It may help separate him from the group of score-only NBA wings like Andrew Wiggins or Brandon Ingram.

    Barrett has some tunnel vision, but when he's focused on facilitating, he's a skilled passer. Over Duke's last four games, he's averaging 6.5 assists.

No. 1. Zion Williamson (Duke, PF/C, Freshman)

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    Chris Seward/Associated Press

    Tier 1: The No. 1 pick

    The top-prospect-in-America conversation ended early this year. Zion Williamson started running away with it in November, and no one else has challenged him for the throne since.

    While Williamson's signature power, explosion and quickness has led to a 75.3 percent two-point mark and per-40-minute averages of 5.0 offensive rebounds, 3.1 steals and 2.6 blocks, he has also flashed encouraging, functional skill.

    Williamson is 10-of-17 on drives off the catch while ranking in the 99th percentile on post-ups (56 possessions), the 92nd percentile out of isolation (38 possessions) and the 98th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (19 possessions). 

    Williamson's draft stock wouldn't be affected if his recent knee injury kept him out for the season, although signs point to his return sometime in March.

          

    Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Basketball Reference. Stats accurate heading into Wednesday, February 27