The Most Disappointing 2020 NBA Draft Prospects This Season

Jonathan Wasserman@@NBADraftWassNBA Lead WriterJanuary 25, 2020

The Most Disappointing 2020 NBA Draft Prospects This Season

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    Scouts have mixed feelings about the strength of the 2020 NBA draft. There are questions about its star power, but certain prospects have also disappointed relative to expectations.

    Most are freshmen who came in highly touted and haven't delivered with the level of efficiency or effectiveness of a solid, one-and-done first-rounder. Based on 2018-19 flashes, breakout hype was building for three sophomores, but they've either plateaued or regressed.

    While every scout and analyst has different expectations to start the year, these are the NBA prospects we feel have let us down the most.

Aaron Wiggins (Maryland, SF, Sophomore)

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    Scary stats: 36.5 percent FG, 2-of-26 pull-up jumpers, 1.5 assists per game, 26th percentile transition (.84 points per possession)

    Aaron Wiggins started the season on breakout watch after shooting 41.3 percent from three as a freshman. But his shot isn't falling at the same rate. While it seemed like his field-goal percentage could only go up from last year's 38.5 percent, it's dipped to 36.5 percent in 2019-20.

    He's added little to his game, particularly as a creator or scorer off the dribble. Wiggins is a dreadful 2-of-26 on pull-up jumpers and 2-of-9 on runners. He's generated six points on 19 pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions. With a 10.8 assist percentage, he's still not a threat to make plays.

    Wiggins has only been useful for spot-up shooting, but it's tough to get too excited when his three-point mark reads 32.7 percent.

    There is still some appeal tied to his 6'6" frame, catch-and-shoot potential and finishing at the rim (21-of-31). But Wiggins has no margin for error. Unless he earns the lights-out three-point label by the time he graduates from Maryland, it's tough to imagine scouts will get on board.

A.J. Lawson (South Carolina, SG, Sophomore)

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    Scary stats: 40.0 percent FG, 35th percentile pick-and-roll ball-handler (.66 points per possession), 5-of-23 runners

    A.J. Lawson drew scouts to South Carolina last year for his 6'7" size, 1.7 threes per game and flashes of ball-screen offense. Then he spent the summer averaging 16.7 points on 39.6 percent shooting from three for Canada's U19 World Cup team. The arrow was pointing up heading into his sophomore year.

    But his shot-making and playmaking have regressed. His three-point mark has dipped to 33.3 percent from 35.8 percent, and his assist rate is down to 15.0 percent from 20.0 percent.

    In three consecutive losses from Dec. 30 to Jan. 11, Lawson shot 6-of-29 against Stetson, Florida and Tennessee. And in South Carolina's big, nationally televised win over Kentucky on Jan. 15, Lawson finished 1-of-9 without an assist.

    He hasn't added to his off-the-dribble or finishing package around the basket (41.4 percent). At this stage, Lawson only seems worth coveting for his shooting versatility on spot-ups and screens. But even his jumper this year has been on and off.

A.J. Reeves (Providence, SG, Sophomore)

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    Scary stats: 32.7 percent FG, 26.5 percent 3PT, eight made baskets at rim, 1.1 assists

    Once a top-50 recruit for Providence, A.J. Reeves made an impression last year with his shot-making: 3.2 three-pointers per 40 minutes on 38.1 percent. Scouts were ready for him to build on his 9.8 points per game and streak-scoring ability. Instead, his minutes, production and efficiency are all down.

    While there are some questions about how the coaching staff has used him, he hasn't helped himself by missing 50 of 68 threes. Even with the 6'6" size and the likelihood that his jumper is better than the numbers suggest, it's hard to take a sophomore seriously as a prospect when he sports a 32.7 percent field-goal mark.

    Reeves is a non-creator used in just six combined isolation or pick-and-roll ball-handling possessions all season, and his dramatic step backward as a shooter has been a letdown. He's fallen off the radar in season No. 2 at Providence.

Bryan Antoine (Villanova, SG, Freshman)

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    Scary stats: 6.4 minutes per game, 7-of-21 FG, 2-of-13 3PT

    Regardless of where blame should lie for Bryan Antoine's quiet year—coach Jay Wright, a shoulder injury or Antoine himself—it's one of the more disappointing storylines of the season.

    Maybe expectations should have gone out the window once it was known he'd have to sit and recover during the summer and early in the season. But Antoine scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting in his debut against Middle Tennessee on Nov. 21. Since then, he's totaled nine points in 11 appearances.

    Antoine hasn't helped his cause by missing 11 of 13 three-point attempts. Coach Wright has had other reasons for limiting the freshman's minutes, as he told NBC Sports Philadelphia's Sean Kane:

    "[Bryan] was one of those guys that even if everything worked out perfect for him, he's 175 pounds, he was going to have to come here and get stronger. ... The hype about him is warranted because in high school his quickness and athleticism were off the charts and he played on a great team. Now he's playing where his (lack of) strength right now is a weakness for him."

    Unless Antoine is unleashed in February or the postseason, signs indicate the 6'5" scoring combo guard needs another year in college before thinking about the NBA.

Jaden McDaniels (Washington, SF/PF, Freshman)

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    Scary stats: 35th percentile transition (.91 points per possession), 40th percentile half-court offense (.80PPP), 40.7 percent FG, 63 turnovers to 40 assists, 7.6 rebounds per 40 minutes

    Before the season, we acknowledged the possibility that Jaden McDaniels was teasing with highlights over impact. A mixtape of his scoring may paint the picture of a potential top-five pick, but it wouldn't include all the lowlights or properly reflect his inefficient style of play.

    Despite standing 6'9" with the skill versatility of a guard or wing, McDaniels is shooting 40.7 percent. He has a negative-0.5 offensive box plus-minus, the lowest among Washington's seven rotation players (minimum 17 minutes per game). A ridiculous 20.5 turnover percentage points directly to his suspect decision-making and execution as a ball-handler and passer.

    McDaniels isn't sharp enough for the offense to run through him, so he's used mostly off the ball, but he's made just 11 of 35 spot-up jumpers. When forced to put the ball down, he's a combined 12-of-36 on pull-ups, runners and takes to the basket.

    Flash plays of a forward who pulls off guard skills can create enticing theoretical upside. But they don't occur consistently enough, and with questions about his motor and awareness that have lingered since high school, the allure to McDaniels has started to fade.

Kahlil Whitney (Kentucky, SG/SF, Freshman)

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    Scary stats: 10.3 points per 40 minutes, 37.1 percent FG, 4-of-16 3PT, 43.5 percent FT, 15 turnovers to eight assists

    Kahlil Whitney arrived at Kentucky with a top-15 national recruiting ranking, an impressive physical profile and three-level scoring skills. Now he's transferring after 18 games.

    In his short time with the Wildcats, Whitney racked up more fouls (23) than three-pointers (4), assists (8), steals (5) and blocks (3) combined.

    There were lenient scouts during his slow start, given the long-term attraction to his 6'6" size, slashing and shooting potential, plus the idea some freshmen take longer than others. But he'd become borderline unplayable this month for coach John Calipari, who limited Whitney to one minute against Arkansas last Saturday and three minutes against Georgia on Tuesday.

    Aside from being 6-of-21 on spot-ups, he's shown a poor feel for how and when to take shots. Neither his skill level nor his basketball IQ has come off as sharp.

    Though time hasn't run out for Whitney, he can forget about the 2020 first round.

Tre Mann (Florida, PG, Freshman)

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    Scary stats: 35.4 percent FG, 22.2 percent 3PT, 62.5 percent FT, 17th percentile pick-and-roll ball-handler (.53 points per possession)

    Tre Mann wasn't a surefire one-and-done NBA prospect entering the season. But 247Sports' No. 2 point guard recruit did seem to have a chance at drawing scouts' attention with his 6'4" size, perimeter shot-making and playmaking potential at Florida.

    It hasn't happened. Coach Mike White has been reluctant to let Mann play through the missed shots and finishes in traffic. Shooting 16-of-50 on half-court jumpers, plus a combined 8-of-24 on runners and layups, the freshman has been brutally inefficient as a scorer. And that's what Florida needed him to be while Andrew Nembhard facilitates the offense.

    With a 43.4 true shooting percentage and 18 turnovers to 10 assists, Mann has been a huge disappointment, both for Florida and NBA teams hoping he'd be a surprise and help strengthen the 2020 draft field.

Wendell Moore Jr. (Duke, SF, Freshman)

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    Scary stats: 13.3 points per 40 minutes, 22nd percentile transition (.81 points per possessions), 24th percentile half-court offense (.72 PPP)

    The timing of Wendell Moore Jr.'s hand injury was brutal since he'd been flashing signs in November and December against Georgetown, Virginia Tech, Brown and Boston College. But it was still a disappointing start relative to our expectations. We had Moore as a top-20 prospect before the season.

    Prior to going down in early January, he was averaging 7.4 points with 33 turnovers to 28 assists and three total three-pointers. The fact that he only took seven triples in 14 games was equally discouraging.

    A lack of explosiveness was always on Moore's scouting report, but it could be overlooked for his strong frame and scoring instincts. Despite the small sample size, he struggled to make athletic plays, converting just 11 of 23 attempts in transition, four of 16 putback attempts and 39.6 percent of his half-court shots at the rim.

    There isn't clarity on when he'll return or his role once he does now that Cassius Stanley is playing so well. But it doesn't seem like he'll have a great opportunity—or much time—to regain his preseason reputation. Without a reliable jumper, creative handle or explosiveness for plus finishing, Moore will be a tough sell come 2020 draft time.

             

    Stats courtesy of Synergy Sports and Sports Reference.