Fingers Crossed for an All-Star (Top 10)
While teams drafting just outside of the top 5 likely wish they could’ve snagged one of coveted top draft picks, there’s reasons why they didn’t. Their season was likely filled with highs and lows. Maybe they started out hot before coming back down to earth (Orlando) or maybe they went on a midseason winning streak then fizzled out (Chicago). Regardless teams drafting here are looking to add a piece with All-Star potential, a player that can continue their upward trajectory and that they can potentially build their franchise around. Players like Damian Lillard, Andre Drummond and Kemba Walker are the archetype here.
Michael Porter Jr. (Forward, Missouri, Freshman)
Michael Porter Jr. has carried himself like a star since high-school, because of that his arrival to the Missouri Tigers (along with his brother Jontay) was highly anticipated. Unfortunately, his time on the court was minimal as Porter suffered a back injury in the first game of the year that cost him the majority of his season. That injury has served as a pause of concern for many NBA teams, but rest assured if he’s healthy whatever team drafts Porter is getting a player with All-Star potential. His biggest asset is his scoring prowess, Porter has a great shot (high release, soft touch) and he can knock the ball down from any spot on the floor. With his length (nearly 7’1 wingspan) and lateral quickness, the right team should be able to develop him into a plus defender as well.
Mo Bamba (Center, Texas, Freshman)
Mo Bamba might be the most interesting player in this year’s draft. He stands 7’0 tall, has a 7’10 wingspan and runs the floor with the like a gazelle. That’s not an exaggeration either, Bamba posted a ¾ court sprint time of 3.04 seconds, which is faster than everyone in this draft as well as players like Russell Westbrook (3.08 seconds), Dwyane Wade (3.08 seconds) and John Wall (3.14 seconds). In his lone season at Texas, the mobile big man showed the ability to finish with either hand, the ability to alter shots all over the court and flashed the potential to become a threat from 3. Dare I say he has the highest ceiling in the entire draft, whatever winds up with Bamba will acquire a player with tremendous upside.
Trae Young (Guard, Oklahoma, Freshman)
There was no more polarizing player in college basketball this past season than Trae Young. The young guard lit defenses up with his Curry-like range, silky crossover and accurate passing. Though he struggled as the season wore on (in part because in faced superior competition but also because he saw a lot of double teams), Young’s ability to hit tough, contested shots and his range should still give teams hope that he can make the transition to the NBA. He’ll need to work on his shot selection and rein in his recklessness (leads to a lot of turnovers) to ensure that that transition is a smooth one.