Let’s Take a Chance (11-20)
This is arguably the most fun range in the draft. Very much a boom or bust section of the draft, teams drafting here can afford to take a risk because they made the playoffs in the prior season or were at least close to doing so. Prospects here typically have a deficiency or two but have the potential to turn into something special. When the gambles work out your team could end up with the likes of Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, when it doesn’t you might be stuck with a player like Royce White, Shabazz Muhammed or Bruno Caboclo (who is still two years away from being two years away).
Mikal Bridges (Forward, Villanova, Junior)
Mikal Bridges might be your favorite player’s favorite player in this year’s draft (just ask Kevin Durant). Fresh off a championship with the Villanova Wildcats, Bridges is a swiss army of sorts on the court. He’ll do a lot of things very well for you on the court but he’s necessarily exceptional at any one thing (which is not a knock). A solid defender, Bridges uses every bit of his 7’2 wingspan to contain opposing players, he’ll be able to defend 3-4 positions in the NBA. Bridges ability to get to the rim and catch and shoot should allow him contribute early in his career on offense. His most underrated trait might be his willingness to move the ball, often willing to pass on a good shot in favor of creating a great one, this coupled with his advanced command of the pick-and-roll (both as a screener and a ball handler) will allow teams to run their offense through him for stretches.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (Guard, Kentucky, Freshman)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a gamer, the lanky combo guard flashed potential on both ends of the floor in his lone season for the Kentucky Wildcats. Defensively he showed an interest that’s uncommon in freshmen, disrupting plays on (using lateral quickness to keep players in front of him) and off (made use of his 6’11 wingspan to take away passing angles, often leading to deflections and steals) ball. Offensively, Gilgeous-Alexander showed a tight handle and a natural command of the pick-and-roll, though he’ll need to make improvements to his shot to keep defenses honest. In today’s position-less game, teams will find a way to keep Gilgeous-Alexander on the court.
Troy Brown Jr. (Guard, Oregon, Freshman)
Much like the aforementioned players in this section, Troy Brown Jr. showed an aptitude on offensive and defense in college. Standing 6’7 and running the point, Brown was a matchup problem for teams that faced his Oregon Ducks last season. Great passing vision coupled with his size and the ability to penetrate means he’ll get his team easy buckets. Not a stand out on defense, Brown is currently more of a team defender (which still is very valuable). Meaning he’ll play hard within the system and you can switch him on screens but you shouldn’t expect him to lock the opposition down. A smart player, Brown will need to expand his offensive repertoire at the next level, as his jumpshot is a little wonky and he’s only an average dribbler.