Top Ten NBA Draft Prospects for This Year’s Draft
The NBA draft is a chance to be a turning point for every franchise, whether part of a rebuilding project or adding on to an already-solid team. For the top ten NBA draft prospects, they will most likely be joining a team that is looking to build. This year we have a slew of teams hoping that a young prospect can bring them out of mediocrity, but not that many players that seem to be franchise cornerstones that teams are looking for.
This year’s draft seems to be very top heavy, with no certain starts like there has been in previous drafts. Here is a look at the top ten NBA draft prospects that will be making the jump to the association this summer.
#10 Domantas Sabonis
We start our Top Ten NBA Draft Prospects list with the son of one of the most versatile centers of all-time, who is making a name for himself. In his sophomore season at Gonzaga, the Lithuanian big-man had the ability to take over and control games with his strong post play. He was able to average a double-double, scoring over 17 points and gathering almost 12 rebounds a game to go with his excelling use of the low post. In fact, 45.7 of his offense generated from down low. That may be a concern in today’s changing NBA, but Sabonis can also run the floor quicker than many of the players currently holding front court roles in the NBA.
#9 Henry Ellenson
A 6’10” quick, lengthy power forward with the ability to shoot and put the ball on the floor. After reading that sentence it is very easy to see why Henry Ellenson will be leaving Marquette after just one season to join the ranks of the NBA. He would be a possible top-five pick if Marquette did not have such a disappointing season. His skills beating opposing forwards off the dribble and his impressive shooting touch should translate to easy buckets at the next level.
#8 Jaylen Brown
Many people would have the California Golden Bears prospect much higher on this list, but he has too many holes in his game to crack the top five. Jump shooting is becoming more of a key for wing players in the NBA today and Brown still does not have a consistent shooting form. Shooting mechanics can be an easy task for NBA shooting coaches to fix, but his turnovers while dribbling the ball has become a concern as well.
Brown, in his only season of college, could be seen over dribbling the ball and making silly turnovers due to his inability to create or simply pass the ball. If he is taken high in the draft, Brown may see himself on a team that would need him to create off the dribble as much as he did at Cal, which could result in him having a tough time in the NBA. Brown does possess the ability to score at the rim at ease and has supreme athletic ability, which has landed him on our Top Ten NBA Draft Prospects list.
#7 Buddy Hield
We all saw what Buddy Hield could do when the bright lights are shined on him. Lighting up the NCAA tournament, until running into a brick wall that were the eventual champions, Villanova Wildcats. He averaged 25 points in his senior season in Norman and showed exceptional range on his jumpshot.
The knock against Hield is that he is a much older prospect, which is apparently now considered a weakness in today’s NBA. Scouts also believe that he may not be able to defend well enough and there is concerned that his assist and passing numbers are too low for him to excel as a two-guard. Hield can break the scoreboard with his offense, but will need to be able to stop other wing players to make a big impact in the NBA.
#6 Kris Dunn
Simply put, Dunn is the best point guard in the draft. He elevates everyone around him, showed by the Providence Friars season record of 24-11. He averaged over 16 points and six assists in his final year of his collegiate career and was able to limit his turnovers, a good sign for how he projects in the pros. One weakness that Dunn has is that he has not played a high level of competition.
There were no wing players or point guards that the Friars faced that projects to be an NBA level talent, so we know that Dunn looks exceptional against players at the college level, but no idea how he will handle NBA talent. Overall, Dunn looks to be the best point guard available in the entire draft, something that carries a higher weight in such a guard driven league.
#5 Jakob Poeltl
Jakob would have been a lottery pick had he come out last season, but after staying another season at the University of Utah, Poeltl has vaulted into one of the top prospects. He has the ability to take over games from the post and free up space for the rest of the team. The Austrian sophomore also possesses the ability to pass out of the post at a high level, assisting on 16.3 percent of his team’s buckets while on the floor.
Poeltl is touted as a high prospect due to his natural knack for scoring and ability to be a quick and agile big man who can defend the rim. He can be someone who teams look for to be the new prototypical center in the new NBA, which is why he is featured on our Top Ten NBA Draft Prospects list.
#4 Dragan Bender
Here is the unknown European prospect that rises up draft boards for the 2016 season. All of his scouting reports say he is a big man who is the prototypical NBA stretch four. Possess the ability to be a good screen man on a pick and roll as well as the ball handler in those situations, something that very few players can do. Bender will be a mystery, and with success from another foreign player in Kristaps Porzingis drafted early in the draft and having much success, it would be no surprise to hear Bender’s named called after the second pick.
#3 Jamal Murray
Murray may be the best shooter in this draft, and that’s not all he can do. He hoisted up over 7 attempts from beyond the arc in his only season at Kentucky, and sent 42% of those shots through the basket. Impressive percentage considering such a high volume of shots.
The thing about Murray, though, is that he is not by any means a three point specialist. He is a slashing guard that can convert at the hoop as well. He lacks the sort of eye-catching athleticism scouts look for in young players, but you cannot overlook his ability to score. Murray ranks high on the Top Ten NBA Draft Prospects list due to the fact that he can be a dangerous player with the ball in his hands, as well as being a knockdown shooter when he is playing off the ball.
#2 Brandon Ingram
There is some debate about who will go number one in this draft between Ingram and Ben Simmons, which is a testament to how much Ingram improved during his lone season at Duke. Now he is getting compared to Kevin Durant. With his long lanky frame and his slender size for a forward, it is easy to make a physical comparison to him and the NBA star. He looks to be more of a project that Durant was coming out of the college game.
Ingram can score and has a good shooting stroke, but lacked the ability to get by defenders in isolation plays. Ingram also had a hard time finishing at the rim, due to his lack of strength. The Duke prospect is only 18 years old and has showed the ability to shoot, score and has the measurements of being a mismatch for almost any opponent. There seems to be a reason why he may be the number one pick this summer.
#1 Ben Simmons
Ben Simmons made a mistake in choosing to play for LSU in his lone season of collegiate basketball. Horrible coaching decisions and not enough players around him that resembled a competitive team. There is so much talk about Simmons lacking the killer instinct needed to excel in the NBA, talking about his work ethic not being there and that he cannot shoot outside of 17 feet. All these may be true, but it is hard to ignore the fact that he is 6’10” and acts like a point guard.
He averaged almost twenty points and five assists a game and showed flashes of what he could do at the next level. Simmons was one of the most hyped prospects coming out of high school and NBA scouts are drooling over his potential. Things may not look good for Simmons depending on where he is drafted, though. If he is expecting to lead the team from day one (Sixers) , it may get ugly, just as it did at LSU. If he goes to a team with young pieces already in place, say the Lakers, Celtics or Timberwolves, we can all watch as Simmons becomes one of the best players in the league.
Without a doubt, Ben Simmons and Brandon Ingram are the leaders of our Top Ten NBA Draft Prospects list.