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Sport 2018 NBA Draft: Ranking the best guards available

17:55  14 june  2018
17:55  14 june  2018 Source:   si.com

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MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 13: Luka Doncic, #7 guard of Real Madrid during the Liga Endesa game between Real Madrid and Kirolbet Baskonia at Wizink Center on June 13, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)© (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images) MADRID, SPAIN - JUNE 13: Luka Doncic, #7 guard of Real Madrid during the Liga Endesa game between Real Madrid and Kirolbet Baskonia at Wizink Center on June 13, 2018 in Madrid, Spain. (Photo by Sonia Canada/Getty Images)

The 2018 draft class contains a group of talented guards with diverse skill sets, and all things considered, the backcourt might be the deepest group in the draft. While there are just a handful of guards with lottery potential, headlined by Luka Doncic, as the draft winds into the middle of the first round and onward, there are a slew of intriguing backcourt role players that teams will examine as options.

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A trio of point guards, Trae Young, Collin Sexton and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, are slotted toward the top of the draft, along with an athletic slasher in Lonnie Walker. Further down, experienced college players like Jerome Robinson, Donte DiVincenzo and Grayson Allen are all likely to be drafted in the first round. International prospect Elie Okobo has played his way into that discussion as well. Playoff teams selecting in the middle of the draft will be in position to land immediate help, with players like Jalen Brunson, Bruce Brown and Jevon Carter all potentially delivering real value if they slip into the second round. From there, there’s a mix of high-upside fliers and savvy veterans who will fight for places in the league.

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Given the increasingly positionless nature of the league, these position rankings are split into three groups—guards, wings and bigs—rather than five, to offer a sense of which players teams might be choosing between at a given spot. Our complete list of the top 100 prospects in the draft can be found here, and our latest mock draft projections here.

Scouting reports compiled by Jeremy Woo, Chris Johnson and Jake Fischer.

1. Luka Doncic, G, Real Madrid

Height: 6'8" | Weight: 220 | DOB: 2/28/99 (19)

Stats (All competitions): 14.2 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 4.6 APG

Bio: It’s not an understatement to call Doncic the most accomplished teenage international prospect ever to make the leap to the NBA. Just 19 years old, he’s fresh off a Euroleague title and Final Four MVP honors with one of the top clubs in the world in Real Madrid. Last summer he partnered with countryman Goran Dragic and led Slovenia to a Eurobasket championship, showing out against NBA players along the way. His advanced feel for the game and playmaking skills coupled with his size make him a clear candidate to engineer an offense in an evolving, perimeter-centric NBA.

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This June’s draft could have major implications across the NBA . Here now are the 10 best guards available in this class. These rankings ignore the crucial effect of team and player fit.

Strengths

• Plus-plus basketball comprehension and floor vision. Feels out plays one or two steps ahead, and tall enough to see over the defense. Great in the pick-and-roll. Almost too intelligent to not succeed.

• Great size for his position. Similar dimensions to Joe Johnson. Comfortable handling the ball and running a team. Could also move over to the wing and make an impact, but you want the ball in his hands most of the time.

• Brings a level of versatility as a scorer. Can shoot off the dribble, post up smaller players, attack gaps and get to the basket. Shooting 45% from the floor, which can improve.

• Reads the ball well off the glass. Likes to grab and go. Will advance the ball with the pass.

• Production and level of success is unprecedented for his age. Has competed and thrived playing with and against grown men. Will benefit from what is essentially a massive competitive head start over his peers.

Weaknesses

• Athletic ability has come into question. Quick enough off the floor and can elevate for dunks, but relies on his size and change of speeds to get into the paint and finish. Will face an adjustment to the speed of the NBA game.

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• Not an elite creator for himself off the dribble. Relies on using his body to shield the ball and change direction. Quicker defenders can get into him and make him uncomfortable. Can be forced into settling for his jumper in isolation situations.

• Shooting just 30% from three-point range this season. Ball looks good coming out of his hand—higher degree of difficulty shots may factor in. Stands to benefit from more open, set looks when placed alongside other playmakers. Big and strong enough to stay on the floor defensively, but may have difficulty defending elite athletes on the wing.

Highlights

Comparison: Ben Simmons/Lonzo Ball

There’s no perfect comp here, but following in the footsteps of lead ball-handlers like Simmons and Ball, Doncic has a knack for making his teammates better. His intelligence and natural talent should help split the difference athletically, and he should be able to engineer an offense and set an unselfish on-court tone for whoever drafts him. —Jeremy Woo

2. Trae Young, PG, Oklahoma | Freshman

Height: 6’1” | Weight: 180 | DOB: 9/18/98 (19)

Stats: 27.4 PPG, 8.8 APG, 36.1% 3FG

Bio: Young took the college basketball world by storm with a red-hot start to his freshman year, putting himself almost immediately onto the draft radar. He originally planned to play multiple seasons at Oklahoma, his hometown school, but it quickly became clear that the quality of his play had moved him into the one-and-done conversation. His ability to shoot from deep range and make plays using ball screens naturally garnered lofty-if-unfair comparisons to Stephen Curry. Young’s skill level and feel help compensate for a lack of overpowering physical ability.

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Strengths

• Unique ability to generate offense off the dribble. Comfortable pulling up on a beat from NBA range. Can break down opponents in space and get into the paint.

• Adept at using ball screens. Slithery getting downhill around a pick. Able to make the right read and find open teammates.

• Skill-based finisher who uses floaters and creates angles for himself around the basket, despite a lack of vertical explosiveness.

• Led the country in usage rate (38.5%), shouldering a remarkable workload, particularly for a true freshman. Wore down a bit as the season went on, but his sustained run of success as the fulcrum of Oklahoma’s offense was notable.

Weaknesses

• Shot selection could be reined in. Falls back on launching threes when other things aren’t working. Still more shoot-first than pass-first.

• Lacks ideal physical tools. Thin frame is still filling out, but doesn’t have a size advantage, placing onus on his skill and craft to be able to split the difference at a high level.

• Below-average defensively. Had to be hidden at times. Can become a passable team defender but doesn’t pop on that end and can be exposed from an athletic standpoint.

• What parts of his success will directly translate? Which types of shots can he get away with?

Highlights

Read More

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Comparison: Mike Conley

While comparing anyone to Steph Curry is a stretch, if Young taps into his full playmaking potential, he could help anchor an offense and also elevate others around him. Having talent around him will be key. — JW

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3. Collin Sexton, PG, Alabama | Freshman

Height: 6'1" | Weight: 185 | DOB: 1/4/99 (19)

Stats: 19.2 PPG, 3.6 APG, 33.6% 3FG

Bio: Sexton is a divisive player, but inarguably has gifts as a scorer, oftentimes proving a load to stop at Alabama. He is known for his work ethic off the court and having an intense attitude toward basketball, maintaining that he does not use social media. Although the public narrative surrounding his competitiveness helped mask his weaknesses on some level, Sexton is a highly talented prospect and is among the best guards available in the draft.

Strengths

• Knack for getting downhill, attacking the paint and finishing. Strong and unafraid of contact, drawing 7.6 fouls per-40 minutes. Finished in the 87th percentile as a pick-and-roll scorer (0.57 points per possession). Was mostly efficient while shouldering a major offensive load, using 32.8% of his team’s possessions.

• Has the ability to be a strong on-ball defender. Has quick feet and is tenacious when engaged.

• Enough of a jump shooter that he should be passable. Shot just 33.6% from behind the arc but 77.8% from the foul line. High shot volume and selection maybe a factor. When locked in, plays with a nasty streak, particularly when closing games. Unafraid of the moment.

Weaknesses

• Questionable playmaking instincts. Poor 1.28 assist-to-turnover ratio. Finished in just the 28th percentile of pick-and-roll passers (0.84 points per possession). Can make the correct read, but on whole didn’t make teammates better.

• Scoring efficiency could be an issue given streaky jumper and penchant for taking hero-ball shots. Tends to bury his head and drive to the rim.

• Has a reputation as a good defender and ballhawk, but totaled just 28 steals in 33 games. Could be attributable to major offensive workload, but effort waxes and wanes. Have yet to see him turn it on for an entire game, start to finish.

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• Is he better suited long-term as a starter, or as a third guard who provides offensive punch?

Highlights

Read More

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Comparison: Reggie Jackson

At his core Sexton is a bucket-getter, but he needs polish to become a true floor leader. —JW

4. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, PG, Kentucky | Freshman

Height: 6’6’’ | Weight: 180 | DOB: 7/12/98 (19)

Stats: 14.4 PPG, 5.1 APG, 40.4 3FG%

Bio: Six prospects in Kentucky’s recruiting class were more highly regarded than Gilgeous-Alexander, but by the end of last season, he had established himself as arguably the Wildcats’ best player and top prospect. The Hamilton, Ontario, native didn’t join the starting lineup for good until early January, but it didn’t take him long to prove his worth as a scorer and playmaker while leading the youngest rotation in the country. While Kentucky may have fallen short of its preseason expectations as a championship contender, Gilgeous-Alexander leaves Lexington as the latest member of head coach John Calipari’s long line of distinguished point guards.

Strengths

• Favorable physical tools for a perimeter player. Measured with a 7-foot wingspan. Has great hands and feet.

• Makes good use of length and agility on defense. Hounds ball handlers at the point of attack. Does a good job swiping at the ball and getting into passing lanes.

• Savvy ball handler who uses stop-start dribbles and hesitation moves to wrong-foot defenders.

• Shows good craft around the rim. Able to navigate shot-blockers in the paint and finish.

• Has potential to develop into a long-range threat. Converted at a 40.4% clip from three on a limited number of attempts at Kentucky but also shot well from the free throw line (82.2%).

Weaknesses

• Lacks playmaking polish. Sometimes looks like he’s attacking set defenses without a plan. Can get stuck in no man’s land and end up picking up his dribble.

• Tends to get loose with the ball. Turned it over on about 20% of his possessions last season.

• Not clear that he will be an above-average long-range shooter at the next level. Only attempted 1.5 threes per game.

• Needs to add mass to his lean frame in order to hold up against bigger athletes. Won’t have as much value switching on defense if he doesn’t get stronger.

Highlights

Read more

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Player comparison: Dejounte Murray

It’s easy to envision Gilgeous-Alexander developing into one of the better backcourt defenders in the league, but his future at the other end of the floor is hazy. —CJ

5. Lonnie Walker IV, SG, Miami | Freshman

Height: 6’4’’ | Weight: 195 | DOB: 12/14/98 (19)

Stats: 11.5 PPG, 1.9 APG, 34.6 3FG%

Bio: Walker was regarded as one of the top shooting guards in his recruiting class, but a meniscus tear suffered last summer disrupted the start of his college career. Walker recovered in time for Miami’s Nov. 10 opener, and although he initially came off the bench for the Hurricanes, a season-ending foot injury to fellow draft prospect Bruce Brown opened the door for Walker to assert himself as Miami’s go-to scorer. The Hurricanes’ season ended prematurely with a loss to cinderella Loyola-Chicago in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but Walker concluded his brief college career having erased doubts about his status as a top perimeter prospect in this class.

Strengths

• Potent attacker off the dribble. Uses the threat of his jump shot well to blow by defenders.

• Three-point percentage (34.6%) might undersell his long-range shooting ability. Has a compact stroke. Can launch coming off screens or rise and fire off the dribble.

• Impressive athlete who can rise over defenders to finish. Shows good touch around the basket. Makes acrobatic plays.

• Possesses a good frame for a shooting guard. Measured with a 6’10’’ wingspan.

• Combination of length and lateral quickness could make him a three-position defender. Doesn’t cede ground to bigger wings.

Weaknesses

• Not a polished playmaker. Doesn’t often make advanced reads out of pick-and-rolls and may never be someone who initiates offense.

• Lacks high-level ballhandling skills. Not clear he can consistently create shots off the bounce. Needs more than straight driving ability.

• Needs to improve shot selection and strike a healthier balance between scoring and distributing. Can get tunnel vision on drives. Overall feel is questionable.

• Tends to get lost on defense. Not as disruptive or impactful on that end of the floor as his physical tools suggest he should be.

Highlights

Read more

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Player comparison: Eric Gordon

Walker’s 3-and-D bona fides are clear, but he won’t grow into an elite two-way wing without smoothing out some of the rough edges of his offensive game and improving his awareness on defense. —Chris Johnson

6. Jerome Robinson, G, Boston College | Junior

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 190 | DOB: 2/22/97 (21)

Stats: 20.7 PPG, 3.3 APG, 48.5% FG

Bio: Robinson was arguably the best guard in the ACC last season, consistently putting up prolific scoring numbers (including a 46-point game against Notre Dame) for a Boston College team that was up and down in spite of him. He’s worked his way from unknown to legitimate NBA prospect and has appeal as someone who can score at all three levels and play on or off the ball.

Strengths

• Has a craftiness to him that enables him to create off the dribble. Good at changing speeds. Can finish with both hands and pull up comfortably from midrange and three. Knows how to pick his spots.

• Shot 40.9% from three and 83% from the foul line. Threat to score all over the floor in a variety of situations. Shot 44% on jumpers off the dribble and 43% on jump shots overall.

• Capable of playing on or off the ball. Functioned more as the secondary playmaker and lead scorer next to Ky Bowman, but can pass it and initiate offense or run off a screen and make a play off the catch.

Weaknesses

• Average physical profile. Not high-end explosive. Looks a bit smaller than he’s listed. Compensated effectively with his skill level but not an upper tier NBA athlete.

• Slight build suggests finishing could become an issue. Can be troubled by bigger defenders in isolation situations.

• Defensive impact regressed as a junior, averaging 0.9 steals per-36 after 1.8 as a sophomore. Could be role-related, but needs to prove he can stick defensively.

Highlights

Comparison: Randy Foye

Robinson’s perimeter scoring ability and intangibles should help him find an eventual place in someone’s rotation. —JW

7. Donte DiVincenzo, G, Villanova | Sophomore

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 200 | DOB: 1/31/97 (21)

Stats: 13.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 3.5 APG

Bio: A breakout performance in the national championship game accelerated DiVincenzo’s NBA trajectory exponentially. A broken foot limited him to just nine games as a true freshman and a medical redshirt. He thrived all season as a spark-plug off the Wildcats’ bench as a sophomore, and played his way into the first-round conversation with a strong showing at the draft combine.

Strengths

• DiVincenzo is a deadly shooter, making 40.1% of attempts from deep last season and shooting 44% off the dribble according to Synergy Sports.

• Has enough playmaking and passing ability to spend time as a lead ballhandler. Villanova scored 1.106 points per possession when using DiVincenzo as a pick-and-roll ballhandler, per Synergy.

• Explosive athleticism, quickness and toughness should make him a capable perimeter defender. He’s a ballhawk in the passing lanes with terrific instincts.

Weaknesses

• DiVincenzo’s shooting, while potent, can be a little too erratic. He’ll have big performances but can also shoot himself out of games when he goes cold. Room for improvement.

• He’s old for a sophomore, which naturally brings questions about his upward trajectory. How much stronger can he get physically? Can he defend bigger wings?

• Spent most of his college career coming off the bench and not as a priority on opposing teams’ scouting reports. Will face an adjustment to tougher defenses.

Highlights

Read More

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Comparison: Antonio Daniels

DiVincenzo projects as a hard-nosed rotation guy who plays both ends, with potential to take on more ballhandling responsibilities down the line. —Jake Fischer

8. Aaron Holiday, PG, UCLA | Junior

Height: 6'1" | Weight: 185 | DOB: 9/30/96 (21)

Stats: 20.3 PPG, 5.8 APG, 42.9% 3FG

Bio: The younger brother of veteran NBA guards Jrue and Justin Holiday, Aaron took a big step forward at UCLA as a junior and solidified his worth as a prospect. Able to play the point full-time with Lonzo Ball out of the picture, Holiday evolved in a major way as the Bruins’ primary scorer and playmaker. He supplies a level of toughness and scoring ability with the ball in his hands.

Strengths

• Capable ballhandler and playmaker who works best using a high ball screen and playing in transition. Advances the ball with the pass. Good feel for the game.

• Career 42% shooter from three. Shoots comfortably off the dribble and catch. Took over games at times last season with his jumper.

• Will scrap defensively. Punches above his weight through effort. Career 1.4 steals per-36.

• Family works in his favor from intangibles standpoint. Has spent time around the NBA and has a blueprint for what it takes to succeed.

Weaknesses

• Not an elite athlete. Good but not great first step can limit him as an isolation player. Doesn’t project clearly as someone who will get into the paint and finish.

• Can be turnover-prone. Sometimes falls into stretches of frustration where mistakes can compound.

• Gives up size when matched up on a bigger guard. One-position defender. Has to split the difference with his toughness, which could still pose a real problem at the NBA level and could limit him to a backup role.

Highlights

Comparison: Trey Burke

Don’t expect Holiday to become a superstar, but he has the chops to carve out a substantial career leading a team’s second unit. —JW

9. Grayson Allen, G, Duke | Senior

Height: 6'4" | Weight: 200 | DOB: 10/8/95 (22)

Stats: 15.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, 37.0% 3FG

Bio: All things considered, Allen put together a noteworthy four-year career at Duke, helping spark a title win in 2015, later developing a bit of reputation for his on-court tripping antics, and now graduating as one of the better scorers in the history of the program. He’s a very good athlete, capable of making tough shots from distance and is extremely competitive, all of which make him an interesting candidate for a stabilizing backcourt role in the NBA.

Strengths

•Capable of making difficult, body-control jump shots from long range. Career 38% shooter from three. Will be a threat to score on the perimeter.

•Some comfort level playing both guard spots. Good size for a combo. Good passer and can make plays in the pick-and-roll. Attacks closeouts well enough to keep defenses honest.

• Explosive leaper with a strong build. Projectable NBA-caliber athleticism should help him cut it on the defensive end, particularly knowing the effort will always be there.

• Good intangibles. Relentless approach to the game can be contagious. Has been in a wide variety of on-court situations and gotten better at channeling his emotions.

Weaknesses

• Not a creative scorer off the dribble. Relies on pull-up game and straight drives. Best when paired with a playmaker.

• On-ball defense is average at best. Has some issues getting around screens. Fine team defender with a good mentality but not the most quick laterally.

• How much can his skill set expand? Upside is probably capped given his age. For better or worse, you know what you’re getting.

Highlights

Read More

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Comparison: Buddy Hield

Allen’s shooting range and ability to score at volume should mask enough of his defensive issues and help him find an NBA role as a supporting scorer. —JW

10. De’Anthony Melton, G, USC | Sophomore

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 190 | DOB: 5/28/98 (19)

Stats (2016–17): 8.3 PPG, 3.5 APG, 1.9 SPG

Bio: Melton wound up sitting out his entire sophomore season as USC investigated his eligibility after his inclusion in the FBI’s report detailing corruption in college basketball (a close family friend was linked to the bribery scandal). He ended up withdrawing in February to prepare for the draft. With all that in the rearview, Melton and his strong freshman season remain of significant interest to NBA teams.

Strengths

• High-energy player and athlete. Likes to play in transition, where he has a solid playmaking feel. Great foot speed getting up and down the floor.

• Rangy defender with a good sense of anticipation. Averaged 2.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per-36 as a freshman. Measured with a 6’8” wingspan. Can defend either guard position given his length. Makes plays on the ball.

• Makes good decisions as a pick-and-roll passer (1.079 points per possession). May have some untapped ability to initiate offense.

• Shooting form leaves some room for optimism.

Weaknesses

• Shot just 28.4% from three as a freshman and made just 28% of all jumpers (though he shot 70% from the foul line). Attempted more than three three-pointers in just five of 36 games.

• Offensive efficiency was just average. Can finish easy baskets but lacks a degree of polish. May struggle to consistently generate good looks for himself.

• Decent feel for passing (1.9 assist-to-turnover ratio) but not a pure point guard. Spent most of his time playing off of Jordan McLaughlin. May need to be paired with a more offensive-minded backcourt partner to maximize his strengths.

Comparison: Iman Shumpert

Despite sitting out a year, Melton has a number of positive traits that profile into a defensive-oriented backcourt role and plenty of room to build on his freshman season. —JW

11. Bruce Brown Jr., SG, Miami | Sophomore

Height: 6’5’’ | Weight: 195 | 8/15/96 (21)

2017-18 stats: 11.4 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 4.0 APG

Bio: A team might have taken a flier on Brown in the first round of last year’s draft had he decided to declare as a freshman. Instead he elected to return to Coral Gables. Brown was expected to serve as the costar on an ACC championship contender and seen as a potential lottery pick, but a foot injury suffered in January derailed his sophomore season. Rather than return as a junior to shore up his place in the first round of a potentially weaker draft class, Brown opted to begin his professional career.

Strengths

• Muscular frame with broad shoulders. Plays with a high intensity level and good toughness. You can tell he spends time watching Russell Westbrook highlights.

• Has the strength and mobility to be moved around for matchups on defense. Has the potential to guard three positions. Won’t get bullied by big wings.

• Decent feel operating out of ball screens. Has good playmaking instincts for a secondary ball handler.

• Eagerly attacks the rim. Invites contact on drives. Finishes with force.

Weaknesses

• Offensive success built more on strength than skill. Bodes poorly for matchups against bigger, stronger defenders in the NBA.

• Hasn’t proven he can be a reliable deep shooter. Percentages from the free throw line and behind the arc both decreased between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Miami.

• More of a powerful athlete than an explosive one. Could have a hard time shaking quicker defenders.

• Extremely old for the sophomore class after doing a high school prep year. Will turn 22 before the start of the season.

Highlights

Read more

Bruce Brown’s return to Miami could pay off in NBA draft (November 2017)

Player comparison:Sindarius Thornwell

Brown’s intensity and toughness will provide him an advantage over other rookies, but his offensive arsenal is fairly basic at this stage, and it’s not clear how much room he has to improve given his age. —JW

12. Jalen Brunson, PG, Villanova | Junior

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 190 | DOB: 8/31/96 (21)

Stats: 18.9 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 4.6 APG

Bio: The son of former NBA player and coach Rick Brunson, Jalen led Villanova to two national titles in three seasons as the Wildcats’ starting point guard. He earned a reputation as one of the smartest players in the country in the process and has won at every level of basketball so far.

Strengths

• Plays with almost unrivaled poise and high basketball IQ. Generated 1.097 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ballhandler last season.

• Brunson flourished as a scorer, boosting his three-point shooting to a 40.8% clip and dominating opposing guards in the post, averaging a ridiculous 1.208 ppp in those situations.

• Strong finisher around the basket, using either hand to finish among the trees and offset his size and athleticism disadvantage.

Weaknesses

• Brunson was officially listed at 6’3” but is visibly smaller. He doesn’t have an ideal build for the NBA, but has always been able to compensate with his skill and moxie.

• Limited athlete but uses excellent footwork to make up for lack of quickness and speed. Not extremely explosive getting into the paint.

• Physical limitations may hinder him on the defensive end, particularly against upper-tier NBA athletes. He’s a one-position defender given his size.

Highlights

Read More

Villanova’s dominance proves the power of a well-built program (April 2018)

Comparison: Derek Fisher

Brunson should be successful playing with poise and making good decisions, despite his limitations. If his shooting continues to blossom, Brunson will have a very long NBA career. —JF

13. Jevon Carter, PG, West Virginia | Senior

Height: 6'1” | Weight: 200 | DOB: 9/14/95 (22

Stats: 17.3 PPG, 6.6 APG, 3.0 SPG

Bio: Carter arrived at West Virginia as a total unknown on the recruiting map, and over four years evolved into one of the top point guards—and perhaps the best backcourt defender—in college basketball. What he lacks in great upside, he makes up for with his instincts and approach.

Strengths

• Aggressive on-ball defender. Uses hands to pry at the ball. Great anticipation ability. Makes opponents uncomfortable. Impressive career average of 2.8 steals per-36 minutes. Sixth-best steal rate in the country as a senior (4.8%).

• Shot 39% from three-point range between junior and senior seasons. Career 79% from the foul line. Could potentially fit into off-ball roles if he makes shots at a high clip. Can pull up on the move and shoot.

• Unselfish, improved passer who will move the ball and doesn’t force many bad shots. Knows exactly what his job is.

Weaknesses

• Limited explosiveness and finishing ability. Below the rim player. Shot just 41.5% on close-range attempts.

• Not an extremely creative playmaker. Takes care of the ball and limits mistakes, but unlikely to be a guy who gets into the paint much for drive-and-kick opportunities.

• Lacks a great physical profile. Wingspan is just 6’ 3”. Success thus far has stemmed from his mentality and approach, which could remain the difference-maker.

Highlights

Comparison: Matthew Dellavedova

Carter doesn’t offer starry upside, but has the intangibles and mentality to thrive as a role player within the right system. He’s already a plus defensive presence on the perimeter. —JW

14. Elie Okobo, PG, Pau-Orthez

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 180 | DOB: 10/23/97 (20)

Stats (French Pro A): 13.8 PPG, 4.7 APG, 41.8% 3FG

Bio: Okobo played his way into this year’s draft conversation by putting together a solid season in his native France and leading his club in scoring and assists. He has shown signs of increased maturity and has enough talent to offer some upside as a potentially stashable prospect. He has the benefit of already speaking good English, and offers better physical tools than a number of the point guards expected to be available in the middle of the draft.

Strengths

Improving shooter. Lefty who can score off the dribble. Shot 36.5% on all jumpers this season and 81% from the free throw line. Repeatable mechanics.

Uses his length defensively. Plays the passing lanes. Averaged 1.3 steals per-36 minutes. Overall consistency is improving

Weaknesses

Needs development as a playmaker. Has to learn to slow the game down a bit. Will often barrel into the paint without a plan, or rush a shot without setting himself. Has good vision and averaged 6.2 assists, but also 3.7 turnovers per-36.

• Shot selection leaves something to be desired. More of a natural scorer than playmaker and needs to rein himself in at times. Will face a big initial adjustment in the NBA.

• Needs more polish before being able to contribute at the NBA level. Will make mistakes and has to learn from them. Best route may be to keep him overseas for a year or two with a longer leash.

Highlights

Comparison:Cameron Payne

Okobo has the athleticism and scoring chops to become a useful part of a backcourt rotation down the line, but will have to make major strides as a point guard to do it. —JW

15. Anfernee Simons, G, IMG Academy | HS Senior

Height: 6'3" | Weight: 180 | DOB: 6/8/99 (19) | Last: 21

Stats (2017 UnderArmour Association): 15.3 PPG, 41.4% 3FG

Bio: After doing a postgraduate year at IMG Academy, Simons was able to bypass college and enter this year’s NBA draft, as he’ll turn 19 this month and be a season removed from high school graduation. Given the circumstances, he’s viewed as a boom-or-bust player, and teams will have to sell themselves on developing him for a couple of seasons before he makes much of a contribution. On raw talent, he’s first-round caliber.

Strengths

High end athlete. Extremely bouncy and quick off the floor. Explosive in transition. Capable of difficult finishes in the air and highlight dunks.

Solid jump shooter. Gets good rotation, high release, more of a flick mechanism than a smooth shot.

Quick feet and hands suggest he can become a plus defender down the line. Has a 6’7” wingspan.

Weaknesses

Lacks ideal size for a shooting guard, and isn’t a true point guard. More of a scorer at his core. Doesn’t have an ideal playmaking feel.

• Extremely thin and has a lot of physical maturation to do. Will require careful development. Still learning how to play and figuring out what his role should be.

• Defensive effort comes and goes.

Highlights

Read More: Scouting Anfernee Simons at the HoopHall Classic (January 2018)

Comparison:Austin Rivers

Simons has a long way to go, but his natural scoring ability and athletic gifts will help him find a home in the NBA if things break correctly. —JW

16. Issuf Sanon, G, Union Olimpij

Height: 6’3” | Weight: 170 | DOB: 10/30/99 (18)

Stats (Slovenian SKL): 6.0 PPG, 1.2 APG, 45.8% FG

Bio: After participating in the NBA’s Global Elite Camp, Sanon opted to declare for the draft and is one of the youngest players available. A native of Ukraine, Sanon made his name at the 2017 U19 European Championship and joined Olimpija in January, establishing himself as one of the better teenage prospects in Europe. He chose to stay in the draft and is likely an early-second round selection. Expect him to remain overseas for another season or two.

Strengths

• Rangy, athletic combo guard who plays both ends of the floor. Puts pressure on the rim. Likes to get downhill and attack the basket. Shows flashes in transition. Lots of natural talent.

• Leaper who can finish above the rim and throw it down. Prefers to elevate off one foot.

• Good change of direction off the dribble. Handle still developing. Hard to stay in front of with a full head of steam.

• Competes hard defensively. Motor isn’t in question.

Weaknesses

• Has a lot of maturing to do. Can be wild and mistake-prone. Wears his emotions on his sleeve on the court. Needs time.

• Inconsistent three-point shooter. Has some touch but has to improve.

• Can play on the ball but isn’t a true point guard, needs to improve as a playmaker.

• Needs to improve skill set to become a halfcourt threat. Not much of an in-between or pull-up game yet.

Highlights

Comparison: Jordan Crawford

Sanon is an attractive stash candidate who seems likely to earn an NBA opportunity in due time. Scouts love his hard-nosed approach to the game. —JW

17. Shake Milton, G, SMU | Junior

Height: 6'5" | Weight: 205 | DOB: 9/26/96 (21)

Stats: 18.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 4.4 APG

Bio: Milton has ideal size and ballhandling ability for a combo guard and is a threat from three-point range. He missed the final 11 games of the season due to a broken hand and can be inconsistent at times, but his overall profile offers promise going forward.

Strengths

• Tremendous size for a ballhandler. Has a 6’11.5” wingspan. Ability to be a shooting threat at either guard spot is desirable for the modern NBA.

• Despite unorthodox mechanics, Milton drained 42.7% of 445 three-point attempts at SMU.

• Excellent floater that seems to be his go-to move when stopped in the paint.

Weaknesses

• Milton doesn’t have much muscle to compliment his length, which hurts him getting to the rim and finishing around the basket. He’s not an explosive athlete and can struggle when heavily pressured.

• Good instincts led to increased assist numbers, but his passing and creation abilities are pretty average for a point guard. Some of those numbers came by design due to the lack of playmakers around him. Not especially decisive.

• Milton’s size allows him to match up with multiple positions, but his quality of defense is very questionable.

Comparison: E’Twaun Moore

Milton likely won’t find a full-time point guard role but should be able to fill a rotation spot as a sharp-shooting combo-guard off the bench. His potential will ultimately be determined by his growth as a playmaker and as a defender.

18. Trevon Duval, PG, Duke | Freshman

Height: 6’2” | Weight: 190 | 8/3/98 (19)

Stats: 10.3 PPG, 5.6 APG, 1.5 SPG, 29.0 3FG%

Bio: Duval’s lone season in college didn’t go as smoothly as expected. He came to Duke as the No. 6 overall recruit in the high school class of 2017, according to the 247Sports Composite, but rather than using the platform offered by a blue blood national championship contender to cement his status in the first round of the draft, Duval took a back seat to the Blue Devils’ other elite prospects. Duke leaned heavily on projected lottery-bound big men Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr. for scoring, and in early February, head coach Mike Krzyzewski removed Duval from the starting lineup. Yet he did finish the season on a high note, scoring a team-high 20 points on 9-of-16 shooting in Duke’s loss to Kansas in the Elite Eight.

Strengths

• Plus physical tools for a point guard. Long, wiry frame. Has measured with a wingspan of 6’9.5’’.

• Top-shelf athlete with legit blow-by ability off the bounce. Doesn’t have trouble creating separation from defenders.

• Crafty dribbler who uses advanced moves to navigate in close quarters. Tight handle is a major asset when pressured on the ball.

• Tough to contain off the bounce. Can puncture defenses with drives to the basket.

• High defensive ceiling thanks to his length and quickness. Shouldn’t have a problem defending both guard positions in the NBA.

Weaknesses

• Needs to make major strides as a shooter to command respect from defenses. Poor free throw shooting percentage (59.6%) doesn’t bode well for his development as a three-point threat.

• Tends to get careless with the ball. Needs to cut down on reckless forays into the lane. More seasoned defenders won’t be fooled by intricate dribbling sequences.

• Turned the ball over on nearly a fourth of his possessions during ACC play last season.

• Defensive instincts/awareness don’t match his physical potential on that end of the floor. Impact tougher to gauge because he spent much of last season playing zone.

https://youtu.be/ifOfNNktoQ8

Player comparison: Isaiah Taylor

Top-tier athleticism and physical tools give Duval the outline of a starting point guard in the NBA, but right now, it seems more likely that he tops out as a backup. His progression as a shooter will be critical. —CJ

19. Devonte Graham, PG, Kansas | Senior

Height: 6'2" | Weight: 185 | DOB: 2/22/95 (23)

Stats: 17.3 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 7.2 APG

Bio: After spending much of his career in the shadow of former teammate Frank Mason, Graham erupted during his senior season and earned Big 12 Player of the Year honors while piloting Kansas to the Final Four. Graham was one of the most productive players in all of college basketball and is one of the more polished prospects in this draft class.

Strengths

• Career 40.9% three-point shooter at Kansas, consistent spotting up and off the dribble.

• Very experienced in pick-and-rolls, which amounted to 32.8% of his possessions last season. Has a good skill set and experience level to contribute off the bench in some form early on.

• Solid if not flashy playmaker who created 1.115 ppp as a ball handler when passing out of defensive rotations.

Weaknesses

• At 23 he’ll be one of the oldest players in this draft class. He is what he is.

• Doesn’t have great size or explosiveness and is a very poor finisher at the rim, just 0.883 ppp around the basket. Has to lean on his jump shot.

• Has a tendency to fall asleep off-ball on defense, where he’ll be tested.

Highlights

Read More

Devonte Graham and the Importance of Patience (May 2018)

Comparison: Quinn Cook

Graham has the makings of an immediately solid backup point guard, with the ability to shoot and initiate out of pick-and-roll action. He’ll likely get drafted despite his age and limited ceiling. —JF

20. Landry Shamet, PG, Wichita State | Sophomore

Height: 6’5" | Weight: 190 | DOB: 3/13/97 (21)

Stats: 14.9 PPG, 3.2 RPG, 5.2 APG

Bio: Shamet’s college career began inauspiciously due to a foot injury, but he returned with authority as the Shockers’ starting point guard the following season. He fully emerged on NBA radars with a big performance against Kentucky in the 2017 NCAA tournament, and followed it up with a sufficient redshirt-sophomore campaign.

Strengths

• Terrific size and length for a point guard. Shamet reportedly has a near 7’0” wingspan.

• His length and tenacity made him a pesky defender in Gregg Marshall’s system.

• Shamet couples elite shooting (44.2% 3PT) with a high basketball IQ and excellent pick-and-roll ballhandling abilities. He can shoot comfortably on the move. He checks key offensive boxes for modern guards.

Weaknesses

• Shamet lacks superb athleticism and quickness that may render him a subpar defender in space against elite point guards. His long frame could certainly benefit from adding muscle.

• He sometimes struggles to get all the way downhill against more athletic opponents, and can be too reliant on his jumper.

• His multiple foot injuries will be a key background check during team’s vetting process.

Highlights

Comparison: Spencer Dinwiddie

Shamet spearheaded an efficient Wichita State offense that relied heavily on high pick-and-roll actions. He’s experienced and skilled enough to be successful in an NBA role but will need to find ways to overcome what he lacks athletically. –JF

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NBA Draft 2018: Michael Porter Jr. 'feeling great' after evaluations .
The former Missouri star is still rehabbing but "might get a couple workouts in" before Thursday's NBA Draft.During his Monday appearance on "The Will Cain Show" on ESPN Radio, the former Missouri star said he's "feeling great" and wouldn't pass up the opportunity to get in another workout for a prospective team ahead of Thursday's draft.

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