Been a little busy enjoying the summer, but I'm back working on this site again to get us all ready for the draft.
I just finished doing a major update to my big board, where instead of just having their name next to their rank, I now have a short synopsis of how I view the players and their attributes. Now, admittedly I am not an international expert, so those players will have shorter descriptions which may be far less helpful than looking at their respective DX, nbadraft.net, or ESPN page - but nonetheless I hope this is a helpful tool as you continue to get to know prospects strengths and weaknesses before the draft. In the coming weeks I'll be tweaking the descriptions more depending on the type of feedback I get.
Well, without further ado, the updated Big Board out to my 10th tier:
(As a reminder, the rule is that I would be able to go down one tier for need, this makes tiers more flexible and blended)
1. John Wall - Elite athlete who takes advantage of fast breaks and drives seams well. Great defensive potential and comes up with big plays on that end though sometimes has mental lapses. Can create his own shot with ease, but will need to work on refining his jumper to become a complete offensive player. Prone for handling errors and tends to force things at times, but can also do some spectacular things with the ball. Is a good mix of pure and scoring point guard tendencies.
2. Derrick Favors - Physical specimen with rare combination of strength and athleticism. Could play either frontcourt spot offensively, but needs to work on his jumpshot if he’s to maximize his effectiveness at the ‘4’ and his post skills if he’s going to maximize his effectiveness at the ‘5’. Tends to lose his dribble when executing post moves, but has great hands and should be a monster in terms of efficiency. At his peak, he should be one of the best defenders and rebounders, but he might lack the desire or passion on the court to be a dominant offensive player.
3. Evan Turner - A complete prospect. He is a good playmaker, handler, and floor general from the wing spot and will create mismatches because of his array of talents. Needs to keep working on his long-range jumpers, but currently has one of the best mid-range games in the draft, while also being comfortable driving to the rim - however in this area he is turnover-prone as he is too loose with his handle. He should be a plus defender because of his effort, even though he’s not the best of athletes. Might be facing an uphill battle to be a superstar, as he lacks the tools normally seen in those players, thus his potential is limited.
4. DeMarcus Cousins - He’s a dominant player in the post, able to bull over most people guarding him, but also blessed with surprisingly quick feet. Uses his body to gobble up rebounds on both ends, and has the touch to finish shots around the basket even though he’s not an explosive athlete to throw them down with ease. Has problems with maturity on the court, but not off of it. This leads him to pick up silly fouls and sometimes be an indifferent defender. Sometimes his fire is a good thing, however, as it’s what causes him to be dominant at times.
5. Wesley Johnson - Elite athlete on the wing with a very effective jumper with NBA 3pt range and quick release. Doesn’t look uncomfortable with the ball, but not relied upon to handle the ball and doesn’t use his dribble to attack the basket effectively despite his physical advantages. Because of this, it leads one to believe he’ll never be seen as a star in the NBA. Good rebounder that takes advantage of positioning and his leaping ability to be an asset in that area. Defensively, he has the tools, but tends to gamble - though playing within the zone makes it hard to see how he’ll translate.
6. Ed Davis - Before his season ended with a broken wrist, he showed improvement on both ends of the floor. Able to create for himself in the post as well as establish position against bigger players. Showed good touch around the hoop, but needs to add a reliable jumper to be a dangerous offensive player. Defensively, he possesses great timing and is a plus in both man and weakside situations. Can guard face-up ‘4’s effectively on the perimeter. Tends to be a little passive on the court, which brings up questions if he can ever be “the man”.
7. Xavier Henry - Overshadowed by veterans, Henry still showed his ability to play at both ends of the court and the potential to be a deadeye shooter. Has a smooth jumper with effortless release, but had a midseason slump where it was extremely streaky. Deceptively good athlete, who isn’t explosive around the rim but is able to create for himself when the situation calls for it. Not the best handler or playmaker, if he’s going to be anything more than a scorer he needs to improve in those areas. Has the length, athleticism, and strength to defend either wing position.
8. Greg Monroe - Spectacular playmaker in the frontcourt who plays more like a guard than a big. Because of that, he also sports a decent jumpshot and is comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter. The downside, however, is that he’s relatively soft when playing in the post and can be easily rooted from position. Defensively, his lack of great athleticism and length, combined with the absence of the mentality to own the paint, causes him to be a neutral-at-best player on that end.
9. Al-Farouq Aminu - An intriguing combination of great length, agility, and instincts makes him an outstanding defensive prospect that can guard either Forward spot. Has a nose for the ball when it comes to rebounding. Offensively, he’s raw, having an unreliable jumper and making odd decisions when trying to make plays for himself or teammates. He is effective, however, when set up with spot-up jumpers or off offensive rebound opportunities.
10. Ekpe Udoh - Great athleticism and the biggest shoulders known to mankind are likely huge influences in helping make him a great defensive player both in man and weakside situations. Makes good decisions with the ball when making plays, however dribbles it way too high when driving to the rim. Decent jumper and post-game, but should not be relied upon as one of the top options - upside is that of a role player.
11. Paul George - Great athlete with the size and length to create mismatch problems on either end. Streaky jumpshooter who was relied upon too much in college, may become much more efficient as a 2nd or 3rd option as he shows pure form on his shot and great efficiency in spot-up situations. Ability to make plays and handle the ball is a plus. Defensively, he tends to gamble more than he should.
12. Hassan Whiteside - Being an elite weakside defender but raw man defender makes him an intriguing prospect. Great athlete with the ability to effectively guard players on the perimeter. Has a surprisingly good jumper and a decent post-game, but has tunnel vision once he gets the ball. He needs to work on his game in the post (offensively, defensively in man situations, and rebounding) to realize his great potential. A huge boom or bust prospect.
13. Cole Aldrich - Ready-made player who is a great rebounder and post defender. Has decent touch and an adequate jumper. However, he is not a good athlete and doesn’t assert himself offensively, which limits his upside.
14. Donatas Motiejunas - Great athlete with a versatile game which allows him to play inside or out, play fast-paced or in the half-court. Needs to toughen up and work on his interior game to realize his great potential, otherwise he will need to be an extremely efficient offensive player to make up for the other areas in his game.
15. Devin Ebanks - Excellent defender who excels at shutting down great perimeter players despite only having decent athleticism and physical tools. He needs to bulk up to be a good post defender against the bigger ‘3’s and most ‘4’s in the NBA. Possesses a good jumper out to 15-18 feet, but efficiency drops off the map once he gets near the 3pt line even though he has good form. Passing ability is a plus, but should not be relied upon to handle the ball. Lack of athleticism and polished offensive game limit his upside.
16. Patrick Patterson - Very polished player who is good in just about every aspect you judge a PF on. Has good strength, athleticism, size, and motor which means the mismatches against him will be few and far between. Worked on his jumper so now he can spot-up out to the 3pt line with good efficiency. Lost the mentality to go after every board, and also still cannot handle or create for himself outside of the post which means he’s almost certainly a role player.
17. James Anderson - Good athlete possessing a great jumper with unlimited range as well as the ability to finish at the rim through contact. Does not look comfortable handling the ball, almost always going left when he drives and sometimes unable to create for himself when guarded by a skilled defender. Uses screens well, however, which should help him be an effective 3rd option in the NBA - however he’ll need to continue working on his handle to be anything more. Is an above average defender who tends to stay home instead of gamble.
18. Avery Bradley - Great athlete and elite defender. Only offensive weapon is his jumper, both off the dribble and spotting up - but he doesn’t effectively take it to the rim nor does he draw contact. Needs to work on his handle and playmaking ability to realize his potential.
19. Willie Warren - If he were two inches taller he’d be a great prospect even though he had a down year, however at 6’4 without great length he’s small for a SG and his weaknesses become magnified. Great dribbler and ability to finish around the rim, also possesses a streaky jumpshot which is money if it’s on. However, he is an indifferent defender and even though his team was dysfunctional last year, he wasn’t helping with his selfish mentality.
20. Damion James - Nice athlete with good size and skills for a role-player SF. Tough-nosed defender who can defend most perimeter players and some post players. Has a decent jumper and can create for himself, but isn’t a guy you want handling the ball often due to his lack of playmaking ability and not being a good dribbler even when comparing him to other SFs.
21. Larry Sanders - Very athletic frontcourt player with excellent length, but lacking the strength required to guard some of the bigger post players. However, he is a great weakside defender and has solid man defensive skills. Needs to crash the boards with more fervor, as he plays a bit soft. Has worked on developing a jumper, but could stand to improve both that and his post skills.
22. Kevin Seraphin - Intruiging player with a great package of size, strength, athleticism, and length in the frontcourt. Could play either spot offensively or defensively. Needs to keep developing his offensive repertoire.
23. Eric Bledsoe - Great athlete who was forced to play out of position for most of his minutes. Showed the ability to guard either backcourt spot and was extremely focused when doing so, having few lapses. Has a good jumper, but far too often takes bad shots and is wild when driving to the rim. His playmaking skills did not appear to be very good compared to most PGs, so he’ll need to work on that or play next to a ball-dominant player who can handle the ball.
24. Darington Hobson - A versatile wing with great playmaking ability, good handles, and a nice jumper. Struggles with efficiency when guarded with long, athletic players; but at the next level he won’t be the focus of defenses as he was in his one year in the NCAA. He needs to work on his game off the ball, as well as defensive intensity to maximize his potential as a role player.
25. Gordon Hayward - Smooth player with surprising athleticism and a good jumper, however he appeared to be very streaky this year after a consistent freshman season. Plays tougher than he looks, and also is an effective defender when he’s focused. Can rebound the ball and make plays at an above average clip compared to most other SF prospects. Needs to improve his handle and become more consistent on both ends of the court.
26. Artsiom Parakhouski - Skilled player with great size, decent athleticism, and the mentality people look for in a post player. Goes after every rebound and utilizes good positioning and effort to secure it. Not an explosive leaper, but still a good defender at the college level due to his size and positioning, though he struggled outside the paint. Plays below the rim, but shows good touch around the hoop and has a reliable jumper to help space the floor.
27. Terrico White - Great athlete with good length for the SG spot. Possesses solid playmaking skills and can help handle the ball, though he showed far less of this his sophomore year. Can create for himself in the halfcourt and good at driving the seams, however can be a bit reckless in his decisions which leads to him taking a few too many contested jumpers. An indifferent defender, he needs to show more intensity on this end and make use of his tools to realize his full potential and possibly become a very good starter.
28. Luke Babbitt - Very good offensive skills. Able to create for himself despite only having average handles and playing as an average or below average athlete. Has range well beyond the 3pt line, and also is dangerous close to the hoop. Surprisingly good playmaker with good vision for a combo forward. Defensively he gives effort, but frequently looks overmatched when guarding players with NBA athleticism and thus isn’t an effective defender.
29. Gani Lawal – Explosive, powerful player who has developed offensive skills in the post. Missing a reliable jumper to make him an extremely dangerous offensive player - FTs need help too. Blessed with great athleticism and length, with good length and motor. Crashes the boards well. Defensively he needs to focus more as he’s prone to picking up silly fouls and allows easy baskets a bit too often.
30. Quincy Pondexter - Great athlete who relies upon playing bigger and stronger than he is to overpower opponents. The lack of a reliable jumper and good handles could hurt him in the NBA, as his interior game will not be nearly as effective and thus he may be in for a harsh transition. Defensively, he’s very good as he shows effort and intensity so his tools are used to their fullest.
31. Craig Brackins - Skilled offensive player whose efficiency will increase when he’s not asked to carry the load. Has well developed post moves, a good midrange game, and has the ability to extend his range beyond the 3pt line in time to - when combined with his playmaking ability - become a dangerous offensive role player. Defensively, however, he is likely going to be a negative for his team, as he hasn’t seemed interested on that end.
32. Stanley Robinson - Great athlete who uses this athleticism to be a quality defender as well as an exciting player in transition or when crashing the boards offensively. Has a decent jumper, but needs to continue to improve it to become a good role player. Lacks good handles and strength, thus tends to play outside far more than inside.
33. Jerome Jordan - Athletic, long player with skills on both ends. Is inconsistent in his level of play which makes it hard to project where he could go in his career. Needs to work on his jumper if he wants to be seen as a starter.
34. Daniel Orton - He’s a body blessed with great physical tools. Right now he’s raw on both ends, showing glimpses of having a decent face-up game and defensive potential to go along with those tools. Knee problems may scare off some teams, as will his tendency to play like a thug and thus pick up lots of fouls. Has a lot of work to do to become a decent NBA player, but the potential is there.
35. Solomon Alabi - Nice athlete from the C spot who can make a significant impact defensively thanks to his timing and ability to harass opposing big and guards both in the post and when he’s forced out to the perimeter. Plays a little soft, however, and needs to assert himself more on the boards - hands need work as well. Has a nice jump hook and stroke from the line, which bodes well for his ability to become a decent option in the post if he continues to improve.
36. Jarvis Varnado - Great weakside defender with outstanding timing. As a man defender, he’s in for a tough transition as he’s too small to guard most post players, and not quite agile enough to guard some face-up ‘4’s. Quality rebounder despite his lack of strength, thanks to his fundamentals. Needs to continue to work on his jumper to make a successful transition to PF.
37. Elliot Williams - Good athlete who relies on his ability to drive to the rim and finish through contact, but needs to work on his handle to become ambidextrous with the ball. Possesses an improving jumper, but needs to keep working on it to make a smooth transition to the NBA. Solid playmaker, but prone to trying to be too fancy with the ball and thus be a bit turnover prone despite not being ball-dominant. Defensively, he is below average, but this should not be his focus as his role in the NBA will be that of a scorer.
38. Lance Stephenson - Good playmaker and handler for a SG, also possesses a knack for creating separation and getting up tough shots. Overly confident in his abilities, pressing too hard and frequently taking shots which are too tough instead of pulling back and passing the ball. Defensively, he shows good intensity at times, but most of the time he’s an indifferent defender. If he continues to work on his game, he has high potential, but doesn’t seem to get it.
39. Dominique Jones - A bull of a guard who loves driving to the rim and has good touch around the basket despite not being a great athlete. Decent handle and playmaking ability, can also create separation for himself, but his jumper isn’t reliable. Defensively, he puts forth good effort, but isn’t very effective.
40. Da’Sean Butler - Streaky jumpshooter who comes up big in the clutch. Knee injury may knock his athleticism down a notch, but at WVU he was an average athlete. Very complete offensive player, able to handle and make plays while also being able to drive to the rim and create separation for himself in the halfcourt. Defensively, he was mostly hidden, and doesn’t seem to possess the ability to do more than put a hand up.
41. Jordan Crawford - Volume shooter whose efficiency tailed off in bigger games. However, he can create for himself and is able to get off shots in tough situations. Playmaking and handling are there, but not a strength. On the defensive side, he looks indifferent much of the time.
42. Trevor Booker - Surprising athlete who is skilled and can rock the rim. Has worked on a jumper and has range out to 18-20 feet. Nice defensive skills, active down low and very physical. Needs to become more physical on the boards and learn better fundamentals.
43. Mikhail Torrance - SG with some very nice PG skills, however doesn’t have a takeover mentality nor athleticism which will wow anyone, thus is a classic tweener. Defensively he’ll be a liability.
44. Derrick Caracter - Big, strong post player with excellent post skills and touch around the basket. Tough-nosed rebounder and very physical defensively - however is relatively ineffective against skilled opponents and isn’t much of a weakside defender due to below average athleticism.
45. Miroslav Raduljica - Very skilled post player with legit size, range on his jumper, and decent court vision. Lacks defensive ability and toughness, and is also a subpar rebounder.
46. Pablo Aguilar - A below average athlete, he makes his living off his smooth jumper and being a smart offensive player. Defensively he’s active, but he lacks the physical tools to be a plus defender at the NBA level - only a pest.
47. Tyler Smith - Immaturity destroyed his NBA prospects, but outside of that is a solid prospect with good playmaking, average defensive ability, a decent jumper and solid physical attributes. If he can show that he’s matured, and can improve the range on his jumper out to the NBA 3pt line, he could be a solid player.
48. Lazar Hayward - Good athlete with legit size for a SF. Possesses a nice jumper with NBA range, but lacks good handles and playmaking to be anything more than a role player offensively. Defensively, shows very good effort and has the potential to be a plus defender.
49. Greivis Vasquez - Was a star in college. Good size, handles, jumper, and playmaking. His problem lies with his poor athleticism, where it is a hindrance that he cannot get around defensively, and offensively will make his transition to the pros a bumpy one.
50. Armon Johnson - Explosive guard who is at his best attacking so he can create for himself or his teammates. Spot up jumper is suspect, as is the range on it - so if he’s going to make it in the NBA it will need to be improved. Defensively, he has the tools, but seems disinterested at times.
51. Sylven Landesberg - Smooth offensive player that can create for himself and others at the SG spot, however he’s still quite raw and doesn’t always make the best play. Athletically, he is average or below average; which, when combined with his mentality defensively, makes him a minus on that end of the floor.