Outlook for the 2020 Draft Class: Picks 31-60

Theo Maledon
So far this season, the Thunder’s Theo Maledon is leading all 2020 second-rounders in minutes played (240). (Photo courtesy of NBA.com)

Taking a final look at the 2020 NBA Draft class, I examine the merit, value, fit, and the short-term and long-term outlook for the second-round selections and a couple of undrafted prospects who signed two-way contracts. 

These particular rookies face difficult odds.  History tells us that the majority of players taken in the second round will not be in the league five years from now.  A number of this year’s second-rounders are on two-way contracts, and their situation is even more tenuous than usual because not every G-League team will play this season.  Combined with the fact that all rookies are trying to adapt to the NBA while having little time to train and practice in the shortened preseason, it’s safe to say that 2020 second-rounders face a more daunting task than usual. 

31.  Tyrell Terry (CG)

  • Team:  Stanford
  • Age:  20.3
  • Height:  6’2’’
  • Weight:  170
  • Wingspan:  6’2’’
  • Vertical:  30’’ standing, 34’’ max

As I mentioned when detailing the team’s selection of Josh Green (No. 18), the Mavericks came into the draft looking for help at the wing and power forward spots, and hoping to improve their overall defense.  Adding Terry did not really address any of those needs, though he could be used as a small-ball shooting guard, and it’s no surprise that the Stanford product has seen just 39 minutes of NBA action to date. 

My guess is that the Mavs felt that Terry was a great value at this spot.  Heading into the draft, opinions varied widely on the 20-year-old freshman.  The majority of pundits considered him to be a first-rounder, but I was not among that group, ranking him 40th on HP’s final Draft Board.  In hindsight, everyone should have known that he was destined for the second round because he had just two pre-draft workouts for NBA teams (Brooklyn and Memphis). 

Terry is a dynamic playmaker and scorer, who plays with a high degree of flash and excels as a shooter from deep.  He is on the older side for a freshman, and when talking with him, he presents with a mature and guarded demeanor.  He clearly has the shooting skills to play in the NBA, but it’s questionable how much he will be able contribute in other ways. 

Not an exceptional athlete, Terry came to Stanford as the 88th ranked recruit in the RSCI, and the expectations were reasonably low for his freshman season.  However, he started garnering serious attention near the end of 2019, after scoring 20 or more points five times during an eight-game stretch.  Toward the end of the season, during tough conference play, he hit a dry spell, scoring more than 14 points just once in the final eight games, including a 6-point effort in a critical loss to California in the first round of the PAC-12 Tournament. 

On the season, Terry averaged 14.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.4 steals.  He had impressive shooting splits (.441/.408/.891), but a subpar A/T ratio (1.21) for a point guard.  In terms of points per possession (PPP), he ranked at the 81st percentile overall, with 78 percent of his offense coming from handling in the pick and roll (77th percentile), transition (71st percentile), and spot-up plays (61st percentile).  Nearly 71 percent of his half-court shots were jumpers, and he was far better when catching and shooting (99th percentile) than shooting off the bounce (50th percentile).  He did, however, make 45.2 percent of his shots between 25 and 35 feet, demonstrating the great range that he has as a jump shooter.

During a pre-draft media session in November, I asked Terry about the progress he had made since his freshman season ended, and he mentioned two things: 1) he had transformed his body by adding more muscle, and 2) he had worked on shot creation and shooting off the bounce. 

More muscle should serve Terry well.  At Stanford, he did not go to the rim often.  He surprisingly did not display a reliable floater game, but he made a good percentage (55.0) within seven feet in the half court, largely due to his impressive body control and touch around the rim. 

Defensively, Terry’s lack of size, length, and athleticism is a huge concern.  He blocked just two shots at Stanford, and averaged just 1.8 combined steals and blocks per 40 minutes.  Jump shooters did not have too much trouble shooting over him, and drivers could out-muscle him around the rim.  Terry also had his share of issues as a team defender, lacking basic awareness and getting lost around screens.  

32.  Vernon Carey Jr. (C)

  • Team:  Duke
  • Age:  19.9
  • Height:  6’10’’
  • Weight:  240
  • Wingspan:  7’0’’
  • Vertical:  

In Charlotte, the biggest pre-draft weakness was the center position.  Last season, the club ranked 26th in rebounds, 25th in blocks, 21st for points scored in the paint, and 23rd for points allowed in the paint (all per game).  With James Wiseman off the board, the Hornets wisely took the best available player at No. 3, LeMelo Ball.  With that said, taking a center at this spot was a good move, but I believe the team may regret passing on Daniel Oturu, who was ranked much higher on the HP Draft Board. 

Carey is a big and powerful center, who dominated in the paint at Duke during his freshman season.  Playing just 24.8 minutes per game, he averaged 17.8 points, 8.8 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game.  His field-goal percentage of 57.7 topped the ACC, as did his numbers for player efficiency rating (PER of 34.6 — 3rd in DI), win shares (5.7), and plus-minus (BPM of 11.3 — 9th in DI).  He also ranked at the 95th percentile for overall PPP, with 59.3 percent of his possessions coming from post-up plays and put-backs.  A good portion of Carey’s points came from the charity stripe, as the big guy was fouled on 25 percent of his possessions and went to the free-throw more than seven times per game.   

The concern with Carey is that he relied so much on bullying people at Duke, and his game might not translate to the modern NBA.  For starters, he has a lot to prove as a jump shooter.  The freshman had a nice percentage from deep (38.1), but he averaged just 0.7 three-point attempts per game, and the majority of those were unguarded, catch-and-shoot attempts; when shooting guarded jumpers, he made just 3-of-15.  Carey’s shooting mechanics need some work, including the economy of his motion and the speed of his release.  

There are also concerns about Carey’s ability to defend.  I would not say that he is plodding, especially after his recent weight loss, but he definitely had some mobility issues at Duke, plus he lacks great length.  As a freshman, he was not an elite shot blocker, and he struggled when he was away from the rim.  Last season, he had a modest block percentage of 5.8, and he allowed 0.94 PPP as an overall defender, which ranked at the 21st percentile.  He especially struggled vs. the pick and roll, which is something that he will need to fix at the pro level. 

It will be interesting to see if the slimmer version of Carey can significantly improve as a shooter and a defender.  I have serious doubts.  So far, the Duke product has played a total of just six minutes of action for the Hornets, even though the team’s starting center, Cody Zeller, has been out since the first contest of the season due to injury.

33.  Daniel Oturu (C)

  • Team:  Minnesota
  • Age:  21.3
  • Height:  6’10’’
  • Weight:  240
  • Wingspan:  7’3’’
  • Vertical:  

Knowing that there was a good chance that Montrezl Harrell would leave via free agency, which he did, the Clippers used this selection to add depth at the center position.  The Clippers acquired this pick from the Timberwolves, who could have actually used the services of the local product from the University of Minnesota. 

Ranking 19th on the HP Draft Board, Oturu was one of the more underrated prospects of this draft class, in my opinion.  Last season for the Gophers, he was named to both the All-Big Ten Team and the Big Ten All-Defensive Team, and he posted fantastic numbers in the process.  He averaged 20.1 points, 11.3 rebounds (8th in DI), and 2.5 blocks per game (20th in DI), with shooting splits of .563/.365/.707.  He also ranked among the top 20 in the nation for PER (30.9 — 12th) and BPM (11.1 — 11th).  On the down side, he averaged just 1.1 assists per game, with an A/T ratio of 0.39, and he will need to improve as a passer if he wants to get regular minutes in the NBA.  

Oturu is a two-way player, who can score at all three levels on the offensive end.  A tad on the lanky side, he has quick feet and solid agility for his size, and he plays with awareness and energy.  Athletically, he will never be confused with a wing, but his combination of size and skill is impressive. 

For overall PPP last season, Oturu finished at the 91st percentile, and he ranked no worse than the 72nd percentile for post-up, spot-up and isolation scoring.  He is not a dynamic ball handler, but has a fairly quick first step for a big man, and he can put the ball on the floor and drive to the rim or pull up for jumpers — he even uses the Euro-step on occasion.  His jump shot is a bit stiff and slow, and he’s clearly better when catching and shooting, as opposed to taking jumpers off the bounce.  

On the defensive end, Oturu has good mobility and can cover a lot of ground; he is quick to close out and block shots from the weak side.  He generally forces the opposition to take difficult shots, even on the perimeter, such as deep 3s and midrange fade-aways.  The 20-year-old was typically asked to drop when defending the pick and roll, but he did a good job of contesting the pick-and-pop.  Oturu is still young and is not immune to common defensive mistakes, such making the wrong read and ball watching, and he has a nasty habit leaving his feet too often, which can lead to defensive breakdowns and/or easy baskets.  Surprisingly, however, for an aggressive shot blocker, he generally defends without fouling.  

Oturu landed in a good spot.  With the Clippers, there is no pressure on him to perform immediately, but with the team having no clear-cut reserve center, the rookie will get some playing time.  So far this season, he has seen very limited minutes in seven games, posting an impressive PER of 25.2. 

34.  Theo Maledon (PG)

  • Team:  ASVEL
  • Age:  19.6
  • Height:  6’5’’
  • Weight:  185
  • Wingspan:  6’9’’
  • Vertical:  

The rebuilding Thunder may have snagged the steal of the 2020 draft with the selection of Maledon, the 18th ranked prospect on the HP Draft Board.  A little over a year ago, he was actually considered to be on par with, if not better than, fellow countryman Killian Hayes.  However, injuries and behind-the-scenes shenanigans impacted Maledon’s draft status.  

Maledon, who did not turn 19 years old until June, had been playing high-level basketball in France for three years.  In 2019 as a 17-year-old in the French Jeep Elite League, he was named an All-Star and won the Rising Star award.  This past season, however, he struggled out of the gate for two primary reasons: 1) his team, ASVEL, moved up from EuroCup to EuroLeague, which was a significant increase in the level of competition, and 2) the youngster suffered a shoulder injury in October of 2019, which prevented him from playing for more than month. 

Despite the injury, Maledon finished the 2019-20 season with solid stats, seeing action in a total of 46 games for ASVEL, including 23 starts.  Playing 17.3 minutes per contest, he averaged 7.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists, with respectable shooting splits (.421/.333/.776) and a solid A/T ratio (1.67).  His assist percentage of 32.5 was the 13th best in EuroLeague, and among international players, he ranked at 75th percentile for combined assists and points per possession. 

While Maledon had very good numbers in EuroLeague, and his numbers in the French Jeep Elite League took a mysterious dip, compared to the 2018-19 season.  When I had a chance to talk to the point guard prior to the draft, I asked if his injury was the reason for his Jeep Elite struggles.  He said “no,” and added that he had no explanation. 

Interestingly, a week or so after I spoke to Maledon, a story broke about a rift between the player and the ASVEL’s coach, Zvezdan Mitrovic, who has since been fired.  Former NBA All-Star, Tony Parker, who is the current ASVEL team president and a long-time mentor to Maledon, basically said that Mitrovic didn’t like Maledon and purposely sabotaged his opportunities to impress NBA scouts

For the past three years, most of the reports on Maledon coming from France were highly positive — for example, he is known for his maturity and strong work ethic.  However, he still has a kid’s body, and needs to add muscle.  He has good speed and quickness, a smooth jumper, and the ability facilitate for others in creative ways.  He is fluid with the ball in his hands, changing speed and direction seamlessly.  He is especially dangerous scoring off the pick and roll (69th percentile for PPP last season). 

Maledon uses various dribble moves and changes in pace to keep defenders off balance The young Frenchman is effective going right and left, and is as dangerous with pull-up jumpers as he is attacking the basket.  Though not overly explosive vertically, he is an effective finisher due to his length and touch, and he draws his share of fouls (4.9 FTA per 40 minutes last season).  In terms of PPP last season, he ranked at 84th percentile with runners, and at the 62nd percentile on other half-court shots around the basket.  Additionally, he ranked at the 75th percentile with jumpers off the bounce.  Maledon did struggle somewhat from deep, but the year before, when he was completely healthy, he made 39 percent of his 3s. 

Maledon ranked among the top 30 defenders in the Jeep Elite league for two straight seasons; in fact, he finished ninth in the league with a defensive rating of 102.8 in 2018-19.  Last season, he had poor percentages for steals (1.48) and blocks (0.75), which were uncharacteristic of the rest of his career, especially for steals.  In general, he is an active defender, who is aggressive on the ball, denies well, and maintains good spacing to be available to help.  His length, effort, and athleticism are all keys to his success on this end of the court. 

With the Thunder, Maledon has been getting regular minutes (20 per game) as the club’s backup point guard, leading all second-rounders in minutes played (240).  His numbers have been modest so far, but he has shown signs of being a starting-caliber floor general.  Playing for a young team, the rookie will experience many growing pains, but ultimately, I believe the Thunder will be lauded for this selection. 

35.  Xavier Tillman (PF)

  • Team:  Michigan State
  • Age:  22.0
  • Height:  6’8’’
  • Weight:  265
  • Wingspan:  7’2’’
  • Vertical:  26’’ standing, 32.5’’ max

Memphis moved into the first round to take a much-needed shooter, Desmond Bane at No. 30, and the Grizzlies’ other big need was perimeter defense.  Based the team’s needs and the number of quality bigs already on the roster, the selection of Tillman was a bit of a surprise, but he was one of the better defenders in this draft class.  The Michigan State junior is a physical, energetic, smart, and efficient player.  He is strong and long, and he hustles, scraps, and does all the little things that help a team win.  The main concerns are his lack of athleticism, and whether he can be anything more than a traditional big. 

Tillman’s defining game came in his sophomore season, when he went blow-for-blow with Duke’s Zion Williamson in the 2019 Elite Eight.  In that contest, he never backed down and checked Williamson with physicality and relentless effort.  Zion finished with 24 points and 14 boards, but Tillman’s team came away with the victory and a Final Four berth, thanks in part, to his 19 points, nine rebounds, three steals, and two blocks.  

This past season as a junior, Tillman had a terrific overall stat line, averaging 13.7 points, 10.3 boards, 3.0 assists, 1.2 steals, and 2.1 blocks per game, with shooting splits of .550/.260/.667 and an A/T ratio of 1.52.  He did this while playing in the Big Ten, a conference loaded with talented big men, and arguably the toughest in college basketball.  Tillman ranked among the top 10 of the conference in numerous categories, including true-shooting percentage (59.3), rebounding percentage (17.5), block percentage (6.9), defensive rating (85.7), PER (27.0), win shares (6.0), and BPM (12.6 — 1st in DI).  

Offensively, Tillman is somewhat limited.  He is most efficient as a cutter and roller, and he will probably not be asked to do much more than that in terms of half-court scoring at the NBA level.  He also hustles up and down the court, and is an excellent finisher in transition.  Additionally, he sets terrific screens, and is a smart and alert passer.  He can occasionally knock down a three, and is a career 70-percent free-throw shooter, so he may eventually become an effective pick-and-pop option, too.  

The reigning Big Ten Defensive POY, Tillman will definitely be an asset defending forwards and centers in the NBA.  He has the strength and mobility to defend both inside and out, and is a tenacious rebounder, consistently boxing out.  He is very physical underneath the basket, but is crafty as well.  He will need that craftiness at the next level because he will be unable to bully opponents nearly as much as he did at Michigan State.  

The two main concerns with Tillman are his shooting (27.3 percent from deep for his career), and his lack of elite athleticism.  At the NBA Combine, he was 20 pounds heavier than his listed weighted of 245, and he tested poorly in terms of speed and vertical.  Even so, his all-around productivity and his positive intangibles are difficult to ignore.  With improved conditioning and shooting mechanics, he should have a long NBA career as an ideal complementary player. 

36.  Tyler Bey (F)

  • Team:  Colorado
  • Age:  22.9
  • Height:  6’7’’
  • Weight:  215
  • Wingspan:  7’1’’
  • Vertical:  37’’ standing, 43.5’’ max

Selecting Bey was a good move for a Dallas squad that not only needs to strengthen its defense but also could use an influx of talent at forward.  However, the Mavs will have limited use of the Colorado product this season, as he was signed to a two-way contract. 

Bey greatly improved his draft stock as a junior at Colorado, and he furthered bolstered his standing with a nice performance at the NBA Combine.  With added muscle, he could be effective as a small-ball four.  He has good length, excellent speed, and plenty of vertical explosiveness. 

During his three years with the Buffalos, Bey made consistent progress each season, which is always a good sign.  As a sophomore, he was named the PAC 12’s Most Improved Player and was a first-team All-PAC 12 selection.  Last season, the quality of play in the conference increased significantly, and Bey slipped to the second-team All-PAC 12, but at the same time, he was named to the All-Defensive team and won Defensive POY.  He also became a threat from the 3-point line for the first time in his career.  

As a junior, Bey averaged 13.8 points, 9.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.6 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, with shooting splits of .530/.419/.743.  He finished in the top 10 of the conference in numerous categories, including true-shooting percentage (61.1), rebounding percentage (18.4), defensive rating (84.9), PER (27.3), and BPM (10.1).  

As an offensive player, Bey’s game resembles that of a big.  He is not overly adept off the bounce and much of his offense is derived.  He also struggles with turnovers (2.4 per game this season), and though he flashes nifty passing ability, he tends to force the action (A/T ratio of 0.61).  In terms of overall PPP, the 22-year-old ranked at the 85th percentile as a junior.  More than 50 percent of his possessions came from either post-up plays or cuts, and he was above average in those areas, making 55.9 percent of his shots.  The majority of the rest of his offense came from spot-up plays, transition, and put-backs, and collectively, he was above average in those areas as well.  He was at his best as a jump shooter (91st percentile), but jumpers (50 attempts) accounted for less than 22 percent of his half-court shots, and nearly all of them were of the standing, catch-and-shoot variety. 

Defensively, Bey’s athleticism, length, and energy are on full display, and he has the versatility to guard multiple positions.   For two consecutive seasons, he ranked in the top 20 of DI for both defensive rating and defensive rebounding percentage.  He also produced 3.7 combined steals and blocks per 40 minutes as junior, which put him at the 93rd percentile among all draft prospects.  The 22-year-old can be bullied in the paint, which is why he needs to add more muscle.  He also gambles a bit too much, and he has a tendency to give shooters too much space, but overall, he is a very good defender.  

37.  Vit Krejci (W)

  • Team:  Zaragoza (Spanish ACB)
  • Age:  20.6
  • Height:  6’8’’
  • Weight:  195
  • Wingspan
  • Vertical:  

This was the Thunder’s third and final pick of the draft, and all three were international players.  While the team’s first two selections were used on players with recognizable upside, this pick was a big surprise, not only due to Krejci’s lack of productivity as a pro, but also because he suffered a season-ending ACL injury in late September.  Admittedly, 6-foot-8 prospects with the potential to play point guard are difficult to find, but it will be at least a year, probably more, before the young Czech plays in this country. 

In 2017, Krejci made his professional debut for Zaragoza at the age of 16, but he didn’t receive regular playing time until the 2019-20 season, when he saw action in 37 contests.  Even so, he averaged just 9.2 minutes per game (339 total minutes), and his per-30-minutes averages were less than impressive: 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 1.9 turnovers.  His shooting splits were solid (.554/.343/.542), especially given the stiff competition, but it is very rare to see a guard or wing shoot better from the field than the free-throw line. 

At his best, Krejci does display intriguing potential.  He’s a good athlete, who is especially adept at shooting on the move.  In the ACB with Zaragoza, he has not had much of opportunity to play on the ball, mainly scoring via transition, cutting, and spotting up, but in FIBA events for the Czech Republic national team, he did display playmaking skills.  Given his current injury and his lack of playing time as a pro, drafting Krejci was a gamble, but one that will not cost OKC any money this season. 

38.  Saben Lee (CG)

  • Team:  Vanderbilt
  • Age:  21.6
  • Height:  6’2’’
  • Weight:  185
  • Wingspan:  6’8’’
  • Vertical:  

The selection of Lee, who ranked 76th on the HP Draft Board, was questionable. He’s a solid player, but at this spot in the draft, there were a number of other prospects with more upside and/or a more productive college career.  Apparently, the Pistons are not completely sold on him, either, because they signed him to a two-way contract, and he has totaled just 26 minutes of action so far this season. 

The son of former NFL running back Amp Lee, Saben steadily increased his overall productivity during his three seasons at Vanderbilt, and this past season as a junior, he emerged as one of top scorers in the SEC, averaging 18.6 points per game (fourth in the conference).  Lee can score from anywhere on the floor, though his consistency with catch-and-shoot jumpers and floaters needs to improve.  With great speed and quickness and a solid handle, he likes to play downhill and drive to the rim, though he often settles for floaters.  He is more effective going right, the direction that he noticeably favors, and he rarely uses his left hand to finish. 

As a shooter, Lee is very effective with jumpers off the bounce, ranking at the 90th percentile for PPP as a junior, but overall, he is not an elite marksman; his shot is a bit flat, and for his career, he made less than 33 percent of his three-point attempts.  Also, he lacks ideal playmaking skills for a point guard; he never exceeded an assist-turnover ratio of 1.40 in any season at Vanderbilt. 

Defensively, Lee has the tools to effectively defend at the next level.  Playing for poor defensive teams at Vandy, his defensive metrics were horrendous, but the eye test reveals a player who defends with awareness and effort.  Attempting to cover for your teammates’ mistakes and deficiencies often skew a player’s individual defensive metrics, and I believe that Lee was a victim of that reality.  Due to his athleticism and length, he is an effective ball-hawk, averaging 1.5 steals per game last season (7th in the SEC). 

39.  Elijah Hughes (W)

  • Team:  Syracuse
  • Age:  22.9
  • Height:  6’6’’
  • Weight:  230
  • Wingspan:  6’8’’
  • Vertical:  

Based on the team’s needs (point guard, power forward, and overall perimeter defense), this was another curious pick made by the Jazz.  Utah led the league in three-point percentage last season, and the most attractive aspect of Hughes’ game is his ability to shoot.  He’s barely played so far in his rookie season, seeing a total of 27 minutes of action. 

For two straight years, Hughes was Syracuse’s most effective and consistent player.  This past season, he had to carry a heavy load for a subpar Orange squad, and the red-shirt junior averaged 19.0 points, 4.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 2.0 combined steals and blocks combined per game.  He had solid shooting splits (.427/.342/.813) and A/T ratio (1.49).  An All-ACC first-team selection, he led the conference in scoring and finished in the top 10 for PER (22.7) and win shares (5.0).  

Read moreElijah Hughes Scouting Report

40.  Robert Woodard (F)

  • Team:  Mississippi State
  • Age:  21.3
  • Height:  6’6’’
  • Weight:  230
  • Wingspan:  7’2’’
  • Vertical:  32’’ standing, 38’’ max

Having Tyrese Haliburton fall into their lap at No. 12, the Kings understandably ignored their need for another quality big man.  They did so again with this pick, though Woodard could be used as a small-ball four.   

Woodard was highly regarded by many, more so due to his potential than his productivity at Mississippi State.  He possesses a great combination of size, length, and athleticism, and he has positional versatility.  The 21-year-old has plenty of vertical pop, and is known for his impressive dunks.  He also greatly improved as a 3-point shooter as a sophomore.  Overall last season, he averaged 11.4 points, 6.6 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game, with shooting splits of .495/.429/.641.  

This past season, Woodard was not a focal point of the Bulldogs’ offense, which featured power forward Reggie Perry and was led by point guard Nick Weatherspoon.  Woodard was mainly used as a spot-up and off-screen shooter and a cutter.  In terms of PPP, he excelled as the latter (86th percentile), and was average as a shooter, ranking at the 49th and 47th percentiles in the two different departments, respectively.  The sophomore very rarely tried to create his own offense or attack the rim off the bounce, and when he did, the results were generally not positive.  His jump shot appears fundamentally sound, and he gets nice elevation on those shots, but a good portion of his success came from unguarded catch-and shoot opportunities.  Overall as a jump shooter, he ranked at the 63rd percentile for PPP. 

There are other concerns in addition to Woodard’s limited scoring abilities.  On the defensive end, he struggled for two straight seasons defending spot-up shooters, ranking at the 35th percentile for PPP allowed as a sophomore.  He has suspect hands, fumbling his share of passes, and he is not much of a playmaker (A/T ratio of 0.69).  The Mississippi native also tends to lack aggression and urgency in nearly every way; typical examples include: not demanding the ball, not cutting hard to get open, not making many impact plays on defense (2.6 combined steals and blocks per 40 minutes), not being overly physical in the paint, and being casual on closeouts.  His lackadaisical approach showed in his overall metrics last season, including a modest PER of 18.5 (27th in SEC). 

41.  Tre Jones (PG)

  • Team:  Duke
  • Age:  21.0
  • Height:  6’3’’
  • Weight:  185
  • Wingspan:  6’4’’
  • Vertical:  

After taking Devin Vassell at No. 11, selecting another guard was seemingly the last thing that the Spurs would do at this spot.  However, Jones, who ranked 25th on the HP Draft Board, was a great value at this point in the draft.  Additionally, he is the type of player that the Spurs value, and he excels at defending on the perimeter, something San Antonio struggled to do last season.

The younger brother of Tyus Jones, Tre was one of the safer picks in this draft — a high-floor, low-ceiling prospect.  Jones is a true floor general, who is smart, fundamentally sound, and excels as a playmaker.  As a sophomore at Duke last season, he took his game to a new level, averaging 16.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 1.8 steals per game, with solid shooting splits (.423/.361/.771) and an excellent A/T ratio (2.37).  He finished in the top five of the ACC for both win shares (5.0) and BPM (8.2), and was named both the conference POY and Defensive POY.  

Offensively, Jones is somewhat limited by a lack of size, length, and athleticism, and he needs to improve as a jump shooter if he wants to get regular minutes in the NBA.  In terms of PPP as a sophomore, few were better for combined points and assists per possession (91st percentile), but many of his other PPP numbers were average.  In the half-court, the 21-year-old ranked at the 56th percentile as a jump shooter, the 66th percentile with runners/floaters, and at the 12th percentile on shots around the basket (not including runners/floaters).  Given his physical limitations, he will likely never be a great finisher at the rim, which is why the development of his outside shooting is important, especially off the dribble.  Last season, he was far more effective shooting off the catch (82nd percentile) than off the bounce (50th percentile).  

Last season on the defensive end, Jones stood out in terms of PPP allowed, ranking at the 91st percentile.  He’s a tenacious, in-your-face type of defender that is difficult to shake even vs. screen action.  His lack of size and length is a concern, but he should at least be an adequate defender at the NBA level due to his quick feet, agility, and effort.  

42.  Nick Richards (C)

  • Team:  Kentucky
  • Age:  23.1
  • Height:  6’11’’
  • Weight:  245
  • Wingspan:  7’5’’
  • Vertical:  32.5 inches standing, 36.5 max

Wanting to cover all of the bases, the Hornets selected their second center of the second round at this spot.  The first was Vernon Carey, an offensive force in the paint, and with this pick, it was Richards, who is a much better defender. 

Playing with more confidence and aggression, Richards emerged as a junior at Kentucky, earning All-SEC first-team honors and an SEC All-Defensive selection.  On the season, he averaged 14.0 points, 7.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game.  He led the conference in both field-goal (64.2) and true-shooting (67.4) percentage, ranked third in block percentage (8.0), fifth in rebounding percentage (15.3), fourth for PER (25.9), third in win shares (5.2), and seventh for BPM (7.0). 

Last season, Richards excelled offensively in the areas that you want from a center in the NBA.  On cuts, rolls, put-backs, and in transition, he ranked no worse than the 83rd percentile for PPP.  He did not attempt a single 3-point shot during his time at Kentucky, but he displayed nice touch from 15 feet and beyond with jumpers as a junior, making 16 of 38 shots for a team-high 42.1 percent from that range.  It also should be noted that the he was a career 73-percent free-throw shooter, which bodes well for him to expand his range in the future.  On the downside, Richards did not make much progress as a passer during his time at UK, and his career average of 0.2 assists per game and career A/T ratio of 0.23 are somewhat alarming. 

Defensively, Richards is a good athlete for a big man, and he has a lot of potential on this end of the court.  It doesn’t hurt that he has a 7-foot-5 wingspan.  This past season, he ranked at the 88th percentile for PPP allowed, displaying the ability to defend inside and out. If he proves to have switch-ability at the pro level, he may end up being one of the steals of the draft.  

43.  Jahmius Ramsey (SG)

  • Team:  Texas Tech
  • Age:  19.6
  • Height:  6’3’’
  • Weight:  195
  • Wingspan:  6’6’’
  • Vertical:  

The Kings decided to ignore their front court again, but selecting Ramsey, the 30th ranked prospect on the HP Draft Board, was a good value at this spot.  One of the youngest prospects in this draft class, Ramsey is a muscular two guard, who looks bigger than his listed weight and excels as a jump shooter. 

Ramsey had an up-and-down freshman campaign at Texas Tech, looking fantastic one night and disappearing the next.  On the season, the 19-year-old averaged 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.2 assists, and 2.0 combined steals and blocks per game, with shooting splits of .442/.426/.641.  He was named the Big 12 Rookie of the Year, and finished in the top 10 of the conference for true-shooting percentage (54.6), points per game, and steals per game (1.3).  In terms of PPP, Ramsey ranked better than the 87th percentile on catch-and-shoot jumpers, isolation plays, and off-screen plays.  Where he mainly struggled was when handling in the pick and roll, shooting off the bounce, and finishing around the basket.  

Ramsey’s main issues are that his handle can be loose at times, he is not particularly explosive off the bounce, and he has trouble when going left.  The youngster tends to struggle to create space and to get all the way to the rim.  He also tends to over dribble and tends to have tunnel vision as a playmaker (A/T ratio of 1.11).  Many of his jumpers have a high degree of difficulty because he fails to shake his defender.  The freshman rarely made it all the way to the rim this season on drives, and when he did, the results were not positive; on shots within seven feet via drives, he was just 7-of-23 (30.4 percent).  On the plus side, he’s reliable with runners and floaters (63rd percentile for PPP).  

Defensively, Ramsey was solid as a freshman, but not spectacular.  He handles screens well due to his strength, and for a guard, he makes some impressive help-side blocks.  His length is below average, but he can make up for that with his athleticism and strength.  

44.  Marko Simonovic (PF/C)

  • Team:  KK Mega Bemax
  • Age:  21.3
  • Height:  6’11’’
  • Weight:  220
  • Wingspan
  • Vertical:  

Having passed on a point guard at No. 4, I expected the Bulls to take Devon Dotson, Yam Madar, or Nico Mannion at this spot.  Instead, the team chose Simonovic, a promising draft-and-stash prospect, and then later, Chicago signed Dotson, an undrafted free agent, to a two-way contract.

Ranked 59th on the HP Draft Board, Simonovic was not given much of chance to be drafted by most pundits.  However, those familiar with his game know that the young Montenegrin has been performing at a high level for the past two years for Mega Bemax in the Adriatic League, displaying NBA potential.  This season and last, the 21-year-old has averaged more than 15 points and eight rebounds per game, with combined shooting splits of .504/.311/.817. 

Far more a power forward than a center, Simonovic has added some bulk and muscle over the years, but he is still skinny, and is often hampered by opponents’ physicality.  He has nice mobility, speed, and quickness for a big man, but lacks vertical explosiveness.  Clearly a shooter, he barely plays in the post, getting most of his touches as via spot-ups, the pick and roll (as a roll and pick-and-pop option), and transition.  Last season, Simonovic was most efficient scoring off the pick and roll, ranking at the 86th percentile for PPP among international players.  His lack of strength and vertical pop come into play around the basket, where he struggles more than one would expect from someone his size. 

Defensively, Simonovic is a high-energy player, who contests shots and rebounds outside of his area.  He is also an aggressive helper and hedger, but he can struggle to recover, which is his main defensive weakness.  He does a nice job of defending in the post, and is a threat to block shots (1.2 per game last season). 

45.  Jordan Nwora (SF)

  • Team:  Louisville
  • Age:  22.4
  • Height:  6’6’’
  • Weight:  225
  • Wingspan:  6’10’’
  • Vertical:  29’’ standing, 35’’ max

Surrounding Giannis Antetokounmpo with shooters is always a priority for the Bucks, and Nwora was a solid option at this spot. 

An All-ACC selection for two straight seasons, Nwora is a big wing, whose strengths are his perimeter shooting and rebounding.  He emerged as a star as a sophomore in 2018-19, but he didn’t quite live up to his preseason expectations as a junior, producing similar numbers to the season before.  For the 2019-20 season, he averaged 18.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists per game, with shooting splits of .440/.402/.812.  

Most of Nwora’s offense is typically derived from off-ball movement, and he is mainly a spot-up shooter.  He is not very effective at creating off the dribble, or shooting off the dribble, for that matter.  What he excels at is shooting off the catch, and in terms of PPP, he ranked at the 94th percentile on catch-and-shoot jumpers last season.  He shoots the ball with very good elevation and a natural fade, and he has a knack for knocking down shots with a hand in his face.  His height helps in this area as well.  One area where he must improve is his A/T ratio — he had a career high of 0.62 this past season.  He tends to throw sloppy passes and dribble too much.

Defensively, Nwora has improved since his freshman season, but he is still average at best.  He’s not a great athlete overall, and he is slow in terms of lateral movement and changing direction. He also produces very few steals and blocks for his size and length (1.2 combined per 40 minutes).  Lastly, his effort and focus can wane on this end of the floor. 

46.  C.J. Elleby (W)

  • Team:  Washington State
  • Age:  20.6
  • Height:  6’6’’
  • Weight:  200
  • Wingspan:  6’7’’
  • Vertical:  30.5’’ standing, 36.5’’ max

Due to the trade to land Robert Covington, this was Portland’s lone pick in the draft.  In terms of needs, the Trail Blazers should have been seeking a player to improve their perimeter defense, ideally a forward with size.  Portland was well stocked with wings — CJ McCollum, Gary Trent Jr., and Rodney Hood were in the mix, and free agent Derrick Jones was added after the draft.  Partially due to the logjam at wing, Elleby doesn’t figure to get much playing time this season (34 total minutes to date), but he is an interesting prospect, who has plenty of time to develop. 

Elleby did a little bit of everything for the Cougars during his two years at Washington State.  He is an above-average athlete with good shooting form, but he is not the most fluid or explosive player with the ball in his hands, and he lacks length.  This past season as a sophomore, he earned PAC-12 first-team honors, averaging 18.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 2.6 combined steals and blocks per game, with shooting splits of .396/.339/.823.  The lefty ranked in the top 10 of the conference for PER, BPM, and win shares, among other things.

Elleby is very much a shooter; 71 percent of his half-court attempts as a sophomore were jumpers.  The southpaw is capable from inside and outside the three-point line, and he features effective step-back and fade-away moves.  However, this past season, he was far more effective shooting off the catch (74th percentile for PPP) than off the dribble (30th percentile).  He also struggled when attacking the rim, making just 32.7 percent of his shots within seven feet via drives.  As a freshman, Elleby had a similar shot profile, but he had 113 fewer shot attempts because the Cougars also had center Robert Franks to help with the scoring load.  As a result, Elleby was more efficient in 2018-19, shooting 43.6 percent from the field and 41.4 percent from deep, while ranking at the 94th percentile for PPP on catch-and-shoot attempts. 

On the defensive end, Elleby made significant improvement as a sophomore, making good use of his athleticism and playing with energy and awareness.  His finished the season as the PAC-12’s leader in steals per game (1.8), and ranked in the top 10 of the conference for both defensive rebounding percentage (23.2) and defensive rating (91.7).  He also ranked at the 75th percentile for PPP allowed (0.751).  The one area where he struggled in both of his seasons at Washington State was defending the pick and roll — he had trouble slowing quicker guards coming off screens, which is something that he needs to address at the NBA level. 

47.  Yam Madar (PG)

  • Team:  Hapoel Tel Aviv
  • Age:  20.1
  • Height:  6-3
  • Weight:  180
  • Wingspan:  
  • Vertical:  

I was not overly enamored with Boston’s selections at No. 14 (Aaron Nesmith) and No. 26 (Payton Pritchard), which I explained in the reviews of the first round.  However, at this spot in the draft, I believe selecting a draft-and-stash prospect with a high upside was a good move by Boston, even though Madar did not address an immediate need. 

To my knowledge, Hoops Prospects was higher on Madar than any other draft site, by far.  He is a quick and shifty 6-foot-3 point guard, and in my opinion, only LaMelo Ball exceeded his combination of dynamic scoring, playmaking, and ball handling in this draft class. 

Madar began to get noticed when he helped Israel win the gold medal at the 2019 Under-20 European Championships.  He was named to the All-Tournament Team, averaging 15.9 points, 3.1 rebounds, 7.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.  He made 47.6 percent of his three-point shots, averaging three attempts per game.  Joining him on the All-Tournament Team were teammate Deni Avdija, Spain’s Carlos Alocen and Sergi Martinez, and Germany’s Philipp Herkenhoff.  

In 2019-20, Madar’s numbers as a pro increased across the board in his second season in the Israeli BSL.  Playing in 32 games, he averaged 24.4 minutes, 10.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists, and 1.2 combined steals and blocks.  His shooting splits (.444/.267/.812) and A/T ratio (1.64) were very respectable given his age and the high level of competition.  So far this season, he has boosted his numbers even more, averaging 16.4 points and 5.9 assists per game, while making 35 percent of his shots from deep. 

Madar is a three-level scorer, who is fluid, very fast, and extremely quick with the ball in his hands.  He excels at making shots on the move, using step-backs, pull-ups, shots off spin moves, runners, and floaters.  His transition from the dribble to his pull-up jumper is seamless, and he has beautiful touch with his high-arching runners and floaters.  Last season, he ranked at the 62nd percentile for PPP with jumpers off the bounce and at the 87th percentile with runners and floaters.  At the rim, the youngster has terrific body control, and can finish/dunk with either hand, though he favors his right.  Madar has a way to go as a shooter from deep, as his outside shots appear a bit flat at times.  However, the young Israeli has always been a solid free-throw shooter throughout his career, and as noted above, his three-point percentage is on the rise this season. 

As a playmaker, it seems as if Madar has eyes in the back of his head.  He is a magician with the ball in terms of dribbling and passing.  He is a quick decision maker with great court vision, and he makes his teammates better, setting them up for easy scores in creative ways.  So far this season in IBSL, he has a stellar A/T ratio of 2.41. 

Madar is also a scrappy, fiery, and demonstrative player, and his attitude shows up on both ends of the court.  He displays natural leadership skills, and he backs his words with action, fearlessly attacking the rim, diving for loose balls, mixing it up in the paint, and hustling in general.  As a defender, he gets in his opponent’s grill and is difficult to shake.  He is also quick to help and recover as a team defender.  Last season as a 19-year-old, he ranked at the 81st percentile for PPP allowed among international players.  He does have trouble being outmuscled in the paint by drivers, cutters, and alike, and adding muscle is something that he will need to address in the future.  

Golden State48.  Nico Mannion (PG)

  • Team:  Arizona
  • Age:  19.9
  • Height:  6’3’’
  • Weight:  190
  • Wingspan:  6’3’’
  • Vertical:  

Due to salary-cap limitations, depth was/is an issue for Golden State, and the Warriors could have addressed any position other than center with this pick.  Mannion was considered by some to be a first-round talent, and ranking 38th on the HP Draft Board, it was a bit of surprise that he fell this far.  Mannion was not overly impressive as a freshman with the Wildcats, and his draft stock slowly dropped as 2020 progressed.  In a pre-draft media session, I wasn’t overly impressed with his demeanor, which may have contributed to his slide.  The Warriors signed the Arizona product to a two-way contract, and so far this NBA season, he has seen action in only one game. 

Mannion has a solid handle plus good vision and instincts as a playmaker, but he is not overly dynamic or explosive.  He averaged 5.3 assists per game (2nd in the PAC 12) last season, with an A/T ratio of 2.06 (5th in the PAC 12).  He is also very capable of playing off the ball, using constant motion and hard cuts to get open.  At the same time, he displays the ability to smoothly and quickly shoot jumpers, whether it is catching and shooting off screens or pulling up off the dribble.  His shooting mechanics are solid, and he is very good from the free-throw line (79.7 percent), but he struggled from deep last season, making just 32.7 percent of his 3-point attempts.  

Mannion’s lack of size, length, and athleticism hamper his game. He made less than 45 percent of his 2-point attempts at Arizona.  Jumpers and floaters/runners accounted for nearly 89 percent of his half-court shots because he struggled to get deep into the paint when driving, and when he did get near the rim, he had trouble finishing.  In 32 games this season, the freshman took only 46 half-court shots within seven feet, making 19 for a meager 41.3 percent.  Even when taking into account all of his half-court shots around the basket, including longer runners/floaters, he made just 36-of-88 (40.9 percent). 

Defensively, Mannion generally does a good job of sticking with his man, but he doesn’t have the length or explosiveness to make many impact plays.  He averaged just 1.47 steals and blocks combined per 40 minutes this season.  He also ranked last on his own team for rebounding percentage (4.4) and defensive rating (96.4), but on the plus side, in terms of PPP allowed, he was below average in only one area (isolation, 28th percentile).  

49.  Isaiah Joe (SG)

  • Team:  Arkansas
  • Age:  21.1
  • Height:  6’4’’
  • Weight:  170
  • Wingspan:  6’8’’
  • Vertical:  

With both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid most effective around the paint, the Sixers are always looking for shooters.  Joe, meanwhile, may have had the prettiest jump shot in this draft class.  He gets good elevation off the ground and snaps his shot off in an instant, be it off the catch or a dribble move.  He has great range, and is also very effective penetrating and pulling up.  He has very slick step-back and slide-step moves in his repertoire, and he also has nice touch with floaters in the paint.  

Joe did not receive a lot of attention during his sophomore year for two main reasons: 1) he was injured (knee) for a good portion of this season, and as a result, some of his numbers took significant dips from his freshman campaign; and 2) teammate Mason Jones emerged as one of the top scorers in the nation, drawing attention away from Joe.  

Joe originally injured his right knee during a 34-point effort against Ole Miss on January 11. Though clearly limited, he would go on to play in five of Arkansas’ next six games, scoring just 46 total points and making less than 28 percent of his 3-point attempts. On February 4, the sophomore underwent arthroscopic debridement surgery to his right knee, and he missed the next five contests.  He returned to the Razorbacks on February 22, and he appeared to be close to 100 percent, scoring at least 18 points in five of the team’s final six games of the season.  With a healthy Joe, the Razorbacks had a 17-4 record. In the five games he played at less than 100 percent, they had a 2-3 record, and in the six contests that he missed, the team was 1-5.  

On the season, Joe averaged 16.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game.  His shooting percentages are what suffered the most during this injury-plagued season.  As a sophomore, his field-goal percentage dropped to 36.7 from 41.3, his 3-point percentage dropped to 34.2 from 41.4, and his A/T ratio slipped to 1.00 from 1.43.  On the positive side, he did raise his free-throw percentage to 89.0 from 75.6 as a freshman.  

Joe is truly a high-volume jump shooter; in both of his college seasons, more than 87 percent of his half-court attempts were jump shots.  As was the case with his shooting percentages, his points-per-possession numbers took a hit as a sophomore.  As a freshman, he ranked at the 92nd percentile for overall PPP, at the 88th percentile as a jump shooter, and at the 97th percentile for jumpers off the bounce.  As a sophomore, those respective numbers dropped to 79th, 59th, and 89th.  Joe did show improvement on his rare half-court attempts in the paint this past season, making 62 percent of his shots around the basket, including runners and floaters.  On the same types of shots as a freshman, he made just 39 percent.  

As a defender, Joe is underappreciated.  He is effective on the perimeter, due his good speed, quickness, and length.  As an isolation defender, he has ranked above average for PPP allowed in both of his college seasons (68th percentile as a sophomore).  The 20-year-old plays with good intelligence, awareness, and effort.  He has active hands, and makes his share of steals.  He is a lanky player and lacks muscle, and that can show up when he has to deal with screens or defend in the paint. 

50.  Skylar Mays (CG)

  • Team:  LSU
  • Age:  23.4
  • Height:  6’4’’
  • Weight:  205
  • Wingspan:  6’6’’
  • Vertical:  29’’ standing, 37.5’’ max

At the time of the draft, the odds were good that Jeff Teague would leave via free agency, which he did, putting the Hawks in search of a new backup point guard.  Following the draft, the team signed a pair of veteran lead guards, Rajon Rondo and Kris Dunn, so Mays’ chances of seeing a lot of playing time as a rookie quickly diminished.  Atlanta signed the LSU senior to a two-way contract, and to date, he has been limited to a total of 11 minutes of action. 

Mays is a player whose sum is greater than the parts — he’s team oriented, intelligent, hard working, a natural leader, and versatile.  In other words, he has all of the desired intangibles.  He’s a solid athlete in terms of speed, vertical pop, and agility, and he has excellent quickness.  The 23-year-old can score inside and out, and is effective as a playmaker.  He also defends with effort and awareness.  Additionally, he has a good head on his shoulders, excelling in the classroom; he was named an Academic All-American for three consecutive years (2018-20), and won the SEC Scholar Athlete of the Year award in both 2019 and 2020.

For the past three seasons at LSU, Mays shared the ball handling duties with two other talented players, Tremont Waters (2018-19) and Ja’Vonte Smart (2019-20).  However, for the last two seasons, Mays was the Tigers’ clear leader — a calming and steadying influence for two young squads.  He’s not an exceptional playmaker (career A/T ratio of 1.61), but he is capable of being a backup point guard at the pro level.

A two-time All-SEC selection, Mays averaged 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.8 steals per game as a senior.  He had excellent shooting splits (.491/.394/.854), and a respectable A/T ratio of 1.43.  He ranked in the top 10 of the SEC for true-shooting percentage (62.2), steal percentage (2.9), win shares (5.2), and BPM (8.3).  In terms of points per possession, he ranked at the 92nd percentile overall.  The senior finished his LSU career with a total of 3,963 minutes played, the ninth most in SEC history, which is a good indication of how valuable he was to LSU.  

Mays can score inside and out, but he doesn’t take many midrange shots — he’s typically taking a three-point attempt or attacking the rim, while floaters, pull-ups, and step-backs are not big parts of his game.  He has nice shot mechanics and good range on his jumpers, and is excellent from the free-throw line.  As a driver, he is equally effective going right or left, is very proficient with spin moves, and has great body control around the basket.  On half-court shots within seven feet this season, he made 57.7 percent of his attempts, and he drew his share of fouls (4.9 free-throw attempts per game), too.  

Mays’ offensive possessions as a senior came mainly from four areas — spot-up, pick-and-roll, transition, and isolation plays — which accounted for nearly 83 percent of his possessions.  In terms of PPP, his productivity ranged from the 98th percentile as a pick-and-roll handler to the 53rd percentile in transition.  Less than 49 percent of his half-court shots were jumpers, and his catch-and shoot attempts (86th percentile) were nearly double his off-the-dribble attempts (89th percentile).

Mays is a solid defensive player, with quick hands, good anticipation, and fast lateral speed.  He ranked in the top 10 of the SEC for four straight seasons for steal percentage.  He also plays with energy and awareness, though it did not show in his overall defensive numbers as a senior.  LSU was a poor defensive team in 2019-20, ranking at the 39th percentile for PPP allowed, while Mays ranked at the 37th percentile.  The prior season, the Tigers ranked at the 68th percentile, while Mays ranked at the 85th percentile.  In both seasons, he ranked no worse than average for PPP allowed in isolation situations (47th percentile in 2020 and 94th in 2019), which is a better indicator of his individual ability.  

Golden State51.  Justinian Jessup (W)

  • Team:  Boise State
  • Age:  22.7
  • Height:  6’7’’
  • Weight:  200
  • Wingspan
  • Vertical:  

Ranked 89th on the HP Draft Board, Jessup’s draft stock likely benefitted from going the draft-and-stash route — he signed with Illawarra of the Australian NBL prior to the draft.  Given the Warriors’ bench, it certainly could be argued that the team could have used another body this season, but Golden State chose to fill out the roster with affordable veterans. 

I believe that the Warriors are hoping to find another Duncan Robinson with this selection, which will not cost the team any money this season.  Like Robinson, Jessup is mainly known as shooter — with a career percentage of 40.8 from deep, the lefty has a high and quick release combined with nice height for a wing.  Also, he’s average athletically, and doesn’t have much meat on his bones. 

Another similarity to Robinson is that Jessup’s overall productivity throughout his college career was below average.  He never was a first-team All-MWC selection, and averaged just 12.3 points per game for his career.  As a senior, the southpaw produced 16.0 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.9 combined steals and blocks per game, with shooting splits of .426/.397/.959 and an A/T ratio of 1.68.  Those are very nice numbers, but they are not outstanding, especially given that he was a senior playing in the Mountain West. 

Analytically, Jessup’s profile looks better.  As a senior, his overall PPP average of 1.057 ranked at the 92nd percentile among DI players.  He excelled in a number of specific areas, ranking no worse than the 84th percentile as a scorer via spotting up, handling in the pick and roll, off-screen shots, transition, and cuts.  His efficiency dropped when the results of passes were included, and he shot significantly better off the catch (84th percentile) than off the dribble (56th percentile).  Additionally, Jessup struggled in isolation (32nd percentile), and he wasn’t very effective attacking the rim, making just 43.8 percent of his shots within seven feet via drives.  Lastly, as a driver, he heavily favors going left, though his effectiveness going either direction is roughly the same.

On the other end of the court, Jessup has never been known as an outstanding defender, even in the Mountain West.  He does a solid job as a team defender, and is average in terms of steals and blocks (2.1 combined per 40 minutes), but he can be taken advantage of in isolation situations. 

In sum, Jessup is an efficient scorer, but he is not great at creating his own shots or facilitating for others.  Defensively, he may be a liability at the pro level due to a lack of quickness and strength.     

52.  Kenyon Martin Jr. (F)

  • Team:  IGM Academy
  • Age:  20.0
  • Height:  6’7’’
  • Weight:  215
  • Wingspan:  6’7’’
  • Vertical:  31.5’’ standing, 38.5 max

The rebuilding Rockets were undoubtedly looking for a player with good upside at this spot, though it was somewhat surprising that they didn’t go for a prospect with significant height to complement their collection of guards and wings.  Martin, the son of the top overall pick in the 2000 NBA Draft, was the 53rd ranked recruit in the class of 2020.  He could have attended Vanderbilt this past season, but he opted to do a post-graduate season at the IMG Academy. 

Already 20 years old, Martin is a tweener — he’s been an undersized power forward for most of his career.  He plays with energy and effort, and is a tenacious rebounder and defender.  He’s also is a very good athlete, with excellent end-to-end speed and plenty of vertical pop.  The biggest concern about his game is the lack of a consistent outside shot, but he must have showed enough during pre-draft workouts to impress the Rockets. 

53.  Cassius Winston (PG)

  • Team:  Michigan State
  • Age:  23.9
  • Height:  6’1’’
  • Weight:  195
  • Wingspan:  6’6’’
  • Vertical:  24’’ standing, 28’’ max

Washington has lacked a promising backup point guard for some time, and while there is much to like about Winston, I have doubts that he will be the answer.  There is a good chance that the Wizards have their doubts as well since they signed the Michigan State senior to a two-way contract, and he has seen just two minutes of action so far this season. 

Perhaps the most accomplished player in this draft, Winston led the Spartans to three consecutive Big-Ten regular-season titles and a 2019 Final Four appearance between his sophomore and senior seasons.  For the past two seasons, he averaged better than 18.5 points and 5.5 assists per game.  Over the same span, he was twice named an All-Big Ten and an All-American selection, and was selected as the conference POY in 2019.  Winston, who turned down offers from Ivy League schools to attend Michigan State, was also an Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2019 and 2020.  

An undersized point guard who lacks great athleticism, Winston plays with a lot of heart, toughness, and intelligence.  Despite his limitations, he is a three-level scorer, using crafty changes in speed and misdirection to get to his spots, and he is very effective when shooting on the move.  His jumper is not the prettiest and his release is a bit low, but at the same time, he gets good elevation on his shots and has a quick release.  And it’s difficult to argue with the results — a career 3-point percentage of 43.0.  The senior can have trouble finishing at the rim due a lack of size and vertical pop, but he compensates with good body control and nice touch on floaters and runners, which he can make with either hand.  Lastly, Winston is a true triple threat, possessing excellent vision, touch, and accuracy as a passer.  For his career, he averaged 6.4 assists per game, with an A/T ratio of 2.38.

This past season, Winston averaged 18.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.2 steals per game, with shooting splits of .448/.432/.852 and an A/T ratio of 1.83.  He became the Big Ten’s all-time leader in assists (890), and now ranks sixth in NCAA history with a career assist percentage of 42.8.  For the third straight season, he finished in the top 10 of the conference in true shooting percentage (58.5), win shares (5.2), and BPM (8.9), and in each of those categories, he ranks among the all-time top 20 in the Big Ten.  

Offensively, Winston has a fairly diverse profile, with 85 percent of his possessions this season coming from pick-and-roll, transition, spot-up, off-screen, and isolation plays, in that order.  He was at his best on spot-up possessions (97th percentile for PPP).  Transition (25th percentile) was the only category where he did not rank above the 83rd percentile, which isn’t surprising since fast-break offense favors tall, athletic players.  As a jumper shooter, he ranked at the 90th percentile or higher for off-the-dribble shots, catch-and-shoot attempts, and overall.  He was also very good with runners/floaters (82nd percentile), but on other half-court shots around the basket, he struggled (40th percentile).   

The biggest area of concern for Winston is on the other end of the court.  He has never been known for his defense, struggling to stay in front of speedy players, being easily picked off by screens, and offering next to nothing as a shot blocker (12 career blocks as a Spartan).  In terms of PPP allowed as a senior, he ranked at the 67th percentile, but freshman Rocket Watts was often assigned to guard the opposition’s best perimeter player.  

54.  Cassius Stanley (W)

  • Team:  Duke
  • Age:  21.4
  • Height:  6’6’’
  • Weight:  200
  • Wingspan:  6’7’’
  • Vertical:  34.5’’ standing, 44’’ max

Having a lackluster bench, the Pacers could have gone in a number of directions with their lone pick.  I considered Stanley a potential first-rounder, and he represented good value at this point in the draft.  Signed to a two-way contract, he has been limited to a total of 20 minutes of action so far this season. 

Turning 21 in August, Stanley was one of the older freshmen in this draft class, but he also may have been the most athletic.  At the NBA Combine, he put on a show, posting an outstanding time in the sprint (3.09) and nearly breaking the record for max vertical. 

Despite having more physical maturity and excellent athleticism, Stanley’s lone season at Duke was solid but not spectacular.  He averaged 12.6 points, 4.9 boards, one assist, and 1.4 combined steals and blocks per game.  He had very promising shooting splits (.474/.360/.733), and ranked ninth in the ACC with a true-shooting percentage of 56.9. 

More than half of Stanley’s possessions this past season came from transition and spot-up plays.  He was electric as a fast-break scorer, often finishing with thunderous dunks, and averaging 1.29 PPP (88th percentile).  The California native was nearly as effective when spotting up, ranking at the 72nd percentile, and on all of his catch-and shot jumpers in the half-court, he averaged an outstanding 1.31 PPP (93rd percentile).  On the downside, Stanley struggled when shooting off the bounce (18th percentile), something that he didn’t do often, and he also was ineffective as a facilitator, producing an A/T ratio of just 0.56. 

Stanley was arguably most effective as a defender last season, playing with good energy and displaying impressive quickness and lateral speed.  In terms of PPP allowed, he ranked at the 84th percentile, and his standard defensive ranking of 95.3 was more than respectable (36th in the ACC).  His lack of length is a concern, and likely contributed to him producing a modest 2.1 combined steals and blocks per 40 minutes.

55.  Jay Scrubb (W)

  • Team:  John A. Logan (JC)
  • Age:  20.4
  • Height:  6’5’’
  • Weight:  220
  • Wingspan:  6’9’’
  • Vertical:  40’’ max

In win-now mode and having no need for a rookie to immediately contribute, the Clippers used this pick on a relative unknown with an intriguing upside, Jay Scrubb, the reigning junior college Player of the Year.  Signed to a two-way contract, Scrubb became the first JUCO player to be drafted since 2004.  

Scrubb was a two-time first-team NJCAA DI All-American at John A. Logan College.  Over his two JUCO seasons, he average 20.7 points, 7.7 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.3 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game, with shooting splits of .524/.395/.753 and an A/T ratio of 0.78.  Before the start of his sophomore year, he committed to play for Louisville for his junior season, but he ultimately opted for the NBA Draft.

Scrubb, a lefty, is a good athlete and a three-level scorer, who can create his own shot.  His handle is not elite, and he lacks consistency when shooting off the bounce.  He also needs to work on his off hand, and cut down on his turnovers.  Most importantly, he is a so-so defender even at the JUCO level, mainly due to inconsistent effort and energy. 

It’s going to be a while before we see Scrubb play as a pro; he is currently recovering from foot surgery.  Even when he is healthy, it will likely take the southpaw a couple of years before he is ready for NBA action due to the huge increase in the level of competition.  Consider that Scrubb was the top-ranked junior college recruit in 2020, followed by Tyon Grant-Foster (Kansas) and Sardaar Calhoun (Florida State).  Neither Grant-Foster or Calhoun have been able to crack the start lineups at their respective schools this season, and both are playing less than 12 minutes per game, which demonstrates just how big of a difference there is between JUCO and NCAA DI competition.

56.  Grant Riller (CG)

  • Team:  Charleston
  • Age:  24.0
  • Height:  6’1’’
  • Weight:  180
  • Wingspan:  6’5’’
  • Vertical:  32.5’’ standing, 39.5 max

With their fourth selection of the draft, the Hornets could afford to take a flyer on a prospect with untapped potential at this spot.  Taking a center wasn’t an option because they had already selected two, but players with size at any other position should have been considered.  Instead, Charlotte opted for Riller, who ranked 45th on the HP Draft Board, but was considered to be a first-round talent by many others.  Signed to a two-way contract, the Charleston product has yet to play as a pro due to a knee injury suffered in the preseason.

Riller had a prolific four years at Charleston, averaging better than 18 points per game for three straight seasons, and finishing his career with 2,474 points, the second most in the history of the Colonial Athletic Association.  He was also named to the All-CAA team as a junior and a senior.  This past season, Riller ranked in the top 15 of DI for points per game (21.9) and PER (31.2), and he ranked in the top 5 of CAA for both win shares (6.0) and BPM (7.1).  Additionally, the senior averaged 5.1 rebounds, 3.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game, with shooting splits of .499/.362/.827 and an A/T ratio of 1.26.  

Of course, the CAA doesn’t offer the stiffest competition, and we have to take that into account when breaking down Riller’s stats.  Over the past two seasons, he played just four games vs. high-level, out-of-conference opponents who made (or would have made) the NCAA Tournament:  VCU and LSU last season, and Richmond and Providence this season.  The chart below shows all of his non-conference games vs. high-level opponents over the last two seasons, with the tourney teams noted with an asterisk.  As you can see, Riller didn’t exactly run the gauntlet against these nine teams, and most of his numbers took a dip against the relatively tougher competition, especially his shooting percentages.  

11/18/18Oklahoma State14.3%0.0%60.0%754410
11/22/18LSU *20.0%0.0%0.0%445300
12/15/18VCU *71.4%75.0%87.5%3031420
11/13/19Oklahoma State35.7%0.0%100.0%1648230
11/28/19Wake Forest38.5%0.0%33.3%1141121
11/29/19Providence *60.0%33.3%90.0%2955321
12/14/19Richmond *46.7%0.0%87.5%2133310

Riller’s strength is his ability to break down defenders with his dribble and score off the bounce, either driving to the rim or pulling up.  His moves include quick crossovers combinations, Euro-steps, and deep step-backs.  He is more effective attacking the basket than he is as a shooter; on floaters and runners he ranked at 92nd percentile for PPP as a senior, and on other half-court shots around the basket (via drives, cuts, and so on), he ranked at the 88th percentile.  As a jumper shooter, he ranked at the 78th percentile.  Being a triple threat, he was most effective when handling in the pick and roll, ranking at the 97th percentile for PPP.

Again, we have to consider who Riller produced those numbers against, and how he passes the eye test.  The senior tested well at the NBA Combine, but personally, I did not see exceptional athleticism from him on the court against higher-level competition.   He is quick, crafty and skilled as a ball handler, and has great body control and touch to finish effectively.  However, against better defenders, he doesn’t have the best fluidity as a ball handler, especially when you speed him up with defensive pressure.  Under those conditions, he can have some trouble controlling the ball (3.1 turnovers per game), and at times, he dribbles into situations with no place to go with the rock.  Additionally, as a right-hander, he favors driving right and finishing with his right.  He can go either direction and finish with either hand, but last season in the half court, his field-goal percentage when driving left (37%) was significantly lower than when going right (69%).  

As a shooter, Riller is as equally effective off the bounce as he is on the catch-and-shoot.  He does have a bit of a low release, and lacking great size, his mechanics may have to change for him to succeed moving forward.  For his career, he made 36 percent of his 3s, and given that he is already 24 years old, there is some concern about him improving that percentage at the NBA level, where the distance is greater and the defenders are much bigger and faster.  

Defensively, Riller tends to catch his breath on this end of the court, lacking aggression and giving shooters too much space.  At 6-foot-1, he is not a threat to block shots (0.3 per game this season).  His foot speed and agility can be assets on this end, but he will have to be more consistent and intense with his effort.  

57.  Reggie Perry (PF/C)

  • Team:  Mississippi State
  • Age:  20.8
  • Height:  6’9’’
  • Weight:  250
  • Wingspan:  7’0’’
  • Vertical:  30’’ standing, 33.5’’ max

Considered an afterthought on what was a deep Brooklyn team, Perry may see more action than expected this season due to the Nets’ roster being depleted after the acquisition of James Harden.  In the team’s last three games, the rookie has totaled 44 minutes, 17 points, and 12 rebounds. 

Perry, a large and powerful man, emerged as a starter midway through his freshman season, replacing the enigmatic Aric Holman at power forward.  Perry had a fine freshman campaign, earning SEC All-Freshman honors, but he clearly had a way to go on both ends of the court in terms of offensive skill, defensive awareness, and overall athleticism.  Even so, he tested the draft waters last year, attending both the G-League and NBA combines.  Among other things, Perry produced poor results in the athletic testing events, and he ultimately decided to return to school.  

In between his freshman and sophomore seasons, Perry gained valuable experience with the United States national team at the 2019 FIBA Under-19 World Cup.  In seven games, he averaged 13.1 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 1.4 steals per game, leading the United States to a gold medal.  He was also named tournament MVP, besting players such as teammates Tyrese Haliburton and Kira Lewis, Argentina’s Leandro Bolmaro, Serbia’s Filip Petrusev, and Mali’s Oumar Ballo (Gonzaga).

As a sophomore, Perry was a much-improved player, looking much lighter on his feet.  His footwork was better in the post, and he was much more willing to put the ball on the floor and to shoot from the outside.  Perry became the focal point of the Bulldogs’ offense, and he made strides in nearly every primary statistical category, with the main exception being turnovers (2.9 per game, 8th most in SEC).  On the season, he averaged 17.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 2.0 combined steals and blocks per game, with shooting splits of .500/.324/.768.  For overall points per possession, he ranked at the 80th percentile.  The sophomore also ranked in the top five of the SEC for rebounding percentage (19.1), PER (29.0), win shares (5.4), and BPM (8.5), and for his overall efforts, he was named the SEC Co-Player of the Year.  

First and foremost, Perry uses his size and strength to his advantage to be a force in the paint, as a rebounder and a scorer.  He lacks tremendous length and vertical pop, but he compensates by having a nose for the ball and carving out the appropriate space underneath the basket.  A right-handed player, he is more effective turning with his left shoulder in the post, but he is efficient when turning with his right as well.  The sophomore can finish with either hand, including hook shots, and he will occasionally knock down a turnaround fade-away as well.  He does, however, have a tendency to be indecisive in the post, which is something that he needs to work on.  

On the perimeter, Perry’s shot mechanics are fairly sound, but his release is on the slow side.  His free-throw percentage of 74.8 bodes well for him to improve his percentage from deep.  The 20-year-old doesn’t often shoot off the bounce, but he is surprisingly smooth on pull-ups.  As a driver, he has underrated speed; there is nothing nifty about his handle, but he can effectively attack hard closeouts.   

Most of Perry’s offensive possessions last season were fairly evenly distributed between post-up, spot-up, transition, cuts, and put-backs.  In terms of PPP, he was well above average in all but one area — cuts, where he ranked at the 49th percentile.  In the other four categories, the percentiles ranged from 65th in transition to 91st on put-backs.  For the second consecutive season, he did not get many possessions in the pick and roll; on limited attempts, he ranked at the 61st percentile as a roller, and at the 49th percentile on the pick and pop.  

On the defensive end, there are concerns about Perry having the necessary length and athleticism to be effective on the NBA level.  He definitely played with better awareness this past season.  As a freshman, he seemed clueless at times on when to help, switch, and rotate, and he was horrible at defending the pick and roll.  While he made good progress as a team defender, he still was often a liability on the perimeter, lacking the ability to quickly change direction.  He also was just average in terms of steals and blocks, averaging a combined 2.6 per 40 minutes, and at the same time, he fouled regularly (3.1 times per game).  

58.  Paul Reed (PF)

  • Team:  DePaul
  • Age:  21.6
  • Height:  6’9’’
  • Weight:  220
  • Wingspan:  7’2’’
  • Vertical:  26.5’’ standing, 37.5’’ max

Power forward is the position where the Sixers lack quality depth.  Ranked 28th on the HP Draft Board, Reed was one of the more underrated players in this class, in my opinion.  However, an underwhelming performance at NBA Combine did not help his draft stock.  Still, he is an energetic player, with good length and plenty of vertical pop.  Signed to a two-way contract, Reed is unlikely to see much action this season, but he is definitely a player to keep an eye on. 

First and foremost, Reed is an impact defender and a terrific rebounder.  He has a great combination of length and mobility, and can cover a lot of ground.  He is typically quick to recover, close out, and block shots from the weak side.  He hustles all over the floor, is not afraid to defend on the perimeter, and can be very effective with the hard hedge.  This past season, the junior averaged 10.7 rebounds, 1.9 steals, and 2.6 blocks per game, ranking second in the Big East in all three categories.  Per 40 minutes, he averaged 5.6 steals and blocks, which put him at the 99th percentile among this year’s draft prospects.  He also had a defensive rating of 87.6, which was the best in the Big East and 38th in DI.  

Reed is not perfect, however.  He lacks ideal speed and quickness, and he can be slow to change direction, which is problematic when defending smaller players.  He also had some issues as a team defender at DePaul, mainly with decision-making, but part of that was likely due to a poor surrounding cast. 

Offensively, Reed is not spectacular, but he is effective, making good use of his length, mobility, and agility.  He has great body control around the rim, and he has a soft touch with his jump hooks and runners.  As a junior, he averaged 15.1 points per game, with solid shooting splits of .516/.308/.738, and he ranked at the 77th percentile for overall PPP.  The 21-year-old runs the floor effectively, and is a very good finisher in transition (73rd percentile for PPP).  He is also an effective scorer as a cutter, roller, post-up player, and offensive rebounder, ranking no worse than the 53rd percentile for PPP in any of those categories.  

Reed appears to have some untapped offensive potential.  His handle can be a bit shaky, but he is capable of shooting off the bounce and scoring in isolation.  His biggest weakness is his jump shooting (43rd percentile for PPP as a junior).  His mechanics are not the prettiest — when shooting, his body has a little too much backward lean, and his shoulders are often not square to the rim.  Also, he appears to shoot on the way down on occasion.  His percentage from deep needs to improve, but he’s fairly reliable from midrange (57th percentile for PPP).  Also, his career free-throw percentage of 73.9 bodes well for him to improve his 3-point percentage in the future.

59.  Jalen Harris (CG)

  • Team:  Nevada
  • Age:  22.4
  • Height:  6’4’’
  • Weight:  195
  • Wingspan:  6’7’’
  • Vertical:  37.5’’ standing, 41.5 max’’

With the Raptors bracing to potentially lose both Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol via free agency, which ultimately did happen, I thought the team would select a big man at this spot.  However, the Raptors are not overflowing with bench talent at any position, so taking the player that they believed had the best chance to stick was likely the team’s mindset.  Harris, who emerged as a serious second-round prospect following an outstanding performance at the NBA Combine, was signed to a two-way contract after being selected.  

Harris, who has an interesting history and comes from a basketball family, is an excellent all-around athlete and deceptively strong.  He has a quick first step and a solid handle.  He is an aggressive scoring guard, who is always probing and looking to penetrate.  At the rim, the Texas native displays great body control and can finish through contact and/or well above the rim.  He is also a threat to hit jumpers at all levels, making liberal use of pull-ups, step-backs, and turnaround fade-aways, and he is relatively effective from deep (36 percent for his career).  Additionally, he gets to the free-throw line often (5.5 FTA per game as a junior), and is excellent from the charity stripe (84 percent for his career). 

As a junior this past season, Harris got off to a slow start due to a foot sprain, but he was arguably the hottest player in the land over the second half of the season, scoring 20 or more points in 14 of his last 18 games.  During that span, he had a four-game stretch of 30 or more points, and his lowest output in any of those 18 games was 15 points.  When it was all said and done, he finished the year as the leading scorer in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 21.7 points per game (14th in DI).  He also averaged 6.4 rebounds, 3.9 assists (6th in the MWC), and 1.1 steals per game, with shooting splits of .446/.362/.823 and an A/T ratio of 1.64.  Additionally, he ranked in the top five of the conference for PER (27.0), BPM (7.6), and win shares (5.2), and ultimately earned first-team MWC honors. 

This past season, Harris frequently handled the ball and ran the Wolf Pack offense, even though Nevada had a capable point guard in Lindsey Drew.  Handling in the pick and roll accounted for 33 percent of Harris’ offense, and he ranked at the 88th percentile for PPP, with and without pass results included.  He also ranked at the 88th percentile for combined points and assists per possession, overall.  The junior was most effective as an isolation scorer, which accounted for 14 percent of his possessions, ranking at the 90th percentile. 

Defensively, Harris is a solid but not spectacular.  He is not aggressive on this end of the court, typically playing it safe and focusing staying in front of his man.  As a junior, he ranked third on Nevada for defensive rating (99.6 — 20th in MWC), and in terms of PPP allowed, he ranked at the 60th percentile among DI players.  He is an active and alert team defender, maintaining smart spacing and generally closing out and rotating in a timely fashion.  As previously noted, Harris is not one to take many chances, and he produced below-average numbers in terms of combined steals and blocks per 40 minutes (1.53).  However, given his athletic skills and that he won’t be carrying such a heavy offensive load as a pro, it would not be a surprise to see Harris be more effective as a defender at the pro level. 

Harris has been limited to two minutes of action so far this season, as the Raptors have been one of the healthier teams in the league.  Recently, his father, Erion Harris, a former player at SMU, told me that it’s frustrating because Jalen has basically played only three seasons in the last six years due to his transfer from Louisiana Tech.  “He’s still waiting for his opportunity in Toronto, a guard heavy team with very little rotation,” said Erion Harris.  “It’s not ideal for a second-round rookie, but he’s uniquely prepared to deal with this because of his crazy road here.  He’ll likely split time at point guard if he goes to the G League bubble. Unless they have some roster turnover, he’ll likely be off ball there (too), so he’s working on all parts of his game, prioritizing defense, shooting, and playmaking.”

60.  Sam Merrill (SG)

  • Team:  Utah State
  • Age:  24.7
  • Height:  6’4’’
  • Weight:  205
  • Wingspan:  6’4’’
  • Vertical

I thought the Bucks would go for a traditional point guard or a stretch four/five at this spot, but you can’t have too many shooters.  Milwaukee thought enough of Merrill to sign him to a standard rookie contract, but he has been limited to 43 minutes of action so far this season. 

Merrill was one of the most efficient scorers and shooters in this draft class.  He has an extremely quick release and deep range on his jumpers, and is very effective when shooting off the bounce or coming off screens.  The senior is also an excellent passer, who can handle in the pick and roll.  He lacks great athleticism and length, but he makes up for that with craftiness and smarts. 

A four-year starter at Utah State, Merrill was named a first-team All-MWC selection as a junior and a senior, and in 2019, he was the conference’s Player of the Year.  In Mountain West history, he ranks in the top five for career points (2,197), 3-pointers made (319), 3-point percentage (42.1), free-throw percentage (89.1), true-shooting percentage (62.4), offensive rating (126.1 — 7th best in DI history), and offensive win shares (16.6). 

Though he did not win the MWC POY award as a senior, Merrill had his best year in terms of overall productivity, and he had excellent performances against some of the Aggies’ toughest opponents (LSU, Florida, St. Mary’s, and three games vs. SDSU).  For the season, he averaged 19.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.9 assists, with shooting splits of .461/.410/.893 and an A/T ratio of 2.5.  In terms of overall metrics, he ranked in the top five of the conference for PER (26.0), win shares (7.2), and BPM (9.9 — 15th in DI), and he also ranked at the 97th percentile for overall PPP.

While there is little doubt about Merrill’s ability to shoot and pass, there are some significant concerns.  At 24 years old, he was one of the older prospects in this class, and his lack of athleticism and length negatively affects him on both ends of the court.  On offense, he can struggle to finish around the basket.  On the other end of the court, he has never been anything more than an average college defender, who averaged just 1.2 combined steals and blocks per 40 minutes this past season.


Best Undrafted Players


Devon Dotson (PG)

  • Team:  Kansas
  • Age:  21.5
  • Height:  6’1’’
  • Weight:  185
  • Wingspan:  6’3’’
  • Vertical:  31.5’’ standing, 40.5’’ max

Only two players ranked in the top 50 on the final 2020 HP Draft Board were not drafted.  Ranked 36th, Dotson was signed to a two-way contract by the Bulls, who could use a true floor general. 

An undersized point guard, Dotson was one of the quickest/fastest players in this draft.  He’s a blur.  He’s also explosive vertically and has great body control.  The sophomore’s speed and tight handle make it very difficult for defenders to stay in front of him.  On the other end of the court, he is a tenacious on-ball defender, though his lack of size is certainly a concern at the pro level.  

Last season at Kansas, Dotson averaged 18.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, 4.0 assists, and 2.1 steals per game, with shooting splits of .468/.309/.830 and an A/T ratio of 1.64.  He led the Big 12 in points per game, steals per game, and win shares (6.3 — 13th in DI).  He also finished in the top ten of the conference in numerous other categories, including true shooting percentage (57.8), PER (25.4), and BPM (11.3 — 8th in DI).  For his efforts, he was named as an All-Big 12 and an All-American selection.  

Dotson is an excellent pick-and-roll handler, ranking at the 84th percentile for PPP as a sophomore.  He’s fearless going to the basket, can finish with either hand, and draws a lot of fouls (5.7 per game), but he needs to become more proficient with runners/floaters (48th percentile for PPP) to compensate for his lack of size.  He’s also smooth when pulling up, but he must improve from deep.  College defenders tended to give him space to shoot, fearing the drive, and he is going to have to take advantage of that at the next level.  He is also not the most creative and efficient playmaker, though that could improve as he becomes more of a 3-level threat.  

Killian Tillie (PF)

  • Team:  Gonzaga
  • Age:  22.9
  • Height:  6’9’’
  • Weight:  220
  • Wingspan:  6’8’’
  • Vertical:  27.5’’ standing, 32’’ max

Ranked 42nd on the HP Draft Board, Tillie was arguably the best shooting big in this draft class, but a long injury history and a poor showing at the 2020 NBA Combine very likely hurt his draft stock.  The Grizzlies signed him to a two-way contract, but he has yet to make his NBA debut due to a hamstring injury.

Tillie has a high basketball IQ — he doesn’t take bad shots, makes timely passes, and doesn’t turn the ball over.  His strength is his sweet shooting stroke that is economical and features a quick release; he made at least 40 percent of his 3-point attempts in each of his four seasons at Gonzaga.  The Frenchman excels on the catch-and-shoot, but he can also knock down jumpers on the move, pulling up in transition, shooting off screens, and knocking down turnaround fade-aways in the post.  Additionally, he is an excellent scoring option via the pick and roll, effective when popping or rolling.  His back-to-the-basket game includes drop steps and right-hand hooks and runners; he is effective turning with either shoulder, but he clearly likes to set up on the right block.  

Last season as a senior, Tillie was a first-team All-WCC selection.  He averaged 13.6 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.8 combined steals and blocks per game.  He had excellent shooting splits (.535/.400/.726), and a terrific A/T ratio (1.88) for a big man.  He also ranked at the 98th percentile for overall PPP, with 65 percent of his offense coming from spot-up (75th percentile), pick-and-roll (92nd percentile), and post-up (93rd percentile) possessions.  

The main concern about Tillie is his injury history.  As a junior, he missed the first 15 games of the season following surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right ankle.  He saw limited action in 15 games, and was shut down near the end of the season due to a partially torn ligament in his right foot.  As a senior, he was eased back into action, and was hampered by a sore left ankle for much of the season.  In total, he missed nine games last season.  

Tillie’s last completely healthy season came in 2017-18 as a sophomore.  He appeared quicker, compared to other seasons, and it showed in many of his numbers.  That season, he finished in the top five of the WCC for field-goal percentage (58.0), true-shooting percentage (66.9), defensive rating (93.6), PER (23.8), win sharers (5.6), and BPM (9.6).

Another concern about Tillie is that he is a tweener.  Standing at 6-foot-10 in shoes, he’s not an elite rebounder or shot blocker, unlike a typical center, and he may not have the foot speed to play at the four spot at the pro level.  At the NBA Combine, he did not fare well in the athletic testing, and a lack of speed and quickness was evident on the perimeter as a senior.  He can be a step slow on rotations and closeouts, and he is not the fastest up and down the court.  On the bright side, he did average a respectable 3.0 combined steals and blocks per 40 minutes last season, and if he can ever regain his sophomore form, he may develop into a respectable defender.  

Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements:  Stats used in our scouting reports mainly come from Synergy Sports Technology, RealGM.com, and Sports-Reference.com.  Other outside sources are noted with links to the source.


  • Richard C. Harris

    Richard has worked as a sports writer/editor/analyst since 1998, and is NBA credentialed. He has contributed to various magazines, radio shows, and a number of other sites, including ESPN.com, SI.com, and USAToday.com. He is the former CEO of FantasyFootballExperts.com and a former member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA). He is currently the Managing Director at Hoops Prospects. Follow on Twitter @HoopsProspects.