An Early Look at the 2016 Draft Class: Tier 3
We are coming down the home stretch with tier three of five of our early 2016 NBA Draft Analysis. Tier three includes players projected to be low-end starters and high-end role players. This group of players is usually one of the largest in the draft pool, consisting of 12 to 15 players on average. So let's take a look at tier three.
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, SG, Kansas, Sophomore
*Photo via CJonline
Now...that name is quite the mouthful. Most college basketball fans aren’t aware of Mykhailiuk, but NBA draft experts are. A potential top 10 pick, the biggest problem with Mykhailiuk is his small sample-size of games played, and unclear role at the next level. However, the Ukrainian strengthened his resume by playing in the 2014 European U18 Championships, and leading Ukraine to a silver medal, while averaging 16 points per game.
At 17 years of age, Mykhailiuk started the season at Kansas and was the youngest player in college basketball. He started six games ahead of Kelly Oubre, who was a first round pick in last summer's draft. At Mykhailiuk's young age, he will mature and grow into his body, and grew two inches over the summer. He is now listed at six-feet-eight inches tall. Mykhailiuk looks to score first and will probably be most known for his spot-up shooting at Kansas. He is a deceptively solid athlete who could have a breakout season, and surprise the entire college basketball world.
Henry Ellenson, C, Marquette, Freshman
Henry Ellenson is a player that didn’t make much noise during the summer before his freshman campaign. He was supposed to be on the United States Fiba U18 team, but a severely broken hand kept him out from spring and summer basketball activities. Ellenson did recently play four games in Europe -- as part of the college basketball international tour -- and dominated by averaging 20 points and seven rebounds per game. He also has unique skills for a six foot-ten-inch big man who weighs 230 pounds. Ellenson can run the break, put the ball on the floor, and step out to knock down jump shots. Playing on an awful Marquette team, he should produce in college and put up big numbers.
Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan, Senior
*Photo via UMhoops
Caris LeVert is a prospect that most basketball people are torn on. You can find him in mock drafts ranging from a lottery pick to the late first round. He was injured halfway into last season, and his return will be interesting after a foot surgery. He is listed at six feet-seven inches tall, with a wingspan of seven feet-one inch. His length and above average athleticism give LeVert an ability to guard multiple positions. However, his lack of muscle will raise questions as to whether he can play at the next level. He could also have trouble creating his own shot and finishing at the rim. I do not see LeVert’s skills translating to the NBA.
Domantas Sabonis, PF/C, Gonzaga Sophomore
Son of former NBA player Arvydas Sabonis, Domantas Sabonis is a skilled big man with an ability to produce at the next level. At seven feet tall, Sabonis burst onto the scene in only his freshman season at Gonzaga last year. The Southpaw is not a flashy player, but makes his moves quickly and efficiently from 18 feet and in. Sabonis’ 66 percent shooting shows his high basketball IQ, which also comes with toughness and an ability to finish. He’s an average athlete who makes up for it with hard play, but an inconsistent shot and struggles on defense will raise questions come draft time.
Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame
*Photo via scout.com
Demetrius Jackson was a trending topic this offseason. It doesn’t appear that many are sold on him, but there have been flashes of potential. Jackson is slightly undersized (six feet-one-inches tall) for the modern NBA point guard, which may affect him defensively. With Jerian Grant in the NBA, it's hard to gauge what Jackson will do in a lead role. He is a very good scorer that shot 50 percent from the field, and nearly 43 percent from three-point range. However, he is an unproven ball distributor (1.5 to 1 assist/turnover ratio) which may have been because of limited opportunities. I rank Jackson lower than most because he is unproven; however, he does have talent and could be a lottery pick next summer.
Diamond Stone, C, Maryland, Freshman
Diamond Stone is your average throwback center. He stands at seven feet tall and weighs around 250 pounds. He plays very well with his back to the basket, and had a solid outing at the McDonald’s All American Game. Stone scored 14 points in 19 minutes while shooting seven of nine from the field. The biggest concern with him right now is his body. Stone has a solid frame, but needs to work on gaining muscle and shedding body fat, if he wants to be effective in the fast paced NBA. Because of Maryland's talent, we may not see huge numbers from Stone this year, but he will be very efficient.
Damian Jones, C, Vanderbilt, Junior
*Photo via Sec Sports
Damian Jones made a late surge last season, to raise his draft stock to first round considerations. Standing seven feet tall with a seven-feet-three-inch wingspan, Jones is explosive and athletic. He is very raw at this point in his career, particularly on the offensive end. Another concern is that Jones averaged only six rebounds last year in 29 minutes. There is no question that Damian Jones has a very high NBA ceiling, but he will need to improve his offensive game and rebounding. He is one of those guys that could either be a top five pick or a second rounder.
Marcus Lee, PF, Kentucky, Junior
Marcus Lee is similar to the unicorn of college basketball. While most players transfer to another school the second they aren't given playing time, he weathered the storm and just may have turned himself into a mid first round pick, or even a late lottery candidate. Lee has been going at it everyday in practice for the past three years with NBA players, such as: Karl Anthony-Towns, Willie Cauley-Stein, Julius Randle and Trey Lyles and he is ready for his turn. With his seven feet-three-inch wingspan, Lee is also a quick and athletic rim protector. Adding more muscle will improve his rebounding at both ends of the court.
Troy Williams SF Indiana Junior
*Photo via Sporting News
Troy Williams is a guy that non-basketball watchers would know plays basketball. His long-lengthy frame, six feet-seven-inch height, and six feet-ten-inch wingspan make it obvious. His length and long arms make Williams a huge mismatch in college, but those numbers are fairly normal for an NBA wing player. However, his wingspan and athleticism combined could make him great defensively at the next level. If Williams cleans up his shot mechanics, he could mold into a three-and-d type of player. His jumpshot has promise (46 percent from three point range last season) but he only attempted one every two games.
James Webb, SF, Boise State, Junior
James Webb burst onto the college basketball scene late last season, and is a player with some upside. He showed an ability to score in his sophomore season, and then followed it up with a strong outing at the Nike Skills Academy. A six foot-nine inch forward, Webb could fall into the “tweener” category. It remains to be seen as to whether he has the foot speed to stay with NBA wings, but he is a very good finisher at the basket. If he improves a streaky outside shot, he could become a player who scores at will and improves his draft stock.
Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland, Sophomore
*Photo via Washington Post
For as good as Melo Trimble was last year -- and for as good as he will be this year -- there are physical limitations that are holding him back. If he were two or three inches taller (with longer arms) he could potentially be a top five pick. Instead, the best case scenario is that he gets drafted in the late first round, which has been an NBA trend for undersized guards with tiny wingspans. His inconsistent jump shot and lack of point guard instincts make him a risk, but his quickness, defensive prowess, and ability to finish are intriguing.
Kennedy Meeks, C, North Carolina, Junior
The next coming of Glen “Big Baby” Davis in the NBA is Kennedy Meeks. He was inconsistent last season, but showed a great deal of potential. Meeks has reportedly slimmed down to around 265 pounds, and his big body will allow him to establish good post position on the block in the NBA. He played with more effort this year, and with an improved midrange jumper his future is bright.
Yogi Ferrell, PG, Indiana, Senior
*Photo via Getty Images
I often hear that Yogi Ferrell is not an NBA basketball player, which could be one of the craziest theories ever. You can say that he’s not a pure point guard and is undersized, but Ferrell does one thing better than any player in college basketball. He scores at will! He creates his own shot off the dribble -- in isolation situations -- with only a few seconds left on the shot clock. The biggest difference between Yogi and other college point guards who scored at will, is that Yogi scores with both athleticism and size.
Ferrell tore Tyler Harvey apart for 27 points (a second round pick by the Orlando Magic). He dropped 14 points and six assists on Terry Rozier (a first round pick by the Boston Celtics). He also outplayed both D’Angelo Russell and Shannon Scott for 26 points (Russell was a top three pick and Scott was one of the better defensive point guards in his class last year). Do I think that Yogi Ferrell will be great? No, by no means, but I do think that he will be a valuable “instant offense” bench player in the NBA.