2020 NBA Draft Mailbag Vol1
Many uncertainties cloud sporting events on the national level; with everything on stand-still, there is no telling when they will resume. One effect of the NBA season getting suspended is the status of the NBA draft. Rumors have surfaced, shedding light that the NBA may cancel the draft combine and in-stadium workouts. Many aspects are up in the air, but that doesn’t stop speculation. Here are some questions I was asked about certain draft prospects/topics.
Which players’ stocks are being hurt the most with the cancellation of the NCAA tournament? (Zak Noble)
Truthfully, all of those who were slated to participate in it. The tournament offers a prime opportunity to display talents in front of the whole country. Kentucky guards Immanuel Quickley and Ashton Hagans have seen their respective stocks fluctuate; both could have potentially stuck their name in the late first round with strong performances. Myles Powell has put his nuclear scoring abilities on display over and over again, but capturing the nation’s attention in March Madness could supply momentum to his draft stock like the UK guards.
Who is a part of the all-name first team for draft prospects? (Cameron Tabatabaie)
G LaMelo Ball (Intl)
G Abdoulaye N’Doye (Intl)
F Obi Toppin (Dayton, So)
F Precious Achiuwa (Memphis, Fr)
F Makur Maker (HS Sr)
Could Nick Richards go in the first round? (Cameron Wright)
Perhaps no returning big man has seen the growth that Nick Richards has this season; the junior averaged 14 PPG on 64.2% shooting to go along with 7.8 RPG and 2.1 BPG. Richards has shown the ability to knock down the mid-range jumper, while being effective on both ends of the court. His game shows favorable signs of translating to the style of the modern NBA, and it wouldn’t surprise me if someone took a flyer on him late in the first round. If I had to predict a landing spot for the Kentucky big, it would be in the early second round.
Who is the top overall prospect? (Jalen Mayberry)
In a class with this much parity, answers may vary. However, my top prospect is LaMelo Ball. Point guards of his size don’t come by often; he has exceptional vision and will be a double-double magnet at the next level. Ball’s overall game has matured over the past couple of years as he has grown older. He may need to refine his jump shot just a bit, but his size and shiftiness as a ball-handler will allow him to create his own shot at the next level.
Do you have a favorite prospect? (Zach Stopher)
I do. I am higher on Villanova’s Saddiq Bey than the majority of people who follow the draft; he is currently the 12th rated prospect on my big board. As a sophomore, he averaged 16.1 PPG on a balanced Wildcat team while shooting the deep ball at a 45.1% clip. Not only able to shoot in a multitude of ways, Bey can also put it on the court and drive to the basket. He projects as a high-scoring three-and-D shooting guard/wing like Khris Middleton, and his skillset will allow him to thrive in various roles and systems.
If Golden State lands the top overall pick, who should they select? (Jon Hertig)
The Warriors are in a great position; they have a high draft selection along with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson coming back healthy next season. Put Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green in the picture, and Golden State doesn’t have many glaring needs. I doubt the organization selects a guard, so I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Warriors shop Wiggins and the pick for another star. If they were to trade down, Onyeka Okongwu and Isaac Okoro would fit the team’s system. Okongwu’s high motor and effective play around the basket on both ends would serve as a luxury, while Okoro’s exceptional basketball IQ and defensive switchability are both characteristics of past Golden State teams. Also, keep an eye on Obi Toppin.
Who are some high-ceiling, low-floor prospects? (Cameron Hamby)
Players that fall under this category are usually very athletic with raw skillsets; Jaden McDaniels is the first to come to mind. The Washington freshman is long and agile, but needs to improve decision making while developing an offensive identity. Precious Achiuwa possesses extreme athleticism as well; like McDaniels, he will need to develop an identity in the offensive frontcourt. However, he showed significant strides of improvement during conference play while at Memphis.
What are your thoughts on the first-team All-Americans’ respective draft stocks? (CJ Higgins)
Toppin is making a solid case to land in my top-five prospects; I believe in his unicorn-esque skillset and think he will be an asset wherever he goes. Besides Toppin, I’m not particularly high on the other four. Myles Powell and Markus Howard could see roles similar to that of Carsen Edwards, while Payton Pritchard could develop into a backup point guard role. Garza is a great college player, but I don’t see him carving out a significant role; returning to college would not be the worst idea.