- Mar 16, 2018
- Reaction score
As the regular season is winding down, we eagerly await the next wave of talent set to crash the league. Let's take a look at what's in store, and how the incoming prospects stack up to this years rookies.
Top player(s): Best overall looking prospect
Rival prospect: Player from last year’s draft that showed the most potential at the same position
Runner(s) up: Guys on the cusp
Far out man: Guys who project to be decent but are farther out
This class features most of its best defenders at the center position. The potential is there for some of these guys to become all-star type bigs, but most importantly these guys can get the job done in the paint on the defensive end.
Garrett is one of the best all-around prospects in this draft. His outside game reflects that of a quality free-throw shooter, while not being an absolute liability handling the ball or on the boards.
At just 19, Edwards is almost on the same level as Garrett in every aspect. His jump shot needs some work, and his handles are bottom of the barrel, but he will be a quality rebounder and post defender coming right into the league.
Indiana drafted Matthews with pick 17 of the 2022 draft, and he's outperformed all the other bigs of his class in every aspect. In 73 games, the 21 year old has put up 13 points and 8 rebounds in 28 minutes per game. With some improvement in his post game, Matthews could really shine as a two way big.
As a defensive big goes, this guy is solid. He could step in and start for most teams in need of a 4 or 5. For teams already well enough off there, he's easily still someone you could rely on as a super sub at the PF and C spot. His rebounding is middle of the pack as far as the class goes, and at 23 he might not have big growth spurts in his first couple seasons. However, he may be a classic #GoRebound big in this league.
White has what it takes to rebound and defend the post, but that's about it. His handling may be the worst in the entire class, of any position. He does, however, boast the best defensive ratings of them all.
Far Out Man:
This guy has what it takes on the offensive side. He may be best suited at the 4, as his rebounding is a bit behind the other mid-1st rounders, but he's worth a flier for any team with a need for depth at the position. His defense is average, give or take, so expect some growing pains if you intend to start him.
Another big man, this big man is a BIG MAN. Surprising handles for his size, needs work on his rebounding and jump shot to find a starting role on a good team. Still worth keeping your eyes on if he makes it past #ThePurge
This position is extremely slim pickings in this class. Expect to need to grow any of the guys you may be targeting, from the mid-lotto and later.
About as average as a "top player" gets here, Leonard needs development in multiple areas before I would consider him starter material. His defense and handles appear to be the best parts of his game as of now, but his offense could grow to be special with proper guidance. As a 4, his rebounding is light for my taste. He might make for a good sub at the 3 and 4 spots.
Recently sold for a whopping $6, Cox hasn't done a lot in 67 games. He was drafted 18th overall by the Blazers, and given ample opportunity to prove himself there. He has accumulated 8 double doubles, and made the Rookie/Sophomore game during the break. Shooting just 43% from the field, he averages right around 9 points and 6 rebounds per.
Lacking in just about every facet of the game, this cat looks raw. At 22, he may need some seasoning in the G-League for a couple seasons. Rebounding and defense should be his primary areas of focus.
With game similar to that of Esposito, Starks has some growth on the boards and in the paint to make before he cracks a rotation offering him more than 12-15 minutes per game. His outside game is behind Esposito as well, but he's still one of the best couple PFs of the class.
Far Out Man:
Every facet a step or two behind the dudes listed above, Swinson is just 18 and a very raw prospect. Sometimes raw means malleable, but Swinson looks like a 2nd rounder at best. Several G-League seasons seems like the future for this teen.
Not quite the representatives of the position as last class, there's still a dearth of talent to be found on the wings this class. Let's dive in.
Leary Z is a quality forward, one that could most likely slot in at the 3 or 4 out of the gates. With top tier defense and a respectable balanced offensive game, he could represent the rookie 1st league team next season.
More of a guard/forward than Leary, this guy is a potential steal for teams needing buckets off the bench from a cost-controlled prospect. Unlikely to find G-League eligibility his first season, he'll need to produce in his rookie season to find growth early on in his career.
Red Harper/E.J. Montgomery
This duo has been getting buckets for the surprise 76ers this year. Harper was drafted by Philadelphia with the 7th overall pick, while Montgomery was drafted 12th overall and has been shipped from Boston to Houston and finally to Philly. One will likely wind up a 1st team rookie, so long as they stay healthy.
Most likely to get buckets off the bench, this balanced wing is a solid 2-way player at this point of his development. His defense is probably his most polished, with some work on his outside game and handles he could have some serious volume.
Far Out Man:
Nothing of note for Harlicka, his game is average at best when compared to other bench wings in the league as presently constituted. He looks like a decent defender at worst, so he should see a late-1st selection I imagine. With some work on his jumper, he could crack a starting rotation after a season or two in the G-League.
Another solid guard class, the GMs who run a very fast outside focus offense should be drooling.
Just 20 years old and one of the better 2 way guards with a solid offensive skill set, Patterson could easily be the first shooting guard off the board. The 2 runners up are right on his heels, however, and he'll have some work to do to make 1st Team All-Rookie next season.
Potentially the best defensive wing of the class, this dude has some game. He's closer to a runner up than a top prospect, but there's some upside to him as his offensive game is more polished if you look closely. Also just 20 years old, he could be a staple as a back-up wing for a competitor while also offering upside if given some time to season up in the G-League.
The 2nd overall selection of 2022, this dude can ball. Winner of the Rookie of the Month right out of the gate, Watts has posted a 17/4/5 line with a steal and a half while shooting 46% from the field. Easily my #1 SG of the class, and should represent them as the 1st Team All-Rookie this year.
At first glance, there's got to be better prospects as a runner up, no? Well, DOK has some upside as a potential combo guard. With some growth in the handles department and a dead eye from the outside, he's got a shot to make some noise as a super-sub guard type in his rookie season.
Far Out Man:
Marlatt is a walking bucket with range, but needs some love on the other side of the ball. However, at just 19, he's got the kind of upside you take a flier on if you have multiple picks in the later 1st or early 2nd.
As a slasher, Collins has game. The handles to create separation and get to the paint, he should find a niche on a balanced team. If he develops some outside game, he could be one of the better scorers. 2nd round flier, or UFA, should find some G-League time to round out his game some his rookie season.
Splitting hairs with this class as there are many different point guards to scout out. There are some more traditional dish and defend points, while some are pure buckets.
The best point in terms of dishing and defending, he should be the first off the board. I'd consider him a top prospect of the entire class if his outside game were stronger, but for any team who needs a back-up point that could start in a pinch, he's an easy selection.
Similar style to Aminu, but more of a scorer and just behind in terms of his handles and defensive abilities.
Three time Rookie of the Month and most likely Rookie of the Year, the former 9th overall pick has been balling out for Detroit. In 70 games thus far, he's dropped 18 points and dished out 7.5 assists per game while sustaining a solid .466/.842/.420 clip. Setting the bar high for the next class.
A slight step behind the top players of the class, Foster has the two-way game to make just as much noise if he can continue to grow in his first season.
Most likely to succeed as a non-option or bench guard, Knight still has talent to excel in the right system. An underrated rebounder and defender, Knight could be an excellent option in the later 1st for anyone looking for a G-League candidate.
Far Out Man:
Chappell is a dude who can get buckets. He has the ability to create his own shot and knock them down once he gets a little space. With a bit of work on his catch and shoot game, he could be a spot-up 3-point 2 guard off the bench. A little love on the defensive side and he could be a menace later on in his career.
One of the more interesting points in the class, Kupchak doesn't have any particular path that would suit developing. However, at just 20 years old, he should be a mid-late 1st round target.