By Garret Frei (Garret’s views are his own and not associated with the vitriol usually reserved for media by other writers)
Garret is a recent University of Nebraska Alum, working his way into a front office near you. His hobbies include collecting sports teams hats, constant awe of Steph Curry and thinking solid D-line play trumps QB play for the New York Jets. Oh Bryce Harper for king of the world.
30. Golden State Warriors- Ben Bentil, Providence Friars
Sophomore Forward- 6’9 235
The Warriors look for tweeners and guys who can shoot. Bentil, in my opinion, was the most improved player in college basketball. He’s shown the ability to score inside and out, and another wing span guy. He can move well, and like I said he can score. A lot of his improvement should be thanked to having Kris Dunn as his PG, but Bentil is good. He’s a scorer and a scorer, doesn’t pass very well and really can be a stat chaser. Get him into GS system which is reliant on for creating for others, sacrificing box score for Ws and I think he’ll be fine. He’s not the greatest rebounder, but at this point you look for NBA skills you believe can translate, and his ability to score I believe is why Bentil sneaks into the first round
29. San Antonio Spurs- Anthony “Cat” Barber, N.C. Stare Wolfpack
Junior Guard- 6’2 190
After blitzing the Thunder in game 1, you saw what the Spurs lack and that’s speed and athleticism. The Thunder out talented them and out classed them. Barber is the fastest player in the draft, remind a bit of the Brazilian Blur. He’s a great FT shooter who gets fouled a lot. He can struggle with decision making and can force things.
28. Phoenix Suns- Diamond Stone, Maryland Terrapins
Freshman Center- 6’11(6’9 measured) 250
Only measured in at 6’9 but does have a 7’3 wingspan. There have been murmurs about his work ethic around college park, being forced to run the stadium (to be fair these same things were said about DeAndre [who Turgeon coached as well]). He’s got good touch and is super strong. However when his post game isn’t working he’s a black hole who is an awful or unwilling passer. He doesn’t have the elite post game either that would warrant allowing him to be a black hole. He’s a good help defender, but awful at everything else. And despite his strength and size he wasn’t a great rebounder, seemed unwilling to get nasty. There’s a lot of talent here, the question is if you can get him to want to maximize it. His unique size and strength should allow him to on a roster for years, but if he maximizes his potential he could become a stud in the NBA.
27. Toronto Raptors- Caris LeVert, Michigan Wolverines
Senior Guard- 6’7 205
I think LeVert could be the steal of the draft. He does a lot well, especially on offense. He’s a great shooter who can create and has a high basketball IQ. His biggest weakness is his strength, and this affects both offense and defense for him. He can struggle to finish at the rim and can settle. A potential lottery pick predraft, his injury pushed him back to first round. But his size and shooting ability I think could allow him to be a steal. If the Raptors get Derozan to come back, this pick probably won’t happen, but I think Derozan might be off to LA.
26. Philadelphia 76ers- Cheick Diallo, Kansas Jayhawks
Freshman Forward- 6’9 218
Another Freshman who failed to live up to the hype. He never played much at Kansas and realized that he was never going to play with Self. He’s got + speed for a big, runs the court extremely well, but really really raw. He’s got a unique ability to affect shots at the rim, but probably fouls too much. I think he could develop into a guy like Bismack, who may take years to develop but should blossom into a real NBA player, who can start for a team. I know the 76ers have like 19 bigs, but it’s not like with 93294067 picks they can just keep taking Gs.
25. LA Clippers- Wayne Baldwin IV- Vanderbilt Commodores
Sophomore Guard- 6’3 194
If you like wing span you’ll like this kid. Measured in at the combine at 6’3 but has a 6’10 wing span. He’s got a lot of things people like in the NBA, size athleticism and a good shot. However if he cannot develop into a PG I’m not sure he has a spot in the NBA. He is a great fastbreak player, who still needs time to develop and sitting behind Paul should help. The Clippers could go wing, but I think they’ll look into FA to try and get one. Back up big is another spot, but I think Doc will want to be able to take some pressure off Paul being the only PG on the roster again
24. Philadelphia 76ers- DeAndre Bembry St. Joe’s
Junior G/F- 6’6 210
Best hair in the draft, beyond that he’s a great fast break player. He has good court vision and makes the right pass, despite playing fast rarely turns the ball over. He’s also an energetic guy who will be able to provide sparks off the bench. Really good finisher around the rim, and yes has the elite athleticism looked for in guys this late in the first round. He has worked on his shot, but it’s still bad. Can play weaker than you’d like, and he’s got the size problem. Not a good enough shooter to truly play 2, but not big enough for 3. Think he’s a tweaner who can spark teams off the bench and score in spurts. Not sure he’ll ever progress enough to be a starter
23. Boston Celtics- Thon Maker
19 y/o Center Australia 7’1 216
Don’t need players, will take flyers on guys who have high potential. Thon is the most unknown prospect. A guy who by all accounts is a really good kid, just has the wrong people making decisions for him. After going to a prep school in Canada he decided to go pro, forcing the NBA to rule on the case. He’s got great size, and plays with a ton of energy, reminds me of Bismack in this matter. Decent handles for a guy his size, but lacks the necessary strength needed to play big in the NBA. Will need to bulk up, but could be a steal.
22. Charlotte Hornets- Taurean Prince, Baylor Bears
Senior Forward 6’7 220
Losing Batum will hurt (he’s getting the max, not sure Cha wants to use it on him) but Prince should be a good replacement. He’s long and athletic, and shoots it pretty well. He should develop into a potential 3/D guy.
21. Atlanta Hawks- Tyler Ulis, Kentucky Wildcats
Sophomore Guard 5’9 160
Ulis is a true point guard. He’s a great leader, rarely turns the ball over. He’s got a good shot, very good ball handler and obviously a good IQ. He’s a better scorer then most realize, but he’s always trying to keep his teammates engaged. His biggest weaknesses is his size, both height and frame. He weighed in at 150 pounds at the combine. Tries to compensate for this slight frame to study opponents which can make him a good defender, but I’m not sure this will translate to the NBA game where he can get overpowered. If he ever becomes a starter it will take a creative defensive system to hide him and using angles and funnels to keep him from getting bullied. Even if Atlanta loses Horford in FA, they still have 4 formidable bigs and this under the belief that Jeff Teague is gone.
20. Indiana Pacers- Timothe Luwawu, France
21 y/o Guard/Forward 6’6 220
Pacers are in a really good spot. They have a couple of good NBA players and can address most of their needs in FA. Didn’t like the Vogel firing and not sure going to McMillen makes much sense for what Bird supposedly wants. Anyone can go here, but I think with wanting to play faster the Pacers go with a big wing in Luwawu (6-7 / 205), 6-11 wing span. He’s a good defender, but the lack of strength shows here, but he has improved every year. He’s really good at drawing fouls and has that quirky game on offense. Only shoots 66% from the line.
19. Denver Nuggets- Patrick McCaw, UNLV Runnin’ Rebels
Sophomore Guard 6’7 185
Like the Celtics the Nuggets have a ton a of picks. McCaw is a prospect who has a lot of upside, but is relatively unknown. He is a good defender and has a 6’10 wing span and seems like he could eventually work himself into a plus defender in the NBA. Denver or Boston will probably use one of their first round picks, if they keep them all, on him as he is a total flyer, but if reaches potential could be a steal.Really wanted to put an international player here, Nuggets love their international player.
18. Detroit Pistons- Brice Johnson, North Carolina Tar Heels
Senior Forward 6’9 228
Pistons need front court depth w/ Drummond and Baynes. Brice is an unreal athlete who improved drastically from his Freshman to his senior year. Good finisher around the rim and is a good overall basketball player. I don’t think he’ll ever be a starter, but he’ll always be a good guy to bring off the bench and spot start. Will need to build into frame however (has gained about 40 pounds since his Freshman year). Love the Taj Gibson comp.
17. Memphis Grizzles- Malachi Richardson ,Syracuse Orange
Freshman G/F 6’6 200
Okay athlete with an unreal 7ft wing span to go with a good frame for a 2 in the NBA (6-6 200). Very good shooting form and shoots the ball smoothly. Can force the issue at times, (his 52% true shooting % shows some of this). Shot about the same %s from deep as he did from 2 (35, 39 respectively)
16. Boston Celtics-Marquese Chriss, Washington Huskies
Freshman Forward 6’10 233
With the 928592475 picks and players Boston already has, they go with Chriss. Chriss has a super high ceiling, but easily could bust. Unreal athleticism matched with a pretty good looking stroke (shot 35% from 3 in college). He’s got good hands and is a very good roller in the PnR. He’s an awful rebounder and passer. He only averaged 4.1 rebounds per 40mns. He’s extremely inexperienced and it shows. Maybe the most athletic prospect in the class however.