50.) C Luka Garza (Iowa)
49.) SG/SF Aaron Henry (Michigan State)
48.) SG/SF Juhann Begarin (Paris Basketball)
47.) SF/PF Yves Pons (Tennessee)
46.) C Jericho Sims (Texas)
45.) SG/SF Joel Ayayi (Gonzaga)
44.) SF Vrenz Bleijenbergh (Antwerp Giants)
43.) C Charles Bassey (Western Kentucky)
42.) C Filip Petrusev (Mega Basket)
41.) SG Quentin Grimes (Houston)
After spending time at Gonzaga, Filip Petrusev went to play overseas and was the Adriatic MVP. He got in a little better shape as he became a good finisher as a roll-man, can score in the post, and hit 41.9% of 3’s on 3.0 attempts per game. His mechanics look solid, but it would help if he speeds up his shot. Defensively, he gives some cause for concern. Filip was decent in drop coverage guarding the pick and roll, but the lack of lateral quickness hindered him. This will most likely lead to getting in foul trouble by not beating his man to the spot on rotations. Despite this, he offers enough upside offensively to become a role player early on.
Vrenz Bleijenbergh is a 6’10 point forward that reads the floor well and has passing instincts you can’t teach. He understands where, when, and how to deliver a pass to set up his teammate. This is one of his only strengths right now though. Vrenz’s 3 point shot is shaky. He has great confidence, but he turns his whole lower body mid-air to where it creates an imbalance. Then as a driver and defender, he left a lot to be wanted. Despite these flaws, the upside is promising and makes him an intriguing draft and stash candidate.
Another overseas guy cracks the 41-50 range as Juhann Begarin is one of the most insane athletes in the draft. He’s 6’5” with a 7’0” wingspan. Transition is the strongest part of his game right now as it allows him to take advantage of his rare athleticism. He is also better at making the correct passes in the open floor. In the half-court, he has his struggles as he can improve in almost every aspect. His jump shot isn’t reliable, turns the ball over at a high rate, and still needs to work on finishing through contact, especially with his left. With all that said, he is still only 18 years old. He has a lot of time to continue to tune those parts of his game, and the real intrigue is still on the defensive end as he likes to get after guys and play in the passing lanes. He is another likely draft and stash candidate.
40.) SG/SF A.J. Lawson (South Carolina)
39.) SF Kessler Edwards (Pepperdine)
38.) PF Greg Brown (Texas)
37.) PF J.T Thor (Auburn)
36.) PG/SG Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois)
35.) SG Joshua Primo (Alabama)
34.) PF Isaiah Todd (G League Ignite)
33.) SG Josh Christopher (Arizona State)
32.) C Day’Ron Sharpe (UNC)
31.) PF/C Kai Jones (Texas)
Kai Jones falls as the offense can be concerning when projecting his impact. He doesn’t play-make, handle the ball, nor has great touch around the rim. Then his 3 pointer appears to be more of a fluke as Jones only attempted 1.3 3 pointers per game along with questionable free throw percentages. He can finish well on lobs/putbacks because of his athleticism. Then defensively, Jones is better guarding on the perimeter than in the post. He isn’t very strong right now, struggles on the glass, and is prone to fouling. Also, he wasn’t a great rim protector suggesting he’s going to struggle against average starting big men early on. He has the physical tools to be solid, and if he can become a competent shooter from outside, that will help. Right now, he’s a fringe 1st round pick.
The big man from UNC rose on my board as there was a lot to like as a player. He’s got a great mind for the game, reliable passer, and strong rebounder were all the high points. One of the concerns with his transition to the league was his weight. Sharpe was overweight at UNC but has dropped 15 lbs. in preparation for the NBA. One can admire the commitment and his readiness mentally to become a pro. Players that are smart with a work ethic almost always find a way to make an impact.
30.) PF/C Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova)
29.) SG Nah’Shon Hyland (VCU)
28.) PG/SG Jared Butler (Baylor)
27.) PF Usman Garuba (Real Madrid)
26.) SG/SF Brandon Boston Jr. (Kentucky)
25.) PG Tre Mann (Florida)
24.) PG Miles McBride (West Virginia)
23.) SF Ziaire Williams (Stanford)
22.) SF Joe Wieskamp (Iowa)
21.) C Isaiah Jackson (Kentucky)
Joe Wieskamp moves up significantly from the previous board. If you go back to previous drafts and do a redraft of what you would do differently, this helps one realize shooters always have a place and if they do that well, their stock almost always moves up. While he might not have elite upside, he showed for years at Iowa he’s an intelligent player that makes the right plays and threatens a defense as a spot-up. Then at the combine, it was evident he added a pull-up game from 3. He looked comfortable working off of dribble handoffs as well as coming off screens. Assuming he can hit at a similar clip, with his IQ and length, he is more than worth a look for teams in the early 20s.
Nah’Shon Hyland moves into first-round territory as he lit it up at the combine and gave reassurances that he can still score against better competition. His shot-making is ridiculous at times, however, he still needs to gain the IQ as he took shots that NBA coaches won’t want to. Hyland needs to find a situation that will let him play his game and live with the good and bad because, in the right role, he can be a real spark plug off of a team’s bench.
When in doubt, trust Villanova players. They play smart, move the ball, move without the ball, and lean into their strengths. We’ve seen many Villanova players in recent years come in and be immediate contributors as role players and expect the same from Robinson-Earl. His jump shot is better than the numbers suggest as his mechanics are promising. He just makes smart plays as a passer and sets great, wide screens. Then defensively, he improved and got better at playing the angles. He was always a reliable team defender, but his improvement as an individual defender was impressive. Robinson-Earl ranked in the 88th percentile as an isolation defender as he relied on his smarts and good-enough lateral quickness to force his man to take a difficult shot.
20.) PF Jalen Johnson (Duke)
19.) SG/SF Chris Duarte (Oregon)
18.) PG/SG Jaden Springer (Tennessee)
17.) PG Sharife Cooper (Auburn)
16.) SF/PF Franz Wagner (Michigan)
15.) SG Cam Thomas (LSU)
14.) SF/PF Trey Murphy (Virginia)
13.) SG/SF Keon Johnson (Tennessee)
12.) SF Corey Kispert (Gonzaga)
11.) SG/SF Moses Moody (Arkansas)
The more research found on Murphy, the more there is to like. He transferred to Virginia because he wanted to become a better defender. He had absurd shooting splits of 50/43/93 this past year. The combination of shooting, defense, length, athleticism, and a team-first mindset make him worth a look in the late lottery.
Franz does fall to 16 here, but there’s still a lot to like as a player, especially defensively. He has great lateral quickness and makes the correct rotations. The issue for him is that he doesn’t have any skill set offensively that will make him a difference-maker at the next level. He doesn’t have an elite burst, a post-game, or a reliable jump shot. He struggled as a scorer against the better teams in the nation because he couldn’t just rely on athleticism to get around players. He’s going to be a role player in the league, but it’s too soon to tell what his ceiling is.
Jalen Johnson is a player that had his issues before he left Duke. He wasn’t engaged and wasn’t playing “winning basketball.” He played like it was still AAU. He was making nonchalant passes, holding the ball for too long and stagnating the offense, and ranked in the 21st percentile as a defender. This was the most infuriating thing to see. Jalen is 6’11″ and moves well for his size, but he was playing lazy as no one with his athleticism should rank that poorly. I hope I’m wrong on him because if he bought in and matured, he could become a solid player in the league.
10.) PG Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers)
9.) C Alperen Sengun (Besiktas)
8.) PG/SG Davion Mitchell (Baylor)
7.) SF/PF Jonathon Kuminga (G League Ignite)
6.) PG/SG James Bouknight (UConn)
5.) SF Scottie Barnes (Florida State)
4.) SG/SF Jalen Green (G League Ignite)
3.) PG Jalen Suggs (Gonzaga)
2.) PF/C Evan Mobley (USC)
1.) PG Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma St)
Kuminga’s stock is slipping for many, myself included. The issue for him is just how long it will take him to put it all together because right now, someone with similar measurables in Scottie Barnes has shown a lot more promise as a player. Barnes has a mind for the game and offers great versatility on offense as a playmaker and finisher around the rim. His game will continue to evolve and will provide defense early as he ranked in the 70th percentile on that end, and with his freakish 7’3” wingspan, there’s a lot of promise on that end of the floor.
James Bouknight is the biggest riser of the group. The big thing for him has been his improved jump shot as ESPN’s Jonathon Givony was enamored by his pro day and went as far as to say he is looking like “one of the best shooters in the draft.” Other sources have also confirmed that his pro day was very impressive. At this point, it’s hard not to buy into the shooting. Then if the shots are falling, he becomes a guy who can drop 20+ PPG in the league with his athleticism, handles, and finishing at the rim.
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Stats found on Synergy Sports (https://synergysports.com)
Photo Credit to Matt Slocum/Associated Press (https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2933280-uconns-james-bouknight-declares-for-2021-nba-draft-plans-to-hire-an-agent)