As the draft nears, there are a few players that’s value need to change. In this article, we pick out 3 prospects that are being overvalued and undervalued.
It was a disappointing and short season at Duke. He didn’t play well for what was expected of him. Johnson is a 6’9” forward who’s athletic but didn’t show enough skill. His strength was passing, and it showed in transition. Johnson struggled in the half-court, though as he tried to force things that weren’t there and wasn’t making the simple reads. He consistently struggled with turnovers, and that can’t be overlooked. Johnson’s 3 point shot was a glaring weakness the whole year as he played spot minutes at the 5 as Duke would lack spacing if he was playing as a forward. Teams didn’t have to respect him from there. Until that changes, it’s hard to project his fit. Then versatility is supposed to be Johnson’s key to the league, but he was a poor defender ranking in the 21st percentile. Considering he’s struggled on the defensive end and isn’t respectable from distance, he shouldn’t be a lottery pick.
Draft Range should be: 18-25
Kai’s biggest strength is his perimeter defense as he’s got quick, light feet. Jones will certainly have teams taking advantage of that defensive versatility. His defense could be an issue though when guarding 5s as he’s not strong, not great on the glass, and prone to fouling. Jones also doesn’t protect the rim as well as people think as he only averaged 0.9 BPG. His biggest swing factor will be his 3 pointer because even though he shot a respectable 38.2% from 3, it was on limited attempts and poor free throw percentages indicate it could’ve been a fluke. Kai’s a tweener where he should be a team’s 4 defensively but play the 5 offensively.
Draft Range should be: 26-34
Franz has a lot of promise as a player as his defense will most certainly translate. His quick feet and understanding of angles will help him immediately. He will switch and be able to defend 2-4. He’s got a high IQ and does have some skill offensively too. Wagner is an intelligent passer who has some ability to attack a closeout. A concern over the season though was that he struggled against the better teams as a scorer. He doesn’t have a “go-to” move or skill set on that end. The key will be if he can develop a jump shot and that will open up his offense. He shot 34.3% from 3 but shot 83.5% from the line. The issue looked more mental than mechanical, which could be seen as a good sign. The former Wolverine has been rumored to have a promise in the top 10. He does have a high floor and will be a good player in the league, but that’s too early for someone who wasn’t providing anything offensively at times.
Draft Range should be: 12-17
Cooper gives many reasons not to like him on paper. He is undersized, inefficient, and shot 22.8% from 3. Despite these flaws, if you watch Cooper play, not many think the game like he does. He sees plays before they happen, especially as a passer. Cooper is also a very confident player as, despite the poor shooting splits, he never shied away from the moment and would take the shot the defense gave him. Sharife’s issue on his jumper is evident as he leans backward when he shoots. The good thing is, the issue is clear, and if Sharife puts the work in, the jump shot will come. Then he impressed as a driver as he could drive with either hand and made many difficult shots at the rim. His speed allows him to get in transition and push the ball. He does a great job, especially in transition, at finding teammates and is the best lob passer in this draft. Cooper does need to get a little more dog in him defensively as he’s already facing a disadvantage with his lack of size. Because of IQ, he was able to get by defensively at Auburn, but he will need to rely on more than just his smarts to make an impact on that end at the next level. Cooper has what it takes to become a starting point guard or a strong backup if he can get his balance as a shooter, because he is so quick, shifty, and manipulates the defense to the extent that can’t be coached.
Draft Range should be: 14-21
The all-time leading scorer of Oak Hill Academy showed out his freshman year of college averaging a ridiculous 23.0 PPG. Cam did this while showcasing the variety of facets to his offensive game. He scored coming off screens, spot-ups, pull-ups, stepbacks, floaters, and finishing through contact. He has such a versatile skill set which makes him that much harder to defend. Thomas will be a floor spacer despite what the numbers suggest. He wasn’t the most efficient hitting only 32.5% of his 3s, however, he shot a large volume and many were contested. Thomas can hurt a defense off the P&R as he ranked in the 95th percentile too. He’s not a good passer or defender right now. Thomas is just a guy who can score. The good thing for Thomas is that it’s a scorer’s league as he is too polished to bust completely. The upside isn’t clear yet, but at the very least, he will provide a spark off a team’s bench and take over the offense as a 6th man.
Draft Range should be: 11-18
Joe Wieskamp is a late riser as he showed glimpses at the combine of what he can be at the next level. First of all, his production was great as a Hawkeye as he shot a blistering 46.2% from 3 while ranking in the 97th percentile on catch and shoot jumpers. He did most of his work off the catch as they ran an inside-out offense where he didn’t need to create for himself. At the combine though, Wieskamp showed a little more of what he can provide. He was playing out of dribble handoffs and pulling up off P&Rs. Something Joe didn’t do often at Iowa. At the combine though, he was being used in a role reminiscent of how the Heat used Duncan Robinson. Wieskamp is 6’7” with a 6’11” wingspan who is an intelligent, team-first player. He’s the type of player many contenders desire, and while the mechanics aren’t as clean as Duncan’s, he can serve in a similar role.
Draft Range should be: 19-27
Article Written by Bradley Patten
Stats found on Synergy (https://synergysports.com)
Photo credit to Reagan Lunn/Duke Athletics (https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2020/11/duke-basketball-jalen-johnson-coach-k-recruiting-nicolet-img-academy)