2016 NBA Draft Big Board: Simmons Alone On Tier 1

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Hold on to your butts: this is a long one.

So, as of this writing on December 6th-9th, we are sitting right around the 20-25% mark of the college season, just over a few weeks (and 6-9 games) in. Since my last writing (October 24th), the board has.... changed. The #1 player is familiar. Beyond him, some of the changes are too drastic to estimate in just one word.

A quick note: I'm probably quite a bit more reactive than most others in crafting my board, and a bit more willing to jump the gun on some players and potentially end up wrong on them. But when I do it, often I have found that I come out of it with a whole lot of finds before the consensus catches up on them (or I just keep them higher than consensus forever, which I am also fine with) (..or they regress//simply don't pan out).

Anyways, with that - let's get right to it. Hell, I'm excited.

Tier 1

1. Ben Simmons, PF/SF/C, LSU

So Ben Simmons is the best prospect in this class. The one small, very minor caveat is that he's rather old for his class. He's been 19 since July. However, he's still clearly the #1 guy. (Embiid turned 19 in March of his freshman year, for example.) There's only one prospect I'd be slightly worried about passing him once they both hit the NBA and are into their careers, but we'll get into that below.

6'9", 240, 6'10" wingspan, incredible straight-line explosion and change-of-speed. Per 40 minutes (in a 250-minute sample), 16.7 boards (4.7 offensive), 6.7 assists to 2.4 turnovers, 2.7 steals and 1.8 blocks, and 22 points on 54% 2P and 75% FT. He has already taken 38 2-point jumpers, but has made only 26% of them. And lastly, he's making 74% of his shots at the rim.

He'll go #1. He'll be a two-way star (probably a superstar). He'll be best utilized over his career likely as a 4. Not much to see here.

Tier 2

2. Dragan Bender, PF/C, Maccabi Tel Aviv

He's the youngest player in the draft, turning 18 a few weeks ago. He's seeing inconsistent minutes for his pro team and putting up inconsistent production. However, to me, he's the only obvious guy who has an obvious puncher's chance to turn out better than Simmons (as in, if both pan out).

7'1"+, 220, 7'2"+ wingspan. Base skills, and level of intelligence, of seeming understanding of how to impact the game (to win games) on both sides... simply fantastic. In a 148-minute sample so far (10 minutes a game), per-40 he's at 6 rebounds (2 offensive), 3 assists to 1.3 turnovers, 2.4 blocks and 1.4 steals. Extremely low samples for all here especially, but his scoring numbers are 10 points on 44% 2Ps (18 attempts), 31% from 3P (16 attempts), and 57% on FTs (7 attempts).

Not eye-popping numbers, but not bad either. He's got amazing physical tools and has always been ahead of his age group in intelligence, passing for his size/position, and on defense. I think he might be best utilized at 5 in the NBA long-term, but he'll be called a 4 until then. Oh, and his contractual buy-out from Tel Aviv is in 2018 (and another in 2019).

3. Zhou Qi, C/PF, Xinjiang

There's totally an argument for Qi as the second-best prospect in this class. He's 19 and turns 20 in about a month. To be clear, his biggest (only, I'd say) weakness is his frame. He is alarmingly skinny. But he's not ignorant to the fact that he is skinny and that it's a problem for scouts (here, however, is a legitimate snapshot of his arms while dunking in FIBA u19 from September). So he's eating and working out to bulk.

He stands 7'2", weighs around 210-220 and has a 7'7" wingspan (and a standing reach the same as Gobert). Statistically, this season, every single number except FT% up from last season -- in a 443-minute sample, per-40, he's at 11.9 boards (3.4 offensive), 1.7 assists to 1.5 turnovers, 4.9 blocks and 1.5 steals, and 22 points on 68% 2P and 68% FT... and 4-of-6 on 3Ps. He also has drawn 105 FTAs to 113 2PAs! Anecdotally, I've seen two games of all of his offensive and defensive involvements from this season, and he shoots 2-point jumpers with some regularity - so the fact that he's at 68% from 2, and that he draws fouls at an almost 1:1 rate, seems even more insane to me.

From the eye test, everything about him seems great. He plays the offensive 4 much of the time because Andray Blatche sits in the post (somewhat explaining low offensive rebounds), and he's really great at passing, finishing, rolling, and he's really good at shooting and even taking guys off the dribble. On defense, he can keep up with smaller guys on the perimeter, down to guards some of the time, and he's an incredible rim-protector. Great rebounder to boot.

His team is 12-1 on the year, and he's very clearly the best player on it. He comes over in 2018. Love.

4. Brandon Ingram, SF/PF, Duke

Slow start to the year had many calling him overhyped and had him drawing comparisons to Kelly Oubre. Well, he's by far the youngest of the top freshmen (turned 18 in September), so that might explain that away. Throw him into college basketball in January 2017, that's when he'll be the same age Ben Simmons is now. | November 2016, he'll be Jaylen Brown's age. | May 2017, Skal Labissiere's age...

However, he's very much been pulling it together recently, and creeping back up near the top for most everyone. He's clearly not Kevin Durant, but then nobody is. He stands almost 6'10", has a 200 to 210 lb frame with a 7'3"+ wingspan, and he reaches about 9'2". He can shoot off the catch and off the dribble (bad start, but 6-of-10 in his last two games; SSS), he can rebound and he can definitely play a little D (in time, he should be downright menacing here).

On the year, in a 242-minute sample and per-40-minutes, Ingram's at 6.8 rebounds (2.5 offensive), 2.3 assists to 2.6 turnovers, 2 steals and 2 blocks, and 20 points on 52% from 2, 34% from 3 and just 59% from the line. He's at just 58% at the rim, but also an impressive 47% on 38 2-point jumpshots.

I have the gall to put Ingram as high as 2, but I slot him 4 tentatively. The 2-4 area is close for me. All three are absolutely wonderful and look like surefire studs in the league. The most developed (and the oldest by almost two years) of the three, Zhou Qi, is the one getting by far the least attention, with almost no one calling him a top prospect... which is disappointing.

Tier 2.5

5. Jaylen Brown, SF/PF, Cal

So far, he's been absolutely elite in some areas and very bad in others. But having an awesomely elite body and top-of-this-class-or-near-it level of straight-line, lateral and vertical athleticism and explosion, he belongs in this tier.

Like Simmons, he's also a little old for his class (turned 19 in October). Like Simmons, he also has a developed body, a chiseled 6'6.5", 225 and with a 7'0.5" wingspan. For those familiar with DeanOnDraft's "Which Prospects Get to the Rim the Most?" articles (a method of statistically measuring the best slashers/drivers/finishers), well ... Jaylen is breaking that model so far. Very very badly. The top wing last year was at 1.77 unassisted rim-FGs (minus putbacks) per-40-minutes. Jaylen is at 4.16 UA rim FGs (minus putbacks) per-40 so far.

Per-40, in a 175-minute sample, Brown's at 9.7 boards (2.8 offensive), 1.8 assists to 3.9 turnovers, 0.9 steals and 0.2 blocks, and 25 points on 53% 2P, 22% on 3Ps (23 attempts) and 65% from the FT line. He's shooting 74% at the rim, and 17% on 2-point jumpers (23 attempts). Another key skill is that he draws fouls at a fantastic rate for such a high-volume 2P shooter -- 11.1 FTAs for every 14.1 2PAs.

So far, the steals+blocks (stocks) number is rather worrying, but you have to assume it'll rise. A key part of Jaylen being in this tier is absolutely his defensive potential (rebounding already appears to be there). College wings with his profile always defend. If he doesn't, it's a problem. But I'll keep him high until he proves to me he can't.

6. Henry Ellenson, PF/C, Marquette

Ellenson has been absolutely awesome thus far, and he turns 19 next month. His offensive skillset is as versatile as was hoped, and even better than expected across the board. First of all, he runs the floor well (not particularly explosive but he's an ~above-average 6'10" athlete (230, 7'3" wingspan)). When he gets a D-board, he makes excellent reads and can make wonderful outlet passes or bring it in transition and diagnose whether to drive it or dish it.

He might be one of the best mid-range shooters in the whole class. He has excellent form, extending out to 3-point range (where he's confident). And lastly, for his O, maybe the thing that jumped out to me the most the first time I watched a full game was his post passing: he's bizarrely quick at making reads and executing -- brings Towns' passing from last year to mind so easily. One of the highest-feel players of the 2016 class.

His D is curious so far -- curious that he's projected as bad, curious that he's at a rather low BLK/40 count so far. He passes the eye test for rim-protection, at least when I've seen him. I wonder if playing next to Luke Fischer (6'11", 3.0 blocks per 40) prevents his BLK/40 from creeping up.

Lastly, for the stats - in a 238-minute sample, per-40-minutes Ellenson is at 12 boards (2.2 offensive - Fischer's at 4.7 offensive), 3.2 assists to 3.5 turnovers, 1.8 blocks, 1.0 steals, and 22 points on 56% 2P, 29% 3P and 75% FT. He's also at 55% on 44 2-point jumpers (which does count some post hook shots), but just 57% at the rim (he's looked super good at finishing, with either hand, but guess % doesn't reflect it yet). And also 43 FTAs, which, considering he's only taken 22 shots at the rim, seems incredible.

Tier 3

7. Furkan Korkmaz, SG, Anadolu Efes

Probably surprising placement. But he just turned 18 in July, and I think his shot might be the purest in the class. There's no other way to say it, but I think it's rather Steph-ish in the way it comes out at different angles and seemingly quicker each and every time. Incredibly good off the dribble and off the catch as well, and just perfect at getting it off anywhere anytime. The form gets even weirder inside the arc, and the release even quicker -- but the % even higher (I'd guess).

Beyond his shot, he's a 6'7", 190 (??? wingspan) above-average (pretty explosive) athlete. He has a tight handle and is fantastic at passing (and not turning the ball over). A likely sievish defender as of now, but how many 18-year olds playing professionally are good there? When driving, he appears a slinky and elusive finisher, but one who consciously avoids contact.

In nearly 550 minutes last year, playing for Efes at 17 years old the entire year, Korkmaz put up a very good, efficient line. Which is absurd. This year, in 200 minutes to this point, he's arguably doing even better. Per-40, Furk's at 4 rebounds (0.2 offensive), 2.4 assists to 1.2 turnovers (3.1 to 1.8 last year), 0.6 blocks and 0.2 steals (1.7 last year), and 15 points on 55% 2P, 48% 3P and 4-of-6 on FTs. Last year, it was 14 points on 47% 2P, 42% on 3Ps and 78% from the stripe.

8. Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah

So he turned 20 in October. When you're producing the way he is, you're allowed to be already 20 and a top-8 prospect. A traditional rim-rolling+O-boarding big on offense and rim-protecting big on defense. Standing 7'1", 240, but with just a 7'1" wingspan, he has a frame built for the job. Really solid athleticism too, runs the floor extremely well and is very mobile inside the arc on both sides.

He's an easy prospect to size up, so let's get right to the stats - he's improved across every single stat so far in 2016, which could regress (easy schedule, etc.) but still stands out because almost no one is improved in EVERY area. Per-40, in 240 minutes, Poeltl's at 13.2 boards (4.7 offensive), 2.5 assists to 2.2 turnovers, 3.3 blocks and a steal, and 28 points on 69% 2P and 67% FT. He's at 71% at the rim. And he also draws an awesome amount of fouls, at 11 FTAs (to 15 2PAs). Two-way bigs are fun.

9. Skal Labissiere, C/PF, Kentucky

There's a lot to dislike in the old man's profile. The fact that he turns 20 likely before he's played his last college game was something of a turn-off, but anybody could certainly stomach it for the right prospect (see: Embiid, Joel). But then the season began, and it was almost immediately obvious that Skal lacked feel/any kind of in-game basketball intelligence, in the worst kind of way.

But there's still merit in standing about 7'0", weighing almost 230 and sporting a 7'2" wingspan on top of one's solidly explosive athleticism. (Though I would also criticize him for a certain lack of movement fluidity.) And there's also merit in generally knowing how to use those tools in order to block shots on defense and make jumpshots on offense. Whereas last year's Towns was a project worth developing in the post, Labissiere is simply not (because of his lack of passing, because he could easily get tunnel vision there and his base skillset is not nearly high enough...).

Did I mention he's absolutely horrendous at rebounding? To put it into context: if you'll recall Jahlil Okafor's D-rebounding concerns -- well, Jah had a DRB% of 18%, and 7 D-boards per-40 last year. Skal currently rests at 13% DRB, and 4.7 D-boards per-40. He bad.

And finally, again, all of the stats. Per-40 (178 minutes), Labissiere is at 7.0 boards (2.3 offensive), 0.7 assists to 2.9 turnovers, 3.8 blocks and 0.7 steals, 6.1 personal fouls, and 22 points on 61% 2P and 70% FT. As for that jumpshot - he's shooting 51% on 37 2-point jumpers so far! And he's also at 77% at the rim so far. Hope!

10. Jamal Murray, SG/PG, Kentucky

Murray has been statistically bad so far. Quite. No way around that. But he's passed the eye test in spades at times, and he certainly has his group of fans here. At 6'4", with a 6'6" wingspan and pushing the scales for 210, he's big for a point guard. But the problem is that it's hard to see him as an NBA point guard.

The last point(?) guard to go in the lottery with AST:TO and AST% to TOV% ratios under 1 was Austin Rivers. Could Murray pick it up? Totally. He has a tight handle and he's not unintelligent, and I've seen some good passes. I've also seen equally bad turnovers, in greater numbers.

He turns 19 in February, and his strengths, if you're unfamiliar, are that he can shoot well off the dribble and the catch. More on that below. He appears a weak but not unwilling defender. And he's decent at driving, but I haven't seen any good dribble moves yet (which he'll need if he wants to drive, being a non-explosive athlete).

Well, in his 264-minute sample so far, per-40-minutes Jamal sits at 5.3 boards (1.5 offensive), 3.3 assists to 3.8 turnovers, 1.7 steals and 0.0 blocks, and 18 points on 44% from 2P, 35% 3P and 79% from the stripe. He has also taken 23 2-point jumpers on the year, making 21% of those. And he's a solid 61% at the rim.

11. Monte Morris, PG, Iowa State

The majestic beast of a man in the article picture. As I see it, there is no weakness in his profile. Now into his junior year, he turned 20 in June. So, pretty damn young for his class. And with a 6'3"/180/6'5" frame, with solid if unremarkable athleticism, he's got not-too-shabby tools.

I've heard that he broke the NCAA AST:TO ratio record in both his freshman and sophomore seasons, and he's on pace this year to shatter his own record, again. He's ambidextrous and he can drive either side with ease (dribble moves aplenty!), and he is a really awesome finisher. Last year, in the same criteria presented above with Brown, Monte would've been the third-best slashing point guard (unassisted rim FGs minus putbacks per 40), behind Olivier Hanlan and Delon Wright, and ahead of Kris Dunn.

Morris also shoots the 3 off the catch quite well, and he's shot off the dribble well before as well. Easily one of the most intelligent players of the class (which is, tbh, absolutely loaded with them), if not the most intelligent of all. And to top it all off, a very tough defender at the college level.

Monte's per-40 line on the year, in a 210-minute sample, is at 4.8 rebounds (0.4 offensive), 7.9 assists to 1.5 turnovers, 2.3 steals and 0.8 blocks, and 18 points on 60% from 2P, 35% from 3P (39.5% career) and 74% FT (79% career). Also great is that he's great at the elbow 2-point J that Chris Paul has perfected, shooting 48% on basically that shot alone (18 attempts) this year. And he's at 68% at the rim, 72% there last year. :)

12. Denzel Valentine, SG/SF, Michigan State

Maybe the best bet in the draft to return solid value where he's picked. That doesn't mean he deserves to be higher necessarily, just that he's an actually 'safe' player but he probably won't be picked toooo high (like Poeltl could be). He's going to translate. Where someone like Kaminsky last year, while he had awesome baseline skills, could have had a play style that didn't translate at all.

He's always been a great rebounder for his size/position. He's always been an excellent passer for his position/age/usage. He's been a good-to-great shooter since his sophomore year. Quick release. Ambidextrous finisher and passer. Super intelligent player, of course, and one whose off-ball play, down to every cut he makes, is incredibly advanced. He just turned 22 a few weeks ago, and he has a nice 6'5"/220/6'10" body, with, I believe, quite nice non-explosive athleticism for his frame.

Stat-wise, he's doing stuff that has never been done before, ever. In 278 minutes, Denzel's per-40 line sits almost humblebraggedly at 11.4 rebounds (1.5 offensive), 10.2 assists to 3.0 turnovers, 1.0 steals and 0.3 blocks, and 25 points on 56% 2P, 40% 3P and 86% from FT... he's also at 56% on 38 2-point jumpers, though just 55% at the rim.

13. Chinanu Onuaku, C, Louisville

He's one of the top defenders in college, maybe the best one in the whole nation (DRtg of 73 is in fact #1). He also turned 19 just one month ago. Excellent rim-protecting instincts as well as the ability to get into passing lanes and poke balls loose in an almost Noel-esque way. He's 6'10", 250 and with a 7'3" wingspan.

He's fantastically improved on offense, going through last year at just 6 points per-40 and a sub-0.5 AST:TO ratio on just 10% usage (5% AST to 33% TOV!). This year, in 136 minutes (still being limited to under 20 minutes, but not by foul trouble), per-40 Chinanu's at 14.4 boards (5.3 offensive), 2.4 assists to 2.9 turnovers (up to 10% AST to 16% TOV), 3.2 blocks and 2.4 steals, and 18 points on 59% 2P and 53% from the stripe. Even more awesome, he's at 59% on 22 2-point jumpers, last year only at 23% on 22 2-point jumpers! Hopefully, his at-rim-% also gets back up to last year's near-80%, so far this year sitting at 59%.

14. Wade Baldwin, SG/PG, Vanderbilt

As a Baldwin believer since the beginning (credit to Rubes, again), seeing him become a stud has been awesome. The new DX mock that came out just a few minutes ago as of this writing has him #18! So he's gaining quite some steam in the draft community, both here on LB and on Twitter. I had him probably egregiously #8 back in October.

He's fairly young for his class, not turning 20 until late March. He's 6'3" 200 and not an explosive athlete, but he had a 6'10" wingspan measured when he was 15/16. His passing numbers have gone down this year, but I'd say he passes the eye test even more. He's making reads and displaying vision/anticipation that could make him a real NBA point guard.

Baldwin is also clearly one of the best shooters in the class. Certainly has NBA range, certainly good off the catch and has shown ability off the dribble as well. And finally, he's been really tough on D in games I've seen as well.

Per-40, this year Baldwin's at 5 boards (0.4 offensive), 4.6 assists to 3.5 turnovers, 2.2 steals and 0.2 blocks, and 22 points on 56% 2P, 54% from 3, and 86% from the stripe. He's also slashed incredibly well this year, at 3.8 unassisted rim FGs per 40 (63% at the rim). Small sample both years, but it seems he's bad from mid-range.

15. Nigel Hayes, PF/SF, Wisconsin

If you've been around here on LB a while, you might know that I was in love with Nigel Hayes last year. Well here he is, coming in right around my late-lottery again. He turns 21 in a week. His scoring efficiency should absolutely regress to the mean (improve), but he looks really good regardless. His creating from the post, as Rubes predicted, has ramped up a ton.

I trust his basketball intelligence on top of his amazing dimensions (6'8", a ripped 240, 7'3" wing). This year, he's more than doubled his AST% so far while steadily guiding his TOV% even further down. I absolutely believe he will be an awesome NBA defender of 3's and 4's, and he'll be able to check down to the 1 and up to 5's. In Wisconsin's conservative switch-everything defense, his stocks are low. I really would not place concern in that.

Per-40, in 321 minutes, Hayes sits at 7.1 boards (3.4 offensive), 4.7 assists to 1.9 turnovers, 0.6 steals and 0.5 blocks, and 17 points on 41% 2P, 27% from 3P (these numbers were 54% and 40% last year), and 73% from the line. He's also at 57% at the rim and 25% on 43 2-point jumpers (percentages down from 68% and 41% last year). Regression is on its way, guys.

16. Vince Edwards, SF/PF, Purdue

Edwards is very much one of my favorite guys in the draft, and I even underrated his athleticism to this point. He appears bouncier and lankier this year. The only reason he falls down here is because I'm not sure he's a good defender yet (he very well might be, but I need to watch more) and his shot hasn't been consistently great yet, though I do trust it to be good to very good in the NBA.

He stands 6'8", a toned 225, with a 7'0" wingspan. He turned 19 in April, so, pretty young for his class. His strongest skill is his passing - his intelligence and his quick reads, his understanding of every pass to make... it's not hard to see when you're watching. He's 100% a weakside player, not a ball-dominant one, which I think bodes well for his NBA translation.

This year, he was moved down from the 4 to the 3 because of incoming recruit Caleb Swanigan, and has responded to that better than one could've hoped. Even playing with total rebounding machines Hammons (16 per 40), Haas (13) and Swanigan (13), he still boards very well. He's responded with getting to the rim a bit less (paint is clogged), and upping his volume of 2-point J's and 3's.

Per-40, in 213 minutes, Edwards is at 8.6 rebounds (3.2 offensive), 5.3 assists to 2.6 turnovers, 0.4 steals and 0.8 blocks, and 15 points on 58% 2P, 36% from 3P and 74% from the line. He is at 75% at the rim (68% last year), as well as shooting 52% on 23 2-point jumpers so far. I will say that, with his skills, age, body and athleticism, I could easily see placing him over even Denzel Valentine (with whom he shares many traits), because by 22 I'd probably bet on Vince being > current DV. But there's certainty in the latter's translation, etc...

17. Patrick McCaw, SG, UNLV

McCaw was really good as a 19-year old in the time he got last year (turned 20 two months ago), but no one really noticed due to the fact that he was #222 in RSCI recruiting. Well he's worked his ass off, and might deserve to be quite a bit higher than this.

He stands 6'6", 190, and he has every offensive skill you could want. Very tight handle for a wing (has been tasked with bringing the ball up and running the O at times), great passer, very good slasher, and an excellent shooter off the catch (not sure off the dribble). And to top it off he has 3.9 steals-per-40, which is insane for anyone (even in UNLV's scheme), let alone a non-PG prospect.

Per-40 (257 minutes), Pat's at 4.5 boards (1.4 offensive), 5.1 assists to 2.5 turnovers, 3.9 steals and 0.2 blocks, and 23 points on an efficiency of 60% from 2P, 46% on 3Ps and 80% from the line. He doesn't take almost any 2-point jumpers (I appreciate that, from a Sixersian perspective) and he's at 61% at the rim.

18. Demetrius Jackson, PG/SG, Notre Dame

As many predicted, DJax looks like a superior prospect to Jerian Grant in the lead role of the ND offense. An incredibly explosive athlete with a diminutive yet very chiseled stature (6'1", 200, 6'5"), Demetrius is a dynamite shooter off the dribble and the catch, and a very smart offensive player both on the ball and off it. Definitely one of the purest shooters in the class, in contention for the absolute purest.

He is already 21 as of September, but it's nothing close to a death knell. One of the better statistical [wing] slashers last year, and he's doing well there this year as well. What sucks about him is that he sucks on defense. His tools don't mean he can never be a solid or even good PG defender, but if he's ever forced into the role of a 2 on offense, it'll suck for the defense.

Per-40-minutes, in 283 minutes so far, DJax is at 4.5 rebounds (0.7 offensive), 6.1 assists to 2.2 turnovers, 1.0 steals and 0.3 blocks, and 23 points on 61% from 2, 44% from 3 and 76% from FT. Very much of note, he's also been at 52-53% from mid-range this year and last, though he doesn't shoot there an excessive amount. And, lastly, he's at 63% at the rim.

19. Caris LeVert, SG, Michigan

Caris is also one of the best few shooters in the class, especially off the dribble. He also happens to be a wing who has sported a well-above-1 AST:TO ratio in every year, and over 2 this year. He's young for his class as well, turning 21 a few months ago. At 6'6", 200, ??? wingspan, he could easily make a great secondary handler in the NBA. He's also been a marvelous statistical slasher so far this year.

Per-40, in 230 minutes, LeVert's at 7.1 rebounds (1.2 offensive), 4.8 assists to 2.0 turnovers, 1.6 steals and 0.4 blocks, and 24 points on 52% from 2, 50% from 3 and 89% on FT's. He's curiously at just 25% on 24 2-point jumpers, but he's also finishing at the rim at a 76% rate. Lot of NBA skills.

20. Taurean Prince, SF/PF, Baylor

A player who got up into my top-10 last year, just a guy who is excellent at the game of basketball. Absolutely explosive athleticism on top of a 6'8", 220, 7'0" chiseled body (8'11" standing reach), and real NBA skills to boot. He's one of the best wing defenders in the nation, and he rebounds like a hound. He also shoots the 3 comfortably at 40%, and the hope is there for it to translate. Lastly, to this point, his creation skills were sub-par, but, in his ever-improving profile, his AST:TO is above 1 finally, and he's at a high assist count on the year.

Per-40, Prince is at 7.0 boards (4.3 offensive!), 5.3 assists to 4.7 turnovers, 2.3 steals and 0.2 blocks, and 24 points on 40% from 2P (53% last year), 40% on 3's and 79% from the line. He's statistically not a great slasher and sub-par from mid-range, but finishes at the rim at a 68% clip.

21. Isaac Haas, C, Purdue

Possibly a surprising inclusion even here, but yet another two-way big. If he keeps playing the way he is, he could easily slot even higher. He's not a really young sophomore, turning 20 two months ago, but he's only five months older than Skal, etc.

Another note: it's of course a case of small sample size, but the 2015-16 iterations of Haas, Onuaku and another player this season (Tyler Davis, see more on him below) are the only freshmen or sophomores besides Anthony Davis and Karl Anthony-Towns to sport a 15-or-higher BPM since BPM has been a thing (2008-09).

Haas is 7'2", with a 7'4" wingspan, and he's a toned 300 lbs -- smooth athlete. He's really excellent at scoring in the post in college and he draws fouls like craaazy (FT shooting massively improved this year too). Going against 7'0" 280 great-college-defender A.J. Hammons everyday in practice is probably one reason for his rapid improvements, and potentially a reason to trust him to score over NBA bigs. He might not have good feel at all passing out of the post. And lastly, he's a really good rim-protector as well, with a good feel for disrupting passing lanes on D.

Per-40, in 161 minutes, Isaac's at 12.5 boards (4.3 offensive), 1.5 assists to 2.5 turnovers (up from 0.7 to 4.4), 4.5 blocks and 0.7 steals, and 32 points (!) on 67% from 2P and 73% at the line. 60% on "2-point jumpers," likely all post hook shots, and 77% at the rim. He ALSO draws fouls at a 14.7 FTAs (!) to 15.7 2PAs clip.

-- Not sure about his deadly post-hook sustaining in the NBA, though he's seemingly got the size to go to it if he wants to, and also not sure about how bigs (especially super-huge bigs like him) who draw a huge number of fouls in college translate in that area to the NBA.

22. Ivan Rabb, PF/C, Cal

Not quite 6'10" in shoes, which hurts, but he has a solid 7'2" wingspan, he's only 18 years old (turns 19 in February), and he's a pretty explosive athlete at 220 lbs. His feel doesn't seem great, but it's possible his skills+youth surpass Skal (both should hope to develop into similar players), even though Rabb gives up 2-3 inches and possibly some athleticism.

Per-40 (200 minutes), Rabb's at 13 boards (4.6 offensive), 1.6 assists to 2.9 turnovers, 2.9 blocks and 0.8 steals, and 20 points on 67% from the field and 80% from the line. He's at 82% at the rim (!), being assisted on only 25% of those, and shooting a pretty impressive 46% on 24 2-pt J's.

23. Kris Dunn, PG, Providence

I actually don't hate him. I think, in the right situation (though it'd have been a lot easier if he declared last year), he's developed into a top 10-15 point guard. He's fairly young for his class, which is good, but he does turn 22 in March.

He stands 6'4" in shoes, weighs over 200 and has a great 6'9" wingspan. He's likely the best non-GP2 guard defender in the class, which is a big plus. He's one of the best guard rebounders, as well, which is another plus. Where I take issue is in 1) the relative looseness of his handle, 2) the recklessness of his passing, and 3) his many bad examples of bad shot-selection per game. I don't even hate that he likely can't shoot, I just wish he didn't bring back nightmares of MCW every time he jacked up a 19-footer.

Per-40, in 300 minutes so far, Dunn's at 8 rebounds (1.8 offensive), 8.9 assists to 3.7 turnovers, 4.3 steals (!) and 1.2 blocks, and 22 points on 52% on 2's, 24% on 3's and 71% on FT's. He's an excellent slasher, so I could go either way on being hopeful for that with his explosive athleticism, or being down on it because of his loose handle. He's at 65% at the rim this year, and 37% on 48 2-pt J's.

24. Timothe Luwawu, SG/SF, Mega Vizura

Another European high-volume 3-point shooter. Looks to have creation and defensive upside, though he turns 21 in May. Presents a lot to like, and has improved wildly. 6'7", 210, ??? wingspan. Per-40, he's at 5.7 boards (1 offensive), 3.2 assists to 4.3 turnovers, 2.4 steals and 0.3 blocks, and 20 points on 43% from 2, 38% from 3 and 67% from the line.

25. Dedric Lawson, SF/PF, Memphis

He's the second-youngest guy in the draft, having turned 18 in October. Over a year ago (at 16 years old), he was measured at 6'8" in shoes, 210 and with a near 7'2" wingspan. He's definitely got long limbs, and they might be longer than they were at the time of those measurements. He's handling super high usage for such a young player (and a non-PG), not falling on his face, and he's rebounding/defending like a pro.

Per-40, Lawson's at 12.2 rebounds (3.3 offensive), 3.5 assists to 4.3 turnovers, 2.1 steals and 2.5 blocks, and 21 points on 51% 2P, 17% 3P and 61% on FT's. Sadly, hoop-math only has data for the first two Memphis games of the season, a problem I haven't seen anywhere else. Dedric definitely has a ceiling to go quite a lot higher.

26. Thomas Bryant, C/PF, Indiana

Also one of the youngest guys in the draft, not turning 19 until next July. Monstrous physical profile, at 6'10.5"+ in shoes, 240 and 7'5.5" wingspan (9'4" standing reach) measurements were taken when he was 16. Incredibly athletic for the size as well, running, jumping, but especially laterally moving.

He's doing enough things right in his youth to keep him here. I love the fact that he's confidently attempting 3's, going back to high school days and the events. He was a 70% FT shooter in HS, so there might yet be hope for him there. Of course you want rebounding and blocks a little higher, but they'll get there. Passing as a skill has translated, as has his ability to disrupt passing lanes. Really like him.

Per-40, Bryant's at 9.0 rebounds (3.1 offensive), 2.1 assists to 2.5 turnovers, 2.5 blocks and 0.8 steals, and 20 points on 78% 2P (!!), 17% 3P and 63% FT. Kill it.

27. Jonathan Jeanne, C/PF, Le Mans

He turned just 18 in July, and he's a monster 7'2", with a 7'7" wingspan, but weighing just around 200 lbs. He's very explosive and very very mobile, and his shot-blocking instincts are excellent, but he's not much as a finisher at this point. Very good offensive rebounder, and perhaps most intriguing is that his 3P% sat at 38% on 55 attempts last year, with a good, repeatable enough form.

In the FIBA u18s, Jeanne had a per-40 line of 12.2 rebounds (?? offensive), 1.6 assists to 2.4 turnovers, 3.5 blocks and 3.1 steals, and 15.6 points on 50% from 2, 1-of-12 from 3 and 56% from the line.

28. Cheick Diallo, C, Kansas

He's only 6'9" in shoes, and 220, but with a 7'4" wingspan. You also probably can't get away with playing him anywhere but the 5 in the NBA. AND he's pretty old for his class, having turned 19 in September. So there's certainly some things working against him.

But his motor/energy is potentially top-notch, and he at least seems to know his limitations. Not much worth overanalyzing from a 23-minute sample, but in the two games he's played he's on a rate of 14 rebounds and 7 blocks per-40. So I tentatively place him here, acknowledging his potential as something like a more explosive/better shot-blocking Onuaku.

Tier 4

29. Melo Trimble, PG, Maryland

Very old for his class, turning 21 in February. And he has pretty bad tools for even a PG, at 6'2"/190/6'2" and non-explosive athleticism. But he can shoot off the dribble like crazy, has taken his passing a big step up this year, and is definitely one of the best slashers in the class (dribble moves aplenty, again) -- and he draws fouls at an awesome rate. I can live with him being a bad defender if he's great at everything I want out of my PG offensively.

Per-40, Melo's at 3.3 rebounds (0.3 offensive), 7.7 assists to 3.5 turnovers, 2.2 steals and 0.2 blocks, and 19 points on 63% from 2, 35% from 3 (41% last year) and 80% from the line (86% last year). He's at 79% at the rim (!), and he isn't good from mid-range. He would have led the pack in PGs for unassisted-rim-FGs last year, on top of being a very skilled foul-drawer when driving, and is at 3-per-40 this year (while still drawing FTAs at a rate close to 1).

30. Ron Baker, SG/SF, Wichita State

One of the best players in all of college basketball, one who likewise stuck out among his peers on the Pan-Am team over the summer. He's old, turning 23 in March, and he's only 6'4", 210 (with a 6'9.5" wingspan), possessing non-explosive athleticism. But he can shoot very very well off both the dribble and the catch, is great at passing in the flow of the offense, has a very tight handle (with some dribble moves) and doesn't turn the ball over, and he plays great defense. Incredibly well-rounded player who will make any team better for years.

Per-40, Baker's at 4.5 rebounds (0.8 offensive), 3.6 assists to 2.4 turnovers, 1.5 steals and 0.6 blocks, and 19 points 43% on 2's (lowest of his career by a good amount), 40% on 3's (career-high), and 70% on FT's (career-low by a good amount again). He's shooting more mid-range J's this year, which is likely contributing to 2P% fall (also making them at a lower rate). He is at 69% at the rim, 67% over his career. TOs should fall back down, they're also a career-high (low) right now. Just a good, smart player.

31. Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

I'm sure others have him higher, and I don't even hate him. Maybe a few months older than average for his class, having turned 20 in October, and standing 6'4" with a 6'6.5" wingspan (190-200 lbs). Explosive athlete, relentless slasher and a really awesome shooter. And a good AST:TO! Where he more or less falls apart is that he doesn't defend and length bothers him a lot.

Per-40, Allen's at 6.5 rebounds (0.9 offensive), 3.6 assists to 2.0 turnovers, 1.2 steals and 0.4 blocks, and 26 points on 52%, 46% and 90% efficiency. Gets to the line a lot (combined 62% at the rim), where he's absolutely dynamite. He's also at 38% on 34 2-pt J's, which he probably shouldn't be taking. A promising offensive prospect, to be sure.

32. Stephen Zimmerman, C, UNLV

Turned 19 in September, and has a 7'0"/235/7'3" body. Though he's not efficient from the floor yet, he looks clearly like a big-time rebounder and a good shot-blocker. He might be a pretty good passer and his FT% isn't too poor. Needs to make more of his shots come at the rim. Per-40, Zimm's at 16.6 boards (5.4 offensive), 2.0 assists to 2.6 turnovers, 3.7 blocks and 0.0 steals, and 16 points on 44% 2P and 64% FT; 65% at the rim, though.

33. Petr Cornelie, PF/C, Le Mans

Not turning 21 until next July, Cornelie is a 6'11", 220-230 big man with a wingspan in the 7'4-6" range, which is deeply intriguing. Even more intriguing is that he has a 3-point shot. He also is playing the 4 (from what I read) and has awesome foot speed, enough to keep up with perimeter players, while scouting reports from both DX and European sources say he defends pick-and-rolls very well.

Per-40, Petr's at 10.3 rebounds (3.2 offensive), 0.8 assists to 3.3 turnovers, 0.6 blocks and 0.6 steals, and 14 points on 51% from 2, 42% from 3 and 71% from the line.

34. Keita Bates-Diop, SF/PF, Ohio State

One of OSU's extremely impressive 2014 recruiting class (turns 20 next month). He stands around 6'8", 230, with a monster wingspan in the 7'4" range. His athleticism is less explosive than it is smooth and fluid, and he's obviously all limbs when he moves. Played sparingly last year, but did quite some of noteworthy things that are more or less translating into real skills before our eyes this year.

Per-40, KBD's at 6.6 rebounds (1.3 this year), 1.7 assists to 1.9 turnovers, 0.8 steals and 1.4 blocks, and 15 points on 60% 2P, 31% 3P and 92% FT. 44% on 2-pt J's, and at 72% at the rim. I think his shooting is realer than the 3P% indicates, for sure. When that regresses to the 'mean' (or doesn't), he could be a lot higher or a bit lower.

35. Jae'Sean Tate, SF, Ohio State

And here's the other OSU 2014 recruit. Could definitely make an argument that he belongs above KBD, but when it's hard to get a read on the situation I'd err on the side of the much taller/longer guy who can also probably shoot much better. JST, who turned 20 two months ago, sports a 6'5"/225/6'9" frame, some explosive athleticism, and plays like a guy who would be best utilized at the 4 more than anywhere else. (You see the problem re: his frame.)

He's an extremely good "little things" player who doesn't have an obvious niche on offense. But he's still going to do things that win his team basketball games. My eye test does say he's become much sharper on offense this year, delivering crisp passes where mucked up drives were the only option last year. 5-of-12 from 3 on the year (after just 16 attempts last year), but the FT% strongly suggests that that's fake.

Per-40, Tate's resting at 10.1 boards (2.8 offensive), 1.7 assists to 2.0 turnovers, 1.5 steals and 0.7 blocks, and 17 points on 57% on 2's, 46% on 3's and 45% on FT's. Rather good freshman wing slasher last year, as well as 74% at the rim (70% this year), and 38% on 2-pt jumpers (29% last year). Incredibly odd (read: bad) shooting profile, and the smart money is probably on him just needing to reconstruct the thing from the ground up.

36. Gary Payton II, PG/SG, Oregon State

So he turned 23 a week ago, and he's just 6'2.5" in shoes, 185 lbs and with a 6'6.5" wingspan. But I'd say he's also the best perimeter defender and the best guard-rebounder in the nation. Plus bloodlinez. His D+REB will translate, and he can certainly play the role of a point (is very intelligent), but he probably can't shoot a lick (he is at 6-of-15 on the year, though). Although statistically, he is a very good slasher and finisher, this year and last.

Per-40, GP2's at 9.6 rebounds (3.3 offensive!), 5.4 assists to 2.6 turnovers, 3.8 steals and 1.1 blocks, and 19 points on 56% 2P, 43% from 3 and 69% on FT's. If he's actually developed a shot, at 23 years old, however unlikely, obviously he belongs a lot higher. And again, he's at 68-69% at the rim both years.

-- Tony Allen also only played two years of D-1 ball before coming out at age 23. ;)

37. Josh Hart, SG/SF, Villanova

Hart's a fairly young junior, turning 21 in March. 6'5"/200/6'8" NBA athlete and NBA off-the-catch shooter. Really smart player who does little things well, and, in that, he defends and rebounds at a ++ level. Per-40, Josh's at 9.8 rebounds (2.5 offensive), 2.4 assists to 1.7 turnovers, 1.7 steals and 0.3 blocks, and 20 points on 61% on 2Ps, 31% on 3Ps and 79% on FTs. The shot will come around; it's interesting that he's at 80% at the rim this year and at about 76% for his career.

38. Daniel Hamilton, SF, UConn

Somewhat old for his class, having turned 20 in August. His 6'8"/200 frame and non-explosive athleticism would look a lot better with a wingspan longer than 6'8"... however, he's an insanely good ball-handler and creator from the wing, an excellent D-rebounder, and he shows real promise as a shooter. Per-40, D-Ham's at 12 boards (1.7 offensive), 7.6 assists to 3.0 turnovers, 1.5 steals and 0.5 blocks, and 18 points on 46% 2P, 37% 3P and 86% from FT.

39. Danilo Fuzaro, SG/PG, Minas

Fuzaro (Rubes!) is a very very well-rounded guard, and he turns 22 in a month. He has a 6'5, 200, ??? wingspan frame, and he's a pretty explosive athlete. He thinks he's a point guard in the NBA, but it's gotta be a 2. Prides himself on being a defender, and he can do it all on offense.

Per-40 on the season, Danilo's at 3 rebounds (0.9 offensive), 4.2 assists to 3.2 turnovers, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks, and 17 points on 60% from 2, 33% from 3 and 77% from the line.

40. Daniel Ochefu, C, Villanova

A two-way big with a four-year improvement profile. He turns 22 in a week, and he's got solid athleticism and a high motor to go with his 6'11", 250, 7'3" frame. He rebounds the shit out of the ball, can score in the post in college, has stepped waaay up in improving his passing and cutting down his turnovers, and he can protect the rim quite we..

His one ancillary issue is that, as DX says, "he lacks flexibility in his knees and hips" so much so that defending simple pick-and-rolls is a problem for him. And to make matters worse, Villanova has built [to their credit, very well] around this limitedness to ensure he doesn't get any serious PnR-defense reps. While Ochefu is an incredibly hard worker, overcoming this would take a truly extraordinary amount of work.

And finally, per-40, Big Dan's at 16 rebounds (6.3 offensive lol), 2.3 assists to 1.8 turnovers, 4 blocks and 1 steal, and 19 points on 58% from 2 and 50% from FT (this number went from 48 to 55 to 69 over the last three years, so I expect it'll be higher in no time).

41. Tyler Davis, PF/C?, Texas A&M

So he doesn't turn 19 until May. But he was measured at 6'9", 270 and with a 7'0.5" wingspan over a year ago. One thing to note here is that he dropped 60 lbs in a year or two not long ago, and he's still a big boy, so it's possible for him to drop more. The reason Davis is really tentatively here is that his stat profile through 9 games is unbelievably good from many angles (as I mentioned earlier, he has a BPM over 15 in the early going).

Per-40, TD's at 12.5 boards (4.6 offensive), 2.4 assists to 3.3 turnovers, 2.4 blocks and 2.0 steals, and 23 points on 73% on 2's and 72% on FT's. So far, he's also at 80% at the rim, and another big note here is that he draws fouls at a 10.3 FTA:10.5 2PA rate so far.

Keep an eye on him. His body may suck (or, actually, he may have grown and continued shedding pounds), but some guys can, excuse the cliche, flat out play. And, even as one of the youngest guys in the draft, he might just be one of them.

42. Malik Beasley, SG, Florida State

Quite a lot of people seem to like the [ancient] Dwayne Bacon, but teammate Beasley is a year younger and generally better across the board (giving up a couple inches of height, though). He'll have to come back to earth sometime, but in the early going Beasley (and Bacon, too) is absolutely lighting it up in FSU's fast-paced O, scoring the ball. Beasley turned 19 a couple of weeks ago, and he has just a 6'4"/190/6'6" frame.

He has scored 20+ in 5 of 7 games so far and has not yet had a game where he was under 50% from 2. His per-40 line on the season: 5.8 rebounds (1.3 offensive), 1.9 assists to 2.1 turnovers, 2.1 steals and 0.2 blocks, and 27 points on 61% from 2P (81% at the rim, 47% on 2-pt J's), 52% from 3 and 85% from the line. He has a very quick, very consistent shot off the catch. If he continues, obviously he'll rise and he'll go higher than this in the draft.

43. Tyrone Wallace, PG, Cal

He's young for a senior, turning 22 in June, and he's huge for a point guard, at 6'6", 200, 6'9.5". He's a great driver, drive-and-kicker, transition player, and he understands how to defend. He really likely can't shoot, but that's why he's down here. Per-40, Wallace is at 7.3 boards (0.9 offensive), 6.1 assists to 2.9 turnovers, 1.2 steals and 0.5 blocks, and 23 points on 55% on 2's, 33% from the arc and 60% from the stripe. 62% at the rim and a very nice 46% on mid-range shots so far.

44. Theo Pinson, SG/SF, North Carolina

The passing numbers of all of J.P. Tokoto, Justin Jackson, and Pinson make me cautious about thinking any given UNC wing is a +++ passer. But Pinson, who turned 20 a month ago, even without the passing is still young, still has a nice 6'6"/205/6'11" frame, and is still a seemingly dynamite defender. His scoring issues have definitely not subsided, and he might be a non-prospect. Per-40, Theo's at 7.2 boards (1.2 offensive), 7.1 assists to 2.8 turnovers, 0.8 steals and 1.2 blocks, and 10 points on 33% 2P, 41% 3P and 59% FT.

45. Domantas Sabonis, PF, Gonzaga

I don't typically like PFs who can't protect the rim or stretch the floor. But Sabonis' bloodlinez, rebounding, efficiency and clear in-game intelligence keep him on my board. He can defend 4's, with good footspeed, and he's 6'10"/240/6'10". Turns 20 in March, so a fairly young sophomore. Per-40, Sabonis is at 15 boards (4.4 offensive), 1.5 assists to 3.1 turnovers, 0.7 blocks and 0.9 steals, and 21 points on 63% from 2 and 83% from FT (up from 66%). 72% at the rim, 76% there last year.

46. Kyle Wiltjer, PF/C, Gonzaga

Stretch bigs often find real niches in the NBA, and sometimes can be even better than expected. So despite Wiltjer turning 23 two months ago, he'll likely get drafted and be in the NBA for a while. Because he can shoot, and he stands 6'10"/240/6'11.5". Per-40, he's at 9 rebounds (1.8 offensive), 1.5 assists to 3.4 turnovers (2.7 to 1.6 last year, and >1 his soph year too), 1.1 blocks and 0.6 steals, and 25 points on 54% on 2's, 37% on 3's and 90% on FT's. He was at 71% at the rim last year, and between 48 and 52% on 2-point J's over both years.

And that will wrap up the 'clearly draftable' portion of my board. Missing your favorite prospect? Is your name Smitty or Xepa? Well, too bad, guys, Briscoe and Sviatoslav suck ;)

Some barely-misses were Troy Williams, P.J. Dozier and Aleksander Vezenkov. And, from the consensus draft community, there are some obvious guys missing, your Damian Joneses, your Diamond Stones, your Malik Newmans. I could talk about each, but obviously all have their own flaws and downsides as prospects in addition to their upsides. I just, perhaps arbitrarily at this point, consider them a noticeable tick down from the guys I wrote up, and drew a line in the sand between the two groups.

Anyways, even though you can't possibly agree with everything I wrote, I hope you can appreciate it and hopefully take some of it away - apply it to your own line of thinking. To be thought-provoking, at the very least, was a definite goal here.

Hope you enjoyed :)

Discuss below.

A user-created LB joint. The Liberty Ballers staff does not contribute to FanPosts.