Since the NCAA Tournament's round of 64 tips off tomorrow at noon, we figured that there would be no better time than the present to roll out our second big board of the season based off of the regular season and conference playoffs. The rules are the same as always. Our panel of nine writers presented their top 20, and we calculated each player's average ranking to create a collective ranking. When calculating out the averages, any player who was not on an individual's list was given the value of 21.
Some of our honorable mentions for this big board include Dedric Lawson, Patrick McCaw, Diamond Stone, Brice Johnson and Caris LeVert.
You can check out the previous Liberty Ballers big board here. Onto the rankings.
20. Grayson Allen - G, Duke, 20 years old
Tanner Steidel (ranked him #17): Nobody likes the white guy from Duke, I get it. Grayson is much more athletic than the average viewer would give him credit for. Again, see white guy from Duke for why. But when a guy can shoot, a guy can shoot and on six attempts per game, Grayson was above 40% for the season. He's not the ideal size for an NBA 2-guard nor does he have the handles to run the point but that ability to shoot whether off-the-dribble or catch-and-shoot is a skill that can keep guys in the NBA for years.
19. Taurean Prince - SF, Baylor, 21 years old
Mike Levin (ranked him #17): The search for the next true 3-and-D wing is self-preservative as much as anything else. Teams aren't looking for the next Draymond Green or Khris Middleton or Jae Crowder so much as they're desperately trying not to miss out on those guys. [ALL-CAPS REMINDER THAT DOUG COLLINS NOT ONLY TOOK ARNETT MOULTRIE OVER DRAY, KHRIS, AND JAE, HE TRADED A FIRST ROUND PICK TO GET TO #27 AND DO SO. MOTHERFUCKER.] Taurean Prince -- unrelated to Tayshaun and former Vol J.P. -- could be that guy. He's youngish for a senior, but having only developed into a go-to player in his junior season, the late-bloomer potential is strong. Sorta feels like Shawn Marion for a new generation to me. A bit derivative with Dario Saric, but maybe better. I'd be happy with him at Heat pick range.
18. Melo Trimble - PG, Maryland, 21 years old
Jake Pavorsky (ranked him #13): Melo Trimble was the man right up until February, and then his game went off the cliff. Those patented step back jumpers aren't falling anymore, and his turnover numbers are through the roof. The good news is he's still distributing the ball well, but his game is really based around his outside shooting ability. I'm pretty confident that this is just a shooting slump, and I still think he's one of the smarter ball handlers college basketball has to offer today, which is why he's still pretty high on my big board. However, he could use a big NCAA tournament to stabilize his draft stock.
17. Skal Labissiere - PF, Kentucky, 19 years old
Kyle Neubeck (ranked him #10): This is still a massive gamble even after a stretch of nice play lately, because Labissiere has largely underwhelmed this season. He hasn't played a ton of basketball thanks to injuries in high school and struggles this year, but he has the makings of a guy who can protect the rim and knock down mid-range shots with ease. With the state of this talent pool, I'm more prone to gamble.
16. Ivan Rabb - PF, Cal, 19 years old
Roy Burton (ranked him #12): 11 double-doubles in a season is pretty darn impressive for any college player, much less a freshman power forward who just turned 19. Rabb is efficient offensively (62.2% from the field), but given that he's Cal's fourth or fifth option, it remains to be seen if he can carry the burden of being a primary scorer. Again though, he's only 19 years old, and his ceiling on both ends of the floor is high enough that he may be able to slide into the back end of the lottery.
15. Jakob Poeltl, C, Utah, 20 years old
Matt Carey (ranked him #9): For the Sixers, Poeltl is an awful pick. Barring some major offseason roster turnover, there's no room for him, he'd never get the minutes he needs to develop, and he isn't a particularly good complement to any of the Sixers three franchise big men.
All of that being said, there's a point where he's just head and shoulders more talented than everybody on the board. For me, that was #9. He's an excellent rim protector defensively, he's a good rebounder (11.8 per 40 this season), and he's efficient on the block. He's also been much improved at the free throw line this season (shooting a nice 69% on 6.7 attempts, up from 43% last season).
Poeltl has roughly the same chance of playing for the Sixers next year as Bob Cousy, which is a shame, because I'm very high on him.
14. Isaia Cordinier, SG, Denain ASC Voltaire (France), 19 years old
Marc Whittington (ranked him #5): This is, admittedly, a high ranking based on the thinnest of thin slices. The only footage I've seen of Cordinier is in his DraftExpress video, despite having tried to find more of it. But the kid plays hard, competing on both sides of the floor and showing really great fundamentals on D. He has been a knockdown shooter this year, connecting on over 50% of his 3-point attempts (unsustainable, but suggesting that he can shoot), he can handle a bit of secondary PnR action, and he can make initial reads and find his teammates.
Cordinier's statistical profile suggests that he doesn't have any glaring weaknesses. He passes, shoots, and handles on offense, and he plays within team schemes on defense, collecting an above average number of blocks and steals. The only two drawbacks I've seen so far are average physical tools (he's 6'5 with a 6'7 wingspan) and a poor competition level. He's a player I would absolutely take a stab at with either the Miami or OKC picks.
13. Demetrius Jackson, PG, Notre Dame, 21 years old
Jake Fischer (ranked him #8): I submitted my big board before the SEC Tournament concluded and before Tyler Ulis completely stole my heart. But I still think Jackson is a very solid point guard prospect and probably has the edge of Ulis for now. I first saw him in last year's opening round of the NCAA Tournament, where he whipped out this vicious spin move right across from my seat at the Pittsburgh regional as Notre Dame crushed the hearts of my beloved Northeastern Huskies. He's built like Eric Bledsoe with length (6'5 wingspan), strength and athleticism and I think he can be a starting point guard in this league.
12. Denzel Valentine, SG, Michigan State, 22 years old
Max Rappaport (ranked him #12): I put Denzel Valentine #12 on my big board, up from #19 in my January rankings and right in line with the rest of the LB crew this time around. While the senior point-forward has arguably been the best player in the nation this year, averaging 19.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 7.6 assists with just 2.6 turnovers per game, I think he figures more as a Robert Covington type than as a Draymond Green type at the next level. Valentine is shooting 44.7% on 7.5 attempts from beyond the arc per game on the season, doing a lot of his damage curling off of screens and spotting up. I think that's where his NBA value lies, as a floor-spacer whose proficiency as a playmaker, rebounder, and finisher are all secondary to his primary role as a shooter. Being incredibly idealistic, I can imagine a world in which he becomes a Brandon Roy-like player, but I think that's fairly unlikely.
11. Henry Ellenson - PF, Marquette, 19 years old
Roy Burton (ranked him #6): I'm not entirely sold on the Kevin Love comparisons, but Ellenson is a highly skilled big man who can do work both in the post as well as 15-20 feet away from the basket. The 6-10 forward hasn't missed a beat in conference play (17.1 PPG, 9.7 RPG), and Ellenson's slide down our Big Board is by no means a reflection of his recent performance. He boasts good size and athleticism (he might be more fluid than Love ever was), but I think he'll have his work cut out for him guarding 4s on the next level.
10. Wade Baldwin - PG, Vanderbilt, 19 years old
Tanner Steidel (ranked him #8): in his sophomore season, Baldwin got off to a hot start with his number up across the board but has cooled off towards the end. That being said, he's still shooting over 40% from beyond, 80% from the line, and gets to the line double the amount he did his freshman year. He's got an incredible wingspan that will help him out defensively and has the quickness to defend smaller guards. Is he going to be a point guard who can stroke the three or a 2-guard who's an above average passer at the position? My guess is the second but I'm more than willing to give him a shot.
9. Furkan Korkmaz - SG, Anadolu Efes (Turkey), 18 years old
Mike Levin (ranked him #11): Furkan would immediately solve our desire for another Furkan and also our insatiable need to be waiting on somebody to heal an impossible injury or move to America. Dude was loads of fun playing next to The Homie for Efes. I personally could never get enough juvenile-bodied, shooty Turks with bounce if you gave me a lifetime supply. Korkmaz is gonna land right in that non-Sixers dead area from 8-16. They can trade up for him, but he's likely gonna go earlier to a team on their 2nd first rounder looking for a stash. On the other hand, in his DX interview he said: "I have to try to dunk. I like to dunk. Dunk the ball," so I think he must be mine.
8. Buddy Hield - SG, Oklahoma, 22 years old
Marc Whittington (ranked him #20): I don't see it, guys. He's a one trick pony riding an unsustainable shooting hot streak into a lottery selection. He's a poor passer, lacks a handle, and can't defend either wing position. Do I think he'll shoot in the NBA? Yes. But he tops out as a bench 3-And-No-D scorer, and there's no point in using a high lottery selection on a player like him. I'll pass.
7. Timothe Luwawu - SF, Mega Leks (Serbia), 20 years old
Matt Carey (ranked him #8): It's a great name. Just say it. Luwawu. LUWAWU.
As a player, Luwawu has his draft stock boosted by the fact that everybody needs wings and he is one who appears to be competent. He stepped up his game this year at Mega Leks this year, most notably his shooting. He checks the boxes for what teams are looking for in a wing, especially the Sixers. He has the size to play the 2 or the 3 (6-7 with a 6-11 wingspan), he can defend multiple positions, he's a good passer, and he'll turn 21 in May.
His handling is suspect, and his shooting is still kinda inconsistent, but I think he'll be able to step in and fill a role that's desperately needed.
T-5. Kris Dunn - PG, Providence, 21 years old
Max Rappaport (ranked him #8): Kris Dunn was #4 on my big board back in January, but in the two months since my excitement about him has really waned. I don't know whether it's simply that in watching more of his games I've discovered new flaws - he now strikes me as a stronger version of MCW more so than a point guard-ier version of Dwyane Wade, which is what I once hoped he could be - or if it's simply my realization that what the Sixers really need a lead guard who can space the floor and take care of the basketball. I'm much higher on Jamal Murray if the Sixers fall to #4 in the lottery or decide to use the Lakers pick to select a guard, but I think I'd rather try to sign a point guard in free agency or go another year with Ish Smith than force an ill-fitting player like Dunn into that role. He's #8 on my newest big board, sandwiched between Buddy Hield and Jakob Poetl.
T-5. Jaylen Brown - SG, Cal, 19 years old
Jake Pavorsky (ranked him #7): Jaylen Brown may one day be a quality pro, but he's the definition of a project player. The raw tools are there, but his handles are average and his jump shot is pretty ugly. If he's not getting to the basket, he's not really going to score. He's also super reliant on having the ball in his hands to get involved at all offensively. If the Sixers somehow land the Lakers pick, they should certainly look to target an off ball guard, but I'd take Jamal Murray over him any day of the week.
4. Jamal Murray - SG, Kentucky, 19 years old
Marc Whittington (ranked him #14): He's approaching Steph Curry's freshman record for 3's made in a season. He's scoring almost 30 points per 40 minutes since the start of February, and he has helped lead a Kentucky team from out of the Top 25 to a SEC championship.
If you think Murray's going to be a big point guard, you're in for a world of disappointment. But as a sweet shooting 2-guard with incredible mobility and a quick release off the catch, he's got a lot of offensive potential in a 3-point obsessed league. I have him lower than everyone else because he doesn't do much else outside of shooting 3's, and his defense is horrid. But if the Lakers' pick conveys and he's still there, he's probably the correct pick.
3. Dragan Bender - PF, Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel), 18 years old
Jake Fischer (ranked him #6): My contacts with Maccabi rave about his work ethic and are quick to assert how many teams have sent executives to their practices and games this season, but something an NBA scout said about Kris Dunn recently has made me a little nervous about Bender. Dunn's large sample size through 3 seasons has some teams over-analyzing him. Meanwhile, Bender is hardly playing in Israel. It's a total contrast to Dunn. He has a infinitesimal sample size. I'm still super bullish on his combination of size and skills, but look at what's happened to Ben Simmons' stock after being but under a larger microscope. I'd need to see Bender with more opportunity before taking him in the top 5.
2. Brandon Ingram - SF, Duke, 18 years old
Mike Levin (ranked him #1): Ben Simmons doesn't have a jumper, but he's not Evan Turner. Ben Simmons has overblown attitude problems, but he's not DeMarcus Cousins. Ben Simmons needs the ball in his hands all the time to maximize his skill set, but he's not Tyreke Evans. He is, however, some of those things. And a year older than Brandon Ingram, who, while not quite as athletic, has a much more palatable set of skills to build around. Namely, the jumper. It's electric. It's so electric, the only person that could survive standing next to him while he shoots is Desmond Hume. Earlier in the season we were talking about how you'd need to build your team around Simmons to best cultivate his potential, whereas you could plop Ingram into the 3-spot for any team in the league. Fit v. BPA. But I think we've reached the point where Ingram isn't only the best fit for the Sixers, he's also the best player. I just can't trust the guy who doesn't have any jumper over the dude who has an elite one. It's not as simple as that, but it kind of is.
1. Ben Simmons - PF, LSU, 19 years old
Kyle Neubeck (ranked him #2): Simmons is a guy whose future I'm uncertain of. The Sixers should still be thrilled if they come away with him on draft night.
|Kyle||Mike||Matt||Roy||Jake F.||Jake P.||Marc||Max||Tanner|
|Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Brandon Ingram||Ben Simmons|
|Ben Simmons||Ben Simmons||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Brandon Ingram||Ben Simmons||Brandon Ingram|
|Dragan Bender||Kris Dunn||Jamal Murray||Dragan Bender||Jamal Murray||Jamal Murray||Dragan Bender||Dragan Bender||Jamal Murray|
|Jaylen Brown||Dragan Bender||Dragan Bender||Kris Dunn||Jaylen Brown||Dragan Bender||Timothe Luwawu||Jamal Murray||Jaylen Brown|
|Jamal Murray||Timothe Luwawu||Jaylen Brown||Jaylen Brown||Kris Dunn||Kris Dunn||Isaia Cordinier||Henry Ellenson||Dragan Bender|
|Kris Dunn||Jaylen Brown||Kris Dunn||Henry Ellenson||Dragan Bender||Henry Ellenson||Denzel Valentine||Jaylen Brown||Kris Dunn|
|Timothe Luwawu||Jamal Murray||Buddy Hield||Jamal Murray||Buddy Hield||Jaylen Brown||Dedric Lawson||Buddy Hield||Timothe Luwawu|
|Isaia Cordinier||Buddy Hield||Timothe Luwawu||Buddy Hield||Demetrius Jackson||Timothe Luwawu||Patrick McCaw||Kris Dunn||Wade Baldwin|
|Furkan Korkmaz||Wade Baldwin||Jakob Poeltl||Timothe Luwawu||Timothe Luwawu||Furkan Korkmaz||Kris Dunn||Jakob Poeltl||Buddy Hield|
|Skal Labissiere||Henry Ellenson||Henry Ellenson||Furkan Korkmaz||Furkan Korkmaz||Buddy Hield||Wade Baldwin||Furkan Korkmaz||Henry Ellenson|
|Wade Baldwin||Furkan Korkmaz||Furkan Korkmaz||Jakob Poeltl||Denzel Valentine||Wade Baldwin||Furkan Korkmaz||Timothe Luwawu||Furkan Korkmaz|
|Buddy Hield||Denzel Valentine||Skal Labissiere||Ivan Rabb||Wade Baldwin||Taurean Prince||Jaylen Brown||Denzel Valentine||Melo Trimble|
|Ivan Rabb||Isaia Cordinier||Wade Baldwin||Diamond Stone||Melo Trimble||Melo Trimble||Taurean Prince||Wade Baldwin||Demetrius Jackson|
|Denzel Valentine||Jakob Poeltl||Demetrius Jackson||Wade Baldwin||Taurean Prince||Denzel Valentine||Jamal Murray||Isaia Cordinier||Isaia Cordinier|
|Demetrius Jackson||Demetrius Jackson||Ivan Rabb||Demetrius Jackson||Henry Ellenson||Demetrius Jackson||Demetrius Jackson||Zhou Qi||Jakob Poeltl|
|Malik Beasley||Skal Labissiere||Denzel Valentine||Denzel Valentine||Ivan Rabb||Ivan Rabb||Robert Carter||Demetrius Jackson||Skal Labissiere|
|Grayson Allen||Taurean Prince||Isaia Cordinier||Melo Trimble||Caris LeVert||Jakob Poeltl||Grayson Allen||Skal Labissiere||Grayson Allen|
|Melo Trimble||Ivan Rabb||Deyonta Davis||Grayson Allen||Brice Johnson||Damian Jones||Caris LeVert||Ivan Rabb||Brice Johnson|
|Taurean Prince||Deyonta Davis||Damian Jones||Skal Labissiere||Malik Newman||Brice Johnson||Stephen Zimmerman||Grayson Allen||Denzel Valentine|
|Diamond Stone||Monte Morris||Diamond Stone||Deyonta Davis||Wayne Selden||Monte Morris||Buddy Hield||Domantas Sabonis||Nigel Hayes|