With the NBA restart coming in 11 days, everyone seems to have forgotten about the NBA Draft. That event is slated to happen on October 16th, so we have plenty of time to make mocks. However, instead of bringing you a generic NBA restart preview, I decided to rank my top 10 NBA prospects entering the Draft. In this preview, I’ve included an analysis, NBA comparison, statline, and video highlight for each player. All stats are from http://www.sports-reference.com and the videos are from Swish on YouTube. Both have done an amazing job at making content, and I’m very grateful they’ve done so. So, without further adieu, let’s get into my top 10 prospects.
Featured image creds: USA Today, Rome Sentinel, YouTube
1. Obi Toppin, SF/PF, Dayton
Weight: 220 lbs
Not a lot of people have Toppin at #1, but I do. This guy could be in the 50-40-90 club as a forward. He can score from anywhere, rebound well, and he’s incredibly efficient in doing those things. In the 2019-20 season, his defensive rating was a 90.3 and his offensive rating was a 125.3, which are very good numbers in each metric. At 6’9″, he’d be a perfect stretch four in a small ball lineup. In terms of offensive versatility, I’d say Toppin is akin to Kevin Durant. Will Toppin ever be as good as KD? Probably not, but that’s the best comp I could come up with.
2. Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
Weight: 225 lbs
Edwards is a cold-blooded killer on the court. His athleticism is off the charts and he can go on insane scoring sprees, such as his 37 point game against Michigan State. His efficiency from behind the arc (29.4% from three) is a red flag, but he can get to the bucket with ease. He reminds me of Zach LaVine in terms of scoring and athleticism, although LaVine has shot much more consistently from three throughout his career. A team who needs scoring on the wings will likely snatch him up.
3. James Wiseman, C, Memphis
Weight: 240 lbs
Widely regarded as 2019’s #1 recruit, Wiseman had an odd freshman season at Memphis. He was suspended early in the season and eventually decided to skip the remainder of the season at Memphis. So, we only saw three college games out of him. He averaged 19.7 points, 10.7 boards, and 3.0 blocks in those games, though, so it’s safe to say he would be a top 3 prospect no matter what. For me, what sticks out is that he runs the floor so well. Wiseman reminds me of Karl-Anthony Towns in terms of mobility. I’d love to see him go to the Warriors this fall.
4. LaMelo Ball, PG, NBL Australia
Weight: 181 lbs
It’s been fun to see LaMelo go from being Lonzo Ball’s cherry-picking little brother at Chino Hills to an actual NBA prospect. At point guard, he has great size, much like Lonzo. In fact, LaMelo’s numbers from the NBL are actually very similar to Lonzo’s numbers at UCLA in 2017. Lonzo averaged 14.6 points, 7.6 assists, and 6.0 rebounds in his freshman season, while LaMelo averaged 17.0 points, 6.8 assists, and 7.6 rebounds this past season. Thus, a good comparison for LaMelo is Lonzo. Right now, I see the Knicks as the favorite to land LaMelo.
5. Deni Avdija, SF, International
Weight: 220 lbs
Avdija is quite possibly the most intriguing prospect in this class. Playing in the EuroLeague as a teenager is no small feat, but he did it. For a man of his size, his ball-handling skills and passing skills are crazy. He plays almost like a guard on offense, with great post defense, too. That should sound familiar, as Luka Doncic, who also played in the EuroLeague, is tearing up the NBA. That’s quite a lofty comp, but it’s too perfect to pass up. I have no idea if a team will end up using Avdija like the Mavs have used Luka, but only time will tell.
6. Tyrese Haliburton, PG/SG, Iowa State
Weight: 175 lbs
With a career offensive rating of 128.2, Haliburton is very versatile. With 15.2 points per game, 6.5 assists per game, and a whole lotta moves in his bag, it’s clear he’s the full package on offense. On defense, in 2018-19, he was 4th in the Big 12 in steals and in 2019-20, he was 5th in the Big 12 in steals. I really like this guy, and I’d compare him to Shai Gilegous-Alexander for many reasons. They have similar builds and skill sets, plus both can play the point or shooting guard.
7. Killian Hayes, PG, International
Weight: 216 lbs
Hayes’s defining trait is definitely his vision. It seems that international players are always incredibly good passers, and that’s no different for Hayes. He knows how to run the pick n’ roll to perfection, and he’s a master of the alley-oop. Hayes isn’t the best shooter, but he can when called upon. A natural comp would be Ricky Rubio, who came to the NBA from Spain as a great passer. If Hayes wants to surpass Rubio status, he’ll have to develop a consistent jumper.
8. Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Weight: 190 lbs
Anthony carried UNC last year and had very good numbers as a result. He’s a score-first point guard, which is much different from Hayes. He shoots better than I thought he did, and he hustles for every ball. This is definitely my most shaky comparison so far, but I see some De’Aaron Fox in him. He’s not as quick as Fox, but he certainly has speed. He has a leg up on Fox in terms of shooting, but both have similar builds and hustle. Other comps I’ve seen include Jamal Murray and C.J. McCollum.
9. Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
Weight: 180 lbs
Vassell isn’t your typical shooting guard that’s the best scorer on the team, but he does a little bit of everything to get the job done. As you can see by the stats, he’s an efficient scorer who can also rebound. His defense is solid, too, with a defensive rating of 93.6 (2019-20). His mid-range game is what sticks out the most for me. He reminds me of Caris LeVert because LeVert has never really been the best scorer on his team, but he’s always been a good shooter who can do pretty much everything on the floor.
10. Daniel Oturu, C, Minnesota
Weight: 240 lbs
This is higher than you’ll typically see Oturu, but he truly put up monster numbers for the Gophers this past season. Plus, he can really shoot the ball, which is what elite centers need to do nowadays. I counted 18 double-doubles from his sophomore season, and there was only one game in which he scored less than 10 points. The fact that most people don’t have him in the top 10 is crazy to me. I saw a Clint Capela comparison on the Internet, which seems pretty accurate to me, other than the fact that Oturu has the potential to have a much better jumper.
That’s all for now, and thank goodness for the MLB and NBA restarts coming soon!! Stay safe.