Justin Patton

C Creighton Justin Patton 7’0” 230 7’3” wingspan

Player Comparison: Meyers Leonard

Why here: The Jazz are looking for a stretch five to pair with their conventional bigs in Gobert and Favors. They’ve shown signs of experimenting with a run n gun/spaced transition offense at times, but they lack the necessary personnel to do so. Patton has the necessary skills to spread the floor off the bench and allow a change of pace offense for the creative mind of coach Snyder.

Strengths: Shows groundwork to be great rim runner… glides effortlessly in transition… fills lanes well… has soft hands resulting in smooth catches right into finishes and numerous lobs. Impressive motor and bountiful amount of energy. Gets into position quick and easily, sealing his man immediately out of transition. Has limited post arsenal but hooks and turnarounds look smooth already… has nice touch with both hands… has a believable up and under. High IQ through p&r sets… strong screens… can drag for jumper in addition to rolling to the hoop. Good finisher around the rim… hits different angles… doesn’t need much space… uses finesse when necessary. Can get up in space… doesn’t frequently dunk on opponents but has capability to with strong gather. Small sample size of perimeter shooting, but form and confidence are raising scouts’ eyebrows.

Handle isn’t incredible developed but he has a base level of move that paired with his agility and footwork (awesome first step for a five) allow for nice takes to the rim.

Rebounding isn’t his strongest suit, but he looks to have high IQ and knack for getting hands on the ball… lots of tip ins and tip outs.

Has good defensive foundation. Is quick and agile enough to stay in front of NBA fours. Needs to put on weight to handle banging with fives, but can defend with some success due to size and athleticism (added around 30 pounds in last year alone). Bodes well when switched on to guards off screens… handles close outs on shooters well because of quickness and length… agility allows for quick recoveries… blocks more shots as help defender and in transition than 1v1. Quick hands and feet paired with strong understanding of the game make him more than capable p&r defender.

Is an ok passer… showed signs of playmaking ability out of the high post and top of the key… hits back door cutters and bigs with inside position with commendable accuracy… finds open shooters on drives.

Weaknesses: Lacks strength and toughness for his size. Results in a rebounding deficiency and inability to contain strong post threats on the block. Despite having the size of a five, his abilities reflect the skills of a four, but he lacks enough athleticism and consistency as a shooter for that role (don’t count him out as a four though). Gets bodied by others, boards are majorly from crashing the glass from the perimeter, as he doesn’t get many when struggling to fight for position. Doesn’t have high rebounding IQ, poor at predicting misses and timing jumping for bounds. Lacks persistence when there are multiple misses.

Defensive ability other than weak side shot blocking needs lots of help. Limitations with his strength and IQ leave him at a disadvantage… he frequently gets moved out of way in the low post. Often is a bit too upright when guarding people that face up. Bites on fakes and fouls too frequently. Shows lapses of judgment as an off ball and help defender… loses his man on the perimeter off ball… doesn’t space floor correctly.

Lacks consistency and has too much confidence in his shooting and handling. Shot mechanics are funky and slow… takes contested jumpers… has lots of bad misses. Takes unnecessary and ill advised fade aways and step backs off the dribble. Doesn’t have strength to get all the way to the rim. Has nice footwork in face up scenarios but his unthreatening jumper ruins the advantage gained. He loses control of his loose handle too much.

Again, because of his deficit of strength and toughness, he is without much purpose in the post. Defenders force him into difficult turnarounds and fading hooks. His moves are slow and predictable… gets stripped and blocked too much for a 7 footer.

Outlook: Of all prospects outside of the lottery, Patton is one I am most excited for. If he lands in the right spot his transition could be very helpful for a strong career. I think the Jazz are a great place for him to reside. He can have pressure of guarding fives alleviated when he plays with Gobert, and he will thrive in the few transition and fast break sets they run.

Random Prediction: Coach Snyder bombs a speech at Justin’s wedding. Patton becomes camping and mountaineering enthusiast in Utah. He will sign a shoe deal with Li-Ning and his first official shoe will be a basketball/hiking hybrid.

Advertisements

Dwayne Bacon

SG/SF Florida State Dwayne Bacon 6’7” 220 6’10” wingspan

Player Comparison: Josh Richardson/ Lance Stephenson/ Kentavious Caldwell Pope

Why here: The Raptors have no offensive creators when Derozan and Lowry step off the court. Their other swings Carroll and Powell have defensive first identities, but lack the ability to defend stronger offensive players. Bacon will be a strong change of pace wing that can create offense while being coherent on defense. The Raptors have made strides in recent years, but still lack depth in terms of scorers—hopefully Bacon answers these qualms.

Strengths: An athletic and feisty wing, Bacon is a proliferous scorer with agreat defensive baseline. Somewhat explosive off the dribble, and can get up in tight spaces… highlight dunk threat… finishes through contact… plays above the rim… has patience in the air… great body control off dribble drive. Impressive converter in transition… turns defenders with speed and average handle… changes speeds well… keeps dribble in tight spaces… gets to rim with ease… fills lanes well when moving without ball. Played lots of PG in big FSU lineups, where he was impressive as scorer and p&r facilitator… didn’t show tons of coherence as a passer but had some highlights. Reads defenses well… attacks closeouts… takes advantages of mismatches… intimidating with a full head of steam. Is creative around the rim with tricky angles and finesse finishes. Dependable when he gets defender on his hip. Competent foul drawer… good FT rate around 30%… impressive and one finisher.

Projects to be strong jumpshooter… uses quick first step and hesi’s to make space for pull-ups(lots of pull-ups)… best off self creation although he shows promise as a catch and shoot threat… makes very difficult shots. Weak 31% three is deceiving—lots of stagnant offense resulted in forced shot attempts as shot clock wind down/early inefficiency drags down improvements. Appears to have range past NBA three. Has sound floater and runner which he puts up with confidence. Seems to thrive in the mid range… uses fade aways and stepbacks to create space… not a ton of turn arounds but has been promising with small sample size… uses screens well as a shooter.

Very physical defender when motivated… good size and length for the two, allowing for imposing shot contests and corralling of ball handlers… can guard down and up a position, but will shift up to the three more often. Sits down and fights through screens… doesn’t bite on hesitation dribbles and shot fakes. Sometimes gets involved in passing lanes with intercepted feeds, but not frequently enough.

Rip rebounder… boxes out with good fundamentals… gets hands on lots of bounces… can rebound and shift quickly into transition ball handler. Mostly a defensive rebounder, as his spacing on offense often place him away from the hoop.

Weaknesses: Is 21 approaching 22. Doesn’t have highest IQ on either end.

Although he has a clear defensive foundation and a high ceiling on that end of the court, he often lacked motivation and effort to make plays on D. This is presumably warranted by poor coaching at FSU and too long of chain on the court. With the right direction and motivation he has the tools to be a potent defender. His footwork could use improvements on the defensive end as well… sometimes stumbles over own feet. Wasn’t a noticeable help defender, but again that can be attributed to his lack of direction. Gambles and takes risks too often, although it wasn’t really reflected with bad fouls. Depends on help defense too much… lets ball handlers by to attempt poking wrap arounds. Sometimes loses his man.

Needs to improve basic guard skills… lacks a diverse dribbling arsenal… passing vision is limited. His lack of guard skills make him predictable against stronger defenses, so it could be tricky for him to get to the hoop at the next level. Lots of movement with his layups (double clutches/jelly rolls)… makes easy finishes way harder than necessary. Despite explosiveness in transition and when he gets downhill, he lacks the ability to blow up off half court dribble drives.

Tends to settle for contested jumpers in halfcourt sets, while on the opposite side he sometimes pushes the ball too much in transition. His shooting sees lots of slumps, but a game consisting of difficult shot attempts warrants that. Struggles with catch and shoot opportunities, even when open.

Outlook: Sliding Bacon off the bench to sizzle as a scorer in the second unit will help free up the Raptors’ stagnancy. Although scouts has expressed doubt in his ability to develop dependability as an NBA scorer, I see no reasons his skills cannot grow with the transition. Dwayne Casey will help his namesake get the proper instruction and opportunity to strengthen his game.

Random Prediction: 2x 6th man of the year (2020/2022). Plays with broken hand in 2018 playoffs.

Donovan Mitchell

SG Louisville Donovan Mitchell 6’3” 215 6’11” wingspan

Player Comparison: Marcus Smart/ Normal Powell

Why here: Originally I had Mitchell falling out of the lottery, a decision that I tweaked because of his clear rise through draft workouts and GM interviews.  Mitchell is an athletic freak whose defensive prowess will mesh perfectly on a team attempting to mold itself with a strong defensive gene.  He should have the ability to assist Kemba’s remaining defensive deficiencies while allowing the Hornets to play small and slot Batum and MKG up a position.  With the new addition of Dwight Howard and the presence of Clifford as a D-first coach, this team has the potential to be atop the defensive leaders next season.  Also, Mitchell’s nickname is apparently The Spider.

Strengths: Is short but has elite frame and strength. An intense, uber-athletic competitor with explosiveness on both ends. Measures out well with impressive speed and quickness (fastest ¾ court sprint in combine)… has power off two feet… great body control and hesitation moves in transition and on drive… no issues with contact in air or during dribbling. Has heart and toughness. 36.5 inch vert.

Zippy and sturdy defender… impressive full body strength with quick arms, hands, and feet… ball ripper as help defender… does well guarding up positions, can even handle some fours for small stretches. Knack for blocking and tipping jump shots. Anticipates offensive sets and makes impressive adjustments.

Isn’t an elite finisher with creativity at the rim, but shows potential and high points with impressive angles and hangtime off the drive. Boom-shaka-laka dunk threat, especially on back door alleys… dunks on dribble drive less frequently but still a good amount for a guard (is more explosive jumper off two feet than one). Plays confidently in the p&r… is capable but not extreme play maker… more frequently than not takes it himself. Very decisive and quick power dribbler… not many dribble moves other than an ankle cracking cross. Some spins on the drive.

Good jumpshooting foundation… consistent off the catch and in one or two dribble pull-ups with space… range from beyond the three… with quick release, good lift, and long reach, he doesn’t need much space to get the shot off… has good footwork for step backs and convincing up fakes.

Weaknesses: Makes poor decisions as a jump shooter (a bit of irrational confidence). Overconfidence results in slumps and streaks… isn’t great shooter in traffic… settles for difficult looks… puts up lots of contested threes and long twos. Can improve his touch around the rim in terms of finesse… pretty small range of approach shots; he lacks a convincing floater or runner. Although he doesn’t struggle with contact, he fails to transfer bumps into many FT attempts.

Needs to improve his passing skills. Is going to be off guard one/two flex, but will need basic foundation of distributing to be effective in team role. Attempts tricky passes outside of his repertoire (again could be attributed to his irrational confidence). Is effective as short stint play maker in p&r but makes poor choices after a couple dribbles—best when making early over the top/bounce entry pass rather than wrapping one around defenders or tossing lobs on the drive.

Outlook: I have Smart as a comp, a player type that Charlotte does not yet have their hands on.  He will also bode well as a small ball two or three in certain lineups. I trust his skills will translate well and won’t be surprised if he is highly regarded as a steal, even at this early in the first round.

Random Prediction: 2023 All NBA First Defense. 2x All NBA Second Defense (2024-2025). 2023 All Star Game injury fill in.

Wesley Iwundu

SG Kansas State Wesley Iwundu 6’7” 205 7’0” wingspan

Player Comparison: Tony Snell/ Solomon Hill/ Kent Bazemore

Why here: The impending free agency of Gordon Hayward could spark a sense of insurance on the case of the Jazz. Not that Iwundu is going to become Hayward’s level on his own, but because losing Gordon will result in greater minutes for an aging ISO Joe Johnson, Ingles (if retained), Burks and Rodney Hood. The Jazz could do with another defense first player to bolster their already sturdy defensive identity. Iwundu shows signs of being an elite wing defender, an ability Hayward was forced to adopt, and one Utah would welcome with open arms.

Strengths: Athletic versatile wing with defensive intensity. Shows promise in ability to put the ball on the floor in transition/off catch and finish at the rim. Is a tenacious player down low… fights for space… impressive hops… rebounds aggressively… keeps ball high and goes right back up on offensive glass… turns quickly and gets ball to outlet or pushes it himself on DRebs… finishes through contact. Plays well with and without ball in transition… makes right passes… fills lanes correctly.

Has good vision for a wing (3.5 apg at KState)… finds cutters off dribble drive… gives good lob passes… isn’t blind to open shooters, even when being pressured or doubled.

Great help defender. Good on ball defender. Quick and active hands on D, often leads to tipped passes and strips off weak-side drives. Can guard both guard positions, with potential to guard small ball threes and fours.

Weaknesses: Senior (22.5 y/o). Has ideal frame for position but could use more muscle and weight.

Has strength when finishing but sometimes loses control of ball/fails at unrealistic layup. Has shown ability to shoot three, but all jump shooting has been extremely inconsistent. Doesn’t have much in terms of his own shot creation. Lacks finesse and creativity at the rim.

Occasionally shows immaturity on defense with lost matchups or skipping a help rotation.

Overall needs to improve all aspects of his game, especially on the offensive end.  Seems to have a good baseline with most areas, but nothing stands out other than his defensive potential.

Outlook: A raw prospect that is projected more frequently as an early second round pick rather than a late first, Iwundu will benefit from landing in a defensive system that also has scoring veterans at his position.

Random Prediction: Iwundu will play a total of 25 minutes his first two years in the league, but will become a starter by year seven. Snyder will play him positions 1-4. Will win 2019 All Star Game MVP in the G-League.

Johnathan Motley

SF/PF Baylor Johnathan Motley 6’9” 230 7’4”

Player Comparison: Luc Richard Mbah Moute

Why here: After a week-of trade, the Nets sent this pick along with Brook Lopez to the Lakers for Russell and Mozgov.  Regardless, the need remains the same.  The LA Lakers need to pick best player available in every situation possible because their squad has next no assets whatsoever (after Ball).   High risk high reward players are welcomed as well. Their young core- Ball, Ingram, Randle, and Zubac? lacks grit and intensity. Motley helps with this style.

Strengths: Great rebounder for his position (nearly 14 per 40)… ferocious tip slam threat… persistent on offensive glass… aggressive on defensive glass.

Has legitimate size and strength for the big wing positions… an NBA body… very overwhelming defender… quick and annoying as a help defender.

Tenacious thrasher… dunks absolutely everything… intense motor… strong arms result in busting through contact… good lob catcher. Some level of post game- fade aways, hooks, spins. Is consistent from face ups… spins off one or two dribbles… has nice immediate cross… moves defenders with side to side and straight line drives. Uses pump fakes and hesitation moves to his advantage. Has an underrated level of finesse at the rim off drives. Can handle the ball in transition with average consistency, although he is prone to poke aways.

Weaknesses: A junior coming off a meniscus tear… durability and age are clear factors limiting Motley’s ceiling. His play style might struggle to mesh with modern NBA… has issues as perimeter scorer… is inconsistent in the p&r. Needs to improve awareness on both ends. Is subject to lots of foul calls.

Has to improve as a jumpshooter from all areas… mechanics are extremely peculiar. Footwork on offense is underwhelming, sometimes poor. Gets frustrated when facing long opponents… doesn’t have IQ to use strength or finesse to avoid defenders.

Surprisingly average athletically… not a great leaper… has good quickness and agility but isn’t exceptionally fast… lacks explosiveness on both ends. His shot blocking ability is limited by his struggles with timing, and misuse of weight against stronger post players.

Predictable ball handler. Doesn’t have smooth touch off the dribble. Poor passer. Definitely turnover prone… doesn’t read defenses… gets overwhelmed when trapped and swarmed… struggles to find open shooters… lacks ability to lob to other bigs. He frequently forces contested shots rather than being patient or finding a teammate.

Outlook: (Nets should trade Brook Lopez for some picks. Like send the Thunder Lopez for an expiring, a second rounder, and their first round pick next year. Re-build some rapport and respect in the league after completing one of the wildest trades ever with the Celtics.) — That was my write up before the trade was made.  But yeah Motley should fit in well.  An addition of his type player makes it more likely they try to ship out Luol Deng as well.  Lakers fleeced the Nets.

Random Prediction: Goofy set of courtside Lakers fans become The Motley Crew, and wear masks and uniforms to games. They do lots of dancing and lots of cheering despite having nothing to cheer for. Motley will dunk on Dwight Howard his rookie year.

Harry Giles

PF Duke Harry Giles 6’11” 225 7’3”

Player Comparison: Darrell Arthur/ Gorgui Dieng

Why here: Matches the Bucks DNA. Giles is their 5th player for their future legendary lineup of Giannis, Middleton, Parker, Giles and Thon. It honestly makes too much sense. Milwaukee has depth at most positions, so it makes sense to swing for the fences with a high risk high reward piece like Giles. Harry is apparently performing very well in pre draft workouts so don’t be surprised if he isn’t available at this stage in the draft.

Strengths: Aggressive thrasher… plays above the rim despite not fully regaining his bounce since injury… prefers finishing with dunks… impressive motor… big and soft hands… does alright with fighting through contact… good lob catcher. Flashes of post game- mostly hooks and spins. Has range that extends to the three, although consistency is yet to be determined. Seems to be very dependable p&r big… has awareness for tricky catches… rolls intelligently. Can play both face up and back down… is comfortable with quick moves. Moves on floor with ease… is agile and smart in transition… fills lanes well… outruns most fives. Was potent and versatile offensive threat before his injury. Could pan out at any front court position 3-5.

Has legitimate size and strength… very determined defender. Impressive low post defender… if low body strength returns to high level, will be elite defensively… long reach and good timing for blocks… contests everything… fight around seals in post. Quick feet allows him to stay with fours. Great help defender. Shows promise as p&r defender… quick hands and long arms result in lots of tips and steals… can contain ball handler in small spurts.

Great rebounder (16 per 40). At baseline will be rebounding monger at next level. Pursues off the glass hungrily… quick feet paired with length and timing give him advantage… great offensive rebounder… fights for position with heart… textbook box outs… tip slams… strong hands when boarding in traffic.

Weaknesses: Clearly still plays with level of tentativeness from injuries. His strength and athleticism has not returned to its full level pre-injury. Game isn’t dependent on athleticism, but ceiling is very limited without full recovery.

Needs to improve as a jumpshooter… mechanics are ok, but adjustments could be made… has quickness to create off dribble but defenders sag off and dare him to shoot.  Footwork on offense is choppy and scrambled. Becomes indecisive with moves on offensive end. Touch in post is extremely inconsistent. Handle on drive isn’t varied enough… predictable dribbles result in bobbles and turnovers. Bad free throw shooter. Can’t pass… turns ball over with forced looks.

Could use more discipline and direction in terms of defensive decision-making. Lots of fouls—almost 8 per40. Needs to beef up strength and weight for more consistency guarding fives. Sometimes gets lost in no-mans land on D… gets beat by backdoor cuts and sneaky off ball movement.

Outlook: The Giles/Thon frontcourt has potential to be so imposing. Every NBA team could use Giles because he has the ability to play 3-5 competently. Giles is relatively raw, and similarly to Giannis and Thon will take time to develop. He’s going to have a good rookie-sophomore game. Or world game or whatever. The Bucks training and medical staff is one of the strongest in the league, hopefully they will reinforce some strengths that have faded off since his return from his ACL tears.

Random Prediction: Will not suffer another leg injury his entire career. Lead rookies in rebounds. 4x Eastern Conference Champion.

Jarrett Allen

C Texas Jarrett Allen 6’11” 240 7’6” wingspan

Player Comparison: Robin Lopez/ Steven Adams

Why Here: Indy is probably looking to pair this draft pick in a trade to bring in more assets for a further playoff push. If they want PG13 to stay, they’ll need to prove their effort to surround him with championship level talent. But, if they are packing it in, and expecting to move George or just see him walk in free agency, then picking best available is a smart move for them. At this point Allen is just that. He will pair well with the only other promising piece this franchise has moving forward in Myles Turner for a young and budding frontcourt.

Strengths: Elite size. Should be able to contribute in the rebounding department immediately… offensive rebounding is impressive because of his speedy put backs… can grab boards in traffic. Has really big hands… has ok base for a strong p&r big… catches lobs well… dunks in space and after beating defender 1v1 (he was among dunk of the year candidates for his cock-back punch on WVU). Doesn’t play consistently over the rim, but gets athletic when at full effort. Has potential to be good rim running big… moves well in transition… has long graceful strides. Post game shows promise but is relatively limited to hooks, shooting over the top, and drop steps.

Strong defensive tools… good but naïve shot blocker… times jumps and swats well… holds his ground in post… is able to contain for short periods of time on switches to guards… strong help defender down low… quick footwork and agility in short spaces. His length and size paired with his quickness give him an advantage when playing the passing lanes, resulting in lots of tips and steals from cross court and over the top passes.

Weaknesses:

Although hints have arisen of a mid range jumper, the shot is not yet dependable. Bad FT shooter. Needs to become much more physical in terms of toughness and overall strength. Gets overwhelmed when doubled in the post or when forced to pick up his dribble outside of the paint. Doesn’t have basic dribble moves for post proficiency… pretty limited to single power dribbles. Often appears to be weak with ball… brings it too low… slight bumps result in the bobbling of the ball. Makes mistakes passing out of the post… doesn’t choose easy pass… allows defenders to be active in passing lane. Poor floor spacing… doesn’t move to open spots on floor… crowds teammates… drives into help defender too frequently. Has ability to finish from unusual angles, but often loses himself on the court in relationship to hoop. Post moves are limited– needs a turnaround.

Is inconsistent defending the low post… has issues with more physical players that know how to use their weight, as he does not yet know how to use his… struggles to be effective when contact is initiated by offensive player. Low passes get past him quite easily. Sits down on face up D, but doesn’t have footwork to stay with quicker players in open space.

Outlook: Allen has an appealing ceiling that will be determined by his strength, conditioning, and ability to learn the game at a higher level. He got run in this year playing the four at Texas, and that variability should help him share more minutes with frontcourt future piece Myles Turner.

Random Prediction: Changes afro to cornrows after rookie slump—transitions play and becomes relevant. Signs with Spurs after his rookie contract ends.