By Max Feldman
About halfway through the season of most International leagues and the upcoming dive into the conference play of the NCAA, it seems like a solid checkpoint to check up on the status of some 2020 NBA Draft prospects. Trends are bound to change, but check out some new names FOG is high on, as well as some losing their grip on first round grades.
Check out the new and consistently edited 2020 NBA Big Board to see how FOG values these prospects and more.
The Top Three
LaMelo Ball, Anthony Edwards and James Wiseman have made a move to separate themselves from the pack thus far. Ball (injury) and Wiseman (suspension) will be out for some time with their own respective issues, giving Edwards a chance to abolish some concerns and establish himself as the top option, but I do not think that happens. If all goes as assumed, they will be the top three selections come June.
Joel Ayayi #17 FOG 2020 Big Board
Ayayi, a 6-5 and 180 combo guard for Gonzaga, originally from France, has burst onto the NCAAB stage in his Sophomore campaign. Ayayi runs the show for the Zags, as nearly play is initiated or run through him. The 19 year old is an advanced passer, putting up 4 assists per game and just one turnover per game. The attractiveness of Ayayi at the next level is his versatility, as he shoots 40% from three point range and also grabs nearly 7 rebounds per game. A 50% FG clip is an especially impressive due to the volume he carries in Mark Few’s system. The name of the game for Ayayi is feel for the game, a common case among European-born players. FOG has been all over him this season, and he’ll be continuing to rise up our boards.
Jaden McDaniels #5 FOG 2020 Big Board
McDaniels has been highly touted in this class for multiple years, but FOG is higher on him than most. To me, McDaniels stands out as a prospect who will be a better play at the next level, similar to other prospects in the past with the same intangibles. Thus far, he has used his length to provide positive defensive outlook with a block and a steal a game. The Washington standout has to shore up his ball carrying with a bad assist-turnover ratio, and must find consistency from deep, shooting a mere 32%. Overall, McDaniels is putting up 15 points, 5 boards and 2 assists per game. But, the upward arrow is due to his game being as promised and showing glimpses of a special player, making the difference in my eyes while measuring his long term potential. There is a lot of a Brandon Ingram type-of-feeling here.
Vernon Carey JR #20 FOG 2020 BIG BOARD
Ranked as a top ten prospect coming out of High School, but was slept on early due to his weight (270 pounds) and questions about his range and mobility. Through ten games, the Duke freshman has only impressed. He’s playing somewhat limited minutes at just 23, potentially skewing the answer to weight/mobility questions, but has an ultra-productive in the minutes giving. Putting up 18 points, 9 boards and 2 blocks per game, Carey has provided the positive buzz he needs to cement himself as a first round pick. All the skill and talent is there, as shown by his upward trending arrow, but more solid evidence of a clear cut NBA athlete is needed to rise into the lottery.
Deni Avdija #4 FOG 2020 BIG BOARD
No one has been higher on the Israeli point forward than me, and he continues to impress. Slotted within the FOG top five best players available, Avdija continues to show maturity and versatility in his skillset. The Euro League minutes are still low, but his talent is clear through Israeli Cup film. Avdija brings length and a special feel for the game on both ends. Avdija thrives in transition as his best traits are passing and shooting. While his talent is not translatable to the NCAA or NBA at this point, Deni’s capability to score as a ball handler or roll guy in PnR sets, as well as initiate offense with advanced ball handling skills as well as his shooting prowess off the catch provides a safe pick in the early part of the lottery. The 19 year old Macabbi Tel Aviv wing has shown himself as a high floor prospects through his career, and moving forward it will be about proving a high enough ceiling to garner a top five selection.
RJ HAMPTON #13 FOG 2020 BIG BOARD
The New Zealand Breaker guard has had eyes on him all year due to his high regards coming out of High School and somewhat unprecedented move to the NBL. Like others, I had him ranked in the top six early on, whereas most websites still hold the same ranking, but he has consistently move down on FOG. Hampton has showed little to no shooting prowess or confidence through 15 games, and is out for 4 weeks with a hip injury. Hampton has never been known as a natural passer, but is self labeled as a point guard. His stock will never drop too far due to his advanced athleticism and slashing capability. This is not a projection on my part, but RJ Hampton continues to create distance between himself and the lottery.
Scottie Lewis #15 FOG 2020 BIG BOARD
Lewis was a prospect I saw capable of making a huge leap potentially into the top eight-or-so of the 2020 Draft coming into the year, but it hasn’t all materialized. The Florida freshman is an incredible athlete, debatably the best in the class, but that has shown to be about it thus far. With an ideal build for a 3 and D type wing, Lewis has not showed the promise shooting just 23% from deep. Offensively overall, Lewis has produced a lowly 8 points in 28 minutes per game. There is a long ways to go, and Scottie Lewis can still recover his lottery stock, but at this point there must be more proof in the pudding in order to peg him as a lottery selection. With low productivity and similar intangibles, there is some Zach Lavine to this case. He may just take some time.