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NBA Draft 2022: Long-Term NBA Prospects On The Brink of a Leap

By Max Feldman

The evaluation period of the 2021 NBA Draft is at it’s absolute peak right now as Selection Sunday is just around the corner. The G-League Ignite roster has concluded it’s debut campaign. International seasons vary in their current position in the season, but there is a strong sample size of close to 30 games for the top prospects on the radar. All signs point towards this class being a generational one, but the new breed is just around the corner. It’s never too early to skip ahead a few pages and peak at what’s to come. In the 2021 Draft class, we saw Chris Duarte, Charles Bassey, Corey Kispert and Ayo Dosunmu among many others, make a massive leap into the first round picture. I will breakdown 8 long-term NBA Draft prospects that I feel are on the brink of making a leap into the 2022 NBA Draft picture. All 8 are prospects who I see returning to their respective college programs next season.

A few notable prospects who have a much more difficult decision about returning to school and already are capturing the attention of scouts are JT Thor, Bennedict Mathurin, Terrence Clarke and Caleb Love. They will not be included as they are clear-cut NBA prospects because of their Prep body of work and flashes in their Freshman campaigns. Justin and Julian Champagnie have already broken out and are on the radar, and while I do think their return to their respective schools, they have the associations attention.

Jaden Ivey

Purdue Freshman || 6-4 200 pounds

Jaden Ivey was slept on at the Prep level, ranking as a fringe top 100 prospect on platforms. Though, hindsight is 20:20, and about a year later after High School rankings were final, Ivey appears to be a top 30 player out of the 2020 recruiting cycle. A deadly 3-level scorer who can truly take over a game on the offensive end. His long-term fit is clearly as an off-ball guard, doing what he does best, stretching a defense out on the perimeter, getting to his spots in the mid-range and attacking the rack with a mature frame. It’s a similar story for many of the following prospects that will be discussed, but Ivey has had his bumps in his Freshman season. He has had cold streaks, inefficient outing that hurt the Boilermakers and repetitive defensive faults. On the season, Ivey is scoring 10 points per game in 22.5 minutes on 39% from the field, 22% from 3 and 74% from the free throw line. Over the last 7, he’s scoring over 14 points per game and has really pushed Purdue to the next level in the Big Ten. Keep an eye on Ivey in March Madness, as a big run could open some eyes towards eligibility in 2021, but his rather inefficient offensive outputs in addition to placing 28th percentile in overall defense more closely points to the Indiana native approaching stardom as a Sophomore. Purdue should be one of the countries top teams next season and Ivey already looks like a potential top 20 prospect if he can improve his decision making, defense and consistency.

Micah Peavy

Texas Tech Freshman || 6-7 215 pounds

It is beginning to seem like every draft cycle now that Texas Tech and Chris Beard bring forward an ultra-impressive two-way prospect who catches my eye in terms of fitting many of my key traits in evaluation. Those who kept up from the last cycle know my love for Jahmi’us Ramsey as a prospect and collegiate player. In 2021, Terrence Shannon Jr has quietly become one of the more slept on prospects, but has massively improved in the sought after swing areas of his game from his Freshman year and should wind up in my top 30 come draft night. Micah Peavy, former teammate of Ramsey, is next in line for the Red Raiders to expand their NBA alumnus. Peavy left Duncanville High School weighing just 172 pounds at 6-7. The Freshman weighed in at 215 when the season opened. In terms of physical development, that is as much as you could ask for in the transition from prep to college ball. While we’re talking physical traits, Peavy is a top tier prospect. An absolute pogo stick athlete who’s a legitimate vertical floor spacer each time down in transition. He has started nearly every game for Texas Tech and has played just over 20 minutes per game. Defensively, Peavy has the tools and has even shown the capability to guard 3-5 spots on the floor with his size, strength, jumping ability, lateral quickness and instincts. He places in the 95th percentile in overall defense, an absolutely ridiculously good output for a starting Freshman in the top 20 nationally while playing in the Big 12. Offensively, in addition to an athletic slashing ability, Peavy has a smooth go-to mid-range pull up off the dribble and off a spin. The bumps in the road all relate to a worrisome shooting stroke and touch, in addition to a handle that could use improvement. Peavy is 0-3 from 3 on the season, and usually free throw output provides optimism, but he is 44% from the line with limited volume. Shooting development is the clear-cut swing trait moving forward, as he already projects a highly versatile defender with a roaring motor and elite athleticism. I love his skillset already and with the way he has improved over the last few years, I wouldn’t count him out as a top 20 guy in 2022.

Matthew Murrell

Ole Miss Freshman || 6-4 200 pounds

I will expose myself on this one, I saw Murrell as a one-and-done guy who was going to surprise plenty of folks in Oxford and on the NBA Draft front. The IMG product entered college with fantastic size at 6-4 and 200 pounds with a natural scoring ability off the hop and as a strong spot up threat. He has played just 16 minutes per game while starting 2 of the 25 games he has played in. Taking just 4 attempts from the field per game, I think Murrell’s success will come with opportunity. While both’s main strengths are 3-level off ball scoring, different than Ivey who can serve as a microwave scorer off the bench in more limited minutes, Murrell is more of a rhythm scorer who can stack up quiet high scoring outings by knocking down open perimeter shots, making timely cuts and creating his own shot while attacking closeouts. With Devontae Shuler on the brink of graduation and an extremely talented creator coming in, in Daeshun Ruffin to handle the ball, I expect a big jump from Murrell in terms of overall production. He has been better than I presumed defensively in his Freshman season, placing in the 86th percentile in overall defense. Ole Miss rarely attracts the eyes of NBA evaluators, but I think Murrell will provide top 30-level appeal as a Sophomore in Oxford.

Josh Primo

Alabama Freshman || 6-6 190 pounds

As a former contributor to a Canadian basketball platform based in Toronto, I have had my eyes on Josh Primo since he began his high school career. After making the jump up a class and reclassifying into the 2020 class, Primo saw a massive jump in his stock, winding up near 5 star status. Many, including myself, touted Primo as a potential sleeper in the first round of 2021, and while that seems unlikely at this point, the departure of John Petty and Herb Jones opens up close to 20 field goal attempts per game. With an incredibly pure shooting stroke at 6-6, Primo fits the bill as an NBA off-guard to a tee. In SEC play, Primo’s role grew in minutes, and from there, he shot 41% from three on 4 attempts per game and 89% from the line. Defensively, Primo has taken his bumps mentally and certainly will improve with reps in addition to time working on his frame in the offseason. However, he did finish his Freshman regular season in the 78th percentile defensively. Expect Primo to swallow up over 10 attempts per game next season and become one of the more efficient scorers in the SEC. Maintaining premier efficiency with a heightened volume in his Sophomore season will be the key between Primo being a top 40 prospect or a lottery type of guy. My bets are laying closer to the ladder.

Will Richardson

Oregon Junior || 6-5 180 pounds

If Will Richardson did not suffer a brutal thumb injury just 4 days prior to Oregon 2020-2021 season opener, I am confident he’d be in the first round picture in the 2021 NBA Draft. However, he made his return February 4th and has played in 12 games in his Junior campaign with the Ducks. A silky smooth lefty with great size was tasked with filling the void of Payton Pritchard, a four year started with a loaded trophy case of accolades in the PAC-12, and while Oregon is a wildly different team than the previous two, the wiry ball handler continues to solidify his role as a high IQ floor general. With Pritchard by his side last year, Richardson had one of the better individual shooting seasons in the nation, making 47% of his threes while scoring 11 points per game. A year later, Richardson is still ironing his playmaking tendencies, up to 3 assists per game thus far. His 39% from 3 remains one of the top outputs in the PAC-12 and continues to score with efficiency, shown by a 50% EFG rate and 53.4% true shooting percentage. Defensively, Richardson has always had a knack to grab steals since his days at Oak Hill Academy and relies heavily on instincts as well as a high IQ. At 6-5, Richardson should have an acute focus on adding to his 180 pound frame to grow into more of a primary on ball role as a facilitator and go-to threat. Oregon graduates three wings who lead them in production, but bring in one of the nation’s top recruiting class and a strong group of returners including the two mentioned in the following blurb. Richardson has faded off the radar a bit, but a full season next year should provide the opportunity to hop back into the first round picture in 2022.

Keep an eye on Oregon big men, N’Faly Dante and Franck Kepnang for the 2021 Draft. Both skilled, athletic big men with fantastic size. Dante, the former 5 star recruit, suffered a torn ACL and played just 6 games in Sophomore season after showing massive improvement just a 12 game Freshman season. Kepnang enrolled early at Oregon from Westtown School in West Chester, Pennsylvania and has played just 13 games.

Efe Abogidi

Washington State Freshman || 6-10 225 pounds

Abogidi flew on to the scene after being relatively unknown through the recruiting process as part of the NBA Global Academy. The Nigerian-born, Australian native, arrived in Pullman with an NBA ready frame and a subtle, impressive ability to shoot the ball and score with power or touch. Abogidi should be an All-PAC 12 performer as a Sophomore after starting every game as a Freshman, leading in rebounding and blocks while scoring 8.9 points per game. Impressive footwork, explosive athleticism and a massive wingspan make him a versatile rim-runner with what appears to be room for much more. A 4.7% block rate was one of the tops in the PAC-12, illustrating a prominent rim protecting instincts as just a Freshman. An 82% rate at the free throw line in addition to making 15 threes provide extreme optimism as a horizontal floor stretcher. 2021 is a bit too early for Abogidi, but he should be a top 20 prospect in 2022 from the minute my board debuts.

Jae’lyn Withers

Louisville Redshirt Freshman || 6-8 230 pounds

Withers, out of Cleveland, Ohio, went relatively under the radar as well as a high school prospect, falling around the 120 range, but after a Redshirt campaign with the Cards, has burst on to the scene in the ACC. The 6-8 and 230 forward has started every game for Louisville this season, playing a supporting role, where he makes his presence felt on the glass and scoring around the basket. IQ and feel can be hard to come by at times for young forwards but Withers is a phenomenal decision maker who attacks lanes with purpose, carrying an EFG percentage of 59.1% and a 60.8% true shooting rate. Both his offensive (13.5%) and defensive (22.8%) rebounding rates are among the top 6 in the ACC, lending plenty of evidence towards his rampant two-way motor. Withers places in the 91st percentile in overall offense and leads Louisville in offensive rating at 119.6. The Cardinals are led by 3 wing scorers and 2 of which will be gone after this season, meaning Withers should take on a heavier load as a Redshirt Sophomore. His supplemental production has been incredibly impressive, but what will determine how high his stock rises is whether he can improve defensively (currently in the 41st PCTL), laterally and in the PnR in addition to pumping up the offensive production with more opportunity. Withers, the cousin of All-Pro CB Jaire Alexander, very well might be on the same trajectory to being a first round selection out of Louisville.

Jabri Abdur-Rahim

Virginia Freshman || 6-7 214 pounds

Of the 8 prospects listed, Abdur-Rahim might be the deepest dive in terms of projecting a leap. The 6-7 wing missed the majority of his Senior campaign at Blair Academy and has played in just 8 games in his Freshman season at UVA. Rather than analyzing how his numbers shape up thus far, balancing strong and weak points in addition to evaluating roster status, my projection more closely relies on Tony Bennett’s body of work with prospects of similar builds in addition to Abdur-Rahim’s skillset from the Prep level. Jabri departed High School at 185 pounds and is now listed at 214 pounds. A talented driver with natural touch, a heady playmaking ability and a solid perimeter game. Jabri’s defensive versatility and focus bring together his two-way skillset on the wing, potentially the most sought after build by NBA rosters. Mikal Bridges arrived at Virginia with wildly similar tendencies and measurements, and Abdur-Rahim might even be more skilled as a ball handler. Whether it is in 2022 or 2023, it is just a matter of time before Jabri Abdur-Rahim progresses into a top 40 NBA Draft pick.

Additional Names To Keep An Eye On:

Dawson Garcia (Marquette)

Allen Flanigan (Auburn)

Mwani Wilkinson (LSU)

Adam Miller (Illinois)

Isiaih Mosley (Missouri State)

Santi Aldama (Loyola MA)

Antoine Davis (Detroit-Mercy)

NBA: Rookies Making Their Mark Pre-All Star Break

Contributed by Aditya Fuldeore

As the NBA season enters the All-Star Break, several rookies have emerged as top producers for their team. LaMelo Ball, James Wiseman, Immanuel Quickley, and more have piled up numbers, prevailing through sparse training camps and a quick turnaround between the draft and opening day. In this piece, we look at the top performing rookies at the halfway point of the season using regular and advanced stats (such as Win Shares), as well as Opportunity Production Rating (OPR) and FOG’s final big board rank of each prospect. 

LaMelo Ball

Stats: 15.8 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 6.3 APG, 2.6 WS, 44.9 FG% / 37.8 3P% / 80.2 FT%, 19.71 OPR

FOG Final Big Board Rank: 1

LaMelo Ball is the clear frontrunner for Rookie of the Year so far, and he hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down as the one of the most productive rookies this year (19.71 OPR)1. Recently named February Rookie of the Month, Ball leads all rookies in points and assists per game. He also ranks among the top ten in the NBA in Steal % and leads the Hornets in Defensive Box Plus/Minus. It’s no surprise that Ball has been a positive defensive metric. He has used his length to his advantage on defense when matched up on guards and has been an active defender. Offensively, his vision has been among the best of the rookie class, and his scoring ability has translated well from Australia to the NBA. Ball is a rising star who has Charlotte battling in the playoff picture.

Tyrese Haliburton

Stats: 13.2 PPG, 3.6 RPG, 5.4 APG, 2.2 WS, 49.4 FG% / 43.3 3P% / 83.3 FT%, 16.42 OPR

FOG Final Big Board Rank: 7

As the other February Rookie of the Month, Haliburton has shown why he was a steal for the Kings. He came out of college as one of the best shooters in the draft and has carried over his skillset into the NBA, with a 43.3 3P% and an Effective FG% in the top fifteen in the league. Playing a chunk of his minutes on the wing, Haliburton has defended both wings and guards well, ranking top twenty in the NBA in Steal%. Offensively, he has been Sacramento’s secondary playmaker, ranking second on the team behind De’Aaron Fox in Assist%. Haliburton has been a good secondary ball handler in the Kings’ backcourt and has been a solid defender despite a smaller frame. Ranking second to only LaMelo Ball in Win Shares among rookies, Haliburton projects as an efficient scoring guard with playmaking ability and two-way potential.

James Wiseman

Stats: 11.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 0.7 APG, 0.6 WS, 51 FG% / 37 3P% / 62.9 FT%, 14.77 OPR

FOG Final Big Board Rank: 3

When selected, James Wiseman was thought to be a cornerstone for Golden State, and he has shown the potential to develop into a top option for the team. Despite missing some time due to injury, Wiseman has been an efficient bucket-getter when on the court. Averaging 11.8 points in 20.8 minutes per game with a 51 FG%, he has a top three Usage Rate on the Warriors. Defensively, Wiseman has started developing as a rim protector, with a Defensive Rebound% and Block% that rank best on the team. His length has provided balance to the Warriors lineup and he should continue to boost the team’s interior play. Surrounded by veteran champions, Wiseman is on a trajectory for success.

Immanuel Quickley

Stats: 12.2 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.4 APG, 1.9 WS, 38.9 FG% / 38.1 3P% / 94.2 FT%, 20.01 OPR

FOG Final Big Board Rank: 34

For the surprisingly hyper-competitive Knicks, Immanuel Quickley has been a highly productive shot in the arm in the backcourt. Coming off the bench, Quickley has shot the ball well from three-point range and has shown the ability to knock down mid-range jump shots as well. He is also an excellent free-throw shooter (94.2 FT%) and has been a focal point of the Knicks’ offense when on the court, with the highest Usage Rate on the team. Defensively, Quickley has room for improvement, but has been an active defender under Tom Thibodeau’s scheme and has shown plenty of defensive upside. One of the late first-round surprises of the draft, Quickley has the tools to be a three-level scorer in New York with a role that can only continue to expand.

Saddiq Bey

Stats: 9.9 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 1.1 APG, 1.5 WS, 40.9 FG% / 39.3 3P% / 85.7 FT%, 12.92 OPR

FOG Final Big Board Rank: 20

Amidst a struggling Pistons team, Saddiq Bey is one of the lone bright spots for Detroit’s future. The forward has been an outside shooter, with 69.3% of his field goal attempts from three and his average field goal attempt distance at 19.6 feet. In addition to the volume, Bey has been efficient, making just under 40% of his threes. Defensively, he could use more development, but his size helps him defend wings and get physical as a rebounder. Bey’s maturity as a scorer combined with his size on the wing give him the potential to grow into a scrappy Harrison Barnes-type player who could be a glue guy for Detroit going forward.

Desmond Bane

Stats: 9.6 PPG, 2.9 RPG, 1.4 APG, 1.1 WS, 47.8 FG% / 44.3 3P% / 87.5 FT%, 10.98 OPR

FOG Final Big Board Rank: 21

Another late first-round surprise, Desmond Bane has been a pleasant producer for Memphis on the wing. Arguably the best three-point shooter out of the 2020 draft so far, Bane has a 50.7% 3P Attempt Rate (top three on the Grizzlies), making 44.3% of them (top 15 in the NBA). Additionally, Bane ranks top two on the Grizzlies for both Effective FG% and True Shooting% and has flashed the skills to be a mid-range shot-maker as well. While he isn’t the flashiest defender, Bane has the IQ and versatility (has spent minutes everywhere except the five) to quietly limit opposing scorers. Bane’s shooting coming off the bench will play a key role for a Memphis team squarely in the hunt for the postseason.

Other Rookies to Watch:

Tyrese Maxey, 76ERS: 8.0 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 1.8 APG, 0.6 WS, 45 FG% / 27.3 3P% / 88 FT%, 13.03 OPR

Cole Anthony, MAGIC: 11 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 3.8 APG, -0.1 WS, 37.5 FG% / 32.5 3P% / 83.6 FT%, 12.42 OPR

Anthony Edwards, TIMBERWOLVES: 14.9 PPG, 4.0 RPG, 2.5 APG, -0.9 WS, 37.1 FG% / 30.2 3P% / 80.5 FT%, 11.99 OPR

Jae’Sean Tate, ROCKETS: 9.9 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 2.2 WS, 53.6 FG% / 31.9 3P% / 75.4 FT%, 11.74 OPR

Payton Pritchard, CELTICS: 7.7 PPG, 2.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.1 WS, 45.7 FG% / 40.2 3P% / 94.4 FT%, 10.74 OPR

Patrick Williams, BULLS: 10.2 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 1.2 APG, 1.0 WS, 47 FG% / 39 3P% / 78.8 FT%, 10.08 OPR

Theo Maledon, THUNDER: 7.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 3.3 APG, 0.4 WS, 39.4 FG% / 35.4 3P% / 75 FT %, 9.02 OPR

*Stats via Basketball Reference, as of March 4th, 2021

1Opportunity Production Rating (OPR) derived using player per 100 possessions stats: A 10-16 OPR is “normal” production, a 25+ OPR is “superstar” production, and a below 7 OPR is greatly underperforming production.

2021 NBA Draft: Breaking Down the Generational Talent in the Top 5

By Max Feldman

As much as I have preached on the wildly impressive depth in the 2021 Draft class, there is no denying that the top 5 prospects in the class have the signs of being a generational group. The 2017 Draft class is aging extremely well with high level depth while the top of the 2019 class carries special level star power. 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2020 all have 2-3 star level talents at the top but none jump off the page as generational at the moment. The 2021 Draft will be the most impressive class of the last decade because of the talent at the top. This group of 5 has stood strong for months now, and there is absolutely no reason that will change from now until Draft night. There are 5 legitimate top overall prospects in the same class.

Jonathan Kuminga

6-8 210 poundsG-League Ignite

Jonathan Kuminga kicked off my initial 2021 NBA Draft Big Board as the top overall prospect after he reclassified up into the 2020 recruiting class. Since then, he dipped down to the 5th slot, but since making his Ignite debut, he is squarely in my top overall prospect picture and currently carries a strong margin. As I previously mentioned, any of the 5 prospects could be considered the top overall, and when the time comes, it will come down to pure organizational preference as it is difficult to imagine any of the 5 truly setting themselves apart. For me, Kuminga is the preference. The Congolese wing is the youngest player in the entire draft field, as he just recently turned 18 years old. At 6-8 and closer to 220 pounds, he is physically mature and ready to contribute at the next level. The primary purpose of the Pat Williams comparison stems from the same ideals, as he was the 2nd youngest prospect in the 2020 Draft while carrying one of the most mature frames and high level athleticism. Kuminga is the essence of versatility in my eyes, as I can not poke a hole in a single area on either end of the floor in terms of his long term trajectory. Shot selection has been an early weakness, but the entire format and fit of the Ignite roster is obviously odd, as it is unprecedented to combine 18 year old future Lottery picks alongside NBA veterans. He has shown a far more impressive basketball IQ as a playmaker than I expected from his Prep film. Growing his feel for the game, finding great, not good, shots as well as finding more consistency with his long range shots will be the keys in early development, but he has shown enough progress in those areas for me to be extremely confident. Back in December, I pegged Kuminga as the top overall defender in the class and two-way stardom is extraordinarily rare, but when present, is usually is the formula for an NBA superstar. I will be on the lookout for higher levels of efficiency over this historic G-League season, but the 6-8 wing with a guard skillset and a 7-2 wingspan in addition to explosive athleticism is my favorite prospect in the class.

FOG NBA Comparisons: Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Williams

Evan Mobley

7-0 215 poundsUSC Trojans

Evan Mobley could very well end up as a First Team All-American in his lone collegiate season, and has been the head of the snake for a USC squad that has opened eyes as a top 15 team in the country. No Freshman in the country brings more production to winning basketball than the Murietta, California native, with 4.8 total win shares per outing. Entering the season, I expected Mobley to show plenty of flashes as a dominant two way prospect, but I did not expect this level of consistent dominance. A wiry 7 foot, 215 pound frame with legitimate, elite level touch extending out to the arc where he’s shooting 33%, but with an effective field goal percentage of 62% and a true shooting percentage of 65%. He has a very strong feel for the game, as the common struggle among players at this size are their ability to find space and get to their spots, but Mobley does with ease. He is in the 93rd percentile in overall offense, scoring nearly 1.1 PPP. His attack is extremely versatile, coming off high motor putbacks, high level footwork as a roll man or in isolation/spot up situations. A sky high 3.7 blocks per 40 minutes in addition to a 10% block rate makes him the most polished big man to come through the draft process in the last decade.

FOG NBA Comparisons: Anthony Davis and a Right-Handed Chris Bosh

Cade Cunningham

6-8 220 poundsOklahoma State Cowboys

Cade Cunningham has impressed in his lone NCAA basketball season, but it has not been exactly what many expected. Regardless of how this season went, it was Cade Cunningham that was the most difficult to imagine falling out of the top 5 among this bunch. The level of safety that Cunningham provides as a 6-8 lead guard makes him the top overall prospect for many, and a lock top 3 prospect for me. While the low assist output and rate are a minor concern for me, the shooting numbers actually give me more of an assurance than anything else he has done in 18 games. I originally broke down the idea in a Cole Anthony spotlight piece, but the reasoning applies here, as I did have some fear prior to the season about Cade’s ability to create for himself with consistency against athletic, well-built defenders. Ball handlers can not create for others (be high level playmakers), if they can not create for themselves. Drawing defenders, collapsing the lane, spacing the floor and being a threat to score everytime you touch the ball is a mainstay for the premier playmakers in the NBA today, so Cade’s shooting numbers of 45% from 3 and 84% from the line, both on high clips, give me the upmost confidence. No one should be worried about Cade Cunningham’s ability to make plays for others, and he has the most clear-cut resume for a first overall pick at the moment. I do think he can be a premier defender down the line, an area of development I will be watching for.

FOG NBA Comparisons: Grant Hill and Luka Doncic

Jalen Suggs

6-4 205 poundsGonzaga Bulldogs

Jalen Suggs has forced his way into this conversation as a top overall prospect because of his impact on winning basketball on the nation’s best team through 18 games. Although I do not have the data to put it to a test, I would be beyond surprised if there was a Freshman guard in the last decade or two who placed in the 77th percentile or better on offense AND defense (86th currently) while starting every game and playing at least 25 MPG. Compared to the other four prospects, Suggs might have one of the lower star level trajectories, but once again, this group is special, and Suggs would be the top pick in the majority of NBA Drafts over the last decade. A lock up defender with a sturdy build, high level IQ, elite lateral quickness and head-above-the-rim athleticism. An impressive 3.2 steals per game displays how strong of an on-ball backcourt defender and team defender he will be at the next level. Offensively, just 10.1 field goal attempts per game is the lowest of the bunch, but his three level scoring instincts and talent has been shown relatively clearly. He is shooting 59% from 2 point range, 37% from 3 and 75% from the line while making plays for others with high production and efficiency. Suggs is putting up 6.5 assists per 40 compared to 3.9 turnovers on a 24% assist rate. Mark Few has had plenty of special teams, but this is undeniably one of, if not the most talented, so handing Jalen Suggs a 27% usage rate straight out of High School shows an extreme level of confidence that should rub off on NBA execs. He will be in my top 4 for the long run.

FOG NBA Comparisons: Gilbert Arenas and Jrue Holiday

Jalen Green

6-5 180 poundsG-League Ignite

Jalen Green is beginning to come into this own with Ignite, scoring 18 PPG in 30 MPG over the first 5 games. I had the pleasure of evaluating Jalen Green at the Prep Level at the Chambana Classic in November of 2019, and since then I have come away with a differing opinion than most others. Green is undeniably the most athletic prospect in the class and one of the most athletic prospects to enter the NBA in recent years, but he is already more than that, a special combination for a 19 year old. Being one of the best athletes in the country allows most prospects to rely on dominating with speed, verticality and strength, but Jalen Green is more polished than any scorer in this class. Those who followed close in 2020 are aware of how I was marginally lower on Anthony Edwards than any other evaluator, so moving on to Green this year is somewhat difficult, as his role of shifting from a black-hole scorer into a system fit at the Prep level, into a score first off-ball weapon at the professional level deserves a buffering time. Jalen Green’s IQ is the reason I will be higher on him than Edwards, although the Timberwolves guard has an edge physically. I do not feel confident projecting Jalen Green to ever be a prominent playmaker, as he more closely projects as a negative assist to turnover ratio guy. On the defensive end is where I think Green has real tools to be a strong on ball defender due to his IQ and feel. Long strides, quick feet and a plus wingspan provide him the tools, but being in the right spot, knowing his personnel and continuing to focus on his motor, which has shown signs of improvement early on with Ignite, are what would boost his value in my eyes as a two-way prospect. With all of the generational level scoring ability off of pull ups, in transition and as a deadly deep range shooter, he will fall at the bottom end of this top 5 for the duration of the evaluation period because I believe he has the lowest impact on Championship-level, winning basketball. However, I would not hesitate to project Jalen Green as a near 30 point per game scorer at his peak.

FOG NBA Comparisons: Zach LaVine and Jason Richardson

2021 NBA Draft: NBA Comparisons for 40 Prospects

By Max Feldman

The time has come. It is once again time to compare the next cycle of NBA Draft prospects to current or former NBA players. I have two NBA comparisons for each prospect, and while it might be difficult to digest what comparisons mean at times, I prefer to frame them as a reference to how the prospect will fit in at the next level in terms of style of play, in addition to a relative range of their long term potential. Following the layout of the comparisons is a detailed chart showing the NBA comparisons measurements and final collegiate or international statistics in order to provide a reference to their development at their respective age.

ProspectNBA ComparisonNBA Comparison
Jalen SuggsGilbert ArenasJrue Holiday
Cade CunninghamGrant HillLuka Doncic
Evan MobleyAnthony DavisRight-Handed Chris Bosh
Jalen GreenZach LaVineJason Richardson
Jonathan KumingaKawhi LeonardPatrick Williams
Sharife CooperChris PaulDarius Garland
Moses MoodyKhris MiddletonCJ McCollum
Corey KispertKlay ThompsonDuncan Robinson
Scottie BarnesScottie PippenRight-Handed Thaddeus Young
BJ BostonBrandon IngramTim Hardaway Jr
Franz WagnerAndrei KirilenkoKelly Olynyk
Kai JonesChristian WoodDwight Powell
Jalen JohnsonDeMar DeRozanJabari Parker
Keon JohnsonVictor OladipoKeldon Johnson
James BouknightCaris LeVertRight-Handed Kevin Porter Jr
Ziaire WilliamsMikal BridgesLouis King
Ayo DosunmuShai Gilgeous-AlexanderDelon Wright
Day’Ron SharpeAndre DrummoundRichaun Holmes
Josh GiddeyLaMelo BallJoe Ingles
Davion MitchellEric GordonDe’Anthony Melton
Usman GarubaBrandon ClarkeMarquese Chriss
Greg BrownJerami GrantRight-Handed Darius Bazley
Charles BasseyMyles TurnerThomas Bryant
Jared ButlerMalcolm BrogdonShake Milton
Josh ChristopherMalik BeasleyJosh Hart
Roko PrkacinCam JohnsonMaxi Kleber
Bones HylandImmanuel QuickleyTerry Rozier
Cam ThomasLou WilliamsE’Twuan Moore
Jaden SpringerMarcus SmartNorman Powell
Jeremiah Robinson-EarlBobby PortisPJ Washington
Iverson MolinarMonta EllisRodrigue Beaubois
David JohnsonJosh RichardsonMason Jones
Alperen SengunNikola VucevicGoga Bitadze
Terrence Shannon JrKelly OubreLeft-Handed Josh Okogie
Tre MannCoby WhiteCorey Joseph
Dalano BantonNic BatumKyle Anderson
Daishen NixRicky RubioElfrid Payton
Romeo WeemsRight-Handed Miles BridgesLeft-Handed Derrick Jones
Vrenz BleijenberghDavis BertansNicolo Melli
Marcus BagleyTobias HarrisJaMychal Green
ProspectHeight (in)Weight (lb)NBA COMPHeight (in)Weight (lb)FG%3P%FT%PPGRPGAPGSPGBPGTPGNBA COMPHeight (in)Weight (lb)FG%3P%FT%PPGRPGAPGSPGBPGTPG
Jalen Suggs76205Gilbert Arenas751910.4790.4160.72416.23.62.31.80.22.8Jrue Holiday751800.450.3070.7268.53.83.71.60.52.1
Cade Cunningham80220Luka Doncic (International 17-18)792300.450.310.78914.25.34.51.10.42.2Grant Hill802250.4620.390.70317.46.95.21.91.23
Evan Mobley84210Anthony Davis822200.6230.150.70914.210.41.31.44.71Chris Bosh – Righty822280.560.4780.7315.691.212.22.3
Jalen Green77180Zach LaVine771800.4410.3750.6919.42.51.80.90.21.1Jason Richardson782200.5030.4020.68914.75.92.21.20.81.3
Jonathan Kuminga80210Kawhi Leonard792250.4440.2910.75915.510.62.51.40.62.1Patrick Williams802250.4590.320.8389.241111.7
Sharife Cooper73180Chris Paul721750.4510.4740.83415.34.56.62.402.8Darius Garland741750.5370.4780.7516.23.82.60.80.43
Moses Moody78205Khris Middleton792170.4150.260.7513.252.310.32.2CJ McCollum751800.4950.5160.84923.952.91.40.32.7
Corey Kispert79220Klay Thompson782000.4360.3980.83821.65.23.71.60.93.4Duncan Robinson801900.440.3840.8919.22.41.10.70.40.6
Scottie Barnes81227Scottie Pippen8022823.6104.3Thaddeus Young – Righty802200.4780.4190.74314.44.921.30.42.2
BJ Boston79185Brandon Ingram811900.4420.410.68217.36.821.11.42Tim Hardaway Jr782050.4370.3740.69414.54.72.40.70.41.9
Franz Wagner81220Andrei Kirilenko (International 00-01)81235Kelly Olynyk842380.6290.30.77617.87.31.70.71.12.4
Kai Jones83218Christian Wood832200.4970.2840.73615.7101.30.32.72.4Dwight Powell822400.4620.2560.687146.93.11.30.82.9
Jalen Johnson81220DeMar DeRozan792200.5230.1670.64613.95.71.50.90.42.1Jabari Parker802350.4730.3580.74819.18.71.21.11.22.3
Keon Johnson77186Victor Oladipo772140.5990.4410.74613.66.32.12.20.82.3Keldon Johnson782110.4610.3810.70313.55.91.60.80.21.6
James Bouknight77190Caris LeVert792000.5060.4460.79416.55.34.910.21.7Kevin Porter Jr – Righty782180.4710.4120.5229.541.40.80.51.9
Ziaire Williams80185Mikal Bridges791910.5140.4350.85117.75.31.91.51.11.4Louis King812050.4350.3860.78513.55.51.30.90.22.1
Ayo Dosunmu77200Shai Gilgeous-Alexander781800.4850.4040.81714.44.15.11.60.52.7Delon Wright771780.5090.3560.83614.54.95.12.111.9
Day’Ron Sharpe83265Andre Drummond822700.53800.295107.60.40.82.71.5Richaun Holmes802450.5630.4190.71214.780.80.72.71.9
Josh Giddey80205LaMelo Ball (International 19-20)791810.3890.2790.717.27.86.81.50.22.5Joe Ingles (International 13-14)802260.4520.3660.69762.92.70.80.11.2
Davion Mitchell74205Eric Gordon75220.4330.3370.83420.93.32.41.30.63.6De’Anthony Melton761900.4370.2840.7068.34.73.51.911.8
Usman Garuba80229Brandon Clarke802150.6870.2670.69416.98.61.91.23.21.5Marquese Chriss812250.530.350.68213.75.40.80.91.62
Greg Brown81205Jerami Grant802100.49600.67412.16.81.40.80.61.2Darius Bazley (HS)80208
Charles Bassey83235Myles Turner832400.4550.2740.83910.16.50.60.32.61.4Thomas Bryant822450.5190.3830.7312.66.61.50.81.52.3
Jared Butler75195Malcolm Brogdon772170.4570.3910.89718.24.13.10.90.21.4Shake Milton771950.4490.4340.847184.74.41.40.62.3
Josh Christopher77215Malik Beasley771900.4710.3870.81315.65.31.50.90.21.7Josh Hart772050.510.4040.74718.76.42.91.60.32
Roko Prkacin81210Cam Johnson762050.5760.4680.68318.24.51.91.101.7Maxi Kleber (International 16-17)822400.5060.3860.799.15.71.60.91.11.2
Bones Hyland75165Terry Rozier731900.4110.3060.7917.15.6320.22.2Immanuel Quickley751880.4170.4280.92316.14.21.90.90.11.6
Cam Thomas76210Lou Williams (HS)73175E’Twuan Moore761910.4470.40.709185.13.21.20.51.8
Jaden Springer76204Marcus Smart762200.4220.2990.728185.94.82.90.62.6Norman Powell762150.4560.3190.75116.44.72.11.80.42.2
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl81230Bobby Portis832420.5360.4670.73717.58.91.21.11.41.6PJ Washington802280.5220.4230.66315.27.51.80.81.22
Iverson Molinar75190Monta Ellis (HS)7518538.47.96.94.5Rodrigue Beaubois (International 08-09)731830.4730.3170.583102.52.31.10.41.9
David Johnson77210Josh Richardson782000.4610.3590.798164.53.62.10.52.7Mason Jones772000.4530.3510.826225.53.41.60.23.2
Alperen Sengun81240Nikola Vucevic822200.5050.3490.75517.110.31.60.51.41.7Goga Bitadze (International 18-19)832450.5710.40.67913.96.31.10.51.91.8
Terrence Shannon Jr78210Kelly Oubre792000.4440.3580.7189.350.81.10.41.2Josh Okogie – Lefty762070.4160.380.82118.26.32.51.812.5
Tre Mann77190Coby White771850.4230.3530.816.13.54.11.10.32.7Cory Joseph751850.4220.4130.69910.43.6310.31.5
Dalano Banton81204Nic Batum (International 07-08)802000.4990.3380.726114.43.41.30.72.3Kyle Anderson812300.480.4830.73714.68.86.51.80.83.1
Daishen Nix77205Ricky Rubio (International 10-11)751900.3160.2520.8075.33.23.81.60.11.8Elfrid Payton751800.5090.2590.60919.265.92.30.63.6
Romeo Weems79215Miles Bridges – Righty792300.4570.3640.85317.172.70.60.82Derrick Jones Jr – Righty791900.5890.2050.59411.54.50.80.91.31.2
Vrenz Bleijenbergh82170Davis Bertans (International 15-16)822250.4330.4260.8757.82.50.90.50.50.9Nicolo Melli (International 18-19)812350.4580.410.8048.74.41.90.80.41.1
Marcus Bagley80215Tobias Harris802260.460.3030.75315.37.31.30.70.91.8JaMychal Green802400.5460.20.69147.41.80.71.52.7
Contributed by Aditya Fuldeore

2021 NBA Draft: FOG’s Favorites as Evaluation Heats Up

By Max Feldman

As we inch towards the postseason of a college basketball season like no other, it is time to fully stake my claim on prospects that are building the most enticing stock to this point. The top end of this draft class is extremely special, but the middle tiers all the way down to the early 40’s are what I see pushing this class to the next level. In the 2020 Draft, FOG put an early stamp on LaMelo Ball, Jahmi’us Ramsey, Deni Avdija, Tyrese Haliburton and a few others. An extremely different class, but nonetheless, these are FOG’s favorite prospects in the 2021 NBA Draft class with more likely to come into the fold.

Within the top five group of Suggs, Mobley, Cunningham, Green and Kuminga, there is plenty to love about each of them. None will be included because they are unanimously recognized as top ten picks. Of the bunch, Suggs, Mobley and Kuminga are the three who most closely fit the style prospect I seek out.

Stay tuned on Twitter ( @MaxFeldman6 ) for daily coverage on these prospects and many, more.

Moses Moody

I have not been shy about my fandom for Moses Moody’s game. After seeing the majority of Montverde’s outings last season before the closure of the season to COVID, Moses Moody was the more under the radar prospect on one of the best high school rosters of all time. Home to Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes, Day’Ron Sharpe along with multiple elite 2021 recruits, Moody primarily showed flashes as a prep player. I was intrigued to see how he’d fill the massive shot creating void left by Mason Jones and Isaiah Joe, but I did not expect this. At 6-6 and 205, Moody has become the go-to scorer putting up nearly 17 points a game. Scoring Freshman come and go, but here are the two factors that have Moses Moody squarely in my top 6 picture. Of my top 12 prospects on the updated February Big Board, Moses Moody has the lowest usage rate at just 22.1%, yet he still is eclipsing 20 points per 40 minutes on a fantastic 52% EFG. Second point being, he is contributing to winning basketball although he is not a dominant playmaker. The 2.1 offensive win shares is the second highest in my top 50 listed prospects (Ayo Dosunmu – 2.4 Off WS), while the total of 3.0 win shares is the second highest of any Freshman prospect on my board (Evan Mobley – 3.4 WS). Arkansas lost a lot, but remain at the #26 slot in the KenPom rankings because of how Moses Moody has fit into Eric Musselman’s system in Fayetteville.

The level of polish from not just a Freshman, but my second youngest prospect listed outside of Jonathan Kuminga, has created one of the more appealing draft stocks I have ever evaluated. I can not foresee Jalen Suggs, Evan Mobley or Cade Cunningham sliding out of my top 3, and I am very bullish on Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green as most others are, but if these trends remain steady or improve, I will have a hard time keeping Moses Moody out of my top 5 prospects in the long run.

Bones Hyland

Another prospect I have been all over recently, Nah’Shon “Bones” Hyland will be in my top 30 moving forward. The 20 year old has taken a big jump after returning to VCU for a Sophomore campaign, more than doubling his point and steal per game output while seeing his usage rate boost to a monstrous 31%. He carries the load for a top 60 team in the nation, taking 26% of their total field goals. Although he remains a pure scorer with non-natural playmaking skills, his offensive analytics are sky high. Bones leads VCU in offensive, defensive and total win shares and has a strong 4.8 offensive box plus/minus.

The Immanuel Quickley comparison has spread rather quickly, and in the past mainstream comparisons often lead draft media consumers in the wrong directions, but this one makes sense. Bones is heavily reliant on his elite level touch from the rim all the way to 30 feet. A 55% EFG and 58% true shooting rate is extremely impressive in addition to a worldly 92nd percentile in spot up offensive situations, via Synergy Sports. Simply put, Bones is one of the more impressive offensive prospects in the 2021 class with a clear cut role as an off ball scorer at the next level. Fitting into a Terry Rozier role offensively seems like a strong bet as well. Quickley has been awesome early on and entered the NBA at the same age that Bones will, so the blueprint of defending with a high motor and long arms should provide additional optimism. Bones’ defense has been an issue at times because of his mighty narrow frame at just over 170 pounds. He’s currently in 35th percentile in overall defense, but there are two points that relieve my nerves about his defensive outlook, which have been the catalyst for Bones moving into my top 25. Bones Hyland’s wingspan has not been measured, but it is certainly plus ‘4, and those tools have accounted for a strong 4.0% steal rate and 2.8 steals per 40 minutes. Secondly, he’s in the 79th percentile in guarding Pick & Roll ball handlers. He understands how to guard, but has work to do in growing his motor, maturing his body and defending with more consistency.

Josh Giddey

I have had some ups and downs in evaluating this international class in 2021 with Usman Garuba, Ariel Hukporti and Roko Prkacin fluctuating from my top 20 down to 45. As international slowly gets going, prospects will move on to and off the radar as playing time is hard to come by in a lot of these leagues for 18 and 19 year olds.

While I do see those three in addition to Alperen Sengun fitting into the final 35 come draft night, Josh Giddey’s early performances with the Adelaide 36er’s have my eyes far closer on the NBL. Giddey is an Australian guard, who just recently turned 18 years old. At 6-8 and 205 pounds, Giddey carries that rare feel for the game that we’ve seen from two of the most appealing prospects of the last few drafts. Whether if it is his natural style of play in combination with his size or just a developmental coincidence, Giddey shows a ton of the same raw tools and traits as LaMelo Ball and Luka Doncic. NBL Rising Star’s rarely provide notable statistics due to a high level of mature competition, but Giddey’s 9 points, 5 assists (with a 1.92 assist to turnover ratio) and 8 boards are very impressive. Through 5 games, Giddey is placing in the 72nd percentile in overall defense, another impressive statistic for a wiry 18 year old. As the evaluation period heats up post-NCAA season, expect a massive boost from the mainstream draft media on Josh Giddey as heads turn towards international play. The manner in which the youngster digests the PnR, makes the right pass to keep the ball moving and contributes in a variety of winning basketball areas is beyond his years. As of today, Josh Giddey is my 15th ranked prospect. Doncic and Ball were anomalies of talents, but I have not been shy about my enthusiasm for both, and Giddey is showing a ton of the same early signals.

Franz Wagner

Wagner has been a riser for most evaluators as Michigan has stormed to a 13-1 record and a top 3 ranking in the nation. No player in country has impressed me more defensively than Franz Wagner, as he’s taken a massive jump in his Sophomore season on that end. Gaining mass has certainly helped, now at 6-9 and 220 pounds. In debatably the toughest conference in college basketball, Franz Wagner leads the B10 in defensive rating at 87.0, in defensive win shares at 1.1 and defensive box plus/minus (by a very large margin) at 7.1. Wagner fits in at the next level as a four or five man becuase of his defensive versatility while being a decent shot blocker with a 2.4 block per 40 minute clip and a 4.1% block percentage. In addition, he is in the 80th percentile in overall defense, 86th percentile defending the PnR and 73rd percentile defending spot up shooters. Wagner makes up for a shorter wingspan with the quickest feet on a big in the country and elite, unprecedented defensive instincts.

Offensively, Wagner has always had the tools. He has become more aggressive as a driver, shooting 1.8 2PT FG per game while getting to the line more often, a key swing trait that many fans were hungry to see. He is a phenomenal passer considering his size and low usage rate, with an 18% assist rate and 4.2 assists per 40 minutes on a 19.5% usage rate. The standout offensive skill has always been as a shooter, and that has not changed. He is lights out from the free throw line at 86% and while the 3 PT percentage is just 32% to this point, it should only rise as Hunter Dickinson draws more attention inside. Wagner is squarely in the top 12 picture for the 2021 NBA Draft, with numerous intangibles that do not come along much.

Kai Jones

Kai Jones, Texas Sophomore, comes off the bench for one of the best teams in the nation. At 6-11 and 220, the former Brewster Academy stud has been a late riser but is certainly opening eyes of NBA scouts as a 20 year old. There is no official wingspan measurements, but reports rumor it to be near 7-5 and that passes the eye test. He plays just 22.5 minutes per game, but when he’s in, Texas is a better team. Jones leads the Longhorns in offensive rating at 125.4 with a gargantuan 65% EFG and 66% true shooting percentage. Jones should see a smooth transition to the NBA and while his top end stardom might not be as promising as others in his territory, his athleticism, energy and overall motor, toughness and unique touch make him the prototypical big man in the modern NBA. A lights out 42% from 3 point range make him the ultra-rare vertical and horizontal floor spacer. The Bahamanian-born high flyer will not leave my top 15 in the long run.

I’ve outlined his sky high analytics time after time, listed below in my recent tweet.

Sharife Cooper

Heads are beginning to turn on the Sharife Cooper front just 8 games into his collegiate career at Auburn after a turbulent start. To be completely transparent, I was not bullish on Cooper’s NBA Draft stock prior to the season, as he simply is not my type of prospect to stamp my name on. Yet, a few weeks later, I believe I currently have Cooper pegged the highest of any 2021 NBA Draft Big Board currently available. Not only is Auburn a completely different team with Cooper in the fold, Sharife is proving to be even better than many believed after an esteemed career at McEachern in Powder Springs, Georgia. Cooper has been lights out as a playmaker with a 52.4% assist rate, currently on pace to break Ja Morant’s record for assist percentage in a season which was 51.7%. Playing in one of the more physical, athletic conferences in the country, Cooper’s aggression and tendency to get to the line 10 times per game certainly shows the attitude he is bringing in addition to how much he’s grown in the offseason. Each and every there has come around a player where one idea jumps off the screen to me, this guy has just played far more basketball in his life than anyone else on the court. In 2018, it was Trae Young. In 2019, it was Darius Garland, while he was healthy. And last year, it was LaMelo Ball. Sharife Cooper is that guy for me this year. His ability to make plays for others is heads and shoulders above any other prospect in this class. As I preached on with Cole Anthony last season, I trust playmakers who can make plays for themselves with ease over those who rack up high assist numbers on high usage with low scoring outputs. Cooper creates space naturally using a polished ball handling skillset, a phenomenal ability to change speeds and a lightning quick first step attacking closeouts. Shooting has been a low point thus far, at just 20% from 3 point range, yet I do not have any long-term concerns due to a strong 81% from the free throw line in addition to and even more importantly, a standout floater game from all throughout the mid-range area. I can not foresee Sharife Cooper falling lower than 8th spot on my board.

Listed by Auburn at 6-1 and 180 pounds, Cooper has impressed me with his defense, an area I feared would hold him out of lottery discussions. There is plenty of room to grow mentally and physically on the defensive end, but placing in the 78th percentile in spot up defense is a good sign.

Ayo Dosunmu

I was on the Ayo Dosunmu NBA Draft-boat last season, and since announcing his return to Champaign, he has been on my top 20 radar for the 2021 NBA Draft. For many returnees, scouts may just be seeking higher levels of production to provide more evidence to hold stock, but for Dosunmu there a few specifics area of needed improvement. 17 games in, Dosunmu has proved to be one of the most improved players in the entire country in my eyes. Formerly, Dosunmu was largely regarded by evaluators as an off ball guard at the next level, but he has taken big steps as a distributor. A 27% assist rate with 5.4 helpers per 40 minutes should answer plenty of those questions. A dominant driver off of the PnR, using change of pace to find lanes with ease. A smooth mid-range jumper has been a go-to throughout his career, where he makes a living rising over defenders in soft spots to catch heat quickly. Questions regarding his jump shot release have been answered by strong numbers, shooting 41% from 3 and 83% from the line, as well as the eye test, as he spent the offseason working on mechanics to elevate his release.

In addition, a major standout development has been Ayo’s defense. Dosunmu arrived to Illinois at 6-5 and 170 pounds and told media, that he could barely dunk. Now, Dosunmu is 6-5 and close to 210 pounds while relying on his verticality on finishes somewhat heavily. Long arms, a broader frame and consistently improving defensive instincts have made him not just a passable defender, but a legitimately strong defensive piece with the versatility to guard the 1-3. While he is not a huge steal guy, at just 0.8 per game, he uses a 6-9 wingspan to guard bigger wings due to the Illini playing 4 guards at the same time. Dosunmu is currently in the 82nd percentile in overall defense, 73rd percentile in spot up defense and 68th percentile in PnR ball handler defense. Now as a 21 year old, Ayo Dosunmu has put together the puzzle pieces to be tagged as a top 20 prospect. The growing trend of taking prospects who are already good, rather than trusting that they will get there down the line, will only help Dosunmu. All-around two way versatility with toughness and cemented maturation, physically & mentally.

BJ Boston

BJ Boston was my top overall prospect in the preseason and while I will take the heat on his struggles, I still love the Kentucky Freshman’s skillset and talent. At 6-7 and 190 pounds, Boston has shown flashes of being a go-to offensive option, but thus far it’s only been flashes. Kentucky’s spacing issues and overall lack of talent has hurt Boston’s stock, and as I’ve mentioned earlier this season, Calipari has not had a wing or player like BJ Boston in his 12 years at Kentucky. Among all the 5 stars he’s brought in and put in the NBA, the large majority are backcourt scorers, big men and lead guards. Wiry, scoring wings with less quickness is more of a 5 star build that opts for Duke or North Carolina, so while there are no excuses for Boston’s clear struggles, he would have been better fit in draft stock terms at a different program or even in the G-League.

In terms of talent, Boston’s skillset can not just be discounted because of one turbulent season on one of the worst teams in major conference college basketball. He has taken a step in the last few games and the improvement is fantastic see, although I do see Olivier Sarr’s minutes being scaled back and Terrence Clarke’s sidelining being major reasons. Kentucky, and Boston in specific, have been worse with Sarr and Clarke on the court. Moving forward, I expect Boston to turn a lot of those flashes into tendencies. I have seen BJ Boston have too many dominant offensive performances with a fluid jumper and a deep finishing package as well as legitimate defensive moments using his long arms to cut passing lanes and guard multiple positions, prior to his days at Kentucky to all the sudden drop him into the 20-30 range. No matter where Boston is pegged in my eventual Mock Drafts, Boston should be a staple in my top 15.

Analytics via Synergy Sports & Sports Reference

OPR Updates – Top Producers 24 and Under

Contributed by Aditya Fuldeore

As the 2020-2021 NBA season progresses, adjustments have been made to further improve the Opportunity Production Rating statistic. Here are the new formulas for the stat:

Scaled Points

(Points)        *      (Field Goals + Free Throws)   /

(2pt Attempts + 0.733pt Attempts + 0.41Free Throw Attempts)

Opportunity Production Rating

(1.4ScaledPoints + 0.79Rebounds+ 1.5Assists+ 0.96Steals+ 1.01Blocks – 1.59Turnovers – 0.45PersonalFouls – 1.37) / 2

These new formulas help take into account the volume production that comes from taking threes and free throws in a better way, as well as provide a more accurate way of calculating production of each individual player stat (rebounds, assists, steals, etc.).

For reference, a 10-16 OPR is “normal” production, a 25+ OPR is “superstar” production, and a below 7 OPR is greatly underperforming production.

There are many young players 24 and younger that have made impacts on the NBA already, from superstar Luka Doncic to rookie Immanuel Quickley. Here is a look at the top 50 qualifying players 24 and younger in terms of OPR this season (Age as of 2/1/21):

[Qualifying players: played in at least 7 games and more than 80 total minutes as of 1/26/21]

PlayerAgeTeamGames PlayedOPR
Luka Doncic21Mavericks1629.96
Trae Young22Hawks1627.22
Bam Adebayo23Heat1426.04
Jaylen Brown24Celtics1623.62
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander22Thunder1622.67
Michael Porter Jr.22Nuggets722.43
Jayson Tatum22Celtics1121.78
Jarrett Allen22Nets/Cavaliers1620.96
Zion Williamson20Pelicans1420.96
Domantas Sabonis24Pacers1720.95
Brandon Ingram23Pelicans1520.39
De’Aaron Fox23Kings1620.12
Ivica Zubac23Clippers1819.94
Collin Sexton22Cavaliers1219.93
Donovan Mitchell24Jazz1718.89
Ben Simmons2476ers1618.69
Robert Williams23Celtics1118.63
Deandre Ayton22Suns1518.52
Mason Jones22Rockets917.85
Immanuel Quickley21Knicks1517.83
LaMelo Ball19Hornets1717.81
Hamidou Diallo22Thunder1617.78
De’Andre Hunter23Hawks1617.57
Jalen Brunson24Mavericks1317.52
D’Angelo Russell24Timberwolves1417.45
Dejounte Murray24Spurs1717.43
John Collins23Hawks1717.42
Shake Milton2476ers1517.09
Lauri Markkanen23Bulls1016.87
Thomas Bryant23Wizards1016.86
Jarred Vanderbilt21Timberwolves1416.84
Wendell Carter Jr.21Bulls1416.76
Myles Turner24Pacers1516.73
Eric Paschall24Warriors1616.71
Devin Booker24Suns1416.64
Naz Reid21Timberwolves1616.61
Mikal Bridges24Suns1516.46
Malik Beasley24Timberwolves1616.09
Isaiah Hartenstein22Nuggets1215.90
Jamal Murray23Nuggets1615.69
Tyrese Haliburton20Kings1415.51
Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk23Pistons1715.37
Precious Achiuwa21Heat1615.36
Tyler Herro21Heat1015.30
Isaiah Roby22Thunder1315.22
Jordan McLaughlin24Timberwolves915.13
Rui Hachimura22Wizards714.99
Keldon Johnson21Spurs1714.97
James Wiseman19Warriors1714.79
Garrison Mathews24Wizards714.74

*Data via Basketball Reference, as of 1/26/21, Age as of 2/1/21

Jaylen Blakes Talks Development & Updates Recruitment

By Max Feldman

Jaylen Blakes, a consensus top 100 player, is the top overall uncommitted point guard and the 10th ranked uncommitted prospect in the nation. The Blairstown, New Jersey native has seen his recruitment take off, yet he keeps a clear cut focus on his education at the next level. Too many folks still do not know about Blakes, but he has all the ingredients of a massive hidden gem within a phenomenal 2021 recruiting class.

We had the chance to talk progression, goals moving forward and how his recruitment is shaping up with the finish line in sight.

Here’s my take on Jaylen Blakes’ game and how he will fit at the next level.

Blakes is extremely hard-nosed on both ends of the floor and shows clear signals of being able to play both backcourt spots. At 6-2 and 190 pounds, he has a polished scoring package with a go-to pull up game from beyond the arc and in the mid-range. Blakes attacks the basket with the power and aggression, but uses a swarm of acrobatic finishes to score over bigger defenders. He has elite level change of pace, which in combination with a flourishing offensive IQ, makes him one of the more deadly PnR ball handlers in the nation. An extremely functional and mechanically sound jump shot from three has seen massive improvement and should be seen as a go-to spot up scorer. There is massive potential as an off ball scorer if Blakes continues to improve his tendency to attack closeouts and find space in the mid-range. As one of the fastest prospects in the country from end to end, controlling tempo and combining elite touch with the ability to change speeds is the formula for success moving forward. The aspect of his game that excites me the most? A 6-8 wingspan. He is an active defender with quick hands and sturdy build, which he uses consistently to beat drivers to their spot and excels in PnR coverages. He carries physical tools and a phenomenal IQ that bigh major coaches seek in upperclassmen guards. He is a longterm collegiate prospect but has an outlook as an All-Conference performer wherever he lands. Jaylen Blakes is a day one contributor at the next level.

Furthermore, Blakes is extremely intelligent and intuitive off the court. A humble young man with a focus on his future on and off the court. Below is our full conversation on his game, progression and how his recruitment is shaping up.


For those who do not know your game, what kind of player are you?

I am very competitive, two-way player that takes pride in going to battle with my teammates with a common goal of winning.  I am known as a three level scorer that plays tough defense, demonstrates leadership and intensity on the court.  I am consistently looking at ways to improve my game on and off the court. This includes spending time in the gym, connecting with my coaches and mentors, watching film as well as college and NBA games.

As one of the top remaining 2021 prospects available, where do things stand with your recruitment at the moment?

The pandemic has certainly impacted the recruiting and decision making process by prohibiting campus visits and extending the dead period.  I am continuing to evaluate all options to find the most appropriate fit.

What schools are making you a priority?

The schools that continue to be in contact with me include: DePaul, Illinois, Stanford, Texas, and Yale 

How has it felt to see your recruitment take off late in the process?

I am extremely blessed to even be recruited and it is a testament to my continuous hard work, patience and faith. I am also fortunate to be at a school like Blair Academy where we play a competitive schedule, learn and have the support of amazing coaches, including Coach Mantegna and Coach DeJesus and of course a community and culture that embraces the total person. 

What are you looking for in a college destination?

I am looking for the best combination of academics and athletics; alumni network that is supportive during my college years and after graduation; and school culture and community that embraces student athletes, is committed to diversity & inclusion and has a great school spirit at games.  From a basketball perspective, I am looking for a coach who trusts me, embraces me for the individual that I am, and continues to invest in my development and knowledge of the game, growing me as both a person and athlete. Lastly a team culture of brotherhood, selflessness, community service and a focus on just making each other better.  And let’s not forget about winning. 

When would you like to make a decision by?

Currently targeting early spring. 

What areas of your game are you putting an emphasis on at the moment?

I am continuing to work on my decision-making out of the ball screen and reading where the help is coming from.  I am continuing to improve my shooting and conditioning to get stronger because this is critical as a player. 

What are your goals for the transition to college basketball from Blair Academy?

First it is about finding the best fit and understanding and fitting into the team culture.  Then, establishing a stronger relationship with the coaching staff and putting the work in on the court and during practice to adjust to the college game. I also believe my experience through USA Basketball and the core principles of our Blair Academy basketball team of “cause over self”, extreme preparation, and a winning culture will provide a solid foundation and play a role in my successful transition.

Stay tuned for more updates on Jaylen Blakes recruitment.

NBA 2020-2021: Top Performing Rookie’s Early On

Contributed by Aditya Fuldeore

As the new and unique NBA season is underway, there are many rookies getting acclimated to the league on minimal training camp experience. While we are only a few weeks in, there are several rookies who have showed their worth for their teams. Using regular and advanced stats (such as Win Shares), as well as Opportunity Production Rating (OPR), we can evaluate these rookies to see which ones have performed the best thus far (through January 7th).

Tyrese Haliburton

Sacramento KINGS

Stats: 11.7 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 4.7 APG, 0.7 WS, 51% FG, 48% 3P, 87.5% FT, 18.17 OPR

Haliburton seemed like a steal at the time for Sacramento, and he has played like it. So far, he has been one of the Kings’ best shooters and has been an excellent playmaker behind De’Aaron Fox in the backcourt. Shooting 48% from 3, producing an above-average OPR, and dishing out a 7.0 assist-to-turnover ratio, Haliburton already has 0.7 Win Shares, ranking first among rookies, as well as a 142 Offensive Rating. Already one of the top shooters and passers of the draft class, Haliburton projects to be a big part of the Kings’ future.

James Wiseman

Golden State Warriors

Stats: 11.3 PPG, 6.0 RPG, 0.4 APG, 0.0 WS, 46.8% FG, 41.7% 3P, 61.9% FT, 11.16 OPR

The Warriors have not regretted their pick 2 selection of Wiseman. Settling into Golden State’s frontcourt well, Wiseman has produced as a rim protector and paint scorer. He ranks best among rookies in rebounds per game and ranks top 3 in the league in block %. While his mid-range and 3 point shooting could use some tinkering, he has flashed potential as a shooter, and should learn well under Draymond Green at Golden State. He looks to be a staple of the Warriors’ frontcourt for the foreseeable future and has the tools to develop into a star big man.

LaMelo Ball

Charlotte Hornets

Stats: 11.8 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 4.9 APG, 0.4 WS, 40.5% FG, 34.3% 3P, 73.7% FT, 15.63 OPR

Initially off to a slow start, Ball has ramped up his production in Charlotte. With the Hornets’ second unit, Ball has lived up to his label as a playmaker and scorer, producing an above-average 15.63 OPR. He has produced a positive box plus/minus coming off the bench, leads all rookies in assists per game, and also ranks top 5 in the league in steal %. As he continues to develop on a young Hornets team, Ball’s length and playmaking skills will allow him to progress into one of the draft class’ top guards.

Payton Pritchard

Boston Celtics

Stats: 8.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 3.2 APG, 0.3 WS, 50% FG, 34.8% 3P, 87.5% FT, 11.32 OPR

In the absence of Kemba Walker, Pritchard has been a pleasant surprise for Boston. So far, he has come off the bench for the Celtics, receiving the 5th most minutes on the team. Pritchard has been an efficient shooter in the Boston backcourt, especially from mid-range, and has a +10.1 On-Court plus/minus per 100 possessions, while playing squarely in the middle of the Celtics’ rotation. He has shown that he is ready to be part of an NBA contender, with a more immediate impact than most other rookies. Pritchard has produced on both sides of the ball and projects to be a potential long-term rotation piece for the Celtics.

Immanuel Quickley

New York Knicks

Stats: 7.5 PPG, 1.0 RPG, 1.5 APG, 0.3 WS, 53.3% FG, 42.9% 3P, 100% FT, 22.35 OPR

A late first round pick, Quickley has performed well in a limited capacity for a surprisingly decent Knicks team. Quickley has a smaller sample size than the other rookies here, but he has shown a lot of potential. He has shot the ball well and has flashed potential to be the Knicks’ primary ball handler long-term. He ranks among the top 7 of rookies in box plus/minus and has a +6.9 On-Court plus/minus per 100 possessions. It is a very small sample size, but his large 22.35 OPR shows that Quickley could be a long-term piece at guard for New York.

Anthony Edwards

Minnesota Timberwolves

Stats: 15.4 PPG, 2.4 RPG, 1.9 APG, -0.2 WS, 40.9% FG, 28.8% 3P, 73.7% FT, 11.55 OPR

Coming out of college as a scorer, #1 pick Edwards has produced in that capacity for Minnesota. Leading all rookies in points scored per game, Edwards has produced well for the middle of the Timberwolves’ lineup. He also ranks top 3 on the team in Usage Rate, taking on a slightly large offensive role in games Karl-Anthony Towns has missed. If Edwards can become more consistent shooting from outside for a struggling Timberwolves team, he could live up to his billing as top pick in the draft class.

Other Rookies to Watch:

Cole Anthony, MAGIC: 8.6 PPG, 4.9 RPG, 3.4 APG, 0.1 WS, 30.3% FG, 19% 3P, 95% FT, 12.02 OPR

Deni Avdija, WIZARDS: 6.4 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.1 APG, 0.3 WS, 47.4% FG, 45.8% 3P, 57.1% FT, 10.94 OPR

Patrick Williams, BULLS: 10.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.1 WS, 47.1% FG, 47.1% 3P, 84.2% FT, 9.09 OPR

Precious Achiuwa, HEAT: 7.3 PPG, 4.7 RPG, 0.9 APG, 0.2 WS, 57.1% FG, 52.4 FT%, 11.30 OPR

Saddiq Bey, PISTONS: 10.4 PPG, 5.0 RPG, 1.0 APG, 0.2 WS, 36.1% FG, 46.3% 3P, 71.4% FT, 13.38 OPR

*Stats via Basketball Reference, as of January 7th, 2021

Below is a full breakdown of the top performing rookie’s in terms of OPR.

[Rookies playing in more than 3 games]              Player Pos  Tm  G   ScaledPTSper100       OPR
  Immanuel Quickley  PG NYK  4      26.5728099 22.348247888
  Tyrese Haliburton  PG SAC  6      13.8179539 18.174363152
        Jordan Nwora  SF MIL  6      23.6147333 17.651786622
        Daniel Oturu   C LAC  4      14.6617842 17.279427369
        LaMelo Ball  PG CHO  8      12.8688250 15.625060016
    Jaden McDaniels  PF MIN  5      15.5579154 15.046332299
    Facundo Campazzo  PG DEN  7      16.4601042 14.348083356
      Nathan Knight  PF ATL  4      31.1864407 14.309152542
          Saddiq Bey  SF DET  7      12.5916110 13.383288776
          CJ Elleby  SF POR  4      11.0734463 12.588757062
      Devin Vassell  SG SAS  7       8.2146769 12.431741512
        Cole Anthony  PG ORL  8       9.5955382 12.016430548
        Sam Merrill  SG MIL  5      10.5052731 11.794218479
        Tyrese Maxey  SG PHI  9      10.3222181 11.597774447
    Anthony Edwards  SG MIN  8      15.3394864 11.551589085
    Payton Pritchard  SG BOS  9      11.0735045 11.318803620
    Precious Achiuwa  PF MIA  7      14.1272491 11.301799295
      James Wiseman   C GSW  8      13.2932109 11.164568756
        Deni Avdija  SF WAS  8       7.7658029 10.942642286
        Tyrell Terry  PG DAL  4       1.4957265  9.946581197
    Patrick Williams  PF CHI  9      11.7826964  9.086157145
        Desmond Bane  SG MEM  8      10.3562278  8.374982230
      Lamar Stevens  PF CLE  5       7.9153622  7.852289755
      Isaiah Stewart   C DET  6       6.0791278  7.633302222
      Jae’Sean Tate  SF HOU  6       8.4587938  7.447035071
        Chuma Okeke  PF ORL  5       3.9680233  7.244418605
          Isaiah Joe  SG PHI  4       0.6308666  6.014693298
        Isaac Okoro  SG CLE  4       6.6650509  5.302040717
          Josh Green  SG DAL  6       6.7509482  4.770758534
        Théo Maledon  PG OKC  7       9.4573454  4.765876314
        Reggie Perry  PF BRK  4       7.4282297  4.592583732
      Malachi Flynn  PG TOR  4       0.0000000  3.200000000
  Aleksej Pokusevski  PF OKC  5       0.3844100  1.697528030
      Killian Hayes  PG DET  7       3.4615385 -0.630769231
        R.J. Hampton  PG DEN  5       7.0000000 -2.830000000
     

2021 NBA Draft: Debut Big Board Breakdown

By Max Feldman

For the very first full 50 man Big Board of the 2021 NBA Draft evaluation cycle, I’ll break down why each prospect fell where they did. As college basketball nears a peak, the Big Board is fluctuating on a near daily basis. For the prospects that have a larger range at this point, detail as to why is provided. Narrowing to 50 is extremely difficult this early on, as there are nearly 30 more prospects legitimately on my radar that are not listed. There is currently a strong first tier of 9, followed by another 9. The top 18 slots appear very sturdy.

1. Jalen Suggs

Why he’s here?

Simply put, there is no reason myself, or any evaluator, should have a single prospect higher than Suggs. He is the clear cut top prospect. The full breakdown on Suggs was recently published.

2. Evan Mobley

Why he’s here?

We haven’t seen as talented of a big man come through the draft evaluation process as Mobley in many years. Monstrous wingspan, phenomenal touch, production as a roll man, near 4 blocks per 40 minutes and highly intriguing flashes of an outside shot. Do-it-all two way big man headed for stardom.

Why is he not higher?

USC is not great. He can fade out of the game temporarily and still has work to do in terms of making his presence felt on every trip down. In most other drafts, Mobley is the top prospect.

3. Cade Cunningham

Why he’s here?

Scoring production has been strong. Getting to the line at a high rate, very assertive and carrying a load for the Pokes as one of the nation’s best players. Touch is better than expected. Live ball passing is natural and can be a game breaking trait.

Why is he not higher?

I had confidence Cade would be far and away the best playmaker in the class, but a near 1:1 assist to turnover ratio has disappointed. I remain bullish on his feel for the game and versatile passing ability, but he has not handled pressure great. A poor surrounding cast does not doing his playmaking justice. Turning the ball over a bit too much. Regardless, he’s a lock top three prospect. Each of the top three are essentially 1A, 1B and 1C.

4. BJ Boston

Why he’s here?

Boston was formally my top overall prospect. I am not blind, I have seen the struggles too. Nothing is falling right now, and while many question his outside shooting, I have seen far too much of Boston prior to Kentucky to doubt his three level scoring. Even if it is not this year, BJ will get his grasp on efficient two way production. Defensive analytics are great thus far, and only will improve.

Why is he not higher?

Kentucky’s spacing is as poor as any high major in the nation. First, the guard play for the Wildcats has been horrific. There is not a playmaker or guard slasher who collapses defenses consistently. Secondly, Coach Cal has rarely has had 5 star prospects with builds like Boston and Clarke. It is more of a Duke-one-and-done build. Kentucky’s system is not built to provide space for creation at this spot, as the scoring production usually comes from spot up shooting guards and primary ball handlers. Lastly, Boston has simply been cold. His shot is not falling, but I am not near quitting on him like most who’ve dropped him to the 20’s. His two way outlook remains premier. For the full breakdown, read more here. The talent did not go anywhere, so don’t get that twisted. His system fit is atrocious.

5. Jonathan Kuminga

Why he’s here?

Shooting numbers from minimal G-League scrimmages provide some extra optimism, but Kuminga is still the youngest prospect in the field and is relatively raw offensively. He is my top overall defender in the class and carries a mature frame for a freshly minted 18 year old. The isolation mid-post scoring package is advanced. Finishes through contact with ease.

Why is he not higher?

I would not count out Kuminga rising into my top four, but I would prefer to see more evidence that his ball handling and ability to produce out of a set rather than isolation has improved. There is some OG Anunoby similarities in terms of offensive projected translation, so further development would raise his ceiling. Similarly safe floor for a super young prospect as Pat Williams in 2020.

6. Jalen Green

Why he’s here?

Generational athletic ability with a pure shooting stroke and higher IQ than most give him credit for. He has appeared to be an NBA ready scorer for multiple years already. Numbers out of the Ignite can not be given too much consideration, but I’d hope he is working even harder in the weight room. Tools to be a clampdown defender, but it will take time.

Why is he not higher?

His wiry frame as a defender, tendency to turn the ball over and inefficiency are concerns, but my main reason for having Green lower than most is because I do not think his skillset carries massive value in winning basketball. Whether it is a Zach LaVine or Anthony Edwards comparison, both reasonable, I do not think either one is a cornerstone piece for a NBA championship contender at it’s peak.

7. MOSES MOODY

Why he’s here?

He has been incredibly efficient filling the holes left by Isaiah Joe and Mason Jones, shooting 46% from the field, 42% from three and scoring 17 points a game in over 30 minutes per game. Smooth, natural three level scorer with phenomenal touch. Carries high volume but does not turn the ball over much. Not a playmaker, but has elite feel scoring the ball. I see a lot of Brad Beal similarities.

Why is he not higher?

Not an overwhelming athlete, has room to grow defensively and questions regarding his impact on wins. In comparison to Jalen Green, I have less questions concerning Moody’s impact on winning basketball because his usage rate will very likely be lower. Moody does not over-dribble, as he thrives off pin downs and spot ups rather than pure isolation. Top 12 is my range, and has reached as high as 6.

8. ayo Dosunmu

Why he’s here?

There is not a better lead guard prospect after Suggs or Cunningham. Ayo is one of my most improved prospects in the nation. Has improved his feel for the game and become a strong decision maker. High volume scorer and playmaker who gets to his spots with ease and has a proven ability to stuff the stat sheet. Elite size, great touch, defensive versatility, improved passer and high level activity on the boards. So much to like and he legitimately is improving every game.

Why is he not higher?

Being a Junior does not cap his stock too much, but the appeal and ceiling of the prospects ahead keep him outside the top 5. His range for me varies from 6-14 but should settle in around the middle. Not scoring at a high level, but continuing to improve going to his left in addition to driving the Illini deep into March will help.

9. Scottie Barnes

Why he’s here?

Extremely unique skillset with cemented toughness and high feel. Stat sheet stuffer who can be a key piece of winning basketball. Potential 4-5 positional defender. High level ball handling at 6-9 and 230 pounds. Has all the tools you seek in terms of potential mismatch machine, but requires polish.

Why is he not higher?

Polish, touch and decision making are major questions. Shooting numbers from the line and from three are terrible thus far. He was locked in at the 7 spot for a long stretch, but he has not showed me much that I did not already know. He will be an acquired taste.

10. day’ron sharpe

Why he’s here?

I continue to rise on Sharpe. Physically, he is ready for the league. Brute strength in the paint, solid shot blocking, strong athleticism and developed touch. Sharpe dropped 25 points and 9 boards in just 29 minutes last game against Notre Dame. If Kessler, Bacot and Brooks were not all there, more boards would have Sharpe this high. The more opportunity he earns the higher he’ll rise.

Why is he not higher?

His touch does not extend far outside the paint, but that prerequisite for success for big man is less of a theme now. The need for elite rim runners is at an all time premium, but there are more premier needs. Sharpe has a carved out slot in my top 12. His style of play is coming back into style.

11. James Bouknight

Why he’s here?

Far and away, the most polished pure scorer in the field. High flyer who’s production level has been sky high. Can fill it up at all three levels and has showed some defensive intensity. Development from Freshman year is intriguing as he makes the jump to the NBA, but should have a clear cut role.

Why is he not higher?

Not a natural playmaker who can be loose with the ball. 19% of his possessions come in spot ups situations, where he is in the 37th percentile. In every other offensive situation, he is in at least the 70th percentile. Simply put, he requires the ball in his hands. High volume young scorers require specific situations, limiting the ceiling at this point.

12. kai jones

Why he’s here?

He is a fantastic NBA fit. People will remain lower on Jones throughout the season because he does not start for Texas and has a low volume, but expect a massive boost during the evaluation period after the season concludes. Massively improved from last year as a two way contributor to winning basketball. Elite motor, great length and pogo stick athlete.

Why is he not higher?

He serves a key rim running role with energy and defensive versatility, but is unlikely to ever be a high volume scorer. His skillset is better fit to serve mass value in the NBA rather than Big 12. A ton of Christian Wood-esque tools are here.

13. ziaire williams

Why he’s here?

Silky smooth pull up game. Great length. Jump shot stretches from mid-range to deep three. Phenomenal defensive tools and strong instincts. Has become more assertive over the last two years, working towards finding a consistent production level to go along with volume.

Why is he not higher?

Scorching hot start only lasted a few games, and has gone cold since. Struggles separating from defenders with quickness and has gotten stuck in a spot up role. Better fit in the NBA than CBB but should grow more assertive as a slasher because he has the length, IQ and footwork to do so.

14. corey kispert

Why he’s here?

I do not see his ceiling as low as others. His shooting prowess can not be doubted by anyone, but what keeps him lower on some boards is his age and potential. Rather than being Duncan Robinson, I can see Kispert being closer to Klay Thompson. Regardless of the trajectory, floor spacing is a hot commodity and carries extreme weight in the NBA market. Snagging an elite shot maker with size to defend on a rookie contract is a prime situation for a competing team to move future assets and add an immediate contributor.

Why is he not higher?

As previously mentioned, being a Senior does play a role. He’s a two way contributor but is likely not a cornerstone. He’s an elite level spacer for a star rather than the star.

15. keon johnson

Why he’s here?

Electric athlete who has really impressed me defensively. High steal rate, showing signals of being a lockdown backcourt defender. Flashes of a shooting stroke.

Why is he not higher?

Rick Barnes plays Johnson less than 20 minutes a game. Shooting has been bad, and free throw percentage is not a possibility here, shooting just 58% on 3 trips per game. Carrying a massive range at this point, and has been as high as the 7th spot.

16. Greg brown

Why he’s here?

If Jalen Green was not in this draft, Brown would be the headline athlete. Strong flashes of ball handling and shooting, but needs more consistency. Activity on the boards and slithery finishing ability in the paint. Dominant transition weapon and supreme vertical floor spacer.

Why is he not higher?

Struggles have been evident. Touch has been very on and off. Has made turnovers a habit. Gets lost on defense too often. He has star power but decision making has been a major sore spot. Very well could end up in my top 14.

17. usman garuba

Why he’s here?

Instinctual defense and finishing ability are a joy to watch. Deadly from the dunkers spot offensively. Defensively, will thrive in a switch defense with his lateral quickness and toughness. Fits very well in the NBA.

Why is he not higher?

Garuba is a strong complementary player and does not carry star tools. He is great at what he does; grab boards, defend multiple positions, block shots, finish in the paint and provides burst in transition.

18. jalen johnson

Why he’s here?

Elite frame, powerful inside and strong handle for his size. Can guard 3-4 positions at the next level. High motor, shown by high rebounding volume. Go-to mid-range jumpers appears natural. 

Why is he not higher?

Awkward scenario where he plays a wing role but has never been a reliable outside threat. When healthy, teams chose to leave him with room to shoot and rarely were forced to pay the price. I can not see him being a reliable shooter, thus making him a bit of an odd NBA fit due to his handle and scoring package. Very concerned with his lack of touch. 1:2 assist to turnover ratio makes it far different from a Scottie Barnes trajectory, as Johnson has notoriously been a ball stopper with tunnel vision. Has the range to slide back towards the top 12 if healthy, but has a lot to prove and could continue to fall for me.

19. roko prkacin

Why he’s here?

Smart, polished and versatile in the NBA. Producing at a high level for a very competitive team. Strong feel for the game and a more developed, consistent touch now after years on the radar.

Why is he not higher?

Average athlete. Can be loose with the ball and have tunnel vision in mid-range isolations. Heady slip man who has a role and plenty of room for growth.

20. Charles Bassey

Why he’s here?

Seen massive improvement in another year at WKU. Dominant interior presence, and signs of a solid mid-range shot. Great footwork, massive arms and shot blocking instincts. Motor has been an obvious area of focus.

Why is he not higher?

Competition level is a question mark. Star power is limited. Serves a clear role and has the tools for good production. Range can be as high as 16 and as low as 25.

21. jeremiah robinson-earl

Why he’s here?

Jay Wright products are always polished, and JRE just plays the right way. Has made a big jump and has fantastic footwork. Heady decision maker as a role man. Will be a more efficient shooter at the next level with spacing.

Why is he not higher?

Interior defense is not great and high end potential is a question. He is reliable, but not consistently dominant. He has been on the fringe of my top 14, but there are more exciting prospects. A competing roster with a rotational hole will love him.

22. JOSH CHRISTOPHER

Why he’s here?

Strong athlete, proven three level scorer and progressing as a defender. Gets to his spots with ease. Has been inefficient, but that is his game. High volume scorer who can fill it up with opportunity.

Why is he not higher?

Ball stopper. Constantly battling for volume with Martin and Verge. Can shoot a team out of a game. Has not been locked in defensively at all times. Candidate for a boost if he matures as a defender. Has the tools to be a useful two way scoring boost on a winning team. Defensive improvement could provide top 14 appeal for me.

23. franz wagner

Why he’s here?

Always had touch and natural offensive feel, but defensive improvement has boosted him from my 40 range. Young 19 year old as a Sophomore. Contributes to winning basketball, phenomenal feet in PnR coverages, active on boards. Takes care of the ball, efficient in every category. IQ is off the charts.

Why is he not higher?

Still wiry, but plays stronger than the scale shows. Slumped from deep to open the season but found other areas to contribute. Has room for another boost if assist numbers and defense continue to rise. Regardless of shooting numbers, the touch is there and should be accounted for. Should become more of a slashing threat due great length and heightened attention. Has the room to be a bonafide, two way stud if aggression improves. He’s on the brink of a top 15 rise.

24. cam thomas

Why he’s here?

Has been one of the nation’s storyline as a surprise, but I always been about 10-15 slots higher on Cam than most evaluations. Pro-ready scorer with elite, extended touch. Legit 50-40-90 trajectory.

Why is he not higher?

Defense is a question mark. Low steal and block rate. Not consistently active. Non-playmaker, but should open up with more attention in SEC play. Bucket getter, but if no two way tools are shown he is capping his stock to top 16 at best.

25. terrence shannon jr

Why he’s here?

Far more confident and efficient in year two. Locked in defender who can guard multiple positions. Long arms, explosive athlete, lateral quickness and hard-nosed.

Why is he not higher?

Touch needs improvement. Not a playmaker for others. Handle could use some improvement. Must see more urgency and feel to get to his spots. Has the tools to be a dominant slasher.

26. Romeo Weems

Why he’s here?

Sample size is small but 5/6 from three in Sophomore debut provides mass optimism. Elite athlete who can guard multiple spots. Should take on a higher volume. Mature frame with potential to be a high level rebounder.

Why is he not higher?

Polish needs more proof. Mediocre free throw shooter. Does not take care of the ball well and not a natural playmaker. Has room to shoot up into top 14 throughout the season.

27. Vrenz Bleijenbergh

Why he’s here?

Incredibly unique skillset for a 6-11 big. Too many people are unaware his game still. Taking on a larger role with Antwerp and shooting numbers are sky high. Fantastic feel and instincts as PnR handler and role man. Incredibly versatile.

Why is he not higher?

Narrow frame and just not recognized enough in Belgian League. Interior presence needs work. Motor can be a question mark. Evaluators will eventually get a grasp on him, but FOG remains the only platform with Vrenz on the radar.

28. jaden springer

Why he’s here?

Hard-nosed defender with a mature frame and good athletic ability. Strong mid-range game and is stunting high shooting numbers thus far in minimal volume.

Why is he not higher?

Better fit off ball at the next level from my perspective. Not a natural playmaker and is unlikely to consistently stretch the floor. I have had him as high as top 15 but his NBA role is unclear to me. Requires a fit alongside playmakers.

29. Tre mann

Why he’s here?

Has massively benefited from boosted volume. Fantastic at finding his own shot with great size. Strong, polished handle. Attacks the boards illustrating a high motor. More active defensively. Versatile contributor who elevates team basketball. Untapped potential as an all around creator.

Why is he not higher?

Major candidate for a massive boost into top 20. Has proved a lot, but could improve as a defender. Turns the ball over too much and fouls too much.

30. DAVID JOHNSON

Why he’s here?

High floor two way contributor who’s produced as volume increases. Fantastic frame and can play both guard roles. Efficient three level scorer. Defensive ratings are phenomenal.

Why is he not higher?

Would love to see him get to the line more and be more assertive. Has the tools to be a top 15 guy. Should be an immediate producer in the NBA because of the two-way polish.

31. joel ayayi

Why he’s here?

Elite feel and natural floor general who can shift on or off ball. Extremely polished on both ends. Come a long way defensively. NBA-ready, super high floor. Undervalued on a deep roster but brings winning value. Volume rebounder. Stat sheet stuffer. Sky high IQ.

Why is he not higher?

Does not have an elite ceiling. Wiry frame. Does not get to the line often, avoids contact. Takes great shots but volume is low. Safe decision maker but does not provide a ton of excitement, rather just super steady.

32. scottie lewis

Why he’s here?

Incredible athlete who is potent in transition. Has developed a solid pull up game and grown in confidence. Great length. Shines defensively as a lock down wing and backcourt defender. Hard-nosed, high IQ defender. Becoming a strong 3 and D candidate with great shooting numbers. Showing what I hoped we’d see in year one.

Why is he not higher?

Has all the tools to be a deadly slasher, but still tends to avoid contact in the lane. Needs more strength. Improvement of his ball handling is a massive swing skill for his stock. Signs are there, and that arrow might keep moving up.

33. Jared Butler

Why he’s here?

High IQ, productive lead guard who can slide off ball. Takes great shots, steady contributor who is a 50-40-90 candidate. Should have a long career at the next level. Defensive toughness, fantastic instincts, slides feet and use frame well. Natural floor general. High level shooter, playmaker and defender.

Why is he not higher?

Simply does not do much wrong, but ceiling does not appear incredibly high. If he can portray more as an off ball threat and athletically as a slasher, he will deserve a boost.

34. Daishen Nix

Why he’s here?

Pass first, dynamic playmaker who thrives in transition. NBA ready frame. Phenomenal feel for the game. Can dictate tempo with ease. Great touch inside the arc.

Why is he not higher?

Shooting has always been a question mark. Will benefit from taking the G-League route, as he struggles to separate from defenders and CBB would not have helped his case. Likely carrying a bit too much weight but does a good job curling off screens and getting to his floater game. He’s a long term case, as physical sharpening and shot repetition will take ironing out.

35. IVERSON MOLINAR

Why he’s here?

Stop sleeping. This should help explain more in-depth: Iverson Molinar Should Be a Household Name

Why is he not higher?

Polishing his passing skills would vault him into my top 20. Turns the ball over a bit too much and could likely carry more weight. Another rise candidate if he can continue to manufacture wins on a poor MSU team. Under valued talent who’s trending towards my top 20.

36. dalano banton

Why he’s here?

Elite feel for the game. Stat sheet stuffer who can rebound at a high rate and be a strong playmaker on the wing. Versatility is dynamic.

Why is he not higher?

Could use more strength on his frame. Shooting needs improvement. Many view his versatility as a negative as he does not fit a certain position in the NBA, but I am in the boat that Banton’s tools are the exact direction the league is moving. He’s floated around from 25-45, and showing improvement could garner another move up.

37. David Duke

Why he’s here?

Become a star as a Junior. Great size and legitimate scorer at all three levels. Carries a very high volume and has been dominant doing so. Sneaky playmaker who makes plays for others in transition. Heady scorer who senses defenses weakness, great feel.

Why is he not higher?

Steal rates are low and has to be more active consistently. Draft age does not help but the majority of concerns are defense related. Could see another boost into the top 30 if he capitalizes on a broad frame defensively.

38. Chris Duarte

Why he’s here?

Elite two way fit at the next level. Has a nose to pick passing lanes. Strong shooter who uses his length to attack closeouts and finish at the rim. Fluid shot stroke who can catch fire quickly. Can defend multiple positions. Constant two way energy. Legitimate 3 and D prospect with toughness.

Why is he not higher?

As quickly as he can catch fire, he can go cold. Draft age is poor. Duarte is not a playmaker for others.

39. terrence clarke

Why he’s here?

Long, athletic wing who has impressed defensively. Can be a smooth creator at times. Has shown flashes as a two way wing but needs more offensive polish. Very young. Has the tools to be a dynamic wing defender.

Why is he not higher?

Ball stopper, dribbles too much often. Has struggled with the poor spacing for the Wildcats. Narrow frame. Avoids contact when slashing, low free throw rate. Poor free throw shooter. Poor deep shooter. Plenty of tools but little to no proof in the pudding. Always been relatively low on Clarke because of his IQ, and the UK situation has not helped. Talent does not jump off the screen, numbers do not help.

40. alperen sengun

Why he’s here?

Dominating a league of grown men with efficiency. Active glass cleaner who has strong footwork. Good length and instinctual defender.

Why is he not higher?

I do not project a massive ceiling. He should be a productive two way big but does not excite athletically and can be somewhat slow in rotation. Knows how to play and produce in his role and I am not confident he could take on a higher volume. Not a floor spacer. Could see a boost in coming months if production remains.

41. Sandro Mamuklashvili

Why he’s here?

Phenomenal feel for the game. Extremely smart. Versatile skillset for the college game. Smart playmaker and great ball handler for his size. Strong shot out to the perimeter.

Why is he not higher?

Lateral quickness and covering NBA guards is the concern. Underwhelming athlete but Jokic-like skillset is difficult to ignore.

42. Juhann begarin

Why he’s here?

Dynamic athlete who can defend with intensity. Transition weapon who seeks contact and gets to the rim. Great size and physical tools.

Why is he not higher?

No signs of significant polish as of yet. Plenty of tools and room to grow but requires a ton of patience. Shooting does not appear close to reliable yet, but will be worth the risk for someone.

43. Marcus Bagley

Why he’s here?

When healthy, showed plenty of flashes as a versatile stretch shooter with athleticism. Stroke is fluid and thrives off pin downs, but shot choice needs maturation. Has tools to guard multiple spots and be a nice fit at the next level.

Why is he not higher?

Just need to see more and provide more proof. Thrives in a high tempo offense and can produce highlights but might just be a utility, offensive boost in the NBA.

44. Caleb Love

Why he’s here?

Speedy lead guard with a good handle and strong size. Gets to the line and has a good touch in the intermediate level. Solid passing instincts and can rack up steals.

Why is he not higher?

Has mightily struggled with spacing and shot is not falling. Been a poor game manager and has not taken care of the ball. Having four non-floor stretching, yet talented big men has consistently stuffed the lane. Could see a boost if UNC wings make a step forward and Tar Heels cement a more versatile rotation, but I do see how another year filled with new tools would help him come into his own

45. Mojave king

Why he’s here?

Fluid shooter with good size and an overall smooth offensive game. Natural feel for the game and gets to his spots. Extremely young.

Why is he not higher?

Defensive fit and motor are concerns. Might require another year in the NBL but has undeniable off ball scoring tools.

46. Isaiah Jackson

Why he’s here?

Active rim runner with explosive athletic ability. Volume rebounder and strong rim defender. Vertical floor spacer.

Why is he not higher?

Touch is a question mark, inside finishing has been inconsistent. Fouls too much. Feel for the game needs ironing. Low volume offensive threat. Poor free throwing shooting lends little optimism offensively.

47. jalen wilson

Why he’s here?

Great size and has displayed all the tools of a wing scorer. Seeks contact on slashes and swallowing up available volume. Gets to the lane often. Shooting has been streaky but can get to his shot off the bounce and on spot ups. Strong rebounding presence.

Why is he not higher?

Shooting has been inconsistent. Not a playmaker for others. Has a bit of a tweener skillset but has a relatively high floor for a Redshirt Freshman.

48. aaron henry

Why he’s here?

Elite defender with long arms. Great athlete. Hard-nosed, gritty and active. Transition weapon. Productive rebounder. High IQ on both ends. NBA ready defender.

Why is he not higher?

Scoring and shooting punch have always been the concerns. Ball handling needs work, does not create space with ease. Outside stroke is inconsistent. Draft age.

49. ron harper jr

Why he’s here?

Electric perimeter threat. Efficient against closeouts and struts phenomenal competitiveness. Gamer. Consistent floor spacer who can catches heat quickly. Highly instinctual with good feel.

Why is he not higher?

Needs to put the ball on the floor and attack the rim. Poor free throw shooter. Slow, clunky feet who fits better as a college defender than he will in the NBA.

50. Feron Hunt

Why he’s here?

Aggressive, powerful athlete with an incredible motor. Good length and great activity. Shaping into a fantastic NBA fit defensively. Active rebounder who does the little things. Vertical and at times, a horizontal floor spacer.

Why is he not higher?

Shooting is improved but not anything to write home about yet. Can fade out of a game and take a backseat. Ball handling needs improvement. Confidence and assertiveness would provide further optimism.

2021 NBA Draft: Iverson Molinar Should Be a Household Name

By Max Feldman

The net that is casted by NBA scouts and the media world that surrounds it is absolutely massive. With the wealth of platforms and databases that cover not just high profile prospects, but boards that track 100-200 prospects, you rarely ever will find a prospect that simply is not getting the media they deserve. FOG has prided itself on digging in and getting a good feel for many of the prospects that people do not have a strong feel for yet, but this one is a unique case. I have not seen anyone put this prospect on the radar, but at this point, there is no reason Iverson Molinar shouldn’t be floated around as a draft prospect and even a potential first round name.

Molinar, 6-3 and 190 pounds, moved to the United States from Panama at the age of 14. He was touted as a 4 star prospect and chose Mississippi State over the likes of Arizona, ASU, VCU and Kansas State. He started the first eight games of his career in Starkville, but his Freshman campaign amounted to just 6 points, 1 assist and 1 rebound in 15 minutes per game. The SEC has been stockpiled with NBA prospects over the last few seasons, and the majority of the production for the Bulldogs last season was swallowed up by FOG favorite, Robert Woodard III, as well as Reggie Perry, Nick Weatherspoon and Tyson Carter. With the four statistical leaders out of the fold for Ben Howland, Iverson Molinar has become the most unknown star in college basketball in the early part of the season.

To preface, Iverson’s analytics and efficiency are sky high to this point, but the Sophomore has played just 6 games thus far. He’s a prospect to keep an eye on, but I want to put a clear emphasis on the fact that Molinar is absolutely an NBA prospect.

Through 6 games, Molinar is playing 30 minutes, putting up 18.7 points, 4 rebounds, 3.7 assists with just 1.8 turnovers per game on 51.9% from the field, 51.9% from three and 77.8% from the line. Volume is not low either, as he’s taken 81 shots, 27 of which from beyond the arc while carrying a 28% usage rate for the Bulldogs. Defensively, Molinar has racked up 2.7 steals per 40 minutes.

Below are Molinar’s analytics via Synery Sports.

Overall Offense
Offensive Situations
Overall Defense

We are just 6 games in, but Mississippi State is in the top 100 in terms of Strength of Schedule.

FOG will keep on an eye on how these numbers play out throughout the year. In terms of play style, Molinar shows signs of being a fantastic two-way fit in the modern NBA.

Through years of evaluation, I have locked down four fundamental keys for NBA translation for a collegiate guard. Pull up shooting, PnR ball handling efficiency, at least a 2:1 assist to turnover ratio and a sub .700 PPP when defending.

These points can be read in different manners and certain skills can absolutely be projected depending on physical tools and IQ development.

Similar to Cole Anthony in the 2020 process, Molinar finds his shot with absolute ease. He is a shoot first lead guard with high level athleticism, a deadly first step and a strong hesitation move on the perimeter. The Panamanian-born guard is a joy to watch attacking high PnR’s using hop steps, head fakes and a massively improved handle to knife through defenses. He has a natural floater game in the intermediate level and is quietly proving to be an elite three level scorer. His shot is extremely fluid with strong elevation, rising over bigger defenders to knock down spot ups and pull ups, a massive signal that he can play on and off ball at the next level. Molinar is active on the boards, putting up over 5 boards per 40, and loves to start the break. His patience has developed and has obviously become more trusted with the ball in his hands. His usage rate has shot up nearly 9%, and he still turns the ball over just 1.8 times a game. The 21 year old is extremely active, getting to the rim with ease and seeking contact, resulting in 3 free throw attempts per game, an area that has the potential to rise over 5 attempts per game. The former Team WhyNot guard looks for his shot as a first instinct, and while there is work to do in terms of shot IQ, his efficiency as a shot maker speaks for itself. He creates his own space on what is not an overly impressive Mississippi State roster. End to end, Molinar has deadly speed but has mastered the ability to change speed, draw contact and finish around the rim. Mississippi State runs a very high number of PnR sets to up Molinar, DJ Stewart Jr and Tolu Smith, but overall on offense, they place in just the 48th percentile in points per possession, making Molinar’s efficiency and production even more impressive early on. The high flying Sophomore guard will not make the Bulldogs a competitor in the SEC on his own, but I have no doubt he is one of the most under valued stars in the country and is putting together a well-rounded NBA portfolio.

Defensively, Molinar lands in the 95th percentile in overall defense, 96th percentile defending the PnR ball handler and the 93rd percentile guarding spot ups. He is extremely hard-nosed and pesky using his long arms to disrupt ball handler’s rhythm. There are plenty of under the radar prospects to stamp my name on, but Molinar’s on and off ball defense provide me with plenty of confidence. His wingspan is currently unknown, but it is certainly pushing 6’10 from the eye test. He is a strong bet to be able to guard both backcourt spots at the next level, and excel on that end due to toughness, physicality and instincts. Mississippi State took on Georgia and Molinar was tasked with guarding Sahvir Wheeler, an ultra shifty ball handler guard who breaks down defenses, constantly brings draws help defenses and gets to the line often. Molinar put on a defensive exhibition against the Georgia guard, displaying phenomenal lateral quickness, a relentless motor and defended without fouling too much. Wheeler shot just 2-10 from the field and had 5 turnovers. Against Dayton in a loss, Molinar matched up often with one of the nation’s elite guards, Jalen Crutcher. Crutcher was mostly great, but did finish with 8 turnovers. Taking on Tre Mann, Cam Thomas, Scottie Pippen Jr, Devontae Shuler, Xavier Pinson, Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson will be a great test for Molinar all season long, and I will certainly be keeping an eye out for how he handles the grueling task of guarding SEC guards.

In terms of comparisons to how Molinar will fit at the next level, there are plenty of players with similar build’s and tools. Defensively, Molinar should make a similar impact to De’Anthony Melton and ranges all the way up to Kris Dunn. With his off the bounce scoring ability, Molinar is displaying similar traits to Cole Anthony, a right handed Kendrick Nunn and Anfernee Simons.

With any prospect, production will fluctuate. To this point, Molinar’s numbers are difficult to ignore. Diving deeper, the Panamian guard is beginning to display prominent, advanced and polished tools on both ends of the floor. It is extremely rare to see an elite prospect essentially laying in plain sight as a high major guard, but Molinar is exactly that.

Why are no NBA Draft evaluators talking about Iverson Molinar? A massively improved ball handler with athleticism, scoring polish and an improved decision making ability. The 2021 NBA Draft class appears incredibly deep, but Molinar’s development thus far has him riding the sleeper status. Remember this name, folks.