The next generation of NBA stars is eagerly waiting to enter the league through the NBA Draft — whenever that will end up being.
The talk surrounding this year’s draft class has been that it is not quite as strong as last year’s draft and is lacking a legitimate can’t-miss star prospect who can improve a team’s NBA 2020 immediately.
Nevertheless, there are always a few players who emerge and become the stars of the draft. SBOTOP is here to check out the top five candidates to become the standout players of this draft class.
There is no consensus top prospect in this year’s draft as no player has done enough to separate himself from the rest of the pack. But the name that is currently on top of most draft evaluators’ mock drafts is Anthony Edwards.
Edwards, 19, is a 6-5 freshman guard from Georgia. He averaged an impressive 19 points in his first and only season with the Bulldogs. He possesses elite athleticism, which allows him to finish around the rim consistently.
There are some concerns about his shooting; he only shot 30 per cent on 3-pointers. He also needs to improve his decision making and playmaking for his team-mates.
But all of the tools are there for him to become a big-time scorer in the league. And the potential is such that he could very well be the No. 1 pick in the draft, especially if a team in need of a scorer wins the lottery.
Ball is arguably the most high-profile prospect in this year’s draft, in part because of his family name. However, LaMelo is not all hype; he is the best point guard prospect due to his outstanding passing. And unlike his brother, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Lonzo Ball, he is more than comfortable running the pick-and-roll, which is a crucial skill for any NBA-bound point guard.
But Ball didn’t have the best of times in Australia with the Illawarra Hawks. He suffered a foot injury which cut his season short. And while he got to showcase his excellent passing against seasoned professionals, his poor shooting stood out like a sore thumb. He shot below 30 per cent on his 3-pointers, which is a major concern.
Granted, his brother Lonzo also struggled mightily early in his career and has transformed himself into a capable shooter this season (38 per cent). So despite that glaring red flag, the other parts of Ball’s game are still good enough that he will almost surely be selected in the top five.
Wiseman was the No. 1 prospect in his high school class and was expected to make Memphis a top contender. Unfortunately, his lone college season was cut short due to eligibility issues. He ended up playing just 69 total minutes for the Tigers and made NBA 2020 news by declaring for the draft a month after being deemed ineligible.
But even though he was unable to showcase his talents in college, Wiseman still projects as a top-five prospect and the best centre in the draft. With his physical gifts — he has a 7-foot-1 frame and freakishly long arms — he has the potential to be a game-changing defensive player.
Wiseman has been linked with the Warriors, who have the worst record in the league and could end up with the top pick. That would be an ideal situation for Wiseman as he would be allowed to focus more on defence while the Splash Brothers, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson carry the offence.
The list of the top five prospects quickly gets more diverse after Edwards, Ball, and Wiseman. Several contenders are being bandied about as potential top-five picks, one of whom is Obi Toppin.
Toppin was one of the top college basketball players this season. He averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds to lead Dayton to their best season in school history.
Toppin is a versatile offensive player who can do a little bit of everything: pass, drive, and shoot. With their system revolving around him, Dayton had one of the best offences in the country.
The big question mark surrounding Toppin, thoguh, is where exactly he fits in the NBA. At 6-foot-9, he might not be big enough to play centre, strong enough to play power forward, or quick enough to play small foward.
Toppin doesn’t quite possess the physical tools to become an elite star, but if his offensive versatility can translate, he figures to be a capable contributor right away.
Avdija is touted to be the best international prospect in this year’s draft. The 18-year-old combo forward won the MVP in the European U20 Championships. He’s also been a capable rotation player for Maccabi Tel-Aviv as a teenager.
Avdija’s size (6-foot-8), playmaking and versatility are his major selling points. While he doesn’t have the highest ceiling in terms of his star potential, players who can play his position are one of the most valuable assets in the league right now, so he will be in high demand.
And with his versatility, he figures to contribute in different ways even if he doesn’t develop into an All-Star-calibre player.
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