As we’ve reached a dead period in the basketball season with the ending of NBA Summer League, basketball writers around the blogosphere have to be more creative with their summer coverage. On Ridiculous Upside, we’re going to spend the rest of the summer involving our awesome Twitter followers in the action with weekly Q&As where editor Dakota Schmidt answers questions that deal with D-League, college and high school prospects.
@RidicUpside rank the prospects:— Jordi Marasse (@JordiMarasse) July 20, 2016
RU— After my recent piece on Josh Jackson, I’ve had the opportunity to get a good look at each of these prospects. Each member of this quarter are excellent wings that are bound to be lottery picks in their perspective draft. But to answer my question, this would be my ranking.
- Jayson Tatum - Reasoning behind Tatum being here is that I think he’s such a well-rounded and solid player. As I touched on in my piece on him in June, Tatum’s a “swiss army knife” with how he’s fantastic in a variety of different areas: explosive on and off-ball cutting, post-ups, mid-range shooting and facilitating. For someone that just turned 18 in June, it’s amazing to see someone that combines great basketball IQ, solid athleticism and a very versatile skill-set.
- Michael Porter - After watching the Peach Jam championship game alongside the initial FIBA Americas U18 game, I’ve become awe-struck by top 2017 prospect Michael Porter. My eyes have been glued to him whenever he’s on the court as he’s supremely athletic while also working his butt where he goes for loose balls or crashing the glass. Alongside that, Porter has a solid shooting stroke, which seems to progress as the months go by.
3. Josh Jackson - There’s not much that separates each of these four talented prospects. Despite placing 3rd among this quartet, Jackson’s still an incredibly talented that could definitely be the 1st overall pick in next year’s draft. That’s due to Jackson being an incredibly athletic player that could work as a point forward with his facilitating However. I give the slight edge to Porter and Tatum over Jackson due to the Kansas’ forward’s older age (turns 20 in February), fledgling jumper and smaller frame. Is he an incredibly talented player? Absolutely, but I still give the slight edge to both Porter and Tatum.
4. Kevin Knox - When I was watching last month’s FIBA U17 World Championships, a player that I was impressed by was Kevin Knox. Knox is a 6’8 forward that’s a huge threat on defense, the offensive glass and in transition. Throughout the tournament, Knox was a huge threat on the passing lanes as he just piled up steals. Those steals pushed him to be a transition threat, as he got to show off his incredible athleticism. However, Knox’s half-court game is still a little flawed as he’s not polished on the offensive end as his handles aren’t that advanced and struggled knocking down a consistent perimeter jumper. While he’s 4th on the list, Knox is a great prospect to look out for in the 2017 high school class.
@RidicUpside when do you think every single NBA team will have a D-League affiliate?— Robert Flom (@RichHomieFlom) July 20, 2016
It’s nearly impossible to 100% answer that question because you have no idea on what’s going on with the remaining eight teams without their own D-League affiliate. However, we can estimate by going off recent trends. Heading into the upcoming 2016-17 season, there will be 22 D-League teams with the additions of the Greensboro Swarm (Charlotte Hornets), Long Island Nets (Brooklyn Nets) and Windy City Bulls (Chicago Bulls). If we’re going by this, we can guess that there could be up to 2-3 new D-League affiliates each season. By using basic math, that would put 2018-19 to 2020-21 season as the estimated time in which NBA team will have their own D-League affiliate. That estimate is 2018-19 estimate is backed by the continuing rumors behind the Milwaukee Bucks, Minnesota Timberwolves and Orlando Magic all being in heavy pursuit for their own D-League team.
@RidicUpside who are the HS players to watch at this weekend's Adidas event in Vegas?— Chad Andrus (@chadandrus) July 20, 2016
Although the vast majority of top HS players are either competing in the FIBA U18 tournament or just resting after a hectic EYBL season, there are some solid prospects that will be in Vegas for this week’s Adidas Summer Tournament. UCLA commit Jaylen Hands is probably the most recognizable player that will be in competition, as some sites have as a top-30 player in the 2017 high school class.
Another 2017 prospect at this weekend’s event is 6’11 Malik Williams, a solid defensive presence from Indiana that’s an excellent rim-runner for someone his size. For 2018 prospects, you have five-star wing Zion Williamson, an uber athletic 6’5 player from South Carolina. Alongside him, keep an eye on EJ Montgomery, Kiyon Boyd and Jules Benard.
@RidicUpside when will the draft happen this year?did the team scheduled their local tryouts?— Conald Colbert (@zikikiw) July 20, 2016
As we’re a little more than three months away from the start of the season, there isn’t a definitive date set for the 2017 NBA D-League draft. Usually it’s set in late October to early November, around two weeks before the start of the D-League regular season. For the second question, usually the teams hold their individual workouts in mid-September. Just make sure to regularly check the main NBADL site as they’ll inform you when the tryouts are announced.