The NBA regular season is still weeks away, but it is never too early to begin evaluating the next crop of incoming prospects. Unlike the first 20 players in the first two installments of RidiculousUpside.com’s 2019 NBA Draft Big Board, this group features an even mix of newcomers and returning players.
This list is based off overall value, and isn’t to be interpreted as a mock draft. This list will fluctuate throughout the season. Players will rise and fall based on their performances across all competitions leading into next year’s draft.
Today’s post will feature 20 prospects instead of 10, and the outlook for each player will be condensed. With all that in mind, let’s get to the list.
No. 21 | Darius Bazley | F
Class: - | HT: 6’8” | WT: 195
Outlook: Bazley is taking an unconventional path to the NBA by training on his own this year. He is a superb athlete with excellent length. Bazley can bolster his stock if he adds weight to his frame.
No. 22 | Jalen Smith | PF | Maryland
Class: Fr. | HT: 6’9” | WT: 195
Outlook: Versatile big men are always in demand, and Smith is primed to capitalize on that market. Bruno Fernando will operate in the pivot spot for the Terrapins, which will allow Smith to showcase his skills outside of the paint.
No. 23 | Nazreon Reid | C | LSU
Class: Fr. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 240
Outlook: Reid has all the tools to be a lottery pick in the 2019 NBA Draft, but he must prove he can consistently carry a large workload. If LSU has a successful season, it will be driven by the big fella’s incredible skillset.
No. 24 | Ja Morant | PG | Murray State
Class: So. | HT: 6’3” | WT: 170
Outlook: Due to his explosive athleticism, Morant frequently dominates the competition that he faces as a member of Murray State’s basketball squad. Morant’s free throw percentage (80.6) suggests that his three-point percentage (30.7) might be in line for a serious uptick this season.
No. 25 | Herbert Jones | G/F | Alabama
Class: So. | HT: 6’7” | WT: 200
Outlook: Jones already projects to be a solid perimeter defender in the NBA. An increase in his offensive production would make Jones one of the better two-way wing prospects in the country.
No. 26 | Jarrett Culver | SG | Texas Tech
Class: So. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 190
Outlook: Culver can create for himself off the bounce, and is a scrappy rebounder for his position. Polishing the other parts of his offensive game will be crucial for his development as a sophomore for the Red Raiders.
No. 27 | Jalen McDaniels | F/C | San Diego State
Class: So. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 195
Outlook: After testing the waters before last year’s draft, McDaniels decided to return to the Aztecs for another season. The big fella is smooth in transition, and is dangerous around the rim. He will need to add weight before making the leap to the NBA.
No. 28 | Kris Wilkes | SF | UCLA
Class: So. | HT: 6’8” | WT: 195
Outlook: Wilkes is a lengthy wing with an excellent release point on his jumper. In addition to his shooting mechanics, the Indiana native moves well without the ball. Consistency will be the key for Wilkes as a sophomore.
No. 29 | Lindell Wigginton | PG | Iowa State
Class: So. | HT: 6’2” | WT: 188
Outlook: Wigginton is a shooting guard trapped in a point guard’s body. He can score from all three levels, but his less-than-stellar turnover numbers will raise concerns about his ability to run a pro-style offense.
No. 30 | Shamorie Ponds | PG | St. John’s
Class: Jr. | HT: 6’1” | WT: 175
Outlook: Ponds is a crafty guard that expertly creates open space on the offensive end. His scoring volume increased as a sophomore, but his efficiency dipped in comparison to his freshman year. Ponds can move up the rankings if he can find the right combination of the two.
No. 31 | Eric Paschall | PF | Villanova
Class: Sr. | HT: 6’9” | WT: 255
Outlook: Paschall is primed for a big year with the Wildcats. Due to his paint-friendly offense, Paschall is extremely efficient on the offensive end. He has shown signs of expanding his scoring repertoire, but expecting another leap from the 21-year-old forward might be a stretch.
No. 32 | Nickeil Alexander-Walker | SG | Virginia Tech
Class: So. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 210
Outlook: Alexander-Walker makes up for his below-the-rim finishing with steady production from beyond the arc. He plays within himself, which should cement his spot as a contender for first-round consideration in the 2019 NBA Draft.
No. 33 | Kevin Porter Jr. | G/F | USC
Class: Fr. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 195
Outlook: Porter impressed at Nike Hoop Summit practices earlier this year, and he should continue to raise eyebrows with the Trojans. He still has a lot to prove, but his body is ready for NBA competition.
No. 34 | Aric Holman | PF | Mississippi State
Class: Sr. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 225
Outlook: Holman is a highly efficient big man that will draw interest from NBA teams looking to add frontcourt depth. He can rebound, finish at the rim, and alter shots in the paint.
No. 35 | Ty Jerome | SG | Virginia
Class: Jr. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 200
Outlook: Jerome will have plenty of chances to display his superb shooting touch in an expanded role with the Cavaliers this season. He shouldn’t have a problem blossoming into one of the best catch-and-shoot operators in the ACC.
No. 36 | Tyus Battle | SG | Syracuse
Class: Jr. | HT: 6’6” | WT: 205
Outlook: Battle has all the measurements necessary to thrive in the NBA, but he must polish his offensive game after returning to Syracuse. By shooting below 40 percent from the field as a sophomore—Battle left himself plenty of room to improve.
No. 37 | Oshae Brissett | PF | Syracuse
Class: So. | HT: 6’8” | WT: 210
Outlook: Brissett’s versatility on both ends of the court will attract plenty of suitors. Due to Syracuse’s zone scheme, evaluating his defensive acumen is a tough task. Even with that in mind, Brissett’s athleticism is undeniable.
No. 38 | Killian Tillie | PF | Gonzaga
Class: Jr. | HT: 6’10” | WT: 215
Outlook: Tillie will be a key contributor on one of the best teams in college basketball, but that doesn’t mean he is a lock to make noise in the draft. His reliable three-point shooting should be enough to anchor his draft stock.
No. 39 | Matisse Thybulle | G/F | Washington
Class: Sr. | HT: 6’5” | WT: 195
Outlook: Thybulle is one of the best perimeter defenders in the country, but a lack of offense torpedoes his spot on this list. Expect him to once again lead the Pac-12 in steals in his final year in Seattle.
No. 40 | Carsen Edwards | PG | Purdue
Class: Jr. | HT: 6’1” | WT: 200
Outlook: Edwards has proven he can create for himself and others in his first two seasons at Purdue. The biggest question surrounding the 20-year-old guard is tied to his physical limitations.
—Steve / @SteveDHoops / BEdgeSteve@gmail.com