It is that time of year people. March Madness will be here before we know it, and the NBA playoff race is heating up. With the elite talent at the top of the class, this is one of the most highly anticipated drafts ever.
Though the top of the draft is incredible, after the top 5 prospects this draft class is not too impressive. As a matter of fact, its rather lackluster in all honesty. The top guys are so elite though, that this class is still worthy of the hype. The North Carolina versus Duke ticket prices are proof of how huge the Zion, Barrett, Reddish hype is. The cheapest tickets were going for $3,000. Yes, that is 3000, not a typo, and not 300. Three thousand dollars for one single ticket that was probably in the nose bleeds. Let that sink in.
Last night’s game (Zion’s injury) did a lot of things. One thing it did not do though was hurt his draft stock. Even if the knee injury turns out to be more serious than expected, or if he decides to shut it down the rest of the year, Zion is still Zion and by far the best player in the draft. I personally would seriously consider shutting it down until at least the tournament if I were him, but with his drive and love for the game I do not see that happening.
Zion is an absolute lock to go 1, and the rest of the top 5 seems relatively locked in as well. I think Ja Morant will more than likely go 3 and Reddish go 4, but with Cleveland currently sitting at the 3 spot (it will change between now and the end of the season) it would make no sense for them to take another Point Guard after taking Sexton in the lottery last year.
- Phoenix Suns: Zion Williamson F (Duke, Freshman)
- New York Knicks: RJ Barrett G/F (Duke, Freshman)
- Cleveland Cavaliers: Cam Reddish SF (Duke, Freshman)
- Chicago Bulls: Ja Morant PG (Murray State, Sophomore)
- Atlanta Hawks: Jarrett Culver G/F (Texas Tech, Sophomore)
- Memphis Grizzlies: Rui Hachimura F (Gonzaga, Junior)
- Washington Wizards: Keldon Johnson G/F (Kentucky, Freshman)
- New Orleans Pelicans: Romeo Langford SG (Indiana, Freshman)
- Atlanta Hawks (via Mavs): Jaxson Hayes PF/C (Texas, Freshman)
- Orlando Magic: Darius Garland PG (Vanderbilt, Freshman)
- Miami Heat: Bol Bol C (Oregon, Freshman)
- Detroit Pistons: De’Andre Hunter SF (Virginia, Sophomore)
- Minnesota Timberwolves: KZ Okpala F (Stanford, Sophomore)
- Charlotte Hornets: Nickeil Alexander-Walker SG (Virginia Tech, Sophomore)
- Los Angeles Lakers: Tre Jones PG (Duke, Freshman)
- Brooklyn Nets: Sekou Doumbouya F (France, 18)
- Boston Celtics (via Kings): Coby White PG (North Carolina, Freshman)
- Boston Celtics (via Clippers): Nassir Little F (North Carolina, Freshman)
- San Antonio Spurs: Jontay Porter PF/C (Missouri, Sophomore)
- Utah Jazz: PJ Washington PF (Kentucky, Sophomore)
- Houston Rockets: Kevin Porter SG/SF (USC, Freshman)
- Portland Trailblazers: Brandon Clarke PF (Gonzaga, Junior)
- Boston Celtics: Bruno Fernando PF/C (Maryland, Sophomore)
- Philadelphia 76ers: Jalen McDaniels PF/C (San Diego State, Sophomore)
- Oklahoma City Thunder: Tyler Herro G (Kentucky, Freshman)
- Indiana Pacers: Luguentz Dort G (Arizona State, Freshman)
- Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Grant Williams F (Tennessee, Junior)
- Golden State Warriors: Admiral Schofield F (Tennessee, Senior)
- San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Markus Howard PG (Marquette, Senior)
- Milwaukee Bucks: Daniel Gafford PF/C (Arkansas, Sophomore)
Guys to watch who could climb into round 1: Naz Reid, Udoka Azubuike, Kyle Guy, Cam Johnson, Ty Jerome, Sagaba Konate, Ashton Hagans, Jordan Poole, Goga Bitadze, Eric Paschall
A couple guys toward the toward the bottom that I really like are Admiral Schofield and Markus Howard. Neither of them are getting the love they deserve from other “draft experts”. Yes Schofield is a senior and Howard is a junior, but Schofield is an absolute tank who has shot over 50% from the floor (and over 37% from 3) on his career and is averaging 16.5 points, 6.3 boards, and 2.3 assists per game this year. Howard is having arguably the best season of any player in the country, but most people haven’t even heard of him. He’s averaging 26 points, and 4 assists and rebounds per game, while shooting 45% from the floor, 44% from 3, and 91% from the charity stripe. He has scored 28 or more points in 5 of his last 6 games, scored more than 40 in three games this season, and one of those being a 53 piece. Remember the name, Markus Howard.
A full, 2 round mock draft will be coming in the following month.