Start at the top.
I like Jabari Smith better than any other prospect in the class. He has a great looking shot. His on ball defense is good too. That's 2 NBA ready skills along with appropriate height and length. The big knock on Jabari is that he can't create for himself or others. Nothing from his college tape suggests that he can't develop those tools to me. He showed flashes of both mixed in with poor finishing at the rim and some questionable decision making. I think those things will come with time. He is one of the youngest prospects in the draft, which is a consistently underrated attribute.
I don't know how to assess Chet Holmgren. He'll play the 4 while he works on his frame. I don't think he'll ever be big enough to play the 5 but it might not matter. He seems to me to be about where Bamba is now, though he is supposed to be a real ball-handler and creator, which he didn't have a chance to showcase at Gonzaga. He brings weak-side shot blocking and 3 point range to the table. Theoretically he can be paired with a less vertical big. Didn't really work for the Magic when they tried it with Ibaka and Vuc but that's the idea. I'd pass on Chet just from the frame. I'm afraid he'll get cooked in space by quick players and bullied by strength players. A consensus seems to be building around Ivey, Sharpe, and Chet that their ceilings could be astronomical. I'd leave it. I think the Magic are on a more accelerated timeline than Chet would be optimal for.
Paola Banchero on the other hand is ready to contribute immediately. He has an NBA ready body and advanced movement and passing from the midpost. I think he'll be a stats beast in his first season especially if he goes somewhere with an explosive point guard. Long-term I don't think his shot will get where it needs to be and he'll end up as a 20 and 8 defensive liability on middling efficiency. If I had to put money down I'd guess he'll be rookie of the year.
Jaden Ivey has an elite first step that he refuses to use in the half court most of the time for some unknown reason. He floats or stands around on the perimeter much too much for my liking. This could have been a product of Purdue's system or just the fact that there were other talented players on Purdue that needed their number called. He excels in transition and free throw rate. He used his plus athleticism to get to the line against less athletic college players I think that'll dry up in the NBA. He's a middling shooter who I do not think will ever be exceptional. He looked mediocre on D to me. It was supposed to be a plus skill he had as a freshman that he didn't develop. On the other hand his catch and shoot and passing skills improved significantly and you can tell he takes pride in those improvements which is a good sign. I'd pass on him for other wing prospects, but if that functional athleticism outstrips even NBA athletes he'll replicate his college success.
Shaedon Sharpe apparently has a 49 inch vertical. If this isn't smoke and mirrors it just adds another chapter to poor advice he's been getting since the end of high school. It's fine to reclassify, but jerking Kentucky fans around and only revealing that you'd be eligible in April seems like a poor decision. Add to that his decision not to jump at the combine, if you want hype there is no better venue. He hasn't played for a year and a half and every GM is scared of losing their job over him. Pro days don't count. He should've played at the combine or suited up for Kentucky to at least give those guys some cover when they pick you. That being said, he has a 49 inch vertical, about a 7 foot wingspan and can shoot. Hard to see how a guy like that fails, but one way is to have terrible people around you that reinforce diva tendencies.
Benedict Mathurin apparently has been killing workouts he shoots well and checks the athleticism boxes that GMs are looking for. His over/under right now is 6.5 and that seems about right to me. He could sneak in front of Ivey if a team has fallen in love.
AJ Griffin has high stiff hips. I don't think he'll ever get to even passable defensively. He's a pass for me. He has an NBA ready skill in his shooting which has been exceptional back into his high school days.
Jeremy Sochan has moved up draft boards as someone who can do a little bit of everything that NBA teams like and still has untapped potential.
Jalen Duren is getting mocked to the Spurs as a potential Poeltl replacement. Doesn't seem like a Spurs player to me.
The Hornets are looking for a dunking partner for LaMelo Ball. Should be either Jalen Duren or Mark Williams at 13.
Johnny Davis played on a hurt ankle for a terribly spaced Wisconsin team. If you remove his ankle games he has about the same resume as Ivey. I think he is a better defender and shooter particularly in uncontested situations. He killed Ivey in the head to head as well dropping 37. He is a dark horse for me for rookie of the year depending on where he goes. Interesting to see what he is without the limitations of Wisconsin. He could already be at his ceiling, but I doubt it. Hard to tell without more information.
Walker Kessler is falling down boards as an odd man out. I like him. He had a 19 percent block rate for the top 10 Auburn D. Apparently he showed some shooting prowess as well in workouts. If that's a developable skill he'd be gold in a drop coverage system.
Max Christie shot well in high school according to Sam Vecenie. If that's true he could be a steal in the 2nd round. He is already passable defensively on the wing after guarding the best wings in the Big Ten every night.
Josh Minnot is 10th on Hollinger's board and probably won't go until the mid 2nd. He barely played any minutes at Memphis for unknown reasons. Maybe because he can't shoot and got into foul trouble, but he gets blocks and looks like he has plus functional athleticism.
Kenneth Lofton Jr. Shows up in all the statistical models as successful, but his body type does not fit with the NBA. Probably will end up as the best overseas player in the draft.
Jalen Williams shot up draft boards with an exceptional combine and predeaft process. He started out in range to be drafted by the Magic, but is now in lottery contention.
Jake Laravia is a good movement shooter.
Dom Barlow is only 19 and looks it. Has plenty of room to grow into his skill-set.
Ismael Kamagate looks like the most likely prospect to both protect the rim and be switchable, but he's running out of time to figure everything out. He needs to get into an NBA system quickly to show his true potential. Was the Defensive Player of the Year last year in the French League.
John Butler is incredibly skinny. His shot looks good. Could be worth a g-league stash.
Kofi Cockburn shouldn't have entered the draft.
Andrew Nembhard looks like everything a team wants in a backup pg but is probably about a finished product.
Ryan Rollins has been shooting well in workouts could sneak up to the top of the 2nd round.
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