Top NBA draft prospects and Off-season outlook
As we are nearing the end of the season in the NBA, the draft and free agency is something that I’m always looking forward to. Who’s going to get better? And who is going to find a steal in the draft? And who’s going to make a big splash? When it comes to the draft there is one notable prospect that everyone is talking about and that is Chet Holmgren of Gonzaga. He is a 7”0 power forward but he’s only 195 pounds, but he’s a good ball handler, and can play like a guard for his size. And then there are prospects like Paolo Banchero who is a 6”10 power forward from Duke, who has more upside than Holmgren in my opinion. And then there is the free agency and off-season which is my favorite part of the year. There is so much that can possibly happen this summer. First, we can see maybe the Lakers tear the whole team down, and then we can see guys with player options such as James Harden and Kyrie Irvine decline and enter free agency. And lastly, what does Utah do with their star players?
My top 5 NBA draft prospects:
PG- Jaden Ivey (Purdue) This may be a shock to most but my favorite prospect is Ivey. I’m not very sold on Holmgren and I overall like taking upside guards over big men that need work. To help my argument you can go back to a couple years ago with the Morant and Zion discussions. But, when it comes to Ivey he is an electric guard who can push the pace and take the ball to the hoop with ease. He can also hit threes but his game is facilitating and getting to the hoop. He reminds me a little bit of Morant because of how long he is and how electric he can be. In my opinion he has the most upside in this year’s draft and I think as the off-season goes he can be seen going in the top 2 in many people’s mock drafts.
PF- Paolo Banchero (Duke) Banchero is my favorite forward in this draft because of his strength and his ability to shoot mid range and occasionally threes. His mid range though is the best part of his game and he reminds me of a better shooting version of Blake Griffin, which makes him the most NBA ready forward in the draft because of these qualities. One thing that many scouts may not like is his defense as he had many games where he had not really shown effort on that end of the court. But overall I don’t see it being an issue because he can score, and the NBA isn’t a heavy defensive league until the playoffs.
PF- Chet Holmgren (Gonzaga) Many might find my rankings bad due to the fact that Holmgren is third, but I have many reasons for why he is behind Ivey and Banchero. First, while his defense will be important and impactful once he enters the league, I don’t think his offensive game will suit him well once he enters the league, especially in the paint. But, if he falls to the right place and situation, it would be best for Holmgren to take time to really improve his moves inside and get stronger. With that he can play like Giannis and all of the other big forwards who can play with the ball in their hand. Also, I love his three point shooting for how tall he is, and his ability to dribble. He will be a matchup nightmare for years to come if he can get stronger in my opinion. Lastly to add, I think Holmgren is the biggest bust or boom player which is why I would be hesitant to take him First, but it could be worth it in the long run, it will be intriguing to watch him play at the next level.
PF-Jabari Smith (Auburn) I love Smith’s game, he can shoot the three but he also is a physical player who gets to the hoop in a hurry. Last season he shot 42 % from three, and played terrific defense and showed great effort throughout the season and in the tournament. But, many scouts don’t like the lack of explosiveness in his game and his inability to create his own shots off the dribble. In my opinion I hope Smith goes to a team with a pass first point guard who can get him the ball and make things easy for him at the start so he can work on creating his own shot and being more explosive. Lastly, Smith reminds me a lot of Chris Bosh and Rashard Lewis, both players were shooters but couldn’t create their own shots, and both players showed grit like Smith.
SG- Shaedon Sharpe (Kentucky) Sharpe is one of the more intriguing prospects in this draft because he didn’t play last year for Kentucky, but after watching his film from some of his high school games I can see why he’s ranked as the number 1 shooting guard in this class. Sharpe is a very explosive player and he’s able to create for himself off the dribble. Also, many scouts love his shooting and passing abilities as he is strong at passing in transition and making quick reads downlow to big men. Although there are some question marks about him because of the lack of tape at the collegiate level, I think he can be a homerun pick this year and help a rebuilding team in a year or two.
The Next 5:
C- Jalen Duren (Memphis)
PF- Keegan Murray (Iowa)
PG- Dyson Daniels (G League Ignite)
SG- Johnny Davis (Wisconsin)
SF- A.J. Griffin (Duke)
Free agency predictions:
The Lakers will attempt to trade Russell Westbrook and possibly Anthony Davis due to injury concerns.
The Lakers will attempt to sign Zach Lavine, as it was rumored that Lavine would love to play with LeBron and in Los Angeles.
John Wall will opt into his deal and will get traded with Houston retaining some of his 42 Million owed.
The best possible free agent shooting guards James Harden and Bradley Beal will both opt into their contracts and stay with their teams.
Kyrie Iriving will opt out of his contract and enter free agency. But, he will resign with the Nets for a pay increase. I don’t think there is any team that fits him better than the Nets anyways and there are not really any good landing spots for him out there.
There have been rumors that Rudy Gobert wants out of Utah if Donavan Mitchell is still there, so I have Utah trading Gobert to an Eastern Conference team for a wing. The Celtics or Hornets could be good landing spots.
Damian Lillard will stay put, but there will be talks about him wanting out, as Portland is facing another rebuild.
The Golden State Warriors will trade for a star wing. They will try and move Andrew Wiggins and James Wiseman.
Written by: Stephanos Mavroides