Our top 10 can be found here.
This range is a money spot for NBA teams. A lot of times, it allows for a middling team to strike gold and finally take the next step towards becoming contenders.
Hall-of-Famers like Kobe Bryant, John Stockton, and Steve Nash fell here. Future Hall of Famers such as Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Zach Randolph were picking in this range as well. In addition, a couple of the league’s dynamic young players were selected here as well — Donovan Mitchell, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro. Just as likely as it is to select a great player, we’ve also seen huge swings and misses as well — Georgios Papagiannis or Bruno Caboclo.
In this part of the board, several of these players garnered top-10 recognition from our writers. Can any of these players emerge as steals in the 2020 NBA draft?
Big board participants — myself (@PAKA_FLOCKA), Joe Mullinax (@JoeMullinax), Brandon Abraham (@bcabraham), Nathan Chester (@NathanChester24), Shawn Coleman (@StatsSAC), Ben Hogan (@NotTheGolfer), Justin Lewis (@J_Timberfake_), Lauren Harvey (@DragicKingdom), EdMemphis (@SquareBidness), Greg Ratliff (@GregRatliff), Jesse Cinquini (@CinquiniJesse).
11) RJ Hampton, 6’5” Guard, New Zealand Breakers
GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming (6): RJ Hampton is my island guy. He has great size for a combo guard, and he’s a blur in transition that also can find his way to the paint in the half court. I’m also taking stock in his work with former Grizzly (and Hampton’s new agent) Mike Miller on his primary pre-draft weakness: outside shooting. In a league with more spacing and that’s become more predicated on skill than size, Hampton will thrive and emerge as one of the best players in this class.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Ben Hogan (19): My worry about RJ Hampton is which player are you going to get? The high school star who was sought after by many top college programs? Or the underachieving one-year NBL player? I feel he didn’t get enough of a chance to develop in the NBL, so he would be a project for whichever team takes him.
12) Patrick Williams, 6’8” Wing, Florida State University
GBB Senior Staff Writer Shawn Coleman (11): On the surface, Patrick Williams really does not jump off the page as a potential lottery pick. However, when you watch his film, you truly see the value he has. He has good shooting and scoring potential, and is passionate about doing the little things to make a team offense efficient. He also has the drive and awareness to flash a difference maker on defense. He appears to have above average skills across the board, but his mindset at such a young age is what really stands out. In a winning system, I feel he has a very good chance to exceed expectations.
GBB Site Manager Joe Mullinax (19): I like Williams more than, say, Precious Achiuwa because there is evidence of offensive scoring punch beyond the rim (his free throw percentage being so much better than Precious’ is telling in terms of a starting point on growing a jumper with range). I also like him because he can grow as a shooter and creator off the dribble - the beginnings on an NBA offensive weapon are more clear. Why am I lower on him than most of GBB? Watching him at Florida State, he was rigid in his movements and struggled with decision making in terms of turnovers. He screams of being a player who COULD be a positionless two-way threat, but needs some serious seasoning to get there.
That variability makes me nervous when compared to the likes of an Issac Okoro, or even a Tyler Bey. Williams’ ceiling may be higher than theirs, but his floor could bottom out if he isn’t given the time and space to find his game and how to best use his frame in the NBA.
13) Tyrese Maxey, 6’3” Guard, University of Kentucky
GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming (8): Maybe it’s the past Kentucky guards for me. Tyrese Maxey can walk down the same road that Devin Booker, Jamal Murray, Tyler Herro, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander paved for him as Kentucky guards that exploded and flashed more in their bag than they were allowed to under Cal. He’s a dynamic shot-maker with great size, and he’s already projected to be a better defender than the guards listed above. He has the skillset to emerge as one of the draft’s biggest steals.
GBB Staff Writer Jesse Cinquini (19): Maxey’s perimeter jumper is my primary concern. Only 29.2% of Tyrese’s three-point attempts found the bottom of the net in his one year as a Wildcat, but his shooting woes go beyond the numbers. The eye test highlights that he has a low release which resulted in a fair share of ugly misses. Furthermore, considering he’ll enter the league as a non-ball dominant role player and he shot an abysmal 25% on catch-and-shoot jumpers, it will be difficult for him to see the floor right away if he does not improve as a marksman off the catch.
14) Cole Anthony, 6’2” Guard, University of North Carolina
GBB Senior Staff Writer Nathan Chester (8): Cole Anthony was held back by a lifeless North Carolina team this past year, but he has everything that a lead guard should in the modern NBA. He’s an electric scorer, a growing playmaker, and an above-average athlete who projects as a solid defender. He will be great.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Shawn Coleman (19): The offensive upside may be a bit underrated with Anthony at this point. However, how much of that upside truly makes the team that drafts him better? He has the upside of a player who can add significant offensive value individually. However, I feel there are legitimate questions on if he can make his teammates and his team’s offense as a whole better, or if he can prevent taking away from his offensive value with good enough defense. There is a good chance Anthony is best utilized has a high-scoring third guard in short spurts in the NBA. While that is valuable, that type of ceiling also seems best suited in the 20’s as a pick.
15) Aaron Nesmith, 6’6” Wing, Vanderbilt University
GBB Associate Editor Brandon Abraham (9): I’m high on Nesmith due to his great shooting ability. He’s a high IQ player who knows his role and should be able to fit in seamlessly to whatever team drafts him. I’m likely not as concerned as others are on his injury that ended his season last year at Vanderbilt.
GBB Staff Writer Lauren Harvey (24): There’s no denying Nesmith is an exceptional shooter but he tends to have tunnel vision when handling the ball. He has the tools to be a decent defender but tends to fall asleep on that end. He is going to need to improve several aspects of his game to become more than a one dimensional shooter.
16) Tyrell Terry, 6’2” Guard, University of Stanford
GBB Staff Writer Greg Ratliff (5): Tyrell Terry could be Steph Curry 2.0 if he can get more consistent on his shots from long range. He makes good decisions as a ball handler and can be really good at the rim. The only thing holding him back is his size but that isn’t a deal breaker at all.
GBB Staff Writer EdMemphis (39): Tyrell Terry doesn’t do much aside from scoring and is undersized doing so. The deal breaker is the fact he isn’t dominant enough nor flashing the potential to be so to warrant the mid first round projections I’ve seen on him at times recently.
17) Precious Achiuwa, 6’9” Big, University of Memphis
For full breakdown on Achiuwa, click here.
GBB Associate Editor Brandon Abraham (11): Being a Tigers fan, I’ve probably watched the most of Precious than anyone else in this draft. I am high on Precious because he is an active, energetic, winning player. There are concerns with his shot, but I think his athletic ability will allow him to get to the rim at the NBA level and draw contact. Precious also has solid potential to be a great defender in the NBA able to defend multiple positions.
GBB Site Manager Joe Mullinax (22): We live in an offensive world. Offensive skill sets can be developed, but you want to see clear and clean building blocks upon which a solid foundation can turn in to a house full of ways to score the basketball. Watching Precious, I do not see those building blocks beyond being an undersized rim runner. He could certainly improve, but he has a WAYS to go before he can be a threat to score or facilitate on a consistent basis. His defensive prowess and ability in transition are worthy of a first round grade, but beyond that? His mechanics and lack of touch around the rim are big red flags.
18) Aleksej Pokusevski, 7’1” Big, Serbia
GBB Site Manager Joe Mullinax (11): POKU! The minute he is drafted, he will win the NBA’s “most likely to dress as Groot for Halloween” superlative. He’s extremely thin (7 foot tall, roughly 200 pounds!!!!) and that will scare off a LOT of people. Understandably so - imagine Poku trying to defend LeBron James, or Anthony Davis...things wouldn’t end well. But the truth is Poku is not an NBA big - he is a wing, with the skill set of a guard. From watching film he can create for himself and others already without being a liability in terms of a lack of movement (he’s quite fleet of foot for his height). He also projects to be a solid weak side rim protector given his 7’3” wing span. There’s a lot to like in his offensive game from his handle to his shooting acumen and passing vision, especially for his height.
But notice I said “height” and not “size” - he must gain good weight to be able to maximize his NBA potential. But NBA strength and conditioning coaches have shown the ability to do that with many, and while Poku would be an extreme success story his “unicorn” potential shines through and is worthy of consideration late in the lottery.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Justin Lewis (24): Poku, Goku, Pikachu, just another European with some hype that I’ll bite on when he plays against the best athletes in the world. He’s no Luka KP or Dirk and probably not even Gallinari. He’s not worth a lottery pick at this stage, as he’s going to need some polishing to be anything more than Kurucs.
19) Kira Lewis Jr., 6’3” Guard, University of Alabama
GBB Staff Writer Jesse Cinquini (12): Lewis Jr. is a speedster whose burst and creativity at the rim have inspired comparisons to Sacramento Kings guard De’Aaron Fox. Lewis Jr. is no slouch from the perimeter either, as he’s comfortable shooting off the bounce, and his three-point percentage of 36.6% on 4.9 attempts per game is nothing to scoff at. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.48 as a sophomore is likely to raise some eyebrows, but it’s important to note that he averaged the most minutes of any player in the country at 37.6, meaning the burden of his heavy workload likely played a role in his high turnover rate.
GBB Senior Staff Writer Justin Lewis (26): Kira Lewis has a nice layup package and will service well as an off-ball slasher. With right team, he will be deadly in transition, but will his shooting translate? Also he did not seem to be the distributor Bama needed him to be for them to be relevant.
20) Saddiq Bey, 6’8” Wing, University of Villanova
GBB Senior Staff Writer Ben Hogan (13): Saddiq Bey is a player that will fit perfectly in today’s NBA. He’s that ‘3 and D’ guy that teams value. He’s versatile on the defensive end, and at 6’8” can play the 2, 3, and even 4 in small lineups. He shot 45% from deep last season and the improvements he made between his first and second year show he still has room to grow.
GBB Associate Editor Parker Fleming (23): Saddiq Bey can be a really good role player in the NBA as a versatile wing that can knock down set 3’s and defend multiple positions. However, I’m lower on him than other prospects, because his ceiling is lower than those above him. Without much wiggle with the ball and great explosiveness, he might cap out as a 8th-9th man — which isn’t bad at all.
Which of these players did our writers have too high or too low? Are any of these prospects potential breakout candidates in this draft class? Leave your thoughts below.