NBA Draft Guide
NBA Draft Guide
Cade Cunningham
1
Cade Cunningham
Oklahoma State, Freshman, #1 G
19 yrs | 6’7″ | 220 lbs | 7’0″ wingspan

Ball IQIQ
9
ShootingShot
8
PassingPass
9
DribblingDribble
9
Hustle
8
Defense
9
PPG
20.1
RPG
6.2
APG
3.5
FG PCT.
43.8%
3PT PCT.
40.0%

Cade Cunningham has long been lauded as the best prospect in the 2021 class, and he showed plenty in 2020 to maintain that standing. As arguably the best ball-handler and creative scorer in the draft, his offensive skill set should translate to the NBA right away. He shot just 26.4% from the field in two March Madness tournament games, but that doesn’t destroy his stock for me as it’s such a small sample size. He shot 40% from 3 and 84% from the free-throw line last season, and he should be a strong shooter at the next level. His shooting efficiency is even more impressive when you consider that he was constantly double and triple-teamed last season. Cunningham has elite size for the point guard position and should be able to defend 1-3 in the NBA. Perhaps most impressively, Cunningham shows all of the requisite skills to run a high-functioning offense in the NBA as the primary ball-handler. Cunningham scored 106 points in the clutch this past season, the most in college basketball. He’s a top-notch prospect and should still be the #1 pick.

Strengths

• Dribble-drive game, smooth operator
• Great court vision and BBIQ
• Makes up for the lack of elite athleticism with great body control and footwork
• Was the engine of the Oklahoma State offense – they went as he went
• Elite passing mechanics, great anticipation, and touch
• Tremendous pick-and-roll ball-handler
• Great finisher at the rim, uses strength and length to create an angle to finish
• Arguably the craftiest player in this class – a full toolbox of moves
• 7’1” wingspan – positional versatility and defensive presence
• Uses length/strength well on defense
• Off-ball awareness is tremendous
• Able to guard up positions and defend in the paint

Weaknesses

• Lacks elite burst/athleticism, doesn’t blow past defenders
• Lack of quickness limits transition opportunities
• Needs to tighten up his handle and play less loose
• Quiet leader, not a super-charismatic leader like Suggs
• Turns the ball over too much – prone to offensive fouls

Best Landing Spot

Houston Rockets. The Rockets are a rudderless franchise at the moment and need a blue-chip prospect to build around for the future alongside Christian Wood. Cunningham would have the opportunity to pick up a high usage rate right away with the Rockets due to their limited point guard depth, and his versatility would allow him to contribute in a number of ways for a team lacking an identity.

Worst Landing Spot

Cleveland Cavaliers. Collin Sexton and Darius Garland look like the real deal as backcourt prospects for Cleveland, and now they need to support those two with high-upside role players. An offense with Sexton, Garland, and Cunningham sharing touches would get a bit clunky with too many mouths to feed. Cunningham will need the ball in his hands more often than not to succeed, and he wouldn’t get that opportunity with the Cavs.

Draft Range

top 3, probably top 1

NBA Comparison

Luka Doncic. While I typically hate using the Doncic comparison given how dominant the European point guard has been early in his career, it makes some sense here. Luka Doncic isn’t the fastest player, and early detractors criticized him for this. However, Doncic combines phenomenal court vision/awareness, fundamental precision, and stellar shooting from all over the floor to make him an elite player in the NBA. Giving Cunningham that type of baseline may be unfair, but I genuinely believe he has the traits to become a top-level guard in the NBA in short order, just like Doncic did.

Ratings Breakdown

Ball IQ: 9: Cunningham is a smooth operator with the ball in his hands who reliably makes the highest percentage play on offense. Combined with phenomenal court vision and anticipation, Cunningham’s BBIQ stands out in this class. Cunningham is also capable of staying aware of what’s happening all over the floor on defense and making big plays.

Shooting: 8: A 43.8% shooter at Oklahoma State last season, Cunningham wasn’t the most efficient shooter, but that should improve with more talented teammates in the NBA. His 3-point shooting (40%) and free-throw shooting (84.6%) are among the highest marks in the class.

Passing: 9: The case can be made that Cunningham is the best passer in this class as he’s an expert at controlling the offense. He averaged more turnovers (4.0) than assists (3.5) last year, but his ball-handling and playmaking traits should translate to the NBA. Cunningham controls the floor with ease and is always generating opportunities for his teammates.

Dribbling: 9: Cunningham has a beautiful live dribble and tactfully handles the ball to score in the lane despite a lack of explosiveness on-ball. He can put the ball on a string and should be a reliable playmaker off the dribble in the NBA.

Hustle: 8: Not the most athletic or explosive player in this class, Cunningham doesn’t personify a hustle player in the NBA. However, he’s clearly a hard worker, and he routinely dives to the floor to make plays for the ball on film.

Defense: 9: Cunningham stands 6’7” with a massive 7’1” wingspan that gives him positional versatility on defense. He’s a smart off-ball defender with physicality and strong body control, and there are no concerns about him being a liability on the defensive end in the NBA.

Total rating: 52/60

By: Jacob Wayne @wayne_sports_

Jalen Suggs
2
Jalen Suggs
Gonzaga, Freshman, #2 G
19 yrs | 6’4″ | 205 lbs | 6’5″ wingspan

Ball IQIQ
8
ShootingShot
7
PassingPass
8
DribblingDribble
8.5
Hustle
10
Defense
9
PPG
14.4
RPG
5.3
APG
3.5
FG PCT.
50.3%
3PT PCT.
33.7%

One of the heroes of the March Madness tournament, Jalen Suggs, led Gonzaga to a near-perfect season and hit the shot of the tournament, a buzzer-beater against UCLA to push Gonzaga to the championship game. Suggs was dominant during the tournament, especially in his final three games, where he averaged 18.6 points per game on 55.2% shooting from the field. He played like the tournament was his own organized series of pickup games, with supreme levels of confidence to match his elite athleticism and talent. He plays hard on both ends of the floor and makes his presence felt at all times. Gonzaga had a ton of talented players this past season, and Suggs was far from the oldest or most experienced player on the team. However, he quickly became a driving force for his team through playmaking on offense and hard-nosed defense – he was an emotional leader for the Zags. Suggs is a strong, physical point guard with great size for the position and has elite two-way potential.

Strengths

• Championship mentality, phenomenal leader, commanding presence on the floor
• Great size and strength for the point guard position
• Above-average NBA athleticism, explosive finisher
• Precise passer, always plays with his head up
• Very difficult to stop when he gets downhill, great dribble moves
• Constant threat to finish in transition, especially with his defensive ability
• Can score at all three levels, on or off the ball
• Stellar defensive instincts can guard 1-3

Weaknesses

• His shooting needs to improve a bit, good not great
• Intensity leads to turnovers or forced shots at times
• Well-supported by elite Gonzaga offense – can he lead a team in scoring?

Best Landing Spot

Minnesota Timberwolves. Suggs is a Minnesota native, and a return home could make a lot of sense for the young guard. The Timberwolves may have the worst record in basketball this season, but they have a bright young core with Anthony Edwards, Karl Anthony-Towns, and D’Angelo Russell. Suggs would bring a much-needed championship edge and energetic leadership to the roster, as well as a versatile chess piece on both ends of the floor. The cherry on top is the hometown connection that would have Timberwolves fans giddy.

Worst Landing Spot

Houston Rockets. I struggled to find a really poor fit for Jalen Suggs, a remarkably versatile player who can fill a number of roles for his team. However, the Rockets’ current lack of stability and proven in-house talent could prove problematic for a player who was a part of one of the most talented teams in the country in college basketball last season. With more freedom to be a high-usage player, Suggs could see his worst tendencies get the best of him as a sometimes turnover-prone player.

Draft Range

Top 3

NBA Comparison

Kyle Lowry. At just 6’0”, 195 pounds, Kyle Lowry is far from the most physically imposing point guard in the NBA. However, he’s made his money on fundamentally sound ball-handling, solid shooting from all over the court, and emotionally driven hard-nosed defensive play that energizes his team. That describes Suggs’ game quite well, and with a bit more size than Lowry, Suggs has tremendous upside in that type of a role for his NBA team.

Ratings Breakdown

Ball IQ: 8: Suggs makes his presence felt when he’s on the floor, and he was the de facto leader for his Gonzaga team despite being a freshman amongst more experienced players. Suggs’s aggressiveness can get the better of him at times, and he is a bit turnover-prone, but he reliably makes smart plays on both ends of the floor.

Shooting: 7: After shooting just 33.7% from 3-point range and 76.1% from the free-throw line, there are some question marks about Suggs’s shooting. Of course, he was responsible for the best shot of this college basketball season, but he needs to reign in his shot selection and perhaps take fewer pull-up threes off the dribble. His mechanics and technique are sound.

Passing: 8: A tremendous dribble-drive player, Suggs was able to find assists by kicking out to his open teammates on the perimeter. His court vision and anticipatory reads aren’t particularly advanced, however, and he likely won’t be an offensive hub in the NBA. His 2.9 turnovers per game were too many at Gonzaga, as well. Still, his passing is far from a weakness in his game and his pick-and-roll playmaking will likely translate.

Dribbling: 8.5: Suggs put on display some exciting ball-handling skills during the March Madness tournament, and he handles the ball very well under pressure. He tends to pick up his dribble a bit early at times, but with his combination of aggressiveness, physicality, and technique, he should be a strong dribble-drive scorer in the NBA.

Hustle: 10: Nobody works harder than Jalen Suggs. That’s the first thing that stood out to me during his freshman season at Gonzaga. He plays with so much heart and determination. Suggs is the type of guy who you just love to have on your team. His energy is infectious, and he has no fear.

Defense: 9: Suggs averaged 1.9 steals per game during his freshman season at Gonzaga, and that was no accident. He’s a disruptive defender on or off the ball, and he showed no lack of motor on defense at any point. However, Suggs has a limiting 6’5” wingspan that will likely limit him to defending only opposing guards.
Total rating: 50.5/60

By: Jacob Wayne @wayne_sports_

Jalen Green
3
Jalen Green
G League Ignite, #3 G
19 yrs | 6’6″ | 175 lbs | 6’7.5″ wingspan

Ball IQIQ
7
ShootingShot
10
PassingPass
7
DribblingDribble
10
Hustle
9
Defense
8
PPG
17.9
RPG
4.1
APG
2.8
FG PCT.
46.1%
3PT PCT.
36.5%

Originally slated to play for Michigan this past season, Jalen Green was one of the first high-profile prospects to opt for the G-League instead. Green started 15 games for the G-League Ignite this past season, and while he didn’t get the media attention and fanfare that college players typically attract, he was able to hone some skills and better prepare himself for the NBA. Jalen Green is the fastest player in this draft class, and his first step is absurd – he leaves defenders in the dust frequently. Green combines his elite athleticism with top-notch skills and instincts. He can hit shots from all over the floor and showed some impressive off-the-dribble shooting skills. Green may be streaky at times, but he can win games on his own when he’s hot. Green has the type of athleticism that gives him limitless upside in the NBA, and he’s an important part of an insanely talented top of the draft.

Strengths

• Blazing speed with a lightning-quick first step
• Phenomenal skillset to finish in the paint
• Can take over games with his shooting when he’s hot
• Improving as a passer to give him a more well-rounded game
• Upside to become a high-level defender

Weaknesses

• Limited by physical stature at just 175 lbs
• Jumper can be hit-or-miss, consistency needs to improve
• Needs to reign in shot selection
• Decent rebounder but not a standout
• Passing game needs to improve

Best Landing Spot

Oklahoma City Thunder. In the midst of a long-term rebuild, the Thunder will have two first-round picks to work within this draft. The Thunder have shown their developmental capabilities in working with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Luguentz Dort, Darius Bazley, and Moses Brown, among others, and Green would have the opportunity to become the leader of a young, talented group. Green would have the green light right away in Oklahoma City, and his efficiency would come along as he gets his legs under him in the NBA.

Worst Landing Spot

Minnesota Timberwolves. There’s a little bit of Andrew Wiggins in Jalen Green’s game. Now, to Wiggins’s credit, that isn’t the worst thing in the world as there are some things that he does legitimately well on the basketball court. However, a formerly uber-athletic, high-flying scorer seemed to lose all of his juice in Minnesota, and Green could struggle in an inconsistent Timberwolves environment right now.

Draft Range

Top 2-4

NBA Comparison

Zach LaVine. The Bulls’ shooting guard is coming off an All-Star season and is one of the more complete scorers in the NBA. LaVine has a very similar size profile to Jalen Green at 6’5”, and while he has about 20 pounds on him, Green could build some muscle onto his frame and get to that point. LaVine is a blur on his way to the basket, and he’s also lethal on pull-up moves, making defenders’ lives very difficult. The athleticism LaVine possesses in addition to his craftiness and shooting consistency make him a high-impact scorer. Jalen Green may be a slightly better defensive talent than LaVine, but their offensive games are very similar as both are phenomenal scorers who can score at all three levels.

Ratings Breakdown

Ball IQ: 7: Jalen Green relies on his athleticism and technique to score, and his feel for the game isn’t a standout piece of the puzzle. However, he showed some cerebral improvements throughout his time in the G-League, and while not a significant strength, Green’s basketball IQ isn’t likely to hinder his progress.

Shooting: 10: There is a legitimate case to be made that Green is the best shooter in this draft class. His 46.1/36.5/82.9 shooting splits were solid last season, and he has microwave-scorer capabilities. When he catches fire, his long-range shooting is unstoppable. He has all of the necessary physical abilities and technical skillset to be an elite scorer in the NBA.

Passing: 7: Green averaged just 2.8 assists to 2.7 turnovers in his 15 G-League games, and he isn’t likely to be a high-level playmaker in the NBA. He’s shown significant improvement in this regard but still isn’t the full package on the offensive end like Cade Cunningham could be. Green’s improvements as a playmaker would only make his high-level scoring more lethal.

Dribbling: 10: It’s almost comical how Jalen Green embarrassed some G-League defenders off the dribble last season, and his first step is absurdly quick. Seriously, go watch his highlights from last season and see him blaze past defenders standing in his path. He’ll take advantage of a number of slower defenders in the NBA.

Hustle: 9: A 10 in this category is reserved for Jalen Suggs who has a pitbull mentality on the floor, but Jalen Green isn’t too far behind in this facet. His elite floor speed obviously makes a huge difference, and he can be very disruptive on both ends of the floor when he’s locked in. He’s a fearless competitor who loves to win.

Defense: 8: Jalen Green’s defense wasn’t spectacular in the G-League, and at just 175 lbs, he has to put on some weight before he can be a high-impact player on that end of the floor. However, he has all of the speed and athleticism in the world to become a strong defender in the NBA.

Total rating: 51/60

By: Jacob Wayne @wayne_sports_

Evan Mobley
4
Evan Mobley
USC, Freshman #1 C
19 yrs | 7’0″ | 215 lbs | 7’4″ wingspan

Ball IQIQ
8
ShootingShot
7
PassingPass
8
DribblingDribble
8
Hustle
9
Defense
10
PPG
16.4
RPG
8.7
APG
2.4
FG PCT.
57.8%
3PT PCT.
30.0%

A McDonald’s All-American in 2020 and consensus second-team All-American in 2021, Evan Mobley is a highly acclaimed prospect with a track record of success. There aren’t many impact big men left in the NBA, but Mobley figures to be one of those guys in short order. A 7-footer at just 215 lbs, he absolutely has to put on weight to be able to consistently compete on the glass in the NBA. However, he is remarkably fluid on his feet and has the rare skill set to be a great rim protector who can stretch out to defend on the perimeter. There is also enough to go on to think that he should develop more of a long-range offensive game at some point. Mobley was a double-double machine this past season and has a well-developed offensive game with the ability to score on the drive or off the catch. He likely won’t ever be a true power player in the NBA, but his technical ability and smooth footwork are very enticing for teams at the top of the lottery. Mobley has improved at a tremendous rate already and has exciting upside.

Strengths

• Ideal size for the center position – 7’0” height, 7’4” wingspan
• Excellent coordination, footwork, and technical ability
• Great rim protector with regard to positioning and anticipation
• Has the foot speed to cover shooters on the perimeter
• Able to score off the dribble or the catch, smooth shooting stroke
• Plays above the rim better than anyone in this class

Weaknesses

• At just 215 lbs, Mobley has to add more muscle in order to compete in the NBA
• He Will likely never be a powerful player in the NBA by comparison – will limit upside

Best Landing Spot

Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs will likely finish just out of range to take Evan Mobley, but he would be a special player for them. With a backcourt of the future in place in Collin Sexton and Darius Garland, Cleveland will be looking to add to their frontcourt talent. Mobley would provide a tremendous pick-and-roll or pick-and-pop partner for those guards, and he would be a tremendous addition to the team’s defense. Alongside Sexton, Garland, and Isaac Okoro, Mobley would push the Cavs toward having one of the best nuclei of young talent in the NBA.

Worst Landing Spot

Minnesota Timberwolves. There aren’t many truly bad fits for the star center, but if Mobley landed on the team with the worst record in the NBA it would raise some eyebrows. For one thing, Karl Anthony-Towns is still in place as the team’s franchise player, and it would be a questionable fit to integrate Mobley next to him. Additionally, the Wolves will likely be in range to select Cunningham or Suggs at the top of the draft, so Mobley is likely not their preferred option. He’s talented enough to succeed wherever he’s drafted, but the Wolves aren’t the best fit for him.

Draft Range

Top 4

NBA Comparison

Jonathan Isaac. I’ve seen comparisons to Chris Bosh and Anthony Davis for Mobley, but I have some issues with those. Bosh’s offensive game was remarkably complete with a full repertoire of post-up, face-up, and pull-up moves – Mobley is much rawer offensively, although I do think he has that type of ceiling. Anthony Davis is arguably the best big man defender in the NBA and I doubt Mobley will have the same complete defensive game as he’s just not in the same realm in terms of physicality. Jonathan Isaac feels like a sweet spot in that he has great size (6’11” height, 7’1” wingspan) and is one of the better rim protectors in the NBA. Like Isaac, Mobley may not have the physicality to play the center position in the NBA consistently, but Mobley has similar athletic traits to Isaac and is incredibly mobile. Isaac’s offensive game hasn’t quite translated to the NBA yet, but both Isaac and Mobley have great upside in that regard.

Ratings Breakdown

Ball IQ: 8: With a strong understanding for the game and rare lapses of mental focus, Mobley is a cerebral player who has a great feel for basketball. His on-court intelligence will be a significant factor to his early success in the NBA.

Shooting: 7: Mobley wasn’t asked to shoot many threes at USC, but he has a fluid stroke and sound fundamentals as a shooter. He shot just 30% from three on limited attempts last season and just 69.4% from the free-throw line, but scouts are confident he will develop into a solid floor-spacer in the NBA.

Passing: 9: Evan Mobley won’t wow you with elite hustle plays like Jalen Suggs, but there’s little to dislike about his on-court demeanor. He’s not a fiery, vocal leader – instead, he leads by example in his work ethic and dedication. Mobley plays with a high motor.

Dribbling: 8: The way Mobley handles the ball makes him seem like much more of a small forward than a center. He has tremendous speed in the open floor but doesn’t play out of control, making smart decisions on the drive. His off-the-dribble scoring is rare for a seven-footer.

Hustle: 9: A 10 in this category is reserved for Jalen Suggs who has a pitbull mentality on the floor, but Jalen Green isn’t too far behind in this facet. His elite floor speed obviously makes a huge difference, and he can be very disruptive on both ends of the floor when he’s locked in. He’s a fearless competitor who loves to win.

Defense: 10: There hasn’t been a prospect this good defensively in the NBA draft since Ben Simmons and Jaylen Brown were drafted in 2016. Mobley has incredible defensive instincts and uses his quick feet and 7’4” wingspan to full advantage in protecting the rim. He also has the ability to step out and guard much smaller players on the wings. There won’t be a defensive assignment Mobley can’t handle at the next level.

Total rating: 50/60

By: Jacob Wayne @wayne_sports_

Jonathan Kuminga
5
Jonathan Kuminga
G League Ignite, #4 G
18 yrs | 6’8″ | 220 lbs | 7’0″ wingspan

Ball IQIQ
8
ShootingShot
6.5
PassingPass
6.5
DribblingDribble
7.5
Hustle
8.5
Defense
9
PPG
15.8
RPG
7.2
APG
2.7
FG PCT.
38.8%
3PT PCT.
24.6%

Jonathan Kuminga is still just a kid. At 18 and a half years old, Kuminga will be one of the youngest players on an NBA roster next year. He initially reclassified from the 2021 class to the 2020 class, and then found himself forgoing college to land on a G-League roster the following season. In essence, he represents the closest thing we have to a 2021 version of a kid going straight from high school to the league.

As time goes on in the NBA, the importance of projectability is exponentiated. Front offices are tired of lacking the futuristic thinking that is needed to pick truly revolutionary players. As a matter of fact, some of the best players in our game today weren’t top picks. Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, Nikola Jokic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, Paul George, and many, many others were not Top 3 or Top 5 guys coming out of college (or overseas).
This narrative is exactly where Kuminga fits in honestly. The 2021 draft class has a bit of depth in my opinion, and I think anyone in the lottery can score big.

The hardest aspect of analyzing players like Kuminga, who was in the G-League this season, is the very, very short schedule. They operated under the same constraints as the NBA Playoff Bubble did last year, and that didn’t give us as much time to evaluate players who we may have otherwise seen play many more times.

Now, on to Kuminga: he is an absolute freak of an athlete. It only takes one view of a breakaway, windmill slam to see that. He has some uncanny explosion and NBA front offices drool at the thought of having guards with elite athleticism. Not to mention, his defensive prowess is spectacular. Most kids who dominate in high school have a harder time initially adjusting to the defensive end, but Kuminga leaves all of those concerns well behind.

Strengths

• Exceptional Athlete. He plays well above the rim and is tremendously coordinated for a 6-foot-8 wing.
• A strong defender with physical tools to mirror Kawhi or Paul George on the defensive end.
• Great size and frame: 6-foot-8 with a 7-foot wingspan. He weighs over 220 pounds, suggesting he already has an NBA body as an 18-year-old.
• Already advanced playmaker in transition for his age and position.

Weaknesses

• Skillset is still very raw. Needs to work on counters for his moves and attacking angles. He relies heavily on spin moves as his counters, much like Giannis, however does not have the luxury of covering as much space as Giannis does.
• Craftiness around the rim. He relies a bit too much on raw athleticism and will need to develop a strong lay-up package for the times when he won’t be able to dunk on rim runs and drives.
• Shooting needs to become more consistent. The foundation and framework for his jump shot are there, but he lacks consistency. Once he gets more reps working with an NBA team, his 3-point percentage should increase, and thus, turn into a strength.

Best Landing Spot

I like Kuminga to the Cavaliers. They need a talented wing player desperately and that gives him the ability to step in immediately and get minutes. It is invaluable for a raw 18 or 19-year-old to go up against the superb forwards in this game like Kevin Durant, LeBron, and Giannis. Since Cleveland has virtually no identity as well, Kuminga should get plenty of touches and hopefully some experience playmaking out of offensive isolations.

Worst Landing Spot

I definitely don’t anticipate this happening, but if Kuminga slipped to Toronto, and they picked him for value, that would be a really bad spot for him. Jonathan’s game mirrors Siakam and O.G. quite a bit, and for Kuminga to grow as a player, he needs to have space to operate, learn, and get experience. Playing behind those guys will not help him.

Draft Range

4-5 Overall

NBA Comparison

Kuminga is still so raw that it’s hard to particularly identify any star player comparisons, however, I would compare him currently to the likes of O.G. Anunoby, with more offensive upside like Pascal Siakam, or even Jaylen Brown. He has shown flashes of being able to isolate and take defenders off the dribble, and he’s still so young and moldable that his ceiling is one of the highest in this draft class.

Ratings Breakdown

Ball IQ: 8. Kuminga has demonstrated a strong knowledge of the game by utilizing speed and ball-handling to attack in transition and three-quarters transition. One thing that sticks out about Kuminga is if he doesn’t make the right play, he knows it. That self-policing of his game will yield exponential growth.

Shooting: 6.5. This rating was a hard one to assign because the mechanics are all there, but he hasn’t proven to be efficient yet at the highest level. It’s evident that once he gets accustomed to the speed at the professional level, he will have no issues hitting step-back jumpers as well as catch-and-shoot 3s.

Passing: 6.5. If Kuminga can elevate his overall playmaking ability, this number will skyrocket. There are glimpses of his passing ability, but oftentimes, the pass is just off the mark and can lead to tougher finishes for bigs or harder shots for guards.

Dribbling: 7.5. As mentioned before, Kuminga demonstrates great transition skills and has shown some isolation ability at the professional level at just 18 years old. Handling the ball is such an important aspect of personal game development at the next level because everyone is expected to be able to make plays.

Hustle: 8.5 Kuminga plays hard, but there are moments, albeit few, where there is a bit more effort desired. During the G-League bubble, Kuminga grabbed an average of 7.2 rebounds in a little over 32 minutes per game. His superb athleticism and knack for finding the ball off of the rim will be a huge asset moving on to the next level.

Defense: 9. Kuminga projects to be a very high-level defender in the future. All of the physical tools are there, and he pairs that with well-above-average defensive instinct.

Total rating: 46/60

Duke
6
Jalen Johnson
Duke, Freshman, #1 F
19 yrs | 6’9″ | 220 lbs | 6’11.5″ wingspan

Ball IQIQ
9
ShootingShot
7
PassingPass
9
DribblingDribble
8
Hustle
6
Defense
6
PPG
11.2
RPG
6.1
APG
2.2
FG PCT.
52.3%
3PT PCT.
44.4%

This is a tricky one to try and evaluate. The big storyline around Johnson was that he chose to opt-out of the regular season when Duke had 6 games remaining because of a foot injury. Some thought that Johnson had quit on the team, and this perplexed many minds around the college and pro basketball landscape as Johnson was Duke’s most talented player. Johnson managed to score 11.2 PPG and secure 6.1 RPG on a weak Duke team and displayed all of the size, speed, shooting ability, handling ability, passing ability, and basketball IQ that NBA teams want to see. However, Johnson was inconsistent as he scored 24 points and grabbed 16 rebounds on 53.3% shooting against The University of Pittsburgh but only managed to score 3 points on 0-2 shooting against NC State. He also missed three games in late December with a foot injury which also raises some red flags for GMs across the league. That being said, Johnson is a top-rated lottery prospect for a reason and could become a great scorer at the next level if given the right situation.

Strengths

• Has shown that he can put people on posters by finishing at the rim with authority.
• Knows when and where to cut
• High Basketball IQ
• Elite post moves/ footwork
• Aggressive mindset
• Shot blocking ability

Weaknesses

• Competitiveness
• Inconsistent shooting
• Lacks quickness/ elite burst
• Poor free-throw shooting (only 63.2%)
• Perimeter Defense

Best Landing Spot

Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are in desperate need of a player who can score and Johnson has shown that he can do just that. Johnson should have the green light to shoot in OKC from day 1 as there is no clear scoring threat. He is also surrounded by good shot-creating guards like Shai Gilgeous Alexander, and Dariuz Bazely would give Johnson the shots and opportunity necessary to become an elite scorer in the league.

Worst Landing Spot

Sacramento Kings. Sacramento already has two forwards that can score and rebound in Marvin Bagley III and Harrison Barnes, so Johnson would have to sit behind those two for the start of his career. The Kings also have a shot-blocking forward in Richaun Holmes so that would also take more minutes away from Johnson. In Sacramento, Johnson would serve as a backup, which would stifle his development.

Draft Range

Top 5 – Top 10

NBA Comparison

Obi Toppin. Apart from their similar physical attributes, both stand at 6’9” and weigh 220 lbs, both also have similar play styles. Toppin has a great basketball IQ with the awareness to know when to cut and at the right time, just like Johnson. Both also lack the elite burst to beat people off the dribble but have the fundamental footwork and skills necessary to get to the rim. Toppin and Johnson also has great shot-blocking ability for a power forward while also suspect of being beaten if they have to play perimeter defense. Toppin might be a better free-throw shooter, but both struggle with the consistency of their three-point shot. Johnson has more upside because he’s the better athlete of the two, but that Obi Toppin isn’t the worst comparison for a guy that’s going to be a lottery pick.

Ratings Breakdown

Ball IQ: 9: Johnson has shown that he possesses a high basketball IQ by his passing and cutting ability. Johnson consistently passes the ball to the right people and always knows where and when to cut to the basket. Johnson has already shown his ability to elevate and finish at the rim as well as his ability to block shots which is very valuable at the NBA level.

Shooting: 7: While Johnson has shown flashes of elite shot-making ability, he struggles when it comes to the consistency of his shooting. Johnson’s 44.4% three-point shooting is only on 18 attempts in 13 games and he struggles from the free-throw line only shooting at 63.2%. However, his post-shooting is great and his efficiency is good around the paint.

Passing: 9: Johnson is not turnover prone and always seems to find the right person to pass to in the open court or when he is doubled in the post. He does not possess the passing prowess of guys like Chris Paul or Nikola Jokic, but he does remind me of Tobias Harris with the way he passes.

Dribbling: 8: Johnson has shown that he can initiate the fast break on his own and can handle in the open court at a fast tempo. He is a smooth dribbler and can post up smaller defenders by using his dribble.

Hustle: 6: While Johnson did have 6.1 RPG, 1.2 blocks per game, and 1.2 steals per game, Johnson often looked disinterested on the defensive side of the ball. Johnson does not possess the never stop never quit motor like Russel Westbrook and he did also opt-out of the season which shows signs of non-competitiveness.

Defense: 6: Again, Johnson never looked locked in on defense despite impressive counting stats proving otherwise. He lacks elite foot speed which showed when he tried to guard quicker guards he was forced to switch on. Johnson is a terrific athlete who can block shots at the rim, but he can not keep up with guards or forwards with quick bursts of speed.

Total rating: 45/60

Josh Giddey
7
Josh Giddey
NBL, #5 G
18 yrs | 6’8″ | 205 lbs | 6’7.5″ wingspan

Ball IQIQ
9
ShootingShot
5
PassingPass
9
DribblingDribble
8
Hustle
7
Defense
6
PPG
10.9
RPG
7.4
APG
7.5
FG PCT.
42.7%
3PT PCT.
29.3%

Josh Giddey is another one of those young players who will get drafted before turning 19 years old. Giddey has some weaknesses but also has some undeniably fascinating attributes.

To be as coordinated as he is at 6-foot-8 and only 18 years of age is amazing. In conjunction, he has a next-level IQ, which is flat-out rare. His passing and vision are elite, and the way he can look off passes and uses different lofts, angles, spins, and speeds remind me of a combination of LaMelo Ball and Joe Ingles.

The concerns with Giddey offensively are his ability to switch gears, stop on a dime to shoot, and his isolation ability in general. Once he is going in one direction, he struggles to shift or change it. Defensively, he will need to improve in foot speed and lateral quickness. He can use his defensive IQ to close the gap necessary to be a league-level defender, but NBA guards are inherently fast.

Strengths

• League-level vision. Giddey looks off passes, finds the open man and finds off-ball cutters religiously.
• Great size for a combo guard: 6-foot-8 with a 6-foot-7 wingspan.
• Good speed with the ball paired with highly advanced transition skills.
• Passing IQ and accuracy are superb.
• P&R game will transition nicely to the league.

Weaknesses

• Quickness. Josh needs to develop the ability to switch gears. He may have some trouble getting past defenders at the next level.
• Defense/Lateral Quickness. NBA guards would fly by Giddey right now. Luckily, he’s only 18, and there’s plenty of time to work on that. His length should help slightly mitigate these issues transitioning to the NBA.

Best Landing Spot

I think Giddey’s ideal spot lands him in a place with great shooting and player development coaches. This perfect spot could look like San Antonio or Golden State. Golden State could use him as a backup for Curry while adjusting him to the speed of the NBA game. Eventually, they could utilize him alongside Curry and Thompson as well. San Antonio is excellent at developing players, and it may make sense for them to pull the trigger on Giddey, as well.

Worst Landing Spot

I think Boston would not be a good fit for Giddey because they don’t seem to know which direction they want to go in as an organization. They have two All-Star caliber players in Brown and Tatum, who are both wings and require the ball a substantial amount. This situation does not bode well for Giddey, and I don’t think he would see the floor enough.

Draft Range

Top 15

NBA Comparison

Giddey sports size, passing ability, and transition skills that resemble a little bit of LaMelo Ball. By no means is he as polished as LaMelo was coming into the league, but there are glimpses. He has a feel for the game, basketball IQ, and control similar to Joe Ingles. What will be interesting is seeing whether he becomes more of a playmaking guard who has the ball in his hands constantly or will have to transition to more of an off-ball type of player.

Ratings Breakdown

Ball IQ: 9. There is no denying Giddey’s basketball IQ. He throws excellent passes, either one-handed or two-handed. He can recognize when defenders are asleep or caught ball-watching, and he always takes advantage. Giddey also works around his lack of explosiveness, proving strong, instinctual skills transferable to the NBA level.

Shooting: 5. This may be an unfair critique, but his form is concerning; let’s put shooting percentage aside momentarily. There will need to be an overhaul on his form for it to be passable because it takes way too long, and there’s too much lower body movement.

Passing: 9. Instinctual passer with an excellent feel for the game, solid touch, and finds the open man in transition.

Dribbling: 8. Giddey’s ball control for being so tall is pretty solid but not fool-proof. He gets occasionally caught too upright or with easily readable counters that result in turnovers.

Hustle: 7. Giddey can get caught ball-watching and out of a stance occasionally, but effort and hustle are otherwise solid. Very fundamentally sound rebounder but may struggle a bit at the next level with the kind of incredible athletes in the NBA.

Defense: 6. There’s room for improvement defensively. He struggles with lateral quickness, foot speed, and using proper angles and closeouts. His length and height will help him cover some of this, but not all of it.

Total rating: 44/60