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2020 NBA

2020 NBA Draft Big Board: Part 5 (#23-16)

With the NBA Draft just under a week away, it’s time for part five of my big board for the 2020 NBA Draft. After scouting well over 70 players in this upcoming class, I have narrowed my list down to a top 60. Parts 1-4 featured prospects #60-#24 on my big board, so make sure you go check those out if you haven’t already done so. I will also be changing the format of my prospect breakdowns to a simpler, less chaotic structure (you’ll see what I mean). Anyways, let’s get started with number 23.

#23. Theo Maledon

Point Guard / ASVEL / 19 Years Old

Strengths

  • Amazing playmaker. He possesses great court vision and pace.
  • Needs to improve his fundamentals, but his solid frame and 6’9 wingspan gives him the tools to be a reliable defender. 
  • Crafty finisher around the basket. Great pace, touch, and body control.
  • Improving as a shooter. Shot 37% in the Euroleague and 82% from the charity stripe in his career overseas. He’s also got a nice touch, and he can shoot both on and off the basketball.
  • Mentored by NBA legend Tony Parker.

Weaknesses

  • Not a very good athlete which limits his upside and a lot of his game in general.
  • Lacks burst, which paired with his lack of athleticism makes it tough for him to create seperation.
  • As I said earlier, his defensive fundamentals need to improve. He also showcased a lack of versatility on defense in his time overseas.

Player Overview

Theo Maledon is one of the more overlooked EuroLeague prospects heading into the 2020 NBA Draft. His lack of athleticism and burst definitely hinders at his potential, but he’s a really crafty player with amazing vision, great scoring potential, and the tools to be a capable defender in the NBA one day. Plus, having a legend like Tony Parker in your corner definitely helps. Maledon definitely needs a little more time so he can get better defensively and untap his scoring potential, but Maledon can definitely become a very solid pro in the NBA one day.

#22. Paul Reed

Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Power Forward/Center / DePaul / 21 Years Old

Strengths

  • Awesome defender with tremendous versatility. He’s got a rare blend of size, length, athleticism, and lateral quickness. He can contain virtually anyone on the perimeter, and he can go head to head with most on the post.
  • Great shot blocker and helpside defender.
  • Nice interior finisher. He scores in many ways down low thanks to his athleticism and soft touch.
  • Great rebounder with a high motor and leaping ability.

Weaknesses

  • Lackluster shooting mechanics. He’s such a stiff shooter with an unorthodox form. 74% from the freethrow line and 33% from three isn’t ideal, but that paired with his solid balance, footwork, and finish through on his release show that there is at least some potential here.
  • Erratic decision-maker. He gambles too often, leading to turnovers.
  • Gambles too often on defense, especially for blocks. This makes him extremely foul prone.
  • Lackluster ball handler, which hurts considering he likes taking it to the hoop from the perimeter. 

Player Overview

Paul Reed is a prospect that’s been on my radar for a while now. He’s an extremely versatile defender with a high motor and interior polish offensively. Paul Reed’s a guy that can come in and play an important role for teams looking for a versatile defender, but he must gamble less to become reliable and a consistent shut-down guy. Offensively, I like his interior game, but his decision making and lack of a three ball worries me, but I do believe Reed’s role will become a little more refined in the NBA, and I can really see him thriving in it.

#21. Jalen Smith

Center / Maryland / 20 Years Old

Strengths

  • Awesome three point shooter for a big man. Shot 37% from downtown last season on 2.8 attempts per game. He’s got sound shooting mechanics and superb shooting versatility.
  • Great inside finisher. He’s got a soft touch around the rim, and he utilizes his body to create space and draw fouls down low.
  • Very solid rebounder. Could do a little better at boxing out, but he’s got a really high motor; over 10 rebounds per game last season.
  • Sets really hard screens. Constant pick and roll/pick and pop threat.
  • Great shot blocker thanks to timing, instincts, and wingspan.
  • Really needs to get less stiff to improve his defensive versatility, but he holds his own on the perimeter.

Weaknesses

  • Lackluster court vision. He telegraphs passes and doesn’t make advanced reads.
  • Needs to improve lower body strength. This will help him in almost every facet of his game, and it’s necessary if he wants to reach his full potential.

Player Overview

Jalen Smith is a 20 year old big man out of Maryland. I don’t see his court vision ever improving, and his lower body strength warrants improvement, but he’s a really well rounded center that will at least serve as a solid backup big man in the NBA, and he has the potential to be a solid starter at the next level. He may not have the type of potential that other bigs such as Wiseman and Okongwu have, but he still projects as a very solid pro in the NBA. 

#20. Jaden McDaniels

Forward / Washington / 19 Years Old

Strengths

  • Great ball handler for a forward.
  • Potential to be a potent scorer thanks to his rare combination of size, length, athleticism, ball handling, shot creation, and shooting mechanics.
  • Solid defensive potential. He’s got the length and footspeed to be a versatile defender, and he’s proven he can do that and block shots.
  • He’s 6’10” with a 7’0” wingspan and great athleticism. 
  • Solid rebounder.

Weaknesses

  • Had an extremely disappointing season last year at Washington.
  • Poor shot selection and efficiency.
  • He’s very skinny, and his twig-like frame makes it hard for me to see him packing on pounds to get bulkier.
  • Lackluster playmaker with poor vision and decision making.
  • Poor finisher through contact, mainly due to his lack of strength.
  • Maturity and motor issues. Doesn’t get into trouble off the court, but he got a lot of techs as Washington and got benched a couple of times. Also, his motor was inconsistent.

Player Overview

Jaden McDaniels lands on the list of tough prospects to evaluate in this year’s class. The potential is certainly there for him to become a Brandon Ingram-esque type of player, but after a disappointing freshman campaign at Washington that showcased a lot of holes in his game, many have become confused when evaluating his game. Like many prospects, a lot of McDaniels success depends on where he gets drafted. He’s certainly a boom or bust prospect that I’m not fully selling, nor am I fully sold on him either.

#19. Cole Anthony

Point Guard / North Carolina / 20 Years Old

Strengths

  • Great finisher around the basket. He has the complete package as a scorer around the basket.
  • Very good three point shooter. He can create his own shot and shoot off the basketball.
  • Really crafty ball handler. As I said before, he can create his own shot and space with ease, and he’s not going to get the ball poked away from him.
  • Really good rebounder for a guard, mainly due to his motor.
  • Great motor and high IQ on both ends of the court.
  • Was in a terrible situation at UNC. He had no talent or spacing around him.

Weaknesses

  • Poor shot selection. Some of this was due to his terrible team at UNC, but he still takes too many ill-advised shots and needs to become more of an efficient scorer.
  • Despite his IQ and hustle defensively, he is still undersized and will often get targeted. The best scenario for him in the NBA is he’ll be an average defender.
  • His playmaking isn’t as bad as many claim, but he’s still not an ideal playmaker for a point guard. His vision, accuracy, and decision making all need to improve.
  • Underwent surgery in 2019 on a partially torn meniscus in his right knee.

Player Overview

Cole Anthony is easily one of the toughest prospects to evaluate in this year’s draft class. Before North Carolina, he was seen as one of, if not the best player in this year’s class as he was constantly the best player everywhere he would play, and although he still carried a retchid North Carolina squad last season, his inefficient play, plus his injury has led to him sliding down big boards. Most people either love or hate this guy, but I’m more in the middle. Anthony is an absolute bucket getter, and NBA spacing will definitely help him out, but he must become a better playmaker and a more efficient player if he wants to really prove the doubters wrong.

#18. Saddiq Bey

Shooting Guard/Small Forward / Villanova / 21 Years Old

Strengths

  • Awesome three point shooter who shot 45% from downtown last season on 5.6 attempts per game. He’s got a very quick release and great footwork.
  • Fantastic perimeter defender with great size, length, agility, intensity, and versatility. He’s great on and off the ball.
  • Extremely high motor on both ends of the court.
  • Solid passer that makes smart decisions.

Weaknesses

  • Lacks explosiveness. Big reason as to why he’s not much of a finisher.
  • Has shown flashes as a shot creator, but can’t do it consistently due to mediocre ball handling.
  • Is often passive on the offensive end of the court.

Player Overview

Although his potential may not wow you, Saddiq Bey is a very safe prospect with a great shot at becoming a very good 3&D wing that can fit with any team. His shooting and perimeter defense make him stand out immediately, and his high motor and great decision making adds to his value. Although he has shown flashes of shot creation, I’m not sure he’ll be able to do it consistently in the NBA, and his ability, or lack thereof when it comes to finishing will definitely limit him to a 3&D role in the NBA.

#17. Obi Toppin

Power Forward / Dayton / 22 Years Old

Strengths

  • Great vertical athlete with explosive leaping ability.
  • Awesome dunker due to athleticism, versatility, bounce, and creativity around the basket. He led the NCAA in dunks last season.
  • Consistent and efficient finisher around the basket due to his dunking ability and soft touch. He shot 70% from inside the arc on 9.8 attempts last season.
  • Constant lob threat. Huge reason as to why he’s so good in the pick and roll.
  • A menace in transition due to his ability to run the floor plus his athletic tools. He does a great job of pushing the ball up the court.
  • Has potential as a shooter. He has solid form, soft touch, and he shot 39% from downtown last season.
  • A capable ball handler who drives to the basket and runs transition offense well. He has shown flashes as a shot creator, but I don’t see that being a consistent thing for him in the NBA.
  • Doesn’t wow you with his playmaking, but he makes smart passes and decisions with the basketball.
  • Exploded onto the scene last season at Dayton. Has shown fast improvement and a great work ethic.

Weaknesses

  • Horrific defender in space. Plays really stiff, has terrible footwork, lacks awareness, lateral quickness, and has way too many lapses on defense. He often gets blown by on the perimeter. This will definitely cost him minutes in the NBA.
  • Has a little bit of promise as a defender on the post due to his leaping ability, giving him some shot blocking potential. However, he’s still a liability here as well. He gets bullied by stronger bigs down low, mainly due to his lack of lower-body strength. Also, he is often out of position and he’s a poor help-side defender.
  • Was efficient and showcased a soft touch around the rim in college. However, he doesn’t seem to have many post moves in his arsenal.
  • Mediocre rebounder. He averaged 7.5 rebounds per game last season on 32 minutes a night against mainly mid-major schools.
  • Already 22 years old. This is one of a few reasons his ceiling is a little lower than you’d like.

Player Overview

Obi Toppin is a highly regarded prospect heading into the 2020 NBA Draft after exploding onto the scene last season at Dayton where he won both the Wooden Award and the Naismith Award. Toppin is a versatile athlete, who’s crazy dunks alone are enough to catch the eyes of NBA scouts. He uses his athletic tools to help him thrive in transition and in the pick and pop, and his solid ball-handling, passing vision, and decision making will definitely help him out in the NBA. However, due to his age and defensive limitations, Toppin’s upside takes a hit. He will always be a very well rounded scorer, but his success will ultimately be determined by how the rest of his game develops, and mainly how much of a liability he proves to be defensively.

#16. Desmond Bane

Shooting Guard / TCU / 22 Years Old

Strengths

  • Great three point shooter. He shot over 44% from deep last season on 6.5 attempts per game. His shooting mechanics are unorthodox, but his soft touch, 79% from the charity stripe last season, and his 44% on 6.5 attempts per game is why that doesn’t worry me at all.
  • Awesome shooter off screens. He relocates really well and has great footwork. He’s also a comfortable shooter off the dribble.
  • A very good passer. He’s got really nice court vision, good decision making, and is at his best as a playmaker when in the pick and roll. He can make those advanced reads that separate the good from the great in terms of playmaking.
  • Solid finisher around the rim. He’s got a nice touch around the rim and is capable of finishing with both hands. His ability to change pace and utilize the hang dribble gets him to the hoop.
  • Awesome defensive fundamentals. He’s a good team defender due to his instincts and IQ. His 6’4” wingspan isn’t great, but it’s enough against most guards considering his strength.
  • Very high IQ guy with experience. He’ll be able to make an immediate impact in the league. 
  • Rarely makes mistakes. He’s a guy you can rely on.

Weaknesses

  • He lacks athleticism and lateral quickness. This limits his ceiling, especially defensively.
  • Needs to improve his ball handling skills to maximize his potential as a shot creator and playmaker.
  • Has a nice touch around the rim, but he struggles at finishing around the rim due to his lack of athleticism/explosion, plus his negative wingspan. 
  • Already 22 years old. This is one of a few reasons his ceiling is a little lower than you’d like.

Player Overview

Desmond Bane is a prospect that I really do like, and I’m quite high on him. Bane is a well-rounded prospect that’s coming into the NBA with a veterans skill set. He’ll be able to make an immediate impact due to his knockdown shot, ability to make plays for others, and the fact that he’s a capable defender at worst, but if he really wants to stand out, Bane will have to tighten up his handle and get a little more athletic. With that being said, Bane still has a very high floor, semi-high ceiling, and I see him becoming a very successful pro.

Big Board So Far

#60. Jahmi’us Ramsey

#59. Cassius Winston

#58. Jay Scrubb

#57. Leandro Bolmaro

#56. Yam Madar

#55. Devon Dotson

#54. Nico Mannion

#53. Trevelin Queen

#52. Mason Jones

#51. Kevon Harris

#50. Reggie Perry

#49. Zeke Nnaji

#48. Skylar Mays

#47. Abdoulaye N’Doye

#46. Elijah Hughes

#45. Jordan Nwora

#44. Precious Achiuwa

#43. Lamine Diane

#42. Payton Pritchard

#41. Robert Woodard ll

#40. Nate Hinton

#39. Nick Richards

#38. Isaiah Joe

#37. Grant Riller

#36. Immanuel Quickley

#35. Tre Jones

#34. Isaiah Stewart

#33. Josh Green

#32. Tyler Bey

#31. Malachi Flynn

#30. Daniel Oturu

#29. Ty-Shon Alexander

#28. Killian Tillie

#27. Xavier Tillman

#26. Isaac Okoro

#25. Cassius Stanley

#24. RJ Hampton

#23. Theo Maledon

#22. Paul Reed

#21. Jalen Smith

#20. Jaden McDaniels

#19. Cole Anthony

#18. Saddiq Bey

#17. Obi Toppin

#16. Desmond Bane

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