With the NBA Draft just about two weeks away, it’s time for part 2 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. Part 1 featured players 60-46, so make sure you go check that out if you haven’t already done so. Anyways, let’s get going, starting with number 45.
#45. Jordan Nwora
Forward / Louisville / 22 Years Old
Standing at 6’7” with 220 pounds and a 6’10” wingspan to pair with it, Jordan Nwora has a great size for his position and role. In his three seasons at Louisville, Nwora was the star, He averaged 18 PPG and over 40% from three on 6.1 attempts per game. Despite being a well built forward, Nwora’s strong suit is shooting the basketball from behind the arc. Nwora was very efficient on catch and shoot threes, pull ups, and he also showed good potential as a movement shooter. Even though Nwora struggles to create space for himself, his off-ball abilities as a shooter are enough to leave you satisfied with his draft projection and ability in those areas.
In transition, Nwora did a great job of running the floor hard and finding lanes. Pair that with his positive measurables, it makes sense as to why he shot 55% from the field in transition over his collegiate career. Nwora’s strength and size also gives him an upper hand on the glass, where he averaged 7.7 RPG, and although his defense needs work, his strength and size give him a lot of potential on that end of the court, and he’s had great games against some tough competition, and he projects as a great team defender.
However, Nwora’s struggles on defense mainly came against quicker players. His footwork got exposed, and it led to defensive lapses. With this being said, Nwora has defended well against players that aren’t quick, and his lateral movement, along with his size and strength give him potential as I mentioned before. When it comes to driving to the hoop, Nwora struggles as a finisher. This is mainly due to his lack of athleticism and explosiveness, along with his poor vision making it easier to project what he would do with the basketball when driving to the hoop. To tie in with the poor vision, Nwora is a lackluster playmaker. He is a bad decision maker, averaging more turnovers than assists, and his inability to get to the hoop, along with his loose handle certainly contributed to this. In the NBA, Nwora will most likely slide into a 3&D role, which should hide his weaknesses, such as finishing, playmaking, and less shots will mean better shot selection and higher efficiency, but the keys for Nwora will be how he takes on this new role, and how far will he come on defense? Overall, he’s pretty low on my big board, but I truly do believe he has a great shot at becoming a nice rotational 3&D wing.
#44. Precious Achiuwa
Power Forward/Center / Memphis / 21 Years Old
Precious Achiuwa is a one-and-done prospect out of Memphis. When people talk about Precious Achiuwa, many people talk about him being an “energy guy”, and after scouting him, I can echo this. He’s got a really great motor, and it shows in his hustle. Achiuwa’s a well built athlete with a nice frame and good agility as well, which helps him in a lot of areas. One of those areas is rebounding. On the glass last season, Achiuwa averaged 10.8 rebounds per game in 30.4 minutes a night. He uses his size to get positioning inside, and his energy/hustle really pays off on the glass as well. Achiuwa also plays very well in transition. He runs the floor hard and gets so many easy buckets in transition because of it. He has shown he can be a “grab and go” guy, which is valuable. He’s also an explosive jumper, so he can most definitely finish above the rim as well.
The pick and roll game is also an area Achiuwa plays well in. He sets hard screens, and has shown potential scoring out of the pick and roll, he just needs more reps to fulfill this potential. Defensively, Achiuwa has a lot of potential. He’s got the strength, length, and lateral quickness to guard 3-5’s in space, but he still needs more reps doing so. His footwork needs to get better if he wants to do this consistently, and he must become a smarter team defender, but that should come with time. As a rim protector, Achiuwa has shown promise here as well. He’s only 6’9”, but his vertical and 7’2” wingspan allows him to play center effectively in smaller lineups. He does a great job of staying out of foul trouble and cleanly contesting shots, and his agility and length makes him a nice help defender as well.
As a shooter, that’s when we get into Achiuwa’s weaknesses. He shot 33% from three point range on 1.3 attempts per game last season. He flashed a bit of potential as a shooter, but I don’t see him ever being an efficient or effective shooter. His footwork is poor, his shot selection is bad, he doesn’t have a soft touch on the basketball, he lacks confidence as a shooter, he’s typically off balanced when he shoots, and he shot only 60% from the freethrow line last season on 6 attempts per game.
As a playmaker, Achiuwa isn’t terrible in the open court, nor is he elite, but in the halfcourt, Achiuwa’s vision seems very limited, which would also explain only 1 assist per game in college. To put it nicely, he doesn’t create for others. This also ties into my next point, which is turnovers. Achiuwa’s shot selection and decision making is poor, and that’s what led to basically all of his turnovers. Achiuwa has a lot of potential, but he’s got some areas to work in.
Personally, I don’t understand the lottery hype with this guy at all, but I do believe he’s an intriguing prospect that some teams should take a chance on later in the draft.
#43. Lamine Diane
Forward / Cal State Northridge / 22 Years Old
Lamine Diane had one of the most productive college basketball careers out of everyone in this entire draft class. In his two seasons at Cal State Northridge, he had a double-double in every single game he played in, and he never scored less than 14 points in a game there. Diane was born in Senegal, and didn’t come to the U.S. until 2015 for basketball.
The first thing that pops out from Diane’s game is his offense around the rim. He’s got a great touch around the basket, an arsenal of post moves, great footwork, and he can even slash his way to the hoop as well. All in all, he shot an insane 73% from the field within 5 feet of the hoop, and he’s great at drawing fouls as well. Diane is also a great mid range shooter. He’s going to need to cut back on the amount of mid range shots he takes at the next level, but he’s a great scorer from mid range. Diane is also a great, versatile athlete. He’s 6’7”, 205 pounds with a reported 7 foot wingspan. He has a great combination of length, strength, speed, and vertical pop. One area this really helps Diane in is on the boards. He gets up there for rebounds and is not afraid of the contact down low that comes with it.
As a defender, Diane offers a lot of promise as well. His length, footwork, and lateral quickness make him a very versatile defender, and his strength helps him out a lot as well. Diane is known for blocking a lot of shots and interrupting passing lanes and scooping up steals with the help of his 7 foot wingspan. He is fundamentally sound as a defender, and hardly has any defensive lapses. He stays very engaged on both ends of the court, he’s got a fairly high motor and a great work ethic as well.
So, what’s wrong with his game? Well, the big thing that stands out is his three point shot. Diane shot just 29% from three on nearly 3 attempts per game last season. His release is fairly wonky, and his 66% from the charity stripe on over 9 attempts per game isn’t encouraging, not only for his three point shot, but also considering how good he is at getting to the line, he leaves some easy points on the table. And of course, his age and the weak competition he played in college. Diane is nearly 23 years old, and he doesn’t have a lot of exposure against tougher competition, although he did play against grown men around the age of 16 back in Senegal.
I don’t believe Diane will ever develop a reliable three point shot, but I still believe there’s a ton of intriguing potential here with Diane.
#42. Payton Pritchard
Point Guard / Oregon / 22 Years Old
Payton Pritchard is a winner. After winning 4 consecutive state titles at West Linn High School, Pritchard decided to attend Oregon to continue his success in basketball. In his 4 years at Oregon, the Ducks won 2 Pac-12 conference championships, including one last season in Pritchard’s senior year where Pritchard also won Pac-12 player of the year and the Bob Cousy award as the nation’s best point guard. When you factor this in with Pritchard’s leadership, hustle, and effort, it’s evident: Pritchard has a winning pedigree. Along with all of this, he’s a knockdown shooter first and foremost.
Pritchard shot 42% from three last season, and he really flexed his NBA range and ability to create for himself. Not too mention, Pritchard always stays engaged and is constantly moving off the ball, creating a lot of catch and shoot opportunities for himself. Along with this, Pritchard can most definitely run an offense. He’s a great leader with a loud voice that is respected and trusted by all of his teammates. Pritchard is a nice ball handler with great decision making ability. Not too mention, Pritchard has shown he has a knack for making great decisions in the pick and roll as well.
Defensively, Pritchard was solid due to a solid IQ, strength, effort, and hustle, but I don’t see his defense translating. He doesn’t move well laterally, he’s not athletic, and he’s only 6’2” with a 6’4” wingspan.
As a finisher, Pritchard’s got a nice touch around the basket, and he should still be a capable finisher in the NBA, but due to his lack of athleticism and explosiveness, he won’t be anything special as a finisher. Pritchard’s ceiling is fairly low, but his floor is very high.You know you’re getting at least a reliable bench point guard who can run an offense, knock down threes, and give your team a spark.
#41. Robert Woodard ll
Small Forward / Mississippi State / 21 Years Old
Robert Woodard ll is a 21 year old small forward out of Mississippi State. First off, this guy has potential on the defensive side. Woodard has all the tools to become a premium defender in the NBA. He’s very strong and athletic, plus he’s got a 7’1 wingspan and the lateral quickness necessary to guard guys out on the perimeter. Not to mention, Woodard’s a high motor guy, constantly hustling his tail off. He’s an awesome team defender and a guy who can get into passing lanes and block shots, but he’s still got a room to grow.
As a rebounder, Woodard isn’t anything special, but due to his size, athleticism, and effort, he does grab some boards.
As a finisher, Woodard does a nice job of using his size to get position inside, and he’s a lob threat due to his solid vertical bounce. He’s also a beast in transition due to his hustle, timing, and cutting to get to the hoop and utilize his finishing ability.
One thing Woodard lacks however is guard abilities. He’s a solid playmaker with a nice touch on his passes and good enough vision, but his ball handling is poor. He turns the ball over far too often when handling the ball, and this will cost him some minutes and limit his upside as a scorer and playmaker.
Then, we get to shooting, and this is the big question mark in his game. From freshman to sophomore year, Woodard improved from 27% to 43% from downtown, but there are still concerns. While he clearly made improvement, and he’s gaining confidence, he only took 2.3 attempts per game. His form is still stiff and wonky, and he shot a worrisome 64% from the freethrow line on 2.5 attempts per game. At the same time, the growth is there, and his mid range shot looks nice, he just needs to extend his range. As a shooter, I don’t see Woodard ever being that much of a three point shooter, but he also won’t be incapable from downtown. He will give you great hustle, defense, and transition offense, but he needs to continue to grow and prove himself in half-court offense sets to receive serious minutes in the NBA.
#40. Nate Hinton
Shooting Guard / Houston / 21 Years Old
Nate Hinton is a sophomore out of Houston that deserves more recognition ahead of the draft. Hinton’s skills won’t wow you, but that’s not what Hinton is about.
First and foremost, he’s a hustler. Hinton always plays like it’s his last basketball game, and that will go a long way for him in the NBA. Not too mention, you’re pairing that hustle with his elite ability on the defensive end of the court. Hinton is 6’6”, 210 pounds with a reported 6’9” wingspan, and his defensive presence was well known at Houston. Hinton is an excellent team defender who rotates and communicates really well, and he’s a great man to man defender as well. His wingspan isn’t crazy, but it’s enough that when paired with his hustle, lateral quickness, and footwork, he’s definitely got some potential as a versatile defender. Hinton’s steal numbers aren’t very high, but that’s mainly because he doesn’t gamble a whole lot. He is most definitely capable of jumping into passing lanes and getting steals, and he showcased that in college, he just didn’t gamble often.
Then, we get to rebounding. At Houston, Hinton looked like a Dennis Rodman-esque on the glass. He averaged nearly 9 rebounds per game last season despite being a slightly above average sized shooting guard. Hinton’s size will definitely bog these numbers down a little bit in the NBA, but he’s still got enough size, along with phenomenal hustle and trajectory to be a great rebounder in the NBA, especially for a shooting guard.
However, it’s on the offensive end of the court where Hinton’s questions lay. Hinton isn’t a bad athlete by any means, but he isn’t anything special either. His lack of vertical pop definitely echoes this. That, alongside his mediocre ball handling and touch around the basket explains why he doesn’t attack the basket very often.
As a playmaker, Hinton isn’t anything special. I wouldn’t call his playmaking a negative, but he’s nothing more than capable/reactionary as a playmaker.
Then, we get to his three point shot. This is a huge make-or-break point in Hinton’s game. You know what you’re getting from him on the defensive end of the court, but Hinton needs to be a capable three point shooter to make an impact on both ends of the court to carve out serious minutes in the NBA. From his freshman to sophomore year, Hinton’s three point percentage jumped from 34% to 39% on a jump from 2.2 to 3.8 attempts per game. This is very encouraging for Hinton, but this is still a semi-low volume, and his dip from 86% to to 76% from freshman to sophomore year from the freethrow line despite just one more attempt per game is a little scary as well.
Hinton’s shot is tough to evaluate, but his form looks solid, and I see him being a capable three point shooter. Hinton will never play a big offensive role, but if he can at least get a respectable three point shot, that’s going to really help him out. Who knows, he may already have that.
#39. Nick Richards
Center / Kentucky / 22 Years Old
Nick Richards is a lengthy center and John Calipari product that is ready to make an impact in the NBA. When you look at Richards, you can easily spot his 7’5” wingspan. This length gives him a big upper hand on the defensive end of the court, and he utilizes it well. His length, paired with his vertical leap, timing, and mobility makes him a shot blocking machine (2.1 BPG in under 30 MPG last season), and ultimately a rim protector that can make an impact here right away. Sometimes he’s a little too aggressive, and this leads to fouls, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
Defensively, Richards strong suit is most definitely protecting the rim and sending shots back into the stands, but he’s also a capable perimeter defender. Teams would try to break Richards down with the pick and roll, but he always showed up to the task in a big way.
As a rebounder, Richards isn’t elite, but his 10.5 rebounds per 40 minutes tells you he’s certainly an above average rebounder. In transition, Richards runs the floor very well, and his lob threat ability certainly makes him an efficient transition option.
Offensively, Richards isn’t very clear, but he’s very good at the role he plays. Richards mainly plays the lob threat on offensive. He’s a threat in the pick and roll, and his mobility and vertical leap makes him a lob threat at all times. With this being said, Richards has his flaws offensively, one of which is playmaking. Richards committed 2.1 turnovers last season and had just 0.3 assists per game. He certainly isn’t a turnover machine, but his tunnel vision is something opposing teams will take advantage of when he gets the ball down low. This may really limit his offensive role to a pick and roll/lob threat. Not to mention, his shooting.
In college, Richards never even attempted a single three point shot. With that being said, not all hope is lost. He has been working on his three point shot a lot lately, and his nice mid-range shot, along with 75% from the freethrow line last season on 6.3 attempts, this all gives me faith that Richards has potential to extend his range. He’ll obviously never be a potent shooter, but at least this could help keep defenses a little more honest, and this will help extend his very limited offensive arsenal.
I’d also like to see Richards bulk up with a little more muscle. He’s currently around 245 pounds, which certainly isn’t bad, but he’s still a little slim, and sometimes bigger players got the best of him down low, and most of his turnovers came when the ball was stripped away from him. With all this being said, Richards is one of those guys that is really good at what he does. He’s a rim running center who catches lobs and protects the rim, and he’s definitely got a little potential from behind the arc. He took a big leap improvement wise from sophomore to junior year, and that’s definitely another thing scouts should be aware of.
#38. Isaiah Joe
Shooting Guard / Arkansas / 21 Years Old
Isaiah Joe is a shooting guard and two year starter out of Arkansas. The first noteworthy piece about Joe is he’s a great shooter from behind the arc. Joe has a great form/release, which explains his 89% from the freethrow line last season, and he can shoot on or off the ball. His three point percentage did see a big dip from freshman to sophomore year, but a lot of that could be due to the volume of shots he took and his offensive roll. His shot selection and ability to shoot off screens has to improve, but those should get better, or at least hidden in an NBA system where he’ll play a smaller role.
Another strength in Joe’s game is his defense. He’s a great team defender with a plus wingspan that stays engaged, has nice lateral quickness, and a very high IQ, making him a great off-ball defender. His on-ball defense is good, but it’s not as good as his off-ball defense due to his lack of strength.
When it comes to attacking the rim, Joe is a capable ball handler with a nice touch around the rim, but he doesn’t attack the hoop very often to utilize this. As a playmaker, Joe can keep the ball moving in the flow of an offense, but doesn’t seem to have much vision or great decision making on the perimeter. However, I do believe there is a ton of potential for him as a playmaker, but he needs to attack the rim to untap it.
Then, we get into injuries. Joe’s sophomore season at Arkansas ended early because he had to undergo arthroscopic debridement surgery on an injury he had suffered and tried playing through for a handful of games. This shouldn’t be a major deal, but this does hinder his stock a little, especially considering this really limited him on the court when he tried to play through it. Joe clearly has the makings of a solid 3&D wing in the NBA, he just needs to become a little more consistent if he really wants to become a premier 3&D guy.
#37. Grant Riller
Guard / Charleston / 23 Years Old
Here we’ve got senior guard out of Charleston, Grant Riller. When you watched Riller play at college, you made an easy first conclusion: this kid is a walking bucket. At Charleston, Riller took on a huge scoring role offensively, and it led to him averaging nearly 22 points per game in his junior and senior campaigns.
Riller is a solid athlete with an explosive first step that gets him to the bucket with ease. At the rim, Riller is a great finisher with a nice touch that can make some very difficult finishes look easy. Riller can also pull up from mid range, and he’s got a nice looking three ball. He shot 36% from three last season despite heavy attention from opposing defenses, and his 83% from the charity stripe on nearly 7 attempts per game projects really well to the NBA. Riller can also create his own shot, which is also key for someone who will most likely rely on his scoring a lot to keep a job in the NBA. Riller is not only an iso-type scorer however, he was one of the most successful pick and roll scorers in the country last season, which is very encouraging considering his size and the direction the NBA is heading in.
Riller still has his weaknesses; one of which is his playmaking. This honestly isn’t a huge weakness in Riller’s game considering he needed to be score first guy at Charleston, and 3.9 assists per game isn’t terrible. Granted, he had a very high usage rate, but he definitely lacks elite vision and missed some wide open teammates at times in college. Another weakness of Riller’s was his defense. A lot of Riller’s defensive issues were effort based. Riller would sometimes take breaks to save up energy due to his huge offensive workload. With a smaller workload in the NBA, this shouldn’t be as big of an issue for Riller, but still something to take note of.
When giving effort, Riller wasn’t terrible in college, thanks to his athleticism, instincts, and ability to draw charges, but his small size doesn’t project well in the NBA. And my biggest knock on Riller is the competition he faced. This may seem petty for it to be my biggest concern, but Riller faced easy competition in college, and when the competition got stiffer, Riller’s scoring production took a big enough hit to take note of, often going cold in many of those games, although this issue seemed to get a little better over the years, this does concern me a little bit as it bumped him down my big board by quite a few spots. Not too mention, Riller is already 23 years old, so room for a slow transition is slimmer than it may be for most. With this being said, I’m still a big fan of Riller. He’ll never be more than a scorer, but as long as his scoring translates, he’ll most definitely have a spot on an NBA roster.