2015 NBA Draft Big Board Update: Draft Declarations shake up top 100
The college season has ended and we're midway through the season of draft declarations. Here's what Sam Vecenie's Top 100 draft board looks like as of April 10.
With the college basketball season ending on Monday, and Hoop Summit and Portsmouth ending this weekend, we're about to hit a slight lull in the evaluation period of NCAA prospects. So now seems to be as good a time as any to discuss the adjustments I've made to my NBA Draft big board.
First, I'll note the board has lost over the course of the past week due to the decision to return to college. For me, the highest-rated player that will go back to school is Domantas Sabonis of Gonzaga, who was No. 27 on my board before he decided to return. Sabonis is a feisty, strong 6-foot-10 forward that also has shown quite a bit of skill in his time on the international circuit in age bracket tournaments. He'll likely be one of the top 20 guys on my board when I come out with one in 2016.
North Carolina's Brice Johnson and Justin Jackson have also decided to return, both of whom were top-40 prospects on my board. Jackson is a strong scoring wing with length that could really use a good shooting season to solidify his stock as a first-round pick. Johnson will be a senior next year and could also use the addition of a nice 16-foot jump shot to his game in order to potentially move into the first round. The good thing here for them is also that the Tar Heels are absolutely loaded for next season, and they'll be a preseason top-five team as long as Marcus Paige decides to stay.
A pair of Big Ten combo forwards have also decided to stay in Nigel Hayes and Jake Layman, both of whom were in the top 60 on my board. With scouts continually looking for the next Draymond Green type of mobile defender that can play multiple positions, Hayes will likely have a place in the NBA at some point. Layman is something of a conundrum, as he has every single offensive tool in the book for a guy that's 6-foot-9 outside of the ability to handle the ball, but hasn't yet totally put them together. Hayes will get the chance to play a bigger role next season with Sam Dekker and Frank Kaminsky gone, but Layman will likely continue to be a role player on Maryland's top-five preseason team. It'll be interesting to see how their differing situations affect their stock.
Some others who have decided to stay that were on my big board but are now off of it: Damian Jones of Vanderbilt, Troy Williams of Indiana, Malik Pope of San Diego State, Chris Obekpa of St. John's, Wayne Selden of Kansas, and Marcus Lee and Tyler Ulis, both from Kentucky. All in all, those guys along with previous decisions have opened up 14 spots on my big board for new players. I'll discuss those guys and more in the notes section below.
Big board notes:
- As I've previously written, I've placed Karl-Anthony Towns just ever so slightly ahead of Jahlil Okafor on my big board. Here's a post I wrote discussing why I've made the move. Basically it's 1A vs. 1B, but I just feel a bit more comfortable with Towns as No. 1 right now.
- Murray State's Cameron Payne had been on my big board previously, but after speaking with some scouts this week at Hoop Summit I've moved up a bit. They all seemed to be high on his ability to play in the pick-and-roll, his shooting, and his length -- which should help to mitigate his lack of strength. He was in the 30s previously, but I've moved him to No. 23, and will likely write more about him next week.
- The two best players of the NCAA Tournament -- Dekker and Tyus Jones -- slide up the board just slightly, basically remaining in the same tier they were in prior to the tourney. Dekker moved up a bit more due to his play against the length of two elite defenses -- Arizona and Kentucky. Those were two of the top-five defenses in the history of the KenPom database going into their games against Wisconsin, and he beat them to the tune of 43 points on 14-20 shooting from the field, including a hot run from 3-point range. The shot still scares me an awful lot because of how long it takes to get off, but if he can continue to iron that out in the pros he'll have a nice long career as a forward that moves well off ball and plays hard on defense. Jones didn't really move as much on my board due to the fact that his great performance came against a Wisconsin pick-and-roll defense that had really been sputtering since the Big Ten Tournament. Still, he's the No. 21 player on this board.
- Chris McCullough re-enters at No. 40 after deciding to declare. He's the highest newcomer, followed by Mamadou Ndiaye of UC-Irvine. With Russell Turner returning, my guess is that Ndiaye will also return to play another season for the Anteaters. However, he hasn't announced that yet so in he goes. Simply put, this would be a totally developmental add. At 7-foot-4 with at least an 8-foot-1 wingspan, he'd have by far the largest standing reach an NBA that is starved for rim protection. He'd need work in the D-League, but he seems to be worth a flier given the way he impacts games for UC-Irvine and almost orchestrated an upset over Louisville in the Round of 64.
- Two other wings that I like that I've moved onto my board: Tennessee's Josh Richardson and Villanova's Darrun Hilliard. Hilliard is a terrific shooter that knocked down 40 percent of his nearly 400 3-point attempts in his junior and senior seasons, plus he defends well with a 6'8 wingspan. Richardson is a good all-around player that has improved his jump shot, passes the ball well, and really gets after it defensively. Both will be interesting to track in workouts.
- Some others who hop on the board: Arizona's T.J. McConnell, Penn State's D.J. Newbill, Harvard's Wesley Saunders, and recent declaration Vince Hunter from UTEP.
Here's the full board:
|2015 NBA Draft Prospect Rankings|
|4||D'Angelo Russell||Ohio State||Fr.||SG||6-5||180|
|10||Kelly Oubre Jr.||Kansas||Fr.||SF||6-7||200|
|23||Cameron Payne||Murray State||Soph.||PG||6-2||180|
|29||R.J. Hunter||Georgia State||Jr.||SG||6-6||190|
|34||Demetrius Jackson||Notre Dame||Soph.||PG||6-1||198|
|37||James Blackmon Jr.||Indiana||Fr.||SG||6-4||195|
|48||Georges Lucas Alves de Paula||Brazil||-||PG||6-5||200|
|56||Tyler Harvey||Eastern Washington||Soph.||SG||6-4||185|
|58||Olivier Hanlan||Boston College||Jr.||PG||6-4||190|
|60||Michael Frazier II||Florida||Jr.||SG||6-4||194|
|62||Shawn Long||UL Lafayette||Jr.||PF||6-9||245|
|64||Marcus Paige||North Carolina||Jr.||PG||6-1||175|
|66||Mamadou Ndiaye||UC Irvine||Soph.||C||7-6||300|
|67||Alan Williams||Santa Barbara||Sr.||C||6-8||265|
|68||Gary Payton II||Oregon State||Jr.||PG||6-3||175|
|70||Darrun Hilliard II||Villanova||Sr.||SF||6-6||215|
|71||J.P. Tokoto||North Carolina||Jr.||SF||6-6||200|
|73||Kennedy Meeks||North Carolina||Soph.||C||6-9||270|
|77||Branden Dawson||Michigan State||Sr.||SF||6-6||225|
|81||Kenneth Smith||Louisiana Tech||Sr.||PG||6-3||180|
|89||Shannon Scott||Ohio State||Sr.||PG||6-1||185|
|90||Keifer Sykes||Green Bay||Sr.||PG||6-0||180|
|91||Vince Hunter||Texas-El Paso||Soph.||PF||6-8||205|
|93||Fred VanVleet||Wichita State||Jr.||PG||6-0||195|
|95||D.J. Newbill||Penn State||Sr.||SG||6-4||210|
|98||Juwan Staten||West Virginia||Sr.||PG||6-1||190|
|100||Le'Bryan Nash||Oklahoma State||Sr.||SF||6-7||235|
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