We've reached a pivotal point in the NBA Draft process. The lottery -- one of the wildest of all time, thanks in part to the NBA's restructured format -- is in the rearview. The combine, which saw most of the stars sit, is complete. Now looming is the withdrawal date for underclassmen: 11:59 p.m. ET on May 29.
After an eventful week in Chicago headlined by the Pelicans winning the NBA Draft Lottery and, of course, prospects showcasing their talents in front of NBA executives and scouts, the draft itself is beginning to take on a more clear shape.
As such, an update to the CBS Sports Top 100 is not only in need of an update -- but also an expansion. We've reshuffled the deck with fresh prospect rankings to account for risers and fallers based off intel and scouting and also expanded our list to 130. Unlike our, which heavily accounts for team fit and needs, the Big Board is a ranking strictly of individual players based on talent and how their games will project to the NBA level.
- Big Board ranking: No. 25
- : No. 64
At the combine, where numerous big men such as Luka Samanic, Jaylen Hoard and Neemias Queta really popped -- it was Claxton, Georgia's sophomore standout, who perhaps saw his stock most loudly explode. Claxton was active on both ends of the court, but especially on defense, where his long and wiry arms seemed to always find the ball at the exact right time. It was as if he could summon Go Go Gadget arms with his 7-foot-3 wingspan immediately stretching as far as he wanted to disrupt any given play.
Claxton blocked shots, ripped steals, and showed off a few impressive post moves attacking other big men -- including 7-7 Tacko Fall. To say he popped on a court with a ton of potential first-rounders would be an understatement. He may have just Go Go Gadgeted his stock into the later portion of the first round.
Luka Samanic | Croatia | PF | 6-11 | 227
- Big Board ranking: No. 26
- : No. 38
Samanic's decision to participate in the combine (as the only non-U.S.-based player) was a pleasant surprise for those in Chicago hoping to catch a glimpse of him. More pleasant, however, was what he did when he provided that glimpse. He played so well on the first day, in fact, that he was able to shut it down after that, riding such a high that many were buzzing about him vaulting himself into the first round.
As a 6-11 power forward, Samanic showed off every tool in his package and looked the part of what a modern day NBA power forward at his best can be. He attacked off the dribble, pushed in transition, moved well without the ball, and physically, he overwhelmed many -- including another riser in Isaiah Roby -- to hunt down rebounds. His versatility as an offensive weapon was on full display.
Luka Samanic (Croatia) showed quite a few flashes on both sides of the ball in 19 minutes in his first NBA Combine scrimmage— Zach Milner (@ZachMilner13) May 17, 2019
- Moved his feet on defense
- Contested shots
- Attacked off the catch
- Post game
- Made a nice 3 off movement pic.twitter.com/OJDJmRFfMG
Jalen Lecque | Brewster Academy (NH) | PG | 6-4 | 185
- Big Board ranking: No. 43
- : No. 44
Lecque, the Brewster Academy product who is testing the NBA Draft and deciding between jumping from preps to the pros or following through on his NC State commitment, certainly improved his stock in the lone day he performed. Results were mixed on the court in a scrimmage setting, as he committed five turnovers and showed some shaky decision-making. But his athletic skills -- an open-court dunk in which he put his massive vertical leap on full display -- absolutely stood out. Like Samanic, he, too, performed well on the first day but shut it down before the second day.
Lecque's athleticism was backed not only by the eyes but also the numbers. He posted a 43-inch max vertical leap, not only tops at the combine among those who tested, but also the best since Hamidou Diallo leapt 44.5 inches in 2017. His 35-inch standing vertical leap was second among all players as well, and first among point guards.
Lecque could benefit from a year in college and the development it would provide -- especially in the weightroom -- but he's a really intriguing long-term prospect who some teams may find really appealing as a developmental asset. The talent is there, the size (6-4, 185) is mostly there and if a point guard deficient team -- or a team saddled with an aging point guard -- decides it wants to try and invest in a future player at the position, Lecque could be the answer.
Tacko Fall | UCF | Sr | C | 7-7 | 289
- Big Board ranking: No. 58
- : NR
Have you ever babysat middle-schoolers, who challenged you to a game of Nerf ball? You know, the palmable ball with the hoop that goes over the top of a door frame? That's probably how Tacko Fall felt (and certainly how he played) at the combine -- like a mature adult being challenged by a bunch of tiny humans.
Fall measured at a whopping 7-7 with shoes on and had an 8-2.25 wingspan, both record-setting. He played every bit as big, too, sometimes dunking the ball without exhausting any effort at all, other times swatting shot attempts out of the air like a camper swatting at mosquitos.
Fall has limitations, to be sure. He's not the most mobile big man, and there is real concern about how durable a player his size can be during an 82-game season. But Fall -- he's just different. To be 7-7 with just 5.8% body fat is absurd. His long and noodly arms allow him to bend the game to his own style in a way that's simply mesmerizing. For a team picking in the mid-to-late second round, he certainly has appeal as a chance worth taking.
- Big Board ranking: No. 52
- : No. 59
Davis was nearly a no-show at the combine; he didn't have an invite until he put on a a stellar showing in the G League Showcase earlier in the week. But at the combine, he put on a show in two scrimmages, scoring 30 points combined. He was consistently the most active player on both ends of the floor, and he seized the opportunity to be in attendance by playing with an extreme amount of confidence. He pushed the ball up the court in transition, attacked driving lanes, jumped passing lines. One of the big winners of the week.
- Big Board ranking: No. 65
- : NR
Nowell wasn't in our Top 100, but he's comfortably in our updated rankings after a strong showing at the combine. Between his scoring, his energy and his pure explosiveness, he really stood out. On numerous occasions, he had some whoa, that was awesome type of moments. Here's one in particular.
- Big Board ranking: No. 12
- : No. 12
Clarke didn't hurt his stock, but he also didn't necessarily improve it, either. On one hand, his 34-inch standing vertical leap, good for fourth-highest at the combine, was impressive. As was his 40.5-inch max vertical leap, which also ranked fourth. But from a measurement perspective, he simply didn't pass the eye test, measuring at just over 6-7 without shoes. Worse yet, his 6-8 wingspan ranked 53rd among all players -- behind two point guards, 12 shooting guards and every other power forward or center who was measured.
Clarke's instincts as a shot-blocker and ability to roll out his pogostick leaping abilities in a flash are going to get him drafted -- likely in the lottery. Remember: we're talking about the NCAA Division I's leading shot-blocker from last season. This isn't a fringe production guy. But to measure out like a wing player when teams in the NBA view him as a power forward or potential small-ball center wasn't a win for him and his stock.
- Big Board ranking: No. 19
- : No. 16
Before the second day of the combine began, Williamsand forgoing his remaining college eligibility. An expected move considering his credentials: two-time SEC Player of the Year, All-American, the works. He had nothing more to prove at the college level.
Williams didn't blow everyone away in the Windy City, though. He struggled to score at times despite open looks, and was at times neutralized against more athletic or larger defenders. But Williams' basketball smarts and ability to contribute in other ways -- by rebounding, making smart passes and playing physical as a defender -- were all impressive. If the shots aren't falling in the NBA, he's a guy who can still find ways to be a plus-player.
- Big Board ranking: No. 56
- : No. 55
Brazdeikis announced before the draft combine -- and before John Beilein took a beeline from Michigan to Cleveland to coach the Cavaliers -- that he was staying in the draft. Then, at the combine, he was all over the place -- often lost on defense, somewhat average athletically. Just a guy. For the record, No. 56 is in the range of being drafted. But he didn't do anything that showed he deserves a look in the late first or early second round during his time at Michigan, nor during his stay in Chicago.
Killian Tillie | Gonzaga | Jr PF | 6-10 | 220
- Big Board ranking: No. 59
- : No. 52
Look, I swear I'm not picking on Gonzaga products, but Tillie's stock is on the decline, no question, and he didn't even participate at the combine.
Tillie had to withdraw just before the event after suffering a sprained ankle at a private workout with the Atlanta Hawks just before combine week. If the injury were a one-off, fine, his stock could survive. But Tillie's been injury prone for much of the last season at Gonzaga, and in his third season, he played a career-low 15 games during the season because of it. If he can't stay healthy, it's cause for concern. And missing out on a big chance to play and prove to people he can play healthy and at a high level is really a bummer for his current NBA prospects.
Top 20 NBA Draft prospects
|2||Ja Morant||Murray St.||Soph||PG||6-3|
|7||Coby White||N. Carolina||Fr||PG||6-5|
|9||Jarrett Culver||Texas Tech||Soph||SG||6-7|
|13||Kevin Porter Jr.||USC||Fr||SG||6-6|
|15||Nassir Little||N. Carolina||Fr||SF||6-6|
|17||Nickeil Alexander-Walker||Va. Tech||Soph||SG||6-5|
|18||Cameron Johnson||N. Carolina||Sr||SF||6-8|