Marvin Bagley's decision to reclassify and enroll at Duke this month, a year ahead of schedule, could have a serious impact on college basketball this season if the NCAA clears him for freshman eligibility. Time will tell on that. But, no matter what the NCAA decides, Bagley's reclassification should alter the top of the 2018 NBA Draft because, barring a surprise, he's going to be in it. And, I think, he'll be selected first.
I love Michael Porter Jr.
I'm intrigued by Mohamed Bamba.
And I'm aware DeAndre Ayton, Luka Doncic and Miles Bridges also project as potential stars. But, in my opinion, Bagley is a superior prospect to all of them, and I don't even really think it's that close. He's a 6-foot-11 highly skilled athlete with an NBA body already. And if this draft order, set by 2018 projected standings from SportsLine, proves correct, Bagley will become a member of … the Boston Celtics. So the rich get richer courtesy of that 2013 trade with the Brooklyn Nets.
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Marvin Bagley (Duke)There's a difference between a great prospect and a great player. Not everybody qualifies as both. But Bagley definitely does. It won't take him long to adjust to college basketball as a freshman. It won't take him long to adjust to the NBA as a rookie. Truth be told, the only things that could possibly prevent stardom are injuries and off-the-court issues, for which there are no red flags.
Michael Porter Jr. (Missouri)
Porter is a combo forward with unlimited potential and enough good pieces around him to lead Missouri to the NCAA Tournament. He's worthy of being the No. 1 pick in most drafts. But Bagley's reclassification makes him more likely to go second next year, at least in my opinion.
Mohamed Bamba (Texas)
Bamba is the prize of Shaka Smart's top-10 recruiting class. He's a 7-foot forward with a 7-9 wingspan who could be a terror on the defensive end for many years to come and a great addition to the rebuilding Suns.
DeAndre Ayton (Arizona)
Ayton could become the first player since Anthony Davis in 2012 to win a national title and then be the No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft. I'm not predicting it, obviously. I'm just saying it's a realistic possibility for the super-talented big who has reportedly been terrific in offseason workouts at Arizona.
Luka Doncic (Slovenia)
Doncic, who has grown to 6-8, shot 37.1 percent from 3-point range for Real Madrid last season. He was voted the Spanish League's "Best Young Player.' And he should, next year, become the first top-five pick from Slovenia in NBA Draft history.
Miles Bridges (Michigan State)
Bridges was the highest-rated college prospect to return to school, and I'm betting he improves his stock because of it. The combo-forward should lead Michigan State to a Big Ten title and could, along the way, earn National Player of the Year honors. He is, I think, the preseason favorite for that award.
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Wendell Carter (Duke)
If you're wondering how Duke could lose Luke Kennard, Jayson Tatum, Frank Jackson, Harry Giles and Amile Jefferson but still be the favorite in Las Vegas to win the national title, Carter is among the obvious reasons. He'll be impactful for the Blue Devils from Day 1.
Williams is a terrific athlete with undeniable upside who averaged 11.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in just 25.8 minutes per game as a freshman. He should improve across the board as a sophomore and then become a top-10 pick.
Trevon Duval (Duke)
Duval was a big and important late pickup for Hall of Fame coach Mike Krzyzewski. He'll be Duke's primary ball-handler this season and perhaps the key to Coach K's sixth national title.
Collin Sexton (Alabama)
Sexton is the type of five-star prospect who is so gifted he'll have the Crimson Tide in the NCAA Tournament for the first since 2012. Then he'll become Alabama's first first-round pick in the NBA Draft since Gerald Wallace went 25th overall in 2001.
Jaren Jackson Jr. (Michigan State)
Jackson is a 6-10 forward who should be terrific next to Bridges in East Lansing. He's a quality rim-protector who can also play facing the basket. His father had a long NBA career — and he should too.
Diallo could've entered the 2017 NBA Draft and possibly been a first-round pick. But he opted to instead play this season at Kentucky — where he'll prove to be a lottery pick if he shows he can do more than just be a super-duper athlete who runs and jumps well.
Mitchell Robinson (TBD)
Robinson made a mess of his college situation by enrolling at Western Kentucky and then, just two weeks later, leaving campus and asking for a release. Odds are, the 7-foot forward will not play college basketball this season. But that shouldn't prevent him from being a lottery pick. And it might actually help in the sense that Robinson now probably at no risk of being exposed between now and next June.
Kevin Knox (Kentucky)
Knox picked Kentucky over Duke in the late signing period. He's a 6-9 versatile athlete who can play either forward position. FYI: If Knox is selected here, after Diallo is selected above, he would be the 16th lottery pick John Calipari has coached in nine years at UK.
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Metu averaged 14.8 points and 7.8 rebounds as a sophomore. He should help USC push Arizona at the top of the Pac-12 standings and then lead the Trojans to their third consecutive NCAA Tournament.
Lonnie Walker (Miami)
Walker is a big and strong shooting guard who should be able to defend multiple positions at the NBA level. He's also an effective 3-point shooter — proof being how he shot 40 percent from 3-point range last summer in the EYBL. For what it's worth, I do not expect offseason knee surgery to greatly affect his status with NBA franchises.
What Brown lacks in athleticism he makes up for with a high basketball IQ and unusual wingspan for a player his size. He's not Donovan Mitchell. But the comparison mostly works.
Isaac Bonga (Germany)
Bonga wasn't great at the Adidas EuroCamp in June. But he still showed signs of why he's a likely first-round pick next year. Either way, his jumper must improve. Scouts believe that's the most obvious issue with his game right now — his inability to make jumpers with any level of consistency.
Brown averaged 11.8 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.2 assists as a freshmen. And he should be better as a sophomore, which means the Hurricanes will be better too — perhaps even good enough to develop into Duke's biggest challenger at the top of the ACC standings.
Nick Richards (Kentucky)
Richards should be the next in a long line of bigs who have been drafted out of Kentucky. He's still raw. He's probably a project. But the talent is undeniable.
Allen's junior season was a nightmare in a variety of ways — mostly because of the tripping incidents that led to a televised meltdown that created the type of fame no student-athlete wants. But I fully expect him to bounce back this season, lead Duke in scoring and establish himself as a first-round pick while possibly winning the second national title of his career.
Trier is a tremendous scorer who should lead the Wildcats in shot attempts and points per game. He won't be the first Arizona player taken in this draft. But he could be a First Team All-American and the most important player on a Pac-12 champion.
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Jarred Vanderbilt (Kentucky)
Vanderbilt is one of four UK players who should go in the first round. That would, by the way, match the number of Wildcats who were picked among the top 30 of the 2017 NBA Draft.
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DeAnthony Melton (USC)
Melton didn't play well down the stretch last season as USC advanced to the Round of 32 of the NCAA Tournament. But he should be greatly improved this season and an important piece for a team ranked ninth in the CBS Sports Top 25 (and one).
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Milton has averaged double figures in points in each of his two seasons at SMU. The 6-5 athlete can play either guard position and will do so in the NBA.
Jackson was wise to pull out of the 2017 NBA Draft and return to Maryland. His reward for that decision will come via a guaranteed contract next year.
V.J. King (Louisville)
King only averaged 13.5 minutes last season even though he was a five-star prospect coming out of high school. So that wasn't ideal. But he should have a breakout season not unlike the one Mitchell just had for the Cardinals before becoming a lottery pick.
Happ was Wisconsin's best player last season and a legitimate Big Ten Player of the Year candidate. The 6-10 forward took 10.1 shots per game and made them 58.6 percent of them.
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Vince Edwards (Purdue)
Edwards wasn't a top-100 prospect coming out of high school. But he's been great for Purdue while establishing himself as a legitimate NBA prospect. A summer spent with USA Basketball only helped his cause.
Bridges is among the reasons the Wildcats should win yet another Big East title. He's a 6-7 forward (due for a big junior season) who should be able to guard multiple positions at the next level.