49. Dylan Windler
Windler is one of the draft’s best long-range assassins, standing at 6’9 with shot versatility and elite efficiency. He shot off of movement and off of the dribble in smaller samples, along with plenty of spot ups. Given his elite three-point percentage, two-point percentage, free throw percentage, efficiency on two-point jumpers and at the rim, it is safe to bet on Windler as an upper tier NBA shooter. He’s might not be an NBA athlete, if he is it is in the lower tier of NBA athlete. Windler has decent quickness, poor functional strength and poor vertical explosiveness. He’s a fairly high IQ player as well, passing out of the pick and roll and finding open teammates on skip passes when his shooting gravity draws weak side eyes. His intersection of high IQ, versatile shooting and size combined with the value of shooting wings makes him a safe bet to provide decent minutes in a rotation.
48. Ty Jerome
Ty Jerome’s severe athletic limitations make me skeptical of how useful he can be at the NBA level. Just over 6’4 without shoes, Jerome’s lack of athleticism at the guard position makes it difficult for me to buy in, despite many positives in his game. Jerome’s IQ on both ends of the floor is sky-high, he has range and versatility on his shot, with one of the better pull-up jumpers in the class. He passes the ball well and has some strength to compete on the ball on defense. At some point though, no matter how great, a player has to meet a certain athletic threshold to compete in the NBA, barring some exceptions. Despite his lack of athleticism, there’s a chance Jerome’s skills and IQ help him find a niche in the NBA.
47. Justin Robinson
Justin Robinson is the platonic backup point guard prospect. Because of the high year to year volatility and high fungibility of the position, it is unwise to invest too heavily in a backup floor general. However, teams still need good players there and backup ones can provide tangible value of they’re special enough (Monte Morris, Tyus Jones). Robinson does all of the things a backup has to do.
He’s an excellent passer, capable of running a pick and roll to perfection and making creative, more difficult reads in chaotic situations. He’s a great three-point shooter and incredibly efficient overall, getting to the free throw line often, though he lacks a real in-between game.
While not a great defender, Robinson has some size and strength and gets steals, so he should be serviceable for a guard on the defensive end. He’ll be 24 by the start of the season and has a history of injuries. Even considering those factors. Robinson is the perfect candidate to lead a second unit offense with his high-octane passing and shooting.
46. Tremont Waters
Normally, I wouldn’t consider investing significant capital any player under 6’1 unless they’re a special prospect. Standing slightly under 5’11 in shoes, Tremont Waters will have an uphill climb to NBA relevance. Small players are increasingly phasing out in the modern NBA in favor of bigger, stronger and longer players. If any tiny player has a chance to stick in the NBA, it is Tre Waters.
Waters’ quickness and handle allow him to get wherever he wants on the floor and he finishes with touch despite his size. A threat to pull-up from beyond the arc, Waters has the complete scoring package for a little guard. His passing and IQ are exceptional as well, out of pick and roll and swinging to shooters all over the floor.
On defense, Waters’ smarts actually allow him to make some plays off of the ball as a team defender, but it is incredibly likely he’ll be a strong negative because of his size. There’s a real chance Waters is skilled and smart enough to hang as a bench point guard type and bring enough to avoid being completely played off of the floor.
45. Rui Hachimura
Hachimura is a talented face-up scorer, with size, skill and touch requisite to dominate college competition. His offense isn’t going to effective in the NBA in anything more than a bench spark plug role. His feel for the game is far behind on both ends; Hachimura is myopic, routinely missing wide open passes and forcing tough shots. With his touch, he’s a good bet to shoot threes, but even if he does his complete lack of feel tarnishes his value.
Rui is strong and can defend on the ball at a respectable level, but his total lack of awareness is as damaging on defense as it is on offense. He frequently ball-watches, misses simple rotations and doesn’t make plays on defense. Though his physical tools are good, he isn’t as switchable as he should be due to his lack of technique or anticipation. As a scoring big off of the bench, Rui Hachimura will be able to come in, get buckets and sit down. He’ll bleed value on the defensive end, though, and his mid-post centric isolation offense is devalued in the modern NBA.
Unless Hachimura becomes a knockdown shooter on high volume or makes unexpected passing developments, he won’t have any tangible value worthy of a lottery selection, especially in the playoffs where decision making is paramount.
44. Luka Samanic
Samanic was one of the biggest risers at the combine, helping erase much of my skepticism with his performance there. Samanic packed on a significant amount of muscle mass, which will help him survive on both ends of the floor. During the combine scrimmage, he was the best player on the floor, showing off a diverse offensive arsenal, including some ballhandling, and some defensive capability. Still, I am hesitant to move a player up too much because of a one-game showing.
He struggled for Olimpija Ljubljana in the Lithuanian league, with his feel for the game and limited mental game often on display. He looked aloof on defense at times, though he did do a decent job guarding on the perimeter. If Samanic shoots, his diverse offensive skillset and fluidity should help him stick in a rotation and his worth ethic is clear, providing confidence more improvement is to come.
43. Terance Mann
Terance Mann is a guy who needs to shoot to stick around. If he does shoot, though, there’s a serious impact wing in Mann. His finishing is elite, shooting 70.2 percent from the rim in four years on 538 attempts. While not super quick, his strength is excellent, helping him get to the rim despite a lack of great burst and his passing is good as well. On defense, Mann is tenacious, outmuscling dribblers on the ball and making plays in the passing lanes off of the ball. There’s a real chance Mann doesn’t shoot–before this season, Mann never shot over 31 percent from deep in any season–and he’ll have difficulty translating to an off-ball role without a decent jumper. With his high basketball IQ, athleticism and potential to switch on defense, Mann is a worthwhile gamble in the second round.
42. Jalen McDaniels
Jalen McDaniels’ body will take him as far as he goes. Almost 6’10 in shoes, McDaniels has unique movement ability for a player his size. However, he’s detrimentally skinny. At the combine, McDaniels’ torso looked significantly larger than it did in the season, which is a good sign. Even with his improved frame, McDaniels weighed in at a measly 191.6 pounds, the 12th lightest of every prospect at the combine. There’s a real chance McDaniels is too small to play in the NBA if he never develops his perimeter skill enough.
It is worth putting stock into his body improvement, hoping he can put on strength in the future. If McDaniels adds significant muscle mass and maintains his fluidity, there’s a great player hiding inside him. If the strength were to come, his defense could be excellent due to his lateral quickness at his size and his high motor. While not a prolific shooter at the college level, he projects to shoot threes eventually given his elite mid-range shot. He’s flashes a solid handle and with further perimeter development, he could play on the wing given his athleticism. McDaniels’ skills and athleticism are rare for a 6’10 player, making him a great gamble and hoping he develops under an NBA strength and conditioning program.
41. Deividas Sirvydis
Sirvydis’ size, shooting and shot versatility are the foundation for his draft case, as there aren’t many 6’8 wings with the shot profile Sirvydis has. He is elite setting up his shot off movement and has some pull-up capability. Though his percentages aren’t elite, his shooting should be great-elite because of his versatility. His offensive IQ is excellent as well, making the right play with regularity and even showing some pick and roll playmaking. Sirvydis is hampered by his twig-like frame on both ends.
On defense, it is possible Sirvydis survives due to his solid sense of positioning and height, but his fragility, short arms, lack of lateral quickness and change of direction ability make it difficult to envision him staying on the floor early in his career. He is 19 and could improve his body, but Sirvydis has a long way to go until his frame becomes playable. If he puts on muscle, his movement shooting and IQ lead to valuable role player status on the wing.
40. Cody Martin
Cody Martin has two things (arguably three) working against his draft case: he’ll be 24 at the start of his rookie season and he isn’t a plus athlete. The third is he will be a non-shooter, though he is likely to shoot because of his astronomically high efficiency at the rim and on two-point jumpers with a majority of his shots unassisted, which are reliable indicators for future shooting development.
Near 6’6, he was Nevada’s nominal point guard and thrived because of his high feel for the game as a passer and driver and a solid handle. On defense, he has a ton of functional strength and a 6’10 wingspan, which combined with his IQ make for an excellent defender. Though his upside is minimal due to his age, Martin has the skill set to contribute as a backup or low-end starting guard and should be able to play more off-ball wing if his shooting develops.