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#EliteEvals: NBA Draft Top 10

By Reese Holliday (@TMCvision)

We’ve entered a new era in the basketball landscape. We saw the inaugural year of the NBA G-League’s Ignite squad with some of the top prospects in the 2020 high school class. We’ve seen transfers either become potential draft picks or make themselves into stronger ones. We’ve seen elite dudes put on a show and “shut it down” during the pandemic because the scouts already knew what time it was.

But it becomes tough to tell who’s great when Twitter consistently bombards you with clips of bad reps, puff pieces, and flat out agenda pushing.

This ain’t that.

These are the top 10 prospects in this year’s NBA Draft:

  1. Cade Cunningham.

From top to bottom, there is not another prospect in this draft that is a more complete player than Mr. Cunningham.

Dubbed “Numero Uno” by Kellen Buffington (@TheTB5Reports) almost 3 years ago.

It seems as if being the #1 pick was Cade’s destiny for a while now, if you have been following his journey. A jumbo playmaker standing at 6’7 with a 7’0 wingspan, Cunningham is a swiss-army knife offensively.

Coming into his freshman season in Stillwater, Cade was not known as much of a reliable jump shooter, but silenced folks by end of the season shooting at a 40% clip from three on almost 6 attempts per game.

Using his poise and pace to offset the fact he is not the most explosive or shiftiest athlete, Cade has been known as a methodical player because of his success in pick-and-roll situations.

While there are still questions whether if he’s used as a primary or secondary ball handler in the NBA. But if you cut the tape on, it shouldn’t be any.

He’s the most NBA ready in the class. Numero Uno.

2. Jalen Green

The two words that apply to Jalen Green more than anybody else in this draft are the typical favorites of all the scouts and evaluators.

Upside and potential.

By taking a non-traditional route and signing with the NBA’s G-League Ignite team, Green could work on his craft full time and the results showed in the NBA G-League’s bubble in Orlando.

He started out a little slow, but once it was up…. it was UP. Ya feel me?

Showing a much improved jump shot and tighter handle coupled with his already elite athleticism, scouts fell even more in love with what Green already is and could become as a high-level shooting guard.

While still needing to improve his passing ability and defensive prowess. There is more than enough evidence that Green can be an explosive scorer in this league and a legitimate top three prospect in this year’s draft.

3. Evan Mobley

Everything you are looking for in today’s NBA big, Evan Mobley possesses.

Touch, feel, fluidity, handle and range.

His versatility is endless and you can see exactly why he has been consistently in the top 3 on draft boards all year.

There aren’t many bigs who are a legitimate threat in the pick-and-roll offensively because of their ability to pop, roll, pass and catch lobs. And defensively, an elite defender in the pick-and-roll because of their ability to take those same things away.

As Mobley’s career goes along of course you want him to add strength and become more physical, but for right now he is ahead of the curve for many bigs at this stage.

4. Jalen Suggs

If Jalen Green wasn’t in this year’s draft, the tag for the best athlete would easily belong to Suggs.

As most know, Suggs was an outstanding football player in high school, and you can see it in his game.

He’s got some elite explosiveness in transition and aggressiveness attacking the rim. I’m not sure there is a player that elevated his draft stock more than Suggs this year in his lone season of college basketball at Gonzaga.

With his frame and athleticism, he proved to be a high-level defender of multiple positions while also spearheading one of the best college offenses we’ve seen in the last decade.

Questions remain about Suggs shooting ability where he struggled at times this season on catching and shooting and off the bounce. But that’s a risk an NBA team may have to take.

5. James Bouknight

After the “Big 3” of Cunningham, Mobley and Green, there isn’t a player I believe has a higher ceiling than Bouknight

A less athletic Zach Lavine. Which is like… a REALLY good NBA player.

There were few more exciting players to watch when they got cookin’ this past college basketball season than Bouknight.

Elbow surgery sidelined him mid season while he was leading the Big East in scoring, but he showed to be a capable scorer from all three levels and an electric finisher above the rim. The shooting numbers from three could use some work, but the free throw percentages show there is a lot of room to be hopeful for improvement in that department.

This kid screams STAR potential. Read it again.

6. Jalen Johnson

Cut the semantics. Just focus on his game for a minute.

Johnson’s path to this point has been a tumultuous one for many reasons, but one thing that remains is the talent. Being terrific 6’10 open court athlete with high-level court vision.

Yes, you’re thinking Ben Simmons.

But, another reason those comparisons have come are because of his lack of shooting ability.

Even though he shot a respectable 44% from the trey, the lack of willingness to take those shots (18 attempts) is what is most worrisome. With that being said, Johnson has shown the ability to be effective at almost everything else on the basketball court outside of shooting. He is a ferocious rebounder who has the handle to grab boards and initiate the fastbreak himself.

If he can overcome his character questions, Johnson should safely be a lottery pick this year.

7. Jonathan Kuminga

Another player who took the NBA’s G-League Ignite route, Kuminga was the most productive player on that team more times than not when playing.

A super aggressive player with good size and NBA level athleticism, Kuminga is what you are looking for in the prototypical wing for this league.

While in the NBA G-League’s bubble, Kuminga shot pretty poorly from distance, but still found ways to be effective offensively. Poor shot selection because of IQ and a limited handle are some of the bigger question marks for him right now.

But if you are a team in need of scoring, a player with Kuminga’s alpha mentality and physicality is as intriguing a prospect as there is in this crop of wings.

8. Kai Jones

Evan Mobley may be the best big man prospect in this class, but potential wise Kai Jones is not far behind.

The best big defender in this class, Jones has the ability to switch multiple positions and more than hold his own.

Still needs to refine some things on offense around the rim, but he showed flashes of being a more than capable perimeter threat with his fluidity, range and ball handling abilities.

At this point he is much more of a project than a finished product, but with the right team and development program I could see him blossoming into a legit DUDE by his third season.

9. Tre Mann

After a 3-inch growth spurt between his freshman and sophomore year, Mann saw not only his production soar, but his draft stock.

He was always a slick ball handler with elite shot-making ability off the bounce, but the added inches allowed Mann to transition more towards a true shooting guard rather than a shoot first point guard.

And this is where I think he will thrive because in his heart he is a scorer and he does it well.

He had a 30-point spaz out against Tennessee who wielded two elite defensive prospects of their own in Jaden Springer and Keon Johnson.

His defensive ability is a big question mark right now because of his lack of athleticism and strength.

10. Corey Kispert

There will ALWAYS, I repeat ALWAYS be room for a knockdown shooter in the Association.

Especially one with size… and that is exactly what Corey Kispert is.

Standing near 6’8 with an absolute flamethrower and isn’t a complete liability on defense due to his IQ which helps him as a positional defender.

Kispert is one of the older guys in the lottery range, but has shown continued improvement to his game each year at Gonzaga. He even finished as the leading scorer on the best team in the country until the last game of the season.

There may be plenty of guys with higher ceilings in this draft, but very few more than likely are going to have the consistency of Kispert over the course of their careers.

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Trevor Trout

@totaltroutmove Just a guy with some thoughts, a phone, and some pretty dope peers.