Yes, the G-League might not happen as a result of the pandemic. Still, I remain interested in potential undrafted free agents who might turn into real NBA role players, and think the Pistons should focus on these types of players too.
If I ran a bad team that (I sincerely hope) is tanking and only has nine (9) players under contract next season, I would be handing out Hinkie Specials like candy on Halloween. Specifically, I would have told Isaiah Joe and Corey Kispert that I have guaranteed money waiting for them if they don’t get picked. Alas.
I started by using the HoopsHype aggregate mock 6.0, which is exactly what it sounds like. It is a top-50 list of average position in mock drafts from all corners of the internet. (The list actually ended up with 49 players because Jared Butler is going back to Baylor.) From there, I added Killian Tillie, who, in spite of his injury history, is too good not to get drafted, and filled out a fake board up to 60 with stash prospects.
This would represent a few more stashes than the average draft, which I regard as a distinct possibility because I think cash-conscious teams next season might turn to (partially subsidized) minimum-salary veterans to fill actual rotation spots rather than spending more on different veterans and filling the end of the bench with prospects, and because you can’t assign your new rookie that was drafted in the 50’s to the G-League if there is no G-League season.
I found it interesting that the aggregate mock included 10(!!!) centers out of 49 players, in spite of everything that we know about fungibility. I thought this preposterous, and will be interested to see if the actual draft will include that many, or if actual teams are actually getting smarter about this stuff. It’s really a good thing that the curators of mock drafts are still overemphasizing the center position in this manner, or I wouldn’t have so many interesting players for this list, which is ordered generally and roughly by my current level of intrigue. Apologies to those who just missed the cut: Tres Tinkle, who has an amazing name, Mamadi Diakite, who will probably find a job somewhere as a glue guy, and Lamar Stevens, who is the Mendoza Line of wings.
Nate Hinton, SG, Houston
Intersection of defense + treys + rebounds, particularly long rebounds. I like outlier rebounding as a proxy for NBA-level combination of instincts and athleticism. KCP-type role player vibes. The jumper looks good in addition to going in. I have no idea why he wouldn’t get picked in the top 40, but here we are.
CJ Elleby, SG, Washington State
Like Hinton, another tall guard who is an unusually good rebounder. Highly enjoyable shot diet: Nash forward momentum off-the-dribble treys, weirdo midrange sideways “the leaning gun goes,” deep range on catch-and-shoot.
Josh Hall, SF, Moravian Prep
My guy! I think he will get drafted because of toolsiness and uppppsidiness. He is 6-foot-9 and occasionally makes treys off the bounce and doesn’t look super slow on video. Begs the question of how to assess a post-grad year at a prep school compared to going to a high-major team and being bad and/or not getting minutes like Kahlil Whitney, who left school to do draft prep after finding himself out of the rotation at Kentucky, or Wendell Moore, who might be the odd man out in a very weird Duke rotation next year, if a very weird college basketball season can even be made to occur.
Mason Jones, SG, Arkansas
“SEC diet Luka” (hat tip to @abovethebreak3) has a big fan in DBB’s own Lazarus Jackson. Substandard athlete by NBA standards who got by in college to staggeringly effective degree by way of an old-man game and a shot profile that Daryl Morey would re-tweet (lots of treys and free throws). Not sure if he is anything more than thicker James Jones at the next level, but totally worth a shot within the context of undrafted players.
Naji Marshall, SF, Xavier
Stream of consciousness explanation: thick wing good brain point forward vibes good defense needs to shoot. Only shot 29% from deep this past season, although that didn’t stop him from taking five per game, which is at least theoretically encouraging. There is also some #emptygymszn video of the shot looking better. These are the kind of bets that I am trying to place.
Skylar Mays, SG, LSU
The corporeal embodiment of craft. Slow, old, great shooter, great spin move. YMCA bucket getter with obvious translation questions.
Saben Lee, PG, Vanderbilt
Played shooting guard at Vandy this past season alongside a “real” point guard in Scottie Pippen Jr., who had one of the highest assist rates in the country among freshmen. They would open games by attempting a backdoor lob to Lee, who is only 6-foot-2. Monster athlete crazy hops and a really quick first step; friend of the program enbiejowiec has expounded upon this elsewhere. Averaged 19/4/4 despite not really being able to shoot. (He kind of shoots from his face.) Fun fact for my fellow olds: Amp Lee the running back from Florida State is his dad.
THIS is the Westbrook move for Troy Weaver!
Kenyon Martin Jr., SF, Charminade
Wild athlete with wing size. Another prep-school year.
Trent Forrest, PG, Florida State
Big, smart, old point guard who needs to improve as a shooter. Good defender. Trust the FSU factory.
Kahlil Whitney, SF, Kentucky
Proper wing size with good #wingspan. Was bad at Kentucky and fell out of the lineup. Two years away from being two years away? Another uppppsidiness flier.
Sam Merrill, SG, Utah State
Has a huge fan in DukeCityVsEverybody, a founding member of the DBB Global Scouting Network, American Division. Awesome shooter with combo guard on-ball creativity at 6-foot-5, like a righty Luke Kennard. Already 24.
Markus Howard, PG, Marquette
Really tiny bucket getter.
Myles Powell, PG, Seton Hall
Short thick bucket getter.
Jalen Harris, SG, Nevada
Tallish lanky bucket getter.
Jay Scrubb, SG, John A Logan Junior College
Juco bucket getter.
Nate Darling, SG, Delaware
Canadian bucket getter.
Ashton Hagans, PG, Kentucky
Possibly an ideal sidekick 3-and-D point guard, eventually. The “D” part already exists. Might shoot, eventually. Good FT%. Pointguardiness.
Ty-Shon Alexander, SG, Creighton
Zach Milner on Twitter keeps comparing him to KCP, who is about to play a significant role in Disney bubble playoffs. Smaller than KCP, but fights through screens and seems pretty quick. Good shooter.
Yoeli Childs, PF, Brigham Young
Archetype scoring power forward, like a long-lost Morris triplet. Very old. Eye-popping stats: 31 and 13 per 36 on 60+ TS%. Overtly wacky 37.8% usage as a senior. SSS alert: bizarrely low FT% during his senior season after steadily improving in that regard during his first three years at BYU (54% “this” season after topping out at 71% as a junior). Kind of interesting in a role-player-for-a-decade sort of way.
Malik Fitts, PF, Saint Mary’s
See Childs, Yoeli, except lower usage and better FT% indicators.
Anthony Lamb, SF, Vermont
Took a lot of treys, although his percentage declined as a senior.
Lamine Diane, PF, Cal State Northridge
Dominant stats against bad competition. Sort of played center at 6-foot-7 and 210 pounds. I think he’s the type of project who will end up on Raptors 905.
Rayshaun Hammonds, C, Georgia
Stretch five. Seems like he has strong hands and gets rebounds in traffic. Pretty slow but seems like he knows what he’s doing.
Javin DeLaurier, C, Duke
I watched Duke a lot more the Zion year, and I was frequently impressed with DeLaurier in terms of perimeter switch defense for a big. Something like a skinnier Tristan Thompson who isn’t nearly as good at offensive rebounding. That’s still pretty good for an undrafted rookie, right?
Nick Richards, C, Kentucky
Legitimately huge, old-school center size. I remember looking it up after Zion seemingly removed his whole arm on that one weakside block, and found him listed at 6-foot-11 and 244 pounds, and that was almost two years ago. Platoon applicant who might even shoot some day; apparently Tyrese Maxey shouted out his midrange jumper in the Schmitz interview, which was not displayed during his time at Kentucky. The Cal Clamps!