Lonzo Ball NBA Draft Profile

Lonzo Ball was the engineer of the most efficient offense in the nation and is one of the more unique top prospects of recent memory. The 6-6 guard had strong numbers across the board, averaging 14.6 points, 6.0 rebounds and leading the nation in assists with 7.6 per game. Ball’s best skill is certainly his ability to create for others and make everyone around him better. He has excellent basketball IQ and should be able to step into an NBA offense from day one as a floor general. Ball does have some shortcomings athletically, which were highlighted by his struggles in head-to-head performances against explosive Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox.

Lonzo Ball’s best skill on offense is his playmaking ability from every area of the floor. He’s tremendous in transition, where he can grab rebounds and initiate the fast-break himself. He throws full-court lasers with precision to teammates running the floor. He can be a weapon off-ball as well, where he can run the floor, catch the outlet pass and then immediately whip the ball to an open cutter or shooter. He always knows the right time to dish the ball in the open court or take it to the rim himself. In the half-court, Ball uses his size and outstanding IQ to make every pass in the book. He drops dimes out of the pick and roll, hitting the screener on dives to the rim or on pops to the three-point line. He’s also adept at driving and dishing to open shooters. The ball never sticks on offense with him in the game, leading to high percentage shots for everyone.

For as good as Ball is creating for others, he isn’t as skilled at creating for himself. He lacks elite strength and explosiveness, plus his limited handle and funky shot mechanics make it difficult for him to create his own offense. When defended by NBA athletes, it may be a challenge for him to score. He’s not a threat in isolation situations and struggles to score out of the pick and roll. He settles for passing out of the pick and roll almost exclusively, which NBA defenses will adjust to. Ball is a smart off-ball player, consistently getting scoring opportunities from cutting to the rim. He shot an outstanding 73.2% from inside the arc due to all the open looks at the rim that UCLA’s ball movement created. He doesn’t like shooting contested shots at the rim, often electing to pass out to shooters instead of taking contact in the paint. He averaged just 2.7 free-throw attempts per game.

Where Ball can score in the half-court is with his jump shot, despite the unorthodox mechanics he possesses. He shot 41.2% from deep at UCLA and showed the ability to hit from NBA range with ease. However, his shot release may impede him from shooting at a high rate at the next level. He’s at his best shooting off the catch and isn’t fazed by defenders contesting hit shot. His release makes it difficult for him to shoot off the dribble though, and he’s forced to settle for tough step-back jumpers. Ball also shot just 67.3% from the free-throw line, which is a bit concerning.

Defensively, Ball has tools to be a useful defender, but he does struggle on that end of the floor at times. He doesn’t have great lateral quickness or awareness defending ball screens. He did use his 6-9 wingspan to collect 1.8 steals per game and can be a factor on the defensive glass. One way for Ball to become a more effective defender is by increasing his effort level on that end of the floor. He will be going against top-notch athletes every game in the NBA and needs to be more of a factor stopping them than he was at UCLA.

            Lonzo Ball is a polarizing prospect with clear-cut strengths and weaknesses that will show up at the NBA level. He should be able to step in right away and impact the game with his playmaking ability. Ball’s mere presence on the court increases ball movement and allows everyone to play better because of it. He will struggle to score on his own against NBA defenders and needs his jump shot to translate to the next level. He would benefit from impacting the game as a scorer, which would open up more passing lanes. Despite lacking top-notch athleticism on both ends of the floor, his excellent IQ should make up for his shortcomings. If Ball is able to score or defend at a high level to complement his passing, he can be one of the best guards in the league.

Markelle Fultz NBA Draft Profile

Markelle Fultz likely established himself as the top NBA Draft prospect as a freshman despite a tough season for his Washington Huskies. He earned a spot on the First Team All-Pac 12 behind his remarkable 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds per game. As a team though, Washington went just 9-22, and there is skepticism about how much Fultz contributed to their struggles. He had the highest PER among all freshmen in the nation, even though he wasn’t surrounded by proficient teammates and had to shoulder much of the offense on his own. However, Fultz does appear to coast through the game at times, especially on the defensive end of the floor. No matter what his mentality may be, Fultz is loaded with talent that is worthy of the number one overall pick.

Fultz is absolutely brimming with skill on the offensive end of the floor. Standing 6-4 with a 6-10 wingspan, he has elite size for a combo guard and is capable of playing on or off the ball. He runs the pick and roll masterfully, using screens to score in a variety of ways or setting up teammates for open shots. He manipulates defenders who switch onto him, using hang dribbles to freeze them for just a second before hitting a pull-up jumper or racing past them to the bucket. He’s explosive splitting screens and uses spin moves to get through multiple defenders. Fultz can also make any pass out of the pick and roll. He hits the screener on the roll or on the pop, whips passes to shooters in the corner or hits the help defender’s man standing under the basket. He likely would have tallied even more assists on a more talented team. Off-ball, Fultz can spot up and hit shots off the catch. He also attacks closeouts well and can be a dangerous playmaker as the secondary ball-handler.

Fultz’ skills are brought out even more in space, of which he should have more of in an NBA offense. He’s dynamic in transition as he changes gears with ease and keeps his head up looking for open teammates. In the half-court, Fultz is a nightmare in isolation situations. He gets to his spots on the floor at will using his arsenal of dribble moves. From the perimeter, Fultz can use his size to hit pull-up jumpers over smaller guards. In the paint, he uses spin moves and euro-steps with precision and has the capability to finish creatively with either hand. He also draws contact at a high rate, getting to the free-throw line 6.7 times per game.

The biggest knock on Fultz is his casual approach to the game. Most expect his talent to outweigh his demeanor in an NBA setting, but it is still cause for concern. His low motor shows up most often on defense, but he can be too lax on the offensive end as well. He turned the ball over 3.2 times per game, making lazy entry passes and trying to do too much at times. Fultz was efficient shooting the ball, but had a bit of a habit of forcing up difficult shots early in the shot clock. Defensively, Fultz has the physical tools to be effective but simply doesn’t display any will to guard at a high rate. If he buys in as a defender, he has the size and length to defend multiple positions. Despite his disinterest in defense, Fultz still averaged 1.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. All he needs is a better mentality and effort level to be a factor on both ends of the floor.

            Markelle Fultz is filled with as much ability as any prospect in this draft. He can score from all over the floor. He can create easy offense for himself or his teammates. He has the size and length to be a versatile weapon on both ends of the floor. The only negative to Fultz’ game is his lack of motor on the court. Once placed in an NBA offense and surrounded by skilled teammates, he shouldn’t have any issue exerting more effort. The NBA should correct his lack of spacing, help and effort which will give him the opportunity to be a legitimate star in the league.

De’Aaron Fox NBA Draft Profile

De’Aaron Fox used a strong showing in the NCAA Tournament to climb up NBA Draft boards. Fox led Kentucky to a 32-6 record and an Elite Eight appearance as a freshman. He was named a member of the First Team All-SEC behind his 16.7 points per game and outstanding defense. Standing 6-3 with a 6-7 wingspan, Fox has solid size for a point guard, though he does still need to add strength. He’s a top-notch athlete with blazing speed in the open court and quickness in the half-court. Fox has potential to be a two-way star, but needs to improve his jumper and strength to last in the NBA.

Fox’s best NBA skill is likely his ability in the open floor. He’s an absolute blur going coast-to-coast with the ball in his hands. He puts constant pressure on the entire defense and gets all the way to the rim seamlessly. Fox is just as dangerous in the half-court, using his tight handle and shiftiness to get past defenders one-on-one. He uses slight hesitations and quick crossovers to bewilder defenders. In the pick and roll, Fox is a nightmare for big men who have no chance when they switch onto him. He has no issue getting into the lane and finishes above the rim consistently, though he can rely too much on his left hand. Fox also shows the ability to hit a floater over big men in the lane. He does have some issues in the paint, as he doesn’t have the strength to score over physical defenders. He doesn’t back down from contact though, getting to the free-throw line 5.9 times per game.

Where Fox needs to improve at the NBA level is with his outside shooting and playmaking ability. His shooting mechanics aren’t completely broken, but he hasn’t displayed the ability to knock down deep-range shots. Fox shot just 17-for-69 from three-point range at Kentucky, as defenses consistently dared him to beat them from the outside. If he doesn’t force teams to respect him from the perimeter, they will sag way off him which will neutralize his driving ability. Fox did show some ability to hit a mid-range pull-up jumper and shot a solid 73.9% from the free-throw line, so there is some positive signs he can develop his shot. As a playmaker, Fox shows flashes but his point guard skills still need some improvement. He can be too fast for his own good at time, getting too sped up and making silly mistakes. He was most comfortable passing in transition at Kentucky, but also showed flashes of playmaking out of ball screens and off penetration. Teams will be keyed in on shutting down Fox’s ability to get to the rim, so he will need punish help defenders by dishing to their man.

Fox also shows the capability to be one of the better defensive point guards in the NBA. He has exceptional lateral quickness and nags at ball-handlers for the entire length of the court. He has sound instincts defensively and uses his quick hands to harass players, picking up 1.5 steals per game. Fox will need to add some strength to become a more versatile defender that can handle bigger guards. He also goes through stretches of lackadaisical defense and will need to be more consistently locked in.

            De’Aaron Fox has the speed and athleticism of an NBA point guard, but also has some major areas of his game he needs to improve. For as outstanding as he is at driving and getting to the rim, Fox will need to establish an outside game to open up the floor. If he isn’t able to threaten defenses with his shot, they will pack the paint and counteract his ability to get to the rim. He also will need to add some strength to his frame to survive in the physical NBA. His defensive effectiveness makes him a relatively safe bet to provide some value to an NBA team regardless of his offensive output. Though if Fox does complement his driving ability with a jumper and improves as a passer, he can become nearly impossible to defend.

Donovan Mitchell NBA Draft Profile

Donovan Mitchell was one of the most improved players in the ACC this season, going from being a role player as a freshman to earning First Team All-ACC honors as a sophomore. He more than doubled his scoring average, going from 7.4 to 15.6, and saw his numbers increase in just about every category. Despite standing just 6-3, Mitchell possesses a freakish 6-10 wingspan and an NBA-ready 210 lb. frame. He is an outstanding athlete and is one of the quickest players in the draft. He also might be the best defensive prospect among guards.

Mitchell’s athleticism, explosiveness and quickness are the first things that stick out about his offensive game. He changes gears with ease, making him a dynamic weapon in transition. Sometimes he can be too quick for his own good as he is prone to committing turnovers and forcing up wild shots with a head of steam. His outstanding length helps him finish some of those difficult shot attempts, but he doesn’t score with much efficiency around the rim. Mitchell shot just 46% from inside the three-point line. He isn’t as explosive off of one foot in traffic and struggles to get all the way to the rim in a crowd. Mitchell has the strength to absorb contact, but he simply doesn’t seek it out as he averaged just 3.2 FTA per game.

Where Mitchell most improved from his freshman to sophomore season was with his three-point shooting. Last season, Mitchell shot just 25% from deep on 2.3 attempts per game. This season, he boosted those numbers to 35% on 6.6 attempts per game. He has a good looking shooting form and can hit jumpers either off the catch or off the dribble. He’s skillful at using his handles to create space to get his shot off. He can easily stop on a dime to rise up and hit a step back mid-range jumper over defenders. He does become too reliant on getting these shots up, often taking low-percentage shots early in the shot clock. He should look to improve his driving and playmaking abilities so he doesn’t have to depend on so many tough pull-up jumpers.

Mitchell is slightly undersized for an NBA shooting guard, so teams will likely look to use him as a combo guard. However, Mitchell’s point guard polish isn’t very good yet and he’s still developing as a playmaker. He looks for his shot first and foremost, which could limit his role to a scorer off the bench. Mitchell is capable of running the pick-and-roll where he likes to either pull up for a jumper or use his shiftiness to split the defenders. He only averaged 2.7 assists last season, but also committed just 1.6 turnovers, showing he can take care of the ball.

Where teams may be most excited about Mitchell is with his defensive ability. He’s a versatile defender who can use his quickness, length and strength to defend both guard positions and maybe even some forwards. His 6-10 wingspan makes it burdensome for players to drive past or shoot over Mitchell. Also, unlike most players his age, Mitchell is consistently dialed in on the defensive end of the floor. He shows a high motor and a mentality to defend at a high level, often pressuring ball-handlers the full length of the court. He’s aware playing off-ball defense as well, routinely getting into passing lanes, as he snagged 2.1 steals per game last season.

Donovan Mitchell is one of the most versatile prospects on both sides of the floor. Offensively, Mitchell has the size and quickness to play both guard positions. He will need to improve his playmaking and shot selection, but if he polishes up his decision making, he can be an effective combo guard. Defensively, he is especially exciting with his ability to defend several different positions. Mitchell took a big step forward as a sophomore and after an impressive performance at the NBA Draft Combine, teams will be optimistic he will only continue to grow as a player. Versatility is crucial in today’s NBA, and Mitchell can be a major asset as a top 20 draft pick.

Justin Patton NBA Draft Profile

After redshirting his first year at Creighton, Justin Patton entered his freshman season completely off of NBA Draft radars. However, it didn’t take long for scouts to take notice of the 6-11 center. He’s an athletic big man possessing superb length with a 7-3 wingspan and 9-4 standing reach. Patton is still relatively raw on both ends of the floor, but he shows impressive flashes in just about every area of the game.

Patton was extremely efficient on offense, making 68% of his attempts inside the three-point line. He’s an active participant in transition, running the floor and making himself available for easy buckets at the rim. The majority of his field goals are created by others. He’s an easy lob target using his reliable hands, superb reach and dynamic leaping ability in space to grab everything his teammates throw his way. He’s also a good target for rolls to the rim off of screens, but he tends to avoid contact in the paint, averaging just 2.5 FTA per game. If Patton wants to be a reliable finisher in the NBA, he’ll have to improve his toughness and aggressiveness going to the rim. At just 230 lbs., he doesn’t look to post up often, though he can hit the occasional jump hook. He gets pushed off his spots in the low-post and will need to add some more bulk to his frame.

Where Patton is an especially interesting prospect is with his flashes of perimeter skills. He only took 14 three-pointers this season, but he made eight of them. He doesn’t have great shooting mechanics and only shot 52% from the free-throw line, but he certainly shows potential to become a jump shooting threat. He’s also capable of being a distributor within an offense. He makes simple, smart passes to backdoor cutters and can use either hand to whip post passes across court to open shooters. His inexperience still shows as he can get sped up at times which leads to silly turnovers in the post. He does display a decent handle for a big man and has potential to be a mid-post weapon. If Patton is able to further develop his jump shot, ball-handling and decision making he can be a major mismatch at the center position.

Defensively, Patton has the physical tools and high motor to become a good defender but currently has poor technique and instincts on that end of the floor. He uses his length to gather some steals and blocks, but needs to do better at getting himself in position to make plays. His biggest strength on defense will be his ability to slide his feet and contain switches along the perimeter. His footwork and defensive stance are still sloppy, but his athleticism will help him hold his own against quicker players. Patton’s lack of strength shows up on the defensive end as well. He gets out-muscled in the post and struggles to gather defensive rebounds. He will need to improve his discipline, awareness and strength to become an impactful defender, but the tools are certainly there.

Justin Patton is filled with potential that a team will hope they can fully unlock. He already possesses tremendous size and length that makes him a reliable finisher around the rim. Adding more strength and polish to his game can help him become a major weapon at the next level. The NBA is becoming perimeter oriented and Patton has the athleticism to survive away from the post on both ends of the floor. He has immense upside, especially if he develops a reliable jump shot and is able to become a more disciplined rim protector.

Jarrett Allen NBA Draft Profile

Jarrett Allen was a five-star high school recruit for Shaka Smart and the Texas Longhorns. While the season didn’t go as planned for Texas, finishing with an 11-22 record, Allen closed out the year strong and remains a first round NBA talent. He doesn’t have ideal size for a center at just 6-10, but his 7-5 wingspan and 9-2 standing reach certainly help. While at Texas, Allen was often forced to play out of position as a power forward alongside another big man. Better spacing in the NBA should help emphasize his strengths.

Offensively, most of Allen’s work comes right around the rim. He’s active in transition, running the floor for high percentage finishes at the bucket. In the half-court, Allen is a reliable roll man off screens and hangs around the paint for lob chances. He made 58% of his shots inside the arc, using his length and creativity to finish at the rim. He also used his length to collect 3.0 offensive rebounds per game. Additionally, Allen is capable of playing in the post with his back to the basket. He has impressive footwork, touch and body control in post-up situations. He possesses a decent array of moves and is capable of hitting hook shots, up-and-unders and flashes of a turnaround jumper.

Allen does lack a certain level of versatility that’s important to have in the NBA today. He went 0-7 from three this season and only shot 56.4% from the free-throw line. His shooting form isn’t completely broken, but he doesn’t display much potential to be a threat from the perimeter. Where he does show flashes is with his face-up game in the mid-post. He’s mostly limited to straight drives at this stage, but developing a mid-range jumper or expanding his handle would open up the floor to help him score. Allen also lacks the strength and tough attitude to be a consistent force in the paint. He struggles to finish in traffic despite his length, often shying away from contact. He also doesn’t have a great feel for the game and fails to read defensive pressure. He had 84 turnovers compared to just 26 assists in 33 games.

Defensively, Allen has sky high potential but lacks the mentality to be a defensive anchor at this stage of his career. Considering his superb length, it’s disappointing he only averaged 1.5 blocks per game. He gets bullied down low by bigger post players that use their stronger bases to neutralize Allen’s reach. He does display some potential to contain the perimeter, but still needs to improve his technique and footwork. Allen also struggles to grab defensive rebounds, as he averaged just 5.4 per game, a poor number for a center. Allen hasn’t yet displayed the awareness or mentality to use his tools and become a useful defender.

Jarrett Allen can be quite frustrating as a prospect. He has impressive physical tools but is still mostly just a project at this stage. He can provide offense with his rim running and post game, but he may not have the toughness to score much in the NBA. Allen should look to improve his mid-post game to open up the floor for him. Better spacing at the next level should help, but he needs to be able to knock down mid-range shots to force defenses to respect him away from the paint. Also, he needs to be better at using his length to protect the rim. Allen needs to prove he can be more versatile, especially in today’s small-ball dominant NBA.

Malik Monk NBA Draft Profile

Malik Monk may be the premier shooter of the NBA Draft this year. Part of this season’s batch of elite recruits at Kentucky, Monk led the team in scoring with 19.8 points per game. Standing 6-4 with just a 6-4 wingspan, he doesn’t have elite size for a shooting guard. What he lacks in size and strength he makes up for with his athleticism and explosiveness in space.

Monk’s calling card in the NBA will be his elite shooting ability. He stormed onto the college basketball scene, dropping 23 points on 7-11 shooting from three against Michigan State in November. Monk is an extremely streaky shooter, but when he gets hot he can really light up the scoreboard. In his famous performance against North Carolina in December, Monk scored a whopping 47 points on 18-28 shooting from the field, including 8-12 from three. His streakiness can show up in a negative way as well, as he shot just 29.3% from deep throughout March.

Despite his streakiness, Monk has shown enough to prove he can be a high level shooter in the NBA. He shot 39.7% from three on the season, hitting shots in a variety of ways. He shoots it at a high rate off the catch or off the dribble. He gets excellent elevation on his shot, allowing him to hit difficult jumpers over defenders’ out-stretched arms. Monk is also a dynamic weapon in transition. He can bring the ball up the court himself, attacking the rim with force or pulling up on a dime to hit a jumper. He’s also dangerous trailing the action, setting himself up for open threes as the defense is scrambling back. He’s savvy moving without the ball, sprinting around screens and relocating himself to get open shots off of others’ penetration.

Where Monk can continue to get better is by creating offense for himself and teammates. Most of his offensive production came from playing off the ball. At 6-4, teams will hope to use him as a combo guard that can initiate the offense. He was able to run some pick-and-roll, but he’s mostly one-dimensional as he prefers to pull-up for a jumper off the screen. He does have a variety of moves he uses to create space for his shot in one-on-one situations. He uses jab-steps, head fakes and rip-throughs to get separation from his man. His biggest weakness is his poor shot selection. He lacks a certain level of physicality, limiting his ability to get all the way to the rim. He often settles for difficult floaters or pull-ups, which will be much tougher to hit against NBA defenders. As the year went on, defenses began focusing on shutting Monk down, and he became subject to some quiet shooting performances.

Playmaking and defense are two key areas that Monk needs to improve if he wants to become a star at the next level. He’s a solid passer, averaging 2.3 assists per game, but looks to get his buckets first and foremost. He also needs to improve his ball-handling skills so he can become more than just an off-ball scorer. Defensively, Monk has solid lateral quickness but doesn’t always defend with a high motor. He fails to impact the game on defense, with a putrid 2.5 rebounds per game along with just 0.9 steals and 0.5 blocks. With his size, teams will hope to use him to defend either guard position, but he will need to add strength and discipline to handle NBA shooting guards.

Malik Monk’s excellent shooting ability will be enough to get him drafted in the top ten. If he wants to be more than just a shooter, he needs to add versatility on both ends of the floor. Developing his playmaking and ball-handling will help him play as a combo guard. If he’s nothing more than a jump shooter, it won’t be too hard for defenses to scheme to shut him down. He also needs to become more of a factor on the defensive end. He will have cold shooting nights, and improving his defensive mentality will allow him to stay on the floor during those games. Monk will most likely be an effective shooter at the next level, but expanding his game can help him be an all-star caliber player.