Meet the Prospects, Part 2 – Rounding Out Round One

19 min read

With the big dance finally underway and bracket-filling hopefuls biting their fingernails, the college basketball season is approaching its end.

 

Now is a great time to get a leg up on your Dynasty league competition and learn about the future NBA talent to be – and maybe even pick out some potential sleepers for your drafts.

 

If you missed out on Part 1 of this series, where we discussed the primary lottery candidates for your Dynasty league Rookie drafts, you can find it here. Also, if you haven’t checked out our Dynasty Prospect Rankings, please do. There will be tons of good information in there. Some of the more significant content will be mirrored from that Rankings page to here. Remember, the Rankings are updated constantly throughout the season, and should be in for a rather large remodeling once we know the landing spots for each player after the NBA draft.

High-Risk, High-Reward

This draft is filled with players who would otherwise be labeled “boom or busts” if we saw them in most other draft classes. Nassir Little, Sekou Doumbouya, Jaxson Hayes, and maybe even some more ubiquitous names like Ja Morant and Bol Bol – these are all prospects with very wide ranges of outcomes due to their perceived high ceilings but quite questionable floors.

 

If you were pondering making some risky moves and considering drafting high-risk, high-reward options, this is the draft to do it. We should all be aware by now that this draft isn’t exactly one of the deepest in recent memory. The number of perceived future stars seems to be at basement levels in this one, helping the boom-or-bust types gain some traction in draft boards. I believe there will be a few diamonds in the rough scattered throughout this draft class, but it will predominantly be filled to the brim with roleplayers.

 

The key will be to find the roleplayers with the best potential fantasy repertoire.

One last thing before we begin – the “Current Fantasy Player Comp” provided for each prospect is only in regards to Fantasy skill sets. For example, when Zion is compared to Giannis, the only thing im saying is that Zion will potentially have similar Fantasy strengths (and weaknesses) to Giannis – nothing more.

Tier 5

Rui Hachimura

SF/PF – 6’8, 230 – age 20

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – FG% – potential for much more

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Rudy Gay

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 10 – 20

You’ll notice the broad range of picks I’d consider drafting Hachimura with. As a prospect who will likely be drafted earlier than I’d consider him at in most Rookie Dynasty drafts, Rui is a slightly older prospect at the age of 20. That usually deters teams a bit but Rui might be an exception. He’s still constantly showing improvements on the court. The 6’8 Zag doesn’t look to shoot the ball from deep very often, which probably has something to do with his physical tools helping him get to the rim with ease. However, when he does put it up from range, it’s been at a 46.9% clip during his Junior season. Unfortunately, we don’t see that very often as he’s only attempted 0.9 triples per game. His defense isn’t what you’d hope from a guy with his body but he is certainly showing signs of improvement in that area as well, even if he’s not a lockdown defender. His fit could be in question for several NBA teams, considering he’s not a great passer, shooter, or defender. Whichever team drafts him will hopefully play him to his strengths, utilizing him as a slasher/scorer inside the arc while continuing to develop him into something much more. Regardless of age, Hachimura still has tons of potential for growth as a player. He likely won’t hurt you in any single category outside of maybe 3’s. However, he also won’t contribute at a high level in any particular stat initially either. Depending on which team drafts him, he could be in for big minutes right from the start, making him a decent pick for Dynasty squads intending to battle for a championship come next season.

P.J. Washington

*Fantasy Sleeper Pick*

PF – 6’8, 230 – age 20

Strengths: Rebounds – Blocks – FG% – TO’s – and even some Points, Steals, 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Jerami Grant

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 10 – 20

PJ Washington has really flipped the script this season, possibly passing Keldon Johnson as Kentucky’s most promising prospect. He wasn’t much of a go-to option early in the season but has really turned that around as of late. His diverse palette as a more refined post presence and deep-range shooter will entice some teams in need of frontcourt depth and upside. I see a great deal of raw potential in Washington as a Forward who can offer some nice big man-type stats while also stretching the floor and threatening for a nightly Triple-1 in the future. His Free Throw still seems to need a bit of work to keep him out of “Punt” territory but I do believe he’ll correct that eventually. Washington’s landing spot in the NBA draft will heavily influence where I’ll consider taking him in my Dynasty drafts if I’m trying to win now.

Jaxson Hayes

C – 6’11, 220 – age 18

Strengths: Rebounds – Blocks – FG%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Mitchell Robinson + better FT%

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 10 – 20

If you look at Hayes’ per-game stats, you might come out unimpressed (besides his FG%). His raw, undeveloped talent holds his playing time back at Texas. That untapped potential might keep him out of the very early lottery but I’d venture to assume that some coaches would jump at the chance to take this extremely bouncy and explosive clean slate, and turn it into whatever Frankenstein creation they can think of. The athleticism is there, and Hayes is already one of the nation’s top rim-protectors with a gargantuan amount of Blocks per 40 minutes. Ranking in top percentiles as a roll man and a finisher around the basket with nice agility and the ability to move around the court like a Guard at times, Hayes can impress in several ways. Like a few other lottery prospects, there really isn’t a clear fantasy player comp for Hayes. Possessing the best FG% of any prospect and averaging a crazy number of Blocks, he could compare favorably to some of the best rim-running shot-blockers in the NBA. However, his FT% makes things a little more difficult (in a good way) because he’s not as much of a detriment in that area as the average prospect like him usually would be, making him a very intriguing Dynasty draft option. Don’t be surprised if Hayes struggles to see significant minutes early on due to his bare skill set and affinity for racking up fouls. If you’re planning to compete next season, I’d consider looking elsewhere the way things stand now. The upside is huge but the floor is nerve-racking.

Coby White

PG/SG – 6’5, 185 – age 19

Strengths: Points – Assists – FT% – 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Jamal Murray lite

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 10 – 20

Coby White has been a heavily-discussed player in prospect-watching circles. While not the most explosive prospect, White’s solid passing out of pick-&-rolls and smooth shooting help make up for it. Don’t mistake his lack of bounciness for a lack of agility and speed. White is quick and knows how to split defenders to get to the rim. As more of a Combo Guard, the North Carolina product might not be relied upon to do a ton of playmaking, but dropping a few occasional dimes off the bench will be a welcomed site for his Dynasty owners. White has shown some struggles against tougher competition, and looks to be a better catch-and-shoot scorer than shot-creator at times. Nonetheless, most of his stats have been nice to look at lately. Should he earn early Rookie-year minutes, White will be an immediate provider of 3’s & FT% with some nice Points and Assists mixed in as well.

Matisse Thybulle

*Fantasy Sleeper Pick*

SG/SF – 6’6, 200 – age 22

Strengths: Steals – Blocks – FT% – some 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Robert Covington-lite

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 12 – 20

Can you say Stocks machine? Possessing the highest steal rate in the country by far, Thybulle is the first player in 27 years to average at least 1 three, 2 blocks, and 3 steals. The triple-1 capabilities are real with this guy. The most mind-boggling part of Thybulle’s remarkable 8.6 Block rate is that those Blocks don’t always come in the paint like we’ve come to expect from providers of large Blocks. Instead, the athletic Wing’s Blocks often come off of jump shots – mid-rangers and three’s. The question with Thybulle’s massive Steal and Block rate is if he can continue to provide similar solid numbers within a Man Defense. Currently playing in a Zone Defense at Washington, Matisse can afford to gamble on Steals and Blocks more often. Not seen as a lottery-level player due to age and offensive limitations, Thybulle will need to land in the right situation to see significant playing time. Although not particularly seen as a first option on offense who can take over games with scoring, Thybulle can still improve his stock a bit at the Combine by displaying the court IQ and defensive agility that helped get his name out there in the first place. If your competitive Dynasty team is desperate for Steals, there’s really no better option.

Romeo Langford

SG – 6’6, 215 – age 19

Strengths: Points – some Assists & out-of-position Blocks

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Kent Bazemore + maybe more Points

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 15 – 25

As a young player who, in my opinion, should eventually evolve into something much more than what he appears to be now, my Dynasty draft consideration for Langford will heavily depend on which team selects him this June. While not a very efficient guy who won’t offer more than some Points right off the bat, Langford has shown some promise as a future three-level scorer. His current 3-point percentage on the season is… just dreadful to be quite frank. That’s not to say it won’t get better quick because he sure doesn’t hesitate to put them up. Plus, he’s shooting over 50% on mid-range jumpers. He also seems to be a high-level pick-and-roll ball handler and iso scorer. The player comp I have for Langford might be the one I care for the least. That’s because, like I previously mentioned, I do believe in Langford’s ability to evolve as a shooter. As of now, his deep-range stroke shouldn’t be considered anything more than unreliable. I would not be shocked if, by this time next year, the 6’6 SG has blown his Fantasy comp out of the water, though I’m also not putting money on that happening either. While not an early Fantasy lottery-level prospect, he has enough upside to take him as early as the late lottery.

Talen Horton-Tucker

*Fantasy Sleeper Pick*

SG/SF – 6’4, 240 – age 18

Strengths: Rebounds – Assists – Steals – and maybe some Points, Blocks, 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: smaller Larry Nance Jr

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 15 – 20

Although he’s only listed at 6’4, versatility is the name of the game with Horton-Tucker. What makes THT unique is that it’s not just defensive versatility that the 240-pound G/F promises. With the potential to play 3 – or maybe even 4 – different positions given his size, offensive versatility is key here. Talen’s shooting has been somewhat inconsistent at times, but he has shown numerous other on-court strengths. From his playmaking and shot-creating to his defensive potential and ability to score from different areas, THT could become an x-factor on both ends of the court in the right coach’s hands. The same can be said for his future fantasy game as well. While he may not be a top performer in many stats, he can provide a trickle of most cats as a do-it-all Wing. He’ll just need to prove his worth enough to earn minutes as Rookie.

Tier 6

Sekou Doumbouya

SF/PF – 6’9, 210 – age 18

Strengths: (potentially) Points – Rebounds – Steals – Blocks – FG%

Current Player Fantasy Comp

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 15 – 25

First thing’s first: Doumbouya still seems to be as raw as they come. That being said, he also has one of the highest ceilings here, making him the high-risk, high reward prototype, a la Giannis Antetokounmpo. Yes, Sekou will be a project, but a project that can pay off handsomely down the road. His nice physical tools and current skill set outlook could eventually lead to top-level defense and overpowering offensive scoring abilities. If you run a Dynasty powerhouse that doesn’t necessarily lack in any particular stat, it could be worth taking a shot on Doumbouya if he falls to you in your Rookie draft.

Dylan Windler

SF – 6’8, 200 – age 23

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – 3’s – FT% – and maybe Steals & FG%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Tobias Harris-lite

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 20+

If you just take a glance at Windler’s stats, you’ll notice his numbers appear much more impressive than the rest of the prospects in Tier 6. Averaging 21.3 Points, 10.8 Rebounds, 1.4 Steals, 3 Three’s, a .540 FG%, and a .847 FT%, Windler’s box scores look the part of a lottery-level talent. What gives? While the cons might not outweigh the pros with Windler, there certainly are questions here. He hasn’t played a lot of elite competition, although when he has, he’s succeeded better than expected. His athleticism might be a bit understated, but may struggle to stay in front of quicker NBA athletes nonetheless. Windler is also a solid defender, but not necessarily a great one. Reasons like these might limit his playing time early in his career. Maybe the biggest reason the Belmont product might fall in June’s draft is his age. Already 23 years old, Windler’s intriguing upside is largely diminished. Don’t let that deter your consideration of him though. His age could even be perceived as a plus for Fantasy purposes as his experience could help him earn playing time earlier than the younger, ‘project’ prospects. Dynasty championship hopefuls would appreciate adding a piece like Windler to their squad. Even if he never becomes anything more than a reliable roleplayer in the NBA, Windler could still be a steal for competitive Dynasty teams if he falls to the latter parts of the 1st round.

Tre Jones

PG – 6’3, 187 – age 19

Strengths: Assists – Steals

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Kris Dunn with less Rebounds

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 20 – 25

Tre Jones might not be an early-lottery talent but he knows his role and does his job well. Similar to his older brother, Tyus, Tre will be good for a reliable number of Assists and Steals when the minutes are there. His upside beyond that point is still somewhat of a mystery given that he’s been surrounded by top-level prospects throughout his short tenure at Duke. Some even say he could choose to return to college for another season to prove his worth. Jones’ passing IQ and defense might help him earn playing time early on as a backup PG. While his shooting hasn’t necessarily been a strength, I think it’s something he has the ability to drastically improve as time progresses, which will obviously bolster his fantasy value. I certainly wouldn’t use a lottery pick on Jones, but any time after the lottery would be a solid area to draft Tre for Assist-needy teams.

Kezie “KZ” Okpala

SF/PF – 6’9, 215 – age 19

Strengths: Jack of all trades, master of none

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Jae Crowder

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 20+

Still a bit unpolished without any particular strengths to call his “specialty,” Okpala will be another project player. Although, there is a case to be made that he won’t need quite as much work as some of the other “boom-or-busts” in this class because of his proven capabilities as an all-around player throughout his Sophomore season at Stanford. Similar to a few other previously-mentioned names, Okpala might not be a master of any one particular stat yet, but he also won’t hurt you anywhere either. He has displayed improvements in his deep-range stroke but it might be his defensive versatility that earns him 1st-round consideration and minutes in the NBA.

Keldon Johnson

SG – 6’6, 210 – age 19

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Jaylen Brown

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 20 – 30

As a scorer who isn’t yet quite reliable from distance, Johnson will be considered as early as the lottery in the NBA draft because of his aggressiveness, competitiveness, and tools. His ceiling as a buckets-getter is still seen as very promising as he has improved his shooting percentages to a respectable degree after a rough start to his Freshman year. The Kentucky Guard has displayed enticing aggression on the glass for a prospect his size but most of the other supporting stats leave a bit to be desired. Johnson has the alpha mentality and first option demeanor, but can he live up to expectations on the court? Time will tell, but a franchise that invests heavily into his development could be looking at one of the next star Shooting Guards if the cards fall in his favor. Streakiness and a lack of multi-stat contributions will deter me from drafting Johnson early in my Rookie draft, but he’s a very promising flier to consider toward the late lottery and beyond.

Nassir Little

SF/PF – 6’6, 220 – age 19

Strengths: (potentially) Points – Rebounds – and maybe some Steals & Blocks

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Miles Bridges

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 20 – 30

To be blatant, Little has flopped his Freshman year compared to the expectations that were put on him. With an NBA-ready body that screams defensive potential, he has struggled to put it all together. Averaging only about 18 minutes per game for a competitive North Carolina team, Little’s 1st-round consideration revolves entirely around his elite physical tools. While he certainly has the potential to develop into a two-way stud who can provide nice hustle stats to go with some Points, I’ll likely be leaving Little alone in my Rookie drafts. He’ll just be drafted much too early for my liking as most Dynasty GM’s will look passed his raw game and on-court shortcomings in hopes that he’s the next Jimmy Butler.

Tier 7

Bruno Fernando

C – 6’10, 235 – age 20

Strengths: Rebounds – Blocks – FG%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Thomas Bryant-lite

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 25+

To quote ESPN’s Prospect Big Board in reference to Fernando’s physical tools, “Simply put, he is an athletic marvel who is in the elite 1 percent of all basketball players on the planet from a physical standpoint.”

Glowing words for a traditional-type big man who plays with a lot of heart. Fernando tested the draft waters last season but didn’t like the potential outcome, so decided to return to Maryland for his Sophomore season. While Bruno possesses nice potential to contribute in Rebounds, Blocks, and FG%, while also not forcing you to Punt FT%, he does come with some question-raising flaws. In addition to a high Turnover rate, Fernando doesn’t have the greatest instincts or basketball IQ. He’s very foul-prone, jumping at every chance to tally a Block, and just isn’t very polished or focused enough to be a reliable NBA-level rim protector yet. These concerns will likely limit his playing time early in his career. Luckily, with enough development, Fernando can work his way out of these bad habits and into a prominent fantasy role.

Tyler Herro

SG – 6’5, 195 – age 19

Strengths: FT% – 3’s – and some Points & Assists

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Bryn Forbes

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 25+

A player who seemed to come out of nowhere this season, Herro struggled with his shot early on but has really shown an ability to put the ball in the hoop from range as of late. NBA teams will like the potential spacing and somewhat capable handling Herro should be able to provide. Some sources even have Herro pegged ahead of teammate Keldon Johnson in their Mocks and Big Boards. While I don’t exactly agree with that assessment in terms of ceiling and upside, I could understand the idea of Herro being a safer pick than Johnson. Not necessarily developed enough to be a first, or even second playmaker on an NBA team, the Kentucky Guard will at least contribute some safe 3’s, FT%, Points, and even a few Assists when called upon. Barring an extraordinary Tournament showing and/or unexpectedly impressive Combine performance, I wouldn’t start looking at Herro in my Rookie drafts until closer to the end of Round 1.

Cameron Johnson

SG/SF – 6’9, 210 – age 23

Strengths: Points – 3’s – FT% – and maybe Rebounds & FG%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Marcus Morris

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 25+

At 23 years of age, Cameron Johnson is one of the oldest prospects we’re discussing in this series. A 5th year collegiate athlete, Johnson will come into the league older than some third, and maybe even fourth-year NBA players. Cameron will be considered as early as the 1st round in June’s draft because of his fantastic shooting efficiency. On the season, he’s averaging 2.6 three’s on 46.5%(!) to go with a .508 FG% and .804 FT%. Those are very reliable numbers, which is what you’d want to see out of a prospect in Johnson’s position. While his age will be a detriment to his lottery consideration, there are several playoff teams that would appreciate Cam’s experience and floor spacing – maybe to the point of earning big minutes right off the bat depending on which team takes him.

Other names to consider who just barely missed out on Tier 7

  1. Jalen McDaniels
  2. Isaiah Roby
  3. Daniel Gafford
  4. Charles Bassey
  5. Naz Reid
  6. Chuma Okeke
  7. Ty Jerome
  8. Admiral Schofield
  9. Luguentz Dort
  10. Eric Paschall

In Conclusion of Round One

Well, there you have my top 30 Fantasy prospect list as it stands now. Our rankings – and maybe even tiers – are bound to change after the NBA draft.

Again, here is Part 1 of this series, where we discuss the lottery prospects.

Once we find out which prospect will be wearing which jerseys next season, things will become a little more solid and predictable. Be sure to check back to the site as we will have even more content on these prospects immediately following June’s draft, including more in-depth rankings/tiers, post-draft stock up/down’s, and even a mock draft.

Until next time, Fantasy Fiends.