Prospect Rankings

2019 Rookie Dynasty Rankings – Top 30

  1. Zion Williamson
  2. Ja Morant
  3. RJ Barrett
  4. Jarrett Culver 
  5. Brandon Clarke
  6. Bol Bol (INJ)
  7. Cameron Reddish 
  8. Goga Bitadze 
  9. Jontay Porter (INJ)
  10. Nickeil Alexander-Walker
  11. DeAndre Hunter 
  12. Darius Garland (INJ)
  13. Kevin Porter Jr 
  14. Grant Williams 
  15. Jaxson Hayes 
  16. Coby White
  17. PJ Washington
  18. Rui Hachimura
  19. Matisse Thybulle
  20. Talen Horton-Tucker
  21. Romeo Langford
  22. Sekou Doumbouya
  23. Dylan Windler
  24. Tre Jones (returning to college)
  25. Keldon Johnson
  26. Nassir Little 
  27. Kezie “KZ” Okpala
  28. Cameron Johnson
  29. Tyler Herro
  30. Bruno Fernando

(Updated weekly)

Other names we’re watching, in no particular order:

(Bold names indicate a player making a strong case for the Top 30 but just barely missing out currently.)

Zach Norvell Jr, Quentin Grimes, Deividas Sirvydis, Isaiah Roby, Charles Bassey, Naz Reid, Dedric Lawson, Shamorie Ponds, Josh Reaves, Luka Samanic, Ty Jerome, Kris Wilkes, Daniel Gafford, Eric Paschall, Carsen Edwards, Ayo Dosunmu, Udoka Azubuike, Jalen Pickett, Killian Tillie, Ethan Happ, Ignas Brazdeikis, Markus Howard, Jalen McDaniels, Admiral Schofield

Also, two guys who may or may not be decent future fantasy players are Darius Bazley and Jalen Lecque. Unfortunately, they’re skipping college to train for the 2019 NBA Draft so we cannot watch them.

These rankings will be updated and changed throughout the season.

The rankings are predominantly determined by each prospect’s performance this season but with some influence from obvious presumed potential to develop, as well as a player’s previous collegiate/professional years where applicable. Aspects that don’t appear in box scores also help define these rankings: intangibles that Scouts and GM’s look for like court vision, defense, basketball IQ, hustle, and athleticism. While these items don’t show up in fantasy basketball categories, they are very important in helping the player earn playing time in the NBA.

Below is a brief bio of each player listed above.

Tier 1

Zion Williamson

PF – 6’7, 285 lb – age 18

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Steals – Blocks – FG% – some Assists

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Rookie Draft Consideration: 1st Overall Pick

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Zion is more than just a freak athlete who relies solely on brute strength and explosiveness. Yes, his frame does help him bully his fellow college players around a bit (and honestly, he should be able to do the same to plenty of NBA players as soon as he steps foot on the pro court). Zion possesses a lot more to “ooh and aah” at though. Finesse, high basketball IQ, ball control, body control, handling, and passing/playmaking – these are all aspects of his game that are severely underestimated. There aren’t many things to dislike when it comes to Zion’s all-around fantasy game potential. His deep-ball may not be at a reliable level yet but he’s working on it. He’ll come into the league with a better shot outlook than Giannis did. I compare Zion to Giannis not because of physical similarities. In fact, they’re very different in that regard. Remember, we’re making comparisons here strictly based on perceived Fantasy skill sets. Comparing a prospect to Giannis just seems like it should feel wrong. It doesn’t. Not when it comes to a guy with such a broad skill set like Zion Williamson.

Tier 2

Ja Morant

PG – 6’3, 180 lbs – age 19

Strengths: Points – Rebound – Assists – Steals – FT%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Russell Westbrook

Rookie Draft Consideration: Top 3

24.6 Points, 5.5 Rebounds, 10 Assists, 1.8 Steals, 0.8 Blocks, 1.6 Three’s, .503 FG%, .810 FT%

Look at those numbers. Morant’s on-court play speaks for itself. You can try to argue to pull back the reins a bit because of the program he plays for but there’s only so much we can temper expectations before proceeding to drool at such outrageous stats. Plus, Morant has played against some Power 5 conference teams this year and still didn’t cease to amaze. Here are his average stats from his games against Alabama and Auburn: 31.5 Points, 8.5 Rebounds, 6 Assists, 1 Steal, 0.5 Blocks, .525 FG%, .829 FT%.

With a very similar Fantasy game to Russell Westbrook – plus, a 3-ball and Free Throw shot that appears to have improved dramatically enough throughout the season that they could be considered “strengths” of his soon as well – Morant has become the most sought-after Fantasy prize outside of the 1st-overall pick in Dynasty drafts.

RJ Barrett

SG/SF – 6’7, 205 lbs – age 18

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Assists – some 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Jimmy Butler

Rookie Draft Consideration: Top 3

One of the more complete players entering this year’s draft, Barrett brings several on-court strengths. Barrett knows how to get the ball in the hoop and use his competitiveness to hustle on defense. One of my biggest questions with Barrett going into the season was if playmaking could be a real aspect of his game and he’s answered that call this season, averaging over 4 Assists per game. Currently averaging .457 FG%, .662 FT%, .304 3pt%, and 3.2 TO’s per game, concerns still linger regarding his efficiency. However, Barrett’s IQ and superior will to better himself should prove most useful on his journey to become a near-every-cat stud. He’d likely be the third overall player I’d consider drafting in Dynasty this season.

Tier 3

Jarrett Culver

SG – 6’5(?), 200 lbs – age 20

Strengths: Points – Steals – 3’s – some Assists

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Eric Bledsoe

Rookie Draft Consideration: Top 6

After skyrocketing up draft boards mid-season, Culver seems to have quieted down just a bit before leading his team to a Final Four appearance – a feat which will not go unnoticed by NBA scouts. Still considered a top 10 prospect by most accounts, Culver should likely end up in a situation where he can see big minutes from the jump. Getting official pre-draft measurements will work wonders for Culver’s stock as most believe he hit a growth spurt before the season and is actually bigger than what his current bio states. His ability to guard up to three positions while also seeing increased distributing duties as a Sophomore has pushed Culver into early-lottery consideration. Because of his perceived skills to positively contribute in almost every category (although he may not be a true high-level contributor in any single cat at first), I’d look at Culver as early as Top 5 in Dynasty drafts. Culver’s on-court ceiling could even be on-par with that of RJ Barrett.

Brandon Clarke

SF/PF – 6’8, 215 lbs – age 22

Strengths: Rebounds – Steals – Blocks – FG% – TO’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 4 – 10

Clarke will draw interest from NBA scouts as the best defensive player in the country. He also possesses elite rim-running/finishing ability and is a top-tier shot-blocker. At 6’8, Clarke likely isn’t going to be Center-eligible for Fantasy purposes, but his skill set says otherwise. I’ll admit I’m a sucker for the big Steals/Blocks providers and there’s no better candidate for such feats in the lottery than Clarke. Age and offensive limitations might hinder his early-lottery considerations in the real-life draft, but that won’t stop me from considering him with my top 7 selections in my Rookie drafts – especially if I’m in need of those hustle stats he provides so well.

Bol Bol

C – 7’3, 235 lbs – age 19

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Blocks – 3’s – FG% – FT%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Kristaps Porzingis

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 4 – 10

Bol can better his draft stock during workouts by showcasing his skills while not having to do so against a real player. It’ll be a great time to show off his diverse, unique skill set which includes ball-handling and shooting at a rare level for a guy his size. It’s no secret that Bol’s frame and physicality is a concern that’ll likely hold his stock down a bit. The fear with Bol is that he ends up similar to a Thon Maker. But from his shot-blocking and shooting potential to his early-lottery pedigree and other numerous on-court strengths, it’s hard to envision Bol wasting away on a rebuilding team’s bench. Taking a chance on Bol could be a worthy risk outside of the first handful of picks. His crazy impressive 3pt% and reliable FT% might prove too enticing to pass up.

Cameron Reddish

SG/SF/PF – 6’9, 210 lbs – age 19

Strengths: Points – Steals – 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Paul George-lite

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 5 – 10

With a fantastic frame for a wing prospect, Reddish fits the mold of the modern 3-and-D player perfectly. He may not hustle as much as you’d like as of now, but this guy has what it takes to be an outstanding defender. Although he may be predominantly perceived as a shooter, Reddish also boasts a versatile offensive game. An underrated ball-handler who can often make plays when asked to, the game comes naturally to him. As impressive of a skill set as Reddish may have, he isn’t without his flaws. Scouts have surely noticed his inconsistencies on both ends of the court. He settles for contested jumpers at times and loses focus too often. Reddish might take a little while to adjust to the NBA, but even so, he has the potential to be a great two-way second option at the professional level, and should maintain his early-to-mid-lottery candidacy in Dynasty drafts.

Goga Bitadze

PF/C – 6’11, 245 lbs – age 19

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Blocks – FG%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Andre Drummond

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 5 – 10

Bitadze is a decently mobile big man with nice hands and footwork. He’s shown some improvement spacing the floor in his time playing overseas but the 3-ball certainly shouldn’t yet be considered a strength of his. Goga has shown no problem dominating some of the grown men he’s played against at times but the NBA is a different animal. Boasting a rather large Block rate and continuing to develop his range, Bitadze could very well be a “Unicorn” in the making. As things stand now, if he falls beyond the middle lottery picks, I wouldn’t hesitate to snag him.

Jontay Porter

PF/C – 6’11, 240 lbs – age 19

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

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Paul Millsap

Rookie Draft Consideration: 5 – 10

With a nice, broad skill set consisting of shooting, passing, shot-blocking, and much more, Jontay is a fantasy tank with a very deep war chest. If the cards fall in his favor, he has the potential to put you in the green in virtually every category. As a multi-cat stud prospect, the younger Porter brother has proven his worth in all areas except FG% and TO’s – both of which I think he will improve once adjusted to the league. His brother may have been the more highly-touted prospect, but Jontay will likely bring a more diverse fantasy repertoire. This guy is another risk-reward option – maybe especially risky considering he’s recovering from tearing both ACL and MCL. He also has some rather sizable question marks on the defensive end that could negatively impact his playing time early in his career, making him more of a stash pick meant for rebuilding Dynasty squads. But alas, his fantasy upside might be too appetizing to pass on once the first handful of picks are off the board.

Tier 4

Nickeil Alexander-Walker

SG – 6’6, 205 lbs – age 20

Strengths: Points – Assists – Steals – 3’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Marcus Smart

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 7 – 14

Nickeil’s second year at Virginia Tech has proven to be a success for his Draft stock. Projected to be taken somewhere around the lottery on most boards, NAW is looking like a very nice two-way player who shows hustle on defense with his intriguing frame and an expanded arsenal on offense. NAW has displayed enough to be considered a reliable shooter/scorer and secondary playmaker. I’m particularly fond of him as he’s one of my “sleeper” picks if you’re in need of a Guard later in your Dynasty lottery. His instincts to steal the ball and efficiency putting it up from deep will interest any team in need of a 3-and-D-type Guard.

DeAndre Hunter

SG/SF/PF – 6’7, 225 lbs – age 21

Strengths: Points – 3’s – FG% – FT% – TO’s

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Otto Porter Jr

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 7 – 14

I was very high on Hunter going into the season and things started off great for the first few games, then fell off a bit, and are now picking back up. Hunter impacts the game in so many more ways than just what appears in the box score. He’s the epitome of a 3-and-D prospect with nice physical tools, but he’s constantly showing much more growth as a player than what that broad label implies, and even seems to be adding post shot-making to his skill set. With his versatile defensive game and potential to guard virtually every position on the court, Hunter could be in for big minutes as soon as the NBA season begins, making him a respectable mid-to-late lottery pick for competitive teams in Dynasty drafts. He’ll be a jack-of-all-trades guy, and might even master a few.

Darius Garland

PG – 6’3, 175 lbs – age 19

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

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Kyrie Irving-lite

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 7 – 14

With the ability to score at all three levels, and the confidence to boot, Garland looks like a modern offensive-minded Point Guard. His shooting skills should help him maintain productivity off-ball but it’s his on-ball work that is so impressive. Some of Garland’s highlights of his ball-handling, passing vision, and versatile scoring leave you wondering just how high his ceiling really is. His frame and athleticism leave a bit to be desired, and his playmaking didn’t come through in college (before his season-ending injury) nearly as much as it did in High School. The words “season-ending injury” are always off-putting but most experts assure that the type of injury Garland suffered is no cause to hit the panic button. A meniscus injury is not uncommon among players, and has a high likelihood of full recovery, leaving Garland’s stock virtually untouched. There is a tiny bit of a risk factor with Garland considering he played just 5 games his Freshman year, and he’ll likely need some extra time to get acclimated to the big leagues, but it’s nothing worth dropping him out of your Rookie draft lottery for.

Grant Williams

SF/PF – 6’7, 240 lbs – age 20

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Assists – Steals – Blocks – FG% – FT%

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Draymond Green-lite + better percentages

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 10 – 20

Returning for his Junior year appears to have been a great decision for Tennessee Forward Grant Williams. A multi-cat stud providing nice numbers seemingly across the board, Williams is not without his faults when it comes to the NBA level. He lacks athleticism and size for his projected position. Those worries are not to be understated considering he does most of his work out of the post. From scoring to passing, when matched up against full-grown NBA post defenders, Williams could struggle immensely to be as productive as he was in college. Regardless, Grant’s IQ and potential to contribute in virtually every stat could prove too valuable to pass on in the first round of Rookie drafts. He could be a late-round steal for contending teams if he falls out of the lottery.

Kevin Porter Jr

SG – 6’6, 220 lbs – age 18

Strengths: Points – Rebounds – Steals – 3’s – some out-of-position Blocks

Current Player Fantasy Comp: Josh Richardson

Rookie Draft Consideration: Picks 10 – 20

As more of a “supporting freshman player” rather than the focal point he maybe should have been, Porter’s role on his USC team was a relatively minimal one. There’s a decent chance his draft stock rises during pre-Draft workouts when he has a chance to really shine and display his athleticism and shot-making abilities. An additional bonus of KPJ’s arsenal is his ability to potentially provide some valuable off-position Blocks. His Free Throw shot isn’t falling this year but, if the 3-ball is to help determine his eventual outlook, he could easily better that aspect of his game. However, KPJ’s FG% and Assist-to-TO ratio might not improve until he becomes more acclimated to the league.

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, decision-maker, 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 considered 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 he’s not particularly seen as a first option who can take over games using a scoring ability, 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 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