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SMILODON: Final Board

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With the draft tonight, here’s how I see the prospects.

NCAA Basketball: Illinois at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

As the hours tick down to the draft, I, an inveterate procrastinator, am forced to finally post a final draft board based on my innovative draft model, SMILODON. Last week, I previewed my top ten, which you can see below. I added tiers to make it more clear how I see this draft.

Draft 1-10

Earlier this week, I also wrote about my fourth tier, which contains some of the players likely to be available when the Wolves pick at #20. The players are sorted within that tier below. At #20, my top available players are likely to be some combination of Dzanan Musa, DeAnthony Melton, Troy Brown, and Josh Okogie. All four players have obvious flaws, but very real starter potential.

Draft 11-20

After tier four comes a group of players I see as being relative long shots to be positive players for their first NBA team. This group mostly breaks down into two categories: younger with athleticism concerns and older with skill concerns. Isaac Bonga, Gary Trent, and Kevin Huerter fit into the first category, while everyone else in “5a” fits into the latter category. Bonga is a great free throw shooter who hasn’t transfered that skill to the floor yet. He has drawn comparisons to Kyle Anderson has a big, less athletic point forward. Trent and Huerter are tall young shooters who don’t have much else in their game yet.

Meanwhile, among the older players in this group, Shake Milton and Jacob Evans have weak off the dribble games, while Melvin Frazier, Gary Clark, and Chandler Hutchison have major questions revolving around their ability to shoot. If any of the latter three becomes a consistent shooter, they should be a useful reserve, at the least.

Draft 21-30

In the last part of tier five there is Khyri Thomas, an older 3&D guard without much shot creation upside or the size of the guards in “5a”; a number of shoot first, shoot only backup points in Anfernee Simons, Elie Okobo, and Aaron Holiday; and some prospects with glaring weaknesses but intriguing defensive stats in Jarred Vanderbilt, Rodions Kurucs, Ajdin Penava, and Ray Spalding. Vanderbilt can’t shoot and has injury flags. Kurucs played a small amount of minutes in Spain’s second division, rendering his stats untrustworthy. Penava blocked a lot of shots and has some perimeter skills, but it’s questionable whether he has the strength to stick in the NBA.

Draft 31-40

My tier six contains the best players that I think are long shots to become above replacement level. Many of the players in this tier - Jerome Robinson, Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, Devon Hall, Donte DiVincenzo, Kevin Hervey, Vince Edwards - are taller shooters who have defensive and/or athletic concerns. One of these players will probably become a worthwhile NBA player, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable betting on any of them before the middle of the second round.

There are a couple of older point guards here. Jalen Brunson has the skills, but maybe not the athleticism. Thomas Wilder, a senior from Western Michigan, has the athleticism and scoring pop, but less than ideal three point volume and strength. He is a player I would like to get on my Summer League team and maybe extend a two way contract, depending on his performance.

Finally, Justin Jackson and Bruce Brown are players that will likely be taken before my ranking. Each has a NBA body and athleticism, but was injured and underwhelming during his college career. Bonzie Colson also spent part of the year injured, but was a scoring and steals machine in college. He’s undersized and I’m skeptical of his shooting, but I like watching him play and hope he beats the odds to become an effective scoring big off the bench.

Draft 41-50

Outside of my top fifty, there are plenty of players eligible who will be drafted or signed. Following are several dozen of them. Even with nearly one hundred twenty profiles on here, I’m sure I have missed some.

Unranked Guards 1

Trevon Duval would be a good prospect if he could shoot. As his shooting is so bad, the rest of his profile isn’t good enough to make up for it. Hamidou Diallo is very athletic, but was very bad last year. Landry Shamet is nearly the exact opposite. He can shoot and pass, but I don’t think he’s athletic enough to survive in the NBA without at least three years of surprising physical development. Tony Carr has a sneakily promising profile. He could eventually be a backup point guard.

Unranked Guards 2

Keenan Evans is my favorite of this group of players. If he works out the kinks in his shot, he could become a functional backup point guard. There are a lot of guards in this draft who can shoot pretty well but not do much else. I don’t really know what separates Grayson Allen from them to make him a potential first round pick.

Unranked Guards 3

Marcus Foster and Rob Gray have the makings of quality microwave scorers in the ACB. Devonte Graham is more of a pest than his defensive rating indicates and can shoot, so maybe he could stick on a bench somewhere.

Unranked Forwards 1

Arnoldas Kulboka is still young and a very good shooter, but it’s an open question as to whether he’s athletic enough for the NBA. D.J. Hogg could be a stretch four off the bench at some point in his career. Theo Pinson’s passing ability is intriguing, but he’s probably not enough of a scoring threat for it to matter.

Unranked Forwards 2

Jae’sean Tate and Xavier Cooks both got to the rim at an elite rate. Cooks played an absurdly bad schedule (for Winthrop) and can’t shoot, so I do not trust his numbers at all. Tate is basically a 6’4 power forward, so I’m also skeptical that ability will translate. Kenrich Williams is also a very good passer. He did look slow and unathletic during the combine scrimmages, though.

Unranked Bigs 1

Brandon McCoy was a freshman who put up big counting numbers, but does not seem to be the type of player who helps you win by playing defense and passing. Omari Spellman and Mo Wagner can shoot, but not much else. Wenyen Gabriel might be a bench big, but is not someone I’d use a draft pick on.

Unranked Bigs 2

Alize Johnson can maybe shoot and handle as an extremely undersized five. He probably can’t defend anyone. Jock Landale is a more traditional five who can score and rebound but not defend. Anas Mahmoud can protect the rim, but is so old and inept on offense that he won’t be drafted.

Who do you want the Wolves to draft? Which of these nearly 120 players do you find intriguing?