NBA Draft Big Board: Pre-Combine rankings

Let’s get this started

Deceptive Speed covers a wide variety of topics in sports. We will have a post-Combine Bracketology coming next week reflecting the busy offseason. The next thing I like to cover is the NBA Draft. You’re probably thinking, NBA? Boo! But 90% of the players that teams are choosing from played college basketball. And obviously we have just watched a ton of college ball.

After some serious thought, studying a few other big boards and scouting reports to go along with who is attending the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, I’ve compiled my top 90 Big Board. The NBA Draft Combine invites were issued, players responded and the big event takes place this week. There will be 66 players attending. A few chose not to be there and a few were snubbed (Ethan Happ).

Players in Bold will be in Chicago this week.

* indicates seniors

Without further ado, here’s Deceptive Speed’s first ever Big Board.

1. Zion Williamson, PF, Duke 6’7, 285
This goes without saying. He’s clearly the best player in the draft. Better start looking for real estate in New Orleans.

2. Ja Morant, PG, Murray State 6’3, 175
Ja Morant had one hell of a season. He’s the clear-cut choice for the top point guard in the draft.

3. RJ. Barrett, G/F Duke 6’7, 200
I’m not exactly sure why people are dropping Barrett out of the top 3. He had a terrific season.

4. Cam Reddish, G/F, Duke 6’8, 220
Don’t get caught up in thinking he seemed disinterested at Duke this season. Reddish is still a great athlete.

5. Coby White, PG, UNC 6’5, 185
What a season Coby White had. Everyone thought Nassir Little was the man, but White was an excellent point guard who had a great shot.

6. Jaxson Hayes, PF, Texas 6’11, 220
Texas didn’t have that great of a season and Hayes wasn’t much of a scorer, but his size and defense is a wonderful thing.

7. Jarrett Culver, SG, Texas Tech 6’6, 195
Texas Tech had a tremendous season thanks to what Jarrett Culver did. He didn’t have that great of a NCAA Tournament despite the Red Raiders going to the title game, but scouts love what they saw in the regular season.

8. De’Andre Hunter, F, Virginia 6’7, 225
Here’s a guy who had a tremendous postseason and solidified himself a spot in the top 10. Scouts thought he was a lottery pick last season before he got hurt, but he still had a great sophomore season.

9. Darius Garland, PG, Vanderbilt 6’3, 170
He only played in five games, averaged 16 points per game and dropped 11 3-pointers. Garland was a top-15 recruit and is the third best option for a point guard.

10. Sekou Doumbouya, F, Limoges 6’9, 203
Sekou is clearly the best international prospect in this year’s draft. He isn’t going to the combine but should be planning private workouts with teams.

11. P.J. Washington, PF, Kentucky 6’8, 228
What a second half of the season P.J. Washington had. He was a top-15 recruit two years ago but had an okay freshman year. Then the scoring, rebounding and defense all went out. He was a monster in the SEC.

12. Rui Hachimura, PF, Gonzaga 6’8, 230
Rui turned down the invitation to the combine. He already has private workouts with teams. He was a projected top-10 pick a few months ago, and I don’t know why people are throwing him down the lottery.

13. Bol Bol, C, Oregon 7’2, 222
It was a real shame Bol got hurt. He was a dominating force in nine games, averaging 21 points, 9.6 rebounds and 2.7 blocks. As long as Bol stays interested during games, he could be a great big man who can shoot.

14. Brandon Clarke, PF, Gonzaga 6’8, 215
There are a lot of mixed reviews on Clarke. He had a terrific season. Clark was a monster on defense, but he played just one season at Gonzaga after transferring from San Jose State.

15. Bruno Fernando, PF, Maryland 6’10, 240
Fernando was a possible lottery pick last season but then got bad reviews at the combine. So he came back, earned a spot on the All-Big Ten team, averaged a double-double and should remain in the draft.

16. Nassir Little, F, UNC 6’6, 220
Nassir Little was a higher-ranked recruit than Zion Williamson. Roy Williams refused to start him. Critics blamed Roy. Then they realized, maybe he was doing the right thing because when Little did play, he wasn’t the top-five recruit everyone thought he was.

17. Kevin Porter, PG, USC 6’5, 220
Porter didn’t quite have a great season, kind of how it went for USC as well. But like I said about Garland, if you want a point guard, might as well bite on one, and Porter is your next best option.

18. Tyler Herro, SG, Kentucky 6’5, 195
There were mixed reports on Tyler Herro, but he proved how great of a shot he is during the SEC Tournament and in the NCAA. Herro will be a nice rotation player shooting 3-pointers in the NBA.

19. Nickeil Alexander-Walker, SG, Virginia Tech 6’5, 210
Here’s another example of a top-40 player who had an okay freshman year but really turned things around during his sophomore season. Alexander-Walker improved his scoring and passing.

20. Keldon Johnson, G, Kentucky 6’6, 211
P.J. Washington stole the show at Kentucky this year, but Johnson still earned SEC Rookie of the Year honors. He was a top-15 recruit, has good size, can score anywhere on the court and do a little bit of everything.

21. Romeo Langford, SG, Indiana 6’6, 215
Romeo Langford was a top-5 recruit. He was a lottery option eight months ago, but it’s clear he can’t lead a team to success showing how Indiana performed this year. Langford still proved to do a little bit of everything while averaging over 16 points per game.

22. Luguentz Dort, G, Arizona State 6’4, 215
He was a top-100 recruit and is a terrific athlete, but where is he going to play? Dort only shot 30% from downtown, but averaged over 16 points per game with 4 boards and 2 assists.

23. *Cameron Johnson, G, UNC 6’9, 210
Johnson is one of the oldest guys in the draft, but thanks to a huge senior year, he could be a first rounder. He made 96 3-pointers, shot an incredible 45% from downtown and proved he is also a great rebounder too.

24. Carsen Edwards, G, Purdue 6’1, 200
It was up in the air whether Carsen Edwards was going out or not. He was a mid-second round option. Then the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight run happened, and everyone fell in love with his 3-point shot.

25. Talen Horton-Tucker, F, Iowa State 6’4, 233
Here’s a guy who is built like a bowling ball. Horton-Tucker was a top-50 recruit, he could be a nice rebounding and defensive guard, but his offense has to improve to be in the NBA.

26. KZ Okpala, SF, Stanford 6’9, 210
He was a top-50 recruit two years ago. Didn’t really have all that great of a career at Stanford because the Cardinal really aren’t that great. Okpala can score, isn’t the best defender or rebounder, but did improve his 3-point shot.

27. Grant Williams, F, Tennessee 6’7, 241
Apparently Grant Williams doesn’t want to be a three-time SEC player of the year. He’s late first round at best. Williams is a terrific college basketball player, but his height might not be ideal for finding him a spot in the NBA.

28. Goga Bitadze, C, Georgia (Europe) 6’11, 250
I guess international guys have no interest going to the combine this year. It’s kind of shallow near the top, but Goga should be the second foreign player off the board.

29. Mfiondu Kabengele, PF, Florida State 6’9, 240
This is a guy who is built like a rock. If he were 7-feet tall, he’d be pushing lottery. But nonetheless, with his size, scoring ability, great defense and able to shoot from outside, Kabengele could be a first-round draft pick.

30. Ty Jerome, SG, Virginia 6’5, 195
If someone wants to take a flyer in the late first round on a nice 3-point shooter and solid defender who has won a lot of basketball games, Jerome is your guy.

31. Louis King, SF, Oregon 6’9, 205
King was a top-20 recruit, has terrific size, can shoot the ball really well from the outside and with Oregon going on a great run, most of the country saw great he is.

32. Jordan Nwora, SF, Louisville 6’7, 225
It would really benefit Nwora and Louisville if he returned. His points per game nearly tripled in size, but I think he could improve his draft stock by returning to school.

33. Luka Samanic, PF, Croatia 6’10, 210
He’s the best international player attending the combine. Hopefully that can look nice for NBA scouts.

34. Daniel Gafford, C, Arkansas 6’11, 233
He was a borderline first rounder last season, chose to go back to Arkansas and dropped a bit. Gafford is still the best option for a big man in the late first round, early second.

35. Nic Claxton, C, Georgia 6’11, 200
Claxton earned All-SEC honors thanks to his excellent rebounding and shot-blocking ability. He’s the second best big man in this area.

36. *Matisse Thybulle, SF, Washington 6’5, 205
I don’t know why he isn’t going to the combine. His defense is wonderful. But we can’t really shoot him down any further because he ran out of eligibility and can’t go anywhere from here.

37. Chuma Okeke, PF, Auburn 6’8, 230
The guy who made Bruce Pearl will be attending the combine to do interviews, but he needs to rehab the knee and return to school.

38. Shamorie Ponds, PG, St. John’s 6’1, 180
He needs to return to school and really prove what kind of point guard he is.

39. *Admiral Schofield, SG, Tennessee 6’6, 241
Nowhere to go with Schofield as he used up all of his eligibility. At times, Schofield seemed like the best player on Tennessee.

40. *Dylan Windler, SG, Belmont 6’8, 200
Thanks to Belmont’s great season, a lot of the country was able to see his potential. Windler is done though so he has no choice here.

41. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State 6’11, 240
Thanks to Utah State’s great season, Queta broke out on both ends of the court. But he needs to return to school for the Aggies to earn a top-four seed and make a run.

42. Jontay Porter, PF, Missouri 6’11, 236
Jontay Porter was a top-50 recruit two years ago. He was solid on both ends of the court but sat out this past season due to an injury and that is why he’ll fall out of the first round.

43. Isaiah Roby, PF, Nebraska 6’8, 230
Roby had to play behind the top 3 at Nebraska. But once scouts started to breakdown his tape, Roby is looking more promising.

44. *Eric Paschall, PF, Villanova 6’8, 255
If he were two or three inches taller, Paschall would be a sure-fire first rounder.

45. Jalen McDaniels, F, San Diego State 6’10, 195
Has some good size. Nice scorer, really nice rebounder and a pretty solid defender. Scouts like what they saw in the Mountain West.

46. Dedric Lawson, PF, Kansas 6’8, 224
Doesn’t sound like Dedric will be returning to Lawrence.

47. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky 6’11, 220
He’s gone as Western Kentucky seems a little dysfunctional right now.

48. Ignas Brazdeikis, F, Michigan 6’7, 215
Because of Iggy leaving, John Beilien is now the head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

49. Naz Reid, PF, LSU 6’10, 250
No chance Naz comes back.

50. Zach Norvell, SG, Gonzaga 6’5, 205
He needs to return as much as Gonzaga needs him to return.

51. Tremont Waters, PG, LSU 5’11, 175
Not as certain as Naz, but it doesn’t sound promising for LSU.

52. Jaylen Hoard, PF, Wake Forest 6’8, 215
It doesn’t really matter what he does. His stock isn’t moving, but Wake Forest isn’t the place for him.

53. Darius Bazley, F, Princeton HS 6’9, 195
This is a G-League project.

54. Killian Tillie, PF, Gonzaga 6’10, 220
His injury history is going to concern some scouts.

55. Jalen Lecque, SG, Brewster 6’4, 190
Another G-League project.

56. Charles Matthews, SG, Michigan 6’6, 205
The second reason why Beilein is gone.

57. Miye Oni, SG, Yale 6’6, 210
If he returns, Yale could be competing for a single-digit seed.

58. Jordan Poole, SG, Michigan 6’5, 195
Third reason why Beilein is gone.

59. Kris Wilkes, SG, UCLA 6’8, 215
Is it too late for new head coach of UCLA, Mick Cronin to get him back?

60. Brian Bowen, SF, Australia 6’8, 202
The man that screwed up the Louisville program could go undrafted.

61. Ky Bowman, PG, Boston College 6’1, 188
A nice shooter that needs to return.

62. Jaylen Nowell, SG, Washington 6’4, 200
There’s no chance he returns, but his stock isn’t reflecting his top 75 recruiting rank of two years ago.

63. *Quinn Weatherspoon, G, Mississippi State 6’4, 205
He’d be a nice G-League stash.

64. Simi Shittu, PF, Vanderbilt 6’10, 240
Vanderbilt is a mess. No reason to return.

65. Jordan Bone, PG, Tennessee 6’3, 180
He believes he’s cut out to run point in the NBA. But if he returns and so does Grant Williams, the Vols will be competing for a top 4 seed once again.

66. Moses Brown, C, UCLA 7’1, 245
He has great size, but he checks out a lot. And there’s no chance he returns.

67. Devon Dotson, PG, Kansas 6’2, 185
He should be returning to Kansas as should the next guy.

68. Quentin Grimes, SG, Kansas 6’5, 210
See the guy above him.

69. Kyle Guy, G, Virginia 6’2, 175
He’s a little undersized for the backcourt in the NBA. But great shooting at the combine could move him as a second-rounder.

70. Jaylen Hands, PG, UCLA 6’3, 180
Another great point guard from UCLA, but going back to school would benefit him.

71. *Ethan Happ, PF, Wisconsin 6’10, 235 - BIGGEST SNUB FROM THE COMBINE.
72. Jared Harper, PG, Auburn 5’11, 175
73. Deividas Sirvydis, SF, Leituvos Rytas, 6’8, 190
74. Joshua Obiese, PG, Germany 6’6, 195
75. *Zylan Cheatham, PF, Arizona State 6’8, 220
76. *Jordan Caroline, PF, Nevada 6’7, 230
77. Yovel Zoosman, Wing, Israel 6’7, 198
78. *Tyus Battle, PG, Syracuse 6’6, 205 - Another confusing snub from the combine. And that’s why he’s this low.
79. *Cody Martin, PG, Nevada 6’6, 205
80. *Terence Mann, G, Florida State 6’6, 215
81. *Justin Wright-Foreman, G, Hofstra 6’2, 190
82. *Terence Davis, SG, Ole Miss 6’4, 208
83. *James Palmer, SF, Nebraska 6’6, 210
84. *Milik Yarbrough, SF, Illinois State 6’6, 215
85. *Dean Wade, PF, Kansas State 6’10, 228
86. Max Strus, Wing, DePaul 6’6, 215
87. *Justin Robinson, PG, Virginia Tech 6’1, 195
88. Ja’Vonte Smart, SG, LSU 6’4, 200
89. *Chris Clemson, PG, Campbell 5’9, 180
90. *Tacko Fall, C, UCF 7’6, 295

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