Welcome to Ralphie Report dot com, your source for all your draft content. Tonight, July 29th (6:00 PM, MT), is the NBA Draft, which will hopefully feature Colorado Buffaloes superstar McKinley Wright IV.
I’m definitely using Wright to publish my own big board — one that is regurgitated from all the draft content I have read on the interweb, not necessarily from my own scouting, because who has the time to watch two hours of Santi Aldama tape?
Anyway, this big board is broken up into tiers and sometimes there’s a little blurb about the player. You can mostly ignore those since there are better sources for real draft insight.
Tier 1 — Superstars
1. Cade Cunningham, SF/PG, Oklahoma State
2. Jalen Green, SG, G League Ignite
I’m not sure why Green isn’t being considered for the first pick considering his massive potential as a scorer and primary initiator. He needs fine tuning as a playmaker, but he’s already got the athleticism, the creativity and the jumper to lead an offense. He also has the tools to be a very good defender if he bought in and was coached up some.
Tier 2 — All-NBA
3. Evan Mobley, PF/C, USC
4. Jalen Suggs, PG/SG, Gonzaga
Tier 3 — All-Star Ceiling
5. Scottie Barnes, SF/PF, Florida State
Barnes is going to excellent even if he can’t shoot, because he would still be a cross between Andrei Kirilenko and Ricky Rubio. If he becomes something like a 34% shooter, he could be one of the best two-way players in the league.
6. Alperen Şengün, C, Beşiktaş (Turkey)
Şengün might not make it defensively, but there’s a lot of smart big men who figure out positional defense and become average on that end. He’s too skilled to not make it.
Tier 4 — Lotta Upside
7. Jonathan Kuminga, SF/PF, G League Ignite
8. James Bouknight, SG, UConn
9. Josh Giddey, PG/SG, Adelaide 36ers
10. Jalen Johnson, SF/PF, Duke
I’m probably outing myself as a charlatan — and I’ll probably regret writing this when I look back in three years — but Jalen Johnson should reinvent his basketball identity. I don’t think he can be a lead initiator or scorer at the next level. Instead he should use his combination of size, athleticism and skill to be something of an Aaron Gordon-type glue guy. He’s smart enough to do it, if he wanted to.
Tier 5 — Very Good Role Players
11. Franz Wagner, SF/PF, Michigan
12. Usman Garuba, C, Real Madrid (Spain)
Garuba is basically Draymond Green mixed with Kevon Looney. That might not sound great, but it’s damn good. He’s a dog of a competitor, works so hard on defense and on the glass, and does the little things right on offense. Maybe he can’t shoot or even finish at a high level, but he’s going to be in the right place and make his teammates better.
13. Jared Butler, PG/SG, Baylor
Butler might be the best movement shooter in the draft and that’s on top of his point guard abilities. He is a bit small (6’4 wingspan) and isn’t a great finisher, but he’s skilled and understands exactly where to be. If his health is in order, he’s going to figure out how to be a standout role player.
14. Jaden Springer, PG/SG, Tennessee
15. Moses Moody, SG, Arkansas
16. Kai Jones, PF/C, Texas
I want to believe in Kai Jones — and I was on the Kai Express before it was even boarding — but I’m worried teams will be impatient with him and he’s going to lose confidence. He’s an elite athlete with rare fluidity for his size, however his feel for the game needs years more development just to become a quality player. He needs to be nurtured, probably in the G League, or else he’s going to flop.
Tier 6 — High Floor, Low Ceiling
17. Davion Mitchell, SG, Baylor
18. Chris Duarte, SG/SF, Oregon
19. Corey Kispert, SF, Gonzaga
20. Trey Murphy III, SF/PF, Virginia
21. Miles McBride, PG/SG, West Virginia
McBride is another intense competitor who will play winning basketball. He has a ton of defensive potential with his size (6’2 with a 6’9 wingspan) and aggressive mentality. He’s not going to be a good scorer or a good passer, but should be valuable if he’s next to another playmaker and hits a good amount of threes. The Nuggets would be perfect for him.
Tier 7 — Rotation
22. Keon Johnson, SG/SF, Tennessee
I don’t see the lottery buzz with Johnson, since he’s relatively unskilled for someone who’s supposed to be a scorer. He’s pretty much a 6’4 power forward right now, which is an archetype that fails more often than not, even with elite athleticism. I would take a chance on him later on in the draft, but he’s too risky to take early.
23. Ayo Dosunmu, PG/SG, Illinois
24. Sharife Cooper, PG, Auburn
25. Rokas Jokubaitis, SG, Žalgiris Kaunas (Lithuania)
26. Bones Hyland, PG, VCU
There are three guards who profile as spark plug sixth men: Cooper, Hyland and Cam Thomas. Cooper has the most upside since he’s so skilled as a passer and ball handler; Hyland is the smoothest and better shooter (therefore my personal favorite); and Thomas (#36 on my board) is both selfish and inefficient.
27. Isaiah Jackson, C, Kentucky
28. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, PF, Villanova
Tier 8 — Toolsy
29. Ziaire Williams, SF, Stanford
30. Tre Mann, PG, Florida
31. Herb Jones, PF, Alabama
32. Day’Ron Sharpe, C, North Carolina
33. Santi Aldama, PF, Loyola Marymount
34. Joel Ayayi, SG, Gonzaga
Joel Ayayi deserves more praise that he gets. He is terrific glue guy who plays great defense, moved the ball well, hit his open shots and rebounded everything on an Gonzaga team that did not lack star power. He can do the same in the NBA, even if his athleticism and jumper will be stretched to the limit.
35. Josh Christopher, SG, Arizona State
36. Cam Thomas, SG, LSU
37. Josh Primo, SG, Alabama
38. Kessler Edwards, SF/PF, Pepperdine
39. JT Thor, SF/PF, Auburn
Tier 9 — College Vets
40. McKinley Wright, PG, Colorado
Wright is going to make it to the NBA regardless of his draft selection. He lives and breathes basketball and will do everything to accomplish his childhood dream. Even if he can’t really shoot, he knows how to run an offense and has an amazing floater game. He’s to going to play intense, full-court defense for 15 minutes off the bench, and coaches will adore him.
41. Justin Champagnie, PF, Pittsburgh
42. Jason Preston, PG, Ohio
43. Jericho Sims, C, Texas
Sims can definitely carve out a role as a rim-running center who does enough of the little things to earn minutes. He’s excellent at setting picks, sealing off the paint for drivers and always has his hands ready for a dump-off.
44. RaiQuan Gray, PF, Florida State
45. David Johnson, PG, Louisville
46. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State
47. Austin Reaves, SG, Oklahoma
48. Aaron Henry, SF, Michigan State
49. Quentin Grimes, PG, Houston
50. Moses Wright, C, Georgia Tech