23. Hawks: Arthur Kaluma, F, Creighton
Height: 6’7″ | Weight: 220 | Age: 20 | Sophomore
Kaluma was a popular breakout pick coming into the season and has tremendous physical tools for an NBA wing, with a long, strong frame that makes him hard to guard at the college level. He broke out over the final month of last season and will have to play through the weight of increased expectations on an improved Creighton team. Advanced stats didn’t favor him much last season, and as a high-usage scorer who’s not much of a playmaker for others, Kaluma is going to have to prove he can be efficient and make strides toward being a much more impactful defender. Still, if he plays to his potential, the first round is pretty viable.
24. Lakers (from Pelicans): Jalen Bridges, F, Baylor
Height: 6’7″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Junior
Bridges is off to a solid start and looks to have taken a meaningful step forward after transferring from West Virginia and slotting into a role that suits him well at Baylor. He was never a particularly consistent performer his first two years in college, but has begun to harness his physical capabilities and has the right tools to play on the wing in the NBA. He has more to prove moving forward, but his ability to space the floor and play viable defense should pique interest from scouts. Continued production is crucial for Bridges, but he has a platform to play his way into the first round this season if all goes well.
25. Suns: Jaime Jaquez, F, UCLA
Height: 6’7″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 21 | Senior
After playing through ankle injuries for most of last season, Jaquez returns to lead a potentially very good UCLA team and he still has the traits to be a useful NBA role player in the long run. Teams will hope to see a healthy Jaquez display the shot-making chops he showed during his sophomore season, and improvement in that area is critical for him. He’s quite reliable in other areas, as a solid positional rebounder and tough defender with size who makes small plays on both ends of the floor. While he may profile best as a bench piece in the pros, Jaquez does just enough to be a difference-maker, and his strong intangibles will help him maintain interest from teams. A true breakout year could lift him into the first round.
26. Jazz: Marcus Sasser, G, Houston
Height: 6’2″ | Weight: 195 | Age: 22 | Senior
As one of the best guards in college basketball and someone who very well might have been drafted last year if not for injury, Sasser seems to have an inside track at a favorable spot in the draft hierarchy. He is an excellent shooter, can play on and off the ball, has a good frame for a combo guard and left a good impression during last year’s predraft process. Houston is on the shortlist of the best teams in the country, and Sasser should have a strong platform over the course of the year to showcase his ability. Teams will want to see him score effectively in the paint at his size, but his perimeter game and solid defense should help ensure a pathway to being a useful reserve, at worst.
27. Hornets (from Nuggets): Colby Jones, G/F, Xavier
Height: 6’6″ | Weight: 205 | Age: 21 | Junior
Jones is one of my favorite potential role guys in this class, projecting as sort of a gadget player in the NBA with the size to defend multiple positions. He came on strong at the end of last season and is currently dealing with an ankle injury, but he contributes across the box score in a way that also helps drive winning. High-feel players in Jones’s vein tend to be well-suited for the modern game, with its emphasis on smart ball movement and versatility. Jones will have to shore up his three-point shooting to a passable place—he was sub-30% from distance in his first two years of college—but some improvement in that department might really boost his stock.
28. Bulls (from Blazers): Kel’el Ware, C, Oregon
Height: 7’0″ | Weight: 225 | Age: 18 | Freshman
Although Ware picked up some hype over the course of the past year as a potential one-and-done player, he’s pretty divisive amongst NBA scouts. Some people are highly intrigued by his size, mobility and tools, while others are turned off by his inconsistent motor and physicality, and question how long it will take him to be playable in the NBA. He’s been coming off the bench for Oregon in the early going and has to earn minutes in a crowded frontcourt. He is a potentially solid rim protector and has some shooting touch, so the first round case is there, but Ware has more to prove before vaulting him up the board, I think.
29. Rockets (from Bucks): Sidy Cissoko, G/F, G League Ignite
Height: 6’6″ | Weight: 200 | Age: 18
I’m curious to see where Cissoko is at developmentally by the end of the season, considering the history of Ignite players’ improvement trajectories. He’s a big wing with playmaking skills and a good frame for the NBA, but he’s still learning to consistently impact the game and he doesn’t have one true high-level skill to market at this point in time. While still a bit raw with the ball in his hands, Cissoko offers positive role-player traits: he’s unselfish, he should be a passable shooter, he’s a pretty good athlete and he plays hard on the defensive end. But right now he’s still more of an idea than anything else.
30. Pacers (from Celtics): Leonard Miller, F, G League Ignite
Height: 6’10” | Weight: 210 | Age: 18
While Miller is still pretty unpolished, it’s hard to deny that the physical tools and positional size he brings to the table give him an interesting base to build on. He wasn’t ready for the draft last year and made a smart decision to join Ignite, where he’ll have to learn to consistently impact games without the ball in his hands and make open shots. Miller has some guard skills, but his professional future likely hinges on his ability to transition to power forward, where he should be able to more easily create mismatches and apply his strengths. He’s off to a reasonably good start in the G League, and if he makes big strides, the first round may await.
31. Pacers (from Rockets): Jett Howard, SG, Michigan | Freshman
32. Pistons: Adem Bona, C, UCLA | Freshman
33. Lakers: Maxwell Lewis, F, Pepperdine | Sophomore
34. Sixers (from Hornets): Nikola Durisic, SG, Mega Basket
35. Magic: Jordan Hawkins, SG, UConn | Sophomore
36. Hawks (from Nets): J. J. Starling, SG, Notre Dame | Freshman
37. Spurs: Coleman Hawkins, F, Illinois | Sophomore
38. Lakers (from Bulls): DaRon Holmes, F, Dayton | Sophomore
39. Cavs (from Warriors): Kyle Filipowski, F, Duke | Freshman
40. Grizzlies (from Timberwolves): Matthew Murrell, SG, Mississippi | Junior
41. Thunder: Baba Miller, F Florida State | Freshman
42. Nuggets (from Heat): Oscar Tshiebwe, C, Kentucky | Senior
43. Timberwolves (from Knicks): Jalen Hood-Schifino, G, Indiana | Freshman
44. Hornets (from Wizards): Amari Bailey, G, UCLA | Freshman
45. Clippers: Emoni Bates, G/F, Eastern Michigan | Sophomore
46. Kings: Chris Livingston, G/F, Kentucky | Freshman
47. Kings (from Pacers): Jordan Walsh, F, Arkansas | Freshman
48. Raptors: Julian Strawther, G/F, Gonzaga | Sophomore
49. Celtics (from Mavericks): Trevon Brazile, F, Arkansas | Sophomore
50. Bucks (from Cavs): Ryan Kalkbrenner, C, Creighton | Junior
51. Hawks (from Pelicans): Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Illinois | Senior
52. Nets (from Hawks): Pelle Larsson, G, Arizona | Junior
53. Grizzlies: Will Richard, SG, Florida | Sophomore
54. Suns: Tyler Burton, F, Richmond | Senior
55. Hornets (from Jazz): Caleb Love, G, North Carolina | Junior
56. Celtics (from Blazers): Mojave King, G/F, G League Ignite
57. Bucks: Efe Abogidi, C, G League Ignite
58. Celtics: Jalen Wilson, F, Kansas | Senior
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