In our latest episode of the Bleav in Wizards podcast, I was joined by Cooper Klein, a draft analyst from the Upside Swings podcast. We covered all of the wings likely to go in, or around, the first round of June's NBA Draft.
Yesterday, I wrote up the wings likely to go around the lottery. This is the next batch of players likely to come off the board. There's still a lot of talent here and, in some cases, their limitations may actually be less pronounced than the earlier group. However, for the most part, their ceilings don't seem quite as high.
Dariq Whitehead, 6’6, Duke, consensus ranking: 20
Stats: 8.3 points, 2.4 rebounds, 1 assists, .2 blocks, .8 steals, 42.9% 3PT, 79.3% FT
Case for: 5-star recruit pedigree, jumper looks like it will translate, powerfully built athlete, possible the injury to start the season just set him back
Case against: bully-balled opponents in high school to some extent and couldn’t do that in the ACC, didn't look much like a pro wing for much of his college season
Kris Murray, 6'8, Iowa, consensus ranking: 23
Stats: 20.2 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1.2 blocks, 1 steal, 33.5% 3PT, 72.9% FT
Case for: solid all-around game, very productive in a good conference despite teams game-planning to stop him, good positional size, NBA-ready (as much as a rookie can be)
Case against: not the most explosive or laterally quick, the percentages don’t match his reputation as a shooter
Kobe Bufkin, 6'4, Michigan, consensus ranking: 24
Stats: 14 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists, .7 blocks, 1.3 steals, 35.5% 3PT, 84.9% FT
Case for: was Michigan’s most impactful perimeter player at times this season, good all-around skill set, shooting looks legitimate
Case against: not really a primary on-ball player but undersized to play the three so he has limited positional versatility
Maxwell Lewis, 6'7, Pepperdine, consensus ranking: 25
Stats: 17.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists, .8 blocks, .8 steals, 34.8% 3PT, 78.7% FT
Case for: good length, good athlete, good ball-handler, good shot, has the tools to be an elite offensive player in the NBA in my opinion, relatively new to the game by basketball standards which hints at untapped upside, I’m irrationally high on him (which may be a case against depending on your perspective) as his physical profile and tools align with what I think wins in the NBA today
Case against: still relatively unrefined and basketball IQ needs work, loafs and got lost on defense to the point of being one of the worst defenders I’ve evaluated this year, there were multiple future pros on Pepperdine but they were still awful which begs the question why wasn’t he more impactful?
Colby Jones, 6'6, Xavier, consensus ranking: 26
Stats: 15 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.4 assists, .6 blocks, 1.3 steals, 37.8% 3PT, 65.3% FT
Case for: sounds cliche but he just makes winning plays, "dawg", good all-around game, two-way player, I think there’s a lot of untapped potential and I really buy the shooting
Case against: some question how much upside he has, which is the real indicator of his shooting prowess between the three-point and free throws percentage?
Sidy Cissoko, 6'6, G League Ignite, consensus ranking: 29
Stats: 11.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1 block, 1.1 steals, 31.4% 3PT, 64.3% FT
Case for: young and could have untapped potential left, competed against grown men, good cutter, good length, strong and built like an older player, good passer, appears to play hard, good defender
Case against: needs to improve his ball-handling, not the quickest, questionable shooting
Jaime Jaquez, 6'7, UCLA, consensus ranking: 31
Stats: 17.8 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, .6 blocks, 1.5 steals, 31.7% 3PT, 77% FT
Case for: gritty and tough, good defender, nose for the ball, rebounding always translate, free throw percentage gives some hope for his long-term shooting, another cliche but finds a way to make clutch / winning plays
Case against: three-point percentage is questionable, not a great athlete, will he be as impactful defensively against NBA athletes?
Julian Strawther, 6'7, Gonzaga, consensus ranking: 34
Stats: 15.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists, .4 blocks, .8 steals, 40.8% 3PT, 77.6% FT
Case for: can really shoot it, made a lot of clutch shots this year, seems ready to come in right away and space the floor, good rebounder
Case against: not a great athlete, seems slow, will he be able to defend at the NBA level?
Bilal Coulibaly, 6’6, Metropolitans 92, consensus ranking: 37
Stats: 11.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, .6 blocks, 1.6 steals, 35.4% 3PT, 72.5% FT
Case for: young and appears to have lots of untapped potential, good length, good athleticism, shows flashes of three-level scoring, pretty good feel despite lacking some polish overall, because he took a backseat to Wembanyama this year perhaps he has more to his game than he could show, projects as a high-caliber defender
Case against: young and might take some time to reach that potential, hasn’t played against much high-level competition compared to someone like his compatriot Cissoko,
Julian Phillips, 6’7, Tennessee, consensus ranking: 40
Stats: 8.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 1.4 assists, .5 blocks, .6 steals, 23.9% 3PT, 82.2% FT
Case for: was an elite recruit for a reason presumably, free-throw shooting hints at long-term shooting potential, good athlete
Case against: was not able to really make an impact at the college level, didn’t earn the trust of his college coach, needs time to develop
My personal favorites from this group are Maxwell Lewis, Colby Jones, Kris Murray, Bilal Coulibaly, and Jaime Jaquez.