By Keyan Kramer
We’re not far away from finding out where some of the finest young players will be going when they hit the scene at this year’s NBA Draft. It’s an exciting time for not only the players but fans and associations alike.
I’ve investigated this years college and international crop and taken a closer look at some of these prospects to make The Jumper Network’s very first comprehensive NBA Draft 2019’s Top 10 Draft guide.
10.Mfiondu Kabengele (PF/C – Florida State)
If you’re after a strong PF/C then Kabengele is your man! He’s coming into the Draft with a lot of hype due to his skillset and his length. Drafting Kabengele will give any NBA team a high caliber talent at the Centre position.
Kabengele might need some guidance during the offseason to further improve his abilities. Luckily for him, he might just have someone that he is very close to that can show him a thing or two during the offseason to improve on his abilities. That person is none other than Dikembe Mutombo sound. For those under a rock, Mutombo was maybe one of the finest C’s the NBA has ever seen.
Mutombo is the brother of Kabengele’s mother, so it would seem to me that height and explosive prowess is in his DNA. I’m sure uncle Mutombo will teach Kabengele a thing or two…
With the NBA around the corner, Kabangele will gift teams with consistent shot making abilities, blocking shots and being an all-round hard-working centre.
It would seem as though Kabangele doesn’t have a massive amount of weaknesses but if there is one, it would be due to the fact he doesn’t have amazing vision as a centre and in this day and age in the NBA you need to have eyes on the back of your head to make the right decisions.
9. Bruno Fernando (C – Maryland)
Maryland have nurtured several college players in the past who have gone on to bigger and better things and Fernando isn’t an exception to that rule. Another centre who can almost do it all, he certainly is someone who will have a very long career in the league.
His ability to run and jump and finish explosively at the hoop is exactly what makes him so alluring and will also make him a headache for opposing teams. He has a strong presence inside the key and with a soft touch around the basket as well, it would seem as though he is a complete package. Once he puts on a bit of size, he’ll be extremely hard to stop.
His only weakness stems from a lack of confidence to take on defenders, which could present a struggle for Fernando at the start of his career.
8.Cameron Reddish (SF – Duke)
It seems as though Duke could do wrong during last season’s NCAA season until they crashed out of their March Madness campaign.
Was it expected? Probably not, but when you have three superstars on one team, with all of them looking to get a place in the Draft Lottery then maybe it was on the cards. After all, it’s extremely hard to get things going when you have individual talent that are all so good.
In this case, I’m going to highlight Cameron Reddish. He’s a small forward with a lot to prove and whoever picks him up will be extremely fortunate.
Reddish is 6’8 with athleticism that has to be seen to be believed. He is flexible when it comes to positions because he has amazing control on the ball and has the ability to shoot the ball at a high percentage.
His weakness is that he is inconsistent and was sometimes forgotten in the Duke team due to playing with Barrett and Williamson. However he is unlikely to play with either in the NBA so there’s a chance that he’ll be able to come out of his shell more and prove his worth. Once he believes in his ability, he’ll be a player to be reckoned with.
7. Nassir Little (SF – North Carolina)
North Carolina has always succeeded under the guidance of Roy Williams and Little was one of the shining lights for UNC in his short stint there. It won’t come as a surprise to many to see that what he brought to the basketball courts in the NCAA will be easily replicated on the NBA courts.
How do I know? Well, when you have a look at his numbers and his stats, it’s bleeding obvious. He played a lot of his minutes behind Cameron Johnson, but having his physical stature and his vast abilities makes him one of the hot prospects in the draft.
Little is a small forward so he’ll be up against some of the best players in the NBA, but when you look at his physical attributes, there’s no doubting he can match with them in size. What will be a determining factor for Little is whether or not he can work on his skills and become a reliable asset to teams in the league.
6. Darius Garland (PG – Vanderbilt)
I’m not the one to harp on about point guards in the draft, just because it takes a lot for me to be convinced most college players have what it takes to be an effective rookie point guard in the NBA. In the case of Garland, I’m adamant he has the right mindset to cause a bit of trouble against many teams in the NBA.
This Vanderbilt product has vision, explosive speed and makes the right plays. One of the biggest attributes for any point guard in the NBA is their ability to create shots for themselves and Garland has that in his arsenal.
Phoenix seems like a suitable fit for Garland because he’ll be thrown in the deep end early on in his career. Although he is weak in stature and needs to bulk up, there’s no doubting that with time he’ll be able to do that. Getting the best out of him daily will be the coach’s responsibility, it’s just whether or not he’s willing to put in the work to get a bit more meat on his body.
5. DeAndre Hunter (SF – Virginia)
How good is versatility in the NBA? I think we might have found someone with enough talent to be pursued by almost every team in the league.
You could argue Hunter was Virginia’s best last season in the NCAA and when I’ve got someone in my rankings as high as five, you better be sure he’s the real deal.
Hunter has amazing footwork for a SF/PF type of player to the point where I would argue that he has some attributes that Zion Williamson doesn’t have. While yes, Williamson in an elite package, Hunter has the ability to guard any position and that will prove to be valuable for any team that picks him up.
Hunter can shoot the three, but it’s his wingspan which is the most impressive thing about him. His position remains unclear, but it’s how coaches will choose to use him that will be the most intriguing factor. I think we’ll have to stay posted in regard to where he might find his feet. Needless to say, Hunter has a bright future in the NBA.
4. Coby White (PG – North Carolina)
A deluxe combo guard who is explosive off his initial step and can score when he feels like it. White would be a decent addition to most teams, but in particular the Cleveland Cavaliers. The ‘Cavs’ are desperate for any bit of help they can get and with this North Carolina dynamo, they may be in for a treat if they select him.
White is high up the pecking order in my list because he has all the attributes to make some noise when he hits the scene in the NBA. Sometimes White’s quickness lets him down because he plays quicker than his brain can react to situations, a bit like rookie De’Aaron Fox. While he may look like he is chaotic on the court, it’s not always the case. Whichever coach gets him to lead their charge, White will be the perfect addition. He needs to learn to settle at times and be the controller on a team, but there’s no doubting that’ll come.
3. RJ Barrett (SF – Duke)
This Canadian is by far and away one of the brightest prospects we’ve seen hit the draft and there’s really no surprise that he features in my top three. Barrett has an arsenal that so many players his age wished they had, from a complete shooter, driver and a strong defender, what can’t he do? His energy as a shooting guard is electric and with that comes motivation. Throughout his college career he never looked disheartened or disinterested. Barrett kept playing and you could tell that his teammates fed off his enthusiasm.
Barrett has very few weaknesses but if there was one in particular, it would be due to the fact that sometimes he wants to do it all himself on the court and he’ll make a few errors along the way. Is it a bad thing that his passion lets him down sometimes? I would think not. Coaches will be very fortunate to work alongside him because the sky is certainly the limit for this Duke prospect.
2. Ja Morant (PG – Murray State)
The ability to adapt to what’s around you on the court is one of the hardest things to do in the game of basketball, but not in Morant’s case. He has the capabilities to lead people around the court and take over the game if need be. It’s a certain skill set that not a lot of players can say that they have. His shooting effiency is of a high percentage and if he can’t shoot the ball, he can blast past defenders and finish at the hoop.
Morant will struggle with his size if he can’t develop a three point shot and that’s what will distinguish him from the rest of the playing field as he finds his feet. He has no issue inside the three point line but outside the line in an NBA game might be difficult unless hehe bulks up and puts more weight on. Once he does that, then he’ll be able to play to his preferred style and light up each match he plays in.
1. Zion Williamson (F – Duke)
The teenage sensation only needed one year in the NCAA to prove his worth and you could argue his season was the most exciting one yet!
He proved to every basketball fan and scout in the country that he is the real deal. There is absolutely nothing he can’t do on the court, with his long wingspan and ability to block shots, he’s extremely scary on the defensive front. But what’s even more impressive is that for his size and stature he is arguably more athletic than anyone his age.
Williamson is in for one hell of a career and by the looks of things the New Orleans Pelicans will sign him up (hopefully long term for Pelicans fans). If he heads there, you can already assume that he will become a marquee player for a team that needs a bit of spark with Anthony Davis leaving.
If you question why he is my number one pick in this year’s draft, you’ll only need a few games to see why! I can’t wait to see what Williamson can do on the NBA courts.