Top 50 NBA Prospects in the World
Like almost everything else, the coronavirus pandemic changed the NBA's 2020 plans. Yet one thing remains untouched in this era of wide-open spaces and the almighty 3-pointer — the types of players that are in demand around the league.
The top of the want list can be divided into two groups: 1. distance shooters, especially ones who can create off the dribble, and 2. athletic types with the size and length to play multiple positions. If a candidate doesn’t offer one or the other, it will be a little tougher to break into the league.
There are no slam dunk franchise players on the immediate horizon, but there are plenty of rotation players with upside. Some of them could have nice pro careers or even be stars. Here are the top 50 NBA prospects in the world.
50. Terrence Shannon
School: Texas Tech
Height/weight: 6-foot-6, 210 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 9.8 points/4.1 rebounds/1.0 assists
Bottom Line: Terrence Shannon
Is it prudent to take a physical presence who attempted a total of 200 shots at the college level? If this swingman returns to Lubbock, Tex., that question will be a moot point.
Otherwise, a playoff-caliber team could gamble that his offensive game will develop at some point down the road.
49. Payton Pritchard
School: Oregon State
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 180 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 20.5/4.3/5.5
Bottom Line: Payton Pritchard
He’s 22 years old and played four seasons of college ball. Geez, what’s wrong with this guy? Well, there’s plenty right, too.
He could be another Scott Skiles type — a pit bull who can shoot the ball or pass it and knows how to win.
Hey, Skiles lasted 10 NBA seasons, you know.
48. Skylar Mays
School: Louisiana State
Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 200 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 16.7/5.0/3.2
Bottom Line: Skylar Mays
Skylar Mays doesn’t wow anyone with his athleticism, but he has size and is well-schooled in the fundamentals.
He could develop into a solid player at the next level.
47. Jared Butler
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 16.0/3.2/3.1
Bottom Line: Jared Butler
This 6-foot-3 combo guard was among the biggest losers in the aborted NCAA tournament in that he could have improved his stock considerably there.
The fact remains that he was the top scorer and No. 2 playmaker with one of the best teams in the country.
There’s a legit question as to whether he’ll be a tweener at the pro level, but there should be none about his ability to shoot the rock.
46. Kaleb Wesson
School: Ohio State
Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 270 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 14.0/9.3/1.9
Bottom Line: Kaleb Wesson
While not overly athletic, this 21-year-old plays smart and tough in the post area.
He also can step out to the 3-point line, which puts him in some pretty exclusive company at the position.
A weight problem earlier in his college career could give pause to some talent evaluators.
45. Paul Reed
Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 215 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 15.1/10.7/1.6
Bottom Line: Paul Reed
Paul Reed has a 7-foot-plus wingspan and is a great defender. He averaged 2.6 blocked shots and 1.9 steals per game in the 2019-20 season.
His offensive game is a bit limited, but it’s certainly not hopeless.
The kid is underrated and could help a lot of teams.
44. Udoka Azubuike
Height/weight: 6-foot-11, 275 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 13.7/10.5/0.9
Bottom Line: Udoka Azubuike
Right place, wrong time. It wasn’t long ago when his size and length would have made him a first-round selection.
But Udoka Azubuike doesn’t move well enough to defend in space to be considered a can't-miss future pro.
His potential as a defensive anchor cannot be dismissed, though.
43. Daniel Oturu
Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 240 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 20.1/11.3/1.1
Bottom Line: Daniel Oturu
This fast-riser moved up the charts in a super sophomore season. Now how high is up?
To dominate Big Ten bigs with size and strength is one thing, but to do it against taller, more talented competition is another.
Nonetheless, Daniel Oturu may have value as a complementary piece off the bench.
42. Ashton Hagans
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 198 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 11.5/3.9/6.4
Bottom Line: Ashton Hagans
Ashton Hagans can find the open man, plays dogged defense and is deadly at the free-throw line. He also lacks confidence as a scorer.
Will his shaky jump shot improve in time? His hoops future could depend on it.
41. Grant Riller
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 21.9/5.1/3.9
Bottom Line: Grant Riller
Upside is the magic word in NBA circles, so Grant Riller's age (23) works against him in that regard.
What he does have is a solid four-season resume, proven shotmaker ability, above-average athleticism and a high compete level.
Any team in need of instant offense off the bench will want to look his way.
40. Robert Woodard
School: Mississippi State
Height/Weight: 6-foot-7, 235 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 11.4/6.5/1.3
Bottom Line: Robert Woodard
Robert Woodard is long and strong. He also shot 43 percent from beyond the arc albeit in limited chances in the 2019-20 season.
The question marks: 1. Does he have the size to play power forward, and 2. will he be consistent enough to hold a spot in the rotation?
We shall see.
39. Corey Kispert
Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 220 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 13.9/4.0/2.1
Bottom Line: Corey Kispert
Corey Kispert lacks ideal athleticism, but there’s something to be said for a flat-liner who can offer something at both ends. Namely, size, smarts and a sure shot.
He could become the kind dependable, cost-effective role player that teams need on a roster.
38. Xavier Tillman
School: Michigan State
Height/weight: 6-foot-8, 245 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 13.7/10.3/3.0
Bottom Line: Xavier Tillman
Need a big to step in right away? This could be your guy.
Xavier Tillman rebounds, plays functional defense and even sticks a midrange shot on occasion.
The weird thing is, his game may be a bit too polished to the extent that some teams believe he’s a finished product already.
37. Malachi Flynn
Schools: Washington State and San Diego State
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 17.6/4.5/5.1
Bottom Line: Malachi Flynn
Here’s another player who could have used the NCAAs to convince the doubters.
A lack of elite athleticism limits his potential, but he can score the ball as well as distribute it, especially off the dribble.
His physical toughness and feel for the game give him a puncher’s chance at the next level.
36. Zeke Nnaji
Height/weight: 6-foot-11, 240 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 16.1/8.6/0.8
Bottom Line: Zeke Nnaji
There’s something to be said for a big who’s lethal anywhere within 15 feet.
This one also hits the boards with a purpose, which makes for easy points on stick-backs.
Zek Nnaji is limited at the defensive end, though, and that figures to knock him down a few pegs.
35. Jalen Smith
Height/weight: 6-foot-10, 225 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 15.5/10.5/0.8
Bottom Line: Jalen Smith
True, this fast-riser is a 20-year-old project, but he’s a 6-foot-10 project who can knock down jump shots away from the basket.
While questions persist about Jalen Smith's mobility and physicality at the next level, he has been a capable rebounder and rim protector.
And he had a solid sophomore season.
34. Tyrell Terry
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 160 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 14.6/4.5/3.2
Bottom Line: Tyrell Terry
If the ability to score and move the ball means anything, then this kid has a bright future.
Problem is, he’s Snoop Dogg skinny, which leaves him highly vulnerable at the other end.
Four words — rich, creamy, malted milkshakes.
33. Isaiah Joe
Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 180 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 16.9/4.1/1.7
Bottom Line: Isaiah Joe
Could be that this 21-year-old is ranked a bit too high here. We're partial to big shooters, though, and few if any college players stroke it better than this Isaiah Joe.
His 3-point percentage dipped in the 2019-20 season, partly because of some health issues. At the same time, his physical strength improved noticeably, which resulted in an uptick at the defensive end.
32. Devon Dotson
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 185 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 18.1/4.1/4.0
Bottom Line: Devon Dotson
Devon Dotson's 31 percent rate from 3-point land last season is a concern, but the Chicago kid is quicker than an oil spill and can finish in the paint.
Still, Kansas doesn't have a great track record of producing solid NBA players, so some teams are hesitant to add them to the mix.
31. Tre Jones
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 183 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 16.2/4.2/6.4
Bottom Line: Tre Jones
The Dukies weren’t their usual uber-talented selves in the 2019-20 season, but their floor leader had a knack to make those around him better.
Many scouts believe his intangibles will translate at the next level albeit in a reserve role.
Now if he only had a more consistent jump shot.
30. Tyler Bey
Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 215 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 13.8/9.0/1.5
Bottom Line: Tyler Bey
Tyler Bey has an NBA body and impressive ups. Check out that rebound number.
If his shot percentages are close to what they were in limited opportunities in the 2019-20 season — 42 from 3-point land, 53 overall — then he may be a keeper even without a true position.
Hey, it’s 2020, people.
29. Leandro Balmaro
Team: Barcelona (Spain)
Height/Weight: 6-foot-7, 180 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 5.5/1.3/1.8
Bottom Line: Leandro Balmaro
His size, vision and creativeness put him in the upper echelon of point guard prospects.
His jump shot needs some work, but it’s much too early to write off, especially given his other assets.
A team might want to have the 20-year-old continue playing overseas to grow for a season or two.
28. Kira Lewis
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 165 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 19.6/5.1/5.6
Bottom Line: Kira Lewis
This 19-year-old reminds us of a taller Darren Collison — an ultra-light, super-quick combo guard who can score off the dribble or at the perimeter.
His game continues to progress, which bodes well for his future.
27. Cassius Stanley
Height/weight: 6-foot-6, 195 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 12.6/4.9/1.0
Bottom Line: Cassius Stanley
Cassius Stanley is an upper-level athlete. More like a 21-year-old freak of nature.
He plays with a high motor that masks some obvious weaknesses.
Will the rest of his game catch up to his physical talents eventually?
26. Aleksej Pokusevski
Team: Olympiacos (Greece)
Height/weight: 7-foot-0, 220 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 0.0/0.0/0.0
Bottom Line: Aleksej Pokusevski
Aleksej Pokusevski is highly skilled, but the 18-year-old beanpole remains one of basketball's great mysteries. He has played five minutes in the Euroleague the last two years. So let’s ask Aleksej, shall we?
Aleksej, will you be able to endure the NBA grind? Maybe, for sure.
Aleksej, what will be your best position? Yes, I always give my best.
Aleksej, where should you be drafted? Yes, definitely.
25. Cassius Winston
School: Michigan State
Height/weight: 6-foot-1, 185 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 18.6/2.5/5.9
Bottom Line: Cassius Winston
Despite the death of his brother, Cassius Winston put up numbers that were comparable to those in his breakthrough junior season.
While he can run an offense and shoot for distance, defense and durability remain question marks.
He is one of the rare college players these days who stays in school for four years, and that could serve him well at the next level.
24. Vernon Carey
Height/weight: 6-foot-10, 275 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 17.8/8.8/1.0
Bottom Line: Vernon Carey
Vernon Corey was a man among boys at the college level, where his size and strength dominated in the paint area.
Yet he won’t be able to bully opponents in the pros. There’s also a question whether he’ll be able to defend in space.
Still, it’s difficult to overlook somebody this young and physically gifted.
23. Jahmi'us Ramsey
School: Texas Tech
Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 195 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 15.0/4.0/2.2
Bottom Line: Jahmi'us Ramsey
Jahmi'us Ramsey offers size and length, and his jump shot is money, especially on pull-up opportunities. At the same time, he’s no threat off the dribble and doesn’t create much for others.
There’s such a premium on distance shooters that, if he can come close to his 43 percent rate on 3-pointers in the 2019-20 season, there will be a place for him somewhere.
22. Josh Green
Height/weight: 6-foot-6, 206 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 12.0/4.6/2.6
Bottom Line: Josh Green
His length, athleticism and energy level make him an ideal wingman in an up-tempo offense.
If his ball skills and jump shot ever catch up to his physical attributes, it’s easy to envision the Aussie as a rotation player at some point.
He's young and still growing.
21. Aaron Nesmith
Height/weight: 6-foot-6, 213 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 23.0/4.9/0.9
Bottom Line: Aaron Nesmith
If not for a fractured right foot that limited Aaron Nesmith to 14 games in the 2019-20 season, this swingman could be headed to lotto land.
But his impressive length and strength, along with his ability to stroke it with confidence whether open or with a hand in his grill, overshadow any warts. Prior to the injury, he shot an absurd 53 percent in 115 attempts from beyond the arc.
On the assumption that his medicals check out, he has the potential to become a rotation player before long.
20. Patrick Williams
School: Florida State
Height/weight: 6-foot-8, 225 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 9.2/4.0/1.0
Bottom Line: Patrick Williams
The kid is only 19 years old, but there’s a lot to work with here.
Patrick Williams can play any of three positions, possesses a sneaky-good offensive game, participates on defense and continues to grow.
His best path forward is if he can catch on with a stable team that can afford to be patient.
19. Nico Mannion
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 180 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 14.0/2.5/5.3
Bottom Line: Nico Mannion
Nico Mannion scores high as a ballhandler and distributor. His feel for the game is well ahead of the curve.
So stop us if you’ve heard this before — will he finish off the drive and deliver at the perimeter well enough to become more than a backup in the pros?
We shall see.
18. Devin Vassell
School: Florida State
Height/weight: 6-foot-7, 194 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 12.7/5.1/1.6
Bottom Line: Devin Vassell
This all-around talent solidified his status as a player to watch with a solid, if not spectacular, sophomore season.
He has some rough edges to be sure, particularly with the ball, but there’s time to smooth them.
At the very least, he could contribute as a defender and spot-up shooter off the bench.
17. Theo Maledon
Team: ASVEL (France)
Height/weight: 6-foot-4, 174 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 7.9/1.9/2.5
Bottom Line: Theo Maledon
A myriad of health problems did him no favors in the 2020 season. Still, NBA talent evaluators like to think big picture, and some see an athletic combo guard with upside here.
He’s an 87 percenter at the free-throw line the last two seasons.
The hope is that his perimeter shot will follow eventually.
16. R.J. Hampton
Team: New Zealand Breakers (New Zealand)
Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 185 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 8.8/3.9/2.4
Bottom Line: R.J. Hampton
After Shawn Marion convinced this 19-year-old to play Down Under, a hip issue left more questions than answers.
The former five-star prep offers size, an advanced floor game and room to grow.
That's good news for him and his next employer.
15. Jaden McDaniels
Height/weight: 6-foot-10, 185 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 13.0/5.8/2.1
Bottom Line: Jaden McDaniels
Sure, Jaden McDaniels is an enigma, but he’s the best kind of enigma — a multi-skilled athlete with a 7-foot-7 wing span and plenty of upside.
The kid converted only 40 percent of his field goal tries in his freshman season, but the fact that he hit a semi-respectable 34 percent from beyond the arc and 76 percent at the charity stripe gives hope for the future.
Now about those five technical fouls.
14. Precious Achiuwa
Height/weight: 6-foot-8, 210 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 15.8/10.8/1.0
Bottom Line: Precious Achiuwa
On athleticism alone, Precious Achiuwa is NBA talent.
The 21-year-old more than held his own near the basket at both ends in the 2019-20 season, which suggests that he’s best suited for the center position. Except that his frequent forays away from the bucket say his heart is somewhere else.
Might be best for some team to take those physical tools, and let the rest sort itself out later.
13. Saddiq Bey
Height/weight: 6-foot-8, 215 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 13.8/9.0/1.5
Bottom Line: Saddiq Bey
This combo forward checks a lot of boxes out of the gate — size, strength, versatility, 3-point range.
His handle and boardwork need to improve, but Saddiq Bey isn’t allergic to hard work.
His Villanova pedigree won’t hurt him, either.
12. Cole Anthony
School: North Carolina
Height/weight: 6-foot-3, 185 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 18.5/5.7/4.0
Bottom Line: Cole Anthony
Cole Anthony was the No. 2 scorer in the Atlantic Coast Conference despite a right meniscus injury in the 2019-20 season. He’s more about volume than efficiency, though.
Some also question his ability to raise the floor around him, although in fairness, the most recent Tar Heels team was the least talented in years.
Could be there’s nothing with the kid that a new challenge wouldn’t make better.
11. Isaiah Stewart
Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 250 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 17.0/8.8/0.8
Bottom Line: Isaiah Stewart
How high will a team jump for an old-school big? This one is long, strong and mean on the backboards.
He also lacks the ups and mobility that’s in demand nowadays.
If Isaiah Stewart develops a post move and midrange jump shot, he's got a chance.
10. James Wiseman
Height/weight: 7-foot-1, 245 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 19.7/10.7/0.3
Bottom Line: James Wiseman
Even though James Wiseman is far and away the best pure center available in 2020, he's not guaranteed anything. Fact is, pivotmen aren’t in great demand in the No Bigs Allowed these days.
What’s more, Wiseman left school only three games into the 2019-20 season, which left questions about his primitive offensive game.
Even so, there’s a lot of upside here as a rebounder and rim protector to consider.
9. Onyeka Okongwu
School: Southern California
Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 245 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 16.2/8.6/1.1
Bottom Line: Onyeka Okongwu
If Onyeka Okongwu were a bit taller, his name would be in conversations about the No. 1 pick. As it stands, he’s the quintessential high-floor, low-ceiling prospect.
Will he continue to dominate close to the bucket? Or is he destined to fall short in the pros?
Either way, he’ll pique the interest of some team and could make a splash in the league.
8. Tyrese Maxey
Height/weight: 6-foot-2, 190 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 14.0/4.3/3.2
Bottom Line: Tyrese Maxey
Tyrese Maxey's strength, athleticism and ability to create for himself sets himself apart from a lot of backcourt players. That and a passion for defense.
He didn’t shoot well at the perimeter in the 2019-20 season, but he was an 83 percenter at the free-throw line, so that could change in time.
Add it all up, and Maxey could be another Kentucky Wildcat alumni with a nice NBA career.
7. Killian Hayes
Team: Ulm (Germany)
Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 176 pounds
2019-20 statistics: 12.8/2.3/6.2
Bottom Line: Killian Hayes
At 19, Killian Hayes offers size and toughness and advanced point guard skills. Indeed, there may be no better passer in the 2020 NBA draft pool. He also packs a jump shot and breaks a sweat at the other end.
Yet his early success has had more to do with know-how than athleticism. How will that translate against better competition?
To judge by his recent play, the answer is quite well.
6. Deni Avdija
Team: Maccabi Tel Aviv (Israel)
Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 215 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 4.0/2.6/1.2
Bottom Line: Deni Avdija
Deni Avdija has NBA talent evaluators licking their chops because of his size, smarts and skillset. But the 19-year-old from Israel is not without some risk.
For one, his lack of physicality will make him a target at the defensive end. He also needs to produce more from beyond the arc.
Then again, the kid has too much talent to write off just yet.
5. Obi Toppin
Height/weight: 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 20.0/7.5/2.2
Bottom Line: Obi Toppin
It wasn’t until that insane between-the-legs dunk late last season that many took the Atlantic-10 Conference Player of the Year seriously as a lotto pick. Where have you been, people?
Obi Toppin is the rare stretch four who can score inside and out. Think Zion Williamson without the baby fat.
While advanced age (22) and faulty footwork/lack of defensive awareness might conspire against Toppin, he’s one of the few prospects who could make an immediate impact.
4. Tyrese Haliburton
School: Iowa State
Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 172 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 15.2/5.9/6.5
Bottom Line: Tyrese Haliburton
A fractured left wrist cut short his sophomore season, but Tyrese Haliburton did enough to maintain his lofty status.
As a highly gifted ballhandler and distributor, he’s capable of a seamless transition to the next level. He also can hit the open shot.
If he becomes a bit more selfish to create for himself off the dribble, then watch out, kids.
3. Isaac Okoro
Height/weight: 6-foot-6, 225 pounds
2019-20 statistics/game: 12.9/4.4/2.0
Bottom Line: Isaac Okoro
He plays hard and smart at both ends. He also has big-play capabilities. In short, the Isaac Okoro has the look of a winner.
But those are intangibles mostly, and how does one measure them exactly?
If the kid becomes even an average shooter — and there are hints he will be — Okoro could help a team. Even if it’s off the bench.
2. LaMelo Ball
Team: Illawarra Hawks (New Zealand)
Height/weight: 6-6, 165
2019-20 statistics: 17.0/7.6/6.8
Bottom Line: LaMelo Ball
This 19-year-old package of flash and dash resembles Magic Johnson except for one notable exception: LaMelo Ball has no history of team success. OK, two exceptions — Lavar Ball is his father. (Insert bug-eyed emoji here.)
The stats sheet-stuffer can run the show and do it with flair even if he does consider defense to be optional.
In the end, LaMelo might have the best career of anyone in the Ball family.
1. Anthony Edwards
Height/weight: 6-foot-5, 225 pounds
2019-20 statistics: 19.1/5.2/2.8
Bottom Line: Anthony Edwards
This 19-year-old gets the top spot for this reason: He has loads of upside as a robust wing scorer, a quality that’s in great demand around the NBA.
Sure, he’s prone to ill-advised shots and hero ball, but his athleticism and shotmaker ability pack All-Star potential. Zach LaVine 2.0, anyone?
What’s more, Anthony Edwards is low-maintenance and comes from a solid background.