Category Archives: Articles

2022 NBA Draft Recap: Picks 1-58

Round 1 TeamPosition/School‘Nasty’ Take:
1. Paolo BancheroOrlando MagicPF-DukeBanchero’s skill at opening the floor for others and his frame suggest he’ll more than an able complement for current Magic youngsters Wendell Carter and Franz Wagner. The team has a young stable that could take incremental steps with his addition to the lineup.
2. Chet HolmgrenOklahoma City ThunderSF-GonzagaA player capable of defending multiple positions with a 7’6” wingspan, Holmgren can extend the floor with range. In addition, his confidence is on
another level.
3. Jabari SmithHouston RocketsPF-AuburnHis father played in the NBA for a brief period and Smith can stroke the ball from beyond the arc. As he continues to grow into his frame, he will be a tough matchup when defenses switch on
to him with smaller personnel.
4. Keegan MurraySacramento KingsSF-IowaA ready-made NBA prospect with scoring tools and a disciplined approach, Murray was one of the NCAA’s most consistent players this past season.
5. Jaden IveyDetroit PistonsSG-PurdueHis mother coached Ja Morant and currently coaches at Purdue (women’s head basketball coach). Ivey’s floor speed is in the same area code. Along with the skill to play off the ball, he can also give Cade Cunningham more opportunities to play off the ball.
The Pistons are slowly building a winner in Motown.
6. Benedict MathurinIndiana PacersSG/SF-ArizonaThe Pac-12 Player of the Year can speak multiple languages and win cutting to the basket. His leaping
ability makes him a versatile wing who
7. Shaedon SharpePortland TrailblazersSG-KentuckyThe former No. 1 recruit in the ESPN100
reclassified after averaging nearly 23 points per game in the 2021 Nike EBYL circuit. He didn’t play at Kentucky while redshirting. Sharpe contains nearly a 7-foot wingspan and opens up the floor along while slashing effortlessly. He just never played in college.
8. Dyson DanielsNew Orleans PelicansSG/SF-NBA G
League Ignite
He played with Josh Giddey before making making the G League his home. Daniels averaged 12 points per game and led the NBA G League Ignite in assists, but the rebounding may have been just as impressive. He finishes with a smooth approach but his defense is why he went in the Top 10. He is the third first round pick from the NBA G League Ignite, following Jalen Green and 2022 NBA Champion Jonathan Kuminga.
9. Jeremy SochanSan Antonio SpursSF/PF-BaylorThe 2021-22 Big 12’s Sixth Man of the Year averaged over six rebounds per game and the ninth overall pick also put up over nine points per game. Just the second Baylor freshman selected, the former Bear was long on the defensive end. He can even handle the ball and run an offense as a point forward if needed.
10. Johnny DavisWashington WizardsG-WisconsinHe didn’t come out of high school as a five-star recruit, but the 2021-22 Big Ten Player of the Year averaged nearly 20 points per game and eight rebounds this past season. His frame allowed him to win down on the block or when slashing to the basket with quick pull-up jumpers.
The long range shooting can stand to improve as he moves forward.
11. Ousmane DiengNew York Knicks (Traded to Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for multiple first round picks)F-France (Insep Academy)The team needed a playmaking guard but they settled for another three-and-D prospect. He played for the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian NBL and averaged nearly nine points per game against older personnel. Over the second half of the season, he put up nine double digit games
12. Jalen WilliamsOklahoma City ThunderG-Santa ClaraWilliams shot over 50-percent from the field and became the first Santa Clara selection in the first round since 1996. He routinely excels in the screen game and his length becomes an additional advantage when working through traffic.
13. Jalen DurenCharlotte Hornets (pick made for Detroit Pistons) The Pistons sent their 2025 first found pick (picked up from Portland in the Jerami Grant trade) to Charlotte for the rights Duren. Art VellumC-MemphisDuren came into college with an NBA-ready frame and 7’5” wingspan. This despite reclassifying along the way. His game came along this past season as the year went along, posting four double-doubles in his last seven games.
The All-AAC Tournament performer earned 1st Team All-AAC honors and was named the AAC Freshman of the Year.
14. Ochai AgbajiCleveland CavaliersG-KansasBoth of his parents played at Wisconsin-Milwaukee and he finished this past year as the NCAA’s Final Four Most Outstanding Player. The former Jayhawk improved three percentage points every single season from beyond the arc. It resulted in him becoming the final lottery selection of the 2022 NBA Draft.
15. Mark WilliamsCharlotte HornetsC-DukeIt is all about shot blocking for the Williams family, as his sister, Elizabeth, plays for the Washington Mystics. His 9’9” standing reach resulted in nearly three blocks per game in 2021-22. Williams rebounds on the offensive end and shot both over 70-percent from the field and from the free throw line. Not bad for a 7-foot-2, 242- pounder.
16. AJ GriffinAtlanta HawksF-DukeGriffin averaged nearly 11 points per game this past season after initially being a five-star prospect. He exhibited accuracy from beyond the arc and his 27-point performance against North Carolina was arguably the best
game of his career.
17. Tari EasonHouston RocketsSF-LSU, CincinnatiThe SEC’s Sixth Man of the Year averaged nearly 17 points per game in 2021-22. His 7-
foot-1-inch wingspan was particularly useful on the defensive end, as he averaged nearly two steals per game. The former Bearcat got the most out of his 24 minutes per game.
18. Dalen TerryChicago BullsG-ArizonaThe 2021-22 All-
Pac-12 defender contributes in a number of ways and becomes the Wildcats second first round pick for the fifth time in the modern draft era.
19. Jake LaRaviaMinnesota Timberwolves (draft rights traded to Memphis Grizzlies)F-Wake Forest, Indiana StateThe former Indiana State transfer works well without the ball and can fill it up from beyond the three-point stripe. The second-team All-ACC forward’s versatility
extends to the defensive end.
20. Malaki BranhamSan Antonio SpursG-Ohio StateThe St. Vincent St. Mary’s product put up over 20 points per game late in the year over his last 10 games and shot nearly 60-percent from the field.
21. Christian BraunDenver NuggetsSG-KansasBraun was one of the key cogs in Kansas’ national championship run, but it came as little surprise to those that have followed his journey since his days playing for Mokan Elite AAU (Kansas). He will only have to hit
I-70-West to continue to play with the swag that made him a factor in Lawrence.
22. Walker KesslerMemphis Grizzlies (picked for Minnesota Timberwolves)C-AuburnKessler was one of the SEC’s best shot blockers for much of 2021-22 and his offensive game continues to develop nicely. He averaged 6.5
blocks per 36 minutes and finished with 155 blocks on his way to 2022 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year honors.
23. David RoddyPhiladelphia 76ers (for Memphis Grizzlies) after trading for DeAnthony MeltonPF-Colorado StateAt 261 pounds, Roddy has the bulk to make up for just a 6-foot-6-inch frame. The MWC Player of the Year can stroke it for a big man who reminds many of an NFL defensive end. He can put it on the floor, post up or
shoot it from beyond the arc.
24. MarJon BeauchampMilwaukee BucksG-NBA G League IgniteHe finished with three high-caliber games and averaged nearly 16 points and over six rebounds per game in the NBA G League. He played at three different high schools and went to a fourth high school in Arizona before ending up at Yakima Valley Community College. Then he signed on with the NBA’s G-League after being homeless for awhile. Big story for a player with big upside.
25. Blake WesleySan Antonio SpursG-Notre DameHis deep shooting prowess has been inconsistent, but the movement is in place to be a productive slasher and open floor
specialist.
26. Wendell Moore, Jr.Dallas MavericksSG-DukeMoore averaged 13.4 points per game and was a productive player in a number of manners for the Blue Devils. An excellent passer, Moore scores in transition and can win as a spot-up shooter. Solid
defender with positive size.
27. Nikola JovicMiami HeatSF-Mega MozartAfter moving to Serbia from England, Jovic put up nearly 12 points per game with Mega Mozzart in the Adriatic League a year ago. His eight-inch growth
spurt may have him prevented the former water polo star from staying in the sport, but he shot 36-percent from beyond the arc at the FIBA
U-19 just a year ago.
28. Patrick Baldwin, Jr.Golden State WarriorsSF-Wisconsin- MiwaukeeBaldwin’s load of talent never fully materialized despite playing with his father, but he was one of the top prospects coming out in the 2021 class. Can he ever develop into the prospect that he was supposed to represent at the next level? A subpar athletic showing at the NBA Combine left more questions than answers.
29. TyTyWashingtonMemphis Grizzlies (Proposed trade to Houston Rockets)SG-KentuckyWashington’s first-step quickness is supplemented as a streaky shooter with open court ability. The 14th-ranked prospect in the 2021 ESPN100 class, and he was named a second-team All-SEC selection as a freshman this past season. The 6-foot-4 guard shot high percentages in the mid-range game but was highly up-and-down for stages. His assist-to-turnover ratio, however, led the SEC.
30. Peyton WatsonOklahoma City Thunder (acquired from Denver Nuggets)G/SF-UCLAThe 6-foot-8 forward has plenty of length and a sneaky glide on the floor. He has upside as a defender. Will he ever become a knock down shooter at the next level? The final pick of the first round averaged
three points per game in 2021-22.
Round 2
31. Andrew NembhardIndiana PacersG-Florida, GonzagaThe Ontario native can run the floor and shows excellent vision in the open court. He anticipates potential screens and finds players in transition as a floor general. There was a chance he could have been selected a couple of picks earlier.
32. Caleb HoustonOrlando MagicSF-MichiganThe second of back-to-back- Ontario native selections, his shooting skills are the positive in his game. Does the first step translate to the next level and -if not- is there enough to win on
the defensive end?
33. Christian KolokoToronto RaptorsSF-ArizonaThe Cameroon native became the Pac-12’s Defensive Player of the Year after averaging nearly three blocks per game this past season. He guards multiple positions and should be able to slide in effortlessly within the team’s rotation as a rookie, mainly due to his skill at switching on the defensive end.
34. Jaylin WilliamsOklahoma City ThunderPF-ArkansasNot many players bring the type of size, timing and bulk to the defensive end that Williams does on a consistent basis.
His tenacity is supplemented by a 9’1” standing reach. Williams has shown good shooting form despite inconsistent results from the perimeter.
35. Max ChristieLA LakersPF-Michigan StateThe school’s first McDonald’s All-American since Jaren Jackson, Christie has the potential to get better as a shooter, but his upside makes this a value pick for the future. Perhaps he finds his way into the rotation as a surprise contributor
in Year 1.
36. Gabriele ProcidaPortland Trailblazers (picking for Detroit Pistons)SF-ItalyAt 6-foot-8, 190 pounds, Procida shows plenty of open court ability and gives the team a versatile player worth developing for a couple of more years overseas. This is a second-round pick that could pay dividends years down the road.
37. Jaden HardySacramento KingsG-NBA G League IgniteWill teams eventually regret passing on a player who was once ranked as the No. 2 prospect in the 2021 ESPN100?
This past season, he averaged 21.8 points per game in 2021-22 for the NBA G League Ignite. The fact that he didn’t score in an efficient manner hurt his standing, but he was worthy of a first-round pick.
38. Kennedy ChandlerSan Antonio Spurs (drafted for Memphis Grizzlies)G-TennesseeThere aren’t many players with more quickness, foot speed and overall elusiveness than Chandler. He picks up the pace whenever he’s on the floor and does so on both ends of the floor.
39. Khalifa DiopCleveland CavaliersC-SenegalHe has more than just an NBA body, it also translates to timing on the defensive end.
Diop’s NBA frame makes him more than capable of making an impact early in his career, but will he even be available in 2022-23?
40. Bryce McGowensMinnesota TimberwolvesG-NebraskaThe 6-foot-6-inch guard earned third-team All-Big Ten honors and scored in a number of ways for the Cornhuskers.
Once he gets to the foul line, he was nearly automatic. He is the second consecutive Cornhusker to get drafted in back-to-back seasons.
41. EJ LiddellNew Orleans PelicansPF-Ohio StateThere is an element of aggression that comes with the 2021-22 3rd Team All-American. With a 7-foot wingspan, Liddell offers a bigger frame than his 6-foot-7-inch frame would suggest. Liddell improved markedly from behind the arc in his third season on campus, shooting 37.4% from three-point range.
42. Trevor KeelsNew York KnicksSG-DukeKeels didn’t necessarily build on his hot start, which included a 25-point debut against Kentucky. The biggest improvements have to start at the free throw line and beyond the arc, but he’s a strong guard with an NBA body. His physicality translates to the NBA game.
43. Moussa DiabateLos Angeles ClippersSF-MichiganDiabate runs the floor and was one of the better athletes in this year’s class. At the NBA Combine, Diabate posted a 2.9-second NBA shuttle, which ranked as one of the Top 5 times at the event. A possible rim runner with shot blocking upside, the former Wolverine could become a keeper in LA.
44. Ryan RollinsAtlanta HawksSG-ToledoRollins averaged nearly 19 points per game in 2021-22 and earned 1st Team All-MAC honors. He put up 35 points vs.
Coastal Carolina in late November and that was one of 18 20-point games this past season. The long range shooting is still developing, but he is nearly automatic from the free throw line (80%).
45. Josh MinottCharlotte HornetsPF-MemphisThe 2022 All-AAC
Freshman fouled out of two of his first three games, but settled down to average six points per game with just over four rebounds per game. Can the range develop at the next level for the 6-foot-8 forward? If not, the ability to follow shots and become an energy player must be his forte’.
46. Ishmael KamagateDetroit Pistons (traded toC-FranceIn the French LNB, he averaged over six rebounds per game and may make his hay a couple of years from now. The former soccer player made a name for himself following at the rim. At 6-foot-11, 227 pounds, his body still has even more room to fill out.
47. Vince WilliamsMemphis GrizzliesSF-VCUA left-handed shooter who can block shots (32 in 2021-22), Williams also averaged nearly two steals per game this past season. Over the last two seasons, he shot 40-percent from beyond the
arc.
48. Kendall BrownMinnesota TimberwolvesPF-BaylorThe 6-foot-7-inch freshman flashes shooting into passing lanes and runs the floor with ease. Blessed with a 41-inch max vertical jump, Brown has an opportunity to develop over the course of the next few seasons.
49. Isaiah MobleyCleveland CavaliersPF-USCMobley follows his brother, Evan, to Cleveland and
-after averaging over 14 points in 2021-22- was
selected in the second round. The rebounding and passing skills complement scoring capability.
50. Matteo SpagnoloMinnesota TimberwolvesPG-ItalySpagnolo shot 44- percent from three-point range and excels as a pick-and-roll artist. The ball handling skills are in place and his age (19) ranks as a factor down the road. He went on to play at Vanoli Cremona after leaving Red Madrid B, and his efficiency improved despite playing less minutes per game.
51. Tyrese MartinGolden State Warriors (for Atlanta Hawks)SG-UConn, Rhode IslandThe 6-foot-6 guard shot 43% from three-point range this past season and averaged almost 14 points per game. Prior to arriving at UConn, Martin started 49 games for the Rams. The former Pennsylvania high school standout continued to get better.
52. Karlo MatkovicNew Orleans PelicansC-SerbiaYet another prospect from the Mega Mozzart (Serbia) squad, Matkovic averaged nearly 12 points per game. At 6-foot-11, he possesses impressive hand-eye coordination
and flexibility.
53. JD DavidsonBoston CelticsPG-AlabamaIf Davidson can improve his outside shooting then the athleticism (37” max vertical jump) could begin to fully be activated. In 2021-22, Davidson started just six games, but was named to the All-SEC Freshman Team after leading
the team in assists.
54. Yannick NzosaWashington WizardsC-CongoThis is a player who hasn’t played much in terms of extended minutes. At Liga ACB, he was a shot blocker but lost some of his thunder this past season due to a lower body injury.
As a result, his NBA Draft stock fell during the course of the year.
55. Gui SantosGolden State WarriorsSF-BrazilSantos has a 7-foot wingspan and both of his parents played basketball. Santos entered the 2021 NBA Draft, and was also a member of the Brazilian senior national team during that same year. He’s not at all adverse to handling the ball in transition.
56. Luke TraversCleveland CavaliersSF-AustraliaHe only averaged seven points per game this season, but Travers has experience at both small and power forward.
Getting stronger has been a focus and he may be a year or two away from starting his NBA journey.
57. Jabari WalkerPortland TrailblazersSF-ColoradoThe first-team All-Pac-12 player comes from NBA bloodlines (Samaki Walker) and led the conference in rebounding this past season. Walker also shot the ball better than expected from beyond the arc.
58. Hugo BessonIndiana PacersPG-FranceAt 180 pounds, Besson still needs to add weight but his vision is above average. The French native has a number of coaches and players in his family. He nearly entered the 2021 NBA Draft but decided to play with
the New Zealand Breakers.

Draft Night trades/transactions/notes:

•   Oklahoma City Thunder has gathered up to 27 first round picks through the next five years. 
•   The Oklahoma City Thunder traded the draft rights of Ousmane Dieng (11th overall pick) to the New York Knicks for multiple future first round picks. 
•   The Minnesota Timberwolves traded the draft rights of Jake LaRavis (19th overall pick) and a future second-round pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for the 22nd and 29th overall picks in the first round of the 2022 NBA Draft.  
•   Philadelphia 76ers traded the 23rd overall pick to the Memphis Grizzlies for the rights to DeAnthony Melton.  
•   The Charlotte Hornets trade the 13th overall pick (Jalen Duren) to the New York Knicks for a future first round pick and four conditional second round picks. 
•   The Philadelphia 76ers traded the draft rights to the No. 23 selection in the 2022 NBA Draft (David Roddy) and Danny Green in exchange for De'Anthony Melton in a trade with the Memphis Grizzlies. 
•   The Houston Rockets receive the 2022 1st Round pick (29th overall via Minnesota) and also Boban Marjanovic, Trey Burke, Marquese Chriss and Sterling Brown
•   The Dallas Mavericks receive Christian Wood and the Timberwolves receive the draft rights to the 26th overall pick, Wendell Moore, Jr. 
•   On June 14, Oklahoma City received JaMychal Green and a 2027 1st round pick from Denver Nuggets for the draft rights to 2022 1st round pick (30th overall) Peyton Watson and two future second-round picks.  
•   On Wednesday, June 22, the Portland Trail Blazers received Detroit Pistons F Jerami Grant and a 2022 2nd round pick (46th overall) in exchange for a 2022 second round pick (36th overall), a 2025 first-round pick via Milwaukee (Top 4 protected), two future second-round picks and they freed up $43 million in cap space.  

UPDATE: On July 1, 2022, the Minnesota Timberwolves traded Kessler, Patrick Beverly, Leandro Bolmaro, Jarred Vanderbilt and Malik BeasleyIn to the Utah Jazz along with four first round picks between 2023 and 2029 for Jazz center Rudy Gobert.

Jalen Johnson F-Duke: 2021 NBA Draft Preview (video)

Johnson, despite playing in just 13 games for the Blue Devils in 2020-21, remains a viable Top 15 prospect in the 2021 NBA Draft. The powerful 6-foot-9 forward has a diverse game that includes enough range, strength and open floor capability. The former Phenom U AAU

Jalen Johnson F-Duke, 2021 NBA Draft Preview
Former Duke forward Jalen Johnson (pictured in 2019 with the Phenom U AAU squad) put up 24 points, 16 rebounds, seven assists, four blocked shots and two steals versus Pittsburgh on January 19, 2021.

product made stops at three different high schools before settling at the IMG Academy, where he never actually played. Nevertheless, Johnson -a former five-star recruit, earned a Jordan Brand Classic invitation.

DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson discussed in detail about the struggles of programs like Duke in late February, and Johnson’s decision to leave the program in mid-February ranked near the top of the list for the Blue Devils.

In the 13 games in which Johnson did play for the team, he averaged over 11 points per game and snagged six rebounds per contest. Turnovers, however were an issue, as he posted six games with at least three.

His midseason departure has left many NBA scouts in disagreement on his final draft status. Will he continue the Blue Devils’ recent tradition of forwards going high in the first round or fall out of it altogether? We take a look back at Johnson during his AAU prep level playing days.

Cam Thomas SG-LSU: 2021 NBA Draft Preview (video)

LSU’s Cam Thomas ended this past season as the nation’s fourth-leading scorer at 23 points per game. He has a game that combines savvy and footwork, which often ended up with him at the free throw line. Thomas shot 88-percent from the line in 2020-21 for the Tigers and that total ranked 19th nationally. Of the Top 20 players nationally in terms of free throw percentage, Thomas led the group with 220 attempts (7.58 per game) in 29 contests.

The former Oak Hill Academy (Va.) star transferred from Oscar F. Smith HS (Va.) and played for the Boo Williams AAU squad in the Nike EBYL. During his 2019 Offensive Player of the Year performance in the EBYL, he averaged nearly 30 points per game.

Cam Thomas vs. Jonathan Kuminga-2021 NBA Draft Preview
Cam Thomas (pictured vs. NY Renaissance SF Jonathan Kuminga) led the 2019 Nike EBYL in points per game (29.5).

We go inside his matchup with potential lottery selection Jonathan Kuminga in our spotlight on the first-team All-SEC guard.

Isaiah Todd PF-NBA G League Ignite: Washington Wizards (traded by Milwaukee via Indiana), 2021 NBA Draft, 2nd Round, 31st overall

If you’re looking for someone to pull for in the 2021 NBA Draft, please stop at former NBA G League Ignite forward Isaiah Todd. His story is not one of redemption but it very well could be. Following a mother, Marlene Venable, who remarkably turned her life around, Todd has displayed a maturity well beyond his years.

Take this past season for instance, where despite starting just two games in the NBA’s G League (for the Ignite), he still managed to average over 12 points per game. The 6-foot-10-inch forward has a chance to develop into a legitimate contributor for the team and he will begin his journey this summer.

Isaiah Todd PF-Washington 2021 NBA Draft Recap
Todd, pictured, averaged nearly 13 points and five rebounds per game for the NBA G League Ignite in 2020-21. He became the first pick of the second round in the 2021 NBA Draft and was subsequently traded to the Washington Wizards (through Milwaukee via Indiana).

It would not have been a surprise to see Todd, who played with fourth overall pick Scottie Barnes on the Nightrydas Elite AAU squad back in 2019, also go in the first round of this year’s draft. He has an 8’11.5″ standing reach, runs the floor well and has potential as a long distance shooter. Despite just two starts for the NBA G League Ignite, he averaged over 12 points per game and shot an impressive 82.4% from the free throw line.

Can Mann end Florida’s NBA Draft hiatus (video)?

Mann, a former four-star recruit, took a huge leap from his freshman to sophomore season and earned first-team All-SEC honors from the league’s coaches. He improved his field goal percentage by nearly 10 percentage points (.356-to-.459), his three-point percentage by nearly 13 percentage points (.275-to-.402) and averaged nearly 15 more minutes per contest.

Not everyone was on board with his increased production, and the fact that the Gators have not had a player drafted since 2013, when the Chicago Bulls selected Erik Murphy in the second round, leaves some to wonder if Mann will sneak into the first round.

After measuring in at 6’4 (w/shoes) and 177 pounds during the 2021 NBA Combine, has Florida guard Tre Mann’s stock begun to fall?

The extra muscle he added during the 2020 offseason resulted in an increase of 2.7 rebounds per game as a sophomore. After the untimely loss of Keyontae Johnson early in the 2020-21 campaign due to a medical ailment, Mann stepped up to fill the scoring load with similar efficiency.

Mann has an outside chance of hearing his name called in the first round of the 2021 NBA Draft, but should definitely go at some point during the draft’s proceedings in late July.

Barnes adding to FSU’s “basketball” tradition (video)

After a sparkling 2021 NBA Combine performance athletically, FSU’s Scottie Barnes re-affirmed his status as one of the most versatile players in this year’s draft class. His ability to guard multiple positions, run the floor and distribute makes him an amoeba-type prospect. In last year’s NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls surprised many by taking former Seminole Patrick Williams with the fourth overall pick. We spotlighted Williams prior to the draft as a high-riser. Could Barnes be the next Seminole to surprise and go in the top five picks of this year’s draft?

Even if he doesn’t, the cupboard continues to stay full for the basketball program in Tallahassee. Aside from Williams, DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson did a deep dive on his teammate, Devin Vassell, who was selected by the San Antonio Spurs with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2020 NBA Draft. In fact, the Seminoles have produced seven first or second round picks dating back to the 2016 NBA Draft. That list includes 2021 NBA playoffs star Terrence Mann, taken 48th overall by the Los Angeles Clippers in the 2019 NBA Draft.

Scottie Barnes 2021 NBA Draft Preview (video)
Barnes (pictured in the 2018 Nike EBYL for Nike Team Florida) became one of the main cogs in the Florida State Seminoles’ journey to the Sweet Sixteen in 2021. Could he surprise and become the team’s second straight Top Five pick in the 2021 NBA Draft?

Despite playing slightly over 24 minutes per game, the former Seminole earned ACC Sixth Man of the Year honors in 2021. Not only did he average four assists and four rebounds per game, Barnes also averaged over 10 points per game. We went inside his game during his time on the Nike EBYL circuit, when he played alongside former Duke standout Vernon Carey, Jr. for Nike Team Florida (No. 23) in 2018 and then the Nightrydas (wearing No. 1) in 2019, when he starred alongside 2021 NBA prospect Isaiah Todd, who played for the NBA G League Ignite this past season.

2021 NBA Combine results (Barnes):

Scottie Barnes 2021 NBA Combine numbers

Cade Cunningham PG/SF-Oklahoma State: NBA Draft Preview (video)

Cunningham could become Oklahoma State’s first No. 1 overall selection in the 2021 NBA Draft. The school has had just three Top 10 picks in the last 70 years (Joe Bradley-1950, Bryant Reeves-1995, Marcus Smart-2014) and the 2021 Big 12 Player of the Year is nearly a guarantee to become the fourth.

In his lone season on campus, Cunningham -a former AAU standout with the Texas Titans- averaged over 20 points per game, shot 40 percent from beyond the arc and pulled in six rebounds per contest. In addition, he shot a sparkling 85% from the free throw line. It all contributed to him being named the school’s first ever AP first-team All-American.

Cade Cunningham closes out defensively
Oklahoma State SF Cade Cunningham (seen pictured during the 2019 Nike EBYL playing for the Texas Titans) is competitive on both ends of the floor.

The former junior high school quarterback and 2021 Big 12 Freshman of the Year plays the game with a veteran’s feel and continues to increase his strength and explosiveness. The Detroit Pistons will strongly consider securing Cunningham with the first overall pick of the 2021 NBA Draft. If so, he will join former Oklahoma star Blake Griffin and Kansas’ Andrew Wiggins as the only two modern Big 12 players to be selected with the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft. In 1988, Danny Manning was the first overall pick of the NBA Draft (Los Angeles Clippers), but at the time the conference was still known as the Big Eight.

Jonathan Kuminga SF-NBA G League Ignite: 2021 NBA Draft Preview

Kuminga, who was once ranked as the one of the top prospects in the 2021 recruiting cycle, reclassified to the 2020 class while at the prep level. After doing so, he turned down multiple collegiate offers and bypassed college altogether. The former five-star recruit signed with the NBA G League Ignite and averaged nearly 16 points per game in 2020-21 (15.8 PPG). Kuminga, a DR Congo native, has NBA and athletic bloodlines. Kuminga starred for the NY Rens in the Nike EBYL over a two-year period.

Kuminga played with former NY Rens AAU standouts Kofi Cockburn (Illinois) and Jalen Lecque in the Nike EBYL.

His brother, Joel Ntwambwe, averaged nearly 12 points and 5.5 rebounds for UNLV in 2018-19. Currently projected as a Top 5 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, Kuminga’s diverse skill-set is complemented by very good bounce off the floor.

NBA Draft Prospect: N’Faly Dante C- Oregon

NBA Draft Prospect: N’Faly Dante C- Oregon, was one of the many athletes that the Ducks used.

Dante, a sophomore center for the Oregon Ducks, increased his production during his second season in Eugene. The NCAA cleared him late in the 2020 season after a knee injury. Dante’s minutes, points, steals, blocks and rebounds per game all increased in Year 2. A season ago (2019-20), the big man saw most of his offensive production come on lobs from Boston Celtics 2020 first round pick (26th overall) and Naismith Trophy award finalist Payton Pritchard. This year, Dante used his length and drop-step to average nine points per game on 65.6-percent shooting from the field. 

Dante is a force defensively, averaging 1.5 steals and 1.2 blocks per game. Most players at the Oregon center’s size (6’11, 230) aren’t nimble enough to get down in a defensive stance. But Dante sits in the chair and moves laterally on the perimeter in pick and roll situations. 

Dante (pictured with Mokan Elite AAU squad back in 2018) has shot just 43-percent from the free throw line in 2020-21 (through six games).

Can he make it at the next level?

One question with modern bigs is can they do the little things to make it at the next level? Those include, but are not limited to: conditioning, defending without fouling and boxing out consistently. For example, look at how the Wizards use Daniel Gafford. These are some of the question marks NBA scouts will have when breaking down his game. His free throw inefficiency has also ranked as an area of concern. As well as his injury history.

NBA Draft Prospect N’Faly DanteUPDATE (5/18/21)

Unfortunately, Dante injured his ACL in late December 2020 versus San Francisco (12/17/20). He underwent surgery, was lost for the season and will return to the Ducks for the 2021-22 campaign.

Choosing a National Champion… with analytics

Once the 2021 NCAA Tournament bracket was released on Sunday, millions of people made their picks. Some made their picks based on their fan allegiance, some by choosing high seeds, others by picking upsets but did any of you look at the hidden figures?

For example, did you know over the past 20 years, 14 of the 20 champions have been one seeds? Or that only once in the last 20 years, has a champion with just one NBA prospect won the title. What about that most head coaches (18 of the last 20) have coached at least 10 seasons before winning a ring?

DraftNasty’s Troy Jefferson invented a model and took a peek at the past 20 collegiate champions to see if the numbers could tell a story and to predict a champion and Final Four contenders.

In this analysis, we first sought to look at a college basketball team as a whole: offensive production, defensive production, impact of a head coach, scheduling impact, seed impact and the importance of talent (future NBA prospects).

As you can see by our rows (spreadsheet attached at the bottom), we measured these figures with points scored, points against, players experience, seeds that won the championship and future pros.

We found that a typical championship team over the past 20 years fits a certain profile:

  1. Usually a 1 seed
  2. An experienced head coach (coached 10 seasons before a title)
  3. A roster that has on average 1.65 years of exp.
  4. Around 4-5 future NBA players (players that play at least one game in the NBA)
  5. 4 players that average double figures
  6. Plays about a top 15 strength of schedule
  7. Is either top 50 nationally in points scored OR top 50 in points against… interestingly enough, rarely is a team dominant in both areas. The 2011-2012 Kentucky Wildcats and 2006-2007 Florida Gators were the only teams to rank top 25 in both and win a title.

Based on this criteria, here’s how the top seeds fared. (Note: red- means a team failed to meet a metric.)

Gonzaga

  1. A 1 seed
  2. Experience coach- Mark Few
  3. Roster has 1.6 years of exp. (just barely missed the cutoff)
  4. Corey Kispert, Drew Timme, Jalen Suggs and Andrew Nembhard could play at the next level
  5. Exactly 4 players that averaged double figures
  6. 107 in SOS
  7. No. 1 in points scored per game

Michigan

  1. A 1 seed
  2. First year head coach in Juwan Howard
  3. Roster has 2.2 years of exp.
  4. Hunter Dickinson, Franz Wagner and Isaiah Livers could be future pros but after that do you think Eli Brooks and Mike Smith can make it as undersized guards?
  5. 3 players averaging double figures
  6. 12th in SOS
  7. Doesn’t rank in the top 50 in points scored or points against

Baylor

  1. A 1 seed
  2. Experience coach- Scott Drew
  3. Roster has 1.9 years of exp.
  4. Jared Butler, MaCio Teague, Davion Mitchell and Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua could become pros
  5. 3 players averaging double figures
  6. 87th in SOS
  7. Ranks 3rd in points scored per game

Illinois

  1. A 1 seed
  2. Brad Underwood has only been a head coach since 2013
  3. Roster has 1.6 years of exp.
  4. Kofi Cockburn, Ayo Dosunmu and possibly Adam Miller could become future pros but I struggle to see a fourth
  5. 3 players averaging double figures
  6. 9th in SOS
  7. Ranked 15th in points scored per game

By our criteria, Gonzaga and Baylor would be the favorite to win the title with five of the seven boxes checked. Again, Gonzaga was a fraction away from checking six of the seven boxes and remember they defeated Kansas, West Virginia and Iowa in the non conference but their conference hurt their overall SOS.

Interestingly enough though, West Virginia was a sleeper team we found. The Mountaineers have a veteran head coach in Bob Huggins, a trio of guards and Derek Culver, who not only average double figures but could crack a NBA roster and rank in the top 25 in SOS. As well as top 50 in points scored per game and a roster that returned 73 percent of last year’s production.

It’s important to remember that SOS is a skewed stat toward the Big Ten conference since the league was so dominant in 2020-2021, claiming 9 total tournament spots. And don’t forget outliers like the 2013-2014, UCONN Huskies can happen. However, do any of the teams have guards like Shabazz Napier or Kemba Walker that can take over the tournament? Illinois’ Ayo Dosunmu and Oklahoma State’s Cade Cunningham can. If not, our metric says Gonzaga, West Virginia and Baylor are solid bets. While the East and Midwest region could claim a Cinderella spot.

WinnersConf.CoachesSeedPlayer yrs. of exp.NBA playersPlayers that avg. 10+ PPGPPG (rank)P-Against-PG (rank)SOS
VirginiaACCTony Bennett1- South1.633210123
VillanovaBig EastJay Wright1- East1.656111410
UNCACCRoy Williams1- South1.944121297
VillanovaBig EastJay Wright2- South1.746571517
DukeACCMike Krzyzewski1- South1.18461116
UCONNBig EastKevin Ollie7- East2131436314
LouisvilleBig EastRick Pitino1- Midwest1.742292110
KentuckySECJohn Calipari1- South0.875152518
UCONNBig EastJim Calhoun3- West0.93275846
DukeACCMike Krzyzewski1- South27328289
UNCACCRoy Williams1- South275228518
KansasBig 12Bill Self1- Midwest274132113
FloridaSECBilly Donovan1- Midwest1.965114338
FloridaSECBilly Donovan3- Midwest1.255225164
UNCACCRoy Williams1- Syracuse26512183
UCONNBig EastJim Calhoun2- Phoenix1.563175625
SyracuseBig EastJim Boeheim3- East1241416617
UMDACCGary Williams1- East2.244517614
DukeACCMike Krzyzewski1- East1.75521495
MSUBig TenTom Izzo1- Midwest2.2449089