Category Archives: 2020

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Obi Toppin 6’9 220 F- Dayton


What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):
Athletic. Willing passer from the post (Kansas ‘19). Toppin is very engaged in offensive sets and moves well without the ball. His three years at Dayton made him a seasoned player. Gets easy buckets at the rim before expanding his range (Miss. State ‘18). Runs the floor and manufactures points in transition when his shot isn’t falling. Excellent body control. Makes passes with his off hand while in the air avoiding defenders.  Productive weak side shot blocker.

Weaknesses: What is his positional fit defensively? Lateral quickness was a problem for him. Looks stiff when in his defensive stance.  He was posted up and struggled against Kansas center Udoka Azubuike. The Jayhawks actually attacked him late in the game and targeted him through isolation off pick and rolls or post-ups. FT shooting percentage is troublesome as opposed to other shooting splits. 

Other Notes: Attended four high schools: Heritage (Fl.), Melbourne Central Catholic (Fl.), Ossining (NY), Mt. Zion Prep (Md.).Redshirted his freshman season at Dayton after being deemed academically ineligible.  • 2x First Team All Atlantic 10 (2019, 2020), Atlantic 10 Player of the Year (2020), National Player of the Year (2020)Brother, Jacob, plays college basketball for Kentucky. • 2018-2019 (33 games, 15 sts): 14.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.8 AST, 66% FG, 71% FT, 52% 3-PT, 0.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 20 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 63% FG, 70% FT, 39% 3-PT, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG • Career:  17.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 65% FG, 70% FT, 42% 3-PT, 0.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Like many prospects, Toppin will have to be selected into the right situation to flourish. In an ideal scenario offensively, Toppin would be paired with shooters that can spread the floor. This would allow him to use his athleticism unabated around the rim. Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce is defensive- minded and has a roster full of young shooters like Kevin Huerter and Trae Young. On the other end a marriage between him and a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves -who lack shooting and defense- would concern me when trying to project Toppin’s NBA prospects.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Patrick Williams 6’8 225 F- Florida State

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Carries an NBA frame. Moves his feet well on the perimeter when playing defense and can also serve as a rim protector (Florida ‘19).  Has a lethal second jump that make up for his lack of ideal height. Provides some lineup flexibility. Can defend both of the forward positions. Shot 32-percent from the three- point line in limited attempts. Excellent free throw shooter.  Drives to the hoop with both hands.

Weaknesses: Williams didn’t start a game for FSU this past season and averaged just 22 minutes a game. The Seminoles were talent-laden and didn’t ask for Williams to ever be a focal point in the offense. What will be his offensive niche at the next level? This is a player who scouts will have to make a projection on in the future rather than rely on game film. 

Other Notes:

  • Attended West Charlotte High School (NC) and played in the Jordan Brand Classic Game in 2019
  • Named the 2019-20 ACC Sixth Man of the Year and earned ACC All-Freshman honors
  • The third one-and-done in the school’s history: Malik Beasley and Jonathan Isaac were the others
  • Both parents, Janie and Eddie, played basketball at Johnson C. Smith University
  • 2019-2020 (29 games, 0 sts): 9.2 PPG, 46% FG, 84% FT, 4.0 RPG,  1.0 APG, 1.0 BPG, 1.0 SPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):

Williams plays with a nastiness and a competitive spirit that allows him to overcome his match ups with taller players. In an ideal world, the freshman forward would have played more minutes than he did as a Seminole. Williams’ willingness to crash the glass and his above average shooting mechanics should serve him well early in his career as he carves out a role in an NBA rotation. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Xavier Tillman 6’8 245 PF/C-Michigan State

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Shed more than 20 pounds from his freshman season. Played both the PF and center positions in school. Excellent passer out of the short roll and in 4-on-3 offensive situations. Defensively, he can guard wings and big men in the post (vs. Luka Garza, Iowa ‘20). Improved year after year in minutes played, blocks per game, rebounds and points per game.  

Weaknesses: Will miss layups and dunks on occasion (Wisconsin ‘20). Scouts will question how well he can finish at the rim at the next level.  Undersized for the power forward and center position at the next level. Can he overcome his physical limitations? Shot just 27.3% from three- point range during his three-year career in East Lansing. Saw his free throw percentage dip from 73% in his sophomore season to 66% as a junior. 

Other Notes:

  • Attended Forest Hills Central High School for his freshman year and for his last three years attended Grand Rapids Christian High School
  • Mother, Tanya, was a four-year letterwinner in women’s basketball at the University of Michigan and finished her career as the school’s all-time leading rebounder
  • Named the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year in 2020 and the Big Ten’s Sixth Man of the Year in 2019
  • Michigan State’s all-time leader in blocked shots
  • 2017-2018 (35 games, 0 sts): 2.8 PPG, 65% FG, 66% FT, 2.6 RPG, 0.3 APG, 0.7 BPG
  • 2018-2019 (39 games, 14 sts):  10 PPG, 60% FG, 73% FT, 7.3 RPG, 1.6 APG, 1.7 BPG
  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 13.7 PPG, 55% FG, 67% FT, 10.3 RPG, 3 APG, 2.1 BPG
  • Career:  8.7 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 1.6 AST, 58% FG, 69% FT, 1.5 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): College basketball fans could see why former Spartan and current Golden State Warriors All-Star Draymond Green allowed Xavier Tillman to wear his now retired number 23 Michigan State jersey.  Both players contain high basketball IQs and compete with intensity on both ends of the floor.

The maturity served the Grand Rapids native well, as he was usually tasked with quarterbacking the defense and handling the opposition’s toughest frontcourt player. Look for Tillman to be a contributor for a playoff team in the mid-to-late first round. His toughness and conditioning will remind hoops enthusiasts of Udonis Haslem and Tillman’s makeup would pair well in Miami under the leadership of Pat Riley. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Tre Jones 6’3 185 PG-Duke

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): The ACC Player of the Year put together a solid sophomore campaign that was spearheaded by his defense. Big game player. Jones took it to fellow 2020 NBA Draft point guard prospects: Devon Dotson (Kansas), Cassius Winston (MSU), Cole Anthony (UNC) as he led his team to a 4-0 record vs. the trio. Against the three, Jones averaged 21 points and had a near 3:1 assist-to- turnover ratio. Jones offensively does his best work out of the Blue Devils “horns” set, where he operates with two players up top and two in the corner. He is capable of making the right read in the pick and roll as well as pulling up in the midrange (UCF ‘19, 1st Half ). Defensively, his length bothers opposing guards (averaged just under two steals per game for his career). Jones’ feet and arms are always in motion, which leads to deflections.

Weaknesses: Jones saw his three-point shooting percentage improve from 26% to 36%, was his sophomore numbers indicative of his outside shooting long term or a fluke? Jones is best when setting others up, look at his work a season ago with three lottery picks. If he joins a team with subpar talent does he have the ability to make other players around him better? Jones has good length for the position but it remains to be seen how he handles the more physical NBA point guards with his lean frame.

Other Notes:

  • Attended Apple Valley High School (Mn.) and was a consensus five-star recruit. He was also named Minnesota’ Mr. Basketball
  • He has two older brothers that played college basketball: Tyus and Jadee. Tyus also attended Duke, and now plays for the Memphis Grizzlies.  Jadee played at Furman University.
  • 2020 ACC Player of the Year recipient as well as the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year
  • 2018-2019 (36 games, 36 sts): 9.4 PPG, 41% FG, 26% 3-PT, 76% FT, 3.8 RPG, 5.3 APG, 1.9 SPG
  • 2019-2020 (29 games, 29 sts): 16.2 PPG, 42% FG, 36% 3-PT, 77% FT, 4.2 RPG, 6.4 APG, 1.8 SPG
  • Career stats: 12.4 PPG, 42% FG, 31% 3-PT, 77% FT, 1.8 SPG, 4 RPG, 5.8 APG,

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Jones played a lot of basketball during his two years at Duke. Despite being just a sophomore, he is one of the more experienced players in the draft. DraftNasty projects Jones being most successful with a team where he can create for others that has talented wings and big men. Look for an organization like the Boston Celtics, Miami Heat or Los Angeles Lakers to target the former Duke point guard at the bottom of the first round. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Vernon Carey Jr. 6’10 270 C- Duke

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Carey has wide shoulders and should be able to finish through contact at the next level. On tape, there weren’t other centers that pushed Carey around on the block or looked as strong as he did in the paint. He showed himself well, employing a drop step against Georgetown’s 7-foot center Omer Yurtseven in an early season matchup at Madison Square Garden.  Rebound machine. Averaged almost nine boards in 24 minutes of action. Shows promise with his ability to pass from the elbow (Miami, ‘20). 

Weaknesses: 

Carey is strong but can he play effectively in the NBA at 270 pounds? The Duke center averaged 24 minutes a game and he looked on tape like he could’ve played more if he wasn’t fatigued. It’s no coincidence that Carey scored 26 points and 13 rebounds against Pittsburgh when he played 35 minutes. The more he plays, the more effective a player he is. Left-hand dominant. The Florida native is best as a back to the basket big man, has the modern NBA game passed him by? 

Other Notes:

  • Attended the University School of Nova Southeastern University (Fla.) and  was named Florida’s Mr. Basketball in 2017 and 2018. 
  • Father, Vernon, played offensive tackle for the Miami Dolphins
  • Named to the 2019-2020 All ACC Freshman team and was named the conference’s Rookie of the Year
  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 30 sts, Consensus 2nd Team All-American): 17.8 PPG, 58% FG, 38% 3-PT, 67% FT, 8.8 RPG, 1 APG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):

Staying in shape and out-hustling the NBA competition will be how Carey survives in the NBA. If the former Duke freshman can perfect running rim-to-rim and sealing the opposing team’s center underneath the basket, he has a chance at a long career. Carey showed he can maneuver from the elbow so there is a possibility he could play some power forward. His game is reminiscent of former Michigan State Spartan Zach Randolph. Randolph enjoyed his best success defensively when paired with a shot blocking center: Theo Ratliff (Portland) and Marc Gasol (Memphis). Carey would benefit equally with rim protection. Right now, it’s hard to find a first round fit for the center.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Cassius Stanley 6’6 193 SG- Duke

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): 

Cassius Stanley is one of the best leapers in this year’s draft and could be a future NBA Dunk Contest participant. The athleticism shows on tape when he shoots the passing gap for steals and runs on the wing (Central Arkansas, ‘19).  When he gets a chance to set his feet on three-point attempts, he is almost automatic (36% from the three-point arc). Another subtle strength in his game is the ability to make the entry passes into the post and make hard cuts to the basket afterwards for finishes in the lane. Quick healer. Stanley was expected to miss a month in December with a leg injury but missed just one game. 

@cassius_stanley

Weaknesses: 

What is Stanley’s go to offensive move? Tre Jones was the table-setter at Duke, which meant the Duke shooting guard rarely had a chance to showcase his skills with the ball. Stanley could struggle in the lane if he is met against true seven-foot shot blockers (Georgetown, ‘19). He could aid his game with a consistent floater to complement his high-wire acts. The California native has a smooth shooting stroke but his free throw shooting percentage did not reflect that on a consistent basis (73%).

Other Notes:

  • Attended Harvard-Westlake School and Sierra Canyon School (Calif.). Participated in the Jordan Brand Classic and was a consensus four star recruit. 
  • Registered a 46” vertical jump, breaking former No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson’s Duke vertical jump record of 45”
  • Mother, Tonya, ran track and field at UCLA 
  • Named to the 2019-2020 All-ACC Freshman team 
  • 2019-2020 (29 games, 29 sts): 12.6 PPG, 47% FG, 36% 3-PT, 73% FT, 4.9 RPG, 1 APG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):

Stanley could carve out a long NBA career if he can channel his athleticism into becoming a premier lockdown defender. The foot speed is there, but can he play defense consistently with his feet rather than his hands? Offensively, Stanley would be best served with a point guard that can get steals, push the ball and find him on the wing. The Pelicans have three total draft picks and Stanley would fit well with the often underrated Jrue Holiday, who also happened to be in the Top 10 in steals per game this past season. Worth noting, Lonzo Ball is an excellent passer and also finished in the Top 20 in steals per game. Stanley and Zion Willamson would be a nightmare for opposing teams’ transition defenses. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Anthony Edwards 6’5 225 SG- Georgia

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):  Edwards possesses an NBA-ready body for a shooting guard. The Georgia freshman showed the potential to take over games by himself with his scoring (MSU ‘19).  Against the Spartans, Edwards had 33 points in the second half, thanks to an explosive first step which in turn set up his jab step to create space for jumpers. NBA defenders will have to be prepared to stop Edwards left-to-right crossover, one of his signature moves. He is also a willing rebounder and can start the fastbreak once he crashes the glass. His leaping ability not only allows him to get rebounds at a 5.2 per game average, but he also can finish at the rim with the best of them. At his size, he moves in transition with fluid motion.  Defensively, Edwards plays with active hands (Delaware State ‘19) but does fall asleep occasionally off the ball. 

Weaknesses: Edwards can fall in trouble with settling for the three-point shot (29% shooting on 7.7 attempts per game). The Atlanta native had five games with at least 29 points but also had four games where he only scored six points in each game. Can he find a more consistent offensive game at the next level? He will have to improve his decision making even at the off-guard position (2.8 assists-to-2.7 turnover ratio). Not a natural point guard but was asked to play the position at times, which caused indecisiveness.  

Other Notes:

  • Attended Therrell and Holy Spirit Prep High School (Ga.). Participated in the Jordan Brand Classic and McDonald’s All- American game.
  • Wears No. 5 to honor his mother and grandmother who both died on the fifth of the month during an eight-month span when Edwards was in the eighth grade. From then on, he was raised by his siblings.
  • 2019-2020 ( 32 games, 32 sts, SEC Freshman of the Year): 19.1 PPG, 40% FG, 29% 3-PT, 77% FT, 5.2 RPG, 2.8 APG,

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):

Edwards was coached at Georgia by Tom Crean and his game is reminiscent to some of Crean’s former guards: Victor Oladipo and Dwyane Wade. Oladipo and Wade, however, were grizzled college veterans, and Edwards played just one year in college. The Georgia freshman will have to polish his ball handling abilities and ability to play off the ball in order to garner the same success as the aforementioned NBA All-Star guards. Edwards would be best served paired with a point guard who can take the ball handling responsibilities off of him. In addition, he needs a capable pick-and-roll type of center to play beside him. The Minnesota Timberwolves would be an intriguing option for Edwards at the top of the draft.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Cassius Winston 6’1 185 PG- Michigan State

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Winston plays the game at his own pace and doesn’t have a clear comparison in today’s NBA. His ability to weave in and out of traffic, command the game in transition and keep his dribble is remenicist of former NBA MVP, Steve Nash.

Coach Speak:  “Quite honestly, there are not a lot of players in the country that play (with) that high level of basketball IQ,” Miami head coach Jim Larranaga  said before MSU played the Hurricanes in the NCAA Tournament during Winston’s freshman season. “So we used an old NBA player, now retired, named Steve Nash, because he could find the open man with brilliance. And we find Cassius Winston to be that kind of point guard.”

Worth noting, his shooting splits also compare favorably to Nash when he starred at Santa Clara University. Winston is a gifted passer, who had a 6.4 assist to 2.7 turnover ratio. In his latter years in East Lansing, he showed he could bail the offense out of bad sets with creativity off the dribble as well as pull up from three in transition (43% from the three point line).

Weaknesses: Has the point guard position evolved too much athletically for Winston to find a role in today’s NBA? Conditioning was a problem early on in his junior season when the MSU point guard was asked to shoulder heavy minutes as the Spartans looked for scoring punch (Florida ‘18). Winston is also 22 years old, does he have any upside? 

Other Notes:

  • Attended University of Detroit Jesuit High School (Mi.) and was named the state’s Mr. Basketball.
  • All time assists leader in Big Ten history (890 total) and named Big Ten Player of the Year (2019).
  • 2016-2017 (35 games, 5 sts): 6.7 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 5.2 AST, 42% FG, 38% FG3, 77% FT
  • 2017-2018 (35 games, 34 sts): 12.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 6.9 AST, 50% FG, 49% FG3, 90% FT
  • 2018-2019 (39 games, 30 sts): 18.8 PPG, 3.0 RPG, 7.5 AST, 46% FG, 40% FG3, 84% FT
  • 2019-2020 (30 games, 30 sts): 18.6 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 5.9 AST, 45% FG, 43% FG3, 85% FT
  • Career:  14.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 6.4 AST, 46% FG, 43% FG3, 84% FT

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary):

Winston has potential as a second round draft pick if he finds a coach that believes in his skill sets. In recent memory, former undersized Spartans like Draymond Green (35th overall pick ) and Bryn Forbes (undrafted)  have been able to latch on in the league despite their low draft position. Winston, who is more decorated than the previously named Spartans, has the intangibles to serve as a quality backup point guard to start his career if he can overcome his physical limitations.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Isaac Okoro Fr. 6’6 225 SF- Auburn

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): Okoro is a defensive specialist on the wing with an NBA-ready frame. The intelligence defensively stands out on tape. The Auburn freshman does a good job of playing a corner shooter while also contesting a drive to the rim (NC State ‘19). He also nearly averaged a steal and a block per game while playing just 31 minutes a contest. Offensively, his game is less developed however, Okoro shows the ability to finish with both hands and serve as a slasher to the rim. Possess body control to avoid charges and make shots at the rim (Davidson ‘19).

Weaknesses: The free throw shooting percentage could be better (67%), especially as much as the freshman drove to the rim, he can expect to be fouled at the next level (4.7 attempts per game). He doesn’t have a niche currently offensively and can get lost in the half court game, averaged two assists and two turnovers per game. Three point shooting percentage is low (29%). Had nine games with at least four fouls, if he fouled less could he have earned more minutes? 

Other Notes:

  • Attended McEachern High School (Ga.) and was rated as a four star prospect by ESPN and 247Sports. Was rated a five star prospect by Rivals.
  • Played for USA at the FIBA Under 17 Basketball World Cup in 2018 and averaged  4.3 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game, en route to a gold medal. Also participated in the Nike Hoop Summit.
  • Named Second-Team All-SEC, SEC All-Defensive Team and SEC All-Freshman Team.
  • Missed three games with a pulled hamstring. 
  • 2019-2020 (28 games, 28 sts): 12.8 PPG, 4.4 RPG, 2.0 AST, 51% FG, 29% FG3 , 67% FT 

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Okoro will help a team immediately with his intelligence defensively as well as his physicality on the wing. His frame and defense will remind scouts of Jimmy Butler but will he be able to improve his offensive game year over year like Butler? The answer to this question will determine Okoro’s long term NBA prospects. 

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Tyrese Maxey 6’3 198 G-Kentucky

What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths): The lightning quickness in the lane jumps out when watching video on Maxey. His slender frame and ball handling abilities allows him to get to places that other guards can’t get to on the floor. Uses screens to get open off the ball (1st half, Michigan State ‘18).  Big game player. In games versus top-ranked Michigan State and the third-ranked Louisville Cardinals this past season, Maxey had his two best scoring games against those opponents (26 and 27 points respectively). Despite a subpar shooting percentage from beyond the arc during his freshman season, Maxey does show NBA range and strong shooting mechanics (83% free throw percentage). The Kentucky guard  is listed at 6’3″ but isn’t incredibly long despite being a willing rebounder (4.3 per game). 

Weaknesses: Size and position fit are the major question marks with Maxey. Can he guard opposing shooting guards at the next level? If he is asked to play point guard full time, he will have to improve his 3:2 turnover/assist ratio. Evidenced by his shooting numbers, Maxey settles from time-to-time and would be better served tweaking his shot selection. 

Maxey -a second-team All-SEC selection- shot 83.3% from the free throw line in 2019-20.

Other Notes:

  • Attended South Garland High School (Tx.).  He was rated as a top 15 recruit by ESPN, Rivals and 247 Sports. 
  • Father, Tyrone, played basketball at Washington State and previously served as the Director of Player Development at Southern Methodist University. 
  • Was named Texas Mr. Basketball in 2019 and played in the McDonald’s All-American game, Jordan Brand Classic and Nike Hoop Summit.
  • 2019-2020 (31 gms, 28 sts): 14.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 3.2 AST, 43% FG,  29% 3FG, 83% FT

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): When it was crunch time, Kentucky head coach John Calipari entrusted Maxey to make plays. Scouts will rave about his late game heroics but how will he hold up defensively at the next level? We believe Maxey would enjoy the most success if paired with a taller guard like Dallas’ Luka Doncic or Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons. Look for the Kentucky guard to start his career as a spark plug off the bench, who can get opposing guards in foul trouble. At 6-foot-3, can Maxey play the shooting guard position? Teams will question his ability to play the point guard spot, but he showed himself well at the position during his final regular season game against Florida (at that position). In that contest, Maxey finished with seven assists and just one turnover.