The NBA tank race has been raging all season long – and with good reason. Teams that end up with high picks in this year’s draft will acquire a superstar. With NBA draft speculation already upon us, it’s time to look at the top five prospects available.
1. DeAndre Ayton (Arizona)
While the Arizona Wildcats’ 2018 season came to a disappointing end, it was simply the beginning of Ayton’s long career in pro basketball. The 7-footer immediately declared for the NBA draft following U of A’s blowout loss to the 13-seed Buffalo Bulls. Ayton can do it all on the basketball court and he will be a franchise changer for whichever team is lucky enough to land the first overall pick.
2. Marvin Bagley III (Duke)
The basketball factory at Duke has produced another top NBA prospect this year with Bagley. At just 19 years old, the forward averaged 21.2 PPG and 11.3 RPG. While Bagley was a star on the court for one of the country’s top programs, he is far from a finished product. Pro scouts want to see Bagley improve his jumper and defensive skills.
3. Luka Doncic (Real Madrid)
What Doncic has over both Ayton and Bagley is a proven track record. The 6-foot-8 guard has been dominant overseas for quite some time. Last season he averaged 15.4 PPG to go along with 4.5 APG. He is a pro-ready player who has had injury concerns, but could step in right away to make an impact.
4. Jaren Jackson (Michigan State)
Like Ayton, Jackson’s school underperformed in March Madness. But fortunately for Jackson, his team’s early exit gave him more time to focus on the upcoming NBA draft. The 6-foot-11 center may be the best all around player available in the draft. He has tremendous offensive skills to add to his dominance on defense. He was only a freshman this season, so he could take a year to develop into a stud at the next level.
5. Trae Young (Oklahoma)
Trae Young, Trae Young, Trae Young! That is all every college basketball fan heard this season. The freshman phenom exploded onto the scene with a ridiculous 27.4 PPG on a mediocre Oklahoma squad. Young is viewed by many as the first high-profile Steph Curry protégé. The only question is whether Young can live up to such a lofty standard in the NBA.