The hype is in full swing. Ayton, Bagley, Doncic, Porter Jr., etc. Who will be number 1?
Like all great movie trailers, we are getting the best taste of the future of these talented players, and like all great movie trailers, we will 95% of the time be disappointed.
There are some special talents at the top. Ayton and Bagley have eerily identical numbers for Arizona and Duke. Both have showed an ability to score inside and outside while rebounding the basketball.
Porter Jr. was supposed to be Kevin Durant-lite, but even before he went out for the year with an injury, he was talking about staying another year at Missouri.
No player has received more hype than Doncic, but the transition seems so difficult from the Euroleague to the NBA.
Without further ado, here is my ranking of the top 5 players, including my airchair projection of their ceiling.
I have Bagley number 1. Bagley is a more flexible Chris Bosh. He can score inside and outside. He has a knack for getting his shots. He rebounds extremely well. I really like his hip flexibility and side-to-side agility, which may indicate raw ability to be a great switchable defender. I expect Bagley to be a 24/9 type of talent in a few years.
We haven’t see this type of court vision since … Lonzo Ball, but we haven’t see this quality of court vision with a shooting touch and comfort handling the ball since … Prime Jason Kidd? Obviously he is not at that level yet, but the raw potential is certainly there. What position does he play? Can he play defense? Can he create his own shot? Ultimately I see him as an All-star, but do you want the ball in his hands in the playoffs?
Ayton reminds me so much of Jermaine O’neil it’s scary. I’m just not sure how he is going to transition to the NBA. I mean, he will be a good player, but if you are expecting him to ascend the ranks of Porzingis, KAT, Davis, Giannis, Cousins, Jokic, or Embiid, I think you are going to be disappointed. If you are expecting him to hold his own inside against Drummond, Jordan, Capella, or Howard, I think you are going to be disappointed.
He probably ends up something like a slightly better Myles Turner, or a slightly worse Lamarcus Aldridge, which is a really good starter on a contending team, but I’m not sure he is the centerpiece most make him out to be.
Michael Porter Jr.
Back issues for such a young player are scary. Plus, there are a few wings making some news while Porter is silenced with his injury. Kevin Knox for Kentucky, Mikal Bridges for Villanova, and even Miles Bridges for Michigan State would challenge Porter Jr. in this draft. Porter Jr. should and likely will go back to school for one more year.
He will be drafted in the top 10 based on upside, but man is he raw at Texas right now. He has very little feel for positioning offensively or defensively.
He bedazzles you once in a while with his raw tools and abilities, but he is two years away from being two years away from playing meaningful NBA minutes.
A dumber, less competitive Rudy Gobert without the physiological concerns (knees) and with a jumpshot.