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2018 Draft Position Preview: Bigs

Breaking Down Some of the Big Men Who Might Be Available Next Thursday Night
by Joe Gabriele Beat Writer

2018 Draft Position Preview:
Big Men

Breaking Down Some of the Big Men Who Might Be Available Tonight

We’re hours away from the 2018 NBA Draft, with the Wine & Gold still doing their homework on who they’ll be tabbing with the 8th overall pick.

As we continue our position-by-position breakdown of what the scouts are saying about this year’s class, we turn our attention to some of the best big men who might be available when Cleveland is on the clock – including a physical freak from Texas, a youngster who doesn’t turn 19 until September and a local product who cut down the nets to conclude last year’s NCAA Tourney.

So as we countdown to tonight’s action, here’s a look at some of the guys who hope to be large and in charge at the next level …


MOHAMED BAMBA7-0, 225 – Born: May 12, 1998 – (New York, NY) – College: Texas – The term most scouts have used on Bamba is “physical specimen” with his 7-9 wingspan and 9-6 standing reach; averaged 3.7 blocks and 3.2 offensive rebounds per game at Texas; has drawn comparisons to Utah’s Rudy Gobert; could be an absolutely elite defender at the pro level; started looking for offense more as the season wore on; offensive game is more developed than some thought; shoots a decent percentage (68 percent) from the stripe; can put the ball on the floor; not foul prone – only averaged 2.4 fouls per game; three-pointer isn’t part of his game, but he did connect on 28 percent in college; excellent basketball IQ; mature personality; instinctive passer out of the double-team; averaged a double-double (12.9 points, 10.5 boards) in 29 starts for the Longhorns; one of the fastest big men – end-to-end – the draft combine has ever recorded – posting a time quicker than John Wall and Russell Westbrook; outstanding weakside defender; alters just as many shots as he blocks; can switch onto smaller guards; excellent hands and tremendous finisher at the rim; might need to add 15-20 pounds to really rumble with NBA big men over an 82-game grind, but has the potential to be a top-notch defender from day one

WENDELL CARTER JR.6-10, 250 – Born: April 16, 1999 – (Fairburn, GA) – College: Duke – Overshadowed at Duke by potential top 3 pick, Marvin Bagley Jr., the versatile and mature big man who’s drawn comparisons to Boston’s Al Horford; good measurables with a 7-3 wingspan and 9-0 standing reach; huge hands; nice post game with a dependable jump-hook; active defender who’s not foul prone; finished with 16 double-doubles in lone season at Duke, with the Blue Devils going 14-2 in those contests; strong, powerful dunker – excellent at fighting through contact; can finish with either hand; thick-framed player shed baby fat and got into shape at Duke, but weight issues could be a concern; will need to improve his footwork; didn’t have any signature performances against other big men in single college season; averaged 2.1 blocks per game; shot 41 percent from beyond the arc and had three outings hitting at least three three-pointers; solid ball-handler; draws a lot fouls; sees the floor well and is an accurate, willing passer; grounded personality – low-maintenance off the court; doesn’t have Bamba’s high ceiling, but should be a solid starting big man at the next level

JAREN JACKSON JR.6-11, 235 – Born: September 15, 1999 – (Indianapolis, IN) – College: Michigan State – Considered maybe the best two-way big man in the Draft, Jackson’s stock has been rising as June 21 approaches; offensive game still needs polish – wasn’t one of the primary scoring options at Michigan State; extremely high ceiling – doesn’t turn 19 until September; has been blowing teams away in workouts; averaged 3.0 blocks per game despite playing just 22 minutes a night as a freshman; shot 51 percent from the floor, including 40 percent from long-range and 80 percent from the stripe; ideal physical qualities for a modern NBA big man – measuring 6-11 with a 7-5 wingspan; has an outstanding first step; can fight and finish through contact; very good ball-handler for his size – can take defenders off the dribble with either hand; should excel on switches and closeouts at the NBA level; not a very polished passer; can be immature at times and can be taken out of games mentally; will need to add some pounds to his relatively thin frame; somewhat foul prone, limiting his playing time as a freshman; still developing footwork and trying to polish post game but has potential for offensive game to catch up to his prowess defensively

OMARI SPELLMAN6-9, 255 – Born: July 21, 1997 – (Cleveland, OH) – College: Villanova – The pride of North Royalton, Spellman isn’t your standard big man, but did shoot 43 percent for the Wildcats in his single season at Villanova; aggressive offensive rebounder; should be a pick-and-pop threat at the next level; wasn’t looked to carry much load offensively in college; slimmed down from 300 pounds to 245 during his red-shirt season; good measurables – 7-2 wingspan; quick, light on his fight – strong rebounder, solid finisher; doesn’t use his strength enough in the post – only averaged two free throws per game as a freshman; good shooter from long-distance but erratic from the free throw line; good quickness, lateral movement and can work his way past bigger defenders; sometimes lacks court awareness; physical player with a strong basketball IQ; had big games against big opponents – went for 27 points against crosstown rival Temple and an 18-point, eight-rebound performance in the Sweet 16 win over West Virginia; won’t be a star big man at the next level, but could turn out be a dependable rim protector and floor-spacer In-Depth: Collin Sexton Comes to Cleveland

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