Five-minute draft guide: Late-lottery prospects
Although there is significant disagreement from NBA analysts on the order of how specific players will be selected in the top 10-14 this year, with only a few exceptions, there is relative consensus on who will be a lottery choice. For example, the 14 names in NBA.com’s consensus mock draft were an exact match with ESPN.com’s late-August list, topped by Georgia guard Anthony Edwards.
After the top dozen or so picks, however, it gets significantly more complicated, with the pool of projected names rising considerably.
In alphabetical order, here are the seven players who appear at least once as a lottery pick among NBA.com’s 10 selected mock drafts, but did not make NBA.com’s consensus mock draft (which lists only projected picks 1-14). You might call these seven future NBAers “fringe lottery candidates” or – in college football terms – members of the “others receiving votes” category:
Cole Anthony, North Carolina guard
Highly touted high school player from New York City, son of former NBA guard and current Turner TV broadcaster Greg Anthony. Averaged 18.5 points for Tar Heels, but missed nearly two months of season due to knee injury.
Projections to be picked in lottery: No. 12 by NetScouts Basketball; No. 14 by Bleacher Report; No. 14 by SB Nation; No. 14 by Yahoo!
Key stat: 25-plus points in wins over Notre Dame, Syracuse and Wake Forest, but shot just 38 percent from field as a freshman. Bleacher Report comparison: Jamal Murray
Kira Lewis Jr., Alabama guard
Described by some as the fastest player in this draft class, the 6-3, 165-pounder’s highlight reel is filled with quick drives into the paint, resulting in crafty finishes or floaters. Was an iron man for Crimson Tide last season, averaging 37.6 minutes and 18.5 points.
Projections to be picked in lottery: No. 8 by CBSSports.com; No. 14 by NetScouts Basketball
Key stat: Two-season college career percentages of 36 on threes, 79 at foul line. NBADraft.net comparison: Keyon Dooling
Theo Maledon, France guard
Point guard seemingly from the old school, with most draft analysts first mentioning passing as his biggest strength. Was mentored during pandemic shutdown by fellow countryman and former San Antonio floor general Tony Parker.
Projection to be picked in lottery: No. 14 by SI.com
Key stat: 37 percent on threes in 22 Euroleague games last season. NBADraft.net comparison: Frank Ntilikina
Tyrese Maxey, Kentucky guard
Scoring-minded combo guard who experienced ups and downs typical of many freshmen. He tallied 20-plus points in six games – including 26 points in his NCAA debut vs. Michigan State – but followed that up with single-digit points in the following game five times.
Projection to be picked in lottery: No. 10 by SB Nation
Key stat: 29 percent on threes, but analysts say his form indicates he’ll shoot better than that in NBA. Bleacher Report comparison: Collin Sexton
Aleksej Pokusevski, Serbia center
Not a plodding 7-footer anchored to the paint, possesses ballhandling and passing ability. One draft video describes the 18-year-old as having “the most unique potential skillset in the draft.” At this stage, lacking experience and strength.
Projections to be picked in lottery: No. 13 by SB Nation; No. 14 by The Athletic; No. 14 by The Ringer
Key stat: Played total of eight Euroleague minutes over past two seasons. The Ringer comparison: Detlef Schrempf
Jalen Smith, Maryland forward
Frequent double-double guy who averaged 15.5 points and 10.5 rebounds for the Terrapins. Also one of NCAA’s best shot-blockers, averaging 2.4 swats in 31 games. Shot 54 percent from the field, but also went 32/87 from three-point range.
Projections to be picked in lottery: No. 13 by Bleacher Report; No. 13 by The Ringer
Key stat: 10-plus rebounds in 21 of his 31 games, topped by 19 boards vs. Northwestern. The Ringer comparison: Serge Ibaka
Tyrell Terry, Stanford guard
Pull-up and spot-up perimeter shooting threat. As a freshman, he fired 152 three-point attempts, approaching half of his overall shots taken (333). Finished at 41 percent from beyond the arc.
Projection to be picked in lottery: No. 13 by NBADraft.net
Key stat: 89 percent at foul line in his one college season, going 98/110. NBADraft.net comparison: C.J. McCollum