Five-minute draft guide: Projected late-first-rounders
In nearly every NBA draft there are a few surprise names that end up moving up into the first round, along with those who thought they’d be picked early, but make an unexpected drop to Round 2. In Part 4 of Pelicans.com’s series of thumbnail draft overviews, we summarize seven prospects - in alphabetical order - who are generally expected to be taken somewhere in the 20s on national mock drafts, though there’s always the possibility for some to slide up or down the board. After all, it only takes one team to drastically change a player’s fortunes on draft night.
In case you missed any of the first three breakdowns, we started with the top seven players on NBA.com’s consensus mock draft, followed by 8-14 on that list. Next up were seven players projected to potentially be taken in the lottery or in the middle part of the first round.
Desmond Bane, TCU guard
As SI.com put it, Bane “boasts one of the better shooting profiles in the draft.” Finished at 43 percent from three-point range over his four-year career with Horned Frogs, while also shooting 50 percent from field and 80 percent at foul line.
Draft range: Projected as high as 18th and 19th by CBS and The Ringer, respectively, his stock appears to be rising, which SI.com attributed partly to Bane’s excellent performance in pre-draft interviews.
Key stat: averaged 6.3 rebounds, 3.9 assists as a TCU senior despite being mostly described as a quality spot-up shooter from deep.
Leandro Bolmaro, Argentina forward
A 6-6, 180-pound wing who can attack off the dribble and be a secondary playmaker. Some draft analysts note he may be an attractive choice late in the first round as a “stash” pick, because he’s already committed to playing overseas in 2020-21.
Draft range: Consistently projected to go in the mid-20s, with The Athletic, SI.com, The Ringer and CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish each predicting Bolmaro to go 26th to Boston.
Key stat: In 192 minutes over the past two seasons, he’s just 4/16 from three-point range.
Malachi Flynn, San Diego State guard
After transferring from Washington State, 6-1 point helped lead Aztecs to a 30-2 record, including a 26-0 start. Went for 20-plus points 10 times last season, including 36-point outing at Nevada. Excellent passer and creator in pick-and-rolls.
Draft range: Seems to be rising and commonly projected in the late-20s, as high as No. 24 (The Ringer). As The Athletic noted, “The more teams look into Flynn’s tape, the more excited they are.”
Key stat: SDSU went 9-0 when he handed out seven-plus assists.
Josh Green, Arizona guard/forward
Strong, quick, aggressive 6-6, 210-pound defender who receives more accolades for his work at that end of the floor than his offense, though he averaged 12.0 points as a Wildcats freshman. Led Arizona with 1.5 steals per game.
Draft range: The Ringer is higher on the Australian-born Green than anyone, projecting him to be the 18th pick, but there is near-universal agreement that he’ll be off the board by the mid-20s.
Key stat: Shot 36 percent on threes last season, but just 45 percent on twos, for a field-goal rate of 42 percent.
R.J. Hampton, Dallas (Texas) guard
Five-star recruit from the 2019 high school class who elected to play professionally in New Zealand last season, after considering attending Kansas, Memphis or Texas Tech. Showed potential as a first-time pro but often struggled against competition that’s a step up from NCAA-caliber.
Draft range: All over the first-round map. The Athletic and The Ringer project him to be a lottery pick, going No. 12 to Sacramento, while one CBSSports.com projection lists him 30th.
Key stat: In 15 games last season, shot just 41 percent from the field and 30 percent on threes.
Jaden McDaniels, Washington forward
Thin, athletic 6-10 player described by NBADraft.net as a “modern day, face-up frontcourt player with a budding perimeter skill set.” The site compares McDaniels to Orlando forward Jonathan Isaac; on the surface, it appears to be an apt comparison, both physically and style-wise.
Draft range: Projected by virtually everyone as being picked somewhere in the 20s, as a prospect with longer-term potential.
Key stat: Registered three double-doubles, including 18 points and 15 rebounds at Stanford.
Isaiah Stewart, Washington center
Described as a “big, brute force in the post,” by one draft scouting video, the 6-foot-9, 250-pounder is the increasingly rare player who thrives around the basket. Averaged 17.0 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 blocks for the Huskies as a freshman.
Draft range: Mostly projected to go in the mid-20s, though some have him as high as 22 or as low as the early second round.
Key stat: Excellent percentages last season of 57 from field and 77 at foul line.