The NBA lottery is done and the draft order is finally set. Of course my Knicks got hosed again dropping from the 7th to the 8th pick, but I should have known better. The top picks fell to the Celtics at #1, the Lakers at #2 and the Sixers at #3. All three of those teams could use guard help which is perfect for this draft because it’s loaded, especially at the point guard position. In June, we could see as many as 5 point guards in the top 8-10. This newsletter will kick off our top 5 positions in this year’s draft, starting with the point guards.
1. Markelle Fultz, G, Washington-
Fultz is a little different in that he can play both guard spots and will be completely fine at the next level. He’s also just the best pure player in this draft no matter what anyway says. He is a 3 trier scorer, in that he can score from three, mid-range, and get to the rim. He is listed at 6-4, 195 pounds which is ideal for the new NBA’s point guard; don’t tell Isaiah Thomas I said that. In his only year at school he averaged 23.2 points per game, 5.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists, and that was on a dreadful Washington team. Fultz has a real shot at being the next new young budding superstar in the NBA.
2. Lonzo Ball, G, UCLA-
Everyone knowns the story of the Ball family and if you don’t then you must have been living under a rock these last few months. Love him or hate him he is another guy that has a chance to be stud at the next level. Ball is an excellent passer and may be an all-around better true point guard than Fultz, but strictly a point guard. Ball’s passing ability is where he really shines and seems like he would fit in nicely at the next level. He is also 6-6 so finishing at the rim isn’t a problem as well. With all that being said, there are a few more questions surrounding him than Fultz. The first one is clearly his jumper. He has a very weird release, which looks like it should get blocked a lot more, but he finds a way. It also helps that he is 6-6 so he shot over a lot of smaller college guards, but there is one that he couldn’t shake which brings me to number 2. In the biggest game of the year last year against Kentucky in the tournament it looked like the lights got too bright, when De’Aaron Fox put Ball in a body bag. It looked like Fox just wanted it more, and Ball was almost scared to bring the ball up. It was just one game, but it is a bit alarming when another top NBA prospect beats your ass up and down the floor for 40 minutes. Last but not least is his Dad. He hasn’t made many friends already especially guys Lonzo will be competing against at the next level. When Ball gets in a NBA game you know some will go right at him and test if the young man is ready for this.
3. De’Aaron Fox, G, Kentucky-
I am a big big Fox fan, and have been since his high school mixtape, which reminded me of John Wall. Fox has game changing speed, and loves to push the ball. He is a good passer and loves to throw the lob to his big men. He is also super competitive as you saw when he went at Lonzo Ball like he was nothing. He is listed at 6-4 which is what teams are looking for at the point guard position, but he is a string bean. This is another reason I like him so much because I am too, so we skinny boys have to stick together. It wouldn’t be as much as a problem if he could shoot, but he can’t right now. This is his biggest weakness that will be sniffed out immediately in the NBA, so he must put the work in. I mean he did hit 10 three’s in a high school game once so it can’t be too hard to fix. Hey, John Wall still isn’t a great shooter, but he has made it work, so Fox should definitely be taking notes on the ex-Wildcat.
4. Dennis Smith Jr., G, NC State-
At this point Dennis Smith Jr. is stuck in the 4th spot for a few reasons, but let’s start with the good stuff. He has an explosive first step to beat his man, and then when he gets to the rim, watch out its show time. He is the smallest out of the elite point guards in this draft at 6-2 (still very solid), but is just as explosive at the rim. He is a good passer as well, which you need at the point guard position, but let’s get to the negatives. At some games for NC State he was a no-show. For a kid with his talent he should not be taking games off. Yes, his team wasn’t very good and it’s hard to be the best player every night, but it seemed like he just tuned out for games. He also isn’t a very consistent shooter, which of course like so many guys has to change. If the work ethic is there, then he should be able to get his jumper right, but that’s the big question right now. There is some buzz that Smith was playing with a banged up knee which could explain some off nights, but we will see soon enough what he brings night after night.
5. Frank Ntilikina, G, France-
I’m usually not a big fan of the French, but this guy is the exception. Once again we have a point guard with great height at 6-5 and very explosive. He also has a wingspan of a freaking Bald Eagle (7FT). He a true pass first point guard, and always looks for his teammates and the better shot. He loves to run the floor and get out on the break, which complements his passing game so well. The big question goes along with Fox and Smith with he needs to be a more consistent shooter. Like Ball, he has a bit of an awkward release. He will need to figure that part of his game out for him to hit his ridiculously high ceiling. He also needs to be more of a leader as the floor general. He needs to take more control of games because he has the ability to do it. He almost has that shy mentality, like when the Greek Freak came into the league. Finally this year the Greek Freak got that chip on his shoulder and went at people, especially when he went after LeBron again and again, and it was glorious.
The draft is getting closer and closer which means so many experts and mock drafts are coming. I’ll be honest they all suck and I am right so you should make sure to give us a read and follow. I’m just kidding (just a bit); there are some great sites out there with plenty of draft coverage if you’re a junkie like I am. We did the top 5 point guards this week and next we have the shooting guards including my favorite player coming out this year.
Credit all authors of images used in both article and as cover image : George