With the NBA All-Star Game in the rearview mirror, the second half of the season has begun. Therefore, it’s not too early to start projecting the top picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. Currently, the Minnesota Timberwolves, Detroit Pistons, Houston Rockets, Orlando Magic, the Sacramento Kings and the Cleveland Cavaliers have the worst records and have the best chances of landing a top pick.
1.) Cade Cunningham – Oklahoma State
At 6’ 8”, Cunningham can play guard or small forward. NBA odds have projected him to be the top pick for some time and performances such as his 40-point explosion against No. 7 ranked Oklahoma on February 27th solidify his position. In 22 games, the freshman has averaged 19.7 points, while hitting 43 percent from three-point range. In addition, Cunningham is averaging 6.3 rebounds, 3.5 assist and 1.4 steals per game.
2.) Evan Mobley – USC
Previously ranked third, Mobley has played well enough to be considered Pac-12 Conference Player of the Year. Standing at a lofty 7’0″, Mobley can play power forward or center and has displayed excellent skills at both ends of the court. The freshman averaged 16.1 points on 58 percent and shooting from the floor, 8.6 rebounds and nearly three blocked shots per game.
3.) Jalen Suggs – Gonzaga
Several freshmen across the nation have made impacts this season but it’s a special kind of player to do so on the top team in the country. That’s exactly what Suggs is doing. With his pure grit on defense and solid playmaking skills on offense, it’s not difficult to see why Suggs has risen dramatically in his projected draft position. In 28 minutes per game, Suggs averaged 14.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.5 assists and two steals per game.
4.) Jonathan Kuminga – G League Ignite
At 6’ 6”, Kuminga can play either guard or small forward. The 18-year-old is holding his own, staying among the top five prospects entering the NBA Draft. The first year of the G League Ignite has been positive due to the play of the likes of Kuminga. The biggest weakness of his game is his jump shot, hitting only 25 percent from three-point range. However, Kuminga has been impressive overall, averaging 15.8 points and 7.2 rebounds in 13 games.
5.) Jalen Green – G League Ignite
A 6’ 5” guard, the 19-year-old Green clearly struggled in his first professional outing. Despite dropping a few spots among the top prospects entering the draft, Green has bounced back from his first game and has been an enormous contributor for Ignite. He lead the team in scoring at 17.9 points per game. In addition, has lead the team in steals at 1.5 per game and hauls in four rebounds per contest. Green needs overall development in his outside shot but has the potential to be a very good all-around NBA player.
6.) Ziarie Williams – Stanford
Long and lanky at 6’ 8” and 185 pounds, the freshman has shown a lot of promise despite his relatively poor statistics. He was moved out of the starting lineup last month but has the ability to develop into a solid NBA player. Williams averaged 11 points and five rebounds per game, despite a poor 38 percent from the floor. He would be a perfect selection for a team that doesn’t need him to be more than a role player for the first couple of seasons until he polishes his skills.