(Photo credit: USA TODAY Sports via Reuters/Brad Mills)
The upcoming NBA Draft is stacked with centers and big men, with DeAndre Ayton and Mohamed Bamba both predicted to be drafted in the top five, and Bruno Fernando a chance to sneak into the lottery.
However, there are plenty of fives down the board who could make an immediate impact next season, as we have seen recently, or be stashed on the bench for future years. Here, we will discuss a handful of those players.
1. Brandon McCoy, UNLV
Arguably the best center in the NBA Draft not projected to go in the lottery, Brandon McCoy is polished at a young age, and easily athletic enough to compete at the NBA level. With a productive backup center being a hot commodity on many teams, if rebuild and mid-table jobs do not end up taking him in the guts of the first round, expect McCoy to be snapped up quick smart by a contender in the later picks.
2. Austin Wiley, Auburn
Austin Wiley has a little more work to do than McCoy, which could see him potentially slip out of the first round, but he’s not a lesser prospect. Wiley is scarily good for his age. He’s 19, and won’t be 20 until almost the All-Star break of the 2018/19 season. He was impressive enough in his one year at Auburn to be invited to the NBA Draft combine, and looks set for a big future. Some team will get a real steal here.
3. Chimezie Metu, Southern California
Speaking of steals, does anyone remember the last USC center drafted and flipped without a second thought? He turned into Nikola Vucevic, one of the most talented and under-appreciated centers in the NBA today.
Chimezie Metu, while not as versatile as Vucevic, is equally as unheralded, and could end up being a similarly productive center on an NBA team. A first round prospect just last year, he’s only just started to develop a 3-point shot. Watch this space.
4. Udoka Azubuike, Kansas
Even the most amateur college basketball fans will be well aware of the play of Udoka Azubuike, who starred for Kansas in their run to the Final Four this season. Perennially underrated, Azubuike is an expert at banging down low, and has a man’s body (7'0", 280 pounds) at just age 18 years of age. Imagine this Nigerian big man when gets some professional conditioning into him.
5. Dewan Huell, Miami
On the flip side, very few basketball fans would be aware of the University of Miami’s Dewan Huell, a sophomore who has improved so vastly from his freshman season it’d be surprising not to see him take another leap forrward next year. Huell may very well have to play his way onto an NBA team, but the team that gives him a shot on a Summer League roster will be glad they did.
What other centers represent great value at the 2018 NBA Draft? Comment below!