15. Deyonta Davis
Deyonta Davis is a 6-foot-11 hybrid, playing both power forward and center for Michigan State. Davis played only one season for Michigan State and put up decent numbers in his only season, but a lot of teams in the league are excited about what this young forward can become. Davis was a low usage player at Michigan State, so his stats per game were not all that impressive. However, his build and his physical play are exactly what teams would be looking for in a draft pick. The big man is a young player and will have to work on his defense. He adjusted well in college because of his size and athleticism, but he’ll have to learn how to guard against screens and other advance plays that are far too common in the NBA. That will all come with time, but some teams may have the patient to wait. Davis is 15th on my draft board and would be a good fit for the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are in need of healthy big men who can score and also help on the struggling defense. Davis played every game of his only collegiate season, so health should not be an issue, and he can make the short jump shots and the big dunks. The defense will come with time, but he would be a player that could see more playing time in Denver.
14. Malachi Richardson
Malachi Richardson played only one season at Syracuse but played a lot more than Davis, and his stats are impressive. Richardson is a shooting guard who averaged 13.4 points per game, 4.3 rebounds per game, and made 75 percent of his free throws. For a guard, Richardson can really help out on the defensive side on the ball, if needed, but his offensive play is where he really stands out. He attacks the basket and can shoot threes if he gets into a rhythm. He does, however, have some inconsistencies. His ball handling can improve and, while his shooting is one of his strong points, Richardson has times where he can be a streaky shooter. Richardson is 14th on my draft board and has a chance to land with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns have had a tough time scoring and Richardson could give the team that big scorer that they have been missing. He also adds a little bit of a defensive element, as well, that Phoenix so desperately needs that he might be the player they are looking for.
13. Furkan Korkmaz
Coming out the Turkish Basketball Leauge, Furkan Korkmaz is a natural scorer. A 6-foot-7 shooting guard, Korkmaz has shown teams that he is capable of putting up points and knows when to shoot or when to pass. That high IQ is what interests many NBA teams, and the fact that he can also throw down a dunk or two or pull up a three doesn’t hurt his draft stock either. His size also comes into account on defense, as well. Korkmaz can protect the perimeter and can contest any shot that may come his way. The possibilities for this young man are endless. However, Korkmaz’ maturity could be a factor. He’s only 18 years old and is very small for his size, clocking in at 170 pounds. That could hurt his defensive look and how he might match up against other guards in the league. Korkmaz is 13th on my draft board and would be a good fit for the Utah Jazz. The Jazz could use someone like Korkmaz, someone who is explosive on offense and can put up points, but he also isn’t selfish and is smart to figure out when he should dish the ball to someone in good position. He is a long-term investment player, and the Jazz would be wise to pick Korkmaz and see how much he will develop in the future.
12. Jakob Poeltl
A big man coming off a big year, the 7-foot-1 Jakob Poeltl is a center that was dominant during his only year at the University of Utah. Poeltl was a force on both sides of the court, averaging 17.3 points per game, 9.1 rebounds per game, and making 64 percent of his field goals. He can make the short jump shot, but Poeltl shines when he gets inside the paint. At 7-foot-1, Poeltl is a struggle to defend and many teams in the league would have a hard time trying to plan for him. Teams are also attracted to the power he brings to the defense. It is going to be tough to out-rebound this man. As big as a man as Poeltl is, he does need to work on other aspects of his defense. He needs to work on contesting shots and keeping players from attacking the basket. He also needs to become a little more aggressive, as he has problems getting off blocks. Poeltl is 12th on my draft board and his size could be used in either Chicago or Milwaukee. The Bulls need to fill the hole they have at center, as Joakim Noah will be a free agent and Pau Gasol is likely to sign elsewhere. Poeltl would be a perfect fit in Chicago and his presence would be felt immediately, but the Bucks may snag him first. Milwaukee has struggled with scoring and defending, and Greg Monroe wasn’t the answer they were looking for at center. Poeltl could be the piece that helps answer some of the questions the Bucks have on offense and defense.
11. Skal Labissiere
Skal Labissiere’s draft stock has fallen quite a bit since the beginning of the season. Labissiere was thought to be one of the top two picks in the draft, but has plummeted due to his shaky play at the University of Kentucky. For being a 7-foot power forward/center, Labissiere’s stats were underwhelming, even though he only played 15.8 minutes per game. He only managed 3.1 rebounds per game and 6.6 points per game. While he does have a good jump shot, and makes 45.9 percent of them, he runs into trouble when he doesn’t get an open look. He also struggled when trying to grab rebounds. Not only would he struggle with pulling the ball down, Labissiere was foul prone, committing 7.6 fouls in 40 minutes. It’s hard to see a team going after Labissiere because of his struggles. He offers very little on offense and his defense really needs improvement. Unless a team is willing to gamble on him and see if he can produce later down the line, there is really no upside to drafting him. He is 11th on my draft board and could wind up in the laps of the Orlando Magic. The Magic just might take him to see if he can improve and see if he has something to offer. Orlando doesn’t need someone that can help them right now, anyways, so Labissiere might be a pick just for the future.