By Eric Fishbin
NCAA superstars do not always turn into great NBA players, so it is hard for general managers across the league to select the best of the best come draft day. In the one-and-done era of college basketball, freshmen across the nation fill up the stat sheets all season and declare for the draft when it’s done.
Top-three projected pick Josh Jackson of Kansas University has the ideal body type for a small forward. He can rebound well, electrify fans with slam-dunks and play competitive defense, averaging 1.1 blocks per game and 1.7 steals per game. I believe Jackson’s talent will translate well to the next level and will only grow over the years.
Based on hype from his father, LaVar Ball, it might be easy to pick Lonzo Ball as the next big thing in the NBA. The 6’6” guard from UCLA is dynamic on both ends of the court. He shoots efficiently at .551 FG% and pulls in nearly two steals per game. Ball, if he lands in the right place, has the chance to make a name for himself in the League.
My big pick for who will have the best pro-career is University of Kentucky guard Malik Monk. Monk is an elite scorer at the college level. Monk can add to the UK legacy in the NBA and join the ranks of Demarcus Cousins, John Wall and Karl-Anthony Towns. His speed, athleticism and shooting ability should be enough to get him going at the next stage. Monk can thrive offensively, and this gives him the potential to be a superstar in the NBA.
By Conor Oliver
Predicting the success of college basketball players in the NBA is an uncertain business. Sure, with once in a lifetime talents like LeBron James, you have an idea. However, in most cases, this idea fails to pan out. NBA general managers spend the year scouting and preparing for the draft, but they still manage to use their lottery picks on players that exit the league with a few years. Take Anthony Bennet, the former number-one pick, for example, who never spent more than a year with an NBA team and is currently playing in the Turkish league at the age of 24. Still, it is fun to try, especially given the monstrous performances some players have during March Madness.
The Final Four is loaded with players that will be taken high in the draft. Even South Carolina, the biggest underdog, has a star in PJ Dozier, who should be drafted if he declares. However, the most likely lottery picks have been eliminated, setting the stage for lesser known players. The Oregon Ducks have three or four players who will get drafted in Tyler Dorsey, Dillon Brooks, Jordan Bell and Chris Boucher. Jordan Bell has been a monster in the tournament so far, showing his incredible defense and rim protection. Playing power forward, he totaled 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks in Oregon’s defeat of Kansas. He scared the Jayhawks out of the paint and led the Ducks to a dominant performance. His defensive aptitude will translate well to the NBA. An athletic big man, if he can hone his offensive game, he has the potential for a great NBA career.
By Charlie Enberg
Predicting a college basketball player’s pro-career using his college career as reference is never easy, yet there are plenty of great prospects entering the draft this season who will more than likely rise to the occasion in the NBA. The obvious choice most people fall back on to have the best NBA career from this draft class is none other than UCLA’s Lonzo Ball.
While I believe he is an extremely talented player who has incredible court awareness and is an all-around athlete, I do not believe he is the top prospect to have the best NBA career in this class. Rather, I look to Kentucky’s De’Aaron Fox as the player with the most potential for a few reasons. First, he is an explosive offensive threat who can shoot, pass and create play effortlessly.
He is not a selfish player and does not rush the offense, and he can work well in a system or take it on his own when the time is right. He is a smart, calm basketball player who does not get easily overwhelmed. But what separates Fox from Ball and his other counterparts is his defensive ability. He swarms the ball on defense and forces other players to make questionable passes or take low-percentage shots. Also, when it came to a head-to-head matchup between Kentucky and UCLA, Fox embarrassed Ball and dominated the game with 39 points. Lonzo Ball will have a great career, but I am more impressed with De’Aaron Fox and excited to see where his career takes him in the NBA.