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11. Brooklyn Nets: G. G. Jackson (South Carolina, PF, freshman)
Presumptive young draft prospect GJ Jackson was prolific early in the game for South Carolina, averaging 16.2 points and 8.0 rebounds on seven 3-pointers in five games. Shooting, athletic finishing and energetic play were the key to Jackson’s scoring. As long as he makes jumpers at a decent rate, his name should stay in the group with other lottery prospects. We haven’t seen many passing or exciting defensive plays from Jackson, though with his age (18), tackle, promising perimeter skills, under-the-rim activity and motor skills, teams should be able to pull off double-doubles that translate.
12. New York Knicks: Grady Dick (Kansas, San Francisco, freshman)
Scouts are already presenting Dick with an easy-working NBA wing, a convincing 10-20 3PT shooter at 6’8 who has shown more athleticism on the rim, shooting versatility and defensive toughness.
13. Utah Jazz (via Timberwolves): Keyonte George (Baylor, SG, freshman)
Due to heavy use and a busy schedule early on, George had mixed results, though the pros still outweigh the cons. NBA teams will see the transferable shooting prowess in his versatility and ability to beat defensemen, while his defense-to-screen-separating shots should continue to work at NBA level. His 5.0 assists per game is also noteworthy and highlights the real playability of the combo guard. Improving the choice of rolls and intermediate plays will help George not confuse some scouts.
14. New York Knicks (via Mavericks): Terquavion Smith (NC State, PG/SG, Sophomore)
If Smith’s first four games are a sign of what’s to come this season, the decision to drop the 2022 first-round interest rate should pay off. Throwing will always be the main skill that fuels his scoring, but so far he has been significantly more effective with his completion and he shows more playmaking abilities to back up his point or combo defensive case to scouts.
15. Toronto Raptors: Ausar Thompson (Overtime Elite, SG/SF, 2003)
Teams will show a willingness to remain patient with Tompon’s skill development given the level of speed and explosion he has to attack, finish and defend in the home lane. His shooting and decision making remain inconsistent, but he will still look too tempting with enough bursts of self-creation and one-on-ones, as well as flashy dunks, punches, and defensive moves.
16. Utah Jazz (via Sixers): Kel’el Ware (Oregon, C, freshman)
Ware stood out most for his quick shots and his defensive mobility. He doesn’t have a big offensive role in Oregon’s offense, but the 7-footer has already hit three triples and blocked eight shots in four games. The potential to stretch the floor and protect the rim should be enough to keep Ware in the top 20 discussions all year long, even if his shot attempts and scoring falter.
17. Chicago Bulls (via Blazers): Chris Murray (Iowa, PF, Junior)
After a 29-point game against Seton Hall and a 30-point game against Omaha, Murray’s breakthrough appears. Between the versatility of shooting, passing closed areas, mail buckets, and body-controlled jumps, he makes a jump similar to last year’s Keegan jump.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Jett Howard (Michigan, SG/SF, freshman)
Howard immediately caught the attention of scouts with his shooting and scoring instinct for a 6ft 8in wing. While not the most creative scorer, he excelled on Michigan’s offense by making jumps and making the right decisions in terms of when to attack or move the ball. .
19. Memphis Grizzlies: Maxwell Lewis (Pepperdine, SG, sophomore)
Averaged 17.2 points, shooting 69.0% from the arc and 58.8% from three, Lewis is poised for a brilliant start, showing the type of creativity and skill flash that should grab the NBA’s attention. Scouts are counting on Pepperdine’s two Gonzaga games to be featured on their schedule.
20. Los Angeles Lakers (via Pelicans): Dillon Mitchell (TX, PF, freshman)
While Mitchell has yet to showcase any noticeable skill, super-powerful quickness and jumping might be enough for NBA teams to portray an athletic specialist in finishing and defensive plays.