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NBA PM: Which Non-Playoff Teams Can Make the Jump to the Playoffs?

Cody Taylor breaks down which non-playoff teams from last season may have better luck this upcoming season.

Cody Taylor

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Each NBA season there seems to always be at least one team that shows significant improvement. Last season, the Milwaukee Bucks got off to a great start, led by new head coach Jason Kidd. The Bucks went 15-67 during the 2013-14 season, but improved last season to 41-41, which earned them the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

Of course, the Cleveland Cavaliers also saw a huge increase in wins last season after LeBron James returned home to join forces with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love. The Cavaliers went 33-49 two seasons ago and are now coming off an NBA Finals appearance against the Golden State Warriors. The New Orleans Pelicans and Boston Celtics were also teams that made the jump from being a non-playoff team in 2013-14, to qualifying for the playoffs last season.

Now that the bulk of the free agency moves are behind us, we’re beginning to see how teams are shaping up. There are still some minor moves to be made with teams filling in their open bench slots and training camp rosters, but the majority of teams are done making moves. With teams beginning to show a new identity, we can now consider which non-playoff teams from last season can make the leap to being a playoff team next season.

Here are the non-playoff teams from each conference and their playoff outlook for next season (ranked from having the worst chance to having the best chance):

Eastern Conference – 

Philadelphia 76ers (18-64), 14th:

The team may have hit a home run in the draft after Jahlil Okafor fell to the third spot, but this team is still at least a few seasons away from competing for a playoff spot. It’s clear that Okafor could possibly be one of the best players from the draft in the years to come, but he’s still some time away from leading the team into contention. The 76ers have a ton of young talent on the roster they’re still developing and represent one of best up-and-coming rosters in the league, but are still a little ways off from a playoff berth.

New York Knicks (17-65), 15th:

The Knicks made a lot of moves this summer, and they appear to be headed in the right direction. They brought in Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant through the draft, and brought in several players through free agency that can contribute. We’ve seen the Knicks in the past try to go for home run signings and offer a lot of money for one or two players, but the team seemed to be going for value this summer after signing Robin Lopez, Derrick Williams, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn and Kevin Seraphin. Porzingis is a project big man, and may not be able to contribute significantly right away, but his presence will help the team improve, especially down the road. The Knicks appear to be primed for an improved 2015-16 campaign, but that won’t translate into a playoff berth next season with the bottom of the East improving.

Detroit Pistons (32-50), 12th:

The Pistons are coming off of their best season in six years as they won the most games in a single season since the 2008-09 campaign, which is also the last time they made the playoffs. They averaged just 28 wins over the last six seasons and appear to be heading in the right direction. It seems as though there will be some starting positions up for grabs, so the 2015-16 season might be spent trying to lay a foundation for the future, with the development of Stanley Johnson as a key priority.

Charlotte Hornets (33-49), 11th:

The Hornets were quick to make changes to the team this summer and decided to bring in Nicolas Batum from Portland and sign free agent Jeremy Lin. They drafted Frank Kaminsky, acquired Jeremy Lamb from Oklahoma City and added Spencer Hawes in the Lance Stephenson deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. Adapting all of these pieces together could take some time as each of these players figure to see significant roles next season. Finding minutes for those players and settling them into their roles could be a tough task for head coach Steve Clifford. The playoffs don’t seem to be in their future next year, but that could change depending on how quickly everything comes together.

Orlando Magic (25-57), 13th:

While the playoffs may be at least another season away, the Magic are poised to return to the postseason in the next couple of seasons. The team feels their defense can take the next step in development with new head coach Scott Skiles coming in. They upgraded the offense by drafting offensive-minded players in Mario Hezonja and Tyler Harvey. With core players in Tobias Harris, Nikola Vucevic, Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton taking the next step in their development, the team should be in for an improved season. An improvement of at least 10 wins will likely be needed to be in the playoff hunt, and that doesn’t seem that far off.

Indiana Pacers (38-44), 9th:

Few people imagined the Pacers would in the playoff hunt last season without Paul George. Nevertheless, despite not having George, the Pacers were in the playoff hunt until the final day of the regular season. With George returning to 100 percent, the Pacers should be in the hunt all season and could be the first team we’ve covered to have a legitimate chance at returning to the postseason. The Pacers will need at least one team to fall out of the mix from last season, and everyone seems to believe that team could be the Nets. Indiana added Monta Ellis to help the offense, and to incorporate a new up-tempo offense. Draft pick Myles Turner seems to be in for a big rookie campaign, and his addition could help the Pacers finish in the top eight next season.

Miami HEAT (37-45), 10th:

The HEAT figure to have the best chance from this list to make the playoffs next season. They finished just a game back of the Nets last season, despite being at less than 100 percent. Key players like Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic and Chris Bosh all missed several games at different points of the season for various reasons, which resulted in an up-and-down year. With the team returning Dwyane Wade, Dragic, Bosh and Luol Deng (player option), the HEAT seem poised for a big season, if they can remain healthy. We’re not quite sure how many games Wade will play or how effective Bosh will be, but if they can have a consistent season, they’re likely to reach the playoffs.

Western Conference –

Minnesota Timberwolves (16-66), 15th:

There is no question that the Timberwolves will have a much better season than last year. The Timberwolves added the first overall pick in Karl-Anthony Towns, they have the reigning Rookie of the Year in Andrew Wiggins, and have young talent in Zach LaVine, Adreian Payne and Gorgui Deng. Plus they still have a former No. 1 pick in Anthony Bennett, who has failed to live up to expectations, but could turn things around. Given that the West is so competitive, it seems as though the Timberwolves are still a few seasons away from competing, but make no mistake about it – this team is better, and will make the playoffs in the next few seasons. Once their players really begin to develop, it wouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if the Wolves emerged as a playoff contender for many years to come.

Sacramento Kings (29-53), 13th:

After the summer that the Kings have had, there’s no possible way that they make the playoffs, is there? Stability within an organization is generally a good starting place to judge how well a team will do, and it seems as though the Kings’ front office is anything but organized. As recent as just a few years ago, the Kings seems poised to really challenge in the West. But that was two head coaches ago, and before the franchise went through turmoil in the front office. Looking at the Kings on paper might suggest a playoff team, but looking at their up-and-down summer suggests otherwise. Seeing how this team comes together on the court this season will be a big indicator on where they stand. Based on what we know so far, the playoffs may not be the end result this season.

Los Angeles Lakers (21-61), 14th:

Just how much the Lakers can improve this season remains to be seen. There seems to be a lot of questions with the current Lakers roster heading into next season. They shocked everyone by selecting D’Angelo Russell with the second pick in the draft and passing on Jahlil Okafor in the process. Russell certainly has the tools to become an All-Star type of point guard in the future, but he’s yet to play in a real NBA game and struggled in the Las Vegas Summer League. The Lakers added Roy Hibbert from the Pacers, and questions will remain with Hibbert until he can return to the type of player we saw a few seasons ago. Of course, the biggest question is how many games will Kobe Bryant play? He looked great, at times, when he did play last season, but his year ended prematurely due to injury. Father Time is undefeated, and Bryant does not seem to be an exception to that. The Lakers have depth in front court after adding Brandon Bass, but Julius Randle has yet to really play after suffering a season-ending injury in his first NBA game last season. There are more questions than answers for the Lakers this season, which doesn’t suggest this team is in position to make a playoff appearance.

Denver Nuggets (30-52), 12th:

The Nuggets will be ushering in a new era this season, with the addition of head coach Mike Malone and Emmanuel Mudiay. The Nuggets should be in for an improved season with a new leader, but like the Lakers, there are questions heading into the season. How will the group respond to a new head coach? Will Kenneth Faried remain on the roster all season or will he be traded? The veteran presence alone on the team should keep the Nuggets around the 30-35 win mark, but that won’t be nearly good enough to get into the playoffs.

Utah Jazz (38-44), 11th:

There could be as many as 11 teams that can compete for a playoff berth next season and that list includes the Jazz. The Jazz have been one of the most hyped teams all summer as we saw their young core of players take the next step in their development during the second half of last season. It was during this time that the Jazz earned the best defensive rating in the league, which is an impressive feat considering they’re going up against some of the best teams in the league in the West. Given how competitive the conference is, the key for the Jazz and some of these other teams trying to make it back into the playoffs is other teams dropping out of playoff race from last year. The case can be made for some teams like the Portland Trail Blazers and even the Dallas Mavericks to fall out of the race, which will open up two spots. The Jazz certainly have an opportunity to claim one of those spots should they open up.

Phoenix Suns (39-43), 10th:

It was just two years ago that the Suns had the worst record in the Western Conference, but they’ve improved in each season since. They finished six games out of the playoff race last year, but part of that was due to the team trading away Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline. By making those trades, the team sacrificed their short-term success in order to improve in the long-term. They signed Brandon Knight to a long-term deal, who they also acquired at the trade deadline, and also signed Tyson Chandler in free agency. The addition of Chandler figures to solidify their front-court and will give the locker room a proven veteran presence. The team may still need to add a few more players to the bench, but they should be among those competing for a playoff spot next season.

Oklahoma City Thunder (45-37), 9th:

The Thunder were another team that was in the playoff hunt last season, even though they suffered from multiple injuries. Kevin Durant played in only 27 games after battling a foot injury, and Russell Westbrook and Serge Ibaka also missed time throughout the season. Health will be key for the Thunder this upcoming season. With better luck on the health front, they should easily return to the playoffs given their talented core of players. The team has one of the best starting lineups in the league with Westbrook, Dion Waiters, Durant, Ibaka and Enes Kanter. An appearance in the playoffs will be vital in trying to convince Durant to re-sign next summer, so the Thunder should be a team on a mission.

What do you think about our predictions? Would you change them? Let us know in the comments below!

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Reviewing the Nurkic Trade: Denver’s Perspective

The Denver Nuggets have been on a miraculous run this postseason, but that doesn’t mean that they’re infallible. Drew Maresca reviews the 2017 trade that sent Jusuf Nurkic from Denver to Portland.

Drew Maresca

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The Denver Nuggets are fresh off of a 114-106 win over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference Finals, pulling within three wins of the franchise’s first trip to the NBA Finals. But what if I told you that the Nuggets’ roster could be even more talented by acting more deliberately in a trade from three years ago?

While Denver won on Tuesday night, they lost a nail bitter on Sunday – for which most of the blame has been pointed at a defensive breakdown by Nuggets’ center Mason Plumlee, who was procured in the aforementioned 2017 trade. What did it cost Denver, you ask? Just Jusuf Nurkic and a first-round pick.

Nurkic was a 2014-15 All-Rookie second team member. He played 139 games over 2.5 seasons in Denver, averaging 7.5 points and 5.9 rebounds in approximately 18 minutes per game. He showed serious promise, but Denver had numerous reasons to pursue a trade: he’d suffered a few relatively serious injuries early in his career (and he’s continued to be injury-prone in Portland), butted heads with head coach Michael Malone and – most importantly – the Nuggets stumbled on to Nikola Jokic.

The Nuggets eventually attempted a twin-tower strategy with both in the starting line-up, but that experiment was short-lived — with Jokic ultimately asking to move to the team’s second unit.

The Nuggets traded Nurkic to the Portland Trail Blazers in February 2017 (along with a first-round pick) in exchange for Plumlee, a second-round pick and cash considerations. Ironically, the first-round pick included in the deal became Justin Jackson, who was used to procure another center, Zach Collins – but more on that in a bit.

As of February 2017, Plumlee was considered the better player of the two. He was averaging a career-high 11 points, 8.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists through 54 games – but it was clear that at 27, he’d already maximized his talent.

Conversely, Nurkic was only 23 at the time of the trade with significant, untapped upside. In his first few seasons with Portland, Nurkic averaged 15 points and 9.8 rebounds per game, while establishing himself as a rising star. As noted above, injuries have continued to be a problem. Nurkic suffered a compound fracture in his tibia and fibula in March 2019, forcing him to miss a majority of this current campaign. The COVID-19-related play stoppage in March gave Nurkic extra time to get his body right, and he returned to action in July inside the bubble.

And he did so with a vengeance. Nurkic demonstrated superior strength and footwork, and he flashed the dominance that Portland hoped he would develop, posting eight double-doubles in 18 contests. He averaged 17.6 points and 10.3 rebounds per game and while his play dipped a bit in the playoffs – partially due to a matchup with first-team All-NBA star Anthony Davis – he still managed 14.2 points and 10.4 rebounds in the five-game series. So it’s fair to say that Nurkic is still on his way toward stardom.

But the Nuggets are in the conference finals – so all’s well that ends well, right? Not so fast. To his credit, Plumlee is exactly who Denver expected him to be. He’s averaged 7.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in three seasons with Denver since 2017 – but to be fair, Plumlee is asked to do less in Denver than he had in Portland. Still, it’s fairly obvious that they’re just not that comparable.

Plumlee is a good passer and an above-average defender that’ll compete hard and isn’t afraid to get dirty – but he has limitations. He doesn’t stretch the floor and he is a sub-par free throw shooter (53.5 percent in 2019-20). More importantly, he’s simply not a major offensive threat and his repertoire of moves is limited.

High-level takeaway: Defenses tend to game plan for opponents they view as major threats – Nurkic falls into this category. Other guys pack the stat sheet through putback attempts, open looks and single coverage alongside the guys for whom opposing defenses game plan – that’s a more appropriate description of Plumlee.

On to the wrench thrown in by Zach Collins’ involvement. Statistically, Collins is about as effective as Plumlee – he averaged 7 points and 6.3 rebounds through only 11 games in 2019-20 due to various injuries – and he possesses more upside. The 22-year-old is not as reliable as Plumlee but given his age and skill set, he’s a far better option as a support player playing off the bench. He stretches the floor (36.8 percent on three-point attempts in 2019-20), is an above-average free throw shooter (75 percent this season) and is a good defender. Looking past Nurkic for a moment, would the Nuggets prefer a 22-year-old center that stretches the floor and defends or a 30-year-old energy guy?

Regardless of your answer to that question, it’s hard to argue that Nurkic should have returned more than Plumlee, definitely so when you factor in the first-round pick Denver included. There is obviously more at play: Denver was probably considering trading Nurkic for some time before they acted – did they feel that they could increase his trade value prior to the trade deadline in 2016-17? Maybe. Further, Nurkic and his agent could have influenced the Nuggets’ decision at the 2017 deadline, threatening to stonewall Denver in negotiations.

Had Nurkic been more patient or the Nuggets acted sooner before it became abundantly clear that he was on the move, Denver’s roster could be even more stacked than it is now. Ultimately, the Nuggets have a plethora of talent and will be fine – while it appears that Nurkic found a long-term home in Portland, where he owns the paint offensively. Denver can’t be thrilled about assisting a division rival, but they’re still in an enviable position today and should be for years to come.

But despite that, this deal should go down as a cautionary tale – it’s not only the bottom feeders of the league who make missteps. Even the savviest of front offices overthink deals. Sometimes that works in their favor, and other times it does not.

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NBA

NBA Daily: They Guessed Wrong

Matt John reflects on some of the key decisions that were made last summer, and how their disappointing results hurt both team outlooks and players’ legacies.

Matt John

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It doesn’t sound possible, but did you know that the crazy NBA summer of 2019 was, in fact, over a year ago? Wildly, in any normal, non-pandemic season, it all would have been over three months ago and, usually, media days would be right around the corner, but not this time. The 2019-20 NBA season is slated to end sometime in early to mid-October, so the fact that the last NBA off-season was over a year ago hasn’t really dawned on anyone yet. Craziest of all, even though there will still be an offseason, there technically won’t be any summer.

Coronavirus has really messed up the NBA’s order. Of course, there are much worse horrors that COVID-19 has inflicted upon the world – but because of what it’s done to the NBA, let’s focus on that and go back to the summer of 2019. It felt like an eternity, but the Golden State Warriors’ three-year reign had finally reached its end. The Toronto Raptors’ victory over the tyranny that was the Hamptons Five – as battered as they were – made it feel like order had been restored to the NBA. There was more to it than that though.

Klay Thompson’s and Kevin Durant’s season-ending injuries, along with the latter skipping town to join Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn meant two things.

1. Golden State was down for the count
2. Brooklyn’s time wasn’t coming until next year.

A one-year window was open. Even if neither Golden State nor Brooklyn posed the same threat that the former did when it had Kevin Durant, those were two contenders out of commission. If there was a time to go all in, it was in 2019.

Milwaukee certainly seemed to go all in. For the most part.  Malcolm Brogdon’s departure seemed a little odd since he was arguably their best non-Giannis playmaker when they were in crunch time. Not to mention there was nothing really stopping the Bucks from keeping him except for money. Detractors will call out Milwaukee for electing to cheap out by not keeping Brogdon and hence, avoiding the luxury tax. However, there’s more to it than that.

Milwaukee thought it had enough with the core it had on its roster. Coming off the best season they had put up since the eighties, they believed the franchise built the right team to contend. There was an argument that keeping Brogdon may have been overkill with their guard depth – let’s not forget that Donte DiVincenzo did a solid job in Brogdon’s role as the backup facilitator. This would have been more defensible had it not been for Milwaukee picking the wrong guy to let go. That was the indefensible part- electing to keep Eric Bledsoe over Brogdon.

Bledsoe wasn’t necessarily a bad investment. No one’s complaining about an almost 15 point average on 47/34/79 splits or playing individual defense tight enough to get named on the All-Defensive second team. By all accounts, Bledsoe earns his keep. That is until the playoffs. Bledsoe’s postseason woes have been a weight ever since he first entered Milwaukee, and this postseason was more of the same.

Bledsoe’s numbers dwindled to just 11.7 points on 39/25/81 splits, and Milwaukee getting ousted in five games at the hands of Miami made his struggles stand out even more than it had ever been. Bledsoe may be the better athlete and the better defender, but Brogdon’s all-around offensive savvy and his only slight dropoff defensively from Brogdon would have made him a bit more reliable.

Milwaukee guessed wrong when they opted to extend Bledsoe before the postseason last year when they could have waited until that very time to evaluate who to keep around. Now they face a hell of a lot more questions than they did at the end of last season – questions that may have been avoided had they made the right choice.

Now they could have kept both of them, yes, but it’s not totally unreasonable to think that maybe their approach with the luxury tax would have worked and maybe they would still be in the postseason right now had they gone with the homegrown talent. And just maybe, there wouldn’t be nearly as much of this Greek Freak uncertainty.

The Houston Rockets can relate. They got bruised up by a team that everyone thought Houston had the edge on going into the series and then crushed by the Lakers. Now, Mike D’Antoni is gone. The full-time small ball experiment likely did not work out. Since the Rockets emptied most of their assets to bring in Russell Westbrook and Robert Covington, there may not be a route in which they can become better than they presently are.

The mistake wasn’t trading for Russell Westbrook. The mistake was trading Chris Paul.

To be fair, most everybody severely overestimated Chris Paul’s decline. He’s not among the best of the best anymore, but he’s still pretty darn close. He deserved his All-NBA second team selection as well as finishing No. 7 overall in MVP voting. OKC had no business being as good as they were this season, and Paul was the driving force as to why.

For all we know, the previously-assumed tension between Chris Paul and James Harden would have made its way onto the court no matter what. Even so, Houston’s biggest obstacle in the Bay Area had crumbled. If they had just stayed the course, maybe they’re still in the postseason too.

To their credit, none of this may have happened had it not been for the Kawhi Leonard decision. Had he chosen differently, the Thunder never blow it up, and Houston might have very well been the favorite in the Western Conference. Instead, the Rockets took a step back from being in the title discussion to dark horse. But at least they can take pride knowing that they weren’t expected to win it all – the Clippers can’t.

Seeing the Clippers fall well short expectations begs the question if they too got it wrong. The answer is, naturally: of course not. They may have paid a hefty price for Paul George, but the only way they were getting Kawhi Leonard – one of the best players of his generation – was if PG-13 came in the package. As lofty as it was, anyone would have done the same thing if they were in their shoes. They didn’t get it wrong. Kawhi did.

On paper, the Clippers had the most talented roster in the entire league. It seemed like they had every hole filled imaginable. Surrounding Leonard and George was three-point shooting, versatility, a productive second unit, an experienced coach – you name it. There was nothing stopping them from breaking the franchise’s long-lasting curse. Except themselves.

Something felt off about them. They alienated opponents. They alienated each other. At times, they played rather lackadaisically, like the title had already been signed, sealed, and delivered to them. The media all assumed they’d cut the malarkey and get their act together – but that moment never really came. They had their chances to put Denver away, but even if they had, after seeing their struggles to beat them – and to be fair Dallas too – would their day of destiny with the Lakers have really lived up to the hype?

Even if it was never in the cards, one can’t help but wonder what could have happened had Kawhi chosen to stay with the team he won his second title with.

Toronto was the most impressive team in this league this season. They still managed to stay at the top of the east in spite of losing an all-timer like Leonard. That team had every component of a winner except a superstar. They had the right culture for a championship team. Just not the right talent. The Clippers were the exact opposite. They had the right talent for a championship team but not the right culture. That’s why the Raptors walked away from the postseason feeling proud of themselves for playing to their full potential while the Clippers writhed in disappointment and angst over their future.

In the end, everyone mentioned here may ultimately blame what happened to their season on the extenuating circumstances from the pandemic. The Bucks’ chemistry never fully returned when the Bubble started. Contracting COVID and dealing with quad problems prevented Westbrook from reviving the MVP-type player he was before the hiatus. As troubling as the Clippers had played, the extra time they would have had to work things out in a normal season was taken away from them.

For all we know, next year will be a completely different story. The Rockets, Bucks, and Kawhi may ultimately have their faith rewarded for what they did in the summer of 2019 – but that will only be mere speculation until the trio can change the story.

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NBA

Looking Toward The Draft: Power Forwards

Basketball Insiders continues their NBA Draft watch, this time with the power forwards.

David Yapkowitz

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We got some updated NBA draft news this week when the league announced that several key dates have been pushed back including the draft, the start of free agency and the beginning of the 2020-21 season.

The 2020 draft was originally scheduled for Oct. 16, but it will now likely occur sometime in November. Obviously, with the COVID-19 pandemic still wildly out of control in the United States, all of these potential deadlines are fluid and subject to change.

With that said, we’re continuing our position by position breakdown here at Basketball Insiders of some of the top 2020 draft prospects. We looked at the point guards and shooting guards last week, and this week we’re covering the small forwards and power forwards.

The power forward crop, like the draft overall, doesn’t appear to be as strong as recent years, that doesn’t mean there aren’t potential contributors and high-level NBA players available, as well as one who might just turn out to be a star-caliber player.

Onyeka Okongwu, USC – 19 years old

Okongwu is the player who just might develop into a star on some level. He was actually underrated in high school and was snubbed for a McDonald’s All-American selection his senior year. He established himself early on at USC as the team’s best player as a freshman and now appears to have turned some heads.

He’s been mentioned as a lottery pick and in some mock drafts, he’s top 4-5. He possesses a great all-around skill-set; he can score in the post, he can put the ball on the floor and attack and he can shoot. But perhaps his biggest attribute is his versatility on the defensive end. He’s got quick feet and mobility and can guard multiple positions.

Okongwu might actually play center in the NBA, especially in small-ball lineups, but he’s mostly played power forward and so he’ll probably see time there in the league. His skill-set fits perfectly with today’s game.

Obi Toppin, Dayton – 22 years old

Toppin is one of the older players in the draft, and in recent history, players that age tend to slip on draft boards. In Toppin’s case, it looks like the reverse might actually be true. He’s been projected as a lottery pick, and even going in the top 3.

He’s an incredibly athletic player who thrives in the open court. He looks like he’ll do well in an up-tempo offensive system that has capable playmakers who can find him in transition. He’s extremely active around the rim and he can finish strong. A decent shooter too, something he’ll need at the next level.

Toppin has the physical tools to be an effective defensive player, but that’s where the questions marks on him have been. In the NBA, he’s likely going to have to play and guard multiple positions. Whether or not he can adapt to that likely will answer the question as to what his ceiling can be.

Precious Achiuwa, Memphis – 20 years old

Achiuwa is another intriguing prospect. this writer actually got to watch him play in person while he was in high school and he was very impressive. He looked like a man among boys. He’s projected to be a late lottery pick.

He has an NBA-ready body and he’s got some toughness around the rim and in the paint. He was a double-double threat during his one season at Memphis and his knack for rebounding is something that should translate to the NBA. He’s a very good defender too, in particular, as a rim protector. He’s very quick and has the ability to guard multiple positions.

One of the main knocks on Achiuwa is his shooting ability. He didn’t shoot that well in college and power forwards being able to space the floor is almost a requirement in today’s NBA game. It’s something he can certainly work on and improve on though.

Honorable Mentions:
Paul Reed, DePaul – 21 years old
Xavier Tillman, Michigan State – 21 years old
Killian Tillie, Gonzaga – 22 years old

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