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Stiffs Prospect Watch: 2017 Big Board 3.0

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With the NCAA regular season coming to a close with conference tournaments, it’s a good opportunity to share some thoughts on the current group of prospects.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Texas A&M Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Nuggets are in the middle of a race for the final playoff seed in the Western Conference with a month remaining in the regular season, with the team hoping for their first playoff appearance since 2013.

The Nuggets gave up the rights to the 2017 Memphis first round pick in a trade for Mason Plumlee with the Portland Trail Blazers, and as such currently only have their own pick in the draft. With the race for the playoffs and their record, the Nuggets could wind up selecting anywhere from No. 10 to No. 17 in the first round. While the playoffs would be the successful completion of a preseason goal, missing the playoffs does give the Nuggets single digit odds of winning the lottery (it won’t happen).

Before we get to the Big Board, it’s time to go back over some things we do know before delving into a lot of things we don’t know.

  • The Nuggets have their own first-round draft pick, but the Houston Rockets own the rights to the Nuggets second-round pick.
  • The Nuggets will have two second-round picks, one from the Oklahoma City Thunder and the other from the Memphis Grizzlies.

I’ve written a few scouting reports this season - Lauri Markkanen, Jordan Bell, Robert Williams - and there will be many more coming before the draft once the Nuggets season is over.

Don’t be surprised if there is a prospect that has a stellar NCAA tournament run and rises up draft boards, showing that he can excel against tougher competition. There’s always one or two guys that show out in the draft combine as well, but I think it’s useful to have an idea of some players to watch through the NCAA postseason.

Here’s the third Big Board for 2017.

Rank Player, Position, Team Previous Rank Change
1 Markelle Fultz, PG, Washington 1 0
2 Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas 2 0
3 Dennis Smith Jr., PG, NC State 5 +2
4 Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA 8 +4
5 Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke 4 -1
6 Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky 10 +4
7 Jonathan Isaac, SF, Florida State 9 +2
8 Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg 6 -2
9 Lauri Markkanen, PF, Arizona 7 -2
10 De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky 16 +6
11 Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State 17 +6
12 Robert Williams, PG, Texas A&M 22 +10
13 Justin Patton, C, Creighton NR NR
14 OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana 11 -3
15 Mikal Bridges, SF, Villanova NR NR
16 Josh Hart, SG, Villanova 27 +11
17 TJ Leaf, PF, UCLA 15 +2
18 Donovan Mitchell, SG, Louisville NR NR
19 Bam Adebayo, C, Kentucky 14 -5
20 Terrance Ferguson, SF, Adelaide 19 -1
21 Ivan Rabb, PF, California 12 -9
22 Harry Giles, PF, Duke 3 -19
23 Devonte Graham, SG, Kansas NR NR
24 Jawun Evans, PG, Oklahoma State 21 -3
25 Luke Kennard, SG, Duke NR NR
26 Tyler Lydon, SF, Syracuse NR NR
27 De'Anthony Melton, PG, USC NR NR
28 Bruce Brown, SG, Miami NR NR
29 Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina NR NR
30 Johnathan Motley, PF, Baylor NR NR

Here are a few thoughts:

  • I need to update my Big Board more often. Waiting three months meant there was a lot of movement that hadn’t been recorded.
  • It’s been so much fun to watch Malik Monk this season. Defenders can put a hand in his face, and he’ll still elevate for a jumper. He’ll have a lot to learn defensively, but offensively, he’s the engine to power teams for runs.
  • I still rank OG Anunoby high, despite his ACL injury. He could be a different guy after he recovers, and he may decide to return to Indiana. But if he’s healthy, he’s an impact defender.
  • Harry Giles was a preseason top 3 pick in the draft, and now there’s a strong possibility he isn’t a lottery selection. How well a player performs in high school is not a reliable indicator for NBA prospects.
  • De’Anthony Melton is a guy that does everything on the court. He doesn’t convert 3-pointers efficiently, but his form doesn’t look off, so perhaps he just needs time to be more consistent. You can’t teach his size (6’4” with a 6’8” wingspan) and effort, especially as a perimeter defender.
  • My favorite second-round prospect is Jordan Bell, from Oregon. He’s older than some other power forward prospects, but he can play.