Dwight Howard

The Age of the Unicorn (2018 NBA Draft Big Board)

Of the best 25-and-Under NBA Stars, did you know none of the top five are guards? In some order: Anthony Davis, Giannis, Embiid, Porzingis, and Towns. Four of those can absolutely protect the rim, four of those can shoot the lights out, three are super unique types (unicorns), and two of them are already superstars.

If you stretch the 25-and-Under List two more spots, you finally get a guard (Donovan Mitchell) who you could make the case is better than Ben Simmons right now (at number six or seven depending on who you talk to), but it’d be really hard for you take for the future. Did I forget to mention, Simmons is a forward who plays the point, dazzles with his passing, has a super advanced IQ for a “rookie”, and odds on favorite to grab the superduper star title from LeBron.

Dig a little further with that information, and if you look back at the list of champions you’d be crazy to think you’re winning the title without a star front court player:

2017 Golden State – Durant

2016 Cleveland – LeBron

*2015 Golden State – None

2014 San Antonio – Duncan

2013 Miami – LeBron

2012 Miami – LeBron

2011 Dallas – Dirk

I started with Dallas, because anything before 2011 doesn’t accurately reflect the current pace-n-space “It’s Raining Threes” Era. It wasn’t until Dallas starting whipping the ball around on Miami’s Big Three in the 2011 Finals, pretty much trounced them with their ball movement, did we enter the current pace-n-space time period.

Fast forward to today, and if you really think about it, the Suns have no choice than to draft DeAndre Ayton right!? I mean you’re not gambling that Devin Booker and Luka Doncic are the next Splash Brothers and lead you to a title like 2015 Golden State who had an All-Star Multi-Defending Draymond too.

Back to Ayton, someone who’s probably the most physically gifted prospect since Dwight Howard, but has more Karl Antony Towns written on him (offensive potential but defensively a lot to be desired) than say Embiid (offensively AND defensively great).

Look a little further down this year’s mock drafts, and you’ll notice there’s at least another two more unique type of prospects (big men that can shoot from deep outside) – Jaren Jackson and Mohamed Bamba.

Anyway, I think we’re entering an interesting era in the NBA and this is the second phase of talented big men coming in. Here’s my prospects big board separated by tiers…

 

Tier I (Potential Superstars)

1. DeAndre Ayton

2. Luka Doncic

Tier II (Franchise Players)

3. Jaren Jackson

4. Mohamed Bamba

Tier III (All-Stars)

5. Michael Porter

6. Mikal Bridges

7. Miles Bridges

8. Marvin Bagley

9. Trae Young

Tier IV (Starters)

10. Wendell Carter Jr.

11. Collin Sexton

Tier V (Intriguing Prospects)

12. Robert Williams

13. Lonnie Walker

14. Dzanan Musa

Tier VI (Contributors)

15. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

16. Zhaire Smith

17. Keita Bates-Diop

Tier VII (Outsiders)

18. Jacob Evans

19. Kevin Know

20. Troy Brown


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