The NBA Draft is tonight, and if you are reading this your team may have just drafted a player from the Big Ten conference. You may be thinking - who the hell is this guy and is he any good? Figuring out who will be any good in the NBA is a crap shoot for the less trained eye, but luckily, science will guide us tonight.
Franz Wagner, Michigan: So your team has decided to draft Gumby. Wagner is the top prospect for the Big Ten in tonight’s draft, and figures to go somewhere between picks 7 to 12. The reason his draft stock is so high is because of his defense - he’s 6’9’’ with super long wavy Gumby arms and can guard big or small guys. He was so good on defense that the Big Ten left him completely off their All-Defensive team. Maybe Kevin Warren was in charge of that, too.
In any event, Wager’s defense is strong, and so is his passing. The key to whether he can be a starter in the NBA is whether he can shoot straight. He has a bit of a stiff looking set shot, like my old gym teacher. It isn’t bad when he has time to set up, but he can’t really get his own three pointer, though he can drive to the basket at times. If he develops a strong three, he can play in the NBA. If not, well, he will at least still look like Gumby.
Ayo Dosunmu, Illinois: So you have decided to draft Batman. Ayo’s broken nose led him to don an all black mask that made him look and feel like a superhero. He led the Illini to a (should have been) regular season championship and an actual B1G tourney championship, and now he looks to get drafted in the 20-30 range in the draft.
There’s a lot to like about Ayo’s game - he’s a willing defender and can be murder with the ball in transition. In the halfcourt, he still attacks relentlessly, and was pretty solid pulling up with midrange shots. The knock on him (like Franz) is whether he can consistently shoot straight from deep. He was good this past year, hitting 39%, but no one is confusing him for Steph Curry. His ability to develop consistent outside shooting is what keeps him in or out of starting lineups.
Joe Wieskamp, Iowa: Sort of the anti-Franz. While he displayed some eye-popping athletic traits at the NBA Combine, he, uh, never quite looks that athletic on the basketball court, especially on defense. Still, he’s going to get drafted tonight, possibly in the first round, because is a great outside shooter. He shot over 46% from three this past season, and being tall and shooting three pointers is a something that pays in the NBA.
Isaiah Livers, Michigan: A morphed version of Wieskamp, Livers isn’t quite the shooter but is still very good, hitting at least 40% from three in three different seasons. He is also a much more willing and able defender. The knocks on him are that he has had a lot of injuries, and he isn’t very effective attacking the basket or doing much on the offensive end besides his spot up shooting.
Aaron Henry, Michigan State: Yet another wing, Henry tilts back towards the defensive end. Figuring to lead Sparty this past year, things went rather poorly at times, especially with his outside shot, which dipped below 30%. His athleticism and defensive ability should get him drafted tonight, but he was never a player who was particularly scary to deal with. May end up in the G League until he figures out an identity on offense.
Luka Garza, Iowa: Luka is done terrorizing the B1G with his post moves and three pointers and very slow sprint. Luka might be the ultimate sign of where the NBA has gone. He is the best post scorer in the draft by a mile, he is a tremendous rebounder, and while he wasn’t known for his defense, he isn’t bad near the basket. He can also shoot threes, and in another life might be a much higher pick. But the NBA today requires guys who can move, and that ain’t his specialty.
Aaron Wiggins, Maryland: A bit of surprise that he left the Terrapins, though he took advantage of the G League combine to earn an invite to the NBA Combine. He’s an athletic wing who doesn’t really stand out in any area, but also has no glaring weaknesses. Seems like the type who could hang around the NBA forever just on general competence alone.
Dalano Banton, Nebraska: *Looks at name*...*looks at school*
It appears we have an NBA prospect from Nebraska. This information is as shocking to me as I’m sure it is to you. I’m not sure there is much chance that he gets drafted, yet here we are. The book on Banton is that he is an effective passer and huge guard, but he can’t shoot straight. Really, I just want to see him get drafted so that ESPN has to try and find Nebraska basketball highlights.
Chaundee Brown, Michigan: A transfer from Wake Forest, Brown provided a heck of a season for the Wolverines last year. His shooting was strong (42% from 3), which was an unexpected surprise. He is also a very willing defender, though at times a bit too willing, as he got torched a few times due to being too aggressive. Still, he’s a guy who looks the part and will try hard. If his shooting is as good as it looked last year, he’s got a shot.
Duane Washington, Ohio State: Another guy who used the G League combine to get an invite to the real thing, you can see a role for him in the NBA, namely a microwave type shooter who makes teams pay when they leave him alone. He was absolutely scary at times in college with the ball in his hands, and even developed some ability to attack the rim. But his inconsistency also led to a lot of scary times for OSU fans. The only scary thing baout his defense was its ghostly lack of appearance. He has a lot of moxy and confidence, and an NBA pedigree, but it would be surprising to see him get drafted.