5-Star Corner: Paolo Banchero

Paolo Banchero is one of the elite prospects in the 2021 class. He is a 6-8 220 5-star power forward who plays for O Dea high school in Seattle, Washington. He has an aggressive style of play and is almost unstoppable in transition. He is the top prospect in Washington, the 2nd ranked power forward, 5th ranked prospect in 2021 by 247 sports. I had a conversation with him for the 5-star corner on NBA Draft Room's Prospect Room.

LJ: How does it feel to be a 5-star?
Paolo: It’s a good feeling just because I remember looking at ESPN/247 rankings when I was younger and thinking how I wanted that to be me.

LJ: What do you feel you have to improve on to be the best?
Paolo: I’d say having a consistent 3pt shot.

LJ: What about your game has improved that will be seen this season?
Paolo: My ball handling definitely.

LJ: What were the stats of your best game during the AAU season?
Paolo: 29 points and 9 rebounds at session 3.

LJ: What teams have shown strong interest this early in your recruitment?
Paolo: Washington, Gonzaga, and Oklahoma I’d say have shown the strongest so far.

LJ: Which team is showing the strongest interest?
Paolo: I don’t think there’s been a school that has really separated themselves.

LJ: What visits are you taking soon?
Paolo: I’m just taking these next 11 weeks to get ready for the season.



1 on 1 with Greg Brown

Unlimited potential comes to mind when you talk about Vandergrift high school star Greg Brown. He is a part of the super talented 2020 basketball recruiting class and is rated a 5-star by 247 sports. At 6-7 he is an extremely gifted power forward with crazy bounce. He is developing more and more of a dominant game on both ends of the floor.

You don’t see too many ball players at this age with this much energy and athleticism to dominate games at his size. Brown is the 11th ranked prospect and 3rd ranked power forward in the 2021 NBA Draft class by NBA Draft Room and you haven’t seen the best of this elite prospect. I had a 1 on 1 with Brown about his future in the NBA.

LJ: Your development athletically is insane. How old were you when you first
dunked?

Greg: 12

LJ: What were your averages last season?

Greg: 28pts, 13 rebs, 3 blocks, 2 assist.

LJ: What was your best game in AAU? What were
your stats?

Greg: 46pts, 16 rebs, 6 blocks played a team in Myrtle Beach at Big Shots.

LJ: What about your game is improving the most?

Greg: strength and athleticism.

LJ: You remind me of a mixture of Shawn Kemp/taller Zach Lavine. What NBA player do you feel
resembles your game?

Greg: Tracy McGrady in my opinion.

LJ: What type of offense do you like to play in that caters to your skills the most?

Greg: Motion offense, with pick and roll as well as pushing the ball in transition.


LJ: What do you think has been the toughest
prospect in this class that has been the toughest for you to
play against? What were your numbers against that
prospect?

Greg: There are no tough prospects for me in the 2020 but I put up 25 plus against RJ Hampton, 32 against Isaiah Todd, 27 against Jaden Springer, and 28 against Josiah James 2019.

LJ: If you had to pick an NBA franchise what team
would you like to play for?

Greg: Dallas Mavericks

LJ: What do you bring to an NBA franchise? What
about your character stands out to an NBA
franchise?

Greg: I like to have fun and laugh a lot as well it encourages others to be great.

LJ: Do you consider yourself an NBA team player
or a Franchise player? Why?

Greg: Franchise Player because I can do it on both ends of the court as well as having the character to lead a franchise.

LJ: What about your skills makes you an impact
player? What is improving about your skills we will see in
the future that will make you better?

Greg: I play Great defense on 1 thru 5 and rebound at a high level as well as score on all three levels.
My shooting, IQ and feel for the game is improving and will take me to the next level.


This article was contributed by NBA Draft Analyst Leader Johnson. Follow L.J. on Twitter
Follow Greg Brown on Twitter.


Check out the full 2021 NBA Mock Draft
 

Summer League First Impressions Part 2

During Saturday's Summer League games it continued to become clear just how talented this rookie class is. We got our first look at a few more first round picks, as this class continued to impress. Yes, it's just Summer League but the talent that has been on display can't be denied. The bottom line is that this rookie class is special.

Kevin freakin' Knox! When the Knicks drafted Knox he was welcomed by a chorus of boos from the Barclay's Center crowd. After one Summer League game all of those doubters have been silenced, as Knox put on a display of athleticism, talent and natural ability that is normally found in top 5 draft picks. He threw down some nasty power dunks while showing elite mobility for size and showing a high comfort level as a face-up 4. We graded this pick an A+ on draft night and we stand by that grade.


Wendell Carter Jr. also saw his first action of the summer and did not disappoint. It's clear that the Bulls have a rock solid center prospect who fits today's league well and should also be a perfect fit next to Lauri. WCJ showed off his versatility, blocking shots on one end, draining 3's on the other end and looking the part of a modern NBA center who can switch on D and space the floor on O. He plays a mature game, makes good decisions and really impacts the game when he's on the floor. Look for WCJ to be a many-time All Star in the League.

Zhaire Smith played with a level of confidence and aggression that we didn't see in his first game. His athleticism is truly special and his basketball instincts and feel for the game are elite. He's far more advanced on the offensive end than he gets credit for and in the game vs. the Lakers he showed off his passing ability and also an ability to get his own shot. Coach Pop and the Spurs organization is surely watching and might demand that Zhaire be included in any Kawhi deal.

But on the flip side for the Sixers, draft and stash fan favorite Jonah Bolden has looked shaky. His uninspired play has been marked by poor shot selection, defensive lapses and overall lack of court awareness. He could be a long shot to make the roster.



Mitchell Robinson has big time potential. If he can keep his focus and improve his work ethic the sky's the limit for this kid. You just don't find 7-1 players who can move the way he does. He needs to bulk up, refine his skills and continue to learn the game but he's got good instincts and elite physical tools. Great pick by the Knicks.

Isaac Bonga looked lost at times and made a lot of unforced errors but it's clear he's got an NBA future. His passing instincts and ability at 6-9 are unique and he's got a bright future for the Lakers...it just might take him a few years to get there.

Hamidou Diallo might just be better suited for the NBA game than most people thought. He's got a long way to go with his skill level and BBIQ but the pace and space of the NBA game fits his style of play well and his elite athleticism stands out, even on a court full of NBA athletes. Nice high-upside pick for the Thunder.

First Impressions from Summer League 2018

Here are a few first impressions of players who impressed so far in Summer League 2018:

Elie Okobo can play in this league. He's got all the physical tools, an NBA skill set and showed that he won't back down from anybody. The Suns got a second round steal.

The Spurs drafted well (what else is new?). If you follow this site you know we've been really high on Lonnie Walker IV and so far he hasn't disappointed. He's far from a finished product but he's already showing flashes of big time ability. The sky is the limit. Second round pick Chimezie Metu has done some nice things and looks the part of an NBA player. He might not have an impact in year one but look for him to develop and eventually become a rotation player for the Spurs, which is a solid value for a late second rounder.

Josh Okogie seems like a perfect fit for the Wolves. He fits coach Thibs mold of a defensive-minded, team-first player. Look for him to get minutes early in his NBA career, potentially at Andrew Wiggins expense.

DeAndre Ayton is going to be a monster.

Jaren Jackson Jr. is the real deal. The foot-speed he shows defending guards and switching on the
perimeter is really impressive. Oh, and draining 8 three pointers in his first pro game is kind of cool too.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is a steal for the Clippers and very well could be the best guard in this draft class. He plays with unbelievable control and poise for a young player and he physically out-matches most guards he goes against. He should have been a top ten pick.

Jerome Robinson really knows how to play and is an NBA level marksman. The Clippers backcourt is in good hands for the future.

Trae Young is going to be really fun to watch but (as we've been saying for months) he's going to struggle to score with consistency at the NBA level and his defense will leave a lot to be desired.

Is it any surprise that Grayson Allen is already ruffling feathers? Love him or hate him, Allen is showing the skill level and the trademark intensity to be an impact player early in his career.

Mo Wagner can ball. He's going to have a long successful career and could even develop into an All Star level player in his prime. 

Zhaire Smith has everything you look for in a glue-guy/wing defender and should be a perfect fit on the Sixers. Speaking of the Sixers, Furkan Korkmaz will make fans quickly forget about Marco Belinelli. Furkan can really stroke it.

And finally, Mikal Bridges could end up as one of the better three point marksmen in the League. That picture perfect jumper should make Suns fans very excited about his future.