2019 Dynasty Rookie Update

We've updated our 2019 Dynasty Rookie Rankings, to reflect the Summer League standouts and top performers.

Biggest Risers

Nickeil Alexander-Walker had himself a great Summer League, not only showing the
defensive ability and passing that we expected but showing off a smooth NBA 3pt shot and plenty of confidence with the ball. He's in an interesting situation in New Orleans, as he'll be playing behind some big name guards including Jrue Holiday and Lonzo Ball. But this could benefit him in the long-run, as he'll get to learn the NBA game from the talented vets, without being thrown into the fire too early. Fantasy owners will like the defensive stats, efficient scoring and all around production...even though his minutes might be limited in year one.

Jaxson Hayes was another Pelican who showed out in Summer League. The 6-11 center is highly mobile, freakishly athletic and just scratching the surface of his ability. At this point his offensive game is mostly dunks, lobs, put-backs and hustle buckets but he's got a lot of untapped upside. His shot blocking and rebounding will bring a lot of value, while his offensive game rounds into form.

Brandon Clarke looked like a man among boys in Summer League. He's got such a good feel for the game, showing great timing on his cuts to the basket, follow-up dunks and as a shot blocker. Also, his outside shooting looks more advanced than we thought. It seems inconceivable that he didn't get drafted in the top 20. What are these GMs thinking?

Carson Edwards always seems to step up and hit shots, no matter the level of competition. If this trend carries into the regular season the Celtics could be looking at a second round steal. Look for the Celtics to play some small ball line-ups with Edwards next to Kemba Walker, which will be fun to watch - and fun to have Edwards on your fantasy roster.

Biggest Concerns and Question Marks

Zion Williamson is still ranked no.1 in our Dynasty Rookie Rankings but there are more question marks now than on draft day. Specifically, can he keep his weight under control and can his body withstand an 82 game schedule with his explosive style of play? When drafting a player no.1 overall for your dynasty team you need to consider a few years down the line, not just the immediate impact. Zion will hopefully be just fine, but it's impossible to ignore the question marks that have come up.

Sekou Doumbouya is extremely young and unpolished as a player - and it showed in Summer League. He's still got the intriguing upside but it'll likely be a few years before he makes meaningful contributions in the NBA. Is it worth it to draft him in dynasty if you have to wait a few years? Or can that roster spot be put to better use?

And a look ahead to the 2020 Mock Draft

A Deep Dive Into Brandon Clarke

Top 5 fits in the 2019 NBA Draft

by Brandon- @AZSportsZone

In all my time evaluating NBA Draft prospects I have never seen a larger divide among the general consensus on an individual prospect than there currently is on Brandon Clarke. He is what traditional scouts or executives in the league generally tend to avoid until the late 1st round, as he’s already 22 years old and has a relatively short wingspan along with other uninspiring physical measurements.

Along with those concerns he doesn’t possess a cemented offensive identity with his lack of a jumper at the moment. His value differs significantly from mock draft to mock draft, as I’ve seen him penciled in anywhere from top five to the late first round. Despite all that, he is one of my favorite prospects in this entire draft, and after reading this he should be one of yours too.

What he does bring to the table: he is extremely good at basketball right now despite his deficiencies and question marks. His touch around the rim is elite, and he’s proven to be a hard worker as he completely overhauled the mechanics on his jumper from his stint at San Jose State. He still has plenty of work to do with his shot (especially the release point), but I believe at the very least he will be able to hit from the mid-range and continue to be one of the top percentile finishers around the rim with his remarkable touch and finishing ability.

If he ever starts knocking 3’s down at a reasonable rate it’s quite clear to me that he’d be a top 5 prospect from this class when we look back five years from now. Betting on skills to develop is a risky business, so let’s focus on the prospect he is right now without the three-point shot.

Defensive role: His off-ball instincts along with his precise timing allow for him to almost play like a free safety making impact play after impact play. He creates events at a high-level and offers rim protection in a variety of ways, whether it’s in transition, rotating from the weak side, at the point of attack or from recovery.

Offensive role: He excels as a rim runner in transition and a vertical floor spacer in the half-court, as he can play off the high post or on the weak-side baseline looking for cracks in the defense. He is a top-level decision maker that makes the right plays more often than not with the ball in his hands.

Let’s start with his physical measurements, then dive into his agility tests that he completed during the combine. The 22-year-old Gonzaga product stands at 6’8.25” while weighing in at 207 pounds with 5.0 percent body fat. His wingspan matched his height exactly at 6’8.25” which was not encouraging for his stock, but personally I believe wingspan isn’t important unless the instincts and basketball IQ aren’t there, and with Clarke he certainly has both of those attributes. Along with those instincts and high basketball IQ he is one of the best athletes in this draft and has impeccable timing when it comes to shot blocking and weak-side rotations. His motor, high basketball IQ, general feel for the game and otherworldly athleticism lead me to believe he has more upside than your typical 22-year-old prospect.

His vertical leap was an incredible 40.5 inches, which was the 3rd highest in the entire event and highest for his position. He is an absolute freak athlete which he’s already shown at the combine, as he tested at an elite level in his drills to make up for some of his uninspiring measurements. He screams “switchable” on the perimeter, which in today’s NBA is an extremely valuable asset for any frontcourt player.

Here’s how he compared to former number one pick overall John Wall who was, you know… a freakishly athletic point guard.

John Wall, 2010: 10.84 Lane - 30.0 standing vert - 39.0 max vert

B. Clarke, 2019: 10.61 Lane - 34.0 standing vert - 40.0 max vert

(Via Twitter) https://twitter.com/Cosmis/status/1129127379165732864

Look at how his statistics measured up against Zion Williamson’s last season. I understand he’s three years older and plays in a weaker conference, but it’s incredible to see how historically good these two were last year.

In their match-up head to head in Maui back in November they each recorded:

Zion- 22 points, 4 blocks, 10 rebounds, 2 assists on 8-17 shooting, 0-1 from three and 6-6 from the line.

Clarke- 17 points, 6 blocks, 5 rebounds, 1 assist on 7-10 shooting, 1-1 from three and 2-5 from the line.

Where Does Clarke Fit?

Here are my 5 favorite fits for Brandon Clarke at the next level:

Minnesota Timberwolves:

This is the fit the Timberwolves should be praying for. I cannot think of a more perfect frontcourt
partner for Karl-Anthony Towns than Brandon Clarke. Towns has the ideal skill-set offensively that will take pressure off Clarke and allow him to roam in the high post or baseline, while Clarke offers the weak side rim protection and defensive nastiness you need to make up for KAT’s weaknesses in those areas at times.

Minnesota picks 11th in the draft and with how unpredictable draft night is, if a team that wanted him trades out or a team picking before Minnesota has someone unexpectedly drop to them Clarke could easily fall to 11 where he’d not only be a match made in heaven next to Towns, but he’d be a steal in general. Ultimately, I think Clarke is gone by 11, but in the event he is not I would strongly advise Minnesota to pick him and not look back.

Memphis Grizzlies:

Just to be clear, this won’t happen barring Memphis trading back or trading for another lottery pick. Morant seems to be a lock for them at number 2, but this is a fit that would’ve been potentially devastating on both ends of the court. Adding Clarke next to Jaren Jackson Jr. would’ve created one of the most complete, versatile frontcourts in recent memory. Jackson could space the floor with his three-point shooting ability while Clarke would lurk on the high-post giving Memphis optimal floor spacing. Defensively they would be a nightmare in today’s modern NBA with their switchability on the perimeter and elite-level rim protection. They would absolutely wreak havoc and bring back that defense-first “grit and grind” mentality to Memphis.

One avenue Memphis can explore to make this possible would be if they traded Mike Conley for another lottery pick and he winds up being available there. Then all the sudden they could trot out a core featuring Jaren Jackson Jr., Brandon Clarke and Ja Morant which would be one of the most exciting young trios in the entire NBA.

Phoenix Suns:

Phoenix holds the 6th pick in the draft, and it would not shock me at all if they took Clarke with their desire to compete now and their looming gap at the power forward position. Everyone talks about how the Suns need a point guard, but their need for a power forward is just as, if not more urgent for the team to fill this off-season given they literally do not have a single power forward under contract entering next season while they have Tyler Johsnon, De’Anthony Melton and Elie Okobo at point guard. Along with that, there are far more free agent point options than there are at power forward this summer. Clarke is a Phoenix native and grew up a Suns fan, which has led to many fans falling further in love with him as a prospect.

“I’ve been a Suns fan forever. It would be cool to be able to go back home. Maybe I can get a workout planned with them. If not, it’s not a huge deal, but I’d definitely like to get a workout with them and get a chance to play with them.” (via Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic). Full article can be found on azcentral.

His ability to mask Ayton’s weaknesses defensively would be a major boost, as Ayton is solid on-ball, but his help-side defense and rim protection were issues his rookie year, so adding someone like Clarke that can protect the rim at an elite rate and excels in team-defense and rotating would bring some much needed stability to the defense. Surrounding Booker and Ayton with defenders like Mikal Bridges, De’Anthony Melton and Brandon Clarke is an ideal start towards building a defensive identity.

Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks have the 8th and 10th picks in this year’s draft and if Clarke is available when they are up to pick, he could be a perfect fit next to John Collins down low with Collins’ improved shooting ability from deep last season (though he still has a ways to go on that department). Along with that, having guys like Young and Huerter spacing the floor could give Clarke plenty of room to operate, floating around the high post and finding seams in the defense.

The Young/Collins combo have had some comparisons to a young Nash/Amare duo, and while they still have a long way to go to get there, adding a guy like Clarke could fill in as the Shawn Marion type role. I don’t think they are all that similar types of players except for the freakish second jumps they each possess, but in terms of doing the dirty work and playing exceptional defense he’d fit in nicely there as a super-role player.

Boston Celtics:

Boston picks down at 14 to conclude the lottery and if Clarke is still on the board, I believe Danny Ainge snatches him up before the commissioner is done reading the name of the 13th pick. I personally don’t see him falling this low, but if he does I envision him absolutely thriving next to Al Horford who can space the floor and pass well, which would be a dangerous combination to pair with Clarke, given his ability to find openings in the defense through back-doors or high post drop downs. Clarke’s high-level IQ in Brad Stevens system would be a delight to watch. Boston holds the 14th, 20th, and 22nd picks in this draft so if they were to fall in love with him, they could always use their picks to move up and take him.

Boston’s roster is currently in limbo as we await the Kyrie Irving situation and if they are invested in pursuing Anthony Davis, but I believe Clarke fits with them no matter what their intentions are, as he would help with a rebuild while also offering as much “win-now” value as a rookie can in this class outside of Zion.

I believe he will be an instant contributor wherever he goes right off the bat.

Follow Brandon Clarke on Twitter

Follow Brandon- @AZSportsZone
Arizona Sports Zone

LJs 2019 NBA Draft Guide

by Leader Johnson (follow L.J. on Twitter)

Top 30 Most NBA ready 2019 draft prospects

  1. Ja Morant/PG/Murray State
  2. Zion Williamson/PF/Duke
  3. Camron Reddish/SF/Duke
  4. RJ Barrett/SF/Duke
  5. Jarrett Culver/SG/Texas Tech
  6. DeAndre Hunter/SF/Virginia
  7. Grant Williams/PF/Tennessee
  8. Rui Hachimura/PF/Gonzaga
  9. Nassir Little/SF/North Carolina
  10. Bol Bol/C/Oregon
  11. Darius Garland/PG/Vanderbilt
  12. Kevin Porter Jr./SG/USC
  13. Brandon Clarke/PF/Gonzaga
  14. Phil Booth/CG/Villanova
  15. Daniel Gafford/PF/Arkansas
  16. Eric Paschall/PF/Villanova
  17. Ethan Happ/PF/Wisconsin
  18. Paul Washington Jr./PF/Kentucky
  19. Nickeil Alexander-Walker/CG/Virginia Tech
  20. Cam Johnson/SF/North Carolina
  21. Bruno Fernando/C/Maryland
  22. Jalen Lecque/PG/NC State
  23. Naz Reid/PF/LSU
  24. Jaxson Hayes/C/Texas
  25. Reggie Perry/SF/Mississippi State
  26. Carsen Edwards/PG/Purdue
  27. Coby White/PG/North Carolina
  28. Keldon Johnson/Kentucky
  29. Dedric Lawson/PF/Kansas
  30. Romeo Langford/SG/Indiana

Top 5 point guards

  1. Ja Morant/Murray State
  2. Darius Garland/Vanderbilt
  3. Nickeil Alexander-Walker/Virginia Tech
  4. Jalen Lecque/NC State
  5. Carsen Edwards/Purdue

Top 5 shooting guards

  1. Jarrett Culver/Texas Tech
  2. Coby White/North Carolina
  3. Kevin Porter Jr./USC
  4. Romeo Langford/Indiana
  5. Keldon Johnson/Kentucky

Top 5 small forwards

  1. Cam Reddish/Duke
  2. RJ Barrett/Duke
  3. Nassir Little/North Carolina
  4. DeAndre Hunter/Virginia
  5. Cam Johnson/North Carolina

Top 5 power forwards

  1. Zion Williamson/Duke
  2. Rui Hachimura/Gonzaga
  3. PJ Washington/Kentucky
  4. Sekou Doumbouya/France
  5. Brandon Clarke/Gonzaga

Top 5 Centers

  1. Bol Bol/Oregon
  2. Charles Bassey/Western Kentucky
  3. Jaxson Hayes/Texas
  4. Bruno Fernando/Maryland
  5. Daniel Gafford/Arkansas

Top 10 sleepers

  1. Bol Bol/Oregon – Bol Bol is as low as 18 in some mock drafts. He was the second most impactful and physically imposing freshman last season next to Zion Williamson. Teams are downplaying him because he got injured. He will have a lot of GMs smacking themselves in the future.
  2. Nassir Little/North Carolina – The Tar Heel's inability to get him more chances to score is why you didn’t get to see his full arsenal. NBA scouts not being able to see enough of Little will keep him from being a top three prospect. It’s a possibility he can slip to the early 20s.
  3. Jalen Lecque/NC State – explosive and aggressive with an evolving basketball IQ. He can be patient and lead a team. He can be clutch and take over the game. Reminds me of a smarter Steve Francis. Lecque is a 5-star talent that many will overlook because he has not played a college game. But remember Mitchell Robinson and Anfernee Simons.
  4. Charles Bassey/Western Kentucky – Bassey had a better season than Jaxson Hayes and showed more of a complete offensive game than Bruno Fernando.
  5. Kevin Porter jr/USC – Considered a lottery pick and now has fallen to the early 20s in some mock drafts. He is one of the most extremely gifted talents in the draft.
  6. Grant Williams/Tennessee – Grant Williams is one of the most NBA ready players in this draft. "Upside, raw talent, high ceiling" are terms mentioned too much when rating players over him. Someone will get a warrior.
  7. Keldon Johnson/Kentucky – One of the best scorers in the draft. Coming into this past college season he was also considered a top 10 talent.
  8. Rui Hachimura/Gonzaga – Hachimura has been one of the best young basketball prospects for a while now. He was named college basketball center of the year and battled some of the best prospects in the country and won.
  9. Naz Reid – Reid is a lottery talent, a big with three point range. He has athleticism and power plus he has back to the basket moves. He plays like a more athletic Montrez Harrell or Kenneth Faried.
  10. Cam Reddish/Duke – Looking at this draft Reddish has the potential to be the most dangerous all-around player in this draft. He has Point skills. He has the smoothest and most dangerous long range jumper. He can score anywhere, anyhow, anyway. Duke saw Zion and RJ have most of the possessions then when Reddish got the ball he was never in his flow, basically rushing shots and not thinking like Reddish usually does on the court. Down the line Reddish will be one of the top three special players in this draft. Many people have had him as low as 11 but Reddish should realistically go no lower than fourth overall. Scouts are now starting to see how special he is and are thinking of him as high as five.
L.J.s 2019 Mock Draft is coming soon.

2021 NBA Mock Draft Update

Update 7/27/19

Not much movement this time of year. Jalen Green regains a spot in the top 2 after his Peach Jam performance. And Jalen Johnson moves up to no.3.

Big, bad, Ibou Dianko Badji moves into the lottery. He's one of the most intriguing prospects in this class, possessing insane measurables and guard-like agility in a monster frame. He's got a long ways to go but his ceiling is in the stratosphere. We'll be tracking his progress closely.

Jalen Suggs moves up a few spots into the mid first round, while Kai Jones moves down a few spots.

Update 7/03/19

Another superstar prospect and future lottery pick is headed to Duke: Jalen Johnson of Glendale, Wisconsin is a 6-8 forward who handles the ball and runs the break like a point guard, showing next level court vision and an advanced feel for the game. Johnson is a plus athlete, even by NBA standards and is a sure-fire one & done lottery pick, who could be in the conversation for no.1 overall. Coach K does it again. And again and again and again.

Update 6/15/19
Major movement for Makur Maker after a strong spring. Maker is a big-bodied guard/center with an intriguing skill set. He fits the mold of modern big who can stretch the floor, pass the ball and he shows impressive open court ball handling ability and the ability to rip and run. Maker is up to no.4 overall in our 2021 mock and is in the conversation for no.1 overall.

Lok Wur is a new comer to the mock, landing at no.30 overall. Wur is far from a finished product but based on athleticism and upside alone he gets consideration as a potential first round pick.  Not saying he's the next Giannis but he shows the same type of flashes as Giannis showed as an 18 year old in Greece. Wur is a blur in the open court, gliding past defenders with long strides, and exploding to the rim with ease. Keep an eye on him over the next year or two.

Update 5/28/19
Probably the hottest name right now is Cade Cunningham. The big point guard has elevated his stock to the point of being in the conversation for no.1 in his class. At this point we have him listed no.4 overall in our 2021 mock behind Jalen Green, Evan Mobley and Jalen Johnson.

Adam Miller is another riser (and another big point guard). AceWolf is a crafty ball handler who finds angles well when driving the ball and is a creative finisher in the lane. He's got the size to shoot over defenders and can really get buckets. He's moved up our list to no.22 in the 2021 mock.

Jaden Springer is currently ranked no.16 in the mock but after a great end to the HS season and a good showing this spring, he's looking like a potential lottery pick.

And of course we're all waiting for/anticipating the end of the one-and-done rule, which could mean the top prospects from the 2021 recruiting class could be in this draft as well. Better get to know the name Terrance Clarke!