2018 Draft Class: Wings On The Rise

The top 7 prospects have gotten all the hype but this draft class has plenty of talent beyond the top of the lottery and the wing position is especially deep. The 2018 draft class has long been thought of as a big-man heavy class with some franchise altering talents at the power forward and center positions but as the season progresses and the top prospects come into better focus it is clear that the wings are on the rise and help give this draft good depth through the first round.

In the era of position-less basketball (or 3 position basketball: ball handlers, wings and bigs) versatile wing players are extremely valuable and hard to find. Luckily, for NBA teams in need of a wing, this class is loaded. Nearly half of the 30 first round picks this year could be wings, with plenty of talent in the second round as well.

A few of these players are underrated and not getting the draft hype they deserve but look for a lot of these names to start moving up draft boards in the near future.

Here's a few quick thoughts on the top wing prospects:
  1. Michael Porter Jr. - Missouri - Fingers crossed that he comes back healthy and hungry to prove himself. Has the talent to be a #1 scoring option at the next level.
  2. Kevin Knox - Kentucky - A high upside prospect who shows flashes but disappears too often. Young for his class and still putting it all together but could pay off big in a few years.
  3. Mikal Bridges - Villanova - Classic 3&D wing who has shown an improved all around scoring game. An absolute menace on the defensive end, Bridges could step in and contribute on day 1.
  4. Troy Brown - Oregon - A versatile player who can really defend, run the court and play above the rim. Not the greatest shooter but has decent form and will continue to improve.
  5. Lonnie Walker IV - Miami - Big upside but a long way to go, Walker has great physical tools and a chance to develop into an All Star level player....but it might take some time.
  6. Dzanan Musa - Bosnia - One of the best scorers in this class. Can light it up from 3 and make plays off the bounce. Lacks ideal length and projects as an average defender.
  7. Kris Wilkes - UCLA - Silky smooth and hugely underrated. Wilkes can score from 3 levels and shows flashes of being a go-to scorer. Could rise up draft boards with a strong second half of the season.
  8. Miles Bridges - Michigan State - A big name player with a lot of talent but overrated on many boards. Can defend and rebound at a high rate but still figuring things out on the offensive end.
  9. Chandler Hutchison - Boise State - Small school senior with NBA length and a ton of versatility. Plays a complete game and should be NBA ready early in his career.
  10. O'Shae Brissett - Syracuse - A fluid athlete with ideal size. Has a good dribble-drive game and can score in the mid range.
  11. Zhaire Smith - Texas Tech - Long and athletic with a great feel for the game. A committed defender and rebounder who has plus athleticism and an underrated shooting stroke. A gamer.
  12. Gary Trent Jr. - Duke - Might be the best three point shooter in this class. Not the best athlete but has strength, high BBIQ and that sweet three point shot.
  13. Kostja Mushidi - Belgium - A well built wing with great length and strength. Doesn't get a lot of pub but he's certainly on the radar of NBA scouts. Can really defend and does all the little things well. If his 3 point shot is legit he'll have a long NBA career.
  14. Isaac Bonga - Germany - From a talent standpoint he could be a lottery pick but he lacks experience and could take a few years to develop. Has plenty of upside.
This group has a nice mix of NBA ready players and high upside guys that could take a few years to contribute but have a chance to develop into stars. Some of the Freshmen on this list such as Wilkes and Brissett could opt to stay in school but if they have strong showings in February and March look for them to test the NBA Draft waters.

With good depth, high upside talent and the emergence of some young, underrated players, the wing position in the 2018 draft class is definitely on the rise.

Prospect Watch: Mac McClung

In this addition of Prospect Watch, LJ shines the spotlight on Georgetown commit Mac McClung:

Mac McClung is a bottle of excitement known for his spectacular dunking ability. His skills came to the scene more as he played AAU ball and he's much more than just a dunker.

Standing 6-2 and weighing in at 175, McClung is the type of point guard that leaves it all on the floor. Playing for Gate city high school out of Gate City, Virginia, McClung's fan base is a very loyal fan base who loves his gritty style of play. He is the no.8 player in the state of Virginia by 247 and no.9 by ESPN for the 2018 class.

He has great handles and is a certified bucket getter. He is one of those guards who doesn’t have a position; he is what Allen Iverson calls “a killer”. He averaged 29 points 5.5 assists and 3 steals in his junior season at Gate City high school, leading his team to a 23-5 record. He has a way of catching the eye of attention and even made Sportscenter top 10 with a windmill dunk that he caught off the backboard and looked to the side before he dunked it. He is amazing in the open floor and the future Hoya will bring a lot of excitement to the Georgetown program.

I see him as a 2019 or 2020 NBA prospect; he has the heart of a lion and has the ability to be a game changer with his scoring ability Mac McClung is definitely a prospect to watch.
Follow LJ on Twitter.

Prospect Watch: Jahvon Quinerly

Senior contributor LJ shines the spotlight on Arizona recruit Jahvon Quinerly:

Jahvon Quinerly, a point guard out of Hudson Catholic high school by way of Jersey City, is one of the most dynamic players in the country. Quinerly is rated a 5 star point guard by 247, Scout, Rivals, and ESPN; he is no.3 in New Jersey, no.4 among point guards and the no.15 prospect in the nation for the recruiting class of 2018.

Quinerly is lightning in a bottle and a bullet in transition. He can score from anywhere on the floor with the ability to draw double teams. Quinerly has exploded in games including 31 points and 10 assists in a sectional semifinal game and 32 point 7 rebounds and 10 assists in the Metro Classic.

Quinerly has great court vision and is able to get others involved, Quinerly is the type of point guard that can lead a championship level team. He has a game similar to Damian Lillard but with more speed (and less size).

He is a 2018 commit for the Arizona wildcats and will be a game changer with the ball in his hands. He has played against the best players in the country and against them he has proved he is one of the best in the country.

At 6-0 170 he packs a variety of offensive moves with elite dribble skills. Quinerly could be a one and done player. He has the scoring and play-making ability to be an impact point guard at the next level. I see Quinerly being a top 20 pick in the 2019 or, if he decides to stay, 2020 NBA draft. He could even have the talent to be a top 10 pick.

Quinerly is the definition of show time on the basketball court and will be a crowd pleaser. He isn’t on any NBA draft boards but I believe by the end of his freshman year Quinerly will be ranked among the best prospects in his draft, my prediction is 2019.

by LJ.

Who's Got Next? Isaiah Todd And The Top 5 Prospects in High School Basketball

Now that Marvin Bagley has moved on to play at Duke, it's time to crown the next king of high school basketball. For the past few years Bagley was widely considered the top high schooler, regardless of class, now there's a new #1 - another generational type of talent taking over that top spot and ready to become a household name:

#1)  Isaiah Todd is only a rising sophomore but he's a special talent who has all the makings of an NBA superstar. He might not be the best player in high school at this moment but he's the best long-term prospect. At only 15 years of age, the 6-10 power forward has elite size and skills and projects as a franchise altering talent. It'll be awesome to see him develop over 3 more years of high school ball. The sky is the limit for how good he can be and he reminds of a hybrid of Chris Bosh and Tim Duncan. Now he gets to carry the heavy weight that comes with being a transcendent basketball talent and the new king of high school hoops.

#2) R.J. Barrett is a much more polished player and is closer to realizing his potential than the younger players on this list. He's the front-runner for the #1 overall pick in 2019 and projects as an elite big wing at the NBA level. His game reminds of Grant Hill but he has even more physical ability and size than Hill had. Barrett could be listed at #1 on this list but for now he's a close second behind Todd. Barrett will play his final season at Montverde Acadamy and his college recruitment is still open, with all the big schools in the mix.

#3) Bol Bol has gone from having intriguing upside potential to being a legit superstar player. He's a force on both ends of the court, able to alter the game on the defensive end with his awesome length and good defensive instincts, and he's a silky smooth offensive player with an accurate jump shot and range out to 3. His shot is nearly impossible to block thanks to his height and 7-8 wingspan. He can play with his back to the basket or in the face up game. What an amazing world we live in! Getting to watch the son of the late Manute Bol rise up the rankings and become a star player. The basketball gods are very kind.

#4) Jalen Green is another young but super talented prospect who is just oozing with upside. He's a bouncy, long and explosive 2 guard who plays an effortless game. As with Isaiah Todd, there's a lot of pressure and expectations for such a young star but he seems more than capable of carrying the load. Green has elite attributes including supreme athleticism, laser-like focus and a great feel for the game for a young player. He can score from three levels and is a smooth, natural shooter who can light it up from deep. What sets Green apart is his incredible athleticism. His elevation and body control are second to none and he's truly a dynamic open court athlete. He's also a natural ball handler who plays with good rhythm and feel for the game.

#5) James Wiseman has emerged as a big time center prospect and is a potential top pick in the 2020 draft. Wiseman was always a talent but now that he's standing nearly 7 feet tall, with a 7-4 wingspan, without loosing his bounce and agility, he's emerging as an elite level prospect. There's a long way to go in his development but he shows flashes of upside that remind of Anthony Davis. Centers can take a while to develop but Wiseman is on a trajectory that points towards the top of the lottery in a few years.

It's tough to pick just 5 with so much incredible talent at the high school level. We can gladly say that there's tons of talent coming down the road and the college and NBA games will be in good hands for many years to come.

Honorable mention

Zion Williamson, Scottie Lewis, Charles Bassey, Cameron Reddish, Romeo Langford