There’s plenty of rampant speculation about the draft, and we already rounded up who the experts have Milwaukee taking tonight. Let’s dive a bit deeper though shall we, and examine a bit more of the nuances surrounding potential prospects for tonight’s 17th pick.
Jarrett Allen (C, University of Texas)
The lanky center out of Austin was a 5-star recruit and McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school and was the crown jewel to Longhorns’ head coach, Shaka Smart’s, first recruiting class. Allen averaged 13 points, 8 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks while earning All-Big 12 honors in his only season at UT.
Allen’s NBA potential comes from his physical frame. He stands at 6’ 11” with a 7’ 5” wingspan and a standing reach of 9’ 1”; Allen can play a lot longer than his height would suggest. He clocks in at 224 pounds with room to add some beef. Allen was utilized as a pick and roll finisher in the Longhorn offense and rarely stretched out to the perimeter. His skill-set does not seem to translate too well into the ever-evolving role of the NBA big man, however. He will be a project on both ends of the court as his IQ and perimeter technique adapt to the professional mold.
Donovan Mitchell (SG, University of Louisville)
Coming out of New England prep schools, Mitchell averaged 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists for Rick Pitino and the Cardinals. He earned 1st Team All-ACC and All-Defensive honors during his sophomore campaign at Louisville. Mitchell improved on his perimeter shooting this past season which correlated with an improved draft stock.
His physical tools also contributed to his rising draft stock; a 6’ 10” wingspan on a 6’ 3” perimeter frame explains his active hands on defense and his ability to be fearless among the big guys clogging the lane. Mitchell can step in right away and provide solid defensive minutes for a team. He is as scrappy as they come and willing to stick his nose in anywhere.
Harry Giles (C, Duke University)
The thrice selected player in Brew Hoop sanctioned mock drafts, Giles came to Duke from Oak Hill Academy as the #1 in the class of 2016. His prep accolades came in spite of ACL, MCL, and meniscus tears suffered in 2013 at the Fibas Americas U16 Championships and another ACL tear in the fall of 2015. He didn’t make his collegiate debut until December of 2016 due to arthroscopic knee surgery. He averaged just 11.5 minutes a game during his collegiate career.
The 6’ 11” freshman has the physical tools for an NBA lineup, even if his collegiate impact and injury history say otherwise. Until his full physical potential catches up with his frame, Giles will have to rely on his quick defensive and rebounding instincts to survive in the NBA. His offensive perimeter play needs work as he was a liability 10 feet away from the rim in college. Giles will be a technical and medical project for the Bucks as the team looks to keep his knees healthy while developing his perimeter and explosive rebounding game.
Justin Patton (C, Creighton University)
Patton took a redshirt his first year at Creighton to bulk up for the bruising style of basketball in the Big East. The Omaha native averaged 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks for the hometown Jays. Patton shot 57% from three point range, albeit on just 15 attempts. Patton was mainly utilized as a rim hound in Greg McDermott’s offense where he more than held his own in Big East play; earning the conference’s Freshman of the Year honors.
The nearly 7-footer is as efficient as they come for big man prospects offensively. He finished his freshman year with a true shooting percentage of 68% and a 20.3 points per 40 minutes mark. Patton is great in transition on offense but needs to work on his defensive technique and his basketball IQ.
Justin Jackson (SF, University of North Carolina)
The 2017 ACC Player of the Year and national champion came to Chapel Hill out of the Houston area as a five star recruit. It took him a while to find his groove at the collegiate level but when he did, he grooved all over the ACC. Jackson stands at 6’ 8” tall with a wiry 193 pound frame that can certainly add some bulk to it with an NBA caliber workout program. He averaged 18 points, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists his junior year and was the star for the Tar Heels championship run.
Jackson opted to return for his junior year at UNC to work on his perimeter scoring ability, and improved he did. His three point percentage went from 29 to 37% in just one season. His work on the defensive end improved too, especially during March as the Tar Heels won the national title. His high IQ and communication abilities should slide in nicely with the Bucks switching defense. The coachability and improvement potential that Jackson showed at Chapel Hill makes his NBA potential seem only limited by who will be providing his professional coaching.
TJ Leaf (PF, UCLA)
Born in Tel Aviv, Israel, Leaf grew up in the San Diego area where he committed to UCLA as a five star prospect. During his only year at Westwood, Leaf averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds while playing second fiddle to Bruin point guard, Lonzo Ball. Leaf is a well-built 6’ 10” 225 pound power forward that used supreme finishing around the rim to earn All-Pac 12 honors.
Leaf is an all-around big man and seems to be well suited to contribute in a modern NBA offense. He can take his defenders out to the perimeter with him due to his 46% three point shooting clip. Leaf was an average collegiate defender and needs to improve in that area to be a solid contributor in an NBA lineup. He compares easily to former UCLA big, Kevin Love, and I think Milwaukee would be happy if he turned into an injury free version Love.
Bam Adebayo (C, University of Kentucky)
The 6’ 10” Adebayo provided the muscle for the Wildcats as they raced out to an Elite 8 season. The freshman joins the plethora of Kentucky players to go one and done during the John Calipari-era in Lexington. The All-SEC center averaged 13 points and 8 rebounds per game and provided enough of an offensive threat for opposing defenses to not only focus on the backcourt duo of De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk.
Adebayo is an active defender with great lateral movement that should play well with the Bucks’ defensive scheme. He is still very much a raw talent on both sides of the floor and needs to improve his rebounding ability. Adebayo is unafraid to stick his nose into the muck when he has to and will provide some youthful energy off the bench. His defensive IQ development will be key if he wants to see consistent minutes off the bench.