As we move into the next tier of players in the strong 2017 draft the number eleven spot saw a tight battle between two very different players, a talented freshman big man and another lengthy guard. The vote ended in a tie at 34 votes apiece, so we’ll call them 11A and 11B and you can decide which is suits your personal fancy: Zach Collins - PF/C, Gonzaga; Donovan Mitchell - SG, Louisville. Out of objectivity I’ll discuss them alphabetically, but for the record I think Mitchell would be a better fit for the Bucks team.
Collins was a freshman on Gonzaga’s National Championship runner up squad and he really burst onto the scene during the NCAA tournament. Considering he only played 43% of his team’s minutes Collins needed to put up big, flashy numbers to fly up draft boards. He played behind one of the nation’s premier big men in Przemek Karnowski, but Collins impressive offensive game and athleticism make him a late lottery pick.
He’s a 7’0” 230 pound big with a so-so wingspan of 7’1”, but he can traverse the floor with agility, and flashed some light-footedness featuring a solid jumping ability. An extremely efficient player, his 31.5 PER is the highest of all the draft picks taken so far, and he shot a 67.6 effective field goal percentage and a 70.3 true shooting percentage, according to barttorvik.com. His footwork and speed made him a threat inside, although his length and lighter frame hinder his ability to bully players at the NBA level and his shorter arms hurt his chances of finishing over people or snaking around them.
He can move in transition, and the Gonzaga system and team didn’t rely on him to create too much for himself. Rather by sprinting ahead in transition or finishing on a roll to the basket or a dump-off got him higher percentage shots near the rim where he shot 70.9% with a good touch on the ball. From the outside Collins flashed the ability to knock down the deep ball with his solid shooting form on pick and pop situations. He shot 47% on 21 three-point attempts, with all of them being assisted.
If you factor in his 74% free throw percentage though, that floor-stretching ability seems transferrable though. He also had a 71.5 free throw rate, an insanely high number boosted by the smaller sample size. He may not be able to finish through contact as well as teams would like, but he can draw contact with the best of them.
Collins was never asked to do much playmaking so his dribbling and passing skills are underdeveloped, and most significantly, he had a 0.27 assist to turnover percentage, averaging 0.9 assists and 3.5 turnovers per 40, pace adjusted on the season. Another serious deficiency for the young man is his propensity to foul, highlighted in the NCAA tournament, because he averaged 6.1 fouls per 40 pace adjusted as well.
Defensively, his quickness and ranginess make him a good fluid defender who can protect the rim, with 4.0 blocks per 40, pace adjusted, and a 9.8 block percentage on the season. In the two Final Four games Collins notched 6 blocks and 3 blocks in each respective game. With his blocking and quick-twitch reflexes combined with his speed and athleticism on the perimeter Collins can be a solid NBA defender with some coaching. However, his physicality, toughness and awareness all need some work to make him a more complete defender. He was a great rebounder in college and with some more bulk and size he should be able to bully players inside along with his great box outs and positioning.
Donovan Mitchell is a 6’2” combo guard weighing in at an impressive 210 pounds, but the most significant measurement is his wingspan: 6’10”. Mitchell is also the first sophomore to be selected on the draft board and the oldest player by far, 20.8 years old. He’s been shooting up draft boards after a stellar sophomore season at Louisville, impressive measurements and a fantastic NBA Draft Combine.
Despite being short for a shooting guard, Mitchell is one of the best defenders in the draft. He led Louisville, notorious for being a stingy and stout defensive team, to the 8th ranked adjusted defensive efficiency at 91.7, according to KenPom.com. His lengthy arms envelop defenders, his quickness lets him move on the perimeter with ease, and his weighty frame helps him switch onto bigger players and hold his own in the post. Mitchell’s competitiveness and drive is a huge factor as to why his stock is on the rise. His scrappy, no-holds-barred style of play sends him flying for loose balls and keeps him tight up in the opposing player's grill. Nothing is easy with Mitchell on you.
He uses his wingspan to contest and alter shots more than the average 6’2” guard, and his quickness and feel for the game help him plug and alter passing lanes resulting in 2.6 steals per 40 and a 3.7 steal percentage. Mitchell’s heart and desire are evident in his playing 80% of his teams minutes on the season, including taking the helm when his backcourt partner was out for six games.
On the offensive end Mitchell’s length, speed and power make him a threat to score in transition and in the half court, but his overall offensive game needs refinement. He can get to the hoop and uses his length to finish shots others couldn’t, but his powerful leaps take time and his ability to finish at the rim need work -- he shot 56% at the rim, mostly on his own drives. He had a 114.4 offensive rating, but his efficiency is nothing special because he would settle for and force contested midrange jumpers at times -- 49.8 effective field goal percentage and 53.4 true shooting percentage. 35% of his shots were 2 point jumpers.
He seems averse to going to the rim at times, where only 26.6% of his shots were taken, and I bet many of those were in transition where he’s very capable of making highlight business decisions. That half-court timidness is reflected in his 4.0 free throw attempts per 40, pace adjusted, which is upsetting because he shoots 80% from the stripe.
From the outside Mitchell’s jump shot has greatly improved over his two seasons in Rick Pitino’s system. He shot only 25% on 72 attempts his freshman year, and greatly improved that to 35% shooting on 226 attempts in his sophomore year. Almost 80% of those threes were assisted reflecting his good balance and form off the hop in his shot. He’s also capable of making space off the dribble and and rising for a jump shot if necessary.
Mitchell and Collins both project to be late lottery picks with very different skill sets and exciting physical tools to be unlocked at the pro-level. Would they fit on the Bucks though?
Collins, the offensively skilled big man, showed flashes of greatness in his lone season at Gonzaga, especially flashing against top-tier competition in the NCAA tournament. He’ll be asked to play small-ball center on many teams, and despite good size he may still struggle against much bigger players. However, his athleticism and glimmers of outside shooting ability should help him fit in on many teams. His offensive game is more refined than Maker’s and shows some of the same floor-spacing and highlight defensive play. He should be able to switch on defense and get out in transition for highlight plays. It’s possible he could even play PF alongside Maker and Giannis if matchups permitted.
Mitchell is older, but his defensive game is NBA-ready and his length would slot in perfectly in the Bucks system. He seems to be a great off-ball option in the halfcourt, but he lacks the off the dribble playmaking the Bucks are looking for in a guard. His athleticism and quickness would help the Bucks force more turnovers and he’s a big threat in the open floor. He’d slot in well at either guard position next to Malcolm Brogdon and/or Matthew Dellavedova to form a switchy, defensive backcourt with catch and shoot potential.
The 2017 Brew Hoop Draft Board
- Markelle Fultz - PG, Washington - DraftExpress Profile
- Lonzo Ball - PG, UCLA - DraftExpress Profile
- Josh Jackson - SF, Kansas - DraftExpress Profile
- De’Aaron Fox - PG, Kentucky - DraftExpress Profile
- Jayson Tatum - SF, Duke - DraftExpress Profile
- Malik Monk - SG, Kentucky - DraftExpress Profile
- Jonathan Isaac - SF/PF, Florida State - DraftExpress Profile
- Dennis Smith - PG, N.C. State - DraftExpress Profile
- Frank Ntilikina - PG, Strasbourg - DraftExpress Profile
- Lauri Markkanen - PF, Arizona - DraftExpress Profile
- A: Zach Collins - PF/C, Gonzaga - DraftExpress Profile; B: Donovan Mitchell - G, Louisville - DraftExpress Profile
My Pick for the #13 Spot on the Brew Hoop Community Draft Board is:
This poll is closed
OG Anunoby - SF/PF, Indiana
Donovan Mitchell - SG, Louisville
Luke Kennard - SG, Duke
John Collins - PF, Wake Forest
Justin Jackson - SF, North Carolina
Ike Anigbogu - C, UCLA
Jarrett Allen - C, Texas
Trade the pick!