It’s finally time for one of my favorite annual site traditions: The Brew Hoop Community Draft Board. With the despair from Milwaukee’s swift, sudden exit from the NBA Playoffs still lingering for many of us, hopefully this exercise will provide a much-needed distraction from those open wounds. With the Bucks unusual success this season, we needed to rejigger the rules just a bit to deal with the time crunch before draft day. Instead of starting from one, several staffers worked together to draft their big board through the lottery. With that set, we’ll start the community board at number 15. Apologies for the truncated exercise, but it’s literally impossible to pump out one player a day before the draft and still reach Milwaukee’s selection.
Before we get started, a brief refresher on the goal of the exercise: We’re building a Draft Board, not a Mock Draft. Envision you’re a member of Jon Horst’s front office and are putting together a list of the pure 30 best prospects in this draft to ensure you have a proper barometer of “best player available” at every first round selection. All of our staff choices reflected that thought process.
We will run the selections all the way until the Milwaukee Bucks selection at 30, at which point we’ll conclude the process. Last year, it ran from 1 to 17, where Troy Brown ultimately took the spot. Donte DiVincenzo of course was the pick for Horst at that point, while Brown went just a few picks earlier to Washington at 15. So, not too far off for our intelligent Brew Hoop draftniks.
Like last year, we’re without the non-paywall version of DraftExpress content, so we’re reliant on what public draft content is out there. I find The Stepien quite reputable, although I haven’t noticed as many individual profiles over there, more of provoking thought pieces. I’ll default to them, but will supplement with The Ringer and Sports Illustrated as needed. If you fine folks have other outlets you prefer or that I may be overlooking, let me know in the comments. Before we get into the first community selection at 15, let’s run through our top 14:
Brew Hoop Draft Board Rankings
- Zion Williamson - PF, Duke (Brian): I debated going in another direction with at No. 1 overall, but ultimately decided to put the generational talent at the top. Yes, he’d mess up the Bucks’ precious spacing. However, he’s too good to pass up and Milwaukee would have to figure things out with him on their roster. He’s an athletic FREAK and has underrated skills.
- Ja Morant - PG, Murray State (Kyle): Zion is the obvious number one choice so going with the second best prospect seemed like a no brainer. Morant is a really exciting player who can do a little bit of everything. Against Marquette, they tried to stop him from being a scorer so he just was a playmaker. He can catch fire with his shooting, he was a 36% three point shooter surprisingly, or finish at the rim and is able to create shots for himself and others. He has the athleticism to be a good on-ball defender. He is what you want in a Budenholzer offense, he can pass dribble and shoot. Think De’Aaron Fox but with a better jumpshot.
- Jarrett Culver - SG, Texas Tech (Riley): Jarrett Culver was already an interesting prospect during his freshman year, but it was his teammate Zhaire Smith who entered last year’s draft. Culver evolved as a sophomore while Tech found their way into the NCAA title game, and he now enters the NBA as a do-it-all defender with the outlines of a reliable offensive piece. He doesn’t have Zion’s frame nor Ja’s sheer speed, but a combo guard who can score (20.6 pts per 36), rebound (7.1 rebs per 36), and pass (4.1 asts per 36) has value. His 3P & FT percentages leave a little something to be desired (.304 & .707, respectively), but the high floor/ceiling combo is too good to pass up at three.
- R.J. Barrett - SG, Duke (Adam): I get Barrett seemed to quake beneath the Zion-less pressure when thrust into a leading man role, but I’ll always bet on raw talent when picking this high. His iffy 30.8% from deep and 66.5% from the charity stripe are a little alarming, particularly given much of year was sharing the court with a guy who drew Giannis-like attention from defenses, but he’s got the prototypical size and dribbling skills of potential lead 2-guard on a fine squad. I could see him becoming diet Andrew Wiggins, but it seems like a worthy dice roll for any team this high.
- Darius Garland - PG, Vanderbilt (Andrew): Despite playing in only five games last year as a freshman at Vanderbilt, Garland brings plenty of offensive tools to the table. He’s a shooter with NBA range both spotting up and off the dribble and can score from all three levels. He’s strong in the pick-and-roll as a ball handler as well. Questions linger about his torn meniscus last season and his defense, but his offensive skill set should be able to lead a team from the point guard spot.
- Coby White - SG, UNC (Brian): Shooting is the name of the game and that’s why Coby White comes in at No. 6. He made 35.3 percent of his threes during his freshman campaign last year and that’s a good starting point. He flashed his deep range and was also a threat off the catch-and-shoot. He’s not the best passer and isn’t great on defense-two traits Budenholzer and Horst seem to prioritize. Still, he’s a great fit on the offensive end of the floor for the Bucks.
- De’Andre Hunter - SF, Virginia (Kyle): Not quite sure how he fell this far but I couldn’t complain. Hunter was a deadeye shooter at Virginia but was able to drive to the rim with some effectiveness. One of the better defenders in this draft and has the intelligence to pick up on a defensive scheme and rotation. He has length and is immediately somebody who can come in and contribute for you team especially as a 3-D player.
- Cam Reddish - SF, Duke (Riley): So, how does a guy who sometimes stood next to Zion, is tall, and can sort of shoot threes sound to you? I admit, the case for Cam coming off his sole season at Duke isn’t super strong, but this was still one of the most highly regarded players in the nation coming out of high school. His frame is impressive (6’8” with a 7’0.5” wingspan), yet Reddish seemed incapable of making his presence reliably felt on either end of the floor. If you’re a believer in your internal development capabilities and are in need of a tabula rasa wing, Cam will be your pick.
- Sekou Doumbouya - PF, Limoges CSP, France (Adam): Stop me if you’ve heard this one before. A 6’9” rangy athlete with a 6’11” wingspan and the blurry outline of a potential athletic specimen that can work from most levels of the court? Is that John Hammond I can hear salivating? The Guinean-born basketballer currently playing on courts in the French league seems like one of those incredibly young (18.4 years old) overseas guys worth taking a gamble on. It sounds like his feel is more calloused than smooth, with little dribbling skill to go along with that height, but I’d want a chance to polish this player into something worthwhile given his raw skills and after we just witnessed the value of useful defensive length snuff out the Bucks in the playoffs.
- Nassir Little - SF, UNC (Andrew): The major knock on Little is his production last year as a freshman at North Carolina. Despite being a high-level recruit coming out of high school, Little played just 18 minutes per game off the bench and averaged less than 10 points and five rebounds. Little was a late-bloomer in high school and is still learning how to play, which limited him under Roy Williams. But there’s no denying his size (6’6”, 224 pounds, 7’1” wingspan) and athleticism, or his work ethic. I’ll take a shot on a freakish athlete who puts in the work any day of the week and twice on Sundays.
- Jaxson Hayes - C, Texas (Brian): It was difficult to put Hayes here, as he doesn’t fit what the Bucks are looking for. As a 7-footer, he doesn’t have the ability to stretch the floor to the three-point line and is very raw. However, he did make 74 percent of his free throws and has a very nice touch around the hoop which makes you wonder if he could get there someday. Overall, he’s got a great physical profile and could develop into a great player if he’s given time.
- Rui Hachimura - PF, Gonzaga (Kyle): This one is a bit of a gamble but that’s what you can do when you get a little lower in the lottery. He can score and in buckets which is hard to find at times. He is built for the NBA which doesn’t happen with players his age and with a 7-2 wingspan, has the potential to be an ok defender. There are concerns with his defense and being consistent, but hopefully you can coach that. Hachimura could be someone who can get your bench out of a rut when needed.
- Brandon Clarke - PF, Gonzaga (Riley): Going a bit older here as we round off the lottery with 22 (going on 23!) year-old Brandon Clarke out of Gonzaga. As one of the more set products at the top end of the draft, Clarke has consistently shown himself as a force on defense and a guy who thrives off of making the little effort plays. He’s undersized for a big who hasn’t shown himself as an adept shooter, but he at least has some experience outside (15 3PA last year) and a bevy of soft-contact offensive touch. You bring in Brandon for all the flexibility he gives you on defense and see what you can make of his work-in-progress on-ball offense.
- Goga Bitadze - C, Mega Bemax, Adriatic Basketball Association (Andrew): At this point in the draft, GMs can either shoot for the moon with upside or play it safe and draft someone they think has a chance to be a solid role player. This is the former. (I think we all know some guy John Hammond once took a flyer on one pick later at No. 15?) Bitadze has a strong potential offensive skill set and shows promise on the defensive end as well. He’ll struggle to switch onto guards in the pick-and-roll, but he has a high IQ, and as a rebounder and rim protector, Bitadze is light years ahead of where Nikola Jokic and even Jusuf Nurkic were at his age. If his jumper continues to develop, Bitadze has two-way potential as a starting center.
What do you think of our board? Who seemed to pick someone far higher than they deserve to be ranked? If everyone’s picks entered a 3v3 tourney, who would win? Okay, we all know Brian would win with Zion, but I’m trying to stir discussion here! Let us know your thoughts and more in the comments below before debating who you think should take the 15th spot in the community draft board.
My pick for the #15 spot on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Kevin Porter Jr. - SG, USC
P.J. Washington - PF, Kentucky
Romeo Langford - SG, Indiana
Nickeil Alexander-Walker - SG, Va. Tech
Cameron Johnson - PF, UNC