It’s weird to be prepping for draft season in October when we would normally be gearing up for the regular season to tipoff, but everything is weird this year. One thing that’s never weird though is the annual Brew Hoop community draft board. Each year, our dear readers help us set up our version of a big board, ranking players one-by-one until we reach the Milwaukee Bucks selection.
Before we dive in, just a few friendly reminders about how you should approach this exercise. This isn’t intended to be a mock draft, this is a big board. Picture yourself as a part of Jon Horst’s front office squad, ranking every player in the draft based exclusively on their talent so you know who is the “best player available” at every single draft slot.
The Milwaukee Bucks only selection in this draft comes via their sign-and-trade with the Indiana Pacers last year that netted them a first round selection at #24. Their actual pick, which is at #30, belongs to the Boston Celtics after Phoenix shipped it to them — it all stems from the Eric Bledsoe trade. Their second round pick is going to New Orleans as part of the Nikola Mirotic trade.
In the past, there was no trouble going directly from the first overall pick to where the Bucks picked. But, given their runaway success in recent years, we’ve truncated the number of picks we run through. This year, we’re going to pre-rank numbers 1-10, and then go from picks #11-24 through your votes. I think that section of the draft is generally the most interesting anyway, since there often seems to be so much consensus surrounding the first ten or so selections. And this year, in a draft that seems to be deeper than it is top-heavy, it should hopefully lead to some intriguing debate and discussion leading up to draft night on November 18.
Like usual, we’ll be relying on a few different reliable NBA draftniks to get some of our analysis for our breakdowns, from The Ringer to The Stepien to Sports Illustrated, CBS Sports and beyond. If you have another reputable source you would recommend, feel free to drop it in the comments. Without further ado though, here is how the top ten shook out (based primarily on a summary of rankings from several different sites).
- Anthony Edwards, SG, Georgia
I know he’s got the NBA-ready body and can drive to the rim with the best of this draft, but I’m not sure I’d love drafting a dude who shot sub-30% from deep even with an okay 77% at the free throw stripe.
2. LaMelo Ball, PG
LaMelo seems like the upside pick based on a lot of discussion I’ve heard, if only because of his incredible passing ability akin to his brother Lonzo. Still, we’ve seen the limitations of Lonzo’s game at the NBA level with an iffy shot. Lonzo’s improved his shooting, but has remained a real positive due to his defense. I wonder if LaMelo can do that?
3. James Wiseman, C, Memphis
After barely playing at Memphis, Wiseman could be an athletic rim-runner in the NBA. It’ll probably all be about how his shot develops in the big leagues to determine his eventual upside.
4. Deni Avdija, SF, Israel
He seems like the kind of prototypical European wing who can play up a little, play down, and work off the dribble. He shot just 33.6% from deep last year though. On RealGM, their data has him at 56% on 363 free throw attempts in the past three years, per The Ringer.
5. Isaac Okoro, SF, Auburn
Again, we have another less than average shooter within this top-10, which is becoming a recurring theme here. He’s got enough athleticism for a wing to grade out as a plus defender though.
6. Onyeka Okongwu, C, USC
I feel like I’ve heard lots of buzz about Okongwu as potentially the more intriguing big man prospect between him and Wiseman. He attempted just four 3-pointers last year, but averaged 16.2 points and 8.6 boards per game, to go along with 2.7 blocks. He’s only 6’9”, which may not matter as much if the league downsizes, but he’ll have to add to his frame and offensive game.
7. Killian Hayes, PG, France
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer has Hayes atop his board, which is somewhat higher than most other sites that I looked at, although he’s still top-10 almost across the board. He’s 6’5” with an extra three inches for his wingspan, so he’s got the size that’s becoming more prototypical for playmaking point guards across the league.
8. Obi Toppin, PF, Dayton
The elder statesman of this year’s top prospects, Toppin is already 22, but he’s got the size as a 6’9” big man to go along with some ball handling ability, playmaking and shooting. His defensive ability is still in question, but I wonder which team will be the one to tap an older player with this high of a selection.
9. Devin Vassell, SG, Florida State
Devin Vassell has the height and length to work as a wing, The Ringer even says he has shades of Khris Middleton. That tracks with his 6’7” height and 6’10” wingspan, to go with 41.5% from deep and an apparently solid defensive skillset.
10. Tyrese Haliburton, PG, Iowa State
Haliburton seems like the kind of high floor low-ceiling guy who can pass, dribble and shoot...I can almost hear Mike Budenholzer start to swoon. Still, he’s a smidge older (stuck around for his sophomore year although is only 20.2). He strikes me as the kind of rookie who will be underwhelming, and then carve out some niche role for the next decade.
So, what do you think of my top ten? Any prospects you think I clearly erred in not including? Let me know in the comments below, and make sure to vote on who you have as the 11th ranked prospect! I’m particularly interested for everyone who votes “other,” in case there’s a consensus pick I forgot to include among the options.
My pick for the #11 spot on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Aleksej Pokusevski, PF, Serbia
Precious Achiuwa, PF, Memphis
Aaron Nesmith, SF, Vanderbilt
Tyrese Maxey, SG, Kentucky
Cole Anthony, PG, North Carolina
Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford (BH Draft Breakdown)
This poll will close on Tuesday, October 27 at noon Central time