As player rankings have grown more sophisticated, the media has taken to adopting “tiers” as a way of trying to indicate that multiple players are on the same level as one another, none are better than the other. I normally view this as a way to try and avoid fanbases lashing out, and I suppose it’s a slightly more accurate way of tackling what’s become a yearly tradition. It’s become so ubiquitous that I find it kind of funny, but I’m not above hopping about a trend train once it’s left the station. Folks, we’ve got a tier of players next in our ranking, emphasis on tie.
Jeremy Sochan, the power forward from Baylor, Ochai Agbaji, the small forward from national champion Kansas, and Ousmane Dieng, the small forward who played for the New Zealand Breakers, all tied in our latest poll.
Therefore, I’m placing them all in the 12-14 tier, and we’ll move along with our rankings from there. I doubt any of the three would fall anywhere near the Bucks, but of the three, Sochan intrigues me the most. The Ringer describes him as thus:
Capable of excelling as an athletic two-way player who can defend all five positions, and if he develops a jump shot he has limitless potential.
Probably a bit hyperbolic for my taste considering he’s mocked in latter half of the lottery, but I like the idea of someone who can defend multiple positions. That’d fit right in alongside Milwaukee’s other players. He’s just a freshman with the height at 6’9”, the problem is his shot. He hit 58.9% on 90 free throw attempts, and just a shade under 30% from deep on 81 attempts. The spacing issues would be clear, but if he develops even one specialized shot, maybe the corner triple, his defensive potential could be valuable to a lot of teams.
As for Agbaji, he’s one prospect I actually saw some of since I tuned in for the Final Four. He’s a senior, one of the rare upperclassmen that sneak their way into the lottery these days, but he stands 6’5” with a 6’10” wingspan so has some decent wing size. He doesn’t seem to have many playmaking skills with just 1.6 assists per game average his final season. The optimists on his shot likely point to his 37.7% and 40.7% from deep on nearly seven attempts per game his final two years in school. The pessimists will point to his 71.4% career free throw average. I can’t say his numbers jump off the board at me, but he definitely would have the body and size to be ready right away. I’d steer clear though personally.
Ousmane Dieng certainly fits the Hammond mold, standing 6’10” with a 7’ wingspan, he was apparently a top-ten pick before this past year. He’s got the perimeter skills of a guard, with ballhandling, shooting and passing, but apparently doesn’t have much of the frame to hold up inside boxing out, defensively or finishing at the rim. Against larger NBA defenders, I’d be wary of how he’d hold up, but I’m not betting against someone with these measurables and this write-up from Mike Schmitz, formerly of ESPN and now in the Blazers front office (hmm, could he vault up there?).
Whether it’s as a Nicolas Batum type, Kyle Anderson or some leaner version of Boris Diaw, there’s a clear pathway and role for Dieng in the NBA. Dieng has persevered through a brutal start to the season, all while playing zero true home games with the New Zealand borders still closed due to the pandemic. Expect to hear his name a lot more between now and draft night, as he’s the type of tantalizing talent that tends to rise in the pre-draft process.
That’ll do it for another entry in the community draft board. Thanks to everyone who helped coordinate this tie and make my job a little bit easier. Here are the rankings so far:
- Chet Holmgren
- Jabari Smith
- Paolo Banchero
- Jaden Ivey
- Keegan Murray
- Dyson Daniels
- Shaedon Sharpe
- Bennedict Mathurin
- A.J. Griffin
- Jalen Duren
- Johnny Davis
- Jeremy Sochan
- Ousmane Dieng
- Ochai Agbaji
Here’s a spreadsheet again with measurements from Adam Spinella. Let’s move onto #15.
My pick for #15 on the community draft board is...
This poll is closed
Malaki Branham, SG, Ohio State
TyTy Washington Jr., PG, Kentucky
Tari Eason, SF, LSU
Mark Williams, C, Duke
Kennedy Chandler, PG, Tennessee
E.J. Liddell, PF, Ohio State
This poll will close at 8 am central, June 8.