Ayton is a generational center talent and should end up a Top 5-10 center in the league by default. But that’s exactly the problem. He knows how talented he is and doesn’t seem to want to push things to see how great he can become. He has stagnated since his sophomore year when it looked like he could become a better version of David Robinson. There’s still time for him to change things around, but Ayton needs to embrace coaching and being challenged. Internet hype doesn’t do any favors for young supremely talented 7-footers, and Ayton clearly was unable to avoid that. He curiously decided to skip the 2017 Hoop Summit, instead of wanting to dominate an event he underperformed in previously. He’s a superior talent, but how hungry is he to be great?
While Ayton is the superior physical talent and has a better outside shot, Bamba has shown a greater willingness to challenge himself, and the improvement has been evident. His dimensions are remarkable for a player that is able to affect games. He’s an extremely bright kid who had Ivy League offers and probably would have ended up at Harvard if he never picked up a basketball, or if he were a foot shorter. His body continues to fill out and he seems to be trimming the fat with regards to managing his inner circle, and eliminating the bad influences from his life. Credit the young man for making tough personal decisions that will serve him well moving forward.
Richards is a bit of a risky pick to go this high. He’s an elite athlete with a lot of upside left to develop, but remains extremely raw. He even shows some touch from the perimeter, in warm-ups. However, he needs some time for things to fully click and his feel for the game to catch up with his talent level.
McCoy is another one of this year’s freshman wildcards. He chose to play at UNLV, which hasn’t had a great recent track record of developing prospects, but Coach Marvin Menzies is just in his second year. McCoy is a good rebounder and a solid scorer with above-average athleticism for a 7-footer. If he gives good effort and figures things out quickly, he’ll likely find a spot in the first round.
Wiley made a name for himself playing for Team USA in Cairo at the U19 World Championships. He established himself as the team’s most athletic big. His athleticism and size give him solid intrigue alone, and his willingness to battle inside and developing skill set should give him a chance to crack the first round if he plays to his abilities at Auburn this year.
Whether it’s bad advice or just immaturity and impatience, Robinson’s inability to choose a path and stick to it is a bad look. He first shocked everyone by committing early to Western Kentucky. But then when assistant Shammond Williams left the program, Robinson broke his commitment. Only to recommit, and then de-commit again. His decision to “train for the upcoming draft”, instead of sticking it out and making the best of the situation is a curious one. It will be tough to justify taking him earlier than late first round for teams as he’s extremely limited skill wise and won’t have proven himself above the AAU level. Intriguing? Yes. Due to his tremendous rim protection. But there are more question marks than certainties with him.