Bagley is one of the youngest prospects available having turned 19 in March). He’s a manchild, capable of physically dominating nearly every opponent he faced at the college level and will be a handful for many opponents from day one in the NBA. While his offensive skillset still has some developing to do, the fact that he plays with as much energy and passion gives his outlook a lot of promise. He showed some ability to face up and attack the rim, and was a disciplined defender in Duke’s system. He improved as a three-point shooter as the season went along, finishing at 40 percent on the year and hitting over 50 percent after his return from injury over the final month of the season. Bagley can become a franchise type of player if his offensive game continues to expand. Despite not leading a talent-laden Duke squad to a title, his stock remains extremely high, and figures to be the second name called on draft night.
JJJ has a body and package of skills ideally suited to play in today’s NBA. Similar to Bamba, he has rim protection and great ability to run the floor, but even more polish and potential as an offensive player who can pull defenders away from the basket and knock down outside shots. Jackson proved to be a lot further ahead of schedule than many realized coming into the season. He’s still one of the less polished of the lottery picks in terms of fully realizing his skill set and abilities, but the fact that he became an impact player in Coach Izzo’s system as a freshman speaks volumes. He struggled through some inconsistency, particularly as the season came to a close. But there’s no denying the kid has an extremely high ceiling.
Carter’s outside shot showed a lot of growth as the season progressed. He isn’t a speed burner and figures to fit in better with some of the more methodical offensive teams in the league. His 7-foot-3 wingspan gives him the ability to play bigger than his 6-foot-10 size allowing him to more easily recover defensively as well as rebound more effectively. Carter’s work ethic and determination are rare for a freshman. He showed a tendency to let situations get the better of him and lose his cool emotionally, but that’s an area that he should be able to improve upon with age and experience. Despite a disappointing close to the year, battling some bumps and bruises, he remains in good standing with NBA teams as one of the most skilled and highest rated bigs in the draft.
Bridges is an impressive basketball player for a guy with "no game". All kidding aside, Bridges may lack a traditional skillset, however he is a freak athlete with ambition and determination, a combination that generally fares pretty well at the next level. But it’s not as if Bridges enters the league solely with great physical abilities. He’s improved considerably in his ability to shoot, knocking down 85 percent of his free throws as a sophomore and 137 of 339 (37.5 percent) of his three-pointers in his two seasons at Michigan State. He’s a little stuck between positions as he’s not a great passer or ball handler, and is small for the PF position. But in today’s "position-less’ league, Bridges strengths outweigh his weaknesses, and he should be able to punish certain match ups at the next level.
Williams’ decision to return to school may not have improved his stock. But a second year in College Station has given him the benefit of further maturity to handle the off court and social aspects that go along with playing professionally. Williams will probably benefit by not going too high and thus avoiding the initial expectations that accompany it. He’s not a consistent performer at the college level, so to expect that over an 82 game season, at this point doesn’t make much sense. Williams is an elite athlete, but his skill level has yet to fully develop. A team that envisions him in the role of defender and rebounder and could look to slowly bring his offensive game up to speed and probably do well with him somewhere in the teens.
Porter is all over the place on team’s boards and may ultimately decide to return to school. While he doesn’t jump out as a surefire first rounder, the fact that he has such great length, plays a mature game and can knock down outside shots gives him a lot of intrigue. He still needs to tone his body and become a better post defender and gain more post moves. But he is a class individual and really came on strong at the end of the season, giving him a chance to be a one-and-done player with strong workouts. If he feels ready to leave Missouri, he should make use of his ability to test the process and see if teams are showing enough first-round interest in him to leave.