Ranking top prospects who decided to withdraw from 2018 NBA draft

Ranking top prospects who decided to withdraw from 2018 NBA draft

DunkWire

Ranking top prospects who decided to withdraw from 2018 NBA draft

For potential NBA players projected outside the first round, it can be very tough deciding whether to stay in the draft.

While there are obvious financial incentives to getting drafted sooner rather than later, a larger contract if drafted higher the following season might be a better long-term investment for some prospects. Fortunately, players usually receive enough feedback following team workouts and the draft combine to help them make the biggest decisions of their lives.

Many of the top-rated prospects who were previously ranked in our recent aggregate big board will instead play another collegiate season. For reference, we provided a mock draft for next year as well, courtesy of NBADraft.net, to help offer context on why certain prospects made the choice they did.

Bruno Fernando, Maryland (Big)

During the combine, his standing reach (9-foot-1) and wingspan (7-foot-4) were both among the Top 10 among all prospects. He also recorded one of the fastest shuttle runs (3.03 seconds) among all players as well, which is an especially impressive accomplishment given his size.

His block percentage (6.0) and defensive rating (95.4 percent) both ranked Top 10 in the Big 10 last season. But his most impressive collegiate statistic as a freshman was his total rebound percentage (17.5), which ranked No. 2 in his conference.

Known workouts: Hawks, Nets

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 57

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 7

Kris Wilkes, UCLA (Wing)

Sam Vecenie highlighted why the 6-foot-7 prospect is heading back to the NCAA for another year (via The Athletic):

“When he went to the combine in May, his lack of physical strength was apparent against older, more developed players. It became clear that returning to school and working on his body at UCLA’s new training facility would be a terrific option for him, as otherwise he likely would have been selected in the second round and pushed toward the G League.”

Wilkes averaged 13.7 points, 1.7 three-pointers and 4.9 rebounds per game last season. His turnover rate was really low, which was arguably his best trait as a freshman. Expect his productivity to increase as a sophomore.

Known workouts: Nets, Spurs

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: N/A

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 13

Jontay Porter, Missouri (Big)

Porter looked amazing when he participated in the shuttle run and several shooting drills at the combine. However, there is still hope he can improve several aspects of his game and get selected higher next year. He had the worst max vertical leap of all players who tested at the combine in Chicago. His three-quarter sprint was also the slowest time recorded and his body fat percentage was the highest among the prospects in attendance.

His box plus-minus and defensive rebound percentage were both Top 3 in the SEC. He also had a really strong block percentage as well but would benefit from more scoring next season at Missouri.

Known workouts: Timberwolves, Spurs

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 43

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 15

Austin Wiley, Auburn (Big)

The big man did not play last season due to eligibility issues and needed to have a really good combine to earn a spot in the NBA next season.

Wiley measured at just above 6-foot-8 without shoes, which was not the most favorable height for someone who plays his style. He made up for it with a 7-foot-5 wingspan, ranking fourth-best among all prospects at the combine. But he also had the second-lowest lane agility time, which didn’t help his stock either.

Known workouts: N/A

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 62

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 20

Sagaba Konate, West Virginia (Forward)

Konate averaged 10.8 points and 7.6 rebounds per game for West Virginia as a sophomore. He also had the best overall block percentage among all NCAA players last season, which should excite scouts and executives. He provides a strong defensive presence, though he is a bit slow and undersized at 6-foot-6.

Known workouts: Nets

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 72

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 21

Jaylen Hands, UCLA (Guard)

Hands, who stood out because he ironically had the smallest hands among all prospects at the combine, will have an opportunity to shine at UCLA next season now that Aaron Holiday has moved onto the NBA. While his minutes were low as a freshman, his per 100 possession rates (21.9 points, 8.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists) project well for his campaign as a sophomore.

Known workouts: Kings

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: N/A

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 25

Charles Matthews, Michigan (Guard)

Matthews averaged 13.0 points and 5.5 rebounds per game during his second collegiate season. He did not play the year prior, sitting out the season after transferring from Kentucky. His field goal percentage ranked Top 10 in his conference for Michigan when he arrived, however, and his Defensive Win Shares ranked No. 2 overall in the conference.

After he was not invited to the combine, it was not surprising to learn that Matthews would head back to Michigan. Last year, 137 underclassmen declared for the 2017 NBA Draft; 84 were not invited to the combine and only four of those prospects did not return to the NCAA. Among those four players, none were drafted.

Known workouts: Nuggets, Knicks

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: N/A

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 33

Tyus Battle, Syracuse (Forward)

His father spoke about why Battle is heading back to college next season (via Syrcause.com):

“It wasn’t likely that he was going to be drafted in the first round. We were hearing maybe first half of the second half, but there’s nothing definite. He wanted to be drafted, but he wanted to be able to play.”

After averaging 19.2 points with 2.1 three-pointers per game last season, he should stand out once again next year. He led the NCAA in minutes per game, sitting only just one minute per appearance. His usage rate and total points produced ranked No. 2 in the ACC and will likely only increase in his return to Syracuse.

Known workouts: Nets, Clippers, Lakers, Knicks, Magic

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 50

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 39

PJ Washington, Kentucky (Forward)

Jeremy Woo included him on his Top 100 Big Board for the 2019 NBA Draft (via Sports Illustrated):

“Washington was at his best playing as a small-ball five this season, with freakish length that helps compensate for his lack of height … He doesn’t have crazy upside, but his skill level on the interior and explosiveness off the floor could make him a quality role player.”

After averaging 10.8 points and 5.7 rebounds per game, Washington had hoped to be selected in the first round of the 2018 NBA Draft. He has a chance to improve his draft stock playing at Kentucky for another year.

Known workouts: Celtics, Nets, Clippers, Timberwolves, Jazz

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 63

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 41

Caleb Martin, Forward (Nevada)

The former Mountain West Conference Player of the Year averaged 18.9 points and 5.4 rebounds with 2.8 three-pointers per game last season. He led the conference in total points scored and had the second most win shares of any player in the Mountain West as well.

However, during one of the combine scrimmages, Martin shot 3-for-11 with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. It wasn’t a very good showing for the Nevada forward. Fortunately, his lane agility time was the second-fastest among all participants at the combine. Only Duke’s Grayson Allen recorded a better time. Still, he’ll look to improve his stock with another year of experience under his belt.

Known workouts: Lakers, Bucks, Thunder, Kings, Jazz

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 65

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 44

Udoka Azubuike, Kansas (Big)

Azubuike averaged 13.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game for Kansas as a sophomore. Most impressive, though, is that he led the NCAA in both field goal percentage and true shooting percentage. He also had the highest Player Efficiency Rating (PER) in the Big 12. His total rebound percentage was the second highest in the conference while his block percentage ranked Top 5.

Only four players in the combine were taller than Azubuike, who measured at 6-foot-10 without shoes. His standing reach (9-foot-4) trailed only top-rated prospect Mo Bamba.

Known workouts: Lakers

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: N/A

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 46

Cody Martin, Forward (Nevada)

Last season, he averaged 14.0 points, 6.3 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.5 blocks per game. He had the second-best Defensive Box Plus-Minus and Defensive Win Shares in the Mountain West and also led the conference in steals. Only one player in the conference had more assists. However, he is not much of a three-point shooter.

Cody also struggled during the combine scrimmages, at one point recording 19 minutes with just 2 points, 4 rebounds and 1 assist.

Known workouts: Nets, Nuggets, Lakers, Timberwolves, Thunder

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: 75

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 51

Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s (Guard)

Ponds averaged 21.6 points per game but struggled as a three-point shooter, averaging just 1.6 threes per appearance and making just above 25 percent of his attempts from long range. While he led the Big East in points per game as a sophomore and also led the conference in steals per game as a freshman, he still has a bit more to improve heading into his third collegiate season.

Known workouts: Celtics, Nets, Cavaliers, Nuggets, Pistons, Lakers, Jazz

Latest aggregate Mock Draft for HoopsHype: N/A

NBADraft.net Mock Draft for 2019: 57

Honorable Mentions

Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State (Guard)

Robert Franks, Washington State (Forward)

Jalen Hudson, Florida (Guard)

Carsen Edwards, Purdue (Guard)

Ethan Happ, Wisconsin (Big)

Kerwin Roach, Texas (Guard)

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