The top selections each year get the most hype, but the likes of Kawhi Leonard, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nikola Jokic are players who weren’t taken in the lottery, or even the first round. So who might be overlooked in this year’s NBA Draft?
Brandon Clarke in action for Gonzaga
If defense is your thing, then Brandon Clarke certainly will be. He had more blocks than missed shots last year, and while he is small in size at 6’8, he loves physicality. He’ll be a high-impact defender but not in the way that sees him cheating on the defensive weak side for blocks, because Clarke’s athleticism looks like he’s been dropped off a pogo stick. He can hold his position against bigs that back him down and then still leap up to disrupt a shot. He also has Kawhi Leonard-lite hands and good footspeed when switched on to a smaller perimeter player.
Learn more about Draft prospect Brandon Clarke.
Clarke’s offensive game is limited but he can roll to the rim and has great ability to find space on the floor away from his defender to receive a pass. Equally, he loves to rebound and find the right person – whether that’s as an outlet pass after finishing a defensive possession or on offense for a better look after a rebound.
Think a more offensively versatile Nerlens Noel or a smaller, and more unselfish Hassan Whiteside, and that should give you some idea of what we’re looking at. If Clarke drops outside the top 10, it’ll be a steal.
Tacko Fall contests a rebound at the NBA Combine
The main reason Tacko Fall is being considered in the draft is his immense height. At 7’6, he would be the tallest player in the NBA, and the biggest since Yao Ming retired in 2011. Since then, the game has moved on and the NBA is built on skill, speed, defense and shooting. That’s not to say, there isn’t space for someone so tall, but they need to have skill.
He might already be 23 years old, but the extra time in college has helped Fall learn to use his body in the best way possible for someone of his talent. Good screens and solid positioning means that he can play on offense, and when the ball gets dumped down to him, he does have basic moves to be able to get a shot off over the outstretched arms of a smaller player (which they all are).
Tacko Fall outlines his aspirations and abilities at the NBA Combine.
On defense, he is clearly a deterrent at the rim, and caused a few issues for Duke’s Zion Williamson when they played in March Madness, but he cannot switch onto players on the perimeter. Think about the awkward minutes that Boban Marjanovic experienced in match-ups during the playoffs, and you’re along the right lines.
But if an NBA team takes a flyer on him in the second round, we could see Fall log limited minutes for a playoff team in the not-too-distant future.
Like Tacko Fall, Bol Bol will bring height to his team
If Fall doesn’t manage to get drafted, the NBA will still see some height entering the league. As the son of Manute Bol – a lanky 7’7 center who managed 11 years as a journeyman in the NBA between 1985 and 1996 – Bol Bol will have older fans on his side.
Bol is a much greater offensive threat than his father, and is a coordinated athlete who can move surprisingly quickly out to the perimeter.
Watch the NBA Draft on Sky Sports
Watch all the action unfold as teams make their picks
His fundamentals are strong – such as keeping the ball away from defenders and having soft hands and solid footwork. He doesn’t shoot many threes but managed to hit half of them in college, and his good shooting elsewhere shows it is no fluke.
He has good defensive upside and managed 21 points per game with 9.6 rebounds thrown in. He could be as low as the 20th pick, but could go as high as 10.
Coby White is a fearless scorer who is keen to push the ball
Coby White from North Carolina has the potential to be the best point guard in this year’s draft. The ancient methods of assessing point guard – such as being a short, assist-heavy coach on the floor – don’t necessarily apply when you watch the 6’5 athlete switch between attacking the rim and stepping outside to hit threes at a rate of 35.5%. But in this NBA of positionless basketball, where point players could be anyone from Chris Paul to Draymond Green and Nikola Jokic, there are plenty of people with the ability to make decisions. If an NBA team needs a fearless scorer who is keen to push the ball, then White can fill that role.
Learn more about Draft prospect Coby White.
His dribble is not tight, but it is competent enough to keep up with his speed, which helps creates enough of a gap between himself and the best defenders. Learning to use that pace more effectively will be the job of a good NBA player development staff and he isn’t going to be short of effort when it comes to this.
Equally, do not expect him to be a slouch on defense. He might be a little rough around the edges, but any coach would prefer to have a player they have to reign in rather than one that needs an injection of focus and energy.
Depending on who you listen to, Grant Williams could be a top 10 player or a second-round draft pick. It all comes down to what you are looking for.
Talent comes first, which is why you see the top few draft picks always being great scorers. But when you get further outside the lottery, teams drift from saying they just want someone who will work hard to saying they want an intelligent player that can slot into any system.
Consider Williams a little of both.
Follow Sky Sports NBA on Twitter
See the NBA's best plays and stay up to date with the latest news
At 6’7, he is a good height to match-up for most wings, smaller bigs and bigger smalls. But he doesn’t necessarily possess the foot-speed to be elite.
What could make him great is his supreme intelligence. His anticipation on defense is good and the ability to play virtually any role on offense will make him a favourite of any team’s fans he gets drafted to.
He managed 18.8 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game in college, so he can be an offensive weapon, but fans will probably want him to be more aggressive. His smart play brings comparisons to the likes of Boris Diaw, Shane Battier and Nicolas Batum.
Where he will land is anyone’s guess. But he has elite glue-guy traits that could help any team.
Watch the 2019 NBA Draft live on Sky Sports late on Thursday night (midnight)
Want to watch the NBA but don’t have Sky Sports? Get the Sky Sports Action and Arena pack, click here.