On the eve of the 2018 NBA draft, and yes, I will have a mock draft up tomorrow, I want to point out a few question mark prospects, in my mind. When the draft order was released, I wrote a piece about who I thought the Suns should take at number one, Colin Sexton. But today, I have a few players that I either, don't get why they are so high on everyone else's board, or guys that I feel are much to risky to take in the lottery, or even the first round.
The first player that gives me pause, and this guy was included in my Suns story, is Mo Bamba, and I really like Bamba, I'm just afraid he will never fully form into a dominant NBA player. First off, he is rail skinny. I know guys like KD and Damien Lillard were also deemed too skinny when they entered the league, but both of those guys had jumpers, and were far more polished offensively coming into the league. I do not doubt the defense, and I love the 7 foot 10 inch wingspan, but man is this kid rail thin. He can always gain muscle, especially in an NBA training program, but it is going to take some time. What gives me real pause is that he, right now, is much more Willie Cauley Stein than say a Joel Embiid or even a Johnathan Allen. Both of those guys, and I know Embiid is a star, can finish around the rim against current NBA talent. Cauley Stein cannot do that yet. He is great defensively, and I think Bamba will be even better right away, but his offense leaves so much to be desired. He is going to go in the lottery, probably no later than 5. But, the team taking him should know that it is going to take some time before he is a fully developed all around NBA player. His offense is going to take awhile to come around. I hope he has a very long and successful career, but he is the definition of a "project", just like Cauley Stein.
The next player that I am very hesitant on is a guy that I openly rooted for in college because he played for Michigan. Mo Wagner can shoot the ball, that cannot be denied. But, what else can he do right now? I watched him for three years, and my thoughts on him fluctuated between happy and angry constantly. He would hit some of the most improbable threes I have seen, then get torched on defense. He would get a thunderous dunk, then get out rebounded by a guard. He would be the catalyst to get the Wolverines going, but then he would be immediately gassed. All of this is going to rear its head in the NBA. Wagner can shoot, and having an almost 7 footer that can hit threes is crucial nowadays, but he is a real liability on defense right now. He is a bit too slow, and he gets pushed around by guys bigger than him. He can put on muscle, just like Bamba, but that will only make him slower. He will most likely be a late first round pick, but if I were a GM, I'd wait until the mid second round to take him. He is going to need to work a ton on his defense and footwork. But, his shooting will get him drafted.
The next guy I want to talk about is another big man, Robert Williams. Robert Williams would come and go his 2 years at Texas A&M. Sometimes, see the UNC game in the tournament last season, he would be completely dominant. He was a total force on both ends. He would grab rebounds and throw jams in other players faces. He would also protect the rim as if his family was under it. Then though, look at the very next week in last year's tournament game against Michigan, and he was a total non factor. He should have pushed Wagner and any big guy Michigan threw at him, but as soon as Michigan built up a 15 point lead, he just seemed to stop caring. Sure, he put up decent numbers in that game, but it was all basically garbage time. Michigan was in total control, and when they built that big lead, he just kind of dunked and quit on defense. Will that happen in the NBA? Probably, because when a player is already 20, it is hard to break bad habits. He is also more of an old school center, and that won't work in the NBA right now.
The last player I want to talk about today is the biggest question mark in this draft, and I have seen him mocked as high as number 2 overall in the draft. That player is, and I'm sorry to RD and my older brother Ross, Michael Porter Jr. The fact that he is being discussed as a lottery pick, that the Kings are considering him at 2, that the Bulls are trying to trade up for him, that Dallas is said to like him, that the Cavs really want him, all of this blows my mind. All of those teams are picking in the top 10. What did Porter Jr show last year, and during the pre draft stuff, that have pushed him this high? I really don't get it. I watched him sit pretty much of all of last season after having back surgery. I then saw him come back for 2 games, both losses, where he shot poorly, got exposed on defense, and just looked kind of overcome by the better competition. He has also canceled pre draft workouts based on doctors orders. He still has back problems. I think his knees, or maybe his hips, have been bothering him. But then he comes out and calls himself a mix of KD and Giannis. He comes out and says he is the best prospect in this draft. He claims that the injury stuff is overblown. He seems like he may be a bit too cocky, especially for someone that hasn't proven anything since high school. And I know, he won all the major awards as a high school player. I know he was the consensus player of the year, I know he was the McDonald's game MVP, I understand that he was rated by most publications as the top high school player. So was Dajuan Wagner. So was Eddy Curry. So was, insert name here of many a bust in the NBA. The fact that multiple GM's are considering this kid in the top 8 because he was so great in high school baffles me. Sure, he dominated the high school game because he was playing against kids much smaller than him. I say again, look at his 2 games at Missouri. I know he was coming off an injury, a big time injury, but he was dreadful. He didn't take over the game like many, myself included, thought he would. He was a problem for Missouri when he came back for those 2 games. They had something decent going, but then they had to shoe horn Porter Jr in, and it blew up in their, and his, face. His brother, who is going back for his sophomore year at Missouri, is a better prospect than him, at least in my opinion. I'm shocked that he is going to be a lottery pick. I'm shocked that some stupid GM is going to fall for this. I hope he ends up in Sacramento, because that is what he deserves. Michael Porter Jr may turn out to be great. Maybe all the stuff in high school wasn't a fluke. Maybe the 2 games at Missouri were the fluke. But, I feel like he is going to be an Anthony Bennett level bust in the NBA. I just don't see it with Porter. I'd take a good 10-15 guys before even considering him. That is just me though.
Come back tomorrow to see where I have all these "questionable" picks in my mock draft. They will all, most likely be first rounders, I'm just not sold on them yet.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing, the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast, and the greatest basketball writer on all the internet.
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