Here are my thoughts on the prospects I have ranked #11 to #15 in this year’s NBA draft.
#11: ALEX LEN – 20 years old, C, Maryland (+1.35)
Len has received a lot of hype in recent weeks. Draft Express recently made Len their #1 overall prospect in the 2013 NBA draft. I understand some of the enthusiasm about Len, but when I look at the statistics, I only see a good prospect, not a great one.
Len’s numbers are fairly solid across the board. He’s a decent scorer at 1.00 points per possession, on a respectable 11.6 shots per 36 minutes. He’s also a very good rebounder and decent shot blocker.
At the same time, there’s nothing about Len that jumps out at me. His scoring is decent/OK. His rebounding is good but not sensational. He’s a good shot blocker, but compare his 3.1 blocks and steals per 36 minutes to Nerlens Noel’s 7.4. There are no glaring red flags, but there’s nothing to get too excited about either.
The one area Len has Noel beat is size. While Noel is a skinny 206 pounds, Len has good size for a starting NBA center at 255 pounds. There’s nothing “wrong” with Len. However, there’s also no one facet of his game that makes me think he’s headed for stardom in the NBA.
#12: RUDY GOBERT – 20 years old, C, France (+1.31)
As a draft prospect, Gobert is very similar to my #10 prospect Lucas Nogueira. Gobert is a huge player at 7’2″ and has a huge field goal percentage to match that, but there are also some concerns about how well he’ll adapt to the NBA.
The two things about Gobert that stand out are his field goal percentage and takeaways. Gobert shot 72 percent from the floor, albeit on just 7.5 shots per 36 minutes. Gobert also got 4.2 blocks and steals per 36 minutes, one of the better takeaway rates among big men in this year’s draft.
The biggest concern I have with Gobert is that he only got 8.4 rebounds per 36 minutes despite being 7’2″. Gobert has been identified as having issues getting pushed around in the paint; not good for a big man who is already limited offensively.
I have Gobert rated as a player likely to succeed in the NBA, but like Nogueira, he’s unlikely to be drafted in the lottery. I understand why; while Gobert certainly has the potential to be a tremendous inside presence, he still has some improving to do.
#13: JAMAAL FRANKLIN – 21 years old, SG, San Diego State (+1.11)
Franklin is one of the strangest prospects in this draft. He is not close to an efficient offensive player. He only scored 0.89 points per possession thanks to shooting 40 percent from the floor, and turning the ball over a lot.
So why do I have Franklin rated as likely to succeed in the NBA? There are two metrics that stand out. One is that Franklin is excellent at getting to the free throw line. This is a very good attribute for a guard to have; the best guards in the NBA are all good at drawing fouls.
The other is that Franklin has an incredible rebound rate. He got 10.3 rebounds per 36 minutes for San Diego State, an absurd number for a shooting guard. In fact, Franklin has the highest defensive rebounding rate of any prospect projected to go in the first round.
If Franklin wants to succeed in the NBA, he’ll need to limit how many shots he takes. His lack of efficiency in college indicates that he’d struggle badly if given a lead scoring role. However, Franklin’s incredible ability to draw fouls and get rebounds should be enough for him to carve out some kind of useful role for an NBA team.
#14: TONY MITCHELL – 21 years old, PF, North Texas (+0.80)
Mitchell is the first of the players I have graded as being unlikely to succeed in the NBA. There are things to like about Mitchell’s game, but his statistical profile shows some limitations as well.
Like Jamaal Franklin, Mitchell only scored at a rate of 0.89 points per possession as a sophomore at North Texas. Compared to Franklin, Mitchell got to the free throw line a little less, got slightly fewer rebounds, but also created more takeaways.
The problem with Mitchell’s numbers being comparable to Franklin’s is that Franklin is a shooting guard and Mitchell is a power forward! The only reason Franklin can get away with poor shooting efficiency is because of his remarkable abilities for his position. For Mitchell, being a good rebounder isn’t remarkable, it’s to be expected.
The one possible saving grace for Mitchell is that he did show good defensive metrics. However, as a 21 year old prospect, good defensive metrics alone aren’t good enough to make the cut as one of my top prospects of this draft.
#15: GIANNIS ADETOKUNBO – 18 years old, SF, Greece (+0.58)
I’ve seen this man’s name spelled as “Adetokunbo” and also as “Antetokounmpo.” I prefer the shorter version, so that’s what I’m going with.
I think Adetokunbo has entered the draft too early. It’s not that he doesn’t have talent – he certainly does – it’s that there’s nothing in his statistics to suggest he’s ready for the NBA.
There’s nothing particularly wrong in the statistics, but there’s nothing particularly right either. He didn’t score too efficiently, he didn’t get to the line a lot, he didn’t get a ton of rebounds or assists, and he didn’t get a lot of takeaways.
Overall, Adetokunbo profiles as a player who was merely decent in the Spanish league. Whoever drafts him is likely to keep him stashed in Europe for a couple years anyway, but I think he might have done better to wait a year and enter the 2014 draft. If I was a general manager, I’d probably pass on what is admittedly a prospect with upside.