Best of the Rest: Part 5

We identify some of the more unheralded 2019 NBA Draft prospects who may turn out to be steals in the second round...

Now that our top twenties have concluded, you may have noticed that our grades for all of our selected prospect was above the 18/30 threshold indicating more lottery talent to be had in such a scale. This is indeed a rare occurence, and with the events being so hard to predict, it is very possible some of these individuals might slip out of the the first round entirely or have those lowered ranked by us to ahead of them because of the industry’s consensus. For example, we are not as high on certain guys like Duke’s Grayson Allen who has toughness and maturity on the court but not the ceiling, Jalen Brunson who has great feel but not burst and can’t live off posting up guards, Gary Trent who’s too one dimensional, Mitchell Robinson and his lack of polish as well as makeup questions for someone older than you think. Dzanan Musa finds himself in similar company for probably thinking he is better than he actually is with that brand of basketball that’s worked for Bogdan Bogdanovic with the same being true for someone like Mo Wagner, who I actually like paired with a Kristaps Porzingis as a complement but his feet are unfortunately exceptionally slow. This is not to say that uber athletic players are the answer here either as I’m also down on the like of Trevon Duval and Hamidou Diallo, both of whom have the sheer ability and sometimes even desire to go higher but not the results. What all of the aforementioned have in common is a large fan club and following among college fans so what I want to do as the job and take of hand is to find people equally deserving of the hype for what they’ve actually done and character. It cannot be denied that the biggest attribute of succeeding when taken, or maybe not even for some of the men below, are the intangibles that cannot be as easily seen. This is will be done for the best option at each position and a couple more who are real lotto tickets you may have not heard about! Next and the last installment of the series and season is our final board with proposed trades.

PG: Tony Carr, Penn State
Jevon Carter from West Virginia has gotten a lot more play nationally and rightfully so but as much as I love his attitude locking down opponents, I much rather have a Terry Rozier than Pat Beverly and we’re seeing why. Carr, as passionate and a winner as he is, brings to the table potentially significantly more with his assassin’s mean-streak mentality shining when the moment is brightest like leading the Nittany Lions almost single handedly at MSG. What he also has going for him is his plus point guard size and unique shot that I think can work because he’s a threat to make any decision anytime whether it’s launching his shot or throwing an alley oop to a teammate with vision. The other I considered for this spot was Kansas’ Devonte Graham who intrigues me more than most but doesn’t have the requisite body or layup packages even though he has what it takes to stick in the league wittines wise, with the latter being something Tony can also work on along with quickness. I much rather hedge my bets on this young man for his lethal shot from long range over someone like Anfernee Simons who could take couple years just to reach where he is now, although isn’t to say I wouldn’t pull the trigger if he slid but I doubt it because someone is going to see a fake Markelle Fultz, which is still a good thing.
SG: Shake Milton, SMU
Shake, who can bake and I affectionately call milk, is one of those fake PG’s best suited playing here instead even though he’s more than fine if he doesn’t. I’m not entirely sure why there isn’t a sliver chance of him going in the first but teams have been wrong before like with two of my favorite players who is currently a free agent in David Nwaba and Delon Wright. He knows how to play within himself and is anything but selfish despite being asked to step up for SMU after Jarrey Foster, one of the best kept secrets this year went down with injury (and who smartly went back to school this month to become a future Bridges.) Further proving the fascination some have with age, I find it hard to believe that if he were a few years younger or come out last year and a million times less productive he’d be a top selection like Frank Ntilikina was just on his prospects alone which haven’t changed for me as an extremely efficient, freakish nature person in both the legs and arms that he uses in active disruptive fashion when moving well laterally. The shooting mechanics are not too far off and I just enjoy watching the arch of the ball out of his hands even when not consistent. He can more than hit foul shots too and is a notable rebounder for combo guard. In short, there’s nothing not to like even if he can’t jump.
SF: Kevin Hervey, UT Arlington
I’ve seen a lot of Hervey and have never been disappointed! His in and out game can have stationed anywhere offensively and most of the time he makes it look like he’s shooting over a chair with some really neat most moves too. To go even a step further, if he’s there at 31 or any luck after, which I have a hard time believing he will not, I would be so quick to turn in the card it’s not even funny. There’s nothing to overthink here and I can’t imagine how silly he feels having to sell himself with his tape like the persons before him as another 20 point collegiate scorer. He should easily replicate Harrison Barnes who was supposed to be the next Michael and has turned out to be underrated somehow after leaving Golden St. where his game has expanded since. Kevin likes to say that the NBA will come and find you if you’re good enough so I hope it does because he is! This is a humble, yes sir and no sir kind of guy who is way more than simply a stretch four. Like some of the very best at the top of the draft, he can become a matchup nightmare early on with mismatches in the age of smallball. The biggest worry is without a doubt his past ACL tears even though he seems to moving around fine. Most players are a major injury away from their careers changing and he is no different despite the risk obviously higher.
PF: Chimezie Metu, USC
You never want to see a player perform identically is his junior year as he did as a sophomore but I really believe there were reasons for this for Metu. Not only did his team lose a lot of talent like one De’Anthony Melton, who presumably will go quite a bit higher than him after not playing, he lost front court mates like Benny Boatwright who is just so dynamic during the campaign that only made things harder for him. Frustrations were high leading to him losing his captaincy midseason after he hit someone in the groin but this does not match his exploits in the classroom where he’s the rare college baller graduating in three-year with a degree in Law, History and Culture so we’re talking about a smart one here. He would also be the most athletic big in most classes that don’t aliens like Ayton or Bamba but that’s his luck in 2018. He’s agile and twitchy, at times overcommitting on defense but this is stuff that can be taught to fix as long as the other facets are worthwhile as they appear to be to me. Right now he is mostly someone who will get his buckets on dunks like a Capela with the caveat of this changing fast. His emerging step out game is coming fast as seen in the sharp increase in threes attempted in just the last calendar year. In a Lakers workout, it can clearly be seen as he hits them with no issues.
C: Ajdin Penava, Marshall
I’ve written a good number of these and still don’t know how to start this one with possibly my favorite player in all the draft. I can hear the chuckles already and the loud WHO? noise but promise that you won’t be sorry when you hear what I’m about to say about Ajdin. I compare my experience scouting him to when I first saw KP – I had to make sure the tape was actually real. I am here to tell you that it is and that it is an absolute disgrace he is not even placed in the top HUNDRED prospects!  I mean, that just means someone isn’t doing their homework. After all, at least the kid from Latvia was a consensus top ten when he was seen as a reach by fans and media types. I’ll excuse it because at least he was half way across the world and that could be a reason but Penava plays for Marshall: a NCAA Tournament team on television and like him speaks absolutely perfect English assimilating. His coach demolished teams with him, as Mike D’Antoni’s brother seemingly would with a center who can run the floor and pass exactly like Jokic. I always wondered how people didn’t see that one either but now I know firsthand and desperately hope teams don’t make such a grave mistake and take away the chance for us all to see his incredible play as the nation’s leading SHOT BLOCKER with a smooth three. He’s tall and lanky but give the 1997 born a break from his growth spurt. Omari Spellman over the steal of the decade?

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