Ah, it’s that time of year again. Selection Sunday, printing out a fresh, blank 64-team bracket, and cramming all the research you can before picks lock. It’s March Madness.
In terms of next-level talent, this year is special. We will be seeing tons of top talent that will soon be studs in the NBA. I’ll be using the mock draft from Draft Express, take a look at it here. Here’s who to watch for:
(It’s a shame that I can’t be writing about Markelle Fultz, who is the consensus first overall pick. To make a long story short, Washington has miserably failed to create a winning scheme and get players who deserve to play in the Pac-12.) Buuuut let’s move on.
1. Lonzo Ball, UCLA
UCLA has a chance to grab themselves a #1 seed (depending on if they can win/get in the Pac-12 championship game), which all but guarantees the Bruins a few games on national TV. Ball will be the feature point guard in March, and will be a top-3 pick in this year’s draft.
He’s good. Elite shot, crisp passer, IQ off the charts, but please don’t listen to his father telling media he doesn’t need a brand or that he’ll be as good as Jordan. He’s not THAT good. Hopefully injured forward TJ Leaf will be 100% so the Bruins will be healthy. Full description and strengths and weakness’ video is here.
2. Josh Jackson, Kansas
Bill Self may have him playing a forward roll in his peculiar four-guard system, but this kid is electric. See my older blog post to read what I think of the latest talented Kansas freshmen.
Jackson may not even be the best player on his team, but the Jayhawks seem to spread the ball around and let the hot player shine. His ability to pass and rebound allows him to put up gaudy numbers, and his overall game will translate well to the NBA.
Jackson’s lack of a consistent 3-pt jump shot is holding him back from being one of the best players in the country. Based off pure athleticism, he’s be a top pick, and his polished game only helps his case. Here’s his strengths and weakness’ to see for yourself.
3. Jayson Tatum, Duke
The Blue Devils are an interesting team this year, and with all of their talent blah blah blah, they should be better (read my last post), but there is mixed speculation about the highly anticipated freshman. Some mock drafts have him going as high as 3, and some drop him out of the top 8, sometimes 10.
He may have shut some of the critics up after great preferences in Duke’s final two regular season games versus ranked Florida State and North Carolina (check out his stats here).
NBA Draft Net compares Tatum to Danny Granger and…pause for excitement, Shane Battier. I know, they were both good role players and that’s what a lot of the NBA is today, but there isn’t a ton of upside with Tatum. He doesn’t excel in one part of his game. Check his strength and weakness videos courtesy of DraftExpress.
4. Johnathan Isaac, Florida State
Johnathan Isaac is projected to be the 6th pick in this year’s draft, but not many people know about him. In terms of potential, Isaac has the upper hand on Jayson Tatum, who play similar positions.
The comparison Isaac is linked to is Kevin Garnett, yes, The Big Ticket. Although the comparison game is one I very rarely play, I cans see it, and the entire nation will be able to see if Florida State can make a decent run in the tournament (spoiler alert: I think they will.)
Isaac is 6’10”, and has the elite athleticism and motor to be useful as soon as he gets to the NBA. He can hit a jump shot and will project to be able to hit an NBA three. His weakness is that he sometimes gets lost on the floor and can get lost in the flow of a game. BUT THE POTENTIAL!!! Check out his game for yourself