NBA draft: 5 first-round sleepers who could have an immediate impact
Tyler Herro and Michael Porter Jr. became young breakout stars in the NBA bubble and have surpassed their design inventory. Herro was voted 13th in the 2019 draft and has become a key player on this Miami Heat team with an average of 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds in the postseason. Porter Jr. went 14th on the Denver Nuggets in 2018 and put in an impressive performance in the NBA bubble averaging 11.4 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
The 2020 NBA draft is approaching, and teams have had an additional four months to watch movies, gather information, and evaluate draft boards. Here are five planned first-round picks that may hear their name a little later but may have rookie seasons similar to Herro and Porter Jr.
Design range: 11-20
Hampton's last game was January 9, when he played for the New Zealand Breakers in the Australian National Basketball League. The 6-foot-5 guard took one of the longest breaks in competitive basketball, playing just 15 games overseas, averaging 8.8 points and 3.9 rebounds. For the past 10 months, Hampton has been to the gym with Penny Hardaway and Mike Miller.
One of the best 3-point shooters to ever play the game, Miller worked with Hampton on his jump shot and shot selection. Hampton averaged just 29.5 percent of the 3-point line for the NZ Breakers, and that extra time off could be critical to his development as a Sagittarius.
Prior to his year-long professional game in the NBL, Hampton was a five-star high school candidate averaging 32 points, 9.7 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 3.9 steals per game. Hampton is a long two-way guard with a killer crossover. If he adds an outside crack to his game, he could surprise a lot of people as a young NBA player in the next few years.
Roderick "R. J." Hampton of the New Zealand Breakers during their basketball game against the Sydney Kings of the National Basketball League in Sydney, Friday October 18, 2019. (AP Photo / Rick Rycroft)
Design range: 18-30
No player in this design class fits the Fred VanVleet shape better than Flynn. Like VanVleet, Flynn is a medium-sized prospect with a similar build and high basketball IQ. On the other hand, the state of San Diego hasn't had much competition outside of Mountain West this year, and it's difficult for teams to predict how Flynn will fare against players at the NBA level.
The 6-foot-1 guard has a killer outside shot that has scored 76 3-point hits this season. In pick-and-roll situations he is in the 96th percentile and scores 1.06 points per possession according to Synergy Sports. Guards who read the pick and roll option excellently have an advantage over other players as they adjust to speed and distance at the NBA level. Flynn could get a steal late in the first round as Scouts draw comparisons to VanVleet's and Dallas Mavericks' Seth Curry.
San Diego State Aztec Guardian Malachi Flynn, 22, shoots the ball during a college basketball game between Utah State and SDSU February 1. (Justin Fine / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Design range: 13-20
McDaniels passes every eye test with its 6-foot-10 frame and a wingspan of nearly 7 feet. He wasn't very productive in his one year in Washington, leaving Scouts wondering what kind of player he'll be at the next level.
Best case scenario: McDaniels could be a mix of Kevin Durant and Brandon Ingram. Worst scenario: he is his older brother Jalen McDaniels. Jaden McDaniels has all of the intangibles to be great and could become an All-Star later, but there is high risk and high reward in drawing him.
In iso situations it was only in the 30th percentile and this season shot 25 percent out of the 3-point range. McDaniels could thrive with the right program and coaching staff, but there's still a lot of uncertainty about his game.
Washington Huskies forward Jaden McDaniels (0) looks at the scoreboard during a Pac-12 game between Washington and Washington State on February 28, 2020. (Jeff Halstead / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Design area: 16-25
Green played under Sean Miller for a year in Arizona and didn't have the dream season he was hoping for. He was just recovering from a torn labrum in his left shoulder and was unable to find his rhythm during the season.
This extended design downtime was beneficial to Green. He gained 10 pounds of muscle and grew half an inch, which is 6-foot-6 and one and a half and 220 pounds.
Green's confidence in the field has also improved, and he has worked with other potential clients such as Tyrese Haliburton, Malachi Flynn, Devon Dotson, Reggie Perry, Ashton Hagans and Tyler Bey over the past four months. He's one of the most NBA able players physically and with his increased confidence in his jump shot and the creation of space in iso situations, Green could see an early season next season.
Josh Green, 0, the guardian of the Arizona Wildcats heads to the basket during the men's Pac-12 basketball tournament on March 11, 2020. (Brian Rothmuller / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kira Lewis Jr.
Design range: 13-24
Lewis Jr. is a 6-foot-3 lead guard who averaged 15.9 points and four assists per game over his two seasons in Alabama. He's a quick guard whose game translates well to the next level thanks to his movement from the ball. Lewis Jr. averaged 1.6 points per possession when he cut the ball and was in the 79th percentile in transition, according to Synergy Sports. Turning 19 in April, he could be a young Jamal Murray nascent with his seedy play on the trail and solid 3-point shooting.
Alabama Crimson Tide Guard Kira Lewis Jr. (2) drives to the basket against South Carolina Gamecocks Guard A.J. Lawson (00) during a game on February 29, 2020. (Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports)
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