2020 Top NBA Players 23 & Under: Part 1
Welcome to the second installment of the Top NBA Players 23 & Under list! The purpose of this exercise is to highlight the arc of future stars making a name for themselves. Prospect development is one of the most crucial elements that plays a part in future success whether that be for your real life or dynasty team. No organization wants to waste money, resources, and draft capital on players unlikely to contribute to your next winning squad. Staying ahead of the curve and being able to detect market inefficiencies of untapped potential is where the best owners rise to the occasion.
Why 23 & Under?
Around the time the NBA implemented the One & Done rule in 2006 that prevented players from entering the NBA until they were one year removed from their completion of high school, the landscape of how young players were analyzed changed. Completely gone are the days of exhausting all four years of NCAA eligibility before turning pro.
Instead, most of this development and physical maturation now happens while collecting a check on the first and the fifteenth. The causality of this growing dynamic has been that athletes are now entering the NBA as a raw ball of potential, meaning early round picks are even further away from what they one day could be.
As a rule of thumb, prospects on rookie contracts aged 19 through 23 have essentially replaced the college experience with hands on field internship. Adam Silver has stated that the league intends to do away with the One & Done rule starting with the 2022 NBA Draft, essentially adding another variable and further importance to comprehensive scouting practices.
By the time players graduate, enough time has passed to start making clearer declarations about the type of player they’ll be during the prime of their career. Lack of foresight could’ve led an impatient owner to sell low on Brandon Ingram because he didn’t hit the ground running early in his career, which to me plainly would’ve always been bad business. This list is meant to be a fluid exercise that will naturally evolve over the season as an attempt to gauge present day production while accounting for untapped future value.
31. Malik Beasley, Guard, Timberwolves (Last Year:42)
Beasley was traded to the Timberwolves as part of a deal with the Nuggets during the 2020 trade deadline. A favorite late round sleeper of mine coming into last season, the 19th pick in the 2016 Draft failed to find consistent minutes in Denver prior to the trade since he’s a below average defender on a team where his firepower was more of a surplus than a necessity.
Following the trade, over the admittedly small sample size of 458 minutes Beasley’s underlying metrics flashed a budding profile of a great scorer. According to CleaningTheGlass, Beasley ranked in the 95th percentile on three point attempts, and displayed an all around efficient scoring distribution as his 58.8 effective field goal percentage placed him in 86th percentile among wings.
The Florida State export possesses picturesque shooting mechanics, including an incredibly balanced base which allows him to sprint at full speed coming off screens and rise up into his shot in one motion. A dangerous shooter who doesn’t need the ball to fill up the stat sheet, Beasley has shown the ability to be accurate with a hand in his face, against aggressive closeouts where he goes into his one dribble pull up, as well as ranking in the 86th percentile as a catch and shoot option.
Beasley and his backcourt mate D’angelo Russell began to show promising synergy after the trade of what they could do together in a full season, most of these minutes came without Karl Anthony Towns.
Questions about his future were quelled following after he agreed to a 4 year 60 million dollar agreement during the early stages of free agency. The duration of a possible suspension due to his off-season issues is still plausible, but long term this is a career 38% three pointer shooter who’s gonna have the green light to fire up as many threes as he can get off. The nominal distinction of a starter or the instant offense 6th man off the bench shouldn’t stop you from investing at the proper price point, as long as the shots are dropping, the minutes will sort themselves out.
32. Collin Sexton, Guard, Cleveland Cavaliers (Last Year: 40)
For the sake of transparency, the 8th pick in the 2018 was the most difficult evaluation for me during the making of this list. Even as someone who watches an unhealthy amount of basketball, the traveling train wreck that has been the post Lebron Cavs have been amongst the least watchable on-court product over these past few years. Youngbul’s tireless motor became a legend of folklore during his freshman season at Alabama when he almost single handedly led a 10 point comeback facing a two man disadvantage after the entire bench was ejected for coming onto the floor during a scuffle.
After shooting 33% in his lone college season, questions about how consistent of a shooter he would become were among the biggest concerns about his future role. The Atlanta native has proven to be one of the rare players that has drastically become a much improved shooter during the infancy of his career. Through his first 531 career attempts from three he’s connected on 39% of his triples.
On its most rudimentary level, the main objective of the game of basketball is to put the ball in the damn basket, and the Crimson Tide export has shown that he can fill it up with the best of them. The definition of a score first guard, Sexton hasn’t shown much interest in being a facilitator. We should probably grant him partial immunity since a large portion of his minutes on the floor thus far have been shared with Jordan Clarkson & Darius Garland, two other score first guards. A paltry assist percentage of 15.4% places him comfortably at the bottom of the league compared to other point guards. Old habits die hard, and the level of tunnel vision Sexton exhibits with the rock puts him in a situation where it’s possible he may not be suited for lead ball handling duties unless playing off one of the dominant jumbo wing initiators or a big man with advanced passing acumen.
The level to which Sexton has excelled creating his own shot in isolation shouldn’t be minimized due to his struggles on the defensive end. According to B-Ball index, the 20 year old guard had a 49% total effective field goal percentage in isolation, which put him in the 65th percentile which when accounting for volume is impressive work from the neophyte. The dilemma faced by defenders guarding Sexton has been that he’s quick enough to get to the rim, yet actually has done a great job of making defenses pay for going under screens against him connecting on a strong 35% percent of his pull up three pointers which places him in the 66th percentile among guards.
If Sexton’s first two seasons have taught us anything about his game, it’s that this kid is going to get buckets in the league for a very long time. Projecting his future impact is a much more difficult cookie to crack, however for the purposes of dynasty leagues he should see a bump due to the versatility of his shooting prowess.
33. Jarrett Allen, Center, Brooklyn Nets (Last Year: 29)
In last years profile about Jarret Allen i wrote:
Allen is still early in his developmental process and is still too weak to dictate the physicality of the game in the post. The clearest evidence comes from the last time we saw Allen on the floor, during the Nets first round matchup against the Sixers where he was tasked with slowing down the Cameroonian behemoth down low that is Joel Embiid. Deandre Jordan being best friends with Kyrie Irving & Kevin Durant should end up dampening draft day value for Allen as his path towards a starters minutes workload just hit a speed bump. At the end of the day this is still a big man who won’t kill you with his free throw percentages (73% on 425 career attempts) and provides a stable anchor of blocks for your teams
Sean Marks early tenure as GM of the Nets has made it clear that under the indomitable demeanor of the native Aussie, lies a ruthless and cutthroat decision maker willing to make a big splash that he believes will help the team in the long run, even if it ruffles some feathers along the way. The opportunity cost to acquire two future Hall Of Famers happened to be cap space, and additional competition for his young center, a decision any sane person would make.
Over the past two seasons the 6″11 big man has proven to be one of the most authoritative rim protectors among the young crop of centers. Grading in the 90th percentile, according to B-Ball Index, in both percentage of shots contested at the rim and in blocks per 75 minutes. When Allen is in position to use his 7″6 wingspan his length causes a number of Hail Mary (throw it up and wish for the best) attempts around the basket.
Kyrie Irving & Kevin Durant are both expected to be ready for the start of the 2021 season, effectively starting the Nets window to a championship. Brooklyn should be able to roll the ball out on offense and expect exhilarating results, however Steve Nash’s opening salvo into coaching has put him into a situation where he’s a part time team psychologist and a part time head coach.
Allen began the season as the starting center and gradually lost playing time prior to the suspension of the season. Partially due to having a high center of gravity which clearly inhibits his ability to fight for position in the post and on the glass. However the other elephant in the room, happens to be the “rumors” of KD and Kyrie wanting to play a bulk of their minutes besides their 40 million dollar best friend, D’andre Jordan.
The question of who’s the best center on the roster is rather meaningless, it’s clear to see who’s feelings will be pacified first by the organization. Nonetheless this isn’t a situation where you should be fading the man with the best Afro in the NBA, he’s still one injury away from being the clear starter and on a per minute basis his solid free throw percentages and safety as a anchor with blocks quietly make him a undervalued roto darling.
34. PJ Washington, Forward, Hornets (Last Year: N/A)
The 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft out of John Calipari’s army of future NBA players wasted no time putting himself in the history books when he broke the record for 3 pointers made during a debut, draining seven three pointers in only 3 quarters against the Chicago Bulls. PJ showcased the range of a stretch big grading out in the 93rd percentile on corner threes and 37% overall on 4 attempts per game.
Following his first year at Kentucky where he struggled to find consistency with his jump shot, he returned to school and saw an increase to his draft stock due to physical maturation and refined mechanics. The Dallas native’s outstanding sophomore year placed him as First-Team all SEC and a Third-team All-American.
PJ displays an awesome feel as a passer in the mid post area where he’s shown he can find the open man whether it be weak side shooters or cutters to the rim. According to Cleaning The Glass his assist percentage ranked in the 75th percentile among bigs which is an area the Hornets could explore further responsibility in the future.
Nonetheless, it would be borderline disrespectful to categorize Washington as a one trick pony on offense. Going back to lower levels he’s shown the ability to use his size to bully mismatches in the paint with budding touch on hook shots, strength as a screener which in ball screen scenarios makes him a dangerous threat as a dive threat, and enough coordination despite a rudimentary handle to get into the painted area if defenders close out too aggressively.
Despite his middling free throw percentage, Washington flashes overall touch which displayed itself with his quick transition to the NBA three point line. As a tweener at 6’ 7”, 230 pounds finding a way to improve his finishing around bigger rim protectors is crucial as it dragged down his overall efficiency despite excelling as a floor spacer.
Washington’s potential as a defender revolves around his lateral agility which allows him to slide his feet and stay disciplined while closing out on shooters. Possesses solid defensive instincts which combined with his 7’3” wingspan gives him room to grow as a weak side rim protector. Tenacious by nature, and willing to fight for every inch, his mentality and make up is a huge part of the reason why he’s a good bet for future growth with a long career ahead of him.
35. Miles Bridges, Forward, Hornets (Last Year: 33)
Michael Jeffrey Jordan’s resume as an owner and talent evaluator has long been a running punchline among NBA fans for the lack of success of his Bobcat–Hornets. Kwame Brown, Adam Morrison, Cody Zeller, Sean May, Bismack Biyombo, Noah Vonleh, the sigh of relief he gave Danny Ainge that he turned down 6 draft picks including four (!!) first round picks for the right to draft Justise Winslow during the 2015 draft which he would then proceed to squander on Frank “The Tank” Kaminsky are all among the short—long list of miscalculations made by the greatest of all time. Which is why it feels disgusting to say… I’ve actually liked the Hornets past few draft picks!
The native of Flint, Michigan has all of the tools necessary to thrive as a versatile combo forward. 6”6 with a 6”9 wingspan, the hyper athletic wing out of Michigan State has long tantalized the scouting community due to his gaudy physical attributes. Bridges is comfortably one of the most explosive vertical leapers in the league which when merged with his quick feet and lateral agility give him the requisite traits to defend the opposing team’s biggest offensive threat.
Not without flaws on that end staying attentive off ball was a major issue that plagued his defense throughout his sophomore year in the NBA. The frenetic nature of NBA offenses is designed to take advantage of overzealous defenders and force them not only to react to the threat of the ball but make the proper split second decision consistently throughout the duration of a game. Momentary lapses in concentration lead to easy baskets for the opposition and for someone who projects as a plus defender ironing out his off-ball acumen is essential to his development.
Bridges struggled to find a consistent rhythm with his offensive game in year two, partially caused by having to slide to the small forward position full time due to the emergence of PJ Washington as the Hornets nominal power forward of the future. Utilizing his speed advantage while attacking closeouts puts him in a more precarious position against 3’s since he lacks creativity with his dribble if the defense doesn’t allow him a straight path to the paint.
Charlotte head coach James Borrego only trotted out the undersized front court of Bridges & PJ Washington for a limited time last year but the early lineup data had them outscoring opponents by 10 points per 100 possessions over this could be an interesting situational small-ball lineup in the future.
Thus far on 454 career attempts from the NBA 3 point line, Bridges has been a tick under the league average as a shooter at 33%. The jumper isn’t broken, however he can safely be considered a rhythm shooter who’s outside shot has wax and waned in both confidence and consistency. As someone who mostly projects as a catch and shoot threat, ironing out the kinks as a shooter remains the attribute that will gauge his potential upside.
36. Luke Kennard, Guard, Los Angeles Clippers (Last Year: 51)
The 12th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, has unfortunately been better known around some parts of NBA Twitter for Stan Van Gundy’s miscue when he selected him over Donovan Mitchell. To no fault of his own, Kennard’s ascension between his freshman and sophomore seasons elevated him from just another nondescript “Duke White boy” to a legit lottery pick in his own right.
The sweet shooting lefty is a career 40% shooter from 3 on 610 attempts, ranking inside the 78th percentile on points per shot attempt to highlight how accurate of a sniper he is from long range. A below average athlete by NBA standards, the Ohio native wins with craft and pace proving himself as a versatile shooter who is deadly both in spot ups (81st percentile, 41%) and on pull up 3’s (75th percentile, 37%).
Kennard maneuvers through ball screen actions with the guile of a 10 year veteran, never allowing defenders to speed him up and patiently letting the play develop as he works his way to his spots. His lack of burst limits the frequency in which he gets to the rim but has effectively developed a reliable floater which allows him to be lethal from 2 of the three offensive levels on the floor.
Prior to his bout with knee tendinitis which knocked him out for a good chunk of the season, the Duke export was enjoying increased production around the board. Raising his scoring averages from 9.7 points per game in year 2 to 15.8 in year 3. Not to bury the lead, but the most fascinating development was the leap he took as a facilitator on a Pistons team that needed all of the offensive creation they could patch together in their lineups.
Twice as impressive when accounting for the fact that this was an aspect of his skillset that was largely subdued while playing for Coach K. According to CleaningTheGlass, his wing creation ranked in the 89th percentile with a 18.4 assist percentage. Although, giving Kennard lead ball handler responsibilities is probably asking too much due to athletic limitations, he’s proven the capability to whip passes to weak side shooters out of ball screen actions a skillset that would be even more lethal off someone who attracts primary attention from a defense.
The 6’5” guard may not have the highest outright upside compared to others on this list, yet his ability to project as an efficient and versatile scorer at multiple levels provides him with a floor that’s most likely going to keep him around for another decade at least.
Acquired by the Clippers on a draft day trade, in stealthily one of the best pickups of the off-season. The deployment of Kennard’s minute allocation will be a wrinkle to follow early in the season. The benefit of playing besides Kawhi Leonard and Paul George should free him up for a cleaner shot quality per attempt, while giving the Clippers a better secondary playmaker than was present on last years roster.
37. Dejounte Murray, Guard, San Antonio Spurs (Last Year: 35)
San Antonio’s track record with player development has proven over time that they can take players on the fringe of an NBA roster and find paths towards contributions to winning basketball. When Spurs used the 29th pick in the 2016 NBA Draft on the raw 6-foot-5 guard with a 6-foot-10 wingspan out of the University of Washington, attention was piqued around the draft community about what they could do with one of the premier athletes in his class.
In short order, the marriage between the two has already led to Murray establishing himself as one of the most disruptive point of attack guard defenders in the league. Proximity to winning and durability is the only thing at this point keeping his name out the discussions with other pests like Marcus Smart or Patrick Beverley. The most shocking aspect of how quickly he’s picked up the defensive side of the game, is that during his one and done season in college he largely displayed a general indifference towards disciplined defense.
At the age of 21, Dejounte became the youngest player in NBA history to be named to an All-Defense team following the completion of his second season. Most ball handlers struggle to create separation when checked by the Washington export due to his length and agility. Murray has remarkable hand eye coordination which like a sixth sense allows him to poke balls loose and disrupt the timing and rhythm of the offense. According to CleaningTheGlass, Murray’s 204 deflections ranked him inside the top ten among all defenders. This jives with what you see on film, on any possession he’s chomping at the bit to create havoc in the passing lanes and turn defense into offense. Over the past two seasons, he’s averaged 2 steals per 36 minutes, while being 1 of the 6 other guards (VanVleet, Jrue Holiday, Marcus Smart, James Harden, & Kris Dunn) to accumulate 100 steals over the season.
The million dollar question surrounding Murray and an entire crop of young point guards is: how impactful can you be on offense if you’re an unwilling or ineffective shooter? At a cursory glance, Murray shot 37% last year on his 111 attempts from long distance, buoyed hitting 42% of his catch and shoot attempts. For someone with a lightning quick first step who has potential to be an effective finisher due to his elongated yet fluid strides, the advantages created by having burst off the dribble are negated when defenses are diving under screens and daring you to shoot.
The combination of Derrick White & Dejounte Murray is an interesting long term pairing not only because opposing guards will have to earn every point against them on the offensive end, but White has shown more of a proclivity towards being a more effective sniper on pull up 3’s which gives them additional offensive flexibility. Overall, Murray is a solid piece to fill out the bench portion of your dynasty rosters, and a secure anchor in the steals category for the immediate future.
38. Deandre Hunter, Forward, ATL Hawks (Last Year: N/A)
The Hawks traded two first-round picks (Jaxson Hayes and Nickeil Alexander-Walker) to move up on draft night to acquire the services of the 6’7” forward out of Virginia. A pro ready wing who showcased early in his career the strength and agility required to be a nuisance to the league’s best scorers. Hunter is extremely instinctual as a team defender and fundamentally sound, the exact prototype who can thrive in a low usage connective glue manner next to a dominant ball handler.
Hunter’s path to becoming a top four pick began with a redshirt freshman year and ended with him as the best player on the floor in the national championship game. Rate of improvement is usually a difficult cookie to crack, but thus far in his early career he’s shown to be a gym rat who is looking to improve the weaknesses of his craft during the offseason. The work that he puts into the game can usually be visualized through the growing comfort that he has shown stepping into his outside jumper. According to CleaningTheGlass, during his rookie season Hunter hit 36% of his 293 attempts from long distance (56th percentile among forwards).
A stationary shooter at this point in his career, the 4th pick in the 2019 Draft’s pull up jump shot is drastically lagging behind his catch and shoot jumper. 18.6% on Pull up 3’s compared to 38.5% on catch & shoot attempts. A predictable dribble package combined with slow shot mechanics leaves teams no issue ducking under screens and forcing him to fire from outside of his range.
The most successful relationships occur when organizations find the perfect marriage between talent and roster continuity, and as long as he’s playing besides Trae Young the responsibility of creating a heavy volume of self created offense likely won’t fall on the shoulders of Hunter. Leaving Hunter to focus on many of the unsexy parts of the game including point of attack defense and strong positional rebounding which are the aspects of his skillset most bankable moving forward.
39. Markelle Fultz, Guard, Orlando Magic (Last Year: 45)
The curious case of Markelle Fultz has been one of the most whirlwind storylines to follow over the past few years since he became the #1 pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. It almost seems like a lifetime ago, but prior to his shoulder impingement and thoracic outlet syndrome that evidently led to the myriad of mechanical issues with his jump shot, the product from Upper Marlboro, Maryland displayed all of the tools that during the pre draft process made him one of the most complete all around point guard prospects during the one & done era. Any analysis of modern day Fultz should start with the fact that as a community we weren’t hallucinating when he was unanimously seen as the top prospect during his class.
6’5” with a 6’9” wingspan, elite quickness to combine with advanced dribble acumen that would leave even the most disciplined of defenders on skates attempting to guess to anticipate his next motion. Fultz showcased a tantalizing package that included the handle to change direction at the stop of a dime, the length and agility to consistently finish in traffic among rim protectors, the passing creativity to create opportunities for others, while making 42% of his pull up jump shots at Washington.
After only logging 600 total minutes throughout his first two seasons in the NBA, the trade to Orlando gave him a low pressure environment to essentially get a restart on his career. Fultz quickly proved he still possessed many of these high end skills that once upon a time made him the best prospect in the nation, including the ability to get to the rim at will off the dribble (61% at the rim on 296 attempts) and his passing acumen (27.3% assist percentage ranked 82nd percentile among combo guards).
A lack of commitment and a laissez faire attitude on the defense side of the court happened to be one of the main flaws among his pre-draft scouting report, however this has proven to be an aspect of Fultz game where he’s had a seamless transition. His length and general understanding of where to be defensively in the passing lanes has given him a strong base as a guard who should rack up strong volume of steals (1.6 per 36 minutes).
The projection of Fultz shows the importance of the pull up jump shot. With it as a projectable tool, he was the number 1 pick, with a clear path towards a life as a future all star. Without it, many of the alluring traits that you would otherwise target from your lead ball handler the package become much murkier in translation. The perimeter jump shot is still a hypothetical and a work in progress to put it kindly. According to CleaningTheGlass, he ranked at the bottom in a percentile amongst himself in three point futility to show the length he has to improve to reach respectability as a shooter. The promise surrounding the former #1 is that the further he gets away from his demons the more he’ll be able to approach league average on his outside shot, which with all of the tools that gave him his prospect pedigree still intact makes this a development worth keeping an eye on.
40. Lonzo Ball, Guard, Pelicans (Last Year: 23)
Fun Fact: On October 29th, 2019 Anthony Davis made more free throws (26) through three quarters against the Memphis Grizzlies than Lonzo Ball did last season with the Lakers (20).
Excerpt of Lonzo Ball 2019 profile:
Modern analytics have increasingly discouraged players from firing away mid-range jumpers, with the same ferocity past era’s have. Then there’s Lonzo, who has never shown the requisite acuity to master the mid range or floater game, which would add needed value to his shooting utility profile, as he’s shot only 30% on 175 shots tracked as mid range.
The importance of being a being a 3 level scorer is despite the additional credence placed upon optimizing your shot selection with 3’s and layups; opposing defenses aren’t just standing there idly allowing you to waltz to your sweet spot on the court. Lonzo’s go to move while dribbling is his patented step back jumper going to his left, and there’s no doubt the secret is out around the league. Due to his faulty mechanics, the jump shot has rarely shown versatility or the ability to shoot consistently off movement. The lack of dependable counters off the dribble leads to several hopeless offensive possessions a game where the defense forces him middle or even worst dares him to make a functional basketball move going to his right.
Investing significant capital building a fantasy roster around Lonzo is walking a tight rope of tanking your cumulative free throw and field goal percentages due to his presence alone. The lesson to be learned from Lonzo’s development is more about how we interpret paths towards improvement, and less about his issues. Zo had enough red flags in his shooting profile at UCLA to question how substantial of a mechanical and tendency adjustment would be required to become a well rounded NBA scorer.
Every draft cycle as a community we live in this rainbow utopian universe where we fantasize about the idea of how good “Player X” would be if only he could shoot! The kicker is drastic shooting improvement is making a bet on outlier development which is nearly impossible to forecast. According to CleaningTheGlass over the course of the season Lonzo connected on 38% of his 385 attempts from long range (72nd percentile). On the surface, this seems like a respectable nucleus however the consistency is volatile on a shot to shot basis.
Most of the results from the bubble should be taken with a huge grain of salt due to sample size sensitivity, but a putrid showing over the 8 qualifying NBA bubble play in games but he averaged 7 points-5 rebounds-6 assists on 31% field goal & 28% from three in 30 minutes per game. The Pelicans later would invest the 10th pick in the draft on the speedy point guard out of Alabama, Kira Lewis Jr, which leads to the glaring question is Lonzo’s future in New Orleans?
The anatomy of passing through the lens of Lonzo Ball should be an eye opener. Although he’s a great playmaker, it’s vital to understand where this value comes from. In transition, he’s one of the best at surveilling the entire court and firing accurate baseball passes to streaking teammates. This isn’t one of the situations where going to a team that will allow him to monopolize the ball and run a heavy dosage of pick and roll solves his issues, per the B-Ball Index tools in the half court as the primary pick and roll initiator he averaged 0.59 points per possession which placed him in the 16th percentile among guards.
Year 4 is the fork in the road for Lavar’s eldest son, the question has never been whether or not Lonzo Ball can contribute to winning basketball. The real hypothetical is can he contribute to winning on your fantasy team? The Chino Hills product is essentially a 1-level scorer to the level that you can even trust the outside shot from someone who’s hit 49% on his first 195 career free throws.
41. Jarrett Culver, Forward, Timberwolves (Last Year: N/A)
As his first major transaction, Timberwolves President of Basketball operations Gersson Rosas traded up in the 2019 NBA Draft to select the 6”6 wing from Lubbock, Texas. A member of the 2019 AP All-America Second Team, Culver’s biggest question around his ultimate upside revolves around your confidence interval surrounding the promise of his jump-shot.
Culver is a cautionary tale about expecting immediate improvement on a shaky jumper that needs additional refinement. The shooting sample during his rookie season was a complete abomination with the Timberwolves choosing not to wait until the offseason to begin revamping his broken shot. As a freshman at Texas Tech, and a tertiary offensive threat, he connected on 38 percent of his attempts from long range. During his Sophomore campaign with additional offensive responsibilities the pronounced hitch in jump shot became much more problematic, particularly in self created offense and displayed itself to the tune of a 30% on 161 attempts.
Finding consistent and repeatable mechanics is the first step towards allowing Culver’s secondary skills to begin to flourish enough to find his stride in the league. A wing with Swiss army knife potential, the Texas Tech export has plus team defense instincts with the potential to be a strong point of attack defender who can disrupt the rhythm of ball handlers and aggressively fight over screens as he gains strength.
Culver spent a large swath of the season prior to the All Star Break handling offensive responsibility he wasn’t ready for as the secondary ball handler on rudderless T-Wolves lineups. The best indicator of future success for the young wing came post All Star Break came when the addition of a true lead guard relegated him to a natural role for his growing offensive skill set which returned percentages of 48 percent from the field and 42 percent from the 3-point line in the 11 games after the trade deadline. The acquisition of Ricky Rubio to anchor bench lineups for the Timberwolves should additionally aid Culver in his role to find offensive consistency after a rough rookie year while allowing him to focus on the positive aspects he brings to the court.
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- Mohammed Bamba
- Kevin Porter Jr
- Darius Garland
- Rui Hachimura
- Sekou Doumbouya
- Anfernee Simons
- Thomas Bryant
- Malik Monk
- Lugentz Dort
- Darrius Bazley
- Bol Bol
- Kevin Huerter
- Eric Paschall
- Harry Giles
- Terrence Davis
- Lonnie Walker IV
- Goga Bitadze
- Dennis Smith Jr
- Nickeil Alexander-Walker
- Nassir Little
- Jordan Poole
- Naz Reid
- Mathisse Thyblle
- Frank Nkiltina
- Josh Okogie
- Nicolas Claxton
Recently graduated OR Excluded due to age: Caris Levert, Nikola Jokic, Aaron Gordon, D’evonte Graham, Devin Booker, D’angelo Russell, Derrick White, Pascal Siakam, Karl Anthony Towns,
All ages for the purpose of this exercise are as of 1/1/20
2020 Draft class was not in consideration for this list***