Colleges Rising Stars In NBA’s Next Draft
For the NBA, 2017 brought forward unusual individuals to immerse as the leading scorers. Known as the “Big Men” of the league, Giannis Antetokuonmpo (Bucks, 6’11”) and Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks, 7’3”) had the top numbers in scoring. Porzingis totaled 763 points and Antetokuonmpo with 988 points. Other runner-ups include Ben Simmons, the 6’10” point guard for the 76ers. What all three men have in common-their unimaginable and unique heights. The taller the NBA player, the wider their wingspan is-who wouldn’t want one of these unicorns on their team? With such uniqueness, scouts are on the prowl for the next bunch of unicorns. Scouts chose 5 college players based on who they follow out of players like Antetokuonmpo, Porzingis, Simmons, etc. throughout the nation.
Mohamed Bamba, a freshman at Texas. The NBA has yet to come across a player like him. Weighing in at only 219 pounds, he is 7’0” with a wingspan of 7’9”. His skill sets are so rare, as he has a 9’6” reach for a dunk over a guard. He can cover a lot of ground and create air space like no other player, a huge reason as to why he should earn the unicorn label.
Marvin Bagley III, a freshman at Duke. He weighs 220 pounds and is 6’11”, with a wingspan of 7’0”. Bagley is nothing new as far as his measurements. Yet his skill set and defensive speed he has could make him a unicorn. Overall, he illuminates steady ball control and is a tough cover in the half court. Where he needs to improve-footwork, hook shots, and mid-range touch. Bagley is more than capable in improving in these areas, and could eventually be seen as a two-way future player for the NBA.
DeAndre Ayton, a freshman at Arizona. Ayton fits the mold of a Joel Embiid-like player: he is a long center and can score in volumes. Coming in at 250 pounds and a height of 7’1”, his wingspan is 7’5.5”. Ayton has the ability to score from any level, and can control his shots. He looks like something that was created in a professional basketball lab, making him a future fit in the unicorn family. Toping Bamba and Bagley, Ayton is on his way to being a high scoring center, a position the NBA will always be on the lookout for.
Sekou Duombouya is a young and unique pick. He is on the “unicorn watch list” at only 17 years old. Duombouya is playing in France’s second division. He is 6’9” and only weighs 190 pounds. Yet, his athleticism is what captures the eye of the viewer. He is young, so he has the ability to continue to sharpen and grow his skill sets, moving up from Pro B to Pro A as an ultimate goal. If he has steady development over the next year, Duombouya could be looking at a high pick in the 2019 NBA draft.
Luka Doncic, a Slovenian player who has helped teams win and reach high levels of success, at only 18 years old. He has a winning track-record and strong playing tools, scoring, and versatility-all falling in the box of the making of a unicorn. He is a candidate that is seen to be picked first in the 2018 NBA draft. Whether he chooses to play on a college team for a year or so, he immediately gets a spot in the 2019 NBA draft.