Related Tags: NBA Draft
With the NCAA Tournament set to begin, the best college basketball players in the country will be on display in front of a nationwide audience. In addition, those entering the NBA Draft this year will have some final opportunities to impress NBA teams in hopes to improve draft position. Here are the top five players entering the NBA Draft.
Zion Williamson (Duke)
As 6' 7" and 285 pounds, Williamson is a man among boys during most games. He's averaging 22.1 points on 69 percent shooting from the floor, as well as hauling in 8.9 rebounds per game.
Playing the best at the right time, Williamson has averaged 27 points on nearly 77 percent from the floor in three games since injuring his knee. Expanding his came, Williamson stroked two three-pointers in the ACC tournament against rival North Carolina. Williamson can impress even further should he lead Duke to a national title.
His lofty field goal percentage is due to his uncanny ability to drive through the lane with impressive ball skills for a player his size. NBA scouts also rank Williamson high on defensive presence and overall drive and determination for the game.
Without a doubt, Williamson will be the top pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.
Ja Morant (Murray State)
A 6' 3", 175 pound guard, Morant enters the NCAA Tournament with a chance to solidify himself as the number two pick in the NBA Draft. He's averaging 24.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 10 assists per game, while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 81 percent from the free throw line.
Morant's top asset is his ability to create plays for himself and his teammates. He displayed the ability to carve through defenses with ease during the OVC tournament and his court vision is extraordinary.
At times, Morant's defense is suspect,as is his perimeter shooting, defense and his proneness to turnovers (over five per game this season). Those deficiencies should improve over time, but regardless, Morant's playmaking skills will override any weaknesses in his game.
RJ Barrett (Duke)
Scoring has been easy for Barrett from the beginning, averaging 22.9 points per game. At 6' 7" and 202 pounds, Barrett has been excellent in transition, finding a way to put the ball in the hoop.
One area of concern is Barrett's perimeter game, shooting off screens and his overall decision-making. Barrett's game is shoot first, pass second, but he is capable of delivering the ball to the right man when need be, as his 4.1 assists per game indicates.
Barrett has great instincts around the basket, making tough shots in the paint and uses his length to be an accomplished rebounder, averaging 7.5 per game this season.
Jarrett Culver (Texas Tech)
At 6' 5" and 195 pounds, Culver has good size for a shooting guard and he's entering the NCAA Tournament playing at a high level. For the season, he's averaging 18.5 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists, while shooting a solid 48 percent from the floor.
Thriving in the Big 12 tournament, Culver dropped 57 points combined in games against Iowa State and West Virginia. The impressive part about his point total is that he does so without being a prolific outside threat. Culver hits just 32 percent from beyond the arc.
Defensively, Culver is very solid with his length and gritty determination. He's shown he can be an asset at both ends of the court, further strengthening his position among the top five players in this year's NBA Draft.
Coby White (North Carolina)
Averaging nearly 21 points per game over his last six, White has been making strides up the draft board. He's averaging 16.3 points, 3.4 rebound and 4.2 assists per game this season.
Relatively slight in build at 6' 5" and 185 bounds, White has an uncanny ability to finish strong at the rim. His ability to drive to the hole and score off the dribble have been top notch recently.
White's mediocre perimeter game surfaced against Duke in the ACC tournament and for the season, he's hit only 25 percent on pull up jumpers and an average 36 percent from beyond the arc.
A natural shooting guard, White does have enough assists and court presence, that he could play point guard in stretches. Clearly White will be drafted with the intent of using him primarily as a two guard.