Busting Brackets

2020 NBA Draft: Tyrese Maxey, Kira Lewis big rising in latest Big Board

AUBURN, ALABAMA - FEBRUARY 12: Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers reacts in the first half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Arena on February 12, 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
AUBURN, ALABAMA - FEBRUARY 12: Isaac Okoro #23 of the Auburn Tigers reacts in the first half against the Alabama Crimson Tide at Auburn Arena on February 12, 2020 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /
2 of 7
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – NOVEMBER 08: Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY – NOVEMBER 08: Tyrese Maxey #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

6. Killian Hayes – Ratiopharm Ulm – 6’5, 216 lbs – July 2001

Draft twitter pundits and writers are very high on Hayes, having him as high as one or two. He’s shown tons of growth for Ulm over the past season. He’s a legitimate lead guard, with good vision and creation ability. Hayes did not have great shooting numbers, but the indicators were there. He’s got great touch around the rim and a high free throw percentage. Hayes is a good finisher at the rim, albeit being very left-hand dominant.  On the defensive end is where Hayes may be best. He’s an impactful defender on and off the ball, harassing opposing players. He is brilliant at the point of attack and is very smart in passing lanes. Hayes is a good enough defender, where if he doesn’t reach his offensive ceiling he can still be impactful.

Hayes showed the ability to make plays for himself and his teammates and could profile as one of the better lead guards in this class. If he can shoot consistently too, a bet I am willing to make, then there’s no stopping Hayes from being a very good NBA player.

7. Devin Vassell – Florida State –  6’7, 180 lbs – August 2000

Vassell is another player who saw his stock rise considerably over the last calendar year. After playing a reserve role as a freshman, Vassell took on a much larger portion of Florida State’s dynamic and excelled. Vassel led the highly ranked Seminoles in scoring and rebounds while shooting 41.5 percent from three and recording 2.9 stocks (steals + blocks). His fit at the NBA level is easy to picture. His length on the defensive end (a 6’10 wingspan) and his shooting stroke make him a three-and-D wing,

Vassell is arguably the best team defender in the class. He uses his length and IQ to disrupt plays. On the ball he’s like not going to be a lockdown defender but he should be a positive. Offensively, his shooting should translate right away but he needs to improve as a finisher. He was only in the 48th percentile around the rim. Adding strength to his wiry frame should help prevent him from getting pushed off of his spot and absorbing contact near the hoop. Vassell is another player who fits under the umbrella of a high-quality role player. Given his lack of shot creation and burst, it’s hard to envision him as a future All-Star. But in the modern NBA, three-and-D wings are prioritized and Vassell can fit that mold from day one.

8. Tyrese Maxey – Kentucky – 6’3, 198 lbs – November 2000

Maxey established himself early as one of the best guards in the class with a 26-point showing against then No. 1 Michigan State, and a 27 point game against Louisville. But Maxey seemed to tail off in conference play, shooting 43.7% from the field and a lowly 28.8% from three. Watching those performances again, Maxey showed all the scoring tools of an NBA guard. He is crafty coming off of screens and applying pressure on the defense in the paint. Maxey finished in the 86th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball-handler. He also excelled in transition.

Maxey showed flashes of being a plus finisher around the rim with either hand, he just lacked consistency. Offensively, he struggled from three all season but his 83.3 free throw % is encouraging. Maxey has a bit of a low release but I believe he will become a more consistent three-point shooter. His junior season, he was one of the leading scorers in the Nike EYBL and shot the ball extremely well there. Defensively, Maxey worked hard and used his 6’8 wingspan to help deter opponents. Playing alongside Ashton Hagans, he rarely guarded the opposing team’s best player but the tools are there for Maxey to be a passable NBA defender.

Maxey profiles as a combo guard and not a true point guard, due to a lack of burst, passing ability and handle. But in today’s NBA with teams playing multi-guard lineups, Maxey’s pure scoring ability can make him a valuable contributor.

9. Onyeka Okongwu – USC – 6’9, 245 lbs – December 2000

Okongwu is one of the trendiest names in the Draft Twitter universe, but I am not as high on the California native. He was certainly productive in his lone season at USC, leading the conference in Box Plus/Minus (BPM), field goal percentage, and player efficiency rating on his way to first-team All-Pac 12.  Despite being undersized for an NBA center, Okongwu makes up for it with his defensive instincts. He constantly found himself in the right spot and has the intangibles to be a plus defender.

My concern with Okonwgu comes on the offensive end. He was super efficient at USC while playing with atrocious team spacing, but he’s very far removed from being a good shooter. He is an okay passer but nowhere near good enough to warrant these Bam Adebayo comparisons. Okonwgu’s feel, quick-twitch leaping ability, and defense give him a high floor as a starting center or a plus backup but the lack of size and shooting are what give him a lower ceiling and make me a little more hesitant. Nonetheless, in most outcomes Okowngu will be a positive NBA player.

10. Obi Toppin – Dayton – 6’9, 220 lbs – March 1998

Toppin is the oldest prospect in the lottery range but is a late bloomer. He did a prep year after graduating from high school and then redshirted his freshman year at Dayton. But Toppin came into his own last season, winning National Player of the Year.  Toppin should make an impact right away on the offensive end. He was a career 41.7% three-point shooter at Dayton and is an explosive leaper. He finished in the 87th percentile in post-ups and in the 96th percentile as a cutter. Toppin will be able to stretch the floor, while also finishing lobs and bringing high energy on the offensive glass. He’s one of the safest offensive bets in the class.

Despite his athleticism, Toppin struggled as a defender. His pick-and-roll defense in drop coverage was pretty atrocious. His high center of gravity makes it hard for him to get in a stance. At the next level, he’s a bit small to guard fives and will need to improve his footwork to guard fours. Toppin will be a plus offensive player but needs to be in a good defensive scheme to hide his liabilities on that end.