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NBA Draft 2021: Cunningham, Dosunmu, and Kispert featured in mailbag

Mar 7, 2020; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Baylor Bears guard Jared Butler (12) talks with Baylor Bears guard Davion Mitchell (45) during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 7, 2020; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Baylor Bears guard Jared Butler (12) talks with Baylor Bears guard Davion Mitchell (45) during the first half against the West Virginia Mountaineers at WVU Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports /
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NBA Draft Stanford Cardinal Ziaire Williams Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
NBA Draft Stanford Cardinal Ziaire Williams Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports /

Besides Jeremiah-Robinson Earl and James Bouknight, what Big East prospect could you see leaving early? – Patrick M.

The NBA talent in the Big East this year is pretty uninspiring, but DePaul’s Romeo Weems is the obvious candidate here. The Blue Demons have been atrocious and Weems’ numbers aren’t great, but he’s a good athlete at 6’7 with a workable jumper and some impressive defensive flashes. He strikes me as a player who would thrive in workouts. I could see him going in the early 20’s and would be surprised if he fell beyond 45.

I think the Marquette duo of DJ Carton and Dawson Garcia will both test, but should ultimately come back to school. If Garcia stayed in, he’s someone I’d take a flier on in round two. St. John’s Julian Champagne is another player I could see leaving. He leads the league in scoring at just under 20 points per game and is shooting 43% from three on just under six attempts per game. While I have him just outside my top 60, he may leave because I’m not sure how much he can improve from a production standpoint.

What have Jalen Johnson and Ziaire Williams shown to be seen as surefire lottery picks? – Jeff H.

Williams and Johnson came in as highly-touted prospects, and truthfully haven’t been playing that well. Williams started the year off well in the Maui tourney but has been hampered by a lingering knee injury. He’s then missed a handful of games due to Covid protocols. Johnson hurt his foot and returned but has been less than spectacular.

At this point, I’m higher on Williams. He’s flashed some impressive shooting flashes and versatility that are pretty rare for a 6’8 player. He moves well on defense and has even shown the ability to pass. The biggest concern is his lack of physicality which is alarming at times. His high center of gravity and lack of core strength do him no favors. But I think an NBA weight room could at least fix some of those.

Johnson’s biggest questions coming in were how does he create in the half-court? And can his shot be fixed? He really hasn’t answered either of those, resulting in some ugly possessions. I’m still not really sure what his ideal fit or role is.

To circle back to the question, I can talk myself into Williams in the top seven but not Johnson. After the top five, there’s a pretty big drop. Williams has shown enough as a shooter and his flaws are easier to fix. Whereas Johnson, I just don’t see it right now. Physical gifts can only take you so far and he needs to show more on the offensive end at this point.

How will scouts view the G-League Ignite team compared to scouting college guys? – Bryce M.

The G-League ignite players were officially in action on Wednesday and it will certainly be an interesting evaluation tool. I think they will be evaluated on a bit of a curve. The G-League rosters are filled with former college stars and players, in general, who are much bigger, stronger, and faster than current college players.

The three guys to watch are Jonathan Kuminga, Jalen Green, and Daishen Nix. I don’t expect any to dominate the way the top freshmen in college are. With those three guys, scouts will be looking for certain aspects of their game. For Kuminga, it will be the ability to create for others and shoot consistently. Green needs to impact the game beyond scoring.

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Nix needs to create for others in the half-court and hang on defense. Those three areas will be the most important areas scouts see from them.