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Top Prospects of the Pac-12

The NBA lottery is finished, the draft order is set, and basketball fans across the country have begun speculating where their favorite college stars will play pro ball. While the top picks look to be set in stone, the late lottery is where it truly gets interesting, and luckily, that’s where many Pac 12 players are slated to be drafted. With the success of Arizona, UCLA, and other big time programs this season, it goes without saying that there will be some very talented west coasters in this year’s rookie class. Here’s a look at my top five.

1. Stanley Johnson SF Arizona

Stanley Johnson is a physical freak. The former Arizona wing possesses the strength and size necessary for the NBA, despite the fact that he allegedly never lifted a weight before arriving in Tucson. NBA scouts will fall in love with Johnson’s tenacity on the defensive end, and while 6’7” is a bit undersized for a wing in the NBA, Johnson’s strength and athleticism will certainly make up for his size deficiencies. The only thing keeping Johnson out of the top five is his offensive game, which he will need to work on at the professional level.

NBA Comparison: Kawhi Leonard

2. Kevon Looney PF UCLA

While Kevon Looney is certainly a project, it’s hard not to see the potential in this highly touted prospect. The former UCLA power forward has great size at 6’9” and is one of the best rebounders in the class, especially at the offensive end. He thrives on hustle plays, oftentimes outworking his opponent to get the bucket or the rebound. Don’t let his physicality fool you. Looney knocked down over 40% of his long range shots this season, projecting well as a stretch four. His limited post up game will keep him out of the lottery, but at just 19, an NBA team will look to bulk up this promising talent.

NBA Comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu

3. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson SF Arizona

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is the epitome of a player who doesn’t do anything particularly great but does everything proficiently. He is a solid rebounder, bringing in just under seven rebounds per game on a very talented Arizona team and was one of the best defenders in all of college basketball. His game needs some serious work on the offensive end, however, as he struggles to create off the dribble and is an abysmal jump shooter. Nonetheless, his versatile skillset will make him a solid role player for a contender next season in the NBA.

NBA Comparison: Tony Allen

NCAA BASKETBALL: MAR 05 Cal at Arizona

Rondae Hollis-Jefferson has a well-rounded game with a lot of upside at the next level.

4. Robert Upshaw C Washington

A true seven footer, Robert Upshaw has all the physical characteristics of today’s prototypical NBA center. He is an elite rim protector, rebounds well, and can dunk just about anything he receives in the low post. Upshaw moves well for a big man and can get up the court with relative ease. The only thing causing him to slip in this year’s draft are off the court concerns. He was dismissed from Fresno State’s program after just 19 games and has raised concerns about his maturity with NBA GMs. Nonetheless, his ability on the court is undeniable, and in the right system Upshaw should be able to thrive.

NBA Comparison: DeAndre Jordan

5. Delon Wright G Utah
Delon Wright is built like an NBA guard but doesn’t play like one. At 6’5”, he has the size to play at the pro level and utilizes his length and defensive instincts to terrorize opponents. However, on the offensive end, Wright is a poor outside shooter and struggles to finish at the rim, instead relying on jerky moves to keep defenders off balance and find open teammates or open shots. Wright will have to develop his offensive game significantly to be successful at the NBA level, but his measurables and defense are simply too good for NBA scouts to ignore.

NBA Comparison: Michael Carter-Williams

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