With the NBA’s annual draft combine, the NCAA withdrawal deadline and the draft lottery behind us, we’re entering the stretch run of the pre-draft process and there are just a few weeks remaining until NBA Draft night. Teams are finalizing their draft boards, players are making their final pitches to teams in the form of workouts and the calm before the draft storm is slowly building.
So with nearly every meaningful pre-draft date in our rearview mirror (save for the NBA‘s withdrawal deadline, which is June 13 at 5 p.m. ET), it’s time to update the CBS Sports NBA Draft Big Board. We’ve had a top 60, then a top 75, and now armed with the full list of entrants, we’re expanding it to include the top 100 NBA Draft prospects. It’s getting real now, folks.
I’ve ranked these players for months on end, but in this update I tried to shake loose any preexisting notions I had about certain players and this draft class in general. It’s important not to let previous biases or beliefs cloud a changing landscape, so this update reflects as much.
You’ll notice that despite this, the top of my rankings have stagnated. The top five is the same as our last Big Board update, but the back end of the top 10 has for quite some time felt squishy, and it is where you’ll notice my fresh look giving way to some changes on the board. And so two guys whose game I’ve taken a liking to and who appear among the more noticeable pre-draft risers – Ousmane Dieng and Dyson Daniels – scoot into the mix there.
Among the fallers in this update: two borderline lottery talents in Ochai Agbaji and Jean Montero. Agbaji maintained his lottery ranking at No. 14, but Montero has been steadily falling, and in this update he’s out of the first round for now. That opened up space for Pat Baldwin Jr., E.J. Liddell and others to rise.
Top 10 NBA Draft prospects
Check out the complete top 100 NBA Draft prospect rankings here
Big Board risers
Ousmane Dieng, France
Current rank: 9 | Previous rank: 26
This has been a slow build up the board for Dieng for awhile now. Checks a ton of boxes as a long wing with major boom potential. At 6-foot-10 he has guard-like skills on the perimeter and elite positional size and length. Coming off a strong season in the NBL with the New Zealand Breakers, and having only turned 19 a few weeks ago, Dieng represents one of the most tantalizing developmental prospects in the draft. It’s hard to imagine he slips out of the lottery given his upside.
Dyson Daniels, G League Ignite
Current rank: 10 | Previous rank: 17
For starters, the NBA Draft Combine undeniably did Daniels some good. He measured nearly 6-8 in shoes with a wingspan just a touch above 6-10. Positionally he stacks up length-wise very well, and he passes the eye test. He’s also had a strong month leading up to the draft, with ESPN’s Jonathon Givony going as far to say he’s generating top-five pick buzz.
I’m not quite there, but I’m not too far off. He has the size, has the length, and most importantly has the game to be a potential lotto pick. Defense has always been his calling card, but the more I’ve watched the more I’ve been impressed with him as a passer. He’s a ball-mover and connector at worst and a reliable initiator at his best. His length, defense and playmaking open up a whole world of possibilities for him where realistically he could play every spot in the backcourt.
Patrick Baldwin Jr., Milwaukee
Current rank: 20 | Previous rank: 37
Major whiplash here with Baldwin Jr., the one-and-done Milwaukee product who was once top 10 on the board before falling to 37 – only to jump up No. 20. So if your neck is hurting, my sincerest apologies. He’s a tough case to rank.
The knock on him has never been talent. He’s an ultra-skilled shooter at his size. It has been about his health; he missed most of his senior season in high school with an injury and was plagued by injury in college, too.
If healthy, he’s a clear first-round talent. So even if there’s legitimate questions about his medicals, I feel it’s appropriate to rank him based on the presumption of good health. Ultimately it may come down to the risk a team is willing to take on. And, ultimately, a 6-10 forward with a nearly 7-2 wingspan who has a smooth, quick release and can space the floor is someone teams are going to be happy to bet on – and potentially earlier than you might expect. If in four years this looks like a miss, it will be because of health and not because of his game.
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Orlando Robinson, Fresno State
Current rank: 27 | Previous rank: 64
I’m on an island here with Robinson, who is not a consensus top 60 prospect let alone a top 30 talent – but hey, this island was made for a 7-footer. It’s kinda nice!
Robinson improved in each of his three seasons at Fresno State and showcased a little of everything last season. Can put the ball on the floor and create. Good floor-spacer. Really agile. Mobile bigs like him get drafted. He’s not the most vertical big, he played three seasons in college and his shot-blocking is lacking – all slight dings that may be a turn-off for teams. But he’s a top-30 guy to me and someone who, in a draft that doesn’t have a ton of quality centers, teams should be giving a hard look at late in the first or in the second round.
Big Board fallers
Jean Montero, Overtime Elite
Current rank: 35 | Previous rank: 20
What Montero can do off the dribble in blowing by defenders and creating is special. He’s a bursty athlete who can at any time unfurl a hesitation pull-up or come back at you by just blazing by a defender. His handle is crisp and he reads defenses at a high level.
What Montero can’t do is the hang up here for me. Measured 6-1 without shoes at the combine, fourth-shortest. Not a great defender. Doesn’t have a ton of length. Even when he blows by defenders, finishing in the trees is not his strong suit (though he does have good touch).
Montero could easily still go closer to 20, where he was previously ranked, than 35, where he’s currently ranked, but smaller guards don’t have a huge hit rate as it is and he doesn’t have elite positional size/length nor defensive upside, which I think raises some real questions about his viability as a first-rounder.
Walker Kessler, Auburn
Current rank: 39 | Previous rank: 28
In the NBA, one elite skill typically lands you a long career in the NBA. So Kessler’s shot-blocking – after ranking first in college basketball in block rate last season – should at worst give him a chance to stick in the NBA.
How Kessler stands out in the NBA in other facets of the game – even on defense just outside the paint – is a larger concern. His foot speed is slow. Getting him defending in space is a recipe for success. He blocks and affects shots even in some situations on the perimeter because of his closing speed and length, but how will his game translate to the NBA?
Obviously, I’m skeptical. Team fit for him will be key. He needs the right situation and he’ll always be a touch limited with his mobility. He overcame that and thrived at Auburn, but doing so at the next level is a tougher climb.