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21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Matisse Thybulle (Washington, SF, Senior)
Mysteriously left off the NBA combine list, Thybulle presumably declined an invite, which suggests the defensive specialist may have received some assurance from a team. OKC can’t be overly optimistic about Andre Roberson’s future (one year left on his deal), after he totaled 39 games over the past two seasons. The only NCAA player to average at least three steals, two blocks and a three-pointer per game (since 1992), Thybulle offers unique defensive instincts and enough shooting touch.
22. Boston Celtics: Chuma Okeke (Auburn, PF, Sophomore)
A team with multiple picks like Boston could detect a buy-low opportunity with Okeke, who appeared to be on the rise before he tore his left ACL during the NCAA tournament. The 6’8″, 230-pound forward checks the boxes of a modern big with 38.7 percent three-point shooting and defensive switchability. Okeke can be a value pick for a franchise that’s willing to overlook short-term results for long-term potential.
23. Utah Jazz: Nassir Little (North Carolina, SF, Freshman)
Even if Little’s role at UNC affected his rhythm and opportunities, the 2018 McDonald’s All-American Game MVP will slip in the draft. Utah could buy low at No. 23 and hope his ball skills and shooting will catch up with his tools and athleticism. At 6’6″ and 220 pounds, Little has a terrific build to guard both forward spots, as well as enough jump-shot fluidity, driving potential and offensive-rebounding ability to keep teams from closing his file.
24. Philadelphia 76ers: Grant Williams (Tennessee, PF, Junior)
Unlikely to go too high without plus athleticism, advanced creating ability or shooting range, Williams offers value-pick potential. His floor is high and propped up by skilled post-scoring moves and passes, a strong 236-pound frame and terrific IQ at both ends of the floor. The Sixers can overlook upside for the strong chance that Williams can bring efficient play and toughness in a bench role for years.
25. Portland Trail Blazers: Cameron Johnson (North Carolina, SF, Senior)
The eye test and a 45.7 percent three-ball earned Johnson a spot in the discussion for top shooter in the draft. Already 23 years old with skinny limbs, limited athleticism and minimal creating ability, he isn’t an upside pick. But it’s easy to envision Johnson as a shot-making specialist. At 6’9″, he finished in the 97th percentile while shooting out of spot-ups and the 97th percentile shooting off screens.
26. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State, SG/SF, Freshman)
With 6’4″, 233-pound size, Horton-Tucker has drawn interest with his confident scoring, high skill level and motor. A lack of athleticism shows up inside the arc, and he isn’t consistent as a shooter behind it. But at No. 26, Cleveland can buy into the flashes of ball-handling, shot making, acrobatic finishing and defensive pressure for the draft’s youngest NCAA prospect (he’ll turn 19 in late November).
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Mfiondu Kabengele (Florida State, C, Sophomore)
Kabengele drew more attention to his breakout season by averaging 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds through three NCAA tournament games. A physical standout at 6’10” and 250 pounds, he improved his perimeter shot making and consequently his draft case as an inside-out big.
28. Golden State Warriors: Ty Jerome (Virginia, PG/SG, Junior)
Playoff teams should see value in Jerome, who could quickly fill a role with spot-up shooting, passing and perimeter defending. Already with enough scoring weapons, the Warriors could look to keep building their supporting cast through the draft.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Isaiah Roby (Nebraska, PF/C, Junior)
Roby’s upside beats his production. He averaged only 11.8 points per game as a junior, but his potential to stretch the floor, use the dribble, block shots and switch checks the right boxes for a new-school big. Roby would spend next season in the G League and work on his three-point shot and 6’8″, 230-pound body.
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Daniel Gafford (Arkansas, C, Sophomore)
Limited to mostly finishing and low-post moves, the 6’11”, 233-pound Gafford doesn’t have much margin for error, so the lower shot-blocking rate (2.8 per 40, down from 3.8 as a freshman) may hurt his stock. He’s still deserving of first-round consideration for his NBA-center size and potential to create and convert easy-basket chances at the rim.