The day has finally arrived. The NBA Draft is one of the most exciting times of the offseason because it gives struggling franchises hope and fans the potential to see a blockbuster trade. For now, we aren’t worried about transactions, just prospects. The Detroit Pistons own the No. 1 overall pick, while teams like the Rockets, Cavaliers, Magic, and Raptors look to rebuild with new talent.
The 2021-2022 season will be here before we know it. Traditionally, these prospects would have had July and August to participate in summer ball. Instead, we will get a limited view of these players before they suit up for their respective teams. With that said, these 10 players may not be listed from 10 - 1 as the top NBA prospects; however, they will be the 10 players that will immediately help their teams next season.
10. Franz Wagner (Michigan)
College Stats: 12.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.0 APG
Wagner was overshadowed by Luka Garza and Ayo Dosunmu in the Big 10 Conference last season. In the end, Wagner will get the last laugh over both players. Wagner is the younger brother of Mo Wagner, who also played for Michigan, and has played for several NBA teams. Out of all Big 10 players, Wagner is the most NBA-ready.
Only 19 years old, Wagner is one of the stronger rebounding small forwards. He shot over 80% from the free-throw line last year and is known for making plays with the ball in his hand. Not to mention, he is an NBA-ready defensive player. His three-point field goal percentage is lackluster, but for a team needing NBA-ready players, Wagner can play a role like Matisse Thybulle or Kyle Anderson.
9. Jalen Johnson (Duke)
College Stats: 11.2 PPG, 6.1 RPG, 2.2 APG
In February, Johnson shocked the college basketball world when he announced he would opt out the rest of the season to focus on preparing for the NBA draft. With Duke coming off one of their worst seasons in recent memory, Johnson’s stock took a hit. Had Johnson stayed for the full season, he might be considered a top-10 pick and not a top-15 selection.
Johnson struggled in 13 games before he quit, there is some benefit of the doubt given how last year was conducted with the pandemic. There are some scouts that believe he has a ceiling as high as Tobias Harris. Johnson is a combo forward that has guard skills. He is a great player in transition and is considered one of the better passing players in the draft. If he truly focused on getting NBA-ready, he will help a team next season.