NBA DRAFT 2018: Five More Names To Get Familar With
 

Lonnie Walker IV G, Fr. Miami

 
 
 
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Kid of Kid N’ Play meets Kodak Black is the best way to describe Lonnie Walker’s hairdo. On the hardwood, the Pennsylvania native is a serious athlete who's built to provide instant juice wherever he lands on the 21st. Walker’s ascension up draft boards began when he exploded for a 25-piece in an overtime victory against Louisville on Jan. 24, 2018. To describe him as simply a 3 & D guy is doing him a grave disservice, as he possesses a well-rounded game and can check in and create his own offense immediately. At the NBA level, he should play plenty of minutes on ball as the lead guard due to the potential mismatch headache he provides opponents. Standing at 6-foot-5 in a pair of Adidas Crazy Explosives and possessing an otherworldly 6-foot-10 wingspan, the guard provides great length as a perimeter defender and should be able to lock up multiple positions. His smooth shooting mechanics make him a threat from deep, plus he’s smart, strong and decisive when attacking the basket, utilizing every inch to finish at the cup with either hand. His measurables are similar to last years No. 1 overall pick, Markelle Fultz, but his game is a blend between Deshawn Stevenson and Brandon Roy’s.

 

 

 

Moritz Wagner PF/C, Jr.  Michigan

 
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Another 7-foot baller from the G (Germany, for those not as hip as I), but let's please relax on the urge to go for the low hanging fruit by comparing the kid to Dallas icon Dirk Nowitzki. Yes, Wagner is the prototypical pick and pop stretch five with 3-point range for days but it’s his triple threat face-up game that sets him apart. He owns an array of sexy counter moves which shows off his ability to put the rock on the deck and apply pressure on opposing bigs. Having gone through the pre-draft process in 2017 and playing for his country’s U20 National team, Wagner’s confidence blew up and it translated to his game as he gave the entire Big Ten the blues during his final season in Ann Arbor in 2017-18. Defensively is where he’ll have the most trouble, as he’s not a fantastic rebounder, somewhat slow footed and doesn’t have the athleticism to consistently protect the rim. However, there’s a brightside as he’s rarely out of position, which gives coaches something to work with. Important side note: Wagner was caught wearing the nostalgic Air Jordan 11s throughout the March Madness Tournament which provided a +5 in clutch factor and a +5 in on-court swagger, according to sources he plans on continuing the same sneaker habits in the league. Wagner is very comparable to Kelly Olynk minus the sick flow, and is a great value pick in the second round of this extremely talented draft.

 
 

 

Omari Spellman PF/C, Redshirt Fr. Villanova

 
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Yes indeed, another Jay Wright product that could be taken within the first 30 picks of the 2018 NBA Draft. Spellman truly benefited from his redshirt year at Villanova, where he got to workout with the team, learn, improve his game and get his body right, losing 40 pounds and dropping nearly 12% body fat in the process. The man can flat out shoot the rock and is not afraid to let pundits or any dummy that didn't pay attention to the scouting report know. It’s been said he enjoys shooting the 3 a little too much, but is there really a too much when you shoot it at a 43% clip in addition to providing pick-and-pop threat? He uses his big body to create space,  and that combined with surprising athleticism and a modest 7’2 wingspan means the big man is destined to flourish in the NBA. His game reminds me of a bouncy Jared Sullinger or Patrick Patterson.

 

 

Melvin Frazier G/F, Jr. Tulane

 
 

As the AAC’s Most Improved Player of the Year in 2017-18, Melvin Frazier enjoyed the benefits of being coached up by Mike Dunleavy Sr., who happens to have over 600 NBA Ws under his belt. Homie should have every GM salivating by the way he gets after it on the defensive end. It’s that serious. To put things in perspective, he checks in at nearly the same height and wingspan as Kawhi Leonard. That mix of length and fast twitch athleticism equals a longgggg night for whoever he matches up against. Though he needs to continue to develop a more consistent 3 ball, he improved as a shooter in each of his three seasons at Tulane. In transition, he’s a certified problem -- though he’ll need to tighten up his handle on the next level --  and his use of his length to finish at the rim will immediately translate. Still have your doubts? Fair but go ask the boys from Chapel Hill if they recall #35 for the Green Wave, better yet do yourself a favor and watch the highlight tape provided by yours truly, no way you’ll miss it (1:48). As one of my favorite players in this year’s draft, he draws NBA comparisons to Josh Richardson or Wave Papi Kelly Oubre and there honestly isn’t a team in the Association the couldn’t use a Melvin Frazier.

 

 

Alize Johnson F, Sr. Missouri St

 
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The former Pennsylvania Mr. Basketball, Alize Johnson was 5-foot-9 in 2011. Thanks to his once-diminutive stature, he developed guard skills early in his basketball career. After hitting the monster growth spurt every aspiring hooper prays for, he saw his averages balloon to 25 points, 15 boards and six assists as an HS Senior, when the hype took off. Academically, he didn’t initially qualify for D1 athletics, so his collegiate career went the unconventional route landing him at Frank Phillips Community College in Texas, where he grew another four inches before eventually reaching his destination in Springfield, MO with the Missouri St. Bears. The forward sees the floor extremely well for his size (6-foot-8), is a natural with the ball and has a knack for making the right play. In the modern NBA, he fits seamlessly as he has the potential to guard positions one-through-four without breaking a sweat, and though he needs to improve as a shooter and work on his off hand, he is an outstanding rebounder who possesses a Energizer Bunny-like motor. Johnson fits the point forward mold to a T, and his skill set resembles James Johnson/Scottie Pippen. PS: you know your auntie loves Alize ba-dum tishhhhhh, I'm here all week ladies and gentlemen.