Jaren Jackson Jr., Michigan State: He's 6-11 and can work comfortably on the wing. He made 39.6 percent of his 3-point tries. That said, he averaged only 10.9 points on what would become a disappointing team, and he was utterly at sea against Syracuse in the Spartans' Round 2 NCAA loss. He played only 15 minutes and didn't make a basket. He had six games that saw him score four or fewer points; he broke 20 just twice. He's the rawest of the freshmen apt to be taken in the lottery, and therefore the furthest from being an impact player. He's also a major talent.
Luka Doncic, Real Madrid: He's from Slovenia. He's 19. He's a 6-foot-8 shooting guard who'd worked his way to the top of some mocks. He's often likened to Toni Kukoc, who was a darn good NBA player, but the issue for most lottery teams is this: Do we dare to take a perimeter type with so many big men available? Doncic can really shoot it, but he's loose with the ball and not a creator on the order of, say, Ben Simmons. He also has played more games – between club and country, he went more than a year without much of a break – than any of the collegiate freshmen. It would a surprise if he doesn't go in the top five; it would take guts for an NBA team to make him No. 1 overall.
Mohamed Bamba, Texas: He's 7-foot and very thin. (The anti-Ayton, if you will.) He also averaged 3.7 blocks per game, meaning: Here's your rim protector. He's not an artist with the ball in his hands – he had 15 assists against 46 turnovers – but he can make a shot in the low post. He won't be among the top three picks and maybe not the top five, but he might be the best value to be found in this lottery.
Trae Young, Oklahoma: He led the nation in scoring and assists. Had the college player of the year been named before New Year's, he'd have been it. The latter part of his season was less spectacular and saw the Sooners barely scrape into the NCAA tournament. His status as the best point guard in this draft has been threatened by the late-season emergence of Alabama's Collin Sexton.
Wendell Carter Jr., Duke: Some scouts believe he's a better NBA prospect than Bagley, though Carter has conceded that Bagley is the superior talent. Carter is the better passer and defender, and he seems more of a center – or what passes for a center these days – than Bagley. There are times when Carter reminds you of Al Horford, which isn't a bad thing. He'll almost certainly go between Picks No. 6-9.