With the 2017 NBA Draft just around the corner, its time to take a closer look at the Power forwards and Centers that will most-likely turn heads once in the pros. While tall players are usually keys to championship contenders, they are usually not the most hyped-up players coming out of college. Many versatile big men are in this draft, so here is a list of my top 5 future difference-makers.
While his stats are not amazing by any measure, he showed frequently how bright his future can be during the NCAA tournament. Let it be noted he usually came off the bench behind 7’1″ behemoth Przemek Karnowski. Collins boasts a 6’11 frame with a solid 7’1″ wingspan as well as a good midrange jumper that may be able to improve and turn him into a viable outside threat one day. He is a prototypical big man, solid at all spots, good rebounder, and I would compare him to Brook Lopez.
2. Jarrett Allen, Freshman, Texas
While looking purely at his God-given dimensions, it is hard to see why he is only projecting as a late lottery pick. He is 6’11” with a humongous 7’5.5″ wingspan. Sadly, those are really his only strengths. His frame is incredibly thin, and he lacks explosiveness and physicality while rebounding, however, he is at No. 2 on this list because of the possibilities of a fully developed shot blocker and playmaker. His comparison helps his case: Hassan Whiteside.
While Markkanen does lack some physicality, his shooting and rebounding capabilities have given him the nearly unanimous title of best big man in the draft. He shot well from every spot on the floor, and fits the mold of other 7-footers selected in the first round in past years. These players, like Kelly Olynyk or Kristaps Porzingis, are not made for physicality under the basket, but have made a name for themselves using other facets of their games, like shooting and pick and roll sets.
4. T.J. Leaf, Freshman, UCLA
While he has a lot to thank Lonzo Ball for, Leaf is a very quick and agile power forward at 6’10”. He did benefit lots from the innate passing ability of Ball, but Leaf frequently got himself open, and made the necessary shots to help the UCLA Bruins reach the Sweet Sixteen and more than double their win total from a year before. He shows the most strength and filled frame than any other prospect on this list, as well as great explosion to the rim and a reliable jump shot. Without Leaf’s name here, this description sounds a lot like Blake Griffin 8 years ago.
5.Edrice “Bam” Adebayo, Freshman, Kentucky
This prospect is one big question mark to most teams considering him. He benefitted from a incredibly weak SEC conference but also stepped up in tournament play and led Kentucky to the Elite Eight, with Monk and Fox rounding out their big 3. Adebayo rebounds with technique and strength rather than natural tools, which is a very good sign. However, he shows no trace of a jumper and would be fairly easy to score on in the post given his somewhat short 6’10” frame for a center. His comparison is Tristan Thompson, as they both needed to prove their dominance despite their non-ideal size at their position.