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Love is in the air on this special Valentine's Day. The No Ceiling's crew spreads the love with the one NBA Draft prospect that has captured their heart during the 2022 Draft cycle.
Remember when the NWO set the wrestling world on fire when they took over WCW? Well, the No Ceiling’s crew has gotten out the proverbial spray-paint and have likewise taken over Nathan’s Morning Dunk column for a special prospect primer. Today is 2/14, and no that isn’t what Blake Wesley shot from the field last night; 2/14 is Valentine’s Day, and since love is in the air, the crew decided to write about the one prospect that makes our heart skip a beat. So get out your assorted box of chocolate and saddle up for Ballentine’s Day.
Corey Tulaba: Trevion Williams is probably my favorite dude to watch in the draft. The 6’10” 250+ lb big man is this dope blend of the old school post bigs of yesteryear, concocted with the new school playmaking wizardry of modern day bigs that work the elbows and operate out of dribble hand-offs. I can’t express the joy I get as a basketball fan from watching Williams palm the ball with his giant oven mitts, before whipping a ridiculous cross-court heater to the weak-side corner. Williams isn’t just one of the best passing bigs in the class, he’s one of the best overall passers period. Trevion isn’t exactly a beacon of athleticism. He isn’t going to wow you with hops, but the dude is big bodied and is a rebounding fiend. Given his somewhat ground bound playstyle, I’m sure many will question whether he’ll be able to switch out to the perimeter and protect the rim at the next level. Totally fair. But I’m in. Williams has super quick hands and he’s got good timing on contests. The shooting is a question mark and the free throw percentage isn’t all that encouraging, but even if that aspect of his game never gets better, I can still envision Trevion in a Montrezl Harrell type role with a team that lets him come in off the bench and cook. Williams doesn’t look the part, but on this special Valentine’s day I want you all to remember…beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
Nathan Grubel: I’ve really come to appreciate Alondes Williams of Wake Forest. While it’s easy to want to “dump” a person who has a tendency to make poor decisions, it’s also just as easy to fall deeply in love with true beauty and confidence. Williams brings both of those in spades, and makes up for errant passes with slithery finishes around defenders, transition dunks OVER players, and pull-up shooting off closeouts and pick-and-roll actions. As a 6’5” lead guard, I’m not sure he isn’t one of the better options at PG in this draft class. Factor in his length and motor on the defensive end, and one can start to put together a clearer picture of the type of role he could fill in the NBA. I’ve compared his potential impact to what Ayo Dosunmu is doing this year for the Chicago Bulls and it wouldn’t shock me if Williams could make a similar jump for a good team next year. Firmly in the early second-round conversation in my eyes, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest to see him hold onto a spot-starting/sixth man type of role in the league for years to come and outperform his expected draft stock. In short, my eyes light up every time I flip on his game film. No one gives me butterflies quite like him!
Alex Amarante: When you watch the G-League Ignite it’s easy to fall in love with a Jaden Hardy step back or a MarJon Beauchamp dunk, but what I truly love is just watching Dyson Daniels play basketball. He might not be the most athletic or flashy player, but he’s just…really good. For my money he is one of the more well rounded prospects in the class when you get outside of the top 6-7 guys.
My love for Dyson Daniels starts on the defensive end. He is rarely out of position, which is not normal for an 18 year old playing against professionals. But he isn’t just in the right spots, he makes high impact plays too. Daniels has really good instincts that he uses to jump passing lanes for steals and rotate over for weak side blocks. In my opinion, he is the best perimeter defender in the class, showing the ability to lock down opposing guards. However, he’s not just a defensive player. There is plenty to his offensive game that is intriguing as well. It may not be as well defined as the defensive end, but on offense he has shown flashes of being a plus playmaker and secondary scorer. Ignite threw him to the fire a lot early in the season playing him at point guard a bunch, and I think he fared pretty well. All in all it’s hard not to be a fan of any 18 year old prospect who’s already a solid defender and has shown promise on offense. And that’s exactly what Dyson Daniels is.
Evan Wheeler: Duke big man Mark Williams is a prospect that the more I’ve watched, the more I find myself continuously impressed by the versatility of his skillset. I’m just in love with the potential he has as a defensive weapon at the next level. Williams’ range as a defender is ridiculous, given his rare combination of elite length and quickness at 7’0”, 245 pounds. His 7’7” wingspan rivals Inspector Gadget’s go-go arms and the nimble feet he possesses as a dancing bear of sorts, just make him a unique monster as a defensive anchor. Williams’ ACC leading 74 blocked shots this season showcases the added value and potential he has as an elite rim protector too.
What has me intrigued the most though is the flashes he’s shown on the offensive end of the floor. The big fella has underrated vision as a post passer, solid touch in the paint, and I believe he can really develop into a quality scoring threat one day as well. Williams is locked into that 10-20 range for me and is a player teams should be excited about adding to their roster this summer.
Albert Ghim: I want to write about Hyunjung Lee again but I have manners. You can go read my piece from last week if you’re into Lee. Lee is definitely my guy but my second favorite dude has to be Jaden Hardy. I’ve loved him since we first covered him on The Draftdaq Podcast last summer. I think the version of Hardy we’re watching now is his absolute nadir. I think he only gets exponentially better from here. I still view him as a Gilbert Arenas type. I think he’s going to be a lethal scorer on the next level as his flaws tighten up. He may never be a big-time distributor but I think he can potentially average 25+ points a couple of times. I like his big upper body and I think he’s eventually going to make up for the lack of athleticism with craft and strength. Also, the threat of his infinite range will help. Ultimately, I think he’ll get taken somewhere in the mid to late lottery, and teams are going to regret passing on him.
Nick Agar-Johnson: This is not going to surprise anybody on the No Ceilings team, but I have to go with Nikola Jovic for this one. He’s seriously turned it on lately after a slow start–even during the inconsistent stretches, he’s shown that he is an excellent playmaker for his size who can take guys off the dribble or bomb from long range. He doesn’t profile as a go-to guy/primary initiator, but he will be able to contribute to an NBA offense right away with his passing talents and shooting touch. His defense is still a work in progress, but he’s shown some positive signs on that front this season as well. Jovic reads the game at an exceptionally high level, and even some of the doubters (also known as people other than me) are starting to come around on his shot. I’ve been campaigning hard for my fellow Nik all season long, and I don’t plan to stop any time soon. There are plenty of near-playoff teams who could use a connecting big man on offense, and they should be digging into Adriatic League tape because Nikola Jovic could fill a lot of gaps for a number of different teams.
Tyler Metcalf: I promise I tried to mix it up and go with someone different, but no one in this class has captured my heart like Johnny Davis. Growing up I randomly became infatuated with Brandon Roy’s game, and I can’t help but see his basketball spirit reincarnated in Davis. Davis is a legit three-level scorer with excellent touch and craft at the rim. The numbers may not show it, but Davis is also an excellent ball-mover and plays whatever role that is asked of him. Typically, scorers like Davis provide little value on defense, but his instincts, work rate, and athleticism make him a brilliant off-ball defender and incredibly promising on-ball defender. Davis has done the impossible this season by making Wisconsin an entertaining watch. All season, I’ve been preaching that Davis is the best guard in this class. He is the exact type of guard that gets overlooked every draft and makes a handful of teams thoroughly regret passing on him.
Tyler Rucker: “True love is hard to find.” Wise words once spoken by Mitch Martin of the cinematic masterpiece “Old School.” Iowa sophomore Keegan Murray has quickly been a player that has started to steal my heart. Every time I watch the talented forward, I find something new about his game that leaves me intrigued by his potential. Many were wondering if Murray was going to be this prospect that just dominated the lower level of competition before struggling in conference play. It’s been just the opposite, as Murray continues to be a force on both sides of the floor. In his last three games, Murray has gone on to average 30.3 points per game. It’s time to starting falling in love with Murray. This isn’t a heartbreak waiting to happen. Robbie Hart might say “Love Stinks,” but he wasn’t talking about Keegan Murray.