Outside Hire Big Board | The Prospect Overview
An outside voice gives us their 2022 NBA Draft Prospect rankings. Plus, an international-focused edition of Quick Hits!
Sometimes, you need to shake things up. You can’t recognize your own flaws, so someone else has to point them out. In the business world, a common solution to this is the “outside hire,” or bringing in someone from outside your organization or even your entire field of work. While it’s not foolproof, it does guarantee a fresh perspective. It’s easy for a company to get stuck in a rut or insulated within their own bubble. A fresh set of eyes can uncover bad habits or see things that a tired pair of eyes can’t distinguish. That’s why for this column, I’m bringing in an outside hire to share their Big Board with us. This was an idea I’d been thinking over for some time.
But who could be qualified to do such a thing? I racked my brain for a while. But then I thought of the perfect person…*Borat voice* MY WIFE. She enjoys the NBA, but she watches little non-NBA basketball. She’s one of those snobs who will watch a college game and say things like, “how come they are missing so many open shots?” or, “why is the spacing so bad?” Non-NBA basketball just doesn’t cut the mustard for her. As a result, she’s only actually watched a few of these players compete. In many ways, that makes her perfect for what I’m looking for: someone who knows the game but is coming into this with a different perspective centered on what works in the modern NBA.
Allow her to introduce herself:
“Hello, No Ceilings! My name is Kristina Baumbach, and I’m Maxwell’s wife. You’re probably wondering what business I have contributing to Maxwell’s column this week. Let me assure you that I have an illustrious athletic career beginning in 2000 as the 10-11-year-old girl’s Punt, Pass, & Kick Champion. I’ve always been hypercompetitive. Before I met Maxwell, I played every intermural sport our college offered— except basketball! Basketball had never interested me, mostly because I was terrible at it. I grew up as a volleyball setter, so switching from a setting hand position to shooting a basketball was difficult, and I never really got the hang of it.
Maxwell recruited me to play on his co-ed intermural basketball team, and I reluctantly accepted. I soon discovered that I loved playing defense and setting screens. My favorite thing was to be a pesky, ball-stealing defender. Maxwell taught me how to properly shoot a basketball using the BEEF method, and now I have a decent mid-range and three-point shot— just don’t ask me to dribble or make a layup. While we were dating and throughout our marriage, we have played a lot of NBA 2K, where I learned how to make plays and read the court. I like to play as a stretch big man, setting screens, shooting threes, and defending while Maxwell plays point guard. Even in a virtual setting, I can’t dribble to save my life!
These experiences helped me become a fan of the game. Maxwell and I don’t always agree on TV shows, but basketball is one thing we both enjoy. The flashy passing of Rajon Rondo, the competitiveness of Jimmy Butler and Kevin Garnett, and the amazing shooting of players like Steph Curry and Luka Doncic has captivated me. Their abilities took me from someone who tolerated basketball to someone who enjoys it!
So, what am I looking for in the draft? Simply put, I want guys who I would want to play with on the court. Character, personality, and work ethic go a long way with me. I value solid all-around solid skills, as it allows line-up versatility and makes it harder for the other team to strategize against my team. Bad defense is one thing, but players who don’t try at all on defense annoy me. I’ve also based my board on the assumption that some skills are easier to learn or improve (such as shooting in my own experience) while others are more instinctual. I know you can’t “win” at making a draft board, but I sure hope my picks are the best! Enjoy!”
So, how did someone compose a board without knowing the players? Why, with the No Ceilings Draft Guide, of course, which can be yours for the low, low price of $10! I also gave Kristina access to my personal prospect notes and agreed to answer any questions she had, which were almost always, “How good was their team?” “Are there any fun tidbits about this person?” or “Do they play hard?”
THE OUTSIDE HIRE BIG BOARD:
1. Jabari Smith
Kristina’s notes: Shooting is important to me. I have a thing for big shooters, so him being so good at it this young and being able to play great defense makes him my favorite player in this class. Most big shooters are clunky and slow, so his being able to guard down the line-up makes him a potentially special player.
Maxwell’s notes: That’s right.
2. Dyson Daniels
Kristina’s Notes: I love that he’s a giant point guard who is young and played well against pros. He’s going to cause so many issues for other teams. If you have a great point guard, that’s fine, he can play next to him, and if not, he can be your point guard and force other teams to make uncomfortable line-up adjustments. I like that he was a multi-sport athlete growing up. The fact that he ended the season shooting well gives me confidence.
Maxwell’s Notes: I may have been first on board the Top 5 Dyson Train, but congratulations on being the conductor of the Top 2 Dyson Highspeed Rail Car. It’s easy to see the reasoning, though, and it’s why I firmly believe he has to go Top 8 if you think he’s going to be a solid shooter at some point. Versatility, playmaking, and defense are three of the most valuable tools you can have, especially when paired with size. If the shot is passable, he represents all things modern basketball.
3. Chet Holmgren
Kristina’s Notes: The frame is scary to me. Still, I love that he can get rebounds and dribble down into a three. The upside sounds so exciting. I always love to play with stretch big men in 2K, so he’s up my alley. I have to put him here, though, because if he gets hurt a lot, it’s going to screw everything up. Even though he hasn’t gotten injured yet, I’m worried about it.
Maxwell’s Notes: The filthy casuals continue to be freaked out about his frame!
4. Jaden Ivey
Kristina’s Notes: I love that he went back to school and got better. It’s great that his mom is a coach, and he’ll always have someone that knows the game in his ear. Him having so many pro athletes in the family is great for him. His athleticism and shooting get me excited.
5. Paolo Banchero
Kristina’s Notes: It’s cool that he can make plays and generate assists at his size. It seems like his flaws aren’t that serious, but his pros don’t seem better than the players above him. Seeing Blake Griffin as a player comparison was interesting to me.
6. Johnny Davis
Kristina’s Notes: My favorite thing about his profile is that his work ethic keeps coming up. He seems like he would be fun to play with; the effort and defense are exciting. Competitiveness is everything to me. From my own experience, you can get better as a shooter, and I believe in him because of everything else about him.
7. Ochai Agbaji
Kristina’s Notes: In your notes, you talked about him talking on defense, and I love that. When I played volleyball, I was a setter, so communication is critical to me. His three-point shooting while taking so many of them is awesome. The basketball bloodlines are good. All of his flaws don’t bother me very much. I love that he was the best player on a championship team and clearly a leader. Honestly, I want to put him higher, but I know I probably shouldn’t. He’s going to be my favorite player.
Maxwell’s Notes: I cannot express how many times in the last few days Kristina has asked me if she could make the argument to rank Ochai any higher.
8. Keegan Murray
Kristina’s Notes: I love that he did so many things on the court. It makes me happy that there isn’t much downside here because I’m a risk-averse person.
9. Jalen Duren
Kristina’s Notes: I like that he did so well in college at such a young age. He’s very intriguing because he’s so big, he got better as the season went on, and he can guard multiple positions. I hate centers who can’t play defense, so him being the opposite of that is endearing.
10. Blake Wesley
Kristina’s Notes: I like that he came out of nowhere, and he plays really hard. I’m totally rooting for him and want him to make it. I think he’s going to be the kind of player who works on his shooting and puts it all together.
Maxwell’s Notes: This is one of the first big, serious breaks from consensus! It makes me wonder if I’m not putting enough stock into his meteoric rise as a prospect. Sure, the percentages weren’t great, and his mechanics are inconsistent. But he was unquestionably the leader of a veteran team after not being expected to fill that role, his motor runs hot, and his tools are enticing.
11. Mark Williams
Kristina’s Notes: His standing reach is so big, and it seems like he does his job very well. He knows his role and excels at what you want a center to do.
12. Malaki Branham
Kristina’s Notes: I like that he has sort of an old-man-style game, but I wish he did more on defense.
13. Jeremy Sochan
Kristina’s Notes: It’s cool that he changes his hairstyles and can play so many positions. I love that he’s played both professionally and in college, so he has a variety of experiences and has seen a lot.
14. Bennedict Mathurin
Kristina’s Notes: I like that he’s basically played in three different countries as a part of his basketball journey. It’s cool that he went back to school and got better at the things he struggled with, but I’m ultimately not super excited by him.
Maxwell’s Notes: Some disconnect here! I love Mathurin as a complementary, off-ball player. However, given his athleticism and improvements on-ball this past year, I am very excited about him.
15. AJ Griffin
Kristina’s Notes: I love that his dad was a pro and that he’s an assistant coach. The shooting seems incredible, but it doesn’t seem like there’s anything else. I don’t know if I like that he played well after barely playing the last few years or if I’m more scared of the fact that he’s had a slew of different injuries.
16. Dalen Terry
Kristina’s Notes: It’s exciting that he was switched to playing point guard, and his team stayed competitive. The personality and energy stuff makes me happy. Character is so important to me, so the fact that he has that and can pass and play defense has me sold.
Maxwell’s Notes: Terry is very much Kristina’s type of player: fiery, fun, competitive, selfless, and good at passing. She tends to buy the ability to add shooting if you show a good motor, which Terry does. Still, this is higher than most have him, but it does beg the question: if you buy the shot long-term, why isn’t he a Top 20 player?
17. Jalen Williams
Kristina’s Notes: His wingspan is laughable in a good way. Dribble-pass-shoot players are important and always end up getting playing time.
18. Christian Braun
Kristina’s Notes: I love that he gets in the trenches and talks trash. Versatility is important, and his willingness to do anything to win really jumps out to me. Plus, the fact that he was on a championship team in college helps.
Maxwell’s Notes: We’re getting into some interesting draft philosophy, with both Kansas players ranking above the consensus. How much does winning pedigree matter? To our Outside Hire, quite a bit. Still, recent title team players drafted in the first have been solid. For example:
-Davion Mitchell held his own and finished the year strong
-De’Andre Hunter looks good when he’s healthy
-Ty Jerome is still in the league, which is solid for a late first-round pick
-Mikal Bridges has been a great player for a great team
-Jalen Brunson (an early second-round pick, but let’s roll with it) is about to get paid a large amount of money after being a key player on a team that made the conference finals
It might actually be worth considering Braun in this range!
19. Ryan Rollins
Kristina’s Notes: It’s cool that he can rebound as a guard. I love that he’s athletic and can score. I feel like because he’s from a smaller school, he will have a chip on his shoulder. The fact that he runs pick-and-rolls and gets steals is intriguing to me because it shows that he has feel.
20. EJ Liddell
Kristina’s Notes: I like that he can do a bunch of things on both sides of the court.
21. Wendell Moore
Kristina’s Notes: I’m a fan of him because he’s young for his grade, he’s good at so many things, can defend, and play multiple positions. That’s what every team wants.
22. Shaedon Sharpe
Kristina’s Notes: The idea of him coming from high school absolutely terrifies me. I’m not a betting person and don’t like to gamble. He’s compared to some great players, but every year we have these highly-rated high schoolers who go to college and stink. I don’t want to risk that with an even bigger jump to the NBA.
Maxwell’s Notes: I’m stunned by this. Even as risk-averse as Kristina can be, I thought the “prospect chemistry” pro comparisons to some of her favorite NBA shooting guards would be enough to sway her. It does beg the question: on draft night, how comfortable will front office members be risking their job on someone with little recent film and almost none again high-level competition? I’m starting to wonder if Sharpe could slip more than anticipated on draft night. He’s an easy armchair draftnik bet but a harder one for those with skin in the game.
23. MarJon Beauchamp
Kristina’s Notes: It’s incredible he made it through so much adversity just to get to the G League. The fact that he did well against pro competition and that he seems like a hustle player are both big pluses.
24. TyTy Washington
Kristina’s Notes: His assist-to-turnover ratio makes me feel like he’s not going to make stupid plays. I like that he can play both guard positions and that he can shoot off the dribble and catch.
25. Trevor Keels
Kristina’s Notes: I’m a sucker for strong players who have that edginess and attitude to them. I’ll bet on those guys to figure out the shooting. I don’t think you can gain defensive instincts as easily. I like that his mentality was such a prominent of his profile.
26. Ousmane Dieng
Kristina’s Notes: It’s great to see that he finished the year better. Big guys who can dribble and pass are always fun. If he’s not that athletic, I’m just not sure how much better he’s actually going to get.
27. Jake Laravia
Kristina’s Notes: It’s encouraging that his team had a way better record after he transferred there. He doesn’t seem like he’s going to be a star or anything, but he seems helpful.
28. Jaden Hardy
Kristina’s Notes: I think I’m putting him too low. I value defense and decision-making so much, though. Those being flaws for him really hurts my interest in him.
Maxwell’s Notes: I’ve never fully gotten off the Jaden Hardy train, and a big part of why is that I actually don’t think his defense is the severe flaw it’s made out to be. He keyed in on that end after his rocky start, and I don’t think he’ll be everybody’s lunch in the NBA.
29. Tari Eason
Kristina’s Notes: The left hand and turnover numbers seem like a problem. If you’re that old and struggling with your off-hand, that’s concerning to me. The fact that he came off the bench and made all-conference is awesome, though.
Maxwell’s Notes: It’s interesting that this is where she came out on Eason, as he’s been tumbling as of late among the consensus. Prior to that, I’d written here about my concerns. Despite his incredible defensive prowess, his flaws are many, and it’s easy to imagine coaches getting frustrated with him.
30. Kennedy Chandler
Kristina’s Notes: I’m not excited by him, but I always pull for the pesky, undersized point guard.
Maxwell’s Notes: This is an understatement. Kristina would sign Nate Robinson to every NBA 2K team she’s ever had, and she threw a fit when he wasn’t in the game anymore.
31. Hyunjung Lee
Kristina’s Notes: I love that he’s an awesome shooter who tried to follow in Steph Curry’s footsteps at his college. The defense worries me a bit, but I like that he’s such a good finisher.
32. Walker Kessler
33. Bryce McGowens
Kristina’s Notes: The fact that he doesn’t do anything outside of scoring scares me.
34. Christian Koloko
Kristina’s Notes: He just feels like a normal center.
35. Ismael Kamagate
36. Josh Minott
Kristina’s Notes: It’s good that he impacted winning. I hate that he needs to burn his jumper down to the ground, and I don’t know that you can play someone right away with that. I believe you can get better at shooting, but the mechanics seem like they might be too far away. Everything else is so exciting, though. I’ll take a small gamble on him.
37. Justin Lewis
38. Tevin Brown
39. Jean Montero
Kristina’s Notes: I wish he’d kept playing in Spain so I could know how he stacks up against better competition. I’m just not super excited about him because I’m not sure where he scores in the NBA.
40. Gabriele Procida
41. Trevion Williams
42. Max Christie
Kristina’s Notes: I don’t like that we didn’t see it in college. I wish he would go back to school and show us that he can actually shoot like Jaden Ivey did.
43. Caleb Houstan
44. Keon Ellis
45. Peyton Watson
Kristina’s Notes: The counting numbers are alarming. I feel bad that he didn’t get as many opportunities on a good team, but I’d prefer that to being shaky on a bad team. I wish I could have a better picture of what he could do.
46. Jaylin Williams.
Kristina’s Notes: This guy just seems bizarre. Is he literally unable to jump if he’s just taking charges all the time? It’s not okay. It seems cheap and like he doesn’t have fighting spirit if he’s not going to meet people at the rim.
47. JD Davison
48. Moussa Diabate
49. Nikola Jovic
Kristina’s Notes: I don’t like people that don’t play defense. It’s half the game. I don’t like that. It’s lazy. If you’re not as good on defense, but you’re trying, I’ll give you the time of day. But if the effort isn’t there, I’m out.
50. David Roddy
51. Alondes Williams
52. Kendall Brown
Kristina’s Notes: I’m not super enthused because of the amount problem areas. His stats aren’t eye-popping. I wish he would take another year in school.
53. Jabari Walker
54. Hugo Besson
55. Iverson Molinar
56. Leonard Miller
Kristina’s Notes: I don’t like that he hasn’t played good competition and has issues with his defense against them. I’m not interested.
57. Jordan Hall
58. Patrick Baldwin Jr.
Kristina’s Notes: His numbers are insanely bad for an alleged shooter. He is dead last for me. I hate that he played so badly for a bad college team. The combine anecdotes freaked me out. His whole draft profile reads like an excuse.
Maxwell’s Notes: Okay, but how do you really feel about Pat Baldwin Jr.?
-I am fully aboard the Ziga Samar bandwagon. The 6’5” Fuenlabrada product posted solid numbers this season in Spain’s ACB, a great professional league: 7.6 PPG, 4.7 APG, 2.7 RPG, and 1 SPG in 20.7 MPG on 48.5/47.1/76.9 shooting splits. Samar is a reliable playmaker who rarely turns it over (only 1.7 TOV/game), can shoot off the catch, is pesky at the point-of-attack, and has developed his pull-up game. Earlier in the year, Samar had an obnoxious knack for leaving his jumpers off the dribble short, and as I dug into his film from later in the season, the issue dissipated. At 21 without blinding athleticism, he’s not going to alter the course of a franchise, but it’s easy to imagine him sticking as a reliable playmaker and shooter with good size for a point guard.
-Another international riser on my board: Karlo Matkovic. I’ll let this tweet and the film in it do the talking:
-I’m starting to like Gabe Brown more as an undrafted free agent or second-round target. I’ve been hung up by his lack of playmaking, but after diving deeper into the film, there are flashes of quick-touch extra-passes on the perimeter to set his teammates up for clean looks. He flies off the floor, he’s blinding end-to-end, and he made 38.2% of his threes on 5.3/game. Sure, it’s ugly when he puts it on the floor, and his 21st percentile ranking on Synergy as a pick-and-roll ballhandler as a senior is a tell that he’ll probably never be someone you can run an offense through at the NBA level. But at a certain point, you’re not looking for stars; you’re looking for players who can hold their own. I think Gabe Brown might be able to do that.
-Check out this cool thing Matteo Spagnolo did:
I wish I could be higher on Spagnolo. His wizardry with the ball and pull-up bag are tantalizing. Unfortunately, he gets a little carried away at times, and his pass placement is inconsistent, particularly on the go. His assist-to-turnover ratio is currently underwater. Due to his lack of size and poor vertical pop, he struggles to get to the rim and does a poor job of converting in the instances he reaches his destination. Defensively, he’s a mess in a league that isn’t particularly athletic. There are simply too many warts for now, but I wouldn’t blame a team for picking him as a draft-and-stash, depending on who else is available late in the second round.
-This will be my last weekly column for this draft cycle, as we’ll be switching up to a more individual prospect-focused format through the draft. I’m still going to be churning out the content here, just in a different format. But I want to close out by giving a sincere thank you to everyone who has read The Prospect Overview throughout this season. I started covering the draft week by week on my old BaumBoards Substack before being brought on to No Ceilings. It’s been my first full year covering the draft in this specific way, and it’s been a blast. I didn’t anticipate that my work would be picked up by anyone, let alone a place as respected as No Ceilings. I’m beyond grateful that you are willing to read my thoughts, and it’s not lost on me that I’m lucky to have this opportunity. Your readership, comments, thoughts, questions, and support make every second of this grind worth it. I’ll continue to do my best to examine the top of the draft, raise concerns others aren’t voicing, and uncover deep-cut draft sicko prospects that may be a few years away. I love each and every one of you.