In early January, we released our first Big Board, which ranked the top 20 prospects in the draft. In February, we gave you Version 2. Now it's time for the latest update, featuring a couple more newcomers to the list.
Check our our top 20 prospects below.
Elaine ThompsonAP photo
Markelle Fultz, PG/SG, Washington, freshman
Last ranking: 1
Since the release of the first edition of the Top 20 draft prospects, Fultz has sat at No. 1. At this stage, we feel pretty confident about him being the top overall prospect in the upcoming draft.
Fultz hasn’t played since Feb. 26, but his constant development and improvements even since this past summer are notable. He’s shown progress in just about every part of his game and his steady rise as a prospect has been tremendous over the past three years. Fultz averaged 23.2 points, 5.9 assists and 5.7 rebounds for a Washington team that really struggled this season.
The average size for a point guard in the NBA is 6-foot-3, so his size (6-5) is very good for the position and he has exceptional length with a 6-10 wingspan, which would be top three at his position in the NBA. Plus he’s a tremendous athlete that changes directions/speeds exceptionally well. Throw in his vision, shot making (41% from three), mid-range game and potential as a defender and the choice seems clear, at least at this point.
Brad PennerUSA TODAY Sports
Jayson Tatum, SF, Duke, freshman
Last ranking: 3
As the season has wore on, Duke’s Jayson Tatum has continued to get better, and we moved him from No. 3 to No. 2 in this update. The truth is, you could even make an argument that Tatum is the safest pick in this draft. In conversations with FOX Sports over the weekend, NBA executives raved about Tatum’s performance at the ACC tournament, where he scored 88 points and reeled in 30 rebounds.
Tatum’s size (6-8) for the wing position is very good, but his skill set and scoring package is likely the best of any player in this draft. Tatum has impressive footwork and he has a unique ability, especially for a college player, to score the ball from the mid-post. Tatum has scored in double figures in 24 of the 27 Duke games he’s played in. The next step in his development is to continue to improve his outside shooting.Tatum is averaging 16.9 points and 7.3 rebounds a game for the Blue Devils.
James SnookUSA TODAY Sports
Lonzo Ball, PG, UCLA, freshman
Last ranking: 2
Lonzo Ball has been a pivotal piece in turning the Bruins into a title contender this season. Like Fultz, Ball has very good size at 6-5, but he makes his mark with his passing, vision and instincts. His unselfish play is contagious and his ability to run an offense and facilitate shots for others has been remarkable to watch this season.
Despite having strange shooting mechanics, Ball is shooting 41 percent from three on 178 attempts this season, which is notable improvement from his high school days. Like every prospect, there are concerns. He struggles with ball pressure and at creating shots going right. Ball is averaging 14.6 points and a nation’s best 7.7 assists a game for the Bruins.
Mark ZerofUSA TODAY Sports
Josh Jackson, SF, Kansas, freshman
Last ranking: 4
Heading into college, Josh Jackson was regarded as arguably the top prospect in the class. He’s maintained close to that status and is tracking as a potential top five draft pick.
Jackson, a wing prospect, has been one of the biggest mismatches in all of college, as Bill Self is playing him at the four spot and teams struggle to match up. Jackson is an elite athlete, excels in transition, has the potential to be a very good defender and is a gifted passer. There are holes, however, as his shooting is a concern, but his clip of 37.7 percent from three is much better than his high school days. Jackson is averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds a game.
Stephen R. SylvanieUSA TODAY Sports
De'Aaron Fox, PG, Kentucky, freshman
Last ranking: 7
In what is a terrific point guard class, De’Aaron Fox is certainly one of the best. At 6-foot-4, he has good size with a wiry frame. Fox has tremendous end-to-end speed and a quick first step. Although his long-range shooting is a concern (24 percent from three), he has good vision, is a talented passer and makes plays in transition.
NBA executives have told FOX Sports that they particularly love that he’s a two-way player that impacts the game on both ends. He also won the head-to-head matchup with Lonzo Ball earlier in the season. Fox is averaging 16.1 points, 4.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds a game.
Gerry BroomeAP photo
Dennis Smith, PG, NC State, freshman
Last ranking: 6
Unfortunately, Dennis Smith isn’t a player you’re going to see playing during the NCAA tournament, as NC State struggled on the court this season. Smith, however, did not. He had some impressive moments, showing his explosive athleticism and an extra gear in the speed department.
Although streaky, he proved he could make jump shots, both from mid-range and distance. That said, longterm he has a ways to go as a three-point shooter. Smith averaged 18.1 points, 6.2 assists and 4.6 rebounds a game.
Geoff BurkeUSA TODAY Sports
Jonathan Isaac, SF/PF, Florida State, freshman
Last ranking: 5
Jonathan Isaac is loaded with potential. In two and a half years, Isaac has grown from 6-foot-6 to 6-11. He’s fluid, a good athlete and has a skill set that allows him to face the rim and play out on the perimeter. Strength is a concern, as is his inconsistency on the court, but his size, length, skill, athletic ability and potential as a face up scorer are all notable. Isaac is averaging 11.9 points and 7.6 rebounds a game.
Rogelio V. SolisAP photo
Malik Monk, SG, Kentucky, freshman
Last ranking: 8
Over the course of the season, Malik Monk has proven himself as one of the most explosive and dynamic scorers in the college game. He boasts an outburst of 47 points against North Carolina, plus has gone over 30 three other times. An elite athlete, Monk has shown the ability to score in bunches and heat up from distance. He’s shooting nearly 41 percent from three and has impressive shot mechanics while averaging 20.4 points a game.
Casey SapioUSA TODAY Sports
Lauri Markkanen, C/PF, Arizona, freshman
Last ranking: 9
One of the most intriguing prospects in the 2017 NBA Draft could be Lauri Markkanen, a 7-footer that shoots three-pointers as well as any player of that size that I’ve evaluated. Markkanen is a strong kid that can play physical around the goal, but where he really impresses is on the offensive end. He has tremendous hands and touch. His shot mechanics are impressive and he’s made 67 of his 155 three-point attempts. Markkanen is averaging 15.6 points and 7.1 rebounds a game.
Troy TaorminaUSA TODAY Sports
Robert Williams, PF/C, Texas A&M, freshman
Last ranking: 14
No prospect has moved his way up this list quicker than Robert Williams. Williams has tremendous physical gifts, standing 6-foot-9 and checking in with a 7-4 wingspan. Williams is bouncy athletically and has a strong frame that will continue to fill out. He's made improvements on offense this season and has potential on that end. Williams was named the SEC’s defensive player of the year, after averaging 11.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 2.5 blocks a game.
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Justin Patton, C, Creighton, freshman
Last ranking: 10
By now you probably know the Justin Patton story. He was unknown two years ago, and now after a redshirt season, Patton is tracking as a potential lottery pick. Greg McDermott and staff have done a tremendous job developing this former top-25 recruit. At 6-foot-11, Patton has impressive length, hands, touch, feel, potential on offense, and he protects the rim. Heading into the NCAA tournament, Patton is averaging 13.1 points and 6.2 rebounds a game.
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Frank Ntilikina, PG, Strasbourg
Last ranking: 11
To go with the very talented crop of freshman point guards in college, there’s a very gifted one in France. Frank Ntilikina, who plays for Strasbourg, has very good size for the position at 6-foot-6, but he’s also quick, has a lengthy set of arms and is a gifted athlete. In December at the U18 European Championships, he also showed significant improvement from earlier viewings with his jump shot, connecting on 17 of 29 three-point attempts. Ntilikina is a very intriguing lead guard option in this year’s draft.
Mike CarterUSA TODAY Sports
Miles Bridges, SF, Michigan State, freshman
Last ranking: 12
Miles Bridges has scored in double figures in Michigan State’s last 16 games, including five 20-point games. Bridges, at 6-foot-7, is a strong, physical and powerful athlete, especially for a perimeter player. Where Bridges improved his game this season is from three, as he’s hit 52 of 134 three-pointers (38.8 percent). He’s also a good rebounder. Bridges is averaging 16.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a game.
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Terrance Ferguson, SG/SF, Adelaide
Last ranking: 16
Much like Brandon Jennings and Emmanuel Mudiay, Terrance Ferguson opted to play professionally rather than go to college. Despite that, NBA teams are very familiar with him, as many saw him with the Adelaide 36ers, plus with USA Basketball the last three offseasons. Ferguson has very good size for a wing player (6-foot-7), is a tremendous leaper, has potential as a defender and is capable of heating up in a hurry from long distance.
John HeftiUSA TODAY Sports
Ivan Rabb, PF, California, sophomore
Last ranking: 13
If Ivan Rabb had come out last season, the intel was that he would have likely gone in the top 10. But Rabb wasn’t ready to leave college yet. Regardless, there’s still plenty to like about him as a power forward prospect. Rabb has good size (6-11), length (7-2) and mobility. And his impact can be felt on both ends of the court. He has good hands, touch and potential as a scorer. All that said, Rabb didn’t close out the season playing his best and consistency is a concern. Rabb averaged 14 points and 10.5 rebounds a game.
Gerry BroomeAP photo
Justin Jackson, SF, North Carolina, junior
Last ranking: NR
Justin Jackson is in the midst of a terrific junior campaign, averaging 18.1 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.7 assists a game. His improvement as a shooter is notable, as he’s up from 29.2 percent from three to 37.7 percent on 239 attempts. The improved shooting is among the many reasons he’s played his way up this board. He’s a more balanced scorer and is still the proud owner of the best floater in college basketball.
Isaiah Hartenstein, PF, Zalgiris
Last ranking: 15
One of the more intriguing international prospects in the upcoming draft is Isaiah Hartenstein. The lefty has a strong frame, is mobile and runs end-to-end with ease. There’s potential here offensively, as he has good hands, touch and can face up defenders and attack, but is also capable of posting on the block. He also has a chance to be a good shooter in time, but he lacks consistency at this stage.
Hartenstein had a good showing at Basketball Without Borders last February. Then in the U18 European Championships, Hartenstein averaged 14.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists a game. Hartenstein is a native of Eugene (Ore.) and lived there until he was 12, before moving to Germany.
Brian SpurlockUSA TODAY Sports
OG Anunoby, SF, Indiana, sophomore
Last ranking: 17
If it weren’t for a knee injury that ended his sophomore season, Anunoby would likely be much higher on this list. Now, it’s a bit of a mystery where the 6-foot-8 versatile perimeter prospect will land. If he recovers fine, he’ll be a steal this late. He’s a gifted athlete, with good shot mechanics (despite a poor percentage this season) and the ability to defend multiple positions. Anunoby averaged 11.1 points and 5.4 rebounds a game prior to the injury.
Kirby LeeUSA TODAY Sports
Ike Anigbogu, PF, UCLA, freshman
Last ranking: 18
One prospect picking up steam is UCLA’s Ike Anigbogu. Just 18 years old, he is impressive physically, checking in at 6-foot-10, 245 pounds. His numbers are pedestrian at 4.9 points and 4.3 rebounds, but don’t let that fool you, as his best days are ahead — because of UCLA’s loaded roster, he isn’t playing big minutes.
To go with his physical make-up, Anigbogu is at talented athlete, rebounder and rim protector. The offense isn’t there yet, but he’s certainly not inept. Most don't expect Anigbogu to head to the NBA, but we are hearing it’s a very strong possibility, and NBA executives have been raving about his upside behind the scenes.
Luke Kennard, SG, Duke, sophomore
Last ranking: NR
Luke Kennard just missed our last Big Board update, but the more we’ve watched him the more we like him. Kennard has made significant progress since his freshman season and raised his scoring average from 11.8 to 20.1 points a game. The southpaw is shooting the ball with confidence and has connected on 85 of 192 three-point attempts. But Kennard is more than just a shooter, as he’s a well-balanced scorer with a mid-range game and floaters in his arsenal. Kennard has had a loud season on the court, but he’s quietly moving up NBA lists.