March Madness: Top NBA Draft Prospects — East Region
Jaden Ivey headlines our Top 10 NBA draft prospects in the NCAA Tournament East Region
NBA scouts and general managers will be out in force over the next few weeks scouting everyone in the Big Dance.
While we believe that a player’s performance in the NCAA Tournament shouldn’t be a big factor in the overall scouting evaluation, there is evidence that it plays an outsize role in ultimate draft position.
Recency bias is surely one factor. So is that fact that this is when NBA coaching staffs, NBA owners and, occasionally, NBA GMs are getting more engaged in the scouting process. What they see here can leave an indelible scouting bias.
In other words, what happens over the next few weeks, rightly or wrongly, will likely significantly shake up our current Big Board 5.0.
Note that I’m ranking players based on their long-term NBA potential, not on their current production. Obviously several of the players in the best of the rest are currently better than some players ranked above them.
Here’s a look at the 10 prospects in the East Region who are the most interesting to NBA scouts. This region has three potential lottery picks at the top and a number of interesting big men at the bottom of this list.
01 JADEN IVEY
6’4” | 200 | Wingspan: 6’9”
Age on draft night: 20.4
2022 Draft Projection: 1-5
The Skinny: In 33 games, Ivey is averaging 20.1 points, 5.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.7 blocks and 1.1 steals per 36 minutes and shooting 46.2% from the field and 35.6% from 3.
The Good: Ivey entered the season as the top returning prospect in college basketball after a strong freshman season and impressive showing at the FIBA Under-19 World Cup. Ivey is a dynamic athlete with a lightning-quick first step and excels at pressuring the rim off the dribble. He’s improved his 3-point field goal shooting from 25.8% as a freshman to 36.8% as a sophomore, and he has an outside chance to be the first player selected in the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Bad: While Ivey has made big strides as a shooter, he struggles as a pull-up shooter off the dribble. He’s converted only seven of his 33 attempts on jumpers inside of the arc and will need to improve as a midrange shooter.
Bottom Line: Ivey is easily a top-5 pick in this draft class. His explosiveness, motor and competitive fire have drawn comparisons to Memphis Grizzlies All-Star point guard Ja Morant. While he’s not on Ja’s level as a passer and playmaker, it’s easy to picture him succeeding in the NBA with more spacing and room to operate in the paint.