Best- and Worst-Case Scenarios for Zion Williamson and Other Top 2019 Prospects

Bol Bol (Oregon, C, Freshman)

Best case: All-star reserve

Bol Bol has one of the draft’s higher ceilings, but he also has a low floor due to the risk caused by physical and durability concerns.

His All-Star upside is fueled by unique 7’2″ size and rare skill, as Bol shot 13-of-25 from three through nine games while ranking in the 90th percentile on post-ups. He even flashed ball-handling acumen when he put the ball down and scored off the dribble.

He executed shots with Kristaps Porzingis-like fluidity, particularly around the perimeter. And though his effort came and went defensively, his remarkable 7’8″ wingspan can still be disruptive around the basket.

If Bol adds strength and continues to tighten his ball skills and shot creation, not many centers will be able to match up evenly.

Worst case: Bust

Bol couldn’t make it to Christmas before he suffered a stress fracture in his left foot. Given his size and skinny limbs—plus the injury history of big men with foot trouble—lottery teams may be hesitant to draft him.

Since high school, Bol’s tendency to prove he has guard skill away from the basket has created some concern. He isn’t physical around the basket, and his defensive impact fluctuates with his sense of urgency even though he blocked 2.7 shots per game at Oregon.

He could fall within the top 10 on some draft boards and rank between 20th and 30th on others due to his high bust potential.

Brandon Clarke (Gonzaga, PF/C, Junior)

Best case: Star role player

Though Brandon Clarke won’t be a star scorer, he can thrive in a supporting role the way Pascal Siakam did for the Toronto Raptors this year.

But Siakam still has more upside left to unlock, while Clarke’s ceiling isn’t as high. Maximizing his potential means developing into a top transition weapon, finisher, putback machine and defender—and also building on the promising flashes of post play and line drives he showed at Gonzaga.

In his best-case scenario, he’s a team’s most impactful defender with rim protection and switchability. Despite limited shot-creating ability, he finds a way to add offensive value with extreme finishing efficiency off rim runs, rolls, cuts and crashes, plus the occasional post-ups and drives past closeouts.

Worst case: Bench energizer

His bounce and motor should translate to activity and production at the rim, where he shot 74.3 percent and blocked 4.4 shots per 40 minutes.

But if the 6’8″ Clarke can’t create or shoot and isn’t as disruptive protecting the basket as he was at Gonzaga, he’ll be reduced to a reserve role. At the least, he could come off the bench to bring energy and off-ball plays.

Sekou Doumbouya (France, SF/PF, 2000)

Best case: Star role player

Only 18 years old, Sekou Doumbouya is playing 17.7 minutes in France’s top league and flashing enough glimpses of three-point shooting, drives and finishes for teams to feel optimistic about his skill development.

He’s still too raw as a creator and scorer to earn a projection with All-Star upside. But at 6’9″, 230 pounds—a physical profile similar to OG Anunoby (6’8″, 232 lbs)—Doumbouya will be valued for his defensive versatility, potential to stretch the floor and ability to make plays at the rim.

Best case, he’s a star role player who converts a high percentage of his threes, slashes and cuts while defending opponents’ top options and switching.

Worst case: Reserve forward

Doumbouya’s tools, athleticism and age, plus the promising eye-test results on his set shot, theoretically create a high floor.

Worst case, he gives a team defensive versatility and operates as a catch-and-score player who’ll only take high-percentage shots on offense.

Jaxson Hayes (Texas, C, Freshman)

Best-case: Quality/efficient starting center

Jaxson Hayes comes off as a safe play with 6’11” size, impressive mobility, coordination and tremendous numbers that showcase his offensive efficiency and defensive activity. He shot 72.8 percent from the field and blocked 3.8 shots per 40 minutes.

He’s limited offensively without any bankable scoring skill, which lowers his ceiling. But the 18-year-old’s tools, athleticism, effort and production point to effective rim running, finishing and defense.

A rim-protecting center such as Clint Capella, who produces strictly by running and jumping, sets the ceiling for Hayes.

Worst case: Backup center

Worst case, Hayes struggles against stronger 5s and never develops a post game or jump shot. In that situation, he’ll likely come off the bench but still hold value as a high-energy backup.

At the very least, Hayes’ finishing will still translate, particularly with better point guard play in the pros. He ranked in the 96th percentile as a cutter and the 95th percentile as a roll man.

Kevin Porter Jr. (USC, SG, Freshman)

Best case: Productive starting guard/wing

Kevin Porter Jr. averaged just 9.5 points in college, but size, athleticism, youth and advanced scoring skills still point to star-caliber upside long term—similar to what Zach LaVine flashed out of UCLA after he only managed 9.4 points per game in college.

Porter will still enter the NBA near his floor, however. A best-case scenario has him following in LaVine’s steps, gradually building confidence and comfort each season to the point where he’s a lead scorer around age 24.

A 6’6″ guard/wing, Porter has distinguished himself with the ability to create off nifty ball-handling moves and convert tough jumpers. Successful development would mean Porter becomes consistent around the perimeter and he learns to put more pressure on defenses by attacking.

He also must figure out how to play within an offense as opposed to waiting for isolation chances to dance and launch a hero shot.

Compared to LaVine, Porter should have more defensive upside based on his lateral quickness and physical profile.

Worst case: G League

If Porter struggles to assert himself, plays too much one-on-one and has trouble scoring off the ball, coaches may be reluctant to use him.

He only shot 11-of-33 on catch-and-shoot jumpers, and a worst-case scenario includes him never improving as a spot-up shooter. It also has him struggling to efficiently generate his own offense while offering little as a passer.

Porter has one of the draft’s widest ranges.

Cam Reddish (Duke, SG/SF, Freshman)

Best case: Quality/productive starting wing

Once he finds some consistency, Cam Reddish figures to have more professional success than he experienced in college. A 6’8″ wing, he buried 2.5 threes per game at Duke, creating enough scouting confidence that he might eventually become a high-volume three-point shooter.

Though he didn’t receive many chances to create in a lineup featuring Zion Williamson, RJ Barrett and Tre Jones, Reddish, a point-forward in high school, did flash the ability to play off the dribble by generating 1.11 points per possession as a pick-and-roll ball-handler (44 possessions, 96th percentile).

His defensive potential is another selling point, as Reddish has the tools to guard positions 2-4 and showcases some promising anticipation.

A 39.4 two-point percentage highlights the severe issues he had executing inside the arc, and it makes realistically projecting All-Star potential difficult. But between his positional size, perimeter game and defense, a best-case scenario still sees Reddish putting up Kelly Oubre Jr.-like numbers near his second NBA contract.

Worst case: Reserve wing

The threes and defensive versatility should keep him afloat, even if he continues to struggle as a scorer in traffic. Reddish made just four of his 14 runners (17th percentile) and 47.3 percent of his shots around the basket (29th percentile).

He also finished the season with 96 turnovers to 70 assists.

Worst case, he’s used to stretch the floor as a spot-up shooter, release in transition, guard the perimeter and nothing more.