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21. Boston Celtics: Eric Paschall, Villanova, Senior SF/PF
Paschall is on breakout watch after last year’s NCAA tournament and Mikal Bridges, Donte DiVincenzo and Jalen Brunson went pro. The explosive 255-pound combo forward shot 45.7 percent from three during conference play to strengthen his image as an NBA prospect. Already 22 years old, he just won’t have the margin for error as a senior.
22. Philadelphia 76ers (via Kings): Jaylen Hoard, Wake Forest, Freshman SF/PF
Hoard’s athleticism and versatility should catch scouts’ attention. At 6’8″, he’s well-rounded, with the ability to make an impact around the basket, face and attack or shoot the three. Inconsistency wouldn’t be surprising, though, until Hoard establishes a bankable skill or strength to lean on for offense.
23. Boston Celtics (via Clippers): PJ Washington, Kentucky, Sophomore PF/C
Washington should draw looks for his versatility at both ends. He’s stretched out his shooting range and improved his quickness to guard further away from the basket. Washington’s lack of explosion and creativity were exposed against Duke, however. He’ll have ground to make up after a letdown performance to open the season.
24. Indiana Pacers: Kevin Porter Jr., USC, Freshman SG
The eye test approves Porter’s 6’6″ size and athleticism for an NBA shooting guard. He’ll distinguish himself by creating his own shot and scoring from all three levels, though he’ll have to find ways to do so without hijacking possessions. Porter’s core strength could be a gift and a curse. Staying efficient will be key.
25. San Antonio Spurs: Luguentz Dort, Arizona State, Freshman SG
One of the more unsuspecting one-and-done freshmen, Dort will earn strong first impressions following his 28-point debut. At 6’5″, 224 pounds, he’s athletic and physical attacking the basket, but shooting has been a knock. He’ll move up boards fast if the three triples he hit against Cal State Fullerton were an indication of legitimate improvement.
26. Portland Trail Blazers: Kris Wilkes, UCLA, Sophomore SF
Wilkes wasn’t overly convincing last year, but he’ll remain relevant for his tools, shooting (1.7 threes per game) and slashing potential. No more Aaron Holiday or Thomas Welsh should mean a significant bump in usage for the sophomore wing. Wilkes will try to look sharper creating his own shot, particularly given his lack of playmaking ability.
27. Milwaukee Bucks: Jalen Lecque, Brewster Academy, PG/SG 2000
A fifth-year high school player, Lecque could be eligible for the 2019 draft. And despite already committing to North Carolina State, he hinted to ESPN.com’s Jonathan Givony about bypassing college if there were first-round interest. There likely would be, just like there was last year for Anfernee Simons, whose sales pitch similarly revolved around long-term potential. Lecque, an explosive, elite-level athlete, should be enticing enough for a team to feel the upside is worth the risk in the 20s.
28. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Jalen McDaniels, San Diego State, Sophomore PF
McDaniels didn’t do enough as a freshman to earn the first-round interest he’d presumably been looking for when he tested the waters. He’s on the radar to start this year for his springy athleticism and flashes of skill. After taking just 6.5 shots per game a season ago, McDaniels must become a more aggressive shot-creator and threatening shooter.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Dedric Lawson, Kansas, Junior PF
Lawson’s suspect athleticism was exposed against Michigan State, and he still finished with 20 points, 14 rebounds, six assists, two blocks and two steals. He shows skill and instincts in every facet of the game. After a season’s worth of stat lines like the one he put together Tuesday night, Lawson could persuade one team in the 20s to overlook his age and heavy feet.
30. Golden State Warriors: Shamorie Ponds, St. John’s, Junior PG
Ponds’ decision-making and shooting consistency have been erratic, and it’s cast a cloud over his production. However, he’ll have the chance to carve out an NBA role for his streak-scoring potential off the bench. Ponds can carry an offense for stretches with his attacking and off-the-dribble shot-making.