Drafting isn't an exact science. Projections are just that, as no one truly knows how a player is actually going to turn out when he gets the chance to play in the NBA. There are plenty of intangibles that no one can put in numbers.
Age, competition, wingspan, speed, vertical leap, jump-shot, defense, rebounding, and basketball IQ are some of the traits scouts take into consideration when trying to choose a prospect in the NBA Draft.
This year's draft will be one of a kind. Most players didn't get to showcase their skills on the NCAA's tourney so there's limited footage of some of the most promising prospects of the year.
Therefore, most teams aren't going to take any chances in the draft. They'll go for can't-miss talents instead of looking for the players with the most upside. That's why today, we're going to put together our ranking of sleepers for the 2020 NBA Draft class:
10. Paul Reed, PF, Jr - DePaul
NBA scouts tend to overlook players that spend more than a year in college. Paul Reed is already 21 years old so teams are likely to let him slip all the way to the second round despite being one of the most versatile defenders in the nation last year.
Reed averaged 2.6 blocks and 1.9 steals per game last season and showcased his ability to thrive in both zone and man-to-man defense. He's also got the potential to become an elite three-point shooter after knocking down 40.5% of his three-pointers during his sophomore year. There aren't many lockdown defenders at the four that can also shoot at a high clip.
9. Killian Tillie, PF/C, Sr - Gonzaga
Killian Tillie is already 22 and has a history with injuries so he's likely to slip in the Draft. Some mocks even have him going undrafted, which would be a major mistake by general managers given his upside, versatility, and productivity.
The French big man can knock down shots from three with ease (44.4% shooter per his career). He has a high basketball IQ and a great ability to pick apart defenses both as a scorer or creator. If he stays healthy, he could fit right away on any NBA offense as a stretch four.
8. Daniel Oturu, C, So - Minnesota
Daniel Oturu really turned the corner as a scorer during his sophomore season, doubling his scoring average from 10.8 to 20.1 ppg to go along with 11.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game on 59% from the floor, 36% from three, and 70% from the charity stripe.
Oturu has proven to be a legit threat below the rim and in the perimeter and has the wingspan, frame, and athleticism to become a top-notch rim protector at the next level. Most mocks have him slipping right outside of the lottery because of his poor ball-handling skills, but he has the skillset to become an elite two-way big man.
7. Aleksej Pokusevski, C, INTL
We've seen top-tier European prospects go overlooked in the NBA Draft year after year and Aleksej Pokusevski may be the next in that list. Some mocks have him going in the mid 2nd round and some claim he won't be traveling to the U.S for another couple of years.
Pokusevski is an intriguing prospect, to say the least. He has the defensive awareness, size, instincts and wingspan to be an elite defender in the post. He also has the handles and shooting ability of a guard and is already playing vs grown men in Greece's second-tier league. He must add a lot of muscle if he wants to make it in the NBA but the upside is clearly there.
6. Deni Avdija, SF/PF - INTL
Deni Avdija has slipped in some Drafts recently. There are some doubts about his limited athleticism and lack of explosiveness. Even so, he's one of the most NBA-ready prospects we've seen coming from Europe over the past couple of seasons. He has the skills to be a poor man's Toni Kukoc at worst, which is a lot to say.
Avdija can score at will and is a great facilitator. He's got the size to play both forward spots and can do a little bit of everything on both ends of the floor. He's pretty experienced and smart for a guy that recently turned 19 years old and hey, he's no Luka Doncic, but some people didn't think Doncic was going to be that good either.
5. Sam Merrill, PG/SG, Sr - Utah State
Sam Merrill may be the best player you've never heard about in this class. Scouts didn't get to see him much at Utah State due to, well, playing at Utah State. Also, he's 24 years old so most mock Drafts don't even have him going drafted at all.
Even so, Merrill is an outstanding shooter and scorer at both guards positions. He's simply deadly from beyond the arc (41% on 217 attempts last year) and has the skill set to be an instant-offense kind of scorer off the bench at an NBA level. He'll prove it right away if he gets an invitation to the Summer League.
4. Cole Anthony, PG, Fr - UNC
Not so long ago, Cole Anthony was considered one of the best prospects in the nation. Now, most big boards have him slipping all the way to the 10-14 spots following his lone season at the University of North Carolina. He missed a huge chance to showcase his talents in the NCAA tournament.
Anthony has been playing against and training with NBA players for years. He's a walking bucket with a great feel for knocking down huge shots. He's not your average pass-first kind of point guard and that's his biggest flaw. The confidence is there, the aggressiveness and drive are there.
3. Malachi Flynn, PG, Jr - San Diego State
Malachi Flynn won't impress you with size or athleticism but he's smart enough to overcome all of his clear physical limitations. He's smart, skilled, savvy, and really knows how to pull the strings of the offense and control the pace of the game. He rarely makes mistakes and could be a huge steal considering he's expected to fall to the second round.
Flynn improved on every statistical category as years went by and there's no reason to think that trend won't continue at the next level. He's outstanding in the pick-and-roll and a guy that can really make everybody around him better. He's got that 6th Man of the Year kind of potential but needs to add a lot of muscle to thrive in the NBA.
2. Grant Riller, PG, Sr - College of Charleston
Grant Riller's draft stock isn't as high as it should be because of his age (23) and the small program he plays for. He's likely going to slip to the second round and a lucky team is going to get one of the most unstoppable scorers in this class. His shot-making ability is just ridiculous.
Riller schooled defenders nightly with his never-ending bag of resources. He can drive, post-up, knock down shots standing still, going sideways, fading away, playing on and off the ball, you name it. His handles are superb and even though his poor competition is a red flag he's got the potential to be a walking bucket in the NBA.
1. R.J. Hampton, PG/SG, INTL
R.J. Hampton was considered the best player of his class a couple of years ago but his draft stock took a hit from his lone season overseas. Hampton has the size, length, and skills to become an elite two-way guard in the NBA. He's got a 6'7'' wingspan and impressive ball-handling and playmaking skills for a guy his age.
Hampton is aggressive and can score at a high pace from all three levels. He won't hesitate to drive and is an elite finisher through contact. His shot selection and efficiency have raised a lot of questions about his ability to dominate in the NBA but if he slips outside of the lottery as projected, he'd be the biggest steal of the night, for sure.