2. Payton Pritchard – Oregon
Seemingly every year there are four-year stud point guards making the leap from college to the NBA. Sometimes they have nice NBA careers, sometimes they don’t. Let’s turn our attention to Devonte’ Graham for a moment.
Graham was a sensational player for the Kansas Jayhawks — one of their all-time greatest — but he didn’t project as an elite NBA talent, mostly because of his size. Now, just two years into his NBA career, Graham is one of the most exciting young point guards in the association.
I have a weird feeling that Payton Pritchard could have a similar career arc.
Pritchard was arguably the best college player in the country this season, averaging 20.5 points per game on stellar .468/.415/.821 shooting splits to go along with 5.5 assists and 4.3 rebounds. He was the heart and soul of an impressive Oregon squad that was poised to make a deep tourney run prior to the season being shutdown.
Right now, all signs are pointing to Pritchard being an early-to-mid second-round pick, but I could see him getting more and more love as the draft approaches. His ability to run the offense and shoot the absolute lights out from deep (his 41.5 percent 3-point shooting came on 6.8 attempts per game — yeesh) makes me think he’ll be a super valuable NBA reserve at worst.
I love everything about Pritchard’s game.