23. Jalen Brunson — Derek Fisher
Villanova could have as many as four former players have their named called in the first round of June’s draft. Among those players, none played a bigger role for the Wildcats than Brunson. The heady guard led Villanova with a fierce tenacity. His list of collegiate accolades is unparalleled among fellow non-Wildcat prospects, compiling two NCAA championships and a National College Player of the Year award.
His winning mentality and strong frame are reminiscent of five-time NBA Champion Derek Fisher. On those championship winning Laker teams, Fisher excelled as a spot-up shooter and tertiary play-maker. Brunson, a 39-percent three-point shooter in college, will immediately be serviceable for his ability to knock down open jumpers, with the potential to lead his team’s second unit.
Image Sources: Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports, Christian Petersen/Getty Images
22. Grayson Allen — J.R. Smith
Allen endured a tumultuous career at Durham. The Jacksonville native burst onto the national scene after an impressive performance in the 2015 NCAA title game. Following that game, Duke saw four of its starters join the NBA ranks (Jahlil Okafor, Justise Winslow, Tyus Jones, and Quinn Cook), opening up the door for Allen to get more touches. He thrived as the team’s number one option in his sophomore year, averaging over 21 points per game. The proceeding two years didn’t go quite as smoothly, as Allen was riddled with inefficiency and troubling “tripping” incidents.
He appears to have cleaned up his act, and has begun gaining steam as an NBA talent. Given his ability to stretch the floor and his explosiveness as an athlete, Allen could end up looking a lot like a younger J.R. Smith. In the current stage of Smith’s career, he’s almost strictly a spot-up shooter, though that wasn’t always the case. Smith’s stints in Denver and New York proved he had the ability to be a dynamic scorer that could fill it up from multiple spots on the floor.
Image Sources: Kyle Terada/USA TODAY Sports, Isaiah J. Downing/USA TODAY Sports