The NBA draft is right around the corner and we’re breaking every prospect down position-by-position right here for you. Curious where the top prospects could land? Check out our team-by-team draft order breakdown which elaborates on the biggest needs for each team. Looking for more in-depth coverage on a specific player? Head over to our draft prospect analysis page. Make sure you also check out our expert mock draft.
The point guard has become arguably the most important position in the modern NBA. In this league, the offense is built primarily around pick-and-roll and spacing. It’s vital to have a lead guard who can create offense both for himself and, more importantly, for his teammates. Let’s take a look at which point guards in this year’s draft class have the best chance at carving out a strong NBA career.
|Player Name||College/International Team||Overall Ranking||NBA Comp|
|LaMelo Ball||Illawarra Hawks (Australia)||#2||Penny Hardaway|
|Killian Hayes||Ulm (France)||#3||James Harden|
|Tyrese Haliburton||Iowa State||#6||Shai Gilgeous-Alexander|
|Cole Anthony||University of North Carolina||#8||Derrick Rose|
|R.J. Hampton||New Zealand Breakers||#16||Jamal Murray|
|Kira Lewis||University of Alabama||#17||Dennis Schroder|
|Theo Maledon||ASVEL (France)||#22||Malcolm Brogdon|
|Devon Dotson||University of Kansas||#25||Patrick Beverley|
|Nico Mannion||University of Arizona||#32||T.J. McConnell|
|Malachi Flynn||San Diego State University||#33||Aaron Holiday|
|Grant Riller||College of Charleston||#34||Fred VanVleet|
|Cassius Winston||Michigan State University||#36||Kyle Lowry|
|Immanuel Quickley||University of Kentucky||#38||B.J. Armstrong|
|Ty-Shon Alexander||Creighton||#42||Josh Richardson|
|Ashton Hagans||University of Kentucky||#43||Elfrid Payton|
|Payton Pritchard||University of Oregon||#45||Shabazz Napier|
|Markus Howard||Marquette||#46||Seth Curry|
|Tre Jones||Duke University||#48||Tyus Jones|
|Yam Madar||Hapoel Tel Aviv||#51||Jevon Carter|
|Jahmi'us Ramsey||Texas Tech||#52||Dion Waiters|
The Elite Crop
#1 - LaMelo Ball: The constantly-hyped LaMelo Ball headlines this year's point guard class and he's a surefire top-three pick. He brings with him an elite dribble-drive game and exciting pull-up 3-point potential. Ball has elite size for the point guard position with 6'8" height and an absurd 7'3" wingspan. Ball's stats in international play were very impressive and he should be an instant-impact NBA player. I'm very excited about his offensive potential and I firmly believe Ball has the upside to become one of the best point guards in the NBA.
#2 - Killian Hayes: Killian Hayes also carries tremendous potential, and I believe there's an argument to be made for him to be the #1 pick in the draft. Hayes has played against some proven, veteran talent in Europe and showcased elite 3-point shooting potential. His ability to open up space on the perimeter with a variety of dribble moves is James Harden-esque and he may have the highest upside of any player in this draft class. Hayes is the perfect high-upside point guard for a team to build around in the modern NBA.
#3 - Tyrese Haliburton: The former Iowa State player is also going to be an intriguing lottery pick as he may be the best perimeter defender in this draft. He also has tremendous instincts with the ball in his hands and is a crafty finisher in the paint. Haliburton plays with a ton of heart and hustle and proved himself to be a committed player with his improvements from his freshman to sophomore year. Haliburton is far from an orthodox basketball player, but he can fit into any system as he makes an impact, whether or not the ball is in his hands.
#4 - Cole Anthony: Rounding out this tier of point guards in the draft is Cole Anthony, the former UNC point guard who plays with maddening inconsistency but flashes moments of brilliance. He's an extremely athletic player who has some impressive off-the-bounce finishing moves and electric handles. His shooting has been inconsistent at times, but his explosiveness alone makes him worthy of an early first-round pick. If Anthony can refine his decision-making and shooting, he has All-Star potential.
High-Upside Late First-Round Picks
#5 - R.J. Hampton: There are a number of point guards who may not go in the first round but do have tremendous upside. R.J. Hampton stands out as a would-be five-star recruit who played professional basketball in New Zealand. He is smooth with the ball in his hands and has a shooting repertoire reminiscent of Jamal Murray.
#6 - Kira Lewis: The former Alabama point guard also has a ton of upside as perhaps the fastest player in this draft class with the ball in his hands. His athleticism stands out among his peers and he would have been a combine superstar, but he needs to refine a handful of aspects of his game.
#7 - Theo Maledon: The French point guard is a hand-picked prospect by a future Hall of Fame point guard in Tony Parker. The former Spurs' point guard is now the owner and president of a French EuroLeague team ASVEL. Parker recruited Maledon to the team and he has a keen eye as Maledon may be the best passer in this entire class. He is a bit raw at the moment and is likely better to learn under an experienced veteran rather than be thrust into a starting role. However, Maledon has tremendous upside under the right tutelage.
Late First-Round Picks
#8 - Devon Dotson: The former Kansas point guard is the standout in this group and likely would have benefited from what should have been a strong March Madness performance. He's a gritty defensive player who fights for loose balls and plays with a ton of heart. Bill Self constantly preached as to Dotson's commitment to the game and leadership qualities. Dotson may not be the highest-upside or the flashiest point guard, but he's going to make an impact on whatever team he finds himself on.
#9 - Nico Mannion: Many NBA teams find themselves in need of a backup point guard who can run the offense and make 3-point shots at a high clip. Mannion offers both skills, and while he's not the most athletically flashy player at his position, he's going to contribute to whatever team he lands on. Mannion was the leader of a talented Arizona team that included Josh Green and Zeke Nnaji and likely would have made a deep March Madness run. Don't sleep on Mannion offering your team a much-needed modern skillset.
#10 - Malachi Flynn: San Diego State had a phenomenal basketball season that was likely slept on by many NBA fans. The team clinched the Mountain West Conference by a league-record five games after a phenomenal regular season. Flynn was the heart and soul of the team, leading the group in minutes played, points, and assists per game. Flynn isn't the most athletically gifted player, but he'll make an immediate impact on the stat sheet with his shooting and passing. If his 3-point shooting continues to progress, he could be a future NBA starter.
#11 - Grant Riller: The former College of Charleston point guard was a two-time All-CAA player and scored 21.9 points per game over the past two seasons. Riller was only a two-star recruit coming out of high school, but after four years at Charleston of honing his game, it's clear he has a chance at a long career in the NBA. He's already 23 so he doesn't carry immense long-term upside, but he's the perfect target for a late first-round team looking to add a pro-ready guard who can fit into just about any offensive system with his scoring and passing.
Early Second-Round Picks
#12 - Cassius Winston: As a Michigan student, I have watched many Big Ten basketball games over the past few years. Michigan State and Michigan, of course, have a longstanding rivalry and every time the two teams played I was terrified of what Winston was going to do next. He's an old school floor general and plays with toughness on both ends of the court. Winston has the typical maturity and leadership of a veteran Tom Izzo player.
#13 - Immanuel Quickley: He's one of the players who benefitted greatly from returning for his sophomore season as his stats across the board improved. Quickley isn't much of a passer, but he's a lethal three-level scorer who will continue to develop and improve. He needs to bulk up a bit and improve his raw defense, but Quickley's scoring alone gives him a place in this NBA.
#14 - Ty-Shon Alexander: Creighton's Ty-Shon Alexander was a three-year college player and led his team to an unexpected share of the Big East title last season. Alexander's shooting pops off the screen and he's tremendous at moving without the basketball. He's a bit of a turnover-prone player who makes some infuriating decisions, but with the right coaching, he has some intriguing upside.
#15 - Ashton Hagans: It's difficult to get a handle on how scouts will view Hagans as the sophomore guard out of Kentucky offers little to no shooting but is one of the best defenders at his position in the draft. He's also a fluid passer and shows great instincts and anticipation. Hagans carries himself with the physicality and desperation you want out of your leader.
Late Second-Round Picks
#16 - Payton Pritchard: Oregon's Pritchard is coming off a storied college career in which he became the first player in Pac-12 history to have 1,900 career points, 500 career rebounds, and 600 career assists. He's already 22 and doesn't carry as much upside as some of the names being drafted around him. However, Pritchard is as pro-ready as they come and is a fit for the modern NBA. His lack of athleticism and defense will always hold him back, but I see him as a strong microwave scorer off the bench.
#17 - Markus Howard: Over the past few years, there hasn't been a player in college basketball I've been more excited to watch night in and night out than Markus Howard. After four years at Marquette, Howard is now the leading all-time Big East scorer. His senior year was his best season in terms of scoring with 27.8 points per game. He's only 5'11" and he's already 23 years old, but his shooting is going to capture the imagination of teams.
#18 - Tre Jones: Duke's Tre Jones is a classic jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none prospect who I'm not sure has a huge upside in the NBA. He strikes me as a future solid role-playing point guard, and his defense will help him earn playing time early on. He didn't flash any elite skills as a scorer or passer at Duke, but he's a dependable player who should continue to improve.
The Wild Cards
#19 - Yam Madar: Madar, an Israeli guard who played for Hapoel Tel Aviv, is one of the youngest players in this draft class as he just turned 19 in December. He's an incredibly hard worker with his relentless full-court pressure on defense, reminiscent of the way Patrick Beverly attacks the ball handler. Madar struggles to create offense off the dribble and is a developing 3-point shooter, and his playmaking is nothing special. However, he has a strong foundation and plenty of room to grow given his age.
#20 - Jahmi'us Ramsey: Texas Tech's Ramsey is still just 19 years old and made a last-minute decision to declare for the draft after an impressive freshman season. He has 6'4" height with a 6'10" wingspan and projects as a player who can guard multiple positions in the NBA. His shooting was hot-and-cold last season, but there's a solid foundation there and he has some untapped upside as a scorer. The key to his future is likely his toughness and persistence as a defensive stopper.