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21. Boston Celtics: Tyler Herro (Kentucky, SG, Freshman)
Before Kentucky’s loss at Tennessee on Saturday, Herro had sunk 51.4 percent of his threes over the previous eight games. And though he’s been erratic since opening night, the eye test fully approves Herro’s shot-making ability off spot-ups and movement. Teams in the 20s could start to value his shooting even if it’s the only aspect of his game that carries over.
22. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Rockets): Keldon Johnson (Kentucky, SG/SF, Freshman)
Johnson has hit a wall that’s led to poor shooting and has exposed his lack of off-the-dribble creativity. He’s still a first-round prospect because of his tools, slashing, impressive floater game and capable shot-making.
23. Oklahoma City Thunder: Talen Horton-Tucker (Iowa State, SG/SF, Freshman)
The positives outweigh the negatives with Horton-Tucker, who won’t turn 19 years old until November. His shooting is erratic, and his lack of explosion hinders his finishing ability inside the arc. But the 6’4″, 233-pounder’s shot-creation potential, shot-making and defensive quickness have popped throughout the season. The Thunder would take Horton-Tucker for what he could look like three years from now.
24. Portland Trail Blazers: Tre Jones (Duke, PG, Freshman)
Jones could take pressure off Damian Lillard. The Blazers won’t need him to score; instead, they could value his passing IQ and defense on opposing ball-handlers. It’s safe to assume anyone who takes Jones outside the lottery would get a steal if he ever improves as a shooter (24.2 percent on threes).
25. Philadelphia 76ers: Ty Jerome (Virginia, SG, Junior)
Jerome’s 40.9 percent three-point shooting and 5.0 assists to 1.7 turnovers per game point to role-player potential. He ranks in the 98th percentile on spot-ups. For the Sixers, he’d replace Landry Shamet, whom the team just traded and is now thriving with the Los Angeles Clippers.
26. Indiana Pacers: Nassir Little (North Carolina, SF/PF, Freshman)
Little’s selling point stems from his 6’6″, 220-pound size and length plus the room he has to improve skillwise. Long-term potential fueled by tools, athleticism and face-up scoring will keep Little in the first-round mix. But he’s running out of time to build back his stock. His skill level and feel for the game are mediocre.
27. Brooklyn Nets (via Nuggets): Isaiah Roby (Nebraska, PF/C, Junior)
Roby is a project who needs to strengthen his upper body and skill level. The Nets could value fit over his production at Nebraska. For an athletic, 230-pound big, his 20 three-pointers and 1.7 blocks and 1.4 steals per game are appealing.
28. Golden State Warriors: Bruno Fernando (Maryland, C, Sophomore)
Fernando stands out for his finishing power around the basket, but he’s also improved as a passer and defender. That should help him offer enough at both ends to stick in the league even without any scoring versatility or shooting range. Montrezl Harrell and Bam Adebayo would represent the hopeful comparisons.
29. San Antonio Spurs (via Raptors): Grant Williams (Tennessee, PF, Junior)
At No. 29, the Spurs could look past Williams’ lack of height (6’7″) and athleticism. He compensates with skill and feel as a post scorer, passer and high-IQ defender. Williams had an assuring 24-point performance (2-for-4 on threes) against Kentucky on Saturday that should help solidify his status as a first-round prospect.
30. Milwaukee Bucks: Matisse Thybulle (Washington, SF, Senior)
Thybulle has reached first-round levels of interest for being the only player in at least 27 years to average a three-pointer, three steals and two blocks per game. If he can shoot well enough in workouts, he should convince a team to overlook his scoring limitations.