NBA Draft: How many players from non-NCAA teams will be picked in the top 10?
The next batch of basketball stars will take part in the 2021 NBA Draft on July 29, and as with most things related to sports, there is a chance to make some money wagering on the event! While many will be placing bets on which player is selected first, one interesting prop bet available at TwinSpires Sports deals with how many non-collegiate players will be among the first 10 selections.
Players from non-NCAA teams to be selected in the top 10
Let’s break down which players could be drafted from the G League Ignite and from international teams, and decide how you should wager.
Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga are top-10 locks
Nearly every mock draft has Jalen Green being taken second overall, behind consensus top-pick Cade Cunningham of Oklahoma State. The G League Ignite product is expected to be taken by the Houston Rockets after performing very well in the G League’s bubble season against seasoned pros. Pro scouts are raving about his explosive athleticism, and with the Rockets likely heading towards a rebuild, they will be looking to add a guard who can take over a game.
Meanwhile, wing Jonathan Kuminga is a consensus top 10 pick in every mock draft, and a few even have him cracking the top five. While he does not seem to have any one particular skill that jumps off the page, Kuminga is viewed as being a player whose athleticism gives teams something to work with as they develop him. With his physique and high work ethic, many teams view him as having the biggest upside of any player in the draft.
Could Josh Giddey or Alperen Sengun crash the party?
After those two, there is a drop-off to the next two players to come from outside the college ranks, both of whom come from overseas. Josh Giddey currently plays in the Australian A-League, and at 6’8” scouts are raving about his ball-handling and playmaking ability. He can play any position from point guard to small forward, but he needs serious work with his shooting and defense.
Both of those are things you can teach, however, while Giddey’s size and passing ability are NBA-ready. Despite most mock drafts having him going around the 13-15 range, The Ringer has him at No. 11 on their big board, and Yahoo has him going 10th overall to the Pelicans, should they trade Lonzo Ball.
Meanwhile, Alperen Sengun of Besiktas in the Turkish league is going anywhere from 15th to 29th depending on which mock draft you look at. The Ringer has him ranked 10th on their big board, but there are questions about how his skill set will translate to the current NBA. He is an interior player with a big frame and executes exceptionally well on the pick-and-roll, and he is dominating the Turkish Super League at the moment. However, he struggles to defend away from the basket, and with many teams moving away from a post-up big he would be highly unlikely to be targeted with a top 10 selection.
Expect plenty of drama on draft night
There is significant juice on the Under 2.5 players side of this prop, and with good reason. Sengun is an absolute longshot at this point, and it would be surprising to me to see him go sooner than 15th overall. However, the Pelicans are the one team that could throw a wrench into things. New Orleans has multiple needs, and Corey Kispert is the one player most draft experts believe will be taken with the 10th overall pick, as shooting is one of the biggest areas in which they need to improve.
Much of their pick will depend on their plans for Ball. If you trade him away, then Davion Mitchell would most likely be their preferred choice to take over the backcourt. That said, Mitchell’s stock has risen so much that he could go well before the Pelicans turn in their selection. This would make Giddey an intriguing selection for them, but he would not help with their shooting woes one bit.
Given how many teams around the latter part of the top 10 have needs inside or need to pick up a shooting threat, it is unlikely to me that Giddey hears his name called before the final few picks of the lottery. Take the Under 2.5, and enjoy watching the drama unfold on draft night.