5 NBA Draft prospects rising the board


The Washington Wizards hold the 15th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. Here is a look at the five players who have improved their stock the most during this year's predraft process with analysis from NBC Sports Washington's Chase Hughes, Tyler Byrum and Mike DePrisco.

1. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State

Age: 19 Height: 6-9 Weight: 225 Wingspan: 7-2

2020/21 stats: 24 G, 10.3 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 4.1 apg, 1.5 spg, 0.5 bpg, 50.3 FG% (4.1/8.1), 27.5 3PT% (0.5/1.7), 62.1 FT%

Player comparison: Draymond Green

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 5th, Sports Illustrated 6th, Ringer 6th, NBADraft.net 6th, Bleacher Report 7th

NBA Mock Draft 8.0: Trades edition, including the Wizards dealing No. 15

Analysis: Barnes is already a good, versatile defender and should be able to contribute at that end of the floor right away. He has great size and length at 6-9 with a 7-2 wingspan, and he certainly knows how to use it. Barnes' combination of natural instincts and elite physical tools should give him a high floor as a defender with the potential to become a perennial All-Defense type of player.  - DePrisco


2. James Bouknight, G, Connecticut


Age: 20 Height: 6-5 Weight: 190 Wingspan: 6-8

2020/21 stats: 15 G, 18.7 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 1.8 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.3 bpg, 44.7 FG% (6.5/14.6), 29.3 3PT% (1.5/4.0), 77.8 FT%

Player comparison: Derrick White, Jordan Clarkson

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 10th, Sports Illustrated 8th, Ringer 19th, NBADraft.net 7th, Bleacher Report 13th

Analysis: Of all the prospects not projected to go in the top ten, James Bouknight might provide the most explosive playmaking ability of the rest of the class. A quick first step and attacking mentality makes the versatile combo guard a menace on the court. He hunts for his shot and has no lack of confidence in any area of the court. Last year he posted nearly 19 points per game with a per-40 minutes average of 23.7 ppg. - Byrum


3. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor

Age: 22 Height: 6-1 Weight: 202 Wingspan: 6-4

2020/21 stats: 30 G, 11.2 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 5.5 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.4 bpg, 51.1 FG% (5.3/10.3), 44.7 3PT% (2.1/4.7), 64.1 FT%

Player comparison: Marcus Smart, Lu Dort

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 7th, Sports Illustrated 7th, Ringer 7th, NBADraft.net 13th, Bleacher Report 9th

Analysis: In addition to being a lockdown defender, Mitchell shoots very well from three-point range. Mitchell made 44.7% of his threes and with volume, at 4.7 attempts per game. Those numbers made a big jump from the year before, as he was previously not much of a threat from beyond the arc. Mitchell clearly put in a lot of hard work to develop that skill before leaving college. He showed this past season he can not only make threes off catch-and-shoot plays, but also off the dribble, sometimes with defenders right on him. - Hughes


4. Chris Duarte, G, Oregon Age: 24 Height: 6-6 Weight: 190 Wingspan: 6-7

2020/21 stats: 26 G, 34.1 mpg, 17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg, 2.7 apg, 1.9 spg, 0.8 bpg, 53.2 FG% (6.2/11.6), 42.4 3PT% (2.3/5.5), 81.0 FT%

Player comparison: Gary Trent Jr.

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 23rd, Sports Illustrated 17th, Ringer 22nd, NBADraft.net 15th, Bleacher Report 29th


Analysis: Duarte is one of the best shooters in this draft and he's comfortable getting his shot off in a multitude of ways. He can hit triples spotting up, off pick-and-rolls and coming around screens. Duarte shot over 40% from three on 5.5 three-point attempts per game while hitting 81% from the free-throw line. Shooting is the premium skill in the NBA and Duarte should be able to provide plenty of it to his next team. The Oregon wing isn't just a shooter, however. Duarte is one of the more polished offensive prospects in this class. - DePrisco


5. Trey Murphy III, F, Virginia Age: 21 Height: 6-9 Weight: 206 Wingspan: 7-0

2020/21 stats: 25 G, 11.3 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 1.2 apg, 0.8 spg, 0.4 bpg, 50.3 FG% (3.8/7.6), 43.3 3PT% (2.1/4.8), 92.7 FT%

Player comparison: Jae Crowder, Danny Green

Projections: NBC Sports Washington 25th, Sports Illustrated 31st, Ringer N/A, NBADraft.net 16th, Bleacher Report 35th

Analysis: Much of Murphy's rise into a potential first-round prospect comes from his use of the transfer portal. The first two years of his career, Murphy played for Rice as a notable contributor. His sophomore year he led the Owls with 13.7 points before making the jump to Virginia. Already a potent scorer (shooting 43.3% from three), Murphy honed in on his defensive abilities at Virginia. - Byrum