Who is the best College Player on each NBA Team in the bubble?
The NBA is coming back at the end of July and there’s a ton of former College Stars on those teams. Side Note, this list is for the best College Player, this means LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo aren’t here as those guys didn’t play College Basketball. Also injured players/opted out guys not included.
Washington Wizards: Rui Hachimura, Gonzaga
I opted to go Rui here, he was incredible while at Gonzaga and that was a large factor in him getting drafted in the Top-10 of the NBA Draft. Hachimura wasn’t great early on but he got better as time went on. His junior season he averaged 19.7 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while he ended up being an All-American.
Phoenix Suns: Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin
This was a tough one, there were great choices with DeAndre Ayton, Jevon Carter, and Mikal Bridges but Kaminsky ultimately came on top. The 2015 NCAA Championship run was especially impressive for Frank Kaminsky, Wisconsin lost to Duke but that was after the Badgers stopped Kentucky in their hopes of winning a National Championship. Kaminsky won National Player of the year that season while averaging 18 points, 8.2 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game, while he shot 58% from the field and 41% from deep, he was just on a different level. He also was a 2x All Big-Ten player and he is one of the top players of the last decade. Kaminsky in the 2015 draft was selected by the Hornets and was the 9th Overall Pick. He’s had a decent NBA Career and signed a 2 Year/10M Contract in 2019 with the Suns, he plays a solid bench role but he’s no star.
San Antonio Spurs: Jakob Poeltl, Utah
Poeltl averaged 17 points, 9 rebounds, and 1 block per game during his Sophomore Season before being picked by the Raptors, was traded alongside DeMar DeRozen for Kawhi Leonard. He was the PAC-12 POTY in 2015-16 and shot an awesome 68% from the field. He’s had a decent career as a role player but he hasn’t been near worthy of the 9th pick. He’s 7’1″ but has little to no game outside of the paint, but due to his size and strength he should last a bit in the league, he just plays at the wrong time. In 2015-16, the Utes were a three seed in the NCAA Tournament and they beat Fresno State in the Round of 64, before losing to #11 seed Gonzaga in the Round of 32, led by Poeltl and fellow first-rounder, Delon Wright.
Sacramento Kings: Buddy Hield, Oklahoma
Hield was a 3-Year starter at Oklahoma and in 2015-16 had one of the best seasons I have ever seen. He averaged 25 points per game and he shot 45% from deep and led Oklahoma to a Final Four appearance before losing to the eventual champion in Villanova. He was the National Player of the year in 2015-16, he scored 46 points in a game at Allen Fieldhouse, while they lost 109-106 in 3 overtimes, he had an impressive game, while he made 8 three’s. Hield was the Sixth Pick in 2016 by the Pelicans and was later traded in the DeMarcus Cousins trade. Hield has had a good career, he had 20 points per game and he shot 42% from deep in 2018-19. He’s averaged 18 points per game this season but has fallen out of favor a bit due to his lack of defense.
Portland Trail Blazers C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
I’m sure many thought I was including Carmelo Anthony here, but I chose to go with CJ McCollum. McCollum is and I may have leaned McCollum anyways. McCollum was great Lehigh, he was a two-time Patriot League Player of the year, and led the Mountain Hawks to a historic upset over second-seeded Duke in the NCAA Tournament, McCollum scored 24 in that game. McCollum had 20+ points in 3 of his 4 seasons although his Senior Season was cut short due to injury. He was selected with the 10th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft. He’s had a really incredible past 4 seasons averaging 20+ a-game in all of those seasons and being known as one of the best shooters in the league. He has yet to be an NBA All-Star for whatever reason and is often overshadowed by Damian Lillard, but not here
New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson, Duke
By far the easiest one on this list, Zion was out of this world great in his lone season at Duke, he averaged 22 points, 8 rebounds, 2.1 steals, 2.1 blocks, and 1.8 assists per game, he really did it all. He shot 68% from the field, 33% from deep, and it seemed he was just too big and fast for most teams. He was a human highlight reel all season, and he even had a knee injury when he broke his shoe against North Carolina. He came back and was great still, he led them to the Elite Eight before losing to Michigan State, although they got severely outplayed but both UCF And Virginia Tech in the 2 previous rounds but got bailed out on misses at the rim by Aubrey Dawkins of UCF, Ahmed Hill of Virginia Tech. He was the #1 pick by New Orleans and in his 19 games this season after being injured to start the season, Zion averaged 23 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists per game, while shooting 58% from the field, 42% from deep, he appears to have not missed a beat. He also may be one of the best passing big men, he just has ridiculous court vision.
Orlando Magic: Markelle Fultz, Washington
Fultz was one-and-done in Lorenzo Romar’s final season as the Huskies Head Coach, he had 23 points, 5.7 rebounds, 5.9 assists, and 1.6 steals per game while shooting 50% from the field 41% from three. The only issue was that most of those were empty stats since Washington was terrible, but that season was too good not to include. It was Fultz or Michael Carter-Williams, Aaron Gordon. Fultz has had quite the NBA Career and I don’t mean that in a good-way Fultz hardly played his first season due to a “Shoulder Injury” he forgot how to shoot the ball essentially and developed the Yips something often found in Baseball players in Baseball they double/triple clutch while trying to throw the ball or in some cases. It’s other stuff but when they get the ball out they either air-mail it or just soft tossed back. He has Thoracic Outlet Syndrome which affects your shoulder nerves and he had to totally change how he shot the ball and looked painful while shooting at times. He was later in 2019 traded to the Magic, ending his Philly career in being seen as a bust at a young age. He’s definitely not a bust now playing his first injury-free season he has 12.1 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 5.2 assists per game and 47% from the field, although he still can’t really shot deep only 25%. He’s still only 22 and has a bright future.
Brooklyn Nets: Taurean Prince, Baylor
Prince spent 4 seasons at Baylor and was 2-time All BIG-12 and in his Senior Season, he averaged 15.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game. He shot 46% from the field, 36% from deep. He was a key part of taking the Bears to the 2014-15 tournament as a 3-seed before they lost to 14-Seeded Georgia State on the R.J. Hunter buzzer beater and then in 2015-16 Season they lost to 12-Seeded Yale led by Future Baylor player, Makai Mason. Prince was the 12th pick of the 2016 NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks and he spent 3 seasons there and was decently productive as a scorer, but nothing too over the top mostly a role player. He was dealt to the Nets following the 2019 season and has been pretty bad shooting only 37% from the field, that just won’t get it done, the Nets will likely look to dump him following the season and looks like a waste of a pick.
Memphis Grizzles: Ja Morant, Murray State
Morant is one of the better College Players I have honestly ever seen it was a pleasure to be able to see him play. He had 12 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists per game his freshman season, but Murray St lost to Jevon Carter and West Virginia in the NCAA Tournament. In his sophomore season, he averaged 24.1 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per game. He was incredible and was just on another level. Morant led the Racers to the NCAA Tournament and beat Markus Howard and 5-Seeded Marquette 83-64. In that game, he had 17 points, 11 rebounds, and 16 assists that’s a pretty unreal stat-line, they lost to 4-seeded Florida State In the Round of 32. Morant was the 2nd pick of the draft by the Grizzles. In his Rookie Season, he has averaged 17.6 points, 3.5 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game, during his Rookie season while leading the Grizz to a likely Playoff Berth, and a rookie of the year bid.
Philadelphia 76ers: Al Horford Florida
What a career Horford had in College, he was on the both the 2005-06 and 2006-07 Championship Teams also. He averaged 11 points and 7 rebounds in 05-06, and 13 points and 9.5 rebounds per game in 2006-07, a very good College Player. He was then selected by the Atlanta Hawks 3rd Overall in the 2007 draft. He spent 9 Season in Atlanta and was 4-Time All-Star there. He then went to the Celtics where he made another All-Star team in 2 seasons, following the 2019 season he headed to Philly on a 4-Year contract.
Indiana Pacers: Doug McDermott, Creighton
McDermott is 6th All-Time in Career Points, he spent 3 seasons in the Missouri Valley Conference, then he joined the Big East during the 2013-14 realignment. He was seriously unreal in College his Sophomore and Junior seasons had 22 points per game as a Sophomore and 23 points per game as a Junior and A 2-time MVC Player of the year. McDermott had 26 points per game as a Senior and he shot 44% from three. He was not only Big East Player of the year but Player of the year in the country. They won 3 Tournament games in 3 straight seasons in McDermott’s career and he played under his Father, Gregg McDermott which is always special. McDermott was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 11th pick of the 2014 Draft. He barely played his Rookie Season, his 2nd season he had 9 points per game as a role player for the Bulls and played the same role his 3rd season. He then spent a partial season with the Thunder, then half a season with the Mavericks and Knicks, and then 2 seasons with the Pacers and is having his best season. He has averaged 10 points per game this season but is shooting 44% from three.
Dallas Mavericks: Jalen Brunson, Villanova
It’s hard to find someone who had a better College Career than Jalen Brunson, he won 2 Championships and played a large role during his Freshman Season. In his Junior season, he not only won National Player Of The Year but he won a second National Championship, he averaged 18.9 points and 4.6 assists per game during his junior season. He was the 32nd Pick in 2018 by the Mavs and has been key off the bench is his young NBA Career.
Houston Rockets: Chris Clemons, Campbell
Clemons 3rd leading scorer in College Basketball history, in 2015-16 he averaged 18.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. In 2016-17 he had 25.1 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 2.5 APG. In 2017-18, he averaged 24.9 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game. In 2018-19 his Senior Season he had 30.1 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. I mean that’s just unfair, he was just so good. He went undrafted in the 2019 draft and signed a two-way deal with the Rockets, and has played in 29 games and has averaged 4.9 points per game. He should have a long NBA career, despite his 5’9″ frame, he’s super athletic and can even throw down some nice dunks.
Oklahoma City Thunder: Chris Paul, Wake Forest
Paul spent two seasons as a Demon Deacon, 14.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 5.7 assists, and 2.9 steals per game during his Freshman Season and was an ACC All-Freshman Player, they made the Sweet Sixteen that season. In Paul’s Sophomore and final College season, he averaged 15.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game and was an All-American. The Deacons made the Round of 32 that season and Paul departed after. He was the 4th pick by the New Orleans Hornets in 2005 and he spent 6 seasons there. He’s also spent 6 seasons with the Clippers, 2 with the Rockets and now this is his first with the Thunder. He’s been a 10-time All-Star, 4-time First-Team All-NBA, 7-time First-Team All-Defense, he’s really done it all except win a Championship.
Miami Heat: Kendrick Nunn, Illinois/Oakland
Nunn started at Illinois he played three seasons under John Groce and had 3 pretty solid seasons, his first being a bench role and had 6.2 points per game. The following season he had 11.1 points per game, and 15.5 points per game his Junior Season while shooting 39% from deep, then decided to transfer. It’s not often you see a guy transfer from his hometown school in one of the best conferences, where he was starting and go to Oakland. In his one season for the Golden Grizzlies, he averaged 25.9 points per game on 48% from-the-field and 39% from three. Nunn didn’t have an easy journey to the league, he played a season for the Santa Cruz Warriors of the G-League after being undrafted. Nunn showed out in Summer League and Preseason earning him a roster spot and now has been one of the better rookies in Hoops this season. He is averaging 15.6 points, 2.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game, and is shooting 44% from the field, 36% from three.
Utah Jazz: Nigel Williams-Goss, Washington/Gonzaga
Williams-Goss played two very good seasons for Coach Romar at Washington he averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 4.4 assists per game during his Freshman Season, earning him a spot on the PAC-12 All-Freshman team. in his Sophomore Season, he had 15.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 5.9 assists per game was an All PAC-12 player, but he opted to head to Gonzaga and sat out the 2015-16 season. It a great choice he was incredible he was a second-team All-American and he led the Zags to the National Championship game and where they lost to North Carolina. Following the 2016-17 season Williams-Goss signed with an Agent and left for the NBA, he was selected by the Jazz with the 55th pick, played in summer league then decided to join Partizan Basketball club in Serbia. Then in 2018-19 Williams-Goss signed a 3-year deal to stay overseas and play with Olympiacos in the Euroleague, the team Rick Pitino coached. He played one season for them before using his One Million Dollar buy-out option to join the Jazz. He was mostly a G-League guy this season but he has played for the Jazz in 9 games and is on the Active Roster.
Denver Nuggets: Monte Morris, Iowa State
Morris played 4 Seasons for the Cyclones, and he was great his Junior and Senior season especially, he was on the All-Big 12 team 3 times, but his Senior Season was First Team All-Big 12 player. While his Sophomore and Junior Season were 2nd teams. They made the Tournament all four of Morris’ seasons, they made the Round of 32 three different times and the Sweet 16 once. He was selected with the 51st pick in the 2017 NBA Draft and spent a season in the G-League. Now plays a very pivotal Bench Role for Denver, he has 8.5 points per game and is shooting 37% from deep.
Boston Celtics: Kemba Walker, UConn
CARDIAC KEMBA!!! Kemba spent 3 seasons playing for Jim Calhoun and had a good first 2-Seasons but in his Junior season, he had 23.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 4.5 assists per game and he had the nicest ankle-breaking cross-over I have ever seen in the Big East Tournament game against Pittsburgh. Uconn won the National Championship that season thanks to an incredible performance from Walker. Kemba was a First Team All-American. Walker was the 9th Pick in 2011 by the Charlotte Bobcats (Yes they were still the Bobcats, yes they were terrible). They later became the Hornets again, Walker was a 3-Time All-Star there and he left for the Celtics at the end of the 2018-19 Season and made another All-Star team this season.
Los Angeles Clippers: Joakim Noah, Florida
Noah had quite the prolific career for the Gators, in his Freshman Season he barely played but in his Sophomore Season he had 14.2 points and 7.1 rebounds, he and won a National Championship. Un 2006-07 his Junior Season he averaged 12 points, 8.4 rebounds per game and Florida won another Championship. He opted to head to the NBA alongside, Al Horford following the season and was selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 9th Pick in the 2007 Draft. Noah’s had a solid career he’s a 2-time All-Star, Defensive player of the year, and is most well-known for his great defense. He’s fallen in-and-out of the league and bounced around the past few seasons, probably due to the change in the NBA and Center position, but he’s now with the Clippers.
Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet, Wichita State
VanVleet was a Shocker for 4 Seasons and was very good. He had 5+ Assists in 3 of his 4 seasons and scored in double figures in 3 of 4 also. He was a 2-time Missouri Valley Conference Player Of The Year. They made the Tournament in all of his four Seasons on Campus, made one Sweet Sixteen. During his freshman season, VanVleet was a role player on the Shockers Final Four team. The following season he was huge on a team that went undefeated until they lost to #8 Seeded Kentucky in the Round of 32, that same Kentucky team went on to lose the National Championship game to UConn. He went undrafted in 2016 due to his size and he was doubted by many, but he’s become one of the best stories in the NBA. He was great for the Raptors down-the-stretch in 2018-19 and helped them win a Championship. This season he averaged 17.6 points, 6.6 assists per game while shooting 38% from three.
Los Angeles Lakers: Anthony Davis, Kentucky
Davis was one-and-done but he was incredible in his one season. He had 14 points, 10 rebounds, and 4.7 blocks per game. He was the National Player of the year, the most impressive thing though is that he blocked nearly 5 shots per game, that’s incredible that’s not something we’ve ever seen before, good luck scoring on AD. They went on to win the National Championship, going 38-2 during the season. Davis was selected with the 1st pick in the 2012 draft by the New Orleans Hornets. He was a six-time All-Star in New Orleans and they never really had consistent success, and wanted out during the 2018-19 season and was dealt after the season to the Lakers. He’s probably a top-7 player in the sport and he has carved out a great career and could finally get a ring this season.
Milwaukee Bucks: Frank Mason III, Kansas
Mason spent 4 seasons playing for the Jayhawks and had quite a great career. He was an All-Big 12 guy in his Sophomore and Junior seasons. In his Senior season though, he averaged 20 points and 5 assists per game and he won National Player of the year with the Jayhawks. He was the 34th pick in 2017 by the Sacramento Kong’s but never panned out and they moved on following the 2018-19 season, the Bucks signed him to a Two-Way-Contract. In 2019-20 he was the G-League MVP and really gave himself a shot to be good at this level, now he’ll have a shot in these final 8 games to prove himself for the Bucks.