Stock Risers: 7 Early Season Prospects Raising their NBA Draft Stock

It’s important to note that early-season small sample sizes can be deceiving or lead to wild overreactions that later look silly. I won’t be doing that here.

We’ll be focusing on players that through these first 2-4 games (depending on their schedule) have done the most to help their draft stock. Yes, it’s early. No, I will not be clarifying that throughout the article, so consider this is your warning.

Here are the seven prospects that have stood out to me thus far.

1. Keegan Murray- F, 6’8″ (Iowa)

Murray has been insanely efficient offensively while putting up crazy stocks defensively for the Hawkeyes. He was one of my favorite returners this season, and so far he’s living up to the hype. In just 20(!) minutes per game, he is posting 24.5 PPG, 5.5 RPG, 3.0 BPG, 1.5 SPG, and 1.0 APG through two contests on 81.1 TS%. Obviously, these numbers aren’t sustainable, but he’s someone to keep an eye on throughout the year.

2. Ochai Agbaji- G/W, 6’5″ (Kansas)

When you put up a career-high 29 points on just 17 shots in the season opener against a scrappy Michigan State team, you’re going to draw positive attention your way. Ochai followed up that career performance with another stellar game, putting up 25 points on 16 shots. He’s always been viewed as an NBA prospect ranging from the late-1st/early 2nd round to possibly undrafted, but so far he’s helped solidify his status as a legitimate 1st round guy, even with the age factored in.

3. Kennedy Chandler- PG, 6’0″ (Tennessee)

Talk about a freshman making his presence felt from day one. In a draft class that is extremely thin on point guards, Chandler picked a great time to burst onto the scene. He’s put up 18-5-3 on 68/85/100 shooting splits through his first two contests. While he won’t continue to put up a TS% of 86+, if he can continue to be an efficient scorer and creator for others (and himself) then it’s tough to imagine him not being a 1st round lock.

4. Jabari Smith- F, 6’10” (Auburn)

Smith looks like a top-five pick so far to me, possibly even better. If he sustains this level of play it will be easy to see him discussed as the clear “third guy” in this class behind Paolo Banchero and Chet Holmgren. In his first two collegiate games, he’s posted 15.5 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 3.5 SPG, 2.5 APG, and 1.5 BPG on a 71.1 TS%. He’s left his mark all over the place so far.

5. Colin Castleton- C, 6’11” (Florida)

Castleton may not be a legitimate “draftable” NBA prospect just yet, but he’s certainly put himself on the NBA radar with this early-season surge. The college veteran was a good and productive player last season for the Gators, but to start this year he has been dominant in 2 games. He’s currently averaging 16.5 PPG, 10.5 RPG, 6.0 BPG, and 2.5 APG on 60% shooting from the field. He could play his way into the late 2nd round if he continues to dominate the interior, or at the very least secure himself a two-way contract.

6. Darius Days- F, 6’7″ (LSU)

Days may be a bit on the older side, but it’s hard to ignore how insanely productive he’s been. Unlike most prospects on here, he’s played 3 games (not 2) which means his MASSIVE sample size can be taken more seriously. Really though, he’s put up 24.3 PPG on 85.2 TS% to go with 6 boards a game and has played solid defense per usual. The 64% shooting from three on 8.3 attempts is what stands out a season after he shot 40% on 4.6 attempts from deep.

7. Tevin Brown- SG, 6’5″ (Murray State)

Brown was someone many had high hopes for last season as a potential mid-major sleeper, so it’s no surprise to see him off to a hot start and regain that 2019-20 form of himself. Ja Morant’s former backcourt running mate has been stellar through two contests, posting 25.0 PPG on 52.6% shooting from three-point range on over 9 attempts per game. He’s also stuffed the stats in other categories putting up 6.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, with 1 steal + block per game.

Honorable Mentions 

  • EJ Liddell- F, 6’7″ (Ohio St.)
  • Christian Koloko- C, 7’1″ (Arizona)
  • Keon Ellis- F, 6’6″ (Alabama)
  • Will Richardson- G, 6’4″ (Oregon)
  • Trayce Jackson-Davis- F/C, 6’9″ (Indiana)

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Categories: NBA Draft, NCAAB

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