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NBA Draft 2022 preview: Comparing ACC prospects to NBA Players part I

With less than two weeks until the 2022 NBA Draft we paint a picture of how ACC prospects compare to NBA players past and present.

NCAA Basketball: ACC Conference Tournament-Duke vs Syracuse Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

While Syracuse Orange fans aren’t likely to see one of their players selected in the 2022 NBA Draft we wanted to match them and other ACC prospects to current NBA players. We’re going to split this into two parts. Let’s get to it....

Syracuse

Cole Swider, 6’9” 225 lbs Forward, 23 years old

Pro Comparison: Trey Lyles

Like Trey Lyles, Cole Swider is an undersized stretch four who isn’t going to jump over you or blow by you but he still gets from point A to point B nonetheless. Although a 41 percent three point shooter during the season, his performances were wildly inconsistent throughout the season. He’s also not known as a plus defender but not exactly a liability either. Overall, Swider has a good foundation for his game while learning under two legendary coaches in Jay Wright at Villanova and Jim Boeheim at Syracuse but how far will he’ll be able to take that will depend on the culture of the organization he ends up in.

Duke

Paolo Banchero, 6’10” 250 lbs Forward, 19 years old

Pro Comparison: Blake Griffin/Michael Beasley

Like Blake Griffin, Banchero is a fluid athlete who is well coordinated for his size and has demonstrated the ability to be a playmaker in both the half court and in transition. As far as the Michael Beasley comparison, scoring comes naturally to Banchero as it does for Beasley. At the same stage of their careers, they both had an advanced scoring repertoire despite their youth. Both are capable of scoring from the post, while facing up, as well as stretching the defense out to the perimeter. One area for improvement will be his consistency as a perimeter shooter as well as his effort on defense. If Banchero puts his mind to it, he has the potential to be a star in the NBA.

A.J. Griffin, 6’6” 222 lbs Forward, 18 years old

Pro Comparison: Jimmy Butler/Patrick Williams

As far as physical profile and movements are concerned, A.J. Griffin is eerily similar to Jimmy Butler. They’re also both more athletic than they demonstrate at most times. Like Patrick Williams, Griffin’s skill set is of a 3 and D wing but they’re both raw and whichever team drafts him is banking on his upside more than his actual production. However, Griffin’s youth is the biggest factor that works in his favor. On draft night, he’ll still be 18 years old and won’t turn 19 until August 25th.

NBA: Draft Combine David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Florida State

John Butler, 7’1” 174 lbs Forward, 19 years old

Pro Comparison: Chris Boucher

Similar to Chris Boucher, John Butler is a long, lanky forward who shows potential as a 3 and D stretch four. The word “potential” is going to be a major theme throughout Butler’s career. Although he showed flashes as a shooter and rim protector at Florida State, he was hardly noticeable on the court at times despite his physical tools. Butler could have used another year at Florida State and perhaps turned himself into a first round pick next year. Whichever team decides to draft will is taking a serious gamble but one that could pay off with the proper coaching and player development.

North Carolina

Brady Manek, 6’9” 231 lbs Forward, 23 years old

Pro Comparison: Ryan Anderson

Brady Manek, who was once a teammate of Trae Young at Oklahoma, is the only starter that won’t be back with the runners up of the National Championship Game. Right away, Manek already has a defined role in the NBA. He’s not known as a great defender or rebounder but is a knock down shooter from the perimeter similar to Ryan Anderson, a former winner of the Most Improved Player award (2012). Because of his skillset and maturity, Manek will be highly coveted in the second round, or as an undrafted free agent.

Wake Forest

Alondes Williams, 6’5 209 lbs Guard, 22 years old

Pro Comparison: DeAndre Bembry

Similar to DeAndre Bembry at St. Josephs, Alondes Williams has an unorthodox yet versatile skill set. Williams, who led the ACC in assists per game (5.2), has the ability to find his teammates in both the half court and in transition. He was also second behind Buddy Boeheim in points per game in the ACC. Williams plays a rugged, smashmouth brand of basketball on his drives to the basket as well as on the defensive end. One thing he must improve is his perimeter shooting. He only shot 28 percent from behind the arc this past season and he likely won’t have the same ball handling responsibilities in the NBA. He’ll need to become a more consistent outside shooter and learn to play without the ball if he wants to have a long career.

NC State

Dereon Seabron, 6’6” 182 lbs Forward, 22 years old

Pro Comparison: Herbert Jones

Like Herbert Jones, Dereon Seabron is a wiry, athletic wing with versatility on both ends of the floor. Don’t be fooled by his 182 pound frame, Seabron plays bigger than his size which is evident in his rebounding numbers (8.2 rebounds per game). He’s also shown the ability to get his teammates involved averaging 3.2 assists per game. However, like Jones, the area he must improve is his perimeter shooting as well as continuing to add strength to his frame.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament Midwest Regional - Miami vs Kansas Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

Miami

Kameron McGusty, 6’5” 190 lbs Guard, 24 years old

Pro Comparison: MarShon Brooks

Like MarShon Brooks, Kameron McGusty is a wiry guard who is a streaky shooter but can create his own shot off the dribble. Whenever his backcourt teammates Charlie Moore or Isaiah Wong couldn’t get their offense going, he was capable of taking out his do- it-yourself kit. If not for his age, McGusty would have higher value in the draft. McGusty is 24 years old and will turn 25 in September.

What are some current NBA players these prospects remind you of? Let us know in the comments and be sure to come back tomorrow for part two..