Jackson 5: NBA set to go back to big man mode during upcoming draft

By Aaron Jackson,

The NBA is about to swing back to the big man in this upcoming draft. Now, that doesn’t mean that the plodding post up game is going to be making a comeback, but size matters, and this year’s big men are the next evolution of the game. No longer do you have to be able to play with your back to the basket if you’re close to or over 7-feet tall. That certainly shows in this year’s NBA draft, with a ton of multi-talented big men at the top. Let’s take a look at my expected top-5 ahead of next Thursday’s big day.


  1. Deandre Ayton, Arizona: Unlike the NFL draft, there’s rarely a surprise at the top of the NBA draft. Ayton is the guy, and probably has been for a while. He’s got the size of Shaq but can hit 3’s as well. There are some concerns about his work ethic, and his Wildcats were upset as a 4-seed in the first round of the NCAA tournament, but the talent is undeniable. In fact, he worked out for the Phoenix Suns, and after the workout said “I’m going number one” and cancelled workouts with every other team.

  2. Luka Doncic, Slovenia: This is where things get interesting. The Euroleague MVP has the best resume of the top picks in this years draft, but foreign players have been hit or miss this high in the draft over the years. Listed as a point guard, Doncic is 6’8”, so certainly size is not an issue. He’s a great ball handler, can stretch the floor and is said to be a great leader for a 19-year-old. The Kings may find him too hard to pass up.

  3. Marvin Bagley, Duke: The freshman was good, not great in his first year with the Blue Devils, but showed flashes of being a better NBA player than a college one. At 6’11” he’s a matchup nightmare as his game resembles more of a guard than a forward. Atlanta needs everything right now, so drafting for need certainly isn’t a concern. The Hawks will likely hope that taking unproven Duke players #3 overall is a continued recipe for success after the Boston Celtics struck gold with Jayson Tatum.

  4. Jaren Jackson, Michigan State: Memphis has always been a team built on grit and hard work, not star power. Enter Jaren Jackson, a Freshman forward from Michigan State. He’s already 6’11” and 230, but scouts actually expect him to keep growing. He’s already regarded as an elite defender, and while Marc Gasol is still their center, he has a player option after next year and likely will bolt for greener pastures. Jackson will have time to learn how to play offense with Gasol for a year before taking over in 2020.

  5. Mo Bamba, Texas: Solari says gross every time someone mentions this kid’s name, but I think he’s crazy. He’s a bit on the skinny side at 7’1” and 225, but has been adding weight like a madman to try and bulk up. He’s already considered an elite defender and has a wingspan of 7’10”, which will be the longest in the league when he arrives. He’s also working with Drew Hanlen, widely regarded as the best shooting coach in the country,  and at recent workouts was said to hit 80% of his three pointers. He’s especially deadly in the corners. Reports are the Celtics are enamored with him, and I can see why. If he drops to 5 though there’s no way the Dallas Mavericks don’t take him here after his time as a Longhorn.

Aaron Jackson (@AaronRJackson on Twitter) is a co-host on The Drive, weekdays 4pm to 6pm on 92.9fm The Ticket and streaming live at DriveShowMaine.com. Follow us on Twitter, @DriveShowMaine and “Like Us” on Facebook, Drive Show Maine.