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NBA Draft prospect rankings: Evaluating the top players in the Pac-12 ahead of 2019-2020 season

The Pac-12 has developed a bad reputation of late as the league has sent only six teams to the NCAA Tournament the last two seasons. It hasn’t been able to boast a national champion this century. But talent production? Talent production has never been a problem for the league — particularly for its flagship programs. And there won’t be this year, either, because as Gary Parrish noted in our Pac-12 preview, four of the best 11 recruiting classes in the country this year belong to Pac-12 institutions, many of which include one-and-done caliber talent.

Even with UCLA’s talent pool down overall after losing several to the NBA amidst a coaching change, Arizona, Washington, Oregon, USC and Colorado — yes, Colorado! — have the talent to potentially produce multiple first-round picks in the 2020 NBA Draft. So from the desert to the northwest coast to the mountains of Colorado, let’s take a look at the best of the loaded field of talent this year.

1. Nico Mannion, Arizona

Measurables: 6-foot-3, 190 pounds
Position: Point guard
Draft projection: Lottery pick

What to know: The highest-rated Arizona signee since DeAndre Ayton is primed to have an equally indelible impact from day one. With returning point guard Brandon Williams already lost for the season, Mannion steps into the starting role and will be given the keys to the kingdom. He’s confident, crafty, and … did I say confident? Because he’s definitely confident. He knows he’s good, and he plays with a competitive edge that will thrust him into must-watch territory all season.

2. Jaden McDaniels, Washington

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 200 pounds
Position: Forward
Draft projection: Lottery pick

What to know: Jaden McDaniels is following in the footsteps of older brother Jalen McDaniels, a second-round draft pick in 2019, only with a more promising profile. He’s long, lean and versatile with the potential to play either forward spot. On a Washington team that also features another freshman forward in Isaiah Stewart, who is more suited to play in the post, McDaniels could showcase himself to NBA scouts this season what position he’ll likely be suited for at the next level: small forward.

3. Josh Green, Arizona

Measurables: 6-foot-6, 210 pounds
Position: Small forward
Draft projection: First round

What to know: Australian native Josh Green is every bit as intriguing as Wildcats teammate Mannion. He’s got perfect size for his position and the mentality to be a really effective slasher at the next level. If his shot can continue on an upward trajectory, he has a ton of upside as a multi-positional guard/wing with playmaking abilities at his disposal, too. How he’s used in the Wildcats’ system alongside Mannion should be really fascinating.

4. Isaiah Stewart, Washington

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 240 pounds
Position: Power forward
Draft projection: First round

What to know: Years ago, we’d be tabbing Stewart a tweener. Now it’s perhaps his most intriguing asset. At 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds, he moves like a small forward who just chugged a Red Bull, with constant energy that allows him to overcome any height disadvantage. As 247Sports’ Brian Snow said here, which I agree with, his game compares favorably to former Louisville standout and current Clippers star Montrezl Harrell.

5.  CJ Walker, Oregon

Measurables: 6-foot-8, 200 pounds
Position: Small forward
Draft projection: Second round/undrafted

What to know: The list of 6-foot-8 basketball players with the size and skill of CJ Walker is very, very small. He can lead the fast break, he can jump out of the gym and he can stretch his arms from baseline to baseline (don’t fact check that; it’s true). He needs to put on weight to reach his ceiling, but he’s got the frame to grow in to a long, multi-positional playmaker at the next level.

6. Isaiah Mobley, USC

Measurables: 6-foot-9, 220 pounds
Position: Power forward
Draft projection: Second round/undrafted

What to know: Stretch fours at the college level don’t last long because the demand for them at the NBA level is so great. That’s why Isaiah Mobley may not be long for the Trojans. He’s a long, fluid athlete who can put the ball on the floor and attack in addition to a pretty strong outside game. Here’s what 247Sports’ Josh Gershon said when scouting him:

Mobley is an extremely skilled four man with long arms and a high motor. He’s got a terrific feel and can play facing up or with his back to the basket. Mobley has impressive ball skills for the position and can easily take smaller defenders off the dribble, while he’s also a competent shooter. Has range to three with jumper, can attack from high post and has impressive footwork/post up ability. Finishes well with both hands. Rebounds in and outside of area. Blocks shots and passes well for position. NBA upside is uncertain due to game becoming smaller but his trajectory suggests he’ll get there and carve out a role.

7. N’Faly Dante, Oregon

Measurables: 6-foot-11, 230 pounds
Position: Center
Draft projection: Second round/undrafted

What to know: With long, wiry arms, N’Faly Dante’s rebound radius is near-limitless. At Oregon, he’ll be a monster on the glass. How good he’ll be in the NBA is dependent upon how he puts together some of his raw skills, though, particularly on offense. I’m higher on him than some because I think his ball-handling and passing project as strengths as he develops. A low-floor player who will put up consistent numbers but may not wow you with athleticism.

8. Tyler Bey, Colorado

Measurables: 6-foot-7, 218 pounds
Position: Forward
Draft projection: Second round/undrafted

What to know: Bey’s breakout came last season as a sophomore when he averaged 13.6 points per game, which led Colorado. On his side in a bid to make the NBA is elite athleticism and a strong, stout frame. He’ll need to prove he’s more than just a slasher with defensive versatility, and in particular, he’ll need to show he’s willing to take (and can make) shots from beyond the 3-point line. He shot just 22.7 percent from 3 last season on only 22 attempts.

Honorable mentions: C.J. Elleby, Washington State; Both Gach, Utah; Quade Green, Washington; Onyeka Okongwu, USC; McKinley Wright, Colorado; Daejon Davis, Stanford; Tres Tinkle, Oregon State