PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Jay Bilas is highly regarded by many as the preeminent college basketball and NBA Draft analysts there is. On Monday, Bilas released his 2015 top 40 NBA Draft prospects.READ MORE: Sharon Hill Police Officers Charged With Manslaughter In Fatal Shooting Of 8-Year-Old Fanta Bility
Bilas, a four-year starter at Duke University from 1982-1986, surprisingly ranked Duke’s Jahlil Okafor No. 1 over fellow big man Karl-Anthony Towns. However, Bilas called his third ranked player, Ohio State combo guard D’Angelo Russell, “the best pure basketball player in the draft.”
The Philadelphia 76ers own the third overall pick and fans are clamoring for Russell, a 6-foot, 5-inch smooth shooting left-hander who cancelled his workout with the Sixers last week after getting “real sick.”READ MORE: Flyers Drop 9th Straight Game After Blowing Late Third-Period Lead To Islanders
“Lefty with an outstanding handle and a passing savant who finds open teammates,” Bilas wrote. “Great feel, terrific range and knows how to play. Good guard rebounder.”
As for his downside? Bilas says Russell can improve on the defensive end and while he is a better athlete “than he gets credit for,” Bilas admits Russell is not an “elite” athlete.
The other guard often discussed and debated as a potential future Sixer, is Emmanuel Mudiay, Bilas’ fourth ranked prospect. Mudiay, 19, played in China last year and is an explosive athlete with only one major weakness—his shot. However, Bilas says it can improve.
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“Must improve shooting technique and consistency, but he can be a good shooter,” Bilas wrote of Mudiay’s downside. “His shot is not broken, and has already improved since high school.”