Josh Minott isn’t your typical one-and-done NBA Draft prospect.
The Boca Raton, Florida, native wasn’t heavily recruited out of his small high school (St. Andrew’s). He picked Memphis over less than a dozen realistic options, which included Baylor, Florida State and Stanford. Part of that had to do with not only where he went to school but the fact that he didn’t play on an AAU team with an overly high profile – thanks, in large part, to COVID-19.
During Minott’s transition from high school to college, he began generating a significant buzz. His size (6-8), athleticism and versatility helped him stand out during the 2021 Iverson Classic, which also featured the likes of Chet Holmgren, Paolo Banchero, AJ Griffin, Hunter Sallis and Peyton Watson.
But, as part of the Tigers’ star-studded 2021-22 roster, his 6.6 points per ranked seventh game and his 3.8 rebounding average was fourth. When Memphis was experiencing major injury issues midseason, Minott was invaluable. When the team got healthier, though, it was back to the bench and his role was greatly minimized.
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But that hasn’t done much, if anything, to harm Minott’s NBA Draft stock.
F Josh Minot
Mock draft high: Round 1 (No. 29 overall) to Memphis Grizzlies
Mock draft low: Round 2 (No. 49 overall) to Sacramento Kings
The buzz: The 19-year-old Minott earned the nickname “Baby Giannis” from his Memphis teammates before the Tigers ever played a game last season. His ability as a high-flyer was on full display first at Memphis Madness, where he won the dunk contest, then many times during the season. Minott is almost exclusively projected as a second-round pick. CBS Sports’ mock draft is the only prominent one where it appears in the first round.
What makes the most sense
Today’s NBA largely revolves around the position-less concept. And Minott is a perfect fit for that. He can handle the ball, distribute it, score at all three levels. He plays with a large amount of intensity and has a high IQ. The upside is what’s most intriguing for NBA teams. While not exactly a project, Minott does have work to do. What little he was allowed to do along the perimeter at Memphis didn’t yield huge returns and he struggled at times defensively. Minott would work best in a system that can bring him along slowly enough that he can shore up his weaknesses.
While Minott has been given mostly second-round projects, there are those who consider him to possess some of the most upside of anybody in this year’s draft.
“… the analytics on Minott are really impressive, with a sky-high steal rate of a big forward (3.6 per 100 possessions in AAC play), a positive assist-turnover rate and a 14.4 percent rebound rate despite often paying next to a lottery center,” wrote former Memphis Grizzlies vice president of basketball operations John Hollinger, who ranked Minott as his No. 10 draft-eligible prospect. “History says it would be folly to ignore a player who passes this deftly and gets his hand on these many balls at the defensive end.”
Hall of Famer Larry Brown, who spent last season as an assistant at Memphis, raved about Minott during a recent interview with the New York Post.
“If you draft him, he’ll be like a lottery pick in two years,” Brown said. “He’s young, long, athletic quick. He’s just got to grow and get better. He grew 2 inches when I was there. He’s that high-twitch athlete. So many NBA people have called me about him. A couple of years, you might have a diamond.”
Reach sports writer Jason Munz at email@example.com or on Twitter @munzly.