Roundtable: We pick our squads

In our weekly roundtable session, Scout.com analysts Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon, Brian Snow and Rob Harrington select six players, regardless of class, to build a team.

On most days here at Scout, we discuss prospects' long-term ability. Our mission is to project the nation's best players for what they will be, not necessarily what they are today.

But in this roundtable discussion, the conversation turns to what's happening right now. Each of our four national recruiting analysts selected five players of their choice, in any class, along with a sixth man who ranks outside the national top 50 prospects. In our hypothetical matchups, this game takes place tonight, not at some distant point in the future.

The Evan Daniels'

At the point guard spot I'll go with Tyus Jones. I think he's the best pure set up man in high school basketball and my lineup is full of guys who can score the ball. I can trust that he'll run the team and look to get guys involved. I think Emmanuel Mudiay has a higher upside, but Jones is my pick in a game right now.

Evan's Team
PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Isaiah Whitehad
SF: Stanley Johnson
PF: Trey Lyles
C: Jahlil Okafor
6th Man: Robert Johnson

At the shooting guard spot I chose Isaiah Whitehead because I think he's the best pure scorer in the 2014 class. He's skilled enough to be a secondary handler, but his scoring package is elite, as he can create his own shots if needed and is a very good shooter from both mid-range and three. Malik Newman and Rashad Vaughn were also under consideration, but I went with Whitehead because of the consistency he showed in the summer and I think his jump shot has turned into a major weapon.

While I think a guy like Kelly Oubre has a higher upside than Stanley Johnson, I think Johnson is the ultimate winner. He's an elite intangible guy, as colleague Josh Gershon once told me. Johnson plays hard on both ends, makes toughness plays, rebounds, plus is skilled and has developed a perimeter jump shot. He's not necessarily the best at creating his own offense, but with a guy like Tyus Jones running the show he doesn't necessarily need to be. Johnson is an energetic guy and a winner. He's a guy I want on my team.

At the power forward position I'm taking Trey Lyles. He's the most college ready of the guys available and also is a very good scorer both facing the rim and with his back to the basket. With Lyles and the center I'm going to choose (Jahlil Okafor), scoring in the post woun't be an issue.

Okafor is my choice at the center spot. At this stage in the game, Okafor is the most ready to step on the floor and be productive on both ends. Sure, he's not as defensively dominant as a guy like Myles Turner, but Okafor is a terrific scorer on the block, plus he has a mid-range jump shot. He's also a very good rebounder that would lock down the boards.

My take for my 6th man is Robert Johnson. I like him because of the versatility he brings to the guard spot. He certainly categorizes as a combination guard. He's one of the best shooters in the class and has a good skill set. I could use him as a buck lead guard, but also could play him off the ball when I need to have another shooter on the floor.

The Josh Gershons'

My point guard will be Tyus Jones, who is the most reliable player at that position in high school basketball. He's a true point guard who, for whatever he gives up physically, at this level more than makes up for it with his basketball IQ, vision, handle and shooting. I'm going with a big frontcourt that needs an unselfish point guard to create for them, and Jones is the perfect guy for the team.
Josh's Team
PG: Tyus Jones
Wing: Justise Winslow
Wing: Stanley Johnson
Post: Cliff Alexander
Post: Jahlil Okafor
6th Man: James Blackmon

At the two wing spots I'm going with Justise Winslow and Stanley Johnson, who are both more small forwards than anything, but on defense I'm having Winslow guard the other team's shooting guard, while Johnson guards the three. On offense, while many wing positions are similar, Johnson can be more of a two and Winslow can be the versatile three.

I haven't seen two wings in the country with the chemistry of Winslow and Johnson, who are relentless competitors, defenders, rebounders, slashers and improving shooters. One of them helps you win a championship game, two of them and you've got to love your chances. Winslow's defensive versatility will help out anywhere another team is causing me a problem, while Johnson's scoring ability will give my team the perimeter offense it needs. These two on the same perimeter is a matchup nightmare for anyone else.

In the frontcourt I'm going with Mac Irvin Fire's duo of Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander, who made up one of the best high school frontcourts I've seen in a long time. You've got one tremendously skilled big man in Okafor, whose footwork, hands, skill and size make him at times unstoppable at the high school level, and a mean, physical, athletic, tough post in Alexander, who complements Okafor perfectly. If you double either of them in the post, you have the other one wide open and if you try to defend either of them one on one, they're gonna score a high percentage of the time. It's really an unfair post duo at the high school level.

If there are two possible problems with this team, it's perimeter shooting and the mismatch a very good face-up four could provide one of the posts on defense. That's where my 6th man comes in. I'm going with James Blackmon, who is one of the nation's top shooters, off the bench. If my team is struggling shooting, Blackmon immediately answers that, and I can always take out a post for Blackmon, keep Johnson at the three and have Winslow guard the opposing four. That's something he's plenty capable of doing, even against an elite stretch forward.

I think this team gives me the toughest, most competitive, athletic and versatile group in high school basketball, with an option on the bench that will allow me to fix any problems caused by mismatches.

But in reality, this is a lineup that is going to be so good defensively that it will dictate tempo and so big, versatile, tough and athletic on offense, I would put it up against anyone.

The Brian Snows'

At point guard I am taking Tyus Jones because he is the smartest player in the country and someone who makes others better. There might be some point guards who could be better, but there is no point guard that I believe will be better or is better. Jones can shoot, is great off of ball screens and can really pass as well. Also Jones just has the "it" and basketball IQ to make things happen. I really think this is the point guard who leads a team to a title.
Brian's Team
PG: Tyus Jones
SG: Malik Newman
SF: Justise Winslow
PF: Trey Lyles
C: Jahlil Okafor
6th Man: Jae'sean Tate

At shooting guard the pick is Newman. There is no better pure scorer in the country. Despite being younger than some others on the team, he competes at the highest level and has dominated every step of the way. A good athlete with a lightning first step, and the ability to score from anywhere on the court. Newman is as good as any in the 2014 class. He has the special ability to score more effectively than any of them and is the player to take here.

Winslow isn't the highest upside guy, and there are some limitations on the offensive end, but right now no one can really match him at the small forward position besides Stanley Johnson. Still, Winslow is a bit more of a well-rounded guy who can pass, dribble, rebound and defend at an elite level for the position. Also, Winslow is a winner and someone who led his team in the EYBL. He isn't the elite athlete or dynamic scorer, but he does everything to help a team win.

This is the toughest position to go with and I debated between Lyles and Ivan Rabb, but the pick was Lyles. He is skilled and can stretch the defense but is still at his best as a rebounder and on the low block scoring. Lyles is an okay athlete and doesn't finish great over length, but that is mitigated by his physical strength and motor right now. Also, his ability to pick and pop makes him tough to deal with at the high school level, so he got the nod here.

This is easy: Okafor is clearly the only option. He is a grown man on the low block. Okafor has elite hands, is a solid athlete, is very strong and as refined a post player as there is. Quite honestly, there isn't really an argument to take anybody else. Okafor will be the post anchor of any team he is on now and in the future.

Off the bench I chose Jae'Sean Tate. Virtually no player in the EYBL was more productive, and Tate is an absolute animal. He can guard almost anywhere on the floor and is an elite athlete. Tate's upside is limited but that doesn't matter at all for this exercise, where his toughness and athleticism will mask some of the lack of skill he possesses.

The Rob Harringtons'

As a rule, I prefer teams with multiple scorers and amplified defensive versatility, which is how I ended up with three wings on my squad.

Rob's Team
PG: Tyus Jones
Wing: Malik Newman
Wing: Kelly Oubre
Wing: Stanley Johnson
Post: Jahlil Okafor
6th Man: James Blackmon

I also like having the best player on the floor, so I'm building my team around Okafor. The strategy is to surround him with four perimeter players, creating maximum space for him operate and kick out to shooters when double-teamed. He's the most imposing physical presence in high school basketball, and the goal will be to create as many touches for him as possible. Cliff Alexander would be my second choice and I'd utilize him in a similar capacity.

The natural guy to manage the Okafor Offense is Tyus Jones. He's the most balanced of the elite guards and I believe would understand that he'd have to defer his own scoring in order to involve everyone else. He also has a long-established history with Okafor, and thus he understands how the franchise big man likes to operate. Additionally, we all know he can erupt for big numbers himself, and bottom line, I think he'd understand a "super" team's character quite well. Joel Berry would be another contender on that basis, but Jones gets the nod due to superior shooting ability.

With Okafor anchoring the middle and Jones providing setup and scoring support at point guard, I chose Malik Newman as the best pure scorer in the country. His job is to hunt his shot and apply pressure with both his shooting and scoring off the bounce. There are other great scorers in the class, such as Emmanuel Mudiay, Isaiah Whitehead and Rashad Vaughn, but in my opinion Newman possesses the most potent combination of shooting and slashing.

My team might struggle with rebounding and interior defense, but that's the choice I made in order to keep another big man from interfering with Okafor's space. Thus, Stanley Johnson appears on my team almost out of necessity because he'll compete ferociously and play taller than 6-6. And whatever he gives up inside, he'll generate immense matchup difficulties on the other end and in transition. He'll also set the pace in practice and bring true championship quality to the floor.

The other wing spot proved my most vexing decision. I liked all three of the Houston Hoops products here, but I chose Kelly Oubre because: 1) He's a better defender than Justin Jackson; and 2) He's more distinct from Johnson than Justise Winslow. Oubre won't create as much off the dribble, but I'm banking on the other perimeter guys serving that role. He'll defend, hit the offensive glass, knock down threes and finish at an elite level.

What I want for a sixth man is an elite shotblocker, but there's none available outside the top 50. (Goodluck Okonoboh is tantalizingly located at No. 37, but alas.)

Thus, I'm opting for the player I believe is the best three-point shooter in the senior class: James Blackmon. He'll receive abundant opportunities to get clean looks from deep, and he'll knock them down at a high rate. I'll also insert him into the lineup when we're protecting a lead late and need a free throw shooter.

Brian Snow, Evan Daniels, Josh Gershon & Rob Harrington contributed to this report


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