Top spot very much up for debate
Scout.com has released its updated 2015 Top 100 and the biggest story isn't that there's a change at the top. Diamond Stone retaking the throne as Scout.com's top 2015 prospect definitely speaks for his work ethic - he held the number one spot from Feb. 27, 2013 to July 1, 2013 after debuting as the number two 2015 prospect nationally on July 5, 2012. While Stone is every bit of a true number one and a terrific prospect, the main storyline defining these rankings is the fact that Scout.com's four recruiting analysts have spent the spring traveling the country evaluating all of the nation's top players and, as a staff, have as good of a feel for a recruiting class as you reasonably can in this profession.
But we can't agree on a number one prospect.
Over the course of the last week, Evan Daniels, Brian Snow, Rob Harrington and I have debated four names as potential number one prospects: Diamond Stone, Ben Simmons, Ivan Rabb and Jaylen Brown.
There's no consensus amongst us. In fact, we couldn't agree on anything.
Valid arguments were made for Stone, Simmons, Rabb and Brown to be number one.
Stone has a big frame with soft hands and is incredibly skilled for a young center. He can step out and shoot or back you in and score with his footwork, touch or skill set. He's not an elite athlete, but makes up for it with his size and skill.
Simmons is a versatile forward who has made a big jump in his game over the last year. He's a face-up four that can put the ball on the ground and get to the basket or pull up from midrange and is a terrific passer. His 6-foot-8 size for position isn't ideal and his outside shooting needs to improve, but he's on a strong trajectory.
Rabb, the previous top prospect, has legit NBA size for the power forward position at 6-foot-10, is an ambidextrous finisher with good athleticism, rebounds, blocks shots, can face up his defender or back him up and generally plays hard. After a dominant junior season, he hasn't performed at quite the same level this spring, but he remains an elite prospect.
Brown is a big time athlete with the size, length, athleticism and body control that you're looking for from an NBA wing. He's a competitor that defends multiple positions, rebounds and plays very hard. If his shot keeps coming along - and it's made big strides over the last year - he could very well end up number one sooner than later.
Do you go with Stone's skill, Simmons' versatility, Rabb's potential or Brown's athleticism?
There's no easy answer and while Stone comes out on top this set of rankings, think of this as a horse race that's two and a half laps in with a lap and a half to go.
Stone leads by a neck right now, but this is truly anyone's race and - who knows - there are a lot of viable contenders behind the four leaders who could end up in the conversation when it's all said and done.
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