All Eyes On Cooper Flagg But 2025 Is At Least A Five Player Draft

Lofty player comparisons for the five elite talents at the top of the 2025 NBA Draft

Rebuilding NBA teams and their fans all have their eyes on Cooper Flagg, the best prospect in the 2025 draft, but only one lucky team will land the dynamic two-way forward from Duke.

But there are at least four other elite talents in the 2025 draft class and so teams landing anywhere in the top 5 of the lottery next May will have a chance to change the fortunes of their franchise.

Between now and next June a lot will change and surely a few other names will rise into top 5 consideration. As it stands now, I see these five prospects as being in a tier of their own:

Cooper Flagg – SF/PF – Duke

All the hype is real and deserved. Flagg is an elite two-way forward with uncanny defensive instincts, a well rounded offensive game and all the tools and intangibles to be great. At 6-8+ he’s got ideal size for a wing and plenty of size and strength to hold his own inside, both defending bigger forwards, helping protect the rim from the weak side and finishing at the rim on the offense end.

Flagg doesn’t have the generational upside abilities of a prospect like LeBron or Wemby but he’s about as sure a thing as you’ll find. He’s such a complete, heady and fundamentally sound player that it’s hard to see him failing at the NBA level. His floor seems to be as a very high level starter and his ceiling is an elite-two way forward with All NBA potential.

For me the one question mark with Flagg is whether or not he can become a true first option on offense and the type of primary scorer that will strike fear in the hearts of defenses. He’s the type of offensive player that gets his within the flow of the game, making great reads, moving well without the ball, and playing the game the right way. His on-ball creation and perimeter shot-making are good but not great.

During his time playing with Maine United he did carry the load on offense and looked comfortable with a higher usage rate and a more aggressive shot diet. But in other settings, surrounded by more talent, he would defer somewhat and play a role rather than run the show.

Still, even with this one question mark, I see Flagg as an easy choice as the projected no.1 pick in the 2025 draft.
Player Comps: Scottie Pippin, Andrei Kirilenko

Dylan Harper – PG/SG – Rutgers

As valuable as lengthy, versatile wings are in today’s NBA elite ball-handlers and shot-makers at the guard position are right up there. Harper is the type of guard that you can just put the ball in his hands and let him cook. He’s a fearless shot taker who can take over games with his scoring ability.

He’s a very polished player for his age with a wide variety of moves. He’s also got the grown-man’s frame that allows him to overpower defenders and finish through contact. He won’t get pushed around in college and could already easily hold his own in the NBA.

Harper isn’t an elite run/jump athlete or above the rim player but has more of a skill based game, combined with great basketball IQ and physicality.

I think Harper is a safe bet to be a top 5 pick next June despite the fact that he might not even be the best pro prospect on the Rutgers team this coming season (see below).
Player Comps: James Harden, stronger Coby White, Cade Cunningham

VJ Edgecombe – SG – Baylor (Bahamas)

As a draft community, when we do player comps, it’s easy to get ahead of ourselves. We see a slick shooting 7-footer and we think Dirk Nowitzki or we see a lengthy wing and we think Brandon Ingram or Paul George. Those types of players are rare. So are the talents of incoming Baylor freshman VJ Edgecombe, an explosive 6-4 guard with breathtaking athletic ability.

I hesitate to compare a young player to a (future) Hall of Famer but when I watch VJ Edgecombe play all I can think is “that’s a young Dwayne Wade”. When he glides into the lane and elevates to score I’m always shocked at how he just keeps going up and up, like he’s jumping in slow motion, until he’s above the rim and dunking the ball effortlessly. In a sport full of elite athletes Edgecombe instantly stands out as being on another level.

He also reminds me one Jalen Green and Victor Oladipo, two other high flyers. Those are lofty expectations to live up to but I think VJ will get there.

Baylor has landed a number of very talented guards in recent years including back to back first round picks in the 2023 and 2024 drafts. VJ could be the best of the bunch. He’s gaining valuable experience this summer playing for the Bahama national team in the Olympic qualifying tournament, which should help catapult him to a strong start to his freshman season.

Edgecombe doesn’t get the national attention that Flagg, Harper or Bailey gets but in my mind he’s right up there with the elite of the elite prospects in the 2025 draft.
Player Comps: Jalen Green, Dwayne Wade, Victor Oladipo

Nolan Traore – PG – France

NBA fans have seen the influx of elite talent from France in recent years but those players have mostly been big forwards and centers. Not since Tony Parker has there been such an elite level French guard. Traore is an unstoppable force on the offensive end. He’ll lull you to sleep with the dribble then knife into the lane and finish with acrobatic layups. He’s also a very high level 3pt shooter who can get his own shot. This area of his game reminds a bit of Jamal Murray.

As I mentioned above I hesitate to compare prospects to all time greats but with Traore the Tony Parker comp is going to be inevitable. He’s a bigger guard than Parker and a better scorer at this stage of his development, but probably not quite the game-reader, game-manager and facilitator that Parker was.

Traore is easily my top international prospect for this next draft cycle and I’d be surprised if he falls out of the top five in next June’s draft.
Player Comps: taller Tony Parker, Kyrie Irving

Ace Bailey – SF – Rutgers

When it comes to pure upside Bailey stands above any prospect for the 2025 draft. He has a combination of athletic tools, size and ability that make NBA scouts drool. He can soar above the rim with ease and is a powerful finisher/dunker. He’s also a very talented shot maker from outside who scores off the dribble, off of step-backs and uses his size to shoot over defenders. He takes too many difficult shots but he also makes plenty of them. If he can improve his shot diet, keep the ball moving more and pick his spots better his overall game will go to another level.

Bailey will be a joy to watch next to Dylan Harper at Rutgers next season and if things go right for him he’ll be in the running for the top spot in the draft. If things don’t go great for him next year he still might have top 5 upside but there’s also a possibility he could slide. The same goes for any of these five prospects.

Of the two Rutgers star freshmen I’m most intrigued to see how Bailey adjust to the college game. I think Harper will do his thing and be great, whereas Bailey could either be sensational or show that he still has a lot to work on. Either way it’s going to be fun.
Player Comps: taller TMac, Josh Smith

A Lot Can Change In A Year

A lot can and will happen between now and the 2025 NBA Draft and it would be foolhardy to think that these five players are all locks to go in the top five. But as it stands now I feel really good about having Flagg, Harper, Traore, Edgecombe and Bailey in a tier above the rest of the 2025 prospects.

Rare Air

I know the pro comps listed above are lofty comps and maybe they’ll look silly in insight but as a scout I have to trust my eyes and call my shots. These top five players in the 2025 draft are special and are deserving of all the hype that will come there way this next draft cycle. Comparing teenagers to hall of famers often doesn’t end well. And there’s a good chance that at least one of these players doesn’t live up to the hype. But for now I’m sticking with the lofty pro comps and projecting the top of the 2025 draft to be one for the ages.

Beyond The Top Five

The 2025 draft is loaded. I believe the five players above standout above the rest but the rest of the lottery is stacked with talent and that talent goes deep into the first round. After a down year in 2024 draft fans are in for a real treat this coming draft cycle!

For a deeper dive into the 2025 draft class take a look here.

And here’s my latest 2025 mock draft.