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Dribble Handoff: Which four-year college player in the 2020 NBA Draft class will have the best pro career?

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The three biggest stars in the NBA Finals took three distinct paths to the NBA. LeBron James jumped straight to the professional ranks after high school, while Lakers teammate Anthony Davis played one season of college basketball at Kentucky. Both were No. 1 picks in their respective drafts after taking the quickest path available to the NBA (rules had changed to keep high school prospects from entering the draft by the time Davis came along).

But Miami Heat leader Jimmy Butler’s journey to the game’s highest level looked much different than the paths James and Davis took. He played at a junior college in Texas before transferring to Marquette, where he exhausted his collegiate eligibility before the Bulls selected him 30th overall in the 2011 NBA Draft.

Several other NBA Finals contributors also exhausted their collegiate eligibility, including Jae Crowder, Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn of the Heat. Same for Danny Green and Alex Caruso of the Lakers. Of the group, Butler was the only one taken in the first round in the NBA Draft. 

But he and the other former four-year college players prove that you can still find your way to the NBA spotlight even without one-and-done hype. With that in mind, our writers responded to the following prompt for this week’s dribble handoff: Which four-year college player in the 2020 NBA Draft class will have the best pro career? If you think it’s an easy question, go look at the 2020 prospect rankings. There are some intriguing choices but no obvious answer.

Cassius Winston, Michigan State

My favorite thing about this Heat team is how it’s made up of such an unlikely cast of characters while the Lakers’ starting lineup features the No 1. pick of the 2003 NBA Draft (LeBron James), the No. 1 pick of

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On second day of draft, Bruins went old school with four college prospects

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All four are American players with NCAA ties.

Lohrei has committed to Ohio State for 2021. Kuntar is at Boston College after his original choice, Harvard, postponed its season. Langenbrunner, the son of Bruins director of player development Jamie Langenbrunner, will head to Harvard next fall. Duran, from Woburn, will enroll at Providence in 2021.

General manager Don Sweeney did not add a draft pick for the rights to UFA-to-be Torey Krug, or make any other trades on Wednesday. When the free agent market opens at noon Friday, replacing Krug may be his first order of business.

“We have to improve, whether that’s through internal growth or acquisition,” Sweeney said. “We’re not as good as we need to be. We’re going to explore everything. Our cap situation is good, but you can tip that upside down in a hurry.”

Sweeney bowed out of the draft a round early, dealing his seventh-round pick (213th) to the Maple Leafs for a seventh-rounder in 2021.

His first two picks were late-bloomers. Both Lohrei (LORE-eye) and Kuntar were eligible in 2019, but both went undrafted.

“I felt like I was being overlooked but it’s the way things go,” said Lohrei, a 6-foot-4, 204-pound, left-shot defenseman out of USHL Green Bay. Scouts consider the Madison, Wisc., product a rangy, poised, two-way rearguard. But he was not ranked by NHL Central Scouting until the final list of 2020, when he placed 132nd overall.

“I wouldn’t say it was a struggle not being on lists or not getting drafted,” he said. “Kind of just kept my head down and went to work every day because I knew that this would come. And here we are. I couldn’t be happier.”

Lohrei grew “significantly” over the last year, Bruins director of scouting Ryan Nadeau said, and transitioned from forward