Perhaps the most intriguing prospect in the draft when it comes to risk vs reward, Mullens will need to answer questions about work ethic, love of the game, and a mediocre freshman season. However, if he can convince a team that he passes the psychological side, then there's no ceiling as to how high he could go.
BJ Mullens has the type of body that screams legit NBA center. He has the height, weight, and athleticism to develop into a dominant player at the next level. Unfortunately, his skill level is a work in progress. Mullens is best offensively when he gets the ball while making a cut to the basket, or when he catches the ball, makes one power dribble, then goes up strong.
In every other offensive situation, including post ups where he has to back his man down, Mullens struggles mightily. It's also been theorized that Mullens' role was minimized in order to lower his draft ceiling and keep him at Ohio State an extra year. That rationale seems unlikely given the attitude questions surrounding Mullens, however Ohio State clearly did not get him the ball nearly as much as they should have.
Watching Mullens, you spend half the game screaming for Ohio State to get him the ball and let him go to work in the post. Part of that may be that teams pay close attention to him off the ball, occasionally even double teaming him with a zone off the ball, but even when he has a considerable size advantage one-on-one, Ohio State struggled to get him the ball which has limited his offensive development.
Outside of his scoring potential, Mullens doesn't give you anything on offense. He does not pass the ball, ever. However, given how rarely he touches the ball, and how he rarely holds the ball for more than two seconds before getting a shot up this may not be the worst situation. Whether Mullens has more skill than shown in this area is unknown as there simply aren't enough attempts to judge.
There also isn't much footage of him doing any ball handling, so it's safe to say he's not giving you anything there either, though this isn't really something that's expected out of the center position either.
Defensively, Mullens is active. He played a key role in the defensive zone constantly having to rotate and did a nice job. He moves quickly with the ball, keeps an eye on his man, and doesn't seem to get beat on back cuts frequently. When he has to defend at the perimeter, he performs better than you'd expect , though he's rarely is involved in P&R situations due to the defensive scheme. His overall impact didn't match his activity, but he seemed to put forth effort which is a good sign.
Unfortunately, Mullens has one of my personal big red flags for a guy who spends all his time around the basket which is absolutely atrocious rebounding. He doesn't look for his man to get a body on him and box out nor does he understand rebounding angles. The net effect is that Mullens is terrible on the glass.
To be a success, Mullens needs to improve his strength and add advanced post moves. To play center, he needs to improve his defensive impact and really needs to work on his rebounding. Mullens could also use some lessons in screen setting, as he sets one of the worst screens for a guy his size that I've ever seen.
He has top three upside in this draft, but he also has the potential to never do anything in the NBA and be a project that sits on a bench for years until he's waived or switches teams. Buyer beware. Think about center prospects who can't pass, rebound, have poor attitudes, questionable love for the game, and they're guys who won't typically pan out. At #16 in this draft, you could take the risk, but odds are disappointment will follow.