The NBA Draft is on June 26th, meaning that there are less than a week until the next crop of potential NBA all-stars find out where they will be headed to begin their professional basketball careers. Over the course of the next few days, we will be using the expertise that we’ve gained from watching far too much college basketball to give you our insights on some of these prospects.
Today, we take a look at the five safest projected first round picks:
One name you won’t see on this list: Andrew Wiggins.
There’s a reason for that.
I would take Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick. A lot of people would, and I can’t think of a situation where a team would be better off with Jabari Parker or Joel Embiid in the long run. That said, I understand that there are inherent risks with picking Wiggins. Does he have that killer instinct, that ability to take over when he needs to take over, that the greats have? Will he get to the point that he is strong enough to finish around the rim? Will he ever develop confidence in his ability to put the ball on the floor?
Wiggins has the highest ceiling of anyone in the draft, a healthy Embiid included. But he could also become the next Rudy Gay — or Gerald Green — if he doesn’t develop. He’s the smart pick, the right pick, at No. 1 overall, but that doesn’t make him a safe pick.
Scott Phillips: “The favorite for 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year, Parker will be ready to score with advanced moves from his very first game. Parker will also rebound well from his position and showed in high school that he can be a better passer than he might have shown at times at Duke. Defense will be the big question mark for Parker, but he’s going to score and score frequently.”
Rob Dauster: “Parker is the most NBA-ready prospect in this year’s draft. He’ll be able to score the minute he arrives in training, and he should have a long and productive career averaging somewhere around 20 points. He won’t be a franchise-changing talent if he doesn’t work on his conditioning and defense, but he should develop into a perennial all-star.”
Raphielle Johnson: “Best pure scorer in the Draft, but he needs to land in the right spot. While he won’t be a league scoring champ he’ll be a mainstay.”
RD: “McDermott’s upside is limited given his tweener status. Is he quick enough to defend on the perimeter? Is he big enough to defend in the post? What there are no questions about is his ability to shoot the ball, and while he may end up being a just spot-up shooter for his career, shooting is always a skill in demand. That’s why guys like Ray Allen and Mike Miller will get contracts until they can’t walk.”
SP: “The NBA always needs shooters and always needs players that can operate a pick-and-roll and Stauskas does both things very well. He has a confidence to him that you want in a high-level shooter and he’s gotten much better each of the last two summers heading into the season.”
RD: “His rep is as a shooter, and while he does that as an elite level, he’s a much more well-rounded player than people realize: he’s really athletic, he can make plays off the bounce, he can pass, he’s got a swagger to him that will help at the next level. Like McDermott, at minimum his ability to shoot will keep him around.
RD: “Shabazz isn’t the quickest guy in the draft and he doesn’t have the size or athleticism of guys like Damian Lillard or Russ Westbrook, but he understands how to play and how to run a team. His change-of-pace makes him quicker than he is — he gets defenders off-balance — and he can really shoot the ball. Getting him in the 20s means a playoff team will be adding a quality back up point guard.”
RD: “The kid just flat out understands how to play. There are always going to be questions about his athleticism, but he’s such a unique talent. Keep in mind: Boris Diaw is unathletic and slow by NBA standards and he has been a very effective player in two different systems. Anderson needs the right fit, but he’s an NBA player.”
2014 NBA Draft Preview: Top Ten Players in five years?
The NBA Draft is on June 26th, meaning that there are less than two weeks until the next crop of potential NBA all-stars find out where they will be headed to begin their professional basketball careers. Over the course of the next few days, we will be using the expertise that we’ve gained from watching far too much college basketball to give you our insights on some of these prospects.
Today, we take a guess at who from this draft will be the ten best NBA players five years from now:
Raphielle Johnson: “I’ll take Wiggins over any other player in the pool. The offensive skills are there, and removing Embiid he’s the prospect best equipped to actually defend his position.”
Rob Dauster: “Wiggins had a very, very good season that was lambasted because he wasn’t Kevin Durant or Michael Beasley. Consistent effort and a ‘killer’ mindset are red flags, but he already carries himself like a pro: he knows what nights he can take off and what nights he needs to take over.”
Scott Phillips: “Wiggins can defend up to four positions at a high level, has elite open-floor ability and was underrated as a jump shooter last year, despite living under a microscope in Lawrence. His ceiling is absurd.”
RJ: “Offensively his skill set is second to none, and that will make him an impact player. Defensively, the hope has to be that he ends up on a team that can cover for his deficiencies as he learns the ropes and (hopefully) improves in that area.”
SP: “Your 2015 NBA Rookie of the Year. Parker is one of the most NBA-ready scorers the drafthas seen in the last few years but he still has to improve on the defensive end to really be among the game’s elite.”
RD: “He can score like no one else in this draft. He was benched as a defensive liability against Mercer.”
Terrence Payne: “If his foot stays healthy, he should be a productive forward, who can develop his skillset around his physical style of play.”
RD: “Randle seems assured of having a long, productive career, but I’m not sure he’s a franchise-changing talent like a Wiggins or Parker can be. He’s somewhere between the next Zach Randolph and the next David Lee.”
RD: “The concerns with Embiid’s health are obvious, which is why he ended up at fourth on this list despite being arguably the best prospect in a loaded draft class. He’s got foot and back issues, which is not a good thing for a big man, but Yao Ming made eight all-star teams with foot issues. Michael Jordan broke his foot. Zydrunas Ilgauskas had a long, productive career after breaking his foot. It’s risky, but Embiid’s career isn’t over just yet.”
SP: “You have to remember that Embiid is still rather new to the game and the learning curve is incredibly steep in the NBA. It could take much longer than five years to learn how good Embiid really is. And what if Embiid is drafted by a franchise that doesn’t do a good job of developing big men, or get him a point guard that can get him the ball?”
SP: “The only player on this list I’ve never seen extensively in-person, I did get a chance to see Exum take part in the Combine drills and he’s a long and fluid guard who has a ton of upside. He immediately passes the ‘look test’. How Exum acclimates to the American game could determine how quickly he ascends in the league.”
RD: “Exum is talented. He’s also untested. We’ve yet to see him spend a full season going up against elite competition.”
SP: “I might be a tad high on Vonleh, but his upside is just so tantalizing, given his size, skill level and age. Vonleh worked hard enough to add 25 pounds of muscle in one summer at Indiana and his jumper has improved immensely as well, to the point where he could be a pick-and-pop or maybe even a catch-and-shoot option in the NBA.”
RD: “Full disclosure: I had Vonleh as No. 3 on my list. I think he’s a perennial all-star.”
TP: “Will be a solid team player given his defensive abilities. Hard to believe he wouldn’t improve his offensive skills in that span, as well.”
SP: “I really don’t get why teams aren’t higher on Aaron Gordon? He’s a tremendous athlete and defender, ultra competitive and he doesn’t try to do too much at this point with the ball in his hands. His development on the offensive end will be a big key in how good he’ll really be.”
RJ: “The gains Stauskas made from his freshman to sophomore year with regards to his skill set, physical build and athleticism bode well for his future in the NBA.”
SP: “His shooting percentages are ridiculous, he’s improved each of the last two years and he’s deceptive as a ball handler in pick-and-roll situations. The body fat percentage and lack of lateral quickness is a bit of a concern on the defensive end, but you know what you’re getting out of Stauskas as an offensive player and there’s a lot to like.”
RD: “He can score, he’s a better shooter than he showed last season, and he’s a lefty, which always seems to give people problems. The biggest issue is whether he’ll learn to defend at the next level.”
SP: “Young is so smooth and so skilled on the wing that it’s hard for me to believe that his shooting percentages will remain as low as they were at Kentucky. Again, as with Julius Randle, Young could benefit from playing around teammates that aren’t so ball-dominant and playing with guards that can put him in a better position to score.”
RJ: “He was Kentucky’s best player in the national title game, and his ability to score from the perimeter and put the ball on the deck will help with the transition.”
RD: “The NBA is infatuated with big, athletic, aggressive guards, and that’s precisely what Payton can do. He’s got the length and quickness to be a defensive menace at the next level as well. Now he just needs to learn how to shoot.”
TP: “I think this is going to be the mid-first round pick who has the greatest impact. He’s still very young for being a college junior. Has the tools to be a good on both ends of the floor, and that’s without a consistent 3-point shot.”
Also receiving votes: Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State), Gary Harris, (Michigan State), Tyler Ennis (Syracuse), Doug McDermott (Creighton)
Las Vegas sports books give Andrew Wiggins best odds of being top pick in NBA Draft
Now that the order of the 2014 NBA Draft lottery is known many have let their feelings be known as to who the top pick in next month’s draft should be. And so have the sports books out in Las Vegas, with former Kansas wing Andrew Wiggins being the early favorite to be the first player taken.
Bovada’s given Wiggins 4 to 5 odds of being the top pick, with former teammate Joel Embiid having 7 to 5 odds and former Duke forward Jabari Parker coming in at 5 to 1. And if you’re into taking the longest odds in hopes of scoring a nice payday, the field has odds of 15 to 1. As for Sportsbook, Wiggins is an 11 to 10 favorite to be the top pick with Embiid (3 to 2) and Parker (3 to 1) falling in line behind him. And a bet for a player other than those three being the top choice is getting 15 to 1 odds at present time.
With there being just over a month to go before the June 26 draft there will be changes, thanks to pre-draft workouts, physicals and the “rumor mill” that tends to get going throughout the pre-draft process. Will Wiggins still have the best odds come late-June? We’ll see.
For the best prospects in the NBA Draft pool the two-day NBA Draft Combine (May 15 and 16) is unlikely to include much work in the way of on-court drills. Given their status as likely lottery selections, those players tend to not go through the agility, jumping and strength (185-pound bench press) drills that the other attendees will have to navigate.
Generally that means going through the physical examination, with the results being given out to the 30 NBA teams.
However Duke’s Jabari Parker and Kansas’ tandem of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, considered to be the top three prospects in this year’s draft pool, have decided to take it a step further: none are expected to even be in Chicago for the combine, according to both Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports and Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com.
For some that may be seen as a “red flag” of sorts, especially in the case of Embiid given the lower back injury that prematurely ended his freshman season. But an unnamed general manager quoted in Wojnarowski’s story didn’t take that stance at all.
“To be honest,” one general manager told Yahoo Sports, “I’m surprised more guys don’t do this. It’s the only thing they can really control.”
Whether or not a prospect goes through the NBA-administered physical, they’re still going to have to be checked out by the teams they visit/work out for during the pre-draft process. And in the case of these three, their status as the top prospects in the draft will allow them to choose which teams to undergo a physical for once the NBA Draft lottery is held according to Wojnarowski.
The decisions of these three to eschew the NBA-administered physical is a surprising turn of events given the history of elite prospects at the very least showing up at the combine to be examined. If anything, it will be interesting if other elite prospects in the years to come choose to do the same.
After one season at Duke forward Jabari Parker made the decision to enter the 2014 NBA Draft, and given his status as one of the top players available that move didn’t come as a surprise. But that doesn’t mean it was easy to move on, and on Thursday the Chicago native took the time to say farewell via his Instagram account.
In the post is a photo of Cameron Indoor Stadium, with Parker offering words of gratitude to those who supported him during his stay in Durham.
“Finally found the time to get to it so I’ll start here. Last summer I spent countless nights walking across this floor, looking at the banners of the players/coaches responsible for this great program. Then I look off over into the stands, home to some of the best fans. Lastly, I walk over to our team’s bench, dreaming of the moment when they call out “A 6’8 freshman from Chicago, IL.” When that moment came it blessed my life. To live your dream, being apart of a family that stands up for each other, representing a program that’s more than any single person.
“The DUKE basketball program takes a team to be successful on a daily basis. I knew from H.S. that I wanted to be apart of a program that was going to need every single person. Duke didn’t need JP, JP needed Duke. After the season, I go sit in the highest seats in the building aka “the nest”. There I remember all the good moments I had playing on coach K court. As soon as I’m done with that, I walk out into the hallway looking at the players before me, hoping that I could be one of those guys too. To end, I want to thank everyone who embraced me into the Duke family. Especially the fans, I appreciate you for sticking up for a university that hold about 11,000 students (if that). I’m no #AntiUNC, but I’m #ProDuke.
“To everyone out in Carolina, thank you for the best hospitality in the world. I never met so many nice people before. I will miss you Cameron indoor, Cameron Crazies, the team, the coaches, but most of all, those little people who contribute to Duke in the biggest ways.”
Parker is one of the players in the running to be the top pick in the June draft, with the Kansas tandem of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid also being viewed as prime candidates for the spot. However who will hold the top pick won’t be known until the NBA Draft lottery on May 20.
Milwaukee, which finished the season with a 15-67 record, has a 25 percent chance of winning the lottery.
Jabari Parker paid a visit to the Dan Patrick Show on Thursday morning, and his interview was fairly entertaining.
He made fun of Coach K’s tan and he called out the Knicks on the lack of a supporting cast that Carmelo Anthony has.
Where things got interesting is when Patrick pressed him on his thoughts on the NBA’s potential move to two-and-done and a 20 year old age limit.
“I think that’s ridiculous,” Parker said. “I think a lot of people can get enrolled in service for their country, but they don’t want to give them an opportunity to provide for themselves and go apply for a job in the NBA. I think that’s kind of ridiculous.”
And while Parker made a point of saying that college isn’t for everyone, he did say that having a one-and-done season was good for him, on and off the court.