Early Look at Top 15 Prospects for 2014 NBA Draft
An Early Look at the Top 15 Prospects for the 2014 NBA Draft
The highly-anticipated 2014 NBA Draft is four months down the road, but that doesn't mean we can’t take a look at how the draft may shape up.
This year’s draft could be the best since 2003 in which LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were all selected. There is a possibility that the 2014 draft is even deeper. In 2003, there were only four players who could lead a franchise, but 2014 could essentially have eight-to-10 of those type of players. Again, not players who are of superstar status like LeBron, but still solid players you can build a team around for years to come.
Because of the potential of this draft, many NBA teams are heading into “tank mode” in the last few months of the season in order to obtain one of these potential franchise cornerstone players. The teams that attempt to tank are sagacious and may reap the benefits in the future by doing so.
We all have heard the hype surrounding these players and at times it may sound too good to be true. However, I can assure you that the hype is real. Some may get carried away, but the players in this draft have a plethora of potential and know how to play the game. These kids are exciting to watch and will have bright futures in the NBA.
Let’s take an in-depth look at top 15 prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft.
Michael LeDuc is a Boston Celtics writer for Rant Sports. Follow him on Twitter @mike_leduc, and add him on Google.
15. Doug McDermott-Creighton
NBA Comparison: Kyle Korver
One of the best scorers in college basketball, forward Doug McDermott can score in a variety of ways. He's an efficient long-range shooter who can hit the mid-range jumper and has developed decent post skills inside. While being a consistent rebounder, his athletic ability is extremely limited, which hinders his defense. He should be an excellent player off the bench in the NBA.
14. Jerami Grant-Syracuse
NBA Comparison: Thaddeus Young
The 6-foot-8 forward is extremely raw, but he's physical and a terrific finisher. His combination of power and quickness enables him to get to the rim and put the ball in the hoop while absorbing contact. Grant is a freak athlete who can get a lot of put-backs on the offensive end. However, because of his lack of a post game for a PF, and poor ball-handling skills and below-average jumpshot for a SF, he is a bit of tweener. He's not fully developed, but has a lot of upside and could blossom into a starter in the NBA.
13. Zach LaVine-UCLA
NBA Comparison: Russell Westbrook
The 6-foot-5 point guard will never be as good as Westbrook, but LaVine shares a lot of the same skill sets as the Thunder's point guard. LaVine has tremendous athleticism and is smooth, quick and strong. He's got a nice jumpshot and looks comfortable on the wing. His decision-making is below par and his mental toughness needs some adjustment. It'll take a lot of growing up to do, but LaVine could be a starting guard in the NBA.
12. Tyler Ennis-Syracuse
NBA Comparison: Jrue Holiday
The Syracuse guard has been a huge surprise in college basketball this year. He's a true leader with a great attitude. He runs the offense smoothly and effectively with his good playmaking abilities. He's a lights-out shooter from beyond the arc and can catch-and-shoot or shoot off the dribble. He doesn't have the speed or athleticism to make an impact in the league right away, but he's a floor general, has a high IQ and works hard.
11. Noah Vonleh-Indiana
NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka
Vonleh, at 6-foot-10, could be a star in the NBA someday. He can face the basket, post-up and hit an outside jumper. He's lengthy and versatile, but won't blow anyone away with his athleticism. Because of his great timing and anticipation, he is a solid defender and shot-blocker. He lacks confidence and is not a consistent rebounder yet. In the NBA, he'll be able score in a variety of ways and should be a starter in a few years.
10. James Young-Kentucky
NBA Comparison: Michael Redd
The shooting guard is smart and smooth athlete. Young scores in transition and has an excellent jumpshot from long-range and can pull-up from mid-range. He's unselfish, team-oriented and has great shot-selection. He doesn't possess the best ball-handling skills and can get lazy. Nonetheless, he should be a solid contributor for any NBA team next year and will be a starter in another year or two.
9. Gary Harris-Michigan St.
NBA Comparison: O.J. Mayo/Avery Bradley
Harris is one of the most well-rounded players in college basketball. He plays tough defense, is athletic, shoots the ball efficiently and is a great leader. At 6-foot-4, he is a bit undersized for the SG position, but his ball-handling isn't good enough for the point guard position. He is like Avery Bradley with better offensive skills. He could be a starter within his first two years in the league.
8. Rodney Hood-Duke
NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay
Hood is long, smooth and can hit an outside jumper or slash to the basket. He has an excellent mid-range pull-up jumper and he makes solid, unselfish passes. He lacks strength and cannot finish in traffic as well as others. He could be a starter his rookie season and will continue to improve.
7. Aaron Gordon-Arizona
NBA Comparison: Blake Griffin/Michael Beasley
Gordon is a combo-forward with tremendous leaping ability and is explosive when getting to the rim. He gets to the free-throw line often and his strength allows him to score inside against bigger opponents. What impresses me the most is his defense. He lacks perimeter skills (shooting, passing) and is a little small for the PF position. However, he an elite athlete who can penetrate and finish at the rim with ease and pizzazz.
6. Marcus Smart-Oklahoma St.
NBA Comparison: Dwyane Wade
Marcus Smart is a strong, athletic combo-guard who can score in a variety of ways. He is competitive and team-oriented. He can create shots for himself and for his teammates with his terrific playmaking ability. He has an excellent, fluid shot from any range. He can absorb contact and finish, and is a relentless defender. He's not the quickest or most explosive guard and doesn't have best leaping ability. He should be a terrific guard in the NBA and should be able to start his rookie season.
5. Dante Exum-Australia
NBA Comparison: Penny Hardaway
He's a big point guard at 6-foot-6, but doesn't lack quickness by any means. Exum can beat anyone off the dribble and is smooth getting to the rim. He's a great passer with adequate playmaking skills. Exum lacks a consistent jump-shot and is not very strong. He's an obvious mismatch and has good finishing ability. He should be a starter his rookie season.
4. Julius Randle-Kentucky
NBA Comparison: Chris Webber/Carmelo Anthony
Randle is a double-double machine who can post-up, face-up or shoot from outside. He works hard on the glass both offensively and defensively. He is strong and can finish in traffic. Randle is a bit turnover-prone and sometimes cracks under pressure. He should be able to make an impact right away in the NBA.
3. Joel Embiid-Kansas
NBA Comparison: Andrew Bynum
History tells us to draft a big man with caution. But, how can you not take a chance on the 7-footer? He rebounds well and could become a defensive-anchor. He's strong and athletic and has all the makings to be a starting center in the NBA. His offensive tools are raw, but he has a lot potential.
2. Andrew Wiggins-Kansas
NBA Comparison: Paul George/Jeff Green
Wiggins may have the most potential in this draft. He's a versatile scorer, extremely athletic and a solid defender. He can slash to the basket and finish, as well as pull-up from mid-range. His length disrupts passing lanes and allows him to play bigger than he is inside. He's an inconsistent three-point shooter and may not have the mentality to be assertive and be the alpha-dog. He can put up points in a hurry one game, but completely disappear the next. However, he has all the tools to be a star in the league and will be a starter his rookie season.
1. Jabari Parker-Duke
NBA Comparison: Paul Pierce
Parker is most-likely the most NBA-ready prospect this season. He may not have the upside that Wiggins or Embiid has, but he will undoubtedly be a star and a franchise player. His has an advanced IQ and can score in a variety of ways. He can finish at the rim, hit shots from deep and everywhere in between. He has a tremendous ability to create his own shot. He won't blow anyone away with his speed or athleticism, but uses his strength and size to his advantage. Parker is by all means a pure scorer and will be great in the NBA.