By Cody Daniel @CodyDanielRS on March 9, 2014
The regular season has finally come to a close as March Madness is upon us, and we all know what that means; the 2014 NBA Draft is inching closer each day. The NBA Draft becomes the topic of choice each year around this time for fans of college basketball and the NBA alike, continuing up to the final minutes before their team makes the big selection. That said, here are the top available players for the NBA Draft.
Not many people have heard of Delon Wright, but this JUCO transfer needs to be taken seriously. As a 6-foot-6 point guard, Wright can score and set teammates up at will, as he has become one of the most efficient players in college basketball. He's a very safe pick for any team in need of a guard.
You don’t really know what you’re going to get with Kyle Anderson. He could easily be a bust, or he could be a franchise-changing player. With the ability to play any position except center, nearly any team could find a spot for this rare talent on their roster.
If you want to capitalize on Harrell’s stregths, you have to put him around the rim. He is a physical specimen unlike many others and uses that dominance in the paint to his advantage. If you want a star, Harrell isn’t the guy for you, but he can be a bruiser who provides valuable minutes off the bench.
What makes Nick Johnson stand out is in undeniable physical ability. He jumps out of the gym, plays defense on every possession and most importantly, he has become a leader, which is a valuable asset.
We still don’t know much about Clint Capela, but what we do know is the potential he has to become a force in the paint for a long time. Currently averaging a double-double overseas, Capela has climbed the draft boards with his tenacity in the paint.
It’s obvious that Cauley-Stein is someone who could develop into one of the NBA’s top defensive players. He has the athleticism and running ability of a guard with the leaping ability of his predecessor, Nerlens Noel.
Payne is the type of player who makes his team significantly better when he is on the court. As an All-American, he has done pretty much done everything for Michigan State this season from being a defensive stopper to taking over games offensively. That's a must have for any team in need of a stretch forward.
It seems that every Syracuse game Jerami Grant plays, he lets his presence be felt. He isn’t the best shooter, but as a solid defender and incredible athlete, Grant is someone NBA teams could build into a solid player.
The 6-foot-6 shooting guard is still a very raw product as his freshman season comes to a close. Despite his defensive, ball handling and passing woes, he can flat out score and is beyond athletic. That’s always a great place to start.
He started off with having a nice shooting touch. Nik Stauskas has now developed into a solid ball handler with the ability to attack the rim consistently. A very high basketball IQ also helps his case as one of college basketball’s top players.
Since his departure from UNC, Hairston has taken the NBA D-League by storm and become an offensive juggernaut. Factor his scoring ability in with his sheer athleticism and you have a solid NBA player for years to come.
What’s not to love about Aaron Gordon other than his shooting touch? Around the rim, it doesn’t get much better than Gordon who seems to have a grudge with the rim on every dunk. He undoubtedly needs to be developed, but his athleticism is unseen from an 18-year-old freshman in college. Can we say Blake Griffin 2.0?
Upside is the keyword when it comes to Zach Levine. He isn’t the first, second or even third option on the offense at times, but still manages to make his presence felt. His athleticism is also something to marvel at.
Another guy who is an offensive specialist and stat stuffer is Dario Saric. Of course he would have to adjust to the physical style of the NBA, but the risk is definitely worth the reward if he lives up to his hype.
Coming in as one of the greatest scorers in college history, Doug McDermott brings the complete package offensively. I can’t help but give him comparisons to Dirk Nowitzki considering his offensive fluidity and pure fade-away jumper. At the end of the day, the team that scores the most wins, and McDermott certainly knows how to score.
How often does a freshman come around who plays with ice in his veins and steps up to the big stage consistently? It’s not very often, but Tyler Ennis has made himself one of the select few. As a natural leader and facilitator, Ennis also knows how to score the clutch shots, which makes him a very safe pick.
At 6-foot-8, Rodney Hood has the NBA size and he can definitely score at the next level. His athleticism is also very underrated which will help him once he makes a NBA roster. Being overshadowed by college basketball’s top player didn’t help his case much either.
What makes this guy so valuable is his offensive ability. Gary Harris is one of the few who can score with ease from nearly everywhere on the court. The NBA is a league built on offense, which is why Harris is one of the best available
Many criticized Smart for coming back for his sophomore season after how high his draft stock was last year. This season, despite his recent suspension and frustration troubles, Smart has proven to many that he came back for a reason. He has become a leader on the court this season, along with his massive amount talent being further developed.
Depending on whether big names like Parker and Embiid return to college, Noah Vonleh could easily find himself as a top three pick. He brings great NBA size, efficiency and the ability to score around the rim in several fashions. That's not something you see often from a freshman.
We still don’t know too much about Dante Exum, but what we do know is this kid has tremendous upside. Some have even compared him to Michael Jordan is terms of body size and physical ability. That in itself speaks volumes about Exum. With his leadership and love for the game, Exum will be a franchise-changing guard.
The one word that pops into my head when I hear the name Julius Randle is beast. After Randle kicked off the season with seven straight double-doubles, he became the target for constant triple-teams nearly every time he touched the ball. Somehow Randle still manages to average 15 points and 10 rebounds per game which is just a testament to how dominant he can be.
Nobody saw Embiid molding into the player he has become this season. With such little experience and still being able to completely dominate his competition, he has turned into a top NBA prospect and potentially the No. 1 overall pick, although his back issues could raise a red flag.
After coming in as the top overall recruit out of high school, Andrew Wiggins has lived up to his hype throughout the season. With hype that was drawing NBA superstar comparisons, it’s safe to say Andrew Wiggins is a special player.
It’s clear why Jabari Parker has found himself at the top of most draft boards. This guy can flat out ball. He has the skill, athleticism, basketball IQ and winning mentality that will make him a star in the NBA.
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