By Cody Williams @TheSizzle20 on June 18, 2014
The 2014 NBA Draft has been praised for quite some time now because of the number of high-level prospects available. Just like in most drafts, though, a lot of these players’ value is based on the potential of what they could develop into. Let’s say that everything goes right for all of the top 10 prospects (per ESPN’s Chad Ford) in this draft. What is each player’s best-case scenario NBA comparison?
It’s weird to say that a prospect’s ceiling is to be like a player that presumably hasn’t hit their ceiling yet, but the similarities between Harris and Beal are just too obvious. If all goes well, Harris will be an elite perimeter scoring threat with fantastic instincts and the ability to contribute defensively. Essentially, both players’ ceilings are about the same.
Just to clear things up, the Boris Diaw I’m comparing Saric to is the one that changed the NBA Finals, not the overweight forward who was cut from the Bobcats. Saric has a complete skill-set much like Diaw and can affect the game in a plethora of ways from the forward position. Lamar Odom in his prime is another example of the potential that Saric has.
Randle has a bit more athleticism than Randolph, but the comparison between the two is strong. Much like Randolph, Randle is an extremely powerful player on the interior that knows very well how to use his strength to create offense and rebounding opportunities for himself. If you’re looking at a player that could be Z-Bo with athleticism, that’s hard to ignore.
There’s no doubt that Gordon has a ridiculous ceiling considering his youth and natural abilities. His size and athleticism are reminiscent of Blake Griffin. If he can follow the same path of Griffin, developing his skills further on both ends of the floor to go along with his physical tools, he could be a force at the next level.
It’s quite difficult to think of NBA comparisons for Smart, but a point guard version of James Harden seems pretty apt. Much like Harden, Smart has the ability to score well in numerous ways, but with some solid point guard instincts as well. The real key for Smart reaching this ceiling, though, will be if he can develop his outside shooting enough to reach the level of someone like Harden.
Vonleh has massive potential as a big, long, and strong player in the middle. Much like Bosh, though, Vonleh has the ability to step out and knock down jumpers from the mid-range and, if he can extend his range, the perimeter. Though Bosh gets a lot of flak, having a young player that could develop into a Bosh-like player is a definite positive.
It seems kind of mundane at this point to compare a big point guard to Penny Hardaway, but he’s the go-to comparison for the type of player that Exum is. Exum described himself as a Manu Ginobili, Russell Westbrook hybrid, but him turning into the versatile guard that Hardaway was seems like a much more likely path.
There are a lot of people who compare Parker to Carmelo Anthony, but he reminds me more of Paul Pierce. Parker has elite offensive ability and solid physical tools, but I’m not sure he has the strength of Anthony. He’s much more like Pierce in that regard, which certainly isn’t much of a knock on Parker at all.
There has been a lot of buzz about Embiid being comparable to Hakeem Olajuwon, but I like the comparison to Tim Duncan more for him. With his size, length, and the innate skill he’s already shown, he could be a fundamental force much like Duncan was and could have a long career in this league.
Because there’s so much talent and potential with Wiggins, it’s difficult to come up with a quality comparison for his ceiling. However, Wilkins certainly fits the bill. Both guys have supreme athleticism and Wilkins took time to develop any kind of a perimeter jumper and was able to thrive off of the rest of his game. In a best-case scenario, Wiggins can do the same in the NBA.
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