By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on June 27, 2014
The 2014 NBA Draft was one of the deepest ones in recent memory. There were great picks, there were good picks and there were questionable picks. With that in mind, let's focus on the real winners of the selection process and take a look at the five biggest steals.
While No. 7 overall shouldn’t really be considered a steal, the Los Angeles Lakers got one in Julius Randle. He was the most talented power forward in the draft and has the potential to make an immediate impact for a team that struggled this past season. He’s big, strong and plays with intensity. He is an excellent rebounder, great in transition and does damage offensively off the glass. He should have gone over Marcus Smart and Aaron Gordon.
The Houston Rockets got a steal in Nick Johnson. At 6-foot-3, he will likely move to the point guard position. Jeremy Lin just isn’t cutting it. Johnson is a solid three-point shooter, great defender, excellent passer and just an overall elite athlete.
The Charlotte Hornets, or should I say the Miami Heat (trade) got a steal at 24 overall. Napier entered the draft as NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player, AAC Player of the Year, Bob Cousy Award winner (top point guard) and a two-time national champion (2011, 2014). He is an exceptional scorer and defender and even great at getting rebounds for his size. Napier is an excellent leader on and off the court; the Heat are lucky to have him.
It was a bit surprising to me that Cleanthony Early fell to the second round. He helped lead Wichita State to an undefeated regular season and an overall record of 35-1. At 6-foot-7, he brings excellent size to his position. He is a great athlete with excellent three-point and post-up skills. Early played power forward in college, but will have to make the transition to small forward in the NBA.
Gary Harris is one of the most talented guards entering the NBA this year. The Chicago Bulls getting him at No. 19 overall is an absolute steal. He will be playing with the Denver Nuggets next year via trade and could really help out a team that finished eight games under .500 this year. He is good in just about every aspect of the game and in my mind, should have been a lottery pick.
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