By Cody Daniel @CodyDanielRS on June 2, 2014
The incoming freshman class likely won't have the superstar caliber talent of Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, but the class is loaded nonetheless. The class is littered with talent that NBA teams have been watching for years, and these 10 guys will only need one season in college before they hear their named called on draft day.
Isaiah Whitehead is a very skilled guard who, unlike most McDonald’s All-Americans, took his talent away from the powerhouse schools to Seton Hall. Whitehead has great control with the ball and smooth shooting touch. With his passing ability, he will have to become a point guard to survive in the NBA, but with the offensive fluidity he displays, he will find himself on a NBA roster.
Theo Pinson is arguably the most explosive leaper in this year’s class and his athleticism translates to the defensive end as well. Factor in his flashy ball handling skills and the fact that he can knock shots down from anywhere, and you have a player who will be leaving UNC after only one season.
Rashad Vaughn is one of those guys who has the offensive ability that is tailored for the NBA. In other words, he can do it all. He’s a pure shooter who is lethal from deep, can create his own shot and make things happen around the basket. With his offensive talent, the offensive-driven NBA will have a spot for him after his freshman season at UNLV.
Stanley Johnson is one of the few players in this class who could make it to the NBA off of his athleticism alone. Luckily for whichever team lands him in the draft, he brings along great ball handling skills and a very confident shooting stroke, which will make him one of the top freshman in the country during his lone season at Arizona.
Due to his versatility as a passer, shooter and ball handler, Karl Towns Jr. should assume the power forward role Julius Randle left behind, despite being a 7-footer. Towns will be in a crowded frontcourt at Kentucky, but he is such a special talent that he would have been a lottery pick out of high school, which is why he only needs one season in college.
Tyus Jones is the type of competitor who can bring whatever the team needs on any given night. He can be an explosive scorer and hit shots from everywhere, or he can play the facilitator role and drop dimes to everyone around him. With so many NBA teams needing an upgrade at point guard, NBA GMs will be salivating at the chance to land Jones.
Myles Turner climbed up the ranks quickly and was being considered as the top prospect over Jahlil Okafor. He is a 7-foot shooter who loves playing the wing and soaring for dunks. On defense he is a shot-blocking juggernaut who protects the paint relentlessly. With his size and unique skill set, any NBA team would be wise to use their first pick on him.
Cliff Alexander reminds me a lot of a former Kansas star, Thomas Robinson. The biggest difference, though, is Alexander is much younger, much more explosive and has a much higher ceiling. With the dominance he will show as a freshman in college, any team in need of a post presence will be craving Alexander’s services.
With the new era of explosive point guards, a NBA team would only wish to have somebody such as Russell Westbrook. Luckily for whoever lands Emmanuel Mudiay in next year’s draft, that’s what they will get -- Westbrook 2.0. Mudiay is as explosive as they come and will one day lead a NBA team in scoring. He could have been an NBA Lottery pick even without college.
The traditional, dominant center has become a scarcity in the NBA at this point. But that is exactly what Jahlil Okafor is which has experts already projecting him as the top pick in next year’s draft. Due to the lack of dominant centers in the league right now, after only one year in college, Okafor will be able to come in and make an impact immediately.
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