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NBA Draft 2014: Best Prospects

14 Jul

July 14, 2014

basketball - joseph young - college02

Joseph Young – Oregon – Jr. – Joseph Young is NBA royalty. The son of Michael Young, a former NBA player whose hoop dreams were unfulfilled because of a drug habit, has NBA talent. Though undersized as a NBA shooting guard, Young can score with anyone in the country. He has a quick first step, a good jump shot with great range, and he scores points in bunches. Young is athletic enough to finish at the rim, but too small to attack constantly without worrying about health. But, his jumper is the great equalizer. Once he gets going, he only needs a little separation to score, and he can hit contested shots from anywhere on the court.

Reminds me of: Ben Gordon

Willie Cauley-Stein – Kentucky – Fr. – Cauley-Stein was one of the most explosive athletes in all of college basketball last season. He moves around the court like a guard, but stands 7’0″ with a long wingspan and quick leaping ability. With his size and athleticism, Cauley-Stein could dominate on the defensive end immediately at the next level. And, if he learns a good jump hook and polishes his footwork he could become a star in the NBA. Cauley-Stein has so many of the physical tools that you look for in a professional athlete, size, agility, hustle, and timing. If he gains a few pounds and works on his game, he will stick in the league. Willie Cauley-Stein’s low end for his future in the NBA would be a role player, the high end is an All-Star.

Reminds me of: A young Shawn Marion if he was more adept and focused defensively, and less skilled on offense.

Kyle Anderson – UCLA – Fr. -¬† He is a 6’9″ point guard. Anderson is not extremely athletic, but he is big enough and explosive enough to impose his will in spots. He plays within himself and is skilled. He can score in the post with length and good touch. He has decent footwork, but scores because he has good body control and a high basketball IQ. Anderson will be a good professional basketball player, though he may not be a star at the next level. He projects to be a glue guy for his team in the NBA, the type of player who is necessary to win games because he does so many of the little things outside of scoring. Kyle Anderson’s shortcomings are his athleticism, his slow release, and the natural fade that he has on his jump shot. Because he is not incredibly athletic, he will be challenged on more of his attempts in the league simply because the athletes are better. The slow release means that more of his shots will be contested and/or blocked. And, he leaves a lot of his jump shots short because he fades on attempts instead of jumping straight up and down. Fortunately, none of his habits are beyond repair and he is more agile than people give him credit for being. Kyle Anderson will be a solid pro.

Reminds me of: Jared Jeffries

basketball - glenn robinson iii - college

Glenn Robinson III – Michigan – So. – Robinson III is NBA royalty as well. He is the son of former NBA All-Star Glenn Robinson Jr., and he is as physically gifted as just about any other player in the draft. He has a great vertical leap, can play physical under the rim, uses his long wingspan well, and has a serviceable jump shot. The knock on Glenn Robinson III has been his inability to assert himself during big moments despite being better than his opponents. With the talent that he possesses, he should have an imprint on every game that he plays. However, in college, he was often the third option on a team where he had the most talent. If Glenn Robinson III goes to a NBA squad where he can play within the system and is not expected to lead, then he will thrive. If he is asked to carry the scoring load, Robinson may not last in the league.

Reminds me of: Marvin Williams

C.J. Fair – Syracuse – Sr. – Fair has turned himself into an extremely efficient college player. He scores over the players who are shorter than him, goes around bigger players, and sets up his drives to the rack with a soft jumper. He scores off picks, in isolations, and off putbacks. Most importantly though, C.J. Fair can score without dominating the basketball. To play at the next level, he will have to put on about twenty pounds or extend his jumper to the 3 point line. But, C.J. Fair could be a great role player for a good team.

Reminds me of: Malik Sealy

Adreian Payne – Michigan State – Sr. – Adreian Payne dominated at times in college. At 6’10″, he is both explosive and skilled. He drives to the rim and finishes after a good pump fake. He can hit the long three pointer and out-jump people in the paint. Payne is very talented. However, he has to be set to hit his jump shot and he though he is skilled on drives, he is not as fluid as while penetrating to the rim or as polished in the post as he needs to be to dominate at the next level. Adreian Payne could be a star in the NBA or just a good role player.

Reminds me of: Charlie Villanueva…in a good way

Aaron Gordon – Arizona – Fr. – Gordon is an elite athlete and finisher, but he is extremely raw and unpolished on both ends of the floor. His athleticism dictates that he should dominate on at least one end of the basketball court, but he is not a shot-blocker and can not score easily in the post. Gordon will find a place in the league because even at the next level he will be a better athlete than most players. However,Gordon has to learn a niche if he wants to excel. The upside for him is that he does have great hands, is extremely coordinated, and is very explosive for a man his size.

Reminds me of: a miniature version of JaVale McGee

Noah Vonleh – Indiana – Fr. – Vonleh is a big, powerful young man. He pushed people around in college when he was close to the basket, and he showed great touch from short range. Though his post moves were limited, they were extremely effective and Vonleh had good touch and decent footwork. He is fairly unpolished, but he is strong, athletic, and can score. Vonleh will probably be a good pro.

Reminds me of: Less skilled Elton Brand

basketball - doug mcdermott - college

Doug McDermott – Creighton – Sr. – Dougie McBuckets is the most polished player in the draft and the most polarizing. Some people think he is the second coming of Larry Bird and others think that he is Adam Morrison reincarnated. Neither camps are right about him. McDermott is a big body with a great shot and exceptional scoring prowess, but he is also the classic tweener. If he lands on the team that uses that to his advantage, then he could someday be an All-Star. If he is asked to be a defensive stopper against 3′s or 4′s at the NBA level then he could languish as a pro.

Reminds me of: Austin Croshere…in a good way

Zach Lavine – UCLA – Fr. – Lavine is one of the most talented players in the draft. He is tall, gangly, and extremely athletic all things that translate well to the next level. He is great in transition and can stretch out and finish off one leg. His strength is his ability to attack before defenses set up. Zach Lavine plays quick and uses his explosiveness effectively in the open floor. In the half court, he scores well taking set jump shots and shooting jumpers off picks. He has soft touch and good follow through despite clutching the ball and turning it slightly when he shoots it. But, his mechanical issues can be fixed easily with a shooting coach at the next level. Lavine does have a few drawbacks though. He struggles to create his own shot in half court sets despite being a better athlete than almost any player he faces. He is completely right handed at the rim which forces misses on what should be easy makes for an athlete of his caliber. And, he takes a lot of bad, contested shots.

Reminds me of: A smaller, more clueless Scottie Pippen

Marcus Smart – Oklahoma State – So. – Smart is considered to be the best guard prospect in the draft despite not having a defined position. He is the epitome of a combo guard. He has the ball-handling skills to play point guard, but is a scorer without the size to be a definitive shooting guard. Marcus Smart will be a good professional basketball player, though. He is strong with the basketball, he can hit long jumpers, and he makes solid decisions passing and scoring.

Reminds me of: Chauncey Billups with a lower basketball IQ

Joel Embiid – Kansas – Fr. – Embiid is a legitimate seven footer who has great body control and good footwork. Most basketball analysts have him at the top of their draft board solely on potential. Embiid has great hands and a few solid post moves to go along with decent footwork. He has a good drop step and a good hook over his left shoulder. He has good touch on every shot that he takes and shoots 71% from the free throw line. Embiid is long, and most importantly, he moves extremely fluidly for a man his size. His ceiling is being the next (and possibly last) great center, but he has too many question marks to be the first pick on the board. Embiid will have to put on weight at the next level and that means that he could be slower and more prone to injury. He is not extremely productive scoring or rebounding at the college level which means that he may not be productive as a pro. He struggles to finish in traffic, and none of his post moves are refined. Plus, he is not as great on the defensive end as his size suggests he should be. Embiid could be a Hall of Fame center at the next level or he could be average.

Reminds me of: Brad Daugherty

Tyler Ennis – Syracuse – Fr. – Though Ennis only measures about 6’2″ he has long arms and is deceptively quick. He uses change of direction and good body control to get to his spots on the floor and score. And, his basketball IQ measures higher than his measurables. Ennis has an innate ability to know what his team needs and give it to them. He did not play like a freshman for most of the year. He was cool, calm, and collected in every game. Ennis penetrated and dished on most plays, but when his squad needed a bucket, he made his way into the paint and finished himself.

Reminds me of: Dennis Johnson

basketball - andrew wiggins - college07

Andrew Wiggins – Kansas – Fr. – Andrew Wiggins is an unfinished product on the offensive end of the court, but all the physical tools for him to dominant are there. He can jump out of the gym, he has a good mid-range game, he can score in traffic, and he has sound mechanics on his shot. Wiggins may be the most explosive athlete in the draft and he is a “can’t miss” prospect. At worst, he should be a NBA starter. If he becomes more assertive on offense, and works on definitive moves to create scoring opportunities, he could be a NBA All-Star. And, Wiggins is the son of former pro, Mitch Wiggins, so the pedigree is there.

Reminds me of: Andre Iguodala

Jabari Parker – Duke – Fr. – Jabari Parker is the most polished player in the draft. He seems to understand the game better than most athletes who are still in college. He moves well without the basketball, has great footwork around the basket, has a sound jump shot, a great midrange game (a great indicator that a player will be a good scorer at the next level), and he rebounds well for his position.

Reminds me of: A less assertive Carmelo

Anthony Julius Randle – Kentucky – Fr. – Julius Randle has two of the most important characteristics of a successful big man, a good motor and good size. He has soft touch on all his shots, but scores more in short range than anywhere on the court. Randle can handle the basketball on the wing and get to the rim. He hits the occasional jump shot, but needs to stabilize his jumper to be an All-Star at the next level. If Randle learns some definitive post moves, then he could be a super star in the NBA.

Reminds me of: Derrick Coleman with less of a jump shot, but a better motor

Dante Exum – Australian Institute of Sport – International – Exum has ideal¬†size for a point guard at 6-6, and he has a long wingspan too. He is a fluid athlete with great agility, the ability to finish in traffic, and a great first step. Tremendous ball-handler for his height, and he already knows how to use changes in speed to help him penetrate. Exum can get to the hole when he wants to with long strides and rangy drives. He is extremely aggressive and he draws fouls on opponents. Excellent in transition and finishes well in the paint, however he is decidedly right handed on scoring opportunities in traffic. Needs to learn to finish with his left. He has a sound release on his jump shot, but his mechanics getting to his shooter’s window are a bit tight.

Reminds me of: Penny Hardaway with a much less reliable jumper and no left hand

basketball - frank kaminsky - college

Frank Kaminsky – Wisconsin – Frank Kaminsky decided to return to school for his senior campaign, but he could have been the most impacting rookie besides Wiggins, Parker, and Embiid. Kaminsky is a legitimate seven footer with range out to the three point line and a polished inside game. He handles the basketball well on drives to the rim, and he can finish with either hand in traffic. Kaminsky’s post game includes a jump hook with either hand over either shoulder, a good fadeaway on contested shots, and polished up and under counters in the paint. The only real drawbacks to any team considering taking him are his strength and his athleticism. But, his length will cover most of his athletic concerns, and his fairly high basketball IQ will help when he is overpowered. Plus Kaminsky can put on weight in the league to help him guard the larger players.

Reminds me of: Brad Miller

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