About the actual draft of 2014...this is going to be one of the most exciting, hilarious, unpredictable drafts of this season. Last season there were a ton of good role-player material in the first round (expected). This season though is much loaded in comparison but keep in mind there's also a ton of bust potential considering numerous amounts of freshman, guys that are potentially injury prone, anything can happen. We could see some beautiful gems dug out in the late 1st round/ early 2nd round. Don't be surprised.
The Big 3: We're pretty much familiar with the potentials of Parker, Embiid, and Wiggins. My feelings are Parker will probably stay because of Duke's 2015 talent. If not he's still a lock for the top 3. Embiid will probably get drafted by any of the teams except for Philadelphia who don't want two potentially injury prone star centers in one roster. It could **** up their rebuilding processes big time. They're investing time and effort into Noel as that potential big man and MCW as their point guard, so a wing man would make more sense to get them closer to NBA readiness.
This is where it starts getting messy. From draft #4 and over, the picks are going to be crazy. They'll probably be tailored to position needs, potential impacts for big franchises hoping to get it together ASAP, etc. think Lakers, Celtics etc. Which is why Marcus Smart is not a lock from that point on. Here are some of the big names to look out for
-Marcus Smart- I think his level is like Kemba Walker. A guy with energy and effort but it remains to be seen how much serious impact he'd have as a starting point guard if he gets the opportunity
-Aaron Gordon- This guy I think is a potential steal for anyone that can get close enough to obtain him after the big 3. He's even said himself that he's willing to work harder on his jumper to make himself flexible for the NBA, should he divide minutes between the 3 or the 4. Worse comes to worse he'll end up a high energy forward in the vein of Kenneth Faried which is useful for any franchise. The further Arizona goes in the NCAA, the more attractive this guy's stock, especially if he can help Arizona take out Wisconsin.
-Dante Exum- So far we only have hype about this guy. Could end up anywhere from 6-12 but I won't comment on him as I seriously no nothing about him. He's like the Ricky Rubio of 2014, a box of chocolates. I still would go with a guy like Aaron Gordon over him or Smart, as I know what I'm getting at least.
-Kyle Anderson- lol this kid was early hype from UCLA fanboys and some idiots early in the season, but all that hype talk disappeared when he started unleashing his potential this season as a point-forward. Dick Vitale and his Magic Johnson comparison was a hilarious one but he does have a serious point. One thing he actually does share with Magic (besides height) is that he's extremely calm in his demeanor and display. He doesn't have to speed things up at all which makes him perfect for half-court basketball. His passing ability and anticipation is solid. His jumper, 3 pointer, and floater seem about NBA-ready. The transition from winger (freshman year) to point-forward this season was smooth without too many hassles at all. The only thing this kid needs is defense and speed as in the NBA he'll be pressed like no tomorrow and to guard guys at his height will be a huge challenge should he play the 2/3, but I'm more than sure he'll develop those gradually after several seasons.
-Julius Randle vs Vonleh- A lot of debate about which is better. Randle has a lot of power and usually ends up getting his way. Vonleh is similar though his defense and rebounding are better.
-Doug McDermott- While Creighton didn't advance far in the tournament, Doug makes up for a lack of athleticism with his great shooting touch, fair passing, and good basketball IQ. His defense and speed will be problematic and need lots of work in the NBA, but I think staying four years in school and putting up a good stat offensive stat sheet will have him prepared as a significant role player on any NBA team. I think he could be like Kyle Singler.
-Adreian Payne- Another very good senior to look at. Michigan State are heavy favorites by many fans and pundits for the title. Virginia will be a great test for Payne. He's one of the few true power forwards in this draft. He can face-up, post-up, has an excellent 3 point shot, better yet, he broke the record for most and accurate free throw attempts 17/17. The only down side is his handling and low motor. There are times where he's invisible and some other times where he's just not as active as he should be. Sometimes opts to take a poor looking lazy jump shot rather than attack the paint with force.
There are some potential good shooters in this draft like like Early, Young, Hood, and a few others.
But one guy that's being overlooked big time is Nik Stauskas. His foot speed is his biggest weakness besides the expected defending and lack of athleticism. He did have two games in the regular season where he was shutdown badly. But his handling, passing abilities, beautiful step-back, amazing off the ball abilities, basketball IQ, can make him an instant upgrade over Kyle Korver. So with that said I think this guy is the major sleeper in the first round. I think if guys like Reddick, Korver, Belinelli, are coachable after a few years of development, this kid should be better an even better prospect under the right coach or management in the NBA. I'm going to call him the later round sleeper in this draft.
Zach LaVine is one guy who didn't play much for UCLA coming off the bench, he could be one of the more hidden one and done potentials which also IMHO leaves room to make him one of the biggest bust potentials as well considering he didn't play too many minutes. He's got monster speed and athleticism, a good jump shot, some raw comparison to Westbrook in terms of potential, but if I were him I would stay another season in UCLA and run the point. I think he's one of the biggest/dangerous risks for a franchise that hopes they can turn him into a hidden star.