Welcome to 2014 N B A draft! This year is so deep and crazy that everybody is throwing in their 2 cents. I see lots of movement in this draft, with win now teams looking for veterans and rebuilding teams looking to stockpile young talent. Lakers and the Kings are trading their picks for veteran help; 76ers don’t care if they win next year either and will gladly trade up, ditto for the Bucks and Magic, look for Phoenix to make a move with its 3 1st round draft pick and acquire a big name veteran to make the last push into the playoffs.
Things I’m looking for and what I think should happen:A pre-draft physical uncovered a broken foot for Kansas C and consensus #1 overall pick Joel Embiid, this after missing the NCAA tournament with a broken back, leading me to question everything I thought was true about the draft. How far he will fall? How is his injury going to disrupt the previously sure thing 1,2,3 picks of Embiid, Parker, Wiggins? Will Cleveland still jump on Embid, a C and position of need for the team, with the first overall pick, and wait a year for him to heal? Will they pick Parker, projected to play a stretch 4, when they’ve already spent #4 overall on Tristan Thompson in the 2011 draft, and most recently the #1overall pick on last year’s draft by surprisingly taking Michael Bennett and his sleep apnea. They have again failed to trade Verajao when his value is high and he isn’t injured so there rotation features no true C’s and a bunch of power forwards. Cleveland also has a recent history of drafting prospects that suffered injuries in college, like Kyrie Irving in that same 2011 draft, he only played 11 regular season college games before suffering a ligament injury to his big toe, although he did come back to play in the NCAA tournament, Irving, obviously, was a home run. I don’t see Embid falling out of the top 3. Cleveland should posture taking Wiggins/Parker and make Phili pull the trigger on a Thad Young and the 3rd pick trade, since the 76ers have sat on Nerlens Noel all year and it would be redundant to do it with Embiid. They would panic on missing out on Wiggins and want to move up. Cleveland should trade down, take Embiid there and get a couple years out of a solid NBA vet in Thad Young that can defend opposing SF’s.In what order will the Gordon, Vonleh, Randle, combination go? After the Wiggins, Parker, Embid, Exum tier there are these PFs that draft boards have going in different orders and different spots but, all will be top ten picks and won’t go higher than 4, leaving them all in the same pool. Randle was the highest rated prospect coming into the college season but a foot injury has seen some cooling off on him. Lots of comparisons to Z-Bo, has the most NBA ready skills in the post and rebounding, as long as he comes back from Injury and is ready to play once the season starts. Gordon has the most upside due to his crazy athleticism and competitive drive. At 19 years old he draws comparisons to an even more athletic Kawaii Leonard from NBA draft expert Chad Forde, all he needs to do is learn to shoot a corner 3 and he could be your 3 and D guy at the very least, and an all-star mini-Blake, with range, as his ceiling. One thing I saw that I liked about him in an interview he was asked his ideal position in the league, he quickly responded “point forward” which tells me he will constantly work on his handles and court vision, with his youth he has plenty of time to learn. Vonleh, I see as a poor man’s Chris Bosh. He already has an NBA frame at 6’10” 250, and can hit buckets from the midrange/corner 3 area. Teams value shooting in their pf’s, they space the floor and keep driving lanes open. He can also roll or pop off the pick and roll. His skill set is definitely sought after. Prediction: Gordon goes 5th to Utah, Randle 6th to Boston, Vonleh at the 7th pick, not taken by the Lakers though.What will Orlando do with its picks and Aaron Afflalo? With picks at 4 and 12, and Afflalo as an asset, I see the Magic getting Dante Exum, a 6’6” 19 year old Australian, athletic, combo guard with the 4th pick. Pairing him with Oladipo makes sense to me because I don’t see Oladipo as a primary ball handler on a playoff team but he does have the handles to relieve Exum, who will surely have games 19 year old rookies will have, that’s why the term rookie mistake exists. That pick will phase out Afflalo. Sg is a thin position in the NBA, and I’m counting on a win now team with a top 10 pick taking Afflalo along with the 12th pick. That team will be the Lakers, taking Afflalo, a solid shooter with good perimeter D, to either play alongside Kobe or relieve his minutes while still getting young talent with the 12th pick in a deep draft. Orlando lands Vonleh and Exum to go along with Oladipo and Vucevic. That’s a really good, really young core that could be in the playoffs in the weak East with a veteran signing or 2, an Eastern Conference finals contender in a couple years? Maybe? Can kinda see it if I squint?Phoenix should look into a sign-and-trade deal for Detroit’s Greg Monroe giving up the 14th and 27th picks and Markieff Morris. Detroit’s big men, Monroe, Andre Drummond, and Josh Smith, didn’t fit together in a starting rotation and Monroe is set to be a restricted fa this year. A sign and trade with Phoenix could clear up the big man rotation for Detroit without thinning it out with Morris on the bench as the 3rd big man. It also would get Detroit into the 1st round of a stacked draft after losing its pick to Charlotte in the Ben Gordon/Corey Maggette swap. Win-win situation with the Suns getting an impact veteran to help them into the playoffs. Detroit should use the 14th pick on Rodney Hood, a sweet shooting SF from Duke. Detroit desperately needs perimeter scoring to space the floor for their big men. Hood shot 42% from the 3pt line last year and could provide some much needed shooting for the Pistons.
If your team is picking outside the lottery section
Players to look for that won’t be taken in the lottery but, could contribute to good teams….
SF TJ Warren NC State…. 6’8” averaging 24 points a game, he’ll be able to score in the NBA. Won ACC player of the year, the ACC, yeah, the league Jabari Parker, top 3 pick, was in. Good fit in Phoenix.
PG Shabazz Napier UConn…. Yes he’s small, he also sliced his was through defenses to an NCAA Championship last year, his second. I think he has the IT thing that’ll make a player out of him, maybe in San Antonio if Patty Mills ends up wanting too much money.
PG Xavier Thames San Diego State…. Homer pick, he is a baller though, steps up in big situations, has four years of college experience, could be solid for the Heat if they lose Chalmers and end up thin at pg.
SF K.J. McDaniels, Clemson….. Incredible athlete that also works hard on defense, if he can become consistent with his 3 point shot he can become an all-star, period. Would be a good back up for the Slim Reaper in OKC
I look at SG and Centers as thin spots in the NBA, positions draft picks have a better chance at becoming valuable parts of rotations. The top of the draft is heavy with forwards and combo guards, so the better teams drafting at the bottom have a chance on further improving their teams. Gary Harris and Nik Stauskas are great sg prospects expected to go mid lottery, my guess is Charlotte at 9 and Denver at 11 respectively. Centers will be taken late in the 1st or 2nd round, there is a truly mammoth human being in 7’5”, yes that’s 7’5”, 355lb. C from New Mexico State Sim Bhullar, stamina will be a problem but give me 15 min. of an entire team scared of going to the paint for a second round pick, I’ll take it any day. Then there’s 7’2”Jordan Bachynski from Arizona St. Want the definition of rim protector, check out this out
Thoughts and prayers go out to Isaiah Austin, an excellent 7’1” C prospect out of Baylor whose basketball career was cut short after a physical found he had a genetic heart condition that would have threatened his life had he played in the NBA.I like combo guard Nick Johnson from Arizona, I think he is NBA ready, can play bench minutes for a playoff team right away. He’s strong and athletic, a straight floor general. If he’s there for the Pistons in the 2nd rd, don’t hesitate SVG, don’t swig that Diet Coke another time, take him.
Some floors and ceilings on players I feel strongly about:
Pg/sg Marcus Smart Oklahoma, this kid is the biggest variable in the draft, he’ll either be the second coming of Dyawne Wade strong, defenders can’t stay in front of him, super competitor that can’t really shoot, or he’ll be Boogie Cousins without the size or skill set, just the techs and suspensions. Somewhere in the middle is Tony Allen with better handles. Going to the Celtics at 8 after they trade Jeff Green and the 17th pick to Sacramento for him. F Doug McDermott Creighton, great nickname in Douggy McBuckets, I worry he is the next Jimmer, or Adam Morrison. His best possible outcome would be Kevin Love without the dominant rebounding. Somewhere in the middle is Kyle Syngler. Yes I just compared him to every white NBA player save Kyle Korver…. At least I’m an original racial profiler. Minnesota is going to take him at 13. He and Smart are my best bets for busts.Laker Fan in me says”
After the Afflalo trade, with the 12th pick they take Adrien Payne 6’10” pf from Michigan State. He has the composure to play right away, has post moves and can hit the jump shot from NBA range. Address another forward, pg, and center in free agency… Make a big bid for Bledsoe and force Phoenix to pay him or maybe even sneak off with him.”
I don’t think Kevin Love is going anywhere. He made a mistake in stating publicly that he was opting out. Now instead of giving up assets all teams have to do is wait until he opts out and sign him in FA, all they need to do is open up cap room.
Draft Commentary coming soon…