2014 Draft Prospects:

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#1
Whereas I'm tired of reading all the negativity in just about every thread, I've decided to start looking toward the future. So I'll be covering, and anyone can jump in by the way, all the top prospects for the 2014 draft. Some of course are just highschoolers, so all we have are limited looks at them. As a result, we'll revisit them as the college year progresses. We'll start with:

Andrew Wiggins: SF, 6'8" w/shoes, 197 pounds, 7'0" wingspan (measurements from Nike Summit), Kansas.

Andrew Wiggins is probably the most talked about highschooler since Lebron James. Some have projected him as the next coming of James. I suspose thats possible, but they aren't the same player coming out of highschool. Wiggins is a much better shooter than James was at the point in time.. Both are, were, freak athlete's, but Lebron was a more physical athlete. I really don't like comparing one player to another. Lebron has long left the starting gate, and Wiggins is just arriving. So it remains to be seen how he fares on the fast track. But so far, so good. Apparently he's really impressed at Kansas in practices. Here's a little highlight video for those not familar with him...

Realized that I didn't really say much about Wiggins skill level. He's a very good ballhandler that can explode to the basket. He has an assortment of spin moves, jab steps, drop steps, and crossovers, to go with outstanding leaping ability. Wouldn't be surprised if he posts a plus 40 inch vertical at the combine. He's lightning quick with the ball, and is unbeatable in fast break transition. He needs to be more consistent with his outside shot, but its more than respectable for now. He's also a very good defender with good lateral quickness. There's really not much he can't do, other than polish what he can do, and maybe add a few new tricks. Only knock on him, is that he appears to get bored against poor competition at times. But he can literally take over a game by himself.


 
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#2
I can't believe how loaded this draft is, at least in foresight. Some of these guys may not live up to the hype, but there's just SO MANY amazing prospects in this draft.

So, a guy I would watch is Glenn Robinson III. He's a great athlete with a tremendously well-rounded game. Look for him to have a much bigger role in Michigan's offense, with Burke and Hardaway out of the picture.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#3
I can't believe how loaded this draft is, at least in foresight. Some of these guys may not live up to the hype, but there's just SO MANY amazing prospects in this draft.

So, a guy I would watch is Glenn Robinson III. He's a great athlete with a tremendously well-rounded game. Look for him to have a much bigger role in Michigan's offense, with Burke and Hardaway out of the picture.
I like Robinson! I'd like him more if he grows a couple of inches. He made the right choice going back for another year. However, if I'm him, based on what he accomplishes this coming season, I just might wait for yet another year if I want to go top 10. We'll see, but this is going to be a tough top 10 to break into.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#4
Julius Randle: PF, 6'9" w/shoes, 248 pounds, 7'0" wingspan (measurements from Jordan Brand Classic), Kentucky.

Randle is considered by many scouts the player with the best chance of dethroning Wiggins from the top spot. And with good reason. He's a rare combination of size, skill level, and athleticism. He can score from anywhere on the floor, from beyond the three point line, to in the post. His explosiveness around the basket has been compared to a young Chris Webber. Not many big men handle the ball as well as Randle, which makes him difficult to guard. Back off and he'll shoot it, play up on him, and he'll blow right by you. He's also, so far, a very good defender and shotblocker. He's probably given Wiggins the most problems in head to head competition. They took turns blocking each others shots. It was fun to watch. One can only hope that Kansas and Kentucky face each other at some point during the season or the tournament. In short, Randle is a very skilled big man that can play efficiently under the basket, or away from the basket. If not for Wiggins, he would probably be considered the top pick in this draft. By seasons end, he may be. Here's a video of Randle.


 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#5
Aaron Gordon: PF, 6'9" w/shoes, 212 pounds, 6'11.5" wingspan (measurements from Jordan Brand Classic), Arizona.

Gordon is the younger brother of Drew Gordon, who played on our summer league team, and another that scouts think might be the number one player in the draft by the time it rolls around. I don't think so, but there's plenty of time for him to change my mind. Gordon is another big athletic PF. He goes at top speed his entire time on the floor. He's been compared to the energizer bunny. He's a very good defender and shotblocker with explosive leaping ability. He's also a good ballhandler for a big man, and an excellent passer. The bulk of his scoring comes in the post in a variety of ways. He's not as skilled in the post as Randle is, but his quickness and explosiveness make him hard to stop. The main area that Randle has the edge is scoring away from the basket. Gordon isn't as skilled as Randle when it comes to shooting the ball. But he has time to polish that part of his game, and believe me, he'll make the biggest impact at Arizona of anyone in a long time. The player that scouts have compared Gordon to the most is Blake Griffin. Mainly because of his athleticism. I can see the comparison, but I don't like those kind of comparisons. Here's a video of him.


 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#6
Jabari Parker: SF, 6'8" w/shoes, 241 pounds, 7'0" wingspan (measurements from Jordan Brand Classic), Duke.

Parker is yet another player that could end up being the first pick in the draft. The only thing separating Parker from the first three, is that they're freak athletes, and Parker isn't. But make no mistake, he's a very good athlete. Think of a more skilled, more athletic Otto Porter. He's a very good defender, going one on one with Wiggins on several occasions, and giving him as much trouble as anyone can. He's an excellent outside shooter, and very good ballhandler, and a good passer. Very smart player with excellent BBIQ that almost always makes the right decision. I like Parker a lot, and like the first three, he's a very competitive player. And while he doesn't have the explosive leaping ability of the first three, he's quite capable of playing above the rim. The Question about Parker is what is he, a SF or a PF. Personally I think he's a SF, but he has all college season to make his case one way or the other. Here's a video of him.


 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#7
Dante Exum: PG/SG, 6'6" w/shoes, 188 pounds, 6'9.25" wingspan (Measurements from the Nike Hoop Summit), Not committed.

The first time I saw Exum play it was at the Nike Hoop Summit. My first thought was, who the hell is this guy? Well, he's the PG for the Australian National team. Or at least he was, because now that he stands 6'6", he sometimes moves to the SG position. A couple of days ago, he scored 30 points in the second half of his game in the world championships semi final round to lead his team to victory. He's a player that will relentlessly attack the basket. He's another outstanding athlete with great ballhandling abilities, and passing skills. Although he doesn't look like Tyreke Evans build wise, his game is very similar, except Exum has a very good outside shot, and maybe better PG instincts at the same point in their careers. PG or not, he's a very good basketball player thats quite capable of playing the SG position. Think a little bit of Doug Christie, with more ability to create his own shot, and shoot off the dribble. In any event, get used to hearing his name. He's a very talented kid. Here's a short video.


 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#8
Andrew Harrison: PG, 6'5" w/shoes, 207 pounds, 6'8" wingspan (measurements from the Jordan Brand Classic), Kentucky.

Andrew Harrison is considered by many to be the best PG in the 2014 highschool class. Where that puts him in the draft remains to be seen in the coming season. Many consider Marcus Smart as the top PG, but I expect Andrew to give him a run for his money. Andrew, like Smart, is a very good athlete, and already has an NBA body. He has great court vision, and makes some very spectacular passes at times. He's a terrific ballhandler, and at 6'5", he has great size for the position. Andrew is probably a better athlete than Smart, but both are very physical players. Andrew has the ballhandling ability to screw you into the floor at times, so he has no trouble getting into the paint, and once there, he can create serious problems for the other team with his passing ability, or his scoring ability. The advantage he has on Smart, is that Andrew is a very good outside shooter, and Smart, at least up to this point, is very inconsistent. Andrew by the way, is not to be confused with his twin brother Aaron, who is a SG. Here's a video of Andrew.


 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#9
Marcus Smart: PG/SG, 6'4" w/shoes, 200 pounds, Oklahoma St.

With Smart we have one year of college to go on, and if he had opted for the draft this year, he might have been number one, or at least top 5. He's considered by most to be a PG, but some consider him a combo guard. Either way, he's a very talented player, and he does have very good passing ability. He's a good ballhandler, but I don't think he's as good as Andrew Harrison. He gets a little loose with his handle at times. Like Harrison, he constantly gets into the paint, and like Harrison, he's very physical and players bounce off him, instead of the other way around. He's a good athlete, but not an exceptional one. But he's so physical, it doesn't seem to bother him. If he can't get around you, he'll go through you. He's an excellent defender averaging 3 steals a game. His glaring weakness is his outside shot. He shot 29% from the three this past season. His form isn't bad, but he shoots off balance too often. If he can refine his game a little more, especially his outside shot, he could be a heck of a player. Here's a video of him.


 
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#10
Thanks for the Vids. all guys you mentioned look incredibly talented in those highlights reels. But how much of Wiggins and Randles dominance comes out of their physical gifts and will it translate to the NBA? Wiggins, Randle and Gordon show really nice ballhandling for their size, but Gordon seems to have superior court vision and is willing to set up teammates. This is something you cant teach a player and it really impressed me.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#11
Thanks for the Vids. all guys you mentioned look incredibly talented in those highlights reels. But how much of Wiggins and Randles dominance comes out of their physical gifts and will it translate to the NBA? Wiggins, Randle and Gordon show really nice ballhandling for their size, but Gordon seems to have superior court vision and is willing to set up teammates. This is something you cant teach a player and it really impressed me.
Not to diminish Gordon, but I wouldn't pay too much attention to the videos as how each player approaches the game. All their intended to do is show off the different talents of each player. In Gordon's video it shows him hitting a lot of outside shots, when in fact, thats his main weakness. No one misses a shot in a highlight video. Gordon's strength is his motor. Not to say the others don't have good motors, its just that Gordon always seems to be in overdrive. Some scouts have compared him to Blake Griffin. I don't agree with that comparison, but its certainly high praise.

Personally, I haven't seen a player with Wiggins gifts, that polished, and that young, that I can remember. But make no mistake, all three of these guys are very very good. I would put Parker in that same group, except for him lacking their extreme athleticism. But he's so skilled that he could end up being the number one player in the draft. I doubt it though.
 
#12
Well thats the problem judging those talents by watching youtube clips. They all look like superstars. How do you get a cleaner look at them, to come to your conclusion? Reading the press or do you have a chance to watch full-game-footage of them in the US?
 
#13
They compare that Randle kid to Webber. Haven't seen much of him, but it doesn't look like he has Webber's Nash-like passing ability. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see it.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#14
Well thats the problem judging those talents by watching youtube clips. They all look like superstars. How do you get a cleaner look at them, to come to your conclusion? Reading the press or do you have a chance to watch full-game-footage of them in the US?
Well believe it or not, ESPN and ESPNU show quite a few highschool games. So I got to see just about everyone of them play a few times. I also got to see them in better competition in the Nike Summit Challenge. Which is the best of the US highschoolers against the best international highschoolers. Its one of the better competitive games, because both sides actually want to win. In other words some of the other highschool all star games are fun to watch, like the McDonalds, Jordan Brand, and the Lebron skills academy, but they take on the atmosphere of an all star game than they do a highly competitive game.

Point is, I have seen them play in actual games. So my little write up is based on that, and on scouting reports that I've read. I've already seen many of the highschoolers play that will be in the 2014/15 class. Its a little early to start talking about them, but remember the names Jahlil Okafor and Cliff Alexander. I've been very impressed by them.
 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#15
They compare that Randle kid to Webber. Haven't seen much of him, but it doesn't look like he has Webber's Nash-like passing ability. Maybe I'm wrong, but I don't see it.
I would say that his passing ability is on a par with Webbers at the same point in their careers. Your never going to get a perfect comparison. I think Randle's explosive leaping ability is what reminds most people of Webber. Randle is a far better outside shooter than Webber was at the same point in their careers. Point is, you don't have to be an exact clone of Webber to be a very good, or even great, basketball player. Someday in the future, scouts will be comparing some player to Randle.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#16
Jabari Parker full game. So skilled.

As I said, the only thing that separates Parker from Randle, Gordon, and Wiggins, is he's not quite the athlete that they are. Some scouts argue that Parker is the most skilled player coming into college this year.
 
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#17
Man, all these kids are born in the mid 90s now and beyond. Growing old...

I know jack about high schoolers, because of course, they're high schoolers and there's way too many variables to account for. We have to see them a (relatively) even playing field which is in college, or high level international ball first. But obviously, Wiggins is obviously the guy everyone's looking at.

Based on what I know from college, it's clear Marcus Smart is leading this pack by a clear mile. Jordan Adams, that under-the-radar kid from UCLA, is a bit Harden-esque and very economic in his offensive movements. Little wasted motion. He's next. Check out Swiss wunderkind Clint Capela as well. I like PJ Hairston as a three point gunner, and I think he has more athleticism than people give him credit for.

Rounding out my top ten list are Sam Dekker, Kyle Anderson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarnell Stokes, Chris Obekpa and Dario Saric.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#18
Man, all these kids are born in the mid 90s now and beyond. Growing old...

I know jack about high schoolers, because of course, they're high schoolers and there's way too many variables to account for. We have to see them a (relatively) even playing field which is in college, or high level international ball first. But obviously, Wiggins is obviously the guy everyone's looking at.

Based on what I know from college, it's clear Marcus Smart is leading this pack by a clear mile. Jordan Adams, that under-the-radar kid from UCLA, is a bit Harden-esque and very economic in his offensive movements. Little wasted motion. He's next. Check out Swiss wunderkind Clint Capela as well. I like PJ Hairston as a three point gunner, and I think he has more athleticism than people give him credit for.

Rounding out my top ten list are Sam Dekker, Kyle Anderson, Spencer Dinwiddie, Jarnell Stokes, Chris Obekpa and Dario Saric.
You have to start watching the U 19 games. Smart was severely outplayed by several players, including Jahlil Okafor. In our match up with the Aussies, Dante Exum flat *** dominated him. One of Smarts problems was that he was in foul trouble in just about every game. Don't get me wrong, Smart is a talent, but he's far from the number one pick in the next draft. He'll be lucky to make the top five, which I doubt. Anderson may end up being a second round pick unless he really steps up his game. Hopefully a new coach will unleash the Anderson I was expecting coming out of highschool. All the players I've listed so far have played against international players, and quite a few of the games have been televised.

Chris Obekpa is another that really needs a break out year, or he'll be a second round pick. I like the kid, but so far all he's shown me is potential. But I do like his potential. He's no Julius Randle though.

Edit: Since you mentioned highschool, I'd like to add that because its highschool, you have to see as many games as you can to get a decent read on a player. You might see Randle in a game being matched up with a 6'5" player. So naturally he dominates. I think you do have to take that into consideration. But there are some things that I consider constants. If a player can handle the ball, then he can handle the ball. In many cases, its harder for a player like Randle to show off his handles against 6'5" player, than it would be with a 6'10" player. Tall players have higher dribbles, and therefore its easier for a smaller player to get a hand on it.

In general, if a player can rebound, then he can rebound. So would tougher competition make all those skills harder to excute? Of course! Its just not an exact science. But I do think that if you follow a player for 2 or 3 years, you can get a very good feel on that player. The thing you need to fear, is falling in love with a player so much, that it blinds you in some areas. Believe me, I've done it. As I've stated to you in the past, I try and look at what a player can do, not what he can't do. But that doesn't mean you ignore what he can't do. You just don't dwelll on it to the point that it gets blown out of proportation. But thats just me. Its an ever developing art form.
 
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#19
Jabari Parker: 6'8" w/shoes, 241 pounds, 7'0" wingspan, Duke. (measurements from Jordan Brand Classic)

Parker is yet another player that could end up being the first pick in the draft. The only thing separating Parker from the first three, is that they're freak athletes, and Parker isn't. But make no mistake, he's a very good athlete. Think of a more skilled, more athletic Otto Porter. He's a very good defender, going one on one with Wiggins on several occasions, and giving him as much trouble as anyone can. He's an excellent outside shooter, and very good ballhandler. Very smart player that almost always makes the right decision. I like Parker a lot, and like the first three, he's a very competitive player. And while he doesn't have the explosive leaping ability of the first three, he's quite capable of playing above the rim. The Question about Parker is what is he, a SF or a PF. Personally I think he's a SF, but he has all college season to make his case one way or the other. Here's a video of him.


[video=youtube_share;uwDWBfIWDy0]http://youtu.be/uwDWBfIWDy0[/video]
Will be interesting to see how Parker's game translates to the NCAA with bigger, quicker athletes. Because I really like him for the Kings, but he's likely a Top 5 pick. Kings should be right in that mix again with the current roster on 7/11/13.
 
#20
Some of these HS guys will rise, some fall. But with the current crop of NCAA players + International players this draft is going to be 100x more potent than this years. Glad the Kings got Ben McClemore, but not sure where he would end up in this upcoming draft. Probably would've put up crazy numbers, but may have taken a back seat to Wiggins, too. Glad the Kings got him, though!
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#21
From this point on, I'm listing players that I happen to like a lot, and not necessarily the order I think they'll be chosen. Those I've listed so far, are in some order, going to make up the top five in the draft. At least right now. All that can change of course over the season. So! Up next, a player that hasn't gotten too much noterioty. Semaj Christon.

Semaj Christon: PG, 6'3" w/shoes, 185 Lbs, 6'6" wingspan (measurements from the Nike Hoop Summit) Soph, Xavior.

Freshman year totals: 15.2 PPG, 44.4% FGP, 25.0% 3PP, 4.6 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game.
As you can readily see, Semaj's 3pt shot needs some work. Some of his poor shooting comes from poor shot selection, or taking off balanced shots. Very correctable! Semaj is an excellent passer. He knows how to get into the lane and cause havoc. He's a good finisher at the basket, and a good passer in traffic. He's an excellent ballhandler, but at times gets a little too loose with the ball. Defensively, he puts in the effort, and is a good enough athlete to effective on the defensive side of the ball. If he can tighten up his game, and bring up his shooting percentages, he could work himself into the top ten of the draft. He's very talented, but the competition is going to be stiff this year. Its not a big year for PG's, so that should help his projections a little. Here's a video.


 
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bajaden

Hall of Famer
#22
T.J. Warren: SF, 6'8.5" w/shoes, 233 Lbs, 6'9.5" wingspan, (measurements taken from Kevin Durant skills academy), North Carolina St.

Freshman year stats: 12.1 PPG, 62.2% FGP, 51.9% 3PP, 4.2 RPG.

Right now, Warren is most likely projected somewhere in the bottom third of the first round. At least thats where I would have him. If he has a breakout year this year, which might be hard to do at North Carolina St, which was a crappy underacchieving team last season. What Warren is good at is scoring the basketball. As you can see by his 3PP, he has a nice outside shot, even if he didn't take many from out there. He's also very good at putting the ball on the floor, and going to the basket. He's a good, but not great ballhandler. However, he seldom turns the ball over while going to the basket. He has quick little quirky moves with the ball that always seem to free him up, and he always seems to be under control. Once near the basket, he always finds a way to score. It doesn't always look pretty, but he's effective. With C.J. Leslie finally gone, I would expect more of the scoring load will fall on Warren. I like Warren, and if he was more athletic, I'd love him. But despite not being on the same playing field with Wiggins and company athleticly, he's still a very effective player. He has the build of a PF, but I just don't see him there on a regular basis. Here's a short video of him.


 
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#23
Dante Exum is one of the guys I'm most interested in. Can't wait to see what he does next year. He could easily be one of the best players from the draft class, that may not seem like a strong endorsement but it is when you consider how strong and deep the class is. He has a huge amount of talent...
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#24
Dante Exum is one of the guys I'm most interested in. Can't wait to see what he does next year. He could easily be one of the best players from the draft class, that may not seem like a strong endorsement but it is when you consider how strong and deep the class is. He has a huge amount of talent...
I agree! I've seen him play now around three times, but the most impressive game was the US against the international players. I really didn't know who he was, but I did by the time the game was over. The kids loaded with talent. His quandry is that if he skips school, he can enter the next draft. But to go to college he'd have to wait a year, and that would put him in the 2015 draft. I don't quite understand all the particulars, but that seems to be the result depending on what he wants to do.
 
#25
I agree! I've seen him play now around three times, but the most impressive game was the US against the international players. I really didn't know who he was, but I did by the time the game was over. The kids loaded with talent. His quandry is that if he skips school, he can enter the next draft. But to go to college he'd have to wait a year, and that would put him in the 2015 draft. I don't quite understand all the particulars, but that seems to be the result depending on what he wants to do.

I don't know if you got a chance to see some of the FIBA U19 championship, but he was spectacular.

Here are his stats in each of the games for anyone that's curious:

Game 1 against Senegal: 9pts, 6ass, 6reb, 1st in 16mins.
G2 vs. Serbia: 14/2/3/1
G3 vs. Brazil: 12/5/5 in 18mins.
G4 vs. China: 20/3/1/1
G5 vs. USA: 7/2 in 11mins (not sure if he was injured or just rested in this one as I didn't see it).
G6 vs. Spain: 33/5/4/4
G7 vs Serbia: 21/4/42
G8 vs Lithuania: 28/5/5/1
 

Capt. Factorial

Cantry Member
Staff member
#26
Semaj Christon: PG, 6'3" w/shoes, 185 Lbs, 6'6" wingspan (measurements from the Nike Hoop Summit) Soph, Xavior.
He's an excellent ballhandler, but at times gets a little too loose with the ball.
Killer dribble. I'm kinda hoping he gets nicknamed "The Cross-over" from his apparent signature move, but mostly so I can call him "Christon The Cross-over".
 
#28
I honestly feel like in no other year since 2003 has it been this important to have a top 5 pick. Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle are the LeBron/Carmelo of the draft.
 

bajaden

Hall of Famer
#29
I honestly feel like in no other year since 2003 has it been this important to have a top 5 pick. Andrew Wiggins and Julius Randle are the LeBron/Carmelo of the draft.
You could very well be right! Sometimes people don't really know what separates good players from great players. There are a lot of talented players with various degrees of athleticism. So whats the difference? Confidence! Confidence almost to the point of arrogance. They don't just talk the talk, the walk the walk. They look you in the eye, tell you what their going to do, and defy you to stop them. Thats the rare air of superstars. I know! I've been around them. Thats what I see in Wiggins, Randle, and perhaps Parker and Exum.

If you don't have the heart and desire to match your abilites, you'll never be great. Thats why I loved Oladipo so much. He has the it factor. He won't be denied. This is going to be a fun college season! At least for me...
 
#30
Sorry to harp on about Exum, but I believe he has that confidence and mentality that you're speaking of. Watching his interviews, he's very smart and confident. His skill set is so impressive for his size. In my view, he's everything that players like Livingston, MCW etc were hoped to be. He's 6'6'' and can legitimately play PG, he's an excellent passer with a high IQ. But he doesn't have the same weaknesses that they have - he's a very good shooter, very good athlete, bigger frame, good defensive potential. He's a complete player. He's played at an extremely high level against top competition. He's a leader.

Argh, on one hand I'd love to see him against college competition in the US, but on the other hand, I want him to be in the next draft. I really think he has star, and possibly superstar, potential...


BTW, I know Jahlil Okafor still has a year left in highschool, but he's seriously talented. Not a freak athlete but good size and a scary skill level. He's dominant... Possible top pick in 2015!
 
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