Page 1

NBA 100

LESSONS FROM THE Scouts weigh in Prospects COMBINE The Top

2014

A F T R D GUIDE

YOUR THE OUR second TEAM’S MUST-SEE round DECISION MOCK sleepers MAKER DRAFT THE

(URGENT)

30

NEEDS OF ALL TEAMS

Marcus Smart

Jabari Parker

Joel Embiid

Andrew Wiggins

Dante Exum

EXCLUSIVE

ALL THE PLAYERS THE TOP & YOU’RE CHOICES ABOUT FOR THE TO MEET IN-DEPTH Profiles on

DRAFT

By the Insiders with an assist froM a TRIO of respected NBA SCOUTS

@bballinsiders NBA Draft Edition Issu e 2 // J u n e 2014

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2014 DRAFT GUIDE

From all reports,

Joel Embiid is both dream (like Hakeem)

and nightmare (for those who get in his way... just ask Marcus Smart).


THE 2014

CONTENT DRAFT BOARD

6 11 12 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22

30 Years of NBA Drafts Andrew Wiggins Joel Embiid Jabari Parker Dante Exum Marcus Smart Julius Randle Noah Vonleh Aaron Gordon Doug McDermott Dario Saric James Young

23 24 25 26 30 40 44 52 57 58 59 60

Gary Harris Nik Stauskas Tyler Ennis NBA Combine Numbers Additional First Rounders NBA Comparisons Second Round Prospects Draft Sleepers to Watch Cleveland Cavaliers Milwaukee Bucks Philadelphia 76ers Orlando Magic

Publication Image Credits. Andrew Wiggins. Dunk: Jasen Vinlove / © USA Today Sports. Dribble: John Rieger / © USA Today Sports. Standing: Jerome Miron / © USA Today Sports // Jabari Parker. Lay-up: Mark Dolejs / © USA Today Sports. Shot: Charles LeClaire / © USA Today Sports // Joel Embiid. Dunk John Rieger / © USA Today Sports. Skyhook: John Rieger / © USA Today Sports. Post-up: Scott Sewell / © USA Today Sports // Julius Randle. Dunk: Jasen Vinlove / © USA Today Sports. Jump-hook: Robert Deutsch / © USA Today Sports // Marcus Smart. Dribble: Tim Heitman / © USA Today Sports. Jumphot: Reese Strickland / © USA Today Sports // Dante Exum. Bench: courtesy of adidas. Dribbling: courtesy of adidas // Noah Vonleh. Rebound: Jesse Johnson / © USA Today Sports. Jumphook: Jesse Johnson / © USA Today Sports // Aaron Gordon. Dunk: Christopher Hanewinckel / © USA Today Sports // Doug McDermott. Jumpshot: Kevin Jairaj / © USA Today Sports. Portrait: Bob Donnan / © USA Today Sports. Scoop: Brad Penner / © USA Today Sports // Dario Saric. Portrait: courtesy of his wikipedia page // James Young. Dunk: Robert Deutsch // Gary Harris. Drive: Mike Carter / © USA Today Sports // Nik Stauskas. Lay-up: Jeff Hanisch / © USA Today Sports // Tyler Ennis. Dribble: Greg M. Cooper / © USA Today Sports. Set-up: Rich Barnes / © USA Today Sports // K.J McDaniels. Jumper: Melina Vastola / © USA Today Sports // Rodney Hood. Aerial shot: Bob Donnan / © USA Today Sports. Dunk: Bob Donnan / © USA Today Sports // PJ Hairston. Dunk: Melina Vastola / © USA Today Sports // Shabazz Napier. Lay-up: Pam Hunger / © USA Today Sports // Kyle Anderson. Shot: Robert Hanashiro / © USA Today Sports // Russ Smith. Dribble: Jamie Rhodes / © USA Today Sports // Isaiah Austin. Dunk: Jerome Miron / © USA Today Sports // Spencer Dinwiddie. Drive: Ron Chenoy / © USA Today Sports // DeAndre Kane. Drive: Brad Penner / © USA Today Sports // Cleanthony Early. Dark Uniform: Reese Strickland / © USA Today Sports. Dribble: Peter G. Aiken / © USA Today Sports // Alec Brown.


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61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72

Utah Jazz Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers Sacramento Kings Charlotte Hornets Denver Nuggets Minnesota Timberwolves Phoenix Suns Atlanta Hawks Chicago Bulls Toronto Raptors Oklahoma City Thunder

73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 88 92

Teams featured according to their first pick.

Memphis Grizzlies Houston Rockets Miami Heat Los Angeles Clippers San Antonio Spurs Dallas Mavericks Detroit Pistons Washington Wizards Indiana Pacers Teams Not Drafting in ‘14 Mid Majors in the Draft The Golden Age of PGs

Post-up: Mary Langenfeld / © USA Today Sports // Elfrid Payton. Dribble: Beth Hall / © USA Today Sports. Lay-up - Mike Carter / © USA Today Sports // BOS. Kelvin Kuo Reese / © USA Today Sports // BKN. Noah K. Murray / © USA Today Sports // NYK. Tom Szczerbowski / © USA Today Sports // PHI. Tom Szczerbowski / © USA Today Sports // TOR. Tom Szczerbowski / © USA Today Sports CHI. Rob Grabowski / © USA Today Sports // CLE. Howard Smith / © USA Today Sports // DET. Raj Mehta / © USA Today Sports // IND. Tommy Gilligan / © USA Today Sports // MIL. Kelley L Cox / © USA Today Sports // ATL. Winslow Townson / © USA Today Sport // CHA. Anthony Gruppuso / © USA Today Sport // MIA. Steve Mitchell / © USA Today Sport // ORL. David Manning / © USA Today Sport // WAS. Tommy Gilligan / © USA Today Sport // DEN. Faried: Chris Humphreys / © USA Today Sport. Lawson: Isaiah J. Downing / © USA Today Sport // MIN - Brace Hemmelgarn / © USA Today Sport // OKC - Mark J. Rebilas / © USA Today Sport // POR - Craig Mitchelldyer / © USA Today Sport // UTA. Hayward: Russell Isabella / © USA Today Sport. Burke: Justin Ford / © USA Today Sport // GSW. Kelley L Cox / © USA Today Sport // LAC. Derick E. Hingle / © USA Today Sport // LAL. Mark D. Smith / © USA Today Sport // PHX - Steve Dykes / © USA Today Sport // SAC - Ed Szczepanski / © USA Today Sport // DAL. Soobum Im / © USA Today Sport // HOU. Troy Taormina / © USA Today Sport // MEM. Derick E. Hingle / © USA Today Sport // NOP. Derick E. Hingle / © USA Today Sport // SAS. Soobum Im / © USA Today Sport // Millsap: Winslow Townson / © USA Today Sports // Parsons: Andrew Richardson / © USA Today Sport // Monta Ellis: Jerome Miron / © USA Today Sport // Goran Dragic: Jerome Miron / © USA Today Sport // Paul George: Brian Spurlock / © USA Today Sport. Additional

images by Basketball Inisders.


PUBLISHER’S letter

WELCOME TO the SECOND INSTALLMENT OF BASKETBALL INSIDERS: THE MAGAZINE.

Our first issue surrounding the Trade Deadline was really well received and we were thrilled you liked it.

In this issue we turn our attention to the celebrated 2014 NBA Draft, and while there are some players we’ve talked about for more than a year finally ready to join the NBA, there are a number of stories surrounding this draft that we found interesting and compelling. Our team put a lot of time and effort into creating an all-encompassing draft guide and we hope you enjoy consuming it as much as we enjoyed scurrying around to create it. The offseason is where we really separate ourselves in this space, so we hope you enjoy the 2014 NBA Draft issue of Basketball Insiders The Magazine. Make sure to tell a friend.

Steve Kyler

Editor and Publisher

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Yannis Koutroupis

Alex Kennedy

Managing Editor of Digital Publications; Senior NBA Writer

Managing Site Editor; Senior Writer

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Writer; Columnist

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Draft 2014 e-mag art direction and design by Brad Graham Copyright 2014, Basketball Insiders. All rights reserved. No pa r t of t his public at ion may be reproduced in any f o r m o r by any me ans, i nc l u d i ng by ph o t o co py i ng, e l e ct roni c al l y, st o r i ng i n any me d i u m , tr a n s m ittin g, recording or ot her w ise, whet her or not t r a nsi e nt l y o r i nci d e nt al l y t o some o t h e r u se w i t h o u t t h e p r i o r w r i t t e n conse nt o f t h e p ub l i s her.

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30 YEARS OF NBA DRAFTS 06

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Most Valuable Players From 1983 to 2013, there were...

929

A n thony Dav is (2 012) Bl a ke G rif f in (2009) Der r i ck Rose (2008) Dwight Howa rd (2004) LeBron Ja mes (2 003) Tim Dunca n (19 97) A l l en Iverson (19 96) Sha qui l l e O’Nea l ( 1992) Davi d Robinson (1987) H a keem Olajuwon (1984)

PICK

NBA Draft picks.

...those players clocked...

4.9K

J a me s H ard e n (2009) Al H o rfo rd (2007) De ro n W i l l i ams (2005) C a r me lo A n t ho ny (2003) Pa u G as o l (2001) C ha u n c e y B i l l u ps (1997) G ra n t H i l l (1994) An fe r n e e H ard away (1993) C hri s Jac k s o n (1990) Mi cha e l Jo rd an (1984)

1

+20 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

All-NBA selections

...which set the stage for...

...and resulted in...

144 34

worth of court time.

AllStars

D eM arc u s C o u s i n s ( 2010) Ke v in L ove ( 2008) D w y ane Wa d e ( 2003) M ike Mi lle r ( 2000) Vinc e C a r ter ( 1998) R ay A lle n ( 1996) Ke v in G a rn et t ( 1995) M itch R i c h m o n d ( 1988) S c o ttie P i p p en ( 1987) C h ar l es B a rk le y ( 1984)

3

All-Stars

G reg Mo n ro e ( 2010) Step h en C u rr y ( 2009) Lu o l D en g ( 2004) Nene H i la ri o ( 2002) R ich ard H a m i lto n ( 1999) D am o n Sto u d a m i re ( 1995) B o b b y H u rle y ( 1993) Ke v in J o h n s o n ( 1987) C h r is Mu lli n ( 1985) A lv in Ro b er t s o n ( 1984)

5

All-NBA First Team members

D eM ar D eRozan ( 2 0 0 9 ) J o ak im No a h ( 2 0 0 7 ) A ndre Ig u o dal a ( 2 0 0 4 ) A m ar ’e Sto ud em i re ( 2 0 0 2 ) S h aw n Ma ri o n ( 19 9 9 ) D ir k Now i t z ki ( 19 9 8 ) Trac y Mc G ra d y ( 19 9 7 ) C h ar l es O a kl e y ( 19 8 5 ) O tis T h o rp e ( 19 8 4 ) D al e E lli s ( 19 8 3 )

7

9

In the past 30 years, there have been 14 different MVP’s, half of which were No. 1’s. Out of the remaining seven, one should’ve gone No. 1 (Durant, ‘07) while the others include a No. 3 (Jordan, ‘84), a pair of fifth pick’s (Barkley, ‘84; Garnett, ‘95), a ninth choice (Nowitzki, ‘98), the lucky No. 13’s (Malone, ‘85; Bryant, ‘96) and one lottery outlier (Nash; No. 15. in ‘96). Based on trophy allocation, it’s rare to find an MVP in Draft picks two thru 30.

Fun Draft fact >> It really is all about the top pick.

2

PICK

4

(2 007) Ke vin D u ran t La Ma rcus A l d r i d ge (2 001 ) Ty son Chan d l e r (19 94) Ja son Ki d d (19 92) Al on zo M o u rn i n g (19 91 ) Ken ny An d e rs o n (19 90) Ga r y Pay to n (19 88) Ri k S mi ts (19 86) Le n B i as (19 84) Sa m B ow i e

( 2006)

R u sse ll We stb ro o k (2007) Mi ke C o n l e y (2005) C hri s Pau l (2003) C hri s B o s h (1996) Ste p ho n M ar b u r y (1995) R a she e d Wal l ac e (1991) Di ke mb e M u to mb o (1989) G le n R i c e (1985) X av i e r M cD an i el (1984) Sa m Pe r k i n s (2008)

Since the 1983 Draft, there have been...

126

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players who have earned a ring

6 D am ian L i lla rd B rand o n Roy ( 2003) C h r is K a m a n ( 2001) S h ane B a t t i er ( 1999) Wal ly S z c z e rb i a k ( 1996) A nto ine Wa lke r ( 1995) B r y ant Ree ve s ( 1992) To m G u gli o t t a ( 1987) Hers e y H aw k i n s ( 1986) Kenny S m i t h ( 2012)

( 2006)

...the most rings have gone to...

5 th

picked players (19)

8

10

Rudy Gay T.J. Ford ( 2000) Jamal Crawford ( 1999) Andre Miller ( 1998) Larr y Hughes ( 1994) Brian Grant ( 1993) Vin Baker ( 1988) Rex Chapman ( 1986) Ron Harper ( 1985) Detlef Schrempf

Paul George Brook Lopez ( 2005) Andrew Bynum ( 2002 ) Caron Butler ( 2001 ) Joe Johnson ( 199 9 ) Jason Terry ( 19 9 8 ) Paul Pierce 1995 ) Kurt Thomas ( 199 4 ) Eddie Jones ( 1987 ) Horace Grant

...second? Players selected

...the fewest?

( 2008)

( 2010 )

( 2003)

( 200 8 )

11 th 22 who have 16

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07


Most Valuable Player’s

Michael Carter-Williams (‘13) Klay Thompson (2 011) J. J. Redic k (2006) Bon zi Wells (19 98) A l l a n Houston (19 93) Rober t Horr y (19 92) Ter rel l Bra ndon (1991) Ty ron e Hill (19 90) Reggi e M iller (19 87) Ke vi n W illis (19 84)

Ma rki e ff M o rr i s (2011) Ty le r H an s b ro u g h (2009) R i cha rd Je f fe rs o n (2001) C o re y M ag ge tte (1999) Ko b e B r yan t (1996) C o rli ss W i l l i ams o n (1995) J a le n Ro s e (1994) Da le D av i s (1991) L oy Vau g ht (1990) K a rl M al o n e (1985)

11

PICK

15

All-NBA selections

Aver y B ra d le y ( 2 010 ) J eff Tea g u e ( 2 0 0 9 ) J . J . H i c k s o n (2008) Zach R a n d o l p h ( 2 0 0 2 ) J am aal Ma gl o i re ( 2 0 01 ) Pat G a rri t y ( 19 9 8 ) To ny D u m a s ( 19 9 4 ) D ee B row n ( 19 9 0 ) Ro d St ri c k la nd ( 19 8 8 ) J o h n Pa x s o n ( 19 8 3 )

17

19

Fun Draft fact >> The Steve Nash Club membership: 1. The envy of all other non-lottery picks, point guard Steve Nash is two things: The only player to have won the regular season MVP (he did it twice) while also being his draft choice’s lone representative for the three major honors (All-Star, AllNBA, MVP). Note to fans and GM’s: If you’re hanging your hopes on pick No. 15, better luck next time... In other words, the middle of Round 1 is rarely friendly to those looking for a major force (but the pick does historically offer loads of talent).

12

PICK

(2012) Jeremy L amb Gera l d Hen d e rs o n (2007) Tha ddeu s Yo u n g (2003) Ni ck C o l l i s o n ( 2 001 ) Vladimir Radmanovic (19 97) Austi n C ro s he re (19 93) George Ly n c h (19 92) Ha rol d M i n e r (19 89) Mooki e B l ay l o c k (19 87) Muggsy B o g u e s (2 009)

PICK Avg . y e ar s P ro .

08

Giannis Antetokounmpo (‘13) I m an S h u mp er t ( 2011) K aw h i L eo n a rd ( 2011) J r u e H o li d ay ( 2009) Lar r y S a n d ers ( 2010) Roy H i b b er t ( 2008) Ro dne y St u c ke y ( 2007) D anny G ra n ger ( 2005) A l J e f fe rs o n ( 2004) J o s h S m i t h ( 2004) M att H a rp ri n g ( 1998) D es m o nd Ma s o n ( 2000) Ste ve Na s h ( 1996) J er m aine O ’Ne a l ( 1996) B rent B a rr y ( 1995) A aro n Mc K i e ( 1994) D el l C u rr y ( 1986) D o u g C h ri st i e ( 1992) Terenc e St a n s b u r y ( 1984) S h aw n Ke mp ( 1989)

13

+20 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

All-Stars

1

14 Pa t ri ck Patte rs o n Al T ho rn to n (2004) Kri s H u mp hr i es (2001) Troy M u r phy (1996) Pe j a Sto jakov i c (1992) Ma li k S e aly (1986) Ti m H ard away (1985) Da n M aje r l e (1984) Mi cha e l C age (1983) C ly d e D re x l e r

(2010)

(2007)

16 N iko l a Vu c e v i c M ar rees e S p ei g h t s ( 2007) N ick Yo u n g ( 2000) Hedo Tu rko glu ( 1999) Ro n A r te st ( 1997) B re v in K n i g h t ( 1996) To ny D e lk ( 1991) C h r is G a t li n g ( 1989) D ana B a rro s ( 1984) J o h n Sto c k to n ( 2011)

( 2008)

18 Eric Bledsoe Ty Lawson ( 2008) JaVale McGee ( 2005) Gerald Green ( 2004) J.R. Smith ( 2003) David West ( 1995) Theo Ratliff ( 1989) B.J. Armstrong ( 1987) Mark Jackson ( 1985) Joe Dumars ( 2010)

( 2009)

20 Tony Snell Eric Maynor ( 2006) Renaldo Balkman ( 2004) Jameer Nelson ( 2001) Brendan Haywood ( 2000) Speedy Claxton ( 1996) Zydrunas Ilgauskas ( 1992 ) Hubert Davis ( 1988) Kevin Edwards ( 1984) Tony Campbell ( 2 013 )

( 200 9 )

AVERAGE LENGTH OF A DRAFT PICK’S PRO CAREER BASED ON THEIR SELECTION (1983 - 2013)... 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

10.1 9.1

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9.1 10.1 9.8

Join the 2014 Draft conversation

7.1

8.5

8.2

9.1

9.1

8.2

7.0

8.0

6.5

15

6.5

basketballinsiders.com


Most Valuable Player’s

All-Stars

All-NBA selections

Fun Draft fact >> The 29th pick in 2002 was forfeited. It’s the only time a team has elected not to select a player in the past 30 years. So now you know what happens when that Draft night clock expires.

Da r ren Collison (2 009) Ry a n Anderson (2 008) R aj on Rondo (2006) Nate Robinson (2 005) Bor i s Diaw (2003) M or r is Peterson (2000) Ri cky Davis (19 98) M icha el Finle y (19 95) Bl ue Edwa rds (19 89) M a r k Br ya nt (19 88)

PICK

Wi lso n C han d l e r (2006) To ny Wro ten ( 2012) Trav i s O u tl aw (2003) Ro dr ig u e B ea u b o i s ( 2009) Tay sha u n P r i n ce (2002) N ic o l as B a t u m ( 2008) De Shawn Ste ve n s o n (2000) S h anno n B row n ( 2006) De ve a n G e o rge (1999) To ny A llen ( 2004) B o b b y Jac k s o n (1997) C ar l o s D e lf i n o ( 2003) Trav i s B e st (1995) G eral d Wa lla c e ( 2001) We sle y Pe rs o n (1994) A l H a rri n g to n ( 1998) G re g A n d e rs o n (1987) C o r ie B lo u n t ( 1993) A.C . G re e n (1985) M ar k P ri c e ( 1986)

21

23

J o rd an C raw fo rd ( 2010) D eM ar re C a rro ll ( 2009) A r ro n A f f la lo ( 2005) Linas K le i z a ( 2005) Kendr ick Perk i n s ( 2003) J am aal Ti n s le y ( 2001) J ac qu e Va u g h n ( 1997) E l den C a mp b ell ( 1990) D ennis Ro d m a n ( 1986) Ro n A n d e rs o n ( 1984)

25

+20 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

C o r y J o s ep h ( 2 011 ) D aniel O r to n ( 2 010 ) To ne y D o u glas ( 2 0 0 9 ) J o s h H owa rd ( 2 0 0 3 ) M ar k Ma d s en ( 2 0 0 0 ) Nazr Mo h a mm ed ( 19 9 8 ) P. J B row n ( 19 9 2 ) To ni Ku ko c ( 19 9 0 ) Vinny D el Neg ro ( 19 8 8 ) J o h nny Ne w m an ( 19 8 6 )

27

29

Fun Draft fact >> The chance of greatness Of the 929 players taken in the first round, only 3.7% of them (34) have been named to the All-NBA First Team. Each year, a team of talent evaluators look to secure their franchise one of the 3.7% players. If the odds are stacked against a player to simply make the NBA, their chances of making an impact (once they’re a pro) are just as daunting. That’s the challenge, to become a 3.7 percenter.

22

PICK

M a son P l u ml e e Ken n eth Far i e d (2 007) Cour tn e y L e e (2006) Ja red D u d l e y (2004) Ja r re t t Jac k (19 93) Chr i s M i l l s (19 92) Ol i ver M i l l e r (19 87) Reggi e L e w i s (19 86) Scot t S k i l e s (19 83) R a n dy W i ttman (2013 )

(2 011 )

24 Re g g i e Jac k s o n Se rge I b ak a (2007) R u d y Fe rn an d ez (2006) Ky le L ow r y (2004) De lo n te West (1999) An d re i K i r i l e n ko (1993) Sa m C as s e ll (1992) L a t re ll S p re we ll (1986) Arv y d a s S ab o n i s (1985) Te r r y Po r ter (2011)

(2008)

26 Taj G i b s o n G eo rge H i ll ( 2007) A aro n B ro o k s ( 2005) J as o n Ma x i ell ( 2004) Ke v in Ma r t i n ( 2002) J o h n S a lm o n s ( 2001) S am u el D a le m b e r t ( 1994) C h ar l ie Wa rd ( 1989) Vl ade D i va c ( 1984) Ver n F le m i n g ( 2009)

( 2008)

28 Norris Cole Greivis Vasquez ( 2009) Wayne Ellington ( 2007) Tiago Splitter ( 2003) Leandro Barbosa ( 2001) Tony Parker ( 1995) Greg Ostertag ( 1993) Lucious Harris ( 1989) Sherman Douglas ( 1988) Andrew Lang ( 2011)

( 2010)

30 Jimmy Butler David Lee ( 2004) Anderson Varejao ( 2001) Gilbert Arenas ( 200 0 ) Marko Jaric ( 1996) Othella Harrington ( 1994) Howard Eisley ( 19 9 2 ) Sean Rooks ( 1986) Nate McMillan ( 19 8 3 ) Mark West ( 2011 )

(2005)

16

17

18

19

20

21

22

23

24

25

26

27

28

29

30

6.7

6.4

7.0

6.5

5.8

6.9

4.9

6.5

6.5

5.1

4.9

5.3

4.8

5.3

4.6

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MEET THE 2014 PROSPECTS INSIDER:

Y annis K ouTROUPIS WITH SPECIAL GUEST

R yan B Lake (Senior Director of nba scouting operations)

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PROJECTION:

Top Three

Hello,

My Name is...

Andrew Wiggins

+

Col.: Kansas

PPG: 1 7.1

Pos.: SG / SF

RPG: 5.8

D.O.B: 2 / 23 / 1995 APG: 1 .5

NB A Com parison:

An elite-level athlete even by NBA standards who is capable of taking over games on both ends of the floor. Has tremendous length and the ability to score in every way, whether it be with the three ball, in the post or from the midrange. Has all of the tools to be a franchise player and one of the best players at his position in the league. Explosive offensively with the potential to go off at any moment. An active rebounder. Has great defensive instincts, particularly with reading passing lanes. Even when he’s not at his best, he’s better than most.

player card

Ht: 6 ’ 8 ”

BPG: 1 .0

Wt: 1 97 lbs.

P.E.R: 20.1

Paul George Rudy Gay

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Super skilled. Long, ultra athletic wing. Can play three positions. Can score from anywhere, all spots on the floor. Can be an elite defender. Needs to get a little bit stronger so he can make himself more versatile. At the worst he can be Harrison Barnes and sky is the limit for this guy. He can be well beyond Vince Carter or Tracy McGrady. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: He’s a special talent, I think he is learning to work and will improve exponentially. His teammates enjoy playing with him. If you feel like you want a different type of center than Embiid he’s the number one pick. He is more of a basketball player than people give him credit for, has real two-way potential and showed a willingness to defend you didn’t see with Parker. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Best athlete in the draft. Really excels in transition and the open floor. Has to work on becoming a consistent jump shooter. I think also a strength of his is one day he has the chance to be a lock down defender.

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--

Consistency leaves you yearning for more, feeling like he didn’t utilize his natural gifts to their fullest potential. Isn’t as assertive or competitive as you would like your franchise player to be. Unselfish almost to a fault, doesn’t look to lead like he should. Will settle offensively despite possessing the ability to basically get any shot he wants. Ball handling needs to improve, especially if he’s going to be a primary scoring option. Had a reputation for coming up big when it mattered most, but had as many points (four) as turnovers in his NCAA Tournament debut – a loss.

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Projection:

Hello,

Top

THREE

My Name is...

Joel Embiid

+

12

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Col.: Kansas

PPG: 1 1 .2

Pos.: Center

RPG: 8.1

D.O.B: 3 / 16 / 1994

NB A Com parison:

On par with Anthony Davis and DeMarcus Cousins as one of the best big men prospects to come across in recent years. Has improved rapidly in a short amount of time, having only started playing basketball three years ago. Extremely smooth, patient and skilled offensively with a great touch. Explosive around the basket and a strong finisher. Very long. A legitimate threat offensively when facing up and away from the basket. Rebounds and protects the rim well. Can beat a lot of big men up the floor with his speed. Also has good lateral movement, helping him be more than a serviceable defender in pickand-roll situations. Basketball IQ far exceeds his experience level.

player card

Ht: 7’ 0 ”

BPG: 2.6

Wt: 2 40 lbs.

P.E.R: 28.7

Hakeem Olajuwon Greg Oden

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: His back injury is a big red flag right now. However, when you have someone who hasn’t played basketball for that long, whose done what he’s done this year, that moves so well laterally, an excellent shot blocker and we add those instincts. He’s improved his mid range game, he can even shoot the three, he’s got a handle and he’s a hard worker. When you get a seven footer with skill, sky is the limit. Defensively his inexperience is a little more apparent but the more he plays the quicker he’ll adjust as his progression this year suggests. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: If his back is good he’s No. 1. I know the big man is falling out of vogue but his jumper is developing where he will be able to go to 15’. He’s agile, will fit into any defensive scheme and his frame suggets the weight / strength will come too. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Everybody wants to make the comparison to Hakeem Olajuwon. This guy is much bigger and weighs a lot more than Hakeem did as a freshman in college. Hakeem, all he did in college when he first got there, he was very skinny, a long 6’9, all he did was block shots. This guy has length and size, he can run, catch, has a nice face up shot, can make free throws. He’s the best big man by far and it’s not close in the draft.

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APG: 1 .4

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Needs to get stronger in order to hold his position better in the low post. Prone to get into foul trouble. Back and knee injuries ended his season prematurely. Because his team was eliminated early in the tournament the extent of those injuries are unknown, although there have been reports that he’s back to 100 percent health. For teams that are making a multi-million dollar investment, you have to be concerned about the worst, though. Medical examinations are going to be vital for him. They could make it to where the risk is on par with the reward, perhaps even greater.

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Projection:

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THREE

My Name is...

Jabari Parker

+

As natural of a scorer as we have seen come through the draft in years, perhaps since Kevin Durant. Has a versatile skill set and is comfortable no matter where he’s at on the floor offensively. Difficult to match up against. Capable of being a top scoring option who an offense can revolve around. Has a high basketball IQ and plays efficiently. A good rebounder. Knows how to get to the free throw line. Underrated athlete who is more explosive than he gets credit for. Known for his high character and leadership qualities. A willing passer.

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player card Col.: Duke

PPG: 1 9 .1

Pos.: SF / PF

RPG: 8.7

D.O.B: 3 / 15 / 1995

APG: 1 .2

Ht: 6 ’ 8 ”

BPG: -

Wt: 2 41 lbs..

P.E.R: 28.8

NB A Com parison:

Paul Pierce Carmelo Anthony

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: I think he can be one of the most ready right now. The big thing I like about him are his instincts and IQ. You look at someone with the physical tools, he’s already shown them. He can shoot from beyond the three point line and he does it well but he had to play more inside and he only shot 20 percent of his shots from beyond the arc. Great character, great motor. He’s not an elite athlete. What makes him elite is his instincts, knowing where to be away from and with the ball. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: He’s an offensively blessed player and can throw his weight around, which makes him “the most ready”. I think his natural feel on the offensive side leads some to overestimate his IQ. I feel like he will fall into the Chicago lineage of Antoine Walker and Mark Aguirre... but would you draft Antoine Walker #1 in this draft? WesTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Most skilled player. I think the No. 1 pick. He’s just a basketball player. There isn’t really anything that he doesn’t do well now. Does he need to get stronger? Yes. Does he need to develop his core? Yes. Does he need to become a better defender? Yes. He’ll figure all that out though, as someone with a high basketball IQ.

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A tweener, albeit not the kind that has to transition to a certain position in order to stick in the league. Has to make serious strides no matter which position he settles in at. Conditioning is a concern, especially after opting not to attend the draft combine. Struggled against the kind of length and athleticism that he is going to see on a nightly basis at the NBA level. Because he’s already so skilled and polished, there is some concern over his upside and whether he’s going to make any more significant improvements.

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PROJECTION:

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Top TEN

Dante Exum

+

player card Col.: A.I.S

PPG: 1 8.2

Pos.: PG / SG

RPG: 3.6

D.O.B: 7 / 13 / 1995

APG: 3.8

Ht: 6 ’ 6 ”

BPG: 1 .6

Wt: 1 96 lbs.

P.E.R: Stats: 2013 FIBA U19

Relatively unexposed international prospect who has excelled on the few occasions we’ve seen him on a major stage (FIBA U19, adidas Nations, Nike Hoop Summit). Has above average size for a point guard, so much so that he could actually play the shooting guard position if that’s where he’s best suited. Wingspan is second only to Rajon Rondo’s at the point guard position. Has very good court vision and defensive potential. Among the quickest and fastest players in the draft. Capable of breaking down a defense off the dribble and scoring in the interior despite not possessing elite explosiveness. Crafty. Comfortable in the post against smaller defenders. Has high character and a true student of the game. One of the younger players in the class.

NB A Com parison:

Michael Carter-Williams Shaun Livingston

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Lot of physical talent. Has not been seen a lot. He’s really good at the pick-and-roll, working the angles, coming across and turning the corner. He can be that halfcourt player as well. He’s an inconsistent shooter, but everything physically you look at him sand say you have to give this guy a chance. However, he hasn’t played much, he hasn’t played much against men. He hasn’t played since October so he hasn’t had that game experience not only against Division I bigger players but against men. I think you’re going to have someone at this age who it’s going to take a little bit more time for someone like him to develop and to keep his confidence. That’s going to be huge especially as you’re telling veterans where to go and what to do if you’re playing the point. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: The limited looks are a bit scary but he has an innate feel for the game and seems to enjoy making his teammates better. Like some scouts, I prefer him initially as a wing/ secondary ball handler but I’d let him push it in transition at every opportunity. That’s not to say he couldn’t become a PG with time and that shouldn’t affect where he gets drafted, he’s a player and an asset you will need to have your coaching staff figure out.

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Slight in frame and acknowledges that he needs to get stronger. May take him some time to adjust to the increased level of strength and physicality that he’s going to see in the NBA. Jump shot is unreliable at this point and lacks fundamental, consistent technique. Has to develop some consistency with his form and release point and extend his range. Shows his age with his decision making at times, turning it over in excess. Has just an average vertical leap. Limited body of work could deter teams near the top of the draft board.

WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Combo guard. He’s a good athlete. His shot has got to get better. He’ll be the No. 1 point guard taken. He’s got to become more of a true point guard, he’s more of a scorer, but he’s got great size, great athleticism. His shot has to get better and he has to grow into the position.

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Projection:

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TEN

Marcus Smart

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Col.: Oklahoma St. PPG: 1 8.0 Pos.: PG / SG D.O.B: 3 / 6 / 1994

+

One of the most physical guards the draft has ever seen. Probably would have been the second overall pick had he left after his freshman year. A hard worker who has clearly spent a lot of time in the weight room. Knows how to use his strength. Has the reputation for leading both vocally and by example. A confident competitor who refuses to quit or leave anything in his gas tank. Played a lot of point guard in college, but can also play off of the ball. Athletic and capable of finishing above the rim. A dedicated defender with good hands and defensive instincts. Rebounds well for his position. Can break defenses down off the dribble and create for others.

player card

APG: 4.8

Ht: 6 ’ 3”

SPG: 2.9

Wt: 2 2 7 lbs.

P.E.R: 26.9

NB A Com parison:

Kyle Lowry Chauncey Billups

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Smart is the competitor you want on your team who will be in the trenches that will hopefully find his outside shot. Regardless of whether or not his ball handling is there yet, he will be able to play two or more positions offensively and defensively, and will be utilized in that particular fashion. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: I’m a firm believer in taking everything a player gives you... In Smart’s case he was telling me he’s great when things are good but he is still learning to work through disappointment and adversity. I think the surprise was we thought he was just further along than he actually is in regards to mental toughness and maturity. He’s still strong, athletic and competitive. He’s a combo to me as well, but his experience playing high level PG puts him a step above Exum if you need to give someone the keys now and are one of those teams that yearns for a big PG. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Tough. Leader. I think he’s got to become a better shooter. I don’t want to bury the guy too much, but I think he’s a backup. I don’t see him being a lead guard for a playoff team. Again, I like his confidence, his leadership, he’s become a better three point threat, he can post you up, defensively he’s good on the ball but I don’t know where he’s going to excel because he’s not a super athletic guard. There’s more reality of what he is this year.

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RPG: 5.9

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Lost his temper a couple times as a sophomore, kicking a chair in frustration over officiating and shoving a fan after being heckled. Both incidents went against his long history of having high character. Puts in a lot of time working on his jump shot, but his connection rate of .299 from three doesn’t reflect it. Improved assistto-turnover ratio from 1.25:1 as a freshman to 1.80:1 as a sophomore, but decision making still leaves a plenty to be desired, especially in terms of the jump shots he settles for. Needs to continue to tighten up ball handling skills. Perceived upside isn’t the same after spending an extra year in college and only developing modestly.

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TEN

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Julius Randle

+

Col.: Kentucky

PPG: 1 5.0

Pos.: PF

RPG: 1 0.4

D.O.B: 11 / 29 / 1994 APG: 1 .4

NB A Com parison:

A physical specimen who is already physically ready for the level of strength that the average NBA big man possesses. Very agile and quick for his size. Explosive both laterally and vertically. An active rebounder on both ends; one of the best in the class in that regard. A capable scorer on the low block who excels at getting to his strong hand and getting quality looks. Has a good touch and an emerging face up game, although he’s better when he’s in attack mode and trying to score inside of 14 feet rather than outside of it. Gets to the free throw line often and converts at a high rate. A competitor who plays with a high motor.

player card

Ht: 6 ’ 9”

BPG: 0.8

Wt: 2 5 0 lbs.

P.E.R: 25.0

Zach Randolph Elton Brand

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: He can score with his back to the basket or face up. He can be an elite rebounder. He has a NBA strong body. He’s not the NBA defender that you want, but overall he’s very coachable. When you have a team that has so many good players and play within the system, you’re playing to win and you want that especially from a guy who can be a Zach Randolph type player. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: He’s focused, competes and delivers consistently. He has the strength and I think his mid-range jumper will come with time, though I’d actually bet on Aaron Gordon in a jump shooting contest. You’d like more length but he’s definitely capable of contributing if you narrow his focus to the interior, rebounding, defense and round out his mid-post game. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: He’s interesting. He’s a little undersized for a four, but he’s a guy that coming in can come off your bench and a guy who can score baskets. He’s got to develop a 15-17 foot jump shot, which I think he will. He’s very left handed, but I think he can rebound at the NBA level. Offensively, I think he’s going to come in and score baskets.

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Doesn’t impact the game like he’s capable of defensively other than with his rebounding. Has the potential to be more of a factor on that end of the floor, even if he never becomes a high-level shot blocker. Has to actively look to make plays in other ways, by being active with his help defense and playing the passing lanes. Jump shot currently lacks range and consistency. Left hand dominant, making him somewhat predictable at times offensively. Has to expand lowpost repertoire. Struggles to finish against length and in crowds. Decision making can also be an issue as he had a high turnover rate (2.5 per game) as a freshman.

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TEN

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Noah Vonleh

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Col.: Indiana

PPG: 1 1 .3

Pos.: PF / C

RPG: 9 .0

D.O.B: 2 / 24 / 1995 APG: 0.6

+

From a physical standpoint, he jumps off the page in every way. His wingspan is nearly seven and a half feet long. His hands are among the biggest ever measured in combine history. He has ideal size for his position and is already quite strong for his age. Gets up and down the floor well. Doesn’t use his incredible natural gifts as an excuse to coast or not play hard like other gifted players tend to do. A real difference maker on the glass and an active shot blocker. An emerging low-post threat who is getting better at understanding when and how to attack. Will be able to come in right away and help spread the floor with his jump shot. One of the younger players in the draft class who has shown rapid improvement over the last year.

player card

Ht: 6 ’ 9”

BPG: 1 .4

Wt: 2 47 lbs.

P.E.R: 22.8

NB A Com parison:

Chris Bosh David West

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Noah can be an x-factor on his team. Chris Bosh type of player that has also developed and was really the saving grace on that team that was really a sparse of interest when you saw them. A guy who can shoot from the outside and work in and out, sort of like Chris Bosh. If you look at the time Bosh came in, he was the same type of guy you didn’t expect to leave, boom and go early. But once you saw him, you said, ‘That, guy has a lot of skill’. or more positions offensively and defensively, and will be utilized in that fashion. EASTERN CONFERENCE scou t: Considering how young, skilled and athletic he is coupled with his work ethic he should be a productive two way starter in a few years, but his style of play and temperament make him somewhat of a developmental guy. Some adversity (lack of playing time) should add some maturity and toughen him up. WESTERN CONFERENCE scou t: Probably going to be the biggest riser in the draft, especially after the combine. The thing that everybody is going to want to see, which I think people who went to adidas nations saw, and probably going to be what you see in these individual workouts is he’s a true four man that can step out. He spent most of his game all year around the basket and he’s got good feet, hands, is strong, can run. I just think he’s probably one of the guys who has a huge upside once he gets to the NBA.

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--

Closer to a project than pro-ready, despite his recent strides. Has to develop a better feel for the game and recognize what’s being given to him offensively quicker. Needs to put in a lot of time becoming more comfortable in the low post and improving his footwork. Hands can be unreliable. Isn’t an explosive leaper, which limits him when trying to finish against length and in traffic. Has to continue to get stronger, especially with his core and lower body strength.

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Projection:

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TEN

Aaron Gordon

+

An amazing athlete who makes plays that a lot of players, even in the NBA, aren’t capable of making. A hard worker with aspirations of being great. Finishes strong around the rim. Takes a lot of pride in his play on the defensive end, where he’s capable of guarding multiple positions. Was fairly steady throughout the course of the season and his feel for the game really improved late in the year. A very good and willing passer. A solid rebounder. One of the younger players in the class with ample room to improve.

player card Col.: Arizona

PPG: 1 2.4

Pos.: SF / PF

RPG: 8.0

D.O.B: 9 / 16 / 1995

APG: 2.0

Ht: 6 ’ 9”

BPG: 1 .0

Wt: 2 2 3 lbs.

P.E.R: 20.8

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: A great athletic forward with at terrifc motor. He can be an excellent defender. A surprising good ball handler. Doesn’t have a good jump shot. If you look at the percentages that he has, he knows how to play. Had those instincts. A lot of people say he may be a tweener, but a tweener is someone who can’t play a swing and he can. If you look at his combination of elite athletic abilities, length and motor it’s hard not to fall in love with him. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Nothing causes GM’s to lose jobs more than a 3/4 tweener, especially one that is still finding his game. He defends wings, gets out in transition and his feel around the rim is solid. His jumper isn’t broke either and he can knock down (wide) open jumpers. High level glue guy.

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Viewed as a tweener although he projects to be much more suited for the power forward position than small forward. Jump shot is far from being a reliable weapon, may need to be completely overhauled. Missed more than half his free throw attempts. Admits to being hard on himself aat times and having difficultly moving onto the next play. Has to get stronger. NB A Com parison:

Shawn Marion Kenneth Faried

WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Tremendous athlete. Probably the second best athlete in the draft. He’s a power forward, not a small forward. He’s got to become a better shooter facing the basket. He can be a three-point shooter but that’s not his game. His free throw shooting must improve. He can rebound, he’s athletic. I think he’s going to be able to guard multiple positions, but I think he’s a four. basketballinsiders.com

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TEN

t Doug McDermot

+

One of the most prolific scorers to ever play college basketball. A threat as soon as he crosses halfcourt. Has a quick release and endless range. The kind of guy you just have to live with giving something to because you can’t take everything away, he’s too skilled and versatile. Extremely efficient with an amazingly high basketball IQ that stems from being a coach’s son. More athletic than given credit for. Decent rebounder.

player card Col.: Creighton

PPG: 26.7

Pos.: SF / PF

RPG: 7 .0

D.O.B: 1 / 3 / 1992

APG: 1 .6

Ht: 6 ’ 8 ”

BPG: 0.1

Wt: 2 1 8 lbs.

P.E.R: 33.2

NB A Com parison:

Ryan Anderson Kyle Korver

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: The best shooter here. A coach’s son who has great instincts on both ends. Question mark on him was about his defense and rebounding, although he did those things well. Keep an eye on his defense because if you’re the best offensive player you don’t want him in foul trouble. I think his instincts are great but he’ll be the type of player who makes others better. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: The knocks on his athleticism and size are overblown but I guess it depends on your expectations. He’s more than a specialist. As a floor spreading fourth option he could really cause some damage and he’s athletic enough to defend most bench 3’s and 4’s. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Instant offense. Constant shooting threat. Another guy who is going to be a great backup. He can play a couple of different positions depending on the matchup. I know he didn’t measure out as a true four, but I think he can do some work there. He’s just a guy who can come in and score baskets. I think he’s better than Kyle Korver because he’s more versatile. I think he’s going to have a tremendous NBA career.

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Has to settle into a position at the next level and figure out which one he can defend most adequately. There’s serious concern about him being a defensive liability at either forward spot. Has had some struggles against the kind of length and athleticism he’s going to regularly see in the NBA. Never took his team past the opening weekend of the NCAA Tournament and played the majority of his career against mid-major competition.

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TEN

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Dario Saric

+

NB A Com parison:

Is coming off of an MVP season in the Adriatic League, which has his stock rising rapidly. Has well above average size and great length, even if he ends up playing primarily at the power forward in the NBA. Can do it all offensively. Handles the ball well and has good court vision. Has the skills to score from inside or outside. An active rebounder. Has the potential to be a real matchup nightmare with his versatile skillset. Experienced, has been playing professionally for a couple of years and is already accustomed to playing against a high level of competition.

player card Col.: Croatia

PPG: 1 6.7

Pos.: SF / PF

RPG: 9 .7

D.O.B: 4 / 8 / 1994

APG: 3.2

Ht: 6 ’ 10 ”

BPG: 1 .3

Wt: 2 3 3 lbs.

P.E.R: Stats: Adriatic League

Hedo Turkoglu Nicolas Batum

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: A player similar to [Ricky] Rubio that if he stays in the draft, arrives with an invoice. I don’t expect him to be here. If he does stay, that someone with one of the seven teams with multiple picks will definitely pick him as their second pick because you don’t want to overlook someone like that. If a team has a full roster spot and wants to hide him and let him develop, yes. He’s your multifaceted swing player with an improving outside shot and great confidence. It’ll be great if we see him now but we won’t be able to cause of the other factors.

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Reportedly signed a new three-year contract and it is unknown whether he has interest in coming over to the NBA and potentially being a role player, or remaining overseas where he is becoming one of the biggest stars in the game. Will turn it over in excess at times. Has to get stronger. There are concerns about his ability to defend against the quicker, more athletic opponents he’ll be facing at the next level. Jump shot lacks consistency.

EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: I like his competitiveness, pro experience and playmaking ability. I think the Warriors have a blueprint the team drafting Saric can follow with how they have used Draymond Green. The triangle would be a good system for him. His competitiveness, IQ and pride makes his defense vs. wings bearable, especially in a second unit. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Skilled. Can do a lot of different things. Good size. Good passer. I think he’s a winner. Tough. Defensively, I think there’s going to be some issues there that he’s going to have to work through, but I think he’s a basketball player who knows how to play. He’ll find his way on a NBA team. I think he’s going to be tough. I do believe he’s skilled. He can make shots, rebound and pass.

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TEN

James Young

+

NB A Com parison:

One of the purest scorers this draft class has to offer. An impressive athlete capable of finishing above the rim. A legitimate three point shooting threat who can also put it on the floor a little bit. Has good height and length for his position, especially if he ends up spending more time at shooting guard than small forward. Young for his class; will just be turning 19 years old before the start of training camp. Has the tools to be a difference maker on the defensive end.

player card Col.: Kentucky

PPG: 1 4.3

Pos.: SG / SF

RPG: 4.3

D.O.B: 8 / 16 / 1995

APG: 1 .7

Ht: 6 ’ 7”

BPG: 0.2

Wt: 2 1 3 lbs.

P.E.R: 1 6.8

DeMar DeRozan Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: I like him. You look at his stats and ask why isn’t he a better shooter? You look at him and how he was surrounded, I love the way he chose and made the decisions when he was told to be the go-to guy; he would do it or step up when needed. He knew how to get the ball in other players’ hands. That’s what I liked about him. He’s a better shooter than what his stats show. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Seems to be undervalued to me. I think he’s around sixth in draft. Athletic and showed consistent aggressiveness along with Randle when the other Wildcats were taking catnaps. My gut says future strong starter with two way potential. Some BB IQ questions out there. He needs to add variety and a right hand to his finishes and mid-range game. It will take work but the tools are there. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Top five shooter. Good athlete. Definitely has a three point game. He can put it on the floor, but has to get better at that. Has to get stronger. Biggest thing is he has to put more of an effort at the defensive end and really lock in. He floats during games and kind of gets lost. He has to be more locked into what they’re doing defensively and become more of a presence and a factor while he’s out on the floor every minute. He’s a tremendous offensive talent.

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Purely a scorer at this point, admitting that he needs to become a better defender. Can seem indifferent on that side of the floor at times, doesn’t come close to utilizing his length, speed and athleticism like he should. Has to improve his ball handling in order to be a primary option offensively and be able to create for himself against NBAcaliber defenders. Not comfortable enough using his off hand yet. Will settle and take bad shots. Jump shot lacks consistency. Can he help a team when his shot isn’t falling?

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Gary Harris

Col.: Michigan St. PPG: 1 6.7 Pos.: SG D.O.B: 9 / 14 / 1994

+

Solid shooting guard with the ability to contribute right away in a variety of areas. Can hit the NBA three and is a threat slashing to the hoop. Has NBAcaliber athleticism. An underrated passer who is willing to hit the open man. Has a good handle. A major factor on the defensive end both on the ball and off of it due to his lateral movement, physicality and basketball IQ. Could end up spending time playing at both guard positions long-term as he continues to improve. Plays with a high motor and doesn’t take plays off. Decent rebounder.

player card RPG: 4.0 APG: 2.7

Ht: 6 ’ 4 ”

SPG: 1 .8

Wt: 2 0 5 lbs.

P.E.R: 22.9

NB A Com parison:

Dion Waiters O.J. Mayo

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Although he measured in at 6’2, he can play as a combo guard, which I think is very valuable in this league. As a good shooter, slashing type who can work in the pick-and-roll. I like how he competes on the defensive end. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: His size and durability are concerns, but it seemed like his athleticism was coming back as the year progressed. He’s best suited on a fast paced team and getting out in transition to negate his size disadvantages. Bradley Beal’s strength training program or adding moves to avoid contact would help him at the rim because he has the speed bursts to get there if you are worried about his jumper. He’s a good chaser vs. wings defensively, but struggles on ball screens because of his lack of lateral quickness. His slow ball screen recovery also negates his flexibility to guard multiple positions.

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Has always been viewed as slightly undersized, but came in even shorter than expected at the combine. Wingspan and vertical explosiveness don’t jump off the page either. Jump shot lacks consistency and he can be a volume shooter who settles for bad looks at times. Has to continue to improve his ball handling skills, especially if he’s going to be used at point guard in the case that his lack of size becomes an issue at the twoguard spot. Has struggled with his finishing around the rim in traffic.

WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Can shoot the ball. He’s a good on-ball defender. I think his size is going to be a crutch. He’s a small two. He’s not a point guard. He’s one of the better shooters in the draft and he can guard on the ball.

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TEN

Nik Stauskas

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Col.: Michigan

PPG: 1 7.5

Pos.: SG

RPG: 2.9

D.O.B: 10 / 7 / 1993

+

Capitalized in a big way on the opportunity created for him by the departure of Trey Burke this past season. Showcased his ability to be an elite level shooting guard but also play some backup point guard, run an offense and create for others. One of the best shooters in this class with extended range well beyond the three-point line. Has a quick release on his jump shot, an important quality for shooters transitioning to the next level. Sneakily athletic. Gets to the free throw line regularly and converts at a high rate. Extremely efficient with a high basketball IQ. Good ball handler. Ideal height for position, especially a potential combo guard.

player card

APG: 3.3

Ht: 6 ’ 6 ”

SPG: 0.6

Wt: 2 0 7 lbs.

P.E.R: 22.9

NB A Com parison:

Kevin Martin Klay Thompson

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Worked extremely hard this summer, and surprised me and my scouts on how he was able to run the point and work away from the ball, especially working the pick-and-roll, which is utilized here. As a great shooter with great size, he’s going to be coveted in this draft. EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Ball player with a passion for the game. Shooter plus. He struggled for a little bit with quicker athletic guards that get in his space but I don’t see him facing that match up too often in the NBA. His game seems to be able to adapt since he will work on ways to get his shot off plus he has the ability to use ball screens and hand offs effectively. He makes the right play and will benefit by being surrounded with guys that can complete plays again. He’s definitely a step behind defensively and tries to anticipate too much to compensate. I’d still take him over Harris. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Very gifted. I think he’s very versatile. I think he’s one of the top five shooters in the draft. The thing I like about him is you can give him the ball in the pick-and-roll and he can play with it. He’s a prototype two-guard at his size and I think he can play the pick-and-roll. He’s got a high basketball IQ.

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--

Has a long way to go in order to be an adequate defender at the NBA level. Struggles to stay in front of and contain his man. Lateral movement average at best for his position. Not much of a factor playing the passing lanes or rebounding the basketball. Needs to get stronger in order to withstand contact on the offensive end and not get bullied on the defensive end. Shooting is his only skill that looks to translate well immediately. Will have to further improve his ball handling skills in order to be used as more than just a specialist.

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Projection:

Hello,

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15

My Name is...

Tyler Ennis

+

Col.: Syracuse

PPG: 1 2.9

Pos.: PG

RPG: 3.4

D.O.B: 8 / 24 / 1994

NB A Com parison:

The kind of point guard that every coach loves having run their offense. Simply knows how to control tempo and get the ball where it needs to be. A true playmaker in every sense who makes guys around him better by getting them quality looks that they can easily convert. Operates at a high efficiency, boasting a well above average assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.22:1. Capable of creating offense for himself as well, although not an aggressive scorer. Can hit the three. Excels at orchestrating the pick-and-roll, an important factor in today’s NBA where it is so prevalent. Displayed solid defensive potential while playing in Syracuse’s 2-3 zone. Calm, cool and collected in clutch situations.

player card

APG: 5.5

Ht: 6 ’ 2 ”

SPG: 2.1

Wt: 1 8 2 lbs.

P.E.R: 21 .7

Mike Conley Eric Maynor

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Steady, heady point guard that you want running your team whether it’s as a starter or a backup. He plays and sees the angles so well. Can play halfcourt or up tempo style, great in transition.

--

Doesn’t have blinding quickness or great athleticism, but did come in higher than expected with his max vertical leap. Doesn’t necessarily use it all the time when trying to score in the interior, where he struggles to finish. Jump shot lacks consistency. Shot just 41 percent from the field. Average lateral quickness creates concerns about ability to defend and get by bigger, more athletic defenders. Has to get stronger.

EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: I like him later in the first round, love him in the early second but I think you are playing with fire drafting him in the top 15. Gets it where it needs to go, when it needs to go but I’m curious how he handles real ball pressure because he doesn’t have the handle and quickness to elude athletes in my opinion. I always saw him as a ball control 3rd PG. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Safe, solid point guard. Has to become a better shooter, but he knows how to control the pace of the game. He’s a true point guard, a pass-first guy. I think he’s got a chance to be a starter on a playoff team eventually down the road. Certainly a quality backup in the NBA right away.

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25


HOW TEAMS USE COMBINE NUMBERS INSIDER:

J oel B righam

26

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21186 23686 7 286453 23626 4 686233 23906 3 8346513 23686 4 8346523 20086 6 886523 23686

236 866 546 767 552 658 542 907 896

23686

{

{

23686 67675 55665 67677 82233 56565

23686 67675 55665 67677 82233 56565

03 004 005 2006 2007 2 2

20

2.44 6.72 7.83 8.55 3.25 4.34

23686 67675 55665 67677 82233 56565 23686 67675 55665 67677 82233 56565 23686 67675 55665 67677 82233 56565 23686 67675 55665 67677 82233 56565 23686 67675 55665 67677 82233 56565


DRAFT GUIDE

HOW TEAMS USE COMBINE NUMBERS

Kevin Durant According to official

NBA Combine statistics,

basically couldn’t bench press a broomstick.

had a horrible vertical leap.

“It’s all trivial because none of it replaces what these guys actually do on a basketball court,” said Jonathan Givony, president of DraftExpress, the preeminent draft information website. “You don’t want to really change your opinion on what you think about a guy based on one measurement or one test. I don’t think any teams are really moving guys up or down the board based on one measurement or another.” Larry Harris, a scout and consultant for the Golden State Warriors and one-time general manager of the Milwaukee Bucks, agreed with this statement to an extent, but emphatically stated that teams do, in fact, look at these numbers when deciding who to draft. “They do matter,” Harris said. “All those measurements are as important as the psychological tests you do, the interviews you do. It’s all part of the process. It’s part of the analytics. We use it, and we factor it into our decision-making… We do put it into the process of drafting a player.” Another Eastern Conference executive concurred, stating that while teams don’t draft players exclusively based off of their athletic performance testing, that is one part of a rather large portfolio front offices use when deciding whether to select a player. “All of this is just part of a player’s DNA, and you take each piece of the information to try and just build this book on a player to understand him as well as you can, so when you make a decision on him, you feel like you’ve made as well thought-out a decision as possible,” the East executive said. If decisions were made based on combine results alone, Paul may never have been a lottery pick. In 2005, Paul was declared the 15th-best athlete among all the players tested, and was judged to be slower than both Sean May and Wayne Simien, bulky power forwards who are no longer in the league. Paul would eventually @ b balli nsi d e rs

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but can lift an MVP trophy.

Andre Iguodala but is a frequent flyer

28

but starts for Team USA

Chris Paul

and moved with the speed and quickness of a glacier.

Kobe Bryant’s hands measured too small unlike his killer instinct

go on to win Rookie of the Year after being drafted fourth by the New Orleans Hornets, despite the fact that his combine showing was not a strong one. Even 10 years ago, front offices knew how to see through these numbers. “I remember discussing Chris Paul,” said the Eastern Conference executive. “If I’m the decisionmaker, I’m asking whether it’s a problem when he plays. Am I looking at a guy that’s not going to be able to run up and down the court or defend or play the pick-androll? Is this test score we’re seeing indicative of what we see when he’s out playing?” Obviously it wasn’t, as Paul will very likely go down in history as one of the greatest point guards of his era. Brett Brungardt, founder of BAM (Basic Athletic Measurement), the athletic skills evaluator based out of Seattle that runs all of the tests for the NBA Combine, admitted that his tests do an excellent job measuring things like strength and conditioning, but “talent” - which means so many different things to so many different people - can’t always be quantified. “There can be talent identification components, but there are so many things and so many variables that go into those components,” Brungardt said. “[Combine testing] is a big piece of the pie, but it’s not the whole pie.” There is not, for example, a number to represent how good a leader a player may be. Danny Ainge once said that there’s no statistic that shows how important Kevin Garnett is to a locker room. Great players are made up of more than just vertical leaps and wingspans, but that doesn’t mean physical measurables are moot in today’s NBA, as any front office executive is likely to confess. These statistics are, to many, an important piece of basketballinsiders.com


If this were the NFL,

where physical measurables like 40-yard dash times and the bench press can actually catapult a player up a couple of rounds or banish him from the draft’s seven rounds completely, perhaps Durant or Paul would have seen their stocks tumble in the weeks before their respective drafts. However, Durant’s puny arms and Paul’s apparent lack of quickness did nothing to deter teams from selecting them among the top four picks.

the puzzle, but ultimately, as Givony suggests, they are often are poor indicators of NBA success. “Height is overrated,” Givony said. “I’d rather have a guy who maybe measures 6’4 without shoes but has a 7’3 wingspan. That makes up for it and then some. Guys with short arms, I don’t care how tall they are, I value length and reach over height.” The 2014 NBA Draft features some players that show the types of discrepancies that make these sorts of statistics feel somewhat unimportant. “K.J. McDaniels is a great example this year,” Givony explained. “He’s an excellent freak athlete who blocked three shots per game this year. Are you going to tell me he’s not a leaper now, despite everything that I’ve seen, just because he got a bad jump [at the combine]? “I trust my eyes more than the numbers. I mean, Doug McDermott tested as a better athlete than K.J. McDaniels, so does that mean he’s a better athlete than K.J. McDaniels? I don’t think so.” Harris agrees that these performance statistics are nowhere near as important as what the executives already know about a player heading into the combine. “The numbers confirm whether the eye test is right or wrong,” Harris said. “If I see that Chris Paul was average in the three-quarter court sprint, that he was just in the middle of the pack, I could confirm or deny what that means to me, because the eye test trumps everything. Okay, he doesn’t measure up to the rest of the guys, but that doesn’t mean he can’t play the point guard position. “They aren’t the end-all.” It’s hard to wade through all of this data and decide which measurements are valuable and which have no real bearing on what kind of NBA player a kid will be, but teams still like having these numbers in front of them, even if only to discover whether the measurements basketballinsiders.com

In other words, it’s important to keep all of that pre-draft combine testing in perspective.

“Height is overrated. I’d rather have a guy who maybe measures 6’4 without shoes but has a 7’3 wingspan... I value length and reach over height.” Jonathan Givony, DraftExpress. for players line up with their expectations. If nothing else, the athletic measurements taken at the combine create tangible evidence as to what kind of an athlete a player really is. That information, combined with information from interviews, scouting trips, film and references, help teams decide who they’ll select with their valuable draft picks. In short, it doesn’t matter if Paul is slow when he’s as crafty and intelligent as he is. It doesn’t matter how little Durant can bench press if he’s taller than most forwards and scores the ball like an elite two-guard. It doesn’t matter that Bryant has small hands if he’s insanely athletic and historically competitive. There are a lot of ways that NBA players can be considered “good,” and the combine tests help team presidents and general managers determine whether the really athletic players are “good” in other ways, as well.

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29


ADDITIONAL FIRST ROUND candidateS INSIDER:

Y annis K ouTROUPIS

30

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Projection:

Hello,

Top

15

My Name is...

K.J. McDaniels

+

NB A Com parison:

Has improved consistently over the last three years and really exploded this past season. A defensive menace with the ability to guard multiple positions. Probably the best defender in the class. Extremely active defending the rim and playing the passing lanes. Can keep his man in front of him. An improving shooting threat who went from a 57 percent free throw shooter as a freshman to an 84 percent shooter as a junior. A finisher around the rim who is tough to contain when slashing to the basket.

player card Col.: Clemson

PPG: 1 7.1

Pos.: SG / SF

RPG: 7 .1

D.O.B: 2 / 9 / 1993

APG: 1 .6

Ht: 6 ’ 6 ”

BPG: 2.8

Wt: 1 96 lbs.

P.E.R: 28.7

Jimmy Butler Kawhi Leonard

scou t ’ s tak e R yan Bl ake: Wants to play. That’s important. He wants to play defense. Shooting, overall, offensively, he has improved. He’s going to be your Wes Matthews, Jimmy Butler type of player. Whether he develops into that type of player we don’t know, but he has that upside to do so and with that type of athleticism, I think he’s going to be a better offensive player but I think it’ll take some time.

--

A work in progress offensively who needs to improve in just about every facet on that end of the floor. Can hit the three but is inconsistent in doing so. Doesn’t always make the right decision, taking difficult shots or turning it over in excess. Needs to become a better ball handler as well. May never be more than a secondary scoring option.

EASTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Being in the draft this year was a mistake. He isn’t ready. Has potential on the defensive end but relies on rearview contests too much; needs to commit to staying or getting in front on next level. Raw offensively and will need to play for a fast-paced team with a great passer at PG. The halfcourt is his enemy. Will make some spectacular plays if they are sleeping on the weak side offensively or if he’s coming to contest your shot from the weak side defensively. WESTERN CONFERENCE SCOU T: Tremendous athlete. No position right now. Kind of a three and a half. He doesn’t have one great skill. He’s just a great athlete who can rebound a little bit, defend a little bit, shoot a little bit, guard a little bit. He’s got a little bit of everything, but he doesn’t have one true skill. He’s certainly a guy who has upside to him.

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31


Hello,

My Name is...

Kyle Anderson

Projection:

RounD

1

player INFO Col.: UCLA Pos.: SF Ht: 6 ’ 9 ” Wt: 2 3 5

+

A point forward who stuffs the stat sheet. Handles the ball well. Active rebounder. Deceptively athletic. A much improved shooter. Incredible court vision.

--

Plays at his own, slower, pace hence the nickname “slo-mo.” Just an average athlete. Will turn it over, sometimes in excess. Defense.

Hello,

My Name is...

Jusuf Nurkic

player INFO Col.: Bosnia

Col.: Mich. St.

Pos.: PF / C

Pos.: PF

Ht: 6’ 11”

Ht: 6 ’ 10 ”

Wt: 28 0

Wt: 2 2 5

A mammoth of a young man who is physically ready for the NBA. Surprisingly mobile. Can score around the rim and does a good job protecting it defensively. Foul prone. Inexperienced. Not a great athlete. Signed a new contract overseas recently and may not be available to come over immediately.

32

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player INFO

+ --

Hello,

My Name is...

Adreian Payne

Long and athletic. Solid defensively. Moves well for his size. A capable shooter all the way out to the three point line.

Slight in frame. Rebounding. Questions about how much more room he has to improve.

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Hello,

My Name is...

Rodney Hood player INFO Col.: Duke Pos.: SG Ht: 6 ’ 8 ” Wt: 18 0

+

One of the most efficient players in the country offensively. Can really shoot, especially beyond the arc. Has good height and length for his position.

Hello,

My Name is...

Zach LaVine

player INFO Col.: UCLA

Col.: N.C State

Pos.: PG / SG

Pos.: SF

Ht: 6’ 5 ”

Ht: 6 ’ 8 ”

Wt: 180

Wt: 2 2 3

A standout athlete who some think can play the point guard position in the NBA. Jump shot has extended range. Fast.

Often settles offensively, leading to a lot of bad shots. Slight in frame. Needs to improve as a free throw shooter, both in attempts and percentage.

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player INFO

+ --

--

Defense. Needs to add some strength. Ball handling and ability to create his own shot. Could be more of a force on the glass.

Hello,

My Name is...

T.J. Warren

Explosive scorer with ideal size and strength for a NBA small forward. Good in the post. Young with a lot of upside. Lethal inside the arc.

Perimeter skills still developing, especially his three-point shot. Possesses average athleticism.

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33


Hello,

My Name is...

Elfrid Payton

Projection:

RounD

1

player INFO Col.: Louisiana Lafayette

Pos.: PG Ht: 6 ’ 3 ” Wt: 1 70

+

Well-rounded with the ability to impact the game in a variety of different ways. Good size for his position. Great potential on the defensive end. Athletic. Gets to the free throw line with regularity.

Hello,

My Name is...

--

Body of work is against sup-par competition. Turned it over nearly four times a game. Has to improve the range and consistency on his jump shot. Also needs to add strength.

player INFO

player INFO

Col.: Michigan

Pos.: n so n bi o R n Glen Ht:

Col.: UConn

SF

Pos.: SF

6’ 6 ”

Ht: 6 ’ 7”

Wt: 220

Son of former NBA All-Star Glenn Robinson. An athletic wing with a high talent level. Long and explosive. Has great range on his shot.

Hasn’t improved as hoped in second year at Michigan. Tends to be passive at times. Not comfortable handling the ball extensively. Doesn’t defend bigger players well.

34

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Hello,

My Name is...

DeAndre Daniels

Wt: 191

+ --

Versatile forward. Can score in multiple ways. Capable spot up shooter. Came on strong during UConn’s run to the national title. Good rebounder and shot blocker. Didn’t improve as hoped from sophomore to junior year. Had really passive stretches. Needs to get stronger and refine perimeter skills.

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Hello,

My Name is... Projection:

Shabazz Napier

RounD

1

player INFO Col.: UConn Pos.: PG Ht: 6 ’ 0 ”

+

Wt: 170

A proven winner with two NCAA national championships under his belt. Steadily improved throughout his four years in college. Has become a reliable shooter. Tremendous ball handler. Good in the pick-and-roll. Hits the glass well for a one.

Hello,

My Name is...

s Kristaps Porzingi

player INFO Col.: Latvia

Col.: Syracuse

Pos.: SF / PF

Pos.: SF

Ht: 6’ 11”

Ht: 6 ’ 8 ”

Wt: 220

Wt: 2 0 3

Versatile big man who can score in a variety of ways. Moves well for his size, very agile. Has good length and athleticism. Can really impact the game defensively. Younger than many college freshmen. Needs to get stronger, especially if he ends up playing primarily power forward. Long-term position unknown at this point. Jump shot is unreliable. Has a couple years left on his contract overseas.

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player INFO

+ --

--

Lacks great size and athleticism. Can play like more of a scoring guard than point guard at times. Slight in frame.

Hello,

My Name is...

Jerami Grant

An impressive athlete with a wingspan over seven feet. Good rebounder. Took a huge step forward from freshman to sophomore year. Lethal when attacking. A tweener that may have to bulk up and play the four spot if he doesn’t extend his jump shot’s range and improve his ball handling skills. Will have to add strength even if he ends up a three. Raw offensively.

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35


Hello,

My Name is...

P.J. Hairston

Projection:

RounD

1

player INFO Col.: D-League Pos.: SG Ht: 6 ’ 5 ” Wt: 2 2 0

+

A physical and strong shooting guard. Has three-point range on his jump shot. Can score by attacking the rim as well.

--

Ball handling. Doesn’t create for his teammates much. Needs to be more consistent. There are off the court concerns stemming from his dismissal from North Carolina.

Hello,

My Name is...

Clint Capela

player INFO Col.: Switzerland

Col.: Michigan

Pos.: PF

Pos.: C

Ht: 6’ 11”

Ht: 6 ’ 10 ”

Wt: 222

Wt: 2 5 0

A defensive force thanks to his size and ridiculous wingspan, which is nearly seven and a half feet long. Has good speed and quickness for his position. Strong finisher. Doesn’t have a great feel for the game yet, especially on the offensive end of the floor. Needs to develop his midrange jump shot and a go-to move or two in the post. Needs to add some more size to his frame, which can clearly support it.

36

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player INFO

+ --

Hello,

My Name is...

Mitch McGary

Strong and physical. Agile for his size. Has good hands. Active rebounder.

Consistency. Old for his class. Still somewhat raw in the low post. Body of work in sophomore season limited due to season-ending back surgery.

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MOCK DRAFT

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The

Alex Kennedy

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1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Joel Embiid

Jabari Parker

Andrew Wiggins

Joel Embiid

Milwaukee Bucks Philadelphia 76ers Orlando Magic Utah Jazz Boston Celtics Los Angeles Lakers Sacramento Kings

Andrew Wiggins

Joel Embiid

Jabari Parker

Dante Exum

Dante Exum

Dante Exum

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

38

WEIGH IN...

Charlotte Hornets Philadelphia 76ers Denver Nuggets Orlando Magic Minnesota Timberwolves Phoenix Suns Atlanta Hawks Chicago Bulls Boston Celtics Phoenix Suns Chicago Bulls Toronto Raptors Oklahoma City Thunder Memphis Grizzlies Utah Jazz Charlotte Hornets Houstont Rockets Miami Heat Phoenix Suns Los Angeles Clippers Oklahoma City Thunder San Antonio Spurs

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Jabari Parker

Julius Randle

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Andrew Wiggins

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Andrew Wiggins

Julius Randle

Jusuf Nurkic

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

Dario Saric

Gar y Harris

Doug McDermott

James Young

Gar y Harris

James Young

James Young

Doug McDermott

Dante Exum

Julius Randle

Noah Vonleh

Doug McDermott Doug McDermott

Jabari Parker

Noah Vonleh

Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon

Marcus Smart

Nik Stauskas

Dario Saric

Julius Randle Noah Vonleh

Aaron Gordon

Rodney Hood

Jusuf Nurkic

Aaron Gordon

K.J. McDaniels

Nik Stauskas

Jusuf Nurkic

Kyle Anderson

Mitch McGary

Kyle Anderson

Gary Harris

Rodney Hood

Tyler Ennis

T.J. Warren

Rodney Hood

James Young

K.J. McDaniels

Shabazz Napier

P.J. Hairston

Adreian Payne

Cleanthony Early

Zach LaVine

T.J. Warren

Tyler Ennis

Kyle Anderson

Mitch McGary

Nik Stauskas

Elfrid Payton

P.J. Hairston

Tyler Ennis

Kyle Anderson

T.J. Warren

Shabazz Napier

Clint Capela

Zach LaVine

Clint Capela

T.J. Warren

P.J. Hairston

Elfrid Payton

Jerami Grant

DeAndre Daniels

Patric Young

K.J. McDaniels

Kristaps Porzingis

Patric Young

Jerami Grant

Jordan Adams

Jordan Adams

Adreian Payne

Elfrid Payton

Jerami Grant

P.J. Hairston

Russ Smith

Kristaps Porzingis

DeAndre Daniels

Cleanthony Early

Jusuf Nurkic

Jordan Adams

Kristaps Porzingis

Zach LaVine

Glenn Robinson

Rodney Hood

Cleanthony Early

Shabazz Napier

Spencer Dinwiddie

Artem Klimenko

Clint Capela

Jarnell Stokes

Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Isaiah Austin

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Nik Stauskas Gary Harris

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Dario Saric

Dario Saric

Tyler Ennis

Adreian Payne

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... AND BE SURE TO VISIT: http://www.basketballinsiders.com/tag/mock-drafts/

*

Lang Greene

Eric Pincus

Steve Kyler

Yannis Koutroupis

Andrew Wiggins

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid

Jabari Parker

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins

Andrew Wiggins

Dante Exum

Dante Exum

Dante Exum

Dante Exum

Joel Embiid

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker

Jabari Parker

Doug McDermott

Julius Randle

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

Marcus Smart

Noah Vonleh

Noah Vonleh

Julius Randle

Noah Vonleh

Julius Randle

Julius Randle

Aaron Gordon

Aaron Gordon

Doug McDermott

Aaron Gordon

James Young

Dario Saric

Nik Stauskas

Nik Stauskas

James Young

Jusuf Nurkic

Jusuf Nurkic

Noah Vonleh

Zach LaVine

Dario Saric

Doug McDermott

Nik Stauskas

Nik Stauskas

Tyler Ennis

Aaron Gordon

James Young

James Young

Dario Saric

Gary Harris

Dario Saric

K.J. McDaniels

Doug McDermott

T.J. Warren

Jusuf Nurkic

Kyle Anderson

Kyle Anderson

Rodney Hood

Tyler Ennis

Rodney Hood

Tyler Ennis

Gary Harris

Kyle Anderson

Gary Harris

Gary Harris

Kyle Anderson

T.J. Warren

Adreian Payne

Adreian Payne

Adreian Payne

Adreian Payne

Tyler Ennis

T.J. Warren

K.J. McDaniels

Clint Capela

Elfrid Payton

Elfrid Payton

Jerami Grant

Jerami Grant

T.J. Warren

P.J. Hairston

Cleanthony Early

Shabazz Napier

Zach LaVine

Rodney Hood

P.J. Hairston

Rodney Hood

P.J. Hairston

Jerami Grant

Elfrid Payton

Kristaps Porzingis

Jordan Adams

Zach LaVine

DeAndre Daniels

K.J. McDaniels

Jerami Grant

Cleanthony Early

Mitch McGary

Jordan Adams

Shabazz Napier

Shabazz Napier

Zach LaVine

Elfrid Payton

Kristaps Porzingis

Kristaps Porzingis

Jordan Adams

P.J. Hairston

Clint Capela

Clint Capela

Clint Capela

Cleanthony Early

Jarnell Stokes

Mitch McGary

Isaiah Austin

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Cleanthony Early

Jordan Adams

Jusuf Nurkic

For Draft 2014 updates:

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draft order reflects the following transactions: Atlanta’s right to swap f irst-round picks with the Brooklyn Nets via Joe Johnson trade (7 / 11 / 12). Boston received the less favorable of the Hawks / Nets f irst-round pick via the Kevin Garnett trade (7 / 10 / 13). Charlotte received Portland ’s f irst-round pick (Gerald Wallace trade, 2 / 24 / 11) and Detroit’s f irst-round pick (Ben Gordon trade, 6 / 26 / 12). Chicago received the Hornets’ f irst-round pick via the Tyrus Thomas trade (2 / 18 / 10). Denver received New York’s f irst-round pick via the Carmelo Anthony trade. Orlando received the less favorable of the Nuggets / Knicks f irst round picks via the Dwight Howard trade (8 / 10 / 12). Phoenix received Indiana’s f irst round pick via the Luis Scola trade (7 / 8 / 13) and Washington’s f irstround pick via the Marcin Gortat trade (8 / 25 / 13). Utah received Golden State’s f irst-round pick via the Andre Iguodala trade (7 / 10 / 13). Philadelphia receiving New Orleans’ f irst-round pick via the Jrue Holiday trade (7 / 10 / 13).

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39


?

WHO IS YOUR NBA COMPARISOn 40

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NBA executives, media members and couch critics alike are all guilty of posing this question to prospects in an attempt to learn more about a player and what role they envision themselves playing at the pro level. Some prospects compare themselves to stars, while others liken themselves to energy players. Some rattle off the players who they have studied and modeled their game after. Here’s how the class of 2014 responded when we went in search of their take:

“I’d say Tony Parker

C.J. Wilcox

[since I’m] able to the score the ball, he would score a little more than I would, but being able to score, being able to control the team and being able to find open guys when the time is right. Growing up, I would always watch Jason Kidd and that’s somebody I kind of model my game after. Being able to score the ball, but also make plays for others and just be a leader on the floor.”

“I’ve been compared to Richard ‘Rip’ Hamilton and Ray Allen, just a lot of shooters who come off of screens, have a quick release and are able to knock down shots.”

DeAndre Kane

“I just go out there and try to be myself.

Tyler Ennis

I’m DeAndre Kane and that’s who I’ve been trying to be my whole life. There are players who I look at and watch and study tape on to take different pieces from each persons’ game to add to my game, but when I step on the court I just try to be myself. [With that] said, I’ve been watching Chauncey Billups since he’s a bigger point guard who can get into the teeth of the defense and make plays for others. I’ve been watching Andre Miller, the way he’s able to post up smaller guards. I’ve been watching Chris Paul, the way he leads. I watch different kinds of point guards and try to put some of those things into my game, but I just want to be myself.” basketballinsiders.com

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“It’s an honor [to be compared to Zach Randolph].

Zach is a great, great player so to be compared to somebody like that, somebody with so much skill and somebody who has had such a great career in the NBA, it’s definitely an honor.”

The people I model my game after are a [ SHABAZZ NAPIER ] little bit of Russell Westbrook with his I can’t look at one player and say that’s I take a lot of notes athleticism, Stephen Curry with his who I play like, but on a lot of guys. I I can see different I like see what Chris Paul dribbling ability and shot off the dribble, traits that players Carmelo does and how he and one of my good have that I see. I [Anthony]’s distributes the ball friends Jamal look at Russell game. I also and how he gets Crawford, who is Westbook as that like Wilson everyone involved. 6’5 and lanky, but explosive point Chandler. Tony Parker and can get his shot off guard that can get And back in how he takes against anyone and to the rim, and the day Mike control of the game. is quick. If I have also Manu Ginobili Miller, when Steve Nash in his those three players when he gets into he first got in prime when he had in my game, I feel the paint and the the league, two MVPs back to like I’ll have a really way he can finish. he was an back, his footwork. good career in the It’s just looking at athletic guy There are a lot of NBA. If I just work different players and who was things that I try to hard, that’s a good what they can do, really able to implement in my mix to me! and how that can shoot it from game. I don’t want help my game. outside. to just look at one

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[ Laquinton ross ]

42

[ James young ]

McGrady when he was in the league, that’s who I compare my game too and that’s why I wear No. 1.

[ Dante Exum ]

“sayI would Tracy

Julius Randle

person and grab a hold of that.

[ ZACH LAVINE ]

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WHO IS YOUR NBA COMPARISON?

“A lot of people compare me to Jalen Rose,

but that’s probably because there aren’t a lot of left-handed players out there. I try to take from a lot of guys’ game, like a Kevin Durant or James Harden or Manu Ginobili, guys like that. But we’ll see, I’m trying to be my own player.”

Rodney Hood

There are not a whole lot of comparisons for me, I’m kind of different. I like to watch a lot of [Kyle] Korver. Wally Szczerbiak has been a good one; he was a little stronger so I need to get a little bigger. I like to watch those guys. It might sound crazy but I watch a lot of Paul Pierce, I like his footwork. He is not the quickest guy in the world, but he really knows how to use his body and knows how to use angles to score.

There are a few players who I would say I, realistically, compare myself to because of some of the things that they bring to the table: players like Jimmy Butler, DeMarre Carroll and Shane Battier, guys that bring leadership. Battier played the four in college and played the three [in the NBA]. He’s been able to be effective and a contributor on every team – great defender and knock-down shooter. Carroll with Atlanta, he helps them a lot. He’s a little bit smaller of a guy, but he’s able to be effective on the perimeter. Butler brings that edge, that characteristic, those intangibles to Chicago. These guys do things that help these teams win. I think I bring a lot of these intangibles and versatility, and ultimately I think those are spots that I could get myself into when I’m playing in the NBA. I think those are valuable pieces – great team guys, great leaders and great vocal guys that help you win. At this level, everyone wants to win and everyone wants those guys who will buy into their situation. That’s what I’m here for and that’s what I’m trying to do. I know a lot of coaches are looking for that.

[ ALEX KIRK ]

There are a couple of people who I’ve modeled my game after. This year, I obviously didn’t get to watch him, but I love watching Brook Lopez. I think he’s honestly comparable. Yeah, he may be a little bit taller and a little bit heavier, but I think I set good screens, I get open, I play good defense and I think we both shoot the ball from midrange very well.

[ MELVIN Ejim ]

If I were to draw any comparisons or relate to someone specifically I would probably say the closest comparison would be someone like Klay Thompson from Golden State, a guy that has good size for his position, can knock down shots at a high clip and he’s a great defender. That’s someone who I try to model my game after.

I don’t think I’ve modeled my game after anybody, but I’ve heard a lot of [people compare me to] Alec Burks, who plays for Utah. Yeah, I’ve heard that one a lot.

[ Doug mcdermott ]

[ JORDAN MCRAE ]

[ Joe HARRIS ]

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Second round prospects INSIDER:

Y annis K ouTROUPIS

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NAMES TO WATCH IN THE

SECOND ROUND Cleanthony Early

+ --

Wichita State. PF. 6’8”. 215

Versatile forward who may be groomed into a small forward depending on where he lands. Very athletic. Can hit the three. Comfortable defending multiple positions. Unknown which position he’s best suited to play in the pro’s. Lacks the skills of a small forward and strength of a Power Forward. Jump shot lacks consistency.

Jarnell Stokes

+ --

Tennessee. PF. 6’8”. 250

Bruising low-post presence. Plays like a traditional PF. Strong and knows how to throw his weight around. Elite rebounder. Great NCAA tournament showing. Efficient. Undersized. PFs who can stretch the floor with their jump shot have become more and more prevalent, but that isn’t Stokes’ game. Ability to defend away from the interior.

Walter Tavares

+ --

Cape Verde. C. 7’2”. 265

One of the biggest players in the draft. Has a reported wingspan of 7’9. Moves well for someone of his stature. Really played well with extended minutes this season. A project who lacks a solid feel for the game. Doesn’t always get the most out of his size and strength. Not a great athlete.

Jordan Adams

+ --

UCL A. SG. 6’5”. 220

Below average athlete by his position’s standards. Prone to inconsistency. Concerns about ability to create his own shot at the next level. Conditioning issues.

C.J. Wilcox

Coming off of a torn ACL, will not be healthy in time to play in Summer League. Had just average athleticism and explosiveness before the injury. Needs to get stronger.

Vasiliji Micic

+ --

Serbia. PG. 6’4”. 185

A natural playmaker with the gift of great court vision. Handles the ball well, sees things before they develop. Can hit the three. Above average height for a one. Has one year left on his contract overseas. Buyout language unclear at this point. Concerns about lack of great speed and athleticism to defend outside or finish inside.

Nikola Jokic

+ --

Serbia. PF. 6’11”. 253

Young big man who is physically mature beyond his years. Has a good feel for the game. Good vision. Can stretch the floor a bit with his jump shot. Not a great athlete. Somewhat raw on the defensive end. A project overall.

+ --

Ne v ada. PG. 6’1”. 185

Athletic lead guard with above average wingspan. Improved noticeably each year. Solid rebounder. Very capable defender. Breaks defenders down off the dribble. Not as big of a threat as a spot up shooter, especially beyond the arc. Will take ill-advised shots. Not a true point guard. Only had one winning season in college.

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Washington. PG. 6’5”. 195

Shooter with deep range. Cannot be left open. On paper, solid pro-level SG given height and length. Has solid athleticism. Somewhat of a specialist. Has to get stronger. Will have to prove that he can provide something other than shooting at the pro level in order to have a long career.

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+ --

Colorado. PG / SG. 6’6”. 190

Combo guard with serious physical advantages when running the point. Can score in a variety of ways. A very capable and willing passer.

Deonte Burton

Explosive scorer. Can score with his jumper, which has a quick release, or by scoring off the dribble. Adept at getting to the free throw line. Plays the passing lane well.

+ --

Spencer Dinwiddie

+ --

Serbia. SG. 6’6”. 200

Has a near seven-foot wingspan. Can score in a variety of ways. Has NBA three-point range. Solid court vision. European contract buyout available. Average athlete. Will force things offensively and turn it over in excess as a result. Can be a defensive liability. Unknown if he wants to play in NBA or remain overseas.

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NAMES TO WATCH IN THE

SECOND ROUND Patric Young

Dwight Powell

+ --

Florida. PF. 6’9”. 240

Built like he played football. Active, especially on the defensive end where he is a willing helper. Athletic with a high finishing rate. Limited offensively. Average free-throw shooter. Not a force on the glass. Underwhelming production rate for three years. Best suited to play center, but undersized.

Nick Johnson

+ --

Extremely athletic. Passionate defender. A very capable scorer who can hit the NBA three. Competes on every possession. Lacks ideal size for his position. May have to transition to playing the point, although not a true playmaker. Ability to create his own shot.

Jabari Brown

Can score from all over the floor. Athletic. Gets to the free throw line regularly. Strong. Slightly below average size for his position. Turnover prone.

James McAdoo Nor th Carolina. PF. 6’9”. 223

Has a unique jump shot that is not fundamentally sound. Struggles at the free throw line, where he gets too often. Assertiveness comes and goes. Plateaued as a junior.

Joe Harris Virginia. SF. 6’6”. 211

Team was successful, but individually he had somewhat of a senior slump. Not a great athlete. Concerns about his ceiling if he can’t find his shot at the pro level.

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Plays like a shooting guard but has the build of a point guard. Turnover prone. A volume shooter. Will have to get stronger.

+ --

Iow a. SG. 6’6”. 200

Good size for position. Range out to the NBA three point line. Solid defensively. Improved every year in college. Young for a senior at 21 years of age. Versatile player. Not an elite athlete. Questions about which, if any of his skills, will really translate to the next level because he doesn’t do anything particularly great.

+ --

Oklahoma State. PG. 6’3”. 190

Long and athletic. Good rebounder for his position. Defensive potential. Small for a shooting guard without the ability to play point guard right away at least. Needs to add strength and playmaking skills.

LaQuinton Ross

A sniper who has made over 70 threes in each of the last two years at over a 40 percent clip. Quick release. Moves well without the basketball. Willing passer. Efficient.

46

One of the fastest players in college basketball. Knows how to score the basketball and get to the line. Plays the passing lanes well. Did more playmaking as a senior.

Markel Brown

An athletic big man who comes from a great basketball pedigree. Has good size, length and mobility for his position. Plays the passing lanes well.

+ --

+ --

Louisville. PG. 6’1”. 165

Devyn Marbl

Missouri. SG. 6’4”. 200

+ --

Prone to settling for the jump shot. Inconsistent overall. Defense.

Russ Smith

Arizona State. SG. 6’3”. 200

+ --

+ --

Stanford. PF. 6’9”. 227

A perimeter-oriented power forward. Has a reliable jump shot inside of the arc. Did more creating as a senior. Good height and length.

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+ --

Ohio State. SF. 6’8”. 225

Versatile. Good ball handler. Can hit the three. Solid rebounder. Significantly improved from sophomore to junior year. Doesn’t always impact the game like he should. Defense. Doesn’t create much for others.

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NAMES TO WATCH IN THE

SECOND ROUND Thanasis Antetokounmpo

+ --

D-League. SF. 6’6”. 205

Older brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo. Extremely athletic. Has made serious improvements. Dedicated defender. Hard worker. Still very raw overall on both ends. Not as young or promising as Giannis. Needs significant polish in every area of his game.

DeAndre Kane

+ --

Big, strong and very physical point guard. Has good court vision. Can score in a variety of ways. Good rebounder. Concerns about his ability to defend NBA point guards. Turnover prone. Shooting, particularly from deep and at the line. Will be 25 years of age on Draft night.

Jahii Carson A quick and athletic guard who plays bigger than 5’10. A capable playmaker. Difficult to stay in front of. Has improved his three point shooting significantly. Undersized, something a lot of teams will not be able to look past. Turns it over in excess. A volume shooter at times.

Johnny O’Bryant LSU. PF. 6’9”. 250

Not a great athlete. Doesn’t always dominate like he’s capable of. Didn’t improve as hoped from sophomore to junior year.

Artem Klimenko

One of the best shot blockers college basketball has seen recently. Solid rebounder. Has consistently improved. Good touch around the basket. Very long. Limited offensively. One of the older players in the draft at 24. Concerns about how he’ll adjust to the speed of the NBA game.

+ --

Wisconsin-Green Bay. C. 7’1”. 222

A five man who can stretch the floor with his jump shot out to the NBA three point line. A quality rim protector. Development after sophomore year was underwhelming. Needs to get stronger. Doesn’t rebound well for his position.

+ --

UNLV. PF. 6’9”. 210

Aggressive rebounder. Very athletic. Good speed for his size. Protects the rim well. Lacks polish offensively. Needs to get stronger and become a more consistent jump shooter.

Jordan McRae

Russia. C. 7’1”. 228

Huge big man who plays hard. Protects the rim well. Good rebounder. Mobile for size and position. A raw project who doesn’t look to be ready to contribute in any meaningful way. Needs to get stronger. Unproven against quality competition.

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+ --

Arizona State. C. 7’2”. 248

Khem Birch

Strong and physical. Knows how to score in the low post. Good rebounder. Can hit the mid-range jump shot.

+ --

Still somewhat raw offensively. Needs to get stronger. Didn’t improve as hoped as a senior.

Alec Brown

Arizona State. PG. 5’10”. 180

+ --

+ --

Baylor. PF. 6’9”. 210

Long and athletic with great defensive potential. Moves well laterally for his position. Good rebounder. Finisher around the rim.

Jordan Bachinyski

Iow a State. PG. 6’4”. 200

+ --

Cory Jefferson

+ --

Tennessee. SG. 6’5”. 178

Athletic. At his best off of the dribble. Has consistently improved over the last four years. Willing passer. Can hit the NBA three pointer. Has to add a serious amount of muscle. Shot selection. Inefficient.

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TOP

100 2014

Draft Talents

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DRAFT ROLL CALL Andrew Wiggins

DeAndre Daniels

DeAndre Kane

Moussa Diagne

Joel Embiid

Glenn Robinson III

Thanasis Antetokounmpo

Josh Huestis

Jabari Parker

Jerami Grant

Jahii Carson

Akil Mitchell

Dante Exum

Mitch McGary

James McAdoo

Keith Appling

Julius Randle

Clint Capela

Semaj Christon

Viktor Gaddefors

Marcus Smart

Cleanthony Early

Johnny O’Bryant

Aaric Murray

Noah Vonleh

Jarnell Stokes

Artem Klimenko

Travis Bader

Aaron Gordon

Walter Tavares

Cory Jefferson

Markel Starks

Dario Saric

Jordan Adams

Jordan Bachynski

Jakarr Sampson

Doug McDermott

C.J. Wilcox

Alec Brown

Chane Behanan

James Young

Isaiah Austin

Khem Birch

Aaron Craft

Gary Harris

Vasilije Micic

Rasmus Larsen

Alex Kirk

Nik Stauskas

Spencer Dinwiddie

Lamar Patterson

Juvonte Reddic

Tyler Ennis

Deonte Burton

Jordan McRae

Andre Dawkins

K.J. McDaniels

Bogdan Bogdanovic

Joe Harris

Joonas Caven

Jusuf Nurkic

Patric Young

Fuquan Edwin

Cameron Bairstow

Adreian Payne

Nikola Jokic

Damien Inglis

Casey Prather

Zach LaVine

Jabari Brown

C.J. Fair

Kendall Williams

Kyle Anderson

Jordan Clarkson

Shayne Whittington

Sim Bhullar

T.J. Warren

Russ Smith

Bryce Cotton

Xavier Thames

Rodney Hood

Dwight Powell

Melvin Ejim

Eric Moreland

Kristaps Porzingis

Devyn Marble

Sean Kilpatrick

Niels Giffey

P.J. Hairston

Nick Johnson

Geron Johnson

Mike Moser

Elfrid Payton

Markel Brown

Nedim Buza

Scottie Wilbekin

Shabazz Napier

LaQuinton Ross

Ioannis Papapetrou

Chaz Williams

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SECOND ROUND SLEEPERS TO WATCh INSIDER:

Y annis K ouTROUPIS

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No matter how much money and time NBA teams invest in scouting and preparing for the draft, some quality players are going to slip through the cracks and be undervalued on draft night. In the end, there are only 30 selections in the first round and in a deep draft class like this there are far more than 30 prospects worthy of going in the first round. There’s a lot of esteem and financial security that comes with being a first-round pick. That is everyone’s goal, but we’ve seen plenty of instances, like Paul Millsap (47th pick in 2006) and Chandler Parsons (38th pick in 2011), that prove what matters more than where you go on draft night is what you do afterward. Two firstround picks from the 2012 NBA Draft found themselves out of the league this season, further proof that going in the first round doesn’t guarantee a successful career any more than going in the second round means you can’t become an All-Star and make far more than the rookie pay scale allows. Of course, we won’t know until draft night who slips to the second round, but here is a look at four sleepers projected to go in the second round who could go on to make the teams that passed on them in the first round regret it mightily down the line.

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Each second-round pick will be looking to duplicate the success of these four standouts.

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Isaiah Austin Baylor (So.) // Power Forward + Center Austin had the opportunity to leave for the NBA after his freshman season and if he did he probably would have been a first-round pick. A disappointing sophomore season has dropped his stock to the second round, but the main benefit from staying another year is that Austin feels much more prepared to make the jump. “I’ve become a way better teammate on and off the court,” Austin said. “I’ve learned to play within my game. I would say I’m a stretch four. I’m an athlete. I call myself a basketball player; I don’t like to give myself a label because I can put the ball on the ground, I can shoot the ball, I can post up, I can do a little bit of everything. I’m fearless out there on the court. I’m not going to back down from anybody.” As a seven-footer with legitimate perimeter skills and good shot blocking ability, Austin does have the unique skill set required for a secondround pick to stick. Austin revealed this year that he is completely blind in his right eye as a result of a childhood accident. He’s really taken to being a role model for other children with disabilities, making it hard not to root for him. “Anybody with any type of disability I encourage them to go out and fight for their dreams and work for what they want,” Austin said. “The only person that’s going to stop you from getting there is yourself. You always have to have that confidence in yourself that you know you can do it, have strong faith in God because there’s going to be ups and downs. I’m still fighting the depth perception thing. A lot of times I like to come in early and get used to it. I just encourage everybody to keep fighting. Nothing is impossible.”

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SECOND ROUND SLEEPERS

Thanasis Antetokounmpo D-League // Small Forward Thanasis is not as skilled or as long as his younger brother Giannis Antetokounmpo, who was an All-NBA Rookie second team selection for the Milwaukee Bucks this past season, but the 21-year-old showed some intriguing flashes this season with the Delaware 87ers in the NBA Development League. He’s one of the best athletes in this draft class and has a desire to improve like few others. “I have to work on everything,” Antetokounmpo said. “You see great players like Kobe Bryant, if he was here and you asked him that, he would say, ‘I have to work on my shot, everything.’ He’s one of the greatest five players of all-time. I have to work on everything. Wherever I go I’m the worst player, if he works twice I have to work four times. If he works four times I have to work eight. He’s already better than me, he’s already here in the states. I just got here. I have to work better than him.” Already having improved significantly in a short amount of time, Antetokounmpo could eventually develop into a quality defender and spot-up shooting threat that fits in nicely off of the bench of a contending team. As his honesty above indicates, he’s very aware of who he is and is willing to do whatever it takes to carve his niche in this game.

C.J. Wilcox Washington (Sr.) // Shooting Guard Over the last four years, Wilcox developed into one of the top scoring threats in college basketball, averaging 18.3 points a game as a senior. He’s known for hitting the three – and for good reason, he made over 300 in his career – but that’s not all Wilcox can do.

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“I can do more than shoot the ball,” Wilcox said. “There’s more to my game than that. I’m a hard worker. Shooting the ball is obviously my strength, and my quickness and athleticism even though it’s overlooked can be a good attribute for me.” In the second round, teams are looking for guys with at least one skill that looks like it will translate immediately. Wilcox has that with his jump shot, and if he indeed has a better allaround game than we saw at Washington, we’re definitely talking about a first-round caliber talent.

Spencer Dinwiddie Colorado (Jr.) // Combo Guard Before going down with a torn ACL just after the start of the New Year, Dinwiddie was averaging 14.7 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists for the 15th-ranked Colorado Buffaloes. They were in the midst of what was building up to be their best season in program history, but they were not the same when Dinwiddie went down. After a 14-2 start with him leading the way, they finished the season 23-12 and were throttled in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament by Pittsburgh. While Colorado wasn’t the same without him, the recovering Dinwiddie is out to assure teams he will be the same once he’s cleared. “I’m going to be back well before the season,” Dinwiddie said. “My agent isn’t letting me hammer out a specific date, but I’ve tweeted out what the timeline is looking like and how optimistic they are. Beyond that, it’s really on whether or not the team believes in me or not. If they think the player that I was is a really good caliber player and they want that type of player, that’s what they’re going to get.” With the advances in medical treatment and Dinwiddie’s strong skill set as a potential 6’6 point guard, he’s a gamble well worth taking in the second round.

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DRAFT GUIDE

YOUR TEAM’S BIGGEST NEEDS AND ALL THE PEOPLE PUL LING THE STRING S ON DRAFT DAY 56

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THE 2014 dRAFT ORDER

Not drafting this year:

BROOKLYN. GOLDEN STATE. NEW orleans. NEW YORK. PORTLAND.

Round 1.

CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 2. MILWAUKEE BUCKS 3. PHILADELPHIA 76erS 4. ORLANDO MAGIC 5. UTAH JAZZ 6. BOSTON CELTICS 7. LOS ANGELES LAKERS 8. SACRAMENTO KINGS 9. CHARLOTTE HORNETS 10. PHILADELPHIA 76erS 11. DENVER NUGGETS 12. ORLANDO MAGIC 13. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 14. PHOENIX SUNS 15. ATLANTA HAWKS 16. CHICAGO BULLS 17. BOSTON CELTICS 18. PHOENIX SUNS 19. CHICAGO BULLS 20. TORONTO RAPTORS 21. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 22. MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES 23. UTAH JAZZ 24. CHARLOTTE HORNETS 25. HOUSTON ROCKETS 26. MIAMI HEAT 27. PHOENIX SUNS 28. LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS 29. OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER 30. SAN ANTONIO SPURS 1.

Round 2.

MILWAUKEE BUCKS 32. PHILADELPHIA 76erS 33. CLEVELAND CAVALIERS 34. DALLAS MAVERICKS 35. UTAH JAZZ 36. MILWAUKEE BUCKS 37. TORONTO RAPTORS 38. DETROIT PISTONS 39. PHILADELPHIA 76erS 40. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 41. DENVER NUGGETS 42. HOUSTON ROCKETS 43. ATLANTA HAWKS 44. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 45. CHARLOTTE HORNETS 46. WASHINGTON WIZARDS 47. PHILADELPHIA 76erS 48. MILWAUKEE BUCKS 49. CHICAGO BULLS 50. PHOENIX SUNS 51. DALLAS MAVERICKS 52. PHILADELPHIA 76erS 53. MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES 54. PHILADELPHIA 76erS 55. MIAMI HEAT 56. DENVER NUGGETS 57. INDIANA PACERS 58. SAN ANTONIO SPURS 59. TORONTO RAPTORS 60. SAN ANTONIO SPURS 31.

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DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: John Zitzler

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

CENTRAL [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

CLEVELAND

2014

33 - 49

1 33

2015

2016

Three first-round picks (their own but Chicago has the right to swap their own pick for this one if they desire, a top-ten protected pick from Miami and a topfive protected pick from Memphis that is also protected for picks 1530). Second-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

1 MOST LIKELY

Andrew Wiggins

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Cavaliers entered 2013-14 with playoff aspirations, but even in the weak Eastern Conference fell short and finished just 33-49. The team brought back former head coach Mike Brown last offseason, signing him to a five-year, $20 million deal. However, less than one year later, the Cavaliers have already fired Brown and replaced general manager Chris Grant with David Griffin. The team was never able to hit their stride even after acquiring Luol Deng and Spencer Hawes midseason. Rumors of turmoil in the locker room and frustration among players certainly didn’t help either. One teammate anonymously even went as far as saying that Kyrie Irving “acts like he doesn’t care,” most certainly not the attitude desired from a star player. The Cavaliers were undoubtedly one of the most disappointing teams of the season.

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Joel Embiid

SELECTION

Jabari Parker

DA R K HO R S E

CAVALIERS 2014 OFfensive rank: 22

2014 DEfensive rank: 16

Biggest Needs: The Cavaliers’ roster may look much different next season, as Deng, Hawes and C.J. Miles will be free agents this summer and Anderson Varejao, Alonzo Gee, Matthew Dellavedova and Scotty Hopson all have nonguaranteed deals for next year. If Hawes and Varejao aren’t brought back, the Cavs will need to target a big man or two to help the team defensively and on the glass. With Deng possibly out of the picture as well, the Cavs may have a big hole to fill at the three spot. Last year’s first overall pick Anthony Bennett seems to be a bit of a tweener, but looks best suited playing inside rather than out on the perimeter. If Deng ends up signing elsewhere, finding a wing player will be a priority for Cleveland.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? The Cavs decided to part with former general manager Chris Grant in February after the poor start and lack of chemistry among the players. David Griffin has now officially taken his place, since the organization removed his interim tag in May. Griffin worked alongside Grant during his tenure as GM from 2010 through February of this season when Grant was fired. The Cavs’ draft record during that time has been questioned. Grant and Griffin made Dion Waiters the fourth overall pick of 2012, and Waiters at times seems to be more of a problem than a building block. Most recently in 2013, the duo selected Bennett first overall ahead of Victor Oladipo among others. Now, Griffin will be the one tasked with turning things around for a once promising young team.

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57


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: John Zitzler

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

CENTRAL [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

MILWAUKEE

2014

15 - 67

36. From L.A Lakers via Minnesota 48. From Toronto via Phoenix

2 31 36 48

2015

2016

First-round pick, two second-round picks (their own and one from the L.A. Clippers, which is protected from picks 51-60).

First-round pick, twosecond-round picks (their own and the more favorable pick between New Orleans and Sacramento, protected from picks 56-60).

2 MOST LIKELY

Jabari Parker

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The 2013-14 Bucks had a long season, finishing with a league-worst record of 15-67. Last offseason, the Bucks acquired a number of veteran players in O.J. Mayo, Zaza Pachulia, Carlos Delfino, Luke Ridnour, Caron Butler and Gary Neal in an attempt to make the team a playoff contender. Mayo underperformed and was inconsistent all season long, Delfino was sidelined for the year with a foot injury, Butler was bought out midseason and Neal and Ridnour were traded to Charlotte. Larry Sanders, after signing a $44 million extension that will kick in next season, sat out most of the year due to injury. Things did not go nearly as well as the franchise hoped, but in the long run it may be for best. The Bucks are now under the new ownership of Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens. The team now has the opportunity to land a difference maker in the draft who, along with Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Bucks can build around going forward.

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Andrew Wiggins

SELECTION

Dante Exum

DA R K HO R S E

BUCKS 2014 OFfensive rank: 28

2014 DEfensive rank: 25

Biggest Needs: The Bucks had a tough year both offensively and defensively. During the 2013-14 campaign, the team finished 25th in the league in offensive efficiency and 29th in defensive efficiency. The Bucks have room to improve in almost every aspect and should have a best-player-available philosophy heading into the draft. On the offensive end, the Bucks need to add consistent scorers on the wing and down low. The Bucks have a number of bigs, but none are consistent threats to score the basketball. A true lowpost scorer would help take some of the pressure off of the perimeter players. Brandon Knight was able to put up some nice offensive numbers, but he isn’t a true point guard so the team could also use a distributor to keep the offense organized while creating shots for others.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? The new owners have a decision to make on whether to keep current general manager John Hammond and assistant general manager David Morway. As of now, it will be Hammond and Morway as the lead decision makers come draft day. Hammond hit a home run last year by landing Antetokounmpo with the 15th pick and was also able land Nate Wolters in the second round. Hammond has had pretty good success picking in the early-to-mid first, drafting Brandon Jennings (ninth), Sanders (15th), John Henson (14th) and most recently Giannis Antetokounmpo. However, his biggest blunder also came in the early firstround, choosing Joe Alexander with the eighth pick in 2008. Hammond and Morway will have a very important decision to make this year when the Bucks go on the clock with the second pick.

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DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Kyle Cape-Lindelin

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

ATLANTIC

2014

3 10 32 39 47 52 54

[ FUTURE ASSETS ]

PHILADELPHIA 19 - 63

03. From New Orleans 39 - 54. From Houston, Brooklyn,

Cleveland and Memphis, respectively.

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick to Orlando protected for selections 1-14 in 2016 (only if Philadelphia conveyed a first-round pick to Miami in 2014), 1-11 in 2017 or 1-8 in 2018; if Philadelphia has not conveyed a first-round pick to Orlando by 2018, then Philadelphia will instead convey its 2018 second-round pick and 2019 second-round pick to Orlando.

3 MOST LIKELY

SELECTION

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The 76ers did not plan to win many games this past season. In fact, they created a model on how to effectively tank. With rookie big man Nerlens Noel out for the year to fully recover from his torn ACL, the 76ers gave the keys to their other first round pick, point-guard Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams had great individual success, which earned him Rookie of the Year honors after he averaged 16.7 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.9 steals. However, he and forward Thaddeus Young, who averaged 17.9 points, six rebounds and 2.1 steals, were the only bright spots on this Sixers team. The 76ers ended up trading away talent like center Spencer Hawes and forward Evan Turner to ensure that they finish with as many lottery ping-pong balls as possible. The 76ers finished with a planned, horrific record of 19-63, including an NBA tying-record of 26 straight loses in the second-half of the season.

basketballinsiders.com

Likely choice for

Jabari Parker

Andrew Wiggins

Dante Exum

DA R K HO R S E

76ers 2014 OFfensive rank: 19

2014 DEfensive rank: 30

Biggest Needs: Like all of the lottery-bound teams, the 76ers have multiple holes to fill and improvements to be made. The 76ers need to add as much talent as they can through the draft and see how it all fits down the road. Shooting guard and small forward are clearly the biggest holes they can fill with either of their two first-round picks. Assuming Noel develops into the fearsome defensive shot-blocker and paint presence they hope, the 76ers still lack a real interior scorer and big man to pair with him. Lastly, the 76ers have no talent on the bench as it stands and this is where using some of their five second-round picks can help add cheap talent to the second unit. The good news is the core of Carter-Williams, Young and Noel are all versatile and the team could go in a number of directions with their multiple picks in this year’s draft.

10

Nik Stauskas

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? President and general manager Sam Hinkie will be running this year’s draft, as he did last year. He makes the final call on all picks or trades for Philadelphia. Hinkie is still in the beginning of his rebuilding plan for the 76ers, but with the draft assets at his disposal and his analytical background, he is unafraid of making trades if it fills needs. Hinkie knows this won’t be a quick fix and there will probably be another lottery-bound season next year. The key for him will be to add as much young talent as possible and see what sticks. Drafting Carter-Williams was clearly the right choice in last year’s draft, as the Rookie of the Year looks like a future star with an incredibly high ceiling. However, the jury is still out on drafting Noel, as he may still be a long-term project. It remains to be seen if his excellent athleticism will be affected by his season-ending injury.

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59


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jessica Camerato

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

SOUTHWEST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

ORLANDO

2014

23 - 59

4 12

2015

2016

First-round pick, second-round pick. Owed second-rounder (top-40 protected) from Los Angeles Lakers .

First-round pick, second-round pick. Owed first-rounder (lottery-protected through 2016, top-11 protected in 2017, topeight protected in 2018, other wise converts to second-rounders in 2018 and 2019) from Philadelphia 76ers.

4 MOST LIKELY

Marcus Smart

ALT ER NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Orlando Magic (23-59) found themselves in a rebuilding phase for the second season in a row. As other teams compete for the here-and-now, the Magic are piecing together a roster for the future. Victor Oladipo, the second overall pick in last year’s draft, averaged 13.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.1 assists in his rookie year. Nikola Vucevic, 23, averaged a double-double (14.2 points, 11.0 rebounds) for the second straight season. Yet on a young team it was veteran Arron Afflalo who quietly had his best campaign in seven years with 18.2 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. The Magic are not rushing into things as they rebuild their roster, which they will look to add to in this summer’s draft.

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Likely choice for

Dante Exum

Noah Vonleh

SELECTION

DA R K HO R S E

MAGIC 2014 OFfensive rank: 25

2014 DEfensive rank: 17

Biggest Needs: The Magic’s biggest need might just be time. The Magic are building around young talent, and that does not happen overnight. As Oladipo and Vucevic continue to develop, they can assess what kind of players they need to put around them. There is no quick fix for the Magic – a blockbuster free agent like Carmelo Anthony isn’t going to sign there to turn things around. With only one free agent this summer (E’Twaun Moore, restricted), the Magic don’t have many holes to fill on their roster. The team does need to find their point guard of the future, assuming Oladipo will eventually move to his natural shooting guard position. Changing the direction of this team is a process, one that doesn’t have a quick-fix solution.

12

Jusuf Nurkic

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? The Magic exercised the option on general manger Rob Hennigan, extending him through the 2015-16 season. Hennigan was hired in 2012 shortly before the draft. That year, the Magic selected Andrew Nicholson (19) and Kyle O’Quinn (49). Nicholson has averaged 6.8 points and 3.4 rebounds in 16 minutes primarily off the bench in his first two years. This season, O’Quinn’s role increased to the tune of 6.2 points and 5.3 rebounds in 17.2 minutes per game with 19 starts. Last summer, the Magic made a splash selecting Oladipo second overall. The guard has some of the highest potential out of the 2013 class. In the same draft, the Magic also selected Romero Osby (51), who spent time in the NBA Development League this season and will rejoin Orlando for summer league this year.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Eric Rincus

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

NORTHWEST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

UTAH

2014

25 - 57

5 23 35

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

5 MOST LIKELY

Julius Randle

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Utah Jazz finished the 2013-14 season in last place in the Western Conference with a 25-57 record. Gordon Hayward led the team with 16.2 points a night, along with 5.2 assists and 5.1 rebounds. Alec Burks emerged as a steady contributor, at 14 points and 3.3 assists a night. Derrick Favors was solid inside, shooting 52.2 percent from the field while averaging 13.3 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. The team found some success playing small ball with Marvin Williams at power forward, but consistency was a serious issue for the Jazz. Utah averaged just 95 points nightly while giving up 102.2, the third-worst point differential (7.2) in the league. Head coach Tyrone Corbin, at the end of his contract, was let go and the position has yet to be filled.

basketballinsiders.com

Likely choice for

Marcus Smart

Dario Saric

SELECTION

DA R K HO R S E

JAZZ 2014 OFfensive rank: 29

2014 DEfensive rank: 18

Biggest Needs: In addition to a head coach, the Jazz need make a decision on Hayward, who will be a restricted free agent heading into July. Both Enes Kanter and Burks are eligible for extensions. Richard Jefferson and Williams are key free agents. Depth is a priority. In addition to retaining Hayward, the Jazz need at least another forward. If the Jazz don’t bring back Hayward, they need a high-scoring, starting shooting guard who can also be a playmaker.

23

P.J. Hairston

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Kevin O’Connor, Utah’s executive vice president of basketball operations, is still directly involved in mapping out the team’s future. General manager Dennis Lindsey was brought on in 2012, taking over the day-to-day responsibilities from O’Connor. Together they’ll navigate the draft and free agency, hoping to lift the Jazz up from the bottom of the West. O’Connor was part of bringing Deron Williams to the Jazz in 2005 and exiting him to the New Jersey Nets (now Brooklyn) in 2011. Utah also picked Hayward (ninth) and Burks (12th) in 2010 and Kanter (third) in 2011. Lindsey’s influence may stand out in the coaching search as well as Utah’s 2014 draft.

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61


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Tommy Beer

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

ATLANTIC [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

BOSTON

2014

25 - 57

6 17

2015

2016

First-round pick, L.A. Clippers owe their 2015 first-round pick to Boston.

First-round pick, Brooklyn owes its 2016 first-round pick to Boston. Miami owes its 2016 second round pick to Boston. Boston owes 2016 second-round pick to Memphis.

6 MOST LIKELY

Noah Vonleh

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap After trading away their best player (Paul Pierce) and their heart and soul (Kevin Garnett), it was clear the Celtics were determined to rebuild. Thus, losing 57 games was neither a surprise nor a grave disappointment. The organization, from top to bottom, was well aware that their 2013-14 campaign would be the first step in a long, but focused, reconstruction. Moreover, finishing near the bottom of the standings – tied with the Utah Jazz at 25-57 last season – awarded the Celtics with the fifth-best odds at the top pick (10.3 percent) and a 33.4 percent chance at a top-three selection. However, Boston ended up with the sixth pick in the lottery. The good news is that they also own Brooklyn’s first-round pick, which is No. 17 overall.

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Julius Randle

Likely choice for

SELECTION

Aaron Gordon

DA R K HO R S E

CELTICS 2014 OFfensive rank: 26

2014 DEfensive rank: 13

Biggest Needs: Due to the current state of the roster, the Celtics don’t necessarily have to target a specific position, and can truly draft the “best available player.” Rajon Rondo is one of the best all-around guards but his future in Boston remains cloudy, as he is set to become an unrestricted free agent in mid 2015. If the C’s lock him in with an extension prior to the draft, they obviously don’t need a point guard. The Celtics drafted center Kelly Olynyk with their first-round pick last year, and were happy with the production he provided. They were also impressed by the play of rookie big man Vitor Faverani, before injuries ended his season early. Bruising forward Jared Sullinger (their 2012 first-rounder) stayed healthy in 2013-14, and put up career-highs across the board. Nonetheless, the C’s have holes along the front line and at shooting guard, so they will likely select the highest rated player on their board when they are on the clock.

17

Gary Harris

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Danny Ainge, the Celtics’ president of basketball operations, has been calling the shots in Boston for a decade now. His tenure has been controversial at times, but also undeniably successful - reaching its climax in 2008, when Boston defeated the Los Angeles Lakers and captured the NBA championship. Ainge hasn’t been overly successful in terms of the draft picks he’s been responsible for during his tenure. However, to be fair, the Celtics have often drafted late in the first round due to their regular season success during the Big Three era. His best draft day maneuver was trading a 2007 first-rounder for the 21st overall pick in the 2006 draft to select Rajon Rondo. The upcoming picks in the 2014 draft represent the most important moves Ainge has made since the trades for Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jabari Davis

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

PACIFIC [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

LOS ANGELES

2014

27 - 55

7

2015

2016

No picks, currently. Sent their picks to Phoenix (first round, 1-5 protected) and Orlando (second round, 31-40 protected).

-

7 MOST LIKELY

Noah Vonleh

Julius Randle

SELECTION

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap No need to mince words regarding the 2013-14 Los Angeles Lakers, as they were the worst team in the franchise’s illustrious history. No, that isn’t a case of hyperbole being used simply to make a point. At 27-55, this group of injured and aging stars combined with a bevy of journeyman free agents primarily on one-year deals endured the toughest season this team has ever seen. Whether chock full of smoke-and-mirrors, the excitement about their 10-9 start was all but erased the moment Kobe Bryant’s highly anticipated return from a torn Achilles was derailed just six games into his comeback by yet another season-ending injury (broken lateral tibial plateau). While players like Jodie Meeks and Nick Young among others may have enjoyed productive individual seasons, the seemingly endless stream of catastrophic injuries and setbacks (Steve Nash, Jordan Farmar, Xavier Henry, etc.) made it all but impossible to generate any positive momentum as a team. basketballinsiders.com

Aaron Gordon

DA R K HO R S E

LAKERS 2014 OFfensive rank: 11

2014 DEfensive rank: 29

Biggest Needs: You name it and this team needs it. It may seem awkward, but they’ll have to prepare for life after Bryant even with him on the roster for the next few seasons. The Lakers made a conscious decision to head into this offseason with as much roster flexibility and cap space as possible. They want to maintain that flexibility over the next couple of summers. Bryant, Nash and Robert Sacre are the only players currently with guaranteed contracts for next season. Even if they decide to retain several of this year’s players (which is anticipated), expect this front office to have a very active July and August.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? As a team that has been generally accustomed to making selections at the end of each round, this is fairly uncharted territory for general manager Mitch Kupchak and vice president of basketball operations Jim Buss. Prior to selecting center Andrew Bynum with the 10th overall pick in 2005, the Lakers hadn’t enjoyed a lottery pick since the franchise took swingman Eddie Jones (10th overall) way back in 1994 (and haven’t since, until this draft). Needless to say, this is a unique situation for the current front office. Although this duo was primarily focused upon pairing Bryant with a multi-faceted big man in the past, his uncertain future and the current lack of a suitable replacement as a dynamic wing player leaves the door wide open for the front office to go in either direction in this year’s draft. The last time the Lakers drafted in the first round was 2009.

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63


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jabari Davis

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

PACIFIC [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

SACRAMENTO

2014

28 - 54

8

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick traded to Boston unless pick falls between 31-55.

Second-round pick from New York, unless a 3137 selection.

8 MOST LIKELY

Aaron Gordon

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap Things appear to be on the upswing for the 2013-14 Kings, despite a duplicate 28-54 record. They embraced change throughout the organization, as the Kings welcomed new majority owner Vivek Ranadive, general manager Pete D’Alessandro and first-year head coach Mike Malone into the fold while reworking the roster. Point guard Greivis Vasquez (acquired last summer) barely knew life in California’s capitol, as D’Alessandro wasted no time in shipping him to the Toronto Raptors in a package that brought scoring swingman Rudy Gay to the Kings just 18 games into the season. Gay was far more efficient in the 55 games he played with the Kings, and seemed to be a better fit with this core than in previous stops. DeMarcus Cousins responded to his critics with a career season (22.7 PPG and 11.7 RPG), and Isaiah Thomas absolutely flourished in Vasquez’s absence with a career-year of his own (20.3 PPG and 6.3 APG).

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Doug McDermott SELECTION

Aaron Gordon

DA R K HO R S E

KINGS 2014 OFfensive rank: 17

2014 DEfensive rank: 24

Biggest Needs: Aside from finding a way to re-sign potential free agent Gay, who has a player option, the team will have to decide between either paying Thomas whatever his fair market value will be or filling the spot with a veteran while continuing to build the position via the draft. Beyond those positions, the Kings should at least consider some insurance at power forward even though the team expects Carl Landry will return to health after an injury-riddled 2013-14. Like many young teams, the Kings would also benefit from a productive veteran or two off the bench. Rim-protecting big men and defensive-minded wing players should be on the agenda.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Pete D’Alessandro may have been a rookie GM, but he’s been highly regarded as an analytics specialist for years. As a member of Masai Ujiri’s front office in Denver from 2010-2012, D’Alessandro helped construct the team that ultimately resulted in a franchise-record 57 wins during his final year with the organization (2012-13). With a franchise center already in place, it will be interesting to see whether the front office places priority on re-signing a prolific scorer like Gay over deciding to break his potential salary into multiple positions of need. Regardless of which direction those negotiations turn, look for D’Alessandro to begin filling out the roster with additional interchangeable players capable of playing several positions both effectively and efficiently over the next few years.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Joel Brigham

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

SOUTHEAST

2014

9 24 45

[ FUTURE ASSETS ]

CHARLOTTE 43 - 39

Portland owes Charlotte a f irstround pick protected for selections 1-12 in 2015 or unprotected in 2016.

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick to San Antonio protected for selections 31-55.

9 MOST LIKELY

Nik Stauskas

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap Only twice in the history of the franchise have the Charlotte Hornets made the postseason, and 2013-14 was one of them. Unfortunately, their most recent foray in the playoffs pitted them against the two-time defending champion Miami HEAT, so their extended spring didn’t extend too far. With an ill-timed injury to Al Jefferson, there really wasn’t much they could have done to remain competitive in what was already a pretty hopeless series. However poorly things may have ended, this past season represented a significant shift for Charlotte, who from henceforth shall be known as the Hornets. Jefferson played a huge role in the team’s relative success, but Kemba Walker making a big leap foward went a long way too. Their strong regular season finish resulted in them finally paying back Chicago for the Tyrus Thomas trade with a mid-first-round selection, thankfully avoiding the surrender of a lottery pick for a player long since released. basketballinsiders.com

Aaron Gordon

SELECTION

Likely choice for

James Young

DA R K HO R S E

HORNETS 2014 OFfensive rank: 23

2014 DEfensive rank: 4

Biggest Needs: Despite the fact that Charlotte will not have its own first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, they will pick ninth, 24th and 45th overall, giving them a couple of selections with which to further bolster their roster. While the guard rotation has been strong for Charlotte thanks to Walker and Gerald Henderson, they really could use an athletic wing scorer to help diversify the backcourt offense. Jefferson is a staple in the frontcourt, but Cody Zeller, Josh McRoberts and Bismack Biyombo need some support, particularly as it pertains to toughness and rebounding. The Hornets are as deep as they’ve been in years, but they need a little more star power injected into the lineup and they may be able to find one at No. 9. With their pair of first round picks, they have plenty of options to consider.

24

Jordan Adams

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Michael Jordan is the owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets, and ultimately all the draft picks and personnel decisions have to pass through him before they get the green light. President of basketball operations Rod Higgins plays a big role in the organization’s comings and goings as well, as he’s the guy that actually gets the majority of the front office’s transactions moving. Jordan essentially approves them if he likes them. General manager Rich Cho isn’t as big a decision maker as Higgins or Jordan, but he’s certainly a very active GM whose opinions are valued in the process of making draft picks, free agency signings and trades. Ultimately, though, it’s Jordan and Higgins calling the shots. In recent years, Charlotte has drafted Zeller, Michael KiddGilchrist, Biyombo and Walker among others.

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65


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Cody Taylor

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

NORTHWEST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

DENVER

2014

36 - 46

56. From Portland.

11 41 56

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round picks from L.A. Clippers and Memphis.

First-round pick (Denver has the right to swap its pick with New York). Second-round pick.

11 MOST LIKELY

Gary Harris

ALT ER NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Denver Nuggets finished up the 2013-14 season by missing the playoffs for the first time since 2003. The Nuggets finished 36-46 in Brian Shaw’s first year as head coach and were completely decimated by injuries. Ty Lawson, Wilson Chandler, Nate Robinson, JaVale McGee and Danilo Gallinari all missed at least 20 games for the Nuggets, which contributed largely to the team’s first losing season in over a decade. While the team’s total points, rebounds and assists were down from last season, the Nuggets still had positives come in the form of better three-point shooting, free throw percentage and defensive rebounding. The latter three are areas in which a playoff team can really benefit, as some teams have been exposed in those areas during the playoffs.

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James Young

SELECTION

K.J. McDaniels

DA R K HO R S E

NUGGETS 2014 OFfensive rank: 9

2014 DEfensive rank: 28

Biggest Needs: The Nuggets’ biggest need comes on the defensive side of the ball, specifically a wing player to guard the superstars of the league like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony among others. That hole on the roster was once occupied by Andre Iguodala, but the team has failed to fill that void since his departure to Golden State last summer.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? General manager Tim Connelly will be in charge on draft night, his second time in the driver’s seat. Last season, Connelly traded the Nuggets’ No. 27 pick to the Jazz for a second-rounder, which was used to draft Erick Green. With 15 players already on the roster, Green signed with Siena in the Italian League. With the team expected to have little to no cap room, the pressure is on Connelly to make smart choices. Working in his favor: the 2014 class is loaded with talent, meaning Connelly could hit a home run in late June. Their top need should still be an athletic wing player that has a presence on the defensive side of the ball. With JaVale McGee still unproven and the team loaded with guards (Evan Fournier, Randy Foye, Ty Lawson, Nate Robinson), Connelly should also be focused on adding depth at the center position.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jesse Blancarte

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

NORTHWEST

2014

13 40 44 53

[ FUTURE ASSETS ]

MINNESOTA 40 - 42

44, 54. From New Orleans and Golden State, respectively. Owe f irst-rounder to Phoenix (top-12 protected through 2016 otherwise the pick converts to 2016 and 2017 second-rounders).

2015

2016

First-round pick. Owed second-rounder from Denver.

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

13 MOST LIKELY

Adreian Payne

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Timberwolves finished last season 10th in the Western Conference with a 40-42 record. It was an odd season for Minnesota as they posted a +2.7 margin of victory, indicating that they should have been competing for a playoff spot. However, they were never really a threat to be a top-eight team in the West. This is in part explained by their 6-13 record in games decided by four points or less. The Wolves were at one point 0-11 in these close games until finally beating the Golden State Warriors on the road in late January. Also, the team struggled to defend against shots at the rim as Kevin Love and Nikola Pekovic were mediocre defensively. However, the Wolves did average 8.8 steals per game, which was third-best in the league. The bench, in particular, struggled throughout the season, especially when Love was not on the floor (scoring 11 less points per 100 possessions without him).

basketballinsiders.com

Dario Saric

SELECTION

Kyle Anderson

DA R K HO R S E

TIMBERWOLVES 2014 OFfensive rank: 3

2014 DEfensive rank: 26

Biggest Needs: The Timberwolves are, for the most part, set with Ricky Rubio, Kevin Martin, Love and Pekovic as starters but their bench is a different story. The Wolves’ reserves were the fifth-worst scoring bench last season, shooting collectively low percentages from the field and providing uneven production overall. Chase Budinger, J.J. Barea, Alexey Shved, Ronny Turiaf, Shabazz Muhammad and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute will all be back next season, however, each player was at best inconsistent throughout the season. Expect the Wolves to add young weapons to their long distance attack with Pekovic locked into a long-term contract and Gorgui Dieng proving to be very productive. Power forward is an area of need with Love a pending unrestricted free agent after next season, Turiaf a backup at best and Dante Cunningham’s future uncertain. They also need to hire a new head coach.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Last year, the Wolves hired former head coach F lip Saunders as team president and Milt Newton as general manager. Saunders and Newton worked together previously with the Washington Wizards and now work together to make player personnel decisions for the Wolves. In the 2013 draft, Minnesota selected Trey Burke (9th) and traded him to Utah for Shabazz Muhammad (14th) and Gorgui Dieng (21st). The team also drafted Lorenzo Brown (52nd) and Bojan Dubljevic (59th). Brown was eventually waived and Dubljevic remains overseas for now. The Wolves also traded Malcolm Lee and the 26th pick to the Golden State Warriors for a 2014 second-round pick and $1.6 million. Dieng came on strong toward the end of the season, providing scoring, rebounding and shot blocking. Muhammad also showed his scoring touch when he was given minutes, but still is a question mark moving forward. Join the 2014 Draft conversation

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DRAFT GUIDE

RD 1

RD 2

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jesse Blancarte

PACIFIC [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

PHOENIX

ON THE CLOCK

2014

14 18 27 50

First-round pick from Minnesota protected (1-12 in 2015 or 1-12 in 2016). First-round picks from Washington (protected for selections 1-12) and Indiana (protected 1-14).

48 - 34

2015

2016

First-round pick, firstround pick from L.A. Lakers (protected for selections 1-5 in 2015).

-

Likely choice for

18 14

other 1st Rounder

MOST LIKELY

T.J. Warren

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Suns continued to rebuild their team last year by hiring rookie head coach Jeff Hornacek and trading veteran players for young assets. Entering the season, most fans and experts assumed the Suns would tank in order to get a top pick for this year’s draft. Instead, the Suns went 48-34 and barely missed the playoffs. Point guard Goran Dragic had a breakout season and won the Most Improved Player award. Eric Bledsoe, acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers for Jared Dudley and a second-round pick, proved to be a rising star. P.J. Tucker, Markieff Morris, Marcus Morris and Gerald Green had career-years as well. Additionally, Miles Plumlee, acquired from the Indiana Pacers along with Green, proved to be a solid rotation player in the frontcourt. Hornacek managed to get the most out of his players and has created reason for excitement in Phoenix moving forward.

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Likely choice for

K.J. McDaniels SELECTION

Rodney Hood

DA R K HO R S E

SUNS 2014 OFfensive rank: 7

Adreian Payne

2014 DEfensive rank: 21

Biggest Needs: Between Dragic, Bledsoe, Green, the Morris twins, Plumlee and Alex Len, the Suns have talent and potential at every position. However, the Suns’ best two players are unquestionably Dragic and Bledsoe. Dragic is signed through next season, with a player option for 2015-16 and Bledsoe is a restricted free agent this summer (although it sounds like he’ll be retained even if he receives a max offer from another team). Thus, it is the front court that could use upgrades. Armed with the 14th, 18th, 27th and 44th picks in this year’s draft, the Suns have a lot of options. The Suns could try and package together a deal to move up in the draft and select a top-10 player like Aaron Gordon to put alongside Len or the Suns could simply use their picks and stockpile more talent for potential trades later on.

27

Kristaps Porzingis

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Ryan McDonough was hired as general manager of the Phoenix Suns last offseason. McDonough has over 10 years of experience in the NBA, including three seasons as the assistant general manager to Danny Ainge with the Boston Celtics. In the 2013 draft, McDonough selected Alex Len (fifth), Nemanja Nedovic (30th) and Alex Oriakhi (57th). Len was limited throughout his rookie season with ankle and knee injuries, but the team is confident that he is a longterm solution at center. Before that, in 2012, the Suns drafted Kendall Marshall (13th), though he was traded to Washington shortly after. In 2011, the Suns chose Markieff Morris (13th), who has been solid, especially since the acquisition of his twin brother Marcus. The Suns have made solid draft choices in the past few drafts, but their best roster moves have come through trades. This will be McDonough’s second draft in Phoenix, but he’s known for abilities as a talent evaluator. basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jessica Camerato

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

SOUTHEAST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

ATLANTA

2014

38 - 44

15 43

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick. Has right to swap its first-round pick for Brooklyn’s.

First-round pick. Second-round pick. Owns a Brooklyn second rounder as well.

15 MOST LIKELY

Kyle Anderson

T.J. Warren

SELECTION

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Hawks were one of the NBA’s biggest surprises this past season. In spite of losing their centerpiece Al Horford, the team managed to lock in the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 38-44 regular season record under first-year head coach Mike Budenholzer. And they were only just getting started. The Hawks nearly upset the top-seeded Indiana Pacers in a seven-game first round series. Paul Millsap and Jeff Teague averaged nearly 20 points apiece and proved they could step up under pressure. They may not have moved on to the conference semifinals, but the Hawks played beyond their ranking and established themselves as serious competition by taking Indiana to seven games.

basketballinsiders.com

Rodney Hood

DA R K HO R S E

HAWKS 2014 OFfensive rank: 15

2014 DEfensive rank: 15

Biggest Needs: The Hawks’ biggest need is already on their roster. Horford underwent season-ending surgery for a torn right pectoral muscle in late December. Prior to the injury, he was averaging 18.6 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 33 minutes per game. Once he returns next season, the Hawks will have their dominating big man back in the mix to create a daunting trio with Millsap and Teague. The team doesn’t have to scramble to fill holes in free agency either. With their core group returning, they can look to pick up where they left off this season. With that said, the team could use some young talent on the wing.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Former NBA player Danny Ferr y was hired as the Hawks’ president of basketball operations and general manager in 2012. Since that time, the Hawks have had a handful of mid-tolate first rounders and second-round picks. Days after his hiring, the Hawks selected John Jenkins (23rd) and Mike Scott (43rd) in the 2012 draft. The following season, they picked Dennis Schroeder (17th), Shane Larkin (18th), Raul Neto (47th) and James Ennis (50th). They traded Larkin to the Mavericks for Jared Cunningham, Lucas Nogueira and Mike Muscala. This postseason, Scott had a breakout Game 5 against the Pacers in which he shot 5-for-6 from long range (while also averaging 9.6 points in the series). Rookie Schroeder was highly touted coming to the NBA from Germany and his progress will be intriguing to watch.

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DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Joel Brigham

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

CENTRAL [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

CHICAGO

2014

48 - 34

16 19 49

2015

2016

First-round pick (with option to trade picks with Cleveland). Two second-round picks (their own and one from Cleveland through Portland).

First-round pick. Two-second round picks (their own and one from Cleveland through Portland).

16 MOST LIKELY

Tyler Ennis

ALT ER NAT E

2013-14 Recap To say that the Bulls overachieved this past season would be like saying water is “kind of wet.” When Derrick Rose went down early in the year with yet another major knee injury and Luol Deng was subsequently traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a costcutting move, many expected Chicago to be crossing their fingers for pingpong balls but that ultimately was not the case. Free agent point guard D.J. Augustin surprisingly turned in the best season of his career, while Joakim Noah led a defense that refused to roll over and die. Tom Thibodeau and his “We-Have-More-Than-EnoughTo-Win” philosophy of undermanned basketball not only kept Chicago afloat through what should have been crippling roster changes, but he helped them nail down homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs -- but once there, they suffered an opening series loss to the Washington Wizards. Despite the early exit, the Bulls can hold their heads high.

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Likely choice for

Rodney Hood

Gary Harris

SELECTION

DA R K HO R S E

BULLS 2014 OFfensive rank: 30

2014 DEfensive rank: 1

Biggest Needs: More than anything else, Chicago needs someone that can help them score the ball. They were last in the league in points per game with only 93.7 per contest, and that would’ve been markedly worse had they not tripped and fallen into Augustin’s production. They were also last in team field goal percentage and 26th in three-pointers made, showing how badly they need a wing scorer that can help get Chicago closer to 100 points per night. Getting Rose back should, in theory, help, but possibly losing Carlos Boozer to amnesty will not. In both the draft and free agency, expect offense to be a point of emphasis for the Bulls’ front office.

19

Tyler Ennis

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? General manager Gar Forman and president of basketball operations John Paxson work in tandem when deciding on roster moves, and the pair is notoriously conservative both in terms of the kind of players they bring aboard and in the amount of money that they take on. With the exception of Marquis Teague, they have had tremendous success picking in the mid-to-late portion of the first round the last several drafts, snagging talents like Taj Gibson, Jimmy Butler and Tony Snell all outside of the lottery. Bulls fans should trust them to do reasonably well with their two picks this year (16th and 19th), as their track record in the draft has proven to be very strong.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Joel Brigham

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

ATLANTIC [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

TORONTO

2014

48 - 34

20 37 59

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick. New York will convey the less favorable of its 2016 first-round pick and Denver’s 2016 firstround pick to Toronto (via Denver’s right to swap for New York). Toronto’s 2016 secondround pick to Memphis.

20 MOST LIKELY

Zach LaVine

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap On paper, the Raptors didn’t really come into this past season looking like a team that would win the Atlantic Division and finish as the third-best team in the Eastern Conference. But despite the lowered expectations, they came out smelling like roses thanks to career-years from point guard Kyle Lowry and shooting guard DeMar DeRozan. Jonas Valanciunas took a big step toward stardom as well, averaging 11.3 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in only his second full NBA campaign. Before the season, head coach Dwane Casey was on the hot seat, but he put together a quietly masterful season for an overachieving team that was impossible not to love and received a new three-year deal for his efforts. Lowry will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, but as long as he re-ups, it’s easy to see this success continuing next season.

basketballinsiders.com

Elfrid Payton

SELECTION

Shabazz Napier

DA R K HO R S E

RAPTORS 2014 OFfensive rank: 13

2014 DEfensive rank: 7

Biggest Needs: While Valanciunas is clearly a franchise cornerstone at this point, the rest of the frontcourt is not quite as impressive, so adding a little depth at power forward and center in the draft and free agency is something the Raptors will inevitably do. The guard rotation is sturdier with Lowry, DeRozan and Terrence Ross holding things down, but uncertainty about Lowry’s return may convince Toronto to look at point guards in the latter third of this June’s first round. Depth at shooting guard and small forward wouldn’t hurt either, as things thin out a bit outside of the starting lineup. The Raptors are pretty well-balanced, but more star power at any position is never a bad thing, though that might be hard (but not impossible) to find with the 20th overall pick this June.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Undeniably one of the league’s savviest executives, Raptors team president and general manager Masai Ujiri has seemingly done no wrong since taking over for Bryan Colangelo just a year ago. He somehow finagled a first-round pick and two second-round picks (among other things) in a trade with the New York Knicks for Andrea Bargnani, and later unloaded the massive contract of Rudy Gay to the Sacramento Kings when many thought he was borderline untradeable. Ujiri is someone with a firm finger on the pulse of both his team and the rest of the league, and that has typically led to very smart basketball decisions. Toronto’s draft picks (the 20th and 37th overall selections) are in good hands with him.

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71


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Lang Greene

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

NORTHWEST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

OKLAHOMA CITY

2014

59 - 23

21. From Dallas.

21 29

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

21 MOST LIKELY

Zach LaVine

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap Led by league MVP Kevin Durant and All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook, making the playoffs have become a certainty for the Oklahoma City Thunder in recent years. The Thunder undoubtedly rank as one of the league’s elite franchises, but after reaching the NBA Finals in 2012 you could also argue the club has been a bit stagnant, failing to take the next step. As more seasons go by without the duo of Durant and Westbrook hoisting a Larry O’Brien trophy, the whispers doubting their long-term viability together will become even louder. There is plenty of talent stockpiled in Oklahoma City, however, their younger assets must take more than baby steps in their personal development in the near future. Any talks of a dynasty forming in Oklahoma City won’t be possible without help from the unheralded reserve players.

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T.J. Warren

SELECTION

Likely choice for

Jordan Adams

DA R K HO R S E

THUNDER 2014 OFfensive rank: 5

2014 DEfensive rank: 12

Biggest Needs: Oklahoma City is strongly positioned toward the end of the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft with the 21st pick (from Dallas) and 29th pick. The Thunder could potentially package these picks as part of a larger deal or elect to draft a player and stash them overseas for a few seasons. The Thunder are absolutely loaded with perimeter guys who can stretch the floor with their shooting, which in turn opens the penetration lanes for Durant and Westbrook. But Oklahoma City lacks a true offensive presence in the lowpost who can generate easy buckets without assistance. The game is changing and true back-to-the-basket guys are a premium luxury to have, but one the Thunder sorely needs in their rotation. Oklahoma City is deep and their rotational minutes are pretty locked, but finding a late-round gem would do wonders for the team – especially if it satisfies the lowpost scoring need.

29

Jarnell Stokes

other 1st Rounder

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Executive vice president and general manager Sam Presti calls the shots for Oklahoma City and his strong track record of drafting top tier talent is the reason why the Thunder are currently in the upper echelon of the league standings. From 20072009, Presti was able to land Durant, Westbrook, forward Serge Ibaka and All-Star guard James Harden (now with Houston) in the draft, which is arguably one of the best draft runs in league history. Most of Presti’s draft magic came at the top half of the first round while the Thunder were rebuilding. It will be interesting to see if the veteran executive can pull off the same type of success in the latter stages of the first round.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Kyle Cape-Lindelin

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

SOUTHWEST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

MEMPHIS

2014

50 - 32

22

2015

2016

Owes first-round pick to Cleveland (protected for selections 1-5 and 15-30 in 2015 and 2016, 1-5 in 2017 and 2018, or unprotected in 2019). Owes second-round pick to Denver or Memphis but can send cash instead.

First-round pick. Receives second-round picks from Toronto and Boston.

22 MOST LIKELY

P.J. Hairston

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Grizzlies managed to grind their way through the stacked Southwest Division to earn a respectable 50-32 record and their fourth consecutive playoff appearance. Despite losing center Marc Gasol for 23 games due to injury, point guard Mike Conley continued his excellent play averaging 17.2 points, six assists and 1. 51 steals to help keep the Grizzlies above water. Conley was helped by the always reliable Zach Randolph, who averaged 17.4 points and 10.1 rebounds. The Grizzlies overcame the transition to new head coach Dave Joerger, injuries and offensive shortcomings to take the No. 2 seed Oklahoma City Thunder to seven games by getting healthy and hot at the right time.

basketballinsiders.com

Zach LaVine

SELECTION

Jerami Grant

DA R K HO R S E

GRIZZLIES 2014 OFfensive rank: 27

2014 DEfensive rank: 3

Biggest Needs: The Grizzlies’ major shortcoming is on the offensive end where they routinely have to depend on Randolph and Gasol’s interior scoring, thus they need more three-point shooters to keep the defense from crowding the middle. With the Grizzlies’ selection coming in the middle of the first round (22nd), they’ll need to identify either a shooting guard or small forward who can meet one or both these needs (off the bench) as Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince continue to age. While Conley continues to improve, the Grizzlies also need to secure a solid offthe-bench combo guard who can provide energy and scoring when Conley rests. Nick Calathes, Quincy Pondexter and Jamaal Franklin should all be able to offer help but addressing the team’s offensive deficiencies and adding depth should be the front office’s main goal in this upcoming draft.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? It remains to be seen who will be making the final decision for the Grizzlies on draft day. The team parted ways with CEO Jason Levien and assistant general manager Stu Lash, who had been calling the shots since last year. The team has named Chris Wallace the team’s interim GM, but he hasn’t been involved in the decision-making in quite awhile and has even admitted that he hasn’t been to the Grizzlies’ facility in over a year. It seems that owner Robert Pera will be involved moving forward, and he was even present when the front office interviewed prospects at the combine in Chicago. Last year, Memphis had just one pick, selecting Franklin in the second round. Franklin never secured a role on the veteran team, but there’s a lot to like about his game and attitude. The Grizzlies’ front office is experiencing a lot of changes right now, but once they decide who will be running the show, they’ll have the chance to add a contributor at No. 22. Join the 2014 Draft conversation

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73


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Bill Ingram

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

SOUTHWEST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

HOUSTON

2014

54 - 28

25 42

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick. Second-round picks from L.A. Clippers, Minnesota and New York.

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

25 MOST LIKELY

Cleanthony Early ALT ER NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Rockets made major strides in 2013-14, starting with the free agent signing of Dwight Howard. With Howard adding a dynamic defensive presence, the Rockets piled up 54 wins and finished with the fourth-best record in the Western Conference. James Harden had a Most Valuable Player type of season on the offensive end, averaging 25.4 PPG to go with a career-high 6.1 APG. Harden’s defensive deficiencies have been well-documented, but the presence of Howard helped and the strong defensive play of backcourt mate Patrick Beverley did as well. Chandler Parsons took another big step forward, as did Terrence Jones, while role players like Beverley, Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin all proved to be valuable when injuries struck. Houston’s season came to a disappointing end after being upset by Portland in the first round. The Rockets are a deep, talented team and just one tweak away from joining the contenders.

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Jerami Grant

SELECTION

DeAndre Daniels

DA R K HO R S E

rockets 2014 OFfensive rank: 2

2014 DEfensive rank: 23

Biggest Needs: The first order of business for the Rockets this summer is taking care of Parsons’ contract. They can either make him a restricted free agent by declining his team option, or pick up his option which would allow him to become an unrestricted free agent after next season. They have to make all other moves with his next long-term deal in mind. If they over-commit to players this summer, they may jeopardize their ability to keep Parsons, who is clearly their thirdbest player and essential to their title hopes. The Rockets will also have to address their second unit issues over the summer. It was smart to keep Asik both as injury insurance for Howard and as a defensive presence when Houston faces All-Star power forwards like LaMarcus Aldridge. Of course, he is also the team’s only real trade asset and could help them solidify other positions (back-up small forward or another active body for the frontline).

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Touted as a front office wizard when he took the reins of the team, Rockets general manager Daryl Morey has taken his lumps while trying to use the money ball approach to building a basketball team. Over the last two seasons, however, Morey changed approaches, accepting that you have to have two superstars to win in the NBA, and in landing James Harden and Dwight Howard he has put the team in a great position to contend. Together with his considerable ability to find talent in unusual places, that has been the key to Houston’s revival. The roster may need a tweak here and a tweak there, but it takes great coaching to win a playoff series in the brutal Western Conference. That may turn out to be Houston’s biggest need, although the Rockets will reportedly bring back Kevin McHale next season.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jessica Camerato

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

SOUTHEAST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

miami

2014

54 - 28

26 55

2015

2016

Owes first-round pick to Cleveland (1-10 protected in 2015 or 1-10 in 2016 or unprotected in 2017). Second-round pick.

First-round pick.

26 MOST LIKELY

Shabazz Napier

Clint Capela

SELECTION

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap The HEAT are out to defend their title and capture their third consecutive NBA championship. At 54-28, they finished second in the Eastern Conference and 12 wins less than the previous season, yet showed little sign of slowing down in the playoffs. LeBron James is still the most dominant player in the NBA with 27.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals in 37.7 minutes per game. Even though Dwyane Wade’s availability was cut back this season, their deep roster continues to blow by their opponents. As long as this group stays healthy, they remain the team to beat in the NBA.

basketballinsiders.com

Cleanthony Early

DA R K HO R S E

Heat 2014 OFfensive rank: 12

2014 DEfensive rank: 5

Biggest Needs: The fountain of youth. The HEAT are powered by veterans with high mileage on their odometers. James is the “youngest” leader at 29, followed by Bosh (30) and Wade (32). Playoff hero Ray Allen turns 39 this offseason. There is also the question of who will be back next season. James, Bosh and Wade have early termination options, Chris Andersen and Udonis Haslem hold player options, while Allen, Shane Battier, Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers, Toney Douglas, James Jones, Rashard Lewis and Greg Oden are unrestricted free agents. It’s hard to imagine many wanting to leave Miami as long as the team continues to win. There aren’t many minutes to go around for incoming draft selections.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Managing general partner Micky Arison and president Pat Riley are at the forefront in Miami. Best known for their star-studded offseason free agency moves, they have also acquired young players through the draft who have went on to thrive in the organization. In 2008, the HEAT landed Chalmers (34th pick) from the Minnesota Timberwolves for cash and a pair of future second round picks. Three years later, they acquired Norris Cole after the Chicago Bulls selected him with the 28th pick (via the Timberwolves). The HEAT have not had to rely on the draft to stock their roster, but every so often a pick comes along that makes an impact. This year, Miami will have the 26th overall pick in the first round.

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75


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Eric Pincus

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

NORTHWEST [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

Los ANGELES

2014

57 - 25

28

2015

2016

No picks. First-rounder traded to Boston. Second-rounders traded to Houston (31-50 and 56-60 protected), Denver (31-55 protected), and Milwaukee (51-60 protected), respectively.

-

28 MOST LIKELY

Mitch McGary

ALT ER NAT E

2013-14 Recap The Los Angeles Clippers finished the 2013-14 season in third place in the Western Conference with a 57-25 record. Offensively, the Clippers led the NBA with 107.9 points a game. Coach Doc Rivers helped the team grow defensively, led by center DeAndre Jordan’s career-year. The team survived a shoulder injury to Chris Paul, giving Blake Griffin the opportunity to carry the team on his back successfully. What was arguably the best season in Clippers history became something else when recorded racist comments from owner Donald Sterling led to a lifetime ban from NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The Clippers survived the controversy while fending off the Golden State Warriors but couldn’t defeat Oklahoma City in the next round, losing 4-2. Since, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer submitted a $2 billion bid for ownership rights. However, this process could drag out when, presumably, Sterling contests the sale.

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Clint Capela

SELECTION

Cleanthony Early

DA R K HO R S E

CLIPPERS 2014 OFfensive rank: 1

2014 DEfensive rank: 14

Biggest Needs: The Clippers are rock solid with J.J. Redick, Jamal Crawford, Matt Barnes, Griffin, Paul and Jordan. Reserves Darren Collison, Glen Davis and Danny Granger can (and likely will) opt out of their contracts. The Clippers need a steady, reliable reserve inside behind Griffin and Jordan. Collison has proven to be invaluable this season, but will he find a bigger contract somewhere else? Jared Dudley struggled to live up to his contract after the Clippers acquired him from the Phoenix Suns over the summer.  Rookie Reggie Bullock showed flashes, but the team could use another small forward.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? This may be a more complex question with the Clippers than any other franchise. Collectively, the Clippers have made a number of smart basketball decisions, after lucking into Griffin in the 2009 NBA Draft and landing Paul after his trade to the Los Angeles Lakers was scuttled by former commissioner David Stern. Executive vice president Andy Roeser negotiated contracts and managed the Clippers’ cap for decades, but he has taken a leave of absence. Head coach Doc Rivers is also the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations while Gary Sacks is the vice president of basketball operations. The NBA has also appointed a CEO in Rick Parsons to supervise the team, as the prospect of stripping the team from Sterling develops. Who will make the pick in June? That’s not entirely clear.

basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Lang Greene

ON THE CLOCK RD 1

RD 2

SOUTHWEST

2014

30 58 60

[ FUTURE ASSETS ]

SAN ANTONIO 62 - 20

58. From L.A. Clippers

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick. Second-round pick from Charlotte

30 MOST LIKELY

DeAndre Daniels

ALT E R NAT E

2013-14 Recap Stop us if you’ve heard this before. Another 60-plus win regular season in the books. Another year at the top of the league standings. The San Antonio Spurs have been a model of consistency and prime examples of the importance of having an established program (reinforced by its core group) in place. Many openly wondered how the Spurs would respond in 2014 after being just 30 seconds away from a title before losing their Finals series versus the Miami HEAT the previous season. Without missing a beat, San Antonio successfully silenced any skeptics with their league-best record this season but the question remains: Will 2015 be the year the Spurs take a step back? Future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan has seemingly been granted an extension by Father Time, guard Tony Parker is still holding his own versus younger and quicker guards and former AllStar Manu Ginobili has lost a step but remains effective. Don’t be surprised to read a similar Spurs recap in 2015. basketballinsiders.com

Cleanthony Early SELECTION

Walter Tavares

DA R K HO R S E

SPURS 2014 OFfensive rank: 6

2014 DEfensive rank: 6

Biggest Needs: The Spurs have an aging core group in Duncan, Ginobili and Parker, so San Antonio will be looking to find ways to protect their stars from extended wear and tear. One way to protect fading stars from the effects of Father Time is to add a strong mix of talented young assets into the fold, who are capable of eating up minutes in the nightly rotation. The Spurs own the 30th pick, which closes out round one. San Antonio also possesses two picks in the second round at No. 58 (from the Clippers) and No. 60 respectively. While the 2014 draft class is loaded with talent, the Spurs’ front office will have to dig in order to find a gem ready to produce right away. Expect the Spurs to target more athleticism on the perimeter or a heady backup point guard to ease Parker’s workload next season.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? General manager R.C. Buford heads the decision making unit in San Antonio. The Spurs have won three titles under his leadership and haven’t missed the playoffs. Buford is known for drafting productive role playing gems in the latter stages of the first round, which is an essential skill set for teams perennially in the playoff mix. Buford is also known as a draft-day dealer, with a number of draft trades on his track record. The Spurs also have a reputation for finding and selecting international talent. Buford seems content on keeping his core group together, at the very least, until their respective contracts expire. So the Spurs’ 2014 draft strategy will likely be about trying to identify a talent ready to produce right away or exploring trade options to bring in a guy ready to contribute now.

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77


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Bill Ingram

ON THE CLOCK RD 2

34. From Boston.

34 51

The Mavericks have had a hard time of it in free agency over the last two summers. They allowed the bulk of their 2011 NBA championship team to walk away in favor of targeting big names like Deron Williams, Dwight Howard and Chris Paul. Instead, they have had to settle for secondary targets in Jose Calderon, Monta Ellis and Samuel Dalembert, and have struggled to regain championship form. Though on the down side of his career, Dirk Nowitzki was as brilliant as ever down the stretch as he helped the Mavs grab the eighth seed, after missing the playoffs last season. The other major factor for Dallas’ unlikely return to the playoffs was the brilliant coaching of Rick Carlisle and his staff who got the most out of Dalembert and Devin Harris, as well as role players Brandan Wright and DeJuan Blair (while squeezing everything out of Shawn Marion and Vince Carter). Yet Carlisle’s biggest accomplishment may have been the extraction of Ellis. @ b balli nsi d e rs

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DALLAS

2014

2013-14 Recap

78

SOUTHWEST 49 - 33

2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick. Second-round pick from Memphis.

MAVERICKS 2014 OFfensive rank: 8

2014 DEfensive rank: 20

Biggest Needs: The Mavericks have even more unanswered questions this summer than they have had over the last two, which is saying something. Nowitzki will become a free agent, and while it’s a foregone conclusion that he will sign what is likely to be his final NBA contract in Dallas, it’s not easy to see how the team can help him contend. Marion is also set to expire this summer, and while there is no chance he would get anywhere close to the $9.3 million he got this season, he is an intriguing option at a more reasonable number. Rounding out the open positions, Dalembert (non-guaranteed), Carter and Harris are all on ending deals, and the departure of Carter, in particular, would prove problematic for Dallas. This summer’s free agency class is short on game-changing talent, and that’s what the Mavs need if they’re going to give Nowitzki another title shot before he retires.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Donnie Nelson continues to carry the title of president of basketball operations but the truth is that team owner Mark Cuban has the final say when it comes to the make-up of the team. Nelson and Carlisle have input, but the Mavericks are who Cuban decides they are going to be. There are advantages and disadvantages to having a high-profile owner calling the shots. Cuban’s passion has been a draw for some free agents over the years, but it has also soured some from time to time. Despite his obvious love of the game, Cuban has been unable to draw key free agents in order to keep the Mavericks relevant. Additionally, it would be hard to let Nowitzki walk away, and, indeed, his loyalty would make it hard for him to leave. Still, it has to be noted that the Mavericks have little chance of getting back to the Finals before Nowitzki retires, so it might be that the best way to honor his contributions to the team is to help him compete for a championship elsewhere. But don’t hold your breath. basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: John Zitzler

ON THE CLOCK RD 2

CENTRAL [ FUTURE ASSETS ]

DETROIT

2014

29 - 53

38

2013-14 Recap The Pistons made big moves this past offseason in an attempt to shake things up and become a contender in the Eastern Conference. The team acquired Brandon Jennings via a sign-and-trade from the Milwaukee Bucks, sending out Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight, and also signed Josh Smith in free agency to a fouryear, $54 million deal. Despite those acquisitions, the Pistons struggled all year long, finishing outside of the playoff picture with a record of 29-53. The Pistons struggled to jell as a unit with their new additions and were never really able to find an identity. First-year head coach Maurice Cheeks lasted only 50 games before being fired after the team’s disappointing start. The team finished the season with John Loyer as interim head coach.

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2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

PISTONS 2014 OFfensive rank: 14

2014 DEfensive rank: 27

Biggest Needs: The Pistons were one of the worst shooting teams in the league, finishing only ahead of the Philadelphia Sixers in team true shooting percentage. The team needs to find more efficient scorers from outside to help space the floor, which would allow more room for their bigs to operate and open up the lane for penetration. The Pistons could also use some depth in their backcourt; the only guards guaranteed to be back next year are Jennings, Will Bynum and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Greg Monroe will be a restricted free agent this offseason the Pistons must decide if he is a good fit alongside Andre Drummond and Smith.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Former president of basketball operations Joe Dumars stepped down from his role on April 14th. While he will continue to work with the Pistons as an advisor to the ownership team, Detroit will hand the keys over to Stan Van Gundy -- the team’s new head coach and president of basketball operations. George David will continue in his role as assistant general manager and Ken Catanella will return to his post as director of basketball operation.s David, who has been with the organization for 15 seasons, has played an integral role in draft preparation over the last decade, including hits (Tayshaun Prince, Rodney Stuckey, Monroe and Drummond) and misses (Austin Daye in 2009 and Darko Milicic in 2003).

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79


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Joel Brigham

ON THE CLOCK RD 2

[ FUTURE ASSETS ]

WASHINGTON

2014

44 - 38

First-round pick owed to Phoenix (protected for selections 1-12 in 2014, 1-10 in 2015, 1-10 in 2016, 1-10 in 2017, 1-10 in 2018, 1-10 in 2019 or unprotected in 2020).

46

2013-14 Recap This was the year in which the Wizards’ backcourt, consisting of John Wall and Bradley Beal, absolutely needed to break out if Washington was going to make the postseason for the first time since 2008. Luckily for them, both had career-years, as Wall and Beal combined for over 36 points per game in the regular season, while players like Nene, Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza also submitted some of the best all-around seasons of their careers. Their first-round pairing in the 2014 playoffs put the sixth-seeded Wizards against the third-seeded Chicago Bulls, but it was a matchup that proved fortuitous for them, as the undermanned and overworked Bulls were not able to keep their Cinderella story rolling through the postseason. As a result, Washington got its first playoff series win in a decade.

80

SOUTHEAST

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2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick. Owed second-rounder from New Orleans.

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

WIZARDS 2014 OFfensive rank: 16

2014 DEfensive rank: 9

Biggest Needs: How Washington approaches free agency and the draft will depend mightily on how they handle their own free agents, which most notably include Ariza and Gortat. Keeping both means the starting lineup will still be in good shape next year, but losing one or both creates pretty massive holes in the frontcourt. Andre Miller also has a nonguaranteed contract next year, so backup point guard could prove a pretty major need for them, as well. Generally speaking, the team needs more depth, so with their lone draft pick this year (46th overall), they should have no problem at all taking a “best available” approach to the selection process.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Washington’s team president is Ernie Grunfeld, a man who has seen more than his fair share of successes in NBA front offices. He’s been with the Wizards for 10 years, and during that time he’s been brilliant (signing Gilbert Arenas away from Golden State in 2003, for example) and considerably less brilliant (signing Gilbert Arenas to a sixyear, $111 million extension in 2008, for example). As far as the draft is concerned, he’s been hit-or-miss in recent years, obviously landing major scores in Wall and Beal, but failing to connect with other high lottery picks like Otto Porter (2013) and Jan Vesely (2010). He doesn’t have a first-round pick this year since it was shipped off to Phoenix in the Gortat deal, so Wizards fans won’t have to worry about which version of Grunfeld will be making the next Washington lottery selection. A mid-second rounder demands considerably less pressure for success. basketballinsiders.com


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Joel Brigham

CENTRAL

RD 2

2014

57

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INDIANA

ON THE CLOCK

56 - 26

Owed f irst-round pick (lottery protected) to Phoenix.

2013-14 Recap The NBA has never really witnessed a collapse like the one the Pacers underwent this season after one of the hottest starts in franchise history. At the All-Star break, Indiana looked like an odds-on favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals, but they finished the season about as poorly as they could have done, losing 11 of their last 19 games and showing poorly against the eighthseeded Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. After a monster start to the season, with stars blooming into superstars and every possible gear clicking in perfect harmony, the expectations for this season were ridiculously high, but the Pacers sucked themselves into some sort of black hole about two-thirds of the way into the season and struggled to recover from that point on.

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2015

2016

First-round pick, two second-round picks (their own and one from Golden State).

First-round pick. Second-round pick.

PACERS 2014 OFfensive rank: 24

2014 DEfensive rank: 2

Biggest Needs: The Pacers do not possess a first-round pick in this year’s draft and have only one second-round pick situated at the tail-end of the night (57th overall), so whatever needs they may have aren’t likely getting solved in June, barring some sort of trade. That said, the Pacers are in dire need of a more traditional point guard that can run a more cohesive offense, though the reality is that George Hill has a few years left on his contract and will get a ton of minutes at point regardless of who they might draft or sign to help back him up. Scoring is an issue, too (they were 22nd in the league last year), so finding some more offensively gifted players wouldn’t hurt either. The biggest need for Indiana, though, is some time off to figure things out. The reality is that most of this young core will be back next year, and they’ll just have to pick up the pieces and try to recapture what worked so well for them at the start of this season.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? President of basketball operations Larry Bird is the be-all, end-all of decision-making for the Pacers, and he was the man most responsible for putting together the current group of players despite having only late-lottery and mid-first-round picks to work with. Paul George and Roy Hibbert were both taken after the ninth pick of the lottery, Lance Stephenson was a deep second-rounder and George Hill was acquired for Kawhi Leonard, a player that was taken with the 15th overall selection. Bird has drafted brilliantly when he’s had the picks to work with, but he will not have any first-round selections in this year’s draft. General manager Kevin Pritchard, who has been with the team since 2011, is also a respected executive that works in what essentially amounts to an advisory role alongside Bird.

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81


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Tommy Beer

NOT ON THE CLOCK

In the build up to the 2013-14 regular season, the Nets were viewed by many as legit contenders for the Miami HEAT’s crown. However, the Nets looked like anything but championship contenders over the first two months of this season. On New Year’s Eve, the Nets were demolished by the Spurs in San Antonio, dropping Brooklyn’s record to 10-21. Jason Kidd had already (unceremoniously) fired Lawrence Frank, and their best big man, center Brook Lopez, was out the remainder of the season with a broken foot. It appeared there would be no way to avoid a nightmare season. Yet, the Nets flipped the flip the switch in the New Year. They posted the best record in the Eastern Conference from January 1 through the end of the season. They eventually entered the postseason as the sixth seed and knocked off the gritty Toronto Raptors in the first round. Brooklyn was eliminated by the Miami HEAT in five games in the second round. @ b balli nsi d e rs

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BROOKLYN 44 - 38

NO 2014 PICKS

2013-14 Recap

82

ATLANTIC 2015

2016

Atlanta has the right to swap its first-round pick for Brooklyn. Owes a second-round pick to Atlanta.

Owes first-round pick to Boston. Owns second-round pick.

NETS 2014 OFfensive rank: 21

2014 DEfensive rank: 11

Biggest Needs: When factoring in luxury tax payments, the Nets have the highest payroll in the history of the NBA. As a result, they have plenty of depth at nearly every position. However, Brooklyn willingly mortgaged their future last summer when they traded away three future first-round draft picks (2014, 2016 and 2018) to the Boston Celtics in exchange for Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. Thus, because they are so heavily reliant on older veterans, they badly need an infusion of youth. In addition, because of nagging injuries to Deron Williams and devastating injuries to Lopez, the Nets need to make sure their have a reliable backup point guard and center on their roster next season.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? General manager Billy King has been tasked with following the directives of owner Mikhail Prokhorov, which is to win a championship by 2018. He obviously rolled the dice by making the controversial trade for Garnett and Pierce. While it certainly gained the Nets immediate respectability, Brooklyn has to capitalize quickly, as their window to win will not be open very long. Brooklyn doesn’t have a pick in the 2014 draft, as their first-round pick belongs to the Celtics and their second-round pick belongs to the 76ers.

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DRAFT GUIDE

NOT ON THE CLOCK

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Jesse Blancarte

PACIFIC 51 - 31

NO 2014 PICKS

2013-14 Recap In his third season as head coach, Mark Jackson turned the Warriors into a top-three defensive unit, which helped secure their second-straight postseason appearance (sixth seed). The defense was anchored by Andrew Bogut and featured gritty play by Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, who was acquired last offseason. However, once the 51-31 Warriors lost in seven games to the Los Angeles Clippers, Jackson was fired (despite the Bogut-less Dubs forcing a decider at Staples Center). With a number of on-court and off-court issues continually landing him off-side with Warriors’ ownership, including the demotion of assistant coach Brian Scalabrine to the D-League and the firing of assistant coach Darren Erman, Jackson returned to the broadcast booth.He has since been replaced by Steve Kerr.

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GOLDEN STATE 2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick traded to Indiana.

First-round pick. Second-round pick traded to Utah.

WARRIORS 2014 OFfensive rank: 10

2014 DEfensive rank: 10

Biggest Needs: The Warriors currently do not have a draft pick for this upcoming draft. However, if the team manages to acquire a pick, they should look to add more depth at center. Bogut has been plagued by injuries throughout his career and will turn 30 later this year. Festus Ezeli has upside, but missed the season with a knee injury and is still an unknown commodity. David Lee can fill in as a small-ball center, but has always been limited defensively. Jermaine O’Neal is 35 and may decide to retire or sign elsewhere. Also, the Warriors will have to determine whether to re-sign Steve Blake as their backup point guard. The Warriors can extend a qualifying offer to Jordan Crawford next season, making him a restricted free agent. While Crawford’s production is inconsistent, he can handle the ball and fill in at shooting guard for Thompson. The team will also look for another consistent three-point shooting wing.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? Bob Myers has proven to be an effective talent evaluator in his short time with the Warriors. Myers was the assistant general manager for the team when they drafted Thompson (11th) in the 2011 draft. Roughly a year later, Myers was promoted to general manager and headed the 2012 draft for the Warriors. Myers chose Harrison Barnes (seventh), Ezeli (30th), Green (35th) and Ognjen Kuzmic (52nd). Thompson has emerged as one of the best two-way shooting guards in the league, hitting the second-most three pointers in the NBA this season and often covered opposing teams’ best wing scorers. Barnes had a breakout postseason in his rookie year, but was underwhelming this season, though he still has significant trade value across the league. Green showed he is a valuable defender, underrated passer and is now considered a steal as a second round pick.

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83


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Tommy Beer

NOT ON THE CLOCK

After capturing the Atlantic Division crown and finishing with the secondbest record in the Eastern Conference in 2012-13, expectations were sky high heading into the 2013-14 campaign. However, the Knicks were terribly disappointing from November through April, compiling an atrocious 37-45 record, while failing to qualify for the postseason despite playing in an embarrassingly poor conference. Carmelo Anthony played well all season long, but very few of his teammates contributed consistently. There was an assortment of injuries the team had to overcome, but that is certainly no excuse for their lack of results. The argument could be made that no team in the NBA underperformed on quite the same level as the Knicks.

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NEW YORK 37 - 45

NO 2014 PICKS

2013-14 Recap

84

ATLANTIC 2015

2016

First-round pick. Second-round pick goes to Houston.

Denver has the right to swap its 2016 firstround pick for New York’s 2016 firstround pick. New York will convey the less favorable of these two picks to Toronto. Second-round pick to Sacramento (via Portland) protected for selections 31-37.

KNICKS 2014 OFfensive rank: 20

2014 DEfensive rank: 8

Biggest Needs: As evidenced by their poor record, the Knicks’ roster has plenty of holes. However, the primary cause of a majority of their losses was their inability to defend. New York finished 24th in the NBA in defensive rating, allowing 109.1 points per 100 possessions. They were also ranked 27th in the league in total rebounds. In order to make strides next season, the Knicks will need to immediately address the defensive end of the floor. Offensively, New York needs to diversify their attack. They were too reliant on the three-ball in 2013-14, settling for long jumpers far too often. The Knicks finished in the top-five in the NBA in three-point attempts, and in the bottom three in total free-throw attempts. They also tallied fewer assists than all but two other teams.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? The good news is that there is plenty of optimism in New York despite the poor showing last season, as there is a new commander-in-chief making all basketball decisions for the Knicks organization. Back in March, owner Jim Dolan announced that former Knick, and 11-time champion, Phil Jackson would be brought in to right the ship. Jackson would be wise to lean on the scouts already in place at MSG. Despite trading away numerous first- and second-round picks over the last decade, the Knicks have actually done a very good job on the picks they have made. Last year, they snagged Tim Hardaway Jr. with the 24th overall pick, and Hardaway ended up emerging as one of the more productive rookies in the NBA last season.

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DRAFT GUIDE

NOT ON THE CLOCK

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Cody Taylor

SOUTHWEST 34 - 48

NO 2014 PICKS

2013-14 Recap The New Orleans Pelicans came into the 2013-14 season after having just made major moves in acquiring point guard Jrue Holiday and wing player Tyreke Evans, which they hoped would put them in position to make a run in the Western Conference. Those moves did not pan out the way the team wanted and their season was filled with inconsistency, largely due to all of the injuries the team suffered. Anthony Davis, Ryan Anderson, Eric Gordon, Tyreke Evans, Jrue Holiday and Jason Smith all suffered injuries throughout the season, with Anderson, Holiday and Smith missing significant time. All of those injuries led to a 34-48 record - well out of the playoff picture. The team flashed signs of what they could ultimately become over the season if they remain healthy, and the progression Davis showed in his second season has many thinking he’ll be a superstar in no time.

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[ FUTURE ASSETS ]

NEW ORLEANS 2015

2016

First-round pick.

First-round pick. Second-round pick (from Sacramento).

PELICANS 2014 OFfensive rank: 18

2014 DEfensive rank: 19

Biggest Needs: A team with Davis, Anderson, Gordon, Evans and Holiday can surely win the Pelicans more than 34 games. Given the core of players they have, they may not be that far off from competing in the West. Despite that, they can still improve on the perimeter and in the paint. At 7.2 points per game in 80 games last season, Al-Farouq Aminu hasn’t shown the ability to score like a team needs from their wing player. Even worse for Aminu and the Pelicans is his 27 percent shooting from beyond the arc. The team could be working with a little bit of cap space, so they could look to solve their perimeter problems through free agency. They could also look to fill a need in the paint for a true big man. The Pelicans appear to be in trouble when Davis comes out of the game for a breather, and given Anderson’s position as a stretch-four, a true big man might help the Pelicans.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? General manager Dell Demps made a statement last summer when he opted to acquire Evans and Holiday, and that statement was the Pelicans want to compete now. Demps said at the Pelicans’ end of season press conference that the team is going to be active in trying to improve its roster and make it back to the playoffs. Those improvements will likely have to come in the form of trades or free agency as the team currently doesn’t have a pick in the draft. The Pelicans included their 2014 first-round draft pick in the trade to the Philadelphia 76ers for Holiday. A number of teams have multiple first-round picks in this year’s draft, and they may be willing to part with one of them for the right price. The Pelicans may be able to acquire a pick, but would likely only be interested if they fall in love with a prospect.

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85


DRAFT GUIDE

TEAM PROFILES Insider: Kyle Cape-Lindelin

NOT ON THE CLOCK

Portland surprised the basketball world early in the regular season, as they consistently challenged San Antonio for the top spot in the West with an incredibly impressive 20-4 record. The early season success earned forward LaMarcus Aldridge his thirdstraight All-Star appearance and second-year point-guard Damian Lillard caught everyone’s eye by being selected to his first. While Aldridge confirmed his spot as one of the most dominant forwards, it was Lillard’s ability to step up his game (following an impressive Rookie of the Year campaign) to become one of the best guards in a conference stacked with backcourt talent. While the Blazers’ early success cooled after the All-Star break, they still earned the fourth seed in the playoffs with a 54-28 record and gutted out a gritty upset of the Houston Rockets in six games to advance to the second round for the first time since 2000. San Antonio then ended their season in five games. @ b balli nsi d e rs

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PORTLAND 54 - 28

NO 2014 PICKS

2013-14 Recap

86

NORTHWEST 2015

2016

First-round pick.

First-round pick.

TRAIL BLAZERS 2014 OFfensive rank: 4

2014 DEfensive rank: 22

Biggest Needs: The Blazers are the envy of many teams in the NBA, as they have their core players and stars established and simply need to keep the core together and keep adding depth to move from just a playoff team to a championship contender. One of biggest needs for the Blazers is clearly finding another quality center. Center Robin Lopez has been the perfect fit next to Aldridge this year, but they still need insurance for him due to fouls and injury. Another need for the Blazers is a scoring small forward off the bench. Too often are the Blazers dependent on Aldridge and Lillard for offense and the team sometimes goes cold when the bench comes in. Finding a forward to backup Nicolas Batum who can slash to the basket and hit the three-point shot to stretch the defense would be a major asset for the Blazers’ bench.

WHO’S CALLING THE SHOTS? General manager Neil Olshey will be in charge of making all of the draft day decisions for the 2014 NBA Draft, although the team will have to trade their way in if they want to make a selection as they currently have no picks in this year’s draft. Olshey has made a name for himself by taking the largely unknown Lillard from Weber State with the sixth pick in the 2012 draft. Lillard has quickly established himself as one of the best point guards in just his second season and clearly was the home run that Olshey needed in his first draft with the Blazers. With that said, Olshey has had a few misses as well. Center Meyers Leonard has the athleticism and size to be a successful big man but is still very raw. Rookie guard C.J. McCollum had his season derailed by a foot injury and lost minutes to veteran Mo Williams. However, McCollum did display the ability to score and create his own shot, which should earn him a bigger role next season. basketballinsiders.com


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MID MAJORS IN THE 2014 DRAFT INSIDER:

J essica C amerato

88

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The top prospects in the nation are highly touted prior to the start of the NCAA season, let alone the NBA Draft. Players like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are talked about while they are still in high school, long before they arrive on a college campus, with NBA fans eagerly waiting for the day they declare to go pro. There are studs like this every June, but draft history has shown it isn’t always the powerhouse player who has the biggest impact in the NBA. Each year, organizations scour the draft entrants looking to land the next Stephen Curry, Paul George or Damian Lillard, mid-major athletes with real pro potential. There are a number of players in this year’s draft who are looking to follow in those footsteps.

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Doug McDermott

Creighton

For ward // 6-8 // 225 lbs // College exp.: 4 years Doug McDermott led the nation in scoring (26.9 points per game) last season, won the 2014 Naismith Trophy for Men’s College Player of the Year and was named an Associated Press All-American for the third consecutive year. There is no question he can be an offensive threat. Now, he is eager to showcase his complete skillset in the NBA. “People look at, I scored a lot of points in college but I think that overshadowed some of the other things,” McDermott said. “I’m looked at as not a great defender, but I feel like I can really prove some people wrong once I get in front of them at workouts. My ability to compete on a nightly basis, I think they’ll really see that when I get in front of them.” McDermott has also been focusing on his strength (specifically his core), which he believes will help make him a better defender. Once he is in the NBA, he doesn’t expect to fit into a pre-existing mold. McDermott has studied many players over the years and will take pieces from their game into his own when he enters the league. “There are not a whole lot of comparisons for me, I’m kind of different,” he said. “I like to watch a lot of [Kyle] Korver. Wally Szczerbiak has been a good one; he was a little stronger so I need to get a little bigger. I like to watch those guys. It might sound crazy, but I watch a lot of Paul Pierce, I like his footwork. He is not the quickest guy in the world but he really knows how to use his body and knows how to use angles to score.” McDermott isn’t going to be the flashiest guy on the court, but he has proven he can be dangerous with a style of his own.

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University of Louisiana Lafayette

90

University of Wisconsin-Green Bay

Elfrid Payton

Alec Brown

Guard // 6-3 // 190 lbs // College exp.: 3 years

Center // 7-1 // 222 lbs // College exp.: 4 years

Two-and-a-half years into his college career, Payton realized something special could happen. Midway through his junior season, he started to think he could become a first-round pick. Payton led the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns with 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals per game last season. He ranks highly among point guards in the 2014 NBA Draft and is a projected mid-to-late first round selection. He may not have played for the biggest college in the country, but he comes to the pros with invaluable international experience. Last year, he was a member of the 2013 USA Men’s U19 World Championship Team with players including Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart and Jahlil Okafor. He also competed in China and Spain. “That was some of the top competition in the world and I think I was able to play well and playing with my teammates,” said Payton. “I thought those were some of the best guys there.” Payton caught the attention of several teams at the Draft Combine, meeting with at least seven. NBA players have taken notice too. Mid-major alum Lillard has mentioned Payton by name in the media. Even though he didn’t come from the biggest basketball program, Payton is looking to make a big mark in the NBA. “[Playing for a smaller school helped me] being able to accepting that role and taking big shots and things like that,” Payton said. “It’s been fun. [I’m] just taking it all in and enjoying it.”

A seven-footer with a long-range shot - that alone is worth consideration right there. After four seasons at the University of WisconsinGreen Bay, Brown is ready for the next step. He finished his senior season averaging 15.3 points (47.6 percent from the field and 42 percent from three-point range), 5.7 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game. Brown continued to turn heads at the combine with his ability to knock down outside shots. Specialists like himself are valued in the second round and he happens to have a skillset that could pose serious matchup problems, a selling point to many teams. “I feel like I could translate to the next level very well,” Brown said. “The stretch-big position is getting really big in the NBA right now and that’s what I am. I can step out and shoot the three, I can run the court well, I’ve been told I move well for a big guy, I can block shots and get rebounds. If I can just go out and do that for a team, hopefully they’ll want me.” He knows there is more to a making it in the NBA than just physical ability. While training in California, Brown also focused on the mental aspect of the game. “We have a mental strength coach in Santa Barbara,” Brown said. “That’s part of it too. You’ve got to stay positive. If you’re missing shots out there, you can’t show it to these teams that are watching. You’ve got to stay positive and a lot of that is dealing with mental strength. Nutrition also, keep my weight up, make sure I eat healthy. There is a lot that goes into it behind the scenes.” But the finished product is worth it.

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MID-MAJORS IN THE 2014 DRAFT

Cleanthony Early

Wichita State

For ward // 6-8 // 219 lbs // College exp.: 4 years (2 at JuCo) Early was only in his second year at Wichita State when he played an instrumental role in their 34-0 regular season record. When it came time to step up in March Madness, he scored 31 points and grabbed seven rebounds against the University of Kentucky in the Shockers’ two-point tournament loss. “It definitely helped,” Early said of the game. “It was exposure. Those guys are all projected or were projected to go in a certain round and projected to be a certain status. Performing like that against those guys showed potentially what I could do, what I’m capable of. I think that opened a few people’s eyes.” The 23-year-old actually enters the NBA Draft with four years of experience, including two from junior college. He has proven he can defend multiple positions, and that roster flexibility is appealing to organizations. He cites his lateral quickness, vertical, help-side defense and shot contesting as just a few of his defensive attributes. Early envisions himself playing the small forward or shooting guard position. He thinks he could also play the four spot if he gained weight. “I can stretch the floor with my shot, I can put the ball on the floor, do multiple things, different aspects to my game,” Early said. “I am very versatile; I am going to be able to do what I need to do in the NBA.” Early didn’t burst onto the big stage; he pushed his way into the spotlight. He’s prepared to keep working in the NBA. “I’m willing to put my ego aside for certain things and look at the bigger picture and continue to study the game of life and study the game of basketball,” he said. “I just pick up things and it works for me and I love the results I see from it. I won’t switch up. I will just continue to put myself in a position to learn from these people that I know can get this job done and who have got this job done at the pro level.” basketballinsiders.com

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on DRAF T NIGHT, A trio of playmakers ARE SET TO JOIN

THE GOLDEN AGE OF POINT GUARDS INSIDER:

M O K E H A m I LT O N

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Establishing one’s point in a positional Golden Age will be no easy task but the likes of

Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, & Tyler Ennis

are no doubt up for the challenge.

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THE GOLDEN AGE OF POINT GUARDS

Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook lead the way with Stephen Curry, Rajon Rondo and Derrick Rose not far behind. Damian Lillard has taken the league by storm and the world continues to watch Kyrie Irving and gauge where his ceiling lies. This, it is said, is the golden age of the NBA point guard, and with the draft class of 2014, the rich only stand to get richer. In a world where the likes of Tony Parker, Jrue Holiday, Ty Lawson, Goran Dragic, Kyle Lowry, Kemba Walker and John Wall are not universally considered to be in the top tier of point guards, the likes of Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Tyler Ennis, Elfrid Payton and even the seemingly overlooked Shabazz Napier will join the fray. The point guards of the class of 2014 will have their work cut out for them in terms of entering a league that has recently been dominated by productive point men. But it is a challenge that the youngsters not only seem to be cognizant of, but one that they also cherish. Exum, the Australian-born combo-guard, is considered by many to be the top point guard prospect from this year’s class. “I see myself as a point guard,” Exum said. “I’ve always played the point guard position, so that’s where I feel comfortable. That’s what I’m entering myself as into the draft and that’s where I see myself playing.” Quite a few of the teams in the lottery are seemingly set at the point guard position, but a number of teams that met with Exum at the combine told him that they would like to play him in a two point guard system, much like the Phoenix Suns ran last season. That opens up a lot of possibilities for Exum on draft night. While it will prove difficult for him to make his mark at arguably the league’s most competitive position, Exum has been watching his elders closely and has attempted to take bits and pieces of the games of others and replicate them, forming his own unique repertoire.

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“I can’t look at one player and say that’s who I play like,” Exum said. “But I see different traits from players that I have. I look at Russell Westbrook as that explosive point guard that can get to the rim, and also Manu Ginobili when he gets into the paint and the way he can finish. It’s just looking at different players and what they can do and how that can help my game.” As for American-born point guards, Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart is considered to be near the top of the class and is widely expected to be selected in the mid-lottery, at the latest. There have been consistent questions about how his game will translate to the NBA and whether he has the skill set to be the primary playmaker at the NBA level. It is something he has taken in stride. “I’m sure that a lot of general managers and coaches are just like a lot of fans: ‘He’s not a true point guard,’ and this and that,” Smart said. “I’m trying to show them that I’ve embraced that role and just because I haven’t played it I’m more of a true point guard than I ever have been in my lifetime.” At this point, Smart hopes to join Westbrook and even Gilbert Arenas as young guards who were successfully able to play at the point guard position, despite entering the league with questions about whether they possessed the necessary attributes. Not short on confidence, Smart has embraced the pre-draft process of proving himself as he looks toward making his mark in the pros as a point guard. “I’ve put in the work,” he said. “I think the reason

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DRAFT GUIDE

THE GOLDEN AGE OF POINT GUARDS

I see myself as a point guard. I’ve always played the point guard position, so that’s where I feel comfortable. That’s what I’m entering myself as into the draft and that’s where I see myself playing.

- Dante Exum. I am where I am in the draft or where people think I should be is because I put in a lot of hard work and it is showing on the court.” After being interviewed by the Houston Rockets, Toronto Raptors, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Denver Nuggets, where Smart ends up is a bit of a mystery, but he feels that he merits consideration in the top five, just like Exum. “I feel like I’m one of the best point guards in the class, no doubt,” Smart said. “I can’t really say who is first, second, third or fourth. There are a lot of great point guards, so whoever is first or second, they worked at it and that’s the spot they worked at and they came out and that’s what it is.” Already looking ahead, though, Smart is not fixated on where he is drafted, he is thinking about a long-lasting career in the NBA. He is thinking about one that will be in full-force even after his potentially four-year rookie deal expires. “Everybody is out here trying to compete… and their goal is to get into the NBA and work on their second and third contract, not their first,” Smart said. Still, it all starts here, but with Smart’s smarts, confidence, energy and attitude, he has managed to remain grounded while knowing that the sky is the limit. One other prospect that knows that well is Canadian-born Tyler Ennis of Syracuse. After attending Saint Benedict’s Preparatory School in Newark, NJ, Ennis did not disappoint in his only year playing for the legendary Jim Boeheim, earning Second Team All-ACC honors as well as making both the All-ACC Freshmen and Defensive teams. Unlike some of his other draft mates, Ennis has participated in international FIBA tournaments, as well. In the 2012 FIBA Americas Under-18 Championship,

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Ennis teamed up with Andrew Wiggins to help Canada earn a bronze medal and, the next summer, led the 2013 FIBA Under-19 World Championships tournament in scoring. The vast array of experiences may have prepared Ennis for life in the NBA, and even after his Orangemen suffered a second round loss to Dayton in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, Ennis still believes he is worthy of a top pick in June. When asked if he is the best point guard in this class, he didn’t hesitate. “Definitely,” Ennis said. “I think I have the ability to make others better. I think I’m able to put that together into a true point guard that could also score when my team needs it. I think there are a lot of guys that can really score the ball and a lot of guys may be able to score better than you but none can put together the whole package as a point guard better than I can in this draft.” Ennis compared himself to top floor generals Tony Parker and Jason Kidd. “I’d say Tony Parker [since I’m] able to the score the ball, he would score a little more than I would, but being able to score, being able to control the team and being able to find open guys when the time is right,” Ennis said. “Growing up, I would always watch Jason Kidd and that’s somebody I kind of model my game after. Being able to score the ball, but also make plays for others and just be a leader on the floor.” With June 26 approaching, the aforementioned trio of prospects are likely to begin what they hope are long and storied careers in the NBA. They hope to join the likes of Rose, Westbrook, Lillard and Irving as point guards who made an immediate impact on the league.

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2014 NBA Draft Magazine | Basketball Insiders  

A complete look at the 2014 NBA Draft and all the moving pieces. Includes in-depth features, scouting reports and interviews with all the na...

2014 NBA Draft Magazine | Basketball Insiders  

A complete look at the 2014 NBA Draft and all the moving pieces. Includes in-depth features, scouting reports and interviews with all the na...

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