HoopsHype 2014 Mock Draft
November 24, 2013 @ 03:36 PM ET by HoopsHype
Aaron Gordon, Adreian Payne, Andrew Wiggins, Dante Exum, Dario Saric, Doug McDermott, Gary Harris, Glenn Robinson III, Jabari Parker, James McAdoo, James Young, Joel Embiid, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle, Marcus Smart, Noah Vonleh, Perry Ellis, Rodney Hood, Semaj Christon, Wayne Selden
1. Andrew Wiggins (Kansas). Wiggins is as physically talented as any player to come along since LeBron James. He has so much raw potential and talent that he still has only begun to scratch the surface in terms of skill development and realizing his abilities. Becoming a killer (a la Jordan) and developing the attention to detail (a la Kobe) will vault him into the stratosphere and make him a generational talent. But some feel he may fall way short of all the expectations. He passed his first big test of the season, stepping up big in the final minutes of KU's win over Duke and showing the will to compete when challenged. It's a long season and it's likely that he will hit some bumps in the road, but how he responds to adversity and plays in the big games is will be the key to whether scouts buy into his potential versus Parker and Randle's polish.
2. Jabari Parker (Duke). Parker has made a seamless transition to the college game and may possess the perfect combination of talent, leadership and readiness to entice a team to draft him over super prospect Andrew Wiggins. He's both polished and versatile and understands what it means to be a professional having grown up around the game with his father, Sonny Parker, a former standout. He remains incredibly humble as well as focused and hard working. Parker is a much better athlete than he appears at first glance. He's also sure to blow away the competition during team interviews, as he's incredibly mature and well spoken. Parker may lack Wiggins' freakish athleticism, but he possesses sneaky athleticism and a much more polished all-around game at this point. He reminds people of Melo (without the drama).
3. Julius Randle (Kentucky). Randle at the very least has to be be considered along with Parker and Wiggins for the top pick. He's a rare talent in that he combines raw power with a high skill level. Randle is Kentucky's top prospect in a year in which many consider to be Coach Calipari's greatest recruiting haul. He's proven to be virtually unguardable for any single college player. His combination of power and skill set him apart and make him a big-time post prospect for the NBA level. His on-court mannerisms have caused some to question his focus, however he's received positive reviews from scouts about his willingness to be coached and learn. In high school he got a little too enamored with facing the basket and his post game needed some polish, but he has been unstoppable around the basket at UK. Interestingly, Randle often got the best of Parker on the AAU circuit, while Wiggins regularly got the best of him.
4. Joel Embiid (Kansas). If there is one guy in the draft whose potential might actually exceed Andrew Wiggins, it's Embiid. It's extremely rare to find a kid with his package of attributes. Hakeem Olajuwon is a sacrilegious comparison for anyone, a giant leap of faith, but for Embiid it might actually fit as there really aren't many freak 7-foot athletes with the skill level that he has a chance to develop. He's got a tremendous basketball body with not only great athleticism but the ability to add size and strength to his frame. He already shows signs of being an enforcer defensively with his length, explosiveness and timing on blocks. He just needs to learn discipline on fakes and how to stay out of foul trouble and he will be a handful. Embiid is a raw talent who has come a long way in a very short time. Scouts who saw this kid two years ago at the African Basketball without Borders event marvel at just how much he's improved in such a short time. He shows terrific form and touch on his shot, giving his potential as an offensive center real intrigue. At this point, it's all relatively new. He's still learning the basics and what his body is capable of. Repetition and developing a feel for the game are points for him to focus on. He's in a tremendous program to develop under Bill Self and would do himself a great service by staying for more than one season. But he's a likely Top 5 pick anyway and has a real chance to move into the Top 2-3 if he can put together consistent performances. Going first is not even out of the question.
5. Dante Exum (Australia). Exum is the biggest wild card of this year's draft. He's a terrific kid with a great deal of talent, but without question he's still very unproven as his biggest accomplishments have been in the form of international competitions such as the Hoop Summit where he matched up with Aaron Harrison. He also has been very impressive playing for his Australian national team in competitions such as the U19 World championships in Prague. He's got a ton of upside due to his versatility to play either guard position and extreme quickness off the dribble, and has drawn comparisons to Penny Hardaway. Had Shabazz Muhammad sat out the year and not been 'exposed', a number of scouts feel he would have ridden the hype into being a Top 3-5 pick in 2013. Exum has the same kind of hype behind him and could end up a Top 5 pick, a la Enes Kanter without ever playing at the college level. He has some kinks to work out such as a shot that lacks much trajectory. He also must prove himself playing off the ball and playing within more of a team context as opposed to having carte blanche as he does leading his Aussie team.
6. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State). Smart is a 'different kind of dude', as one scout put it, speaking about his maturity and decision to stay in school and bypass the draft in which he would have likely been a Top 2-3 selection in 2013. Smart was playing the PG position solely for the first time in his career, so detractors must keep in mind that the holes to his game are still developing. He may always struggle to stay in front of elite point guards, but then again everyone does. Smart displayed his improved shooting and scoring ability with his 39-point outburst against Memphis. He's a natural leader and the kind of player that makes everyone around him better just with his presence. He always seems to be a step ahead of the competition with a feel for the game that is very advanced for his age. Comparing Smart to past NBA guys is very difficult, as he's such a unique player.
7. Rodney Hood (Duke). Prior to the season, there were scouts that predicted Hood would leapfrog Parker and go higher in the draft. Obviously that was before everyone realized just how talented Parker was, but it shows just how highly Hood was and is regarded. The Mississippi State transfer has tremendous outside shooting as well as a polished all-around skill level. He and Parker will have their work cut out for them as Duke's bare frontcourt will force them into playing post defense. One of Hood's main areas of weakness is lack of physicality and strength so it will be interesting to see how he responds.
8. James Young (Kentucky). Young has one of the purest strokes in college basketball and also happens to be a prototypical 6-foot-6, athletic two guard, which is music to the ears of NBA scouts. He may go through growing pains and hit the proverbial freshman wall at times, but he's UK's second best prospect and shows a lot of competitive fire. Look for Young to have a big season and join the long line of UK's one-and-done lottery picks. He has the look of a future NBA starting shooting guard and could even become an All-Star level player if things fall into place with his skill set and future team (situation).
9. Semaj Christon (Xavier). Christon has a tremendous basketball body with the speed and quickness to get to the basket as well as the length to give opposing point guards headaches as an on-ball defender. The one major weakness that he must improve upon is his shot, which comes off flat and lacks a fluid release. His development in this area will be crucial to his draft stock this season. Playing at Xavier has allowed Christon to fly under the radar without a great deal of attention, despite being one of the most prolific freshman scorers in the country last year. Look for that all to change and for Christon to break out into one of college basketball's household names this year.
10. Gary Harris (Michigan State). Harris is a sophomore who plays with unusual maturity and poise. Though a tad undersized at 6-foot-4, Harris has solid length athleticism and great quickness. He also shows a textbook shooting form and consistency from deep. The cerebral guard flirted with the idea of turning pro as a freshman in such a weak class, however his shoulder troubles would have likely dropped him further than where he would have liked. He appears to be fully healthy now and has begun the 13-14 season extremely well. His ability to be potentially be a combo guard gives him added intrigue.
11. Glenn Robinson III (Michigan). Robinson returns for his sophomore season and will assume a larger leadership role with the departure of Trey Burke. He's an excellent athlete with basketball bloodlines as the son of a former No. 1 overall pick. He will look to springboard off an excellent freshman season and become a more complete and consistent player as a sophomore. He's got solid all-around skills, utilizing tremendous leaping ability and good strength to defend and rebound and contribute outside of scoring. Becoming better at creating shots for himself and a more consistent shooter will help solidify him as a possible mid-lottery pick for this year's draft.
12. Wayne Selden (Kansas). Selden will remind some older NBA fans of Mitch Richmond with his incredibly rugged frame and ability to score. Selden was the most impressive college prospect at this year's adidas Nations in August, showing the strength and toughness to outmuscle bigs for rebounds on the inside. He has a promising jum pshot as well as the ability to finish with spectacular dunks at the rim. Look for him to have a short stay in Lawrence and be an immediate sensation playing alongside Wiggins, on a team with legitimate title aspirations.
13. Jordan Clarkson (Missouri). Clarkson is a big, smooth point guard who has taken over the Missouri offense after transferring from Tulsa. He shows the ability to get teammates involved as well as create his own offense. Whether or not he can sustain a high enough level of play to grab a late lottery pick remains to be seen. But scouts that have seen him in practices and games in the early part of the season have come away extremely impressed with him.
14. James McAdoo (North Carolina). McAdoo has been a major disappointment thus far in his career and he has his work cut out for him to change the opinions of so many scouts that view him as an underachiever. It will be important for him to stay focused, which has been the knock on him throughout his career, as bad passes and lack of consistent effort have. He's an elite level athlete who has been projected as a potential lottery pick going into each of his three seasons. Will this be the year that things finally fall into place for the talented forward? McAdoo has been a disappointment thus far, but if he decides to work for it, grabbing a late lottery spot is well within his grasp.
15. Doug McDermott (Creighton). In today's NBA, having one standout skill can be better than being just good in many areas. McDermott is an elite level shooter with a tremendous feel for the game. Scouts have pegged his range as a likely 12-18 mid first rounder going into the season. a player that can spread the floor as well as pass and compete at a high level will fit right into many teams. McDermott may never be a good defender due to lack of footspeed and athleticism. But his offensive arsenal should be enough to make up for that.
16. Noah Vonleh (Indiana). Vonleh has had a surprisingly quick transition to the college level. He's a forward who has spent a lot of time working on his handle but seems to have realized that his bread and butter at the NBA level lies in the paint. He lacks much in the way of post moves and is just a raw physical specimen at this point. But he's a bright, coachable kid who works hard and should continue to improve as the season progresses. A second year in Bloomington would figure to help him immensely, yet if he's still being projected this high in April, it may be difficult to follow that course.
17. Perry Ellis (Kansas). Ellis has started out the 2013-14 season like gangbusters and figures to be one of the most improved players in the country. After playing a complimentary role for last year's team which lost all five of their starters, Ellis is the team's best player in the early going. The 'fashionable' forward quickly assumed a role as one of the team's leaders and provides a constant level of effort that rubs off on his teammates. At 6-foot-8 he's certainly a tweener, but in today's NBA the overachieving combo forward with a high skill level has proven to be very effective in recent years.
18. Adreian Payne (Michigan State). Payne came in as a highly decorated recruit and while he had his ups and downs, he stuck around though his senior season. And it should prove very beneficial as his game has really shown significant improvement in the past year. His jumpshot has become extremely accurate with excellent form and rotation. He could see his stock affected some by his play in March and how far the Spartans make it in the tournament.
19. Dario Saric (Croatia). Saric has an old man's game as he has a high basketball IQ and beats opponents with brains over braun. His shot has long been an area of weakness but has shown recent improvement, in particular in the Eurobasket. He's got legitimate PG skills with the ability to see the floor and find teammates for shots, however his lack of foot speed might force him to play the 4, as opposed to being a full time 3. He lacks great athleticism and footspeed, and has a game that is probably best suited to being a star in Europe as opposed to an NBA role guy, however his determination and toughness will allow him to play in the NBA and be a contributor if he so desires.
20. Aaron Gordon (Arizona). Gordon is an explosive leaper and a great kid. He will impress teams in interviews and has proven himself as a team leader winning MVP of the U19 Championships in Prague, where he put himself in a positive light with many NBA scouts. Many seem to love the Blake Griffin comparison, but it just isn't very accurate. He lacks the sheer power of a Griffin and doesn't appear to have the frame to carry that type of weight. He's determined to turn himself into a small forward, but that appears unlikely to happen. Let's turn down the hype machine on this kid just a tad and let him breathe before the backlash is too great. He's going to be an excellent NBA role player but a star he's not.
21. Jerami Grant (Syracuse). In terms of readiness, Grant could be looked at similar to the freshmen projected in the later half of the first round. Grant is the son of former NBA forward Harvey Grant, twin brother of Horace Grant. He's a high-level athlete with great length and quickness. His offensive game has shown solid development thus far at Syracuse, but he will play a secondary role with CJ fair being the team's go to scorer. Jerami shows a lot of potential but whether he puts things together and plays with enough consistency to be a first rounder this year remains to be seen.
22. Montrezl Harrell (Louisville). Harrell is an intriguing 4 man due to his great power and explosiveness. Despite being undersized at 6-foot-8, he possesses a huge wingspan and plays with a high level of energy. Scouts who watched him play for team USA at the Under 19 Championships in Prague raved about him comparing him to Ben Wallace. With Russdiculous and Chris Jones in the backcourt, it's unlikely that Harrell will have a great deal of plays called for him. But he's most valuable to the team providing the dirty work: rebounding and playing physical around the basket.
23. Andrew Harrison (Kentucky). Harrison is a physically dominant guard with supreme aggressiveness. He has the size and athleticism to stand out at the position at the NBA level. He has great confidence in himself and has shown the ability to play at a high level in big games on the HS level. The major questions are how well he can facilitate and make others around him better. He has been able to overpower and outclass opponents with his strength and athleticism throughout his high school and AAU careers. Now that he's at UK, he will begin to run into similar level athletes on a regular basis, so it will be interesting to see how he adjusts.
24. Mario Hezonja (Croatia). Hezonja is about as physically gifted a European guard as we have seen. His run/jump athleticism is on par with most high level American two-guards. He would likely have been a top 10 prospect in his class if he had played HS ball in the US. He shows a good feel for the game with solid passing and the ability to put the ball on the floor. He has battled injuries over the past couple seasons, so staying healthy will be imperative. Saric is the far superior player at this point, but Hezonja has more potential as an NBA prospect due to his speed and athleticism.
25. Elfrid Payton (Louisville Lafayette). Payton has great agility and shows the ability to break down opponents off the dribble and get to the rim. He's a long, rangy athlete who shows tremendous foot speed and defensive tenacity. While his offensive game is hampered by a lack of shooting ability, he's developed into a solid scorer by getting to the rim for easy baskets. He skipped a grade in high school so he's an entire year younger than the junior class. He's sure to have scouts flocking to Lafayette for games all year to see him and teammate Shawn Long.
26. Olivier Hanlan (Boston College). Hanlan is a magician with the ball as he shows a Steph Curry like ability to rock defenders off balance and create shots with limited space. He not the talent or shooter of Curry, but he's a high level scorer in his own right that will benefit from the hand checking rules in the NBA. His point guard abilities remain a question mark and his development in this area is sure to impact just how high his stock can climb. He's a very crafty, cerebral player with great hand/eye coordination. He's already had a 38 point game and appears ready to build on a terrific freshman season.
27. Roscoe Smith (UNLV). Roscoe Smith might be the best rebounder in college basketball. In terms of comparisons, he's sort of a homeless man's Josh Smith. He's really built up his body and there aren't many players on the college level with his type of athleticism. After sitting out last season, he appears to have a lot of pent up aggression to unleash on opponents. His athleticism and rebounding far exceed his offensive ability, which consists mainly of put backs and garbage buckets.
28. Mitch McGary (Michigan). McGary was riding a wave of hype after last year's NCAA tourney performance. And while his career may benefit from returning to the college level, his draft stock probably won't. He figured to be a Top 15-20 pick had he declared for last year's weak draft. His stock has taken a dip just based on the level of quality in this year's draft class. McGary plays with a ton of emotion and has been extremely successful in short stints but has yet to put together a long string of high level games. But without a ton of quality centers, McGary has a chance to move up with a strong season.
29. Chris Walker (Florida). Walker has the type of run/jump athleticism that will stand out in the NBA. On the negative side, the Florida recruit has developed a reputation as a player with some character concerns that could concern teams and lower him in the draft. He was unable to become academically eligible and must wait until the second semester before he gains eligibility. On top of that he lacks a clear cut position as he's very skinny to play the 4 and is under skilled as a wing.
30. Markel Brown (Oklahoma State). The senior Cowboy will surely benefit from the improving playmaking skills of teammate Marcus Smart. Brown is a freakish athlete who shows solid ability to shoot the ball. His ballhandling and passing are both areas that need further development, but show promise. Despite being undersized, he has the kind of athleticism to make it. He has started off the season well and should get consideration as a late first rounder with a consistent senior season.