Basketball / Sports

Best in the draft? Here's a position-by-position look

Charlotte Observer NBA writer Rick Bonnell ranks the top 10 players available by position at Thursday's NBA draft.

POINT GUARDS

1. Dante Exum, Australia, 6-6, 196: A little inexperienced, but between his size and his explosion to the rim, he demands attention.

2. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 225: Stuck around college basketball a year beyond when he'd earned a lottery slot. A big-time scorer.

3. Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette, 6-3, 180: A big point who could be an elite defender, but he's an awful jump-shooter.

4. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse, 6-2, 180: Not a great athlete, but a poised and mature playmaker. He also is unafraid of the shot that decides a game.

5. Zach LaVine, UCLA, 6-5, 180: He's attractive in a Shaun Livingston way – unusual size for his skill set. But he didn't play the point in his one season at UCLA.

6. Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, 6-1, 180: An explosive scorer who, like Hornets point guard Kemba Walker, led the Huskies to the national championship.

7. Vasilije Micic, Serbia, 6-6, 202: Lacks tremendous explosion, but he's a big point guard who knows how to keep a team organized at both ends.

8. Jordan Clarkson, Missouri, 6-5, 186: His production – and particularly his shooting – trailed of in his last college season. Has a good floater, which is useful in the NBA.

9. Semaj Christon, Xavier, 6-3, 186: He has good end-to-end speed with the ball and can get to the rim frequently. Doesn't take a lot of 3s.

10. Deonte Burton, Nevada, 6-1, 193: His 6-6 wingspan compensates for his relatively small height. Best in transition, he's not great at feeding teammates the ball.

SHOOTING GUARDS

1. Nik Stauskas, Michigan, 6-6, 207: He's a great outside shooter (44 percent from college line) who improved as a ballhandler and driver.

2. Gary Harris, Michigan State, 6-4, 205: Harris is a bit undersized for an NBA shooting guard, but he makes up for that with lots of defensive toughness.

3. James Young, Kentucky, 6-6, 215: Has plenty of shooting range, but showed some dubious shot selection, putting up ill-timed jumpers early in possessions.

4. P.J. Hairston, Development League, 6-5, 228: He bounced back from losing college eligibility, showing shooting range and solid defense in the D-League.

5. C.J. Wilcox, Washington, 6-5, 201: One of the draft's better all-around shooters, he averaged 39 percent from 3-point and 87 percent from the foul line.

6. Jordan Adams, UCLA, 6-5, 209: Very good in transition and as a defender in the passing lanes. But he could struggle against the bigger guards he'll face in the NBA.

7. Bogdan Bogdanovic, Serbia, 6-6, 205: He has the playmaking skills to be a secondary facilitator. Good with the ball but doesn't have optimum speed to be an NBA slasher.

8. Spencer Dinwiddie, Colorado, 6-6, 205: He'll play both guard spots. Might have been a first-round lock had he not undergone Anterior Cruciate Ligament injury in January.

9. Markel Brown, Oklahoma State, 6-4, 185: He's undersized for an NBA shooting guard, but his athleticism (43 inches in the two-step vertical leap) compensates.

10. Jabari Brown, Missouri, 6-4, 202: He's a scorer with an old-school, mid-range pull-up game. But his size is less than ideal for his pro position.

SMALL FORWARDS

1. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, 6-8, 200: An elite athlete who has potential to be as good a defender as he'll be a scorer. Failed to dominate in his one college season.

2. Jabari Parker, Duke, 6-9, 240: In a strong draft class, he's probably the most ready to impact an NBA game. Some questions on how well he controls his weight.

3. Doug McDermott, Creighton, 6-7, 220: A versatile scorer who used all four years of his college eligibility. Could struggle to guard NBA small forwards.

4. Rodney Hood, Duke, 6-8, 208: A good, left-handed shooter/scorer and also a player who applies himself defensively. Has had stomach problems during games and workouts.

5. Dario Saric, Croatia, 6-10, 225: A highly skilled European who can serve as a point-forward. His contract situation could keep him out of the NBA the next two seasons.

6. T.J. Warren, N.C. State, 6-8, 220: A flat-out scorer who attacks the basket relentlessly. Hornets like his defensive potential, too. Needs a better jump shot.

7. Kyle Anderson, UCLA, 6-9, 230: He lacks in great athleticism, but his feel for the game – understanding ball-movement and setting up defenders – compensates.

8. Jerami Grant, Syracuse, 6-8, 214: He doesn't have the perimeter skills yet of a small forward, but his 7-foot wingspan catches scouts' attention.

9. K.J. McDaniels, Clemson, 6-6, 196: He's an intense defender who also grabs offensive rebounds in bunches. Needs to work on his jump shot.

10. Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, 6-7, 211: For better or worse, he tended to defer to fellow future pros Trey Burke and Nik Stauskas at Michigan. Plays passively in stretches.

POWER FORWARDS

1. Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6-10, 240: He averaged nearly a double-double in points and rebounds and shot 48 percent from the 3-point line. At 18, his body is still developing.

2. Julius Randle, Kentucky, 6-9, 250: He's an old-school, back-to-the-basket scorer in the mold of an Al Jefferson or Zach Randolph. Questions whether he'll need foot surgery.

3. Aaron Gordon, Arizona, 6-9, 220: He's one of the best athletes in this draft – a leaper and what Hornets coach Steve Clifford would call a "multiple-effort" player each possession.

4. Adreian Payne, Michigan State, 6-10, 240: A power forward who shoots 42 percent from the college 3-point line would complement Al Jefferson in the low post.

5. Clint Capela, Switzerland, 6-11, 222: For better or worse, he's reminiscent of Bismack Biyombo – big and athletic, without a whole lot of basketball skill.

6. Cleanthony Early, Wichita State, 6-7, 210: He played power forward in college and that's where his skills lie, but his body is more like a small forward's.

7. Patric Young, Florida, 6-10, 247: He was a center for the Gators and doesn't have any particular perimeter skills. But he's a bruiser.

8. Dwight Powell, Stanford, 6-11, 235: He's a face-the-basket power forward who moves well and passes and shoots with some skill away from the rim.

9. Cory Jefferson, Baylor, 6-9, 220: He's a physical, active athlete, but he'll need a lot of coaching to be more than an end-of-the-bench guy anytime soon.

10. Khem Birch, Nevada-Las Vegas, 6-9, 209: Another of many Canadians in this draft, Birch's 7-1 wingspan make a decent shotblocker.

CENTERS

1. Joel Embiid, Kansas, 7-0, 250: He has exceptional footwork and grace for a 7-footer. The recently diagnosed stress fracture might knock him down several draft spots.

2. Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 6-11, 280: This guy is a bruiser – he will clear space in the lane – but he also has refined shooting touch in traffic.

3. Walter Tavares, Cape Verde, 7-3, 260: Anyone with a 7-9 wingspan and some athleticism will get a shot at the NBA.

4. Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State, 7-2, 254: Was as productive a shot-blocker as any in college basketball last season at 4.0 per game.

5. Mitch McGary, Michigan, 6-10, 266: Had a great run during 2013 NCAA tournament but missed most of last season following back surgery.

6. Cameron Bairstow, New Mexico, 6-10, 252: He has a knack for getting to the foul line (8.8 free-throw attempts per game last season), which kept Brad Miller in the NBA a long time.

7. Johnny O'Bryant, Louisiana State, 6-8, 257: He probably needs to be a power forward in the NBA, but it's possible he's best suited to being an undersized center similar to ex-Bobcat Jeff Adrien.

8. Artem Klimenko, Russia, 7-1, 228: He's about as off the radar as a 7-footer gets, playing in the second-division of his league. Rare athlete for his size.

9. Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee, 6-8, 260: His dimensions are far from prototypical, but at better than 15 points and 10 rebounds last season, he sure was productive.

10. Alec Brown, Wisconsin-Green Bay, 7-1, 231: That a player of that size averages only 5.7 rebounds says something about how much he needs more muscle.

(c)2014 The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.)

Visit The Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, N.C.) at www.charlotteobserver.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

----


Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus