With the NBA Draft only one day away, let’s break down some of the prospects by assessing their skill sets and how they might fit in with certain teams.
Four good fits:
Charlotte Bobcats: Michael-Kidd Gilchrist
The Bobcats are in need of essentially everything, but Kidd-Gilchrist will help them on many fronts. He has a great attitude and work ethic as well as comes from a winning culture. The Bobcats aren’t going to make the playoffs next season, but drafting MKG will at least provide a solid foundation for an improved culture within the team.
Portland Trailblazers: Damian Lillard
Portland owns two picks in the top eleven, and they will draft a big with one of them. While new general manager Neil Olshey can exercise some patience in rebuilding, Lillard would provide an immediate upgrade to the Trailblazer’s backcourt. If Andre Drummond is still hanging around, the Blazers may consider taking him, but the potential boom/bust nature surrounding Drummond may force Olshey’s hand into taking Lillard who could start at PG immediately.
Phoenix Suns: Kendall Marshall
It seems very likely that the Suns will part ways with Steve Nash this offseason, but drafting Marshall will allow them to maintain their style of play. While Marshall is not as good offensively as Nash is/was, he excels at setting up his teammates. Marshall has good size for a point guard that will allow him to sustain his success against bigger and better competition at the NBA level.
Chicago Bulls: Tyshawn Taylor
The Bulls pick will almost assuredly be a backcourt player, and Taylor fits the bill. Taylor really struggled during parts of last season, but towards the end of the season, he really came on strong. What really makes Taylor a good fit is his ability to score and distribute. The Bulls will have to make a decision on C.J. Watson, but regardless, depth is needed in the backcourt.
Four future All-Stars:
1. Anthony Davis – The best player in this draft by far, and one of the best prospects in the past ten years. Davis will make an immediate impact and likely play in multiple All-Star games before his career is over.
2. Bradley Beal – Beal is a very good shooting guard prospect, and beyond his scoring, he is a good rebounder. He can develop into a 20 points per game scorer, and into one of the more dynamic two guard players in the league.
3. Damian Lillard – Lillard is tough to project because point guards generally take longer to transition into the NBA, but also he comes from a small school. On the other hand, he posted the second highest PER in college last season behind Davis, and he has tested and worked out well during the pre-draft process. In a few years, Lillard could develop into a poor-man’s Russell Westbrook.
4. Terrence Ross – Ross is one of the more underrated prospects in the draft, but he is capable of becoming a dynamic scorer in the NBA. He has great athleticism and size, which translates well to the NBA, and once Ross develops some consistency in his shooting, he will make his mark in the league.
1. Perry Jones – Jones has all the physical tools to become a good player in the league, but the drive and work-ethic is never consistent. While talent can sometimes trump effort in college, making it in the NBA requires both. Jones can receive the best coaching in the world, but the mental aspect cannot be taught.
2. Andre Drummond – Drummond, like Jones, has had moments when he’s clearly the most talented player on the floor, but those moments are few and far between. The same concerns that surround Jones, relate to Drummond.
3. Jared Sullinger – Beyond the recent report regarding his back problems, Sullinger’s size will cause him more problems than anything. While, he can be effective in the NBA, he will struggle going against much bigger and stronger NBA players.
4. Dion Waiters – Waiters can be a good NBA player, but his spot on this list relates more to where he’s been projected to be selected than anything. He may be a top eight pick come this Thursday, but I don’t believe he is a better NBA prospect than Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Ross, or Austin Rivers, all of whom will be drafted after him.
Four impact second-round picks:
1. Terrel Stoglin – Stoglin likely should have returned to college for his junior season, but he entered the draft and may even go undrafted. But, he’s incredibly good at scoring, and could definitely help a team’s second unit.
2. Jared Cunningham – Cunningham is being considered by a few teams towards the end of round one, but if he falls into the second round, he would be a steal. He is one of the best athletes in the draft, and with time could develop into a solid combo guard.
3. Mike Scott – Scott is undersized to play PF in the NBA, but he can consistently hit mid-range jumpers as well as provide hustle plays. If he is able to develop a defensive presence to complement his offense and work-ethic, he could become a solid bench player.
4. Khris Middleton - Middleton did not have a good season last year, but he will likely still be drafted at some point in the second round. While, his shot struggled last season, he has the athleticism to score in a variety ways as well as develop into a good defensive role player.
Four best shooters:
1. John Jenkins - No player hit more three pointers last season than Jenkins who made 129-288 (45%) from behind the arc. His elite shooting skills should translate well to the NBA and will likely be drafted towards the end of round one.
2. Kim English - English comes from the high-scoring Missouri offense where he made 78-165 (48%) from three and shot 52% from the field. He has good size and should fit in well as a shooter off the bench in the NBA.
3. Bradley Beal - Beal may get drafted as high as number two and he has drawn comparisons to one of the all-time greatest NBA shooters in Ray Allen.
4. Terrence Ross - Ross has a phenomenal shooting form as well as the athleticism and size to develop into a very good SG/SF. He really came on strong towards the end of the season, helping Washington advance to the NIT semifinals.
Four best motors:
1. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist - MKG is not especially great at one thing, but he is good at a lot of things. What separates him from other prospects is how much energy he plays with. He will do all the small things that help a team win and as he develops other aspects of his game, he has the chance to be a very good NBA player.
2. Jae Crowder - Crowder played forward in college, but his size will really hurt him in the NBA. He is likely a second round pick, and should make a team just based on effort. He rebounds well for his size and continually plays hard.
3. Quincy Acy - Acy reminds me a lot of what Reggie Evans has become in the NBA. He can come off the bench and provide some energy, defense, and rebounding in short spurts and should be selected in the second round.
4. Jeff Taylor - Taylor is an intriguing prospect because he has the potential to be very good. He is one of the best athletes in this year’s draft and his defensive potential alone should help him succeed in the NBA.
Four immediate impact players:
1. Anthony Davis - This is the obvious selection as Davis should immediately start at center for the Hornets. He will instantly upgrade their defense and will contend for leading the league in blocks in his rookie season. As his offense develops, he could become one of the best two-way players in the league.
2. Harrison Barnes - Barnes struggled at times last season, but he is a great athlete, very smart, and works hard. Depending on where he lands in the draft, he has the potential to score 15-18 points per game his rookie season.
3. Jeremy Lamb - UConn was a mess last season, which did not help Lamb’s progression at all, but given his size and ability to score he should transition well to the NBA.
4. Thomas Robinson - It will take time for Robinson to adjust to playing against bigger and stronger players, but once he does, he will instantly help a team with rebounding and eventually scoring.
1. Tony Wroten Jr. - Wroten was one of the top high school prospects two years ago, and he had some success last season at Washington, but scouts do not love his shot, shot selection, or point guard skills. Nonetheless, he has an amazing athlete that could prove people wrong with maturity and coaching.
2. Jeff Taylor - Taylor was discussed above, and I think many teams around the NBA might view him as primarily a defensive player similar to Thabo Sefolosha, but his offense has improved while at Vanderbilt and he could become a good player on both ends.
3. Moe Harkless - Harkless is projected to be picked somewhere in the first round, but he has not received a lot of hype. He has good size and only played one year in college, but with some seasoning, his versatile skill-set might make teams regret passing on him.
4. Quincy Miller - Miller probably should have returned to college and given his prior injury history, team’s are shying away from him. What he does have is incredible length and if he could bulk a little he could become a good SF in the league.