The 2014 NBA draft is loaded with talent throughout the first round.
It all starts at the top, where there is no clear-cut answer for the No. 1 pick, but rather three exciting prospects who will all be in consideration for the spot should they decide to declare.
Although Andrew Wiggins’ lackluster freshman year at Kansas has dulled a bit of the hype surrounding the phenomenal athlete, there is still no denying that he is a rare talent. In fact, if this class weren’t so loaded, he would be a no-brainer as the top selection in the draft.
However, with his college teammate Joel Embiid and Duke’s Jabari Parker also likely entering the draft, there are numerous ways it could go.
Here’s a look at how I see it all playing out.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Forced to predict which player will go No. 1, I’m siding with the tall guy. Joel Embiid is 7’0″, and he can move. He also has solid hands.
The Cameroon native has only been playing basketball for three years, so he has a lot of developing to do, but he’s shown that he has enough tools to make an immediate impact while he learns the finer points of the game.
Teams have a hard time passing on a big man with with athleticism, and I don’t expect any team to pass on Embiid.
As for his fit in Milwaukee, he is not the best piece, as pointed out by Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy:
When drafting No. 1, however, fit is not as big a concern as grabbing the best player.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
Andrew Wiggins has had an inconsistent freshman year at Kansas, as he’s prone to mental lapses on offense and defense.
He is, however, also prone to dominating on offense and defense.
With a refined offensive game and more discipline on defense, Wiggins will be dominant on both sides of the ball at the next level.
The 76ers would have an athletic, young and exciting nucleus with the addition of Wiggins.
3. Orlando Magic: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Jabari Parker is the most pro-ready prospect of the big three in this class. He has a refined offensive game and a strong shooting stroke.
His game draws comparisons to Carmelo Anthony, and he also has the kind of potential to be just as effective on offense as Anthony.
He would pair well with the athletic Victor Oladipo on the wing for the Magic.
4. Boston Celtics: Noah Vonleh, PF/C, Indiana
Noah Vonleh has great length and athleticism, and the Boston Celtics can certainly use the help in the frontcourt.
Vonleh stands just 6’8″, but he has a 7’4″ wingspan. This will help propel him to be the first power forward off the board.
5. Los Angeles Lakers: Dante Exum, PG, Australia
Dante Exum is an exciting point guard prospect. There are some concerns about how his draft process will play out, however.
Would Exum go so far as to try to angle his way onto the Lakers, who currently have the fifth-worst record in the NBA? That’s the concern among some front-office executives around the league.
In the end, Exum may not have to do much angling. Without taking into consideration his desire, I have him mocked to the Lakers at No. 5.
6. Denver Nuggets (via New York Knicks): Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
The Denver Nuggets need help in the backcourt, and they won’t find a more exciting prospect available than Smart.
Smart’s draft stock has taken a bit of a hit this season, but he’s still a natural leader and a dynamic playmaker.
7. Sacramento Kings: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
A potential pairing of DeMarcus Cousins and Julius Randle in the frontcourt is downright frightening. This would give the Kings a strong and menacing interior presence.
Randle was once considered a candidate to go No. 1 overall, but his lack of length has raised some questions about his ability to transition to the NBA. At 6’9″ and with relatively short arms, his lack of length won’t be as concerning next to Cousins.
8. Utah Jazz: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
The Utah Jazz must improve at point guard, and that is why Tyler Ennis would be a wise selection.
Ennis’ draft stock has been on the rise. He is a heady player with good size. He is also selfless and will look to get his teammates involved before getting off his own shot.
9. Cleveland Cavalliers: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
With Luol Deng likely heading toward free agency after the season, the Cavs could wind up being on the lookout for a small forward.
Rodney Hood is a strong option, even though he has a far different game than Deng. Hood’s value comes mostly on the offensive end, as he has a nice outside stroke and can handle the ball.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans): Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
If the draft plays out like this, the Philadelphia 76ers may emerge with the most athletic team in the NBA.
Zach LaVine is explosive and has jaw-dropping hops. He also has a solid outside shot. He does need to work on his ball-handling and decision-making, however, to be a full-time point guard. Even if that doesn’t materialize, he will be an exciting option to bring off the bench.
11. Charlotte Bobcats (via Detroit Pistons): Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
Aaron Gordon would bring needed athleticism to a burgeoning frontcourt in Charlotte.
He will need to refine his offensive game to be a consistent force, but he has all the tools to be a huge factor on both ends of the court.
12. Orlando Magic (via Denver Nuggets): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
Gary Harris has a solid shooting touch and a phylsical presence.
He will fit right in with the Orlando Magic during their current rebuilding process. His physicality would pair well on the wing with Parker, who I have the Magic taking at No. 3.
13. Boston Celtics (via Atlanta Hawks): Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
Doug McDermott is a natural scorer, and he would be an exciting option for the Celtics at No. 13.
McDermott could back up Jeff Green. The two could also function in the lineup together to form a formidable offensive combo.
14. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte Bobcats): Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
The Chicago Bulls always seem to need more shooting. Adreian Payne would give them a strong shooting option from the frontcourt.
He’s shooting over 40 percent from three-point land at Michigan State.
15. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets): Jerami Grant, SF/PF, Syracuse
Jerami Grant is going to have to refine his shooting stroke and and ball-handling to excel in the NBA.
He is an intriguing prospect, however. At 6’8″ and 210 pounds, he has ample athleticism for his size, and that athleticism will be a welcome addition to Atlanta’s frontcourt.
16. Minnesota Timberwolves: Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia
At 6’10″, Dario Saric has a good shooting touch and is decent with the ball. Like many international players, he needs to bulk up in order to handle the physicality of the NBA.
Saric is a decent value here, and he would give the Timberwolves increased depth in the frontcourt. He would also provide an insurance policy should Kevin Love leave for greener pastures after next season.
17. Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards): P.J. Hairston, SG/SF, D-League
Playing in the NBA D-League, Hairston has posted two 40-point contests this season. Needless to say, he is a natural scorer.
His overall game needs refinement, but the Suns could use his ability to create buckets.
18. Chicago Bulls: James Young, SF/SG, Kentucky
James Young is an athletic wing player. He has the ability to take defenders off the dribble and play solid defense on the perimeter.
He certainly fits the mold of a Tom Thibodeau player, and he will be able to provide solid minutes off the bench.
19. Toronto Raptors: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
Coming out of Switzerland, there hasn’t been a lot of buzz on Clint Capela. However, at 6’10.5″ and with a 7’3″ wingspan, per DraftExpress.com, he is going to grab scouts’ attention.
He is definitely a project pick, but he would bring a huge upside to Toronto.
20. Memphis Grizzlies: Kyle Anderson, SF/PG, UCLA
Kyle Anderson has a very unique skill set. He has the size to play small forward but the ball skills to play point guard.
He is not ripe with athleticism, however, which will see him last on the board until pick No. 20.
He is a good fit in Memphis. His skills balance out with the defensive-minded Tony Allen.
21. Phoenix Suns: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
Montrezl Harrell isn’t going to blow anyone away with his offensive game, but he is a strong player and solid interior presence.
The Suns could use increased depth in the frontcourt, and his physicality would be a welcome addition.
22. Dallas Mavericks: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
Willie Cauley-Stein has a strong defensive presence down low. The Mavericks have needed this kind of presence since Tyson Chandler left.
Cauley-Stein isn’t going to dominate on offense, but playing alongside Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas won’t need him to.
23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Nik Stauskas is a good shooter with enough athleticism to create his own shot.
With the Jazz in jeopardy of losing Gordon Hayward as a restricted free agent this summer, Stauskas would help fill the void that loss would create.
24. Los Angeles Clippers: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Elfrid Payton has great athleticism and solid height at 6’3″. He badly needs to improve his jumper, but he can do that with hard work.
With the Clippers, he will be able to work on that while playing light minutes behind Chris Paul.
25. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland Trail Blazers): Wayne Selden Jr., SG, Kansas
The Bobcats have to increase their offensive efficiency to go with their strong defense.
Wayne Selden Jr. is a natural scorer from the backcourt and could provide an offensive spark off of the Bobcats bench.
26. Houston Rockets: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
The Houston Rockets are loaded at center, but it’s been no secret that Omer Asik is less than thrilled with his backup role.
27. San Antonio Spurs: Terran Petteway, SG/SF, Nebraska
Terran Petteway is not the typical Spurs player. He is explosive, athletic, unpredictable and unrefined on the offensive end.
That’s what makes this such an intriguing pick. If Gregg Popovich can instill a disciplined offensive approach in Petteway, he has a chance to be a force.
28. Miami Heat: K.J. McDaniels, SF/SG, Clemson
K.J. McDaniels is a good athlete and a strong defensive player.
If the Miami Heat keep their current core in tact, his defense on the wing would be a strong fit, and it would also help take some of the defensive pressure off of stars LeBron James and Dwyane Wade.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Markel Brown, SG, Oklahoma State
Markel Brown is a tremendous athlete. He could add depth to Oklahoma City’s backcourt while giving them a solid defensive option off the bench. He would also be a boost to their transition game.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana Pacers): Nick Johnson, PG, Arizona
Nick Johnson is a heady guard with strong athleticism. Of course, we shouldn’t have to tell the Phoenix Suns this, as he is playing his college ball in their backyard.
The Suns would welcome the depth he’d bring to their backcourt.
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Rarely does the NBA draft receive as much attention as its NFL counterpart, but that might change in 2014.
There is such an incredible amount of projected talent in the upcoming NBA draft that it sparked discussions of tanking as a valid strategy for a number of teams before the year even started. It is the rare draft that there is both franchise-changing talent on the top and depth that will give almost every team with a pick in the first round an opportunity to grab a contributor.
Unlike the NFL draft, we still do not know which teams will be picking where in the NBA. Consider this mock draft something of a projection on what will happen with both the players selected and the order of the picks as trades and the playoffs develop.
All underclassmen included in this mock are assumed to be declaring early for the NBA eventually.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, Duke
The debate over the No. 1 pick is always an exercise in weighing projected ceilings with immediate readiness.
Jabari Parker may not have the ceiling that Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid do, but he is also the surest bet in the draft. He can score from anywhere on the floor, is a solid shot-blocker on the defensive end and is a better rebounder than advertised.
Don’t underestimate the value of spending a year under the tutelage of Mike Krzyzewski either.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, Kansas
Ending up with Embiid as a consolation prize at the No. 2 pick is something of a dream come true for the 76ers (or whatever team lands here).
There is no better rim-protector in this draft class than the Kansas big man, and he is a formidable rebounder as well. Embiid can also score from the low block, which is necessary for any squad taking a chance on a center with a top-five selection.
3. Utah Jazz: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
The hype surrounding Wiggins before the season started was borderline unfair, but he is still one of the most intriguing prospects in this draft class even though he hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations.
His ceiling is through the roof thanks to his versatility and athleticism. Much like Parker, he can score from anywhere on the floor, get out in transition, contribute in the rebounding department and is a solid defender.
Don’t be surprised if Wiggins ends up being the top pick after all.
4. Orlando Magic: Julius Randle, Kentucky
CBS Sports’ Zach Harper did a solid job of summarizing the abilities and concerns surrounding Julius Randle as a top-notch draft pick:
The Zach Randolph comparison was made for Randle. It’s not an insult by any means. Randle will have to learn to bully his way into the paint against much bigger players in the NBA, but he has the body and skill set to do it. Is it a bad thing to draft the next Z-Bo? Not at all. It’s just a bit of a ceiling letdown when you think about ceilings of the three players ahead of him.
From a talent standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than Randle. While there are some valid worries about his ability to overpower big men at the NBA level, Randle is too enticing of a prospect to pass up at the No. 4 spot.
5. Sacramento Kings: Dante Exum, Australia
Dante Exum is the biggest mystery in the entire NBA draft, largely because the competition he faces on a regular basis isn’t exactly NBA-caliber.
However, he is incredibly talented and a genuine on-court leader. He has scoring abilities, is a solid defender and gets out in transition with ease.
Whichever team selects Exum will be looking for a point guard of the future that can last for years to come.
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, Arizona
In a different draft, Arizona’s Aaron Gordon would undoubtedly contend for the No. 1 pick, but there is so much talent he will slide a bit to a lucky team at six.
Gordon is something of a young Blake Griffin with his high-flying abilities above the rim, his rebounding prowess and his finishing touch in the paint.
He contests enough shots on the defensive end as well to warrant a high selection.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
It hasn’t been the best month for Marcus Smart.
Smart was suspended for shoving a fan in a game at Texas Tech, and while it certainly hurts his Oklahoma State team, if Sean Deveney of Sporting News is to be believed, it won’t hurt his draft stock:
That is mainly because Smart is a terrific scorer and capable long-range shooter who also excels on the defensive end. Smart’s talent will make it easy to overlook some of the maturity questions that arise after the latest incident for many scouts.
8. Los Angeles Lakers: Gary Harris, Michigan State
You would be hard-pressed to find a shooting guard in college basketball who looks more like an NBA scorer than Gary Harris.
Harris is a solid three-point shooter, can drive the lane with ease and hit free throws when he is fouled at the rim. He is also an improving defender, which will be highly valued in this draft class.
9. Denver Nuggets (via New York Knicks): Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Indiana has fallen on hard times this season by Hoosiers’ standards, but Noah Vonleh is still a terrific rebounder with a bright future in the NBA.
Outside of the fact that he may be the best pure rebounder in the draft, Vonleh’s wingspan means he challenges shots on a regular basis on the defensive end. He has the strength to bully players at the NBA level as well, which is something that is still a question mark for many players his age.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Charlotte Bobcats): Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
Harper of CBS Sports once again breaks down the upside and concerns for a top prospect in this draft. This time it is Willie Cauley-Stein of Kentucky:
I’m not sure how low is ceiling is on offense and he shoots free throws like he’s blindfolded. But he can protect the rim with the best of them and will likely be a good rebounder at the NBA level. Don’t want to get ahead of myself here but could he be a taller Ben Wallace-type of defender?
A taller Ben Wallace is certainly an enticing thought.
11. Charlotte Bobcats (via Detroit Pistons): Rodney Hood, Duke
Rodney Hood may get overshadowed by Parker whenever Duke takes the court, but he is probably the better three-point shooter of the two and is a better defender.
He possesses incredible playmaking ability, can drive the lane, hit open teammates and finish at the rim. He also has the highly coveted tandem of athleticism and size that NBA teams are always looking for from their small forwards.
12. Orlando Magic (via Denver Nuggets): James Young, Kentucky
Gary Parrish of CBS Sports gives us a peek at some inside information regarding James Young’s draft status:
John Calipari told me in October that some NBA scouts thought Young was Kentucky’s best prospect. I don’t think I believed him then, and I’m still not sure I believe him now. But that statement sounds more reasonable today than it did then.
It may be a bit premature to call Young a better prospect than Randle, but he is a capable long-range shooter and is long enough to be a solid defender.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Doug McDermott, Creighton
Doug McDermott may be the best college basketball player in America. ESPN’s Andy Katz pleads for fans to appreciate his overall career:
While McDermott’s college career has been incredible, NBA scouts only care about how he will produce at the next level. There are concerns about his ability to defend, but he is such a great scorer that someone will take a chance on him in the first round.
Look for McDermott to be the best three-point shooter in the NBA in this draft class.
14. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte Bobcats): Jerami Grant, Syracuse
There are some legitimate concerns about Jerami Grant.
He isn’t a great shooter, which is a problem for a potential small forward. He also is too small to bang around with the bigger guys in the paint in the NBA.
However, Grant is a great rebounder, especially for his size, and can drive the lane against bigger defenders. He will find a way to be productive at the next level.
15. Memphis Grizzlies: Wayne Selden, Kansas
Wonder why Kansas will be on the short list of Final Four contenders in March?
Wayne Selden is the third Jayhawk to appear on this list and we are only on No. 15. Selden gets a bit overshadowed by Wiggins and Embiid, but he is still a productive scorer and has the size and athleticism to be a productive forward at the NBA level.
16. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets): Dario Saric, Croatia
Harper of CBS Sports introduces us to the prospect that is Dario Saric:
He’s a really tall small forward that has improved his scoring output as of late and has a good-looking outside stroke right now. Throw him in some one-on-one workouts and it would be easy for GMs to be dazzled by him. Could be lottery bound.
It is easy to overvalue players on their performances in workouts before the draft, but Saric has the ability to deliver on his promise if put in the right situation.
17. Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards): Zach LaVine, UCLA
Zach LaVine is the rare point guard prospect who can shoot from anywhere on the floor and throw down some of the nastiest dunks in college basketball.
From an offensive versatility standpoint, it doesn’t get much better than LaVine.
18. Chicago Bulls: Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
Tyler Ennis does a little bit of everything for Syracuse.
He is a great facilitator, which is always a must for a first-round point guard, is a solid defender and can score when needed. He proved he has the clutch gene when he drilled a quarter-court dagger at the buzzer to knock off rival Pittsburgh.
19. Toronto Raptors: Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
Which Harrison brother will be drafted higher?
The guess here is Aaron, partially because he projects as a shooting guard, one of the weakest positions in the NBA. He is a solid shooter and overall playmaker and has the athleticism to become a better defender than he has showed at Kentucky thus far.
20. Boston Celtics (via Atlanta Hawks): Montrezl Harrell
Montrezl Harrell isn’t the ideal height for an NBA big man, but his overall strength and willingness to battle on the boards will translate to the professional level.
Harrell has the athleticism and leaping ability that is needed to challenge shots down low in the NBA. He needs some improvement on the offensive end to be considered a sure-fire NBA contributor, but the good outweighs the bad here.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Jordan Adams, UCLA
Jordan Adams is the rare college basketball superstar who excels on both ends of the floor.
He is a terrific shooter and can score from almost anywhere in the half-court offense. He can drive past defenders with an explosive first step. He even has the ability to score from mid-range, which isn’t a given in today’s game.
Yet, it is Adams’ defensive skills that will lead him to the first round.
22. Dallas Mavericks: Jahii Carson, Arizona State
If only the 40-yard dash was used as a legitimate metric in the NBA evaluation process like it is in the NFL.
Jahii Carson may be the fastest player in America. His speed and acceleration ability help him overcome his lack of size, especially in transition.
If Carson is paired with a number of impressive finishers at the rim in the NBA, it could be an entertaining offense to watch.
23. Phoenix Suns: Mario Hezonja, Croatia
Mario Hezonja is another high-risk, high-reward pick who will likely thrill scouts in the individual workouts before the draft but may not deliver on his vast potential against NBA competition.
His upside will certainly inspire some team to take a flyer on him.
24. Houston Rockets: Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
Harper is a bit harsh on Andrew Harrison when evaluating his NBA potential:
I’m just not buying that he’s an NBA point guard at this point. I could buy him being a combo guard off the bench, but as someone to run my team? He seems like a much worse version of Brandon Knight at the point. I still think he’s a rotation player but the hype is gone.
The point guard position is so deep at the NBA level that it is hard to imagine Harrison as a legitimate superstar one day.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Mitch McGary, Michigan
Mitch McGary could have been a top-10 pick last year, but he chose to come back to school.
In hindsight, that may not have been the best decision for reasons completely out of his control. He is battling chronic back injuries that may knock him out for the entire season. NBA teams will certainly move him down their big boards because of health concerns.
However, when healthy, McGary is a very productive big guy thanks to his rebounding and scoring abilities.
26. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland Trail Blazers): Semaj Christon, Xavier
Semaj Christon is one of the more underrated players in all of college basketball largely because he plays at Xavier.
He is a formidable playmaker off the dribble, is capable of hitting from behind the three-point line and has the athleticism and speed to stay in front of his opponents on the defensive end.
His size as a point guard makes him an even more intriguing prospect.
27. Miami Heat: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
When you are the Miami Heat at this point, you take the best player available.
Talent-wise and NBA-pedigree wise, that will be Glenn Robinson III from Michigan.
Robinson can score from mid-range, post up smaller defenders and has solid touch from behind the arc. He is a capable defender as well, and his last name will probably boost him up a spot or two come draft day.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Robinson’s teammate at Michigan, Nik Stauskas, has carried the Wolverines without McGary this season.
He is a dangerous shooter from behind the three-point line, can create his own shot and has the size to defend and post up.
Teams will be intrigued by his shooting skills, but he does more than just that for Michigan.
29. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana Pacers): Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Much like McGary, injuries are a concern for Adreian Payne of Michigan State.
He is dealing with foot problems this season, which is something that can become crippling in the long run, but when healthy he is one of the best players in all of college basketball. He is a terrific rebounder, can score from the low block and even has three-point shooting prowess.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder: LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
LaQuinton Ross has an NBA skill set, even if his collegiate career has been a study in inconsistency.
He is a formidable long-range shooter, can post up smaller defenders and isn’t a bad rebounder for his size. Ross may be a bit thin in terms of NBA forwards, but his ability to score makes him an intriguing prospect at the end of the first round.
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Tweet Remember Royce White? If not, White is the talented forward that the Houston Rockets took with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 draft who never played a single game for the Rockets due to his anxiety disorder and fear of flying. Houston eventually dealt White to the 76ers after his rookie year and Philly released him shorty before this season, prompting Rockets GM Daryl Morey to proclaim White as arguably the worst first round pick ever. “I take some sort of pride that you could argue that Royce White is the worst first-round pick ever. He’s the only one that never played a minute in the NBA that wasn’t just a foreign guy staying in Europe. It just shows we swing for the fence,” Morey quipped. (via rockets.clutchfans.net) Morey may be on to something. While a ton of other first round picks haven’t panned out over the years — like Michael Olowokandi, and more recently Anthony Bennett – White is the only one American draftee in recent memory who didn’t pl
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The early returns from the 2013-14 NBA All-Star voting are in courtesy of an official release from NBA.com, and there’s one universal trend as LeBron James, Kevin Durant and… Kobe Bryant rise to the top of the polls: Popularity matters far more than what has happened on the basketball court.
So basically, it’s the same as it’s ever been, just with different names. If voting ended today, the starting lineups would be as follows:
|Point Guard||Shooting Guard||Small Forward||Power Forward||Center|
|Eastern Conference||Kyrie Irving||Dwyane Wade||Paul George||Carmelo Anthony||LeBron James|
|Western Conference||Chris Paul||Kobe Bryant||Kevin Durant||Blake Griffin||Dwight Howard|
Let’s run through each section of the voting, starting with the Eastern Conference frontcourt and finishing with the Western Conference’s guards.
Eastern Conference Frontcourt
This is the most acceptable of the four groupings, as the fans got it almost perfect.
LeBron James and Paul George definitely deserve to be the two leading vote-getters (both in this section and in the Eastern Conference as a whole), and that’s exactly what happened.
It’s the Carmelo Anthony selection that’s a little more questionable, as the New York Knicks superstar has struggled with his shot and been unable to lead his team to a successful record. Roy Hibbert (No. 4) would be a more deserving candidate, and you could make a convincing argument for Andre Drummond (No. 11) or Luol Deng (No. 9) as well.
Eastern Conference Guards
Now here’s an interesting group of players.
Few players have actually managed to distinguish themselves among the field of Eastern Conference guards, but there are two egregious selections here.
Derrick Rose wasn’t very good at all during his return from an ACL tear, and he’s since gone down with a torn meniscus. How exactly does 15.9 points per game on 35.4 percent shooting translate to a top spot in the voting?
Popularity, which is also the explanation for Kyrie Irving’s presence in the above tweet. The Cleveland Cavaliers floor general has struggled with his shot throughout the season, and he’s failed to take that next step forward.
In terms of merit, John Wall should be rising to the top, but that’s not how it works.
Western Conference Frontcourt
Not many surprises here.
Kevin Durant was both the leading vote-getter among Western Conference frontcourt players and the conference as a whole, and he deserves to be. In fact, he’s 100k votes clear of the field.
Dwight Howard is the proper selection at center, and it’s Blake Griffin who emerges as the most questionable pick. Griffin has played fantastic basketball throughout the 2013-14 campaign, showing off an expanding arsenal of moves on offense while actually trying on defense, so he’s a solid selection.
That said, Kevin Love (No. 4) and LaMarcus Aldridge (No. 8) are both having better seasons.
Western Conference Guards
Now we get to the worst of all. With the exception of Chris Paul’s presence in the starting lineup, nothing really makes sense.
Kobe Bryant will eventually start looking like an All-Star, but let’s allow Hardwood Paroxysm to take it away:
At the time of the voting, Kobe had played two games, and the Los Angeles Lakers had lost both of them. I suppose he’s been incredibly motivational from his seat on the bench.
Additionally, Jeremy Lin should be nowhere near the top four. He’s had a good year as he’s alternated between a starting and bench role for the Houston Rockets, but can you make a convincing argument for him over Damian Lillard (No. 10), Tony Parker (No. 7), Russell Westbrook (No. 6) or James Harden (No. 5)?
It just goes hand-in-hand with the frustration that we always feel after the fan vote, which is a necessary evil.
This year is no different than any other.
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In a college basketball season filled with a number of exciting NBA prospects, there will be a few to watch for during the 2013 Maui Invitational.
The championship round for the Maui Invitational will take place from November 25-27, with eight exciting teams going at it. That includes host school Chaminade, a team that tries to pull off big upsets every year.
Below is a look at some of the most exciting NBA draft prospects to watch for, breaking down what they do best, what they could improve on and where they could expect to be taken in the draft.
Tyrone Wallace, PG/SG, California Golden Bears
While not the biggest name heading into next June, Tyrone Wallace has shown early in the 2013-2014 season that he’s quickly improving as a scorer, and that means that he’s becoming an intriguing prospect if he decides to enter the NBA draft.
Wallace has improved across the board as a scorer this season, just look at the numbers below.
That kind of development says a lot about a player of his caliber, especially as just a sophomore. He’s quickly starting to find his shot, and his ability to run the offense or play off of the ball makes him capable of scoring in a number of ways.
While the improvement is certainly there, Wallace is going to have to keep improving in order to impress NBA scouts. He needs to add some muscle to his 6’5” frame, and if he does that, he could be a player taken in the middle or end of the second round.
Cory Jefferson, PF, Baylor Bears
Entering his senior season with the Baylor Bears, Cory Jefferson has been a great player for the program over the past few years. In 2012, he averaged 13.3 points and 8.0 rebounds per game, shooting 61 percent from the field.
For a power forward, Jefferson possesses a consistent mid-range jumper that helps him score from a large area of the floor. His long arms help him contest shots down low and grab rebounds, which makes him an ideal prospect at the position.
While a lot of aspects of his game look good, there are certainly things that Jefferson could do to get better. He’s been an efficient scorer while at Baylor, but he needs to work on not being as predictable in the post game, working on different moves. His long arms are certainly a plus, but his skinny frame could make it hard for him to go up against stronger players at the next level.
Overall, Jefferson has the potential to be taken late in the first round or early in the second in June. If he can work on developing more moves down low and bulk up a little bit, he could be a serious threat down low in the NBA.
Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse Orange
When it comes to pro prospects, there won’t be a bigger one to watch than Jerami Grant with the Syracuse Orange.
A freakish athlete with a huge wingspan, Grant is an intimidating player on both sides of the ball. At 6’8”, he towers over other small forwards and continues to make big plays on offense and defense. With his size and athleticism, Grant can match up against a number of different positions.
At this point, Grant is still a developing prospect. He’s working on becoming a more versatile offensive player who can handle the ball and drive to the basket, as well as working on developing a post game.
Still, Grant has crazy upside with a high basketball IQ and the potential to be an awesome defensive-minded small forward at the next level. Based off of his potential, some team with a strong roster already is bound to take him in the middle of the first round.
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A Cinderella story. Outta nowhere. A former NBA champion, now, about to play golf with the President of the United States of America.
According to Chuck Schilken of the Los Angeles Times, former NBA superstar Alonzo Mourning got the opportunity of a lifetime on Saturday when he took the links with President Barack Obama. Not only that, but they also did so at the Grande Oaks Golf Club in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., the course made famous in the classic movie Caddyshack.
Along with U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Cyrus Walker, the cousin of senior presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett, Obama and Mourning got in a round of golf on Saturday, as the POTUS was in town for three fundraisers earlier in the day.
It had to have been a pretty cool experience for everyone involved.
For Mourning, it’s obvious: Getting to play 18—or nine (the report doesn’t specify)—with the leader of the USA isn’t something that very many people on the planet get the chance to do.
On the other side of things, Obama is a well-known basketball aficionado, and the chance to chat with Mourning, who in his prime was one of the most physically imposing, impressive players in the world, had to have been fun, even for the man who has met everyone.
Mourning, the former No. 2 overall pick out of Georgetown who played for the Charlotte Hornets, Miami Heat and New Jersey Nets during his 16 seasons in the NBA, was a seven-time All-Star and two-time Defensive Player of the Year.
He finally captured his first NBA championship in 2006 during his second stint in Miami, where his jersey is now retired.
Bill Murray and Chevy Chase being in the foursome just might have made it the greatest pairing in golf history, but it still would have been pretty great to be a fly on that golf cart on Saturday morning.
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This comes as no surprise. Orlando is still recovering from the loss of Dwight Howard. After drafting Victor Oladipo, Orlando envisions turning him into a point guard, that’s when rumors circulated that Jameer Nelson’s time in Orlando was near an end. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, Orlando is listening to offers involving draft picks. […]
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At this time last year, Los Angeles Laker fans were jumping for joy as Dwight Howard joined the team. People were penciling them in to play Miami in the NBA Finals. Needless to say, it was a failure. Dwight struggled with health issues and trying to find his niche with the team and left after one year, Mike Brown was fired after a handful of games and Mike “NO D” Antoni stepped in, and coup de gras: Kobe tearing his ACL. Somehow, they got to the playoffs only to be dismantled by the Spurs in an emphatic sweep.
Now, without Dwight, Antawn Jamison, and Metta World Peace among others, the Lakers in my opinion seem to be a bit in limbo. There are some definite problems with this team. First, Kobe Bryant and his recovery. Listen, Kobe is one of the best basketball players in the world currently but he is 35 and trying to get healthy coming off his first major injury of his illustrious career. I guess everyone believes that is Adrian Peterson can do it, so can I. I don’t know when he i
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LJUBLJANA, Slovenia (AP) — San Antonio Spurs star Tony Parker scored 28 points Sunday to lead France past Ukraine 77-71 and into the second round of the European basketball championship.
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The Los Angeles Lakers still have some work to do.
Signing Shawne Williams has put Los Angeles’ roster at 13 players, two short of the 15-player limit. Though the Lakers may leave that 15th and final slot open to address any sudden needs during the regular season, smart money says they will add at least one more player to the docket.
Two-plus months into the offseason, there isn’t much available in terms of impact players. What the Lakers are looking at now is the bottom of the barrel, remaining slag from the NBA‘s free-agent festivities.
No player they sign now, or relatively soon, will transform them from a fringe playoff contender into a championship outfit. Chances are whoever they land will have a marginal effect on their plans at best.
But that doesn’t make rounding out the personnel any less important. The Lakers must find the right fit, someone who can contribute if called upon.
Someone who satisfies one or more of the many needs their roster still has.
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