Jabari Parker‘s Duke team played at Boston College tonight, and Celtics GM Danny Ainge was spotted in attendance by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, presumably to get a look at the forward (Twitter link). Parker did not disappoint, totaling career highs in points (29) and rebounds (16) for the Blue Devils. Here are some more notes surrounding the upcoming draft:
Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe covers Parker‘s looming decision to enter the draft or not, and weighs opinions on whether his skill set will translate to the level of an NBA franchise player, potentially for the Celtics.
Jake Henson of Sheridan Hoops updated his mock draft lottery, slotting Kansas freshman Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins in the first and second slots, respectively.
Matt Moore of CBS Sports thinks that Aaron Gordon‘s talent level is so high, he could have gone first overall in last year’s draft. Moore gives a thorough rundown for Gordon’s game and stellar upside, while also pointing out some of his current weaknesses.
Here’s the latest we’ve come across regarding the 2014 NBA Draft:
Adam Zagoria of Zagsblog.com (via Jeff Goodman of ESPN) tweets that Kansas center Joel Embiid is leaning toward staying another year in school. If true, this significantly impacts the 2014 draft, as the 7’0 big man has been projected by some to be the number one overall pick in June.
In a piece for Zagsblog, Zagoria mentions that there are some sources close to the Kansas program who believe that Embiid would prefer to stay in school, although they also think the opportunity to play in the NBA next year may eventually be too great to pass up.
In that same article, NBA analyst Greg Anthony tells Zagoria that he thinks Embiid should return to Kansas for another season: “(Joel’s) instincts aren’t where you want them to be. At (the NBA) level, they don’t teach, they coach…Our league drafts potential, it doesn’t draft a polished, finished product. I think a lot of these kids are really, really good and really talented but a lot of them could use another year.”
Anthony applied the same logic to other heralded collegiate freshmen, including Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Julius Randle, and Aaron Gordon: “I would say that Jabari’s probably the most polished of all of them…And listen, it’s gonna be hard for them not to come out, I get that part. But it wouldn’t hurt any of them to come back to school…I’m a proponent of guys being able to come out of high school. I think these kids are more talented than the draft we had a year ago, but you want them to be a little bit more polished when they come here.
Prospective 2014 lottery pick Dante Exum made it recently known that he’d like to be drafted by the Lakers next June, getting the ball rolling on speculation that his representation might try to find a way to dissuade undesired teams from drafting him. Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders doesn’t put any faith into the idea that Exum’s agent can force the Australian point guard’s way to Los Angeles, adding that the rookie contract scale removes a lot of power out of the agent’s hands during the draft process. Overall, Kyler believes Exum’s comment has been blown out of proportion and warns not to read into it too much at this point, especially since Exum has yet to meet with a single team (AllTwitterlinks).
Assistant Clippers coach Tyronn Lue reached out to recent-signee Stephen Jackson three weeks ago in an attempt to recruit him to the team, Andrew Perna of RealGM reports. Jackson made his Clippers debut tonight, playing 12 minutes in a Clippers win.
There’s a chance highly regarded prospect Aaron Gordon stays at Arizona rather than entering the 2014 draft, Chad Ford of ESPN.com suggested today as part of a chat with readers.
While the upcoming draft might be chock-full of highly regarded prospects, Shaun Powell of Sports on Earth describes the 2013 NBA Draft as potentially one of the worst classes in history. Powell breaks down the lottery selections and analyzes the contributions they’ve made to their respective clubs thus far.
A pair of players widely considered to be among the five best draft picks for 2015 made their college choices today, with Jahlil Okafor headed to Duke and Cliff Alexander bound for Kansas. Longtime recruiting analyst Tom Konchalski told Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that if Okafor picked Duke, it might influence top 2014 prospect Jabari Parker to stay an extra year in school so he can play with his AAU teammate. That would be quite a surprise, but there’s plenty of time left before Parker and other potential 2014 early entrants have to decide whether to declare for the draft, so a lot can happen. Here’s the latest on the 2014 class:
Tuesday’s talent showcase at the Champions Classic was quite a spectacle, but it didn’t help at least one GM draw any conclusions, according to USA Today’s Sam Amick. “To be honest, I think (Tuesday) night muddied the waters even more,” the unnamed GM said.
Another GM gave Amick his top five prospects: Andrew Wiggins, Parker, Dante Exum, Aaron Gordon and Julius Randle. That’s the same top five that a GM listed for Zagoria, though it’s unclear whether those are different GMs or the same one.
Gery Woelfel of the Racine Journal Times compares the 2014 draft class to the one that came 20 years before it, opining that Wiggins, Parker and Randle are analogous to Glenn Robinson, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill, the top three picks from 1994 (Twitter link).
The 2014 NBA Draft is said to be the deepest in league history. Multiple prospects who would have gone as the top pick in previous drafts may now be relegated to a lower draft position. With such an influx of talent, Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld details some of the favorites in next summer's heralded class.
Brigham attempts to sift through the brightest prospects to provide a blueprint for how the order might play out a year from now. The players he spotlights include incoming college freshman, Andrew Wiggins (Kansas), Julius Randle (Kentucky), Jabari Parker (Duke), Aaron Gordon (Arizona), Oklahoma State sophomore Marcus Smart and Australian Dante Exum.
But even with these players as supposed locks for the lottery, things can change. As Brigham notes in his piece, last year's two prized players expected to be the top two picks in the 2013 Draft, Shabazz Muhammad and Cody Zeller, both fell after the following college basketball season concluded despite neither suffering a major injury. Muhammad even fell out of the top 10 all the way to the Timberwolves (by way of the Jazz) with the 14th pick.
It stands to reason that one of the players Brigham mentions will see his draft stock plummet before June even if all of them stay healthy. If all of these prospects stay healthy next season, and if Exum enters the draft without playing a year at an American university, which one will drop?
UNLV's Anthony Bennett is the latest NCAA underclassmen to be added to our list of 2013 early entrants, and with a number of deadlines on the calendar for April, that list figures to continue growing exponentially in the coming weeks. Here are the latest updates and stories on the 2013 NBA draft:
Indiana's Victor Oladipo remains noncommittal on whether he'll enter this year's draft, as he tells Andy Katz of ESPN.com (Twitter link via Jeff Rabjohns of Peegs.com): "I haven’t even really thought about that yet." I'm guessing that when he eventually does think about it, Oladipo will decide to go pro.
Jeff Goodman of CBSSports.com agrees that Oladipo should and will go pro, and takes a look at another 30+ underclassmen, weighing whether or not they should stay in school.
NBA executives tell Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (writing for SheridanHoops.com) that this year's draft would look entirely different if not for the NBA's age restrictions. Zagoria breaks down how the lottery might play out with no age limit, suggesting that Andrew Wiggins and three other prep players could be selected in the top five before Kentucky's Nerlens Noel. A pair of scouts also share their hypothetical mock lotteries, with Wiggins first and Noel second.
A pair of underclassmen declared their intentions to enter the NBA draft today, with N.C. State's C.J. Leslie and Kentucky's Archie Goodwin entering the mix. Here's more of what we're hearing with the draft now less than three months away:
The tournament bracket makes it clear which NCAA teams are winners, but Ben Standig of CSNWashington sorts through the March Madness winners and losers as it pertains to the draft.
Standig cites Kentucky center Nerlens Noel as a winner, and Sean Deveney of The Sporting News agrees, even though Noel has been out since February with a torn ACL (Twitter link). Other contenders to be the No. 1 overall pick, like Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore, Otto Porter and Marcus Smart all faltered, Deveney observes.
A Western Conference GM tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv that six or seven members of the 2014 draft class would be in the mix for the No. 1 pick if they were eligible this year (Twitter link).
A GM who spoke to Dave Telep of ESPN.com echoed that sentiment, citing five potential All-Stars who could be in next year's draft: Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Aaron Gordon, Julius Randle and Andrew Harrison (Twitter link).