Every other Wednesday, we’ll be assessing how the top prospects of the 2014 NBA Draft are faring in college and overseas. Stick with us each week for assorted thoughts, including the biggest risers and fallers, the standouts, the sleepers and what we know and don’t know about the next NBA Draft class…
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Welcome back! The college season is just five days old and we already have seen all the top prospects play, and play at a very high level. The 2014 NBA Draft has been talked about for years, literally, and now that it is time for the young athletes to put up or shut up, so far they have most certainly put up.
In the Fast Five each week we will look at five subjects surrounding the current draft class and then a quick list of five prospects, breaking them down in the process. Let’s get this started.
Here is the NBA Draft Fast Five.
ONE: What Do We Know?
This freshman class is legit. We already knew that on paper this group “could” be special, but after just a few days “could” has already changed to “is” and the fun has just begun. On Tuesday night a simple double-header turned into a case of “Anything you can do I can do better.”
Julius Randle came out in the second half against Michigan State and dominated with 23 points after halftime before passing on the torch to Jabari Parker in the first half against Kansas with 19 points before Andrew Wiggins, the top overall prospect, closed out the night with 16 points in the second half for the win.
That was one night, two games, and an incredible statement on the potential this season has to offer.
TWO: What Do We Not Know?
There are two things that are very clear at this point. The first is that there is no particular set order to the 2014 NBA Draft. As much as some people want there to be one, there is no guarantee that one specific player goes at the top of the draft. Wiggins, Randle, Parker, and a potential surprise (see: Cleveland’s 2013 No. 1 Overall Pick) could all be the top pick in this summer’s draft.
Then there is the other surprise – how low will NBA teams go to ensure the best odds to get one of these elite prospects?
The Philadelphia 76ers, Phoenix Suns, Boston Celtics and Dallas Mavericks have all played .500 or better ball through eight games. All four were expected to be bottom five teams in the NBA this year. Right now the Utah Jazz and the Sacramento Kings are in the driver’s seats for a top pick. Is it time to picture Wiggins in Utah, Randle a King, or Parker out on one of these hard-trodden teams out west?
THREE: Stock Rising
A few prospects stood out that were ranked a little lower than they performed. James Young (Kentucky), Wayne Selden (Kansas), and Adreian Payne (Michigan State) have been very impressive early on. The same can be said for Gary Harris (Michigan State) and T.J. Warren (N.C. State) with their play so far.
Lots of time for some players to outplay their projections, but nobody has come on to the point where we have another Victor Oladipo or Damian Lillard on our hands.