Early 2014 Mock Lottery
Our first look at an extended mock lottery with the season about a month away. We will update this with our first full mock draft around the start of the season. You will remember last November we went out on a limb putting Cody Zeller first, over higher rated players on many pundit's lists such as Nerlens Noel and Shabazz Muhammad. After a somewhat disappointing season, Zeller didn't end up going first, but he did go fourth and ahead of those two.
This year, through extensive scouting (having watched the top high schoolers live on numerous occasions), we are going out on a limb with Jabari Parker 2nd over highly rated guys like Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon. We are also much higher on Marcus Smart than many teams are at this point.
This figures to be an absolutely sensational season for draft fans with one huge prize (Andrew Wiggins) at the top and a number of other extremely promising prospects such as Parker, Smart, Randle along with Dante Exum, Wayne Selden, and bigmen with huge upside in Willie Cauley Stein and Joel Embiid. The season can't come soon enough, but until then here is a look at the some of the top prospects that will be available this year...
||Andrew Wiggins 6-8 200 SF Canada Fr.||Wiggins has the greatest package of all around talent of any NBA draft prospect since LeBron James and it's no wonder that teams have begun to gut their rosters via trade in order to "tank" and position themselves for a run at him the same way that they did in 2003 for LeBron becoming draft eligible and in 2007 for Greg Oden and Kevin Durant. Wiggins has so much raw potential and talent that he still has only begun to scratch the surface in terms of skill development and maximizing his abilities. Becoming a killer (a la Jordan) and developing the attention to detail (a la Kobe) will vault him into the stratosphere and make him a generational talent that he's supposed to be. Some feel he may fall way short of all the expectations though if he buys into all the hype and doesn't stay focused and hungry and make the continue to develop. A Rudy Gay level player is likely his basement. NBA Comparison: Scottie Pippen|
||Jabari Parker 6-8 235 SF Duke Fr.||Parker is arguably the most NBA ready prospect for this year's draft and he's yet to see a minute on the college level. He's both polished and versatile and understands what it means to be a professional having grown up around the game with his father a former standout, Sonny Parker. He remains incredibly humble as well as focused and hard working. At Duke, look for him to show his versatility as he will likely be asked to play out of position a good deal with Duke's lack of quality post options. Parker may lack Wiggins' freakish athleticism, but he has sneaky athleticism and a much more polished all around game at this point. He reminds people of Melo (without the drama). NBA Comparison: Carmelo Anthony|
||Marcus Smart 6-4 225 PG/SG Oklahoma St. So.||Smart is a "different kind of dude", as one scout put it, not being surprised by his decision to stay in school and bypass the draft and a likely top 2-3 selection in 2013. Smart was playing the PG position solely for the first time in his career, so detractors must keep in mind that the holes to his game are still developing. He may always struggle to stay in front of elite point guards, but then again everyone does. He will have to get better at using his size and anticipation in order . He's a natural leader and the kind of player that makes everyone around him better just with his presence. He always seems to be a step ahead of the competition with a feel for the game that is very advanced for his age. With a premium on point guards in the league today, Smart could go as high as 2 or 3 after Wiggins in this year's draft. Comparing Smart to past NBA guys is very difficult, as he's such a unique player. NBA Comparison: Deron Williams|
||Julius Randle 6-9 240 PF Kentucky Fr.||Randle has been mentioned by some as a player with the talent to challenge Wiggins for the top overall pick. And while the talent is unquestionable, it is the consistency and desire that will need to be proven on a nightly basis in order for Randle to fulfill that sort of hype. Without a doubt, Randle is Kentucky's top prospect in a year that many consider to be Coach Calipari's greatest recruiting haul. Randle's combination of power and skill set him apart and make him a big time post prospect for the NBA level. He gets a little too enamored with facing the basket and his post game can use some polish, but he's going to be in Calipari's up tempo system and should have no trouble adjusting to the size and strength of college athletes. He's an absolute specimen. Some worry that the AAU system has spoiled him as he has gotten used to living the NBA lifestyle years before actually making it there. NBA Comparison: Larry Johnson|
||Dante Exum 6-6 185 SG Australia Fr.||Exum is the biggest wildcard of this year's draft. He's a terrific kid with a great deal of talent, but without question he's still very unproven as his biggest accomplishments have been in the form of international competitions such as the Hoop Summit where he matched up with Aaron Harrison. He also has been very impressive playing for his Australian national team in competitions such as the U19 World championships in Prague. He's got a ton of upside due to his versatility to play either guard position and extreme quickness off the dribble, and has drawn comparisons to Penny Hardaway, Had Shabazz Muhammad sat out the year and not been "exposed", a number of scouts feel he would have ridden the hype into being a top 3-5 pick in 2013. Exum has the same kind of hype behind him and could end up a top 5 pick, a la Enes Kanter without ever playing at the college level. He has some kinks to work out such as a shot that lacks much trajectory. He also much prove himself playing off the ball and playing within more of a team context as opposed to having carte blanche as he does leading his Aussie team. NBA Comparison: Penny Hardaway|
||Wayne Selden 6-5 229 SG Kansas Fr.||Selden will remind some older NBA fans of Mitch Richmond with his incredibly rugged frame and ability to score. Selden was the most impressive college prospect at this year's adidas Nations in August, showing the strength and toughness to out muscle bigs for rebounds on the inside. He has a promising jumpshot as well as the ability to finish spectacular dunks around the rim. Look for him to have a short stay in Lawrence and be an immediate sensation playing alongside Wiggins, on a team with legitimate title aspirations. NBA Comparison: Mitch Richmond|
||Willie Cauley Stein 7-0 240 C Kentucky So.||WCS showed flashes as a freshman though at times looked lost or raw, and his lack of experience got exposed. He's got a strong motor and a great deal of potential due to his frame and athleticism. He passed up being a likely mid first rounder after an impressive freshman season and it should prove to be a wise decision as he figures to make a big leap in terms of ability and skill development in his sophomore season. A big year for WCS could vault him into the top 10 in this year's draft. Look for him to be much further along offensively than Joel Embiid with a full season already under his belt. NBA Comparison: Marcin Gortat|
||Joel Embiid 7-0 240 C Kansas Fr.||A physical specimen with a chance to contribute if things fall into place. He's got a tremendous basketball body with not only great athleticism but the ability to add size and strength to his frame. He already shows signs of being an enforcer defensively with his length, explosiveness and timing on blocks. He just needs to learn discipline on fakes and how to stay out of foul trouble and he will be a handful. Embiid is a raw talent who has come a long way in a very short time. Scouts who saw this kid a little over a year ago at the African Basketball without Borders event marvel at just how much he's improved in such a short time. He shows terrific form and touch on his shot, giving his potential as an offensive center real intrigue. At this point it's all so new that just catching the ball and making plays instinctively is a challenge. Repetition and developing a feel for the game are points for him to focus on. He's in a tremendous program to develop under Bill Self and would do himself a great service by staying for more than one season of development. But there is a good chance he will be drafted in the top 10 just based on his upside. NBA Comparison: Andrew Bynum|
||Glenn Robinson III 6-6 200 SF Michigan So.||Robinson returns for his sophomore season and will assume a larger leadership role with the departure of Trey Burke. He's an excellent athlete with basketball bloodlines as the son of former #1 overall pick. He will look to springboard off an excellent freshman season and become a more complete and consistent player as a sophomore. Becoming better at creating shots for himself and a more consistent shooter will help solidify him as a possible mid lottery pick for this year's draft. NBA Comparison: Andre Iguodala|
||[Player: Samaj Christon] 6-3 190 PG Xavier So.||Christon has a tremendous basketball body with the speed and quickness to get to the basket as well as the length to give opposing point guards headaches as an on ball defender. The one major weakness that he must improve upon is his shot which comes off flat and lacks a fluid release. His development in this key area will be crucial to his draft stock this season. Playing at Xavier has allowed Christon to fly under the radar without a great deal of attention, despite being one of the most prolific freshman scorers in the country last year. Look for that all to change and for Christon to break out into one of college basketball's household names this year. NBA Comparison: John Wall|
||Gary Harris 6-4 205 SG Michigan St. So.||Harris shows combo skills and plays with unusual maturity and poise. Though a tad undersized at 6'4, Harris has solid athleticism and great quickness. He also shows a textbook shooting form and consistency from deep. Harris flirted with the idea of turning pro as a freshman in such a weak class, however his shoulder troubles would have likely dropped him further than where he would have liked. He ability to be potentially be a combo guard gives him added intrigue. NBA Comparison: OJ Mayo|
||Dario Saric 6-10 225 PF/SF Split Croatia 1994||
Saric has an old man's game as he has a high basketball IQ and beats opponents with brains over braun. His shot has long been an area of weakness but has shown recent improvement, in particular in the Eurobasket. He's got legitimate PG skills with the ability to see the floor and find teammates for shots, however his lack of foot speed might force him to play the 4, as opposed to being a full time 3. He lacks great athleticism and footspeed, and has a game that is probably best suited to being a star in Europe as opposed to an NBA role guy, however his determination and toughness will allow him to play in the NBA and be a contributor if he so desires. NBA Comparison: Dejan Bodiroga
||Andrew Harrison 6-5 205 PG Kentucky Fr.||Harrison is a physically dominant guard with supreme aggressiveness. He has the size and athleticism to stand out at the position at the NBA level. He has great confidence in himself and has shown the ability to play at a high level in big games. The major questions are how well he can facilitate and make others around him better. He has been able to overpower and outclass opponents with his strength and athleticism throughout his high school and AAU careers, now he will begin to run into similar level prospects more frequently it will be interesting to see how he adjusts. NBA Comparison: Antonio Daniels|
||Mario Hezonja 6-5 190 SG Croatia 1995||Hezonja is about as physically gifted a European guard as we have seen. His run/jump athleticism is on par with most high level American 2-gaurds. He would be a lock to be a top 10 prospect in his class if he were in the US. He shows a good feel for the game with passing and the ability to put the ball on the floor. He has battled injuries over the past couple seasons, so staying healthy will be imperative. Saric is the far superior player at this point, but Hezonja has more potential as an NBA prospect due to his speed and athleticism. NBA Comparison: Rex Chapman|
You need really stop comparing Andrew Wiggins to Scottie Pippen! Horrible comparison!
then give a better one.
I think Julius Irving is a better comparison for Andrew Wiggins.
ANYBODY then Pippen. And that's no disrespect to Pippen. He's more of A Mcgrady type.
This is just my opinion, but Andrew Wiggins talent level and skill set is maybe similar to:
1. Andre Iguodala / Shawn Marion
2. Andre Iguodala / Corey Brewer
But if you're going to dull down his talent so much, what would you compare Randle's to? Patrick Patterson / Keith Van Horn?
Wiggins is a smaller version of KD and Jabari PArker should be compare to Pippen...
should Jabari Parker be compared to a young Paul Pierce?
I think a young Paul Pierce is a good comparison for Parker. Wiggins is an inch or 2 shorter than Durant and doesn't quite have the jumpshot that KD has. However, Wiggins is a better athlete. At this point, T-Mac is a good comparison for Wiggins.
Why did Dario Saric get such a garbage comparison?
Top 5 all time in european basket. Too european for nba standards, but Saric would be happy to end as good as dejan
Why must Melo be slighted at every turn?
Wiggins reminds me of Young TMac
Wiggins is no where near as good of a ball handler as T-Mac was at the same age. T-Mac was also a better passer at this stage, and I don't think Wiggins scoring ability is as smooth as McGrady which leads me to believe the Pippen Comparison is better.
And quite frankly, a young T-Mac played a lot like Pippen so I don't understand why the Pippen comparison is so horrible?
so you're telling me that Saric's NBA comparison is a guy who didn't play a second in the NBA? makes a ton of sense.
Mitch is overlooked too much. He has great size for an NBA 4, good solid touch (mid-range and inside), great rebounder, and above average passer. He is a SURE thing if he does not get injured. I would take him over Saric without a second thought.
I haven't seen much of Andrew Harrison, but the comparison to Antonio Daniels does not make him seem very lottery worthy. Daniels was a good defender, good athlete, but did not have much of an outside game and was not the best creator.
Wiggins - Shawn Marion is not a bad comparison. Wiggins should out class a lot of SFs athletically so if he shows a good motor he can be a rebounding/fast break monster. Here is a reach, but Wiggins - Shawn Kemp.
I am very ready for NCAA bball to begin, and I can tell everyone else is too.
ARE YOU SERIOUS?I WONDER IF THE AW YOU SEE IS THE ONE I SEE.TO ME,THEIR TALENT ARE DIFFERENT LEVEL.
No Aaron Gordon is surprising. The whole cast of the 2013 freshman after the big 3 + Exum is a bit odd to me really. Will the other two Kansas 5*ers get enough of the spotlight behind Wiggins to both go in the top 8?
As far as the Kentucky cast goes, I still feel like Aaron will prove the more capable Harrison and that Young is probably a better prospect than either. Aaron at late 1st round in 2015 seems real low.
One thing. Aaron Gordon should absolutely be in this mix. People are sleeping on him because of lack of jump shooting ability. That is ridiculous. His basketball IQ for someone that tall and athletic is off the charts. He has up and coming handle and he did serious work with the U-19 team. He's the second best athlete in this draft after Wiggins. While he's a different athlete than Andrew he's not that far off in terms of athleticism. Go watch that McDonalds AA game again if you dont believe. Either way, here we go.
Andrew Wiggins - A more graceful, less powerful Dominique Wilkins. Both are wired to score and do so with a nice combination of skill and athleticism. More than latter than the former.
Jabari Parker - Paul Pierce with more athleticism. Parker is a much better athlete than he gets credit for. In this freak draft he doesn't stand out as much but this guy can definitely get up. remember he was recovering from injury for a good part of his senior year. I think his athleticism will jump out and he could very well be the #2 pick this year. For my money you can't pass on Embiid but I can understand people wanting parker. special talent.
Marcus Smart - Gary Payton in Deron Williams body. Really aggressive player. A basketball player in a football player body. Great toughness.
Julius Randle - more athletic, less skilled Derrick Coleman. Can put the ball on the floor from the top of the key. Only goes left. Great rebounder and fearless.
Dante Exum - More athletic but less skilled Penny Hardaway. Penny was a way better player at the same age. I have to see exum dribble with his left hand. Good shooter and high bball iq with good to great court vision.
Wayne Seldon - JR Rider without the off the court issues, possibly a better shooter. Big body two guard with big time athleticism. Mitch Richmond never got up like this kid can. Really good scorer.
Joel Embiid - Better frame, less skilled Greg Oden. Oden is the only guy with his combo of size and athleticism. Drummond wasn't as tall. Like Oden Embiid tries to block shots. Embiid is a bit too aggressive with this right now due to his lack of experience.
A scorer who sometimes coasts? Tracy McGrady is the more apt comparison.
I also agree that Parker = Pierce.
Bodiroga was a killer player. I always say Saric is a good playmaker, which makes him more similar to Lamar Odon/Hedo Turkoglu type of player.
PS: Cauley-Stein similar to Gortat? I just don't see it. Sorry.