Top one-and-done candidates
Could someone post this article? Thanks in advance guys
As you have probably heard by now, the 2014 NBA draft class is expected to be very good. That's in large part thanks to the fact that, unlike the 2013 draft class, there is some serious star power at the top, including several one-and-done candidates.
Having studied the players of the class of 2013 throughout their high school careers, I've identified the five guys most likely to make the jump to the NBA after just one college season. Let's look at the talent they're bringing to the table, and how their freshman seasons will prepare them for the pros.
1. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas Jayhawks
Wiggins could have been the No. 1 pick in this year's draft if he had been eligible, and he's the overwhelming front-runner to be the top pick in 2014. He is special because he possesses many skills, but one in particular will be of immediate influence at the next level: his athletic ability.
Wiggins has sprinter's speed and a vertical explosion that is off the charts, with an uncommon second jump that will give him an edge on almost any opponent. He will use that athleticism to finish plays above the rim, as well as rebound and defend by deflecting, contesting and blocking shots. KU coach Bill Self has a reputation for fielding strong defensive teams, and Wiggins will be very well-schooled in man-to-man after his freshman campaign.
Offensively, he produces at a high percentage inside the foul line by way of transition finishes, short jumpers, straight-line drives to the basket, his paint game and putbacks. He also has a knack for scoring off of broken plays. His jump shot needs some practice and polish, but by no means is it broken.
The early word out of Lawrence is that Wiggins is as good as advertised; if that proves to be the case, look for Wiggins to be the No. 1 pick in 2014.
2. Julius Randle, Kentucky Wildcats
Throughout the majority of his high school career, even when he was a freshman, Randle was much bigger, faster and more powerful than his opponents. And that will mostly remain the same once he arrives at Kentucky.
But what can be overlooked about Randle's game is his skill level on the blocks; he scores not only with his raw power but also with effective post moves and a soft scoring touch. He's capable of shooting from distance but is much more efficient with his midrange jumper, and can quickly drive the ball to the basket to finish a play.
Randle is a smart post passer who has been double-teamed frequently and is a rebounding machine, especially on the offensive glass. He will get his share of blocks and rebounds.
Under Wildcats coach John Calipari, he will learn to be a responsible defender and a major offensive threat below the elbows. He is part of a recruiting class that is one of the all-time best on paper, and the Wildcats are a legitimate Final Four candidate. Randle figures to be the alpha dog on that talent-laden team, which would make him even more appealing in next year's draft.
3. Aaron Gordon, Arizona Wildcats
Gordon's name was in the discussion for the No. 1 overall recruiting ranking several times during his high school career, and he has two very translatable NBA skills: explosive athletic ability and a willingness to rebound the ball at a high rate. He has a dynamic vertical jump and very secure hands that allow him to grab almost any pass and score in traffic. He's also an underrated passer who has good vision, with the unselfishness to make the assist.
As Gordon improves his low-post moves and shooting consistency, his high energy level will allow this Blake Griffin-type big to flourish at the collegiate and pro levels.
4. Jabari Parker, Duke Blue Devils
No freshman entering college this season will do so with a more accomplished résumé of individual and team achievements than Parker. He's comfortable playing inside as a power forward and outside as a 3-point threat. He has an advanced basketball IQ and a winning attitude and is very coachable.
At Duke, he will have the ultimate teacher in coach Mike Krzyzewski, who will use Parker's offensive versatility in creating matchup advantages. He can handle the ball or pop out to space the floor by shooting a jumper.
He's not in a category athletically with the rest of the guys on this list, and that's a criticism that is often discussed with Parker, but his athleticism is good enough for him to be a successful NBA player (and make the jump after just one season in college). The key for him will be his conditioning -- his lack of elite athleticism means he can't afford to be in anything less than top shape. But if he keeps his body tight, and can demonstrate what position he'll guard at the next level, he can be a lottery pick.
5. Andrew Harrison, Kentucky Wildcats
No point guard in the country will have more pressure on him next season than Harrison. He has the tools to thrive as a freshman, with great positional size, a physical presence and a gift for creating offense. He has a strong body, which not only allows him to finish hard through contact but also allows him to beat his man off the bounce with a low shoulder and get in the lane for floaters as well as drop-off and lob passes. He is a streaky shooter but does have range on his jump shot, and he has a chance to be a good on-ball defender if he puts in effort on defense.
Calipari has a strong history of grooming point guards for the NBA draft, and Harrison will have the benefit of being surrounded by very talented teammates. If he can find the right balance between staying aggressive in looking for his own shot and making others better, he will shine at Kentucky. And a lottery selection will follow.
Although those five are the guys currently most likely to make the leap, here are five more incoming freshmen with the potential to rise up NBA draft boards with big seasons:
Joel Embiid, Kansas Jayhawks
Chris Walker, Florida Gators
Noah Vonleh, Indiana Hoosiers
Kuran Iverson, Memphis Tigers
Aaron Harrison, Kentucky Wildcats
I add Wayne Selden at this list.
This draft will be crazy
ESPN seems very high on Gordon. I am a big fan of Gordon and think he can be a Blake Griffin/Kenneth Faried combination in the NBA but I still wouldn't rate him ahead of Jabari. Parker is a lot more skilled at this point and will come into the NBA ready to score where Gordon will rely on his athleticism until he refines his game. You hear a ton of stuff about how Gordon is a very hard worker so it is hard not to like him but this seems strange to rank him ahead of Parker at this point.
I think Aaron Gordon definitely has the potential to be a shorter Blake Griffin/Kenneth Faried type player, but it seems that he likes having the ball on the perimeter as opposed to the post. Hopefully he'll find his niche at Arizona, because I don't think he could be a full time 3 in the NBA. One thing is for sure though: he'll definitely have some nasty posters
He will probably have to play PF in Tucson unless they plan on playing Rondae Jefferson extended minutes at the point (which I have suggested because of his unique passing ability.)
He's taller than Faried
What type of player is Kuran Iverson?
Aaron Gordon will be as good as Michael Beasley should have been.
Maybe in college...as a pro I don't see it. He has the same problems as Derrick Williams only he's far less skilled.
Beasley is a better shooter than him. Beasley has a bad shoot selection, but his shoot form is pretty good. A-Gordon's shoot is poor