2014 NBA Draft Stock

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
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2014 NBA Draft Stock: Kansas vs. Duke Edition

Updated 11/13

No. 1 Kentucky versus No. 2 Michigan State AND No. 4 Duke against No. 5 Kansas? In the same venue? No wonder there were approximately 384,571 NBA scouts at the United Center Tuesday night for the Champions Classic. In total, there were about 13 possible 2014 NBA Draft lottery picks playing in these two games. No, seriously. Here is a breakdown of who stood out and who struggled in Kansas’ victory against Duke, and how that might help or hurt those players’ draft statuses early in this season.

2014 NBA Draft Stock: Buying

Jabari Parker, SF, Duke, Fr.
Even though his team lost, Parker had quite a homecoming with 27 points and nine rebounds. Simply put, he is the truth on offense. Parker showed off a complete arsenal including an advance step-back jumper, three-point range, the ability to get to the basket, and his solid athleticism on that nasty one-handed alley-oop.

Perry Ellis, PF, Kansas, Soph.
It took Ellis a while to get going during his freshman campaign, but he hit stride late last season and that progression continued Tuesday night. Ellis was aggressive and efficient on the inside and even showed his versatility by knocking down a three-pointer. He led the Jayhawks with a career-high 24 points, and while I wouldn’t expect him to leave Lawrence after this season, he is a future first-round pick. Plus, Ellis gets my vote as the best college basketball player with a receding hairline.

2014 NBA Draft Stock: Holding

Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas, Fr.
Wiggins had a very quiet 22 points and 10 rebounds as he experienced some foul trouble that took him out of the flow of the game a bit. I came away impressed, but not blown away. He will absolutely be in the discussion for the top pick in the 2014 NBA Draft thanks to his versatility, athleticism, and all-around ability. Whether it’s fair or not with the unreachable expectations thrust upon him entering this season, I guess I just wanted to see more Tuesday night.

Wayne Selden, SG, Kansas, Fr.
If it weren’t for Wiggins, Selden would be the headliner for the Jayhawks this season. He had a pretty complete outing with 15 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 assists. Selden is a physical off guard who uses his strength to get the bucket, but also displayed a nice outside stroke. He showed enough to whet the whistles of NBA teams, and they will certainly be seeing plenty of him this year while they are scouting Wiggins. The lottery should be in Selden’s near future.

Rodney Hood, SF, Duke, Soph.
At times, the Mississippi State transfer looked impressive with his silky smooth slashing ability, but did disappear for stretches. Hood will be overshadowed by Parker all season long, but still has lottery-level skills as a small forward, though they weren’t full on display against Kansas.

Rasheed Sulaimon, SG, Duke, Soph.
After starting all of last season, Sulaimon has taken a bit of a backseat this season with Parker and Hood joining the team, and is now coming off the bench. Sulaimon was aggressive offensively showing off his shooting ability from the outside and his mid-range jumper. As long as he is being used in a reserve role this season, there is no real risk of him turning pro, but Sulaimon still has first-round potential that didn’t waver Tuesday night.

2014 NBA Draft Stock: Selling

Joel Embiid, C, Kansas, Fr.
Can you say, “project?” Everyone knows Embiid is a work in progress, which showed Tuesday night. Yes, he has the height, athleticism, length, and potential to be a very good big man down the road, but he is not close to being there yet. Embiid is uncomfortable with the ball in his hands, and his offensive game needs a ton of grooming before he is ready contribute at the next level. I won’t deny the fact that he could be a top-give pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, but his development throughout the season will be something to keep a close eye on.

2014 NBA Draft Stock: Kentucky vs. Michigan State Edition

Updated 11/13

2014 NBA Draft Stock: Buying

Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State, Soph.
As I dissected in this article, a healthy Harris is poised for a monster sophomore season. He showed off his all-around game Tuesday night by attacking the tin, using a floater to finish over the taller Kentucky frontcourt, and really getting after it on the defensive end. Harris is the best shooting guard prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft class and should be a top-10 pick.

James Young, SG, Kentucky, Fr.
Man, do I like Young. He reminds me a little bit of James Harden with that smooth lefty stroke and the way he cradles then ball when attacking the basket. Even though Young finished 3-11 from downtown, he scored 19 on the night and has played way better than either of his backcourt mates so far. I thought Young might get lost in the shuffle on this Wildcats team due to all the talent around him, but he really is Kentucky’s only true three-point threat. The lottery is calling his name if he declares after this season.

Keith Appling, PG, Michigan State, Sr.
Outside of Julius Randle, Appling had the best performance of the night, stuffing the stat sheet with 22 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, and 4 steals. He is often overlooked on the Spartans since Harris and Payne receive most of the attention, but Appling is a fearless point guard who wasn’t afraid to attack the tin against the loaded Wildcats. His shot selection was on point, for the most part, as was his decision-making, which have been two question marks during his career. If this is a trend this season, he could be a solid second-round selection.

2014 NBA Draft Stock: Holding

Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky, Fr.
In the first half, Randle was pretty worthless. He was either passive or tried to force the issue, and wasn’t establishing position on the block, which pushed him out to the perimeter where he was settling for jump shots; that is not his strength. Like he played in Kentucky’s first two games though, the 6-9 lefty was beastly during the final 20 minutes as he scored 23 of his 27 points. Randle came out after the half extremely aggressively, using his strength, quickness, and touch around the basket to control the block and got Payne into foul trouble. Randle is an elite rebounder, and we saw in the second half why he will be in the running for the top-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Adriean Payne, PF, Michigan State, Sr.
The Spartan senior won the battle versus Randle in the first half as he showed off his versatility on the offensive end and used his length defensively to bother the Wildcat freshman. It was a different story in the second half though; Randle muscled him around inside while holding Payne to zero field goals and just three points off free throws after the break as he was saddled with four fouls. Payne could have made a major jump if he finished the game like he started, but is still a mid-late first-round prospect.

Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky, Fr.
After a pretty underwhelming first 20 minutes, Harrison came to life a bit in the second half. You have to remember that this was only his third collegiate game and he was going against a veteran Spartan squad, so it was natural for him to look a bit lost at times or make poor decisions. Based on his size and athleticism, Andrew Harrison is a lottery pick next June, but he needs to steadily mature throughout the season if he wants to ensure his status as a top-10 pick.

Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky, Soph.
Since the Kentucky veteran (yes, as a sophomore, he is a vet for Kentucky) is surrounded by so much talent, it is evident that Poythress will be a valuable glue guy for John Calipari as the team’s sixth man. Poythress seems to be embracing that role as he grabbed 12 rebounds while scoring just seven points on 2-6 shooting. His aggressiveness stood out Tuesday night as he used his strong body to crash the boards and didn’t force the issue on the offensive end like he often did a year ago. Poythress’ new role might hurt his draft stock a bit, but he still has first-round talent when it is all said and done.

Branden Dawson, SF, Michigan State, Jr.
Dawson spent most of last season recovering from injury but definitely seems to have the bounce back in his step. Like Poythress for Kentucky, Dawson will be Michican State’s glue guy this year since he can affect the game in numerous ways without having to score. He was forced to play quite a bit of power forward due to Payne’s foul trouble and handled his own for the most part against Randle. Dawson also took it at Randle a few times offensively and showed his aggressiveness on the glass. I’m not sure Dawson is a first-rounder, but seeing him back to his old self definitely is an encouraging sign for his NBA potential.

2014 NBA Draft Stock: Selling

Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky, Soph.
I have been disappointed with the lack of development in Cauley-Stein’s offensive game. He is still very limited on the offensive end to the point that unless his hands are on the rim, it is probably a bad shot (like that lefty hook shot he terribly airballed in the second half.) Yes, Cauley-Stein has the height, length, and athleticism to intrigue NBA scouts, but even his effort seemed to be dragging a bit Tuesday night. In my opinion, he went from a mid-lottery prospect to more of a late-lottery prospect after the Champions Classic.

Aaron Harrison, SG, Kentucky, Fr.
3 points on 1-7 shooting? Ish. Aaron Harrison forced some shots, made some bad decisions with the ball, and never got into a flow offensively Tuesday night. Outside of his struggles offensively, he didn’t compete all that hard on the defensive end as he was often abused by Harris. We are only three games into Aaron Harrison’s college career but so far, I haven’t been that impressed by him at all.

Dakari Johnson, C, Kentucky, Fr.
While loaded with size and potential, it looks like Johnson is going to be a work in progress for Kentucky this season. His all-around game clearly needs fine tuning and that should come with time. He would easily be a first-round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft based on upside alone, but I’m guessing he will need to stay in school so he can become a more dominant inside presence before making the leap to the league.

2014 NBA Draft Stock - April 1 2014 NBA Draft Stock - Nov. 13 2014 NBA Mock Draft

Written by Paul Banks of the Washington Times, and David Kay of the The Sports Bank.
Send Paul an e-mail here: paulb05 AT hotmail DOT com.
All other e-mail, including advertising and link proposals, send to: [email protected]

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