The draft is rapidly approaching and workouts are in full swing, with the Cavaliers holding a very large workout coming up tomorrow. With only about one week left before the draft, I figured that I should release what my big board looks like for this upcoming draft. I'll also be releasing a mock draft either on the Wednesday prior to the draft or on draft day.
So without further ado, here it is.
-I'll be rounding heights to the closest full inch. So if someone is 6'10.5", they just got lucky enough to become 6'11".
-I'll be keeping each blurb to around 50 words, so if I don't mention something about a prospect, don't yell.
1. Nerlens Noel, 7'0" 218 lbs, Kentucky
Noel is just simply the best player in this class. From an advanced statistic standpoint, from a scouting standpoint, any way you look at Noel he is the real deal. Had he not injured his knee, I think we'd be looking at an Anthony Davis-style lock at #1 overall. His offense will be a work in progress in the pros, but he should have an immediate impact on the weak-side blocking shots in the NBA. The knee is a concern, but I'd take my chances on him at #1.
2. Trey Burke, 6'1" 187 lbs, Michigan
This ranking is a little bit higher than most people have him, but he's the best pick-and-roll guard in the draft by a considerable margin and an excellent shooter that already has NBA three-point range. He is my pick for Rookie of the Year next season, and he could have a Damian Lillard-type impact if he lands in the right situation.
3. Otto Porter, 6'9" 198 lbs, Georgetown
He's been considered the "safe" pick of this draft, and I'd agree that he's going to be an excellent player. From his passing to his defense to his shot, there probably isn't a more complete player in the draft. Having said that, he only turned 20 two weeks ago, so there's definitely room for improvement with his game.
4. Victor Oladipo, 6'4" 213 lbs, Indiana
The best perimeter defender in this draft, Oladipo is going to be at worst a solid rotation player. Having said that, he's shown tremendous growth in each of his three seasons at Indiana, and there is reason to believe that his 44% three-point shooting could be for real. Definitely my top SG in the class.
5. Alex Len, 7'1" 255 lbs, Maryland
A huge upside pick, Len could be the best player in this class or a bust. I tend to fall somewhere in the middle and think he ends up as a solid starting offensive center, which is probably worth a high lottery pick in this draft. I've talked about him at length recently here.
6. Anthony Bennett, 6'7" 240 lbs, UNLV
Bennett is probably the most polished scorer in this draft, possessing range out to around 20 feet and explosive athleticism that allows him to attack the rim with authority. I just don't think he's going to be able to defend anyone, and he's kind of position-less because of the height. But the scoring ability makes him a high lottery pick.
7. Ben McLemore, 6'5" 189 lbs, Kansas
Apparently falling because of substandard workouts, I've never been McLemore's biggest fan. He's not much of a creator for himself, doesn't exert his incredible athleticism defensively, and he seems passive on the floor. Having said that, he might have the most All-Star potential in this class if he ever figures it out. I just doubt he ever totally does,
8. Michael Carter-Williams, 6'6" 184 lbs, Syracuse
Another boom-or-bust guy with All-Star potential, Carter-Williams shows an innate ability to get into the lane and to the rim. He's also probably the best passer in this class. If he could shoot, he'd be the clear #1 point guard. However, because of that I worry that defenses will be able to play off of him and hinder his ability to get to the rim.
9. Cody Zeller, 7'0" 230 lbs, Indiana
One of the most fluid seven-footers I've ever seen, Zeller has an excellent post game and a developing 15-18 foot jumper. I worry about his ability to extend and finish over longer defenders, but if a coach can find a way to make him play with his considerable athleticism, he can be an extremely strong offensive center.
10. Shabazz Muhammad, 6'6" 222 lbs, UCLA
He's fallen far enough I think. Muhammad is still going to be able to drive to the lane and score in the NBA. He also showed considerably better shooting ability in college than was expected as he came out of high school. Questions still remain about his actual athleticism, but I can assure you his motor never stops. I'd take my chances on him in the middle of the lottery.
11. Steven Adams, 7'0" 255 lbs, Pittsburgh
He's probably the best combination of athleticism and size in this draft. Adams runs the floor like a deer, times his blocks like a veteran, and uses length his length on the perimeter to defend better than any big in the draft. Unfortunately, he might be the rawest player in the draft, and doesn't display strong touch around the rim. A good coach can really do a lot with him if he goes to the right place.
12. Gorgui Dieng, 6'11" 230 lbs, Louisville
At age 23, people have kind of written off Dieng as a "what you see is what you get prospect" when I think that couldn't be further from the truth. His offensive game is continually improving, as he's not only an excellent passer, but he's also developing a solid 15-18 foot jumper. Given what we know about his defense, why wouldn't you take him at the end of the lottery?
13. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 6'6" 204 lbs, Georgia
A smooth scorer that is excellent curling off of screens and shooting in the midrange or pulling up off the dribble, he has potential to be an excellent NBA scorer if he can just slightly improve his already solid three-point shot. There are some questions about his ability to get to the rim, but he can certainly shoot the ball
14. C.J. McCollum, 6'3" 197 lbs, Lehigh
I'm probably lower on McCollum than most, but I really see an awful lot of Randy Foye in him. He's gritty, he's tough, and he might be the best shooter in the class, but he doesn't have solid point guard skills and he's not a particularly great athlete. I wonder who he's going to be able to guard in the NBA. But his shot is too good to make him fall out of the lottery.
15. Shane Larkin, 5'11" 171 lbs, Miami
Another excellent pick-and-roll point guard, Larkin will be a solid offensive player in the NBA. He's vastly improved upon his shot, can find open players with his excellent vision, and is possibly the most athletic player pound-for-pound in the draft. He'll struggle to defend because of his size, but I like his offensive game enough to rank him here.
16. Giannis Antetokounmpo, 6'9" 196 lbs, Greece
My highest ranked international slots in at 16, with this mysterious Greek point forward getting the nod. He's going to be a draft-and-stash player who probably won't be in the NBA until 2015-2016 at the earliest, but his potential has scouts foaming at the mouth. He plays freaking point guard sometimes for his team in Greece, for god's sake. He has tremendous ball skills and vision for a youngster his size. It's possible he could be the best player in the draft, or never come to the NBA. But he's worth a shot based on potential alone just outside of the lottery.
17. Jamaal Franklin, 6'5" 191 lbs, San Diego State
A jack-of-all-trades, master of none type player, it'll be interesting to see where he slots in on draft day. Possibly possessing the best motor in the draft, Franklin may end up becoming a defensive dynamo that can drive to the lane and score. He's not much of a shooter, but there was no one in the NCAA last season counted on to do more for his team than Franklin.
18. Mason Plumlee, 7'1" 238 lbs, Duke
Plumlee is admittedly probably the least sexy pick of the first round. He's never going to be much of an offensive player outside of in transition. Having said that, he might be the best rebounder of my top 30 prospects and his athleticism and soft hands should make sure that it transfers over to the NBA. I really like him as a tough, energy-providing big guy.
19. Kelly Olynyk, 7'0" 234 lbs, Gonzaga
Possessing one of the most herky-jerky post games I've ever seen in the NCAA, Olynyk was one of the most efficient players in the country last season. He came to college as a small forward, meaning he also has potential to become a three-point threat. I just really wonder who he's going to be able to guard in the NBA.
20. Dennis Schroeder, 6'2" 168 lbs, Germany
This the one prospect in the draft that I haven't seen a second of tape on, outside of a Draft Express video (even Antetokounmpo I found highlights of his early June internationals with Greece). He's apparently great in the pick-and-roll along with creating for others, which is one of the things I look for most in a point guard. He could end up going in the lottery, but I just can't bring myself to put him higher than 20 without having seen tape on him.
21. Reggie Bullock, 6'7" 200 lbs, North Carolina
You know how everyone is watching Danny Green in awe these playoffs? Bullock possess the exact same skillset and temperament as Green. He's a phenomenal shooter (44% from three point range) that has no problem simply stepping into a role and playing. He's also very strong defensively due to his size, solid motor, and great lateral agility. One of my favorites in this class.
22. Sergey Karasev, 6'7" 197 lbs, Russia
Pretty much the exact same as Bullock, but I don't see the lateral quickness that will allow him to become the plus defender that Reggie can be. He won't back down though and he seems to be a hard worker, so that will at least work in his favor draft night. If the Cavs ended up with either of these guys, I wouldn't be disappointed.
23. Erick Green, 6'3" 178 lbs, Virginia Tech
Another guard who excels with pick-and-roll play. Had the draft process continued on into July (or had I started watching tape on him earlier), he might have ended up in my top 20. I love his shooting ability, I love his instincts when playing in the PnR, and I love his low-turnover game. I don't think he's a true point guard, but he can certainly run a second team offense. A guy that's rising up my board the more I see/think about him.
24. Rudy Gobert, 7'2" 238 lbs, France
Possessing clownishly long arms and soft hands, Gobert is pretty much a potential pick. He has potential to be one of the best rim protectors in the NBA because of his 7'8.5" wingspan, but he scares me because of his relative lack of athleticism. He may have been the worst athlete at the combine, along with DeShaun Thomas.
25. Tim Hardaway Jr., 6'6" 199 lbs, Michigan
Being an Ohio State grad, it hurts to put two Michigan guys high on my board. But Hardaway is seemingly underappreciated. A really good athlete with size to match, plus an excellent shooter that already possesses NBA range, the only thing I wonder about with Hardaway is if he has the ability to put the ball on the deck and create for both himself and others.
26. Jeff Withey, 7'1" 222 lbs, Kansas
I'm a sucker for former volleyball players, and Withey brings the skills he learned on the volleyball court to the NBA floor with his ability to block shots. His weight is a concern, but he doesn't exactly play weak because he seems to have solid lower body strength. He won't be a great offensive player, but he has a good chance to become a very solid backup center.
27. Glen Rice Jr., 6'6" 211 lbs, Rio GrandeValley/Georgia Tech
Trying to become the first player to go from the D-League to the first round, Rice has been called one of the most NBA-ready prospects in the draft because he was a professional last season. He's a pretty good jump shooter and an excellent athlete whose best chance of making the NBA is by becoming a 3-and-D player.
28. Lucas Nogueira, 7'0" 220 lbs, Brazil
Another player that's probably a couple years away from actually contributing to an NBA roster, Nogueira is like a much, much less polished version of Noel. He's solid rotating over to block from the weakside, but gets owned one-on-one because of a lack of strength. He needs to add a ton of strength to become an actual NBA player, and I was shocked to see him in the lottery in Chad Ford's most recent mock draft.
29. Mike Muscala, 7'0" 230 lbs, Bucknell
Second in the NCAA in PER this season (after Olynyk), Muscala was both an efficient offensive player and an awesome rebounder this season. Adding in that he has apparently been an absolute knock down shooter in workouts, I like Muscala's potential to become a solid backup big man that can score the basketball.
30. Allen Crabbe, 6'6" 197 lbs, California
Another solid knockdown shooter that can play either shooting guard or small forward, Crabbe will always have a place in the NBA because of his ability to shoot the ball. I worry about his athleticism on defense and his ability to put the ball on the floor, but Crabbe could easily be a first rounder if he has a great workout shooting the ball.