No center in the country made a bigger leap in his development between their freshman and sophomore season than Alex Len. Last summer, it would’ve been unfathomable to see him as a lottery pick. Now he stands as a likely first overall choice. Although there are questions surrounding Len’s durability (stress fracture in foot) and overall skill set, he is the best big man available in this draft. He is long, lean, and has the frame to add 30 lbs of muscle with ease. Len has great feet and a more-than-adequate basketball IQ. If he continues to develop a pick-and-pop game, he and Kyrie Irving will be a force in the Eastern Conference for years to come.
Sure fire scorer with an athletic build and pure shooting stroke. McLemore can spread the floor for the interior talent already in Orlando. Look for McLemore to be an instant impact player. Ball Handling and consistency are questions for GM’s but McLemore’s upside is through the roof.
Oladipo is a perfect match for the uptempo style of the Phoenix Suns but will also bring the defensive intensity and winning attitude that is much needed in Phoenix. At 6’5 the only thing separating Oladipo from a top three pick is his lack of shooting consistency and possibly inability to play both guard positions effectively at the next level.
Sure they already have Anthony Davis, but true seven-footers with skill don’t fall into your lap that often. In the case of the Horn…. Uhhhh I mean Pelicans, there is an opportunity to draft their second premiere big man for the second year in a row. Like Len, there are durability concerns with Nerlens Noel. The Kentucky star tore his left ACL last February. Added to the fact that he has a very slight frame for a man of his height, some question where he can hold up for a full NBA season. But the upside is too great to pass up at six. His offensive game will need some work, but he is a superior shot-blocker. Put him on the block with Davis and no opposing scorers will be going hard in the paint versus New Orleans.
Sacramento need to be prepared for if/when Tyreke Evans skips town. If the Kings wind up getting Trey Burke, not only will they get a dynamic point guard, but they may be getting the best backcourt player in the draft. The reigning Naismith Player of the Year has the potential to be a Tony Parker-esque type of floor General. Burke’s stop-start-then-start move is second to none in this years’ crop or rookies. His ability to shake defends and get space allows Burke to get open looks at the bucket as well as distribute the ball. Burke and DeMarcus Cousins on pick and rolls will become hard to stop, especially once the rookie learns how to keep his composure in traffic.
8. Detroit (RP)
“ If you’re not about winning championships and playing hard and getting prepared for the next level, Kentucky is not the place for you” said Coach John Calipari just minutes before the consensus number one High School player a year ago, Muhammed had a snubbed Kentucky for UCLA and followed it up with a sub par Freshman season. Muhammed’s lack of motor and killer instinct scare NBA GM’s but Muhammed’s flashes of offensive genius and size at 6’6 will sway a team like Detroit, significantly struggling at the offensive end, to take a shot. If not Detroit, look for Muhammed to drop to mid-first round.
At 7’0 Olynyk could be the perfect complement to Spencer Hawes at the PF spot. He consistently finds the kind of shots he shoots at a high percentage and does so at a high pace. Olynyk’s lack of speed and strength raise eyebrows to scouts but his development and work ethic are spoke of highly by Coach Mark Few which will separate Olynyk from former Gonzaga first round busts.
The beauty of Steven Adams winding up in Oklahoma City is that they won’t depend on him to play right away. Adams is raw. His offensive game is limited. He will need some time to develop. A season of playing behind Kendrick Perkins will do wonders for his game. But once Adams is ready to be a fulltime NBA starter, he has potential to be a force. He is a legit seven-footer' with a massive 7'4.5' wingspan. He has shown he can protect the rim. In his only season at Pitt, Adams blocks over two shots per 23 minutes, a good rate for a 19-year-old. Since OKC likely will never depend on Adams to be an offensive juggernaut, he can focus on becoming a stopping compliment to Serge Ibaka.
Standing at 6 foot 6 inches, Michael Carter-Williams has the desirable natural size that most NBA point guards covet. The Syracuse standout has excellent instincts for the position, but his real value is the length. Guarding the point position (especially in the West) is a tall task for a tall man. MCW will be able to disrupt passing lanes and defend against the crossover with his unique length. If Carter-Williams can develop a consistent jumper, then he will be a steal at 13 to Dallas.
A prototypical Utah Jazz point guard with the ability to pass and shoot the 3 point shot efficiently thus far in his career. The only issue is that Jerry Sloan is not coaching the Utah Jazz and Larkin may face some serious challenges guarding Western Conference guards. Much will be asked of him but Larkin may be just the guard to lead Utah back to the playoffs.