It’s time for my first big board of top 60 prospects. Note that because internationals are less accessible for analysis than NCAA players, some highly rated ones are missing. As the draft nears, more internationals will start appearing on the board.
Note that age is as of draft night (6/26/14):
Of course these rankings are extremely fluid. Notable variations from consensus:
-Marcus Smart belongs ahead of Exum as they are similar players, except Exum has significantly more downside risk since he is unproven against decent competition. Exum may have slightly more upside, but to me it is clearly outweighed by Smart’s floor.
-Julius Randle is full of warts that will likely cause his stock to drop, which I will be sure to highlight in the near future. Chad Ford mentioned earlier today that some NBA teams rate Vonleh as higher, and he has nowhere to go but down from #4.
-Tyler Ennis is having a fantastic start to his freshman season, and has been at his best against good competition. He may not ooze appeal with tools and upside, but his production thus far points to him being lottery worthy.
-PJ Hairston had an excellent sophomore season and likely will climb boards as focus shifts away from his offseason woes and toward his impending D-League dominance.
-Spencer Dinwiddie drops due to his recent ACL tear, but he remains underrated. He is a prototypical complementary SG and his intelligence will likely be attractive to analytics driven teams.
-I find it amusing that nobody can bring themselves to rate Aaron Harrison ahead of Andrew even though he is obviously the better player at this point. They were rated similarly as high school recruits and Aaron’s skill set is an easier fit in NBA lineups, so I am comfortable with a massive rift between the two in my rankings.
-Elfrid Payton is a nice upside flier who needs more attention as a 1st round prospect. He is reminiscent of a mid-major Rondo, as he is a productive PG with tools to be great defensively but is a horrible shooter.
-It is possible that I am too bearish on James Young, as he is young for his class and has not been necessarily bad as a freshman. But his game does not have any elements that stand out as particularly strong, and he needs to develop quite a bit to become a useful pro.
-I do not understand how Chris Walker is rated so much higher than Bobby Portis. He was rated slightly higher as a recruit (#7 RSCI vs #14), but Portis is having a solid start to his freshman year while Walker has been unable to gain eligibility.
-RJ Hunter is my favorite mid-major player that nobody is discussing. He is a great shooter, and his steal and block rates suggest that he may have more defensive ability than his physical limitations would suggest.
-I do not understand Dario Saric’s rating as a lottery pick. From what I have seen, he appears to be a slightly lesser version of UCLA’s Kyle Anderson. This is a rating that will require closer analysis before I start preaching about it at a loud volume.
-Jahii Carson is having a disappointing sophomore season and given his age, size, and translation concerns, his value as a prospect is rapidly waning.
Hey Dean, CQ from 2p2 here. This board demonstrates the relative mental entrenchment and inelasticity of ESPN and other boards, which for some reason cannot bring themselves to part from early-season cherished notions, such as Randle being a top-5 pick no matter what. 11 seems about right for him. Like you, I do not get the continued, inexplicable Saric love.
Quibbles: I would switch Jerami Grant with KJ, I would move Lavine up five or so, I would drop WCS to 10-15. I would also move Ougie up to 20-30–his D last game looked a little better than I had thought. I see him as a second-pick flier, a guy who could easily bust on tools, but if he can eke out a little D could be surprising.
Peej just dropped forty in his second D-league game, btw–top ten cusp seems right to me. You’re doing God’s work here–looking forward to Randle evisceration.
Also: 0 turnovers for Peej! The D-League is not ready for a player of his talent.
As for your qualms, all of those adjustments could conceivably happen by the time the draft rolls around. LaVine has been progressing nicely and is slowly growing on me. Grant is such a funky prospect: his tools are amazing and he’s having a great sophomore year, but his NBA offensive niche is uncertain and his stocks are underwhelming. He reportedly has done well in past man to man instances, but since Syracuse plays zone it’s difficult to size him up with my own eyes.
As for Ougie, his smarts are an asset on defense for sure, he does surprisingly well staying in front of his man since he understands positioning. He may not be the all time worst defensive player after all. But he’s still pretty slow and can barely leave the ground, and this causes issues on both ends. He’ll probably end up around 30th on my board after some of the guys ahead of him stay in school.
Danny Ocean said:
I still have to think your KJ vs Hood gap is way too large. Hood is a slightly better prospect imo (as discussed on their post). Especially with the run he’s been on lately (now shooting 45% from 3pt on the year). He’s too much better on offense and his skillset translates better imo. I could see them very close, but no way KJ is 10 spots better.
I’m 100% with you on his offense, but Hood’s defense is just so pathetic. His weak stock rates don’t even tell the whole story. Try to pay attention next time you watch Duke, it’s rare for him to stay in front of his man on dribble penetration.
Wichita State fan here – Ron Baker is legit but surprised to see him so high without Cleanthony Early on the board. Thoughts on Early and Fred VanVleet?
Early + Van Vleet are both on my radar. Early is going to be 23 in April, which makes it hard to get excited about him as more than a 2nd round flier. Van Vleet is somebody I want to give a closer look as he could be a sleeper. He’s undersized and doesn’t score a ton, but his steals, shooting %’s, and assist:TOV ratios are all great and could atone for his deficiencies. Baker stands out because he seemed to be on the cusp of becoming a star before he injured his ankle, which I read is still nagging at him. He had quite the 4 game stretch @Tulsa, vs Depaul, vs BYU, @Saint Louis, and hasn’t had any similar performances since, so I buy that his ankle is holding him back.