With the NBA Draft being held on Thursday evening, Mike Willis, Ahmed Ghafir, and Chris Bengel decided to attack some of the hot topics surrounding the lottery portion of the draft. We also added a bonus Maryland question centered around the 2015 Draft. Leave your comments below on what answers you have for these questions. It promises to be one of the most exciting drafts in recent years!
Who are the top two picks and why?
Chris: There’s talk that the Orlando Magic could be trying to move up to obtain the top pick, but I’ll keep this with the current top two teams making the selections. It’s an interesting situation for the Cleveland Cavaliers with the top pick once again. Anthony Bennett had a less-than-stellar rookie season, so the Cavs need to get this one right. With Kyrie Irving already in place and a potential LeBron James reunion on the horizon, Cleveland takes the most NBA-ready player in this draft in Duke’s Jabari Parker. Parker is a guy that will make an impact right away and can be an 18 points-per-game and eight rebounds a night guy. His defense is his Achilles heel, but if James makes his way back home, I’m sure that will improve.
As for the Milwaukee Bucks at number two, they need a lot of help. Brandon Jennings and Andrew Bogut are long gone, so the Bucks need a guy that can score. They obtained Brandon Knight in the Jennings deal last year, but need help at the guard spot. Now, I would’ve put Joel Embiid here most likely if not for the foot injury. However, Andrew Wiggins has to be the guy here. While his freshman season at Kansas ended on a sour note, the potential of this kid is through the roof. He’s in that LeBron mold of a wing that can score in bunches and defend with his length. I’m not saying Wiggins is the next King James, but he’ll be a very good player in this league.
Ahmed: Number one pick should be Jabari Parker, but I think it will be Wiggins. Everyone has been hyping up Wiggins’ athleticism and potential, and I think that’s what sells it here. Especially with reports that Parker “tanked” his workout and looked mighty unimpressive with the Cavs, I think Wiggins goes first and Parker goes second. Right now, Parker will be the better of the two and I love his attitude and passion to win. By the end of their career, Wiggins can be much better if his potential pans out, but as Anthony Bennett taught the world, potential doesn’t always translate to skill.
Willis: I think it goes Wiggins then Parker, but I’m not sure it should. The Cavaliers managed to get the first pick yet again, and this time they know they can’t botch it like last year. You can’t go wrong with either one, and they’re both great selections, but potential always wins in the draft and Wiggins has more than Parker. Freaky athlete with unparalleled hops in this draft, Wiggins only question is his motor (and even then it’s kind of being nitpicky). I think Parker will be the better pro simply because of how elite he is offensively and his drive at every level so far, but the Cavaliers drool thinking about LeBron and Wiggins.
Ten years from now, who’s the best player?
Chris: This is a tricky question with the uncertainty of Joel Embiid. If his health holds up, he has the potential to be in the mold of a Hakeem Olajuwon. I’m going to say the risk is well-worth taking and Embiid will be the heralded star of this class. Situation is huge for Embiid and he could fall into the lap of the Philadelphia 76ers if his medicals check out. Imagine a healthy combination of Embiid and former Kentucky star Nerlens Noel down low; it’s a defensive nightmare. Embiid could be a force over the course of his career, but Sam Bowie could have been too.
Ahmed: I’m going with a wildcard and picking Aaron Gordon as the best player in this draft. From the day I watched him in the McDonald’s All-American game until now, Gordon is an athletic, skilled post player that can hit the mid-range. And he’s just 18 years old. This kid has the skills now to be a beast in the NBA and at such a young age, can grow even more and build his body to become an all-around post player with a good outside touch. Not a popular pick, but a realistic one in my mind.
Willis: I still think it’s going to be Jabari Parker. A lot has been made about his athleticism lacking, but the same thing was said about Carmelo Anthony coming out of college. With some guys, it just doesn’t matter. I don’t think there are any LeBron’s in this class, but I do think there are some Carmelo’s; great players who probably need a sidekick to get it done. Parker has a great attitude, a tough mentality, and can score on anyone. Even when he gets older and doesn’t have hops, his game translates well. He’s also an underrated rebounder, which should help him stick even longer in the league.
Who is most likely to be a bust?
Chris: This is going to produce a good amount of star players, there’s no doubt about that. One guy that I don’t think will do much as a pro is Duke’s Rodney Hood. I got to watch Hood a great deal this season and just was not impressed. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a great shooter. However, I feel that is all that the former Mississippi State guard will be.
Ahmed: Doug McDermott: he is the power forward-version of Jimmer Fredette. Both wowed us throughout their college careers, and as we saw Fredette unable to stick with an NBA team and make a true impact, the same will be said with McDermott. If you take away his shooting ability, he is still a good player, but these guys get figured out quickly in the NBA. I see him playing a lot of wing and power forward in the NBA, which means he guards guys like Paul George, LeBron James, Blake Griffin, and that screams defensive mismatch to me. McDermott is slow on defense and will get man-handled by these superstars. But Rodney Hood is a close second to McDermott. If McDermott gets taken high, he’ll be looked at as a bust. If his expectations are to be like Kyle Korver, he’ll be fine.
Willis: Here’s a question for you: who’s the last Kansas player to become a superstar in the NBA? Better yet, who’s the last Bill Self player to become a superstar in the NBA? Don’t worry, I’ll wait. Every year it seems like Kansas has the next great thing and every year it feels like we’re talking about that same player as trade bait because they didn’t do much during their rookie seasons (Thomas Robinson, Ben McLemore among others). I think it’ll end up being Embiid if only for the fact that he’s been plagued by injuries a bit too much for anyone to feel comfortable betting the ranch on him. Still, wing players in the Bill Self Kansas era have typically not done well in the NBA, so Wiggins has to overcome ten years of duds.
Who is the next Terp to be drafted?
Chris: Next year could see multiple Terps drafted depending on how the season goes. Dez Wells is a shoe-in to be drafted and could be a first round pick if he puts Maryland on his back next year. However, I’m going to think outside the box and say Jake Layman finally puts it together and is selected. Layman is a player that is incredibly athletic and has impressive length that allows him to excel on defense at times. If Layman can be less streaky as a shooter and put the ball on the floor and attack more, I can definitely see the Massachusetts native being selected in the second round at the very least.
Ahmed: Melo Trimble. Dez Wells has the potential to make it to the NBA, but he’s going to need a big year this year. He showed flashes of greatness last year, which was usually in the last ten minutes of the game. If he can do what he did in the last 10 minutes for 40 minutes a game, he’s a borderline first/second round pick. But that’s an “if” for me right now. Layman has yet to show his true potential, but the kid has a motor to work his tail off from beginning to end. He shows a lot of potential and is still learning a lot of the little aspects of his game, but he has time to prove folks wrong. And for Maryland’s sake, I hope he does.
So that brings me to Trimble. Assuming he ends up being as good as advertised, I expect Trimble to show that he can be a (very) poor man’s Chris Paul. Trimble, like Paul, can shoot very well and seemingly can hit any shot he want. Trimble loves to get his teammates involved, and in his senior year at Bishop O’Connell, he did just that. But his biggest asset is his work ethic. Trimble is known to be a very coachable player and that bodes well for him. Not having a big ego and eager to learn, along with his obvious skill set, will propel Trimble into the NBA draft talk when it’s all said and done.
Willis: If not Dez Wells, then Layman or Reed. Wells needs to develop a deep shot if he wants to catapult himself into the draft conversation, but a tournament run could do it for him too. He’s way too explosive to not take a flyer on. Seriously, can you picture Dez Wells playing in Europe? The guy’s a pro in some form if he gets at it on the defensive end a bit more. Think Tony Allen.
Layman has a chance, and Reed is 7’2 so if he can averaged 10 points, 7 rebounds, and a few blocks he’ll get drafted off sheer potential.