It’s time to put aside your LeBron, Carmelo and Kevin Love “what if” scenarios, and shift focus to the largest “what if” generator in the sports world: tomorrow’s NBA Draft. Having failed last year by selecting Anthony Bennett at number one, and having stuttered through three years of the Kyrie-rebuilding project, all the pressure of the Internets is on the Cavaliers to NOT F*CK THIS UP.
Fortunately for them, there is a plethora of talent on the board, and screwing up again seems close to impossible. The Bucks, 76ers and Magic are also unlikely to return from the draft without quality additions. But if you haven’t been paying 100% attention over the last few months, you might be feeling a little out of your depth in those water cooler discussions with colleagues who read ESPN and Grantland all day on company time.
Fear not…I’m here to answer your questions, and bring you up to speed. Let’s begin…
1. So, is Andrew Wiggins really all that?
Not as much as we were claiming awhile back. Before this college season, people were talking up Wiggins as the best prospect since LeBron. We quickly learned, however, that flashy YouTube mixtapes do not translate into a complete player, and Andrew has a lot of learning to do to become an effective NBA starter, let alone all-star. The good news is he has a ton of potential – you’ve seen this right?
His athleticism is scary, and he has already developed into an elite defender. However, his handle, jumpshot and passivity remain weaknesses. If he improves two out of those three – which seems likely considering his work ethic – then you can pencil him in for a decade of all-star appearances.
Best case scenario: Dwyane Wade. Worst case: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
Who should take him: Cleveland. If there was ever a team that needed defense, it’s these God-awful Cavs. I think quite highly of Parker, but Cavs need to do something bold to turn around their franchise, and picking Wiggins could be just the ticket.
2. What is Jabari Parker’s ceiling?
The facts speak for themselves: this guy averaged 19 points per game as a freshman, throwing in 8.7 rebounds and picking up 10 ACC player-of-the-week nods. What’s more, he pulled a 3.63 GPA and has a strong record of extra-curricular leadership roles. It’s an impressive resume, and it seems extremely unlikely that he won’t be a productive player in the league. But what is his ceiling? His game has elements of Paul Pierce, Melo and Kevin Love, and if all goes well he could average 25-10 in a few years. Defense be damned – that’s worthy of a top-two pick any day of the week, if you ask me.
Best case scenario: Carmelo. Worst case: Antoine Walker
Who should take him: Milwaukee. This would be a home run for the Bucks – they need a marketable star who can create offense, and Parker would fill that role perfectly.
3. Who is the most athletic guy in the draft?
In each draft there’s always one guy who jumps out the gym, but hasn’t been able to put it all together on the court yet. In this edition, that would be Zach LaVine. The skinny UCLA product posted an insane 46-inch vertical last month, but could only manage 9.4 points per game at the college level. Who knows how much he’ll contribute, but if the Suns pick him up at No. 14 or No. 17, we’re in for some highlights next year!
Best case: Russell Westbrook. Worst case: Joe Alexander
Who should take him: Phoenix, for the reasons discussed above