Contrary to popular belief, the NBA’s potential 2014 draft class is more than just freshman prodigy Andrew Wiggins. Excluding the Canadian transplant, a handful of players ranging from perennial All Stars to franchise cornerstones exist. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) and Julius Randle (Kentucky) fall in said group.
The Texas natives recently engaged in an impromptu dunk contest resulting in its fair share of dunks which would’ve scored perfect 50’s had they been executed on Saturday night during All-Star Weekend. It’s also easy to see why this season in college basketball is drawing the same hype as college football this year. With game changers from coast-to-coast, dunks of this caliber may not be an every night occurrence once the season kicks off. But there’s now more than enough reason to give a damn about games in December and January as opposed to simply conference tournaments and March Madness.
Smart would’ve been a high lottery pick in the 2013 draft, meaning his return to OSU makes him arguably the best returning player in the country. Randle, on the other hand, could very well be the best player on an insanely stocked Kentucky squad. And that’s not even beginning to scratch the surface of talent littered at other universities.
Both Randle and Smart are projected top five picks by the guys who specializes in these sort of predictions. So, yes, this means even if the Philadelphia 76ers potentially losing 65+ games in 2013-2014 and miss out on Wiggins* – because bad karma still surrounds that city for cheering when Michael Irvin laid motionless following a serious neck injury – there are players like Smart, Randle, Parker and more than willing to step in.
That’s not a consolation prize. That’s not a steal. That’s potentially the come up of all come ups.
H/T: Ball Is Life
* – Assuming he becomes the real-life manifestation of the most can’t-miss prospect in years like we all expect him to be, of course.