With the 12th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select … Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Analysis: Dario Saric signed a deal to remain in Turkey for at least two more years, and it could even be three more years. But he’s a good player. Rumor is that he’s going to be traded but, if they keep them, he’s a great talent. He’s a multi-talented offensive player who passes extremely well, rebounds well, and is a solid scorer. He’s not a great shooter but he can shoot in the mid-range a little bit. He’s still developing but he’s a good player now. Rumor is that he’ll be traded to Philadelphia for Elfrid Payton. He has issues defensively and athletically, but he’s a good player. Saric reminds me a lot of Hedo Turkoglu, minus the shooting, but he has that point-forward feel to him and he’s highly intelligent. The guy competes, wins, and is a complete teammate. Wherever he ends up, Saric will help a team.
Draft Grade: B+
With the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Denver Nuggets select … Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
Analysis: Not saying I don’t like the fit, or the player, but I don’t see this being a good thing for Denver. McDermott can definitely fill it up from beyond the arc and mid-range but his athleticism is not good enough to create open looks for him in the NBA. He took a lot of contested looks in college and he’ll take more in the NBA. He won’t get his shot off that easily. He’s a solid rebounder, not a good defender, and won’t bully people in the paint like he did in college. I just don’t understand this pick for Denver when they have Danilo Gallinari also on the roster. I know Danilo’s been injured but you’re paying him too much money to select McDermott as a piece behind him. Maybe they trade him, maybe they don’t. I’m just not sold on the fit and the player at all. I think he gets exposed at the NBA level.
Draft Grade: C
With the 10th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select … Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Analysis: I hate this pick. Only reason it’s not an F is because Payton is a good prospect and can be a good point guard in the NBA. However, I don’t understand this. Elfrid Payton cannot shoot. At all. Neither can Michael Carter-Williams. Carter-Williams shot just 34% outside of the restricted area this past season. I’ll be shocked — SHOCKED! — if Payton shoots better than that this coming season. There better be a trade in the works for Philadelphia because of this. They cannot play together. They both cannot shoot. Payton is a great defender, fantastic athlete, and does a bunch of good things on the floor. But he turns it over quite a bit and can’t shoot. Philadelphia will play them together, I guess, and I don’t understand it. This is probably the worst pick that could have been made for Philadelphia and I’m trying to wrap my head around it. I can’t.
Draft Grade: D
With the 9th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select … Noah Vonleh, FC, Indiana
Analysis: While I like Noah Vonleh, this is sort of an interesting pick for Charlotte to make since they drafted Cody Zeller fourth overall last year. I like Vonleh more than Zeller, of course, since Vonleh can do more things but it seems weird to draft power forwards in back-to-back years and bring one off the bench. Vonleh does fit next to Al Jefferson, though. Vonleh shows great form on his jumpers, can finish around the rim, shows post moves, and provides defensive impact. His hands are huge and he’s a good rebounder, as well. The problem lies in the fact that he turns the ball over at a high rate, isn’t a good passer, and can get rooted out down low because of his lack of substance in the lower half. But he’s a good player and was #5 on my big board. He compares very favorably to Chris Bosh and could definitely be a 18/10/3 guy in the future. He’s not a great athlete but he finishes well around the rim and uses his great length to his advantage. I like his fit in Charlotte but it’ll be interesting to see what they do with him and Zeller.
Draft Grade: B
With the 8th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select … Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Analysis: This is a pick that I’m scratching my head at. Personally, I like Nik Stauskas. A lot. He can shoot the ball, he’s a better athlete than people think (great athlete), and he can do things that offensively that will help a team. What I don’t understand, however, is why the Kings are picking him when they just drafted Ben McLemore last year to be their shooting guard of the future. A rumor going around was that McLemore could be going to Sacramento for the 6th pick (Boston) but that hasn’t happened. I think Stauskas will be a really good offensive player for years to come but I question why Sacramento took him. Maybe they move him for a veteran but I don’t like it. At least he won’t demand the ball offensively and could thrive in a system where he gets open looks or cutting off the ball to the rim. He’s not a good defender but he competes. I like him. Just not the fit. Reminds me a little bit of the Thomas Robinson pick a few years ago. The kid is great, the team isn’t.
Draft Grade: C
With the 7th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select … Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Analysis: I’ve never been a real fan of Julius Randle since he’s basically just a big bruising guy who doesn’t have the length to succeed in the NBA. He’s a rugged guy, though, and has the body of a traditional power forward. He rebounds at a good rate, especially on the offensive glass, but I question how those skills will translate to the NBA since he’s not a great athlete at all. Randle has problems with his jumper, as well, and isn’t a viable weapon outside of eight feet. That might fly from time to time and he could definitely be successful, but I don’t put much faith in him to reach that potential of his. He’s definitely going to get the ball a lot in Los Angeles. That’s for sure. He’s not Zach Randolph but he could be a solid power forward for years down the road. He fits. We’ll just see how he’s able to translate. He just has no right hand and needs to work on a lot of his game. His defense is utterly atrocious, as well. But he’ll get Lakers fans someone to get excited about.
Draft Grade: B
With the 6th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select … Marcus Smart, CG, Oklahoma State
Analysis: Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a huge fan of Marcus Smart. However, he does make some sense for the Boston Celtics here. He can play alongside Rajon Rondo or also be the replacement for Rondo if the Celtics are looking to deal Rondo. Marcus Smart is a damn good defender, a hell of an athlete, and one hell of a competitor. He’s also fantastic at getting to the rim and free throw line. The problems he has are that he’s not that great of a ball-handler for a guard and his shot is not good at all. He brings the ball down to his knees before rising up and shooting, which is death nail for shooters in the NBA. But he has the potential to be a good player. I don’t think he’ll be a great player but he’s going to be one of those guys you hate to play against since he’s a bulldog on the court. It’ll be hard to get around him defensively, hard to ignore him on the court, and he’s a good leader. The problems, as I alluded to, are kinda big, though. However, I do sorta like him for Boston. And you have to trust Brad Stevens.
Draft Grade: B