We talked with Sam Vecenie on Monday, discussing all the top prospects in the 2014 NBA Draft and how the Bucks could go about putting together their draft board this summer. To read the full discussion, including trade talk and other stuff from all our readers, check out the original thread. For Part One of our chat recap, click here. And of course, don't forget to follow Sam on Twitter for more draft coverage (plus some Cleveland Cavaliers talk!).
Now, on to Part Two!
oldresorter: Can Parker play the "run your offense through" wing, ala Kobe, LeBron, Michael, in a "here it comes, good luck trying to stop it" way? Can Wiggins do it better? Who in the draft is 3rd best at that skill, assuming Parker and Wiggins are one and two?
Sam Vecenie: Parker is absolutely a "run your offense through him on the wing" type of talent. You can give it to him on the wing and let him create, you can let him post up weaker SFs or slower PFs. Parker is best offensive collegiate player I’ve seen since Durant (probably slightly below that level).
Wiggins cannot do it better than Parker can, to answer the second part of your question, haha. Sorry.
As far as part 3, I don’t really think there’s another guy like that in this draft. Harris is more of an off-ball guy. Same with James Young and Rodney Hood. I mean, maybe Dario Saric I guess? But he’s more of a passer than shooter. But you could give him the ball on the wing or in the high post I guess and it could work as far as running through him.
Frank Madden: I think this is why Exum intrigues me. He played off the ball a lot in the Hoops Summit, but watching film of him playing in Australia he seems to show really good vision and no hesitation to pass it. That’s not to say he’s a "pure PG" or whatever, but just seems like he has that unique potential to be a guy who scores while also making teammates better.
OB7: Why so much love for Embiid? I might be wrong, but centers aren’t as valuable in today’s NBA as they were say in the 90s. To be really good don’t teams need that go-to star player?
LastFirstism: Aren’t centers more valuable today due to the relative scarcity at the position? Of course, due to the height requirements of the position, it is always scarce, but it seems that if you can find a good center in the draft, it is worth it as centers are really expensive in free agency. It seems tougher to find good two way centers now than ever before. And most centers peak later in their careers, so getting a guy who can make an impact early in his career is difficult.
Frank: I’d say centers were more valuable in the ’90s because there were much better centers to be had :)
Growing up watching Robinson/Hakeem/Shaq/Ewing/Mourning I just assumed you’d always have a handful of super-dominant big guys putting up 20/10/2 for a decade. Instead, Dwight’s basically been running unopposed for the title of best big man for most of the last decade, and I don’t think he’s better than any of those guys.
So I’d say if you found a potential 20/10 center who can be a defensive anchor that’s still the most coveted type of guy. The do-it-all wing (LeBron/Kobe/MJ/Wade) may be just as or more valuable, but I don’t think Parker/Wiggins project to that level…at least not for sure.
SV: Here’s the reason Embiid is so valuable: he has the second best defensive rating in the entire Big 12. Kansas as a team is 4th in defensive rating. Meaning when he's on the floor, the paint is completely shut down. He’s extremely difficult to score over right now.
Oh, by the way, he’s actually further along on the offensive end than the defensive end, and he’s already got that much effect defensively.
Eric Buenning: Though I'd cry if it happened--if the Bucks fell in the 5-10 range in the draft, who is the pick there? Marcus Smart probably, but who else could be available there?
SV: Smart would be a good pick. Harris would work. Exum would work obviously. But outside of those guys, I don’t love that portion of the draft for the Bucks. Lots of guys potentially like Cauley-Stein, Vonleh, Harrell, Gordon, etc. Or in other words a lot of what they have already.
JLove3: For a team that has two candidates for #1, and other players projected to go in the lottery, Kansas isn't as dominant as I would have expected. Why is that?
SV: Absolutely no guard play to distribute the ball around. Naadir Tharpe hasn’t been good. Selden isn’t great as a ball-handler. Frank Mason is still pretty young. It’s a tough situation. NCAA is extremely guard oriented.
Steve von Horn: Here's my question...Doug McDermott? That's it: Doug McDermott?
SV: Have him at #9. I think he’s going to score in the NBA. He apparently looked great at US Select camp last year.
I do think he’s probably a bit more of a 4 than a 3 at this point. And he could be one of those Bennett-like guys that I mentioned early that are tweeners who don’t really have positions. But shooters always translate, and I don’t particularly like the middle of this draft at all. So I’d take him fairly early.
Frank: Here's a scary Doug McDermott stat: He has nine blocks and 30 steals…in four years. I know they project to different positions, but I just can’t help but look at Doug and think he’s a cheesestache and some on-court crying from being Adam Morrison.
Eric: What's up with Aaron Gordon?
SV: He has potential to be one of the most versatile defenders in the NBA. He’s already excellent defensively in the NCAA, and can guard pretty much anyone on that level from 2-5.
That’s why I don’t really see him as Blake Griffin-like (which honestly I see as more racially and looks motivated than anything), and more as a Shawn Marion. He wants to play 3, but he’s probably going to be better as a 4 in a super high tempo offense where he can run in transition and finish easy dunks. He’s one of the most unique athletes I’ve ever seen.
oldresorter: You should have seen [Jamil Wilson] when he was 15 or 16. He looked like and played like a 6'6" Giannis. Buzz came out and said this week Jamil is the most talented Marquette guy yet. Any word on when he'll go? Sam Dekker I've seen play 100 times or more, since 5th grade. Will he go?
SV: I love Sam Dekker. There are about 6 or 7 of those SF types in the middle of this draft (it’s the one position I like in this draft outside of the top 8 picks), and all of them do unique things. Dekker’s slow release really scared me coming into the year, and I think it hurt him in the midrange game a lot last year. This year, he’s quickened that up slightly and looks to be stronger. I worry that he’s also a 3/4 combo guy, because some of his best skills right now are his post footwork and offensive rebounding ability. But I do like him and have him in that 16-22 range.
Jamil Wilson is a low end second round guy for me. Buzz is on drugs if he thinks Wilson is a better player than Jimmy Butler was.
Dan Sinclair: I doubt Dekker would declare this year. Wisconsin guys are usually there for the long haul. I think he comes out after next season when he’s got a better shot at the lottery, maybe top-10.
Frank: "I doubt Dekker would declare this year Wisconsin guys are usually white and not that good (fixed). I think he comes out after next season when he’s got a better shot at the lottery, maybe top-10."
(Editor's Note: SHUT IT, FRANK)
One thought: putting aside the relative strengths of the drafts, seems like if he stays another year he’d have to put up monster numbers for people to feel like he proved something beyond natural progression.
SV: I agree with Frank. I think he should probably leave after this season because it's going to be tough for him to prove growth on that level, even though it will happen.
(Editor's Note 2: While I understand the argument that Dekker should leave this season, I'd put money on him staying. Wisconsin guys just don't leave that early, with very few notable exceptions).
LastFirstism: I am not a big fan of [Julius] Randle and think that he will struggle to translate his game to the NBA, but I wonder what you think. Is he worth the top-5 hype?
SV: I haven’t been huge on Randle ever. He’s fine and all (hence why I have him as my #4 player), but I had Parker ahead of him coming into the season and he’s done nothing to show me any reason why I would be wrong.
Randle’s an excellent rebounder, an insane athlete at the 4, and extremely strong. He can get to the rim against any 4. He’ll score on the next level, and I think the midrange game will come along. It’s almost impossible for 4s in the NCAA to have a midrange game because of the condensed spacing due to the shorter three point line.
I worry a bit about how much he turns the ball over (he tends to bring the ball super low, which allows guards to get their hands in there) and about his defensive potential. But at his worst I see him as like an inefficient 17/10 guy in the league. So it’s tough. I think his weaknesses scare me a whole lot more than Wiggins’ and Parker’s do, so I have him at 4 on my board.
OB7: Built like a T-Rex, lol. (Editor's Note 3: This is a reference to a piece on Randle by Jonathan Tjarks)
SV: I think the wingspan thing is a bit overblown there by Tjarks. He doesn’t have T-Rex arms. I think we’re just so used to seeing these guys at the top of the draft be condors that when we see a normal wingspan it’s a surprise.
BreakingBucks: What are your thoughts on Randle vs. Noah Vonleh? Noah has very similar per-minute numbers to Randle although he has fouling problems.
SV: Not nearly as skilled as Randle. Which isn’t to say that Vonleh is unskilled, it’s just that they aren’t in the same stratosphere for me.
Vonleh is going to be more of a bruiser that can rebound. I see him more like a Tristan Thompson than a Randle-level guy.
LastFirstism: I’ve only watched a couple Indiana games this season, but Vonleh has stood out to me. Looks like a really heady player with an NBA-style game.
SV: As long as Vonleh sticks to rebounding and using his length to affect shots, he’ll be awesome. He overreaches sometimes and gets a little too reckless for my taste. Another guy that thinks like a 3, but has the body and game of a 4.
ConoverBucks: Does Frank Kaminsky have a place in the NBA? Maybe a late 2nd-rounder?
SV: He’ll certainly get a shot. Seven footers who can stretch the floor and shoot threes don’t grow on trees. If you made me handicap his chances, I’d probably put them at like 15%. So I doubt it, but I certainly would not be surprised if it ended up happening.
Eric: I know the top of this class will be really tough to crack, but is there anyone we haven’t really talked about sitting down a little bit than could climb up the boards in the coming months?
SV: I think we kind of know the guys that will be at the top of the draft. Can’t see anyone hopping into that tier unless it’s a European or unless LaVine just goes nuts and learns how to play actual basketball and not street ball.
As far as climbing into the middle of the draft class, I’ll throw my homer goggles on and say that LaQuinton Ross should probably start to be mentioned in the middle of the first round. After a disastrous start to the season, he’s averaging a little over 18 points per game on incredible efficiency since December began. Kyle Anderson is a fun guy too. Has maybe the most unique game in all of college basketball in that he’s a 6’8 PG essentially. I have no idea how his game translates to the NBA, but if we’re going to talk about Dario Saric where we do, we should also mention Anderson.
Frank: Where do you see Glenn Robinson III shaking out?
SV: I had GR3 so high coming into this year. He was my #8 guy. I think he’s taken a slight step back though. Still can’t shoot at all. Still can’t really create well. He’s awesome without the ball and he’s a great athlete, he’s just not much more than that.
There are definite places in the NBA for people like that who can just cut to the rim (he was one of the best players in the NCAA last year off of cuts. Trey Burke fed him well). But he really needs the three point shot to make that part of his game effective. I have him in the 20s right now.