The 2014 NBA Draft is almost here! We're pored over scouting reports, analytical projections, workout videos and interviews all we can. No longer must we bide our time debating and dissecting every player set to enter the league tonight. We can finally let out our unbridled enthusiasm because BUCKS PICKING SECOND OVERALL Y'ALL.
So where does the Brew Hoop staff stand in the end? We took the time to pare down our opinions into quick little #takes, less hot than warm, but still totally unyielding and subject to absolutely no second-guessing. Except all bets are off when we see one Summer League game for these guys and completely change all of our opinions. Here we go!
Dan. His overall performance was definitely underwhelming, but he really came on late in the season. He's a couple of refined skills away from being a matchup nightmare anywhere he plays. If he doesn't stagnate in his development, he's a superstar.
Eric. Still is a little raw, but has the physical ability to do everything on a basketball court, and do it well. He could be special.
Jake. Contrary to the popular storyline, I think Wiggins is a guy that can, and will, contribute immediately. It just won't be on the offensive end. He instantly upgrades your perimeter defense, which makes it easy to plug him in and see how he harnesses all that video game offensive potential. The T-Mac-esque drifting during games is a bit scary, and his college projections leave much to be desired, but intrigue and potential is kind of all we're looking for right now, right?
Steve. His length, quickness, defensive versatility and three-point shooting skills give me more than enough to get excited about, but I'm still concerned about what it takes to climb a steep curve to superstardom. Injuries create a red flag for Embiid. Uninspiring projections from draft models raise at least a yellow flag for Wiggins. I'm not sure what constitutes a bigger gamble at this point.
Dan. Gets written off as "just a scorer," which is silly because scoring is really important, he's got the potential to be really good at it, and he's also a really good rebounder. I do wonder if he can affect all aspects of the game though.
Eric. He may not have the superhuman physical tools like Wiggins or Embiid, but Parker has a tremendous amount of skill at a young age. He'll be able to create shots and be a reliable scorer from day one. Could be special.
Frank. He's a brutish, unrelenting scorer whose mature skillset often overshadows his unusual combination of strength and open court athleticism. Now if we can only find a good place to hide him defensively...
Jake. "NBA ready" tends to belie his actual ceiling. Sure he's too slow for the three and too small for the four, but he is also a 19-year-old growing into his body, labelled as this draft's most "sure thing." Imagine when he gets all the strength and conditioning perks afforded to elite NBA talents. The defense might always be a problem, but I doubt it'll be from lack of effort.
Steve. While I feel that Wiggins was used at Kansas exactly how he will be used in the NBA, Parker was employed in odd spots at Duke. Even so, Parker made the best of the situation and developed his post game and finishing skills. I think a move to the perimeter as a face-up PF will reveal the depth of his offensive skills at the next level.
Dan. The talent is obvious--this is a guy who could fill the box score while providing all the unseen benefits an elite big man can offer. Sometimes we forget how valuable a talented offensive center can be. But the injury concerns are just too frightening for me to roll the dice with a top-5 pick.
Eric. He's the guy in this draft whose highlights make you laugh. His talent level is that ridiculously high to me. However, foot and back pain is juuuust too risky at #2. Can't pull the trigger.
Frank. The biggest talent in the draft, but also the biggest long-term risk. Now if only there was a way to snag him with a second lottery pick...
Jake. The embodiment of high risk, high reward -- a center with the fluidity of The Dream, but the injury issues of Greg Oden. That seems to be an unfair comparison, given Oden's lack of fluid athleticism, but any team or GM in a loaded draft is rightfully going to choose an option with a less checkered medical sheet. All those skillz though...
Steve. Embiid still represents the best combination of size, production, talent and tools in this draft class. It's a shame that injuries have undermined his stock, because if he can stay on the floor he's probably going to make a positive impact.
Dan. Really tough to evaluate with so little context. Love his playmaking instincts, size, and athleticism, but it's getting really hard to play guards who can't shoot. Sure would be fun seeing him running alongside Giannis though...
Eric. I don't know. All signs point him to being amazing or pretty close to amazing, but I just don't know. I DON'T KNOW, OK.
Frank. His speed, size and playmaking makes him a good bet to be a very good player, and quite possibly a great one. Easily the guy I fear passing on the most, but do we know enough to nab him at #2? I wouldn't have the guts, but I'd still be excited if the Bucks do.
Jake. An 18-year-old with the basketball IQ of LeBron and the killer instinct of Kobe (you love the draft, therefore, you love hyperboles). The fall of the House of Embiid makes Exum at #2 (or even 1) easier to justify, despite the known unknowns of his ability to adjust to NBA competition. People said that about Giannis last year, too, and Exum's ceiling and production are higher.
Steve. The allure of the mystery box is strong. With his combination of size and quickness, Exum has my head spinning with possibilities. When I think back to how pre-injury Tyreke Evans terrorized the league and posted 20-5-5 with no outside shot, no left hand and little more than a lightning quick first step, I wonder how Exum could ever fail.
Dan. Five years from now I think we'll look at prospects like Vonleh--skilled bigs who can defend and shoot with range--and wonder why they weren't more coveted. He has a lot of developing yet to do, but he's a guy I'd trade up for.
Eric. Clear eyes, giant hands, can't lose. Wait, what?
Frank. Big and surprisingly skilled, but does he have all the pieces to be *special*? It'd be a lot easier if we saw him inflict his will more regularly at Indiana.
Jake. A raw big man with the shooting potential of Channing Frye and defensive ceiling of Larry Sanders. Sound crazy? Those comparisons are tepid compared to the grandiose declarations that await us, courtesy of ESPN's draft crew.
Steve. He's the tubeman's tubeman—an intoxicating mix of the best traits Giannis Antetokounmpo and John Henson have to offer. Quickness to cover the perimeter, freakish length, hands like oven mitts, ball handling skills, a credible jumper, real defensive potential and youth. Sign me up.
Dan. He's great at what he does, but is that enough? Randle seems like he'll be really good at doing things most teams aren't really worried about because trends in the NBA have rendered them so much less valuable.
Eric. I'd be higher on him if I was picking lower. Don't think he's just bad, I just haven't thought much about him.
Frank. He just seemed to overwhelm college defenses with his strength and motor, though I worry that he doesn't have the complete package to dominate against guys his own size.
Jake. Given all the Embiid/Wiggins/Parker news, when was the last time someone talked about the poor man's Zach Randolph?
Dan. As with Exum, shooting troubles worry me, and I don't value PG defense as much. But Smart seems like a guy who will always find ways to contribute, and he'll never stop working.
Eric. Sometimes I wonder if I'm high on him because of groupthink. Then I watch him play and I remember why he excites me. Not my choice at #2, but if he falls...#steals
Frank. If he shot 5% better from three we'd probably be talking about him as a lock for the top four, right?
Jake. Smart is intriguing if only because he was the top-ranked college player last year by advanced metrics. Smart is Parker's "Sure Thing" backcourt counterpart, which means he probably drops to 8-10.
Steve. Why does it seem ridiculous to take him No. 2 overall? Will it seem that ridiculous in three years? Taking into account his toughness, quickness, finishing ability and shaky jumpshot, I've finally settled on a comp for Smart: a young Baron Davis. And I loved young Baron Davis. [Steals]