Ranking Andrew Wiggins' Biggest Threats to No. 1 Pick In 2014 NBA Draft
We're not going to just give Andrew Wiggins No. 1 overall honors. Though he's the heavy favorite coming in, he'll still have to earn it given the strength of the competition projected at the top of the 2014 draft.
Wiggins, who'll be suiting up for Bill Self at Kansas, will have to fight off a few awfully special prospects—all of whom would have been in the mix for the top pick in 2013.
4. Dante Exum, Australia, 6'6'', SG
Though not a household name yet, it won't be long before everyone's familiar with "that guy Exum from Australia."
Dante Exum is flat-out spectacular. He's one of those explosive athletes who appears to play with a jet pack or rocket strapped to his back.
At 6'6'', he's got 2-guard size, a dynamite first step and the ability to create off the dribble.
With the ability to attack the rim, separate in the mid-range and spot-up from three, Exum can be a dynamic scoring combo guard with unique physical tools.
He recently scored 27 points in just under 27 minutes against the Russian Under-19 national team, and dropped 16 in a win over team U.S.A. at the Nike Hoops Summit.
Exum hasn't decided whether to attend college in the United States or declare for the draft in 2014, but the latter appears more realistic.
3. Aaron Gordon, Arizona, 6'9'', PF
Aaron Gordon is one of those athletes who plays at 12 feet above the ground. He possesses a potent blend of hops and coordination that allows him to finish plays on the way down instead of on the way up.
Right now he's playing a key role for U.S.A.'s Under-19 national team at the FIBA World Championships in Prague. In 2013-14, he'll be the most explosive player in Arizona's lineup and a routine human highlight.
At 6'9'', Gordon can handle the ball and attack his man off the dribble. His ability to take off and elevate far from the rim makes it difficult for interior defenses to challenge him in the paint.
Gordon is more than just an elite athlete—he's got the foundation and skill set in place to become a regular NBA mismatch.
The Blake Griffin comparisons are just inevitable.
2. Jabari Parker, Duke, 6'8'', SF
The NBA wing position is starting to evolve, and Jabari Parker fits the bill as that new, coveted breed. At 6'8'', Parker is a true small forward who can score, pass and defend.
Parker's basketball IQ and versatility are off the charts. He's got a diverse skill set that allows him to act as the first option or primary facilitator.
He's extremely skilled offensively, with the ability to create his own shot from mid-range, in the post or as an attacker of the rim.
Parker can resemble anyone from Paul George and Grant Hill to Carmelo Anthony and Paul Pierce. Label him what you want, but Parker clearly has the potential for greatness if he's able to maximize his offensive talent.
He'll be a featured member of Duke's rotation in 2013-14 and should have the spotlight on him individually from the opening tip of the season.
1. Julius Randle, Kentucky, 6'9'', PF
Technically, Julius Randle is still a kid, though you wouldn't know it from watching him play. Randle has man strength and a competitive edge that you just can't manufacture.
Randle is consistently everywhere. I'm not sure where he got his batteries, but his motor never seems to die. Randle's activity level at the rim makes it seem like there's actually two of him out there.
At 6'9'', Randle has the size of a 4 with the mobility and athleticism of a 3.
He has a refined perimeter repertoire consisting of jab steps to set up jumpers, quickness off the bounce and the ability to separate.
Randle is one of those explosive trains that nobody wants to step in front of. And given his mobility and agility facing up, he's able to pick up steam and attack with hostility, yet maintain body control, as a violent finisher.
His top-flight physical tools, advanced offensive game and tireless motor give him star potential at the pro level. If there is anyone capable of challenging Andrew Wiggins for the first overall pick, the odds would be with Kentucky's Julius Randle.
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