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Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 2014 NBA Draft Prospects, Post-Lottery Edition

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterSeptember 13, 2016

Stock Up, Stock Down for Top 2014 NBA Draft Prospects, Post-Lottery Edition

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    With the NBA combine complete, prospects are now in training and interview mode for the 2014 draft. 

    Most of the top prospects on the board will essentially pick and choose whom they plan on working out for. The rest of the pack will look to get in as many workouts with as many different teams as possible. 

    For some of the fringe first- or second-rounders, they could find themselves in a few different cities each week, just trying to make an impression on whoever is willing to listen. 

20. Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, 6'1", PG, Senior

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    Stock Report: ↓

    Shabazz Napier measured in at just 5'11" in socks with a small 6'3" wingspan. Compared to the other first round-worthy point guards, that was quite underwhelming.

    But we knew about his physical limitations coming in. His appeal stems from his confidence with the ball—his ability to make things happen off the dribble, whether it's for himself or a teammate. 

    He's also an excellent shooter as a spot-up or pull-up threat. 

    But Napier will be 23 years old in July—between his age and inferior athleticism, there's probably a better chance of a team reaching or trading up for 19-year-old Tyler Ennis or 20-year-old Elfrid Payton. 

    Regardless, it would be a crime if Napier did in fact slip too deep into the late first round.

19. Rodney Hood, Duke, 6'8", SF, Sophomore

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Stock Report: ↑

    Rodney Hood looked good at the combine, both during measurements and drills, where he stood out as one of the more refined offensive players who were participating. 

    Once he has room to rise up and release, there's a good chance he can hit it. At 6'8.5", he has excellent size for a wing, with the ability to play over the defense as a spot-up and pull-up shooter.

    His ceiling is somewhat limited without much to offer defensively or as a playmaker, but with a 42 percent three-point stroke and a runner game off the dribble, he should be able to step in immediately and knock down shots that find him in the offense. 

    At this point in the process, his draft range appears to be late lottery to mid-to-late first round. 

18. Adreian Payne, Michigan State, 6'10", PF, Senior

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    Stock Report: ↔

    It was pretty wild to hear the report that Adreian Payne had been dealing with mononucleosis since January, per ESPN.com's Chad Ford (subscription required). 

    From a toughness standpoint, there's a lot to like. From a talent standpoint, there's even more to admire.

    At 6'10", 239 pounds, Payne has that simple yet effective inside-outside skill set consisting of low-post activity and a spot-up jumper. He has a body built for the interior and some shooting touch that is likely to carry him to a long NBA career. 

    His draft range is pretty big—he could probably go anywhere from the late lottery, thanks to his NBA-ready body and game, into the 20s, due to him already being 23 years old. 

    Either way, whoever drafts Payne is getting a contributor in the short and long term.

17. Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia, 6'11", C, 1994

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    Stock Report: ↔

    Jusuf Nurkic's per-minute production has been tremendous all year, and it hasn't stopped through 10 games in Croatian League play. 

    Over his last three games, he's played 56 minutes, scored 47 points and grabbed 18 boards on 18-of-26 shooting. 

    A 280-pound monster in the middle, he has the size, length and strength to get shots off with ease down low, and with nimble footwork and soft touch, he converts the majority of his opportunities. 

    Outside of Joel Embiid, Nurkic is clearly the No. 2 center prospect in this draft. He's young and raw, but talent-wise, he has lottery upside. 

16. Gary Harris, Michigan State, 6'3", SG, Sophomore

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    Andy Manis/Associated Press

    Stock Report: ↓

    After measuring 6'2.5" in socks and sitting out athletic tests at the combine, Gary Harris didn't do himself any favors in Chicago. 

    Nobody is going to knock him off their boards, but with other 2-guards like Nik Stauskas and James Young measuring in more than 6'6" with 35"-plus verticals, Harris just doesn't stand out anymore as the must-have prospect of the bunch. 

    Still, after two years at Michigan State, we've seen enough of Harris to know he can play. I'm just not sure he's firmly cemented into the lottery the way he appeared to be earlier in the year. 

15. Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette, 6'4", PG, Junior

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    Sarah Bentham/Associated Press

    Stock Report: ↔

    Elfrid Payton measured in a quarter-inch below 6'4" with a 6'8" wingspan and a 35.5" max vertical—all numbers that play to his big-time ceiling as a point guard. 

    You could argue that outside of Dante Exum, Payton has the most upside of any point guard in the field. Though a junior, he's just a month older than Marcus Smart, and Payton has the size, athleticism and playmaking ability to evolve into a dangerous backcourt weapon.

    For Payton, who can create, defend and attack, his outlook will be tied to his jumper, which just hasn't been very convincing over the past few seasons. 

    But if he can show some promise as a shooter during workouts and ultimately make general managers believe his jumper isn't broken, he could be the No. 3 point guard off the board behind Exum and Smart and ahead of Tyler Ennis and Shabazz Napier. 

14. Doug McDermott, Creighton, 6'8", SF, Senior

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Stock Report: ↑

    I'm not sure Doug McDermott could have asked for better athletic testing results after registering a 36.5" max vertical and an agility time tied for No. 15 at the combine. 

    His skills are as deep and sharp as anyone's—the big question with him has always been whether or not they'll translate against much bigger, better and stronger athletes. 

    His athletic test numbers won't knock anyone's socks off, but at least they won't present a problem or red flag to teams that have questioned his outlook. 

    Anyone looking for an NBA-ready shot-maker and long-term high-end role player will be targeting McDermott in the late lottery or mid-first round. 

13. Zach LaVine, UCLA, 6'6", PG/SG, Sophomore

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    Stock Report: ↑

    Granted, just about all the projected lottery picks sat out, but Zach LaVine looked like the top prospect on the floor in Chicago at the NBA combine. 

    He looked sharp during two-on-twos and shooting drills, and he crushed the athletic testing by finishing with the fastest agility time in the gym after his 41.5" max vertical. 

    His natural talent is lottery-worthy—the question with him is whether or not he can hone that talent and improve on his current weaknesses, such as finishing at the rim, creating for teammates and defending the perimeter. 

    Like any other freshman out of college, LaVine has to improve his shooting consistency, but he's capable of knocking down jumpers with range and in bunches. 

    Most people you talk to either love his potential or feel he's just too far away from reaching it. Personally, I'm a believer. And all it will take is one believer in this draft to reach up and grab him, starting somewhere around the back end of the lottery. 

12. James Young, Kentucky, 6'7", SG/SF, Freshman

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Stock Report: ↑

    James Young measured in a quarter-inch below 6'7" with a 7'0" wingspan, which are really strong measurements for a 2-guard or small forward. 

    Still just 18 years old, he has some promising offensive tools and strengths, from his three-point range and shot-making ability to his fluidity in the open floor and slash game in the half court. 

    He has to become a better defender, both on and off the ball, but given his youth, size, length, athleticism and offensive upside, I'm not sure his defense is going to keep a lottery team from reaching on his offensive potential. 

11. Nik Stauskas, Michigan, 6'6", SG, Sophomore

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Stock Report: ↔

    Nik Stauskas should be salivating at the idea of working out for teams in an open gym, where he can showcase that lethal three-point stroke—the best of any 2-guard in the field. 

    He chose not to at the NBA combine, though he did measure in at 6'6.5" and get up for a respectable 35.5" max vertical. 

    Stauskas is a high IQ wing who has evolved into more than just a shooter—he averaged 3.3 assists and got to the line 204 times during the year. He makes sense for a couple of teams at the back end of the lottery, starting with the Charlotte Hornets at No. 9. 

10. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse, 6'2", PG, Freshman

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Stock Report: ↔

    Tyler Ennis put up some solid numbers during measurements and testing at the combine, given the limited expectations he had coming in.

    He measured in 6'2.5" with a wingspan over 6'7", and he got up for a respectable 36" vertical, higher than Marcus Smart's. 

    It's going to be tough for Ennis to showcase his decision-making and vision, his two brightest strengths, during workouts, but the fact that he checked out physically and athletically is a good sign for his stock. 

9. Aaron Gordon, Arizona, 6'9", PF, Freshman

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Draft Stock: ↑

    Aaron Gordon put on a show in Chicago during the NBA combine's athletic testing.

    He finished seventh in the lane agility test, just ahead of Marcus Smart and behind six other guards. He also finished with the fastest shuttle run in the gym after getting up for a ridiculous 39" max vertical.

    But you didn't need a ruler or timer to come to the conclusion that Gordon is one sick athlete. 

    Between his defensive versatility and offensive upside, he has some really unique two-way potential. Gordon will go somewhere in the mid-to-late lottery.

8. Dario Saric, Croatia, 6'10", SF/PF, 1994

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    Petr David Josek/Associated Press

    Stock Report: ↑

    Dario Saric's dominant play overseas has continued into late May—he's fresh off a 36-point, 15-rebound, four-block double-double in the Croatian League. 

    In late April he led Cibona to the Adriatic League final, where he was named MVP after going for 23 points, 11 boards, seven assists and five blocks. 

    His offensive versatility is just tremendous, from his ball-handling and facilitating to his scoring, shooting and rebounding. 

    It's still unclear as to whether or not Saric will be willing to come over to the NBA right away. But for a patient team that isn't in love with its options in that No. 6-10 range, Saric could be a rewarding draft-and-stash pick. 

7. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6'3", PG/SG, Sophomore

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Stock Report: ↔

    Marcus Smart measured in like a running back at just over 6'3", 227 pounds. And his strength and length (6'9" wingspan) are a big part of what he brings to the table as a vicious attacker and relentless, physical defender.

    Now he just has to prove to teams that his jumper isn't broken. He has workouts scheduled with the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics, per ESPN's Jeff Goodman. 

    Smart has struggled as a shooter and decision-maker over the past two seasons, but between his competitive edge, passing instincts and production across the board, it's easy to overlook the negatives for the positives.

    "I sorta like Marcus Smart. I like his fire," Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said on ESPN's combine broadcast, per ESPNBoston.com's Chris Forsberg.

    Smart will be an option for the Orlando Magic at No. 4, Utah Jazz at No. 5, Boston Celtics at No. 6 and Los Angeles Lakers at No. 7.

6. Julius Randle, Kentucky, 6'9", PF, Freshman

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Stock Report: ↔

    The best news Julius Randle got from the combine was that his wingspan hit the 7'0" mark. Scouts have questioned his length in the past, and though 7'0" won't stand out amongst the pack, it's not a number that should trigger any alarms. 

    At this point, he will be competing with Noah Vonleh, Dante Exum, Marcus Smart, Aaron Gordon and Dario Saric in that next tier of prospects following Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker. 

    Based on his position and strengths as an interior-oriented power forward, Randle would seem like a fit with Orlando at No. 4, Boston at No. 6, Los Angeles at No. 7 or Sacramento at No. 8. 

5. Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6'9", PF, Freshman

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    Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty Images

    Stock Report: ↑

    Noah Vonleh boosted his stock without touching a basketball after acing both the eye and measurement tests with NBA general managers in the building. 

    At 6'9.5" with a 7'4" wingspan and a 247-pound frame at 18 years old, Vonleh has some serious tools and plenty of time to get better. 

    He also measured in with the biggest hands, which he used to lead the Big Ten in rebounding and shoot 52.3 percent from the floor. 

    Fundamentally, he's a skilled big man who can create his own shot in the post and stretch the floor as a shooter. 

    The Orlando Magic, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Sacramento Kings should all be in play for him early on.

    Almost a year younger than Kentucky's Julius Randle with four extra inches of length and a better outside stroke, Vonleh is our top power forward on the 2014 draft board.

4. Dante Exum, Australia, 6'6", PG/SG, 1995

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    Gary Dineen/Getty Images

    Stock Report: ↔

    Dante Exum got the crowd buzzing after measuring in at a legitimate 6'6" with a 6'9" wingspan. On paper, he aces the upside test, given his size, athleticism and skill set for the point guard position. 

    The only thing missing on his resume is a track record of production. Everything we've seen has come in two FIBA World Championship tournaments, a Nike Hoop Summit exhibition game and the league he played in abroad. 

    There's no doubt he has incredible potential, but if you're a team that is drafting at the top, do you pass on more proven guys or take a chance to fill a need?

    A number of different general managers and scouting departments are likely debating that question as we speak. 

3. Jabari Parker, Duke, 6'8", SF/PF, Freshman

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    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    Stock Report: ↔

    There really isn't much left for Jabari Parker to do at this point other than to improve his conditioning and build up his strength. 

    He's the most polished and NBA-ready prospect of anyone on the board, and scouts and executives have known this for months. 

    His draft outlook will come down to the strategies used by the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks. If either team wants to play it safe and grab the surest bet in the field, then Parker won't make it to the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3. But if the Cavs and Bucks are looking to take home run swings, chances are Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, who offer the highest ceilings, will go No. 1 and No. 2 at the top.

2. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, 6'8", SF, Freshman

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Stock Report: ↔

    Andrew Wiggins didn't bother showing up to the NBA combine, where he probably had more to lose than gain by attending. 

    At this point, we've seen what he can do, and we understand his long-term potential. 

    Of the big three—Wiggins, Joel Embiid, Jabari Parker—Wiggins gives you the most balance of upside and certainty.

    The big question with him stems from his questionable killer instinct and motor.

    "He tries hard, but I don’t see that second gear," one scout told Grantland's Ryen Russillo. "He would scare me as your franchise’s No. 1 pick, with all the stuff that will go along with being No. 1 in this class. Is he really a face of the franchise?"

    It's a good question and an even tougher one with guys like Embiid and Parker in the field to choose from.

    Still, Wiggins will get heavy consideration from the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are unofficially on the clock.

1. Joel Embiid, Kansas, 7'0", C, Freshman

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    Stock Report: ↑

    Joel Embiid's chances of going No. 1 got a boost when the Cleveland Cavaliers, a team that needs a center, won the lottery. 

    And while no decision will be made by the Cavs until Embiid's back does or doesn't check out, he did tell Sirius XM radio he is "100 percent; no pain, nothing. I been working out, just to get back in the shape," according to A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com.

    Embiid took the floor for a workout in Santa Monica Friday afternoon, and according to Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski from the gym, he looked like the guy who generated No. 1 overall buzz during the season. 

    ESPN's Chad Ford tweeted that Embiid has gained 15 pounds up to 265, which is a good sign, as getting stronger should have been atop his to-do list since March.

    The No. 1 pick will come down to Cleveland general manager David Griffin's draft approach. If the Cavs want to play this safe and avoid risking another screwup, they'll go Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins—but if doctors clear Embiid as 100 percent healthy, I just don't know how you can pass on his type of two-way upside. 

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