The 2014 NBA draft is next week and there are still numerous players that could be drafted anywhere throughout the first round. Players like Zach LaVine, Elfrid Payton and Patric Young have impressed so much during their workouts with teams that they have vaulted themselves from late-first or second round picks all the way into the early stages of the first round.
With so much uncertainty, let’s take a look at these three prospects and why their stocks have risen since they declared for the draft.
Nobody has risen up the draft boards quite like Elfrid Payton. He started out as a second-round pick after finishing his junior season at Louisiana-Lafayette and is now slotted as the No. 8 selection in Chad Ford’s most recent mock draft.
Payton impressed scouts with his length and defensive abilities, and his shooting has really come on during his workouts.
Here are Payton’s 2013-14 season stats compared to one of the top point guard prospects, Marcus Smart:
|2013-14 Season Stats|
|Marcus Smart||Elfrid Payton|
|18.0 PPG||19.2 PPG|
|4.8 AST||5.9 AST|
|2.9 STL||2.3 STL|
While Payton did play in the Sun Belt conference and Smart played in the Big 12, he received some very big support from a certain a fellow small-school draftee who became NBA Rookie of the Year.
With a weakness at point guard, the Kings and Lakers should take a serious look at Payton. His length is reminiscent of Rookie of the Year winner Michael Carter-Williams. He has the size and athleticism to compete with nearly any point guard in the league, a vital component to any contending team.
How can a player who didn’t even start in his only year at college be touted as a lottery pick?
Raw talent and superb athleticism.
LaVine has wowed scouts with his explosiveness and shot-making ability during his pre-draft workouts. Once seen as a late first-round developmental project, LaVine is now viewed as someone with top-10 talent, albeit very raw talent.
With the right coaching in the NBA, LaVine has the talent to become one of the top shooting guards in the league. He needs to develop a stronger frame to play in the league, but at only 19 years of age, he has the ability to grow and develop his body with the help of top-tier NBA trainers. Watch out for LaVine being a favorite to win next year's Slam Dunk contest as well.
Young, one of the rare college graduates of the draft, has slowly climbed draft boards thanks to his impressive pre-draft workouts. At 6’10”, Young was deemed too small to play center in the NBA, but his recent workouts have impressed scouts, in large part due to his strength and physique.
While a first-round selection may be too optimistic for Young, he recently told Jim Rome that he has heard he may be selected anywhere from the late first to early second round.
Patric Young's athleticism should make up for his apparent lack of size. I can see a team like the San Antonio Spurs taking a chance on Young and trying to mold him into a prominent post-defender and rebounder, especially with Tim Duncan nearing the end of his career.