If you're fortunate enough to be near the top of the order, you can have Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. Some of the real impact players in the 2014 NBA draft, though, will be taken late in the first round.
There are plenty of sleepers in this loaded class, and those teams in the middle and the bottom of the draft board will benefit as a result.
With that in mind, take a look at the order of picks and some of those sleepers who will make waves during their rookie seasons.
NBA Draft Basics
Date: June 26
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Full Order of Picks:
|7||Los Angeles Lakers|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30||San Antonio Spurs|
P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina/NBA Development League
P.J. Hairston has potential top-10 talent, but this draft has so many good players that he will fall a bit.
Where will P.J. Hairston be drafted?
Hairston can be a knockdown three-point shooter in the right offense, but he is more than capable of creating his own looks as well off the dribble. That can’t always be said for perimeter shooters, but Hairston’s athleticism helps him get to the rim.
Hairston also has enough lateral quickness to stay in front of ball-handlers and dart into passing lanes when playing defense, so this isn’t just an offensive pick. Still, a defensive-oriented club such as the Memphis Grizzlies or Chicago Bulls that needs some scoring punch can pick him as a source of firepower.
Then again, perhaps a team with explosive playmakers who draw the attention of multiple defenders will use a pick on Hairston, because his lethal three-point shot will make the opposition pay for cheating off him. That’s what CBS Sports seems to think in its mock:
Don’t underestimate the value of Hairston’s professional experience in the NBDL, either. They were not quite NBA players whom he went up against, but the D-League represents a different level of competition than he would have had in the ACC on a nightly basis.
Kyle Anderson, G, UCLA
Kyle Anderson is perhaps the best triple-double threat in this entire draft.
He has all the skill sets a team could possibly ask for from a guard. He can create opportunities for his teammates with impressive passing and a high basketball IQ that allows him to almost always make the right pass instead of forcing the issue. He is also more than capable of scoring on his own and can slash the lane off the dribble and finish through contact at the rim because he is a point guard in a forward’s body.
Anderson checks in at 6’9” and 230 pounds and is also a solid three-point shooter.
He’s not the most athletic, but that height helps him rebound and dart into passing lanes on the defensive end. Anderson is also versatile enough to play either guard position, and Utah Jazz vice president of player personnel Walt Perrin commented on such, via Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune: “He’s just a basketball player, he really can’t be defined. He’s someone who can really play the game. He has a great feel out there.”
If there is a rookie who is going to total a triple-double or two in his first season in this class, Anderson is the guy.
Mitch McGary, PF/C, Michigan
Mitch McGary has fallen off the radar of some fans because he sat out most of last year with a back injury, but he proved how dangerous he can be as a double-double threat in the NCAA tournament as a freshman.
He helped Michigan reach the national title game and had performances that included a 21-point and 14-rebound outing against VCU and a 25-point and 14-rebound game against Kansas.
There is some injury concern, but he checks in at 6’10” with a high motor. He will grab plenty of rebounds at the next level and is capable of scoring if paired with a creating guard like he had in college (Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr. and Nik Stauskas).
Ultimately, his upside as a potential double-double type of forward outweighs the injury concerns, especially if he is taken late in the first round.
All of these players hail from big-time programs and have overcome some kind of adversity to be considered worthy of being chosen in the first 30 picks in the draft. Experience at storied collegiate programs will serve Hairston, Anderson and McGary well, and they’re all versatile enough to find some sort of niche in the NBA right away.
Although they will lose some money the further they fall in the draft, the trade-off will be enhancing the chances of landing in a better situation to succeed. If any of these three players is groomed in the right organization, he has the potential to enjoy a fruitful career in the Association.
Provided these prospects continue to develop at the encouraging rate that they are, don’t be surprised if they turn out to be some of the best to emerge from this loaded 2014 class.
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