NBA Draft 2014 Big Board: Tracking the Best Players Still Available

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterJune 24, 2014

NBA Draft 2014 Big Board: Tracking the Best Players Still Available

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    The final 2014 NBA draft big board reflects everything from regular-season performance to predraft workout buzz. 

    Joel Embiid's recent foot injury has led to a shake-up in the top five, as he'd been our No. 1 guy for the majority of the year. 

    Either way, this really looks like an awfully strong field when you consider the potential star power at the top and the depth from No. 15 to No. 30. Any team with a first-round pick should have a legitimate chance at walking away with a valuable asset.

    This 2014 big board is a straight-up ranking of the prospects based on their NBA potential. This is not the order I anticipate them getting drafted in. 

     

    Big board will be updated with the best players available throughout the 2014 NBA draft. For live updates of the results, click here.

Artem Klimenko, Russia, 7'1", C, 1994

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    While his competition in Russia's second division wasn't close to what he'll face in the NBA, Artem Klimenko's size and soft hands give him value and upside.

    Standing 7'1" with a 7'4" wingspan, he's a great target on pick-and-rolls, and he'll also enjoy his fair share of put-backs and post-ups. Additionally, Klimenko's end-to-end mobility will help him get buckets on the secondary break and take advantage of mismatches when the defense isn't set.

    He's not going to instantly take over the league, though. The Russian center needs to put on some more muscle, and his below-average athleticism will keep his production in check.

    As he becomes more comfortable scoring in the paint and protecting the rim, he'll be viewed as one of the best second-round acquisitions of the 2014 class.

Jabari Brown, Missouri, 6'4", SG, Junior

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    After a sweet-shooting year in the SEC, Jabari Brown looks to bring a scoring boost to an NBA backcourt.

    He sank 41 percent of his three-pointers for Missouri in 2013-14, and more importantly, he was highly successful shooting off the dribble or from the catch.

    Brown also connected from mid-range, as he drained step-back jumpers, pinch-post pull-ups and catch-and-shoot attempts.

    The big questions moving forward revolve around his defensive aptitude and his offensive creativity. Brown isn't a top-tier athlete, and he doesn't show a proclivity toward intense defense, so he may be disappointing in that department. And as a slasher, he's not going be as effective as he was in college.

    Ultimately, shooting almost always translates, so he has a chance to stick in the league.

Deonte Burton, Nevada, 6'1", PG, Senior

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    Few guards in this entire draft class can attack the rim like Nevada's Deonte Burton.

    First, he has the handles and quickness to slash past his man and get into the lane. And once he gets into the heart of the defense, he attacks opponents head-on, using his strength and aerial prowess to score or draw fouls.

    On many occasions in college, he either scored explosively or drew a foul. He averaged 7.5 free-throw attempts per game over his four years at the helm of the Wolfpack.

    During his senior year, he fashioned his best assist-to-turnover ratio (2.2) and showed stretches of unselfish distribution. His pick-and-roll creativity is exciting moving forward.

    If he can consistently bury outside shots, he could be one of 2014's biggest sleepers.

Patric Young, Florida, 6'10", C, Senior

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    If you watched Patric Young at all during his time at Florida, you know that his game is powerful and he plays with passion and hustle. He's a 6'10" force who was born to have the ideal big-man physique.

    So why isn't he a marquee prospect?

    His offensive skills and scoring touch are quite limited, even after four years of training at a major program. If it's not a dunk or easy put-back, his odds of scoring decrease dramatically.

    Since he won't post people up or beat them with footwork, he's going to be a reserve in the NBA. But he could still be immensely impactful.

    Young can outwork and outmuscle adversaries for position on both ends of the floor. As a result, he'll prevent scoring opportunities defensively and keep possessions alive for his squad on the boards.

Jordan Bachynski, Arizona State, 7'2", C, Senior

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    Two words describe Jordan Bachynski's role at the next level: rim protection.

    The 7'2" tower with a 7'4" wingspan blocked a truckload of shots at Arizona State, including 5.2 per 40 minutes during his senior year. He's got the timing, length and mobility required to patrol the NBA paint, and he could develop into an awesome defensive backup center.

    The rest of his game is fairly underwhelming, as he needs high-percentage opportunities in order to score. His offensive repertoire is basic, and he didn't eclipse double digits per contest until his senior year.

    Still, he's a massive presence underneath and can cover a ton of space on every possession. Even though he's in the lower tier of the NBA athletically, it's going to be tough for other reserve centers to score on him.

James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina, 6'8", PF, Junior

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    From his freshman to junior campaigns, UNC's James McAdoo went from an exciting specimen loaded with promise to an underwhelming power forward.

    He doesn't stand out in any one area, which is unfortunate for someone with his length and athleticism. The 6'9" power forward doesn't have dependable low-post moves, and he's not a powerful or nimble finisher in the paint.

    McAdoo did improve his mid-range jumper (40 percent on two-point jumpers according to Hoop-math.com), which helps his value, but his shooting doesn't extend out to three-point land.

    At UNC, he did most of his damage in the open floor, where his long strides and swooping dunks overwhelmed collegiate opponents. He'll thrive during uptempo sequences in the NBA, but his matchups on't be as favorable.

    His ceiling will be determined by how well he masters the nuances of five-on-five basketball.

Jahii Carson, Arizona State, 5'11", PG, Sophomore

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    When he's breaking down defenders and darting into the lane, Jahii Carson is one of the most electrifying players around. The Arizona State guard is amazingly quick with the ball in his hands, and he can bounce to the rafters as well.

    He ranks so low on our big board simply due to his size and erratic play. There are several backcourt prospects who are bigger and less risky than the Sun Devils' playmaker.

    That being said, his pre-draft shooting looks crisp, and his speed will certainly occupy opponents and put them on their heels.

    But can he really take care of an offense and make plays as a quarterback? His sophomore assist-to-turnover ratio was 1.3 and he shot just 43 percent from the field. He'll also have to play energetic, perfectly positioned defense 100 percent of the time.

    Late in the second round, he's worth the risk to provide a turbo-charged burst off the bench.

C.J. Fair, Syracuse, 6'8", SF, Senior

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    Syracuse Star C.J. Fair grew into a featured scoring role in college, as he feasted on lefty slashes and mid-range jumpers. He racked up tons of accolades and experience, including a Final Four run and transition to the ACC.

    His scoring opportunities will shrink at the pro level, however, because he's not quick or advanced as a ball-handler.

    Fair favors his left hand and is pretty slow and deliberate when setting up his jumper. In addition, he can't connect from the NBA arc, so he doesn't really own the full tool kit expected from a small forward.

    He is, however, a "basketball player," with a good nose for the ball and a feel for moving to the open spot. ESPN's Jay Bilas told Syracuse.com Fair is "not a great player, but a good one and a guy that can certainly play in the NBA."

    Look for him to showcase his craftiness and mid-range fluidity during summer league.

Melvin Ejim, Iowa State, 6'8", SF, Senior

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    Melvin Ejim's college productivity won't translate to the NBA. His role and possession-by-possession effectiveness is going to look a lot different.

    But if he latches on as a swingman off the bench, he's going to do a lot of behind-the-scenes work that make an impact. He's become adept at moving without the ball, cutting to the open spot and finding rebounds and loose balls.

    Now factor in his size (6'7", 219 pounds, 6'11.25" wingspan) and improved outside shooting, and you've got the makings of a solid role player.

    Think of an off-ball operator in the mold of DeMarre Carroll. Someone who's always moving, working and hustling to give his squad an edge. That's the kind of contributor Ejim can be.