Far too often we get caught up with believing players value is associated with where mock drafts like Andrew Melnick’s have players being picked. Reality is every team’s board and how they rank players differ, and can be violently different from club to club. These aren’t guys I necessarily rank at the top, but guys that I think have a chance to have a better career than what the consensus indicates publicly.
Dion Waiters, Syracuse- His explosiveness jumps off the screen. Can create his own shot, and gets to the basket with ease. I could honestly see him becoming the best player from this draft class. I was thinking all this when mock drafts had him in the 20’s three months ago.
Marquis Teague, Kentucky- Freakishly athletic, and will be better than his brother, Jeff, who is the starting PG for the Hawks. I’d only take Damian Lillard (Weber State) in front of him in this PG class. He is still learning the game, and will probably take 2-3 years to really be relevant however.
Darius Johnson-Odom, Marquette- What can DJO do for you? Anything you ask him to. He is undersized at 6’3″, but he is long, tough, and fearless. I’d take him and believe I have a solid bench player with shooting range and defensive toughness.
Scott Machado, Iona- Wonderful feel for the game. His basketball instincts for playing point are second only to Kendall Marshall (UNC). He is fast and knows how to set up his teammates. Perfect backup point guard in the NBA with change of pace ability yet plays under control.
Casper Ware, Long Beach State- I am probably out on my own with this one, but Ware just has unbelievable range shooting the basketball and confidence to score on anybody. I think he is Kemba Walker with a better jumper.
Bradford Burgess, VCU- Call me crazy, but Burgess has hardly any holes in his game, and is a refined senior coming into the NBA after leading little Virginia Commonwealth to back-2-back NCAA tournaments and he won’t get drafted? He is a perfect candidate for picking up minutes as a backup SG/SF who is all about team, can guard, can shoot, and be accepting of whatever role you give him.
Perry Jones III, Baylor- I think he is still figuring it out, but he is only 20 and I’d say would be in my top 5 most upside in this draft. Might be able to play both SF and PF in the NBA. Can be dominant at times. Took it right at Anthony Davis in the Elite 8 this year, and I came away impressed. Athletically speaking, he’s special. I’ve heard Tim Thomas comparisons, and I like that, but he could also be more PF like Amare Stoudemire.
Terrance Jones, Kentucky- If there ever was an obvious comparison, it would be Jones disguised as Josh Smith. Both lefties, both finishers with power and finesse, and both having ugly looking set jumpshots and too often settling for those shots. But like Smoove, I think Jones has great potential as a starting PF in the NBA if he commits to it.
Draymond Green, Michigan State- Reminds you so much of Anthony Mason it’s scary. Basically a power forward, who plays to that position with his rebounding and toughness, but has the handle and passing ability of a point guard. For those who can’t recall Mason, think of a better Boris Diaw. He’ll be in someone’s rotation.
Kyle O’Quinn, Norfolk State- My exposure to him is obviously limited, as the Spartans didn’t get much TV action, but from what I saw, the kid can play. I want my backup center to rebound and defend, and this kid does that. He’s probably one of the top rebounders in the draft, and he can score too. Crafty inside with a soft touch.