There’s still time for players to declare themselves eligible for the 2014 NBA Draft, but we’ve already got pretty big names coming forward like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid from Kansas after only one year, while Marcus Smart also heads to the pros, probably a year too late.
Julius Randle and Jabari Parker still haven’t made themselves eligible but they’re likely to, joining other freshman like Tyler Ennis, Aaron Gordon (probably will make that decision as well), Zach LaVine and Noah Vonleh who had one year of College Basketball, deciding it’s enough for them playing without making any money.
Andrew Wiggins, Freshman, Kansas
Wiggins began the season as the consensus number one pick and the Freshman people were most excited about. I’m not sure it’s the same way now, although he is still on top of some mocks going around, and there’s plenty of time before teams make their decisions. He helped Kansas maintain their usual Big 12 champions status while averaging 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. He is a Consensus second team All-American, First team All-Big 12 and Big 12 Freshman of the Year leaving college basketball, and will obviously be a very high lottery pick, regardless of what Julius Randle and Jabari Parker decide to do.
Joel Embiid, Freshman, Kansas
Wiggins’ teammate at Kansas might end up being the number one pick, as NBA teams usually can’t seem to let go of a big man who looks quite NBA ready. Embiid missed the NCAA tournament with a stress fracture in his back, but he doesn’t seem to be carrying any long term injury concerns. He averaged 12.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks, and it’s quite incredible to think he began playing basketball seriously only three years ago. Right now he looks like a top 3 pick.
Marcus Smart, Sophomore, Oklahoma State
Despite a rough season in terms of success with the Cowboys and his own personal image due to the incident with the Texas Tech fan and his constant flopping, he’s going to be a top 10 pick, which means he’s going to lose money compared to what he could have made had he left after his Freshman season. He reminds some people of Dwyane Wade; others of Russell Westbrook. A lot of talent and athleticism, but someone needs to tame him. He averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.8 assists and 2.9 steals per game this season, making the first-team Big 12 a second consecutive time.
T.J. Warren, Sophomore, North Carolina State
The ACC player of the year, Warren leaves Raleigh after two seasons and averaging 24.9 points with 7.1 rebounds last season. He’s likely to be a late first round pick – a very talented scorer but isn’t a great shooter and a subpar defender, but still, the time for him to strike the iron was probably now, although in a less loaded draft he might have been a top 20 pick.
Kyle Anderson, Sophomore, UCLA
One of the more intriguing prospects heading into the draft is the 6’9 point guard who made the third-team All-American along with All Pac-12 first team and winning the conference tournament MOP. He averaged 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game, looking like the kind of player the NBA salivates over: 6’9 who can play both guard and forward positions, and it’s hard to place him (probably 25-15 pick) because of his speed (kinda slow) and bad defense.
Tyler Ennis, Freshman, Syracuse
Ennis had a great start to the season but a weak finish, just like the whole Syracuse team. He averaged 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game, making the All-ACC second team and the conference’s defensive team as well. He is probably the third best point guard in the draft behind Exum and Smart, but he’ll be a top 15 pick most likely unless some glaring weakness shows up from now until draft day.
James Michael McAdoo, Junior, North Carolina
McAdoo was projected to be a top 5 pick when he began his career at North Carolina, but after three seasons at Chapel Hill he seems to still be an unfulfilled potential with plenty of athleticism but not a lot in terms of techinque: Not a great shooter, not a great post player. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.8 rebounds last season, making the Second team All-ACC for a second consecutive season.
Jahii Carson, Sophomore, Arizona State
Carson is an excellent point guard at college level with elite speed and the ability to blow by defenders going right. But in the NBA, he’ll need more than that, and the 18.5 points per game he put up in both years with the Sun Devils, giving him First Team All-Pac 12 status aren’t going to be enough for him to be a high pick. He’ll most likely end up on the border between the first and second rounds.
Other underclassmen and international players: Jabari Brown, Junior, Missouri; Semaj Christon, Sophomore, Xavier; Jordan Clarkson, freshman, Missouri; Zach LaVine, Freshman, UCLA; Johnny O’Bryant III, Junior, LSU; LaQuinton Ross, Junior, Ohio State; JaKarr Sampson, Sophomore, St. John’s; Roscoe Smith, Junior, UNLV; Noah Vonleh, Freshman, Indiana; Dante Exum, Australia; Mouhammadou Jaiteh, France; Artem Klimenko, Russia; David Michineau, France; Vasilije Micić, Serbia.