Given everything we initially saw from Terrence Jones, it’s probably safe to say that John Calipari took him out of the top five. And for his part, Jones handled that relatively well. This guy has ridiculous talent, though, and between his offensive repertoire and his natural physical gifts, it’s tough to imagine him not having an immediate impact at the next level. It would probably be best for him if he landed with a slightly more stable franchise than the one that current plays in Detroit, but that part won’t be up to him.
PG, North Carolina
Has any player in recent memory improved his draft stock by getting injured as much as Marshall did during the NCAA Tournament? Basically, by sitting out and watching his team collapse when it mattered most, this guy proved that he was literally the piece of the offense that made everything run smoothly. When you factor in that this year’s North Carolina team was full of NBA-ready guys, you can also make the point that Marshall already knows how to play with high talent, super-capable pro-ready talent. Seeing as the Jazz have needed a legitimate point guard ever since the Deron Williams trade, this makes sense in every regard.
Regardless of what happens with Eric Gordon, it’s probably safe to say that he doesn’t have the hunger and/or consistency necessary to be the face of this newly-purchased franchise. Seeing as the Hornets will have already added some size by this point in the proceedings, picking up its two-guard of the future will make a lot of sense. Rivers will be this franchise’s marketable superstar right off the bat, and the fact that his game is actually much better suited for the pro ranks than it was for college will just be icing on the cake.
PG, Weber St.
The Blazers need a solid, sturdy point guard of the future, and Lillard seems like he could be that guy. The only real red flag about him is that he doesn’t fit into the “classic one-guard” mold, but in this day and age of Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and John Wall-type points, the position has evolved past that. Lillard is a good ball handler, knows how to the score and has surprisingly good length. He can also D up with the best at his position, and the hope will be that he can develop into something of a quarterback over his first few years in the pros.
Seeing as they traded away their lone big man for the chance to play two shooting guards in the backcourt at the same time, the Bucks now need to reinforce the frontcourt. Everyone knows what the deal with Jones is by now. He’s got good length, a solid shooting touch, nice hands and a very, very questionable attitude. He also isn’t great defensively – something that a lot of bigs coming out of college and into the big leagues can relate to. This is a classic high risk, high reward pick.
SF, St. John's
Harkless is an extremely gifted player, and he was unquestionably one of the top freshmen in the nation this year. In his limited time in college, he proved that he had what it took to both score and rebound effectively against quality competition; given his size, there is no reason to assume that any of that will change at the next level.
C, North Carolina
Any team that picks Zeller up will know exactly what it's getting. This guy brings size, an unflappable presence in the middle and non-stop energy to the table every single time he takes the court. Unfortunately, he doesn’t have an NBA post game yet, may or may not be able to defend pro bigs and wasn’t even the most talented center in his own family this past season. All of that being said, the Jazz will have already plugged their hole at point guard by this pick, and shoring up the five-spot with the best available option makes sense.
The Rockets have been looking for a big ever since it became apparent that Yao Ming was done in the NBA, so Leonard is a dream come true for them. He knows how to play with his back to the basket, has good footwork and has an adequate amount of instinct for how to make the best possible use of his massive size. If this guy develops even a little bit of a mean streak, he could be an absolute force in the NBA within just a few years.