Anthony Davis might be the most impactful defensive player we’ve seen come into the league in years. As he showed all throughout his freshman season at Kentucky, this guy knows how to make a difference without scoring a single point. While his offensive game needs a bit of refinement, his attitude, smarts and ridiculous athleticism should be enough to carry him until it develops into what it needs to be.
The big debate right now is whether the Bobcats should take Michael Kidd-Gilchrist or Thomas Robinson at the No. 2 spot. In the latest series of workouts, scouts say that Robinson legitimately made a case for himself as the second best player in this draft. But again, that’s in the workouts. The reality is, MKG has the length and athleticism to impact every facet of the game. Plus, if that's not enough, his NBA-ready attitude makes him an ideal fit for a young, developing team in need of some leadership. Robinson was a better player last year than MKG was, but MGK will be a better pro. Book it.
Bradley Beal impressed a lot of people in his most recent workouts. He has a very smooth, easy to watch game, and everyone seems to agree that his attitude is exactly the sort you need at the next level. The only notable negative about this kid stems from the fact that Beal came into his freshman year with a lot of expectations, and in some people’s eyes (read: ours), he didn’t consistently live up to those expectations. Still, the Wizards need a two (in theory, even though it’s debatable how he and John Wall will play together), and he’s the best one on the board.
SF, North Carolina
Harrison Barnes is not a top five player. That said, the rumors that Cleveland is enamored with him are too loud to ignore. The team does admittedly need a wing, but without Kendall Marshall there to feed him in the latter stages of the NCAA Tournament last year, Barnes looked awful in that Elite Eight game versus Kansas. Then again, despite all of the doubts that bubbled up to the surface following March Madness, players who score effectively in a myriad of ways will always have a place in the pros. The Cavs could use someone who will provide immediate offense, and Barnes (hopefully) will be that guy.
There is a legitimate case for Thomas Robinson going second or third overall but, most likely, he’ll end up going fifth. This will be a perfect pick for Sacramento. As Robinson proved time and time again over the course of the NCAA Tournament, he has all of the physical and mental tools necessary for success at the next level. Physically, this guy has an NBA body and should have no problems handling business on the glass and getting good position on the post, even if isn’t as lengthy as you would want him to be. He also doesn’t have as much offensive versatility in his game as people think he does, but that’s fixable. He’s going to need to improve his shooting, footwork and timing, but his defensive tenacity (which balances out his lack of length on that end) should earn him quality minutes while he develops some of the lacking parts of his offensive game.
Obviously this team can use a center, and Andre Drummond has a lot of potential. Physically, this kid has the body and look of a someone who should be successful at the next level. Skills-wise, he’s not ready yet. Presuming he gets in the right situation, Drummond could prove to be a very legit player in due time. But the Blazers will need to give him room to develop. Given what happened with Greg Oden, it would be great to see Portland get the center it deserves.
Something we’ve been harping on since the midway point of the last college basketball season: John Calipari stifled Terrence Jones’ individual development for the good of Kentucky as a whole. If not for that, dude would be a top-5 prospect – no doubt about it. Between his offensive repertoire and his natural physical gifts, it’s tough to imagine him not having an immediate impact at the next level. He’ll be a perfect fit for the Warriors’ up-and-down system.