2014 NBA Draft: Top Prospects Who Could Slide Down on Draft Day
This year’s draft class is overloaded with talent.
So overloaded in fact, that some top-tier prospects are bound to slide on draft day, depending on which ones are selected first and how the order pans out.
Now the question remains, which players will have to anxiously sit in the green room longer than expected while his peers are being selected one by one?
Here’s your answer.
Zach LaVine, UCLA, SG/PG
Projected to be Selected: 17-30
It only took a few big games at the beginning of the season for Zach LaVine to shoot up draft boards, wowing NBA executives with his top-notch athleticism and smooth shooting stroke despite mainly playing a reserve role for the UCLA Bruins.
However recently the freshman’s stock has started to plummet out of the lottery, causing experts like NBC Sports writer Kurt Helin to become increasingly concerned with his NBA-readiness and lack of refined skills.
“LaVine has fantastic athleticism but his game is not NBA ready right now, he’s a guy you’ve got to develop. He clearly feels stuck in the rotation in Westwood, like he’s not getting his chance. His handles are fine for college but need work at the next level, as does his shot and defense. The big question is can he convince an NBA GM that his potential is worth a first round pick — which means a couple years of guaranteed money and investment.”
That kind of boom-or-bust potential may cause NBA executives to pass up on LaVine early, especially if they feel he’s years away from even contributing for their team.
Kyle Anderson, UCLA, PG/SF
Projected to be Selected: 9-25
No one in the world knows how Kyle Anderson will project at the next level, as he’s by far one of the most intriguing and mysterious prospects in his class.
At 6’9″ he possesses an unorthodox set of skills for a player of his height, utilizing smooth ball handling skills and adept passing to orchestrate an offense from either the guard or forward position.
At the moment his draft stock ranges from the early lottery all the way to the late first round, as NBADraft.net projects Kyle Anderson to go as early as 9th while CBS Sports firmly believes he could slide all the way down to 25.
Talk about uncertainty. And with uncertainty comes the chance of sliding on draft day. Just ask Johnny Manziel.
Julius Randle, Kentucky, PF
Projected to be Selected: 4-5
There’s no doubt about it, Julius Randle is the best post-oriented big man in this draft.
But that alone may not be enough to secure his spot in the top 5, as NBA writers like Jonathan Tjarks of SBNation have begun to question his long-term potential due to his old-school style of play and incredibly short wingspan, believing he could be too high maintenance for some teams.
“And while Randle should average a double-double in the NBA, his style of play is not conducive to the way the league is going. More teams are spreading the floor and playing with four shooting threats, which won’t work with Randle, since he doesn’t have the defensive chops to be the lone big man on the floor. He will have to be on a two-post team like Indiana or Memphis, one that slows the tempo, maintains spacing and throws the ball inside. However, that’s a style many guards aren’t comfortable managing.
In the right situation, playing next to one of those rare floor-spacing and rim-protecting big man like Serge Ibaka or Anthony Davis, Randle could be a really good player on a championship-caliber team. In the wrong one, though, drafting Randle could end up setting a team back significantly.”
Come draft day, those kinds of concerns may cause teams to pass up on Randle, especially if they don’t have the right pieces to surround him with.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops