2014 NBA Draft: Top players by position

Here is a chance to look at the top 3 players by each position in this years upcoming NBA Draft. Understanding that some of these players will likely change positions in order to compete in the pros, I’m basing this list off what position they played at the college level.

Point Guard

1. Dante Exum, Australia

australia U-19 national team

Dante Exum (Photo credit: Jason Edwards)

The highest rated “wild card” on my draft board. You don’t know what your going to get out of this kid because of his youth and sub-par competition he faced over seas. Exum has the physical traits and skill to be a top point guard at the next level. He just needs to put it all together at the next level.

2. Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

In most other drafts, Marcus Smart would be a top 3 pick. But this year with all the loaded talent, Smart should expect to find a home between picks 5-10. With elite explosiveness and competitiveness, Smart can be a true leader on a team. He reminds me of a slightly less crazy Lance Stephenson.

3. Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

While playing in the Syracuse zone defense, Ennis wrecked havoc racking up 2.4 steals per 40 minutes. He is a smooth ball handler who’s jump shot will do him well in the NBA. I think he has potential to dominate on pick & roll situations and has fairly long arms that will help him sneak passes right past defenders.

Shooting Guard

1. Nik Stauskas, Michigan

michigan basketball

Nik Stauskas

The 2 position this year is deep, but lacks superstar talent that every other position seems to have in this draft. I feel Stauskas is the safest pick to have the longest, most proficient career out of all the 2 guards  in this draft. He may not come into the NBA averaging 15.0 points a game, but wait for him to progress year by year and he could become the leading scorer off your favorite team’s bench.

2. James Young, Kentucky

I feel James Young is a real dark horse in being the best shooting guard coming out of the draft. He has everything you look for including a 6-foot-7 frame, a smooth left handed stroke, and remarkable athleticism that should translate well to the next level.

3. Zach LaVine, UCLA

Right now, Zach LaVine does not have the consistency to be an everyday player in the NBA. But on the other hand, he has the potential to be one of the best players in this draft when it’s all said and done.  His skill set and shooting ability is remarkable, if he can become half as efficient on defense as he is on offense, he will be an exciting player to watch in the NBA.

Small Forward

1. Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

The most talent stacked position in this years draft is highlighted by Andrew Wiggins. Not the overly impressive freshman year we expected out of Wiggins but we definitely witnessed why there is so much hype around this kid. He can flat out jump out of the gym, and an ever improving jump shot, this kid is groomed to become the next big thing in the NBA.

2. Jabari Parker, Duke

In my mind, Jabari Parker was the most impressive player on the court this year. He faced elite competition and found it easy to score the basketball and did it in a number of different ways. I think Parker should try to keep his weight down a bit as he is pushing 245. Offensively, there is no doubt he can get it done, look for him to average 20 plus points a game for years to come.

3. Doug McDermott, Creighton

A pure offensive player who would fit best with a team that lacks offensive weapons. His game would benefit if he develops a post game and or can cover better.

Power Forward

1. Julius Randle, Kentucky

The smooth lefty from Kentucky is the most polished and NBA ready power forward in this years draft. Despite the news of his foot bone not healing properly I feel he will have the most successful NBA career. Randle draws a lot of comparisons to Zach Randolph but I feel his play style resembles more of a David West.

2. Noah Vonleh, Indiana

Arizona Wildcats

Aaron Gordon (Photo Credit: Arizona Athletics)

Vonleh will most likely be the first power forward to get drafted because a NBA GM will fall in love with his potential. Vonleh has great length, quickness, good range on his jump shot, and is a crisp ball handler. The best part of Vonleh’s game is his ferocious rebounding. Look for him to continue to develop as he wont turn 19 until the end of summer.

3. Aaron Gordon, Arizona

Gordon is an exceptional athlete that consistently plays with a high motor. He is a great jumper and brings energy every time he steps onto the court. Gordon’s flaw is his lack of offensive skill. He has a rough touch with the ball and shoots a low free throw percentage. He doesn’t have any go to post moves either. He resembles a more athletic Tyler Hansbrough.

Center

1. Joel Embiid, Kansas

Embiid is a real contender going number one overall. Many people say he is the second coming of Hakeem The Dream but we will have to wait and see about that. Embiid just learned how to play basketball in 2011 and has developed faster than any player I have ever seen. His ceiling is the highest in this years draft class. Even if he doesn’t reach his full potential, he will be a real factor in every facet of the game.

2. Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia

Nurkic is a real banger in the low post. He knows how to throw his body around and has a surprisingly soft touch around the rim. I’m very high on this kid’s skill but he isn’t NBA ready yet. But has all the tools to develop into a caliber player in the NBA.

3. Clint Capela, Chalon

Capela has phenomenal athleticism that includes great foot speed with a long thin frame. Capela can run out on fast breaks and finish strong around the rim. This kid though lacks experience. He too often looks dazed and confused out on the court and is a bit lazy.