By Alex West

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is over, but some of the 64 seniors who came out to play made a big impression on NBA and international scouts over the four days.

Most NBA people I talked to said that this was the most talented field they had ever seen in Portsmouth, which is quite a feat considering six players from last year’s tournament were selected in the 2017 NBA Draft. Naturally, the success of last year’s field was an encouraging sign for many players who were hoping to snag an invite to the Combine next month. So it stands to reason, if this the best field, more of these players would play in the NBA than in any previous tournament.

But who will make NBA rosters next season? Here are seven players who have the skills and the resumes to do just that:

Jaylen Barford, Guard, Arkansas

Jaylen Barford was a revelation for me. I had seen the Arkansas Razorback senior play a few times during the season and his physicality had always stuck with me, but seeing him in person took that to another level. Barford is built like a halfback and uses his athleticism and strength to get to the rim, even through contact. He is a great shooter who can knock down NBA-range threes, even off the dribble. Most teams are no doubt aware of what the 6’3 202-pound point guard will bring to the table, but after averaging 19.3 points per game and bringing home the tournament MVP, he is likely getting a second evaluation from many teams who need a strong, high-energy scoring guard to bolster their bench.

Kendrick Nunn, Guard, Oakland

Kendrick Nunn had one goal in mind for the PIT, show scouts he was a scorer who lived up to his reputation. And after averaging a tournament-high 20.7 points per game, he seems to have done just that. Nunn’s performance had everyone in Portsmouth buzzing and a few scouts I talked to even said Nunn might be worthy of a mid- to late-second round selection, and would 100% be on a Summer League roster this July. One of the big weaknesses in his game was his defensive effort (which could be downright lackadaisical at times during his senior season in Oakland), but he was locked in and showed some nice perimeter defense, even creating a few steals. He will likely receive a Combine invite, which will only strengthen his stock heading into the draft.

Kenrich Williams, Wing, TCU

Prior to coming to Portsmouth, Kenrich Williams was already making appearances as a second-round selection on a lot of mock draft boards. After a bit of a slow start in his first game, he played well averaging seven points and eight rebounds, although he was probably a lock to attend the combine no matter what his showing was at the PIT. He is a tweener who can guard two to four (he registered two steals per game during the tournament) and will be a potent rebounder and three-point shooter, as well as a threat in transition.With a strong combine showing, it is entirely possible that he can play his way into the early second round.   

Jeffrey Carroll, Wing, Oklahoma St.

Jeffrey Carroll knows how to play basketball; he has a high IQ and always puts himself in good position on both sides of the ball. This knack for being in the right place at the right time was really on display this week as Carroll proved himself to be a potent transition scorer, filling the lanes and knocking down threes for his team. He is a solid team defender with an NBA ready body who has shown he can play well as a part of a system and is a reliable shooter who moves well without the basketball. Seniors like Damyean Dotson and Josh Hart earned their playing time for similar reasons and there is no major hurdle for Carrol to clear to find himself in the same successful situation.   

Gary Clark, Forward, Cincinnati

Gary Clark is in a similar boat to Kenrich Williams in that he has already shown up in a number of mock drafts. While his PIT showing wasn’t spectacular, the former Cincinnati Bearcat forward and AAC Player of the Year has a substantial resume as a quality player, leading the NCAA in Box Plus/Minus and Win Shares per 40 minutes. He is a proven shot blocker, although his length may prove to be a weakness in the NBA and a hard-nosed rebounder who can serve as a rim protector and small ball defensive workhorse.

Justin Tillman, Forward, VCU

Justin Tillman is a throwback center who LOVES to show his toughness around the basket, both as a scorer and rebounder, averaging 18.3 points and 13 rebounds per game at the PIT. He showed a nice touch with both hands (particularly a very nice righty baby hook, which was his go-to move) as well as an advanced understanding of using his frame to create space. He isn’t an overwhelming athlete and at only 6’7 he might struggle to function as a fulltime five, making it hard to nail down where he will fit best. But his high motor and general grittiness will be hard to overlook for teams who are looking for a forward who can play in the low post.

Kyle Washington, Forward, Cincinnati

Like his Cincinnati teammate Gary Clark, Kyle Washington is a quality defender who is a threat to block shots all over the court. While he picked up a few early fouls in games this past week, he was still was effective in getting a hand on several attempts as well as altering several more. He also showed an impressive offensive game, averaging 16.7 points per game and knocking down three triples to go along with his 10.7 rebound per game, making him an enticing combo forward who can protect the rim in small lineups. But Washington is EXTREMELY left-hand-dominant and will need to develop even a rudimentary ability to score with his right or opponents will force him away from his dominant hand.

 

Loaded Portsmouth Invitational Field Kicks Off 2018 NBA Draft Process

By Alex West

The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament is just around the corner. Over the past few seasons, players such as Robert Covington, Pat Connaughton, Royce O’Neal, Josh Huestis, Bryn Forbes (which is to say, players who will be contributing significant minutes during the playoffs) have all cut their teeth in Southeast Virginia.

The tournament, with invitations extended to seniors only, gives scouts an opportunity to have a final look at some prospects before the draft process begins in earnest with the NBA Combine next month. A few players from this year’s list have already crept onto Mock Drafts the web over, and are looking to cement a higher selection; others hope to show they have the skill to make it onto a Big Board. Here’s who to watch for, when the tournament kicks off next Wednesday:

Keenan Evans, G, Texas Tech

The Red Raiders made a deep postseason run this year and Evans was a huge reason why, averaging 18.5 points on 43.5 percent shooting (38.5 percent from three-point range). He is a shot-maker who isn’t afraid of the big stage, perfect for a team looking for a spark plug for their second unit. He is extremely adept at drawing fouls, getting to the line 241 times this season (6.7 attempts per game, 18th in the NCAA) and is a maestro scoring out of the pick-and-roll (1.134 points per possession, 97th percentile).

Despite running the offense for most of his junior and senior seasons, he only averages 3.2 assists per game, prefering to get the job done himself in most situations. He will need to show his ability to control the flow of the game and set the table for others to truly catch on in the NBA. He also had an injury toe that plagued him for much of Big 12 conference play. The full extent of the injury is unknown, but sources close to the situation revealed after the tournament loss the toe was broken (https://www.sbnation.com/college-basketball/2018/3/25/17162360/keenan-evans-injury-broken-big-toe-ncaa-tournament-texas-tech-march-madness). The accident injury help from an expert from Mike G Law was needed. While the situation might be well in hand, lower body injury concerns are always red flags for NBA teams. And they try to hire best Ithaca Lawyers, to make all necessary procedures to protect themselves form some bad career effects.

Jaylen Adams, G, St. Bonaventure

St. Bonaventure’s Jaylen Adams might not be a household name for casual college basketball watchers, but the Atlantic 10 co-Player of the Year made fans sit up and take notice with his scoring barrage during conference play this season. The point guard poured in 21.2 points per game and posted an impressive 123.9 offensive rating while shooting an impressive 43.6 percent from three on 6.1 attempts per game. He is an elite tier spot-up shooter (1.333ppp 98th percentile) and is proficient pushing the ball in transition (ranking in the 91st percentile in points plus assists at 1.553), both skills that can make him a valuable contributor at the next level.

But Adams has a high hurdle to overcome, or perhaps I should say a height hurdle. Standing only 6’1” and lacking elite athleticism will make NBA life tough for the Bonnies’ star. He will need to showcase his ability to defend larger players as well as run a pick-roll-offense with lengthy defenders in his face to find a coveted backup point guard role.

Gary Clark, F, Cincinnati

The 2018 AAC Player of the Year, Gary Clark has an NBA-ready skill set. He can shoot threes, play defense, protect the rim, and run the floor making him an ideal small ball four (or super small ball five). This season, he averaged 12.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.1 assist to go with 1.4 steals and 1.2 blocks and lead the Bearcats to a two-seed before their unceremonious Round of 32 exit against a frisky Nevada squad. Clark is incredibly effective in transition (1.388 ppp, 93rd percentile) and can give his team a boost in second-chance buckets (1.34 ppp, 85th percentile), two underrated areas for bench players to contribute. He is also an advanced stats darling, leading the nation in defensive rating (81.6), defensive win shares (3.5), and box plus/minus (15.5).

The real issue for Clark is his lack of a defined position. He has the body of an NBA three and the skill set of a four or five, making it difficult for the 6’7” forward to make a strong case for a high draft position. However, with the success of players like Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (another 6’7” hustler for the Brooklyn Nets) playing both forward positions, he may find a successful niche because of his high-energy play style and defensive versatility.

Zach Smith, F, Texas Tech

Another Red Raider making the list, Zach Smith might be best known for his insane, SportsCenter-leading dunks:

And with good reason. The 6’8” power forward can jump out of the gym and is a legitimate threat to put opposing players on a poster both in transition and in the halfcourt. A broken foot cost Smith much of his senior season, but he was an effective defender, allowing only 98 points on 125 possessions (0.784 ppp, 76th percentile) this year. If he can continue to defend this well, especially in isolations against other forwards, and can continue to run the floor as a threat in transition, he will find a place as a rim-runner.

The obvious concern with Smith stems from the foot injury which sidelined him for a good portion of January and February. He is an incredible leaper and foot concerns have robbed highlight real dunkers of their lift since time immemorial. He looked fine for Texas Tech to finish out the season and a strong showing at the PIT might give NBA teams a lot of hope for the future.

Kenrich Williams, F, TCU

In his senior season at Texas Christian, something unlocked for Kenrich Williams: his passing vision. He was always a decent passer for a wing, but this season he has made that a central part of his resume, tallying an impressive 3.9 per game. He spent a lot of time initiating the offense at the top of the key and created looks the way a point guard would, by dragging defenders toward him using the dribble. He has a very high IQ, finding cutters and shooters all over the floor, and can even run a pick-and-roll as the ball handler. On top of his ability to initiate, he is also a tenacious rebounder at a 15.7 percent rate, better than probably top five selection, Jaren Jackson Jr.

While he can do a great many of things on the basketball court, Williams is not a great scorer in his own right. He will have to rely on his spot up shooting ability (39.5 percent from three on 3.6 attempts) and his offensive rebounding (2.8 per game) to get points. He is also one of the older prospects in this draft, turning 24 early in his rookie season. Teams might shy away from his unique skill set in favor of a younger, more malleable prospect.

World Select Team v USA

Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. will undergo back surgery on Tuesday and likely miss the remainder of the season, the school announced. Porter will undergo a microdiscectomy procedure of the L3-L4 spinal discs that is projected to sideline him for the next three to four months and will likely cause him to miss the remainder of the year. Continue reading “Potential top-5 NBA Draft pick officially has his season ended after only two minutes action”

2016 NBA Draft

Controversial NBA rule could be nearing resolution

The NBA appears to be moving forward with talks in ending the controversial ‘one-and-done’ rule, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts met on Thursday with the new Commission on College Basketball to discuss various issues facing the Basketball industry, including how potential changes could impact the NBA draft. Continue reading “Controversial NBA rule could be nearing resolution”

Michael Porter Jr

Missouri freshman Michael Porter Jr. will be a game-time decision for Monday night’s matchup against Wagner, according to Jon Rothstein of FanRag Sports. … to be a serious one and he doesn’t think it will affect him long term. Porter is considered by many to be a top-5 pick in next year’s NBA Draft. … Continue reading “Potential top pick in next year’s NBA Draft Michael Porter Jr. could miss his first game of the season with an injury”

basketball-generic

For the 6th straight year I was back in Portsmouth, VA for the 65th annual Portsmouth Invitational Basketball Tournament commonly known as the PIT. The Tournament takes place over 4 days and features the nations top 64 senior’s who play games in front of NBA scouts, GM’s, and a host of international coaches and scouts. Below I have given my All-Tournament team which as always is no reflection of what they did during the season as this was based solely on their play here this week.

My MVP for the tournament was Damyean Dotson, a 6’5″ guard from the University of Houston. He was one of the most consistent players all week and showed he could score the ball in a variety of ways. 

All-Tourney Team

PG- London Perrantes, G, 6’2″, UVA

Every year Virginia players seem to do very well at the PIT and it was no exception this year as London showed he was the best pure PG in attendance. He made great reads out of the PnR and made quick on time passes. He got the ball up court quickly and took care of the ball not turning it over. Could find himself making an NBA team as an un-drafted FA.

SG- Matt Jones, G, 6’5″, Duke

Matt was solid all week and showed he could not only knock down the NBA 3 but also score off the bounce. He played the passing lanes and was under control. Has great size for the off guard and could find himself  in the G-League this season.

F- JaCorey Wiliams, F, 6’8″, Middle Tenn. State

The C-USA POY showed a great motor and solid athleticism. He led the PIT in scoring with just over 20 ppg. Loved his length and ability to defend multiple positions.

F- Tyler Cavanaugh, F, 6’9″, George Washington

Stretch 4 man who can also score with his back to the basket. Very strong player. Grew more and more confident as the week went on and ended up finishing 2nd in scoring with over 19 ppg.

F- Jacob Wiley, F, 6’7″, Eastern Washington

Loved the way he competed and played both ends. Best energy in the tournament. Runs the floor like a deer and was all over the offensive boards. Always seemed to be in the right place at the right time.

Honorable Mention

Erik McCree, 6’8″, F, LA Tech

Zach LeDay, 6’7″, F, VA Tech

Dallas Moore, 6’1″, G, North Florida

Jimmy Hall, 6’8″, F, Kent State

Derrick White, 6’5″, G, Colorado

Harry Giles

Despite averaging just 3.9 points, 3.8 rebounds and 11.5 minutes, Duke freshman forward Harry Giles will enter the NBA Draft and plans to stay in it, the school announced on Tuesday. The 6-foot-10 Giles had knee surgery before the season began, which prevented him from playing in the Blue Devils’ first 11 games and slowed his… Continue reading “Harry Giles enters NBA draft”

Game Scouted: Wake Forest vs Pittsburg

Wake Forest wins 63-59

John Collins, F, 6’10”, 235 lbs, SO

Stats- 28 min, 10-16 FG, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 block, 1 TO, 22 points

Strengths

Offensively John has shown improvement from a year ago and is now a highly reliable post scoring option. Has has great touch around the basket and can score in a variety of ways. He scores the ball with an array of moves including dunks, hooks/running hooks, drop steps, and facing up. He is incredibly efficient scoring the basketball and is #1 in the country in PER (Player Efficiency Rating). One of his big jumps from last year to this year is his ability to shoot the short corner jumper and midrange shot consistently. The short corner shot from 12’ to 15’ has become one of his sweet spots. He has solid mechanics and is shooting with confidence this season. While he is still a roll man at this stage in PnR sets, I could see him doing more short rolls and some pops as he continues to stretch his range.

Collins is a terrific athlete who can run and jump with just about anyone in the country. Has a great motor and stays active on both ends. He runs the floor very well on both ends and his 2nd jump is tremendous. He loves to dunk the ball with 2 hands as well and doesnt struggle to finish above the rim.

Seals off inside nicely and seems to have a better understanding this season on how to score from various points on the floor and from different angles. He has great hands and can catch and finish inside very effectively. He also has underrated body control.

Has develop into a nice shot blocker getting most of these from the weakside. He has really good timing and can get off the floor high and quick and catches most players off guard. He is getting better and better figuring out if he should leave his man to go for the block or stay with his man and rebound. The foul trouble from last year has not been as much of a problem this year as he has gained muscle and also done a better job of staying straight up and not reaching in.

He is a great rebounder on both ends. He attacks defensive boards and uses his energy, athleticism, and quick 2nd jump to go after offensive boards as well. He rebounds outside his area.

Weaknesses

Needs to continue to improve his feel especially on the perimeter. While his left hand has gotten better this year he still needs to improve it and get more confidence in it. Was pulled away from the basket tonight defensively guarding Michael Young of Pitt tonight. Didnt do a bad job at all- he contested shots but needs to be more consistent staying low in defensive stance- does a nice job of moving his feet for a player of his size- quick/active feet.  He needs to continue to add some weight to his frame particularly in his lower body which will come with age.

Overview

John continued his amazing month of play with another big one tonight with a double-double. He had some huge plays down the stretch including a tip in to give Wake the lead with 18 seconds left. John has now scored 20 points in every game since January 18th and his play as of late has been exceptional. He was coming off of a career high of 31 points against Duke last game.  I love his body language- even with some poor foul calls against him and not getting the ball as much as he should, he doesnt hang his head, complain, or sulk.  He is a player with a very high ceiling and he is still very young, at just 19 years old. His improvement from last year to this season shows how hard of worker he is and he checks all the boxes off the court. His stock has been rising all season on mock drafts and is now listed as a top 20 pick on most websites/ draft experts. I can see John going as high as top 11 especially if he continues his hot play. His draft position will only improve after workouts and once teams interview him.

Adam Silver


Warning: the following may hit home about your favorite NBA team. Soft hearted basketball fans should avoid reading this and getting dampened spirits; those who continue from this point and have their egos bruised, well, I’m telling you up front, so toughen up, ya babies.

The NBA Draft Lottery, which somehow has been turned into its own tepid thirty minute show, has come and gone, with this year’s top pick falling into the hands of the Minnesota Timberwolves, and with it, a real shot at combining a 2015 pick with their existing young stars Andrew Wiggins (another #1 pick) and Zack Levine to actually start winning again, something they haven’t done consistently since Kevin Garnett was on the roster. Will they actually do that? No idea, but if they do, it will buck the odds of most teams who get the top pick.

Of course, much hand-wringing always accompanies the draft lottery as well, this year from the fans of the downright awful New York Knicks, who fell to fourth in the draft order. I’ve got good news and bad news for Knicks fans; the good news is that the lottery doesn’t have anywhere near the impact that most people think. The bad news is that your team is still horribly mismanaged and that is the dominating reason why any sports franchise wins or loses over time. It won’t matter who is on the Knicks roster as long as Dolan still runs the team. Bad management trumps all. Sports teams are just companies, after all, and many companies are poorly run. Well run companies excel, and poorly run companies limp along trailing the competition. Pointing out that the Knicks are a poorly run company takes about as much diagnostic effort as finding the Sun in a cloudless sky.

I’ve seen some fans (and journalists like Stephen A. Smith) angrily denouncing the fact that the Knicks didn’t do a good enough a job of ‘tanking’ the season in order to increase their odds of getting the number one draft pick. Let’s unpack the absurdity of this a bit. And as a side note, don’t email me, yes, Stephen A. Smith might be ridiculously inaccurate but he is, or at least some of the time is, actually a journalist. He studied journalism at Winston-Salem State and worked at Greensboro’s News & Record as a staff reporter years ago. I remember reading his work but who knew he would go from covering local sports to screaming at Skip Bayless for money? But, still, he did work as an actual sports reporter. But, I’m digressing. Let’s get back to the draft and the misguided logic of tanking as a winning formula.

First, let’s just look at the strategy behind losing on purpose to get a higher draft pick. We would have to assume that getting the number one pick must be so valuable in ROI (return on investment) that losing the massive amounts of money on home games for the last half of the season would be worth it. Well, it could be, with television contracts. Maybe. But that would mean that you would have to land a star player that would mean filling the arena and selling jerseys within a year or two, and hopefully building around that player to get back into the playoffs and contend for a title.

Teams that lose too long fold or get sold. It has been true that in the past there has always been another buyer who is willing to pay an even higher price for teams despite the record, so team owners don’t always care so much about winning when their team’s value continues to rise regardless of the record. That’s not really a business model as much as it is an investment in some type of collectible. I’m not sure if a team owner who just buys a team without much intention of winning, just because they know they can sell it later at a profit is really good for sports in general. I’m looking your way, Robert L. Johnson.

But let’s not talk about billionaire hobbyists, let’s talk about team owners who genuinely want to own a valuable, winning franchise. They want their team to win titles, or at least make the playoffs and work towards being a real contender. They want the arena full of rabid local fans and they want those fans to embrace the team as hometown heroes. That’s certainly been the case with successful sports franchises such as the San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers.

There is no legitimate reason the Knicks aren’t one of the best sports franchises in existence; they have the market size, they have prestige of location, they have history, they have grassroots support. To tank the season, it would need to be really worth it. But since 1985, the year the lottery was introduced, the teams who landed the number one pick and have gone on to win an NBA title is exactly one – the San Antonio Spurs. A few lottery picks have gone on to win titles – Shaquille O’Neal and Lebron James are the most notable examples – but none of them won their titles with the teams that drafted them. At best, they did make it to the NBA finals with O’Neal and James, as did Philly with Allen Iverson, so there is some success there. But the reality is that getting a number one pick has only led directly to a title for one team in thirty years. To be sure, this is just a cursory view of draft effectiveness, but digging into the draft deeper hammers home one defining principle: it matters far more how well you draft as a team than which position you are picking in.

So let’s go back again to the Knicks and their much-maligned fourth-place pick. Chris Paul was a number 4 pick, as an example, but it doesn’t even matter to go back and look at all of the specifically-picked-at-number-four selections. Just look through the list of players who were picked at 4 or lower to see how it matters more in correct evaluation of players as opposed to just landing a higher draft spot. Steph Curry, who just took home MVP honors for the season, was a number 7 pick. Paul George was a number 10 pick. Dirk Nowitszki was a number 9 pick. Tracy McGrady was a number 9 pick. Jason Terry was a number 10 pick in the same year that Rip Hamilton was a number 7 and Ron Artest was a number 16 pick.

Given that, as a NBA General Manager, you have a really good chance of landing a star player just because so many other teams are bad at picking, it would be almost ludicrous to tank your already dismal season just to get a couple of spots higher in the lottery. I would ask, as a team owner, what is the point of having a General Manager on your team who consistently makes bad picks? Why is it that so many teams who have held #1 or #2 picks basically end up with players who are just role players in the NBA?

If you have faith in your personnel and abilities as a GM, you wouldn’t worry too much about where you are picking, but if you didn’t have much confidence, then well, yes, in that case, I would think you might consider tanking an entire season, then pick up the newspaper and read whoever is listed that you are supposed to pick and draft them. Given how badly NBA teams generally draft, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that they are just going with the common thinking on who they should pick.

Consider the fact that in the last 15 years, the Lakers and Spurs have reached the NBA Finals 13 times, winning 10 of them, with only once having a lottery pick, which the Lakers used on Andrew Bynum at #10 in 2005. In fact, multiple times during that stretch, the Lakers and Spurs didn’t even have a first round pick in the entire draft. There are number one players who have helped their teams win – John Wall is a recent notable example – but the overall numbers point much more to picking the right players over just getting lucky with the odds and taking the consensus top pick.

And, oh yeah, the Lakers landed back in the lottery this year (2015) – under new management, of course. Remember how I told you how it matters who owns the team?

So a really good GM with a good scouting team should be able to use the draft to their advantage regardless of position. We’ve established that a team which tanks a season just on the chance of moving up a spot or two in the draft wouldn’t be a team smart enough to build a contender regardless of how many number one picks they get. In fact, that’s actually the case for many franchises – while the Spurs and Lakers have stayed out of the lottery, some teams have pretty much lived there without making much noise even getting high picks year after year.

There has been some discussion over whether doing away with the lottery would be a good move – the concern has always been the idea that teams would lose on purpose, and stupid teams already do this, so it’s a valid concern. However, there has also been some discussion about not giving the worst teams the top picks simply because so many of those teams are always in the lottery hunt and aren’t doing much with their opportunities. I’ve wondered if the top pick shouldn’t go to the last team that missed the playoffs, because that would create real effort to win and get into that spot, but also I think this could mean teams who were on the cusp might actually lose on purpose, and in that case it could even make sense – a team that is on the playoff bubble really could be a number one pick away from a title. It’s possible that even though that would seem to be underhanded, it might actually be much better – teams who are on the fringes could shake things up pretty quickly at the top, unlike today where teams just languish in the pro basketball basement. There’s also the very palpable perception that the NBA uses the lottery for conspiratorial purposes – ensuring specific teams get specific picks every year. I have no idea if that’s true, but if so it may just be the worst-executed conspiracy in history, developing zero champions and sending dozens of potential money-making superstars to teams where no one will really see them play.

Probably the best snow job in all of sports is the teams that put in half-hearted efforts at building a real team and insult their fans by showing up in their finest suits to the draft, year after year, promising that starting with this draft, things will change. These are bad-boyfriend type of relationships and the fans who stick with them are…well, let’s drop that analogy. Let’s just say it’s not healthy and leave it at that.

Another option to help improve the draft process considerably would be to expand the NBA roster by one player and incorporate the D-league into the draft process, much as baseball does – more players drafted, more development, more chances to build your team with young talent, and more chances for young players to actually stick around and become NBA players. The current situation is that players who arrive in the NBA are pretty much expected to make an impact from the moment they step on the court, but that is rather unrealistic in most cases and goes directly against the developmental model that works in every single other sport. Sure, there are always players who come in, regardless of sport, and have an ability to play at the pro level quickly, but that is extremely rare. Almost all players need at least 2-3 seasons before they become serious contributors.

I’m not sure what the answer is, but I know the current system is broken, a combination of weakly managed teams with lackluster scouting efforts, and it’s possible that the current system just rewards poorly run teams with lottery picks. I don’t think tanking a season is even close to a viable strategy for teams that want to achieve long term, sustainable success and any team that employed this tactic has other, deep rooted issues that would also prevent them from winning. This isn’t a new thing, this draft lottery, we’ve got 30 years of history and data now to show the effects and implementation and it’s almost certainly time to try some new wrinkles.

Jabari Parker Duke NBA draft 2014

Editor’s Note:
This is a guest post by Ron of FantasyBasketballMoneyLeagues.Com. For more fantasy basketball updates, you can follow Fantasy Basketball Money Leagues Google+ Page or like it on Facebook.

We all made several predictions about the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft. And although there were some difference, at least we believed we were certain about the top three spots. And then Joel Embiid’s injury came to completely change the picture of this upcoming, loaded draft. Let’s see how things shape up after Embiid’s game – changing injury.

No.1: Jabari Parker
Parker is characterized as the most NBA – ready player, a ready – made star who can start making his presence felt from Day 1 of his NBA career. If that wasn’t enough for the Cleveland Cavaliers to select him at the top of the upcoming draft, then Joel Embiid’s injury came to seal the deal. Parker now stands the most chances to be the top pick.

No.2: Andrew Wiggins
With Embiid out of the equation, Wiggins will definitely land in one of the top two spots. Assuming that the Cavs pick Parker, the Milwaukee Bucks, who hold the second pick will select Wiggins. The Kansas product can pair with Giannis Antetokounmpo in Milwaukee’s perimeter to form a young duo with tons of potential.

No.3: Dante Exum
Exum is another player who will benefit from Embiid’s injury, as he is now considered a lock for the top three. The Philadelphia 76ers, however, are not benefited at all. Philly wanted to land Wiggins and now, they will have to settle for a guy like Dante Exum at No.3. He is a 6’6” guard who can play either of the two backcourt positions. If the 76ers select him they could either place him alongside Michael Carter-Williams or trade one of the two.

No.4: Noah Vonleh
Vonleh just recently climbed to No.4 and he is now considered as the top big man prospect of the upcoming draft. The Orlando Magic will be more than happy to pick a player like Vonleh thus placing a capable forward to pair with Victor Oladipo. The Magic also hold the 12th pick of the upcoming draft, one they can use to pick a point guard.

No.5: Joel Embiid
Joel Embiid is projected to get selected somewhere around the fifth and sixth spot. If the Utah Jazz don’t try to move up, selecting Embiid will make sense for them. Utah is a young team which aims to build its future rather than to contend for a playoff spot next season. So, Embiid can be a great investment for the future.

No.6: Marcus Smart
The Boston Celtics have been linked to Marcus Smart since the start of the season. The 6’3” guard is a NBA – ready prospect who can provide instant help to the C’s next season. But Smart can also be developed and be a solid piece of Boston’s rotation, as the team tries to complete its rebuild.

No.7: Julius Randle
There has been much speculation about the Los Angeles Lakers and their seventh overall pick. The Lakers are rumored to be involved in a potential Kevin Love trade together with the Golden State Warriors and in this case they will send their seventh pick to the Dubs. However, if this deal doesn’t go down, the Lakers will most probably select Julius Randle, a prospect they have been eying and working out for months now.

No.8: Elfrid Peyton
Peyton saw his stocks exploding during the last couple of weeks. He suddenly entered the top 10 and at the moment he seems like a great choice for the Sacramento Kings at No.8. The 6’4” guard could be a great replacement for Isaiah Thomas.

No.9: Doug McDermott
McDermott is another player who gained a few spots in the mock drafts as of lately. He is an excellent shooter and he could be a great pick for the Charlotte Hornets at No.9. He is projected to at least make the top 10.

No.10: Aaron Gordon
Gordon slipped to the last spot of the top 10 since Embiid’s injury. He is still considered to be one of the best big men who will enter the league through the 2014 NBA Draft. The Philadelphia 76ers, who hold the 10th pick can add him to their arsenal and pair him with Nerlens Noel.