With the college basketball season on the downward slope towards March Madness, a better understanding of the top prospects for this year's NBA Draft is unfolding. Here, we look at the lottery picks and my thoughts on who should be chosen at each spot.
1. Washington Wizards - Anthony Davis, PF Kentucky Frosh.
- The Wizards need immediate help across the board. Davis and Andre Drummond have the most upside of any player in this draft, but I feel Davis may be ready to make an immediate impact on the defensive end of the floor, whereas I'm not sure Drummond will be much more than an athletic finisher in his rookie year.
2. Charlotte Bobcats - Harrison Barnes, SG/SF UNC Soph.
- As mentioned above, Drummond and Davis are considered the two picks with the highest upside in next year's draft, so it is hard to imagine him slipping past the number 2 pick. However, the Bobcats need a high profile scoring guard, and with Barnes playing his college ball in state, I think they would be wise to take a serious look at Barnes with their pick. Barnes hasn't taken the college basketball world by storm as almost everyone projected, but he projects to be a prolific scorer at the next level. Barnes' one-on-one game is advanced for his age, and I happen to be in the camp that believes he will be a better pro than college player, and he's been a pretty damn good college player.
3. Brooklyn Nets - Andre Drummond, PF UCONN Frosh.
- The Nets need some serious athleticism along their frontline, which is currently being left in the hands and slow moving feet of Memhet Okur, Kris Humphries, and Shelden Williams. They get Brook Lopez back from injury, and are in the running for Dwight Howard, but Drummond would play well with either and won't need the ball to make an impact.
4. Detroit Pistons - Jeremy Lamb, SG UCONN Soph.
- Even with the praise I previously heaped on Harrison Barnes, Jeremy Lamb has been the better college player. He could end up being a better scorer than Barnes, is probably a better ball handler, and slightly more athletic; however, Barnes is bigger and stronger, and thus I think he projects better at the next level.
5. New Orleans Hornets - Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, SF Kentucky Frosh.
- MKG is deservedly praised for his energy and effort on the basketball court, but too often that overlooks how skilled he is in all facets of the game. MKG is an elite defender and rebounder, but is also a very good ball handler, passer, and finisher in transition. He gets to the foul line at a good rate and makes a high percentage of his free throws. If he develops a better jump shot, he could produce like Gerald Wallace's all-star worthy years, plus bring every intangible you could want from a player.
6. Utah Jazz - Kendall Marshall, PG UNC Soph.
- Likely to trade Devin Harris per rumors, Utah has plenty of depth on the frontline and likely won't look to Jared Sullinger or Thomas Robinson at this point. They may look to trade down if Barnes, Lamb, or MKG don't fall to them, but I think they should take a serious look at Marshall. He's a big point guard who doesn't shoot well and isn't super athletic, but at this point seems like he could develop into a slightly past his prime Jason Kidd.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers - Brad Beal, SG Florida Frosh.
- Beal reminds me of a skinnier Eric Gordon at this point in his career. Cleveland needs a 2 guard for the future, and I think after Lamb and Barnes, Beal is the next best option in this draft. He's a little undersized, but I believe he will also be able to play some point at the next level.
8. Toronto Raptors - Jared Sullinger, PF/C Ohio State Soph.
- Sullinger may be the best college player in the draft, but many question whether his game translates to the NBA. He's an undersized PF, but possesses incredible strength and touch around the basket. Guys of his build have found better success as of late in the NBA, and Sullinger's ability to knock down outside shots could make him a valuable asset for an NBA team. Sullinger's also a great post defender and an elite rebounder at the college level, skills that seem to translate well to the NBA.
9. Phoenix Suns - Thomas Robinson, PF Kansas Jr.
- Robinson is a player of the year candidate this year in college basketball. Limited in action behind the Morris twins last year, Robinson looks to be better than either in his junior year. Robinson plays with great energy, has refined post up and face up games, able to back his man down or take him off the dribble. He is an elite rebounder and should be ready to contribute immediately at the next level.
10. New Orleans Hornets - Terrence Ross, SG Washington Soph.
- Ross is a dangerous outside shooter who has elite athleticism. Though at times he seems passive, Ross has not shyed away from the big stage. He has great size for the SG position, and would be able to play some SF as well.
11. Milwaukee Bucks - Terrence Jones, SF Kentucky Soph.
- Jones is a unique talent who possesses an improved outside shot, above average ball handling skills, and elite athleticism. At 6'9, Jones could be a matchup nightmare for NBA SFs by either backing them down in the post or putting the ball on the floor. He shoots it well enough that you have to respect him on the perimeter, and he has a quick first step to blow by defenders. Jones has to develop a better feel for the game, recognize when and where to pass out of double teams and avoid help defense.
12. Brooklyn Nets - Austin Rivers, SG Duke Frosh.
- Rivers inadequacies have been displayed during his freshman year at Duke, but what scouts loved about him - his quick first step; fearless, although streaky, shooting, and athleticism to finish above the rim - have proven to be valid. Rivers often seems single minded when driving to the basket, and hasn't been able to finish after contact very well, but he will continue to be able to break defenses down at the next level.
13. Milwaukee Bucks - Perry Jones III, SF/PF Baylor Soph.
- Jones may be the most offensively gifted athlete in the draft, but many question his aggressiveness and work ethic. It's easy to see him falling into the same pattern as Brandon Wright or Anthony Randolph, but when Jones is aggressive, he is better than either of those guys. Jones' upside is to significant to ignore
14. Boston Celtics - Arnett Moultrie, PF Mississippi State Jr.
- Moutlrie is a super athletic power forward who rebounds and can step outside and knock down shots. He could work in the pick and roll situations currently run by Rondo and Garnett, and may be the replacement for Garnett down the line. The Celtics are in desparate need for some athleticism along their front line that can also provide some scoring off the bench. Moultrie gives them both.