This is the third in a five part series in which I analyze the 2014 NBA Draft by position. As a source I used DraftExpress's mock draft and for statistics I used both DraftExpress and Sports-Reference. All statistics used are for the prior college basketball season. Because of the lack of advanced statistic information and difference in playstyle for international leagues, I have only included NCAA players in this analysis. For information such as player position, school, height, etc. please click on the player's name and it will take you to their DraftExpress page with all that information.
"But can he play Small Forward?"
For about five years, that was the go-to joke of Sactown Royalty. The Kings Small Forward spot was the Bermuda Triangle of the NBA, a dark cesspool of nothingness that seemingly couldn't be filled no matter who we put in there. That all changed last year when the Kings traded for Rudy Gay. For the first time since Ron Artest, the Kings actually had a player that could hold down the position with ease. It's not that he was just serviceable either, but that he was fantastic.
Of course, it may have only been a temporary solution, as Rudy now faces a big free agency decision and could choose to leave the Kings this summer. But even if he stays, the backup options at the position aren't exactly great themselves. Derrick Williams is inconsistent and an awkward fit. Travis Outlaw is Travis Outlaw.
|Andrew Wiggins||Fr.||32.8||17.1||.448||.341 (43/126)||.775||5.9||1.5||1.2||1.0||2.3||2.7|
|Jabari Parker||Fr.||30.7||19.1||.473||.358 (38/106)||.748||8.7||1.2||1.1||1.2||2.3||2.4|
|James Young||Fr.||32.4||14.3||.407||.349 (82/235)||.706||4.3||1.7||0.8||0.2||1.9||2.1|
|Kyle Anderson||So.||33.2||14.6||.480||.483 (28/58)||.737||8.8||6.5||1.8||0.8||3.1||1.7|
|K.J. McDaniels||Jr.||33.7||17.1||.459||.304 (42/138)||.842||7.1||1.6||1.1||2.8||2.3||2.2|
|Jerami Grant||Jr.||31.4||12.1||.496||.000 (0/5)||.674||6.8||1.4||0.8||0.6||1.2||2.3|
|Rodney Hood||So.||32.9||16.1||.464||.420 (71/169)||.807||3.9||2.1||0.7||0.3||1.5||2.6|
|Cleanthony Early||So.||27.4||16.4||.484||.373 (66/177)||.844||5.9||0.8||0.8||0.8||1.9||2.3|
|DeAndre Daniels||Jr.||29.0||13.1||.464||.417 (50/120)||.787||6.0||0.4||0.7||1.4||1.5||2.4|
|Glen Robinson III||So.||32.3||13.1||.488||.306 (33/108)||.757||4.4||1.2||0.9||0.3||1.2||1.5|
|LaQuinton Ross||Jr.||29.0||15.2||.447||.353 (42/119)||.732||5.9||0.8||0.7||0.6||1.7||1.5|
|Josh Huestis||Sr.||35.2||11.2||.451||.338 (26/77)||.627||8.2||1.2||0.6||1.9||1.2||2.1|
|Roscoe Smith||Jr.||29.2||11.1||.531||.200 (2/10)||.667||10.9||0.5||0.3||0.7||1.3||2.3|
|JaKarr Sampson||So.||29.0||12.8||.495||.200 (1/5)||.565||6.1||1.2||0.6||1.0||1.6||2.8|
|Mychal Ammons||Jr.||27.9||9.3||.439||.371 (26/70)||.644||7.2||1.4||0.4||1.1||1.8||3.3|
|Glen Robinson III||19.9||.566||.308||6.0%||11.5%||7.6%||1.9%||1.0%||9.7%||22.3%||116.2||105.9||4th|
Before we get started, no I did not leave Aaron Gordon off, I just placed him with the Power Forwards. He's really more of a "Forward" than SF or PF, but that's not how we're categorizing these posts so I moved him into the PF post.
Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are the two biggest names in this group and two of the biggest names in the entire draft. Both players are almost assuredly going to be drafted in the Top 4 and almost definitely won't be available for the Kings to draft at #8. Why are these two so heavily hyped and coveted? A big reason is the fact that they were some of the most productive college players in the country, playing some of the toughest schedules in the country, all as Freshmen.
Parker is the bigger and more offensively skilled (currently) of the two. His 19.1 points per game is not only the highest average overall of any of these players, but he was also able to do it in just 30.7 minutes per game making him one of the best per-minute scorers in the draft. He shot an excellent 47.3% from the field overall and a decent but not great 35.8% from three. He also showed a good nose for the basketball on the glass with a fantastic 23.1% Defensive Rebounding Rate and 11.4% Offensive Rebounding Rate, both numbers more typically seen of Power Forwards and among the highest of his peers.
Wiggins is smaller but much more athletic. Defensively, he has a lot more upside than Parker, who definitely struggled on that end of the floor (Parker's defensive rating is a bit misleading as Duke was a good defensive team). Wiggins isn't as good of a scorer as Jabari, with his outside shot especially weaker, but he's still very talented on that end of the floor, scoring 17.1 points per game. He does a good job of getting to the line, with the second highest Free Throw Attempt Rate of his peers at .538, behind just Jerami Grant. Wiggins isn't a great rebounder for his position though, even with his athleticism, and it's possible that in the NBA he'll transition to being a big Shooting Guard.
After Wiggins and Parker the quality of prospects drop dramatically. Although there are still good players available, none strike me as potential stars. James Young is the only other Freshman on the board, but his numbers are not impressive at all. He scored just 14.3 points on 40.7% from the field (the lowest FG% of any SF) and while he shot 235 threes, he hit just 34.9%, a number that will likely go down in the NBA with the longer line.
Kyle Anderson's numbers meanwhile pop off the page. Just going by statistics, he looks like the best prospect of the bunch. He can score, pass and rebound. His 34.3% assist rate is the highest in the draft, not just of SFs. His 25.5% defensive rebound rate is higher than that of Julius Randle and second to just Roscoe Smith in this group. He hit 48% of his threes (although he only shot 58 of them). He's also got the highest steal rate of all SFs. So why is he not rated higher or being discussed as a lottery pick? Well the biggest reason is that he's slow as mud and isn't strong enough to guard big men at the next level. Then there's the fact that his passing is his biggest strength, and there aren't many teams out there that will let a player like him dominate the ballhandling/playmaking duties like he was able to do at UCLA. He reminds me of Boris Diaw, and it will take the right situation for him to fully thrive.
After Anderson, one guy I like a lot is K.J. McDaniels. The first thing that caught my eye when I was looking at McDaniels' numbers was his insane 8.9% block rate. I had to go back and double-check to make sure I had copied down the right thing, but sure enough I had. McDaniels is a freak athlete with a huge wingspan and great defensive fundamentals. He's also more than capable on the other end of the floor as well, although his 3P% leaves something to be desired. Still, I wouldn't be surprised if when all is said and done, McDaniels ends up as one of the better players taken in the draft. He'll likely be taken in the late 1st round.
There are a few more players of note. Rodney Hood is easily the best shooter of the bunch, and also can pass a little bit. Defensively though he's pretty bad and he'll need to improve on that end to be considered more than a guy that comes in off the bench to space the floor.
Cleanthony Early of Wichita State made a name for himself in the tournament, and it's easy to see why. He's very skilled, able to score from most anywhere at an efficient rate. He's also a solid rebounder. He played mostly PF in college but he's athletic enough that he could make the transition to SF in the NBA although defensively he'll have to improve to keep up with quicker perimeter players. One problem with Early though is that the ball tends to stick in his hands once he gets it, with his assist rate being one of the lowest in the entire draft, but not as bad as DeAndre Daniels, who has a historically bad assist rate at just 3.6%.
The name Glenn Robinson stands out because of his father, but GRIII doesn't possess nearly the same amount of skill as the former Milwaukee Bucks All-Star. He's a great athlete, but struggles with his shot and doesn't really excel in any one area.
Coming Tomorrow: Power Forwards