Kevin O'Connor's 2014 NBA Draft Big Board 4.0

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Spor

With the NBA Draft Lottery tonight, fans of the league are all hoping that their team will land one of the top 4 selections so they can pick Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, or Dante Exum. But with most of the attention focused on them, some of the other talented prospects are overlooked.

Players like Aaron Gordon, Noah Vonleh, and Doug McDermott all have potential to be great players, and they can be had in the middle of the lottery. For this year's lottery teams, there really is no "losing" considering the depth of talent.

In the past three editions of my big board, we took an in-depth look at each player's strengths and weaknesses. But this time, we're going to briefly discuss their potential. And if they are "risers" or "fallers" on my board, I will discuss my reasoning for their changing rank.

Please note that this is not a mock draft, this only details where I personally rank each player. With that said, here's my updated top 30 big board for the 2014 NBA Draft:

1 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Joel Embiid Kansas Fr. 20 C 7-0 240 2 2

Scouting report: The 7-footer from Kansas retains the top spot on my big board. No player in this draft has as much upside to be a superstar on both ends of the floor as Joel Embiid does. Some players could become better offensive threats, but Embiid's ceiling is still very high. And on the defensive end, Embiid's shot blocking and rim protecting abilities are outstanding. Unless something is seriously wrong with his back, he's here to stay.

2 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Andrew Wiggins Kansas Fr. 19 SG/SF 6-8 200 1 1

Scouting report: It's a shame that Andrew Wiggins didn't attend the NBA Combine because he would've put on a show. Wiggins' athleticism is something special, and he reportedly had a 44-inch max vertical during a private workout. With elite potential on the defensive end, and intriguing tools on the offensive end, Wiggins projects to be a great player. The 19-year-old wing has been second on my big board throughout the season, though he's on shaky ground with the player right behind him.

3 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER Country AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Dante Exum Australia 18 PG/SG 6-6 190 5 4

Scouting report: This has been a long time coming and it's been something I've considered doing for quite awhile, but Dante Exum came off very strong in interviews at the NBA Combine, and he performed extremely well in athletic testing. I wish we got to see him perform in the drills portion, but there is little doubt that he will eventually improve his jumper, which is his main weakness on offense. His first step is lethal, so he could become one of the top scoring guards in the league once his shot develops. It wouldn't surprise me if some teams have ranked on top of their boards.

4 Red-go-down-md_small PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Jabari Parker Duke Fr. 18 SF 6-9 240 3 3

Scouting report: Jabari Parker has major potential on the offensive end of the floor and he could certainly become one of the league's premiere go-to scorers. However, he slips to fourth on my big board because there are two sides of the floor, and Parker's defense is severely lacking. Plus, if Chad Ford's report that Parker is in "less than ideal shape," then it doesn't bode well for his work ethic considering he had problems with gaining weight in the past. Parker's scoring versatility is elite, but that isn't reason enough to ignore the weaker parts of his game.

5 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Aaron Gordon Arizona Fr. 18 SF/PF 6-9 220 9 7

Scouting report: Aaron Gordon was a star at the NBA Combine, but everyone knew that would happen. Gordon didn't participate in shooting dills, but he told SI's Chris Mannix that he has already revamped his shooting form. Even though there is no photographic evidence, I'm going to take his word for it, because his technical comments are completely in line with my own beliefs on the issues with his mechanics. Even if he takes awhile to adjust and find consistency from outside, he's going to make an immediate (and major) impact as a defensive specialist.

6 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER Country AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Dario Saric Croatia 20 SF/PF 6-10 223 8 9

Scouting report: Dario Saric grew on me during the Adriatic League Final Four and I now believe he is one of the six best players in this draft. He is arguably the most advanced scorer in the draft, which is due to his experience playing overseas. Saric has continued to improve on all of his weaknesses, and it doesn't look like he's going to plateau anytime soon.

7 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Noah Vonleh Indiana Fr. 18 PF 6-10 247 7 5

Scouting report: If any player helped themselves with the NBA Combine, it's Noah Vonleh, the native from Haverhill, MA. Vonleh's hands have a width of 11.75-inches, the second largest all time, and he has an enormous 7-foot-4 wingspan. His times in the speed drills were also impressive, as his athleticism supports the thought that his defense will come in time. Vonleh didn't take part in drills, but if he did, he would've showed off his pristine perimeter jumper, ideal for a stretch big man.

8 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Doug McDermott Creighton Sr. 22 SF/PF 6-8 218 10 13

Scouting report: The purest shooter in this draft class is Doug McDermott, the NCAA's fifth all-time leading scoring. McDermott can obviously score from anywhere, but he opened some eyes at the NBA Combine with a 36.5-inch vertical. DraftExpress posted a fantastic video of one of his workouts, and he appears to be working hard to improve his ball handling and lateral quickness, which happen to be his two greatest weaknesses. McDermott has improved every year of his collegiate career, and I expect that steady progression to continue.

9 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Marcus Smart Oklahoma St. So. 20 PG/SG 6-4 220 6 8

Scouting report: Marcus Smart has potential as a two-way combo guard, but he lacks a reliable jumper, which is crucial for his development. Regardless, Smart brings enough skill as a penetrator and a defensive stud to warrant Top 10 consideration. He deserves to be ranked more highly, but players 5th through 10th are closer in talent than it may appear.

10 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER COUNTRY AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Kristaps Porzingis Latvia 19 PF 7-0 215 23 27

Scouting report: Kristaps Porzingis might be the most underrated player in the draft. Not many bigs have upside as rim protectors and three-point threats. Porzingis is a rare talent and has a wide frame to add muscle to his lean body. If he decides to stay in the draft, it won't be surprising to see his stock jump into the lottery.

11 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
K.J McDaniels Clemson Jr. 21 SG/SF 6-6 196 20 24

Scouting report: McDaniels is a sure bet to be a great defender, but his scoring skills worry some scouts. I'm less concerned and believe he is talented enough to make an impact as a contributor. He has a solid three-point stroke, which should improve, but he also has potential in transition, off cuts, and when attacking closeouts. Not to mention that McDaniels creates offense as a byproduct of his top-notch defense and athleticism.

12 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER Country AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Jusuf Nurkic Bosnia 19 PF/C 6-11 280 11 20

Scouting report: Jusuf Nurkic makes a huge jump on my board after displaying the potential of a great two-way center in the Adriatic League Final Four. He plays below the rim and certainly isn't vertical, but Nurkic is more athletic than he gets credit for and should have no trouble finding his niche in the NBA. Nurkic's scoring potential is particularly impressive, most notably his quick spin move from the low post.

13 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Nik Stauskas Michigan So. 20 SG 6-6 205 14 11

Scouting report: Nik Stauskas has been hard at work improving his ball handling, which could force me to increase his positioning on my draft board for the next edition. Stauskas already has potential as a secondary pick and roll ball handler, but he might be able to play some point guard in a modern "two guard system" if he takes his dribble to the next level. Oh, and not to mention that he's arguably the best shooter in the draft; that also helps his ranking.

14 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Julius Randle Kentucky Fr. 19 PF 6-9 250 4 6

Scouting report: Julius Randle turned in an impressive combine performance, measuring in with an average wingspan and standing reach. He doesn't have "T-Rex arms" like many thought he did, but this doesn't change the fact that he's the most clueless defender in the first round. Randle is still worthy of lottery consideration because of his aggressiveness, scoring potential, and elite rebounding ability.

15 Red-go-down-md_small PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Gary Harris Michigan St. So. 19 SG 6-4 210 13 10

Scouting report: If there's any player ranked too low on my board, it's probably Gary Harris. I have lauded his tenacity on defense all year long, and I think he brings a lot of complimentary skills (shooting and passing) on offense, yet here he is, slipping. This is more or less a byproduct of other players boosting their stocks, but Harris is a lottery talent.

16 Red-go-down-md_small PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Tyler Ennis Syracuse Fr. 19 PG 6-2 180 12 14

Scouting report: Tyler Ennis slips down my board only because of some of the other players that made huge jumps ahead of him. Even though I'm not going to overreact to his impressive combine performance, it does confirm my belief that he is not "unathletic" like some claimed he was. Ennis' shooting and passing skills will make him a quality backup point guard with starter upside.

17 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Elfrid Payton La Lafayette Jr. 20 PG 6-3 190 25 17

Scouting report: Elfrid Payton makes a significant jump on my board after I spent extensive time diagnosing the issues with his jumper. Though he struggles from the perimeter right now, I think his flaws are fixable and he will find mild success soon enough. Payton's also a great defender and can guard both the one and two, which is an added bonus for a guy that is mostly known for his pinpoint passing.

18 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Adreian Payne Michigan St. Sr. 23 PF 6-10 239 21 16

Scouting report: I'm finally coming around on Adreian Payne even though I'm still very concerned about his poor stamina (related to small lungs) and his low basketball IQ (which may be related to his ADHD), but he clearly brings enough skills to make an impact in at least 20 minutes per game. His ability to stretch the floor from three-point range and play above the rim is unlike many players, so he is fully deserving of a borderline lottery pick.

19 Red-go-down-md_small PLAYER Team AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
P.J. Hairston Texas Legends 21 SG 6-5 225 24 18

Scouting report: P.J. Hairston was as high as 12th on my board (March 10th) but he has progressively slipped. Even though Hairston can score, and his three-point shot is amongst the best in the draft, I'm not convinced that he brings enough bonus attributes to the floor if he's not scoring on a particular night.

20 Red-go-down-md_small PLAYER Country AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Clint Capela Switzerland 20 PF/C 6-10 222 18 26

Scouting report: Clint Capela slid after his disappointing performance at the Nike Hoop Summit, but I don't think everyone should overreact and drop him so far down their boards. Capela's only 20-years-old and still has major potential as a shot blocker and rebounder. Don't people remember what Serge Ibaka looked like at the same age?

21 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Kyle Anderson UCLA So. 20 PF 6-9 230 17 28

Scouting report: After spending extensive time scouting Kyle Anderson, I'm ready to peg him as a power forward with "point forward" versatility. He doesn't have the speed to play his pure position, point guard, but I don't think he can play small forward either. Anderson will need the proper fit to flourish, but the passing and shooting skills are there for him to find success.

22 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Jordan Adams UCLA So. 19 SG 6-5 209 26 45

Scouting report: Jordan Adams was one of the biggest disappointments at the NBA Combine when it came to measurements and tests, but he lost weight, a sign that he is motivated to improve. Adams is highly efficient as a scorer and engages himself defensively. He lacks the athletic upside to be anything more than a high-end role player, but every team needs a few of those.

23 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Spencer Dinwiddie Colorado Jr. 21 PG/SG 6-6 205 36 38

Scouting report: If Spencer Dinwiddie didn't tear his ACL, I'd probably have him ranked higher on my board. He is a modern point guard in that he scores first and passes second, so I really like his potential pending good health. He's a knockdown three-point shooter both off the catch and dribble, and he draws fouls at a high rate. Dinwiddie compares himself to James Harden, and he might be right.

24 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
T.J. Warren N.C. State So. 20 SF/PF 6-8 215 16 25

Scouting report: I'm not sure if T.J. Warren has a role in the NBA unless he adds a reliable jumper, but he has special scoring instincts and is able to score without the ball in his hands. If Warren adds a jumper, he has huge potential, but he has arguably the worst mechanics of any wing in the draft.

25 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER Country AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Bogdan Bogdanovic Serbia 21 SG 6-6 200 31 41

Scouting report: Bogdan Bogdanovic will be an impactful player as both a shooter and as a secondary pick-and-roll ball handler. Bogdanovic has great length and projects favorably as a quality role player.

26 Red-go-down-md_small PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
James Young Kentucky Fr. 18 SG/SF 6-6 215 15 15

Scouting report: James Young doesn't deserve to slip down my board, but a few other players did enough to leapfrog him. Young has a long way to go to maximize his scoring potential, but he can fill it up.

27 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER Country AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Walter Tavares Cape Verde 22 C 7-3 260 34 NR

Scouting report: One of the larger risks in the first round will be Cape Verdean center Walter Tavares. He's very raw, but is already one of Spain's best rim protectors. If he's drafted into the right situation, he could be molded into a special defensive player.

28 Go-up-md_small
PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
C.J. Wilcox Washington Sr. 23 SG 6-5 200 42 30

Scouting report: It's about time that C.J. Wilcox got some love from the media, as he did after his incredible performance at the combine. I've had him as a borderline first rounder all year because of his versatile scoring abilities. He has a skillset that should make him an immediate threat as a shooter in the pros.

29 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Jerami Grant Syracuse So. 19 SF 6-8 210 19 21

Scouting report: I'm not very high on Jerami Grant because I'm not sure how much true basketball skill he has in him. Whichever team selects him is picking him based only on upside, since he has incredible athleticism, as he proved at the NBA Combine. But in a draft full of talent with equally appealing upside, is he really worth the risk?

30 PLAYER SCHOOL YEAR AGE POS. HT. WT. DX ESPN
Shabazz Napier UConn Sr. 22 PG 6-1 185 28 23

Scouting report: The two-time national champion point guard can score with anyone but size and defensive concerns limit his upside. He deserves to draw first round consideration, but in a deep draft, he's only borderline.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Join CelticsBlog

You must be a member of CelticsBlog to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at CelticsBlog. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9347_tracker