Don't be fooled by the latest national media narrative that suggests the 2014 NBA draft will be ordinary. It's their fault they set the bar too high in the first place for freshmen like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, and Julius Randle. There is no LeBron or Durant in this draft, but there are plenty of players who could possibly be the face of a franchise.
This draft also has a deep pool of 30 or 40 quality players; there are potentially a handful of stars, loads of starters, and an abundance of bench contributors. Plenty of these names will be forgotten in upcoming years, just like every draft, but the amount of talent runs deep.
There's nothing normal about that, because typical drafts don't have this much depth; that's why every NBA team should be ecstatic if they own multiple picks.
The Boston Celtics are in that exact position, since they're tied for the fifth worst record in the NBA, which gives them a 21.9 percent chance at a top three selection. They also own Brooklyn's first round pick, which would be 17th if the season ended today.
Here's my updated big board for the 2014 NBA draft:
Scouting report: It could be argued that Joel Embiid is underrated despite all the talk about him being a lock for the top pick. Embiid averages 2.6 blocks per game, but his presence alone prevents many shots from ever occurring near the rim. With an enormous 7-foot-5 wingspan, Embiid is a force down low. Even though he's inexperienced, his offensive skill set has continued to progress throughout the year. It's a generous comparison, but his post game is reminiscent of the great Hakeem Olajuwon. To put it simply, Joel Embiid is a potential franchise-changer on both ends of the floor. However, Embiid has been battling through a lower back injury the past month and is currently in California to see a specialist. Kansas' coach Bill Self said the injury is "more significant than a strain," even though it's the type of pain that will go away with rest. Those comments should dismiss the thought that this could drop his value, but it's still concerning whenever a big man has lower back trouble.
Kevin O'Connor's 2014 NBA Draft Big Board History:
Edition 1: Feb 3 | Edition 2: Mar 10 | Edition 3: Coming Late March