ACC Basketball

2014’s NBA Early Entrees Predictions

Rasheed-Sulaimon

The period when college basketball players can declare early for the NBA draft is officially over, which means, it’s way too early to be thinking about next year’s crop of early entrees, right? Wrong.

Here is a list of the top-10 ACC players who will leave early to go make some dollars playing this game they call basketball. I’ve gone ahead and ranked them for you, number one obviously being the player most likely to leave early. You’re welcome.

No. 1 Jabari Parker, Duke
When you’re put on the cover of Sports Illustrated after your junior year of college and are called, the next LeBron, then one year of college is all you’re going to need. Parker is the second rank player coming out of high school. Fact is, if he could go play in the NBA right now, he would go ahead of any player being drafted in this draft. He’s actually not the best athlete in the world and he’s not going to scare anyone off with his first step, he’s got a basketball IQ years ahead of his peers, works hard and finds ways to create his own shot. Sure, if he struggles at all during his freshman campaign, he could pull a Harrison Barnes, but that’s doubtful.
PROJECTION: First round, top-five pick

No. 2 James McAdoo, North Carolina He’s a tad bit small for the position (power forward), but McAdoo has great length (7-1 wingspan) and a strong upper body. By the end of his sophomore season, he was making good, quick decisions with the ball and had a nose for rebounds. He still needs to develop some more post moves inside and stretch out his jumper, which I completely expect him to improve both this season. If McAdoo is playing in Chapel Hill his senior year, then Carolina’s coaching staff failed him.
PROJECTION: First round, fringe lottery pick

No. 3 T.J. Warren, NC State
Of all these potential early entrees, Warren could be the best scorer of all of them. As a freshman, he averaged a solid 12.1 PPG, hitting 62-percent from the floor, nailing 52-percent of his threes. He’s a gifted scorer, capable of putting the ball on the floor or launching threes. At 6-8, he doesn’t have the burst of other small forwards, but his length allows him to dominate his defender. With everyone gone (except for Warren) from last year’s NC State squad, this team belongs to him. He’s the go-to guy for Mark Gottfried and he’ll have a green light every time down the floor.
PROJECTION: First round, fringe lottery.

No. 4 P.J. Hairston, North Carolina
When it’s all said and done, Hairston will probably be a better pro than McAdoo, but so far in college, Hairston is just starting to scratch the surface. In fact, things didn’t really start to click until Roy Williams switched to the smaller lineup. Prior to that, Hairston was hesitant with the ball in his hands, relying solely on his jump shot. However, once he was being defended by taller forwards, he started to show off the ball handling skills he was known to have. This season, there is little doubt that this team will belong to McAdoo and Hairston, so the latter should become more of a vocal leader this year.
PROJECTION: First round, just outside the lottery, a few spots behind Hairston.

No. 5 Rodney Hood, Duke
He’s the most athletically gifted player on next year’s Duke team and with his size and length, he’s going to create a lot of match up problems at the SF spot. He’s got good ball handling skills and is capable of attacking the rim. However, he’s not afraid of his jumper, capable of hitting both a mid-range shot and a three-pointer. During his redshirt, he’s bulked up, which will help with some toughness issues. The key development for him will be going left. He reminds me a lot of Gerald Henderson (although taller), who was amazing going to his right, average going to his left.
PROJECTION: Late first round

No. 6 Olivier Hanlan, Boston College
He’s a scorer. Plain and simple. Hanlan averaged 15.4 points per game last year as a freshman and he got those points in a lot of different ways. He’s got a solid jumper and a good basketball IQ. One second, you think he has no shot, the next, he’s worked his way into an opening, he shoots, he scores. At 6-4, he’s got good height for the next level, but he also has a good combo of length and footwork. Often, he was asked to guard Boston College’s opponent’s point guard. As BC improves this season, so should Hanlan. Look for him to challenge for the conference’s scoring title.
PROJECTION: Late first, early second

No. 7 Rasheed Sulaiman, Duke
Some thought he could have left after his freshman campaign, based on what he displayed last season. Overall, Sulaiman showed flashes of brilliance. He has a sweet stroke and in reality, he was Duke’s best player last year at creating his own shot. However, he also went through some dry spells and he struggled to regain his composer when the going got tough. I suspect ‘Sheed will make a nice freshman to sophomore jump and along with Parker and Hood, he will be the third member of another great Duke trio.
PROJECTION: Late first, early second

No. 8 Anthony Barber, NC State
With Lorenzo Brown gone, freshman Anthony Barber will be handed the keys to the Wolfpack offense and let’s be honest, he could really produce an outstanding freshman campaign. Barber is extremely quick, capable of beating his man off the dribble and getting into the lane at will. Aggressive defensively, he knows how to create turnovers. Like all freshmen, Barber will need to avoid the turnovers and nail his threes. The fact is, Barber should be Mark Gottfried’s second best option after T.J. Warren, thus he’ll provide plenty of tape for NBA scouts to checkout.
PREDICTION: Early second round

No. 9 Dez Wells, Maryland
A strong, bruising shooting guard, Dez is a rare breed for the fact he plays under such great control. He doesn’t have a great outside shot (blame a slow release), but he’s a man who knows his own strengths. He is at his best slashing to the basket. He doesn’t necessarily have a quick first step, but he uses his great frame to overpower smaller defenders, capable of getting to the free throw line, yet against larger opponents, he can change directly quickly. Wells should end up being a top-five scorer in the league, especially if he can improve his outside shot.
PROJECTION: Middle of second round

No. 10 Jerian Grant, Notre Dame
Although he’ll be just a junior, he did redshirt, so he’s older. He possesses solid basketball IQ and he loves to create for his teammates. At Notre Dame, he plays both the point and off the ball. He loves to shoot threes, despite the fact he needs to improve his three-point percentage. Slowly, he’s gotten better at getting to the lane and finishing with both hands. As long as he continues to add muscle and work on his ball handling, then he should be a star in the ACC. The reason I got him going pro though, is the fact that one more year really isn’t going to improve his draft projection too much.
PROJECTION: Late second round

LONG SHOTS

Rakeem Christmas, Syracuse – Cuse fans are still waiting for greatness from the junior. If he can step up and be the second best option after Fair, then maybe he can impress some scouts.

Ryan Anderson, Boston College - Despite limitations in his game, Anderson is a baller, who will arguable be the best all-around player on a improved BC team.

Quinn Cook, Duke - He needs to work on his foot work and getting into the lane, but if Duke goes deep into the tournament, he may decide he’s ready to jump ship with the rest of Duke’s early entrees.

Marcus Georges-Hunt, Georgia Tech – The best player on a bad team should get plenty of opportunities to show his talent.

Marcus Paige, North Carolina - Why not? He’s probably the Tar Heels third best option and there might be pressure to leave early, since the better future point guard is freshman, Natt Britt.

James Robinson, Pittsburgh - Potential to be one of the best point guards in the ACC.

Tyler Ennis, Syracuse - The freshman has a legit shot to be the starting point guard on a top-25 team. It’s called exposure.

 

 

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