The NBA draft is approaching ladies and gentlemen. While last year’s draft could be described as shallow, Thursday night will offer no such adjective. Last year was a kiddie pool and Thursday will have you no deeper than 6ft but still a lot to talk about. The Cleveland Cavaliers have landed another first round pick (no conspiracy there) so to ensure they don’t blow it again I will make it separate the best prospects from those on bust alert. Cleveland, Philly, and ATLANTA please pay attention.
Andrew Wiggins will be a force to reckon with down the line. He is very raw offensively but might just have the highest ceilings in the draft. Nasty quickness and power in the open floor as well as the defensive ability to guard multiple positions on the perimeter highlight how effective he can be at the next level. The only question is his jump shot and leadership. A young man with his ability will be sought out to galvanize the troops the way a coach on the pine can’t. I did not see this often enough from Wiggins at Kansas as he had more than enough opportunities while Joel Embiid struggled with his back, foot, ankle, hip, and whatever kept him out of so many games and is still tormenting him. A jumper can be improved with time and coaching, but can this? I know what you’re saying. “Didn’t you see him drop 41!” Yes I did and I ask why he was not that aggressive every single night. The mismatch was usually in his favor. He must do a better job of recognizing that to make his teammates better. Honestly I am just nitpicking this guy’s game because the sky’s the limit for Wiggins and if he falls outside the first three picks then the Cavs, Philly, and the Bucks need to give away their franchises to the first guy they see on the street.
Dante Exum is an absolute conundrum for me. He has excellent measurables at 6’6” with a 6’9” wingspan and can draw mismatches at both positions because of his size but there is much he has to prove playing only 23 games of international competition since 2012. I haven’t personally watched his games but I know he has been blowing by much duller competition and with no collegiate experience he will most likely hit the NBA stage at 19. Exum may look fast against the flat footed defenders across the sea but is he ready for a different breed of athleticism and speed? That has yet to be seen. The young man will certainly need to add more muscle to his frame as he grows into the league. The pressure put on him defensively will rise as well as many guards, big or small, will be licking their chops when they see this kid in front of him. All the new hype surrounding him won’t help alleviate any pressure as the team that drafts him may expect immediate results. The talent that surrounds him is fascinating and will intrigue a franchise to take him high but I can smell a bust even when he is all the way in the Outback. I Just don’t trust him against higher level of competition. A rude awakening will await Exum in the NBA. On the other hand I could just be selling him short just so the Hawks can get a chance at him. *Fingers Crossed* – AK