Final predictions on the 2014 NBA Draft

A month ago I evaluated the prospects of draft hopefuls Shabazz Napier, Deandre Daniels and Niels Giffey. Here is a look back at those projections and where I ultimately believe they will be selected:

Draft Projections: Shabazz Napier

According to scouts present at the combine, Napier’s performance solidified a first round selection. Here are some possible destinations that stand out:

  • 17th pick, Boston Celtics: Hometown kid on the hometown team is always an inspiring story line.
  • 26th pick, Miami Heat: LeBron tweeted: “No way u take another PG in the lottery before Napier.” Starting point guard Mario Chalmers is set to become an unrestricted free agent this summer, if Napier were still available you know who LeBron wants…
  • 28th pick, Los Angeles Clippers: Current backup Darren Collison has a player option for next season. Like Collison, Napier is a pesky defender who would benefit under the tutelage of Chris Paul while he develops.

Update: The Miami Heat are my favorite to select Shabazz Napier. There has been much publicity regarding LeBron James support of Napier and the Heat will do anything they can to please their superstar forward. Look for the Heat to move up in the draft as it is unlikely Napier will fall to the 26th pick. 

Draft Projections: Deandre Daniels

Deandre Daniels has the talent to be a late first round draft pick. On the other hand, scouts see him as a second round selection due to his pencil-thin frame and lack of strength. In a draft full of talented small forwards, Daniels’ performance in workouts will ultimately seal his fate. In my opinion, Deandre is one of the most underrated players in the draft and could make an impact for a contender after a season in the D-League. Here are some possible destinations:

  • 25th pick, Houston Rockets: The Rockets have the flexibility to allow Daniels a season in the D-League to bulk up on a NBA strength training regimen.
  • 35th pick, Utah Jazz: Young at every position the Jazz can go after the best player available which at this point in the draft, could be Daniels.
  • 43rd pick, Atlanta Hawks: The Hawks need a perimeter scorer, if they don’t fill this need in the first round look for them to fill it here.

Update: Daniels is an intriguing prospect as his NBA career is based mostly off potential. He is largely considered one of the biggest steals in the draft however was left off Chad Ford’s latest mock draft. Daniels could go as early as late first round or possibly slide out of the draft. With Josh Smith’s future up in the air, look for the Pistons to take a chance on Daniels with the 38th pick. 

Draft Projections: Niels Giffey

Analysts have Giffey anywhere from late second round to undrafted. As an underexposed role player, workouts will only help Giffey get his name out there. Scouts at the Portsmouth Invitational came away impressed and there is no reason to believe that trend will not continue. Here are some second round opportunities for Giffey:

  • 32nd, 39th, 47th, 52nd or 54th, Philadelphia 76ers: With five second round picks to go along with two lottery picks, the 76ers can address immediate needs and plan for the future.
  • 58th or 60th, San Antonio Spurs: Giffey is the epitome of a role player on a team of role players.  
  • New York Knicks: With no draft picks and change on the horizon, the Knicks could look to make moves. 

Update: I am torn here between the San Antonio Spurs and New York Knicks. In a blockbuster move yesterday, the Knicks acquired the 34th and 51st picks, among others, from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Tyson Chandler. The Knicks have been known to take chances on European players in the past, however Giffey fits perfectly into San Antonio’s organizational philosophy. Still, look for the Knicks to take their chances on Giffey with the 51st pick.

  

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STAAR Graduation: Josh Privee

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Josh and I at Graduation

I want to congratulate my man Josh Privee on his graduation from the STAAR program (Students Transitioning to Age Appropriate Routes) this evening. I have known Josh since our days at E.O. Smith High School where he dominated the Unified Basketball court. Unfortunately, graduation ends an illustrious career that included a game winning shot (more below) and knockout win over professional basketball player- and 7 footer- Ryan Olander. I caught up with Josh back in March where we discussed playing style, favorite players and more: Note: While Josh alluded to his strong sense of humor, he wanted to keep the interview serious in nature.

Is basketball your favorite sport or are you just best at it?

Favorite

What is your favorite Unified Sports memory?

We played East Hartford in the last home game of last year. I swished a last minute buzzer beater for the win!

I heard you are an All Star floor hockey goalie, would you rather make the game winning save in a shoot out or hit a game winning three pointer?

Definitely make the game winning save in a shoot out.

Who is your favorite professional/college player?

My favorite professional player is no doubt #6 on the Miami Heat, Lebron James and my favorite college player is of course my man Tyler Olander of the UConn Huskies.

Imagine you dunked on Tyler Olander, how would you celebrate?

I would get right up in his face and say, “yo you got dunked on by a guy whose 5’9”.

What NBA player do you most closely resemble?

Lebron James. We both can knock down step back jumpers or drive to the hoop. We are also both tremendous shot blockers and can steal the ball from right in front of you.

Who is your favorite E.O. teacher to play against?

Mr. DeLoreto because he is fun to play with and always encourages me.

Who wins a three point shooting contest between you and Shaun Davis?

Shaun because he has a better three point shot. My game is more drive and mid-range.

How would you guard Josh Privee?

Get right up on me and don’t let me blow by you. Whatever you do, don’t let me get to the rim.

How far do you have UConn advancing in the NCAA Tournament?

Men: Elite Eight Women: National Champions

What are your plans after graduation?

I run track and field for the Special Olympics so I am going to stick with that and hopefully move into better compeition. I also hope to get a job.

Congratulations again to Josh on his graduation and I will see you at the MCC next week!

Roscoe Smith: NBA Draft Update

Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

Roscoe “Scoe” Smith made the decision back in April to forgo his senior season at UNLV and enter the 2014 NBA Draft. Smith comes off a season in which he led the Mountain West in rebounding, averaging 10.9 to go along with 11.1 points per game. Considered one of the best players not invited to the NBA draft combine by NBA insider Chad Ford, Smith enters the draft without a defined position which could hurt his stock. Undersized as a power forward and too streaky a shooter to play the wing (at least presently), Smith will need to impress in workouts. In an interview with the Utah Jazz, Smith alluded to himself as a “power 3” in the NBA, similar to Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs (full interview below). However, according to Alex Oriakhi’s Snap Chat, Phoenix had Smith working in the post as a stretch 4. 

Scoe

Measurements

Here is Smith as he compares to rival wings Deandre Daniels, Glenn Robinson III and Andrew Wiggins as well as Kawhi Leonard’s numbers from the 2011 NBA combine.   

Player Height (shoes) Wingspan Standing Reach Max Vertical
Smith 6-8 1/2 7-1 1/2 8-10 1/2 36
Daniels 6-8 1/2 7-2 8-10 1/2 32
Robinson III 6-6 3/4 6-10 8-4 1/2 41.5
Wiggins 6-8 3/4 7-0 8-11 44
Leonard 6-7 7-3 8-10 32

 Workouts

Here is a list of Smith’s workouts, as well as other notable players invited. 

Utah Jazz, June 2nd: Roscoe Smith, James Bell (Villanova), LaQuinton Ross (Ohio State)

Chicago Bulls, June 3rd: Roscoe Smith

Phoenix Suns, June 5th: Roscoe Smith, Melvin Ejim (Iowa State), TJ Warren (NC State) 

Draft Projections

After a hot start to the season, Smith does not appear on any of the major mock draft boards. NBA Insider Chad Ford lists Smith as the 73rd best overall player in the draft and 18th best small forward. While Smith possesses the size and athleticism for an NBA small forward, his defense, shooting and ball handling are inconsistent at best after a 2013-14 season spent in the post. On the other hand, while Smith has the energy and length to rebound the basketball, his size and strength are questionable for a NBA power forward. Look for Smith to start next year in the NBA D-League or overseas.  

 

Giffey works out for Knicks, Pistons

According to German agency Assistency, Niels Giffey had workouts with the New York Knicks (May 29) and Detroit Pistons (May 31). More to come as available.