While it’s difficult for me to find the time to write extensive scouting reports on all of the 2014 NBA Draft prospects, I wanted to at least do some quick-hitters with some of my thoughts on why I have players ranked where I do and how I see them potentially projecting to the NBA level. Here are the players that I currently have ranked in my top 8:
1. Joel Embiid (Kansas) 7′0″, 240 lbs, 7′5″ wingspan, C, Freshman (19 years old on draft day)
Obviously the medical reports on his back will be a huge factor, but if all checks out, then I think Embiid is the top prospect in the draft, and probably by a wide margin.
It is very rare to find a center in the NBA who can impact the game in all of the ways that Embiid potentially can – he has the size, length, athleticism and instincts to anchor an NBA defensive as a rim protector, while also having the lateral quickness to step out and effectively defend against pick-&-rolls.
On the offensive end, he’s already shown promise as a back to the basket scorer, and as a finisher diving to the rim on pick & rolls. He has good instincts and footwork offensively to go along with a soft touch and a developing mid-range jumper. As he continues to add polish to his post-up and face-up game, he’ll need to develop as a passer to find open teammates when he gets doubled, but he looks to have a very good feel for the game, particularly for somebody so early in their development curve, being that he hasn’t been playing the game for very long at all. He was also a very good rebounder on both ends during his season at Kansas, which should translate well to the NBA level.
The medical results on his back could understandably make Cleveland nervous, as it can’t afford to waste the #1 pick on somebody with a chronic back injury, but barring any major red flags there, then I think Embiid is the biggest franchise-changer in this draft and should be selected with the top overall pick.