The Board: NBA Prospects v1

With the NBA early-entry deadline now behind us, the focus turns from trying to predict which NBA prospects would make the leap, to trying to decipher which of those that chose to will have the largest impact at the next level.

Much has been said about the 2014 draft class, and for many reasons, its absolutely warranted.  Any of the top three prospects have a legitimate claim to be selected first overall, and all three would likely be the first or second prospect chosen in any draft of recent memory.

Fair warning, Joel Embiid is my favorite prospect in this class, and if he can prove his back issues are not chronic, and can get himself back to full strength for workouts, his name will return to the top of this list.

Now keep in mind, my board is not designed to predict where these prospects will end up being drafted, they are ranked solely based on my expectations for their impact at the next level.  This list will undoubtedly fluctuate countless times between now and June 26th, with workout results, measurables, etc. impacting my view of each individual player.

As we approach the draft, I’ll add notes to a select few prospects highlighting why I have them slotted where I do, and eventually, this board will include 60 players, enough to fulfill a complete NBA draft.  Additionally, I will eventually provide links to DraftExpress scouting videos for each player, allowing the reader to review the film for themselves and make their own determinations should they choose.

With the release of v1, here are the prospects I currently place a first-round grade on.  Enjoy!

  1. Jabari Parker
  2. Joel Embiid
  3. Andrew Wiggins
  4. Julius Randle
  5. Noah Vonleh
  6. Dante Exum
  7. Aaron Gordon
  8. Marcus Smart
  9. Gary Harris
  10. Nik Stauskas
  11. Tyler Ennis
  12. Adreian Payne
  13. Doug McDermott
  14. James Young
  15. Dario Saric
  16. Kyle Anderson
  17. Rodney Hood
  18. Clint Capela
  19. Jerami Grant
  20. Semaj Christon
  21. Shabazz Napier
  22. TJ Warren
  23. KJ McDaniels
  24. Spencer Dinwiddie
  25. PJ Hairston
  26. Russ Smith
  27. Zach Lavine
  28. Cleanthony Early
  29. Nick Johnson
  30. Jordan Adams






Dinwiddie Chooses to Live His Dream

Most draft analysts and national beat writers around the country expected Spencer Dinwiddie to return for his senior season amid his recovery from ACL surgery in January.  Considered a borderline first round prospect, the consensus remained that he should return to school, lead this program to its finest hour, graduate, and earn his first-round selection next year.

Around the program, however, the writing was on the wall.  You see, what these national guys don’t know, is that Spencer Dinwiddie is well, Spencer Dinwiddie.

Prior to the injury, he would have ended up with a chance to be selected in the lottery, and his plan was simple. That plan, the same one discussed above, that was supposed to be this year.  The Sweet 16 run, the Pac-12 Player of the Year award, the best Colorado Buffaloes team of all time, each of these things was not only attainable, but notably reasonable.

If you know Spencer Dinwiddie, you knew what separated him from the rest.  He arrived in Boulder with a chip on his shoulder, despite being smart enough to play anywhere he wanted, with a skill set to match, he was largely ignored by the local colleges surrounding his childhood home in Southern California.  He used that fact as fuel, and he never forgot.

He quickly transformed his body from a slender, lanky frame into a chiseled, powerful product.  He attacked defenders with that same relentless approach, often waiting patiently for his time to pounce before obliterating opponents down the stretch.

Of course, there are a multitude of athletes in college basketball who possess talent, so what truly separates Dinwiddie?  If you’ve ever interacted with him, you know.

He’s off-the-charts smart.

Whether it’s leading a young ball club, reading a defense, getting others involved, handling personalities, the press, or social media.  There isn’t a better interview in Boulder, and if there’s one nationally, I haven’t found it.  He’s engaging with fans, and he’s not afraid to stoke the fire of a rivalry (and then back it up, and then do it again).

He possesses a confidence unmatched by the average, and why shouldn’t he?  He’s one of the best in the world at what he does, and he’s smarter than you to boot.  He truly believes there is nothing he can’t accomplish, an essential quality to become elite.

So if you truly know Spencer Dinwiddie, today came as no surprise.

Nothing will stop Spencer Dinwiddie from achieving his dream, not an injury, nor disappointment, the media, or the consensus.

Yes, he promised to bring this program to the next tier, to give Boulder a NCAA Tournament run, and neither has happened, but you can’t blame him for that.  Injuries happen, and no one was more destroyed than Spencer, who himself has said his biggest regret would be not finishing what he started here.

So be disappointed if you want, but know this, when the NBA calls, you answer.  Time and time again, the results remain the same, if you return to school, more often than not, your stock falters.

As the saying goes, “father time is undefeated”, and the NBA Draft process proves that.  Scouts hate age, pure and simple, the quicker you can earn an NBA paycheck, the better.

For those of you beating that dead horse named “First Round Guaranteed Contract”…I have two rebuttals for you:

1.  Even if he doesn’t go in the first, do you truly believe he’s not getting guaranteed money in Round 2?  Seriously?  A team is going to take him in the second, knowing full well he’s hurt and can’t play, and NOT sign him to a contract that ensures he stays around through his recovery period?  Come on, son.

2.  Go check out any NBA mock draft you’d like, and check out the names going in the final third of the first round.  Read them carefully.  Tell me that you truly believe they are better than Spencer Dinwiddie, I dare you.

People forget that this isn’t the NFL.  Players in the late first aren’t expected to come in and make instant impact, and more often than not, make no impact at all.  So tell me, if you’re an NBA GM and you’re sitting at #28, are you taking a guy who healthy has lottery potential, or a guy who’s, at best, a bench project?

Yeah, I thought so.

So when June 26th hits, and Spencer Dinwiddie’s name comes across that loud speaker, don’t be surprised, I know he won’t be.

So here’s to Spencer, one of the greatest Buffs of all-time, in every way possible.  The agony of his departure will never exceed the joy he brought to myself and thousands of other Colorado basketball fans.  Thank you for everything that you are, for representing this program, and for making all of us proud.

If you can’t support that, then you really need to look in the mirror.