Following up on the group from 31 to 45 from earlier today, here is my Draft Board from 21 to 30. Not that it is terribly consequential, but I like penning these every year.
30. Jerami Grant (Syracuse, SF) – He possesses great length and athleticism for an NBA wing, but has limited offensive skills and will need to transition from Syracuse’s zone on defense.
29. James Young (Kentucky, SG) -It is hard to project 18-year olds who weren’t overly productive in college. Nothing particularly stands out about him, and with limited athleticism at the two-guard, I am putting him here.
28. Adreian Payne (Michigan State, PF) – I am not as high on Payne as many. I want to be, as I know the value of big men shooters . He is relatively old for a collegiate player though, turning 24 by next season’s All-Star break. He was not a particularly great rebounder or shot blocker at Michigan State, never having been praised for defense. Combine that with a lung issue that may impact him playing starter’s minutes and I have him towards the end of the first round.
27. Khem Birch (UNLV, PF) – A great offensive rebounder (41st in NCAA for o-rebound rate) and shot blocker (33rd in NCAA for block rate), according to statsheet, UNLV was +254 when Birch played and -54 when he sat. He also made 69% of his free throws, getting to the line nearly six times per game due to hustle and scrappiness around the rim.
26. Jarnell Stokes (Tennessee, PF) – He ranked 8th in the NCAA for rebounds per game last year and tallied a 117 offensive rating on usage of 26. He improved significantly every year at Tennessee, and not turning 21 until January 2015, he is a very young junior. He converted 70% of his 230 free throws this year; if that translates to a decent jumper in the future, that will be a big bonus.
25. P.J. Hairston (D-League, SG)
24. Mitch McGary (Michigan, C) – He has a great motor, with fabulous rebounding and steal rates for a center; his steals per possession ranks best of every center in the DX database for 2014 (this would also be true of his 2.2 steals per pace-adjusted 40 minutes from 2012 – 2013). Combine that with solid pick & roll defense and “pride in setting picks” (per draftexpress), and McGary brings a lot of uncounted skills to the table.
23. K.J. McDaniels (Clemson, SF)
22. Nikola Jokic (Serbian, C) – He is 6’ – 11” in shoes with a 7’ – 3” wingspan, just turning 19 in February. He possesses a refined post game and nice passing ability (1.3 to 1 assist to turnover), and also hoists threes. In the Serbian League, he made 7 of 22. Add it all up, and his Adriatic League PER was 21, nearly on par with lottery darling Dario Saric, who is one year older.
21. Shabazz Napier – (Connecticut, PG) - It sounds as if Miami is hot on Shabazz. Much of his offense in college came via isolation or the pick & roll, where his stellar shooting off the bounce can be a weapon in the NBA also. At a minimum, he appears able to fill a role as tolerable bench offense.
Tomorrow, this will get wrapped up, with my top 20, but more importantly the main event, the 2014 NBA Draft.