The 2014 NBA Draft was one of the most widely discussed in some time. There were several big-time prospects that could develop into NBA All-Stars drafted last week. The draft was headlined by former Kansas Jayhawks’ swingman Andrew Wiggins, who was picked first-overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers and former Duke Blue Devils’ forward Jabari Parker, who was picked second-overall by the Milwaukee Bucks.
ESPN.com’s Chad Ford believes 2015 is the year to get a big man.
In fact, a center, Chicago native Jahlil Okafor, tops Ford’s big board.
As we learned with Joel Embiid, size eventually outweighs just about everything else come draft time. At 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and 9-foot-3 standing reach, Okafor is absolutely massive. And he has enormous hands and quick feet for a player his size to boot. As a true low-post player with a fairly sophisticated low-post game for his age, Okafor will no doubt intrigue whatever team ends up picking first. But despite his size, Okafor lacks elite athleticism and typically plays below the rim. If he were a better athlete, and if he were in better shape, he’d be a lock for the No. 1 pick. As it stands, he’ll likely be the focal point of Duke’s offense this season, which should give him plenty of chances to outshine any concerns about his game. If the team drafting No. 1 is in need a center, Okafor is a lock for the job.
Okafor will be playing for the Duke Blue Devils next season.
Next on the list is Emmanuel Mudiay. The top guard on the board shocked many this week when it was announced he would playing overseas rather than with Larry Brown’s SMU Mustangs next season. Playing overseas isn’t completely unheard of (Detroit Pistons’ point guard Brandon Jennings did it) and Ford does not believe NBA executives will be bothered by the move.