Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Shabazz Napier, DeAndre Daniels await their NBA Draft fates

Remember last year, when everyone was saying the 2014 NBA Draft was going to be really strong?

Turns out, that wasn't the case. In fact, if memory serves me correct, every draft in recent years that was supposed to be strong hasn't really turned out to be. And isn't that really to be expected these days?

Essentially, every draft is going to be filled with one-and-done guys, many of whom are talented but still question marks, and college juniors or seniors, who are often labeled as not having been good enough to go pro earlier. Sure, every now and then there's a Carmelo Anthony or Kevin Durant or Blake Griffin who is obviously going to be a star after a year or two of college. But these days, its seems, the NBA Draft -- almost by definition -- is filled with question marks.

That could help or hurt Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels. Napier's draft stock has certainly been rising lately, what with a second national title and several impressive NBA workouts under his belt. The mock drafts seem to have him in the No. 20-25 range. An NBA scout I talked to pegs him anywhere from No. 18-30 (which, of course, still means a first-round pick).

Although Napier isn't likely to be a lottery pick, he has enough star power to have been invited to do a media availability along with 19 other big names (Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart, etc.) at The Westin New York at Times Square, and he'll be in the "Green Room" for Thursday night's draft, as well.

DeAndre Daniels may be hurt by the weaker nature of this year's draft, however. Most feel he'll probably go somewhere in the middle of the second. Maybe a little higher, but not in the first round, it would appear.

Of course, as Kevin Ollie points out, it only takes one NBA GM to like you enough to pick you in the first round. But as another NBA scout told me, teams with late first-round picks this year are more likely to go with foreign players than with U.S.-born kids they're not exactly enamored with. At least they can stash the European kids overseas for a couple of years and hope they improve, rather than take a risk on a college kid who'd get guaranteed money.

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