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Rookie Watch 2014-2015
Quick Hits: Top 5 Rookies 2014-2015
Why he will be successful:
Next to Andrew Wiggins, Aaron Gordon could arguably be the most athletic player in the 2014 draft class. He has a 7’ wingspan, a 39” vertical, and an absolutely endless motor. All 3 of these traits are highlighted on the defensive end of the floor, where he will be a real difference maker right away. He is quick enough to guard most shooting guards but strong enough to guard most power forwards and everything in-between. His shooting numbers were not impressive at Arizona—especially from the line— but he is a better shooter than he gets credit for. Don’t be surprised when Gordon is in the conversation for ROTY.
4. Joell Embiid
Pick: No. 3 by Philadelphia
Why he will be successful: We haven’t seen this kind of combination of size and athleticism since Hakeem Olajuwon. Embiid just flat out gets it on the defensive side of the ball. He can block shots, alter shots, and get rebounds. Offensively, he is still a project but with his impact on the other end, he will make an impact immediately. Injuries will decide if he is Greg Oden or Hakeem Olajuwon.
3. Andrew Wiggins
Pick: No. 1 by Cleveland
Why he will be successful: Being traded to Minnesota might be the best thing that ever happened to Andrew Wiggins. A 44” vertical and unbelievable body frame makes Wiggins an absolute freak athlete. While his offensive game is still a work in progress (inconsistent shot, questionable decision-making), he can make an immediate impact in transition situations and also on the defensive side of the ball. Being in Minnesota with a good point guard in Rubio that can create opportunities will give Wiggins the opportunity to score a ton of easy buckets.
2. Jabari Parker
Pick: No. 2 by Milwaukee
Why he will be successful: Might be the most offensively gifted player in the 2014 draft. He can create his own shot, hit open shots, and finish at the rim. Scouts have doubts in his effort on the defensive side of the ball but with his offensive output, it will be hard to keep him off the floor. Look for him to lead all Rookies in PPG.
1. Julius Randle
Pick: No. 7 by Los Angeles
Why he will be successful: 6 teams are going to be kicking themselves for not taking this lefty bruiser. Number 7 for this kind of talent is a steal for a Lakers team that is in serious need of help at the power forward position. Randle averaged 15.0 PPG and 10.4 RPG on a stacked Kentucky team that had no spacing in their offense. With his size and offensive skill set in NBA spacing Randle will do some serious damage. He can play face-up or with his back to the basket and his post moves are surprisingly refined for his age. His ability to pound the offensive glass will give him endless opportunities, especially at the free thrown line. Look for Randle to be a stud starting immediately. Especially in the big market of Los Angeles, Randle will get the media attention to establish himself as the front runner for ROTY.