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Top 3 Rookie’s Who You Don’t Think Will Put up Numbers—But WILL!
- Updated: October 22, 2014
Every year there are about 3 guys that you think to yourself “Who is this guy?” “How was he not drafted higher?!” Sometimes it is a guy taken in the second round that just outworks his competition to earn a spot and the stars align. Sometimes it is someone who was not drafted but has a true specialty and walks into the right situation. This year, look for 3 guys who were all taken in the mid to late first round to make 31 other teams kick themselves for not taking the chance on them. They are:
- Bruno Caboclo
- Doug McDermott
- Rodney Hood
Pick: Round 1, pick 20 by Toronto
College: N/A (Brazil)
Why he is a potential sleeper:
This may be a very bold prediction, but so was taking him in the first round according to a lot of people. When Adam Silver announced that the Toronto Raptors had taken Bruno Caboclo from Brazil all you heard was crickets. Almost everyone took a look at their papers to find his name, and a lot of people didn’t even have a paper with his name on it! After watching video on this guy, you can tell he will be special. International scouts think they found the next big thing. Bruno is still very raw and has a thin, wirey frame but in his 2014 FIBA Americas game, he showed flashes of greatness. He can shoot the ball out to the 3-point line (4-4 in the FIBA Americas game), but also runs the floor very well and finishes above the rim. He will definitely need to work on his strength right away so he can last in the physical NBA, but he makes up for his lack of strength through his reach. He is extremely athletic so he finds ways to get rebounds even if he gets out positioned. He is only 19 years old but Bruno Caboclo has the potential to be a superstar.
Pick: Round 1, pick 11 by Chicago
Why he is a potential sleeper:
Doug McDermott could not have been drafted into a better situation. Chicago was in desperate need of a shooter who can contribute right away, and that is exactly what they got. He is extremely mature and has a very high basketball IQ. He will be a knock down shooter in the NBA but also uses his body very well to get favorable position in the post and showcase his knack for getting to the rim. While he may not be the most athletic player in the 2014 draft class, he is more athletic than he gets credit for. In fact, many scouts actually dispelled the rumor that he was not athletic strictly off of his effort on the defense end. Bottom line, Doug McDermott knows how to play the game the right way and it will be next to impossible to keep him off the floor.
Pick: Round 1, pick 23 by Utah
Why he is a potential sleeper
Utah was another team who was in need of a shooter, and Hood walked into a good situation. His summer league numbers make one think that his shooting is too streaky to make an impact (1-10 the first day, 7-10 the second) but if you watch film and talk to scouts they all agree that Hood is primed to make his fair share from beyond the arc. He has good size for a true 2 guard and his quick first step to get to the rim makes him a very tough matchup if his 3-ball is dropping. Another thing Hood has going for him is the Duke connection with new Head Coach Quinn Snyder. Hood knows what Snyder is looking for on the defensive end, which will translate to a lot of playing time for the rookie. Don’t be surprised when Hood has a Wes Matthews-esque season as a rookie.
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.