The NBA season is starting to wind down and for teams like the Los Angeles Lakers that have no shot at making the post season, they’ll get an early start on looking towards next season. The first order of business for teams not qualifying for the playoffs is establishing the draft order which will be determined on May 20th with the draft lottery. The complete list of players making themselves available for the 2014 NBA draft will become final once the clock strikes 5pm Eastern time on June 16th, the deadline for those that filed for early entry into the draft to withdraw their name from the pool.
It has been said many times by those that cover college basketball that this is one of the deepest drafts of talent since the 2003 NBA draft which yielded players such as Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh and Carmelo Anthony. With the number of prospects coming out in this year’s draft and that the Lakers are one of those teams in the fold to acquire one of these transcendent talents as a result of their very disappointing season, we at Raining3s.com will provide coverage of everything leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft, starting with evaluations of the young prospects.
The first evaluation is Kansas’ big man, Joel Embiid.
Joel Embiid (19 Years Old, Freshman Center, The University of Kansas via Cameroon, Africa)
Stands 7’0 with a massive 7’5 wingspan, weighing in at 255 pounds. Soft hands allow for fast and even poor entry-passes in the post. Most importantly, Embiid is deceptively quick for a center, able to sprint up and down the court in pace with transition offense and defense.
Above average body control, balance, and fluidity in his motion. Highly mobile. Excels at catching high lobs and pulling down long rebounds.
Low post play ability:
Displays highly advanced footwork like the Olajuwon patented “Dream Shake” and has a lightning-quick first spin from either foot. It should be noted that Embiid played soccer competitively for years.
Outside shooting ability:
Consistent form on jumpers, has demonstrated the ability to hit spot-up and turn-around 15 footers and the occasional three-pointer. Most of his work in the NBA will be done from 10 feet and closer to the rim.
Low post position defense:
Excellent at pushing his man off the block without fouling, though he will need to bulk up his frame to compete with NBA centers.
Rim protection ability:
Exceptional shot-blocker, with instinct honed from years of playing volleyball. Timing still needs work to mitigate the amount of fouls.
Has said on multiple occasions that it is the strongest facet of his game. Quite good at outlets after a miss to start transition breaks.
Basketball IQ and intangibles:
Transcendent. That’s not hyperbole. Embiid has been playing basketball for less than 3 years and is already the most fundamentally sound big man in all of college basketball.
Projected draft position:
1 (It should be noted that Embiid has been considering staying another year at Kansas, but recent back and knee injuries complicate the issue).
Comparable NBA player:
Robert Parish, Hakeem Olajuwon.
– Draft evaluation written by Evan Mielke