Most fans of the NBA know that this 2014 draft class is considered to be one of the most talented classes in recent memory. However, in spite of this assessment, not many players may be able to perform up to this standard. Many members of the 2014 draft class have abundant potential, but some could struggle as rookies.
1. Andrew Wiggins: Cleveland Cavaliers
Wiggins has long been considered the best athlete in this draft class. He is among the most athletic and explosive prospects and has excited fans and franchises alike. The Cavs made a smart move by choosing a young small forward to complement their young core of Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Tristan Thompson. Wiggins is still a very raw player and needs to work on polishing his shooting, but should display remarkable improvement and be an All-Star by his third season. This season, he will likely be on the All-NBA Rookie First Team.
2. Jabari Parker: Milwaukee Bucks
Jabari Parker should have an immediate impact on the Bucks as both a scorer and a rebounder. Nevertheless, Milwaukee as a whole still has some work to do in order to become a playoff team. He is the most NBA ready player in this draft class. Parker has a huge offensive arsenal and can score from anywhere — in the post, in transition, midrange and from behind the arc. He will struggle on defense the same way he did in college, but that will not stop him from being the Rookie of the Year. Once his defense improves, we could be seeing him as a consistent All-Star in a couple years.
3. Joel Embiid: Philadelphia 76ers
Embiid may have to sit out this entire upcoming season with his foot injury. Even if he doesn’t, it is unlikely that he will make an immediate impact. The 76ers are in full tanking mode at the moment, but there is no doubt that with a few more years of experience, the Sixers will become a legitimate title contender. Their whole team is still incredibly young, but their core for the future will likely be Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and Embiid. If he stays healthy, Embiid will become an All-Star in just a few seasons.
4. Aaron Gordon: Orlando Magic
Aaron Gordon was the biggest surprise of the top five this year. He may be one of the most athletic players from the draft, but he lacks a strong offensive arsenal. He is a very limited scorer and will have problems putting up points during his rookie year. However, he is an attractive prospect because of his defense and his intangibles. He may turn out to be the perfect glue guy for the Magic, or any other team that he plays for. Gordon will make the All-NBA Rookie Second Team this year, but will work his way up toward the other elite prospects from the 2014 draft class.
5. Dante Exum: Utah Jazz
At 6’6, Dante Exum is no ordinary point guard. He has the length, strength and speed that gives him a clear advantage over his fellow guards, allowing him to break down an opposing defense and get to the basket. However, his inconsistent shooting will hold him back this season and cause him to struggle in the NBA. Opponents will recognize this weakness and force tough shots out of Exum. In addition, Exum must bulk up if he wants to get to the basket with ease. Although Exum will likely struggle in his rookie season, he has potential as a future All-Star. Exum and Trey Burke will be an intimidating backcourt in a few years once both player gain more experience. Exum should make the All-NBA Rookie Second Team.
Contact Ethan Teo at ethanteo99 ‘at’ gmail.com.