Players Return to School Impact the First-Round Landscape
With just a few days until the deadline to enter the NBA Draft, let's take a look at how the players returning to school will impact the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft. There already is lots of speculation and confusion about who will be drafted first overall. Will it be Andrew Wiggins or Joel Embiid from Kansas, will it be Jabari Parker of Duke, or another shocker like last year when the Cavs selected Anthony Bennett. Other questions include, who will be the first Power Forward taken, or will Julius Randle fall out of the top 5 picks?
Some players who chose to return to college and have changed who may sneak into the first round. Players such as Ron Baker (Wichita State), Montrezl Harrell (Louisville), Willey Cauley-Stein (Kentucky), Dakari Johnson (Kentucky), and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (Arizona) have decided to return to school to hone their skills. Some of these players had potential to be taken as high the lottery, while the rest were potential first round selections. These players have paved the wave for others to be a first round draft choice.
Shabazz Napier helped his draft stock as much as any player, with his magical run in the NCAA Tournament on his ride to win the National Championship. With the aforementioned players returning to school, Napier is now almost a lock to be drafted in the first round. While Napier has improved his stock, he still is undersized (6'0", 170lbs) and lacks athletic ability. Napier is streaky and plays selfishly at times. Another player who may now sneak into the first-round is Jarnell Stokes, the undersized forward from Tennessee. Stokes is a excellent rebounder with some great low post moves , but being undersized, a bit overweight and playing below the rim will hurt his stock. Now that players with more upside are returning to school, Stokes may sneak into the late first-round. While it was thought that Michigan Sophomore Glenn Robinson III was making a mistake and entering the 2014 NBA Draft, now Robinson may ride his athleticism, length and pedigree into the first round. Robinson looks like an NBA player at times, when his jumper is falling. Robinson will have to improve his jump-shot and play with an increased motor to justify teams picking him at the back end of round 1.