I've never read one of espn's player analysis, but I'm just wondering if someone with insider could post the following players' analysis:
May 14 Update: Kentucky's Nerlens Noel has been atop our Big Board all year, and he might be the odds-on favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft.
However, he's not the best amateur basketball player in the world.
That honor goes to Canadian Andrew Wiggins, who announced Tuesday he will play college ball at Kansas this fall.
I spent Monday talking to a number of NBA general managers and scouts about Wiggins' NBA potential. Here's the lowdown:
Q: Would Wiggins really be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft?
Every GM and scout in the league with whom I've spoken believes Wiggins would be the No. 1 pick in the 2013 NBA draft if he were eligible. Every one.
"Noel is a really good NBA prospect," said one GM whose team will be in the draft lottery. "He's just not a franchise-changing player. Wiggins is one of the three or four best prospects in the last decade. He has the ability to completely turn around a franchise. All 30 teams would take him with the No. 1 pick if they could."
Q: Well, sure, he'd be No. 1 in this draft. The 2013 NBA draft is one of the weakest in memory, right?
"No," the same GM said. "In every draft since 2007. [Greg] Oden would've went ahead of him. If Kevin Durant couldn't beat him out, no one could. But Derrick Rose, Blake Griffin, John Wall, Kyrie Irving, Anthony Davis? Wiggins goes ahead of all of them. I'm not saying he'll be better than all of them. I'm just saying knowing what we know about them when they were in the draft and knowing what we know about Wiggins, he'd beat out all of those guys."
Q: Is any player really worth that much hype? What makes Wiggins so special?
Our own Myron Medcalf did a nice job Monday of breaking down why Wiggins is worth the wait.
"[Wiggins is] a lethal combination of crazy athleticism and skill," one NBA scout said. "There just aren't a lot of holes in his game right now. Whenever he's on the court, even the untrained eye can pick him out immediately and say, 'That guy is special.' Maybe not LeBron James special. But close to that."
Q: Typically, NBA teams salivate over centers and point guards. Isn't Wiggins a wing?
True, but have you seen the state of NBA wings lately?
Said another NBA GM: "There are so few extraordinary wings in the NBA right now. Kobe [Bryant] is getting old. Dwyane Wade is getting old. You've got LeBron James. You got James Harden. Paul George is starting to work his way up there. Who else is really elite? This kid can be in that group. He's that good -- LeBron, Kobe, D-Wade good -- and so many teams need someone like him."
Q: Can you give me a good NBA comp for Wiggins? Who does his game most resemble?
Scouts hate this question. So do I, but I think I have a good idea. While we hear a lot of Kobe and LeBron comparisons, I don't think either is right. He doesn't have the body and floor vision of LeBron. And while Wiggins' skill set is similar to Kobe's, he doesn't have Kobe's killer instinct.
I've been saying this all year, but to me Wiggins is the next Tracy McGrady -- a huge 6-foot-8 2-guard who can do everything and do it almost effortlessly. Size, length, elite athleticism, scoring inside and out, ballhandling -- Wiggins has all of that. And like McGrady, he can occasionally coast through games.
Q: Will Wiggins be the No. 1 pick in 2014?
He is No. 1 on my 2014 Top 100, and it should stay that way.
Wiggins' decision to play at Kansas should help him in his quest to be 2014's No. 1 pick. Bill Self is a terrific coach who has had a lot of success prepping players for the NBA. With incoming freshman big man Joel Embiid and swingman Wayne Selden, along with sophomores Naadir Tharpe, Perry Ellis and Jamari Traylor, the Jayhawks should be a dangerous team. If Wiggins can lead them deep into the NCAA tournament, his status as the top pick will be secured.
The competition is stiff. The 2014 class is loaded. Julius Randle, Jabari Parker, Marcus Smart and Andrew Harrison all could give Wiggins a run for his money. But as good as they are, Wiggins is the best prospect we've seen in a number of years.
Apr 22 Update: Wiggins is so highly thought of, it hardly matters what he does in games or practices these days. He's a 6-foot-8 shooting guard with a 7-foot wingspan and is an elite athlete. He's quick with the ball, is a solid shooter and can score from anywhere on the floor. He had 17 points, 9 rebounds and 4 assists for the World Team at the Hoop Summit and moved just effortlessly up and down the floor. His 3-point shot could use some work, but the rest is terrific. He's the total package. He's the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2014 draft.
Dec 21 Update: The buzz surrounding Wiggins started during the 2012 Nike Hoop Summit when the 16-year-old was the standout among players two classes ahead of him. Since then, Wiggins has solidified his place as the consensus No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft. He dominated summer ball to the point that many NBA scouts believe he's a once-a-decade type of prospect. If he were in the 2013 NBA draft, he would be, hands down, the No. 1 pick.
What makes Wiggins so special? He's an uber athletic wing who can score from anywhere on the floor. He glides in transition, attacks the basket and finishes with flair, and can shoot the ball with deep range. He has a high basketball IQ and is super aggressive. In other words, he's almost a perfect prototype of an NBA wing. NBA guys not prone to hyperbole have compared him to a young Tracy McGrady with a better motor.
He's reportedly narrowed his choices down to Florida State, North Carolina and Kentucky. Of the three, Florida State is a bit of an odd choice. Both parents went to school there, but Leonard Hamilton's slow-down, grind-it-out offense doesn't exactly showcase NBA talent. Nevertheless, I don't think it will matter. Barring some sort of major injury, Wiggins is the clear favorite to be the No. 1 pick in 2014 and a potential franchise-changing player.
Apr 22 Update: Parker might be the most difficult player on this list to project correctly. Everyone loves his game, his basketball IQ, his unselfishness and his winning attitude. He plays a lot like a less-athletic Grant Hill. It's the less-athletic part that gives scouts pause. Parker isn't particularly explosive, but he's a sneaky athlete. In the game against the World Team, he had 22 points, 7 rebounds and 3 steals to lead Team USA. However, he will need to continue to work on his jumper. It was falling in practices the past few days, but he was just 1-for-9 from 3-point range during games at the Hoop Summit. I think he ends up going early in the 2014 draft, but if he slid to mid-lottery, it wouldn't shock me. And his skills do seem like a perfect fit for Duke.
Dec 21 Update: The hype surrounding Parker has leveled off a bit the past year. Why? Wiggins' rise explains some of the waning attention. There's also a bit of Parker fatigue among NBA scouts. Parker has been on the NBA radar since he was a freshman. At a certain point, scouts just start picking players apart. Finally, a foot injury has kept him at less than 100 percent since this summer. However, I have feeling more and more scouts will start getting back on the bandwagon after a year at Duke. Simply put, Parker's just a special basketball player. He can score from anywhere, he can handle, rebound, shoot, drive, post up. He has a pheonomenal basketball IQ. He has a great work ethic. He's a high character player. You name it. If he was an elite athlete, he'd be the No. 1 pick in the draft. As it stands, he's still likely to go in the top five in 2014.
June 24: Saric withdrew from the 2013 NBA draft but was included in a survey for our Secret NBA Draft Big Board, and it's clear that he was considered a likely lottery pick. He made the top 10, and he received ratings as high as 8 and 9. He also received a 3 from one voter, pulling his overall rating down a little. Most of our voters rated him at 7, which translates to being a mid-to-late lottery pick. (It might be hard for him to reach the same level in a more stacked 2014 draft.) Saric's draft night range was 6 to 13 before he withdrew.
June 16 Update: Croatian forward Dario Saric will withdraw his name from the 2013 NBA Draft his agent, Marc Cornstein told ESPN.com on Sunday.
Saric has signed his letter of withdrawal from the draft and Cornstein will deliver it to the NBA on Monday, the deadline for players to withdraw from the draft.
Saric was ranked at No. 11 on our Big Board and was widely regarded as a lottery pick by many NBA GMs and scouts. Saric was under serious consideration from the New Orleans Pelicans, Portland Trail Blazers, Philadelphia 76ers, Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks.
In recent weeks Donnie Nelson, GM of the Mavs, and Dell Demps, GM of the Pelicans, flew to Croatia to see Saric play.
Despite the interest, Saric was concerned that he wouldn't get playing time in the NBA or would spend all of his time in the D-League. After a rocky start to the season, Saric, just 19, became a team leader in the Croatian playoffs and led Cibona to a league title, averaging 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds a game during the playoffs. Saric believes that with another season of experience, he'll guarantee a higher spot in the draft and a bigger role with the team that drafts him, Cornstein told ESPN.com.
June 14 Update: Is Dario Saric a future All-Star?
Chad Ford: Yes. I think someone out of this group will make an All-Star team, and I wouldn't be shocked if it was Saric. He has one of the highest basketball IQs in the draft, is a hard worker on the court and possesses a unique skill set for a player who is 6-foot-10.
He's a point power forward who sees the floor as well as anyone his size, can dribble up the floor and is fantastic in the open court.
His jump shot is still a work in progress and his lack of lateral quickness hurts him defensively, but Saric's game is so advanced that he has a great chance of wowing someday.
Jay Bilas: Yes. Saric is a talented prospect, but it might be a while before he is in the NBA. I keep hearing that he hasn't decided whether he will remain in this year's draft, but he probably should stay. He's already a pro and could benefit from playing over here if his ultimate goal is the NBA.
Saric was really good in last year's Nike Hoop Summit and played great in the European Championships following Portland. He has good skills with the ball, but I haven't really seen him shoot well. Still, with his overall skill level, Saric could be an All-Star. He is just 19, and he already has high-level experience. He has a chance to be really good.
June 10 Update: Saric, as we reported last week, is leaning toward withdrawing from the draft. However, despite reports to the contrary, he hasn't officially pulled his name (he has until June 17 to do so). Why? He's still listening to teams that would be willing to draft him in the lottery and leave him in Croatia for a year. While Saric has generated significant interest in the lottery from the Pelicans, Blazers, Sixers, Thunder and Mavs, most of those teams want Saric to immediately come to the NBA. The Mavs might be the best chance to keep Saric in the draft. They have explored trading their draft pick to clear cap room for a run at Chris Paul and Dwight Howard, and could get the same cap space by drafting Saric and then sending a letter to the NBA (signed by both the Mavs and Saric) stating that he won't be joining the team this season.
June 7 Update: On Thursday I reported that Croatian forward Dario Saric, ranked No. 11 on our Big Board, is leaning toward withdrawing from the draft.
For the teams that coveted Saric, it was a blow. The Pelicans, Blazers, Sixers, Thunder and Mavericks all have been giving Saric serious consideration.
Mavs GM Donnie Nelson and Pelicans GM Dell Demps had made recent trips to Croatia to see Saric play and meet with him.
"He's one of the few players in this draft with All-Star potential," one GM told me. "He was very high on our board."
For teams that weren't particularly high on Saric, his pulling out of the draft would be a setback nonetheless, as it would reduce the pool of potential lottery picks.
"I don't think we would've taken Saric," one GM said. "But I know a lot teams were. Where we are sitting in the draft [middle of the first round], we always saw him as a guy who would go ahead of us and push someone down in the draft that we liked better. A weak draft just got a little weaker."
That'll be the case if Saric goes ahead and decides to withdraw. But it isn't over yet. Saric has until June 17 to decide. A couple of team executives told me they're considering making a personal plea to Saric. I'm not sure if it will work.
Sources say Saric is happy with his role at Cibona right now and is concerned that he won't get playing time in the NBA or will spend all of his time in the D-League. After a rocky start to the season, Saric, just 19, became a team leader in the Croatian playoffs and led Cibona to a league title, averaging 15.7 points and 9.3 rebounds a game during the playoffs. Saric believes that with another season of experience, he'll guarantee a bigger role with the team that drafts him.
It's going to take more than a promise he'll go in the lottery. He's going to want assurances that he'll get on the court next season.
May 28 Update: Saric continues to play very well in the Croatian playoffs. Unfortunately, he won't be able to come to the U.S. to do individual workouts for teams. He has national team obligations as soon as the season ends. That has forced several teams to make the pilgrimage to Croatia to check him out. The Pelicans, Blazers and Mavs appear to be the three teams most likely to grab him in the lottery.
May 15 Update: Saric was invited but will not attend the draft combine. He's still playing with his team, Cibona, in the Croatian playoffs and couldn't break free to come to Chicago. Saric continues to light it up in the playoffs. His last two games combined he's scored 35 points and grabbed 24 rebounds while shooting 14-for-18 from the field. Several NBA teams flew to Croatia after the Euroleague Final Four to work him out privately, since it's unlikely he'll come to the U.S. to do team workouts. His draft position might be locked in by the end of the week.
May 8 Update (Projected No. 13, Mavericks): The Mavs will have a tough call here between Syracuse point guard Michael Carter-Williams and Saric. The Mavs want a player with big upside, and both Carter-Williams and Saric have it. But I'm hearing the Mavs, who have historically been on the cutting edge of drafting international players, feel Saric could be a star someday -- especially if he has a year or two of mentoring from Dirk Nowitzki.
May 2 Update: Saric is the No. 1 ranked international player on our Big Board, and after spending a few weeks overseas chatting with international scouts, it's clear to me that they too believe he has the most talent of any international player in the draft (and as much potential to be a special NBA player as anyone, American or international).
May 1 Update: While Croatian forward Dario Saric doesn't have the hype of most elite domestic players, a number of NBA folk, both domestic and internationally, believe Saric is one of the top talents in this year's draft. He's the No. 1-ranked international player on our Big Board, and many believe he has the highest basketball IQ of anyone in the draft.
"He sleeps with the ball," said an international scout.
His passing ability, ballhandling and poise are unique for a player his size (6-foot-10, 223 pounds) and age (19).
Saric had his coming-out party at last year's Nike Hoop Summit, scoring 13 points, grabbing 14 rebounds and handing out five assists in 25 minutes for the World Team in a rare victory over Team USA. Saric wowed again at FIBA's U-18 European Championship in Lithuania in August, scoring 39 points and grabbing 11 rebounds for Croatia in the gold-medal game. For the tournament, he averaged 25.6 points and 10.1 rebounds.
Whether Saric can reach his potential is the key. While at times he can look brilliant, other times he struggles. He's been excellent in the recent Croatian playoffs, averaging 15.1 points on 67 percent shooting to go with 7.4 rebounds. While the Mavericks look like the most obvious choice for him in the lottery, don't count out the Pelicans or 76ers as lottery destinations. Rest of the draft blog
Apr 29 Update: Saric is regarded by many NBA GMs as possessing the highest basketball IQ of any player in the draft. He sees the floor and plays the game like a 6-foot-10 point guard. He's had extensive experience and success in places like the Nike Hoop Summit and Under-18 championships and has been getting starter minutes for his team, Cibona, in Croatia.
Saric's greatest skills are his passing and ballhandling ability, which are both elite for a player his size. He also has proven to be a terrific rebounder and can be an aggressive scorer when called up. His lack of a consistent jump shot (especially from beyond the 3-point arc), his poor free throw shooting and his lack of lateral quickness on the defensive end are his biggest drawbacks.
Apr 2 Update: Saric will declare for the 2013 NBA draft, according to sources, and a number of teams are looking at him as a potential sleeper in the draft. With so many top young players faltering this season, Saric is considered someone who might be a safer bet to draft and stash for a few years.
Mar 26 Update: Saric is in the same boat as many of the younger prospects on our Big Board. So much promise, but the consistent production just isn't there yet. While he's starting and getting great minutes for Cibona, he's been struggling with his jump shot this season. While a few teams see him as a lottery pick still, others still have him later in the first round.
Feb 27 Update: Although Saric's numbers don't scream lottery pick, he's an 18-year-old playing pro ball in the Adriatic league, and more and more GMs are returning from Europe with positive things to say about Saric. He played one of his better games of the year Sunday versus Olimpija, scoring 10 points, hitting 2 treys, grabbing 9 rebounds and dishing out 2 assists in a win for Cibona.
Feb 27 Update: 7.7 ppg5.4 rpg1.8 apgWith the trade deadline over, NBA GMs are heading over to Europe to get a look at this year's international crop. At the top of their lists is Saric. Saric isn't having a dominant season (in his last game against Split he scored just three points and was one for four from the field). However, scouts in the know claim Saric may have the best basketball IQ of any player in the draft and feel that his current team situation has more to do with his struggles than his talent. In fact, I've had a handful of GMs suggest to me in the past week that he'll end up being a top-10 pick. We'll see if they still feel that way after seeing him live, but he's a name to keep an eye on.
Jan 30 Update: Saric continues to be living mostly on reputation at the moment. In his past two games, he has scored a combined 14 points while shooting 33 percent from the field and going 0-for-5 from beyond the arc. Scouts have given him a lot of space as he adjusts to a new team and a new role, but they are starting to run out of patience.
Jan 16 Update: Saric is widely considered the most skilled young player in Europe. He's the consummate small forward scorer and is a terrific passer. His season got off to a slow start after he transferred to Cibona in the Adriatic League, but his last few games he has appeared to be getting on track. NBA scouts tend to either love him or hate him, but he has the talent to crack the lottery if he finishes the season strong.
Apr 11, 2010 Update: Saric was the youngest player at the Hoop Summit. He just turned 17, which means he won't be eligible until the 2013 draft at the earliest. But keep an eye on him -- he impressed scouts all week and in the game. It's really hard to project a player his age, but he's already contributing in the Adriatic league, and in two years, could be special if his game continues to improve and he shows adequate physical tools to get it done.
Apr 22 Update: Randle is a physical specimen -- a 6-9, 250-pound big man who explodes off the floor like an elite guard. He has a very well-rounded game. He can score in the paint or take out players on the perimeter. He rebounds and is very competitive. Kentucky coach John Calipari might have to break him of his habit of drifting out to the perimeter, but like Wiggins, he's got the entire package. Right now, Randle looks like a lock to be a top-5 pick.
Dec 21 Update: Randle is the last of the four elite prospects from this class and is the only one of the group with the size to play in the front court. He's a very unique player who can bang down low or step out on the perimeter and pick you apart with his jump shot.
Some NBA scouts think he's the second-best prospect in the draft behind Wiggins, while others have him ranked at the bottom of the top four. For the scouts who love him, they see a little Chris Webber in him. For those that think he spends too much time shooting jumpers and is a tweener, you hear some Terrence Jones comps.
Randle fractured his right foot in late November and will be out until late February. Randle is considering Kentucky, Florida, Kansas and North Carolina State.
Cool, good info.
I thought it was funny in the wiggins write up that the nba GM said Kobe and wade are getting old. There's lebron, then harden and Paul George but nothing else as far as dominant wing players go.