With six of the top 10 and 24 of the Top 100 prospects, power forward is a loaded position in the 2014 NBA Draft. The talent haul is led by Duke freshman Jabari Parker, who many scouts believe may ultimately prove to be the most well-round prospect to come out of this draft.
The top power forward prospects for the 2014 NBA Draft:
1. (No. 2 overall) Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Fr., Duke.
Overview: After just one year at Duke, Parker’s size and skillset has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony. Standing 6-8, 240 pounds, Parker is multidimensional offensively, he can be physical in the paint and can score from the perimeter. In his one season with Duke, he averaged 18.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game.
Analysis: Parker has been drawing interest as a possible No. 1 overall pick since midway through last year and many NBA scouts think he could be the best player in this year’s draft. He lacks the athleticism of Andrew Wiggins and the size of Joel Embiid, but is considered a better all-around player.
2. (6) Julius Randle, PF, Fr., Kentucky.
Overview: Randle was considered a potential top 5 pick entering last season due to his size and finesse. After a standout season at Kentucky in which he averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds per game, he has been mentioned as possibly slipping out of the top 5 due to the deep talent base among potential lottery picks.
Analysis: Through no fault of his own, Randle might see guards Dante Exum and Marcus Smart get picked before him come draft night as both have become hot names in the draft. The knock on Randle has been that he might be undersized to play power forward, but he showed up at the pre-draft combine at 6-9, 250 pounds, with a 7’0″ wingspan to put that notion to rest.
3. (7) Noah Vonleh, PF, Fr., Indiana.
Overview: Vonleh is just 18 years old and sports a 7’4″ wingspan; he’s considered by many to have the best natural rebounding instincts in the draft. He’s still raw in many areas offensively, but scouts love his wingspan.
Analysis: Vonleh is still a project on the offensive end, as he makes questionable decisions with the ball in his hands. Where he excels is in hustle situation where his raw talent takes over. At just 18 years old, his 6-9, 250-pound frame isn’t likely done growing and filling out.
4. (8) Aaron Gordon, PF, Fr., Arizona.
Overview: Also just 18 years old, Gordon is extremely athletic for his size and has drawn some comparisons to Blake Griffin. Gordon is at his best in the open floor, which is why many believe he could prove to be one of the best players taken in this draft.
Analysis: The biggest weakness in Gordon’s game is the lack of consistency from the perimeter, but that’s not to say he’s not capable. Most of the time in college, Gordon was able stand out by just simply being a better athlete then the competition. He has already shown in workouts that his perimeter game has improved since the season ended.
5. (9) Doug McDermott, PF, Sr., Creighton.
Overview: McDermott’s stellar senior year combined with his offensive polish should land him in the top 10 picks. The offensive machine will have to continue to score at a very high level to make up for concerns about his 6-6 frame and lack of athleticism.
Analysis: Originally listed in the 6-8/6-9 range, McDermott measured in around 6-6 at the draft combine, which raised some eyebrows. At 6-6 he doesn’t possess the athleticism necessary to play small forward at the NBA level. McDermott’s ability to score isn’t a debate amongst NBA people, but which position he’ll be able to do it at is.
6. (10) Dario Saric, SF/PF, Int. (Croatia).
Overview: Would have been a first-round pick in last year’s draft but withdrew to stay in Europe. At 6-10 and extremely coordinated, many people believe Saric is the most versatile player in the draft. Reportedly has stated if Lakers or Celtics commit to drafting him he’ll stay in the draft, otherwise may pull out before June 16 deadline.
Analysis: Though he has the size to play PF, Saric’s game would likely transfer to more of a SF position in the NBA. Also, even at just 20 years old, Saric likely has the most professional experience in this year’s draft as he has been playing since he was 15.
7. (23) Clint Capela, PF, Int. (Switzerland).
Overview: 19-year-old 6-11 Swiss born big man currently playing in France. Not a lot of scouts have seen much of him, but his ability to block shots stands out. He has long arms, is a good athlete and finishes well around the basket.
Analysis: Capela is still relatively unknown and doesn’t play for one of the better teams in France. Shot blocking and defensive potential are what he’s known for right now, but he did start to come on offensively this past winter, displaying a nice touch around the rim. At just 220 pounds, he will need to put on some weight.
8. (34) Patric Young, PF, Sr., Florida.
Overview: A rough and tumble 6-10, 250-pound brute with very good quickness who could fit in nicely in the right role in the NBA. His 11 ppg and 6 rebound averages weren’t spectacular, but he was a key piece for the Gators all four years he was in Gainesville.
Analysis: Young has basically no perimeter game to speak of, but he has the physique to continue to be effective in the paint in the NBA. Teams seking muscle on the front line and somebody who will provide energy would be wise to take a look.
9. (43) Johnny O’Bryant, PF, Jr., LSU.
Overview: A lack of exposure from LSU’s inability to make the NCAA Tournament has kept O’Bryant under the radar. He is a former McDonald’s All-American who ranked among the SEC’s best big men. O’Bryant is a handful on the low block and is also able to step out and hit perimeter shots from time to time.
Analysis: At 6-8 he could be considered slightly undersized, but what he lacks in height O’Bryant makes up in strength and bulk. With a bit more consistency from his perimeter game, he could become a handful to deal with at the NBA level.
10. (44) Jarnell Stokes, PF, Jr., Tennessee.
Overview: Big man with the potential to rise up the board due to his ability to compete and produce against top flight competition while at Tennessee. At 6-8, 265 pounds, Stokes is probably one of the strongest players in this year’s draft and regularly got the better of opponents physically.
Analysis: Stokes is another SEC beast of a big man capable of banging down low with anybody. He’s prideful of the competition he has played against and rises to the occasion in big games. Stokes does his best work controlling the low block and rebounding, and has the strength to continue to do that at the NBA
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