11. Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State, 6’3″, 210 lbs
Smooth and aggressive are two of the first words many around the NBA use to describe Harris. In two seasons in East Lansing, Harris showed he is a capable scorer that can attack the rim and defend but needs to improve as a shooter. Harris’ stock suffered a bit at the Combine when he measured in at a shade under 6’3″. While a bit short for your prototypical SG, Harris is a prospect to watch during predraft workouts as I am told he is a strong competitor and very polished off the court too.
12. Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse, 6’2″, 180 lbs
Ennis is one of the more under-the-radar prospects, having broken though as a freshman because of Syracuse’s impressive start. Ennis is not a Derrick Rose or Russell Westbrook type of point guard, rather he is a more conventional crafty lead guard. While Ennis does nothing flashy, he proved as a freshman he is a leader on the court and will put his teammates in position to succeed. With a draft as deep at PF and SF, teams might opt to go bigger in the Lottery but Ennis warrants Lottery consideration.
13. Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan, 6’6″, 190 lbs
Stauskas surprised many with athleticism while at Michigan, but make no mistake his calling card is shooting — and that is what has most GM’s intrigued about him. With the ability to score from anywhere on the court and range well beyond the 3-point line Stauskas, is a safe pick in the lottery because he at the very worst is a 3-point specialist but has the length and athleticism to develop into a borderline starting SG. Word around Chicago is Stauskas was a top interview for teams and that he could solidify himself in the late-lottery with strong workouts.
14. Rodney Hood, SF, Duke, 6’8″, 215 lbs
More than one NBA scout has told me how much they love Hood and his game. It’s hard not to agree when watching the tape of Hood, because you see a smooth scoring wing with excellent length and a great stroke. While Hood will probably not become an All-Star, plenty of teams need a player with his skills on the offensive end who can simply catch and shoot. Buzz has been growing since Duke’s season ended that Hood is moving up boards and could be a late-lotto pick. Hood is a top target of Chicago, who is armed with two picks in round 1, according to sources.
Nurkic’s combination of size and skill at just 19 has teams watching closely. Nurkic must improve his conditioning but is a prime candidate to crack the lottery as teams get to see him up close. One executive I spoke to said that Nurkic is the most polished center prospect in the draft, which says everything you need to know about this position and the type of prospects in this draft cycle.
During Kentucky’s impressive NCAA Tournament run, a lot of players stepped up — but Young might have been the player to shoulder most of the load. Young is a smooth athlete that can score by attacking the rim or stepping out beyond the arc. While Young must improve his accuracy on his jump shot, he has sound form and is a hard worker. Chicago will be looking to add perimeter scoring with one of their two first rounders.
There may not be another player who benefited more from coming back for his senior season than Payne, who played himself into a first-round pick. I tend to see Payne’s range being between the mid-first and top-24. While Payne did many things for a Spartan team that fell short of their goals, his signature for NBA teams is being a stretch-4. Payne is a solid shooter with nice range who knows how to play defense. Combined with Jared Sullinger the Celtics would have a nice 1-2 combo at PF.
Grant is a prospect to watch as there will be teams in the late lottery that will give serious consideration to him on draft night. Explosive and long wings who play with Grant’s motor are hard to come by, and can be plugged into a rotation right away. While Grant is improving as a shooter his defense, rebounding, and ability to run in transition are what have teams interested. The Suns have three first-rounders and will be heavily involved in trade talks to move up or move their picks on draft night. If the Suns keep the pick, Grant is a player to watch as his athleticism and defense are NBA-ready and could give Jeff Hornacek a nice option in his rotation.
Capela is not your typical European big man. With his size, speed, and athleticism, Capela draws some comparisons to Serge Ibaka — especially as a defender and rim protector. In time as his body matures, Capela should be able to play both big spots, but for now is mostly seen as a raw PF. That being said, Capela is a Bulls-type of big man. With Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson locked in but Carlos Boozer on his way out, the Bulls will look to add a big to their rotation — and Capela would be a very nice choice.
There are teams that believe Anderson might be a lottery pick, but I tend to think he is a mid-first rounder. No doubt Anderson’s size creates a unique matchup opportunity for teams, but his lack of elite athleticism is what holds him back from being a top-10 pick. Anderson improved as a shooter this season but still hangs his hat as being a facilitator, and its hard to see some team in the teens passing on him come draft night. Toronto is a hard team to get a read on, but Anderson would give them versatility as the Raptors try to capitalize on their turnaround this season.