Hairston had a disappointing finish to his collegiate career, but as a prospect has teams salivating over his physical brand of play, ability to finish, and deep range. A key with Hairston will be his conditioning and his off the court makeup, but certainly there will be teams willing to roll the dice on him. As someone who has already played in the D-League, Hairston might be more ready to contribute as a rookie next season. With that said, the Thunder always seem to find gems on draft night like Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams. Hairston would finally give the Thunder the type of scorer they’ve lacked off the bench since trading James Harden.
Robinson is a prospect to watch on draft night as his athleticism and length should be enough for teams to draft him. Robinson is polished and a strong shooter with great transition and finishing skills. Being the son of a former NBA player should has helped Robinson prepare for his interviews. The Grizzlies, if they keep the pick, could use an infusion of youth at SF and its fair to expect Robinson to be able to contribute in limited minutes as a rookie next season.
LaVine had a nice freshman campaign and looked like a reliable 3-point shooter with good athleticism for the Bruins despite being a reserve most of the season. Any team selecting LaVine is taking a chance on his upside as he must improve his strength to handle the wear-and-tear of the NBA. In Chicago, LaVine showed the type of length that teams need on the wing with a great shooting touch. Still LaVine is going to need time to develop and the D-League might be a great option for him, but this could turn into a nice selection for the Jazz at this point in the draft. From the talk around the Combine, it sounds like LaVine’s stock is rising.
Early is NBA-ready. At 23, he has the strength to step in and contribute on either end as a rookie. Early is the type of prospect that does a lot of things but is not elite at anything. However, teams have taken notice of Early’s performance in the NCAA Tournament and his improvement as a shooter this season. With Charlotte having made the playoffs and needing to capitalize on that success, Early would be an instant contributor for the Bobcats.
Warren used an impressive sophomore season to springboard into the draft. Leading NC State in scoring for two straight seasons, Warren doubled his scoring average while still shooting over 50 percent from the field. As a scorer Warren settles for his jumper a bit too much and must improve his accuracy, but is smart scorer who knows how to use his body to create opportunities. With Houston GM loving to acquire assets, this pick could be made for another team on draft night, but Warren would also give the Rockets a nice combo-forward off the bench.
In helping lead the Huskies to a championship, Daniels finally broke out and produced like he is capable of. The fear for some teams is that Daniels never produced on a consistent basis. Is this a case of a late bloomer or an underachiever? As a prospect, Daniels has nice length and an improved touch from outside, which a team drafting late in round 1 will find useful. Daniels is the type of athletic player who knows how to defend, and the Heat love to draft similar to when they took Norris Cole.
The last few picks of the first round every year are filled with teams looking to draft and stash, and this year should be no exception. Hezonja is a young prospect that will probably stay overseas for another season or two but already has shown flashes of brilliance on offense with a jumper with plenty of range and an arsenal of moves that allow him to score in handfuls. Phoenix GM Ryan McDonough has been opening talking to every team in Chicago about the Suns interest in moving up or out on draft night as they have 3 picks and no intention of adding 3 rookies to next seasons roster.
McDaniels is prospect who capitalized on a strong junior season. The thing that stands out about McDaniels is his tenacious brand of defense and ability to lock down on opponents. As athletic as McDaniels is, it’s easy to see why he translates to a plus defender, and if he can improve as a shooter could be a Danny Green-type of wing. The Clippers are in a unique position as there is plenty of uncertainty facing the team this offseason after Donald Sterling’s rants, but the team could use more depth along the wing and McDaniels is the type of player that the Clippers could insert as a rookie.
Payton reminds me a bit of Rajon Rondo in that he is a long, athletic PG that is a relentless defender and fills up the stat sheet. Payton has plenty of work to do offensively and must become a better shooter. At this point Payton is a value pick. With Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson already on the roster, the Thunder could pass on Payton, but he will be an intriguing pick, and should the Thunder prefer a younger and cheaper option than Jackson, Payton makes sense. Payton is the type of athlete that teams might be calling Sam Presti about on draft night.
Napier helped himself more than any other prospect in the Big Dance in leading his Huskies to a title. The star point guard showed flashes of another Huskies PG, Kemba Walker, carrying his team offensively down the stretch. Napier showed this season he does it all, while he may not be a natural PG, that is where he will wind up in the NBA. His ability to score, rebound, and defend will be a commodity few teams this late can pass up on. Napier is a great option for the Spurs, and his style of play would certainly be a fit from Day 1.
Joe Kotoch is the Editor-in-chief of Pro Basketball Draft, a leading scouting service in the world of professional basketball. Before Joe created PBD he served as an NBPA & FIBA certified agent and scouted players all across the world. Born and raised in Cleveland, Joe also contributes to Fox Sports Ohio and the Cleveland Plain Dealer. You can follow Joe on Twitter @Probballdraft.