9. Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton, 6’8″, 230 lbs McDermott was one of the most exciting players in college basketball the last few years, and his ability to score will surely lead to a lot of teams paying close attention to him during workouts. The major question mark with McDermott is whether he is starting-caliber wing in the NBA or more of a reserve or specialist due to lack of athleticism. Playing against the lower level competition that he did will make his workouts even more important. McDermott measured in a shade under 6-7 and lacks the length that teams crave from their wings, but there is no denying his ability to score. Charlotte needs scoring from the perimeter to play off Al Jefferson, and McDermott would be a good fit.
10. Dario Saric, SF, Croatia, 6’10”, 225 lbs Saric is a skilled perimeter player with great length and enticing abilities to handle and facilitate an offense. Only 20 and with at least another year overseas, Saric is a draft-and-stash candidate and could be a great investment for a team missing out on one of the top eight players. Saric could be an intriguing prospect for a lottery team looking to break the bank in free agency and not wanting to have a rookie deal on the salary cap this season. Saric is the top European prospect in this draft and a lock to be in the lottery. With Nerlens Noel and whichever rookie the 76ers take at No. 3, there is almost no chance Philadelphia brings in a third lottery pick as a rookie. Saric is a talented offensive player and could be a nice addition in a year or two. (RELATED: A CLOSER LOOK AT DARIO SARIC AND JUSUF NURCIC FROM ISRAELI JOURNALIST/COACH AJ MITNICK)
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 shooting guard, Harris is a prospect to watch during predraft workouts as I am told he is a strong competitor and very polished off the court as well. Denver is on the verge of returning to the playoffs and will want a player that can provide them with the instant contribution that other rookies cannot.
12. Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafeyette, 6’3″, 170 lbs Payton reminds me a bit of Rajon Rondo in that he is a long, athletic point guard 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 shooting up boards based on excellent workouts. Payton recently matched up against Marcus Smart in Sacramento and looked very impressive, according to scouts. With the Magic adding adding a big with their first pick, expect them to address their backcourt here. Pairing Payton with Victor Oladipo would be intriguing. Jusuf Nurcic or Clint Capela are options here as well as I think the Magic are open to a draft and stash player.
13. Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan, 6’6″, 190 lbs Stauskas surprised many with his athleticism while at Michigan, but his true calling card is shooting – and that is what has most GMs intrigued. 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 at the very worst he is a 3-point specialist but has the length and athleticism to develop into a borderline starting shooting guard. Word around Chicago is Stauskas was a top interview for teams and that he could solidify himself in the late lottery with strong workouts. With Kevin Love’s status in the air, it is hard to guess what direction the Timberwolves will go. But adding a shooter like Stauskas would be a nice complement to the current roster.
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 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 lottery pick. According to sources, Hood is a top target of Chicago, which is armed with two first-round picks. Hood can step right and contribute for a team like the Suns, who with three first round picks will be very active.
15. Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland, 6’11”, 220 lbs 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 power forward. Hawks GM has a long history of drafting international players and while Capela may not arrive next season he would be an excellent choice. Buzz is growing around the league that Capela is shooting up boards of teams.
16. Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia, 6’11”, 280 lbs Nurkic’s combination of size and skill at just 19 has teams watching closely. He 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 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. The Bulls, armed with two picks in round 1, are said to be actively looking for a big and with Nikola Mirotic set to arrive I think the Bulls would be open to another draft and stash prospect. Nurkic whenever he arrives would be a great compliment to Joakim Noah.