ACC to NBA: Five rookies ready to make immediate difference
JUN 27, 2014 9:44a ET
In last night's NBA Draft, some ACC players landed in great situations. Others were not so lucky. Some were even less fortunate and didn't get drafted at all.
But it's going to be difficult for, for instance, Syracuse's Tyler Ennis at No. 18 to have a huge impact on the Suns in Year 1 if he's playing behind another talented young point guard in Eric Bledsoe (note: if the Suns find a way to get rid of Bledsoe, obviously that thrusts Ennis into a much bigger role), and it will be hard for early second-round picks K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant to have an impact if they're essentially competing against each other for playing time.
That said, there are going to be at least five ACC rookies that have a chance to make noise next year in their rookie seasons in the NBA:
1. Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks (No. 2 overall)
You don't often see draft picks crying tears of joy to go play in Milwaukee. But Parker wanted to go to the Bucks because they wanted him so badly.
Sometimes, even high first-round picks aren't expected to be "the guy" right away. Parker was more than happy to go to a team that wants him to be that guy as soon as possible. He's also projected to start right away for a team that obviously is not very good right now, but one that has a lot of intriguing young pieces. Parker will have plenty of chances to shine there, and the city is already falling in love with him.
2. T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns (No. 14 overall)
The Suns needed a scoring punch on the wing. They certainly got it with Warren, and he'll have a chance to work his way up the depth chart quickly.
The starter at small forward right now is former Texas star P.J. Tucker, and then it's backup Marcus Morris (one of the Morris twins from Kansas). Those two are fine players, but Warren is hardly in a spot where he can't rise to the top there, maybe even by the time the season starts.
Warren also might likely see time in the second unit with Ennis, a pass-first point guard that can only help Warren stand out.
3. Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz (No. 23 overall)
It's not the best situation for Hood -- Memphis, in dire need of a shooting guard, passed him up at No. 22 and went for a less proven option in UCLA's Jordan Adams -- but it's not like the Jazz are loaded at that spot, either.
Gordon Hayward had a nice season, but he's a restricted free agent, and Alec Burks is a good player but not one that Hood can't compete with for playing time. It's all right there for Hood as that young but talented roster comes together.
4. P.J. Hairston, Charlotte Hornets (No. 26 overall)
The Hornets needed a scorer. After some late first-round maneuvering, the Hornets found themselves picking at No. 26 with Hairston still on the board. He worked out for the Hornets a number of times, and they clearly liked his skill set.
The Hornets were 23rd out of 30 teams in 3-point percentage, and Hairston is a sharp-shooter. Whether he plays shooting guard or small forward, Hairston figures at the very least to be a second-stringer for the Hornets right away. The only question left for Hairston will be if living so close to home (Greensboro) will be a distraction, but clearly he did enough to convince the Hornets that it wouldn't be.
5. Joe Harris, Cleveland Cavaliers (No. 33 overall)
Once a Cavalier, always a Cavalier, evidently.
Harris' stock rose as quickly as anyone in this year's draft, as more and more teams got to see him in person and recognize his strengths. There's a lot of depth on the Cavaliers' roster at the shooting guard and wing spots, but here's the thing -- Joe Harris has a very specific skill. And that skill is that he can shoot the ball very well. That's why the Cavaliers drafted him, and even though there's more to Harris' game than that, that's what he does best.
In the NBA, being able to do one thing very well is more than enough to sustain a long career.