Andrew Wiggins, Scout.com‘s top-ranked prospect in the 2013 recruiting class, was selected first overall in the 2014 NBA Draft, as the Kansas product is headed to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
There is still a year to go before the 2015 NBA Draft, but who are the most likely high school candidates to go #1?
Here are our top five candidates:
Jahlil Okafor, C, Duke: At 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-6 wingspan, Okafor has the size for position you’re looking for out of an NBA center. He has terrific size, hands, footwork, skill level and touch. His only concerns are athleticism and conditioning, the latter of which can be improved. Okafor has the highest floor in the 2014 recruiting class and is an Al Jefferson style center. What will being in better shape due to his mobility? That’s a question scouts will be asking over the next year.
Emmanuel Mudiay, PG, SMU: Mudiay’s upside may have the highest upside in the 2014 draft. He’s 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-8 wingspan so his size for position is elite, but he also possesses level 10 body control with terrific athleticism. He has the handle and vision you’re looking for at the point guard position, while he’s also a much-improved shooter, a skill that improves with reps regardless. Scouts will want to know if he can be trusted to run a team at the highest level while monitoring his offensive efficiency.
Stanley Johnson, SF, Arizona: There may not be a player in the 2014 class with a better mental makeup; he’s the ultimate competitor and wins wherever he goes. Johnson is 6-foot-7 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan and has a body that is NBA-ready, along with an improving jumper, attacking mentality, high level motor, rebounding ability, strong vision and can guard multiple positions. Those who have watched him for years have seen his game continue to evolve despite a seemingly maxed-out body, but NBA scouts will take that into account regardless.
Karl Towns, C, Kentucky: A big jump forward as a prospect over the last year has put Towns in this conversation. He’s 7-foot with a 7-foot-4 wingspan, so the size and length check out, but Towns also athletic with a good and improving frame, who plays hard and really changes the game defensively with his shot blocking ability. His skill level around the basket is still improving but he can face-up and hit three-pointers. There’s a lot of upside here, but there’s probably less information about him available than the other four on this list.
Myles Turner, C, Kansas: One way another, there are a lot of reasons to think Turner should be able to stick in the NBA for a long time. He’s nearly 7-foot with a 7-foot-4 wingspan and still hs a lot of physical upside. He plays hard and is a big time shot blocker; one of the best that high school basketball has seen in the last several years, and his floor is as a high level defensive center. He’s also an impressive three-point shooter. He’s better jumping than moving side to side, and that along with his back to the basket game will be what scouts focus on over the next year.