A 2014 Lottery Draft List, March Edition

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6.  Aaron Gordon

Feb 22, 2014; Boulder, CO, USA; Arizona Wildcats forward Aaron Gordon (11) to the win over the Colorado Buffaloes at the Coors Events Center. Mandatory Credit: The Arizona Wildcats defeated the Colorado Buffaloes 88-61. Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Blake Griffin comes to mind when I think of Aaron Gordon’s upside.  Both players have similar size and wingspan.  Both players have elite level jumping ability.  Griffin was able to carry on his athletic abilities along with added strength.  Aaron Gordon has more guard skills than Griffin, but the passing and ball-handling abilities are eerily similar.  Gordon is more adept to hit from the perimeter, and while his free throw percentage isn’t the greatest, he shows the form, consistency, and confidence that eventually, it’ll knock down.  Griffin is a clear-cut franchise player.  Gordon just needs the strength.  The reputation about his attitude and work ethic speaks volumes about him as a person, and that is the NBA’s best translatable skill.  More information can be found here.

5.  Julius Randle

Mar 4, 2014; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats forward Julius Randle (30) dunks the ball against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the first half at Rupp Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Julius Randle is a flat-out beast.  A lot has been said about his lack of wingspan, yet nothing is said about Noah Vonleh’s lack of standing reach.  The bottom line is, Randle already has NBA-level strength, quickness, and athleticism.  He has a soft touch with high post skills.  He bullies players in the paint against double and triple teams.  It’ll be scary when he learns how to create plays for others, because that’ll just open the paint up more for him.  Right now, he’s the best rebounder in the lottery.  He’s also arguably the best finisher in the painted area.  This is exactly why he has been a Top-5 pick since the year started.  Everyone else is too afraid to pass on those abilities.  More information can be found here, here, and here.

4.  Joel Embiid

Mar 1, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) shoots a free throw during the second half against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Oklahoma State beat Kansas 72-65. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The comparisons to a freshman Hakeem Olajuwon are warranted.  He may not be as explosive when he jumps, but he emulates the same spin moves and footwork on offense, while giving great energy and focus to defense. He has a 7’5″ wingspan, with a background in soccer and volleyball.  He has grown game-to-game this season, gaining confidence his abilities.  He has slipped to #4 because of his recent back injuries and a slight issue with his knee.  Still, he continued to play through it.  Like other freshman, he needs to gain some additional strength and polish up his offensive moves, but considering how well Anthony Davis plays center from the perimeter, imagine how well Joel Embiid can play on both ends in the paint.  An article written about him and a few others early in the season can be found here.