Still tanking?: Doubts surfacing about 2014 NBA draft class

Still tanking?: Doubts surfacing about 2014 NBA draft class
January 13, 2014, 9:00 am
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Mark Heisler, a Hall of Fame NBA writer in Los Angeles, has an interesting column at Forbes.com about the top prospects for the 2014 draft. He says teams are not as high on Kansas frosh Andrew Wiggins as was expected and that overall, this class is not as loaded with star power as first thought. Here are a few of my favorite tidbits from the column, which you need to check out:

This just in: Wiggins is slipping out of contention for No. 1-2. The NBA guys I talk to say that will be Parker and Kansas seven-footer Joel Embiid. At No. 3, Wiggins has yet to separate himself from Kentucky power forward Julius Randle, Australian point guard Dante Exum and, depending on whom you talk to, Arizona forward Aaron Gordon.

And this:

Deep as this draft class is, its star quotient is another question. Setting aside comparisons to LeBron James and Durant, who are beyond anyone on the horizon, no one in this class is as highly regarded as No. 1 picks Anthony Davis (2012), Kyrie Irving (2011), John Wall (2010), Blake Griffin (2009) or Derrick Rose (2008).

Heisler had some interesting stuff about Wiggins, too, whom he believes is a product of the You Tube generation:

Wiggins, a 6-8 small forward, is blessed with fabulous athleticism and length but often drifts, or as scouts say, “Motor?” He has a “loose handle” with a high dribble and drives in straight lines, making it hard to get past defenders (“doesn’t beat you off the bounce”) and create his own shot, a make-or-break skill for NBA superstardom.

As special as Wiggins is physically, he now amounts to a super-athletic project. The intangibles that will decide, like coachability and hunger, are harder to judge… but drifting is a red flag, raising the question of how natural, or important, it is to stand out. It’s not something that came up with Kyrie, AD or Blake, to say nothing of the young KD, LeBron James or Kobe Bryant.

It was thought for the past two years that Wiggins would be a draft gem -- a player with major impact worth tanking for. But now? While there are plenty of good players available in this June's draft, it doesn't sound as if it's loaded with game-changers.