The 2014 NBA draft has been deemed as one of the most talented groups to enter the NBA in years. There is a plethora of young players that will be stars in the future, and then there is a select group that will make an instant impact. Here are five draft picks that will make an instant impact in the NBA in the 2014-15 season.
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Coach Brad Stevens on Marcus Smart: "Everyone loves what he brings to the table. We had him ranked really high."
— Boston Celtics (@celtics) June 27, 2014
The Boston Celtics were able to land an athlete that many have considered to have been a top pick if he he had left for the NBA last year. Smart has been characterized as a “bulldog” that has a nose for the hoop, and is a tough as nails defender. At 6’3” and 227 pounds, many compare his body style to a middle linebacker and he has the speed to match.
Smart is a versatile guard that has the ability to be a distributor and also has the ability to change the game with his speed and tenacity. The Celtics were absolutely ecstatic that he was available with the sixth pick and they feel he will be an instant contributor.
Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) June 27, 2014
The Lakers were able to replace long time All-Star Pau Gasol with the selection of Julius Randle from Kentucky. At 6’9” and 250 pounds, Randle is a force to reckon with inside the paint. Randle is very strong and has a keen eye for the boards. Randle has been described as a high motor Zach Randolph clone that will be a double-double machine for the next decade. Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was quick to welcome Randle to Westwood via Twitter.
Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls
Tom Thibodeau on McDermott: "If you view him as strictly a shooter, you're not casting the proper light on him. He's a complete player."
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) June 27, 2014
The Bulls were able to swing a draft day trade and land Doug “Dougie McBuckets” McDermott, who will deliver a much-needed offensive presence. McDermott is a 6’8” scoring machine that has an outstanding outside shot, yet is not afraid to drive the lane to get on the free throw line. McDermott is more than a shooter, as he is an outstanding defender and is an asset on both sides of the ball.
More than anything, McDermott is a student of the game and has been described as the ultimate competitor. McDermott gives the Bulls a presence that they have been missing and will quickly step into his role as a contributor from day one. Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau cannot wait to get McDermott into the fold.
Tyler Ennis, Phoenix Suns
Love what the Suns have done…adding more ballhandling and shooting at a time when the NBA, thanks to Spurs, will be moving that direction.
— Michael Wilbon (@RealMikeWilbon) June 27, 2014
If you watched Syracuse basketball during the 2013-14 season, you saw the magic that Ennis added to the floor. The Suns were beyond excited that Ennis dropped to them with 18th pick and are excited to pair him with Goran Dragic in the backcourt.
Ennis is a clutch performer that is not afraid to take the final shot and has tremendous court awareness. He gained national prominence with his late shot heroics over the University of Pittsburgh, and is a former Gatorade National Player of the Year. Ennis has excellent passing skills and is known as a general on the floor. Expect Ennis to be a major piece of the Suns attack for years to come.
Shabazz Napier, Miami Heat
When the best player in the NBA for the past decade gives you a vote of confidence, you know the young man has skills.
The Heat recognized the talent and were able to make a draft day trade with the Utah Jazz to secure his rights. To put it simply, Napier is a winner. Napier helped his University of Connecticut Huskies to two national championships during his tenure at the school and has developed into a pure leader on the floor.
Napier is a 6’3” point guard that led his team in scoring and rebounding. He is a clutch performer and enjoys the spotlight of the biggest stage. Napier is a scoring point guard that has a nose for the basket and is not afraid to mix it up with larger guards. Napier may be that point guard that adds a new dimension to the Heat offense and helps keep James in Miami.