As the Celtics occupy the 4th worst record in the league, know that (another) NBA scout is dissing the potential of the 2014 draft class.
Together, the media (myself included) and NBA types hyped up this current group of freshmen — including those at Kentucky, Kansas, Duke and elsewhere — to the point where expectations were bound to outstrip reality.
So after Kentucky lost to Arkansas, 71-67 in overtime last night at Rupp Arena, it wasn’t that surprising that a veteran NBA scout texted me, “A media creation, and the media eats its young.”
The media is not solely to blame for the hype. There were countless quotes from anonymous league executives and scouts who supported the hype.
Danny Ainge was one of the first execs who publicly stated he thought the draft class was a bit over-hyped and not extremely deep.
Over-hyped or not, there are still 3 players who stand out in the crowd:
“Now Parker, as long as he takes care of his body and upgrades his body, he has great understanding of how to play basketball. He has a terrific skillset. He has to take care of his body, which he’s doing now. He does what Coach K tells him.
“And the reason I like [Wiggins] is in the NBA the rules reward elite athleticism if you have a skillset and if you play the right way. And I think Wiggins will do that. He has elite athleticism. My question on Wiggins is, does he have the necessary toughness? Is it there inside of him, like Kobe was a stone killer? Michael Jordan was a stone killer. LeBron labored with it and worked on it and it meant so much to him. He worked on his outside shooting because he wanted it so much. And now he’s figured the thing out, how to do it. And obviously physically, he’s an alien, he’s so superior.”
As for Kansas big man Joel Embiid, the presumed No. pick, the scout said,”I like him a lot. I think his upside is terrific. I think it’s always better to be big than to be small or to be medium-size. And he’s learning the game. Everything people say about him basically is right, but he’s still a kid. He’s learning how to play. His upside is terrific. You could take him 1, you could take him 2, you could take him 3, it’s a good pick.
“The top three guys in no particular order are Wiggins, Embiid and Parker.”
Parker remains my choice.
I haven’t watched much NCAA basketball this season, but I gained respect for Marcus Smart while watching the final minutes of OSU vs Kansas this weekend. Smart played in control and took the ball right at (a gimpy) Embiid on a couple of possessions. Andrew Wiggins didn’t show me much.