This year’s college basketball season is entering the home stretch, which means the NBA mock drafts are going to begin to appear on a regular basis in the upcoming months. ESPN Insider Jeff Goodman released his initial 2014 NBA Mock Draft 1.0 this morning, and it’s filled with plenty of Big Ten stars.
The mock draft is based on information gathered from NBA executives, college coaches and other industry sources. The draft order is based off the current NBA standings.
There are a total of five Big Ten players listed in the mock draft. Indiana freshman standout Noah Vonleh highlights the list, being projected as the No. 6 overall pick to the Boston Celtics, followed by Michigan’s Nik Stauskas at No. 12 to the Minnesota Timberwolves. The other three Big Ten stars listed are Michigan State’s Gary Harris (No. 16, Atlanta Hawks), Michigan State’s Adrien Payne (No. 24, Houston Rockets) and Michigan’s Glenn Robinson III (No. 27, Miami Heat).
Here is what Goodman said about all five Big Ten players.
No. 6: Indiana PF Noah Vonleh – Boston Celtics
Celtics boss Danny Ainge will take the player he feels has the best chance of becoming a star in the league, and that’s Vonleh. He’s a local kid who still is figuring out where to score, but he’s a versatile forward who is coachable and just scratching the surface of his immense talent.
No. 12: Michigan SG Nik Stauskas – Minnesota Timberwolves
Flip Saunders could use a lights-out shooter, and Stauskas is one of the best in the country. However, he’s more than just a shooter, as he has proven this season. He has size, is athletic and is extremely adept at reading ball-screens.
No. 16: Michigan State SG Gary Harris – Atlanta Hawks
The Hawks have a couple of quality forwards in Al Horford — when healthy — and Paul Millsap. What they need is a reliable wing scorer. Harris gives them that — and also someone who can defend his position.
No. 24: Michigan State PF Adreian Payne – Houston Rockets
Terrence Jones is playing well, but GM Daryl Morey won’t be able to pass up on Payne if he slips all the way to No. 24. Payne is a skilled and versatile forward who can score in a multitude of ways. He could add to the Rockets’ stash of young, athletic reserve players.
No. 27: Michigan SF Glenn Robinson III – Miami Heat
The son of the “Big Dog” is frustratingly inconsistent, but he’s still blessed with tremendous athleticism. If there’s a team that can afford to roll the dice and has a guy who can help get Robinson to play hard every night, it’s Miami and LeBron James.