We left Anthony Davis off the list because, obviously, he’s equal parts Bill Russell and Tim Duncan and everyone knows it. Obviously. The comps will come from my NBA viewing history – roughly 1985 to now.
Brad Beal — He thinks Ray Allen and Dwyane Wade, so who are we to argue with him? Worst case scenario? LaBradford Smith.
Michael Kidd-Gilchrist — Very challenging to peg due to his freakish defensive skills (Rodney McCray? A taller Tony Allen?) and innate scoring ability around the basket. Wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into Andre Iguodala.
Thomas Robinson — Can he defend power forwards? Can he keep up with small forwards? In that way, he reminds me of Derrick Williams, who Minnesota drafted last year. A ceiling of Chris Webber, who was a double-double machine for six years.
Andre Drummond — Raw. A taller Drew Gooden with better shot-blocking ability? A more athletic PJ Brown? A best case scenario of … Kevin Willis? Don’t scoff, Kevin Willis had a damn good NBA career.
Austin Rivers, Duke — You’ll hear a lot of Monta Ellis, but for me, when I watched Rivers, I saw Russell Westbrook – about the same size (Westbrook measured 6-2 without shoes at the Combine with a 6-7 wingspan), kind of the same relentless, attacking style, and zero fear. I haven’t taken the pulse of the pundits on Rivers yet since the lottery but I’m fairly certain I’m more enamored with him than everyone else. How about Sleepy Floyd?
Harrison Barnes — Most polarizing player in the draft. Catch and shoot specialist who often settles for jumpers when perhaps he should post up more. He isn’t in the Carmelo Anthony class from the outside or inside yet. Can he get there? If you saw him at UNC for two years, you’d say no. I made this Barnes comp during the college hoop season and I’m sticking with it: Glen Rice.
Damian Lillard, Weber State — A cross between Jrue Holiday of the 76ers (probably his ceiling), George Hill of the Pacers, and Rodney Stuckey of the Pistons.
Tyler Zeller — Tall, thin, moderately athletic, can block shots, but his frame isn’t quite there yet. I’m a big Zeller fan. I think he’ll be better than Spencer Hawes, who some have compared him to. I think he could be better than Chris Kaman, too. Absolute best case scenario of Pau Gasol?
Kendall Marshall — Throughout his college career, I thought he was a carbon copy of Marcus Williams, the successful UConn point guard who never really translated into the NBA. He’s a lefty with a slick handle like Mike Conley, but not as good of a driver or shooter (yet), but a better passer.
Jared Sullinger — Yeah, we heard the Kevin Love comps. We scoffed at those. I’m thinking DeJuan Blair.
Meyers Leonard — A more athletic Chris Dudley? I’ve been a bit slow to get on the Leonard bandwagon. I’d definitely take Zeller over him. Maybe down the road Leonard is Horace Grant, a serviceable big who rebounds, plays defense, and hits the occasional 10-footer?
John Henson — While he was at UNC, I thought he was basically Ed Davis (now with Toronto). Could his ceiling be an Alonzo Mourning-type player defensively (Henson supposedly has a similar 7-foot-6 wingspan; let’s see what he officially measures at the combine) and lead the league in blocks? Small chance of that happening. I can see Henson having an Otis Thrope-type career offensively – next to the right center – while swatting shots like Elden Campbell.
Royce White — With Rivers, he’s probably the 2nd player in the lottery I love a lot more than anyone else putting out mock drafts. How much do I like him? At times, I’ve seen a less polished, larger (a svelte 270 pounds) version of Scottie Pippen. If you tried to list the forward/centers who played best against Kentucky last year, did anyone do better than White? In the 2nd round of the NCAA tourney, he had 23 points and nine rebounds and anyone who watched the game had to come away thinking, “he was the best player on the court tonight.” Hopefully, White interviews well and gets that lottery money. He doesn’t shoot it well enough to be a Lamar Odom or a bigger version of Iguodala. How about Paul Millsap of the Jazz?
Dion Waiters — Because of his methodical yet aggressive drives to the basket, some like to compare him to Dwyane Wade. I’d say that is his best case scenario (but an unlikely one). More realistic: Marcus Thornton, the scorer in Sacramento. A tougher, more aggressive Anthony Peeler?
Perry Jones, Baylor, SF — A hodgepodge of players, but for me, Darius Miles applies. Long, athletic, but not quite tough on the court or mentally (Miles let high school/AAU success and money go to his head; Jones plays as if he doesn’t love basketball). Anthony Randolph of the Wolves also applies because Jones is teeming with potential. Another offensive-minded small forward comp could be Thaddeus Young of the 76ers.
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