2014 NBA Draft is Loaded, But That Could Change by January, Which is Why Marcus Smart Could Still Go as High as 2nd

By Jason McIntyre

Keeping in mind that NBA drafts are all about potential, in June of 2012, my NBA lottery mock draft had four freshman who hadn’t played a minute in college going in the Top 6. The other six players in the Top 10? All freshman, some who had shown a lot (Zeller) and some who had shown flashes (McAdoo).

And where are those 10 players now? Five of them are returning to school (all wisely). The other five?

The top of the 2013 NBA Draft now has names who, in June 2012, few could have imagined – Ben McLemore of Kansas, Michael Carter-Williams of Syracuse, Alex Len of Maryland, Anthony Bennett of UNLV, Otto Porter of Georgetown, Trey Burke of Michigan, and Victor Oladipo of Indiana.

And now, onto Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State, who just decided to stay in school. Given what I’ve seen from Smart, and what I haven’t yet seen from the high school kids, I still think Smart could go as high as 2nd in the draft.

As we saw in the last few years, guards can improve dramatically by staying in school – see Trey Burke, Victor Oladipo and Kemba Walker. What if Smart spends his summer in the gym, working on his handle and taking 500 three-pointers a day? We could see a really dominant player next year.

We saw in the last few years it’s tougher for post players – like Jared Sullinger and Cody Zeller – to pass up the NBA to return to school because of the double-teams they’ll see, not to mention the giant target they become.