Tonight, the 2014 NBA Draft takes place, and once again, Kentucky has a couple of projected first-round picks in Julius Randle and James Young. Earlier this week, Ben Roberts helpfully compiled a list of where each of the mock drafts projects Julius Randle and James Young, and the table is reproduced below:
|Outlet||Julius Randle||James Young||Last updated|
|DraftExpress.com||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 18 to Suns||June 23|
|ESPN’s Chad Ford||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 14 to Suns||June 23|
|NBADraft.net||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 24 to Hornets||June 20|
|USA Today||No. 6 to Celtics||No. 20 to Raptors||June 23|
|Yahoo Sports||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 12 to Magic||June 23|
|Sporting News||No. 5 to Jazz||No. 16 to Bulls||June 21|
|NBA.com||No. 6 to Celtics||No. 16 to Bulls||June 23|
|CBS’ Gary Parrish||No. 6 to Celtics||No. 15 to Hawks||June 23|
|CBS’ Matt Moore||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 14 to Suns||June 19|
|CBS’ Zach Harper||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 12 to Magic||June 19|
|Sheridan Hoops||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 21 to Thunder||June 23|
|Hoops Hype||No. 7 to Lakers||No. 24 to Hornets||June 20|
As you can see, Randle is projected to go anywhere from 5-7, with most draft watchers considering him as a likely #7 pick to the Los Angeles lakers. What I like about Randle's situation is that, if the mock drafters are in the right range, he winds up going to one of three very good franchises, if not teams at the current moment. All three teams at this point are in rebuilding mode, which is one reason why they get to pick so high. But they are all outstanding NBA franchises with a winning history.
James Young has a more uncertain outlook, as the mock drafters have him going anywhere from 12-24, a big range. There are some good teams in there, and some bad ones. One of the benefits of going later is that you have a better shot at getting on a competitive team, with the downside being that you're fight for playing time is likely to be much tougher.
For the fifth straight year, Kentucky has a player who is likely to be taken in the top ten, and that's a fantastic legacy for John Calipari's program. Every time the NBA Draft comes around, Kentucky puts ever more players into the league, and at some point, if not already, UK players are going to be the team with the most players in the league. That's an awesome statistic for Coach Cal to be able to put in front of recruits, and even though most of us are still skeptical of Coach Cal's pronouncement back in 2010 that the draft that year was "the biggest day in the history of Kentucky's program," there is no doubt the NBA draft plays a major role in helping him recruit the best players in the nation.
So lets enjoy the 2014 Draft, it has been much-anticipated as this promises to be one of the most productive drafts in history, and teams have been eagerly awaiting some of the talent in this bunch. Only time will tell if it is as good as everyone hopes, but at the moment, it looks very good.