The NBA Draft is tonight. This is a football scouting website. So, I won’t pretend to be an expert. But, I’m secretly a big college basketball fan, and Bleacher Report’s Alec Nathan (@AlecBNathan) is one of my best friends, so I talk plenty of basketball, which this time of year, is NBA Draft season.
But, to keep in line with the structure of Optimum Scouting, I’ve decided to take it way to seriously: I’ve scouted each NBA Draft prospect…as if they were becoming NFL draft picks. I’ve focused on the top prospects in the draft (that I’ve seen in college) and gave them an NFL position, along with doing some light research on any football background.
1. Gary Harris, WR, Michigan State
–Harris is a former standout high school receiver. 6’6 with his smoothness in traffic? He’d be a helluva receiver to watch early in the NFL.
2. Mitch McGary, OT, Michigan
–McGary was a standout football player growing up before his father asked him to stop playing as he continued to grow. Add 20 pounds to him, and the nasty low post player could be a long pass blocker.
3. Andrew Wiggins, WR, Kansas
-Andrew Wiggins has the length and unreal athleticism that would make NFL GMs gaga the same way he has for NBA teams. And his aggressiveness as a defender on the court means he’s physical enough for football.
4. Jabari Parker, TE, Duke
-Big, smooth and well-built for a versatile power-forward, he’d immediately be a Jimmy Graham threat in the NFL.
5. Aaron Gordon, DE, Arizona
-Like he’ll need to for the NBA, he’d need to add a few pounds, but he’s an active defender and his explosiveness would rival JJ Watt in the future.
6. Marcus Smart, RB, Oklahoma State
-Despite being 6’4, a bit tall for an NFL runner, he’s a plus athlete, aggressive in traffic, and has the “mean streak” that runners need to have at times.
7. Zach LaVine, WR, UCLA
–Have you seen this guy’s vertical? He’s a bit skinny for an NFL receiver, but give him a year to add some weight, and his explosiveness will jump off the tape.
8. Dante Exum, WR, International
-I have no idea how well this guy can play basketball, nonetheless football. But hey, if he’s being touted as a high draft pick, he must be some kind of athlete. I wish the NFL had more “I’ve never seen him outside of workouts” players. That’d be such a mess that would be fun to scout.
9. Tyler Ennis, CB, Syracuse
-Young, inconsistent, but he’s quick, confident and has plus control when asked to score. I like over-confidence in my cornerbacks.
10. James Young, OLB, Kentucky
-Violent and explosive, I’ll take Young as a 3-4 outside linebacker or a 4-3 SAM linebacker and see what his athleticism can do in space.
11. Julius Randle, DE, Kentucky
-Injury concerns there, but Randle could be a heck of an athlete at defensive end. Already at 250, his ceiling isn’t as high as other defenders on this list, but he’s got an NFL body already.
12. Adrien Payne, TE, Michigan State
-Well-built, long and smooth on the perimeter, Payne could be an inline and Joker tight end in the NFL. Not as physically dominant as other tight end prospects may be, but he’s worth developing.
13. Noah Vonleh, OLB, Indiana
-With crazy length and upside, Vonleh has intrigued NBA teams despite not showing all he can do at Indiana. Putting him at a 3-4 outside linebacker could have teams drooling about his Aldon Smith-potential.
14. Shabazz Napier, SAF, Uconn
-Too small to play running back, but the feisty point guard has the vision to play free safety, and the quickness to play in coverage. If he’s hungry, the NFL has a better rookie scale than NBA players. Just saying.
15. Joel Embiid, TE, Kansas
-He’s 7’0 and has injury problems, so he’s not an ideal NFL prospect, but he’s too athletic to not be considered by NFL teams.
16. Elfrid Payton, RB, Louisiana-Lafayette
17. Kyle Anderson, OLB, UCLA
18. Rodney Hood, WR, Duke
19. TJ Warren, WR, NC State
20. Doug McDermott, TE, Creighton
21. Johnny O’Bryant, TE, LSU
22. Glenn Robinson, WR, Michigan
23. Patrick Young, DE, Florida
24. James McAdoo, OT, North Carolina
25. Nik Stauskas, WR, Michigan
BUT SERIOUSLY, MY BIG BOARD AND MOCK DRAFT
*No international guys because I’ve never seen them*
|2||5||Gary Harris||SG||Michigan St.|
|2||6||Marcus Smart||PG||Oklahoma State|
|3||13||Glenn Robinson III||SF||Michigan|
|4||15||Adreian Payne||PF||Michigan St.|
|4||18||TJ Warren||SF||NC State|
|5||22||Elfrid Payton||PG||Louisiana Lafayette|
|5||24||Markel Brown||SG||Oklahoma State|
|6||28||Thanasis Antetokounmpo||SF||Delaware 87ers|
|6||29||James McAdoo||PF||North Carolina|
|1||Cleveland||Jabari Parker||Potential Star next to Kyrie, or future if they let him walk|
|2||Milwaukee||Dante Exum||Ideally trade with Philly, grab a guard with plus upside|
|3||Philadelphia||Andrew Wiggins||Boom or bust star that could give Philly 3 young pieces to build around|
|4||Orlando||Joel Embiid||Not a glaring need, but the team is stockpiling talent. No rush on PG|
|5||Utah||Noah Vonleh||Hate the reach, but they need a 2/3, Vonleh can offer versatility|
|6||Boston||Aaron Gordon||Grabbing the best player available, stockpiling talent for future trade|
|7||Los Angeles||Marcus Smart||Lakers looking for a high upside guy, and PG fills a long-term need|
|8||Sacramento||Julius Randle||The Kings need front court help, and Randle can offer that at the 4|
|9||Charlotte||Gary Harris||Harris and McLemore is a nice duo at the 2, with one moving to a plus 6th man|
|10||Philadelphia||Nik Stauskas||Adding a shooter like Stauskas to play with MCW and Wiggins is very threatening|
|11||Denver||Zack LaVine||No glaring needs, the Nuggets go with the highest upside|
|12||Orlando||Elfrid Payton||Passing on a point guard at 4 still nets them a potential starter in Payton|
|13||Minnesota||Adrien Payne||With or without the Love trade, they need scoring help down low. Payne can be that.|
|14||Phoenix||Douglas McDermott||Having a high paced offense is perfect for McDermoot, who can score at will|