Chad Ford's 2015 Big Board
Chad Ford takes an early look at the best 2015 has to offer
As we learned with Joel Embiid, size eventually outweighs just about everything else come draft time. At 6-foot-11 with a 7-foot-5 wingspan and 9-foot-3 standing reach, Okafor is absolutely massive. And he has enormous hands and quick feet for a player his size to boot. As a true low-post player with a fairly sophisticated low-post game for his age, Okafor will no doubt intrigue whatever team ends up picking first. But despite his size, Okafor lacks elite athleticism and typically plays below the rim. If he were a better athlete, and if he were in better shape, he'd be a lock for the No. 1 pick. As it stands, he'll likely be the focal point of Duke's offense this season, which should give him plenty of chances to outshine any concerns about his game. If the team drafting No. 1 is in need a center, Okafor is a lock for the job.
The news that Mudiay would skip his freshman season at SMU and instead play overseas this season sent shock waves through the college basketball crowd. But among NBA circles this won't move the needle much, if at all. Yes, Mudiay's departure hurts SMU. Yes, Mudiay will miss the chance to be coached by Larry Brown. But after watching Dante Exum pass on heading to college last year and still end up as top-5 pick in a loaded draft, does anyone seriously think Mudiay playing overseas is going to scare off GMs?Mudiay was the best player at the Nike Hoop Summit in April. Among the 30-plus GMs and scouts I surveyed, he was one of only two players (Okafor was the other) to be mentioned as a potential No. 1 pick. If he was smart, he'd shut it down completely, hire an agent and trainer like Exum did and spend the year training for the draft. He'd be impossible to pick apart then. If he goes overseas, he'll likely struggle like most young point guards do there. Scouts already expect him to struggle, so doing so won't hurt his stock. NBA folks are obviously bummed they don't get to see him play college ball for a year, but the effect on his draft stock should be minimal. He'll stay at No. 2 and I'd be shocked if he slides much from that spot.