TEXT: Peter Lindström
The Basketball World Cup is over and the NBA training camps are starting so it’s time to turn the attention to the other side of the Atlantic and to the upcoming NBA season. With a new season, especially intriguing is always to try to project the success of the new rookie class. Even today, the skill of picking the right player is very unpredictable and every year there are surprises and busts, who will they be this year?
The class of 2014-15 has been very hyped already for a few years and has a few players that are already well known with high expectations. Below quick introductions of the first three picks of this year’s draft.
Andrew Wiggins (#1 Pick)
The Canadian supertalent must have known something is going on behind the scenes when Lebron James announced he is coming back to Cleveland Cavaliers, the team that had just drafted Wiggins as the number one pick a couple of weeks earlier. In James’ announcement, he said he was looking forward to playing together with Kyrie Irving (who was just nominated the MVP of the World Cup) as well as many other current Cavs players but he never mentioned Wiggins by name. And soon the speculations proved to have truth behind them, Wiggins was traded with some other assets to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Kevin Love and in one day the Cavaliers had transformed them into a championship contender. Wiggins meanwhile, is looking to prove to everyone he was worth the number one pick and Wolves fans are already looking to see a high-energy team with plenty of alley-oops between point guard Ricky Rubio and Wiggins.
Jabari Parker (#2 Pick)
My favorite pick to be the Rookie of the year. Very solid already even though he has only played one season of NCAA basketball and he will get plenty of playing time in Milwaukee linking up with the “Greek Freak” Giannis Antetokounmpo. Seems to have a good head on his shoulders as well and could end up being a Carmelo Anthony type scoring machine or a Paul Pierce type do-it-all forward.
Joel Embiid (#3 Pick)
Embiid has already showed his entertainment value with his Twitter-account that he has used to get the attention of Kim Kardashian and Rihanna but noone should forget that up until May he was the consensus number one pick. Unfortunately Embiid broke his foot just before the draft and dropped to the Sixers at number three. If he can stay healthy, the raw Cameroonian is projected to become an elite center who already showed his athleticism during his college basketball career at University of Kentucky. However, it seems that he might be sitting out the whole season and we will only get to see him in action next year.
There’s lots of other talent as well and of particular interest for a Finn who is always hoping for our own Petteri Koponen to make the leap are the new Europeans that are trying to make it in the NBA.
Bojan Bogdanovic will be looking to get Mikhail Prokhorov’s attention in Brooklyn and Kostas Papanikolaou has a chance to contribute right away in Houston. Zoran Dragic will be joining his brother in Phoenix and Nikola Mirotic is going to beef up the already strong Bulls frontcourt in Chicago. Outside of Europe, also a few other internationals were drafted high. Utah Jazz is expecting Australian Dante Exum to become their future star point guard and Sacramento Kings picked probably the best pure shooter of the draft with Canadian Nik Stauskas.
Will the new foreign talent turn out as stars like Pau Gasol or will they end up us busts as the recently retired Darko Milicic who at the age of 29 decided to become a professional kick-boxer? No one knows and that is the best part of it. A lot of exciting new players and so many question marks around them, we’ll continue soon once the training camps are over and the preseason is on its way!