Nobody expected the 18-year-old Kristaps Porzingis to declare in 2014, and though he still has time to withdraw, his long-term potential might be big enough to draw first-round looks from teams interested in drafting and stashing.
A standout at the Nike International Junior Tournament a year ago, Porzingis has gotten extensive playing time for Cajasol Sevilla in the Spanish ACB, where he's averaging 6.7 points and 0.9 blocks on 47.6 percent shooting in 14.9 minutes (14.8 points, 2.6 blocks per 40).
Porzingis' appeal ultimately stems from the upside tied to his blend of size, athleticism and skill set.
At 7'0", he's extremely light on his feet. He can fly up and down the floor or lift off high above the rim. Offensively, he's got the foot speed and body control to put it on the deck and attack the rim. And he can knock down shots in a variety of different ways from all over the floor.
Porzingis has three-point range (16-of-48 from downtown), along with the shot-making ability to convert off the dribble or over the shoulder. Off the ball, he moves and presents himself as a glowing target for lobs and transition buckets.
Defensively, given his size, length and agility, he has the potential to guard forwards on the perimeter and the rim as a roaming protector.
At around 220 pounds, Porzingis needs to bulk up in order to man the post at each end of the floor. But if we're talking about long-term upside, there aren't many prospects in the field with more to offer than him.
Assuming he does choose to keep his name in the draft, consider Portzingis a late first- or second-round pick with a lottery prospect's ceiling.
Despite every general manager being aware of his ability, Mitch McGary is still likely to fall deep into the first or second round.
And when we look back five years down the road, we might consider it a crime.
A back injury will be the primary reason for his fall—McGary missed most of the year after choosing to undergo surgery to fix a pain he'd been feeling since his freshman year. He also would have been suspended for a year from college basketball after testing positive for marijuana.
And quite frankly, this is a good enough reason to slip. It would seem a little risky to hand a guaranteed contract to a big man coming off back surgery—especially when you consider the depth of this draft and the strong, alternative options that will likely be available to choose from.
But if it turns out the procedure was successful, and McGary is able to get back to doing what he does, some team will find itself a valuable interior specialist.
Every rotation could use a guy like McGary, whose strengths center on his size, rebounding instincts, finishing ability and motor. He's a janitor around the rim, where he cleans up messes on the offensive glass thanks to soft hands and a nose for the ball.
He also runs the floor, passes well for a big man and provides that constant activity at both ends of the floor. Worst comes to worst, a team is getting an energy guy who can make things happen in the paint.
Of course, everything will ride on his health and durability, but for a projected late first- or second-round option, the potential reward is certainly worth the risk.