NBA Draft's Top 3: Power Forwards
With the Denver Nuggets holding the 11th overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, Nuggets.com is taking a look at the top prospects at each position.
Today’s focus is power forwards. Led by rising star Kenneth Faried, the Nuggets are in good shape at the four spot. J.J. Hickson is recovering from knee surgery, but should be back sometime in 2014-15, and Darrell Arthur emerged as a “stretch four” last season.
Height/Weight: 6'9"/247 lbs.
With arms made for shot-blocking and legs built to run the floor, Vonleh has seen his stock rise steadily since the end of his freshman season at Indiana.
Vonleh averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks and was named the 2013-14 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, and he continued to impress by simply showing up for measurements at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago last month.
Already with a reputation as a hard worker, Vonleh boasts a 7-foot-4 armspan and 37-inch vertical leap. He also is a decent ballhandler for his size, and he went 16-for-33 from 3-point range last year.
Given his youth, Vonleh still needs to add some weight and strength to handle the challenge of defending the low post. Scouts also raised some concerns about his willingness to be more assertive as a scoring option.
Bottom line: Hard to envision Vonleh slipping out of the top 10 on draft night.
Height/Weight: 6'9"/220 lbs.
An array of highlight reel dunks made Gordon a YouTube sensation even before his arrival at Arizona. He added to the video clips while helping the Wildcats reach the Elite Eight of the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
Gordon, who averaged 12.4 points and 8.0 rebounds as a freshman, is an extraordinary leaper who can finish in transition and cause problems for the opposition defensively. His mid-range shot remains a question mark, along with his free-throw shooting (.422).
While his offensive skills remain unpolished, scouts love Gordon’s energy and basketball IQ. His athleticism alone could allow him to make an immediate impact as he continues to develop.
Bottom line: Gordon is a consensus top-10 pick who will be fun to watch at the next level.
Height/Weight: 6'9"/250 lbs.
From his college debut against UNC-Ashville to his final appearance against Connecticut in the NCAA championship game, Randle rarely disappointed in 2013-14.
The highly touted freshman averaged 14.8 points and 9.8 rebounds in the tournament and recorded 14 double-doubles in his final 17 games for the Wildcats.
As a left-handed shooter who succeeds despite behind a big undersized on the interior, Randle often is compared to Zach Randolph. At Kentucky, he was able to finish through contact and excel on the offensive boards.
Despite his impressive numbers, scouts remain concerned with Randle’s length and ability to score against stronger NBA competition. He also needs to develop more consistency on his jumper but could develop into a nice pick-and-pop option.
Bottom line: Randle has an NBA-ready body and a huge upside that will make him a top-10 pick.