March Madness is the biggest platform for 2014 NBA Draft prospects to distinguish themselves before the draft process begins in earnest this summer. A big tournament can vault a player to unprecedented heights, or make them re-evalute whether they want to enter the draft this year after all. Below we take a look at a few of the 2014 NBA Draft prospects that the Orlando Magic have their eye on and what they face in the first round.
Julius Randle- PF Kentucky
Randle has seen his stock slip amidst the chaos at Kentucky. No one is doubting his production, but it hasn’t translated to team dominance, and many wonder if it will transfer to the NBA. His best chance to change minds is by spurring a huge upset over Wichita State in Round 2, but before that he faces a stiff challenge versus Kansas State. KSU has their own superstar freshman in Marcus Foster, and Kentucky could be embarrassed in an early first round exit.
Marcus Smart – PG Oklahoma State
Smart has quietly steadied the ship after a run of poor play and suspension for pushing a fan led to a seven game losing streak for OK State. They finished 5-2 on the season, but Smart needs a defining moment to re-brand his lottery pick credentials. Taking out fan favorite Gonzaga could set the stage for a 2nd round showdown versus Arizona. A big tournament could help ease some NBA minds and get back in their good graces.
The Shocking Upset – Almost Everybody
Nothing stings more like an embarrassing end of season upset. If it happens early enough, it could make a player chose to return to school to make amends or worse, hurt their draft stock with guilt by association. Tyler Ennis of Syracuse and Jabari Parker of Duke are two freshman phenoms who are not guaranteed to enter the draft. A loss in the first round could seal them coming back to school.
How do you think the first round will impact the 2014 NBA Draft prospects? Let us know in the comments section below!