Commentary

Rating the draft by position

Updated: June 23, 2014, 4:11 PM ET
By Dick Vitale | ESPN.com

Marcus SmartTim Heitman/USA TODAY SportsDick Vitale rates Marcus Smart among the best point guards in this year's draft.

It's NBA draft time, and fans get so excited as their teams have a chance to build for the future.

Remember this; when you look at the past, it is not easy to get a dominant player through the draft. Just look at last year, when only a handful of players had an immediate impact. Michael Carter-Williams, Victor Oladipo and Trey Burke were vital to their teams, but very few difference-makers entered the league.

None of them took their respective teams to the promised land.

This year's draft is a lot better and deeper. The VBDI (Vitale Bald Dome Index) is kicking into gear, and here are my top five players by position. Of course, putting together a list like this is based on interpretation of positions. I have not seen most of the foreign players and did not include them, with the exceptions of Jusuf Nurkic of Bosnia-Herzegovina and guard Dante Exum of Australia; Exum could go in the top five.

I firmly believe you can get talented players late in the first round and early in the second. You never know how a player is going to respond after he gets the megadollars. How will he respond to the challenge at the next level, when he isn't option No. 1 anymore? 

These are my position ratings, not where they will go in the draft.

SHOOTING GUARDS
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Gary Harris, Michigan State
P.J. Hairston, North Carolina/NBDL
James Young, Kentucky

POINT GUARDS
Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Dante Exum, Australia
Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette

CENTERS
Joel Embiid, Kansas
Patric Young, Florida
Mitch McGary, Michigan
Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Johnny O'Bryant, LSU

SMALL FORWARDS
Doug McDermott, Creighton
Rodney Hood, Duke
T.J. Warren, NC State
Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Cleanthony Early, Wichita State

POWER FORWARDS
Jabari Parker, Duke
Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Julius Randle, Kentucky
Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Adreian Payne, Michigan State

Dick Vitale

College Basketball analyst
Dick Vitale, college basketball's top analyst and ambassador, joined ESPN during the 1979-80 season. His thorough knowledge of the game is brought forth in an enthusiastic, passionate style. Vitale also contributes columns to ESPN.com.

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