2014 NBA Draft: Taking An Early Look at the Mid-Major Candidates

Beth Hall-USA TODAY Sports

With the 2014 NBA Draft just six weeks away, it is time to identify those mid-major candidates that have a chance to hear their names, or land a tryout for a roster spot.

With the NFL Draft out of the way, the attention will begin to turn to the NBA Draft, albeit with far less fanfare. That isn't to say that the freshman who all chose to take their game to the next level won't be highly sought after, but any league would be pressed to draw the viewership that the NFL did this season.

This year marks a shift back to the 2012 draft model. The field is populated by a crop of freshman that are earmarked to make an immediate impact. That wasn't the case last season when the seniors dominated the board, especially those from schools in the mid-major ranks.

Many of those found home at the end of the first round and through a long stretch of the second.

This season, it will be a bit harder for the top mid-major players to crack the board and hear their names called on draft day. That isn't to say that that is right, but it is the case, and many will find their fortunes elsewhere, in Europe and out of basketball.

As of Sunday night, here was the list of the best prospects from the mid-major level and their rankings from both DraftExpress and ESPN's Chad Ford.

Name

Year

School

DraftExpress

Ford

Elfrid Payton

Jr.

Louisiana Lafayette

25

19

Cleanthony Early

Sr.

Wichita State

30

24

Shayne Whittington

Sr.

Western Michigan

75


Alec Brown

Sr.

Green Bay

77


Juvonte Reddic

Sr.

VCU

91

61

Sim Bhullar

So.

New Mexico State

97


Travis Bader

Sr.

Oakland

77 (Sr. List)

75

Ronald Roberts

Sr.

St. Joe's

38 (Sr. List)


Jerrelle Benimon

Sr.

Towson

40 (Sr. List)


Javon McCrea

Sr.

Buffalo

42 (Sr. List)

76

Billy Baron

Sr.

Canisius

44 (Sr. List)


Taylor Braun

Sr.

North Dakota State

45 (Sr. List)


Langston Galloway

Sr.

St. Joe's

93 (Sr. List)

79

George Beamon

Sr.

Manhattan


83

Langston Hall

Sr.

Mercer


88

Aaric Murray

Sr.

Texas Southern

57 (Sr. List)

89

Chaz Williams

Sr.

Massachusetts

75 (Sr. List)

91

De'Mon Brooks

Sr.

Davidson

86 (Sr. List)

96

The biggest thing that stands out is that Elfrid Payton certainly looks to have made the right choice bolting early for the draft. He is the lone player from the mid-major ranks that looks to be certain to hear his name called on draft day if all goes well. He may even earn a guaranteed contract by being selected in the first round.

He will be a steal for some team that needs a high motor point guard. He has the court vision to play immediately but would also be a great second option who can take over the top spot in a couple of seasons.

As for the consensus view on the rest of the mid-major players, we are looking at a long night. We might hear Cleanthony Early have his name called in the second round, but everything else after that is a crap shoot. Draft Express and Ford can't even agree who is the next best thing. Some of the players to make Ford's top 100 had trouble just getting into the top 100 on the DraftExpress senior list.

All told though, it looks to be a quiet night for the mid-major stars.

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