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Basketball: A look at Napier and Daniels in the NBA Draft

By Matt Zampini
On May 8, 2014

This year's NBA Draft is shaping up to have one of the most talented draft classes since the 2003 draft when LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Dwayne Wade were all drafted in the top-five.
By now, everyone knows that UConn standouts Shabazz Napier and DeAndre Daniels are entering the draft, eager to fulfill their life long dreams of being professional basketball players.
Napier, who made the right decision to return for his senior season, has vastly increased his draft stock and is projected to be drafted in the mid-to-late first round while Daniels, who is the 16th UConn player to leaver school early, could go anywhere from the middle of the first round to the middle of the second round.
Napier was the best point guard in the country this past season. No one can argue against it. Along with leading UConn to a fourth National Championship, Napier was an AP All-American First Team selection, the American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and he also won the Bob Cousy Award, which is awarded to the best point guard in college basketball.
It is very likely that Napier will end up playing for a title contender right away. If he falls that late in the draft, it is going to be hard to not pull the trigger on a guy who has progressed this far and has proved that he is a leader and can compete against the best players. During the National Championship game, LeBron James even tweeted that there should not be a point guard taken before Napier in the draft. That is saying a lot coming from the best himself.
As for Daniels, his decision to forgo his senior year and enter the draft may have caught people by surprise, but he could not have done it at a better time. Daniels improved his draft stock immensely with an exceptional performance in UConn's National Championship run this year, so it is hard to blame him for leaving on such a high note. Daniels averaged 16 points along with 7.2 rebounds in UConn's run to the title.
Daniels certainly has the talent to compete at the NBA level, as he has improved his outside shot but there are a lot of questions surrounding his consistency. We saw that this past season at UConn, as he would disappear some games but in the end, the talent that he put on display during the tournament showed that he could play against the best and it should land him somewhere late in the first round.
Both players will certainly get drafted this upcoming summer. Napier will likely either be a starter or play significant minutes off the bench while Daniels will have to work a little bit harder for a roster spot. Being drafted is a remarkable achievement, but there is still work to be done.

 


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