Cleanthony Early is another player, who like Adreian Payne who we first looked at, is very NBA ready after spending four years at Wichita State. Early helped make the Wichita State Shockers March darlings, and though the Shockers were bounced early by the Kentucky Wildcats in 2014, it had an undefeated record and No. 1 seed at that point.
Early was one of the biggest reasons why, and he’s a very intriguing NBA player because he is a great athlete whose knack for scoring will almost certainly translate at the next level.
Watching Early brought back a lot of memories of what young Jamal Mashburn looked like. Both were 6’8” small forwards with the physicality of power forwards at the time, yet were not all bruise and bang.
Skilled shooting and an instinctive knack on how to evade multiple defenders are traits both bring, and Early’s 24 point, 10 rebound game against a tough Louisville team in 2013 showed he was capable of thriving against tough front courts. He’ll encounter many of them in the NBA, but it seems the best position for Early may be the 3-spot.
If Chandler Parsons prices himself out of the Rockets’ price range, Early could be the next big bargain for Morey. NBADraft.net compares Early to 90s forward Clifford Robinson and has him going 23rd to Utah. There’s a very good chance Early will be available when the Rockets are on the clock, and though Payne would likely be a better fit, Early should be high on the big board as well.