May 21, 2014

2014 NBA Mock Draft 1.0: Cavs Land Another Star

#22 Andrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas

2014 NFL Mock Draft: Round 1
(Wednesday, May 21, 2014)

Here is my first 2014 NBA Mock Draft of the year, and the first of several updates leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft. The draft order is official, and team needs are taken into consideration.

Cleveland got lucky once again... literally. Winning the NBA Draft lottery for the second straight year, and for the third time in four years. They made a mistake by selecting Anthony Bennett with the first overall pick last year, but now they have a chance to redeem themselves and pair star point guard Kyrie Irving with another star player. With three superstar talents in this draft, which one will they choose?

You can view my 2014 NBA Draft Big Board here

1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Andrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 197 lbs. | Class: Freshman

2013-2014 Season Record: 33-49

Analysis: With a 1.7% chance of winning the lottery, the Cavaliers landed the first pick for the 3rd time in 4 years. Any of the big 3 would suffice. You can definitely make the case for both Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker being the first overall pick, but Cleveland looks like it has its sights set on Andrew Wiggins.

Wiggins may not be the next LeBron like he was hyped up to be, but he has the potential to be one of the few elite wing players in the NBA. He also fills their biggest need at small forward, or could start next to Kyrie Irving in the backcourt, with Dion Waiters coming off the bench.

2. Milwaukee Bucks
Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 250 lbs. | Class: Freshman

2013-2014 Season Record: 15-67

Analysis: After signing Larry Sanders to a big contract last season, he disappointed both on and off the court. Subsequently, his name has been floating around in trade rumors.

Speaking of rumors, it was only a few months when it was rumored that the Bucks were leaning towards Joel Embiid if they were to land the first overall pick. If they believe Embiid is the best player in the draft, then he would make sense, even more so if Sanders is ultimately dealt.

3. Philadelphia 76ers
Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 240 lbs. | Class: Freshman

2013-2014 Season Record: 19-63

Analysis: Though Sixers brass and supporters were hoping their team won the draft lottery, they still have the opportunity to grab one of the three elite prospects in this draft. Jabari Parker fills their huge need for a scoring wing player.

Parker is the most NBA ready player in the draft, and will provide instant offense for the Sixers. He can play the three or the four, and gives them a nice trio of young players, along with last year's 6th overall pick, center Nerlens Noel, and 11th overall pick, point guard Michael Carter-Williams.

4. Orlando Magic
Dante Exum, PG, Australia
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 196 lbs. | Class: 1995

2013-2014 Season Record: 23-59

Analysis: Orlando slipped out of the top three, so they won't get a shot at Embiid, Wiggins, or Parker. However, Australian guard Dante Exum is a nice consolation prize.

Victor Oladipo isn't a point guard, and Jameer Nelson, even if brought back for the upcoming season, isn't the long term answer. Enter, Dante Exum, a combo guard with the skill set to run the point, and the talent to be the next big thing in the NBA.

5. Utah Jazz
Noah Vonleh, C, Indiana
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 247 lbs. | Class: Freshman

2013-2014 Season Record: 25-57

Analysis: Utah really needs a wing scorer, but none are worth drafting here. Don't be surprised if this pick is ultimately traded. If they keep the pick, I think they could go with a big. Enes Kanter's future seems a bit cloudy, and Utah had pretty good success with a trio of talented bigs as recently as the 2012-13 season.

Guys like Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon make some sense, but Noah Vonleh could have the advantage since he has the ability to play center. Vonleh is more skilled offensively than his two draft counterparts, and has just as much upside, if not more.

6. Boston Celtics
Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 250 lbs. | Class: Freshman

2013-2014 Season Record: 25-57

Analysis: Boston needs and wants a center, but, unfortunately for them, both Joel Embiid and Noah Vonleh are off the board. They are another team who could move their pick, but if they stay put, they'll likely go with the best player on their board.

Julius Randle is going to be an excellent low post scorer in the NBA. He already knows how to bully his way to the basket, and is arguably the most NBA ready prospect in the draft not named Jabari Parker.

7. Los Angeles Lakers
Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 227 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

2013-2014 Season Record: 27-55

Analysis: If the Lakers opt to keep this pick, they'll go with the best player on their board as well, as they have a need at every position in all honestly. Marcus Smart makes a ton of sense.

Smart gives LA a much needed long-term answer at point guard, and can have an immediate impact as a lockdown perimeter defender, and offensive play maker.

8. Sacramento Kings
Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 220 lbs. | Class: Freshman

2013-2014 Season Record: 28-54

Analysis: Rumors suggest that the Kings, wanting to win now, are open to trading the 8th overall pick for a veteran, most likely a big to play next to DeMarcus Cousins. The good news is that if they keep the pick, one of the top three power forwards could fall to them.

Aaron Gordon is an athletic combo forward who will be a highlight reel player on offense, while having a major impact on the defensive end. Once he develops some post moves, he'll be a legit scoring presence inside.

9. Charlotte Hornets
Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 181 lbs. | Class: Freshman
(via Detroit)

2013-2014 Season Record: 43-39

Analysis: The Hornets surprised a lot of people by making the playoffs. With Al Jefferson and Cody Zeller, they're set in the front court. What they need is an athletic shooting guard who can... well, shoot.

Zach LaVine may be the biggest boom or bust prospect in this draft. While he is somewhat of a risky pick, his upside is as great as any of the consensus top prospects in the draft. Levine shot 38% from downtown this past season at UCLA, and I think that will translate to the NBA level.

10. Philadelphia 76ers
Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 210 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via New Orleans)

2013-2014 Season Record: 19-63

Analysis: After taking Jabari Parker with the 3rd overall pick, the Sixers will probably be expected to draft a big to pair with Nerlens Noel. However, it wouldn't surprise me if they went with a back court player.

Gary Harris may not have as much upside as some of the other players in this draft, but he is a plug-and-play starter next to starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams at the two guard spot.

11. Denver Nuggets
Dario Šarić, PF, Croatia
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 230 lbs. | Class: 1994

2013-2014 Season Record: 36-46

Analysis: Expect the Nuggets to draft the best player available here. In this case, that would be Croatian forward Dario Šarić. He makes sense here, especially if Kenneth Faried is traded.

Šarić can also play on the wing, so his versatility is something that could allow him to be drafted even higher. Even if he ends up staying overseas for a few years, he'll be worth the wait for Denver.

12. Orlando Magic
Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 218 lbs. | Class: Senior
(via New York)

2013-2014 Season Record: 23-59

Analysis: Orlando drafted its point guard of the future with the 4th overall pick, so pretty much any position except for point guard will be in play with the 12th pick. I think the Magic will target a wing scorer.

Doug McDermott isn't the most athletic, but he's arguably the best scorer in the entire draft. He can score from the wing or inside, and could become a go-to-guy in late game situations.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 207 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

2013-2014 Season Record: 40-42

Analysis: The biggest question surrounding the Timberwolves is if and when Kevin Love will be traded. It would be a smart idea to target a power forward here, but the top guys at the position are off the board.

They also need a shooter on the wing, which is why Nik Stauskas from Michigan would be a great fit. He's not just a shooter though, as he can score from nearly anywhere on the floor.

14. Phoenix Suns
Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
Ht: 6-3 Wt: 182 lbs. | Class: Freshman

2013-2014 Season Record: 48-34

Analysis: The Suns will do anything they can to re-sign Eric Bledsoe, but what if he departs via free agency? If they liked what they saw from Goran Dragić at the two, a point guard could be in play.

Though not as athletic as the two point guards expected to be drafted ahead of him, Tyler Ennis is the best "pure" point guard in the 2014 NBA Draft. Maybe he won't make fans forget about the impressive Bledsoe-Dragić tandem right away, but he should be able to lead a team with plenty of talent in place.

15. Atlanta Hawks
Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 208 lbs. | Class: Sophomore (RS)

2013-2014 Season Record: 38-44

Analysis: While the Hawks were able to sneak into the playoffs, they still need a talented wing scorer. Guys like James Young and P.J. Hairston are on the board, but Duke forward Rodney Hood may be a more natural fit.

16. Chicago Bulls
P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 229 lbs. | Class: Junior
(via Charlotte)

2013-2014 Season Record: 48-34

Analysis: The Bulls need a scorer. Period. That's exactly what P.J. Hairston will be for them. Maybe he isn't the go-to-guy they're looking for, but he can shoot and get to the rim in a manner that reminds me of James Harden.

17. Boston Celtics
James Young, SG, Kentucky
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 213 lbs. | Class: Freshman
(via Brooklyn)

2013-2014 Season Record: 25-57

Analysis: Speaking of teams who need a scorer, the Celtics could use a backcourt player who can put the ball in the basket at a high rate. James Young has that kind of potential.

18. Phoenix Suns
Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
Ht: 6-10 Wt: 239 lbs. | Class: Senior
(via Washington)

2013-2014 Season Record: 48-34

Analysis: More depth and competition at the four for the Suns. Adreian Payne will provide just that, but it wouldn't surprise me if he ends up becoming the starting power forward by season's end. He's a good value pick at 18.

19. Chicago Bulls
Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Ht: 6-4 Wt: 185 lbs. | Class: Junior

2013-2014 Season Record: 48-34

Analysis: Kirk Hinrich is a free agent, and the Bulls currently don't have a reliable back up point guard. Elfrid Payton has generated some buzz lately, enough to make him a potential lottery pick, so it's another good value pick outside of the lottery.

20. Toronto Raptors
Kyle Anderson, PF, UCLA
Ht: 6-9 Wt: 230 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

2013-2014 Season Record: 48-34

Analysis: Starting point guard Kyle Lowry is an unrestricted free agent, and backup point guard Greivis Vasquez is a restricted free agent. Toronto probably needs to address the point guard position via the draft. Kyle Anderson is basically a point guard in a power forward's body. They should be able to figure out the best way to utilize his unique skill set.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Clint N'Dumba-Capela, PF, Switzerland
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 222 lbs. | Class: 1994
(via Dallas)

2013-2014 Season Record: 59-23

Analysis: Clint N'Dumba-Capela, the forward from Switzerland is another prospect who could rise as the draft closes in on us. He'll likely be stashed over seas by a championship contender such as the Oklahoma City Thunder.

22. Memphis Grizzlies
T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 220 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

2013-2014 Season Record: 50-32

Analysis: Memphis is another team who desperately could use a wing scorer. T.J. Warren is a bit of a forward tweener, but he can score in a variety of ways, which is most important.

23. Utah Jazz
Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
Ht: 6-7 Wt: 211 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via Golden State)

2013-2014 Season Record: 25-57

Analysis: Glen Robinson III isn't the shooter they would like to replace Gordon Hayward, but his upside and athletic ability could be too good to pass up late in round one.

24. Charlotte Hornets
Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
Ht: 6-8 Wt: 214 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via Portland)

2013-2014 Season Record: 43-39

Analysis: If they want to go with the best talent on the board at this point, that could be Syracuse forward Jerami Grant. He projects as a solid role player, but needs to figure out his niche one he gets in the NBA.

25. Houston Rockets
Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
Ht: 6-11 Wt: 266 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

2013-2014 Season Record: 54-28

Analysis: No, he's not replacing Dwight Howard. Omer Asik is likely to be dealt this off-season, so Houston could use a backup center. Mitch McGary can also play the four potentially.

26. Miami Heat
Jusuf Nurkić, C, Bosnia
Ht: 7-0 Wt: 280 lbs. | Class: 1994

2013-2014 Season Record: 54-28

Analysis: Some feel like Jusuf Nurkić could be a potential lottery pick. If that's the case, he'd be something of a steal late in the first round. The Heat need size and a legit starting center.

27. Phoenix Suns
Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
Ht: 6-5 Wt: 209 lbs. | Class: Sophomore
(via Indiana)

2013-2014 Season Record: 48-34

Analysis: While he does have athletic limitations, Jordan Adams is capable of coming off the bench and scoring in bunches. Every team in the NBA can use another scorer, so the Suns are no different.

28. Los Angeles Clippers
Isaiah Austin, C, Baylor
Ht: 7-1 Wt: 220 lbs. | Class: Sophomore

2013-2014 Season Record: 57-25

Analysis: The Clippers could use some depth in the front court. Isaiah Austin is more of a finesse big, but is talented enough to emerge as a very good role player.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder
K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 196 lbs. | Class: Junior

2013-2014 Season Record: 59-23

Analysis: McDaniels is a great athlete who can defend multiple positions. He would be a sensible replacement for Thabo Sefolosha, who is an unrestricted free agent.

30. San Antonio Spurs
Thanasis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece
Ht: 6-6 Wt: 205 lbs. | Class: 1992

2013-2014 Season Record: 62-20

Analysis: It always seems logical to project an international prospect to the Spurs in the first round. The older brother of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thanasis may not have as much upside, but he is very similar to his brother, and has the potential to be an excellent perimeter defender.