With Joel Embiid’s injury, the NBA Draft was thrown into chaos that can only be eclipsed by Lebron and Carmelo opting out of their contracts…oh wait, but that’s for another day. Now my 2014 Mock:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
The Cavs are apparently torn between Wiggins and Jabari Parker, but Wiggins’ potential is too good to pass up. While Parker might be more NBA-ready than anyone else in this draft, the prospect of Wiggins and Kyrie Irving flourishing in new head coach David Blatt’s free-flowing Princeton offense is too much to pass up. The Utah Jazz are apparently offering the #5 pick, Derrick Favors, and Alec Burks for the #1 pick to potentially pick Parker and bring the Mormon to his people in Utah.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Parker will come in and help the Bucks win immediately, which is desperately needed for a fanbase that is losing interest. The Bucks have to get help and get it now. They don’t have the luxury of going through a massive rebuild yet again, which apparently has been going on since the Ray Allen-Glenn Robinson-Sam Cassell-Tim Thomas days.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
A lot of you are going to disagree with me here, but with Embiid sliding out of the top spot with his injury concerns, the 76ers take Embiid and pair him up with Nerlens Noel to create one of the most imposing frontcourts in the league.
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG, Australia
Picking Exum will allow the Magic to slide Victor Oladipo into his more natural shooting guard spot. With the trade of Arron Afflalo to the Nuggets, there will be plenty of backcourt minutes for the two young guards to do their thing. The Magic would love to have Embiid fall to them to pair with Nikola Vucevic.
5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
Vonley was a power forward in college, but I see him sliding down to the 3 in the NBA to better utilize his athleticism. He not only helps with spacing the floor for a Jazz frontcourt that desperately needs it, but gives them a scoring punch that is going to be lacking after Gordon Hayward leaves via free agency.
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
I’m not a huge fan of Gordon’s game, but his athleticism definitely gives the chance of him becoming the next Blake Griffin. The Celtics are probably in tear-down mode after efforts to land Kevin Love fell apart. Rajon Rondo, who has been on the trade market since he was born, might be headed to Sacramento in a package involving the #8 pick.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Randle falls for his injury concerns right into the laps of Mitch Kupchak who begins “retooling” the team around the last two years of Kobe Bryant’s career. Randle is going to be good, his low post moves are advanced for his age and he has a NBA body.
8. Sacramento Kings: Doug McDermott, PF/SF, Creighton
Dougie McBuckets would be a great fit in Sacramento’s starting lineup, but that only happens if the Kings keep this pick. With rumors swirling about Rondo heading to Sactown who knows. McDermott would space the floor with Demarcus Cousins, but there it seems as if this isn’t happening.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Nik Stauskas, PG/SG, Michigan
I’m a huge fan of Stauskas’ game and with a new/old name, Charlotte will look to improve on their playoff season. With Stauskas, Kemba Walker, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist on the wings complementing Al Jefferson inside, the Bobcats could rise fast in a relatively-weak East.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
Harris slides right into the starting lineup alongside last year’s rookie of the year, Michael Carter-Williams. How good Carter-Williams really is, remains to be seen, but Harris definitely provides a scoring punch and shooting from the perimeter that the 76ers desperately need.
11. Denver Nuggets: Jusuf Nurkic, C Bosnia & Herzegovina
I really have no idea about this pick, other than the fact that the Nuggets have been rumored to like the fast-rising big man.
12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia
After drafting one international prospect with the 4th pick, the Magic draft another, except this one won’t be playing till probably 2016. Saric is one of the most highly rated talents in the draft, but will have a delayed NBA debut after signing with his European team.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
The biggest dropper in the draft gets snapped up by the Timberwolves, who seem to just love drafting point guards. Whether Smart gets to play with Kevin Love remains to be seen, but I totally expect him to play next to Ricky Rubio until he supplants Rubio as the starting point guard.
14. Phoenix Suns: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
The Suns need to add more muscle inside and they do that with Payne without losing much of their identity. Payne, like the Morris twins, has both an inside-out game, but is also fierce inside.
15. Atlanta Hawks: TJ Warren, PF/SF, NC State
Warren’s athleticism and game were on full display for two years in Raleigh. Whether he has the discipline to play within a NBA system, especially one as rigorous as Mike Budenholzer’s, remains to be seen.
16. Chicago Bulls: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana Lafayette
Payton is the small-school prospect that everyone falls in love with before the draft. There are rumors now that Payton might go as high as #5 to Utah, but in this scenario, Payton slides into the Bulls’ laps and into the starting lineup. This is how you decrease wear and tear on Derrick Rose: Move him to shooting guard and let Payton distribute. Simple.
17. Boston Celtics: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
The Celtics’ get Rondo’s replacement – whether it be this year or down the road – and LaVine, the 6’6 guard from Westwood pairs up with Aaron Gordon to give the Celtics one of the most athletic drafts in recent memory. A Lavine/Bradley/Gordon/Sullinger/Olynyk lineup looks good for the future.
18. Phoenix Suns: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
The Suns pick up another wing and three-point shooter to space the floor even more and do what they do best.
19. Chicago Bulls: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
I love Anderson’s game and he’ll probably go higher, but he gives the Bulls a capable bench player or even a replacement for Taj Gibson if the Bulls deal him in a package for Kevin Love.
20. Toronto Raptors: Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn
The Raptors probably won’t want to admit it, but Kyle Lowry is probably headed to a contender this offseason (maybe the Rockets) and the national champion and Final Four MVP is ready to start in the NBA. The Heat are reportedly interested in Napier so there could be a trade-up for him.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
It’s obvious that the Thunder require another scoring threat. It’s also obvious that Scott Brooks can only draw up isolation plays. Adams is a player who can score by himself, so this pick makes sense, no?
22. Memphis Grizzlies: James Young, SF, Kentucky
Young adds athleticism to a Grizzlies’ team that desperately needs it. Sure, they would love add another shooter (Young can definitely stroke it from outside) or a big man who can bang heads, but this is a need pick which gives them an offensive counterpart to Tony Allen.
23. Utah Jazz: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
The Jazz already picked Trey Burke last year to be their starting point guard, but Ennis might be better. Only a freshmen, Ennis carried the Orange to a #1 ranking through much of the season and fell only because of the talent-level of this draft.
24. Charlotte Hornets: PJ Hairston, SG, Texas Legends/UNC
After leaving North Carolina, Hairston took his talents to the D-League where he had a great season last year. Michael Jordan takes another North Carolina player who can score. The Bobcats need all the help they can get on the wings and with Stauskas and Hairston, they just got a lot better.
25. Houston Rockets: Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
After trading Omer Asik to the Pelicans, the Rockets need another big body to take the stress off of Dwight Howard. McGary, who made a horrible decision deciding to stay another year, is coming off injuries, but he can still make an impact on the court.
26. Miami Heat: Jordan Clarkson, PG, Missouri
The Heat have other problems as everyone knows about, but replacing Mario Chalmers is a must: not because Chalmers is so good, but exactly the opposite. Clarkson can come off the bench behind Norris Cole and play big minutes for a contender.
27. Phoenix Suns: Dwight Powell, PF, Stanford
The Suns add more muscle to their team and allow for more versatility teaming with Payne, Alex Len, and Miles Plumlee.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia
The Clippers don’t really have any pressing needs on their roster so stashing a shooting guard overseas for a few years till they need him definitely makes sense.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
I think Robinson is going to be the biggest steal in the draft so I’m a little saddened to project him to the Thunder. This just means he’s going to sit on the bench like Jeremy Lamb and Perry Jones and never play meaningful minutes.
30. San Antonio Spurs: KJ McDaniels, SF, Clemson
World, meet the next Kawhi Leonard.
46. Washington Wizards: Sim Bhullar, C, New Mexico State
Bhullar, the 7’5 behemoth who was raised on butter chicken, was already drafted by the Harlem Globetrotters so being drafted by the Wizards would only be the second best thing to happen to him. Get ready, America: the Indians are coming.