Thanks goodness the 2013 NBA draft is over so fans can focus on mocks for the superior 2014 class.
That class will be as top heavy as they come. A decade down the road, it boasts the potential to go down as one of the most talented drafts ever.
Here is an early 2014 first-round mock—because it’s never too early for a mock draft.
Note: Draft order is based off of 2012-13 NBA regular season W-L records.
1. Orlando Magic: SG Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Wiggins is listed at shooting guard—the same position as Victor Oladipo, whom the Magic just drafted—but the most hyped prospect since LeBron James is capable of playing small forward, too. The team selecting No. 1 in 2014 may change, but the player it selects will not.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: SF Jabari Parker, Duke
Charlotte has its floor general in Kemba Walker and may have found its go-to post scorer in Cody Zeller. It still needs a go-to scorer on the wing, though, and Parker couldn’t fit the bill better.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: C Joel Embiid, Kansas
First, the Cavs passed on Jonas Valanciunas in 2012. Then they passed on Nerlens Noel this year. They need to select a center eventually.
4. Phoenix Suns: PF Julius Randle, Kentucky
Randle is the best big in the draft. Cleveland just couldn’t draft another power forward. He could form one of the top power forward-center duos in the league for years to come with Alex Len.
5. New Orleans Pelicans: SF Dario Saric, Croatia
New Orleans is set at guard after acquiring Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson on draft day, permanently moving Austin Rivers to shooting guard. Al-Farouq Aminu and his 7.3 points per game still need to be replaced, though.
6. Sacramento Kings: PG Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
It would be smart if the Kings finally added a pure point guard. They passed on Michael Carter-Williams and Trey Burke, but if Smart falls to No. 6, they’d be foolish to go elsewhere.
7. Detroit Pistons: SF Chris Walker, Florida
Brandon Knight, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond make for an impressive young core, but unless the Pistons add someone like Andre Iguodala in free agency, they still need an upgrade at small forward. Kyle Singler is a respectable reserve—that’s it.
8. Washington Wizards: PF Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Washington’s future perimeter is set in stone with John Wall, Bradley Beal and Otto Porter—if it locks up Wall, of course—but Emeka Okafor is an unrestricted free agent next summer. Also, Jan Vesely doesn’t look like he’ll emerge as the Wizards’ starting power forward anytime soon, or ever.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: SG Gary Harris, Michigan State
Detroit stole Caldwell-Pope for the Timberwolves so they still don’t have a sharp shooting 2-guard. Minnesota should have plenty to choose from in 2014, however, unlike this year.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: SF Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
Portland didn’t have a wing reserve score more than 4.0 points per game this past season. The explosive Robinson would fix that.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: SG Mario Hezonja, Croatia
Philly could very well have the first overall pick when it’s all said and done—they will be that bad next season. No matter where the team is slated to draft, though, shooting guard will be Philadelphia’s greatest need, with Nick Young, Evan Turner and Jason Richardson all heading for free agency over the next two summers.
12. Toronto Raptors: PF Montrezl Harrell, Louisville
According to Jared Zwerling of ESPN New York, Toronto is about to send Andrea Bargnani to the New York Knicks, and it already dealt Ed Davis to Memphis before the trade deadline this past season. Now that the Raptors showed both of their respectable power forwards the door, they need a new one.
13. Dallas Mavericks: C Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky
Chris Kaman is an unrestricted free agent. If the Mavs fail to sign Dwight Howard or another notable center this summer, they’ll be desperate for one in 2014.
14. Utah Jazz: SF Jerami Grant, Syracuse
Utah didn’t have a true wing player not named Gordon Hayward score more than 6.0 points per game this past season. It didn’t do anything to fix that by selecting Trey Burke and Rudy Gobert this year either, so it’s still a major need.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: PF Jarnell Stokes, Tennessee
Larry Sanders, Ekpe Udoh and Gustavo Ayon are all restricted free agents next summer. Unless the Bucks expect to keep them all, they must bolster their frontcourt depth.
16. Boston Celtics: PG Andrew Harrison, Kentucky
Harrison is a huge steal at this point in the draft, but no one after the Kings needed a point guard. Boston isn’t desperate for one with Rajon Rondo, but who knows if he’ll still be seen as part of the Celtics’ future a year from now. Plus, he still needs a backup.
17. Atlanta Hawks: SF Sam Dekker, Wisconsin
Kyle Korver and DeShawn Stevenson were the Hawks starting small forwards this season. As easy as the task should’ve been, they failed to replace Marvin Williams.
18. Houston Rockets: SF Alex Poythress, Kentucky
Houston is a ballclub deep with young talent, but it doesn’t have a true small forward on its roster to back up Chandler Parsons. It couldn’t add that small forward this year because it didn’t have a first-round pick.
19. Los Angeles Lakers: PG Dante Exum, Australia
Steve Nash is 39 years old. Combine that with Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock’s lack of emergence as anything resembling a starting point guard and the Lakers need to identify their future floor general.
20. Chicago Bulls: PF Mitch McGary, Michigan
Unless second-round selection Erik Murphy miraculously breaks into the rotation, Chicago still needs frontcourt depth. It was at its best with a four-big rotation, and Omer Asik was never replaced.
21. Golden State Warriors: PG Semaj Christon, Xavier
Jarrett Jack is an unrestricted free agent. If the Warriors fail to re-sign or replace him this year, they’ll be desperate to find Stephen Curry a respectable backup in 2014.
22. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn Nets): SF LaQuinton Ross, Ohio State
Boston’s rotation is now filled with youth, but it’ll struggle to find five respectable starters next season. With Rondo at the point, Avery Bradley at 2-guard and Jeff Green, Jared Sullinger, Fab Melo and Kelly Olynyk down low, the Celtics weakest spot is at small forward.
23. Indiana Pacers: SG Rodney Hood, Duke
Assuming Solomon Hill—who ESPN’s Chad Ford ranked (subscription required) as the 79th-best prospect in this year’s draft—fails to crack the rotation, Indiana will still need a backup for Lance Stephenson that can put the ball in the basket.
24. Denver Nuggets (from New York Knicks): C Dakari Johnson, Kentucky
Denver was deep everywhere—then it traded Kosta Koufas. It could use another talented center on its roster besides JaVale McGee if Timofey Mozgov fails to improve.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: SF James Young, Kentucky
Caron Butler, Los Angeles’ starting small forward, averaged 8.5 points per game in the postseason. That’s unacceptable, and if the Clippers don’t replace him this summer, they will when he’s a free agent in 2014.
26. Memphis Grizzlies: SG Aaron Harrison, Kentucky
Tony Allen and Tayshaun Prince are elite defenders, but neither deserves a play called for them—ever. Memphis needs another wing that can score besides Quincy Pondexter.
27. Denver Nuggets: PF Isaiah Austin, Baylor
Now that the Nuggets are deep everywhere again, they have the freedom to draft the best player available. Trading for a future pick is also a likely possibility.
28. San Antonio Spurs: SG Rasheed Sulaimon, Duke
Manu Ginobili is an unrestricted free agent and isn’t worth re-signing after his poor performance in the 2013 NBA Finals. San Antonio needs more firepower off the bench behind Danny Green and Kawhi Leonard on the wing.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: SF Branden Dawson, Michigan State
Thabo Sefolosha is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent next summer. Dawson, a phenomenal defender, would provide security in case the Thunder can’t re-sign him.
30. Miami Heat: PF Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Practically everyone on the Heat roster could become a free agent over the next two summers. This late in the first round, they’ll most likely just draft the best available player.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.
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