2014 NBA Mock Draft: Updated First-Round Projections Entering New Year

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2014 NBA Mock Draft: Updated First-Round Projections Entering New Year
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA and college basketball seasons are in full swing, which means it's a great time to take a look at an updated mock draft entering the new year.

All of the talk right now is about who will be the No. 1 overall player taken in June. All of the talk is surrounding a few star freshman, but there are others trying to make a run to be the first player taken this year.

Below is a look at first-round projections for the NBA draft, breaking down each player and why they would be a good fit for each team. The draft order is determined by ProSportsTransactions.com as of December 30.

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1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas

It's been a tough year for the Milwaukee Bucks, but the good news is that they could get one of the best players in the country in Andrew Wiggins to help give them a chance to make a run in 2014.

Wiggins continues to look more impressive as the season continues. He's currently averaging 15.9 points and 5.4 rebounds per game while shooting 47 percent from the field. He's a ridiculous athlete with loads of potential, and the Bucks would be hoping that he could be come a superstar at the next level.

 

2. Utah Jazz: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Much like the Bucks, the Utah Jazz are hoping to turn things around after this season by getting a top-tier prospect in the draft. With the No. 2 pick, the Jazz could take another great small forward and get a go-to scorer by taking Jabari Parker out of Duke.

A more effective player so far than Wiggins, Parker has averaged 21.4 points per game while shooting an impressive 52.8 percent and 45.5 percent from behind the arc. He has a number of skills to help him score, and he appears to already be prepared to take his game to the next level.

 

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite a 9-21 record, the Philadelphia 76ers have some solid young talent in players like Michael Carter-Williams and Evan Turner. If Nerlens Noel is able to play well once he comes back from his ACL injury, then this could be an exciting team.

With Noel coming back, the 76ers might not consider taking a center, which would give them the opportunity to take Julius Randle to add some help in the frontcourt. He's a deadly player in the paint on both sides of the court that creates a real mismatch for opposing teams.

 

4. Denver Nuggets (From Knicks): Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia

Ty Lawson is a great player, but he can't do it all on his own in the backcourt for the Denver Nuggets if they want to make a run in the Western Conference. Thanks to a trade with the New York Knicks, there's a chance they could take the No. 4 overall pick and grab a great player in Dante Exum to help their backcourt.

A versatile guard, Exum has exploded onto the scene coming out of Australia. He's capable of playing either point or shooting guard at 6'6'', and that will make him an appealing mismatch that NBA teams love to have on their rosters.

 

5. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

The Sacramento Kings have a ton developing talent in their backcourt along with a promising center in DeMarcus Cousins down low. But the Kings still need help in their frontcourt, and they could add a great piece with Aaron Gordon, an incredibly athletic power forward out of Arizona.

Gordon is a team player that does everything you want to see from a young prospect. He's a mentally strong player that is a top-tier finisher near the rim that can throw down some powerful slam dunks. If he can keep developing, he could be a long-term option for the Kings at the position.

 

6. Cleveland Cavaliers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

The situation involving Andrew Bynum doesn't look good and Anderson Varejao probably shouldn't be the starting center for the Cleveland Cavaliers. If they want to improve defensively, then they are going to need to add some help down low.

At 7'0'', Joel Embiid is a developing center with impressive tools on both offense and defense. He's a surprisingly impressive athlete that has some great footwork to go along with great size and length. As far as centers go, Embiid has the potential to become one of the best in the NBA in the near future.

 

7. Orlando Magic: Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Oklahoma State

The current roster for the Orlando Magic could look completely different by June as they look to rebuild for the future. They have some solid talent at essentially every position, so they could focus on taking the best player available with this pick.

The best option here would be to take Marcus Smart. The Magic have a lot of pieces in the backcourt right now, but some of those pieces could be gone before the trade deadline. Smart is a real leader that loves to play physical and find ways to score. He's a versatile guard that has good size at 6'4'', so he should have no problem landing in the top 10 of the draft.

 

8. Atlanta Hawks (From Nets): Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

The Atlanta Hawks are having a solid season, but they could be in even better shape after this season thanks to a trade with the Brooklyn Nets for a potential first-round pick. They don't have a ton of glaring needs, but the Hawks could use a high-scoring wing player to make them an even better team offensively.

By taking Rodney Hood, the Hawks would be getting just that. He's a great small forward at 6'8'' that can score in a variety of ways. He's scoring 17.2 points per game while shooting an impressive 52.5 percent from the field. For any team looking for a scorer, Hood is a terrific option.

 

9. Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA

Without Derrick Rose, the Chicago Bulls are seriously thin in the backcourt. The Bulls could be facing a rebuilding year this season, which means they will need to focus on adding some depth at guard this offseason.

One name beginning to generate a lot of buzz is Zach LaVine out of UCLA. He's only a freshman, but he's scoring 12.2 points per game while shooting 54.9 percent from the field. He's an explosive player with a nice jumper that could help open up the floor for the rest of Chicago if the team decides to bring him in.

 

10. Los Angeles Lakers: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

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There isn't a ton of top-tier talent on the roster for the Los Angeles Lakers right now, especially with Kobe Bryant injured. The Lakers will be looking to draft the best player available in June, and that player in this scenario would be Noah Vonleh out of Indiana.

While the Hoosiers aren't having the season they were hoping for, Vonleh is emerging as a very impressive prospect. He's shooting 54.8 percent while averaging 12.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. He's a great scorer inside that's developing a solid mid-range game. He's still a bit raw, but Vonleh's upside makes him worth a top-10 pick.

 

11. Memphis Grizzlies: Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky

The Memphis Grizzlies have solid talent, but they could need some more help down low to play behind Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph.

Willie Cauley-Stein is having another impressive season by shooting 63.2 percent while averaging 8.8 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. He's not an ideal starting center right now, but let him play behind a player like Gasol and he could be a solid player coming off of the bench.

 

12. Philadelphia 76ers (from Pelicans): Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse

With another first-round pick, the 76ers can look at possibly adding some help at small forward to back up Evan Turner at the position.

With a 7'2'' wingspan, Jerami Grant is a true NBA-caliber wing player. He's not the most polished offensive player right now, but he is already a developed defender. The offensive tools will come with time, and that's fine if he begins his career coming off the bench.

 

13. Orlando Magic (from Nuggets): James Young, SF, Kentucky

Like the 76ers, the Magic will also have another early first-round draft pick they could use to draft an established small forward, but one with a different set of skills.

Unlike Grant, James Young out of Kentucky is already a nicely developed offensive player, even as a freshman. He has a smooth jump shot along with nice size and athleticism to help him play the wing, and he just keeps improving.

 

14. Phoenix Suns (from Timberwolves): Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia

In what has been a very surprising season for the Phoenix Suns, they have a chance to get even better thanks to a few first-round draft picks. With the first from the Minnesota Timberwolves, they can try to get an international prospect with huge upside.

Dario Saric is a versatile forward at 6'10'' that can make the plays you could like to see from a player on the wing. He has a strong outside shot and can also play on the inside on both sides of the floor. He's continually improving as an all-around player, and there's a chance he moves up draft boards over the next few months.

 

15. Boston Celtics: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

This is a rebuilding year for the Boston Celtics, even if they are still a playoff-caliber team in the East. With the No. 15 pick, they can pretty much grab anyone they want with this pick.

As he continues to grow into an NBA prospect, Gary Harris is a good option for the Celtics. He has a nice jump shot and can be deadly from behind the arc. He's a smart player that can play well against some tough competition, and it looks like he'll be ready for the NBA after this season.

 

16. Charlotte Bobcats (from Pistons): Wayne Selden, SF, Kansas

With how many developing pieces that have in the backcourt, the Charlotte Bobcats should look at a wing player in next year's draft.

At 6'5'', Wayne Selden is a solid wing player and an efficient scorer, shooting 48.8 percent from the floor this season. He wouldn't have to be a go-to scoring option for the Bobcats, but he would certainly be a nice addition to their young roster.

 

17. Chicago Bulls (from Bobcats): Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky

The Bulls need a reliable backup point guard behind Rose in the event he gets hurt again. Drafting Andrew Harrison would be the right choice here.

While he hasn't had the best start to the season, Harrison is still an ideal prospect at the point because of his developing skill set and his tall 6'5'' frame. He would create a big mismatch at the next level because of his size, and if he can become a more effective scorer as the season continues, NBA scouts will fall in love with him.

 

18. Toronto Raptors: Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier

Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan make up a nice backcourt for the Toronto Raptors, but the team could still use some depth behind those two players.

If the Raptors drafted Semaj Christon out of Xavier, they'd be getting a nice scorer that could back up both players in the backcourt. He's averaging 14.4 points per game and has done a nice job running the offense this year for the Musketeers, and he should generate some more buzz as the season continues.

 

19. Phoenix Suns (from Wizards): Spencer Dinwiddie, PG/SG, Colorado

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After taking a versatile forward with their first pick, the Suns could grab a versatile guard with their second.

One player that's been turning heads lately has been Spencer Dinwiddie out of Colorado. The Buffaloes have gone 11-2 to start the season, and Dinwiddie has been a big reason for that, averaging 15.8 points and 3.8 assists per game. He's comfortable playing at either guard spot and appears to be ready to take the next step.

 

20. Boston Celtics (from Nets via Hawks): Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

The Celtics could end up taking two players from Michigan State and they'd likely be ecstatic with both.

As one of the most intimidating players in the Big Ten, Adreian Payne would be a great pick for the Celtics. He's a dominant and versatile player at the power forward position, even improving on his three-point shot this season. He's averaging 17 points and 8.1 rebounds per game for the Spartans, making a strong case for the Big Ten Player of the Year.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Rockets via Lakers and Mavericks): Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton

With so much talent on their roster, the Oklahoma City Thunder can take a chance on a big-time scorer in Doug McDermott.

Currently averaging over 20 points per game for the third straight season, McDermott just knows how to score. He's not the most athletic player, but he's a great scorer with a nice shot, and the Thunder could use him to come off the bench.

 

22. Utah Jazz (from Warriors): Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville

With the Jazz taking Parker with the No. 2 pick, they could take anyone they like with this pick later in the first round.

Montrezl Harrell is having a breakout year at Louisville, scoring 12.2 points per game and shooting an insane 65.1 percent from the field. He's a top-tier finisher near the basket, and with a developing jump shot, he could be taken even earlier if he keeps this hot start to the season going.

 

23. Phoenix Suns: Jahii Carson, PG, Arizona State

With their third pick, the Suns can draft just about anyone they want, and they may take a look at someone who can help run the offense.

While only 5'10'', Jahii Carson is an impressive talent at the point guard position. He's scoring 19.3 points per game as a sophomore thanks to an incredible job of making shots off the dribble. He's a speedster at the position that can help get others open, making him a fun player to watch as well as an intriguing prospect.

 

24. Houston Rockets: Sam Dekker, SF, Wisconsin

Mike McGinnis/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets don't have a ton of glaring needs, so they can look at drafting whoever is on the top of their board with this pick.

When it comes to smooth shooters, Sam Dekker is one of the best there is. He's scoring 14.5 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent from the field. His percent from behind the arc has dropped a little bit, but that should change as the season progresses. With his ability to score, the Rockets would love having a player like Dekker to back up Chandler Parsons next year.

 

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan

With so much talent on their team, the Los Angeles Clippers don't have to focus in on one position in the draft, which means they can draft based on overall talent. With who is left on the board, I could see them taking a player like Mitch McGary out of Michigan.

An early injury has slowed McGary down this season, but he's still been a very efficient player down low from a scoring standpoint. If he backed up Blake Griffin, he'd be a terrific player for the Clippers coming off the bench.

 

26. Miami Heat: P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina

With Dwyane Wade showing signs of age, the Miami Heat may be looking at a shooting guard to back him up after this season.

While P.J. Hairston is a controversial player, he's still a very talented player that NBA teams will take a long look at. He's an explosive shooting guard that could find a home in the NBA if he can prove to scouts his maturity won't be an issue down the road.

 

27. San Antonio Spurs: Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri

As their veterans near the end of their careers, the San Antonio Spurs will be looking to keep adding young talent to prepare for what could be a relatively rough transition period.

By bringing in Jordan Clarkson, the Spurs could have a nice backup behind Tony Parker. He's a versatile guard that's putting up 20 points per game and making half of his shots. At 6'5'', he's been running the offense for Missouri, and he has the potential to be a big name that teams take a look at in June.

 

28. Charlotte Bobcats (from Trail Blazers): Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan

The Bobcats can go ahead and add another wing player with their second pick since they already have a lot of developing talent at other areas.

Glenn Robinson III isn't helping his draft stock by regressing a bit this season, but he's still a first-round talent. He's an effective scorer that has the tools to make shots inside and out, which means that a team like the Bobcats will take a chance on him late in the first round.

 

29. Phoenix Suns (from Pacers): Nik Stauskas, SG/SF, Michigan

The Suns have yet another draft pick in the first round. With this one, they could take a chance on an emerging prospect and take Nik Stauskas out of Michigan.

After a strong freshman season last year, Stauskas is now averaging 18.2 points per game as a sophomore. He's become a more versatile scorer and a more explosive player of the past year, which means he has the potential to become a strong bench player for a team like the Suns.

 

30. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA

With the last pick of the first round, the Thunder will have a chance to pick up another player to add some depth on the bench by drafting Jordan Adams.

In just his second season, Adams has become an even more efficient scorer. He's now putting up 18.5 points per game and shooting nearly 50 percent from the floor. Adams is able to create his own shot as well as finish through contact while also creating fast-break opportunities, averaging 3.3 steals per game.

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