The NBA draft will not be taking place until Thursday, June 26; however, with a plethora of talent coming out of the college ranks this year and the trade deadline now past, first-round projections are becoming clearer.
Team needs carry little weight here, as the upheaval of many rosters will continue until draft day arrives.
This may be one of the most talented draft classes we have seen in quite some time, and many NBA teams are loading up on early-round picks to take advantage.
Since this draft may shape the future of numerous franchises, let's take an early look to see how it might shake out. The draft order has not been set yet, so the order of teams comes courtesy of DraftExpress.com.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Joel Embiid (Kansas)
Embiid has tremendous upside, and that will propel him to the No. 1 overall pick in this year's draft. The Bucks are in dire need of a game-changer, and the 7-footer will be exactly that on both sides of the ball.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)
Back-to-back Kansas players will kick off the draft when Wiggins goes second overall. Wiggins may not be an overly polished prospect, but he is a freak athlete who has one of the highest ceilings in the draft. An excellent attacker with great instincts, Wiggins is someone the Sixers can build around.
3. Orlando Magic: Jabari Parker (Duke)
Sky high put back facial by Jabari Parker pic.twitter.com/W0Of7AhEq9— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) February 23, 2014
Parker is beginning to show that he is an all-around player. We already knew about his fantastic jump shot, but now he is producing points in the paint as well. Parker is an NBA-ready prospect and will bolster the Magic both offensively and defensively.
4. Sacramento Kings: Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)
Ennis has seen his stock rise of late, and that trend will continue as we get closer to the NBA draft. Despite his lack of experience, he has already become a leader and a decision-maker for the Orange. He is a natural shooter but also distributes the ball nicely, making him an offensive force.
5. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum (Australia)
Exum is a perfect example of a scoring point guard. His pure athleticism makes him extremely tough to cover, and his ability to play off the ball or with it makes him even more dynamic.
6. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle (Kentucky)
A force in the paint and a solid defender, Randle brings tremendous talent to Boston with the sixth pick in the draft. There is no doubting his athleticism and skill set; however, there are still questions regarding whether his size will allow him to make an effortless transition to the NBA.
7. Cleveland Cavaliers: Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State)
Smart served his time after his shove against Texas Tech, and the Cowboys looked like a different team without him. Even though his mistake may have turned off a few teams, he will still be taken high due to his sheer talent. He can be an impact player at the NBA level right away, and that's tough to pass up.
8. Los Angeles Lakers: Noah Vonleh (Indiana)
At 6'10" with a huge wingspan and a big frame, Vonleh has all of the necessary attributes to become a nightmare in the post. Not only can he flourish inside, but he has also shown a nice stroke from a distance this year.
9. Denver Nuggets (via New York Knicks): Gary Harris (Michigan State)
Harris' defensive prowess was already well-documented. This year, his confidence in his scoring ability has been coming through as well. He is quickly turning into an all-around player who would be a welcome addition in Denver's backcourt.
10. Charlotte Bobcats (via Detroit Pistons): Dario Saric (Croatia)
Saric has been dominating across the pond this year. He has plenty of natural talent, which allows him to facilitate, attack the rim and score in the post. He produces a good stroke on his long ball as well, which makes him one of the best all-around prospects in this year's draft.
11. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans): James Young (Kentucky)
Best possible for scenario for Kentucky is for James Young to make a couple at the outset. When he shoots well they're impossible to beat.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) February 16, 2014
Young has the speed and perimeter shooting to become a major threat in the NBA. He is a game-changing prospect who can light up the scoreboard with his quick transitions. Young can quickly serve as a spark plug on a struggling offense.
12. Minnesota Timberwolves: Rodney Hood (Duke)
A combination of great size and a smooth shot makes Hood one of the most dynamic players in the draft. His scoring percentage has been off the charts this season, as he has connected effectively from three-point range and the line. He can make shots from anywhere, giving the Timberwolves some great versatility.
13. Orlando Magic (via Denver Nuggets): Willie Cauley-Stein (Kentucky)
A strong 7-foot center, Cauley-Stein has the skill set to change the game by using his athleticism to dominate in the paint. His size and leaping ability make him a constant threat for offensive rebounds and put-back dunks.
14. Memphis Grizzlies: Doug McDermott (Creighton)
McDermott has the shot-making ability to continue his success at the NBA level. He doesn't have pure athleticism for a small forward, but he knows how to get open despite being the primary focus of opposing defenses in each contest.
15. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte Bobcats): P.J. Hairston (North Carolina/NBDL)
From the college ranks to the D-League, Hairston continues to light it up. He has a knack for finding open shots and is a physical defender. As long as he can stay away from producing any more negative headlines, he will find a suitor early in the draft.
16. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn Nets): Aaron Gordon (Arizona)
Gordon is a great defender and a versatile player. His athleticism is off the charts, but he struggles as a shooter. However, if Gordon can find his shot and increase his offensive output, he could become a huge steal at this point in the draft.
17. Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards): Jordan Clarkson (Missouri)
After transferring to Missouri, Clarkson began to light it up. He is a streaky player, but when he gets hot, he can put up some major points. He is best suited to attacking the rim, but if he can shore up his jumper, he can become a solid starter in the NBA.
18. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne (Michigan State)
Payne has always been physical on the interior; however, he added a long ball this year that makes him an increasingly well-rounded player. His improving skill set and NBA-ready frame make him a candidate to create an instant impact.
19. Boston Celtics (via Atlanta Hawks): Nik Stauskas (Michigan)
An above-average athlete and a fantastic shooter, Stauskas has become Michigan's go-to guy in terms of scoring. He will make a tremendous complementary player on the professional level, as his outside shooting will be a valuable addition to the Celtics offense.
20. Toronto Raptors: Jerami Grant (Syracuse)
Grant's size (6'8"), athleticism and huge wingspan make him a valuable asset in the paint on offense and inside on defense. He can attack the rim with a great amount of physicality but still needs to improve his range on the outside.
21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): T.J. Warren (N.C. State)
Warren is a playmaker on the offensive side of the ball. He can make buckets from anywhere on the court by finding ways to get open. He may not have the athleticism of some other prospects, but his skill set should translate smoothly to the pros.
22. Dallas Mavericks: Montrezl Harrell (Louisville)
Montrezl Harrell said after the game that he wants to be this team's "engine." He said he wants his energy to light a fire for his teammates— Howie Lindsey (@howielindsey) February 23, 2014
Harrell has the physical tools to flourish at the next level; however, he must still improve his range. His power and athleticism will carry him in college. If he can expand his skill set, he should turn out to be a viable starter in the NBA.
23. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela (Switzerland)
Capela is a very intriguing prospect in this year's draft. He has all of the physical tools and is a dominant defender. His offense has improved too, as Capela has been able to attack the rim and dominate in the paint.
24. Houston Rockets: Sam Dekker (Wisconsin)
Although Dekker hasn't produced as was originally expected this year, he has the talent to become a major player at the next level. A polished perimeter shooter, Dekker will get looks late in the first round and become an offensive specialist in the NBA.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Kyle Anderson (UCLA)
Anderson is a natural point guard and has been strong while at UCLA. He is a great ball-handler and has the knack to pick apart the defense and distribute the ball. He doesn't have a huge amount of athleticism, but his versatility should keep him as a coveted first-round prospect.
26. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland Trail Blazers): Glenn Robinson III (Michigan)
Robinson has been inconsistent while at Michigan. He has the ability to produce solid performances but struggles to maintain his momentum. He has offensive versatility but will need a solid point guard in the NBA to get him good looks.
27. Miami Heat: Zach LaVine (UCLA)
LaVine is on a deep UCLA team and doesn't always get the chance to produce. But when he does, he shines. One of the best outside shooters available in the draft, LaVine combines his long-range prowess and athleticism to bring versatility to an offense.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Jahii Carson (Arizona State)
Cason may be one of the fastest prospects in this year's draft. His speed translates to an explosive transition game but also helps him maintain his position on the defensive end. He should get plenty of looks late in the first round of the draft.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Semaj Christon (Xavier)
If u want to see a star that does not get lots of national ink check out @CoachChrisMack Xavier 's Semaj Christon - a key y they r 15-4— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 21, 2014
Christon is best known for his stout defensive play as leader of Xavier's basketball team. He has the size to make an impact inside on the offensive front and will bring a high level of intensity to the NBA.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana Pacers): A.J. Hammons (Purdue)
Hammons has a great deal of potential; however, he isn't quite there just yet. His size and frame make him a formidable defender, but he must continue to develop and improve on the offensive end to be a huge factor at the next level.