The 2014 NBA draft picture was shaken up a bit lately due to certain prospects declaring for the draft and others announcing their return to the college ranks.
Despite some of the nation's top stars waiting another year to turn pro, there is plenty of top-notch talent remaining. As the season winds down, many teams are heading into the postseason, while others are focused on improving over the offseason.
No matter which end of the spectrum your team is on, the draft remains a priority to bolster franchises for years to come.
Even though the playoffs are right around the corner, let's take an early look as to how Round 1 of the 2014 NBA draft could shake out once it takes place in June.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
It's no secret the Bucks were in shambles over the course of the season. With very little top-shelf talent on the roster, they'll have trouble obtaining elite free agents. As a result, this team must build through the draft. Wiggins has arguably the highest ceiling of any prospect, and his addition will get this team off to a great start.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Jabari Parker said he'll make his decision by Tuesday or Wednesday of next week. He's still undecided right now, plans to talk with Coach K.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 11, 2014
All is not lost for the 76ers despite a horrid season. The team has a nice young nucleus of talent including Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams. Adding Parker—a threat to score from anywhere on the court—to that frontcourt would make Philadelphia dynamic.
3. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, G, Australia
Exum is one of the most polarizing figures in this year's draft. The athleticism and versatility he brings will be far too difficult for the Magic to pass up. His addition to the team's backcourt next to Victor Oladipo will give Orlando superior playmaking ability.
4. Boston Celtics: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Boston needs a big threat in the paint on Rajon Rondo's offense. Embiid will create vast matchup problems for opposing teams, allowing Rondo to distribute the ball effectively due to a sudden increase in versatility on this offense.
5. Utah Jazz: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Randle will become the frontcourt threat the Jazz have been lacking. He was a double-double machine at Kentucky, and his size and aggressiveness in the paint will ensure he keeps up that trend in the NBA. Randle will command double-teams and free up the offense in a big way.
6. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
With Kobe Bryant's career rapidly coming to an end, the Lakers not only need immediate help, but they need a long-term answer as well. Smart is capable of running an efficient offense and can put up points from all over the court. He can keep the Lakers in the mix now and in the future.
7. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
The Kings need some major help on the defensive side of the court. Acquiring Gordon's services will do wonders in that department. He plays with a high level of intensity and enthusiasm that could be contagious for the rest of this team.
8. Detroit Pistons: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
The Pistons have holes to fill all over the place. What better way to kick off their draft than to grab a do-it-all, playmaking forward? Vonleh is one of the most complete players in this draft and can help the Pistons begin to find their direction.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
Kyrie Irving has been a revelation for this team; however, the Cavaliers continue to lack sufficient scoring threats around him. McDermott has one of the smoothest strokes of any prospect and can create scoring opportunities for himself and his teammates.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans): Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
After shoring up their frontcourt earlier in the draft, the Sixers now look to add a threat from downtown. Stauskas is always a problem for opposing defenses due to his ability to make buckets from all over the court. A natural leader, he can also help this young team to jell quickly.
11. Denver Nuggets (via New York): Adreian Payne, SF, Michigan State
Denver wasn't very strong on the defensive end of the court this season, and to avoid future shootouts, drafting Payne is the way to go. A fantastic rebounder and shot-blocker, he'll fit in nicely and find playing time immediately.
12. Orlando Magic: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
Now that the Magic have bolstered their backcourt with Exum, it's time to put the focus up front. Hood's ability to drain buckets from all over the court ensures him playing time right away, which is exactly what the Magic need out of this pick.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Young, SF, Kentucky
The Timberwolves need a shooting threat that can take the court immediately and make a serious impact if they intend to keep Kevin Love happy. Young lit it up in the NCAA tournament and will earn a starting role sooner rather than later.
14. Memphis Grizzlies: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Saric gives the Grizzlies some much-needed firepower. He has a tremendous skill set and can thrive in the paint and on the perimeter. He may take a little while to develop; however, he will be completely worth it in the long run.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
Drafting Ennis here shores up the Hawks backcourt in a big way. Despite his young age and inexperience, he's a confident player and will provide some stability on this offense. His high level of maturity should allow him to find time on the court right away.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
Chicago needs to add some weapons to take the brunt of the burden away from Derrick Rose. Harris is a scoring threat from all over the court and doubles as an extra weapon on the defensive side.
17. Phoenix Suns (via Washington): Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State
"Frank Kaminski, Cleanthony Early and Adreian Payne have helped their stock the most this tournament," one NBA executive just told me.— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) March 30, 2014
Early solidifies the Suns immediately in two ways. He'll become a great scoring threat inside, using his aggressiveness to attack the rim. He also plays with a huge amount of intensity, which will spread throughout the roster.
18. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn): Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
The Celtics continue to look for players who will give them added versatility and shot-making ability on offense. Capela has been lighting it up in Europe against some quality competition this season and could become a stud in the NBA.
19. Toronto Raptors: Kyle Anderson, G/F, UCLA
Anderson's versatility would fit nicely in the Raptors' offensive scheme. This team has flourished due to its ability to distribute the ball effectively and find open shots. Anderson played the exact same way in UCLA, which will make his transition to the NBA rather smooth.
20. Chicago Bulls: Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
Grant may need some time to develop into a quality NBA player; however, his upside is tremendous. He has natural athleticism, and once he polishes his skill set, he'll become a staple on this team's starting roster.
21. Phoenix Suns: Montrezl Harrell, PF, Louisville
Earlier in the draft, the Suns grabbed a versatile player in Payne. Phoenix does it again right here with Harrell. A physical and aggressive player, he flourishes in the paint on both ends of the court, grabbing rebounds and attacking the rim on a consistent basis.
22. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas): P.J. Hairston, PG, D-League
The Thunder already have a number of shot-makers. However, adding depth in their rotation is a must to maintain their championship-caliber roster. Hairston is ready to play immediately and will make a big impact.
23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State
The Jazz can take Warren here due to his prowess down low. He finds ways to get inside and make plays in the paint. His lack of a defensive skill set is a small concern, but that can be developed over time.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland): K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
McDaniels will allow the Bobcats to stretch the floor more effectively. He's a high-octane player who will fit nicely in Charlotte's frontcourt rotation. His ability to bring down rebounds and attack the rim will allow him to contribute sooner rather than later.
25. Houston Rockets: Nick Johnson, SG, Arizona
Houston gets even more dynamic with the selection of Johnson here. He absolutely lit it up during the NCAA tournament, thrilling onlookers with impressive jams in transition and a high level of intensity.
26. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana): Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
Napier completely stole the show over the duration of the 2014 NCAA tournament. His ability to create shots all over the court and buzzer-beating nerves of steel give the Suns a dynamic shooting threat for years to come.
27. Miami Heat: Zach LaVine, G, UCLA
How can UCLA's Zach LaVine help an NBA team? Check out this excellent break down of his game: http://t.co/7xqN5E5EkT— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) April 3, 2014
LaVine possesses a great deal of talent; however, he will have to be groomed for a couple of seasons before he can become a reliable starter. Miami is a deep team that can afford to grab him here and allow him to develop before earning a starting role.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
Stokes immediately gives the Clippers a dominating frontcourt trio alongside Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. These three will form matchup nightmares for opposing teams, and they will find immediate success due to each taking on a share of the workload.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia
The Thunder can go ahead and draft for the future here. Bogdanovic has a great offensive skill set and is not afraid to step it up on the defensive end of the court. He's played some nice competition overseas, and with a little development, he could become a quality rotational piece for Oklahoma City.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
Nurkic figures to have a high ceiling; however, he'll need to see some bench time while he develops. The Spurs have the necessary depth to allow him to hang around until he is ready to take the court on a full-time basis.