Several teams have had their eyes on the 2014 NBA draft for quite some time, but now they can actually admit it.
With the conclusion of the season on Wednesday night, "Tank Fest 2014" has officially come to a close and 14 teams will now begin the offseason.
The Milwaukee Bucks are the big "winners," "earning" the best odds for the top pick from what has the look of a historically loaded class, but there will be plenty of other intrigue as we approach draft day in June.
Let's take a look at everything you need to know.
Date: Thursday, June 26, 2014
Time: 7 p.m. ET
Location: New York City
Live Stream: WatchESPN
Current Selection Order
The end of the season clears things up a little bit, but the draft lottery (Tuesday, May 20) still has the potential to shake up the first 14 picks. Here's a look at how things currently stand:
|2014 NBA Draft Order (Pre-Lottery)|
|Pick No.||Team||Acquired From|
|6||Los Angeles Lakers|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers||New Orleans Pelicans|
|12||Orlando Magic||Denver Nuggets, via New York Knicks|
|16||Chicago Bulls||Charlotte Bobcats|
|17||Boston Celtics||Brooklyn Nets|
|18||Phoenix Suns||Washington Wizards|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder||Dallas Mavericks|
|23||Utah Jazz||Golden State Warriors|
|24||Charlotte Bobcats||Portland Trail Blazers|
|27||Phoenix Suns||Indiana Pacers|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30||San Antonio Spurs|
- Philadelphia 76ers receive New Orleans Pelicans' first-round pick unless it is in the top five.
- Charlotte Bobcats receive Detroit Pistons' first-round pick unless it is in the top eight.
- Denver Nuggets receive New York Knicks' first-round pick
- Orlando Magic receive one of Denver Nuggets' two first-round picks (whichever of Denver's or New York's is lowest)
- Phoenix Suns receive Minnesota Timberwolves' first-round pick unless it is in the top 13
|1||Milwaukee Bucks||Andrew Wiggins||Kansas|
|2||Philadelphia 76ers||Jabari Parker||Duke|
|3||Orlando Magic||Joel Embiid||Kansas|
|4||Utah Jazz||Julius Randle||Kentucky|
|5||Boston Celtics||Dante Exum||Australia|
|6||Los Angeles Lakers||Marcus Smart||Oklahoma State|
|7||Sacramento Kings||Aaron Gordon||Arizona|
|8||Detroit Pistons||Gary Harris||Michigan State|
|9||Cleveland Cavaliers||Noah Vonleh||Indiana|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers||James Young||Kentucky|
|11||Denver Nuggets||Nik Stauskas||Michigan|
|12||Orlando Magic||Tyler Ennis||Syracuse|
|13||Minnesota Timberwolves||Rodney Hood||Duke|
|14||Phoenix Suns||Doug McDermott||Creighton|
|Based on pre-lottery order|
Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Carrying comparisons to LeBron James out of high school isn't easy, and Andrew Wiggins found that out the hard way. Despite putting up averages of 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds, 1.0 blocks and 1.2 steals per game as a freshman with the Jayhawks, Wiggins was often the subject of mass—and typically unjustified—scrutiny.
Don't let the lingering criticism—which only increased after a massively disappointing NCAA tournament—fool you, though. The 19-year-old Canadian has the highest ceiling in the draft.
SMU head coach and former NBA champion Larry Brown put it simply, via USA Today's Eric Prisbell and Scott Gleeson:
I feel for Wiggins every day. You hear one game, 'Oh, he's the first pick.' Then the next game, 'Oh, I'm so disappointed.' That stuff drives me crazy. He's a 19-year-old freshman. He is a special kid."
Blessed with size (6'8", 197 pounds and a wingspan of 7'0", per DraftExpress.com) and freakish athleticism, Wiggins has the "look" of an NBA wing. He is unstoppable in transition or whenever he gets a step toward the hoop, he has a dangerous-albeit-still-inconsistent jump shot, and he has potential to be a shut-down defender.
You can nitpick about his aggressiveness or killer instinct, but the physical tools and talent are there to create a future MVP.
Jabari Parker, Duke
We'll put Jabari Parker here for now, but he has yet to officially declare for the draft. A decision is undoubtedly coming soon, and pundits seem split on what his ultimate decision will be.
Still, if we're talking "top prospects," it would be blasphemous not to include the only freshman on this year's AP All-America team.
Of this year's incredible crop of underclassmen, the Chicago native—who has also received comparisons to James—is widely considered as the safest bet.
Capable of scoring from all three levels on the court, Parker is a versatile weapon who can handle the ball in transition, score with his back to the basket, face up out of the post, crash the offensive glass or shoot from the outside.
Although he also suffered an early NCAA tourney exit, he led an offensively stout Duke squad in scoring (19.3 points per game) and rebounding (8.7), also adding 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks per contest.
Parker's defense leaves a little bit to be desired, and his potential may not be as sky-high as Wiggins', but he can make a significant impact right away.
Joel Embiid, Kansas
The pre-draft process can't get any more crucial for Joel Embiid.
In terms of pure talent, the 7-footer is a rare prospect who would likely be the frontrunner for the No. 1 pick. But after missing the end of the season and NCAA tournament with a back injury, there are concerns about Embiid's health.
Despite starting basketball at 16 years of age, the Cameroon native, at times, looked like the most dominant player in the country, averaging 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 2.6 blocks and 0.9 steals per game.
The physical package (7'0", 250 pounds, impressive mobility) is obviously nice, but Embiid's offensive repertoire and polish despite so little experience is what makes him such a tantalizingly attractive prospect.
Embiid already has an array of moves out of the post, he passes well out of double-teams, and he knows how to protect the rim without fouling.
There is certainly risk here—as is always true with players of Embiid's size—but there is also once-in-a-decade potential.
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