2014 NBA Mock Draft: Best Moves for Every Team in 1st Round

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2014 NBA Mock Draft: Best Moves for Every Team in 1st Round
Bob Leverone

The term Big Three is thrown around a lot in the NBA. So it's only right that the 2014 NBA draft features a much-hyped and talented trifecta of talent at the top of most prognosticator's big board.

All season long, Duke's Jabari Parker and Kansas' Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid were seen as the treasures of what appears to be a very deep draft overall.

With the college season history and predraft events already underway, not much has changed.

Here's my latest complete mock draft for the first round. The official draft order won't be known until the lottery takes place on May 20.

The order of the first 14 teams is based on their regular-season records with traded pick considerations.


1. Milwaukee Bucks - Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Gerry Broome

If you're running the Bucks' affairs, you can't afford to risk missing with this pick. Both Wiggins and Embiid have higher ceilings, but Parker is the surest thing in the draft.

His offensive skills are already advanced enough to make an immediate impact as a scorer. Though he's not an elite athlete, he's coachable and a winner at heart.


2. Philadelphia 76ers - Andrew Wiggins, SF/SG, Kansas

Most prognosticators have Embiid rated ahead of Wiggins, but the 76ers already have Nerlens Noel as a potential franchise center.

It would make much more sense to grab an elite prospect on the perimeter at this point.

Wiggins is still the player with the highest upside in my eyes. In what some might describe as a disappointing season, Wiggins averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds.


3. Orlando Magic - Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Orlando does have Nikola Vucevic in the middle, but he'll be a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season.

Even if Orlando tries to hold on to him, it's still going to be hard to imagine the team passing on a player like Embiid.

True 7-footers with elite athleticism and upside as a post scorer don't come along often.

NBA Wars believes Embiid will be the best of the draft's Big Three, if he's healthy.


4. Utah Jazz - Noah Vonleh, PF/C, Indiana

Doug McSchooler

Enes Kanter will be a restricted free agent after the 2014-15 season. If he bolts, that would leave a void in the middle for Utah.

Vonleh's length (7'4" wingspan) and skill set (48.5 percent three-point shooting) would make him a solid complement to Derrick Favors on the Jazz front line.


5. Boston Celtics - Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia

This could be the pick that finally facilitates a Rajon Rondo trade. At 6'6", Exum has the height to play the 2-guard position, but he also possesses the handle and playmaking to run the point.

He could be the next great Celtic.


6. Los Angeles Lakers - Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

Clearly, the Lakers need a lot of things.

Players like Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love could arrive via trade or free-agent signing. Obviously, those acquisitions aren't a sure thing.

A player like Randle would give the Lakers a much-needed big, athletic body who can rebound and score close to the rim.


7. Sacramento Kings - Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

Gregory Bull

Smart needs to improve his jump shot, but he's already an elite defender. He averaged 2.9 steals per game last season for Oklahoma State.

His intensity and competitiveness are what the Kings need to continue to change their culture.


8. Detroit Pistons - Kyle Anderson, PG/SF, UCLA

There's some real bust potential with Anderson, but there's also the possibility that he could be a real force in the NBA.

Anderson is an average athlete at best. His lack of explosiveness is usually the root of the criticism aimed his way. 

Still, he remains confident in his abilities. He told Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times: "People doubt me all the time because maybe I'm too slow, maybe I'm not athletically gifted. I look forward to proving them wrong."

At 6'9", Anderson has the size of a power forward. He snatched down 8.8 rebounds per game to prove he can play like one as well.

What makes him special is that he also has the handle and vision of a point guard. As a nightly triple-double threat, Anderson dished 6.5 assists per game as well.

His versatility could be golden for the Pistons. 


9. Cleveland Cavaliers - Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

Luol Deng will be a free agent this summer. Because the Cavs could lose him, the team needs to address the small forward position.

If one Dukie leaves, replacing him with another may not be a bad idea.

Hood is a smooth athlete with a good stroke on his jump shot. His skill set meshes well with Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.


10. Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans) - Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

Jae C. Hong

Youth and athleticism is the trend in this mock for the 76ers. Having already taken a prospect like Wiggins, the Sixers could use this pick to grab a freakishly athletic power forward like Gordon.

He's already a plus defender, and his ability to run the floor and finish make him more valuable.


11. Denver Nuggets - Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

Denver can literally take the best player available, regardless of position. In this scenario, that would be Harris.

Though he's not spectacular in any aspect, he's solid in all. He could instantly become a rotation player for Brian Shaw in Denver.


12. Orlando Magic (from Denver via New York) - Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

The Magic need to address the point guard position with this pick.

Some might scoff at this mock suggesting the team pass on Exum at No. 3, but with a pure point guard prospect like Ennis available here, Orlando can still find a nice player to run the show.

Ennis' pass-first approach, instincts and high hoops I.Q. would make him a great fit with a core that could potentially include Victor Oladipo, Embiid, Vucevic and Arron Afflalo


13. Minnesota Timberwolves - James Young, SG, Kentucky

Michael Conroy

It seems like the Wolves have been searching for a solid wing player forever. Young has plus athleticism and a knack for making tough shots.

He may not be enough to keep Kevin Love happy and in Minnesota, but he would improve the roster.


14. Phoenix Suns - Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton

As long as fans and folks in the NBA community have the proper expectations for McDermott, he won't disappoint. He won't be scoring 20-plus per game in the NBA as he did in college.

He's simply not athletic or skilled enough off the dribble to do that at small forward in the pros. That said, he can easily be a Kyle Korver- or Ryan Anderson-type player.

Last I checked, that was pretty good.


15. Atlanta Hawks - Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

You have to love Stauskas' heart just as much as his shooting stroke and underrated athleticism. He's not the type of athlete Wiggins is, but he's got enough handle and speed to be more than a spot-up shooter.

He'd give the Hawks a nice two-way player who can contribute right away.


16. Chicago Bulls (from Charlotte) - Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn

Bill Wippert

Free-agent-to-be D.J. Augustin may have played his way out of the Bulls' price range, much like Nate Robinson did during the 2012-13 season.

Since the Bulls probably won't be able to keep Augustin and chase a big fish in free agency, drafting a player like Napier makes sense.

The 2014 NCAA tournament MOP can score and run an offense. He's a perfect player to back up Derrick Rose or even spell him if the injury bug bites again.


17. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn) - Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia

This mock draft gives the Celtics a distinct international flavor. Saric is perhaps the most developed young international player, though you'd get some arguments from Exum and Nikola Mirotic's camp on that one.

He's a legit 6'10" player who can pass, rebound and shoot from distance. Suddenly, the Celtics could become all the rage overseas.


18. Phoenix Suns (from Washington) - Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA

Remember what we said about Kyle Anderson's bust potential? Well, you can just about echo those sentiments when it comes to LaVine.

There's a difference, though. Anderson could be a disappointment because of his lack of athleticism. That certainly isn't the case with LaVine.

In fact, expect to see him wow scouts once he performs at the NBA combine.

Concerns about LaVine are associated with his rawness (ESPN Insider account required). He's shown flashes of brilliance, but not enough to make most comfortable.

That said, Jeff Hornacek worked wonders with Gerald Green, who is a similar athlete. Perhaps LaVine could take a similar path.


19. Chicago Bulls - Cleanthony Early, SF/PF, Wichita State

Jeff Roberson

Early shut down any concerns of how he would perform against top competition when he went off for 31 points against Kentucky in the NCAA tournament. He scored in a variety of ways, including draining 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.

He added seven rebounds and, perhaps most impressive of all, he had no turnovers in 39 minutes of action.

Early is versatile enough to play both forward positions. His energy and competitiveness seem like an ideal fit for the Bulls culture.


20. Toronto Raptors - T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State

The Raptors obviously already have DeMar DeRozan at small forward, but Warren could provide offensive punch off the bench.

He's not a great athlete, but he has a masterful grasp of angles and a good jump shot. 

He's one of those players who finds a way to put the ball in the basket.


21. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Dallas via Houston and L.A. Lakers) - Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

As a stretch 4, Payne has great value. He's more athletic than it appears, and his stroke from deep makes him a threat in the pick-and-pop game.

Payne made 42.3 percent of his threes during the 2013-14 season. He could add a nice wrinkle to the Thunder bench.


22. Memphis Grizzlies - Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan

Stauskas would have been the more ideal Wolverine to grab, but GRIII is a better overall prospect. The only concerns are his willingness to assert himself offensively.

Without question, he has the size, athleticism and shooting ability to be a quality wing player.


23. Utah Jazz (from Golden State) - Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana Lafayette

David J. Phillip

Payton is a blur and a force defensively. He still needs to improve his shooting. He made just 26 percent of his threes last season.

But as a backup to Trey Burke, he'd be a nice fit in Utah.


24. Charlotte Bobcats (from Portland) - DeAndre Daniels, SF, UConn

Though he's not an explosive athlete, Daniels is long and he has a solid shooting touch from deep.

He'll have problems finishing around the rim in the NBA, but his jump shot should keep him as an offensive threat.


25. Houston Rockets - Jerami Grant, SF/PF, Syracuse

Grant really needed another year or so to work on his outside shooting.

At just 6'8", he isn't the ideal height for a power forward. Because he's not adept at putting the ball on the floor, and he made a total of six threes in college, he's not a small forward.

His length and athleticism will have to carry him early while he hopefully adds depth to his game.


26. Miami Heat - K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson

Gareth Patterson

As pure athletes go, McDaniels is one of the best in the draft. He should be especially attractive to the Heat because of his defense.

It's possible, a player like McDaniels could lift some of the responsibility off LeBron James on the defensive end.


27. Phoenix Suns - (from Indiana) - Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

The Suns need size and a presence in the middle. Nurkic is huge at 6'11", 280 pounds with a 7'2" wingspan.

He's fundamentally sound on offense around the basket and could provide the big body in the paint to obstruct penetration into the lane.


28. Los Angeles Clippers - Markel Brown, SG, Oklahoma State

Brown is another one of the draft's top-notch athletes. He has the ability to finish above the rim and make shots from deep.

He knocked down 38 percent of his threes and averaged 17.2 points per game last season.

At 6'3", he's a little undersized for the 2-guard position but still an intriguing prospect as a bench player.


29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland

Sam Forencich/Getty Images

Capela is extremely raw. He needs some time to develop, but his length and activity can't be ignored.

He's 6'11" with a 7'4.5" wingspan, and he's got a live motor.

He's a project, but the Thunder are the type of team that can afford to bring him along slowly.


30. San Antonio Spurs - Nick Johnson, PG, Arizona

Tony Parker will be a free agent in the summer of 2015. He'll also be 33 years old. He could leave for any one of a number of teams at that time.

San Antonio could take Johnson and allow him a year to grow and potentially become Parker's successor at the point.


Height and wingspan references per Draft Express.

Stats per Sports Reference

Contract information per Spotrac


Follow me. I'm addicted to hoops.

@BMaziqueFPBR 

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