2014 NBA Mock Draft: Analyzing Each Selection in 1st Round

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIMay 5, 2014

GREENSBORO, NC - MARCH 16:  Jabari Parker #1 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts during their game against the Virginia Cavaliers in the finals of the 2014 Men's ACC Basketball Tournament at Greensboro Coliseum on March 16, 2014 in Greensboro, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Only eight teams remain in the 2014 NBA playoffs, which means 22 teams have now shifted focus to the impending draft.

In every sport, first-round selections are crucial to the long-term success of a franchise. The importance of those early picks for an NBA team is heightened further due to a smaller roster and fewer starters.

This year's draft features plenty of strong talent in the early rounds. Whether a team is in full rebuilding mode or looking to make another deep run into the playoffs, there are plenty of prospects available to help their respective causes.

As the playoffs continue and the draft comes ever so closer, let's take a look at how the entire first round could potentially shake out.


1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas

The Bucks need to add a high level of athleticism in a hurry if they intend to get out of the league's gutter. Wiggins arguably possesses the greatest amount of athleticism and highest ceiling of anyone in this year's draft. Taking him at No. 1 overall will get Milwaukee headed in the right direction.


2. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Philadelphia has a talented young nucleus already in place but lacks a go-to scoring threat. Parker can create space for himself and his teammates while lighting up the scoreboard from all over the court. His presence will be crucial for the Sixers' rebuild.


3. Orlando Magic: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Embiid may be a slight gamble due to his injury history, but he is still one of the draft's most well-rounded players. A game-changing center on both ends of the court, Embiid can rack up points in the paint and come away with plenty of boards.


4. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, PG, Australia

It will be rather difficult for the Jazz to pass up on such a polarizing prospect like Exum at this point in the draft. Chock-full of shot-making ability and versatility, Exum has all the makings of a future star and can become the leader of this team for the long haul.


5. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

Boston needs a prospect who can contribute immediately. Enter Julius Randle. A double-double machine in college, Randle has the frame and skill set to produce in the same manner in the NBA. His physical, aggressive style will boost the Celtics' frontcourt in a big way.


6. Los Angeles Lakers: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

Gordon's high motor is exactly what the Lakers need as the team attempts to rebound from a very forgettable season. At 6'8" and 220 pounds, Gordon is a force on both ends of the court. His ability to produce in transition and play game-changing defense will get Los Angeles back on track.


7. Sacramento Kings: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

The Kings are going to love the versatility they get with Vonleh here. For a big man, he has a nice stroke from outside, making him a dual threat on offense. Adding Vonleh's talents to Sacramento's frontcourt will immediately increase the entire team's production.


8. Detroit Pistons: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

Adding Smart here may be too difficult for the Pistons to pass up. His ability to score from inside, stout defense and great ball-handling makes his skill set one of the best at this point in the draft. Aside from lacking a great stroke from outside, Smart can do it all.


9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton

McDermott can drop buckets from all over the court. This much is already known. However, he's turned into more than just a shooter during his time at Creighton. A well-rounded player, he can become an immediate contributor and provide some much-needed firepower on the court with Kyrie Irving.


10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

Philadelphia will continue to load up on weapons. Parker will give the team a versatile presence in the frontcourt, and Harris will provide a big threat from the perimeter. With a great stroke from outside and solid defender, Harris is everything the Sixers are looking for at No. 10 overall.


11. Denver Nuggets (via New York): Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

Hood's solid fundamentals should help his ability to make an immediate impact in the NBA. The Nuggets need a solid playmaker to propel the team into the postseason, and Hood's ability to create points on the inside and outside make him that guy.


12. Orlando Magic (via Denver): Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

Ennis doesn't have lots of experience under his belt, but he will thrive in the right NBA system. With early pick Embiid as a big body down low and Victor Oladipo by his side, Orlando appears to be a great fit for this talented guard.


13. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Young, SF, Kentucky

The Timberwolves already feature a solid offense, but the team's Achilles' heel is its inability to keep up with athletic squads on the defensive end of the court. Young has the length and speed to be a force for this team on defense as well as the ability to score in the lane on the offensive end.


14. Phoenix Suns: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia

Phoenix has a talented group of young players who have the ability to get this team back into the postseason if given a little more experience. Saric has great interior size and a nice stroke from outside. Allowing him to develop with the rest of the team could make the Suns big-time contenders in the coming seasons.


15. Atlanta Hawks: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

The Hawks came away with a fine season and just barely missed out on advancing to the second round of the playoffs. If the team shores up its backcourt it can make some noise in a hurry. Stauskas is a great shooter who turned into a well-rounded player while at Michigan. Pairing him with Kyle Korver will be devastating to opposing defenses.


16. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte): T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State

The Bulls need to take some pressure off Derrick Rose. When Rose is healthy, he's one of the league's best scoring threats. Another shot-maker is needed in an effort to decrease the burden on Rose—and hopefully keep him healthy. Warren is a scoring machine and fits the bill nicely here.


17. Phoenix Suns (via Washington): Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

While the Suns develop, they could use a player who can contribute on both ends of the court immediately. Payne comes from a strong system under coach Tom Izzo. He excels on the defensive end of the court but also has great range on offense.


18. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn): P.J. Hairston, SG, D-League

After the Celtics grab Randle to shore up their frontcourt, it's time to focus on the backcourt. Hairston may be a little erratic at times, but there's no doubting his pure athleticism. He has a skill set that could allow him to become a very solid NBA starter.


19. Chicago Bulls: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA

Even though the Bulls will already add a small forward earlier in the draft, Anderson could prove to play multiple positions in the NBA. At 6'9", he could run point or play from the wing given his shooting ability and ball-handling skills. This is yet another player set to take pressure off Rose in the future.


20. Toronto Raptors: Jerami Grant, PF, Syracuse

Toronto put together a fantastic season, which was surprising to many. To keep this trend going, adding depth is necessary. Grant can contribute immediately off the bench to help down low on both ends of the court. If he develops a jumper he could wind up being one of the steals of the draft.


21. Memphis Grizzlies: Clint Capela, PF/C, Switzerland

Memphis could use some additional depth in its frontcourt, and Capela could wind up as a valuable addition here. Already a great defender and rebounder, Capela can evolve into a tremendous all-around player for the Grizzles.


22. Dallas Mavericks: Zach LaVine, PG, UCLA

There are three things Dallas could really use: quickness, athleticism and youth. LaVine possesses all of those attributes. He may be a bit of a developmental prospect, but Dallas currently has the depth to allow LaVine to take the necessary time to earn a future starting role.


23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State

After the Jazz select Exum earlier in the draft, they can concentrate on adding some explosiveness to their frontcourt. Early plays with a high level of intensity and enthusiasm. His quickness in transition will certainly make him a scoring threat for Utah.


24. Houston Rockets: K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson

Houston needs plenty of help on the defensive end of the court. McDaniels plays much bigger than his 6'6" size, as he was one of the best shot-blockers in the NCAA last season. He'll contribute right away as a defensive threat on the perimeter for the Rockets.


25. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland): C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington

With Kemba Walker running the point, pairing him with a pure shooter in Wilcox will give the Bobcats a tremendous amount of athleticism in the backcourt. Wilcox may not have a well-rounded skill set, but his ability to score from anywhere will make him a valuable asset.


26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut

After Napier dominated the 2014 NCAA tournament, many sung his praises afterward. One such person was LeBron James, who tweeted:

Now, they'll share the court. Napier may not be able to handle a full workload in the NBA right away, so it's only fitting he goes to a team with a great amount of talent and depth. He'll be a great role player initially who can add strength and stamina to become a future starter.


27. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana): Nick Johnson, SG, Arizona

The Suns continue their draft haul by taking Johnson here. After securing the frontcourt earlier in the draft, they'll add a leader in the backcourt like Johnson. Known for coming through in the clutch, Johnson will energize this young team and help them make a push into the playoffs.


28. Los Angeles Clippers: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

The Clippers have an extremely deep team. This affords them the opportunity to take a developmental prospect like Nurkic here. Already a strong defensive player and shot-blocker, Nurkic has the potential to become a great role player and eventual starter in the NBA.


29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier

Oklahoma City could use some more backcourt depth—even if it comes in the form of a developmental prospect like Christon. A well-rounded player and solid ball-handler, Christon will give the Thunder some much-needed insurance for Russell Westbrook.


30. San Antonio Spurs: Mario Hezonja, SG, Croatia

It's a well-known fact the Spurs are rather familiar with turning international players into NBA stars. Hezonja will require a good amount of development, but he has the scoring ability to be something special in the future. He doesn't have much prowess on the defensive end of the court, but learning from veterans already on the roster will help the process.


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