With the chaos of the 2014 NFL draft behind us, the NBA is now officially on the clock.
This year features a strong crop of talented prospects capable of bolstering rosters for years to come. A strong first-round selection is of the utmost importance for NBA franchises due smaller roster sizes and limited starting positions.
Most teams have already shifted focus to the draft, as the playoffs continue to roll along, as more teams are being eliminated from championship contention.
As we shift our focus to the draft as well, mock drafts will become increasingly abundant. Let's take a look at how the first round could potentially unfold with the draft just over a month away.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
The selection of Wiggins at No. 1 overall is based on pure potential. Wiggins has the highest ceiling of any prospect in this year's draft due to a high level of athleticism and a budding skill set. The Bucks need a playmaker in a big way, and Wiggins fits the bill perfectly.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
With Nerlens Noel in the fold, it can be conceived Philadelphia will opt for a scorer here instead of another big man. This will prompt the team to grab Parker. With all the tools to be a star in the NBA, Parker will boost the Sixers in a big way and form a great trio with Noel and Michael Carter-Williams.
3. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia
The Magic may decide to go with Joel Embiid here; however, the point guard position appears to be a bigger glaring need for Orlando. Exum is a very intelligent and exciting player. Pairing him with Victor Oladipo gives this team an instant formidable backcourt.
Jonathan Givony of Draft Express was shocked Exum decided to participate at the combine this past week:
Big one here to me is the fact that Dante Exum is planning on coming to Chicago and attending the NBA Combine: http://t.co/KIEKaZvShl— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) May 5, 2014
It remains to be seen if this decision will pay off.
4. Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Embiid's injury concerns dropped him out of the top three. However, at the fourth-overall selection, he becomes far less of a risk. Utah has Enes Kanter in the fold which will give Embiid the time he needs to get fully healthy and eventually become a staple in the frontcourt.
5. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Randle plays with a great amount of aggression and is dominant in the post. He was a double-double machine in college, and there's no reason to think he won't do the same in the NBA. Boston is a team in transition and will benefit from having a reliable player like Randle in the fold.
6. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
The future of Steve Nash remains murky at best, and Kobe Bryant won't be around forever. This increases the need for a point guard in Los Angeles. Smart is an NBA-ready player who will contribute off the bench immediately and become a future starter in the Lakers backcourt.
7. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
The Kings have a couple of holes to fill. Gordon is the most well-rounded player on the board at No. 7 and will find his way onto the court right away. Stout on the defensive end and quick in transition, Gordon will bolster this roster in a big way.
8. Detroit Pistons: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
The Pistons made some questionable personnel decisions last season. This team needs some stability and a reliable shot-maker. Hood brings all of this and more to the table. He has a nice stroke from the outside and is a solid defender on the perimeter.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia
With Saric on the floor in Cleveland's frontcourt, this team finally has a reliable presence. Saric is a gifted athlete who can distribute the ball effectively, score in the paint and can defend against bigger players. Even if he stays in Europe a bit longer, he'll be worth the wait—and this pick—for the Cavaliers.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Pelicans): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
With the 76ers securing the wing earlier in the draft, moving their focus to the backcourt is the next step. Harris is a fine ball-handler and has great range and a smooth stroke. He'll instantly fill the gaping hole at the Sixers shooting guard position.
11. Denver Nuggets: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
The Nuggets have Ty Lawson on board, but the team still needs to depth in its backcourt. Adding a great ball-handler and distributor like Ennis will assure the Nuggets of a stable group heading into next season.
12. Orlando Magic (via Knicks): Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
Orlando is right on the cusp from lottery team to playoff contender. Adding an NBA-ready shooter like McDermott could easily put this team over the top. McDermott displayed his shooting prowess last season despite garnering lots of attention from opposing teams. He'll continue that trend in the NBA.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Stauskas' shooting ability from downtown is what gets him the nod here. Minnesota wasn't exactly strong from behind the arc last season, and adding the former Michigan standout will instantly rectify that problem.
14. Phoenix Suns: Noah Vonleh, PF/C, Indiana
The Suns shot relatively well from downtown last season, but the team could use some depth in the frontcourt. Vonleh can play the 4 or the 5, giving Phoenix some great versatility up front. His efficiency on both ends of the court will allow him to play a large role right away.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, UCLA
Atlanta is in need of some help on the wing, and Anderson can fill that void nicely. A skilled ball-handler and playmaker, he'll provide an additional scoring threat that this team was clearly lacking last season.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Bobcats): T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State
One thing the Bulls need to focus on in this draft is grabbing a scoring threat to take some of the burden off Derrick Rose. Warren has some ability from the perimeter, but his ability to create shots for himself from various locations around the court is what makes him a threat.
17. Boston Celtics (via Nets): James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky
Young is a great athlete who can get to the basket and put points on the board. With the Celtics transitioning, grabbing a solid wing player here will help this team move forward. If Young can develop an outside shot, he may become a huge steal at No. 17 overall.
18. Phoenix Suns (via Wizards): Cleanthony Early, SF/PF, Wichita State
Early is a player who figures to find immediate time on the court. He's extremely well-rounded and is capable of producing in a big way on both ends of the court. Early's ability to rebound and shoot makes him a very viable weapon.
19. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
Payne may not have the highest ceiling in the draft, but he's a solid overall player on both ends of the court. He's solid in the post and an aggressive rebounder. Coming from Tom Izzo's system, he'll be ready to contribute immediately.
20. Toronto Raptors: Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
Grant has some great raw skills, but they still needs some refinement. He has nice athleticism and flies around the court but needs to improve as a shooter. He'll initially add depth here but has the potential to become a long-term starter.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Mavericks): P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina/NBDL
Hairston has looked good in the D-League despite a little bit of inconsistency. He's proved he can keep pace with NBA-level competition and can find his way on to the court early. His addition will help take plenty of burden off Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
Although the Grizzlies have a solid frontcourt right now, an injection of youth should be a priority. Capela is a big, athletic prospect who is doing nicely overseas. For now, Memphis has enough talent up front to allow Capela to develop for another year or two before bringing him in.
Givony recently conducted an interview with Capela:
23. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
McDaniels is listed at 6'6", but he has plenty of length and plays much bigger than his size indicates. One of the NCAA's most talented shot-blockers, he'll flourish on the perimeter as a defender immediately.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Trail Blazers): Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
Charlotte could use another prolific shot-maker. Although LaVine didn't have a stellar finish last season, he showed plenty of glimpses over the first half of the year. If he can get his momentum going once again, he'll become exactly what the Bobcats need.
25. Houston Rockets: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
Nurkic is a big man who can come in as a rotational piece up front. Splitting time in the frontcourt will keep this team fresh throughout the season. Jurkic is dominant in the post and can be an effective rebounder on the defensive side of the court.
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
The Heat can acquire Napier as a rotational point guard who can serve off the bench immediately at a relatively cheap price. As the Heat continue to be major contenders for a championship, Napier's ability to contribute right away helps the team's cause.
27. Phoenix Suns (via Pacers): Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Phoenix can grab a player here who can contribute off the bench immediately and eventually become a long-term staple by drafting Payton. He may not be an electrifying player, but he is solid and consistent.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Vasilije Micic, PG, Serbia
Obviously the man at point for the Clippers is Chris Paul; however, adding some depth in the backcourt is never a bad idea. Micic will need to develop, but he'll be a nice piece in the Clippers' future rotation with Paul.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG/SF, Serbia
Bogdanovic is a solid shooter who can help take some pressure off Durant and Westbrook. Grabbing him here allows the team to keep him in the fold and bring him to Oklahoma City when he's good and ready to log some time in the NBA.
30. San Antonio Spurs: DeAndre Daniels, SF, Connecticut
Daniels had a great showing during the 2014 NCAA tournament. With his draft stock through the roof, he sneaks into the end of the first round here. A solid shooter and rebounder, the 6'9" Daniels has the skill set to contribute in San Antonio's frontcourt rotation right away.