May 20 could be the beginning of a new era in several NBA cities.
The non-lottery teams already know where they will pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA draft, but the lottery teams will find out their exact selection order on the aforementioned date.
The annual draft lottery throws a bone to the teams that didn't make the playoffs—or at least the organizations that currently have control of their respective picks.
Most would agree, Duke's Jabari Parker, Kansas' Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins are the top three players available. What order they will be taken probably depends on which team gets the top pick.
Because we don't know for sure, this mock will assume that the teams with the worst records will receive the highest selections (traded picks will be detailed), and it'll progress through the playoff teams.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Do both Wiggins and Embiid have higher upside than Parker? Yes, they do, but if this is indeed the the lowly Bucks' pick, they can't afford to take a risk.
That's especially the case with the No. 1 pick in the draft.
Parker is the surest thing of the top three players, and what he brings is nothing to sneeze at.
At 6'8", 241 pounds, Parker has a game reminiscent of Carmelo Anthony's and intangibles that won't scare any general manager away or run off a head coach.
Milwaukee needs Jabari in its life.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
Wiggins is the player with the most superstar potential in my eyes. He plays above the rim, has great instincts and has only scratched the surface of his enormous potential.
That scratch I mentioned still left a significant mark during his freshman season at Kansas.
Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists. At his peak, Wiggins could be a stat-sheet stuffer with the ability to make tough shots down the stretch.
Critics took shots at Wiggins for not being aggressive enough in big games. Like a maturing veteran, Wiggins has learned to let the darts bounce off him like Mr. Fantastic.
This recent tweet is indicative of his state of mind:
Always stay true to yourself. Don't let no one bring ya down !💯— andrew wiggins (@22wiggins) April 29, 2014
If Wiggins can become more assertive, he'll realize his potential.
3. Orlando Magic: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Recently, Yahoo! Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Embiid and Parker would skip the NBA combine.
Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker -- two possible No. 1 overall picks -- will not attend the Chicago draft combine, sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) May 11, 2014
With Embiid suffering knee and back injuries late in the season, skipping the combine could put up a red flag for teams worried about the big man's long-term health.
If he checks out, he would potentially give the Magic their next great big man. The team still has Nikola Vucevic, but he's going to be a restricted free agent at the end of the 2014-15 season.
Embiid's ceiling is higher, and that makes Vucevic expendable.
At 23 years old and with proven production, Vucevic's talent and potentially expiring deal could bring quite a bit in a trade.
4. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF/C, Indiana
Vonleh's versatility and length make him one of the most intriguing big men in the draft. At 6'10" with a 7'3" wingspan, he can cover tons of space on defense and keep the ball out of the reach of defenders on offense.
In addition to grabbing nine rebounds per game for the Indiana Hoosiers in 2013, Vonleh also made 48 percent of his threes—though he only took 1.1 per game.
His game is a perfect fit for Utah as a complement to Derrick Favors and/or Enes Kanter.
5. Boston Celtics: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia
The next international superstar to hit the NBA might very well be Exum. The offensively gifted Australian can play either guard spot.
He's explosive off the dribble and his arrival could lead to an exit for Rajon Rondo. The latter is a free agent after the upcoming season.
Expect to hear his name involved in trade rumors and free-agent speculation over the next 10 months.
6. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Imagine Zach Randolph with more athleticism and explosion. That's what Randle could turn out to be if he focuses on expanding his offensive game.
He's fiercely strong and agile for a power forward, but he lacks Z-Bo's touch from the outside and footwork. Both can be added with hard work and dedication.
The Lakers simply need to take the best player available. The team is in rebuilding mode. Because this is the Lakers, that might not last very long.
But Randle could be an essential piece in the process.
7. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
DeMarcus Cousins is maturing...a little, but the team still needs some leadership.
Smart leads by example and is a competitive player who could help to permanently change the team's loser mentality.
8. Detroit Pistons: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
As pure athleticism goes, you'll be hard-pressed to find a big with more bounce than Gordon.
Get ready to see him featured on his share of NBA.com highlights as a rookie. He does need to refine his offensive game, but he doesn't lack anything vital that he can't acquire.
If the team could find a taker for his contract, it just might be inclined to move him. That would make more room for Gordon to play alongside Andre Drummond on a freakishly athletic frontcourt.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doug McDermott, PF/SF, Creighton
McDermott will not light up the scoreboard the way he did in college, and this is a bit of a reach for a player with such limited athletic ability.
But McDermott can flat out shoot the ball, and he's a smart, hard-working player whose skill set is perfect for the Cavs.
Cleveland was 18th in the league in three-point shooting and 27th in field-goal percentage this past season.
McDermott would help to open up the floor for Kyrie Irving's and Dion Waiters' dribble penetration.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans): Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Saric has a great combination of size and skills. At 6'10", he can handle the ball, pass and shoot it from distance with accuracy.
Take a look at Draft Express' most recent scouting report video on the latest Croatian sensation.
The Sixers need players who can score from the outside. It'll help to complement their growing surplus of athleticism.
Saric fits the bill.
11. Denver Nuggets: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
Nurkic is massive.
At 6'11", 280 pounds, he has the size to plug up the middle and to be a force on both ends of the floor.
He hasn't shown himself to be a huge shot-blocker, but there's more to interior defense than rejections. The Nuggets need the big body down low to anchor their half-court resistance.
Denver allowed 106.5 points per game during the 2013-14 season. That's not a good look.
Nurkic would be a nice selection to help the team improve its defense and physicality.
12. Orlando Magic (via New York Knicks): Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
Ennis is easily the best pure point guard in the draft. He's not the most dynamic, which is why players like Exum and Smart will likely be taken ahead of him.
But teams that are looking for a steady, mature, clutch performer who thinks pass first best be targeting Ennis.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Offensively, Stauskas has a myriad of tools. He shot 44 percent from beyond the arc, 47 percent from the field overall and dished out 3.3 assists in 2013-14.
He's a legit 6'6" and could be a dream wing player for Ricky Rubio next season.
14. Phoenix Suns: Kyle Anderson, SF/PG, UCLA
The Suns have three first-round picks, and it would be a shock if they keep them all.
Assuming they do hold on to all of them, Phoenix needs to add versatility and size.
Anderson offers a little bit of both. At 6'9", he can run the point or play small forward. He rebounds like a power forward and passes like a lead guard.
The downside on him is his athleticism—or lack thereof. Can his unique skill set overcome his run-and-jump shortcomings?
That's the million-dollar question. Because of this, Anderson is the most intriguing prospect in the draft.
15. Atlanta Hawks: James Young, SF, Kentucky
As a fearless and athletic wing, Young could find his happy place in the ATL.
The team does depend on the jump shot a lot—Young would fit right into that culture—but he's also explosive enough to take the ball to the rim and finish.
You may recall this filthy throwdown from the national championship game against UConn.
A core of Jeff Teague, Young and a healthy Al Horford isn't too bad.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte Bobcats): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
Harris doesn't have many weaknesses, but he doesn't really jump off the page either in any one category. That sounds like the typical Bulls 2-guard.
Coming from Michigan State, Harris will be accustomed to playing for a coach that stresses defense. Tom Izzo's influence would potentially make playing for the Bulls' Tom Thibodeau a little bit easier.
17. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets): T.J. Warren, SF/PF, North Carolina State
Some guys just have a knack for putting the ball through the rim. Warren is one of those guys.
He's not a great athlete, but he averaged 24.9 points per game in 2013-14 for N.C. State.
His mid-range game is phenomenal and seemingly a good fit for Brad Stevens' offense.
18. Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards): Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
If the Suns do keep all three picks, it seems like taking an international prospect the team can stash is a smart approach.
Capela has great length and athleticism, but he's pretty raw. Allowing him to continue to blossom would be the best approach for any team that drafts him.
19. Chicago Bulls: K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
It wouldn't be surprising to see the Bulls attempt to package this pick in a trade to send Carlos Boozer out of town. But assuming Chicago plays it straight, McDaniels is a great fit.
At 6'6", he is physically strong and possesses more bounce than a Dr. Dre track.
Expect to see McDaniels in the NBA Slam Dunk contest in the near future. Despite his height, he blocked 2.8 shots per game in 2013-14, and he takes defense personal.
If this guy isn't made to play for Thibodeau, I don't know who is. Perhaps he could help to keep Jimmy Butler from playing 8,000 minutes per night.
That's hyperbole, but you get my drift.
20. Toronto Raptors: Adreian Payne, PF/C, Michigan State
At 6'10", Payne is a great stretch 4 because of his ability to make the three-point shot.
He's deadly when coming up the floor as a trailer. He also has underrated athleticism, which makes him a devastating finisher near the basket.
He'd fit in nicely with the Raptors. With some work, he might supplant Amir Johnson as the team's starting power forward.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas Mavericks): Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
This would be a steal for the Thunder. Truthfully, Hood is talented enough to be picked as high as No. 9 to the Cavaliers, but lack of an ideal fit could push him here.
The lefty has a smooth shooting stroke and enough handle to create space to get the shot off the dribble.
He could give Kevin Durant a bit of a break off the bench with his scoring.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Cleanthony Early, PF/SF, Wichita State
Early was one of the best players in the nation in 2013-14. He proved it against top-notch competition in the NCAA tournament matchup with the Kentucky Wildcats.
Early went off for a season-high 31 points on 12-of-17 shooting. That included going 4-of-6 from beyond the arc.
Regardless of whether Randolph leaves in free agency, Early is a good fit for Memphis because of his ability to score.
23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Kristaps Porzingis, C, Latvia
At only 18 years old, Porzingis has a lot to learn, but he has the requisite size at 7'0" to grab scouts' attention.
He's very athletic for his size but very thin at 220 pounds. Even if the Jazz sat him primarily in his first season, his upside says this could be a good investment.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland Trail Blazers): Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
The most impressive aspect of Adams' game is his quick hands on defense. He can obviously score. That's evidenced by the 17.4 points he averaged last season.
But he also averaged 2.6 steals. If you watched Adams play this past season, you saw how talented of an on-ball defender he is on the perimeter.
He could step in and push the incumbent wings for playing time in Charlotte.
25. Houston Rockets: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
The Rockets are a bad defensive team. Of all the teams that made the playoffs, the Rockets allowed the most points per game (103.1).
With Dwight Howard already manning the middle, it's time the Rockets tabbed a perimeter player who can wreak havoc on defense.
Payton can do just that.
His blazing quickness is not just good for getting the rim—which he also does well—as he averaged 2.3 steals per game last season.
Some compare him to Rondo, but his on-ball defense is even more ferocious.
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn
Mario Chalmers is heading for free agency. Some team is going to overpay for him, and the Heat will need another point guard.
Norris Cole will likely inherit the starting spot, but grabbing the Most Outstanding Player from the NCAA tournament and national champion UConn Huskies would be a smart move.
Napier can score off the dribble, which would give LeBron James and Dwyane Wade (assuming they return) a breather.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
The Clips don't have a reliable big man to turn to when DeAndre Jordan sits. McGary is a big, active body who could be an ideal reserve big for Los Angeles.
McGary has had some back issues, but assuming he can remain healthy, this could be a high-value selection.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends (D-League)
The void left in the sixth-man role that James Harden played for the Thunder in the 2012-13 season has never been filled.
Hairston is a good one-on-one scorer who can put pressure on a defense with his dribble drives and long-range bombing.
His skill set screams designated scorer off the bench.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
The Spurs might be the perfect team to pull GR3 out of his shell. He was stat-sheet stuffer in college, but many believe he could be much more.
In a rotation with Kawhi Leonard, GR3 could be an offensive force within San Antonio's second unit.