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2014 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Projections Before Combine

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2014 NBA Mock Draft: 1st-Round Projections Before Combine
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With the NBA combine set to take place this week in Chicago, the top prospects continue to make a push to be first-round picks.

The combine will take place from Wednesday through Sunday, but some of the top names in this year's draft won't be there. According to Adrian Wojnarowski from Yahoo! Sports, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker are planning to skip the combine. Still, given what we've seen from them in college, all three of them should be taken with the first few picks in this year's draft.

Before the combine begins, let's take a look at an updated mock draft for the entire first round. 

 

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1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas

It was a rough season for the Milwaukee Bucks, and it's obvious that they need another playmaker to provide a spark on both sides of the ball. Andrew Wiggins may not have lived up to the hype coming out of high school, but the expectations were unrealistic, and he still had a very strong season with the Jayhawks.

Given his athleticism and huge upside, Wiggins has to be the pick here. With Wiggins and Giannis Antetokounmpo on the wings, the Bucks should have a more promising season next year, assuming they're able to grab the top pick in this draft.

 

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

Michael Carter-Williams won this year's NBA Rookie of the Year award, and the Philadelphia 76ers are hoping they can get another promising rookie in this year's draft.

With Evan Turner now playing for the Indiana Pacers, the 76ers need a talented player on the wing who can put up points with ease. Duke's Jabari Parker already looks ready to play at the next level, and his polished skill set should help him thrive in the NBA as soon as he sets foot on the court.

 

3. Orlando Magic: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

Nikola Vucevic is set to be a restricted free agent this summer if the Orlando Magic aren't able to sign him to a deal, but if they do, it's unlikely that they'll be looking for a center in the draft.

Instead, the Magic could take a very talented power forward in Julius Randle. During his time at Kentucky, the 6'9'', 19-year-old proved to be a very efficient player in the post, constantly putting up double-doubles. He can finish down low with contact, and having Randle and Vucevic down low could turn things around in Orlando pretty quickly.

 

4. Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

The Utah Jazz clearly need a big man down low, because Enes Kanter isn't the best long-term option at center. If Joel Embiid is still on the board when the Jazz are up to pick, I doubt they'll wait long to make their selection.

Embiid has only been playing basketball for a few years, but he's already developed into the top center prospect in this draft. There are some health concerns with the 7'0'' big man, but if he can stay healthy he'll be a consistent producer in the NBA.

 

5. Boston Celtics: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

Head coach Brad Stevens is still working on rebuilding the Boston Celtics and turning them into a championship contender once again, but he has a long way to go. While there is some talent in the backcourt, the Celtics need more help in the paint before they can start making a run in the Eastern Conference.

Former Indiana power forward Noah Vonleh was criminally underutilized in Tom Crean's offensive system, but he showed time and time again that he has a pro-ready skill set. Along with the ability to play down low on offense or defense, Vonleh also demonstrated a solid jump shot, making 48.5 percent of his three-pointers.

 

6. Los Angeles Lakers: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia

There are a few ways the Los Angeles Lakers could go with their first-round pick, especially considering Pau Gasol is set to be an unrestricted free agent. 

One name that makes sense here is Dante Exum, the exciting international prospect. If the Lakers could have Kobe Bryant and Exum in the backcourt next year and bring in another superstar, they should be able to turn things around quickly.

 

7. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

While the Sacramento Kings are continuing to struggle to put it all together, there are a number of young pieces on this team that seem close to breaking out at some point in the next couple of years. Adding Arizona's Aaron Gordon down low to go along with DeMarcus Cousins could make for plenty of exciting plays on both sides of the ball given the former Wildcat's athleticism.

 

8. Detroit Pistons: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

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With Josh Smith and Andre Drummond down low, the Detroit Pistons are set in the frontcourt. The Pistons should look for help in the backcourt, perhaps at point guard to find someone to compete for the starting job against Brandon Jennings.

At Syracuse, Tyler Ennis proved to be an aggressive point guard that still has plenty of upside to one day be a starter in the NBA.

 

9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton

In his first season with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Anthony Bennett was a huge disappointment considering he was the No. 1 overall pick. It doesn't look like Bennett is ready to make an impact right now, so the Cavaliers should look at a high-scoring power forward like Doug McDermott to get their offense going next season.

 

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

After taking Parker with their first pick, the 76ers can look at another scorer with their second top-10 pick. Michigan State's Gary Harris finished his sophomore season with some very strong postseason performances, and his ability to score from behind the arc or drive to the basket would make him a major asset for Philadelphia.

 

11. Denver Nuggets: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

The Denver Nuggets had a top-10 offense last season, but they could still use another scoring option at shooting guard to go along with Randy Foye. Arguably the best shooter in this class, Nik Stauskas could give Denver a deadly threat from behind the arc coming off of the bench.

 

12. Orlando Magic (via New York): Dario Saric, SF, Croatia

While the Magic need players now, it will be hard for them to pass up on a physical player with huge upside like Dario Saric. He has a nice shooting touch and should be a solid contributor down the road if he has time to develop.

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

The Minnesota Timberwolves have some solid starting players, but they need some bench depth, especially on the wing. If he could come off the bench for the Timberwolves, Rodney Hood could be a versatile player that could play either shooting guard or small forward and show off his smooth jumper on offense.

 

14. Phoenix Suns: James Young, SF, Kentucky

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It was a very surprising season for the Phoenix Suns, as they finished with a strong 48-34 record. But that success won't last if they don't find some more talented playmakers. James Young could be that guy either in the starting lineup or off the bench, as he proved at Kentucky that he can put up plenty of points when needed, especially on the perimeter. 

 

15. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

The Atlanta Hawks need some more help down low, and they could find a solid backup behind Paul Millsap in this year's draft. Adreian Payne was a star at Michigan State because of his ability to score inside and outside as well as his ability to grab rebounds. That will help him at the next level, but he needs to get stronger down low before he'll be ready to be starter.

 

16. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte): P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina/NBA D-League

Defensively, the Chicago Bulls were the best team in the league. However, they struggled mightily on offense, scoring just 93.7 points per game, ranking dead last. At shooting guard, P.J. Hairston could come in and provide a spark that Chicago needs so badly on offense. He's been spending time in the NBA D-League, and that should help him make the transition to the next level without too much trouble.

 

17. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn): Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA

While he has a ton of potential, Zach LaVine probably declared for the draft a year early. LaVine isn't ready to play at the next level, but the Celtics could take him with this pick, help him grow behind Rajon Rondo and hopefully have a solid contributor down the road.

 

18. Phoenix Suns (via Washington): Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State

If the Suns want an explosive athlete at the power forward position that can put up points in bunches, taking Cleanthony Early would be the way to go. He's an effective slasher that has a polished mid-range game and can defend the perimeter, giving the Suns a versatile weapon off the bench.

 

19. Chicago Bulls: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

Even when Derrick Rose returns, the Bulls are going to need another floor general behind him. While Marcus Smart's draft stock has fallen a bit this past season, he's still an effective point guard that can run the offense and create his own shot when needed.

 

20. Toronto Raptors: Jerami Grant, PF, Syracuse

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Despite falling in the first round, the Toronto Raptors showed that they're a piece or two from being one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference. That being said, they could still use some depth down low. Syracuse's Jerami Grant is an athletic power forward that thrives playing around the rim.

He'll still need to work on being a better shooter, but the upside is there for Grant, and he'd be a solid role player in Toronto.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas): Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland

Right now, the Oklahoma City Thunder don't have any pressing needs, but they would be smart to stash a developmental frontcourt player. Clint Capela is a dominant defender that can crash the boards, giving the Thunder a nice option off the bench down the road.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut

Mike Conley has been a solid point guard for the Memphis Grizzlies, but they need a more reliable backup behind him that can run the offense and score. Over the past few seasons, Shabazz Napier has been one of the best scoring point guards in the country, and while he's not the tallest prospect, he proved he's ready to play in the NBA after leading the Huskies to a national title.

 

23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA

The Jazz need to add as much offensive talent as possible after averaging just 95 points per game last year. UCLA's Kyle Anderson was a great offensive weapon this past season, but he's also versatile enough to play point forward at 6'9'' and run the offense if needed.

 

24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland): K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson

After so many years near the bottom of the league, the Charlotte Bobcats were finally able to grab a playoff spot, even if it was only the No. 7 seed. If they want to make it to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, they're going to need more help on offense.

K.J. McDaniels flew under the radar at Clemson, but he's an athletic wing player that loves to get to the rim and makes plays down low. At the same time, he's an aggressive defender that crashes the glass and blocks shots, making him a great potential bench player for Charlotte.

 

25. Houston Rockets: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington

The Houston Rockets don't really need more offense, but they probably wouldn't complain if they found another scorer at shooting guard to play behind James Harden. At Washington, C.J. Wilcox scored from everywhere over the past four years, and his ability to put up points would make him a valuable piece behind Harden.

 

26. Miami Heat: Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier

Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Assuming LeBron James comes back, the Miami Heat don't have any major needs, but adding another point guard behind Mario Chalmers could do this team some good. Semaj Christon has nice size for a point guard at 6'3'', and he's an aggressive slasher that loves to create his own shot. He's not a true floor general, but that wouldn't be necessary when Dwyane Wade and LeBron are on the court.

 

27. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana): Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

With yet another first-round pick, the Suns can use this one to focus on a potential long-term option at center. Jusuf Nurkic will need to develop overseas, but in time he could be a solid player down low with some nice post moves to put up points. 

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers: T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State

Right now, the Los Angeles Clippers have four solid starters and Matt Barnes. Barnes isn't terrible, but he's 34, and the Clippers need a long-term starter. T.J. Warren has been a terrific scorer for the Wolfpack, and given his 6'8'' frame, he could start one day at small forward for the Clippers.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Vasilije Micic, PG, Serbia

Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson have been solid at point guard, but if the Thunder want another dynamic player at the position in a few years, they could consider picking another international prospect in Vasilije Micic. Micic has the tools to thrive at the position in the NBA and could give the Thunder even more backcourt depth once he comes to the NBA.

 

30. San Antonio Spurs: Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee

Tim Duncan and Boris Diaw aren't going to be playing forever, which means that the San Antonio Spurs are going to need to quickly add some depth at power forward. Jarnell Stokes would be a good option this late in the first round. While undersized, he's a strong power forward that loves to crash the glass and possesses nice touch around the basket.

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