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NBA Mock Draft 2014: How Each Team Should Navigate Loaded Prospect Pool

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NBA Mock Draft 2014: How Each Team Should Navigate Loaded Prospect Pool
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

With the 2014 NBA Draft Combine underway, the complexion of the 2014 draft itself is beginning to truly take shape.

Not all major names are in attendance, but prospects like Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker don't need the help from measurements and workouts to cement stock at this stage of the offseason.

Considering the 2014 class is loaded top to bottom, there are sure to be some surprises fans won't see coming. Talent can and will trickle down into the later rounds, so don't be shocked when teams get aggressive for prospects they like.

Like any mock, what follows will be each team filling needs based on value. Let's take a look.

 

*2014 NBA draft order according to NBA.com.

 

1. Milwaukee Bucks (15-67): Andrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas

Wiggins has nothing left to prove at this point, especially when one looks at stat lines that read averages of 17.1 points, 1.2 threes, 5.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 1.2 steals and 1.0 blocks as a collegiate player.

Milwaukee has the greatest chance of all to land the No. 1 pick, and the addition of Wiggins would do wonders for the team in tandem with Giannis Antetokounmpo.

Wiggins won't solve all of the problems for the Bucks, but in a league defined by superstars, Wiggins gives them the best shot to be competitive.

 

2. Philadelphia 76ers (19-63): Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Parker isn't far behind Wiggins in most aspects, so look for Philadelphia to pull the trigger at No. 2 overall.

Arguably the top all-around player in the class, Parker sent a heartfelt goodbye to Duke fans on Instagram, which showed high character that front offices will surely weigh when making the decision:

In Philadelphia, Parker actually fits the roster's biggest need and creates a tandem with Michael Carter-Williams that is hard to ignore.

 

3. Orlando Magic (23-59): Dante Exum, PG, Australia

Dante Exum is a sensation in Chicago at the combine because it is the first time media, fans and teams have had a chance to get a good luck at the prospect who dominated basketball overseas.

At 18 years old, Exum is a franchise centerpiece and someone who will challenge for the No. 1 overall pick.

In this scenario, Exum lands in Orlando and replaces Jameer Nelson while forming a deadly duo with Victor Oladipo.

 

4. Utah Jazz (25-57): Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Enes Kanter may or may not be the solution in Utah, but the front office won't want to wait around with a prospect like Joel Embiid on the board.

Embiid is quite the risk after a back injury cost him playing time near the end of last season, but when healthy, he may just be the biggest game-changing piece in the class.

 

5. Boston Celtics (25-57): Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

Noah Vonleh blew away everyone at the scouting combine thanks to his elite athleticism and ability to knock down shots from anywhere on the court.

It even prompted a Chris Bosh comparison from ESPN's Chad Ford:

Vonleh immediately enters as one of the best players the Celtics have to offer beneath the rim. He'll do much to make the roster competitive once again.

 

6. Los Angeles Lakers (27-55): Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

Exum would be the ideal pick for the Los Angeles Lakers, but Marcus Smart is one heck of a consolation prize.

Smart is the heaviest 6'2" player in combine history and averaged 18 points per game at Oklahoma State before turning pro. In Los Angeles, Smart will help to ignite the rebuilding process as a cost-effective superstar.

 

7. Sacramento Kings (28-54): Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

Julius Randle is a more complete and pro-ready player than Vonleh, but the combine revealed a rough fact about his size, as captured by ESPN Stats & Info:

Sacramento won't complain, as Randle's high-intensity play and prowess on the glass does much to give the Kings one of the most fearsome one-two punches the NBA has to offer in tandem with DeMarcus Cousins.

 

8. Detroit Pistons* (29-53): Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

After averaging 12.9 points, 3.4 rebounds and 5.5 assists as a freshman, Tyler Ennis is set to find himself a nice role at the NBA level with a chance to be a legit starter.

In Detroit, Ennis gets that chance as the rebuild continues. He can stretch the floor with his shooting and get in the lane when necessary.

As far as potential building blocks go, the Pistons could do much worse than Ennis.

*Pick goes to Charlotte if it's ninth or lower.

 

9. Cleveland Cavaliers (33-49): James Young, SF, Kentucky

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Any player who averaged 14.3 points and connected on 82 three-pointers as a freshman at Kentucky deserves a look in the top 10. 

That description goes to James Young, a cost-effective replacement for Luol Deng in Cleveland.

Young's ability on the offensive side of the court is something the Cavaliers are going to seriously need as the rebuild continues.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers* (from New Orleans [34-48]): Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

The makeover continues in Philadelphia at No. 10, where the front office can grab a pro-ready forward who can stretch the floor with his jump shot in Adreian Payne.

Enough can't be said about Payne as a prospect, but Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders shares a nice nugget:

By the time the draft process is over, Payne will have solidified himself as a surefire top pick.

*Pick goes to New Orleans if it's in the top three.

 

11. Denver Nuggets (36-46): Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

Randy Foye and Evan Fournier are nice and all, but Denver needs even better shooting to keep defenses honest and produce a top offense.

Nik Stauskas is arguably the best pure shooter in the class and an instant upgrade for the Nuggets in that regard.

More refinement is a must as his pro career goes on, but it will be a lengthy one for Stauskas.

 

12. Orlando Magic (from Denver via New York [37-45]): Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Duke

Then again, Rodney Hood may have something to say about Stauskas' shooting title.

Hood was lights out as a Blue Devil and shot 42 percent from deep while averaging 16.1 points per game last year.

This scoring ability is something the offense in Orlando has lacked, but Hood is an addition that rounds out a quality young lineup.

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves* (40-42): Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton

Eric Gay/Associated Press

It's simple—shooters make it in the NBA if put in the right situation.

That situation for Doug McDermott is Minnesota, where he can be a featured piece of the offense for years to come after shooting at least 40 percent from downtown in all four of his years at Creighton.

Not a flashy pick by any means, but McDermott is a smart choice for the Bucks.

*Pick goes to Phoenix if Suns pass Minnesota in lottery.

 

14. Phoenix Suns (48-34): Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

The Phoenix Suns need some physicality down low in order to remain competitive out west with the Dwight Howards of the world.

Aaron Gordon is a nice addition and brings with him some flash and swagger:

Gordon may not be the face of the franchise, but his presence down low changes the Suns in a big way.

 

15. Atlanta Hawks (38-44): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

Credit where it is due—the Atlanta Hawks showed some fight in the first round of the playoffs.

To take the next step, the Hawks can add Gary Harris and profit from his stellar shooting and ability to get to the rim with relative ease.

That sort of high-energy work fits well with Jeff Teague.

 

16. Chicago Bulls (from Charlotte [43-39]): Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland

Clint Capela may be the reason the Chicago Bulls can get away from Carlos Boozer's contract this offseason.

Capela is quite raw as a prospect, but down low in tandem with the likes of Joakim Noah, the Bulls become that much more intimidating defensively. On top of that, Capela can hold his own on the offensive side of the court.

 

17. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn [44-38]): Zach LaVine, PG, UCLA

It is hard to tell what the Boston Celtics are thinking with Rajon Rondo, but Zach LaVine's ability may make things easier. 

This week LaVine has made a point to blow away scouts and fans at the combine while stating his game is similar to some elite names, and he isn't all that wrong, as captured by Mark Remme of Timberwolves.com:

If it is a fresh start Boston wants, LaVine is a heck of a way to do it.

 

18. Phoenix Suns (from Washington 44-38): Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State

Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

Cleanthony Early gives the Suns more of the necessary aggressiveness on both ends of the court but also comes equipped with a wicked jump shot to stretch the court.

Early slots right into a major role with the Suns, and as a result, he provides a major boost at another area of need.

 

19. Chicago Bulls (48-34): Dario Saric, PF, Croatia

Here's the kicker with Dario Saric and the reason the team can get away with technically taking two 4s in the first round—he's got a boatload of offensive potential, as illustrated by ESPN's Fran Fraschilla:

That's a major plus for the Bulls, a team that needs as much offense as it can get this offseason.

 

20. Toronto Raptors (48-34): Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse

The Toronto Raptors have to start getting risky in order to take the next step in the Eastern Conference after a rather impressive showing this postseason.

To that end, Jerami Grant is a smooth selection who upgrades the depth of the roster with high-energy play and a strong presence defensively.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Dallas [49-33] via Houston and L.A. Lakers): P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends (NBA D-League)

Reggie Jackson is a scorer and there's no way Derek Fisher lasts much longer, so watch for Oklahoma City to get greedy and grab another point guard this year.

P.J. Hairston is far from a bad option. He's got a wicked shot from deep and can provide an edge on the defensive end thanks to his physical play.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies (50-32): Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut

Tony Gutierrez/Associated Press

Shabazz Napier is the type of player any coach wants to give the ball with the game on the line.

Napier won't win a game on his own at the pro level, but his smart decisions and ball security make up for any weaknesses.

In Memphis, Napier would get to learn from Mike Conley while soaking up quality minutes and gives the franchise options down the road.

 

23. Utah Jazz (from Golden State [51-31]): Kyle Anderson, PG/PF, UCLA

Kyle Anderson is a risky prospect. Just look at his position description.

At 6'9", he plays the game like a point guard, which is a good or bad thing depending on who is asked. Anderson is outstanding at facilitating offense through great passes, which is an element to the offense in Utah that has been missing for a while.

 

24. Charlotte Bobcats (from Portland [54-28]): T.J. Warren, SF, NC State

Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson need some help in Charlotte if the team is going to make the playoffs again and actually stand a chance.

How about adding a kid who averaged 24.9 points as a sophomore?

That would be T.J. Warren, whose elite scoring ability is a breath of fresh air for the Bobcats.

 

25. Houston Rockets (54-28): K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson

K.J. McDaniels, thanks to his stunning defensive performances on film, has done much this offseason to change the minds of experts such as Jay Williams:

McDaniels next to Howard is quite scary. He'll need to further develop an offense, but that's a dominant defensive tandem.

 

26. Miami Heat (54-28): Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

Jusuf Nurkic is the best center in the class not named Joel, so it should come as no surprise when the Miami Heat elect to take the overseas talent and stash him for a year.

Nurkic won't see much playing time with the Heat, but this is a forward-looking move for a franchise that has to have an eye on the future as it builds depth through cheap rookie contracts.

 

27. Phoenix Suns (from Indiana [56-26]): Jahii Carson, PG, Arizona State

Morry Gash/Associated Press

After beefing up beneath the rim and in the overall scoring department, the Suns can look to add more scoring at the guard spots with Jahii Carson.

Carson would battle Goran Dragic for time as he develops and in the meantime gives the Suns quite a sound amount of depth.

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers (57-25): Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana Lafayette

Depth is a must behind Chris Paul, and the Los Angeles Clippers cannot bank on Darren Collison sticking around for much longer.

With that in mind, look for the Clippers to grab a bit of a project player like Elfrid Payton. He's an underdog in the process and a favorite of film junkies, but with the Clippers he'll strictly be a rotational piece for the time being.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder (59-23): Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee

Depth and luxury are the names of the game for the Thunder in this draft class.

Value isn't a bad thing, either. That's exactly what the Thunder would get with Jarnell Stokes, a rebounding machine who would dominate on the second team.

 

30. San Antonio Spurs (62-20): Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier

Better depth is the need for the San Antonio Spurs at this point with Tony Parker getting up there in age.

Patty Mills is still around, but it can't hurt to add a promising prospect like Semaj Christon who excels on both ends of the court and has plenty of room to grow.

 

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