2014 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Every Team's Round 1 Selection

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2014 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Every Team's Round 1 Selection
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NBA mock drafts underwent makeovers during the 2014 combine.

While the top prospects sat out, others took advantage of the opportunity to shine in front of scouts.

Mocks will again change drastically on Tuesday, May 20 after the draft lottery. But until then, here is an updated 2014 first-round mock.

 

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

Wiggins isn't as pro-ready as Jabari Parker. Then again, Milwaukee isn't one player away from playoff contention. Its league-worst record speaks to that.

What Wiggins lacks in polish, he makes up for in athleticism. Of the two elite scorers in the class, his ceiling is the highest—not just because of his ability to get to the rim, but for his superior defensive potential.

The Bucks are abominable on both sides of the court. Wiggins is far more capable of taking them to the next level offensively and defensively. So is Joel Embiid, but Milwaukee's bigs are significantly more competent than the team's wings.

 

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

Philadelphia lost 17.4 points per game of production when it traded Evan Turner to the Indiana Pacers. While Embiid is also an option here, drafting him would defeat the purpose of trading Jrue Holiday for Nerlens Noel.

The 76ers also traded Spencer Hawes, their leading rebounder at the trade deadline. Not only would Parker help fill the scoring hole left by Turner, but he'd also aid the undersized Thaddeus Young on the glass. Parker averaged 19.1 points and 8.7 boards per game as a freshman Blue Devil.

 

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

Embiid is as tempting as ever here, but the Magic have a glaring hole at point guard. While Embiid would be an upgrade over Nikola Vucevic, a starting center is one of the few roles they don't desperately need.

Playing overseas, Exum didn't put as much game film in scouts' hands as other top prospects, but at the combine he proved he deserves to be mentioned among the best. ESPN Stats and Info tweeted that he'll be one of the fastest players in the league, and Basketball Insiders' Alex Kennedy reported his communication ability is just as fantastic:

A starting backcourt of Exum and Victor Oladipo would be a nightmare to compete against for years to come.

 

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

Embiid is talented enough to hear his name called at No. 1, so he's a huge steal for the Jazz. Despite limited playing experience, he came out of nowhere to average 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in just 23.1 minutes for the Jayhawks last season.

The 20-year-old 7-footer would allow Utah to move Derrick Favors to power forward where he defended more effectively, according to 82games.com. The team would also have the freedom to trade Enes Kanter.

 

5. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle (PF, Kentucky)

NESN's Ben Watanabe reported that Celtics general manager Danny Ainge will draft the best player available regardless of need. Julius Randle is the best player available.

The 6'9", 225-pounder helped carry the Wildcats to a national championship berth this spring. On the season, the double-double machine averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. He would give Boston a formidable trio of promising bigs, with Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk already in town.

 

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

This will be the Lakers' best chance to acquire a young prospect with the potential to succeed Kobe Bryant as the face of the franchise. Smart has the leadership and competitiveness to eventually carry the torch after Bryant retires.

But until then, Smart is also talented enough to help Los Angeles compete right away. After all, the team didn't offer Bryant a two-year, $48.5 million contract extension to win later. Smart averaged 18.0 points, 4.8 assists and 5.9 rebounds for the Cowboys last season.

 

7. Sacramento Kings: Noah Vonleh (PF, Indiana)

Assuming the Kings plan on re-signing Isaiah Thomas, their top two options at seventh overall will be Vonleh and Aaron Gordon. Jason Thompson and Derrick Williams finished with player efficiency ratings less than 12.0 this season (the league average is 15.0). Vonleh and Gordon are upgrades, but the former is the better fit.

Only two teams converted fewer three-pointers than Sacramento this season. Vonleh would fix that. Not only is he effective in the paint, he shot 48.5 percent from downtown last year, compared to 35.6 percent by Gordon. 

ESPN's Chad Ford compared Vonleh to nine-time All-Star Chris Bosh:

 

8. Detroit Pistons: Gary Harris (SG, Michigan State)

Gordon is the best available player, but—in its current state—there’s a logjam in Detroit's frontcourt. Unless Stan Van Gundy plans on letting Greg Monroe walk in free agency this summer, adding Gordon to a mix of Monroe, Andre Drummond and Josh Smith would be a waste.

Harris actually fills a hole. Rodney Stuckey is a free agent and mediocre (14.0 PER) to begin with. Kyle Singler is a more natural fit at small forward than shooting guard at 6'8", 230 pounds. And even if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope emerges as a starting caliber 2-guard, guard depth would remain the Pistons' greatest need.

 

9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Aaron Gordon (PF, Arizona)

Gordon finally comes off the board because, while the Cavaliers also have a logjam at power forward, he's shown the ability to play small forward. And if Luol Deng walks in free agency, Cleveland will be desperate to fill that void.

Gordon won't be much of a help in taking the scoring load of Kyrie Irving's shoulders, but he can be of assistance everywhere else. He's an elite defender and freak athlete who averaged 8.0 rebounds per game this past season. Gordon and Anderson Varejao in the same frontcourt would give opponents fits.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Dario Saric (PF, Croatia)

Philadelphia knows its future is bright—keyword: future. It showed willingness to wait for Nerlens Noel, who sat out an entire season while recovering from a torn ACL. Waiting one or two years for someone who would likely be a top-five prospect if he played for Kentucky will pay off in the long run.

If the 76ers nail their two lottery picks, they'll be a top playoff contender for years to come. But they won't reach that point for a couple of years even if they nail them, so Saric is worth the wait.

 

11. Denver Nuggets: Tyler Ennis (PG, Syracuse)

Andre Miller played a major role on the Nuggets in backing up Ty Lawson, which Nate Robinson hasn't lived up to. With Robinson turning 30 years old in May and coming off a torn ACL, he'd be easy to upgrade at No. 11. 

Ennis is a safe pick due to his impeccable decision-making ability. As a mere freshman playing in the ACC, arguably the best conference in college basketball, he averaged an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.22. He also scored 12.9 points per game.

 

12. Orlando Magic: Nik Stauskas (SG, Michigan)

Jameer Nelson is 32 years old and has an expiring contract. If he's not in the Magic's plans for next season, the team would have no proven players to back up either guard position.

Stauskas would not only give Orlando—which finished in the bottom third in three-point field goals made this seasonan outside scoring boost, but he's capable of spending time at point and shooting guard. He averaged 17.5 points and 3.3 assists per game last season while shooting 44.2 percent from downtown.

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Doug McDermott (SF, Creighton)

Small forward is clearly the weak link in the Timberwolves' starting lineup. Corey Brewer can be a competent, high-energy reserve, but his 28.0 percent shooting from beyond the arc doesn't cut it.

McDermott, one of the greatest scorers in college basketball history, would fix their scoring woes. He scored 26.7 points per game last season while shooting 52.6 percent from the field and 44.9 from downtown, despite being the focal point of every opponent's game plan.

 

14. Phoenix Suns: Zach LaVine (PG, UCLA)

LaVine is one of the most athletic players in the draft. According to NBA.com, at the combine he finished first in the lane agility drill, second in the shuttle run, ninth in the three-quarter-court sprint, fourth in standing vertical leap and third in maximum vertical leap.

He fits the Suns' fast-paced offense perfectly. Even if Eric Bledsoe returns, he needs a backup. At 6'5", LaVine has the physical ability to back up Bledsoe and Goran Dragic if Gerald Green were to start at small forward.

 

15. Atlanta Hawks: James Young (SF, Kentucky)

Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll's ability to create their own shot fails to strike fear in opposing defenses. That's Young's specialty.

While the 18-year-old showed inconsistency with the Wildcats, he still managed to score 14.3 points per game. He would provide instant offense off the bench until he supplants Korver or Carroll in the starting lineup.

 

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

Only three teams made fewer three-point field goals than the Bulls this season. Starting shooting guard Jimmy Butler only shot 28.3 percent from downtown. Hairston would instantly upgrade that department.

Scoring 14.6 points per game with the Tar Heels, he shot 39.6 percent from downtown. He isn't a great mid-range shooter, but the 6'5", 220-pounder can score inside as well as out.

 

17. Boston Celtics: Elfrid Payton (PG, Louisiana-Lafayette)

Jerryd Bayless is a free agent and, having finished with a 12.5 PER, isn't worth keeping around anyway. But his departure would leave a gaping hole at the backup point guard position.

Payton would give the Celtics quite the backcourt behind Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. His stock would be higher if he hadn't played at such a small school. The 20-year-old averaged 19.2 points, 5.9 assists and 6.0 rebounds last year for the Ragin' Cajuns.

 

18. Phoenix Suns: Rodney Hood (SG, Duke)

Phoenix loves shooting threes. Only three teams attempted more in the regular season. Hood would allow the team to continue this trend efficiently.

He averaged 16.1 points per game last year while shooting 42.0 percent from beyond the arc. With P.J. Tucker and Leandro Barbosa being free agents this summer, the Suns are thin on the wing.

 

19. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne (PF, Michigan State)

Payne would continue to solve the Bulls' outside shooting problem. The 6'10", 225-pound stretch 4 would be an ideal role player to spread the floor for Derrick Rose.

Payne scored 16.4 points per game last year while shooting 42.3 percent from downtown. As a 23-year-old who spent four years on the Spartans, he's also as pro-ready as prospects come.

 

20. Toronto Raptors: K.J. McDaniels (SF, Clemson)

Toronto has several options to fill its need at small forward here. Due to its love of athletes (see: DeMar DeRozan and Terrence Ross) and need for scoring, McDaniels fits the bill.

McDaniels ran the fastest three-quarter-court sprint at the combine and had the seventh-highest standing vertical leap. He scored 17.1 points per game for the Tigers last season.

 

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

Capela has the highest potential out of any of the remaining prospects by far, but he's extremely raw. It will take a year before he's able to crack the Thunder's active roster, but he's worth the risk.

The 6'11", 222-pound tweener has Serge Ibaka-esque physical ability. And Ibaka sure worked out for Oklahoma City. While the Thunder are in win-now mode, no players at this point in the draft would likely earn time in the rotation as a rookie.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Cleanthony Early (SF, Wichita State)

Memphis is also in win-now mode, but it actually has holes that a rookie could fill. Tayshaun Prince averaged just 6.0 points per game this season and an 8.2 PER.

At 34 years old, Prince needs to be replaced, and at 23 years old, Early is pro-ready. The Shocker scored 16.4 points per game last season.

 

23. Utah Jazz: Jerami Grant (SF, Syracuse)

Richard Jefferson, who will turn 34 years old this summer, started 78 games for the Jazz this season. And he only averaged 10.1 points per game and an 11.9 PER. He's a free agent, and even if the Jazz move Gordon Hayward to small forward to replace him, Hayward still needs a better backup.

Grant is a phenomenal athlete who would add much-needed explosiveness to the Jazz. He averaged 12.1 points and 6.8 rebounds last season.

 

24. Charlotte Bobcats: Kyle Anderson (PF, UCLA)

Josh McRoberts started 78 games for the Bobcats last season despite averaging just 8.5 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. He isn't a starting-caliber power forward.

Anderson won't be either, but at least he has the potential to eventually break into the starting lineup next to Al Jefferson. The 6'9", 235-pound point forward did it all except play defense for the Bruins this past season, averaging 14.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game.

 

25. Houston Rockets: T.J. Warren (SF, NC State)

Averaging about 8.0 points per game, Troy Daniels was the Rockets' best wing off the bench this season. And he only played in a total of nine games including the playoffs. 

Houston desperately needs depth behind James Harden and Chandler Parsons. T.J. Warren would provide that. Few players in the draft are better pure scorers than Warren, who averaged 24.9 points per game this past season.

 

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

At 250 pounds, LeBron James is the heaviest player in the Heat's playoff rotation. The team could use a boost in size. And no one in the draft would provide more of that than the 6'11", 280-pound Nurkic.

The 19-year-old Bosnian actually has a strong skill set, but he's unathletic and easily fatigued. Of course, he would only get spot time on Miami anyway.

 

27. Phoenix Suns: Kristaps Porzingis (PF, Latvia)

Phoenix isn't necessarily deep, but it's deep enough that it's unrealistic to expect three rookies to crack its rotation. If the Suns don't add Saric or Capela with their first two picks, their third should be spent on an overseas project like Porzingis.

Channing Frye is 31 years old and will need to be replaced eventually. Porzingis is conveniently 6'11" and can shoot from downtown.

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Shabazz Napier (PG, Connecticut)

Darren Collison is on the second year of a two-year, $1.9 million contract and can opt out. He's likely to test free agency after an impressive campaign of averaging 11.4 points and 3.7 assists off the bench.

If he leaves, Napier has the potential to step in as Chris Paul's backup right away. At 22 years old and having played four years in college, Napier is one of the most pro-ready prospects in the draft. He averaged 18.0 points, 4.9 assists and 5.9 rebounds for the Huskies as a senior.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: C.J. Wilcox (SG, Washington)

Oklahoma City is only in the middle of the pack in three-point field-goal percentage. If anyone at this point in the draft has a chance at playing time, it would be a spot-up shooter who could spread the floor for Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.

Wilcox can do just that. He averaged 18.3 points per game this past season while shooting 39.1 percent from downtown. And at 23 years old, he's pro-ready for the win-now Thunder.

 

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

San Antonio doesn't have a strong paint presence behind Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter. Stokes would complement Boris Diaw's perimeter abilities well.

Stokes is 6'8", 250 pounds and will earn a living in the NBA with his rebounding and defensive niche. He averaged a double-double for the Volunteers last year at 15.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per game.

 

Stats courtesy of ESPN.com. NBA combine results courtesy of NBA.com.

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.

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