The results of the NBA combine are certainly worth noting as we lead up to the 2014 NBA draft, but don’t equate it with its football counterpart.
Players’ draft stocks fluctuate wildly—for the better or worse—based on performances at the NFL combine, but the NBA version is more supplementary to what front offices already know from studying the tape or talking to individual players in the interview process.
With that in mind, let’s dig into an updated mock draft for the entire first round now that the combine is in the books. The order of the picks was borrowed from Draft Express’ latest mock draft since the lottery does not occur until May 20.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
News flash, Andrew Wiggins is incredibly athletic.
A picture of Wiggins’ vertical jump, which can be seen here in SportsCenter's tweet, went viral during the NBA combine even though he skipped the event. Talk about upstaging his competitors.
Wiggins will be the top pick because of his ridiculous upside and his athleticism, which allows him to be an absolute force on both ends of the floor.
The Milwaukee Bucks need a game-changing presence to be the face of the downtrodden franchise, and Wiggins is the perfect candidate.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, Duke
Jabari Parker skipped the combine as well, but his work in his one season at Duke spoke for itself.
He led Mike Krzyzewski’s squad in scoring and rebounding and may be the most pro-ready prospect in the draft—even if his upside isn’t quite equal to Wiggins.
Parker needs to improve his lateral quickness and defense, but he slides in perfectly alongside Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams in Philadelphia.
3. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, International
Dante Exum is something of a man of mystery in this draft, but perhaps putting his combine stats into context, as ESPN Stats & Info did, will reveal just how great of a player he can be:
Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders also noted that Exum has carried himself well off the court, as well in Chicago, which will help come draft day:
The Orlando Magic will avoid the injury-plagued Joel Embiid and take Exum instead. The combination of Exum and Victor Oladipo should give opposing backcourts nightmares with all that speed and athleticism.
4. Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid, Kansas
Thanks to his injuries, Embiid could become the next franchise-changing center in the NBA or he could be the next Greg Oden. The fact that the NBA is generally a risk-averse league will knock him out of the top three, but ultimately he is too talented for the Utah Jazz to pass up.
The inside-outside combination of Embiid and Trey Burke could have Utah back in the playoffs within a couple of seasons—if he can stay healthy.
5. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle, Kentucky
A number of the top players didn’t participate in the combine, but Julius Randle did on the heels of his impressive run to the national title game with the Kentucky Wildcats.
His athleticism and measurables don’t exactly jump off the charts, but his pure strength is what makes him such an intriguing prospect. He can bully his way to the rim on post ups and is a rebounding force as well.
The Boston Celtics already have Jared Sullinger at the power forward spot, but having two young and talented big men is a problem the entire league would like to have.
6. Los Angeles Lakers: Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Wiggins’ vertical jump is the headliner in the aforementioned SportsCenter tweet, but don’t overlook Aaron Gordon’s leaping ability either.
We are talking about a power forward who brings the athleticism of a shooting guard and the height of a big man to the table. There is already one of those in Los Angeles now, and the Lakers will try to ensure they are the ones who land the next one on draft day.
7. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Perhaps the only sure thing in Sacramento leading up to the draft is that DeMarcus Cousins is a young asset who can serve as a cornerstone for the franchise for years to come.
Grabbing an elite-level guard to develop alongside him would serve the team well for the foreseeable future.
Marcus Smart is a tremendous shooter, a stifling defender who creates turnovers, and an underrated passer who can get to the rim in transition. He is one of the best pure scorers in the 2014 draft class and will compete for a starting spot right away in Sacramento.
8. Detroit Pistons: Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
The Detroit Pistons and new coach Stan Van Gundy will want a solid decision maker who can run the team from the point guard spot after watching Brandon Jennings chuck up terrible shots all season long.
That describes Tyler Ennis to a tee.
He is always looking to get his teammates involved and controls the pace with the bounce and his passing. Ennis also knows the exact moment to score on his own and would be an ideal point guard to build around in the future.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doug McDermott, Creighton
The Cleveland Cavaliers have multiple guards who can penetrate and create shots for themselves and their teammates by kicking it out. Now all they need is a forward who can consistently hit those open threes.
Doug McDermott may be the best pure shooter in this draft, and he can stretch the floor for Cleveland’s half-court offense. He will put up serious numbers simply by standing on the perimeter and waiting for Kyrie Irving to find him for open looks.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (from Hornets): Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Noah Vonleh doesn’t necessarily satisfy a glaring need for the 76ers, but he is a top-five talent and won’t fall much further than No. 10. He may be the best rebounder in this draft, and his strength allows him to score from the low block.
Philadelphia will be glad to scoop him up and begin building around Parker, Vonleh, Noel and Carter-Williams. The 76ers may have struggled mightily this year, but that is a very formidable young nucleus.
11. Denver Nuggets: James Young, Kentucky
The Denver Nuggets could use a shooting guard/small forward who can score with consistency to pair with Ty Lawson, and James Young fits the bill.
He was overshadowed by Randle during much of the year at Kentucky, but he can hit the three, finish at the rim with power and is a solid defender. Look for him to play serious minutes as a rookie for the Nuggets thanks to that scoring ability.
12. Orlando Magic (from Knicks): Jerami Grant, Syracuse
Jerami Grant is seen as an athletic small forward who doesn’t necessarily have the best perimeter jumper, but his measurables at the combine may change that opinion.
His wingspan of 7’2.75” was longer than all but five players Thursday—who were all centers or power forwards—and former general manager Tom Penn discussed what that meant.
Here's Penn via Mike Waters of Syracuse.com: “We start to think of him as power forward, a rebounder and shot-blocker. You can make a credible case based off these measurables of him as a four.”
Versatility is incredibly valued in the NBA, and Grant’s stock will respond accordingly on draft day.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gary Harris, Michigan State
The Minnesota Timberwolves need perimeter shooting to help Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio, and Gary Harris is the perfect candidate.
The Michigan State product has one of the sweetest strokes in the game, but he can also attack the rim off the bounce and is an incredible defender. Look for Harris to compete for starting minutes right away at the shooting guard spot.
14. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, North Carolina State
The Phoenix Suns were one of the most surprising teams in the NBA this season, but they could use an insurance policy behind Eric Bledsoe, who missed serious time with injury.
T.J. Warren is one of the best scorers in this draft, as he demonstrated during the NCAA tournament, and he will give the Suns' offense an extra gear it didn’t see this season off the bench.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric, International
Dario Saric can play both forward positions and will give an Atlanta Hawks team that seemingly did nothing but shoot three-pointers in the playoff loss to the Indiana Pacers a bit more versatility (of course, having Al Horford on the court will help too).
Saric can take smaller defenders in the post or dribble past larger ones. He will give the Hawks' offense another offensive option on a team that needs a bit of diversity in its attack.
16. Chicago Bulls (from Bobcats): Nik Stauskas, Michigan
The Chicago Bulls are one of the best defensive teams in the entire NBA, but they desperately need offense if they are going to challenge the Miami Heat and the rest of the Eastern Conference next season.
Getting that production from a healthy Derrick Rose or Carmelo Anthony would be the ideal route, but Nik Stauskas can score in bunches as a young asset. He can hit from behind the three-point line with ease and attacks the rim. And he certainly isn’t lacking in confidence.
17. Boston Celtics (from Nets): Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Kyle Anderson fits perfectly for the Boston Celtics if they need an insurance policy who can play point guard if Rajon Rondo isn’t around for the long run. What’s more, Anderson is versatile enough to play shooting guard or even small forward if Rondo is still running the team.
Anderson is a scoring machine, but he is also an impressive passer and rebounder.
18. Phoenix Suns (from Wizards): P.J. Hairston, North Carolina/NBDL
P.J. Hairston is one of the more underrated players in the draft because college basketball fans haven’t seen him play in more than a year.
He is a scoring extraordinaire who can hit the three and attack the rim, and now he has professional experience under his belt from his tilt in the NBDL. The Phoenix Suns will gladly scoop him up in the second half of Round 1—giving them another solid scoring guard alongside Warren.
19. Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood, Duke
Again, the Bulls need scoring, and that is exactly what Rodney Hood does so well.
He was overshadowed by Parker at Duke, but he can attack the rim and hit from the outside. He is a consistent and tenacious defender who will fit in perfectly with the rest of the defensive-minded Bulls.
20. Toronto Raptors: Clint Capela, International
The Toronto Raptors could use some depth in the frontcourt, and they will take a risk on one of the more unknown commodities in the draft.
Clint Capela is a solid post-up scorer and interior defender, but it will likely take him a season or two to make a game-changing impact in the NBA. He is very lengthy and athletic and attacks the boards. That combination should allow him to find minutes in his first season in Toronto.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Mavericks): Jusuf Nurkic, International
The Oklahoma City Thunder need more depth down low—especially since Kendrick Perkins isn’t exactly Wilt Chamberlain in the paint.
Given the talent on this roster, the Thunder can afford to wait a season or two for Jusuf Nurkic to turn into an impact center down low. He is a rebounding machine who is incredibly consistent in the paint and from mid-range.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Adreian Payne, Michigan State
The Memphis Grizzlies are known as a physical and grinding type of basketball team—much like Michigan State at the college level.
Adreian Payne will fit that culture perfectly.
He is a beast on the boards and on defense, but his ability to score from anywhere in the half-court set will help a Memphis offense that struggled at times this season.
23. Utah Jazz (from Warriors): K.J. McDaniels, Clemson
The Utah Jazz already got their big man of the future in Embiid in this draft and have Burke on the outside. They will now look for a scoring forward with the No. 23 pick.
K.J. McDaniels doesn’t have a deadeye shot from behind the three-point line, but he attacks the rim with a ferocity that few can match at the college level. He is strong enough to finish through contact when he gets to the basket, and he will also help on the boards in his rookie season.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (from Trail Blazers): Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
The Charlotte Bobcats will be going for a Connecticut-themed backcourt with this pick—considering they already have Kemba Walker on the roster.
Walker can slide over to play the shooting guard spot if Shabazz Napier is selected here. That potential roster presents a lot of perimeter shooting and quickness, and Napier is also one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft.
25. Houston Rockets: Jordan Adams, UCLA
The Houston Rockets need more consistent depth in the backcourt behind James Harden, and Jordan Adams can provide just that.
He is a physical guard who doesn’t shy away from contact, but he can hit from behind the three-point line as well. If nothing else, he will knock down the open shots that he will see playing alongside Harden and Dwight Howard.
26. Miami Heat: Zach LaVine, UCLA
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated filled fans in on Zach LaVine’s progress at the combine, and it was certainly good news for the UCLA product:
LaVine didn’t blow the rest of the Pac-12 away production-wise as a Bruin, but his athleticism is off the charts.
The Miami Heat will be glad to take him as a young asset who can fill in for Dwyane Wade when Wade is resting or injured—assuming he can mix in a consistent jumper with his leaping ability and speed.
27. Phoenix Suns (from Pacers): Mitch McGary, Michigan
The Phoenix Suns already grabbed a shooting guard and small forward in this draft, and now they will look toward the paint.
Mitch McGary is a high-risk, high-reward prospect, but the Suns can afford to take that chance given their relative depth down low. McGary will be a steal at No. 27 if he turns into the player we saw in the NCAA tournament a couple of years ago.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
The Los Angeles Clippers love athletic players who get out in transition and can finish a Chris Paul lob pass.
Cleanthony Early does just that, but he can also hit from behind the three-point line, body up on defense and contribute on the boards.
The Clippers are incredibly deep, and he may not see much of the floor right away, but Early would find a way to play himself into the rotation after a year or two.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan
The Oklahoma City Thunder have two of the top players in the league at point guard and small forward, and another all star-type talent at power forward.
However, they could use someone who has the versatility to spell Kevin Durant at times or play alongside him in a shooting guard/small forward hybrid role.
Glenn Robinson III can do that and more for the Thunder.
He is a solid shooter who can also attack the rim off the bounce. If nothing else, he will be a better offensive weapon than Thabo Sefolosha in the long run.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Isaiah Austin, Baylor
The San Antonio Spurs have a knack for taking high-risk, high-reward players and turning them into productive pieces in their seemingly flawless system.
Isaiah Austin is one of those prospects because his college production never really matched his potential as a 7’1” center, but that potential will also land him at the end of the first round.
Austin is a shot-blocking force who will also swallow up plenty of rebounds for the Spurs.
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