NBA Draft 2014: Pre-Lottery Predictions for Top Players in Class

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NBA Draft 2014: Pre-Lottery Predictions for Top Players in Class
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Months of anticipation will finally end for 14 NBA teams on Tuesday night, when a bunch of pingpong balls will decide who picks where in the upcoming 2014 NBA draft.

The top players in this year's draft class can be argued upon from one person to the next, but there's no doubt that the top of the lottery is flooded with talented players who have star potential. In striking comparison to last year's, any team in the top five is sure to land a big-name prospect dripping with talent.

Here's a look at the lottery chances for each team in the hunt on Tuesday:

2014 NBA Draft Lottery Odds
Rank Team Odds
1 Milwaukee Bucks 25.0%
2 Philadelphia 76ers 19.9%
3 Orlando Magic 15.6%
4 Utah Jazz 11.9%
5 Boston Celtics 8.8%
6 Los Angeles Lakers 6.3%
7 Sacramento Kings 3.6%
8 Detroit Pistons 3.5%
9 Cleveland Cavaliers 1.7%
10 New Orleans Pelicans 1.1%
11 Denver Nuggets 0.8%
12 New York Knicks 0.7%
13 Minnesota Timberwolves 0.6%
14 Phoenix Suns 0.5%

NBA.com

The real order of picks won't be released until the draft lottery takes places Tuesday evening, but for now, let's assume the teams with the highest lottery probability—decided by the worst records in 2013-14—will be at the top of the draft board. After that, let's put the top players in the class in their likeliest landing spots. 

 

Andrew Wiggins

Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

Andrew Wiggins doesn't have to attend the NBA draft combine in order to wow the world with his athletic ability.

All he has to do is have P3 Sports Science post the following on Instagram:

Wow.

Wiggins left no doubt in his one-year stint with the Kansas Jayhawks that he may very well be the most athletic player in the draft class, but it's further proven with a photo of his vertical. 

Teams know what they're getting in Wiggins as far as his physical ability, but his year at Kansas has left some question marks. Entering the season as the undisputed No. 1 overall pick, he lost that perch pretty quickly as a freshman and didn't do enough to convincingly earn it back.

In lieu of that, Wiggins is still very much an unfinished product and a player who will be developing long past his rookie season. Drafting the former Kansas Jayhawk comes with a bit of a risk, as a team picking him at No. 1 overall would be buying into his potential more than anything else.

But if there's one player who looks worthy of such a stock based off projections, it's Wiggins. He's a can't-miss prospect who, with a few years in the right NBA system, will thrive and develop into a superstar.

If the Bucks are lucky enough to see their 25-percent odds turn into the top overall pick, they won't be able to pass on Andrew Wiggins.

Prediction: Milwaukee Bucks, No. 1 overall

 

Jabari Parker

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

If Wiggins is the boom-or-bust prospect, then consider Jabari Parker the safe bet at the top of the draft board.

His one year at Duke was far more impressive than Wiggins' at Kansas. As the featured part of the Blue Devils' offense, he averaged 19.1 points per game while leading the team with 8.7 rebounds per contest.

Offensively, there's little doubt about Parker's ability. He can line up on the perimeter and hit threes, post up at the four spot for looks in the paint or take opponents off the dribble.

At 19 years old, Parker has already filled out his 6'8" frame by pushing 240 pounds and has the size to be more of an immediate impact player than perhaps any other fellow freshman. But as is the case with any of these touted youngsters, he will need time to reach his potential.

Philadelphia would be a solid place for him to do so. Searching for their future franchise player, the 76ers have been all-in on this year's draft since last season began and have some young pieces—Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel—to put around him.

Prediction: Philadelphia 76ers, No. 2 overall

 

Joel Embiid

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

He entered his freshman season at Kansas as a player with untapped potential who figured to be a high pick, but also figured to be a risk.

Not anymore.

As teammate Andrew Wiggins struggled to make a big impact early on in the season, Embiid was sticking out like a sore thumb—both with his basketball play and with his immense size.

He averaged 11.2 points per game and 8.1 rebounds, and his defensive presence in the inside resulted in a whopping 2.6 blocks per game—second in the Big 12. 

His size had a lot to do with that. At 7'0" and 250 pounds, he dominated opposing big men in his one year at the collegiate level and seems sure to have that size translate well to the next level.

The Cameroon native will require as much development as any player at the top of the draft board, but Embiid's potential and size are impossible to ignore.

The Magic ranked in the bottom half of the league in both rebounds and points allowed per game, and throwing Embiid into the mix would quickly change that.

Prediction: Orlando Magic, No. 3 overall 

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