NBA Draft 2014: Projections for 1st-Round Prospects Following Lottery

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

Kansas center Joel Embiid watches the Los Angeles Lakers play the Memphis Grizzlies in an NBA basketball game, Sunday, April 13, 2014, in Los Angeles. The Grizzlies won 102-90. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The Cleveland Cavaliers own NBA draft lottery night.

The Cavs won the right to the top pick Tuesday despite the fact that they had the ninth-best chance at doing so heading into the event. ESPN Stats and Info pointed out that it wasn’t the first time something like that happened:

It was the third time in the last four years and the second consecutive season that Cleveland won the rights to the top selection, and it certainly picked a solid year to do it with a class that includes Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and plenty of other talented prospects. 

SportCenter captured the entirety of the lottery results:

Now that we know who is picking where, it is far more interesting to project the actual players who will be taken in the lottery. Without further ado, let’s look at an early prediction for the top 14 picks and dig into some details on three of the most enticing prospects.

2014 Mock Lottery Draft
1Cleveland CavaliersJoel Embiid
2Milwaukee BucksAndrew Wiggins
3Philadelphia 76ersJabari Parker
4Orlando MagicDante Exum
5Utah JazzMarcus Smart
6Boston CelticsNoah Vonleh
7Los Angeles LakersJulius Randle
8Sacramento KingsDoug McDermott
9Charlotte HornetsAaron Gordon
10Philadelphia 76ersGary Harris
11Denver NuggetsAdreian Payne
12Orlando MagicJames Young
13Minnesota TimberwolvesDario Saric
14Phoenix SunsRodney Hood
Projections are personal opinion


Andrew Wiggins

Upside, upside, upside.

There’s really no other word to use when discussing Andrew Wiggins’ NBA potential as arguably the top athlete in this draft. He can lock down opposing shooting guards and small forwards on the defensive side with his wingspan and lateral quickness, can attack the rim with an explosive first step and can leap out of the gym.

He is silky smooth with the ball in his hand and powerful enough to finish at the rim through contact. Wiggins is a better defender than his small forward counterpart in this draft (Jabari Parker) and truly has the chance to be an elite player on both ends of the floor. 

Whichever team selects Wiggins could have the face of their franchise for years to come.


Jabari Parker

Wiggins has the higher ceiling, but Parker is the more polished prospect heading into the draft right now.

He can score from anywhere on the floor with a post-up game, a three-point shot, the ability to attack off the dribble and a solid mid-range game. What’s more, he was probably Duke’s best rebounder last year, and a season under Mike Krzyzewski’s tutelage could pay off at the next level.

Coach K had nothing but good things to say about Parker when he declared for the draft, via Daniel Carp of The Chronicle: “Jabari could not have been better. He is the epitome of what you would want a basketball player to be – outstanding everyday on the practice court and in the classroom and a very humble young man.” 

If Parker improves his defense, he will be a game-changing player at the next level as well.


Joel Embiid

That brings us to the quintessential high-risk, high-reward prospect in this draft. Grantland’s Bill Simmons summarized why he thinks Joel Embiid will be the top pick in the draft:

Joel Embiid is going to be the first pick of the 2014 draft. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. These teams are full of it. We’re worried about his back, we’re hearing it’s bad … It’s Smokescreen Central right now. And enough with the Oden parallels; unless Embiid’s pre-draft MRI reveals a career-threatening back issue (doubtful), NOBODY is passing on a franchise center who could easily be described as “The 7-Foot Serge Ibaka.” Stop it. He’s going first.

Simmons can criticize the Greg Oden parallels all he wants, but the fact is Embiid was crippled by injuries before he turned 20 years old. That is a concern for anyone, let alone a 7’ center who is still years away from being able to legally rent a car.

However, he can change the game on both ends of the floor, is a rebounding machine and swats everything in sight on the defensive end. 

Cleveland has talented guards, so look for them to pull the trigger on Embiid as its big man for the foreseeable future.


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