After Tuesday night's lottery, the top 2014 NBA draft prospects are one step closer to knowing where their destinations will be.
The Cleveland Cavaliers won the first overall pick for the second straight year and the third time in four years, meaning they can add another young star alongside Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters. The Bucks and 76ers—who both seemingly put all their chips into this year's draft lottery—ended up rewarded with the second and third picks, respectively.
Now, let's take a look at the top players in the class and what the lottery results mean for their futures.
|7||Los Angeles Lakers|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30||San Antonio Spurs|
There's certainly more than one "high-upside" guy in this year's class, but no player represents that more so than Andrew Wiggins.
Coming out of high school and entering a sure to be one-and-done career at Kansas, Wiggins had all the makings of the top overall pick. And as long as he kept up to par with fellow freshman phenom Jabari Parker, there was no doubting he would be the first player off the board.
Instead, Parker had the better season and the better numbers. Meanwhile, Wiggins had his moments—a 40-point game here, a highlight-reel dunk there—but he wasn't as effective or impressive in the span of the season, and that also allowed late bloomer Joel Embiid to enter the conversation.
All of that shouldn't stop him from being perhaps the top pick, but at least in the top three. He's a physical specimen, with leaping ability through the roof and the length to be an elite defender. When all of those tools add up, he's going to be a force on the offensive end as well.
Cleveland is starting to prefer him with the top pick, according to ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required), and it wouldn't be a bad move. The Cavs could plug him into Waiters' spot and use the former fourth overall pick as solid trade bait.
Plus, a Kyrie Irving-Andrew Wiggins backcourt is just scary to think about.
It didn't take long for Joel Embiid to start out-shining his fellow Kansas star during their one season together in college.
While Wiggins entered with all the fame and the spotlight, Embiid quickly took much of it for himself. Dominating the paint en route to 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds per game along with 2.6 blocks, he made his presence known on every move toward the rim.
Embiid is a prototypical shot-blocker, and the kind that doesn't come around often. A true seven-footer, the Cameroon native has also filled out to 250 pounds and has the strength to battle against the NBA's most formidable centers.
The back is an issue, as he had surgery late in the season and didn't return, but teams have more than a month to shore up any concerns they might have. At the very most, it might be enough to let him slip from the No. 1 spot—which should belong to Wiggins, anyway.
But if he's still on the board at No. 2, Milwaukee may not be able to pass up. The Bucks were among the worst teams in the league in points against and rebounding, two things that Embiid will immediately change the culture of.
Kansas may have the highest-potential players in the draft class, but Duke produced the most NBA-ready one.
Coming out after just one season like so many of his fellow prospects, Parker's game doesn't resemble that of someone who just turned 19 in March.
Parker has a refined offensive game with the ability to showcase many different skills. Whether it's going isolation in the post, facing up, coming off the dribble or even shooting threes, Parker can make defenders pay in a variety of ways. Not to mention, he's filled out his frame much more than Wiggins at this point.
However, his size sort of makes him an "in-betweener," as Locked on Jazz's David Locke expressed:
I love Jabari Parker's post up game. Awesome. Now riddle me this, what position is he? How many 3's post up? How many 6'8 4's post up?— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) May 22, 2014
No matter what position Parker lines up in at the next level, he's proven able to be effective at it. Unlike Wiggins, he's gone through the growing pains of being the featured part of the offense and experiencing different systems defenses throw at him.
In Philadelphia, Parker could be that guy. Assuming Embiid and Wiggins go first and Parker falls to No. 3, the Sixers won't be able to pass up on him becoming their new franchise player.