2014 NBA Mock Draft: Post-Lottery Look at Most Sensible 1st-Round Picks

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2014 NBA Mock Draft: Post-Lottery Look at Most Sensible 1st-Round Picks
Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

For the second year in a row, and the third time in the last four years, the Cleveland Cavaliers are the straw that will stir the NBA draft drink.

By winning the NBA draft lottery on Tuesday night, the Cavs will have a chance to grab the best player from what seems destined to be an excellent draft class.

The team could choose to trade the pick, of course, but we don't like trades in this mock. Let's play it straight.

Here's a look at who should go where, if things had to be decided this Memorial Day weekend.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Could the Cavs use Kansas center Joel Embiid in the middle, provided he stays healthy? Absolutely. But would a team anchored by Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters and Embiid definitely make the playoffs next season?

There should be serious doubt there.

However, a core with Irving, Waiters, Parker and Tristan Thompson looks like a playoff lock in the Eastern Conference and a team well on it's way to bigger and better things. 

The Cavs need to win now, and Parker is the surest bet in the draft.

 

2. Milwaukee Bucks - Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Andrew Wiggins will be mighty tempting here for the Bucks, but when it's all said and done, the team will likely stick to the old rule: You always go with size. 

Embiid's size-skill combination is too good to slip out of the top two—unless his back doesn't check out with team doctors.

 

3. Philadelphia 76ers - Andrew Wiggins, SF/SG, Kansas

Some years there's a team that stands to explode from their draft haul. This year, it's the 76ers. Taking Wiggins here and another talented player with their 10th pick would give Philly it's best young core in decades.

Wiggins' explosiveness is already becoming a thing of legend. Check out this comparison from Daniel O'Brien of Bleacher Report: "The widespread comparisons to Paul George give a good idea of what he could do skill-wise, and a glance at Dominique Wilkins gives you an idea of how he will athletically dominate by getting off the floor in a hurry."

A nucleus that consists of Michael Carter-Williams, Wiggins, Thad Young, Nerlens Noel and Tony Wroten is exciting. When you throw in the 10th pick and approximately $29 million in cap room, Philly is in a good place.

 

4. Orlando Magic - Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia

From Down Under to the Magic Kingdom, Exum could be set to become the next superstar in Orlando.

His versatility has to jump out at most teams. In fact, it wouldn't be a major shock to see him pull ahead of either Wiggins or Parker at some point in the draft process.

He's that good.

 

5. Utah Jazz - Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty Images

Vonleh's arms are real long, and his hands are huge. That's an excellent physical base for an NBA big man.

He measured with the second-widest hands of any player ever measured at the NBA combine at 11.75". His wingspan is 7'4.25".

When you consider Vonleh is known for his high hoops IQ, and he showed scouts he could step out and make the perimeter jump shot, he's an exciting prospect. In most years, he'd probably be in the running for the top selection.

 

6. Boston Celtics - Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

Randle is an attacking power forward who can put the ball on the floor and bull his way inside for buckets and rebounds.

He does need to improve his jump shot and concentration on the defensive end. But he could give the Celtics something the team lacks: a legitimate scoring threat out of the post.

 

7. Los Angeles Lakers - Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

If a teammate isn't a fierce enough competitor for Kobe Bryant, the Mamba's presence can often swallow them whole. If the Lakers draft Smart, that shouldn't be a concern.

Smart is as competitive as they come, and the constant challenge of playing against Bryant in practice, and with him during games, would help to bring the best out of the rookie.

This is a perfect selection for the Lakers as they approach the post-Mamba era.

 

8. Sacramento Kings - Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

The Kings need an energy player who is going to bring it on defense every night. Gordon is that type of player, but he also has some untapped aspects of his offensive game that could make him really good overall.

Gordon believes his versatility is his biggest strength. He told Sports Illustrated, per Chris Mannix:

I see myself as a forward. I see myself as a basketball player. Obviously, you have to play a position in the NBA, but I'm going to do a little bit of everything. Post up, hit jumpers, go by people. I'm going to do it all. I'm confident that I can play both the three and four.

 

9. Charlotte Hornets - Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton

Jennifer Pottheiser/Getty Images

Charlotte has some athletes in place, but the team could really use some potent outside shooting. The team was 23rd in the NBA in three-point shooting this season.

McDermott's specialty is firing away from long range. In four years at Creighton, he made 46 percent of his three-point attempts.

There are questions as to whether he can get his shot in the NBA consistently. Even if he can't beat guys off the dribble, he still projects as a lights-out shooter from distance.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers - Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia

The Sixers' potential core gets even stronger with this pick.

Saric has the size of a power forward, but also excellent passing ability, good shooting and enough aggression near the basket to finish with authority.

 

11. Denver Nuggets - James Young, SF/SG, Kentucky

Denver didn't get much from its wing players this season. The team can only hope Danilo Gallinari returns to form next season after his torn ACL. The 25-year-old has said he will be ready for training camp.

Whether it's for depth or as an insurance policy, the Nuggets should take Young. He's explosive and possesses the range on his jump shot to be an inside-outside scorer.

 

12. Orlando Magic - Rodney Hood, SF, Duke

Along with the 76ers, the Magic are another team in great shape to shine. After tabbing Exum at No. 4, the Magic can look to the forward spot with this pick. 

Hood is a smooth spot-up shooter with sneaky athleticism and enough handle to create room for his shot.

Exum, Victor Oladipo, Hood and Nikola Vucevic isn't a bad core. 

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves - Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

Stauskas can shoot the lights out. O'Brien compares him to Golden State's Klay Thompson, and that's pretty accurate.

Both Thompson and Stauskas are a little more athletic than people give them credit for, but their meal ticket is their ability to shoot.

As a potential wing mate for Ricky Rubio, Stauskas could be landing in a great spot.

 

14. Phoenix Suns - Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

Phoenix tried hard to add a big body in the post last season but couldn't pull off a deal.

Nurkic is young and raw, but he's a physical presence who could immediately give Phoenix a measure of toughness inside that it lacked last season.

 

15. Atlanta Hawks - Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA

As pure athletes go, not many in the draft are superior to LaVine. He showed off a 41.5" max-vertical leap at the combine.

LaVine will probably need a season or two to mature and get stronger, but his upside is almost as high as Wiggins' and Embiid's. He just didn't produce as much in his lone year in college.

 

16. Chicago Bulls - Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

Whether Derrick Rose comes back strong or not, the Bulls still have to address the point guard position in this draft.

D.J. Augustin had an excellent year, but he's going to be a free agent. Much like Nate Robinson did the year before, Augustin may have played his way out of the Bulls' price range.

Ennis isn't a scoring point guard like Augustin and Robinson, but he is a smart and instinctual player who could immediately be a solid backup for Rose.

 

17. Boston Celtics - T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State

Warren just seems like an old-school Celtics player. He's a moderately athletic player who excels at putting the ball in the basket, and he does it with little to no flash.

Warren and Randle would be a good haul for the C's in this draft. It would drastically improve the team's offense over the next few seasons.

 

18. Phoenix Suns - Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland

It seems there's no way the Suns keep all three of their first-round picks. A trade is likely, but assuming the team does keep the pick, drafting a player like Capela makes sense.

The Suns need size in a major way. Capela's size-athleticism combination is intriguing. Per Draft Express, Capela is 6'11" with a 7'4.25" wingspan.

One look at his scouting report video proves he has some bounce and speed to go with the frame. He could be a potential sleeper for Phoenix.

 

19. Chicago Bulls - Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA

Anderson has the game to play point guard, small forward or even power forward if a team goes small.

During the 2013-14 season, Anderson scored 14.6 points, grabbed 8.8 rebounds, dished 6.5 assists and knocked down 48 percent of his threes.

At 6'8.5", he is an intriguing prospect to say the least. His issue is athleticism—or lack thereof. The key to success for him in the NBA will be knocking down his three-point shot. If he can continue to do that, he'll be a very good NBA player.

If the Bulls are unable to pry Carmelo Anthony from the New York Knicks, Anderson wouldn't be a bad option to start at small forward. If Melo comes to the Chi, Anderson will be a good backup or potential trade chip for a sign-and-trade for Melo or another star.

 

20. Toronto Raptors - Kristaps Porzingis, C/PF, Latvia

Though he's relatively new to the 2014 NBA draft talk, Porzingis' name is beginning to gain momentum. Bigs' stock always rises the closer we get to the draft.

Porzingis has above-average athleticism for a big and a nice handle for a big man. Take a look at this scouting video.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

If it can, Oklahoma City has to be thinking about moving Kendrick Perkins' expiring contract this offseason or close to next year's trade deadline. If that happens, it would open up time for more minutes in the frontcourt.

The promising Steven Adams would undoubtedly get some of that tick, but Payne's abilities as a stretch 4 would fit nicely in OKC as well.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies - Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

Two straight Spartans hear their names called in this scenario. It's time the Grizz sought out a more offensive-minded 2-guard.

It seems every year the team struggles to score enough points from the perimeter. Harris' ability to shoot it from deep and his underrated mid-range game would complement Mike Conley Jr. in the backcourt.

 

23. Utah Jazz - Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA

Adams didn't wow anyone with his athleticism at the combine, but he did play well in drills. He's an above-average defender because of his long arms and instincts. He's also a dependable shooter from the outside. He projects as a nice 3-and-D player in the NBA.

PErhaps he could be insurance if the Jazz are unable to retain Gordon Hayward.

 

24. Charlotte Hornets - P.J. Hairston, SG, D-League

Hairston can fill it up. Whether it's from the outside, or off penetration, he has a scorer's mentality and instincts.

His game is reminiscent of Jamal Crawford, but he still has a ways to go before he's on that level. That said, his skill set seems perfect for a sixth-man role with the Hornets.

Redemption in Carolina? Perhaps.

 

25. Houston Rockets - Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn

With Jeremy Lin coming into the treacherous final year of his contract, the trade winds will be blowing hard for him next season. Even if the Rockets can't find any takers for Lin, Napier still makes sense. Lin seems certain to move along after his deal has expired.

Patrick Beverley's deal is non-guaranteed for the upcoming season, so the team is far from set at point guard.

Taking Napier here would land the NCAA tournament's Most Outstanding Player in a good spot to succeed.

 

26. Miami Heat - K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson

LeBron James needs to be able to rest on defense without Miami falling to pieces on that side of the floor.

As it stands, James has to guard the opposing team's best player most nights. McDaniels doesn't project as a starter, but he could come in and play significant minutes because of his athleticism, strength and tenacity on the defensive end. 

At 6'6", he blocked 2.8 shots per game and grabbed 7.1 rebounds last season. He could make an impact immediately as a defender and finisher in transition.

 

27. Phoenix Suns - Glenn Robinson III, SF/SG, Michigan

The team that gets GR3 to play more aggressive will unlock a treasure chest of talent. His motor is like a mixture of Elden Campbell's and Joe Johnson's. That's not all that impressive.

What is impressive is his 41.5" max-vertical leap, smooth shooting stroke and strong frame for a wing player.

He's worth a gamble with the 27th pick.

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers - Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan

If the Clippers don't get someone of substance to back up DeAndre Jordan, they will risk running the big man in the ground.

McGary may never be a star, but unlike his college teammate, motor is not an issue. He has good footwork for a big and finishes well close to the basket. He'd be an excellent backup for Jordan and Blake Griffin.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette

The Thunder don't have a point guard who can come off the bench and create havoc with his defensive pressure. That's exactly the type of player Payton is.

He's lightning quick with the ball, and he takes pride in his defense. He really needs to improve his three-point shooting, which was at just 26 percent last season. But he would be a nice backup option for Russell Westbrook and a more defensive-minded alternative to Reggie Jackson.

 

30. San Antonio Spurs - Patric Young, PF/C, Florida

At this point, the Spurs can draft the best player available. All things considered, Young probably fits the bill. The Spurs' interior defense is good, but it could be better, especially on the second unit.

Tabbing a hulking big who looks like he could play tight end isn't a bad draft strategy late in the first round.

Defense is Young's specialty, and he's from a winning program in Florida. He's a good fit in San Antonio.

 

Salary information per Spotrac.

Statistics per Sports Reference and Basketball-Reference.

Combine performance numbers and measurements per NBA.com, unless otherwise noted.

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