NBA Draft 2014: Projections for Destinations of Top NBA Prospects

Kenny DeJohn@@kennydejohnAnalyst IIIMay 25, 2014

From left, NBA draft prospects Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State, Tyler Ennis of Syracuse, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid of Kansas, Noah Vonleh of Indiana, Doug McDermott of Creighton and Aaron Gordon of Arizona pose for a photograph before the NBA draft lottery in New York, Tuesday, May 20, 2014.  (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The 2014 NBA draft features several quality prospects who will make an impact in the NBA, but the order in which they are selected June 26 will affect the way teams' futures unfold.

Taking someone with a high ceiling at No. 1 is a risk because nobody knows if that ceiling will be reached. Sometimes, taking the most NBA-ready player is the best move. It'll be up to the scouts and executives of each team to determine which player is the best fit for their squad.

The Association will take on a ton of fresh new faces June 26. But which uniforms will the draft's top prospects be wearing after the event concludes?

Below are my projections.

2014 NBA Mock Draft - Round 1
1Cleveland CavaliersJoel Embiid, C, Kansas
2Milwaukee BucksAndrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
3Philadelphia 76ersJabari Parker, SF, Duke
4Orlando MagicDante Exum, PG, Australia
5Utah JazzJulius Randle, PF, Kentucky
6Boston CelticsAaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
7Los Angeles LakersMarcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
8Sacramento KingsNoah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
9Charlotte Hornets (via Detroit)Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
10Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans)Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
11Denver NuggetsRodney Hood, SF, Duke
12Orlando Magic (via New York)Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
13Minnesota TimberwolvesJames Young, SF, Kentucky
14Phoenix SunsNik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
15Atlanta HawksClint Capela, PF, Switzerland
16Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte)Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
17Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn)Gary Harris, PG, Michigan State
18Phoenix Suns (via Washington)Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
19Chicago BullsKyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
20Toronto RaptorsP.J. Hairston, SG, NBDL
21Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas)T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State
22Memphis GrizzliesShabazz Napier, PG, UConn
23Utah Jazz (via Golden State)Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
24Charlotte Hornets (via Portland)C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
25Houston RocketsK.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
26Miami HeatElfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana Lafayette
27Phoenix Suns (via Indiana)Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri
28Los Angeles ClippersGlenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
29Oklahoma City ThunderNick Johnson, SG, Arizona
30San Antonio SpursVasilije Micic, PG, Serbia
Kenny DeJohn's Predictions



Joel Embiid—Cleveland Cavaliers

Mar 1, 2014; Stillwater, OK, USA; Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid (21) is defended by Oklahoma State Cowboys forward/center Kamari Murphy (21) and guard Markel Brown (22) during the first half  at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA

The Cleveland Cavaliers love center Joel Embiid. Chris Mannix of confirmed that belief with this tweet:

Embiid is the best big man in the class, but Cleveland's interest in him is interesting. After shockingly receiving the No. 1 overall pick in the draft lottery, the Cavaliers put themselves in a fantastic position to nab either Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker, both considered the best overall prospects in the class.

Instead, Embiid appears to be No. 1 on their board.

This isn't a knock on Embiid. The Kansas product was great last season, averaging 11.2 points, 8.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. His size (7'0", 250 lbs) is appealing because it is NBA-ready. He isn't afraid to bump bodies down low, and he is effective in boxing out more athletic big men and grabbing boards above the rim.

Still, one can't help but question general manager David Griffin's interest. Last year, the team selected Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall instead of going with a guy like Victor Oladipo. We all know how that turned out.


Jabari Parker—Philadelphia 76ers

Jabari Parker is a great fit for the Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3. ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) agrees, and he predicted that Parker would go to Philly in his latest mock draft, via Elliot Shorr-Parks of

Not an ideal set-up for the Sixers who were after Wiggins. But Parker gives the a terrific scoring option to pair with their young athletes in Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. Parker could average 20 PPG as a rookie in Philly. Look for Dante Exum to be a real possibility here, too. They could end up shopping Carter-Williams or just pairing the two together in the backcourt.

Parker is the most NBA-ready scorer in the class. Ford alluded to the fact that he could average 20 points per game as a rookie, but I'm telling you that he will. Parker has a great all-around game on offense. He can take the ball down low and play in the post, play well off the dribble by driving into the lane and he can even step out and pop a jumper.

Many thought Andrew Wiggins would be the Sixers' target. If he's here at No. 3, then expect them to pull the trigger. But chances are that he'll go No. 2 to the Milwaukee Bucks.

A young trio of Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel and Parker is exactly what the Sixers need to contend in the near future. A backcourt of Carter-Williams and Parker could compete with John Wall and Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards as the best young backcourt in the NBA.


Aaron Gordon—Boston Celtics

It wouldn't be a bad idea for the Boston Celtics to grab Aaron Gordon at No. 6. Sure, they have Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger already at power forward, but Gordon is an unbelievable athlete with defense that is beyond NBA-ready.

Athletically, Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe thinks it's fair to compare him to Blake Griffin:

Griffin, one of the most exciting players in the league, has developed an offensive game that makes him dangerous on both ends of the floor. The same could happen to Gordon, and the Celtics won't want to miss out on that kind of potential.

Drafting for potential at No. 1 overall is a risk. But given that Boston is picking sixth and also has the No. 17 pick in Round 1, it can afford to go with potential here.

By taking Gordon, the team also has the flexibility to deal either Olynyk or Sullinger for help in other areas. Teams generally shouldn't draft in order to create logjams and trade away talent, but this situation is one that makes sense for Boston.


    Steph Practiced at '100%', Questionable for Game 1

    NBA logo

    Steph Practiced at '100%', Questionable for Game 1

    Kyle Newport
    via Bleacher Report

    L2M: LeBron's Block Was a Goaltend

    NBA logo

    L2M: LeBron's Block Was a Goaltend

    Tim Daniels
    via Bleacher Report

    Low-Cap Teams That Could Make a FA Splash

    NBA logo

    Low-Cap Teams That Could Make a FA Splash

    Dan Favale
    via Bleacher Report

    LBJ Gets His Version of MJ's 'The Shot'

    NBA logo

    LBJ Gets His Version of MJ's 'The Shot'

    Scott Sargent
    via Bleacher Report