2014 NBA Draft

NBA Draft Prospects Who Can Find Their Perfect Complements on Lottery Teams

Giancarlo Ferrari-KingFeatured ColumnistJune 5, 2014

NBA Draft Prospects Who Can Find Their Perfect Complements on Lottery Teams

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    Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

    Batman and Robin, Ren and Stimpy, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen—no matter where you look, the world is full of dynamic duos.

    In the NBA, finding a way to secure a pair of talented players bodes well for the future of any franchise.

    With the 2014 NBA draft just a few short weeks away, now is an excellent time to check out some draft prospects who can find their perfect complements on lottery teams.

    It's important to note that this isn't a mock draft. This list consists of seven top prospects who have the chance to fall into a great situation and team up with another established NBA player.

    So what are you waiting for? Start the slideshow below and let's take look at this in-depth list.

Joel Embiid: Cleveland Cavaliers Guard Kyrie Irving

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The common thread when talking about Joel Embiid is that his ceiling is the highest of any player in the 2014 draft class.

    At 7'1", he has an atypical blend of size, power, speed and athletic ability. You'd be hard-pressed to find a team that wouldn't want him on the roster.

    The concern about Embiid isn't what he can do on the court. A relative newcomer to the game of hoops—he didn't start playing organization basketball until 2011—his potential is Empire State Building high.

    What could potentially prevent teams from rolling the dice on this talented big man are concerns over the health of his back.

    After suffering a stress fracture during his 2013 season at Kansas, he was forced to miss an extended period of time—including the NCAA tournament.

    Concerns over injuries for a center immediately drudge up memories of Greg Oden. Even though comparing Embiid and Oden is as beneficial as comparing cat food to Neil Armstrong, it's bound to happen.

    It should be noted that the Milwaukee Bucks didn't see any "issues" with his back, per Andrew Gruman of Fox Sports Wisconsin.

    Injury concerns aside, a perfect complementary player for Embiid would be Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving.

    You could plug in any point guard here, but an Irving/Embiid pairing would be frightening.

    Irving is a jackknife coming through the lane. His superior handle and acumen for scoring near the hoop would create plenty of space for Embiid to put in work on the blocks.

    Another interesting component has to do with former head coach Mike Brown. The team's decision to fire Brown has also opened the door for the Cavaliers to bring in a bright offensive mind who could devise a way for these two young players to blend together.

    If Embiid's back turns out not to be an issue for the Cavs leading up to June 26, there's no way they can avoid him. Passing on upside like that would actually be worse than trying to strike gold with Anthony Bennett in a flawed 2013 draft class.

    Fusing together a lane-buster like Irving with an eraser like Embiid is a potential franchise-changing solution for the Cavaliers.

Jabari Parker: Milwaukee Bucks Forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

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    Duke's Jabari Parker could turn out to be the top player to come out of this draft.

    Like Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, it's relatively easy to find a dance partner in the NBA that would make his life a heck of lot easier.

    But if you bypass the usual suspects, Milwaukee Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo could actually turn out to be a great fit for Parker right away.

    Just 19 years of age, Antetokounmpo is a player who's trending upward. Last season he showed off great length, explosion and the ability to attack the rim.

    Parker isn't the defensive player that Wiggins is. But what he does best is score the basketball. At Duke, he was brilliant in a multitude of ways. Even though he's listed at 6'9", Parker operates with the basketball in his hands like he's a point guard.

    He is smooth while attacking the rim and displays a fantastic feel for creating space and shooting the ball.

    As mentioned earlier, the big concern with Parker as a prospect is how he plays defense. Thankfully, Antetokounmpo has the fixings to be an elite perimeter defender.

    Throwing both of these guys on the floor together means the sophomore could cover top-end small forwards or power forwards, while Parker can shred on offense and defend the "lesser" threat.

    You'd like to think that Parker has a chance to become the next Carmelo Anthony. With Antetokounmpo playing by his side, you potentially could have a duo of players who could turn out to be gangbusters as they develop and learn from each other.

Andrew Wiggins: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Michael Carter-Williams

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The rebuild of the Philadelphia 76ers should go more swimmingly in 2014.

    They acquired an asset in 6'6" point guard—and 2013 Rookie of the Year winner—Michael Carter-Williams and have shot-blocking savant Nerlens Noel returning from an ACL injury.

    Kansas' Andrew Wiggins would be the next logical piece to the puzzle. You could effortlessly make a case for Duke standout Jabari Parker, but with Carter-Williams running the floor, Wiggins would have a perfect complement to his game to sustain his growth as a player.

    He looks like one of the most pro-ready prospects in the entire class—a term that's loosely been thrown around because of his offensive and defensive skill set.

    At 6'8", 197 pounds, he's an elite defender who can rebound well and hurt you in transition. Though Wiggins will have to improve his jumper, he has that Day 1 ability that will excite the 76ers.

    Carter-Williams may not be an established slashing point guard like Kyrie Irving, but he does have plenty of tools that can help the 76ers out in the long term.

    A 6'6", he has a larger frame than most average starting point guards—the average height of a starting point guard is about 6'2".

    He's a playmaker who sees the floor well. That allows him to find his teammates in space. As he continues to develop a jump shot, his stock will rise dramatically.

    Wiggins and Carter-Williams could be a tantalizing tandem in the city of Brotherly Love. A disruptor and an edgy scorer is a nice one-two punch for this team. On top of that, if Noel pans out, the 76ers core would be set up for the future. 

Dante Exum: Orlando Magic Guard Victor Oladipo

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    Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

    Stumbling across 6'6" point guards in today's NBA doesn't happen very often. Luckily, Orlando Magic general manager Rob Hennigan may get a chance to bring one over to his team during the draft.

    Australia's Dante Exum is an 18-year-old point guard with fantastic length and athletic ability. At 6'6", his height is reminiscent of 76ers second-year man Michael Carter-Williams.

    The Magic need playmakers to rebuild this roster. That's why pairing Exum up with second-year combo guard Victor Oladipo makes a lot of sense.

    Looking at Exum's future role in the NBA, Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman talked about his ability to score the basketball: "Exum will enter the draft with 'scoring point guard' attached to his label. Like the Russell Westbrooks, Derrick Roses, Stephen Currys—Exum projects as a go-to option in the offense, yet one who can also initiate and run it."

    The Magic could use an infusion of talent in their backcourt. Oladipo may have flashed lottery-pick potential at times, but his role in this offense is still undefined.

    The combination of Exum and Oladipo would give the Magic two ball-handling guards who could drive the lane, create their own shot and set up their teammates.

    Exum is the type of player who could land anywhere and fit in. But joining Oladipo, with veteran guard Jameer Nelson watching over them, is a fantastic way to start off an NBA career.

Julius Randle: Philadelphia 76ers Center Nerlens Noel

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    USA TODAY Sports

    The perfect complement to Kentucky power forward Julius Randle is a center who can protect the rim and defend well.

    Right now, he is bit of a question mark as a prospect. He possesses an elite motor and can rebound the basketball with the best of them, but at 6'9" his "lack" of size could be an issue.

    Although it's a concern, size may not end up being what hampers Randle's future in the NBA. For all of the positive things he does on the floor, he lacks a true sense of explosion.

    On the flip side, what you have to like about him is that he has a sound post game and a unique ability to contort his body in the air like a gymnast.

    If he can continue to develop his jumper and focus on improving his right hand, it's not out of the realm of possibility that he eventually makes an All-Star team.

    A tandem of Randle and 76ers center Nerlens Noel has a lot of potential. The key to this partnership will be the development of Noel.

    Assuming he's able to step in coming off an ACL injury and command the interior of this defense, he will be a great complement to Randle's skill set.

    Again, this whole equation is based on Noel's development.

    The 76ers are in a good position to improve their roster. With two draft picks in the top 10, it's not impossible for them to wind up with Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins early, followed up by Randle at pick No. 10.

Noah Vonleh: Sacremento Kings Center DeMarcus Cousins

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    USA TODAY Sports

    Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins has already transformed himself into one of the NBA's fastest-rising big men.

    He's a smooth scorer who has started to shoot the ball better and displays nice touch around the rim.

    The problem with him historically has been he's a mediocre defender, although he played a lot better this past season. He will have to continue to address that part of his game as he continues his maturation process.

    With Cousins set in stone as the team's go-to player, the Kings could use another productive young player at the power forward position to help protect the rim.

    Indiana's Noah Vonleh would be an intriguing addition to help Cousins out on the hardwood. At 18 years old, he's the type of player who generates a buzz because of the tremendous upside to his game.

    A sturdy 6'9", 247-pound frame will give him the chance to be effective in the interior on both ends of the floor. Add in the fact that he possesses a lot of range on his jump shot, and you get a player who has an ideal skill set for today's NBA.

    Vonleh is still raw. He's a "down the road" solution who will need a great center by his side if he wants to reach his full potential.

    Putting him out there with Cousins will give the Kings a nice duo down low that they can build around.

    It remains to be seen if the Kings will even keep their first-round pick this year. But incorporating Vonleh with Cousins would bolster the interior defense, which in turn would improve the perimeter defense.

    *It's important to note that Arizona Wildcats power forward Aaron Gordon also would be a quality fit with Cousins.

Marcus Smart: Los Angeles Lakers Guard Kobe Bryant

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    Jamie Squire/Getty Images

    Discounting Dante Exum, Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart is the best point guard prospect in the 2014 draft—you could even argue that Smart is actually better.

    He's a fluid scorer who can operate comfortably at either guard position on the floor. He's fantastic in transition and can rebound well for a 6'4" player.

    It's not a secret that the Los Angeles Lakers have a hankering for talent. The team has just a handful of players under contract heading into the 2014 season—including Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

    Without having the luxury of a top-five pick, the Lakers desperately need to find a player who can contribute right off the bat.

    Smart is exactly that type of player.

    The strength of his game could be his ability to play defense. Having the skill set to create his own shot and slow down opposing guards on the other end of floor gives him Day 1 starting ability.

    Putting him on the same floor as Kobe Bryant would do wonders for his career.

    At this stage in his decorated career, Bryant will have to teach young players about the game as well as contribute. In a tweet earlier this year, the Black Mamba hinted he's up for that role by saying he would "mentor" Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker.

    That type of guidance would do wonders for a high-motor player like Smart.

    Bryant could teach the scoring guard about the nuances of the game, while the two worked together throughout the season.

    Smart would be a great complement to Bryant. Adding another quality option who can score and open up the floor will give Bryant a chance to do what he does best: take over games.

     

    All professional stats via NBA.com, unless noted otherwise. All college stats provided by Sports-Reference.com, unless noted otherwise. All information obtained on prospects provided by DraftExpress.com

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