NBA Mock Draft 2014: Predicting Which Prospect Every Team Will Pick in 1st Round

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NBA Mock Draft 2014: Predicting Which Prospect Every Team Will Pick in 1st Round
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The NBA lottery drastically rearranged 2014 NBA mock drafts.

With the Cleveland Cavaliers leapfrogging seven teams from ninth overall to first and the Charlotte Hornets stealing the Detroit Pistons' eighth overall pick, major changes have been made.

Here is an updated first-round mock now that the draft order is finally set.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Joel Embiid (C, Kansas)

Spencer Hawes is a free agent, and he’s not defensively inclined to hide Tristan Thompson's and Anthony Bennett's lack of length. Anderson Varejao is, but he’ll turn 32 in September, and injuries have allowed him to only play 146 games the past four seasons. And Tyler Zeller's ceiling isn’t high enough to deter the Cavaliers from drafting Embiid.

ESPN’s Jeff Goodman (subscription needed) reported that, according to sources, Cleveland will select Embiid if his back injury waves no red flags. The Cavaliers passed on Jonas Valanciunas in 2011, but his potential pales in comparison to the 7'0", 250-pound, athletic Embiid, who somehow has a pro-ready skill set despite playing basketball for the first time in high school.

 

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins (SG, Kansas)

No wing on the Bucks averaged more than 11.8 points per game last season. Wiggins averaged 17.1 as a freshman Jayhawk.

Jabari Parker fills the same need; however, Milwaukee ranks 25th or worse in the NBA in points scored and allowed. Wiggins, as a superior athlete, is a superior defender to Parker.

 

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker (SF, Duke)

Unless the 76ers fall in love with Dante Exum so much that they're willing to trade Michael Carter-Williams, Parker is a no-brainer here. No team had a lower three-point percentage than Philly this year, and no 76ers wing not named Evan Turner scored more than 13.0 points per game this season.

And Parker is the most pro-ready scorer in the class. At 6'8", 241 pounds, he scored 19.1 points per game while shooting 35.8 percent from downtown. 

 

4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum (PG, Australia)  

Even if the Magic accept Jameer Nelson's team option and hold onto him for another season, the 32-year-old isn't their future at point guard. Neither should be Victor Oladipo, whose natural position is shooting guard.

Exum would fill Orlando's greatest need and, at the same time, form one of the most explosive, young backcourts in the league with Oladipo. Exum is 6'6", which is gigantic for a point guard, and may get to the rim better than anyone in the draft.

 

5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh (PF, Indiana)

Utah has two bigs who can score in the paint, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. But it’ll draft Vonleh for two reasons.

First, Favors and Kanter are both most effective at center, according to 82games.com. Second, neither shoots efficiently enough to spread the floor. Vonleh shot 48.5 percent from downtown last year, giving him the edge over Julius Randle and Aaron Gordon, who can't shoot efficiently outside either.

 

6. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle (PF, Kentucky)

Boston wishes it had Utah's problem. It lacks a post presence at center to pair with Jared Sullinger. He and Kelly Olynyk are promising, but they attempt a combined 4.4 threes per game. 

Randle doesn't fill the Celtics' need at center, but he does give them the go-to post scorer that they lack. He bullied opponents in the paint to average 15 points per game at Kentucky. Sullinger led all Boston bigs with just 13.3 points per game this year.

 

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Aaron Gordon (PF, Arizona)

Only the 76ers surrendered more points than the Lakers last season. Gordon could ultimately be the best defender in the class.

The 6'9", 220-pounder recorded a 39" vertical at the combine, per NBA.com. He'd not only make an instant impact defensively, but he'd also fill a need in the frontcourt and athleticism departments.

 

8. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart (PG, Oklahoma State)

Isaiah Thomas is a free agent. Even if he's retained, only one other player in the Kings backcourt scored more than 6.2 points per game this year. 

Smart, who averaged 18 points last season, would not only solve this problem but offer much-needed leadership on a team that needs it.

 

9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott (SF, Creighton)

Only five teams converted fewer threes than the Hornets did this year. Only seven scored fewer points. McDermott would instantly change this.

Prospects don't get more pro-ready than him at 22 years old and having played four years of college basketball. And as someone who's scored 2,000 points in his college career while shooting at least 45 percent most of the way, few come more prepared to put the ball in the basket.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas (SG, Michigan)

Philadelphia needs to double up on wing scorers in the first round for aforementioned reasons. Adding Parker and Stauskas in one draft would take the offense to another level.

Stauskas scored 17.5 points per game at Michigan last season while shooting 44.2 percent from downtown.

 

11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris (SG, Michigan State)

Harris should be able to crack the Nuggets rotation immediately, given that he's arguably the best perimeter defender in the class and can play both guard positions.

Randy Foye, Nate Robinson and Evan Fournier aren't liabilities, but they're all replaceable. They had player efficiency ratings this season of just 13.3, 15.6 and 10.4, respectively, per ESPN.com. (The NBA-average is 15.) 

 

12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric (PF, Croatia)

David Pick of Eurobasket.com reported that Saric will only come to America this season if he's selected by two teams, and the Magic aren't one of them.

But that shouldn't stop them from selecting this promising Saric this late in the draft. He's a top-10 talent. Orlando isn't ready to win now, but when it is later, Saric will be worth the wait.

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach LaVine (PG, UCLA)

Minnesota's core is in danger of a makeover, not that it couldn't use one. The Associated Press via ESPN reported that the team isn't rushing to trade Kevin Love, but if it does deal him, Ricky Rubio could also be part of a move. His three-point shot remains shaky at 33.1 percent.

But even if the Timberwolves want to build around Rubio, the 6'6" LaVine should be able to play both guard positions. He recorded a 41.5" vertical at the combine, affirming that he's one of the best athletes in the draft. And J.J. Barea is the only backup guard in Minnesota who scored more than 4.0 points per game last season.

 

14. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ennis (PG, Syracuse)

Phoenix already has two outstanding point guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. But they both start, leaving little at the position on the bench.

Ennis would be an instant upgrade over Ish Smith, whose career scoring average is 2.9 points per game. Ennis averaged 12.9 points and 5.5 assists per game last season, emerging as Syracuse's best player as a freshman.

 

15. Atlanta Hawks: James Young (SF, Kentucky)

Kyle Korver is 33 years old, while DeMarre Carroll and Louis Williams are scheduled to become free agents in 2015. James Young is raw, but he has the potential to surpass all of them in a couple of years.

The 18-year-old is a freak athlete and can score from anywhere. He would hear is name earlier if he hadn't struggled with inconsistency at Kentucky, shooting just 40.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from downtown. He still played a major role in the Wildcats clawing their way to a national championship berth, though.

 

16. Chicago Bulls: P.J. Hairston (SG, North Carolina/NBA D-League)

Chicago shot an abysmal 33.3 percent from downtown in the playoffs, which would have been worse if it weren't for 33-year-old Mike Dunleavy's miraculous 8-of-10 effort in Game 3 of Round 1. The Bulls need scorers on the outside, and that's what Hairston is.

He scored 14.6 points per game last season. He's not only efficient from three-point range, having shot 39.6 percent, but he also gets to the rim.

 

17. Boston Celtics: Rodney Hood (SG, Duke)

Only two teams were more inefficient than Boston this year from beyond the arc. Hood may be the best pure shooter in the class.

The 6'9" 2-guard averaged 16.1 points per game as a sophomore Blue Devil, shooting 42.0 percent from downtown. That's a higher percentage than every Celtic on the roster.

 

18. Phoenix Suns: Jerami Grant (SF, Syracuse)

Outside of Bledsoe and Gerald Green, Phoenix has little scoring on the wings, and P.J. Tucker and Leandro Barbosa are free-agency bound.

Numerous small forwards will hear their name called in the second half of the first round. Grant is raw, but at 6'8" with freakish athleticism, no one possesses more potential. He upped his scoring on the Orange from 3.9 points per game as a freshman to 12.1 as a sophomore.  

 

19. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne (PF, Michigan State)

Few frontcourts are better than Chicago's, but it lacks a stretch 4 to spread the floor. Such a thing could come in handy with Derrick Rose back in the lineup next season.

At 23 years old with four years of college basketball under his belt, Payne is ready to help the Bulls win now. He also scored 16.4 points per game as a senior while shooting 42.3 percent from downtown.

 

20. Toronto Raptors: Elfrid Payton (PG, Louisiana-Lafayette)

Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez will be free agents this summer. Toronto needs insurance in case one of them, if not both, departs. 

Payton is the best point guard available. He averaged 19.2 points, 5.9 assists and 6.0 rebounds this past season.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Cleanthony Early (SF, Wichita State)

At this point in Round 1, it's unlikely the Thunder will find a player who can crack the rotation in Year 1. Early could, though.

Caron Butler and Thabo Sefolosha are slated to become free agents, which leaves playing time up for grabs on the wings. The 23-year-old Early could snatch it. He averaged 16.4 points per game last season and 27.0 in the NCAA tournament.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies: K.J. McDaniels (SF, Clemson)

In the playoffs, 53 percent of the Grizzlies' scoring came from their starting point guard and bigs. Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol and Mike Conley need more offensive help from their wings, especially in the three-point-shooting department. Memphis shot 29.05 percent from downtown in the postseason.

McDaniels is far from the best outside shooter in the draft, but he definitely has shown potential to improve, given his knack for scoring. He averaged 17.1 points per game this past season.

 

23. Utah Jazz: T.J. Warren (SF, NC State)

Richard Jefferson started 78 games for the Jazz this past season. He'll become a free agent this summer and, turning 34 years old in June, shouldn't be re-signed.

Warren may never be a starter. He's a tweener who struggles from beyond the arc. But his ability to defend and score, having averaged 24.9 points per game last season, should make him a productive role player off the bench for a long time.

 

24. Charlotte Hornets: Shabazz Napier (PG, Connecticut)

Luke Ridnour will be a free agent this summer, and 29-year-old Gary Neal has an expiring contract. Outside of Kemba Walker and perhaps Gerald Henderson, Charlotte's future backcourt is undecided.

Napier would provide instant offense off the bench now and in the future. He averaged more than 17.0 points per game the past two years at UConn and already has chemistry with Walker.

 

25. Houston Rockets: Jusuf Nurkic (C, Bosnia)

Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle reported that the Rockets don't plan on trading Omer Asik. But given how many teams need a starting-caliber center, that could change quickly. 

And if it does, Nurkic would be an ideal replacement. As if Dwight Howard wasn't physically imposing enough, the 6'11", 280-pound Nurkic could wear down opposing bigs, while Howard rests.

 

26. Miami Heat: C.J. Wilcox (SG, Washington)

Ray Allen is 38 years old, Shane Battier is 35, and they'll both be free agents this summer.

Even if they return, Miami will need a younger outside shooter or two soon enough. As a 23-year-old college graduate, Wilcox is ready to help the Heat keep winning now. He scored 18.3 points per game as a senior while shooting 39.1 percent from downtown.

 

27. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela (PF, Switzerland)

Three first-round picks won't crack the Suns roster. If they hold onto all three, one should be used on a developmental prospect like Capela

The 20-year-old, 6'11", 222-pounder is a freak athlete who could be the next Serge Ibaka if coached well.

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Mitch McGary (PF, Michigan)

Los Angeles has no length behind DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin. Glen Davis is talented, but he's just 6'9".

The 6'10" McGary's length and unrivaled motor would make him a welcome addition to the Clippers frontcourt. 

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kristaps Porzingis (PF, Latvia)

If a promising foreign player like Porzingis is still on the board at this point in the draft, Oklahoma City should pull the trigger.

While it's in win-now mode, no one this late in Round 1 will crack its rotation as a rookie. When Porzingis does eventually enter the NBA, he'll offer more upside than anyone else available who could warm the bench right away.

 

30. San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson (PF, UCLA)

Anderson isn't the stereotypical Gregg Popovich player. Defensively, he offers opponents a weakness to attack, and offensively, h needs the ball in his hands. 

However, Boris Diaw is 32 years old and set to hit free agency this summer. Anderson has the potential to step into Diaw's role. His ball-handling ability is elite for a 6'9" forward, and he nailed 48.3 percent of the few threes he took last season.

 

NBA combine results courtesy of NBA.com.

David Daniels is a columnist at Bleacher Report and editor at Wade-O Radio.

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