The month of June is only one day away and the 2014 NBA draft looms large.
At this point in the year, rumors begin swirling around the Web and smoke screens are plentiful. Determining how teams actually feel about certain prospects becomes a rather daunting task.
Of course, plenty will change in the days leading up to the draft, but based on what we know—or think we may know—at the moment, let's take a shot at predicting how the draft's first round could potentially shake out.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
The Cavaliers have a tough decision to make at the top of the draft. Do they go with a promising big man in Joel Embiid or the big upside of Andrew Wiggins?
Chad Ford of ESPN tweeted what Wiggins has been working on during the offseason:
Embiid's ongoing back issues probably won't affect his draft stock too drastically, but it could be enough for Cleveland to go with Wiggins with the No. 1 pick. Adding Wiggins gives the Cavaliers a prospect who can produce a dangerous combo with Kyrie Irving.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Joel Embiid, Kansas
With Wiggins off the board, the Bucks have an easy decision here. Back concerns aside, Embiid has a great deal of upside and is a highly athletic center. Pairing him with Larry Sanders immediately gives Milwaukee a dominant frontcourt.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, Duke
The 76ers have some nice young talent in Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. Adding the dynamic offensive prowess of Parker not only helps this team continue to build for the future, but gives Philadelphia an NBA-ready player who can instantly improve the team.
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, Australia
Adding Exum gives the Magic a formidable backcourt alongside Victor Oladipo. Exum has the athleticism, speed and shot-making ability to help propel this team back into the playoffs.
5. Utah Jazz: Julius Randle, Kentucky
Randle is an NBA-ready prospect who will be a huge contributor in Utah's improving frontcourt. Randle's aggressiveness in the paint allowed him to become a double-double machine in college—something he shouldn't have much difficulty duplicating in the NBA.
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, Arizona
The Celtics need help in many different areas, and selecting the versatile Gordon will go a long way for a club looking to regain its winning ways. Gordon is a high-energy player who will contribute instantly on both ends of the court.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
Smart was a dominating force on both ends of the court while at Oklahoma State. His ability to see the court well and make decisive passes will make him an instant factor when sharing the court with Kobe Bryant and Co.
8. Sacramento Kings: Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Vonleh will be a great presence in the low post for the Kings. Pairing him with DeMarcus Cousins will give Sacramento a great frontcourt that will only continue to improve while Vonleh develops.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, Creighton
The Hornets were a playoff team this past season, and adding McDermott will greatly improve their chance to return. McDermott may be the safest prospect in the draft, given his experience and ability to score from anywhere on the court on a consistent basis.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Harris, Michigan State
The Sixers add another scoring threat here in Harris after selecting Parker earlier. Pairing Harris with Carter-Williams in the backcourt gives this team plenty of scoring options heading into next season.
11. Denver Nuggets: Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Denver is a team that can light up the scoreboard when it is firing on all cylinders. Adding another outside scoring threat in Stauskas will only add to this team's dynamic scoring capability.
12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, Croatia
After adding Exum to solidify the backcourt, the Magic do the same up front with the addition of Saric. He's a threat in the low post but also has a great outside shot.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Rodney Hood, Duke
With the talents of Kevin Love appearing to be headed elsewhere, the Timberwolves should look for a well-rounded scoring threat. They need to look no further than Hood. With great range, the ability to score inside and stout defense, he'll provide a real spark in Minnesota.
According to a tweet from Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN, the Timberwolves appear to be doing their due diligence:
14. Phoenix Suns: Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia
Last season, the Suns finished 21st in points allowed. Adding the big-bodied Nurkic will go a long way in helping right the ship in that department. Known for his stout defense and ability to rebound, Nurkic will get this team on track on the defensive end of the court.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
The Hawks can use a point guard who can run the offense but also help defend on the perimeter. Ennis came up big for Syracuse last season, leading the team, facilitating and scoring from outside—things he'll continue to do in Atlanta.
16. Chicago Bulls: James Young, Kentucky
The Bulls desperately need a scoring threat. The team simply can't rely on the oft-injured Derrick Rose, and adding Young makes plenty of sense. A pure outside shooter, Young will give Chicago's stagnant offense a big boost.
17. Boston Celtics: Zach LaVine, UCLA
There's no doubting LaVine's freakish athleticism and ability to score from the perimeter. As the Celtics look to add depth across the board, LaVine would make for a great rotational piece in the backcourt with the upside to become a solid starter.
18. Phoenix Suns: P.J. Hairston, NBDL
Hairston appears to be NBA-ready after some solid showings against strong competition in the NBA D-League. A well-rounded player, Hairston has the scoring ability to light up the scoreboard and contribute on the defensive end.
The Suns' official Twitter account relayed some praise of Hairston from head coach Jeff Hornacek:
19. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne, Michigan State
Chicago could be looking to add some depth at forward with the possibility of losing Carlos Boozer. Payne is an aggressive player who thrives in the paint on both ends of the court. He's experienced and comes from a great system in Michigan State.
20. Toronto Raptors: Kyle Anderson, UCLA
Anderson is an offensive powerhouse. His ability to facilitate, rebound and score from all over the court makes him a great plug-and-play piece in Toronto. Should the Raptors lose Kyle Lowry, Anderson's addition would be all the more worthwhile.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Clint Capela, Switzerland
The Thunder's Achilles' heel has been on the defensive end of the court. Serge Ibaka has been phenomenal, and adding the upside of the shot-blocking Capela will continue to improve this team's presence on defense.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jerami Grant, Syracuse
Grant showed a great deal of improvement last season at Syracuse. He doesn't have a great outside shot, but he's aggressive when attacking the rim. Adding him will give this team valuable depth and a solid rotation up front.
23. Utah Jazz: K.J. McDaniels, Clemson
The Jazz added a rebounding specialist in Randle earlier in the draft. Now, they'll add the big scoring threat of McDaniels. Although he's not known for his ability to defend, McDaniels can light it up in a big way on the offensive end of the court.
24. Charlotte Hornets: Elfrid Payton, Louisiana Lafayette
Charlotte added a great scorer in McDermott at No. 9 overall, and the team adds another legitimate scoring threat here. Payton has a nice stroke from outside, but is also a capable rebounder and distributor. He has the potential to see some time on the court sooner rather than later.
NBA Draft tweeted Payton's introduction at the NBA combine:
25. Houston Rockets: Jordan Adams, UCLA
The Rockets already have some strong guard play; however, the team lacks in depth. Adams is an electrifying scorer and will be able to contribute off the bench immediately with a good chance of becoming a future starter.
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, Connecticut
Napier absolutely dominated during the NCAA tournament. He's not ready to be a starter in the NBA, but will be a great rotational piece right away. He'll find a great situation on a Heat team that will allow him to see some minutes but also continue his development.
27. Phoenix Suns: Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Early is a dynamic scorer who can finish at the rim. His aggressive and high-energy style of play is exactly what the Suns could use. Aside from his ability to score, he's a solid rebounder as well and should see some time on the court in the Suns' rotation.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Kristaps Porzingis, Latvia
The Clippers have the ability to draft for the future given the team's roster depth. Porzingis needs to fill out and develop a bit, but he has the size and and upside to become a solid future contributor.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: C.J. Wilcox, Washington
Oklahoma City already owns one of the league's most dominant offenses. The rich will get richer by adding Wilcox. He's a great shooter and should be able to contribute off the bench—especially alongside Russell Westbrook.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Mitch McGary, Michigan
McGary is a great presence in the low post. He can score on the offensive end and is physical enough to hold his ground on defense. He's still recovering from back surgery, but the Spurs are deep enough to allow him to fully recover before sending him into action.
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