With just a few games remaining in the NBA Finals, nearly every team in basketball has already turned its attention to the 2014 NBA draft.
Unlike the playoffs, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat will be near the bottom of the board. Replacing them will be the Cleveland Cavaliers, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers, three franchises desperately looking to find their way out of the lottery next season.
Top prospects like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid have aspirations of changing their next team after being a top-five pick. But with others like Dante Exum and Aaron Gordon also presenting outstanding skill sets, the 2014 class is loaded with potential for the next level.
With the draft just over two weeks away, here's a look at the full order and analysis of some of the top prospects in the class.
|7||Los Angeles Lakers|
|9||Charlotte Hornets (From Detroit)|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers (From New Orleans)|
|12||Orlando Magic (From New York via Denver)|
|16||Chicago Bulls (From Charlotte)|
|17||Boston Celtics (From Brooklyn)|
|18||Phoenix Suns (From Washington)|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder (From Dallas via Houston and L.A. Lakers)|
|23||Utah Jazz (From Golden State)|
|24||Charlotte Hornets (From Portland)|
|27||Phoenix Suns (From Indiana)|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30||San Antonio Spurs|
|33||Cleveland Cavaliers (From Orlando)|
|34||Dallas Mavericks (From Boston)|
|36||Milwaukee Bucks (From L.A. Lakers via Minnesota and Phoenix)|
|37||Toronto Raptors (From Sacramento)|
|39||Philadelphia 76ers (From Cleveland)|
|40||Minnesota Timberwolves (From New Orleans)|
|42||Houston Rockets (From New York)|
|47||Philadelphia 76ers (From Brooklyn via Dallas and Boston)|
|48||Milwaukee Bucks (From Toronto via Phoenix)|
|52||Philadelphia 76ers (From Memphis via Cleveland)|
|53||Minnesota Timberwolves (From Golden State)|
|54||Philadelphia 76ers (From Houston via Milwaukee)|
|56||Denver Nuggets (From Portland)|
|58||San Antonio Spurs (From L.A. Clippers via New Orleans)|
|59||Toronto Raptors (From Oklahoma City via New York)|
|60||San Antonio Spurs|
Top Prospects Breakdown
At the top of nearly every NBA mock draft board sits one man: Andrew Wiggins.
Coming into the 2013-14 season with Kansas, Wiggins was seen as the No. 1 overall prospect. After averaging 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, the Ontario, Canada native solidified that status and became the clear-cut jewel of the draft.
Not only was he sensational from the start of the season, but also grew throughout his freshman campaign, as David Locke of the Utah Jazz notes:
Just finished my 5th Andrew Wiggins game. The improvement from November to March is stunning. He is going to be special— David Locke (@Lockedonsports) May 15, 2014
But with the Cavaliers sitting at the top of the board, Wiggins might not be the only prospect in play at No. 1 overall. After taking a gigantic gamble with Anthony Bennett last season with the first pick, Cleveland might go after a more polished college athlete.
That's where Parker enters the discussion.
On a loaded Duke team that included fellow first-round lock Rodney Hood, Parker blossomed into one of he best pro prospects in Durham. Parker scored at will at the college level, beginning with seven consecutive 20-point performances and closing the regular season with 30 points in a win against rival North Carolina.
Those numbers and his consistency on the court have many analysts predicting he'll be one of the most successful players in the draft, as Tyler Tynes of the Philadelphia Daily News notes:
With Parker, teams will get a high IQ combo forward that can shoot from anywhere on the floor and run the break as well as rebound as effectively as anyone in the draft. His athleticism is average and his defense is below-average and the peak of his game won’t be in his first year. But with some growth and maturity, Parker can be an All-Star for many years.
Along with both dynamic small forwards, Embiid also stands near the top of most draft boards—literally and figuratively. With his size and ability to change a game on offense and defense, Embiid appears to be the only other lock in the mix with Parker and Wiggins.
Just behind the Cameroon player sits Exum and a slew of great players that could materialize at the NBA level. One trait all four players have in common is that they all expect to be top-five selections, per Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe:
Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker, Joel Embiid & Dante Exum all won't work out for Celtics. They all expect to be gone by the 6th overall pick.— Baxter Holmes (@BaxterHolmes) May 28, 2014
As the best overall prospects await their fate to be announced on June 26, each will play a huge role in the future of the franchise. Given their skill set and ability to dominate in the coming seasons, any of the aforementioned players could become All-Stars after striking it rich in the lottery.
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