The 2014 NBA draft, headlined by the likes of Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, figures to have the most impactful class in recent memory thanks to superstars at the top and impressive depth throughout.
For the teams with a minimum of one selection, the spectacle is a chance to improve in areas of need. Of course, this varies by situation. For contenders, finding a missing, complementary piece is key. For the rebuilders—there are a lot of them, to say the least—a balance between a quick fix and an eye for the future is a must.
So that fans are not out of the loop on the big day, here is a look at the complete order:
|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 HOU & LAL)|
|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 (via Orlando)|
|34||Dallas Mavericks (via Boston)|
|36||Milwaukee Bucks (via Los Angeles Lakers via Phoenix via Minnesota)|
|37||Toronto Raptors (via Sacramento)|
|39||Philadelphia 76ers (via Cleveland)|
|40||Minnesota Timberwolves (via New Orleans)|
|42||Houston Rockets (via New York)|
|47||Philadelphia 76ers (via Brooklyn via Boston via Dallas)|
|48||Milwaukee Bucks (via Toronto via Phoenix)|
|52||Philadelphia 76ers (via Memphis Grizzlies via Cleveland Cavaliers)|
|53||Minnesota Timberwolves (via Golden State)|
|54||Philadelphia 76ers (via Houston via Milwaukee)|
|56||Denver Nuggets (via Portland)|
|58||San Antonio Spurs (via Los Angeles Clippers via New Orleans)|
|59||Toronto Raptors (via Oklahoma City via New York)|
|60||San Antonio Spurs|
Biggest Storyline to Watch: The Wild World of Trades
It is a known fact that after the pingpong balls settle—and throughout the year really, just look at the notes slapped on the picks above—the trade winds really pick up steam. This is especially the case during the draft.
Double up that notion for a 2014 class that offers a wealth of quality talent in both rounds. This would explain why ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) hears that plenty of teams are willing to make a move:
However, after pick No. 5 things are much more fluid. Sources say that the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns are all open to offers.
While picks No. 5-14 don't hold the same value as a top-4 pick in this draft (which explains why so many anonymous GMs are now suddenly praising the middle of the lottery and questioning whether there really is a top tier of four players) there still is a lot of talent at this point in the draft and a number of bad teams would love to get their hands on a second pick.
Let's go ahead and throw in a quote obtained from Ford via a person in the know, too: "I thought getting a lottery pick via trade would be virtually impossible this year," one NBA GM told Insider. "It's not. There are a lot of teams in the lottery right now that would prefer a proven player. A lot of owners have lost their patience with the rebuilding process."
So yes, the league that seemingly saw the majority of its teams tank in order to get near the top is suddenly both tired of losing—gasp—and willing to do away with what they worked so hard to get (or didn't).
Look at a team like the Sacramento Kings, current owners of the No. 8 overall pick. As Bleacher Report's Josh Martin points out, stockpiling talent only works for so long:
Their reasoning? They've already spent more than enough time stockpiling young players and toiling through losing seasons as is. The Kings have a number of clear needs heading into the offseason (i.e. a playmaking floor general, a shooter or two, a reliable defender), but they would prefer to address them with proven commodities rather than with unknown quantities.
The safe bet is on several teams feeling the same way, meaning that draft day will be ripe with deals that will confuse plenty and perhaps even those in charge.
Prospect to Watch: Joel Embiid
More so than any other prospect, Joel Embiid can have a major ripple effect on the draft.
Health concerns have hurt his stock, but when he's 100 percent, he is easily the best player in the draft in terms of on-court impact right away and likely into the future.
He's in the conversation at No. 1 overall then, right?
By all accounts, he is healthy. Here is a quote obtained by someone in the know, via Andrew Gruman of Fox Sports:
#Bucks director of scouting Billy McKinney on Joel Embiid workout last Fri: "It didn't appear there were any signs of issues with his back."— Andrew Gruman (@AndrewGruman) May 27, 2014
But, of course NBA franchises will have reservations about an iffy big man injury-wise. Greg Oden is still fresh on the minds of most teams, and a gamble on Embiid means passing on a sure thing in a very deep class—especially if he busts.
Embiid has everything a team wants in a franchise centerpiece. All eyes will be on Cleveland, especially given the impact The Decision (sorry) will have on the rest of the league if Embiid takes a tumble.