The 2014 NBA draft is just a few weeks away, and as June 26 gets closer, it's becoming more and more clear which prospects will be selected in the first round.
Most of the scouting process for teams is out of the way, with the exception of private workouts. Keep in mind that while some players could be first-round picks right now, they still have until June 16 to withdraw if they were early entrants.
Now that teams are nearly ready for the draft, let's take a look at some updated projections for the entire first round.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Before the college basketball season began, it looked like Andrew Wiggins would be the No. 1 overall pick. However, after a breakout freshman season from fellow teammate Joel Embiid, the Cleveland Cavaliers have a very tough decision to make with the top pick.
While some may be worried about Embiid's back injury from this past season, he has looked healthy in workouts. ESPN's Chad Ford tweeted his physical measurements, which combined with his athleticism, make him a very exciting prospect.
He hasn't been playing basketball long, but he's developed very quickly. The Cavaliers will be tempted to take Wiggins, but they'll have a very hard time passing on a potentially dominant center.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
Whichever Kansas player doesn't go No. 1 will likely be taken shortly after by the Milwaukee Bucks. In this mock draft, that means they will be selecting Andrew Wiggins.
By now, everyone knows that he is an unbelievable athlete. As Sportsnet's Michael Grange points out, the combination of Wiggins' reach and vertical theoretically means that he could almost hit the very top of the backboard.
In order for Wiggins to become a superstar in the league, he'll need to work on improving his jump shot, but he has tremendous upside, and the Bucks won't think twice about pairing him with Giannis Antetokounmpo on the wings.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
The Philadelphia 76ers struggled enough on offense before trading away Evan Turner. Now, they desperately need to find a go-to scorer if they want to start making progress and moving up the standings in the Eastern Conference.
The easy choice for the 76ers here would be Jabari Parker. While at Duke, he proved that he could score from pretty much anywhere on the floor. He is a versatile forward and already a developed player who could potentially give Philadelphia its second straight NBA Rookie of the Year after Michael Carter-Williams won the award this season.
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia
It's time for the Orlando Magic to figure out who they want running the offense down the road. Jameer Nelson is 32 years old and set to be a free agent after this season, so they may want to find a new point guard with the No. 4 pick.
Dante Exum looks like the ideal point guard to pair with Victor Oladipo in the backcourt. He has plenty of height and length at 6'6'', and he does a great job of slashing to the basket to either go in for the layup or to pass out to an open teammate on the perimeter.
5. Utah Jazz: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
The Utah Jazz could take a number of power forwards with this pick, but given how dominant he was at Kentucky, they should take Julius Randle.
He is hard to ignore as a rebounder and scorer down low. He can do a lot in the post, but one scout is concerned about Randle's inability to go right, according to Grantland's Ryen Russillo:
He goes one way, tries to knock everyone over. He’s so left-hand dominant it was comical. If you put him in a gym by himself, could he make a right-handed layup? He’s a good athlete but didn’t always use it. A lot of his stuff, offensively, won’t work in the NBA. It’s going to be a huge adjustment for him.
There are concerns with Randle, but if he can make adjustments and continue to work on going to his right, he'll become a solid offensive-minded power forward.
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
The Boston Celtics haven't had a solid scoring option down low since losing Kevin Garnett. That could change in this draft, as they could find one early.
While with the Wildcats, Aaron Gordon showed off plenty of athleticism, making some exciting plays near the rim. Most of the talk is about his ability to throw down, but he is also a great rebounder who isn't afraid to pass the ball and set up his teammates for open shots. If he goes to Boston, expect Rajon Rondo to find him on more than a few alley-oop passes.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
With a wide-open roster, the Los Angeles Lakers have plenty of options as to whom they could draft. The power forward position seems pretty thin right now, and taking Indiana's Noah Vonleh would be a good first step toward rebuilding the franchise.
The Hoosiers didn't effectively use Vonleh during his one season, but that didn't keep him from averaging 11.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game. He's a lengthy power forward who can step out and hit jump shots when needed, making him an exciting potential stretch forward with a lot of upside.
8. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
With Isaiah Thomas currently a restricted free agent, it's likely that another team will pay him big money to leave the Sacramento Kings. Without Thomas, the Kings will need a new point guard.
Marcus Smart isn't the same kind of player as Thomas, but he's still an aggressive point guard and a solid defender. He's arguably one of the stronger point guards in this draft, and as Jonathan Givony from DraftExpress points out, his bench-press numbers at the combine were historically impressive.
If the Kings draft Smart, they'll get a point guard who isn't afraid to drive to the basket and open up the floor for his teammates.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton
The Charlotte Hornets were finally able to make it back to the playoffs last season, and they'll need some more help on the wings if they want to move up the standings.
Doug McDermott might not be able to play power forward at the next level, but he's already a terrific shooter who has a polished offensive game, both with and without the ball. Defensively, he'll have some work to do, but he'll be ready to make plays in the NBA right away.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
After taking Parker with their first pick, the 76ers can continue to add offensive talent and potentially another starter with their second selection.
In just two years at Michigan State, Gary Harris developed into more than just a perimeter scorer. Not only can he shoot from deep, but he can also drive to the basket. Looking at the team's current depth chart, it wouldn't be surprising to see both Parker and Harris in the starting lineup.
11. Denver Nuggets: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
While they have a solid group of starters, the Denver Nuggets could use some more depth on the wing. Nik Stauskas is a smooth shooter with a quick release that can make him deadly on the perimeter. That shot could go a long way coming off the bench, as he could give the Nuggets a few more three-pointers per game.
12. Orlando Magic: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
The Magic are going to need a lot more help in the frontcourt before next season, especially if Nikola Vucevic leaves after this season as a restricted free agent. Adreian Payne could give the Magic an option to come off the bench behind Vucevic and Tobias Harris. He's a great threat from inside or outside, and he can be a disruptive player on defense with his length.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Young, SF, Kentucky
This will be a very intriguing season for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Kevin Love may be on his way out shortly, and the team will need to figure out how to replace him.
In the meantime, the Timberwolves can focus on adding more scorers on the wing. After just one season at Kentucky, James Young showed he can be a terrific spot-up shooter. He'll need to work on ball security and the ability to create his own shots, but he'll be ready to score once he joins the team.
14. Phoenix Suns: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
Even after winning 48 games this season, the Phoenix Suns missed the playoffs. Fortunately, with three first-round picks, they'll have a good chance of making it next season.
With their first pick, the Suns could take a wing scorer in Rodney Hood. He was a great No. 2 option for the Blue Devils to go along with Parker, as Hood was able to score from pretty much anywhere. At 6'8", he has the ideal size to play on the wing, but he'll need to bring the same level of effort on defense to garner more minutes on the court.
15. Atlanta Hawks: T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State
The Atlanta Hawks averaged 26.6 three-point attempts per game, the second most in the league. They'll be tempted to add another perimeter scorer, but they could focus on a wing player who can get to the basket and open up the floor for the rest of the shooters.
T.J. Warren averaged 24.9 points per game on 52.5 percent shooting this past season. He's a consistent player from mid-range and closer, and while he's still working on developing the rest of his game, his ability to score will help him find a home early in the draft.
16. Chicago Bulls: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
When Derrick Rose returns, the Chicago Bulls will still need a reliable backup behind him, even if Kirk Hinrich or D.J. Augustin return. While other point guards probably have higher upside, Tyler Ennis might be the most well-rounded of the bunch. He's a terrific floor leader and strong defender with a high basketball IQ, and he'll help the Bulls run the offense when Rose needs a break.
17. Boston Celtics: Cleanthony Early, SF/PF, Wichita State
If Brad Stevens and the Celtics want to start making noise in the East again, they're going to need some explosive athletes who can make big plays off the bench. Cleanthony Early might not have the size to play power forward in the NBA, but with his explosive athleticism and ability to put up points in the paint or from mid-range, he has the chance to be a great wing player off the bench.
18. Phoenix Suns: Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA
Eric Bledsoe may be gone before next season, but even if the Suns bring him back, they'll be wise to add some backcourt depth with one of their picks. Zach LaVine might have declared too early out of UCLA, but no one is questioning his athleticism. According to ESPN's Dave McMenamin, he set a Lakers draft workout record with a 46-inch vertical.
Still, LaVine has a lot of work to do before he's an NBA-ready guard, but the upside is definitely there for the Suns to take a chance and draft him.
19. Chicago Bulls: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
While casual basketball fans might not know a lot about him, Dario Saric might be the most versatile offensive prospect in this draft. He's a 6'10'' forward with great ball-handling, shooting, passing and off-ball skills. The Bulls need some better offensive options, and Saric could give them a much-needed lift in that department.
20. Toronto Raptors: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Now that Kyle Lowry is a free agent, the Toronto Raptors will need to find a way to re-sign him. Regardless of whether or not he comes back, the Raptors will still need to consider taking a point guard, especially if Elfrid Payton is still on the board. He's flown under draft boards until recently, as people like ESPN's Chad Ford are coming away impressed.
This past season, Payton averaged 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 5.9 assists while shooting a very high 50.9 percent from the field. The fact that he didn't play at a big program will keep him from going higher, but he could be a steal for Toronto.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: P.J. Hairston, SG, NBA D-League
A lack of perimeter depth could hurt the Oklahoma City Thunder next season with Thabo Sefolosha and Caron Butler potentially on the way out. P.J. Hairston could change that, as he's continued to develop after a year in the NBA D-League. He's a solid all-around scorer, but he'll make his money on the perimeter with a solid three-point shot.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
Although they have a solid point guard and frontcourt players, the Memphis Grizzlies need versatility at small forward. Kyle Anderson is the definition of versatility at 6'9''. Not only can he slash to the basket or pull up for mid-range jumpers, but he also has great vision and ball-handling to play point guard if needed.
23. Utah Jazz: K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
According to NBA.com, the Jazz had the worst defensive rating in the NBA during the regular season, giving up 109.1 points per 100 possessions. They'll need to address that in the draft if that is going to change. K.J. McDaniels is one of the best wing defenders in this draft, blocking 2.8 shots per game this past season. He'll need to work on his offense, but he could be a potential starter at small forward.
24. Charlotte Hornets: Jerami Grant, SF/PF, Syracuse
The Hornets can focus on continuing to add frontcourt depth to go along with their young backcourt. Jerami Grant is still a work in progress, but he's already an explosive player near the rim who has no problem going for rebounds. He'll need to get stronger if he wants to keep playing power forward, but he has plenty of upside coming out after just his sophomore season.
25. Houston Rockets: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
James Harden can't play 48 minutes per game, which is why the Houston Rockets need a solid backup shooting guard who can still keep the offense going. C.J. Wilcox already looks like an NBA-caliber scorer with a smooth jumper and good ball-handling skills, which makes him the ideal backup for the Rockets behind Harden.
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
After the NBA Finals, Mario Chalmers will be a free agent, and it's unlikely he'll be coming back. Instead, the Miami Heat can focus on keeping Norris Cole and finding another point guard in the draft like Shabazz Napier. While he's only 6'1'', he is a great shooter who is capable of running the offense.
He'll struggle to make plays inside, but Napier won't need to with LeBron James and Dwyane Wade on the team.
27. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
After adding some players on the wings with their first two picks, the Suns can turn down low with their final selection of the first round. Clint Capela is another interesting international prospect who could be a strong player in the NBA. He has size, length and strength to play down low at either power forward or center, and with his leaping ability, he'll be a great option on both sides of the ball.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Patric Young, PF, Florida
The Los Angeles Clippers love the alley-oop, but they don't have an athletic option behind DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin to make the kind of plays that they can. SEC Defensive Player of the Year Patric Young could be that option off the bench. He's extremely strong and athletic, and while he'll be limited offensively when he's not in the paint, he'll be just fine defensively.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
Jusuf Nurkic could be a great option behind Kendrick Perkins and Steven Adams down low. He's an intimidating presence at 6'11'' with great footwork and soft touch to score around the rim. He'll need to work on staying out of foul trouble, especially against more aggressive players in the NBA—and he's still developing—but the upside is there for him to be a solid developmental prospect.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
Tim Duncan may very well be retiring after this season, and the San Antonio Spurs will need to find another option at power forward behind Boris Diaw. Jarnell Stokes is only 6'9'', but he is a physical and tough power forward who can crash the boards and outmuscle opponents down low. He's limited athletically, but Gregg Popovich knows how to get the most out of his players.
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