Chad Ford NBA Mock Draft 2014: Notable Picks from ESPN Guru's 7th Mock

Sean ODonnellContributor IIIJune 10, 2014

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 21:  Elfrid Payton #2 of the Louisiana Lafayette Ragin Cajuns celebrates after a play in the second half against the Creighton Bluejays during the second round of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at AT&T Center on March 21, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With the 2014 NBA draft drawing ever so close, the abundance of mocks across the net is staggering. However, when ESPN's NBA guru Chad Ford churns out predictions, basketball fans are treated to a mock like none other.

Combining his expertise and insider information, Ford's mocks don't simply give a glimpse of where he thinks prospects will land, but rather they relay pertinent information from trusted NBA sources.

On Tuesday, he unveiled his seventh edition on (Insider required), which includes some very interesting projections and insight.

Here's a look at his first-round predictions.

Chad Ford Mock Draft 7.0
1Cleveland CavaliersJoel Embiid, C, Kansas
2Milwaukee BucksJabari Parker, SF, Duke
3Philadelphia 76ersAndrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas
4Orlando MagicNoah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
5Utah JazzDante Exum, PG, Australia
6Boston CelticsAaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
7Los Angeles LakersJulius Randle, PF, Kentucky
8Sacramento KingsMarcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
9Charlotte HornetsDoug McDermott, SF, Creighton
10Philadelphia 76ersDario Saric, PF, Croatia
11Denver NuggetsGary Harris, SG, Michigan State
12Orlando MagicElfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana Lafayette
13Minnesota TimberwolvesNik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
14Phoenix SunsJames Young, SF, Kentucky
15Atlanta HawksZach LaVine, PG, UCLA
16Chicago BullsTyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
17Boston CelticsKristaps Porzingis, PF, Latvia
18Phoenix SunsT.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State
19Chicago BullsRodney Hood, SG, Duke
20Toronto RaptorsAdreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
21Oklahoma City ThunderJusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
22Memphis GrizzliesCleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
23Utah JazzK.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
24Charlotte HornetsP.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina
25Houston RocketsJerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
26Miami HeatShabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
27Phoenix SunsClint Capela, PF, Switzerland
28Los Angeles ClippersJordan Clarkson, PG, Missouri
29Oklahoma City ThunderJordan Adams, SG, UCLA
30San Antonio SpursKyle Anderson, PF, UCLA

At the moment, Ford is projecting Joel Embiid as the Cleveland Cavaliers' top overall pick.

This selection doesn't come without plenty of "what ifs."

Ford notes Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker are also well in the mix here, and if Embiid's medical exam isn't top notch, this could change.

We'll have to wait and see, as Embiid certainly looked fresh during his recent workout:

Embiid, Parker and Wiggins look to still be locks for the draft's first three selections; however, Ford threw us a curveball with the Magic's No. 4 pick.

A point guard seemed to be the consensus pick here; however, Ford seems to think the team could be leaning toward power forward Noah Vonleh. He explains:

The team really needs a power forward, and Vonleh looks like a great fit next to Nikola Vucevic on the front line. His shot-blocking on the defensive end, plus his ability to stretch the floor on the other end, is a perfect complement to Vucevic. With the several interesting point guards likely to be available at No. 12, the Magic might be able to get the best of both worlds.

In this case, Exum slides down to the Jazz at No. 5 overall—this scenario would absolutely make Utah's brass very happy campers.

Exum currently leads Ford's list of top international prospects, according to a tweet from NBA on ESPN:

A big movement in this mock is Louisiana Lafayette guard Elfrid Payton.

In Ford's last mock (Insider required), Payton was going at No. 20 overall to Toronto. Now, he's moved all the way up to a lottery selection to the Magic at No. 12.

This would make sense considering Orlando taking Vonleh earlier in the draft. Ford notes Payton could be the pick here over Tyler Ennis and Zach LaVine because "Payton is a great blend of the two. He's long, athletic and gets to the line. He defends and has such a dynamic game."

According to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders, the Magic are already taking a look at Payton:

Latvian prospect Kristaps Porzingis is also flying up draft boards. Ford has him slated to go No. 17 overall to the Boston Celtics and doesn't think the power forward will slide past the Oklahoma City Thunder at No. 21.

Certainly, plenty will change between the release of this mock and June 26. However, Ford gives a unique and insightful glimpse into the future, which will serve as a great template for how the first round of this year's draft will ultimately shake out.


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