Only nine days remain before some the of the top NBA prospects finally realize their dream of being selected in the 2014 NBA draft.
Some of the top names like Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid and Jabari Parker still sit at the top of every draft board but have been shifted around over the last few months. As for the crop after them, it's anyone's guess who will remain inside the top 10 and which players might sneak into the first round.
With the remaining days now in single digits, here's a look at the most updated NBA mock draft.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Kansas
Viewed by most draft analysts as the "can't-miss prospect" in this class, Wiggins will go No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Cavaliers.
After the team took a chance on Anthony Bennett last season with the first selection, Wiggins is the no-doubter here. With injury concerns associated with former teammate Embiid and the supposed limited upside of Parker, Wiggins will be the pick for Cleveland.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
As demoralizing as it will be for Embiid to fall past the No. 1 pick, he will come into a situation where he has a chance to save the franchise.
ESPN's Jeff Goodman notes that Embiid might still be the leading candidate for the first pick:
The 7-foot Cameroon native is the frontunner to be taken by the Cavs, who hold the No. 1 overall pick in the June 26 NBA Draft, according to multiple sources close to the situation. However, it will depend heavily on his medical evaluation by team doctors since he sat out the end of his freshman campaign with what Kansas called a stress fracture in his lower back.
Though he could very well be the No. 1 selection for the Cavaliers, Embiid's size along with Giannis Antetokounmpo's supreme athleticism would make the Milwaukee Bucks a dangerous team. They'd still have some work to do, but Embiid is a great start for the Bucks.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke
He's polished but doesn't have the same ceiling as Wiggins does. He can defend but not nearly at the level of Embiid. But can he score? Oh, can he ever.
Parker will join a Philadelphia 76ers team that already features Michael Carter-Williams running the point and Nerlens Noel potentially at center. With his elite scoring ability, the Sixers might just have a second consecutive Rookie of the Year on their roster.
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia
Not much is known about Dante Exum other than the fact that he dominated the 2013 FIBA U19 Championships. His rise to being one of the top prospects happened mostly in Australia, but he shined at the NBA combine to remain in the top five.
Joining up with top rookie Victor Oladipo from last year's draft, Exum will immediately have to use his elite ball-handling skills to help the team. If the phenom can perform at a top level, the Magic might have a backcourt to contend with in the Eastern Conference.
5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
Who the best power forward in this year's class is might be debatable, but it appears Noah Vonleh has the edge for the time being. Alongside Derrick Favors in the paint, the Utah Jazz would have a strong frontcourt that would be a strength for the coming seasons.
6. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
After one disappointing year under Brad Stevens for the Boston Celtics, the team needs immediate talent that can help in the coming years. Among the remaining players the Celtics can choose from, Julius Randle is the most NBA ready.
Adam Kaufman of Boston.com notes why he believes Randle fits the Boston mold, along with a comparison:
If he’s there, give me Randle. ... He led the nation with 24 double-doubles (and came within a total of seven points and six rebounds of achieving seven more), gives a non-stop effort on the glass (a real need for the C’s) and is a fierce competitor, he’s a good ball-handler, and he’s got Zach Randolph’s big, strong body and skill-set.
... Yes, he’s a little undersized for the position (6’9”, 250), turns the ball over too much (2.5 per game), and can be inconsistent with his jumper but if he were perfect he’d go No. 1.
While Zach Randolph hasn't exactly brought a championship to the Memphis Grizzlies, he has helped the team remain out of the lottery and in the playoffs. Along with Rajon Rondo, Randle will be a scoring threat inside that can help the team right away.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
This just makes too much sense not to happen. Marcus Smart might have experienced issues at Oklahoma State as a sophomore, but he is still a supremely talented point guard.
Kendall Marshall may have emerged last season as a potential starter for the Lakers at the position, but Smart brings a completely different style to the court. With the addition of Smart, the Los Angeles Lakers have a building block for the future of the franchise.
8. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
Already equipped with an elite big man in DeMarcus Cousins, the Sacramento Kings will continue to build in the paint with Aaron Gordon.
Gordon has drawn comparisons to Blake Griffin throughout his lone season in Arizona, as Kevin Pelton of ESPN Insider notes:
Though his high-flying ability has made him one of the top players in the class, he also excels on the other end of the court. His 39 blocks were second to only Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who led the team with 40 last season.
Here's a look at just how impressive Gordon's defensive effort can be:
Though he's still somewhat raw coming out of Arizona, there is no questioning Gordon has potential to shine at the NBA level. And in the same state as the man he's being compared to, look for Gordon and Griffin to match up for years to come in the same division.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, SF/PF Creighton
Dough McDermott is a scoring threat from anywhere on the court but also has the versatility to play multiple positions in the NBA. For a Charlotte Hornets team that is changing everything about the franchise, McDermott has a chance to be a great piece next to Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
During his two seasons with Michigan State, Gary Harris was both a leader and a scoring threat from anywhere on the court. Paired with Parker and Carter-Williams, he will be a huge asset for the Sixers for years to come.
11. Denver Nuggets: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
If the Denver Nuggets are looking to add a pure shooter, Nik Stauskas should be the No. 1 candidate just outside of the top 10.
Kevin Pelton of ESPN points out the strengths of Stauskas' game, via Nuggets.com:
Thanks to his ability to knock down shots, Stauskas is an elite offensive prospect. Among players in Chad's top 50, only Doug McDermott has a better projected true shooting percentage (.550) for next season based on translated college performance. And while Stauskas will probably be primarily a role player early in his NBA career, he's shown the ability to create his own shot, which makes him more than just a specialist.
The last part of that analysis will be crucial for the Nuggets. With Ty Lawson and Kenneth Faried drawing attention offensively, Stauskas will get open looks. But coming in as a freshman and being able to find open spots on the floor will be crucial to his success in Denver.
12. Orlando Magic: Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Duke
Ranked currently as the No. 13 prospect by DraftExpress.com, Rodney Hood might have been rated much higher if not playing alongside Parker. Given a chance to shine on the Orlando Magic with Oladipo and Exum, Hood might just be one of the best young weapons this upcoming season.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia
Coming from Croatia, Dario Saric is a versatile player who might just emerge as the best international player in the class over the next several seasons.
DraftExpress.com provides a scouting report on the elite prospect:
Standing 6-10, Saric is arguably the most versatile offensive player in this draft class, showing the ability to handle the ball in transition, score on the block, operate in isolation situations in the half-court, play off the ball, and rebound the ball at a very high rate. He's probably also the most experienced player in this draft class, despite only turning 20 last month, playing solid minutes at the European Championships last summer, and helping Croatia qualify for the World Cup this summer by making the semifinals.
Saric has a shot at being sensational for the Minnesota Timberwolves in the future. And if Kevin Love does ultimately depart for greener pastures, Saric will serve as insurance for the big man.
14. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
This is purely based on talent as Tyler Ennis might be one of the best point guards in the class years from now. His ability to score and run the point makes him a perfect fit for the Phoenix Suns learning behind Eric Bledsoe.
If the Suns are unable to sign Bledsoe, who is reportedly seeking a max contract, Ennis might be thrust into the role sooner than expected. After showing flashes of brilliance with Syracuse during his freshman campaign, Ennis will be a star for the Suns in the coming seasons.
15. Atlanta Hawks: James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky
With a 7-foot wingspan and a smooth stroke, James Young was a great athlete at Kentucky who simply requires polish. With Jeff Teague already running the point, adding a great shooter in the backcourt will help the Atlanta Hawks see more success in the East.
16. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
He can bang with the best of them inside and shoot from behind the arc. What Adreian Payne brings to the NBA level is not only versatility but also the ability to play the stretch forward position for a long time.
Though he might be one of the oldest players in the class, Payne has a maturity that will help him make an immediate impact. For a Chicago Bulls team that already has a core that can compete in the postseason, adding a player like Payne only bolsters its roster.
17. Boston Celtics: T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State
Simply put: T.J. Warren can do it all. Much like Payne, Warren has the ability to shoot the lights out and can also pull down rebounds to create extra offensive opportunities.
Warren spoke about what he brings to the next level, per Timberwolves.com:
Offensively, I felt like I excel in transition. Mid-range to 3s. My percentage from 3 wasn’t that good, but I shoot a lot better than what my percentages say. It’s just me being able to get up to the line and knock it down. It feels a lot better from 3.
... I think I could come in for a team and be able to score in a variety of ways. Defend, do a lot of little things. Just not scoring, rebounding, playmaking. Just do a whole bunch of things that people don’t think I can do, I’m capable of doing. Whoever selects me is going to get that.
Not only can Warren do all of the things he talks about, but he is a quiet leader who can also simply make his way to the paint and find different ways to score. Adding another offensive threat along with Randle will give the Celtics a great young core.
18. Phoenix Suns: Kyle Anderson, PG/SF, UCLA
He might not be one of the more polished players in the class, but Kyle Anderson has tremendous upside. For a team that has a plethora of picks in the first round and throughout the draft, taking a chance on Anderson for the future might not be a bad gamble for the Suns.
19. Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
Following the Payne pick earlier in the draft, the Bulls will look to the backcourt by picking up Zach LaVine. The versatile player has phenomenal ball-handling skills along with a great shot that can help the team when Derrick Rose ultimately returns to the lineup.
If LaVine can plug in immediately, the Bulls will have two great assets along with Noah and Rose in the future. With a healthy Boozer, Chicago once again looks like a contender in the East next season.
20. Toronto Raptors: Jerami Grant, SF/PF, Syracuse
While he doesn't quite have the size at 6'8", 210 pounds to bang with some of the best power forwards, Jerami Grant is a great rebounder and fits perfectly into a transition-style game. Already boasting multiple emerging stars like Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan, the Toronto Raptors will add the Syracuse star and continue their rise in the East.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: P.J. Hairston, SG, UNC/Texas Legends
The talent on the court for P.J. Hairston is hardly the question. It's what he did off the court that raised some eyebrows.
Though he wasn't able to spend the season with North Carolina in the college ranks, Hairston still shined with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League. Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated notes how well Hairston played in the lower level:
Hairston entered his name into the D-League's pool of eligible players in January, and was quickly snapped up by the Texas Legends. With the Legends, Hairston has been a prolific scorer. He scored 22 points in his debut against Austin then scored 40 in his next game. A few days later, he dropped 45 on Reno.
... Among the benefits of playing stateside is the ability to remain on NBA scouts' radar. And those that have watched Hairston have been impressed by what they have seen.
Hairston averaged 22 points with the Legends but doesn't necessarily promise to be a sensation at the NBA level. With a roster already loaded with talent, the Oklahoma City Thunder can afford to take a risk with hopes that he can potentially replace the production lost from James Harden.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Here's yet another pick based purely on talent. While the Memphis Grizzlies already have the center position locked down with Marc Gasol, Jusuf Nurkic provides insurance for next season.
The 19-year-old isn't as polished as some of the top big men in the draft, but his upside makes him a great weapon for the Grizzlies moving forward. With Marc Gasol hitting free agency next summer, this isn't a bad pick for the future either.
23. Utah Jazz: K.J. McDaniels , SF, Clemson
An elite defender with a knack for driving to the hoop, K.J. McDaniels can do it all on the court. He will have to develop his offensive game more at the next level, but his defense will help and fit in perfectly with the Utah Jazz following the Vonleh pick earlier in the draft.
24. Charlotte Hornets: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Great athleticism and abnormal size for the position make Elfrid Payton stand out in the NBA draft. This 6'4" point guard has the ability to run the point when Kemba Walker is on the sidelines and would be a huge asset in the transition game for the Hornets.
25. Houston Rockets: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
Scouts love his shooting ability, but Jordan Adams has a chance to go as early as No. 25 and as late as the second round. For a team like the Houston Rockets that already have a wealth of talent, his raw potential will fit in well with the veteran group.
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
The Miami Heat have talent. With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, there's no doubt about that fact. But even with all of that talent, the team still might have a need at the point guard position.
Mario Chalmers is a free agent this summer and could be picked up by another franchise. If Shabazz Napier is still available, the Heat would add a player who can not only run the point but also create his own shot on an already elite team.
27. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, PF/C, Switzerland
Among international prospects, Clint Capela has the size and motor to excel at the NBA level. At 6'11", 220 pounds, Capela can do just about anything in the paint and create more offensive opportunities with his rebounding.
The Swiss player made things very simple for teams during his workout with the Celtics, per the team's official account:
For a Phoenix Suns team that was on the cusp of a playoff berth last season, adding yet another athletic big man to the frontcourt would help. If Capela can develop alongside Mason Plumlee, the Suns would have a young tandem in the paint that can compete in the future.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
After a sparkling career with Wichita State, Cleanthony Early comes to the NBA as a polished player. For a Los Angeles Clippers team that has talent at nearly every position, Early might be able to compete with Matt Barnes for a starting position in the coming seasons.
While he played power forward at Wichita State, the 6'8", 216-pound Early projects better at the 3 in the NBA. His scoring ability will give Chris Paul another great offensive threat to grow with in the future.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary
Likely a fringe first-rounder and one of the most likely to drop from this position, the Thunder will once again take a chance. Mitch McGary is both talented and athletic but will need much more polish to thrive at the NBA level.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri
There are several options for the San Antonio Spurs at the end of the first round, but Jordan Clarkson makes sense. With Tony Parker recently turning 32 and a need for more scoring at the shooting guard position, Clarkson would add to the depth of the perennial championship contenders.
All height/weight information courtesy of NBADraft.net.