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2014 NBA Mock Draft: Solid 1st-Round Selections for Each Team

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2014 NBA Mock Draft: Solid 1st-Round Selections for Each Team
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

On Thursday, every NBA franchise will be looking toward the future.

Whether a team is in the midst of a rebuild or in win-now mode as a playoff contender, improving through the draft is an essential component for success.

This year features a bevy of talent throughout the first round. In fact, some worthy first-round prospects could slide into the second round due to the quality of this year's class.

So, with the draft just hours away, where will the top prospects call home in the NBA?

Let's take one last stab at predicting how the 2014 NBA draft's first round could shake out.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas

Wiggins will require a bit of development, but the Cavaliers have embraced the rebuilding process, making the former Kansas standout the pick here. With a budding skill set and off-the-charts athleticism, he has the upside to do big things in Cleveland.

The Cavaliers appear to be a great fit for Wiggins, as he's already comfortable with his potential teammates, according to a tweet from Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders: 

 

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, Duke

With Wiggins off the board and Joel Embiid dealing with concerning injury issues, Milwaukee's choice is simple. Parker is one of the most NBA-ready prospects in this year's draft, and he'll help along a young core of talented players on the Bucks roster.

According to Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, the Bucks may have already made a verbal agreement with Parker:

 

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, Kansas

The back injury seemed to have been looking better for Embiid, but that's not his biggest problem at the moment.

According to a report from Adrian Wojnarowksi of Yahoo Sports, Embiid's recent foot surgery will require him to miss four to six months. That was enough to allow the center to slide to No. 3 overall—but not any further.

Dei Lynam of CSNPhilly.com reported Tuesday the Sixers had acquired Embiid's medical records:

Pairing him with Nerlens Noel would give Philadelphia a gigantic frontcourt.

 

4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, Australia

With Wiggins, Parker and Embiid off the board, Exum becomes a very easy selection for the Magic here. Pairing the Australian in the backcourt alongside Victor Oladipo immediately gives Orlando a versatile duo, as each has the ability to play the 1 or the 2.

 

5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, Indiana

Vonleh didn't put up the most impressive numbers at Indiana, but he's made a name for himself during workouts. At 6'9.5" with shoes on and with a 9'0" standing reach and a 7'4.25" wingspan, he will be a force on the inside on both ends of the court in the NBA. If he develops a mid-range jumper, he could be a steal here.

 

6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, Arizona

Boston will want a player who has nice upside but can contribute right away. That's exactly what Gordon is. He's already a solid defender with enough athleticism to stretch the floor. His offensive game is still a work in progress, but he has the potential to become something special.

 

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, Kentucky

The Lakers aren't interested in developing a player here. They want to get back to their usual winning ways as soon as possible. Randle is absolutely NBA-ready. His aggressiveness in the paint allowed him to become a double-double machine in college. He should be able to do the same in Los Angeles.

 

8. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State

Yes, the Kings have Isaiah Thomas already, but with his shooting prowess, he could easily share the backcourt with a true point guard like Smart. The Oklahoma State product handles the ball well, has nice vision and plays solid defense. He needs to work on his shooting ability but will give Sacramento a very well-rounded backcourt.

 

9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, Creighton

The Hornets are looking to finally rack up some playoff wins, and McDermott's ability to drain buckets from anywhere on the court will help their cause. Charlotte knows exactly what it's getting in him—a somewhat unathletic small forward with the ability to light up the scoreboard.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers: James Young, Kentucky

The Sixers will be looking for shooters, and Young is one of the best in this year's draft class. Despite being in a crowded Kentucky offense, he managed 14.3 points per game while shooting 40.7 percent from the field and 34.9 percent from behind the arc. One of the youngest players in the draft, he has tremendous upside.

 

11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, Michigan State

The Nuggets have a very capable offense, and Harris will be a great addition in that regard. He has a nice stroke from downtown and plays excellent defense. He'll grow nicely with the rest of this talented offensive team and improve this squad's defensive capabilities.

 

12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, Croatia

Saric is highly athletic and has a knack for finding the basket. His presence up front will help stretch the floor and create options for a talented backcourt. He recently signed a new contract to stay overseas, but according to a tweet from Jonathan Givony of Draft Express, he's ready to come across in two years:

Given Saric's immense upside, he'll be worth the wait for the Magic.

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nik Stauskas, Michigan

The Timberwolves will likely look to improve their backcourt here. With Harris off the board, Stauskas becomes the easy selection. With great range, athleticism and a vast amount of improvement during his sophomore season at Michigan, he's an easy choice for Minnesota.

 

14. Phoenix Suns: Elfrid Payton, Louisiana-Lafayette

Payton has been surging up draft boards after flying under the radar for the majority of last season. He racked up 19.2 points, six rebounds and 5.9 assists per game during his junior year with the Ragin' Cajuns. He's still improving and may wind up being one of the best point guards from this draft class after a little more development.

 

15. Atlanta Hawks: Zach LaVine, UCLA

The Hawks need a shooter, and although LaVine is slated as a point guard, his athleticism will allow him to serve as a 2. He has great length and leaping ability, which he uses to slice into the lane and attack the glass. He's improving his outside shooting as well. He should see minutes early in his career with the potential to become a great starter down the road.

Here's a great look at his freakish athleticism:

 

16. Chicago Bulls: Tyler Ennis, Syracuse

Chicago needs an insurance policy for the oft-injured Derrick Rose. Ennis is easily the best remaining guard prospect at this point in the draft. He may need to work on his outside shooting, but he's a nice facilitator and has more athleticism than he's given credit for.

 

17. Boston Celtics: Adreian Payne, Michigan State

The Celtics continue to go big here by selecting another power forward who is capable of attacking on offense, stretching the floor and playing stout defense. Payne is highly experienced and comes from a great system under Tom Izzo. 

 

18. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, North Carolina State

Phoenix already grabbed a great shooter to add to its backcourt in Payton, and the team will add another shooter up front in Warren here. He may not have a great range, but he is quick and seems to find a way to the basket. He should fit nicely in the Suns' fast-paced offense.

 

19. Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood, Duke

The Bulls finished last in the league in points scored last season. Expect that to weigh heavily on the team's selections in the draft. Hood has great range and put up some nice numbers on a talented Duke offense last season. He'll provide a nice scoring option from the wing for Chicago.

 

20. Toronto Raptors: K.J. McDaniels, Clemson

McDaniels may not have great range on the offensive end of the court, but his defensive prowess is fantastic. He plays much bigger than his size suggests and was one of the nation's best shot-blockers last season.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia

At 6'11" and 280 pounds, Nurkic has the size of an NBA center. Despite a deep draft class, there's not exactly a surplus of big men this year. He isn't extremely athletic, but he will have time to develop with the stout Serge Ibaka in the fold.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Cleanthony Early, Wichita State

The need for a shooting small forward is paramount in Memphis. Early showed great improvement with the long ball last season at Wichita State, and his speed and athleticism on the court allow him to flourish in transition.

 

23. Utah Jazz: Jerami Grant, Syracuse

Adding some extra speed and athleticism on the wing wouldn't be a bad idea for the Jazz. Grant is the answer at this point in the draft. He can stretch the floor, attack the basket and rack up boards on both ends of the court.

 

24. Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Hairston, Texas Legends

The Hornets got plenty of shooting from the forward position by selecting McDermott earlier. Now they increase their firepower in the backcourt by selecting Hairston. With a good amount of experience playing in the D-League, he is a big scoring improvement who can play immediately in Charlotte.

 

25. Houston Rockets: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan

Robinson did well for himself last season at Michigan, averaging 13.1 points per game despite being on a roster that was loaded with offensive talent. He needs to work on his long ball but proved to be an effective contributor on offense. He should be a nice rotational piece for the Rockets.

 

26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, Connecticut

Napier lit it up in the NCAA tournament. He proved to be a highly effective point guard, whether serving as a facilitator, rebounder or shooter. He is ready to log minutes in the NBA right away, which is perfect for the guard-needy, win-now Heat.

 

27. Phoenix Suns: Kyle Anderson, UCLA

The Suns have to like Anderson's ability to score from all over the court at this point in the draft. Last season with UCLA, he shot 48.0 percent from the field and an impressive 48.3 percent from downtown. He'll be a nice option off the bench on the wing for the Suns.

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Jordan Clarkson, Missouri

Clarkson has great size for his position at 6'5". He had a strong season at Missouri but struggled from downtown. However, he's been impressive during workouts, which has helped his draft stock.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Adams, UCLA

Adams may not be athletic enough for the Thunder's high-octane offense, but his ability to score will make him a nice option off the bench. He shot 48.5 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from behind the arc last season at UCLA.

 

30. San Antonio Spurs: Clint Capela, Switzerland

At 6'11", Capela is a great shot-blocker with the length to protect the rim. However, he'll need a lot of time to develop before he can become a solid contributor in the NBA. That fact could allow him to slip to No. 30, where the Spurs won't hesitate to snatch him up.

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