The 2014 NBA draft has been hyped for the better part of the past year, as it will allow each team that holds a selection to get better, from the first pick to the very last.
This particular class looks to be one of the deepest in recent memory, which has basketball fans licking their chops. Not only are there superstar-caliber players to be had in the lottery portion of the draft, but there are plenty of impact performers who should be available as well.
Draft picks are always viewed like gold in the NBA, or any other league for that matter, but the value is even higher this year than usual. That should make Thursday night's event an interesting watch from start to finish.
Here is all the information basketball fans need to know about the 2014 NBA draft, including a look at who holds each and every pick.
Where: Barclays Center (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
When: Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
First-Round Draft Order
|7||Los Angeles Lakers|
|9||Charlotte Hornets (from Detroit Pistons)|
|10||Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans Pelicans)|
|12||Orlando Magic (from New York Knicks via Denver Nuggets)|
|16||Chicago Bulls (from Charlotte Hornets)|
|17||Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn Nets)|
|18||Phoenix Suns (from Washington Wizards)|
|21||Oklahoma City Thunder (from Dallas Mavericks via Houston Rockets and L.A. Lakers)|
|23||Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors)|
|24||Charlotte Hornets (from Portland Trail Blazers)|
|27||Phoenix Suns (from Indiana Pacers)|
|28||Los Angeles Clippers|
|29||Oklahoma City Thunder|
|30||San Antonio Spurs|
Second-Round Draft Order
|33||Cleveland Cavaliers (from Orlando Magic)|
|34||New York Knicks (from Dallas Mavericks via Boston Celtics)|
|36||Milwaukee Bucks (from L.A. Lakers via Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns|
|37||Toronto Raptors (from Sacramento Kings)|
|39||Philadelphia 76ers (from Cleveland Cavaliers)|
|40||Minnesota Timberwolves (from New Orleans Pelicans)|
|42||Houston Rockets (from New York Knicks)|
|47||Philadelphia 76ers (from Brooklyn Nets via Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics)|
|48||Milwaukee Bucks (from Toronto Raptors via Phoenix Suns)|
|51||New York Knicks (from Dallas Mavericks)|
|52||Philadelphia 76ers (from Memphis Grizzlies via Cleveland Cavaliers)|
|53||Minnesota Timberwolves (from Golden State Warriors)|
|54||Philadelphia 76ers (from Houston Rockets via Milwaukee Bucks)|
|56||Denver Nuggets (from Portland Trail Blazers)|
|58||San Antonio Spurs (from L.A. Clippers via New Orleans Pelicans)|
|59||Toronto Raptors (from Oklahoma City Thunder via New York Knicks)|
|60||San Antonio Spurs|
Top Prospects to Watch
Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
Although he was occasionally overshadowed by Kansas teammate Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins was the most-discussed freshman in college basketball this past season. The Canadian prospect was viewed as a surefire star, and while he got off to somewhat of a slow start and struggled at times, he flashed his limitless potential quite often for the Jayhawks.
Wiggins was most definitely the odds-on favorite to be the top pick in the 2014 NBA draft entering the season, but that may no longer be the case, with Embiid and others emerging as well. Even so, Wiggins is a virtual lock to be selected somewhere within the top three, and he has the potential to play at an All-Star level from a very young age.
Most observers celebrate Wiggins for his versatile offensive game, but Wiggins has proven to be quite capable on the defensive end as well. This year's NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the San Antonio Spurs is considered by many to be the NBA's best perimeter defender, but Brian Geltzeiler of SiriusXM NBA Radio believes Wiggins compares favorably to Leonard in that regard already:
I truly believe that Andrew Wiggins can have the same defensive impact Kawhi has had early in his career with much more upside offensively— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) June 11, 2014
If Wiggins is capable of making that type of impact right away to pair along with an even more dangerous offensive game, then there is no doubt that he would be well worth the No. 1 overall pick. It remains to be seen if the Cleveland Cavaliers view him in that light, but he won't have to wait long to hear his name called, regardless.
Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Kansas center Joel Embiid was considered by many to be the favorite to go No. 1 overall in this draft, but an unfortunate set of circumstances leading up to draft night may have destroyed his chances.
Embiid suffered a foot injury that required surgery last week, and it will keep him out anywhere from four to six months, according to SportsCenter:
Joel Embiid had two screws inserted into his foot during surgery Friday morning. Recovery timeline is 4-6 months. (via ESPN & media reports)— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 21, 2014
That obviously complicates things since the seven-foot star from Cameroon could miss a portion of the regular season if he heals slowly. He could be back in time for the start of the season if the process only takes four months, but he will miss valuable preseason and Summer League experience.
Even though things aren't looking great for Embiid right now, it may be tough for some teams to resist rolling the dice on him.
On a per-minute basis, no player in college basketball was more efficient than Embiid across the board. Although he played just 23 minutes per contest, he averaged over 11 points, eight rebounds and two blocks while making nearly 63 percent of his shots from the field. Embiid is just scratching the surface of his potential as well, so there is no telling how high his ceiling might actually be.
The NBA draft is about mitigating risk, to some degree, but it is also about projecting how good a player can possibly be. If every player in the entire draft lives up to their fullest potential, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that Embiid would be the best among them.
The 20-year-old big man has only been playing basketball for a few years, so he has much more to learn. According to ESPN's Ryen Russillo, however, Embiid has already progressed by leaps and bounds during his time in the United States:
Watched Embiid's first game last night, he looked so uncomfortable (to be expected) not sure I've ever seen a player improve as much in 1 yr— Russillo (@ryenarussillo) June 12, 2014
It isn't outside the realm of possibility that Embiid will struggle to adapt to the NBA style, but there is no question that some organization will take a chance on his unbelievable ability early in the draft. Whether or not he is still a top-five pick is up for debate, but there are definitely teams that won't mind taking a chance on him if he falls beyond that.
Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Who will be the No. 1-overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft?
Duke's Jabari Parker has been the odd man out in No. 1 overall pick discussion behind Wiggins and Embiid, but he most definitely has the talent to warrant that type of consideration. Parker was arguably the most productive freshman in big-time college basketball this past season, which says a lot about his competitiveness and overall skill.
Parker is a potentially dominant wing player who can score in myriad ways. He proved that at Duke, to the tune of 19 points per game along and nearly nine rebounds per contest. Parker also boasted respectable shooting percentages from the field (.473), behind the arc (.358) and at the charity stripe (.748). From a pure offensive perspective, Parker may be the most gifted player in this draft class.
Perhaps even more importantly, though, Parker is a safe selection. According to Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe, an anonymous Eastern Conference scout believes there is very little downside to Parker's NBA prospects:
In terms of a basketball player and a human being, I think it's all first class. I think he gets on the court next year and averages between 14-to-17 points per game, two-to-four assists, six-to-eight rebounds. I see this Carmelo Anthony/Grant Hill hybrid. I don't think you go wrong with him. I think there's very little risk, for sure.
That is high praise for a player who has yet to step onto an NBA court, but it says a lot about the impression that Parker left on talent evaluators during his one season with the Blue Devils. Parker is definitely a dark horse to land the top billing in the draft if the Cavs value the safety factor, but he won't fall far beyond that even if Cleveland goes in another direction.
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