2014 NBA Draft: Latest Order and Mock Predictions for 1st-Round Prospects

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistJune 25, 2014

NEW YORK - MAY 20: NBA Draft Prospects Aaron Gordon, Marcus Smart,  Andrew Wiggins, Tyler Ennis, Joel Embiid, Noah Vonleh, and Doug McDermott poses for a photo during to the 2014 NBA Draft Lottery on May 20, 2014 at the ABC News' 'Good Morning America' Times Square Studio in New York City.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

When NBA commissioner Adam Silver steps to the podium on Thursday and announces the Cleveland Cavaliers are on the clock to kick off the 2014 draft, history will be made and hope will wash over all 30 teams hoping to win a championship. 

Of course, the Cavaliers are also making history as the first team to have back-to-back No. 1 picks since Orlando in 1992-93 and the first to ever pick in that spot three times in four years. They hit big with Kyrie Irving in 2011, then bombed horribly with Anthony Bennett last year, so who knows what's in store for the Dan Gilbert's squad this year?

Conversely, the NBA champion San Antonio Spurs don't appear to have any immediate needs unless they are preparing to lose one or both of Boris Diaw and Patty Mills in free agency. They take such a low-key approach to handling their business that no one knows what to expect from them. 

In between the No. 1 and 30 selections is a lot of star power. This year's NBA draft features tremendous potential at the top and depth throughout the first round that there will be long-time starters found in the second round. 

On the eve of this year's draft, here's a look at the latest first-round projections and some notes about what to expect when things get started. 

2014 NBA Mock Draft
TeamPick, Pos., School/Country
1. Cleveland CavaliersJabari Parker, SF, Duke
2. Milwaukee BucksAndrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas
3. Philadelphia 76ersNoah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
4. Orlando MagicJoel Embiid, C, Kansas
5. Utah JazzDante Exum, PG, Australia
6. Boston CelticsAaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
7. Los Angeles LakersElfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
8. Sacramento KingsMarcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
9. Charlotte Hornets (via Detroit)Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans)Dario Saric, PF, Croatia
11. Denver NuggetsGary Harris, SG, Michigan State
12. Orlando Magic (from New York via Denver)Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
13. Minnesota TimberwolvesJulius Randle, PF, Kentucky
14. Phoenix SunsRodney Hood, SG, Duke
15. Atlanta HawksZach LaVine, PG, UCLA
16. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte)Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
17. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn)Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
18. Phoenix Suns (via Washington)T.J. Warren, SF, NC State
19. Chicago BullsShabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
20. Toronto RaptorsJordan Clarkson, PG, Missouri
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Dallas via Houston and Los Angeles)Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
22. Memphis GrizzliesJarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State)Kyle Anderson, PF, UCLA
24. Charlotte Hornets (via Portland)P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina
25. Houston RocketsJerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
26. Miami HeatMitch McGary, PF, Michigan
27. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana)James Young, SF, Kentucky
28. Los Angeles ClippersClint Capela, PF, Switzerland
29. Oklahoma City ThunderJordan Adams, SG, UCLA
30. San Antonio SpursCleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
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Cavaliers Moving Out of Top Spot?

Uncredited/Associated Press

Joel Embiid's injury has dramatically shifted the top of the draft, to the point where the Cleveland Cavaliers may not make the pick after all. 

According to Chad Ford of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required), the Cavaliers have received offers from Philadelphia, Orlando and Utah that include each team's "own high lottery pick plus a veteran."

Of those scenarios, any of them would make sense because the Cavaliers would stay in the top five and could theoretically get Embiid if he really is the player they want. If Wiggins or Parker is the choice, it's hard to envision a scenario where Cleveland could pull that off picking lower than second. 


Julius Randle Trying to Prove Skeptics Wrong

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 30:  Julius Randle #30 of the Kentucky Wildcats celebrates after defeating the Michigan Wolverines 75 to 72 in the midwest regional final of the 2014 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 30, 2014 in India
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The worst thing that can happen to a prospect so close to the draft is an injury concern, whether it's legitimate or a report. Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski reported Kentucky power forward Julius Randle could end up needing surgery to repair a broken bone in his right foot.

The procedure is expected to keep Randle out six to eight weeks this summer, sources said, but there's a strong expectation within front offices that he'll be cleared for the start of training camp in the fall.

In this scenario, Randle would miss rookie summer league in July.

Randle spoke to ESPNLosAngeles.com's Dave McMenamin, refuting the report in the most frank terms possible:

If the Kentucky star's health checks out before the draft, it would be a shock if he falls out of the top 10. His combination of size, rebounding and scoring ability is hard to find. 


Dante Exum Leaves Teams Guessing

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

The point guard position has taken on a whole new level of importance in the NBA, with increased emphasis on speed and passing. Australia's Dante Exum has been a projected top-five pick for as long as this draft process has gone on, but that doesn't mean teams have a gauge on him. 

Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe spoke with a Western Conference executive who provided insight into Exum's predraft workouts and how teams are still figuring out who he is. 

He’s a little bit of a wild card. He definitely looked great last year at the Hoops Summit and he’s played well in international events. He’s going to be a really good player, but I don’t have the familiarity with him as a comfort level of what he can become as compared to some of the other guys.

There's virtually no chance Exum, who is a true point guard at just 18 years old and listed at 6'6", falls out of the top five, especially with teams like Orlando (No. 4) and Utah (No. 5) needing to fill gaping holes at the position. 

But teams picking that high also like to know exactly what they are getting from a personality standpoint. Exum's desire to leave teams hanging could make him a bigger mystery than the typical foreign player. 


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