As much as the coverage says otherwise, more than four players are available in the 2014 NBA draft.
So much attention has been focused on the quartet of Joel Embiid, Dante Exum, Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins that those a little further down in the first round have gone a bit overshadowed. In such a deep draft class, players who would have possibly been lottery picks have been knocked down into the 17-25 range.
Below is a mock for the first round of the draft, with some of the more overlooked prospects underlined.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
The Cleveland Cavaliers can't possibly take Joel Embiid now, right? His foot injury should be one medical scare too many to consider him with the first overall pick. Now, the Cavs' prospective list has been narrowed down to Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. The latter is the better player now, while the former has more potential. Wiggins is the better overall talent, which should eventually win out.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
The Milwaukee Bucks will likely take whoever is left between Parker and Wiggins. ESPN's Jeff Goodman reported that they could consider Dante Exum as well:
I don't think Milwaukee winds up taking him over Parker or Wiggins, but told by sources that the Bucks really intrigued with Dante Exum.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 20, 2014
In the end, they'll likely go with the Duke star. He can help out right away and improve a team that finished last season 20th in three-point percentage.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Dante Exum, PG, Australia
Exum would give the Philadelphia 76ers some flexibility because if they could dangle Michael Carter-Williams as trade bait and still have a promising point guard. He and Exum don't have the exact same style. Philadelphia could also keep them in the same backcourt if that's what they ultimately decide as well.
4. Orlando Magic: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Sports Illustrated's Seth Davis had the best perspective on Embiid's injury. This is somebody who was already entering the draft with medical issues, so nobody should be surprised with this most recent news:
If you wanted to draft Embiid before he broke his foot, I don't see why you wouldn't draft him now. He was always high risk, high reward.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) June 22, 2014
The Kansas freshman is undoubtedly a major risk, but his ceiling is limitless. Big men don't often come around with his combination of athleticism and all-around skill. At No. 4, Embiid would be worth the gamble for the Magic.
5. Utah Jazz: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Julius Randle is one of the best rebounders in the draft, and his offensive game is only improving. Pairing him with Derrick Favors would give the Utah Jazz two emerging stars in the paint. Although Randle isn't a great defender, the presence of Favors would help to cover up some of that problem.
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
Despite his lack of a consistent jumper, Aaron Gordon is worth the risk at No. 6. He's a freak athlete and solid defender. Blake Griffin didn't have a refined offensive game, but over time that aspect of his game has improved by leaps and bounds. Gordon could have a similar jump as long as he gets the right coaching.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
Although Marcus Smart's last season in college didn't go according to plan, teams have rightfully seen what kind of player he is. He is the point guard that the Los Angeles Lakers have lacked for a while. His effort on the defensive end would also go a long way toward improving what was one of the team's biggest problems last season.
8. Sacramento Kings: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
There's a good chance that Noah Vonleh will go in the top five. He's a versatile big man who can run the floor. His rim protection will also play off DeMarcus Cousins'—ahem—lack of rim protection and general distaste of playing defense.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
Charlotte made huge defensive strides last year. That improvement turned the franchise into a playoff team again. What the Hornets lack, though, is a shooter like Doug McDermott. With the team's solidarity on defense, McDermott won't be asked to do too much so he can focus on being a three-point specialist.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Right behind McDermott in the shooting category is Nik Stauskas. The Sixers were last in offensive efficiency last season. Points came at a premium. Stauskas would give Philadelphia an extra weapon from behind the arc and help get the team one step closer to respectability.
11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
Gary Harris is one of those guys who will be really good for a long time. While he'll be lucky to make the All-Star Game, he can play productive minutes each and every night. He could be the complementary scorer that Ty Lawson needs in Denver.
12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, PF, Croatia
As unfair as it may be, plenty of critics will argue that any Euro-based point forward is the next Darko Milicic. Dario Saric has some knocks—he's not that athletic and turns the ball over too much—but otherwise, he looks like the real deal. He is an above-average shooter and has the court vision to pick out any pass.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
If the Minnesota Timberwolves do in fact lose Kevin Love, Adreian Payne could be Kevin Love-lite. He stretches the floor with his long-range shooting ability, and he's a beast under the boards. Payne's ceiling isn't all that high, but he'd provide an immediate impact for the T-Wolves if they want to build a winner right now.
14. Phoenix Suns: Rodney Hood, SG, Duke
Rodney Hood's lack of defense is scary, but he's the steady perimeter shooter the Phoenix Suns lack at the moment. Can the team really expect Gerald Green to shoot 40 percent from three-point range again?
15. Atlanta Hawks: James Young, SG, Kentucky
Consistent shooting, athleticism and an ability to penetrate—that's generally what you look for in a scorer. James Young is two-thirds of the way there.
There's no getting around his unimpressive 40.7 percent shooting from the field and 34.9 percent from three-point range. Then you look at how great of an athlete he is and are immediately sold on his potential.
Speaking with Kyle Tucker of The Courier-Journal, ESPN insider Chad Ford said that Young could sneak into the lottery:
There's a string of teams there from 10-16 where he's in the mix with every single team. So you just start doing the math and he may not win all of those head-to-head competitions at the end of the day, and a team might pick someone else, but eventually his competition is coming off the board. And all of those teams could use wins that can shoot the basketball. So he's a likely Green Room candidate and I'd be really shocked if he's there past the 19th pick—and probably pretty shocked if he's there past the 16th.
The Atlanta Hawks might want to go for a more proven shooter, but Young's ceiling is such that he could turn into a steal in the middle of the first round.
16. Chicago Bulls: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
Surely, the Chicago Bulls will take a point guard with one of their two first-rounders. If Tyler Ennis is on the board, they should pull the trigger. He is the kind of point guard who can be a steady backup for Derrick Rose or step into a starting role in an emergency situation.
17. Boston Celtics: Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA
Few guys are like Zach LaVine across the board. His first half of last season went very well, but then his performance tailed off in the second half. He looks more like a combo guard, which would work in Boston. Rajon Rondo is still the Celtics' point guard, meaning LaVine wouldn't need to be the primary ball-handler.
18. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
If the Suns keep this pick, Clint Capela is worth the risk. He's very good around the rim and runs the floor like few others in this draft. Phoenix would be smart to use one of its first-rounders on a high-risk, high-reward player like Capela.
19. Chicago Bulls: T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State
The Bulls may have plans of signing Carmelo Anthony or LeBron James, which would make this selection unnecessary. Acquiring one of those two is far from a sure thing, so Chicago should look to add a scorer at the 3 like T.J. Warren.
He is the kind of player who doesn't look like he'd be a volume scorer, but his stats at N.C. State say otherwise. You don't average nearly 25 points per game by accident. While unorthodox, he knows how to get the job done. Playing in a Tom Thibodeau-coached team might also turn him into an above-average defender.
20. Toronto Raptors: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Elfrid Payton's stock is rapidly rising, so there's no telling if he'll be here at No. 20. If he is, the Toronto Raptors should jump. While not a great shooter, he is a floor general who can read the game. He would also give the Raptors the ability to let Kyle Lowry walk in free agency.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
The loss of Serge Ibaka demonstrated how much the Oklahoma City Thunder need a big man who can score. Steven Adams won't become that kind of player. Jusuf Nurkic, on the other hand, could. After selecting the big Bosnian, the Thunder could afford to let him stay in Europe for a little bit to get more seasoning.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
Jarnell Stokes is an unsexy pick for an unsexy team. With the Memphis Grizzlies possibly losing Zach Randolph this offseason, they'll need to find somebody who can play off Marc Gasol and provide some help inside. Stokes is a bit undersized, but he's a very good rebounder, and the presence of Gasol could help make his 6'8" height less of a problem.
23. Utah Jazz: K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
If he falls into the 20s, K.J. McDaniels will be the biggest steal of the draft. It would be unfair to label him the next Kawhi Leonard, but their games are somewhat similar. Both players are lockdown perimeter defenders, and neither was a great perimeter shooter in college.
The Utah Jazz were last in defensive efficiency last season. McDaniels is a player they desperately need. He's a great shot-blocker despite being 6'6" and can more than hold his own on the perimeter.
Throw that in with his above-average athleticism and ability to score in traffic, and you have the total package.
24. Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends
If the Hornets can pair P.J. Hairston with McDermott, they'll have eliminated their lack of shooting altogether. Hairston's shot selection can drive you to drink sometimes, but his confidence doesn't trend too much toward the irrational.
25. Houston Rockets: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
The Houston Rockets would be a good place for Jordan Adams. He'd be allowed to score, but his role on the court wouldn't be so large that his flaws would be exposed in a big way. As much as Houston's game plan revolves around James Harden, it can always use another scorer.
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
Few players are ready to contribute in the way that Shabazz Napier is. What you sacrifice in potential by drafting the UConn star, you get in immediate production. He'd be a perfect fit for a Miami Heat team that is likely giving it at least one more go next year.
27. Phoenix Suns: Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State
While Capela could be the long-term option, Cleanthony Early could help the Suns right now. He can spread the floor and open up more space for Eric Bledsoe and Goran Dragic, assuming both are in Phoenix next year.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier
Semaj Christon is a cost-friendly backup to Chris Paul. The Los Angeles Clippers can't afford to pay Darren Collison for that role when they could grab a player like Christon for a much lower price tag.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
The playoffs illustrated how much the Thunder need energy off the bench. C.J. Wilcox is the kind of player—like a Patty Mills—who can give you three or four three-pointers in 15-20 minutes on the floor.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan
Nobody can replace Tim Duncan in San Antonio. Still, the Spurs should probably get to work on a succession plan. Mitch McGary's stock has precipitously dropped over the past year, so if anything, the Spurs might be getting great value here.