2014 NBA Mock Draft: Essential Guide to 1st 30 Picks

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2014 NBA Mock Draft: Essential Guide to 1st 30 Picks
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

The 2014 NBA draft is just a few short days away. After months of anticipation following the finale of the college basketball season, it's finally time to see where the next wave of NBA talent will land.

This is a great event that will see 60 players find homes in the NBA over the course of the night. While a lengthy program, it's worth watching from start to finish. Below is all your must-know TV info for the draft:

2014 NBA Draft TV Schedule
Date Time (ET) Channel
Thursday, June 26 7 p.m. ESPN

ESPN.com

This year's class is one of the deepest in recent memory. This kind of talent can seriously alter the outlook of the entire NBA, so you should be informed about potential first-round outcomes prior to tuning in.

Below is your essential guide to the first 30 picks of the 2014 NBA draft.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas

With Joel Embiid's injury scaring the Cavaliers away, Andrew Wiggins will benefit. Now back to being the consensus No. 1 overall selection, the small forward will step into a situation that doesn't require him to be a star right away.

The Cavs are still in rebuilding mode, and Kyrie Irving is still the face of the team. There won't be pressure on Wiggins to be a superstar early on. That will allow him to continue developing, as it will probably take two years in the NBA before he hits his full potential.

 

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Jabari Parker is the smartest selection for the Bucks at No. 2. Milwaukee has been horrible for the past decade-plus. The fans no longer want to wait to see a good product on the court. Parker is NBA-ready. Many other prospects aren't.

Parker can also provide the scoring this team needs to stay competitive. He could potentially drop 18-plus points per game as a rookie. His impact will be evidenced by the team's record. With 15 wins last season, the Bucks could improve to 30 or so with Parker.

 

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Dante Exum, PG, Australia

The 76ers might have been hoping to grab Wiggins in this draft, but some unfavorable pingpong bounces in the lottery resulted in the No. 3 pick.

That's OK, though, because Dante Exum is an explosive point guard prospect. He can score from anywhere on the court, and his versatility on offense will help the Sixers evolve into a more well-rounded team. His ability to distribute will also help create a more dynamic environment in Philly.

 

4. Orlando Magic: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

It wouldn't be a bad idea for the Magic to reach just a little and take Marcus Smart at No. 4. The drop-off at the position is pretty large after Smart goes off the board, and Orlando needs a point guard to pair with Victor Oladipo on its roster.

Smart and Oladipo would create a young, dynamic backcourt for the Magic to continue to build around. With a smart choice at No. 12, Orlando might surprise next season.

 

5. Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Joel Embiid may not be the draft's best player, but he is the best performer at a premium position. That makes him valuable.

Embiid was a candidate to go No. 1 overall for what seemed like weeks, but the Cavs probably won't risk the pick after reading these tweets from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports: 

For now, I'm still convinced that Embiid will have a successful career. When Nerlens Noel got hurt prior to the 2013 NBA draft, he slipped to No. 6 to the New Orleans Pelicans. I predict a similar fall for Embiid. The Jazz have the frontcourt depth this season to take a chance on Embiid, and it will be a chance that they won't regret.

 

6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

The Celtics and Aaron Gordon have shown mutual interest ahead of draft night. While nothing is set in stone, this mutual interest should indicate the direction the Celtics are willing to go at No. 6.

Despite the presence of forwards Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk on the roster, Boston still wants to upgrade at forward. Gordon, a freak of an athlete, would add even more depth to the position.

 

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana 

Having missed out on Smart, the Los Angeles Lakers will dip into the deep pool of power forwards to be had. Noah Vonleh, a great athlete, is a good fit.

The big man can play with his back to the basket, as well as above the rim. His touch from the perimeter is also pretty good, so his ability to stretch the defense should help to soften up the lanes for Kobe Bryant and Steve Nash.

 

8. Sacramento Kings: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

Arguably one of the top big men in the draft, Julius Randle will find a home under the basket in Sacramento. He and DeMarcus Cousins will eventually form one of the most physical tandems in the paint in the NBA. The Kings definitely need some more physicality, and Randle provides just that.

 

9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton 

Doug McDermott is a supremely talented scorer, but he might be a tweener in terms of position. He isn't physical enough to handle the power forward position at the next level, but he really isn't fast enough to handle small forward either.

He has sneaky athleticism, but the Hornets must find a way to implement him into the offense without sacrificing their defense. Luckily, as a whole, Charlotte is good defensively.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

The Sixers will focus on scoring in this draft. After grabbing Exum at No. 3, they'll devote the No. 10 pick to Nik Stauskas. The best shooter in this draft, Stauskas can light it up when he gets hot.

Luckily for the Sixers, it's almost like he's always hot. Stauskas can take over games with his shooting. He's not just a spot-up guy, however. Just give him the ball and watch him make plays.

 

11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

Gary Harris is a perfect fit for the Nuggets. Denver desperately needs a guard that can score and defend on the perimeter, and that's what Harris offers.

As a court general at Michigan State, Harris has the chops to be a team leader. Denver had one of its worst seasons in recent memory last year, and Harris' mentality will help turn it all around.

 

12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia 

Dario Saric needs some seasoning in the NBA before the Magic can truly rely on him, but he's worth stashing on the bench until he's ready. Saric is a very good scorer who runs the floor well and distributes to his teammates when they're open.

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

Adreian Payne has shot up draft boards in recent weeks. Teams are finally starting to realize his value as a defender, scorer and leader.

Payne was a pivotal contributor at Michigan State. His ability to protect the rim was crucial to the Spartans' success, while his ability to score inside and out helped to make the offense more versatile. That's the same type of impact he'll have in Minnesota.

 

14. Phoenix Suns: James Young, SG, Kentucky

The Suns would benefit from throwing another shooter into the mix. James Young is a guy that can carry an offense with his shooting.

Phoenix shockingly competed in the Western Conference last season, but lacked a few pivotal pieces to take the next step. Every great team has a lights-out shooter. Young is one of those guys.

 

15. Atlanta Hawks: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia 

Jusuf Nurkic is a monstrous human being. At 6'11", 280 pounds, Nurkic clogs the paint and makes it difficult for smaller players—both guards and forwards—to get good looks at the basket. The Hawks have Paul Millsap in the painted area, but adding Nurkic to the rotation will solidify their frontcourt.

 

16. Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA

When healthy, Derrick Rose provides an exciting atmosphere to the Bulls. Imagine having Rose and Zach LaVine on the court at the same time.

The athleticism the Bulls could roll out in any given rotation would be absolutely absurd. Opposing teams would have real difficulties keeping up with the speed and leaping ability of Chicago.

 

17. Boston Celtics: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse 

The questions surrounding Rajon Rondo in Boston make me worried about the team's future at point guard. Rondo has stayed out of rumors lately, but given how quickly things can happen in the NBA, it's always safe to have a backup plan.

Tyler Ennis showed his skills as a facilitator at Syracuse, but he also showed his ability to play in the clutch. Just watch the video above.

 

18. Phoenix Suns: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke 

The Suns have their choice of several small forwards at No. 19, as this seems to be the point in the draft where teams will look for help in that area. The best one available is Rodney Hood, and that's who I see Phoenix taking.

Hood is a wing player capable of shooting and defending on the perimeter. Adding a lockdown defender in the draft would be a fantastic move for Phoenix.

 

19. Chicago Bulls: T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State

If Rose isn't healthy again next season, then the Bulls will need a player capable of shouldering the load on offense. Even as a rookie, T.J. Warren can be that guy.

The N.C. State product is best when cutting to the basket and scoring in the paint, but he can stop on a dime and pop a mid-range jumper as well. His ball-handling skills are very good, allowing him to do many things with the ball in his hands.

 

20. Toronto Raptors: Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse

I'm a fan of Jerami Grant's athleticism, but questions exist as to how well he'll perform at the next level. Athleticism can only get you so far.

The Raptors are great at developing young athletes, however. The most notable is DeMar DeRozan, who has turned into one of the brighter young stars in the NBA.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA 

Kyle Anderson often played second fiddle to LaVine at UCLA last season, but don't shortchange the small forward. His length can be an asset to any team in the NBA, especially an athletic one like the Thunder.

With a 7'3" wingspan, Anderson can alter passing routes and disrupt lob plays. If he gets a little more physical, Anderson will become a great defender.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut

Shabazz Napier proved himself to be NBA-ready after taking care of college competition in the NCAA tournament, but it's difficult to pinpoint a fit for him. Many lottery teams need help at point guard, but Napier doesn't really belong in the lottery.

The Grizzlies don't necessarily need help at point guard given Mike Conley's production, but they can give Napier the chance to get quality minutes off the bench before potentially stepping into bigger minutes in the future.

 

23. Utah Jazz: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington

C.J. Wilcox had a very good workout with the Jazz, as Tony Jones of the Salt Lake Tribune tweeted: 

Anybody with that kind of touch from the perimeter is worth investing a first-round pick in.

 

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

P.J. Hairston is another guy who can go anywhere in this draft, but I've got my money on the Hornets as the team to call his name. After all, they've worked him out twice:

Given their interest in him, I'd say he's a near lock for the Hornets.

 

25. Houston Rockets: K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson

A strong defender on the wing, K.J. McDaniels would provide the Rockets with fantastic depth. He makes plays in transition as well, meaning that he'll be able to keep up with James Harden and the rest of the offense.

 

26. Miami Heat: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette

I'm a big fan of Elfrid Payton. Despite playing against inferior competition at Louisiana-Lafayette, Payton displayed the necessary skills to succeed at the next level. The Heat need a new point guard with Mario Chalmers on his way out, so Payton makes a lot of sense at No. 26.

 

27. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland 

To finish off a strong first round, the Suns should take Clint Capela at No. 27. The Swiss product has great length and defensive skills, making him a great piece to add to the rotation.

He also runs the floor well, so when Goran Dragic or Eric Bledsoe start a fast break, he'll be right there to finish at the rim.

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Cleanthony Early, SF/PF, Wichita State

A versatile player, Cleanthony Early will add even more depth to one of the deepest teams in the Association. The Clippers didn't lack much this season, but Early will provide them with yet another scoring option off the bench.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri

Missouri's Jordan Clarkson was one of the most productive guards in the SEC last season after sitting out the previous year as a transfer. While it might be hard for him to find starter's minutes out of the gate in Oklahoma City, Clarkson will be a key bench piece as a rookie.

 

30. San Antonio Spurs: Mitch McGary, C, Michigan

It's time for the Spurs to start thinking about the future of the center position.

Mitch McGary, despite playing just eight games last season, is a good choice to take over for Tim Duncan when he hangs 'em up. Duncan can teach McGary everything he needs to know about succeeding in the paint in the NBA.

This is the perfect scenario for McGary. It literally can't get any better.

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