Are you ready for the 2014 NBA draft?
The past several months have been filled with draft rumors, news and mocks, but we're now just about 48 hours away from the June 26 event. The Cleveland Cavaliers have been on the clock since they found out they owned the No. 1 overall pick, but they'll be officially on the clock very soon.
A class this deep has the potential to change several franchises, so it's crucial that NBA general managers make smart decisions when it comes to drafting. With so many quality players, GMs need to make sure they grab the right one for their squads.
Below you'll find a mock draft detailing what every team must do in Round 1.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
Passing on Joel Embiid is now the best move for the Cavaliers, as his foot injury is something that should be a little scary for the organization. After last year's disappointment with Anthony Bennett, the last thing Cleveland should do is make a risky pick again.
Andrew Wiggins isn't a risk. While he'll need a year or two to acclimate to the NBA, all signs point to him being a future All-Star.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio tweeted that the Bucks also want to stay away from Embiid:
Bucks co-owner Lasry tells MIL Journal Sentinel team won't draft Joel Embiid at No 2. "We want a player who is going to help us from Day 1."— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 23, 2014
The player who can help them "from Day 1" is Jabari Parker. He is an NBA-ready scorer who is capable of dropping 18 points per game as a rookie. The Bucks are in desperate need of a new face for their franchise. Parker can be that guy.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
While Embiid's injury initially prompted me to drop him to No. 5, this tweet from Sports Illustrated changed my mind:
The 76ers aren't strangers to letting rookie big men sit. Nerlens Noel sat this year after the team acquired him on draft night last year. Embiid might not need the whole season to rehab, but the Sixers can allot him that time if necessary.
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG, Australia
Pairing Dante Exum and Victor Oladipo in the backcourt is exactly what the Magic need to do. The duo would be dynamic and exciting for the next several seasons. Bleacher Report's Ric Bucher agrees:
Bucher Draft Buzz: Dante Exum to the Magic at No.4 Makes Sense http://t.co/wV1AH6wHWc— Ric Bucher (@RicBucher) June 2, 2014
Exum is one of the most exciting prospects available, given his exploits outside the United States.
5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
There's a talented crop of power forwards available in this range, and the Jazz really can't go wrong with the No. 5 pick. Despite the presence of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors on the roster, the team will still opt for Noah Vonleh.
He might actually be a good fit, seeing as he knows a good amount about the team:
Noah Vonleh seems to have an impressive knowledge of Jazz players/history— Utah Jazz (@utahjazz) June 16, 2014
Look for him to go early on draft night.
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
Aaron Gordon is a perfect fit for the Celtics. The power forward is a freak athlete with the potential to be the next Blake Griffin. At the very least, we'll be able to call him a poor man's version. He doesn't shoot particularly well, but he is a high-flyer who plays good defense and rebounds.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
Marcus Smart is a very logical choice for the Lakers, and ESPN's Dave McMenamin tweeted that Los Angeles was impressed with his workout:
Spoke to a Lakers source who was very impressed by Marcus Smart's workout with them: "Tenacity was off the charts"— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) June 17, 2014
The Lakers don't have a clear direction just yet, but Smart can learn from Steve Nash and Kobe Bryant before ushering in a new era of basketball for the organization in a few years.
8. Sacramento Kings: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
It might come as a surprise to see Julius Randle this low, but the rise of other prospects has left the Kentucky product a bit behind. That said, he has all the tools to succeed as a big man in the NBA.
Given his physical nature, it will be interesting to see how nasty the Kings are under the basket. Randle and DeMarcus Cousins will be scary to go up against.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton
Doug McDermott is a bit of a tweener. He isn't physical enough to play power forward in the NBA or quick enough to defend small forwards. His scoring touch will keep him in the rotation in Charlotte, but will his defense prevent him from playing big minutes during his rookie year?
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Gary Harris, PG/SG, Michigan State
After grabbing Embiid at No. 3, the Sixers will need a prospect who will actually make an impact from Day 1. Gary Harris, a leader at Michigan State, will bring a winning attitude to the city of Philadelphia.
The Sixers have a young core in place that will bring success in the future. Someone has to lead the charge. Harris can be that guy.
11. Denver Nuggets: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Nik Stauskas is the best shooter in this class. The Michigan product can shoot lights-out from anywhere beyond the arc, making him an asset for a team that is looking to contend. All great teams have shooters who can hit open shots.
The Nuggets suffered an off year in 2013-14, but they have been largely successful in the past. Stauskas can help them get back to contending in the West.
12. Orlando Magic: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
Rodney Hood is a wing player who is capable of defending and shooting well from outside. The Magic need consistent players who can do both, and he fits the bill.
A young core of Exum, Oladipo and Hood will help Orlando get back to respectability.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
The Timberwolves need to prepare for a future without Kevin Love. Adreian Payne has similar skills to Love, though he is a tier below Love as a player.
Payne can shoot from the outside but excels in the paint as an interior player. On both offense and defense, he can dominate the paint. This is a smart pick.
14. Phoenix Suns: James Young, SG, Kentucky
The Suns already have two dynamic guards in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, but there's nothing wrong with throwing another into the mix. James Young has great touch from all over the floor and is an exciting player to watch. When he starts knocking down shots, not even the best defenders can slow him down.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
At 6'11", 280 pounds, Jusuf Nurkic will make the Hawks look foolish if they pass him up. He is a monster on offense because of his size. Physicality is his game, and he often excels when bumping bodies down low.
On the flip side, his size impedes him from making quick moves with his feet. He is a bit slower, but he's well worth the No. 15 pick.
16. Chicago Bulls: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
Hood was really the Bulls' target at No. 16, but with him off the board, they'll shift focus to Tyler Ennis.
Derrick Rose is obviously the go-to guy in Chicago. Ennis won't unseat him. That's not what this pick is about.
This pick is all about insurance and depth. The Bulls are built to withstand injuries. That said, it's really hard to replace a guy like Rose. Kirk Hinrich and Nate Robinson have done it recently, but Ennis is a more dynamic option.
17. Boston Celtics: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
The news broken by ESPN's Chad Ford on Monday has caused Dario Saric's draft stock to tumble a bit:
Breaking: Dario Saric has agreed in principle to a three year deal with Anadolu Efes a source close to Saric told http://t.co/KQ6fwudeVT.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 23, 2014
The deal will essentially prohibit Saric from playing in the NBA for a minimum of two years the source told ESPN.— Chad Ford (@chadfordinsider) June 23, 2014
Because he won't play in the NBA for at least two seasons, teams in the lottery might not want to invest their selection in him. The Celtics will take a chance, though, as he appears to be a big-time talent.
In two years' time, he'll make his presence felt.
18. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State
Even after surprising the Western Conference last season, the Suns are actually still in rebuilding mode. They can't afford more players to wait on, so they'll go for an instant hit at No. 18.
Tyler Warren can light it up from all over the court. He's effective in the mid-range game, in the paint and even outside from time to time. He knows how to score buckets, and that's something Phoenix won't be able to pass up.
19. Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
One of the best athletes of the class, Zach LaVine can jump through the gym and make any play above the rim. At 6'5.75", He's a bit oversized as a point guard, but he's a very good ball-handler who generally makes good decisions. His decision-making will definitely improve with time under head coach Tom Thibodeau.
20. Toronto Raptors: Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn
Kyle Lowry is a free agent this summer and might leave the Raptors if a better opportunity presents itself. If that's the case, then Shabazz Napier could start from Day 1.
If Lowry stays, then Napier can still find minutes in the backcourt. Lowry has established himself as a very good court general in the NBA, so Napier can learn a thing or two from him.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
The Thunder have few holes on their roster, so the No. 21 and No. 29 picks will likely be used for depth. Kyle Anderson, a lanky small forward from UCLA, gives the Thunder someone with decent upside that they can afford to stash on the bench until he's ready to make an impact.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse
A good athlete, Jerami Grant had the benefit of playing alongside Ennis at Syracuse. With a good point guard, Grant can be effective. Luckily, the Grizzlies run Mike Conley out there on a nightly basis.
Grant isn't a guy who will lead a team in scoring, and you probably won't rely on him for the last shot of a close game. He's still a solid rotational piece, though, and the Grizzlies will scoop him up at No. 22.
23. Utah Jazz: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington
C.J. Wilcox lit it up in a private workout for the Jazz, and Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune tweeted about his performance:
Former Pleasant Grove star CJ Wilcox had a good workout for the Jazz today. Shooter. Shot in the low 60's from 3-point range— Tony Jones (@Tjonessltrib) June 8, 2014
Sixty percent? That's unreal. That's without much contention, but it's obvious that Wilcox has the mechanics and consistency to shoot well at the next level.
24. Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends
The Hornets like P.J. Hairston so much that they've worked him out twice:
PJ Hairston (again) and Rodney Hood will work out for the Hornets tomorrow— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) June 16, 2014
He is an accomplished scorer, but his past at North Carolina has probably negatively impacted his draft stock. Regardless, he is a quality prospect who can make a difference in Charlotte.
25. Houston Rockets: K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
K.J. McDaniels seems like too good of a fit for Houston. He defends well, blocks shots, runs the floor and scores near the basket. His skill set is unique as a small forward, but that's just fine. The Rockets like versatility in their players, which makes him a smart fit.
26. Miami Heat: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
The Heat can give Elfrid Payton the opportunity to play quality minutes right away without much pressure. He won't be the go-to guy in Miami, and that's good for a player who has only played against mid-major-level competition.
With a year or two as a role player, he will be ready to shine.
27. Phoenix Suns: Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
Jarnell Stokes is a powerful big man who can exact his will down low. It's difficult to stop him, as he checks in at about 6'8.5" and 263 pounds. His size makes it hard for defenders to strip the ball and even harder to prevent him from backing down.
The Suns can insert him into the regular rotation right away, as his power will help him succeed in the pros.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Cleanthony Early, SF/PF, Wichita State
Like McDermott, Cleanthony Early is a bit of a tweener. At 6'7.25", he lacks the size to play power forward, so he'll most likely find himself getting minutes as a small forward in the NBA.
His ability to play both forward positions bodes well for him, however, as teams looking for versatility should be attracted to him. The Clippers are a deep team with versatile options of the bench, which makes this a very good fit.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG, Missouri
Jordan Clarkson was one of the top guards in the SEC last season after missing the previous year because of his status as a transfer. He'll ride his strong season into Round 1 of the draft, even if it is at pick No. 29.
The Thunder, again looking for depth, can plug in Clarkson off the bench at either guard position and not worry about a drop in production.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Mitch McGary, C, Michigan
The future of the center position in San Antonio is a little fuzzy. Tim Duncan doesn't have much time left (sorry, Spurs fans, but it's true), and the Spurs will need somebody to play under him for a season or two. Duncan can teach Mitch McGary everything he needs to know about how to succeed in the NBA. Already a player with a great passion for the game, McGary just needs to soak it all in.
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