Each team enters the 2014 NBA draft with one thing in mind—win.
Of course, the personification of a win varies by franchise. Contenders may want to find a missing piece or grab a promising youngster for when the stars hit the road or hang up the sneakers.
For pretenders, it's as simple as building a roster that is, at a minimum, playoff worthy.
Teams can win with pick(s) by primarily crafting a marriage of need and value. Let's do that below with the real thing on the horizon.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
The Cleveland Cavaliers would be silly to do away with the No. 1 overall selection, and by most accounts, that does not appear to be in the cards.
In fact, CBSSports.com's Ken Berger notes that the front office may already have a prospect in mind:
"With Joel Embiid's foot surgery, and the reported 4-6 month recovery that comes with it, the Cavs are said to be leaning toward Duke's Jabari Parker with the No. 1 pick."
It's a smart play in a class where teams cannot really go wrong. Jabari Parker is an offensive monster who will score in bunches as a rookie. He's more pro-ready than Andrew Wiggins, although the ceiling factor favors the Kansas product.
Still, Cleveland would be unwise to gamble.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
The Milwaukee Bucks are not in a position to toy around with a top selection given the current state of the roster.
Embiid without injury concerns would have been nice, but Wiggins is one heck of a consolation prize.
Wiggins has some development to do and needs to bulk up (he weighs 200 pounds), but there is no question he can have an impact early—especially on an offense that would play to his strengths.
The best part? Who knows where the kid will end up given his supreme upside.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
With Wiggins out of the picture, Philadelphia can throw the future in question with Embiid or go out and get a player whose upside supersedes all prospects.
That seems hyperbolic, but Noah Vonleh's ceiling is alarming. He's 18 years old, already an athletic monster and can be molded into an elite player with time.
Sure, this is a forward-looking pick. But for a franchise that has a lot of work to do in the coming years, Vonleh will hit his peak right around when the 76ers are ready to make a serious push—and he'll still be quite young.
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG, Australia
Very predictable, yes, but the Orlando Magic are in need of a new point guard in a big way, and Dante Exum just so happens to also tout intriguing factors that make him a top-five selection.
Check out some of his eyebrow-raising traits, as illustrated by Baxter Holmes of The Boston Globe:
There is an inherent risk with Exum's lack of experience and young age, but that is mitigated by the fact that Orlando has another upcoming selection.
5. Utah Jazz: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
From a physicality standpoint, the Utah Jazz need a presence like Aaron Gordon under the rim.
Gordon is not the most pro-ready forward in the class by any means, but that is not a major ordeal for an improving roster with plenty of grooming still in the cards.
The Arizona product is a force on the defensive end of the court and needs to work on his shooting, but all things considered, he is a pick Jazz faithful can be happy about.
6. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Boston can't be too happy about the wealth of forwards coming off the board, especially as they appeared to covet two that have already been selected in this scenario, as captured by Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe:
Then again, it's hard to complain about settling for Julius Randle. He fits the pro-ready qualification quite well, can score inside and out and impact the game on the defensive end.
All things considered, it's strange the Celtics do not appear higher on him to begin with.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
The Greg Oden stench around Embiid continues to waft, but at some point his fall will end thanks to a team that will not mind getting a delayed return on the investment.
In this scenario, that team is the Los Angeles Lakers. This is a franchise coming off arguably its worst season in history. It also rarely uses draft picks and understands that things won't be fixed right away next season anyway.
In two years, when the team is getting ready to contend on the court and off by chasing big-name free agents, Embiid will be 100 percent healthy. That's scary.
8. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
Marcus Smart is a bit of a late riser, but it was easy to tell his stock would get a boost as he made the rounds working out for teams.
Smart is a physical freak ready to go right away at the pro level. He won't blow away teams on his own, but his ability to shut down the opposition is perhaps bar none at the position this year.
The Sacramento Kings won't mind adding Smart and going with a young rotation in the backcourt.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Michigan's Nik Stauskas is perhaps the biggest riser of all, as Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders points out:
Charlotte could use a knockdown shooter from deep. Stauskas isn't just potent especially in that area, but in most offensive ways, which just so happens to be arguably the biggest missing component on the Hornets roster at this point.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
New power forward in hand, the 76ers can continue to build quite the future offense with the addition of Doug McDermott, who can score at will from anywhere on the court.
McDermott will take a tad to make the full adjustment to the pro level, but that's fine given the current plan in Philadelphia. His offensive abilities are a welcome addition to a roster that only continues to get better.
11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
There are those who believe Gary Harris is too small to play the 2-guard at the pro level, but the Michigan State product does not allow that to deter him, as captured by Sean Deveney of Sporting News.
"I have played against bigger guards in the Big Ten all year and I was able to hold my own," Harris said. "I know it’s a different level in the NBA, but just because I might not be typical size for an NBA two guard, I still feel like I can go out there and compete and play."
Denver won't have an issue, either. Harris' ability to score at a rapid clip is a welcome addition and just what the roster needs.
12. Orlando Magic: James Young, SF, Kentucky
The owner of averages of 14.3 points and 4.3 rebounds as a freshman in a star-studded lineup, James Young has loads up upside on both ends of the court.
With the Magic, he can provide yet another offensive spark as he continues to develop with a young roster. Young may not be the first scoring option as a rookie, but he might just develop into it given time.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette
Elfrid Payton is another fast riser late in the process, as noted by ESPN's Jeff Goodman:
Minnesota is not afraid to draft points, especially those who fit the current league trends as observed above.
Payton needs time, but at this point in the draft he is a great future investment.
14. Phoenix Suns: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
Perhaps the most impressive athletic specimen of all in the class, Zach LaVine can jump out of the gym on his way to the rack.
But he is certainly not a one-trick player.
LaVine has plenty of development to do, but the risky investment is mitigated by the fact Phoenix has so many selections in the first round after a shockingly great season. If they fail to unload at least one via trade, expect a pick such as this.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Rodney Hood, SG, Duke
The Atlanta Hawks need depth, which Rodney Hood provides plenty of should he not break out as a starter right away.
Hood is potent on the offensive side of the court, which is an area the Hawks bench certainly struggles. While he can be a detriment on defense, that makes him a strong situational player for a team in need.
16. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
Look, the addition of a power forward would not be the most popular idea in Chicago with Taj Gibson around and Carlos Boozer sure to get the amnesty treatment.
According to several NBA sources Sunday, the Bulls have been actively looking to improve the starting lineup at almost any cost, with Derrick Rose the only untouchable player — and not by choice.
'They are looking to exhaust as many assets as it will take,' one source said of general manager Gar Forman and head of basketball operations John Paxson.
Chicago wants to take the next step, and that may involve dumping Gibson, as crazy as that seems. The addition of the pro-ready Payne, who can do it all, makes too much sense.
17. Boston Celtics: P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends
We're not sure how things will play out in Boston in regards to a certain star point guard coming off an injury, so it makes sense the front office will want to grab an insurance policy with a second pick in the first round.
P.J. Hairston is the perfect fit thanks to his offensive abilities. Even better, if things work out as planned, he can learn from Rajon Rondo before grabbing a bigger role.
18. Phoenix Suns: Kyle Anderson, F/G, UCLA
The Suns are not in need of someone who can run the offense on his own, but UCLA's Kyle Anderson sure can if he is asked to do so.
Anderson is a 6'9" forward who plays with the skills of a point guard, meaning the Phoenix offense would be that much more potent and somewhat unpredictable with him in the fray. There are not a ton of minutes to go around, but Anderson is critical depth for a team that figures to be in the playoffs sooner rather than later.
19. Chicago Bulls: T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State
Kennedy puts it best concerning the tweener prospect T.J. Warren:
Warren is versatile to a fault in that NBA teams may not be sure on where to play him, but that won't be an issue in Chicago, where a scoring presence on the perimeter is a must.
20. Toronto Raptors: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse
As a point who can come in and run a pro offense right away, Tyler Ennis is a smart play for Toronto, a franchise that does not know how the roster will shape up at this point.
Either way, Ennis won't have to play right away. But again, he is stellar depth for a team that will be in playoff contention once more. His ability to lead the second unit if necessary is something that makes him one of the better picks of the proceedings.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia and Herzegovina
By no means a household name, Jusuf Nurkic has the pure talent to make an impact right away beneath the rim.
With Kendrick Perkins aging, Nurkic is a smart play. His quality minutes off the bench might just put the Oklahoma City Thunder over the top, not to mention the value he holds as a starter down the road.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
Memphis does not need a power forward, per se, but it is hard to pass on a talent like Jarnell Stokes this late in the first round.
Bleacher Report's Adam Fromal hits the nail on the head:
Stokes has time to blossom in Memphis and eventually become a starter.
23. Utah Jazz: Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State
Cleanthony Early is old school, having stayed in college for four years honing his craft before entering the draft.
Early has his own tweener battles to fight, as captured by Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic:
He's more of a 3-spot in Utah, where his stellar abilities on both ends of the court will come in handy.
24. Charlotte Hornets: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
Another team with two picks in the first round, the Hornets can afford to take a bit of a gamble and withstand the whole "reach" accusations.
In this scenario, Glenn Robinson III is the proper investment. He needs some work on offense, namely in improving his shot, but the raw abilities were on display with the Wolverines.
25. Houston Rockets: Dario Saric, F, Croatia
Let's tab Houston as the franchise willing to wait around for Dario Saric.
According to ESPN's Chad Ford, Saric won't be in the NBA for quite some time:
Saric is not eligible to join the NBA for a few years, but that won't stop a contender like Houston from making the initial investment in the hopes it works out down the line.
26. Miami Heat: K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
It was readily apparent in the NBA Finals that the Miami Heat need better depth, and really, it is hard to tell what the exact roster will look like by the start of next season.
K.J. McDaniels is a great value pick all things considered, and he'll make an immediate impact while learning from some of the best in the sport.
27. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, C/PF, Switzerland
Rinse, repeat for Phoenix.
If the Suns hang on to each pick, another gamble makes sense. Clint Capela has the skill set to develop into a deadly starter in a few years, provided he gets a chance to actually contribute meaningful minutes.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Mitch McGary, C/PF, Michigan
Mitch McGary hardly saw the court last year thanks to a back issue, but that won't deter a contender from grabbing him and tossing him on the bench just in case.
The physical talent and skills are there. McGary won't see a ton of action in Los Angeles, but that may be a good thing given how his past calendar year has gone.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: DeAndre Daniels, SF, Connecticut
There won't be a ton of playing time for one DeAndre Daniels in Oklahoma City, but on a rotational basis, the Thunder do quite well to pick up the experienced forward.
Daniels has a skill set that suggests he can be molded into an every-day starter, which means the Thunder yet again do a great job of finding value in what is a beast of a Western Conference.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut
San Antonio remains a mystery as always, but it is hard to see the front office in this scenario passing on a field general who spent four years in college and willed his team to a title.
That's Shabazz Napier, who will end his stint in the green room by going to a simply perfect situation for all involved parties.
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