NBA Power Rankings: Where Do Teams Stack Up After 2014 Draft?
The 2014 NBA draft itself wasn't as eventful as anticipated. The craziness of 2013 gave way to relative calm this year, despite the depth of talent available and the long line of pick-deprived teams looking to score some of it.
But the theater of draft day will soon give way to matters of actual basketball. Nobody knows precisely which players will pan out or send the men who picked them packing—and to what extent—and we won't have a clear picture for some time.
All 60 picks have been made, but many more could move from July on. More importantly, with players like LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love all on the market in some respect, the league's landscape will shift much more on the movements of its veteran stars than on the potential of its newest recruits.
Either way, we wind up in the same place doing the same thing: guessing the future. Here, then, are my 30 "guesses" for how teams stack up right now, based on a combination of how every squad fared last season, what they did on draft night and what's (potentially) to come this summer.
30. Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers aren't just tanking anymore; they're extreme tanking.
General manager Sam Hinkie used his lottery picks to add players who (probably) won't be contributing to the team in any meaningful way next season. At No. 3, the Sixers snagged Joel Embiid, the center out of Kansas whose recent foot surgery could keep him off the court for the next six months.
Philly then used the No. 10 pick (Elfrid Payton) to recapture its 2017 first-rounder from the Orlando Magic and add Dario Saric, a precocious Croatian, to its stash of young talent.
Except Saric won't be seen stateside for at least another two seasons after signing a new three-year deal (third-year player option) to play in Turkey.
But hey, at least folks in the City of Brotherly Love will get to see what Nerlens Noel has in store next season...right? And K.J. McDaniels and Jerami Grant, both taken in the second round, were arguably first-round talents.
Which means they'll be getting plenty of run on another bottom-feeder in 2014-15.
29. Orlando Magic
Aaron Gordon was the first of the Orlando Magic's picks on Thursday at No. 4 overall, but he may not make the greatest impact in 2014-15. Gordon is still pretty raw and will have to fight for minutes alongside other athletic wing types like Tobias Harris, Maurice Harkless and post players like Kyle O'Quinn and Andrew Nicholson.
Compared to Gordon's path to playing time, Elfrid Payton's is wide open. The Louisiana-Lafayette product could find himself starting at point guard in Orlando if GM Rob Hennigan decides to excise Jameer Nelson's non-guaranteed deal from his team's cap sheet.
Payton figures to pair with Victor Oladipo to form a young backcourt that'll be difficult to score against, especially with Gordon flying in for support.
They'd better be, anyway. A starting lineup featuring Oladipo, Payton and Gordon would leave the Magic dangerously devoid of any perimeter shooting with which to open up their offense.
28. Boston Celtics
You don't have to be Nostradamus—or even Miss Cleo—to see that the Boston Celtics are bound for another teardown this summer, perhaps one that could jeopardize the structural studs at the TD Garden.
At least, that's what the selection of Marcus Smart with the sixth pick would suggest. The Oklahoma State Cowboy isn't much of a shooter (41.3 career field-goal percentage at Oklahoma State), but he is a tremendous playmaker who operates with oodles of attitude on the court.
Sound familiar? Remind anyone of Rajon Rondo? Anyone? Bueller?
Granted, Smart is bigger (6'4", 220 lbs), stronger and more athletic than Rondo (6'1", 186 lbs), and he isn't nearly the pure point guard that Boston's four-time All-Star has proven to be.
But Smart looks like a fantastic building block for the C's, and if GM Danny Ainge can parlay Rondo into a slew of other assets, the team's draftees—No. 17 selection James Young included—might not have to wait quite so long to get their first taste of winning NBA basketball under head coach Brad Stevens.
Just not next season, and probably not the season after that, unless Ainge sets off some serious fireworks soon.
27. Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers did well to add Julius Randle with the No. 7 pick. The Kentucky product isn't the best athlete in the draft, nor will his body measurements (6'9", 250 lbs) leave scouts with their jaws on the floor, Tex Avery style.
But Randle projects as a productive post player and rebounder, with a jump shot that could prove a secret weapon, given how infrequently he used it in Lexington. More importantly, the kid's got toughness, confidence and heart—all qualities that should appeal to one Kobe Bryant, who welcomed Randle "from one legendary institution to one epic franchise" on Twitter.
That being said, the Lakers still stink for the time being. Bryant, Randle, Steve Nash and Robert Sacre do not even a starting five make.
And unless GM Mitch Kupchak and Jim Buss can pull off some serious coups in free agency this summer, and unless Bryant and Nash bounce back in a big way from a dismal 2013-14 season, the Purple and Gold won't so much as sniff the postseason in the crowded Western Conference come 2015.
That's problematic, since next year's first-round pick currently belongs to the Phoenix Suns.
26. Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks got their man. In No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, the Bucks finally have a young scoring star around whom they can organize their rebuilding efforts going forward.
How long that takes will depend largely on the rest of Milwaukee's roster. Larry Sanders' four-year, $44 million extension is set to kick in this coming season after a campaign fraught with injuries and off-court issues. Ersan Ilyasova has been a picture of inconsistency since signing a $40 million deal in 2012. O.J. Mayo was disappointingly out of shape after arriving in Wisconsin last season.
Still, this team, as a whole, is jam-packed with "upside." Brandon Knight and John Henson have both shown flashes of solid potential. Giannis Antetokounmpo could be a star within the next few years, once he gets a greater handle on his body and the game. If Sanders gets his act together, his rim protection will come in handy.
And, of course, there's Parker, who will be an early front-runner for Rookie of the Year honors thanks to his NBA-ready offensive game.
25. Utah Jazz
Is Dante Exum the next Kobe Bryant? The next Antetokounmpo? The next Darko Milicic?
The Utah Jazz will find out soon enough. The Jazz nabbed the Australian man of mystery with the No. 5 pick. With Trey Burke already in the backcourt, the 18-year-old draftee won't have to worry about running Utah's offense as a teenager. Instead, he can focus on getting his game and his body up to NBA speed while finding his comfort zone amidst the Jazz's young core.
That won't be quite the same concern for Rodney Hood, Utah's other first-round pick (No. 23). Hood played a season apiece at Mississippi State and Duke, with a redshirt year in between, and developed into a solid-shooting wing in that time (46.4 field-goal percentage, 42.0 three-point percentage in 2013-14).
Only time will tell how these two picks play into the restricted free agency of Gordon Hayward. It'd hardly be a shock, though, if the Jazz passed on keeping Hayward were he to field a substantial offer sheet, given all the assets they now have on the wing—Alec Burks included.
24. Detroit Pistons
Joe Dumars had one last parting shot for the Detroit Pistons. Dumars' decision to dump Ben Gordon's salary, along with a top-eight-protected pick, on the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2012 came back to haunt the Pistons during the lottery. The Cleveland Cavaliers' jump into the top spot pushed the Pistons' pick to No. 9, thereby dropping it in the lap of the Charlotte Hornets.
As a result, Indiana's Noah Vonleh will be playing in the Queen City rather than in Motown.
Then again, it's not as though Detroit needs another young big. New head coach/team president Stan Van Gundy is already planning to build around Andre Drummond and must decide whether to keep Greg Monroe, who'll be a restricted free agent this summer.
That choice should be a bit easier if SVG finds a taker for Josh Smith and his cap-clogging contract. The Pistons were reportedly in talks to send Smith to the Sacramento Kings prior to the draft, per ESPN.com's Marc Stein, possibly in exchange for the No. 8 pick, though those rumors ultimately fell flat.
Still, credit Detroit for finding Spencer Dinwiddie at No. 38. Dinwiddie looked like a first-round talent prior to tearing his ACL during his final season at Colorado.
23. Sacramento Kings
If there's anything the Sacramento Kings needed out of the 2014 NBA draft—other than a team-wide attitude adjustment and a booster shot of defensive acumen—it was shooting. The Kings ranked just 19th in offensive efficiency last season, despite featuring 20-point scorers DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay and Isaiah Thomas.
That certainly had something to do with the offensive styles of those three stars, but the absence of shooting around them didn't help. Sacramento launched the fifth-fewest three-pointers in 2013-14 and converted a paltry 33.3 percent of them—the third-worst mark in the league.
Enter No. 8 pick Nik Stauskas. The reigning Big Ten Player of the Year converted an outstanding 44.1 percent of his treys during his two years at Michigan.
Stauskas' game extends far beyond his beautiful stroke nowadays, but as a rookie, he should do no worse than give Sacramento's incumbent trio a little more room in which to operate.
22. New York Knicks
Say this much for Phil Jackson: He's not waiting around until 2015 to put his stamp on the New York Knicks.
For his first big move, Jackson sent two of the team's more notable disappointments from last season—Tyson Chandler and Raymond Felton—to the Dallas Mavericks to land the sweet-shooting point guard (Jose Calderon) his...err...I mean...Derek Fisher's triangle offense will need.
Not to mention Samuel Dalembert, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin and a pair of second-round picks in this year's draft.
(Because, apparently, the Knicks are allowed to acquire draft picks now that the Zen Master's in charge.)
With those picks, Jackson jumped on Wichita State's Cleanthony Early at No. 34 and nabbed a pair of raw internationals (Thanasis "Greek Freak Sr." Antetokounmpo and Frenchman Louis Labeyrie).
None of these are game-changing moves by any means, but in total, they amount to the inklings of a fresh, new approach to basketball business at Madison Square Garden.
21. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers made the right call in adding Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 pick. They wouldn't have gone wrong with Parker, but Wiggins seems a better immediate fit, given his defensive prowess and ability to impact the game without the ball in his hands.
With Wiggins (and second-rounder Joe Harris) aboard, the Cavs should do no worse than sneak into the playoff in the weak Eastern Conference.
Then again, this is Cleveland we're talking about. This team always seems to find a way to disappoint, and it could do the same in 2014-15 as it transitions into a new regime under GM David Griffin and head coach David Blatt.
20. New Orleans Pelicans
The New Orleans Pelicans caused a minor stir when they traded D-League star Pierre Jackson for the rights to No. 47 pick Russ Smith. The former Louisville scorer could be a nice addition to the team's bench, given his size (6'1", 160 lbs), skill set and collegiate experience.
But the arrival of Russdiculous pales in comparison to the one that's pending for Omer Asik. Once the NBA is fully open for business again in mid-July, the Pelicans and the Houston Rockets will be able to consummate a trade that'll see New Orleans' 2015 first-rounder swapped for Asik, as reported by USA Today's Sam Amick.
The addition of the 7'0", 255-pound Turk should give head coach Monty Williams an intriguing combo of bigs, along with Anthony Davis and Ryan Anderson, who each bring something different to the table and can be paired up by score and situation.
19. Brooklyn Nets
You'd think the NBA would cut the Brooklyn Nets some slack for hosting the draft in their own building, right?
Not so much. After dealing away seemingly all of their picks 'til kingdom come to build a team that couldn't escape the second round of the playoffs, the Nets had to buy their way back into the 2014 draft.
And buy their way in, they did. Brooklyn spent north of a million dollars to coax the T-Wolves into taking Markel Brown with the 44th pick on its behalf. It also managed to snag Xavier Thames (No. 59) and Cory Jefferson (No. 60) by the end of the night.
Truth be told, the Nets have much bigger fish to fry than these three second-round rookies. Kevin Garnett's expected to return for his 20th season. Andrei Kirilenko has already opted in to the second year of his deal. Deron Williams should be in better shape after having surgery on his troublesome ankles. Joe Johnson's coming off a strong postseason.
Beyond that, Brooklyn has some serious questions to address. The Nets are so capped-and-luxury-taxed-out that they can't bring in new players for anything more than the veteran's minimum. Their best bet to compete in 2014-15 is to run it back with Paul Pierce, Shaun Livingston and Andray Blatche in the fold, though those three might all find more lucrative and more successful situations elsewhere in free agency.
18. Minnesota Timberwolves
The Minnesota Timberwolves are only this high in the rankings right now because Kevin Love is still in their employ. According to Amick, talks between the T-Wolves and the Golden State Warriors have cooled once again, and no other action seems imminent on that or any front until free agency opens on July 1.
Minny would just as well have Love hang around a while longer. Flip Saunders wants to end the Wolves' decade-long playoff drought ASAP and isn't likely to do that without Love around. At the very least, he won't send Kevin anywhere without getting a proven commodity of considerable value in return.
Time will tell how—or if—Minny's picks might play into that. No. 13 pick Zach LaVine could have some impact now with his tremendous athleticism and fearlessness in launching threes, and later with the "upside" of his about which everybody raves.
Glenn Robinson III is a first-round talent who slipped comfortably into the second round (No. 40). I'm not even going to pretend I know who No. 53 pick Alessandro Gentile is, other than an Italian guy who plays basketball.
All in all, the Wolves won't know what they have in those youngsters for some time. But they're trying to win now and certainly won't without Love keeping Ricky Rubio, Nikola Pekovic and company afloat.
17. Denver Nuggets
The Denver Nuggets won't be waiting around to rebuild. This team intends to start a new playoff streak in 2015—just like every other squad in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets cashed in Evan Fournier and the 56th pick (Roy Devyn Marble) for Arron Afflalo on the eve of the draft. The former Nugget is coming off a career year in Orlando in which he averaged 18.2 points and shot 42.7 percent from three. He'll be an instant upgrade at shooting guard next to Ty Lawson.
And once Afflalo's contract is up—possibly next summer, when he can opt out—the Nuggets can promote Gary Harris, the No. 19 pick in the draft, from within.
Harris comes to Denver as a consequence of a trade with the Chicago Bulls, whereby Doug McDermott, the 11th pick, will head to the Windy City. The Nuggets will also get Jusuf Nurkic, the No. 16 selection, from the deal, and presumably stash him somewhere within a short flight of Nikola Jokic, their lone second-rounder (No. 41).
With Afflalo on board and better health from Lawson, Nate Robinson, JaVale McGee and Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets should have enough in their holster to push their way back into the postseason under head coach Brian Shaw.
16. Charlotte Hornets
The Charlotte Hornets had the Barclays Center "buzzing" (geez, that's a bad one) with their picks Thursday night. Indiana's Noah Vonleh slid to them at No. 9, and Tar Heel-turned-Texas Legend P.J. Hairston (No. 26) arrived by way of a trade with the Miami Heat.
Throw in Stanford's Dwight Powell at No. 45, and the Hornets netted themselves three guys of versatile size who can all shoot to some extent. Those three could fill a not-insignificant need in the Queen City. The then-Bobcats finished among the bottom 10 teams in the league in three-point attempts (27th) and percentage (23rd).
Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker can only do so much on their own to pry the Hornets out of the 24th spot in offensive efficiency as well. They'll need players who can stretch the floor to open up space to post up and drive.
And in Vonleh's case, Charlotte gets a do-over on Bismack Biyombo, which is a nice perk.
15. Toronto Raptors
Far be it from a relative novice like yours truly to question the mad, mastermind machinations of Raptors GM Masai Ujiri. He spent the Toronto Raptors' No. 20 pick on Bruno Caboclo, a Brazilian kid who was this draft's youngest entrant at 18 years old and was (apparently) considered a second-round pick, per Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski.
That seemed a head-scratcher at the time and may turn out to be in the years to come. But Ujiri has earned the benefit of the doubt. Remember, this is the guy who fooled the Knicks not once, but twice—on two different teams, no less!—to a George W. Bush-esque extent, the latest of which landed Andrea Bargnani's albatross contract in New York in exchange for valuable draft picks.
Seeing as I had no idea who Caboclo was before Thursday night, I'll defer to the guy who knew enough to feel comfortable spending a multimillion-dollar draft pick on him.
14. Phoenix Suns
The Phoenix Suns did their part to make (most of) my predraft predictions look silly. Rather than parlay any of their three first-round picks into players who can push them back into the postseason right away, the Suns opted for two (T.J. Warren at No. 14 and Tyler Ennis at No. 18) who might contribute and a third (Bogdan Bogdanovic, No. 27 overall) who figures to spend a bit more time overseas.
Of course, Phoenix can move these guys at a later date. For now, though, it seems GM Ryan McDonough will devote himself to luring Channing Frye back to the desert and securing the team's future with restricted-free-agent-to-be Eric Bledsoe.
13. Atlanta Hawks
Size and shooting were the order of the day for the Atlanta Hawks during the 2014 NBA draft. At 7'2", Walter Tavares, the 43rd pick, has plenty of the former. Michigan State's Adreian Payne, the No. 15 pick, fits both descriptions.
Tavares figures to spend more time abroad, but Payne should be ready to contribute right away. The 6'10" senior added a proficient three-point shot (42.3 percent from deep) during his final campaign in East Lansing. As a result, he'll get to put his improving stroke and jaw-dropping athleticism—especially for a player his size—to good use on a guaranteed contract with a pretty good team.
12. Memphis Grizzlies
No. 22 pick Jordan Adams won't solve the Memphis Grizzlies' shooting woes, but the UCLA sophomore should make sure that crafty scoring—think Andre Miller as a shooting guard—will never be in short supply.
The bigger buzz, though, emanated from the No. 35 pick. The Grizzlies snagged the rights to Jarnell Stokes, a Tennessee product, from the Jazz for a 2016 second-round draft pick. Stokes is just the sort of tough-minded rebounder who fits the description of "Grit-'n'-Grind" to a T.
11. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards worked their way out of the 2014 NBA draft last fall, when they got Marcin Gortat from the Phoenix Suns. That trade paid off well for the Wizards. Gortat formed a dynamic frontcourt duo with Nene and played a big part in propelling Washington back into the playoffs for the first time since 2008.
Now, it's on GM Ernie Grunfeld to decide whether to pay Gortat and Trevor Ariza the money they'll command on the open market or to move forward with more affordable options. Either way, the year-by-year improvement of John Wall and Bradley Beal, along with some decent health from Nene, should keep the Wizards on the upswing even without any meaningful infusion of young talent.
10. Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks traded their way out of the 2014 NBA draft on its eve, but they did so for good reason. Their picks (Nos. 34 and 51) went to the New York Knicks—along with Calderon, Larkin, Dalembert and Ellington—in a trade that will land Chandler back in Big D.
Albeit with Felton attached to his hip.
Acquiring two of Carmelo Anthony's now-former teammates would seem to put the Mavs in the running for the superstar, who will be dropping by the Metroplex once free agency begins, per ESPN's Chris Broussard. But as Grantland's Zach Lowe noted, the addition of Chandler's salary could make such a glitzy addition tricky:
Dallas has big dreams, but the more likely scenario has it missing on the starry names and reloading with a pile of the “pretty good” guys it loves so much — its own free agents from last season, plus at least one guy in the $8 million to $10 million range, like Luol Deng or Pau Gasol.
Still, with Chandler in tow, the Mavs should do a much better job protecting the paint. According to NBA.com, Dallas allowed the third-highest field-goal percentage at the rim in 2013-14.
If nothing else, Chandler's return should make it easier for the Mavs to wax nostalgic about their 2011 championship run.
9. Golden State Warriors
The Golden State Warriors didn't have a single selection in this year's draft, due in part to last year's cap-clearing trade that sent Andris Biedrins, Richard Jefferson, Brandon Rush and four picks to the Utah Jazz.
Not that the Dubs are at all concerned. They've got their eyes on a much bigger, more experienced prize. According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Golden State is still discussing a deal for Love with the Minnesota Timberwolves, though Klay Thompson's inclusion remains a sticking point.
If Andre Iguodala, for whom the Warriors traded away all those aforementioned assets last summer, had his way, he wouldn't let Thompson go.
"That's not going to happen," Iguodala said during an appearance on SiriusXM (via Bay Area News Group's Diamond Leung). "I want to clear that up right now. We should not trade Klay Thompson. I tell Klay this every day. I text Klay and say, 'Don't worry. I'm your man. I'm going to make sure you get paid. I'm going to get you the max (contract). You'll be taken care of. Don't stress.'"
8. Chicago Bulls
A healthy Derrick Rose puts the Chicago Bulls firmly among the NBA's upper echelon. The arrival of Anthony would push them another tier or two higher.
The Bulls made moves to that effect on Thursday night. They turned the Nos. 16 and 19 picks into McDermott (i.e. the big, floor-stretching shooter they'd hoped Mike Dunleavy Jr. would be) while also ridding themselves of some of the salary obligations that would've come with two first-rounders instead of one.
We'll see what becomes of Cameron Bairstow, the No. 49 pick, but his fate will probably be inconsequential for now in Chicago, whether 'Melo comes or not.
7. Houston Rockets
GM Daryl Morey's mad dash to clear cap space began in earnest this week.
On Wednesday, he arranged for Asik to join the Pelicans in exchange for New Orleans' 2015 first-rounder. The next day, Morey spent the Houston Rockets' first-round pick (No. 25 overall) on Clint Capela, a draft-and-stash prospect from Switzerland, and added Arizona's Nick Johnson, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year, in the second round (pick No. 42).
Morey's machinations, though, are far from done. According to Bleacher Report's Howard Beck, the Rockets have a deal in place to offload Jeremy Lin's salary in the event that they're able to lure a marquee free agent (i.e. Anthony and/or LeBron James) to Space City.
In which case, Houston will "rocket" up—sorry, I couldn't help myself—these here power rankings in time for the preseason.
6. Portland Trail Blazers
No picks? No problem for the Portland Trail Blazers.
They did well to win 54 games and advance to the second round of the playoffs this past season. Another year of growth from All-Star point guard Damian Lillard and another strong campaign from LaMarcus Aldridge, who's due for max money from the Blazers in the near future (per Wojnarowski), should have Rip City back in business come 2014-15.
5. Indiana Pacers
This year's draft will have no bearing on how the Indiana Pacers pan out next season because, well, the Pacers had no bearing on it. Their lone pick (No. 57, Louis Labeyrie) wound up with the Knicks.
The real concern for the Pacers—by far—is the future of Lance Stephenson. The Coney Island legend will be an unrestricted free agent on July 1. Volatile though he may be, Stephenson is an invaluable part of Indiana's machinery. The Pacers don't have any playmakers quite like Stephenson, nor anyone who plays with as much passion and intensity as he does.
Moreover, Stephenson is still shy of his 24th birthday, which means he should have ample room for improvement before he smacks into his ceiling.
4. Los Angeles Clippers
Another year, another sweet-shooting wing at the end of the first round for the Los Angeles Clippers. This time around, it's Washington's C.J. Wilcox who gets the nod at No. 28 overall.
Reggie Bullock, Wilcox's "predecessor," figured into just 43 games amidst injuries and depth-chart burials as a rookie. The Clippers can only hope to get more out of Wilcox in 2014-15 than they did out of Bullock this past season.
Then again, perhaps LA would've been better off spending this pick on a big man of some sort. The Clips scraped by with a paper-thin front line during the previous campaign. The combination of Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan is fantastic, to be sure, but without much in the way of legitimate size in support, those two will be hard-pressed to fend off some of the bigger, stronger squads out West.
3. Oklahoma City Thunder
In truth, the Oklahoma City Thunder don't need to add much this summer if they're to continue contending for championships. It's easy to picture OKC in the 2014 NBA Finals in an alternate reality in which Serge Ibaka's calf doesn't keep him out of the first two games of the Western Conference Finals.
But another big body couldn't hurt the Thunder. Neither could a versatile wing to replace free-agent-to-be Thabo Sefolosha.
To that end, OKC did well to address its needs in this year's draft. At No. 21, it took Mitch McGary, a skilled forward out of Michigan who might've been a lottery pick in the 2013 draft had he left school a year earlier. Eight picks later (No. 29), the team plucked Josh Huestis, a defensive-minded small forward with range on his jumper, out of Stanford.
Not that either of these guys will really matter much this coming season. So long as Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Ibaka are all healthy, the Thunder should find themselves in a dogfight with the San Antonio Spurs for Western Conference supremacy once again.
2. Miami Heat
LeBron James gets his wish after all. Now, we'll see if that's enough to keep him with the Miami Heat.
The four-time NBA finalists acquired the rights to Shabazz Napier (No. 24 overall) from the Charlotte Hornets in exchange for the Nos. 26 (P.J. Hairston) and 55 (Semaj Christon) picks and a future second-rounder, per ESPN's Brian Windhorst. There had been rumblings in the lead-up to the draft that the Heat were trying desperately to move up for Napier, a personal favorite of LeBron's.
James made that clear on Twitter (via @RealGM) after Napier led the UConn Huskies to their second NCAA tournament title in four years, and he reiterated as much once the Heat picked up the starving senior on draft night, calling Napier his "favorite player in the draft."
Not to mention a potential upgrade at point guard over Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole.
1. San Antonio Spurs
It wouldn't be a proper NBA draft without the San Antonio Spurs coming up aces late in the first round. This year, their card play yielded Kyle Anderson, a multifaceted forward out of UCLA whose size (6'8", 230 lbs) and skill set has drawn favorable comparisons to Boris Diaw.
Diaw, it should be noted, will be a free agent this summer. San Antonio might still retain the soft-bellied Frenchman, with Anderson, the 30th overall pick, afforded a few years to develop into a rotation cog behind him.
Whatever Anderson contributes as a rookie, though, you can be sure the Spurs will be back in the mix for the Larry O'Brien Trophy in 2015 now that Tim Duncan is due back for his 18th pro season.
Tweet me your thoughts on my post-draft power rankings!