The 2014 NBA draft was stocked with potential stars, European mysteries and players who epitomize the terms "raw" and "upside."
For all the different routes NBA teams could have taken with the hoards of talent available, the draft went rather predictably to start off. Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid went one-two-three, while players like Noah Vonleh and Dante Exum stayed within the top-10 picks.
The draft got much more interesting in the middle of the first round, as a flurry of trades and some shocking picks—yes, I'm referring to Bruno Caboclo—had NBA fans desperately trying to keep up with how their teams were preparing for the future.
To make things easy on fans still trying to recover from all of the trades, picks and player news, here is the full list of picks—accompanied by letter grades for each team—and draft-night trades from a memorable night for the Association.
|Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)||A-|
|Brooklyn Nets||Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Corey Jefferson (60)||C+|
|New York Knicks||Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51), Louis Labeyrie (57)||B|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Joel Embiid (3), Dario Saric (12), K.J. McDaniels (32), Jerami Grant (39), Vasilije Micic (52), Jordan McRae (58)||B+|
|Toronto Raptors||Bruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37)||D|
|Chicago Bulls||Doug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49)||A-|
|Cleveland Cavaliers||Andrew Wiggins (1), Joe Harris (33)||A-|
|Detroit Pistons||Spencer Dinwiddie (38)||B-|
|Milwaukee Bucks||Jabari Parker (2), Damien Inglis (31), Johnny O'Bryant III (36)||A|
|Atlanta Hawks||Adreian Payne (15), Walter Tavares (43), Lamar Patterson (48)||B|
|Charlotte Hornets||Noah Vonleh (9), P.J. Hairston (26), Dwight Powell (45), Semaj Christon (55)||A+|
|Miami Heat||Shabazz Napier (24)||B+|
|Orlando Magic||Aaron Gordon (4), Elfrid Payton (10)||A|
|Los Angeles Clippers||C.J. Wilcox (28)||C|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Julius Randle (7), Jordan Clarkson (46)||A|
|Phoenix Suns||T.J. Warren (14), Tyler Ennis (18), Bogan Bogdanovic (27), Alec Brown (50)||A+|
|Sacramento Kings||Nik Stauskas (8)||C+|
|Houston Rockets||Clint Capela (25), Nick Johnson (42)||B|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Jordan Adams (22), Jarnell Stokes (35)||B-|
|New Orleans Pelicans||Russ Smith (47)||C|
|San Antonio Spurs||Kyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54)||B+|
|Denver Nuggets||Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41), Roy Devyn Marble (56)||A-|
|Minnesota Timberwolves||Zach LaVine (13), Glenn Robinson III (40), Alessandro Gentile (53)||B+|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Mitch McGary (21), Josh Huestis (29)||C-|
|Utah Jazz||Dante Exum (5), Rodney Hood (23)||B+|
picks from NBA.com, grades by Nate Loop
|Chicago Bulls-Denver Nuggets||Bulls receive: Doug McDermott (11), Anthony Randolph||Nuggets receive: Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), 2015 second-round pick|
|Philadelphia 76ers-Orlando Magic||76ers receive: Dario Saric (12), 2015 second-round pick, 2017 first-round pick||Magic receive: Elfrid Payton (10)|
|Charlotte Hornets-Miami Heat||Hornets receive: P.J. Hairston (26), Semaj Christon (55), 2019 second-round pick, cash considerations||Heat receive: Shabazz Napier (24)|
|Memphis Grizzlies-Utah Jazz||Grizzlies receive: Jarnell Stokes (35)||Jazz receive: 2015 second-round pick|
|Atlanta Hawks-Milwaukee Bucks||Hawks receive: Lamar Patterson (48)||Bucks receive: 2015 second-round pick|
|Los Angeles Lakers-Washington Wizards||Lakers receive: Jordan Clarkson (46)||Wizards receive: cash considerations|
|Oklahoma City Thunder-Charlotte Hornets||Thunder receive: Semaj Christon (55)||Hornets receive: cash considerations|
|Denver Nuggets-Orlando Magic||Nuggets receive: Arron Afflalo||Magic receive: Evan Fournier, Roy Devyn Marble (56)|
|New York Knicks-Indiana Pacers||Knicks receive: Louis Labeyrie (57)||Pacers receive: cash considerations|
|San Antonio Spurs-Philadelphia 76ers||Spurs receive: Nemanja Dangubic (54)||76ers receive: Jordan McRae (58), Cory Jefferson (60)|
|Brooklyn Nets-Minnesota Timberwolves||Nets receive: Markel Brown (44)||Wolves receive: cash considerations|
|Brooklyn Nets-Toronto Raptors||Nets receive: Xavier Thames (59)||Raptors receive: cash considerations|
|Brooklyn Nets-Philadelphia 76ers||Nets receive: Cory Jefferson (60)||76ers receive: cash considerations|
|New Orleans Pelicans-Philadelphia 76ers||Pelicans receive: Russ Smith (57)||76ers receive: rights to Pierre Jackson|
|Dallas Mavericks-New York Knicks||Mavericks receive: Tyson Chandler, Raymond Felton||Knicks receive: Jose Calderon, Wayne Ellington, Shane Larkin, Samuel Dalembert, Cleanthony Early (34), Thanasis Antetokounmpo (51)|
Best Pick: Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
The Milwaukee Bucks have a case for the best overall pick by drafting Jabari Parker, but there was little uncertainty for them at the No. 2 pick; they simply took the best player on the board and moved on.
The Los Angeles Lakers don't have a roster fleshed out beyond a few players, so their pick took on much greater significance. They hit the mark by selecting power forward Julius Randle out of Kentucky. Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds per game at Kentucky; he could very easily get enough minutes to match those numbers as an NBA rookie.
Fox Sports' Sam Amico believes people will look back on the draft and wonder how Randle fell to No. 7:
Speaking of Lakers, I really think people are gonna look back at this draft and wonder how Julius Randle wasn't selected in top 4.— Sam Amico (@SamAmicoFSO) June 27, 2014
Randle was quick to make the kind of aggressive statements that will gain the approval of fans as well as alpha-dog Kobe Bryant.
"I heard Kobe was as little tough on rookies, but I don't care," Randle said, via the Los Angeles Times' Bill Plaschke. "The city of Los Angeles expects nothing but championships. What more can I ask for?"
Bryant didn't hesitate to welcome Randle into the fold:
Randle is the Lakers first choice in the top-10 since Andrew Bynum in 2005. He is also a great bet to become the first player drafted by the Lakers to start regularly as a rookie since Eddie Jones in 1994.
The Lakers currently have just Robert Sacre on the cap table for 2014, according to Spotrac.com. Randle fills an obvious need, one of many for the Lakers, and should excite fans with his aggressive playing style and winning mentality. Randle brings a jolt of excitement and energy to a Lakers franchise that has been starved of good news lately.
Best Trade: Nuggets Trade McDermott, Anthony Randolph to Bulls for Nurkic, Harris
The Chicago Bulls made a masterstroke of a trade by sending the rights to No. 16 Jusuf Nurkic and No. 19 Garry Harris to Denver for the Nuggets' No. 11 choice, Doug McDermott, Anthony Randolph's expiring contract and a future second-round pick.
The Bulls ranked 28th in defensive efficiency last season according to ESPN's Hollinger rankings, netting just 99.7 points per 100 possessions. McDermott's sensational scoring ability—he averaged 26.7 points and shot 44.9 percent from three-point range in 2013-14—fills the Bulls most obvious need.
Chicago prides itself on coach Tom Thibodeau's defensive system, and the man in charge believes McDermott offers value on that end as well.
"If you view him as strictly a shooter, you're not casting the proper light on him," Thibodeau said, via K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. "He's a lot more than that. We think he's a complete player. We think he's capable of playing very good defense."
The trade was hardly one sided. It netted the Denver Nuggets a towering center prospect in Nurkic and a potential steal in the form of Harris. The Michigan State star was regarded as one of the the stronger two-way players in the draft thanks to his excellent work rate on the defensive side of the ball.
Nurkic offers the Nuggets long-term value at center with his NBA ready size and deft footwork.
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix liked the potential of both players:
Nice draft for the Nuggets. Nurkic is a project, but has strong offensive potential. If Harris can get his shot right, he's a steal at 19.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) June 27, 2014
One concern for the Nuggets is that they are still a team full of role players without a star player to orbit. Rather than hoping McDermott develops into a centerpiece, they instead went for multiple assets. The Nuggets do have plenty of young assets on the roster now, and could perhaps package their draft choices with players like Danilo Galinari or Arron Afflalo to land a bona fide superstar.
Best Potential Sleeper: Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs
Doesn't this just sound like typical Spurs? Kyle Anderson falls in the draft as every NBA general manager gets hung up on his admittedly alarming lack of speed, while the Spurs take him for his proven on court production because the only test Gregg Popovich needs is the eyeball test.
If athleticism was indeed what NBA executives got hung up on, UCLA coach Steve Alford made sure to point out Anderson does pretty well with the whole "playing basketball" thing. Via Jeff McDonald of San Antonio Express-News:
Alford: "Some people get hung up with jumping over the backboard. But do you understand the game? Kyle comes to SA knowing how to play."— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) June 27, 2014
Anderson's production warrants a pick higher than the very end of the first round. He averaged 17.8 points, 10.5 rebounds and 7.8 assists per 40 minutes, as per Sports-Reference.com. And this is on a team that featured the likes of Zach LaVine and Jordan Adams, both of whom were drafted ahead of Anderson.
ESPN Stats & Info noted that Anderson was indeed a rare box-score stuffer:
Kyle Anderson: 1 of 3 players in last 30 years w/ 14 PPG, 8 RPG & 6 APG in season. (Evan Turner in 2009-10 & Anfernee Hardaway in 1992-93)— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 27, 2014
Evan Turner's numbers warranted him the No. 2 pick in the 2010 NBA draft; he's gone on to average 11.1 points per game in his career. If Anderson can match Turner's level of production, that is a tremendous value at No. 30 overall.
Bleacher Report's own Jared Zwerling compared Anderson to a current Spurs player:
Kyle Anderson is like a Boris Diaw clone in some ways. Great pick by Spurs. Surprised he dropped a bit. Too versatile & unselfish a player.— Jared Zwerling (@JaredZwerling) June 27, 2014
Anderson doesn't have to come in right away and make an impact for the NBA champions. He can learn from the veterans around him and develop at his own pace.