Months of build-up, exhaustive research and numerous rumors surrounding decision-making led to a night of fun for 25 franchises during the 2014 NBA draft.
While five clubs missed out on the excitement, teams like the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks added NBA-ready talents who can help build toward the future. One team that came away with a boatload of talent was the Philadelphia 76ers, who made the most of their six picks Thursday night.
Some teams didn't come out of the event all that much improved. For example, the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Clippers made questionable selections. Both reached slightly and used first-round picks to add depth to positions that was not needed.
With the draft now over, let's take a look back at each team's crop and a breakdown of the biggest standouts.
|Boston Celtics||Marcus Smart (6), James Young (17)||B+|
|Brooklyn Nets||Markel Brown (44), Xavier Thames (59), Cory Jefferson (60)||B|
|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)||A-|
|Toronto Raptors||Bruno Caboclo (20), DeAndre Daniels (37)||C-|
|Chicago Bulls||Doug McDermott (11), Cameron Bairstow (49)||B+|
|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), Roy Devyn Marble (56)||B-|
|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)||B+|
|San Antonio Spurs||Kyle Anderson (30), Nemanja Dangubic (54)||A-|
|Denver Nuggets||Jusuf Nurkic (16), Gary Harris (19), Nikola Jokic (41)||B|
|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+|
NBA.com; Grades by R. Cory Smith
Cleveland Cavaliers: A
The Cavs had one job, and they pulled it off flawlessly.
After Joel Embiid underwent surgery on his foot, the most talented player remaining at No. 1 was Andrew Wiggins. Rather than trying to go for a shocking pick like the year prior, the Cavaliers snatched up Wiggins and will pair him with Kyrie Irving for the next several seasons.
Unlike many rookies who come in and have a steep learning curve, Wiggins has a lofty set of goals for himself next season, per Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
I want to come in and create an impact off the bat, offensively and defensively, be a good teammate, be a good part of the organization. I want to be on the All-Defensive team, be Rookie of the Year, make the All-Star team.
There are a thousand thoughts going through my head right now. It’s a dream come true. I’ve been dreaming of this moment since I was a little kid. My dream was just to make the NBA.
Outside of Wiggins, the Cavaliers also drafted another good shooting prospect in Joe Harris. The former Virginia star isn't as athletic as some of the first-rounders taken before him, but he's a great pure shooter that can get the job done and might draw some minutes off the bench next season.
Though they only had two picks, the Cavaliers did the most with them. Wiggins offers superstar potential for the future, and Harris should provide some immediate offense when asked to do so.
Sacramento Kings: C
If at first you don't succeed, brush yourself off and try again. That's exactly what the Kings did in the 2014 draft, taking a player at the exact same position as they did in 2013.
Nik Stauskas, one of the best pure shooters in this year's class, was taken by the Kings with the No. 8 pick in the draft. This comes just a year after selecting Ben McLemore at No. 7 overall.
Sure, Stauskas might be worthy of a top-10 pick, but can the two first-round talents coexist on the same team? Kings head coach Mike Malone believes he has the answer for the questions about both players being on the court together, per Antonio Harvey of The Sacramento Observer:
I think people who think we automatically take Nik Stauskas that we don’t appreciate or love Ben. That’s not the case. Ben McLemore has had an incredible summer so far and I know he is anxious to show that in summer league in Las Vegas in a couple of weeks. But both of these guys can play together. People don’t know, but (Stauskas) can play a little point guard. He has that kind of command of the basketball.
So taking a guy who played shooting guard nearly his entire career at Michigan and converting him to play the point is the answer. The only problem is that Isaiah Thomas, one of the emerging floor generals in the league, is already manning the position.
There have been talks that Thomas could be moved, but plugging in Stauskas at the position simply doesn't make sense with his talents playing off the ball. Time will tell how this decision impacts the Kings, but it looks like a controversial move for the two shooting guards at first glance.
Milwaukee Bucks: A-
Of the top prospects in the class, Jabari Parker is the one player ready to produce at the NBA level.
The former Duke forward is the most polished player heading into the 2014-15 season, and he might just be the top rookie after being selected No. 2 overall. Will Brinson of CBS Sports notes the latest odds on the upcoming NBA Rookie of the Year Award:
Jabari Parker (5/1) fave for NBA ROY @BovadaLV. Wiggins 11/2, Randle 9/1, Exum/Doug McD 10/1. HAirston 15/1 TJ Warren 25/1— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) June 27, 2014
On a team with another emerging star in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Parker won't be asked to do it all in Milwaukee. The "Greek Freak" put together a good season with the Bucks last year and has a chance to develop along with Parker into a great young duo in the Eastern Conference.
Though it's difficult to compare anyone to Kevin Durant, ESPN Stats & Info notes just how impressive Parker's freshman campaign was in Durham:
Jabari Parker: 1 of 3 freshmen in last 15 seasons w/ 19 pts & 8 reb PG, with 35% on 3s. Others? Durant & Beasley, both No. 2 overall picks— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) June 26, 2014
Along with Parker, the Bucks also picked up a stout draft-and-stash player in French forward Damien Inglis and a likely reserve player in Johnny O'Bryant out of LSU. All in all, this was a great crop for the Bucks thanks to one star who that could get better over the years.
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