NBA Mock Draft 2014: Latest Predictions for Entire 1st Round

Tim Keeney@@t_keenContributor IJune 8, 2014

Kansas freshman NCAA college basketball player Andrew Wiggins leaves a news conference at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Monday, March 31, 2014. Wiggins announced he would be entering the NBA draft. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Orlin Wagner/Associated Press

The NBA draft is an ever-changing entity. 

Most of the major dates in the predraft process are in the books, but a workout, interview or medical—for better or worse—can still completely change the entire outlook, while the early entry withdrawal deadline on June 16 could also further throw a kink in everything. 

With that in mind, let's take a look at where we currently stand with the first round. 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Kansas

Joel Embiid comes at a more premier position, but his injury concerns present far more risk. Granted, his potential makes him worth the risk, but for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who absolutely must hit the bull's-eye here after their recent blunders at the top of the draft, that's not the case. 

Especially with a player like Andrew Wiggins serving as option 1A. 

It's difficult to get a grasp on how athletic the explosive Canadian can be, but this tweet from Sportsnet's Michael Grange paints an accurate picture: 

It's not just his rare physical gifts, either. Wiggins is very smart and versatile and has the potential to be a dominant force on both ends of the court. 

2. Milwaukee Bucks, Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Embiid's blend of size and skill set at the center position just isn't something you pass on. He's already shown an encouraging workout, and if he passes the medical tests with flying colors, he isn't likely to get past No. 1. 

For now, though, while there is still a sliver of uncertainty, we'll slot him second. 

Despite having just four years of organized basketball under his belt, he is unbelievably skilled. His size and length (7'1" with a near 7'6" wingspan, per ESPN's Chad Ford) suggest he'll be an elite rim-protector and rebounder, but his footwork, agility and offensive polish point to much, much more. 

He is a game-changer on both ends of the court, and John Hammond won't be able to pass up pairing him with Larry Sanders and John Henson in the frontcourt. 

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke

It doesn't get much easier for Philadelphia 76ers: Scoop up the leftovers. 

At just 19 years old, Jabari Parker is easily the most offensively ready prospect in this draft. A candidate to score 17 points per game as soon as he steps onto an NBA court, the former Duke star can score from anywhere on the floor. He has range extending to the three-point line, can take bigger defenders off the dribble and has an effective post game. 

The only freshman on an All-America team consisting of four other seniors, Parker has a blend of offensive versatility, polish, basketball IQ and hardworking mentality that is rarely seen at this point in a player's career. 

After Parker had what Ford called (subscription required) a more impressive workout than both Wiggins and Embiid in late May, one general manager talked about his future in the league:

I think offensively he's an NBA 3 all the way. But we really rate position by who you can guard defensively and I think Jabari might have both the strength and size to guard most 4s in the league. If he can, I think it helps his stock tremendously.

Make no mistake about it: Parker is still a candidate to go No. 1. Philly, the worst offensive team in the league last year, will gladly take his immediate impact here. 

4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia

Believe it or not, 32-year-old Jameer Nelson, who had a career-low player efficiency rating of 13.9 last year, isn't the future at point guard in Orlando. The team experimented with Victor Oladipo there as a rookie, but the more logical solution is to draft a true floor general and keep 'Dipo at the 2.

That works out perfectly here, as Dante Exum is the consensus best player on the board after the Big Three.

One of the biggest wild cards in the draft, the lightning-quick Australian prospect is built in the Michael Carter-Williams mold. His jumper is a bit inconsistent, but he can penetrate at will, showing the ability to finish at the rim or distribute for others. 

5. Utah Jazz: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky

The Utah Jazz are in a really difficult spot. Four players are expected to be in play at this pick: Julius Randle, Noah Vonleh, Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart. 

The problem is that Utah recently extended Derrick Favors' contract, and the first three players on that list are all power forwards. Selecting the fourth, Smart, would seemingly suggest the Jazz are jumping ship on last year's first-round selection Trey Burke.

It wouldn't be surprising if Dennis Lindsey ended up moving this pick, but for now, we'll just give him the best player on the board. 

Randle's size (7'0" wingspan, per DraftExpress.com) and lack of explosiveness are notable concerns, but he makes up for those deficiencies with grown-man strength and a really nice offensive skill set. 

One NBA scout, via Grantland's Ryen Russillo, summed up the big man:

He’s one guy in college you couldn’t guard. Deadly from 15 feet off the dribble, powerful once he gets to the rim. There really wasn’t much you could do with him. Needs to develop a 15-footer. He’s bouncier than Zach [Randolph]. Zach developed as a shooter. Can pass and rebound. Knows how to use his body.

6. Boston Celtics: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana

With guys like Kelly Olynyk and Jared Sullinger, the Boston Celtics have proved they like to stretch the floor with big men. Noah Vonleh, who shot 48.5 percent from three during his freshman season with the Hoosiers, is another in that same mold. 

With ideal size (6'9.5", 247 pounds, 7'4.25" wingspan, per DraftExpress.com), athleticism and a burgeoning post game, though, he's far more than just a stretch 4. 

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State

There is very little certainty when it comes to the Los Angeles Lakers' 2014-15 roster, making this pick somewhat unpredictable. 

Gordon will be in play here, but the Lakers will want more of a finished product. Smart still needs work on his jumper, but he has the intangibles, strength, leadership and defense that teams love. 

8. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona

Gordon is definitely a work in progress. He shot a woeful 42.2 percent from the free-throw line last season and still needs a lot of refinement to his offensive game. 

However, you aren't going to find many better athletes. The 18-year-old is 6'9", 220 pounds and can jump out of the gym, often drawing comparisons to Blake Griffin when it comes to highlight-reel in-game dunks. 

While the slams are fun, though, he best uses that athleticism on defense, showcasing the ability to protect the rim or pick up smaller players on the perimeter. Utah Jazz radio announcer David Locke offered extremely high praise: 

It's not an overstatement, either. For the Kings, who are in need of a boost on the defensive end, this is ideal. 

9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, SF/PF Creighton

Doug McDermott can fill it up. He is one of the best shooters in the draft, but he also works really well off the ball, has a solid mid-range game and can take smaller defenders down to the block. 

The Hornets transformed into one of the best defensive teams in the Association last year, and adding Dougie McBuckets' immediate offensive impact would help continue to move the team in the right direction in the East. 

10. Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan

As a freshman, Nik Stauskas was a three-point specialist, often setting up in the corner, while Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. would command the attention and free up open looks. He shot 182 three-pointers and 87 free throws (2.09-1 ratio). 

As a sophomore, he improved as much as anyone in the country. With freshman Derrick Walton Jr. at point guard, Stauskas assumed the role as combo guard and focal point of the offense. He penetrated, created for others and continued to shoot the ball at a high clip, finishing with 208 three-point attempts and 204 free throws (1.02-1 ratio). 

There are concerns about his defense, but the 20-year-old Canadian has everything else you look for (size, shooting, ball-handling, passing) in an NBA 2-guard. 

11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State

One of the smoothest players in the draft, Gary Harris has a picture-perfect stroke on his jump shot, is effective in transition and is one of the best perimeter defenders in the draft. Even at just 19 years of age, he's already a well-rounded player with a very high floor.

Ford put it simply

Factor in that Harris is the youngest sophomore in the draft, coming off a terrific season in the Big Ten for Michigan State, has the reputation of a high-character, hard-working kid, and is one of the few two-way players in the draft, and I think he remains a lock for the lottery and a likely top-10 pick.

His ability to make an impact right away will be important for the Nuggets, who are not interested in a long-term rebuild. 

12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia

Bleacher Report's Jonathan Wasserman provided a recent look at yet another in a long line of impressive performances from Dario Saric: 

You're unlikely to find many more prospects in this class with more offensive versatility than the Adriatic League MVP. At 6'10" and 223 pounds, the point forward can handle, pass, shoot, post up and crash the glass. With the Magic locking down their starting lineup by adding Exum, Saric is a nice piece to have off the bench. 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Duke

At this point, it's anyone's guess what the Minnesota Timberwolves will be doing. Kevin Love may or may not still be on the roster in the near future, and if he does get moved, the depth chart is going to look much different. 

For now, though, the biggest need resides on the perimeter, where there is little depth behind Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer. 

Rodney Hood is still a work in progress on the defensive end, but he has the NBA size and deadly jump shot to score in a hurry. He would be a solid addition to the second unit. 

If the T-Wolves do trade Love, and suddenly it's rebuild city in Minnesota, don't be surprised if Zach LaVine gets a long look here. 

14. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse

Yes, the Phoenix Suns have Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. But the latter is headed to restricted free agency, and even if they are both back next year, there is still a need to find a backup. 

Whether Tyler Ennis slots next to Dragic in the starting lineup or comes off the bench, he's far too intriguing to pass up here. The Syracuse standout is arguably the most rounded point guard in the draft, showing the ability to take care of the ball, distribute and play solid defense. 

Best of all, he is an incredibly calm and cerebral presence, always making the right play whether it's in the first or last minute of the game. No matter what capacity he's used in, Ennis is the kind of player who isn't flashy but will immediately make his new team better. 

15. Atlanta Hawks: James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky

Kyle Korver still clearly produces at a high level, but he is 33 years old and has 11 NBA seasons under his belt. DeMarre Carroll also had a good season, but he has just one year left on his contract. 

The Hawks need an injection of youth on the perimeter. 

James Young, who lives up to his name as one of the youngest players in the draft at age 18, is just that. 

This is an ideal pick, as the Kentucky star—who has the size, athleticism and shooting ability to turn into a dangerous offensive player—can spend a year or two learning from Korver before taking over as a go-to option. 

16. Chicago Bulls: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

Adreian Payne draws criticism because he's 23 years old and thus—at least this is the argument—doesn't have a high upside. But with his amalgam of size, strength, athleticism and ability to stretch the floor with his jump shot, the Chicago Bulls would love to take him. 

Tom Thibodeau's team struggled to score the ball last year, and Payne is the kind of talented player who could immediately help in that area, especially off the bench. 

17. Boston Celtics: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA

Noah Vonleh and Zach LaVine. Queue Danny Ainge busting out the champagne in the draft room before the first round is even over. 

LaVine is an undeniably tantalizing prospect. He is really raw—9.4 points in 24.4 minutes per game as a freshman—but he is a ridiculous athlete. 

Exhibit A through Z and back to A again: 

LaVine isn't an immediate contributor, but he has a ceiling that few other prospects possess. Whether he's the future replacement for Rajon Rondo or a shooting guard down the line, this is the kind of value the rebuilding Celtics can't pass up. 

18. Phoenix Suns: Jerami Grant, SF/PF, Syracuse

Without a consistent jumper (he missed all five of his three-point attempts last year) and standing at just less than 6'8", Jerami Grant doesn't really have a position. 

But it doesn't matter. 

He is an explosive athlete with the wingspan (nearly 7'3") and defense to make a positive impact at the next level. He may not be a future star, but he can play a meaningful role as an energetic, highly athletic rotation player. 

19. Chicago Bulls: T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State

T.J. Warren shot an anemic 26.7 percent from beyond the arc last year, and his quickness and athleticism will never blow anyone away. 

But as Ford noted during a recent workout, the kid is an absolute gamer: 

That was quite clear last season, as he shot an absurd 58.0 percent from inside the arc on his way to 24.9 points per game and the ACC Player of the Year award. One of the most natural scorers in the draft, he will instantly be able to take some of the load off Jimmy Butler, who averaged 41.0 minutes per game after the All-Star break. 

20. Toronto Raptors: Kyle Anderson, PG/SF, UCLA

Kyle Anderson is a rare prospect. He lacks quickness like only a guy nicknamed "Slo-Mo" can, but he also combines 6'9" height with arguably the best vision and passing ability in the class. 

It's not exactly known where he'll fit at the next level, but his ability to play the point serves the Raptors well, as both Kyle Lowry (unrestricted) and Greivis Vasquez (restricted) are set for free agency. 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: P.J. Hairston, SG, UNC/Texas Legends

Barring a trade, Thabo Sefolosha and Caron Butler will serve as Oklahoma City's biggest departures this summer, so don't be surprised if the Thunder are in the market for some perimeter depth. 

P.J. Hairston was forced to leave North Carolina on a sour note, but he has a nice all-around offensive game and a dangerous three-point shot that would go well in the second unit. 

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia and Herzegovina

DraftExpress.com—which is always on its game when it comes to scouting international prospects—has Jusuf Nurkic cracking the lottery, so this is undoubtedly a value pick for the Memphis Grizzlies. 

The 19-year-old is raw, but there's little question he is the second best center in the draft. A massive force in the middle (6'11", 280 pounds), he has the strength to bang inside and the agility to be a weapon in the pick-and-roll game. With Marc Gasol hitting free agency next summer, this isn't a bad pick for the future. 

23. Utah Jazz: K.J. McDaniels , SF, Clemson

The Jazz improved their offense and rebounding with Randle, so it's time to address the defense, which was incapable of stopping anyone last season. 

K.J. McDaniels is long (6'11" wingspan, per DraftExpress.com) and extremely athletic and has good instincts on the defensive end. He blocked a ridiculous 2.8 shots per game during the 2013-14 campaign and could help fill a void on the wing that will likely be left by Richard Jefferson and Marvin Williams. 

24. Charlotte Hornets: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette

Elfrid Payton is one of the most compelling prospects in the draft. Out of the national spotlight for most of the season, he continued to fill up the box score, compiling ridiculous averages of 19.2 points, 6.0 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 2.3 steals. 

Similar to Exum, the Ragin' Cajuns star is long (6'8" wingspan, per DraftExpress.com), quick, a dangerous creator off the dribble and full of potential on the defensive end. Basketball Insiders' Steve Kyler offered up high praise:

With Luke Ridnour and Jannero Pargo hitting the free-agent market, the Hornets need a backup point guard, making Payton a no-brainer here. 

25. Houston Rockets: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA

Jordan Adams' jump shot and natural scoring ability make him a logical fit with the offensively minded Houston Rockets. Averaging 23.1 points per 40 minutes to go with a scorching true shooting percentage of 60 percent, the UCLA star was quietly one of the most efficient offensive players in the nation. 

Perhaps more importantly, he brings the defensive ability (2.6 steals per contest) and competitiveness that Houston sorely lacked in the postseason. 

26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut

Mario Chalmers is a free agent, and as Norris Cole continues to play well this postseason, it becomes easier for the Heat to move along from LeBron James and Dwyane Wade's favorite target for criticism. 

Shabazz Napier is small, but he has electrifying quickness, a devastating handle and the intangibles to help win games. He's easily the best point guard on the board and would thrive in Miami. 

27. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, PF/C, Switzerland

As the third first-round pick for Ryan McDonough, this selection is very unlikely to make the Phoenix roster. 

Clint Capela is the perfect solution for that.

The Switzerland international isn't likely to come overseas for a season or two, but he is one of the most physically gifted European players we've seen. The 20-year-old is 6'11" with a near 7'5" wingspan and has tremendous athleticism. He needs to add strength and continue to refine his game, but he has the potential to be a difference-maker while defending the rim and controlling the glass.

This is a gamble, but it's one the Suns can afford to take. 

28. Los Angeles Clippers: Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State

Cleanthony Early is an explosive athlete who thrives in transition. Proof:

There are questions about where he might fit in terms of position, but a player with his intriguing inside-out skill set and physical tools would be perfect for Los Angeles' up-tempo system. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary, C, Michigan

When Serge Ibaka went down for two games against the San Antonio Spurs, the Thunder's frontcourt depth was exposed as a weakness. 

Steven Adams' continued progression should help that, but as long as Kendrick Perkins remains a rotation player, there is still a need to continue to address the problem. 

Mitch McGary's stock plummeted thanks to a back injury and a departure from Michigan on poor terms, but he's an energetic, physical big man who cleans up the glass and can play an important role off the pine. 

A former potential lottery pick, he won't slip out of the first round, even after a tumultuous sophomore season. 

30. San Antonio Spurs: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington

C.J. Wilcox has a very good chance to emerge from this draft as the best three-point shooter, but as he proved as Washington's No. 1 option this season, he also has a solid handle with both hands and is dangerous from mid-range. 

The Spurs would likely rather grab a big man here, but with Manu Ginobili, Danny Green and Marco Belinelli all nearing the end of their deals, reloading on the wing isn't a bad idea, either. 


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