Saturday, February 22, 2014

2014 Mock Draft 1.0

*Draft order as of 2/21/2014
** NBA Comparisons made for style of play, not talent or impact

1st Bucks - Joel Embiid - C - Kansas - 7'0, 250 
NBA Comparison: Dwight Howard

There has been talk lately, both by Embiid himself and the media, that Embiid might not enter the draft after this season.  I'll believe it if the early entry deadline comes and goes without his name in it.  Until then, he's the projected number one pick for obvious reasons.  No other player in this year's pool figures to impact the game on both ends as well as he does.  With extremely long arms, a frame that can hold more weight, and good athleticism for his size, Embiid figures to be a terror as a scorer, shot blocker and rebounder.

2nd 76ers - Andrew Wiggins - SF - Kansas - 6'8, 200
NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay

Wiggins has failed to match the hype that surrounded him entering his freshman season at Kansas.  While that raises red flags, it doesn't mean that he won't be a successful pro.  He has an NBA-ready body at either SG or SF, and possesses the necessary athleticism to play both positions.  What will determine where he plays and how successful he is, is if he can improve his three point shooting beyond his 34.4% shooting this season.  That doesn't bode well for the NBA's longer line.  However, the potential is there, and often times that's more of what the draft is about.

3rd Magic - Jabari Parker - F - Duke - 6'8, 235
NBA Comparison: Carmelo Anthony

Parker is built in the same body type as Carmelo Anthony and just might have the potential to pack the same scoring punch.  Averaging 19.2 PPG on 48/36.5/73.9 shooting, Parker can score in a variety of ways, with a good outside-in game.  NBA scouts have expressed worry over Parker as a tweener, but unlike most players who might lack a true NBA position, Parker can score at will against most opponents.  Passing game needs development.

Get the rest of the draft after the jump...

4th Kings - Julius Randle - PF - Kentucky - 6'9, 250
NBA Comparison: Zach Randolph

Randle has a big, wide body that he knows how to use to create space in the paint.  Talented scorer, averaging 16. PPG on 53.8% shooting from the field.  Randle also uses his size to his advantage as a rebounder, but lacks the athleticism to be a significant shot blocker.  Averaging close to 3.0 turnovers per game, Randle needs to take better care of the ball.

5th Lakers - Dante Exum - PG - Australia - 6'6, 185
NBA Comparison: Michael Carter-Williams

The Lakers are practically starting with a blank slate this summer, as Kobe Bryant is the only returning impact player.  With the four immediate impact players already off the board, Exum is the pick for them.  He has the highest potential of any of the players left on the board.  A huge PG with the size to also play off the ball, Exum is a very skilled player who needs to work on his body.  If he can add 20-25 pounds in the league, he'll be load to handle.  Very good ball-handler and decision maker.  Doesn't have a reliable jump shot, but is still developing that part of his game.

6th Celtics - Gary Harris - SG - Michigan State - 6'5, 210
NBA Comparison: Eric Gordon

Harris is an elite athlete at the SG position who has been a very streaky shooter this year, after a solid freshman campaign last season.  Assuming that his 32% 3-pt shooting has been an aberration this year, Harris will fit very well next to Rondo.  Harris can create his own look off the dribble, and is the kind of athlete and defender who can get out and run the floor with Rondo if Boston keeps him long-term.  Rondo-Harris-Sullinger isn't a bad start.

7th Jazz - Dario Saric - F - Croatia - 6'10, 225
NBA Comparison: Hedo Turkoglu

Saric is the prototypical point-forward, possessing strong shooting and passing for a guy his size.  Saric is a surprisingly good athlete and is more physical than most European players who have entered the draft at his age.  His ball-handling may need work if he's going to be able to attack off the dribble in the NBA, but he is creative and should be able to create space for open jump shots.  Could play SF with Gordon Hayward at SG, or PF in a small-ball lineup with Hayward at SF.  There is doubt about Saric entering the draft; he's said to be "50-50" at this point, according to Jonathan Givony of Draft Express.

8th Nuggets (via NY) - Noah Vonleh - PF - Indiana - 6'10, 240
NBA Comparison: Amir Johnson

The Nuggets frontcourt is a terrible mess right now.  J.J. Hickson and JaVale McGee are both on overvalued contracts, Kenneth Faried can't guard anybody and Darrell Arthur is a shell of his pre-injury self.  Drafting Vonleh would allow Denver the flexibility to re-shuffle the deck up front and possibly move some of the aforementioned pieces.  Vonleh is an active rebounder and defender, with the potential to develop in to a productive offensive player.  Would fit well in their up-tempo attack.

9th Cavaliers - Rodney Hood - SF - Duke - 6'8, 215
NBA Comparison: Chandler Parsons

Hood is a knock-down shooter for Duke, and is quietly the team's second leading scorer at 16.2 PPG.  He's shooting 44.9% from three this season and is often overlooked.  Hood doesn't stand out in any other facet of the game (4.1 RPG, 1.9 APG, 1.6 TOPG) but his value as a scorer who can stretch the floor (48/45/84 shooting line) makes him worthy of a top-ten pick.

10th Bobcats (via DET) - Doug McDermott - SF - Creighton - 6'8, 225
NBA Comparison: Khris Middleton

McDermott has a quick, accurate release from three-point range that is practically impossible to guard for his competition at the college level.  A rare high usage, high efficiency player, McDermott is posting a 52-45-89 shooting line this season.  His ability to create off the dribble may be minimized in the NBA by quicker, more athletic defenders, but he should be great in the catch-and-shoot game.  Has good enough size to be a stretch four in the NBA in a small-ball lineup for teams that have that preference.

11th 76ers (via NOP) - Aaron Gordon - PF - Arizona - 6'9, 225
NBA Comparison: Kenneth Faried

I'm on the fence about Gordon actually entering the draft.  Personally, I don't think his game is ready, but people with more knowledge than me about his situation seem to think that he's leaving after this year.  If he does, he'll be a pick based on his potential.  He's shooting below 50% from the field this year, which isn't really encouraging for a guy who doesn't have much of a jump shot and has to rely on scoring in the paint.  However, he has a reputation as a great defender, is a smart player off cuts on offense, and is very athletic.  Someone will like his potential, regardless of what year he decides to enter the draft.

12th Magic (via DEN) - Marcus Smart - PG - Oklahoma State - 6'4, 225
NBA Comparison: Tyreke Evans

Smart's drop out of the top ten has more to do with his play than it does his incident with a fan a few weeks ago.  He has failed to show improvement in his perimeter shooting, and has only marginally improved his Assist-Turnover Ratio (1.3 last year to 1.6 this year).  There's still time for him to work his way back in to the top ten, but he is somewhat hurt by the lack of a need at PG for the teams in the top ten.  He doesn't warrant a top three pick, and Boston, Utah, Denver, Cleveland and Charlotte are all set at PG, unless Boston decides to trade Rondo in the offseason.  The skills and physical ability that would have made him a top three pick last year are still there, but he needs to demonstrate that he can put it all together and do more than just score off the dribble.  Tyler Ennis is a real threat to be the 2nd PG off the board if Smart doesn't pick up his play.

13th Timberwolves - Willie Cauley-Stein - F/C - Kentucky - 7'0, 235
NBA Comparison: Samuel Dalembert

Cauley-Stein is a legitimate 7-footer with a 7'2 wingspan, and is more of a shot-blocker than anything else.  His style of play is just what the Wolves need in their defensively challenged frontcourt.  Neither Pekovic nor Love has managed to register over 1.0 BPG in a season to this point in their careers.  Cauley-Stein is 17th in the NCAA at 3.0 BPG, and only averages 2.5 fouls per game.  Whether the Wolves keep or move Kevin Love, Cauley-Stein fits well in the team's frontcourt.

14th Grizzlies - James Young - G/F - Kentucky - 6'7, 215
NBA Comparison: DeMar DeRozan

The Grizzlies need help on the wings, whether it be at SG or SF.  Their ill thought out Tayshaun Prince experiment has gone as well as any Pistons fan would have expected it to.  Tony Allen is a mainstay at SG, but the team was rumored to have almost moved him to Minnesota at the trade deadline.  James Johnson has been a pleasant surprise, but isn't a long-term answer.  James Young has the scoring ability that a team like Memphis could really use.  He isn't a prolific three point shooter, but may develop that skill in the NBA when he can't rely on penetration so much.

15th Bulls (via CHA) - Tyler Ennis - PG - Syracuse - 6'2, 185
NBA Comparison: Darren Collison

Ennis is much better than the 15th prospect in this year's draft, but suffers due to the lack of teams before this point that could use a PG.  The Bulls have Derrick Rose, but they need a PG.  Kirk Hinrich's contract expires after this season and DJ Augustin can't be trusted to sustain his success.  Ennis and Rose could either share the backcourt, or Ennis could serve as Rose's backup playing large minutes as Rose works his way back from his 16th ACL surgery.  If Rose can prove he's healthy and Ennis looks good, then the Bulls find themselves in a similar situation to the Clippers when Eric Bledsoe became a major trade chip.

16th Hawks - Kyle Anderson - SF - UCLA - 6'9, 230
NBA Comparison: Nic Batum

Anderson is another point forward, and may benefit if Dario Saric doesn't enter the draft.  Anderson is averaging 15.3 PPG, 6.8 APG, 8.7 RPG with a 50/52/74 shooting line.  He's probably a bit thin at this stage in his career, but has already gained strength from his freshman season, and may continue to develop his body in the NBA.  Anderson shot 21% from three last season and may just be experiencing an uptick due to a lack of attempts. He's 22/42 this season, not even taking two per game.

17th Hawks (via BKN) - Adreian Payne - F/C - Michigan State - 6'10, 240
NBA Comparison: Channing Frye

Payne is an interesting player; he's enticing due to his size, athleticism and shooting range, but his foot issues are troubling for a guy his size.  When healthy, he can serve as a stretch four or play Center in a smaller lineup.  Might have trouble defending true Cs in the league.  Not an elite rebounder, but good enough to keep himself on the floor with his scoring ability.  Has good back-to-the-basket moves and would probably be a lottery pick if he were younger.

18th Suns (via WAS) - Jerami Grant - SF - Syracuse - 6'8, 210
NBA Comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu

Grant is a prospect who is going to draw interest due to his potential.  A top-notch athlete with a huge 7'2 wingspan.  He doesn't have much of an offensive game outside of dunks and put-backs at this point.  His best offensive asset outside of those two skills is his ability to get to the FT line.  Not likely to make an instant impact, but a team like Phoenix with a bevvy of picks can afford to wait on a guy with his upside.

19th Bulls - Nik Stauskas - SG - Michigan - 6'6, 210
NBA Comparison: Klay Thompson

Stauskas has been tasked with carrying the load for the Michigan offense this season, but is more well-suited to be a 2nd or 3rd option in the NBA.  A great shooter and a good creator off the dribble.  Body has improved while at Michigan, but still needs to add a little more strength.  If Rose is healthy, Stauskas could thrive in the role that Kyle Korver filled with Chicago, but with more play-making.  Not a good defender, but his offense is too good to keep him on the bench.

20th Raptors - Clint Capela - PF - Switzerland - 6'10, 215
NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka

Capela is the kind of prospect who may really shoot up the draft board with a big showing at the Nike Hoops Summit (assuming he gets an invite).  He has a monster wingspan, times his jumps to block shots well and runs the floor well.  Still needs to add at least 20 or 30 pounds to his frame, but he might be good enough defensively to bring over to the NBA immediately.  If not, he's a great draft-and-stash candidate.  Doesn't look like he has the offensive skill to develop Ibaka's perimeter game.

21st Thunder (via DAL) - Isaiah Austin - C - Baylor - 7'1, 225
NBA Comparison: Spencer Hawes

Isaiah Austin is a player with tantalizing physical tools and talents who has yet to put things together at Baylor.  A top five player in his HS class, Austin is a very good shot blocker and has range out to the NBA three-point line (even off the dribble).  However, he's only averaging 11.0 PPG as a sophomore, and is only shooting 45% from the field.  His thin build may be the main hole in his game that makes it hard for him to contribute.  Still, guys who are a legit 7'1 and can block shots and shoot threes are hard to find, so he'll get his chance in the NBA.

22nd Jazz (via GS) - Montrezl Harrell - PF - Louisville - 6'8, 230
NBA Comparison: Paul Millsap

Harrell is a fairly one-dimensional player at this point of his development.  He's a great athlete who does most of his scoring on dunks and put-backs.  He's a good offensive rebounder and an average defensive rebounder.  Has the tools (length, athleticism) to block shots, but is only averaging 1.3 BPG this season.  High upside pick, but could possibly end up out of the league after a few years if he can't find a way to score other than put-backs.

23rd Suns - C.J. Wilcox - SG - Washington - 6'5, 195
NBA Comparison: Anthony Morrow

Wilcox, a fifth-year senior at Washington, is averaging 18.4 PPG on 45.1% shooting from the field and 39.6% shooting from three.  With his frame and lack of offensive diversity (16% assist rate, 23% usage), he projects to be a spot-up shooter in the NBA.  Would work well of the bench for a team like Phoenix.

24th Clippers - Jusuf Nurkic - C - Bosnia - 6'11, 280
NBA Comparison: Kyle O'Quinn

Nurkic is a massive Center, and the Clippers are in desperate need of big bodies to come off the bench.  He's likely a developmental player to begin with, but the choices in the frontcourt aren't great in this draft.

25th Bobcats (via POR) - Dwight Powell - PF - Stanford - 6'10, 245
NBA Comparison: Josh McRoberts

Powell has adapted well to the triangle offense, averaging 3.8 APG, a high mark for a college PF.  His 23.8 Assist % rates out well also.  He's averaging 15.0 PPG, mostly scoring from the elbow or with his back to the basket.  Powell would fit well in Josh McRoberts' role in Charlotte's offense if McRoberts isn't retained.

26th Rockets - P.J. Hairston - SG - NBA D-League - 6'5, 225
NBA Comparison: Tim Hardaway Jr.

Hairston is taking a different path to the NBA than most American-born players his age.  After being dismissed from the team at UNC, Hairston is showcasing his talents with the Texas Legends in the NBA D-League.  Averaging 23.2 PPG on 37.3% shooting from long rang, Hairston is making a case that he belongs in the NBA.  Hairston's shot distribution (nearly 87% of his shots are threes or in the restricted area) make him perfect for GM Daryl Morey's system in Houston.

27th Spurs - Terran Petteway - SG - Nebraska - 6'6, 210
NBA Comparison: Kevin Martin

Petteway can heat up in a hurry.  Can attack off the dribble or score from the perimeter, shooting 37% from three on the season.  Would be a good guy to have on your bench for nights when the set offense isn't functioning; he can create his own looks.  Shot selection could be an issue against better defenders in the NBA.

28th Heat - Elfrid Payton - G - UL-Lafayette - 6'3, 180
NBA Comparison: Eric Bledsoe

Payton is a big combo guard who can score the basketball.  Averaging 19.7 PPG on 52% shooting to go with 6 RPG, 6 APG and 2.4 SPG.  Doesn't have much of a jump shot, but his length and speed should help make up for that.  Has a wicked crossover and should improve his ability to finish inside with added weight.

29th Suns (via IND) - Chris Walker - PF - Florida - 6'10, 220
NBA Comparison: Blake Griffin

I should reiterate that these comparisons are based off of style of play.  Chris Walker is a threat to hit his head on the rim every time he leaves the floor.  A very raw player who needs to add weight to both his upper body and lower body, Walker has a huge upside.  Doesn't look like he'll develop a go-to offensive game, but should get point on the offensive glass.  Good shot blocker.  Not a lock to enter the draft this year, as a good year next year would almost certainly make him a lottery pick.

30th Thunder - Cameron Clark - SF - Oklahoma - 6'7, 210
NBA Comparison: Jordan Hamilton

A 46.7% three-point shooter this season, Clark would fit well at the end of Oklahoma City's bench.  Not a threat to do much else, but he's the kind of player a team like Oklahoma City can keep in the D-League and let develop, or keep in OKC to bolster their arsenal of shooters.

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