Sunday, March 9, 2014

2014 Mock Draft 2.0

*Follow Six Championship Drive on Twitter, @Kevin6CD
**Draft order as of 3/8
***Mock Draft 1.0

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

Embiid has been hampered a bit lately by a back injury, which will be a concern leading up to the draft.  However, unless it proves to be a nagging injury, or Embiid decides to stay at KU, Embiid will likely be the No.1 pick in the 2014 NBA Draft.  Guy like Embiid who can score, block shots and rebound on both ends of the floor are hard to find.  His offensive game isn't quite there yet, but he's shown flashes of the coordination and skill it takes to score in the post.  No matter who has the top pick, odds are that Embiid will be their man.

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

Wiggins hasn't quite lived up to the hype that surrounded him going into his freshman year at Kansas.  However, he's still had himself quite a season for a freshman on a (at times) dominant team and possesses all the physical tools to be a star in the NBA.  His performance against West Virginia provided excellent evidence that Wiggins will be just fine in the NBA. Wiggins scored 41 points on 12-18 shooting (15-19 FT), grabbed 8 rebounds and notched 5 steals and 4 blocks.  The main concerns with Wiggins are his ability to shoot jump shots (34.3 3PT%) and his issues with turnovers (2.1 TOPG, 1.6 APG).

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

Parker claims that he still hasn't made up his mind about entering the draft, but for now there doesn't seem to be any reason why he wouldn't leave for the NBA.  Parker has hit a bit of a wall over the past few weeks from the perimeter, only hitting 7 of his last 27 attempts from behind the arc.  However, his rebounding has been spectacular, posting five straight double digit rebounding games, including a 14 rebound performance against Georgia Tech.  There was a point where it seemed like Parker would be the consensus number one pick, but it seems more and more lately like he'll go behind both Embiid and Wiggins.

4th - Lakers - Dante Exum - PG - Australia - 6'6, 180
NBA Comparison: Brandon Roy
Exum is gaining steam as a prospect, despite having the least exposure of any of this year's top picks.  As you can see in the video above, Exum does a lot of things well when he has the ball in his hands.  His vision for cutters and open shooters when he's in traffic is one of his best skills, as well as his ability to get by defenders off the dribble.  He could stand to add between 20 and 30 pounds to his frame, but that will likely come with time and through working with a professional strength and conditioning staff.  Exum's jump shot is probably good enough at this point to make defenders honor him on the perimeter, but he would benefit from having a more reliable shot.

5th - Jazz - Dario Saric - F - Croatia - 6'10, 225
NBA Comparison: Hedo Turkoglu
 Recent reports on Saric are that he's considering an offer to play professionally in Turkey, so his spot in the 2014 NBA Draft is tentative.  If he does enter, his combination of size, skill and length will make him a tempting prospect for any NBA team in need of a SF.  Saric is a point forward who plays in the mold of Hedo Turkoglu in his Orlando days.  Saric probably isn't the 5th best player in this draft, but if the Jazz are picking 5th and the top perimeter players are gone, it's hard to project a big like Randle or Vonleh to Utah when they already have Kanter and Favors.

 Click "Read more" for the rest of the 1st round

6th - Celtics - Noah Vonleh - PF - Indiana - 6'10, 240
NBA Comparison: Amir Johnson

Vonleh is an elite rebounder with good size and length, and also the potential to develop a reliable balance of inside-outside scoring.  Vonleh has connected on 15 of his 27 three-point attempts this season and is shooting 54% from the field overall this year, in a low-usage role for the Hoosiers.  Vonleh's defensive rebounding and ability to affect/block shots at the rim could make him a valuable defender at the NBA level; this would make him good for a pairing with Jared Sullinger in the Celtics' frontcourt.

7th - Kings - Marcus Smart - PG - Oklahoma State - 6'4, 225
NBA Comparison: Tyreke Evans

Smart seems to have moved on from a rough stretch of incidents in the middle of the season and really stabilized his play.  Over the last five games, since returning from his suspension, Smart is averaging just under 20 PPG, 6.4 APG and 5.2 RPG.  He still hasn't found his jumper, but with his size at the PG position, he may benefit more from the NBA's more open lanes. 

8th - Nuggets (via NYK) - Julius Randle - PF - Kentucky - 6'9, 250
NBA Comparison: Zach Randolph

Randle may have hit a low point with a 10 point (1-7 FG) performance in a loss to South Carolina, but rebounded nicely with 16 points (7-11 FG) and 10 rebounds against a talented Florida frontcourt.  Randle projects to struggle on the defensive end of the floor, but will more than make up for that with his ability to score, and his surprising athleticism for his size. 

9th - Cavaliers - Gary Harris - SG - Michigan State - 6'4, 210
NBA Comparison: Eric Gordon

Harris is a high-volume scorer who has seen his efficiency numbers drop this season.  Harris' three-point percentage has dropped from 41% last season to 35% this season, likely due to an increase in attempts that now sees Harris shoot over seven threes per game.  Despite his penchant for launching threes, Harris also does a good job of getting to the FT line (4.4 FTA/game) and creating looks for his teammates (2.7 APG).  Harris is a physical defender who has the physical tools to bother perimeter players at the NBA level.

10th - Bobcats (via DET) - Aaron Gordon - PF - Arizona - 6'9, 220
NBA Comparison: Kenneth Faried

If Aaron Gordon manages to get drafted in the lottery, it will likely be more about potential than ability to produce right away.  Gordon's jump shot is still a long work in progress and he doesn't have go-to moves in the post.  Most of his scoring comes on put-backs and lobs.  Gordon has a reputation as a good defender and is already a good rebounder.  He will need work at the free throw line, as he's only shooting 43.6% from the line this season.

11th - 76ers (via NOP) - Doug McDermott - SF - Creighton - 6'8, 225
NBA Comparison: Khris Middleton

McDermott is the kind of floor-stretcher a young team like Philadelphia could really use around Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel.  The 76ers play at the league's fastest tempo and McDermott's size would provide a good stretch four in a small-ball lineup.  Figures to be a defensive liability at the NBA level.  Even if he can't create his own looks like he has at Creighton, his shooting will get him opportunities for early playing time.

12th - Magic (via DEN) - Tyler Ennis - PG - Syracuse - 6'2, 180
NBA Comparison: Darren Collison

Ennis has seemingly come from nowhere this season to be mentioned along with Wiggins, Parker, Randle and Embiid as one of college basketball's top freshmen.  His ability to take care of the ball and hit big shots have led to his name being mentioned as a lottery pick.  Ennis is shooting just under 38% from three this season and boasts a superb 3.3 A:TO ratio.

13th - Timberwolves - Rodney Hood - SF - Duke - 6'8, 215
NBA Comparison: Chandler Parsons

Hood is often overlooked as Jabari Parker's running mate, but he has plenty of talent himself.  Averaging over 16 PPG and shooting 42.5% from three, Hood is a lethal scorer on the perimeter.  Possesses good length and athleticism, but lacks strength at this stage.  Hood is a good scorer, but doesn't do much otherwise, in terms of rebounding and playmaking.

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

Young relies on his slashing more than anything to score, and would likely be able to play both the 2 and the 3 in the NBA.  If he can develop a reliable jump shot, he could have a vey successful career; has the body and athleticism/strength to be a good defender.

15th - Hawks - Nik Stauskas - SG - Michigan - 6'6, 210
NBA Comparison: Klay Thompson

Stauskas' multi-faceted offensive abilities and growth over the past year make him a valuable prospect.  At the very worst he'll be a sharp shooter, and in the best case he can provide a second ball-handler and play-maker who can create his own offense.  Needs a lot of work on the defensive end of the floor, but that may come with a little more added strength and coaching.

16th - Bulls (via CHA) - Marcus Paige - PG - North Carolina - 6'2, 175
NBA Comparison: Brandon Jennings

Paige has burst onto the scene this season as UNC made a run through the ACC in the back half of the season.  He's a long 6'2 with a small frame that might not hold more weight.  This could cause issues for him on the defensive end of the floor against bigger PGs like Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul and Damian Lillard, for example.  Much like Stauskas, his potential on the offensive end will mostly mask the defensive concerns.

17th - Celtics (via BKN) - Kyle Anderson - SF - UCLA - 6'9, 230
NBA Comparison: Nic Batum

Anderson would provide the Celtics with a legitimate playmaker if they decide to trade Rajon Rondo at some point.  Rondo's likely replacement at PG, Avery Bradley, isn't a great pass-first player and it would benefit the Celtics to have a guy like Anderson who's a good passer and creator.  Anderson can score too, and is a good rebounder for his position.

18th - Suns (via WAS) - Montrezl Harrell - PF - Louisville - 6'8, 230
NBA Comparison: Paul Millsap
Harrell is a monster on the glass and in space.  An absolute freak of a physical specimen, and he plays like it.  Harrell, as you can see in the highlight film, is an absolute terror if he gets even a step on his man.  Doesn't quite have the prototypical size to play PF, or the skills to play SF, but guys his size have made it before, hence the Millsap comparison.  Against better defense in the NBA, he may need to develop either his ball-handling or shooting; he won't get nearly as many open lanes to the basket.  Seems like a high risk, high reward prospect, but has the physical skills to justify a first round pick.

19th - Bulls - Jerami Grant - SF - Syracuse - 6'8, 210
NBA Comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu

Grant seems to have the type of game and body that would work well under Tom Thibodeau.  He's got the length and potential build of a defensive stopper on the wing.  Offense leaves a lot to be desired at this point, but he gets out and runs the floor well.  His 7'2 wingspan should lend itself well to playing passing lanes and blocking shots.

20th - Raptors - Clint Capela - PF - Switzerland - 6'10, 210
NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka

Capela's name will likely be commonplace among draft enthusiasts if he makes an appearance at the Nike Hoops Summit, and could play himself up near the lottery with a good performance.  Has great length and athleticism for either Forward position, and would be a nightmare matchup at SF if he can develop perimeter skills.  Very thin at this stage of his development, but looks to have a frame that could hold another 25 or 30 pounds.

21st - Thunder (via DAL) - Jusuf Nurkic - C - Bosnia - 6'11, 280
NBA Comparison: Kyle O'Quinn

 If you follow the draft closely, Nurkic's name is right there with Capela as a player who could play himself into the lottery with a strong showing between now and June.  He's got a huge body, and has the skills of a back-to-the-basket NBA Center.  Draft Express' Jonathon Givony (@draftexpress) recently suggested on Twitter that it's time to move Nurkic into the lottery range on his draft board after watching him play over in Europe.  Givony is one of the more well-respected names in independent basketball scouting, and if he likes Nurkic, I'd be willing to bet that NBA GMs do too.  Keep an eye on Nurkic to rise in the next few months.

 22nd - Suns - P.J. Hairston - SG - NBA D-League - 6'5, 225
NBA Comparison: Tim Hardaway Jr.

After being dismissed from the UNC program, Hairston is making a name for himself in the NBA D-League, and making a case for Mark Cuban's argument that the D-League is better for players than college basketball.  Hairston has topped 30 points four times this season, including two 40 point performances.  His time in the D-League may make him more ready than college wings to contribute right away.

23rd - Jazz (via GS) - Adreian Payne - F/C - Michigan State - 6'10, 240
NBA Comparison: Channing Frye

Payne figures to provide bench value more-so than a starter-quality big in the NBA.  That doesn't mean he can't be a contributor though; his ability to stretch the floor from the 4 or 5 spot has value in today's game.  His size and length should help his shot blocking and rebounding translate to the next level as well. 

24th - Bobcats (via POR) - T.J. Warren - F - N.C. State - 6'8, 230
NBA Comparison: Tobias Harris

Warren will be an interesting fit in the NBA.  He's demonstrated great ability at the college level to score in a variety of ways, despite his lack of range on his jump shot.  Isn't a great athlete, but good enough and strong enough to keep himself on the floor if he tightens up his ball-handling and mid-range shooting.

25th - Clippers - C.J. Wilcox - SG - Washington - 6'5, 195
NBA Comparison: Anthony Morrow

You can never have enough shooters around Chris Paul, and while it's still early, Reggie Bullock doesn't look like a sure thing to stick around long.  Wilcox is right around 40% from the arc as a fifth-year senior this season, and should bring his shooting with him to the NBA.

26th - Rockets - Willie Cauley-Stein - F/C - Kentucky - 7'0, 235
NBA Comparison: Samuel Dalembert

Cauley-Stein is a one-way player who specializes as a shot blocker.  Using his length and athleticism, Cauley-Stein is averaging around 3.0 BPG this season.  If the Rockets truly do intend to trade Omer Asik, a player like Cauley-Stein might be able to replicate a little bit of what Asik does.

27th - Heat - Glenn Robinson III - SF - Michigan - 6'8, 220
NBA Comparison: Thaddeus Young

Robinson has yet to put it all together at Michigan and has seen his stock tumble from being a sure-fire lottery pick, down to the fringe of the first round, if that.  Still, he possesses elite athleticism and has shown some flashes of perimeter skills, even if they aren't consistent.  Somebody, like the Heat, will take a chance on him, if they don't have to force him to play a lot right away.  GR3 would be a great fit for a contender-type team who can stash him on their bench and let him learn.

28th - Spurs - Chris Walker - PF - Florida - 6'10, 220
NBA Comparison: Jordan Hill

Walker hasn't played much since returning to the Florida lineup.  That doesn't mean he lacks the talent it takes to play at the NBA level.  Walker is a superb athlete, and much like Robinson, would really benefit from one-on-one coaching and the chance to develop his skills in garbage time, and the occasional D-League stint.  Walker isn't a lock to enter the draft, but if he does, he could go higher than this.

29th - Suns (via IND) - Terran Petteway - G/F - Nebraska - 6'6, 210
NBA Comparison: Kevin Martin

Petteway has made a name for himself as the leader of a surprise Nebraska squad that is on the verge of crashing the NCAA tournament.  Petteway is a pure scorer, who often substitutes volume for efficiency.  He can get things done in a variety of ways; creating looks off the dribble and finishing in traffic. 

30th - Thunder - Elfrid Payton - G - UL-Lafayette - 6'3, 180
NBA Comparison: Eric Bledsoe

Playing at UL-Lafayette with fellow future prospect Shawn Long, Payton isn't a household name just yet.  He's a very talented combo guard who is likely better suited as a scorer, but might be a bit limited by his size.  If he can develop his passing and court vision a little more and take care of the ball better, he may demonstrate more value on the NBA level as a PG and a SG.  Has a great crossover.


  1. I like your blog. This is very interesting. I'm not sure that Julius Randle falls to the 8th pick. You never know though. If Anthony Bennett can be drafted 1st overall than anything is possible. I like Jermani Grant going to the Bulls. I could picture his athleticism and defense in Tom Thiabdeau's system.

  2. Thanks Scott, glad you enjoy it. Randle is one guy I have a hard time with. I've seen people who still like him as a top five pick, and I've seen others with him as a fringe lottery guy. His play in the tournament might be the deciding factor for him, because I don't know that his measurements will wow anybody in workouts.

    Grant's best fit probably would be Chicago. They always seem to have plug-and-play veterans, so if he needed to be eased along, they could afford to. Rare when they have a rookie that they truly rely on.