Saturday, March 22, 2014

2014 Mock Draft 3.0 (1st Round)

*Follow Six Championship Drive on Twitter, @Kevin6CD
**2nd Round

1st - Milwaukee Bucks - Andrew Wiggins - SF - Kansas, Fr. - 6'8, 200
NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay

A change at the top for the Bucks is mostly due to the questions surrounding the status of Joel Embiid's back.  Back injuries can hang around a long time for anybody, but it's even more of an issue for somebody Embiid's size.  The other reason for bumping Wiggins up is his increased level of play.  In his last four showings (starting with his 41 point game against WVU), Wiggins is averaging 28 PPG on 57.3 FG% and has racked up 44 trips to the FT line in that stretch.  His non-scoring numbers have remained similar, averaging a shade over 6 RPG with less than impressive assist/turnover measures.  The dunk clinic Wiggins put on against Eastern Kentucky in KU's second round win on Friday is a perfect example of why he was/is so highly hyped.

2nd - Philadelphia 76ers - Jabari Parker - SF - Duke, Fr. - 6'8, 235
NBA Comparison: Carmelo Anthony

Parker was less than impressive in Duke's loss to Mercer on Friday afternoon, but that doesn't outweigh the overall body of work he amassed this year as a freshman.  Parker finished the year averaging 19.1 PPG on .473/.358/.748 shooting, to go with 8.7 RPG.  Parker hit 14 of his first 23 three point attempts this season, but didn't really impress from beyond the arc consistently beyond that.  He has a good enough jumper at this point to play SF, but if he really develops it, that's when he could turn into a superstar.  Parker isn't the athlete that Wiggins is, but he's no slouch.  After Friday's loss, Parker called his stay at Duke "incomplete", which would seem to imply he's returning for his sophomore season.  However, Parker has plenty of time to think about it, and I personally think he'll enter, as do many others.

3rd - Orlando Magic - Joel Embiid - C - Kansas, Fr. - 7'0, 250
NBA Comparison: Dwight Howard

As mentioned above, Embiid's back problems are more likely to determine his stock than any further questions about his abilities.  When healthy, there just isn't another impact player in this year's pool like Embiid.  You almost have to watch him play for a whole game to fully grasp how he factors in on the floor.  His stats are very good, but he alters so many shots and is just simply a presence on both ends.  His offensive game is raw, but he's further along than most players as new to the game as he is.  If he gets right, I fully expect him to be the #1 pick, but until we know for sure he is, he'll be behind Parker and Wiggins.  Like Parker, there is talk that Embiid will return for another college season.

4th - Utah Jazz - Julius Randle - PF - Kentucky, Fr. - 6'9, 250
NBA Comparison: Zach Randolph

This is the worst position for the Jazz to be in, and I could see them trading down if the two elite wings are gone when they pick.  With that being said, they go with Randle because neither of their current post players are truly prolific scorers; Randle is.  Kansas State had no answers for Randle's game in their second round match-up on Friday night.  Randle dropped in 19 points on 7-12 shooting to go with 15 rebounds.  He's the kind of guy you can just throw it in to and let him go to work.  You can't say that about any of the other post prospects in this year's draft.  He'll probably never be a great defender, but with his offense, he won't have to be.

5th - Los Angeles Lakers - Dante Exum - PG - Australia, 1995 - 6'6, 180
NBA Comparison: Brandon Roy

Rumor has it that Exum might try and force his way to the Lakers in the weeks leading up to the draft.  His camp has denied it, but it doesn't matter because he slots here anyways.  Exum is a big, versatile guard who uses his size to prop up already outstanding court vision.  He uses his length well to open up scoring opportunities and he has good quickness.  Has a good jump shot and crossover as well.  Needs to put a few pounds on before his rookie season so he doesn't get pushed around by bigger guards.  Has the size to also play SG.  Keep an eye on his stock; some scouts say he'll be in the discussion to be the first player taken.

Click "Read More" for the rest of the 1st Round

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

Vonleh is a long, strong (can't confirm whether or not he's down to get the friction on) PF with a developing skill-set.  In his freshman year at Indiana, he posted an impressive 27.3 DReb% to go with 60.4 TS% and a high free throw rate.  Even if he doesn't turn into a reliable offensive option, his defensive value and ability to get to the line will make him a good contributor.  Boston could use his size in their front-court as Sullinger is short, Olynyk isn't physical, and Faverani doesn't look like an impact player.

7th - Sacramento Kings - Aaron Gordon - PF - Arizona, Fr. - 6'9, 220
NBA Comparison: Kenneth Faried

I've had the Kings taking a PG previously, but it seems like the close relationship between DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas will keep Thomas around past this year.  So, the Kings look to fill the void at PF with Aaron Gordon.  Gordon's game isn't really refined at this point, and he figures to be a complementary player for the first few years of his NBA career.  Gordon is a great athlete, and shows flashes of what could be a productive offensive game.  Of all of the lottery picks in 2014, his future might have the most projection built into it; i.e. he's a boom-or-bust kind of guy.

8th - Detroit Pistons - Tyler Ennis - PG - Syracuse, Fr. - 6'2, 180
NBA Comparison: Jrue Holiday

The rotation at PG of late seems to suggest that it isn't a 100% certainty that Brandon Jennings will be back next season.  Even if he is, he's only under contract for two more seasons, and Ennis could hone his craft in that time (while hopefully picking up none of Jennings' habits).  Ennis is a decent three point shooter, very careful with the ball and plays a physical style of game for his size.  His 32.6 AST% is impressive on its own, but when you pair it with a 12.6 TO%, it's just about jaw-dropping for a freshman.  Ennis would be the preferable pick to Marcus Smart due to his shooting.  The key to Ennis' development will be his strength and his three point shooting.  If Ennis can consistently shoot around 40% from three, he'll be a very valuable PG.

9th - Cleveland Cavaliers - Dario Saric - SF - Croatia, 1994 - 6'10, 225
NBA Comparison: Hedo Turkoglu

Saric may or may not be in the draft this year, as it's rumored he's leaning towards playing in Turkey next season.  If he does enter, his versatile game would fit well in Cleveland, who doesn't need another score-first player on the perimeter.  Saric is a point forward, better suited for SF, but has the height and length to draw time as a stretch four in a small ball lineup.  Unlike a lot of European forwards from past drafts, Saric plays a physical style of offense.  May take some time to develop into a respectable defender, but has the physical tools to figure it out.

10th - Philadelphia 76ers (via NOP) - Doug McDermott - SF - Creighton, Sr. - 6'8, 225
NBA Comparison: Khris Middleton

McDermott is the best college scorer since Adam Morrison, let's just hope his NBA career is a little more successful.  At 45.5% from beyond the arc on over 6 attempts per game, McDermott is practically unstoppable from the perimeter.  Mix that in with his 56.5% two-point shooting and you have an even 27.0 PPG.  His game inside the arc might not translate to the next level, but if it doesn't he can still make a living off the catch-and-shoot game.

11th - Denver Nuggets (via NYK) - Rodney Hood - SF - Duke, So. - 6'8, 215
NBA Comparison: Mike Dunleavy

Hood didn't do himself any favors with his performance in the NCAA Tournament.  Hood went 2-10 from the field in the Blue Devils' loss to Mercer, factoring heavily into the loss.  Still, it's hard to ignore Hood's 42% three-point shooting and his 16.1 PPG while sharing offensive duties with Jabari Parker.  Hood doesn't do much more than score, but he's (usually) efficient enough to make up for that.

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

Smart's drop in this mock draft is more about the lack of teams until this spot who need a PG than his behavioral issues.  Smart isn't a top five talent, and teams like Boston, Sacramento, Cleveland, Philadelphia and Denver are already set at PG.  Smart is a very productive player and with some growth could turn himself into a star.  He has an NBA-ready body, is a tenacious defender and is a productive scorer inside the arc.  His career will likely be determined by his ability to at least be serviceable from deep.

13th - Minnesota Timberwolves - Gary Harris - SG - Michigan State, So. - 6'4, 210
NBA Comparison: Eric Gordon

Harris is a good scorer and defender, and the kind of SG that the Wolves have lacked in the Love/Rubio/Pekovic era.  If they were to draft Harris, it would either push Kevin Martin out the door or up to SF.  Harris does most of his work off the dribble where he thrives by creating space.  His three point shot was reliable last season but has been a question mark this year.  It's hard to tell going forward which will be the case.  He's been injury-prone in his time at MSU, so that would likely be a concern in the NBA as well.

14th - Phoenix Suns - Kyle Anderson - SF - UCLA, So. - 6'9, 230
NBA Comparison: Nic Batum

Anderson is a do-it-all offensive player.  He's averaging 6.6 APG and scoring with impressive efficiency for a wing.  He's posted a 56.9 TS% this year and is shooting 49% from three on just about two attempts per game.  He's a strong rebounder as well, managing a 25.8 DReb%.  If Anderson were more physically impressive, he'd easily be a top ten pick.

15th - Boston Celtics (via ATL) - Nik Stauskas - SG - Michigan, So. - 6'6, 210
NBA Comparison: Klay Thompson

Stauskas has carried the Wolverines offense this season, and from more than just a scoring standpoint.  Stauskas boasts a 18.5 AST% to go with a mind-boggling 64.8 TS%.  It's not a given that his offense will be quite as efficient at the NBA level, but it's hard to see him not being productive with his blend of shooting, size and athleticism.  Not a good defender, but, who cares for a guy that's as lethal as he is on offense.

16th - Chicago Bulls - Jerami Grant - SF - Syracuse, So. - 6'8, 215
NBA Comparison: Al-Farouq Aminu

Grant is a raw offensive player, but he has the length and athleticism to be a shut-down defender, especially in Tom Thibodeau's system.  His 7'2 wingspan is his most effective asset, allowing him to play passing lanes and challenge shots.  Grant will probably take a few years to turn into even an average offensive player, but he would likely fit well in Chicago.

17th - Phoenix Suns (via WAS) - Montrezl Harrell - PF - Louisville, So. - 6'8, 235
NBA Comparison: Paul Millsap

Harrell burst onto the draft scene this year, as many analysts expected he would.  He's a freak athlete with a good motor, which makes up for him not having a great offensive skill-set.  He may benefit from coming back for another year in the college game, but he can contribute right away if drafted this year.

18th - Atlana Hawks - James Young - SG - Kentucky, Fr. - 6'7, 215
NBA Comparison: DeMar DeRozan

Young is a slasher and a good scorer, who would fill Atlanta's needs for a perimeter scorer who can create his own offense.  Young uses his body to create space and finish, and should be able to rely on that in the NBA.  If he can develop his perimeter game, Young has the potential to be a go-to scorer.

19th - Chicago Bulls - Clint Capela - PF - Switzerland, 1994 - 6'10, 210
NBA Comparison: Serge Ibaka

Capela is the definition of "raw", but he has a lot of upside.  He's the kind of international prospect who might be better kept in Europe for a year or two.  His main asset is his length and ability to run the floor, coupled with his size.  Could potentially play SF if he develops perimeter skills.

20th - Toronto Raptors - Elfrid Payton - G - UL-Lafayette, Jr. - 6'3, 180
NBA Comparison: Eric Bledsoe

Elfrid Payton is one of the lesser known American-born players in this year's draft.  He plays a physical game for his small frame and is lethal if he can get into the paint.  Very quick first step and good court vision that makes him almost impossible to guard if he gets in the paint.  Not a great jump shooter.

21st - Oklahoma City Thunder - P.J. Hairston - SG - NBA D-League, 1992 - 6'5, 225
NBA Comparison: Tim Hardaway Jr.

Hairston is taking an uncommon path to the NBA Draft after getting released from the program at UNC.  He has been a dominant scorer in his time in the D-League, which might make him more likely to be an instant contributor in the NBA.  Hairston is a big-bodied SG and does well creating his own look.

22nd - Memphis Grizzlies - Adreian Payne - F/C - Michigan State, Sr. - 6'10, 240
NBA Comparison: Channing Frye

Payne poured in 41 points in MSU's opening round win against Delaware.  His combination of size and skill was just too much for the Blue Hens' frontcourt.  His biggest asset in the NBA will likely be his ability to stretch the floor with range all the way out to the three point line.  Has had issues with a foot injury, which is a concern for a guy his size.

23rd - Utah Jazz - K.J. McDaniels - SF - Clemson, Jr. - 6'6, 200
NBA Comparison: Gerald Green

McDaniels suffers a bit from playing on kind of an average Clemson team, so he doesn't get the kind of exposure as most players on the board.  McDaniels is a freakish athlete who plays an aggressive, physical style of offense.  Only shot 30% from three this season, but didn't need his outside game because of his ability to finish in the paint.  Could rise even higher with a strong showing in workouts.

24th - Charlotte Bobcats - T.J. Warren - SF - N.C. State, So. - 6'8, 230
NBA Comparison: Tobias Harris

Warren is a flat-out scorer despite not really having one skill that really stands out.  He isn't an impressive shooter and doesn't have great ball-handling, but he still finds ways to score.  His body could lend to being a small-ball four, or to playing a traditional three.

25th - Houston Rockets - Willie Cauley-Stein - C - Kentucky, So. - 7'0, 235
NBA Comparison: Samuel Dalembert

Cauley-Stein would be an adequate replacement if the Rockets were to unload Omer Asik.  His length allows him to be a strong shot-blocker, and with time he should be a good rebounder as well.  Not much of an offensive game to speak of outside of scoring on put-backs and open dunks.

26th - Los Angeles Clippers - Jusuf Nurkic - C - Bosnia, 1994 - 6'11, 280
NBA Comparison: Kyle O'Quinn

Nurkic is a massive prospect that has kind of come from nowhere in the last few months.  His play of late in Europe has sparked talk that he may play his way into the lottery in this year's draft.  He has a classic post game and uses his frame to his advantage on offense.

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

Robinson entered the year expected to be a lottery pick, but his disappointing, inconsistent play has moved him down all the way to the edge of the first round.  If he leaves, this is likely where he'll go; though he may opt to stay another year and try to play his way back into the lottery.  Explosive leaper who doesn't do much else due to a lack of ball-handling and shooting ability.

28th - Oklahoma City Thunder - Chris Walker - PF - Florida, Fr. - 6'10, 220
NBA Comparison: Jordan Hill

Walker is a highly hyped prospect who hasn't played much this year at Florida.  Had to sit out the first part of the season due to an eligibility issue.  Highly speculative prospect, who could probably do wonders for himself with another year at Florida.

29th - Phoenix Suns - Markel Brown - SG - Oklahoma State, Sr. - 6'3, 200
NBA Comparison: Ben Gordon

Brown is a pure scorer.  He gets it done in a variety of ways, both inside and out.  Doesn't do much else and will probably be just a bench player for the entirety of his NBA career.

30th - San Antonio Spurs - C.J. Wilcox - SG - Washington, Sr. - 6'6, 185
NBA Comparison: Reggie Bullock

Wilcox is the kind of player that the Spurs take and make into a productive role player due to his niche, which in Wilcox's case, is his shooting.  The Spurs could also use this pick to draft an international player and stash him overseas.

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