Saturday, April 19, 2014

2014 Mock Draft 4.0 (1st Round)


2nd Round
1st - Boston Celtics - Andrew Wiggins - SF - Kansas, Fr. - 6'8, 200
Celtics' odds of #1 pick: 10.3%

The NBA Draft is generally about potential, and that's the basis for Wiggins over Jabari Parker with the first pick.  Wiggins is the superior athlete, has more upside on defense and with an added jump shot could be just as good of a scorer as Parker.  Further down the road, Wiggins could also benefit from improving his ability to create looks for others.  First things first though, as improving his outside shot should be the first order of business for him.  If the Celtics manage to get lucky and nab the first pick, all notions of trading Rajon Rondo would likely disappear.  A lineup with Rondo and Wiggins operating the fast break would be very fun.  If Joel Embiid's back is fully healed, he would also be a candidate to go first overall if Boston gets the top pick.

2nd - Philadelphia 76ers - Jabari Parker - SF - Duke, Fr. - 6'8, 230
76ers' odds of #2 pick: 18.8%

Jabari Parker ended all speculation that he might return to school on Wednesday by formally announcing his intentions to enter the 2014 draft.  Parker's game is certainly NBA-ready as his vast array of offensive weapons should translate nicely to the next level.  Can play inside and out, and should be a better three point shooter than what he showed at the end of the season.  Ball handling is good for this stage, but will need to get better if he's going to be a full-time SF.  Could be questionable defensively if he proves to not be quick enough to defend SFs or big enough to defend PFs.  A lineup of Carter-Williams, Stauskas (see pick 11), Parker, Thad Young and Nerlens Noel could vastly improve Philadelphia's pathetic offense.

Click "Read More" for the rest of the first round...
3rd - Detroit Pistons - Dante Exum - PG - Australia, 1995 - 6'6, 185
Pistons' odds of #3 pick: 3.9%

I swear this happened the first time I ran the simulation.  If the Pistons can luck into a top three pick, it would be impossible for them to not get a player that fills a major need.  With weaknesses at all three perimeter spots, Detroit is guaranteed to be able to plug one of them.  In this case, Exum is the one that's left.  If Detroit can find a taker for Brandon Jennings, Exum slides right into his more natural PG spot from day one.  If not, Exum likely starts at SG and runs the point for any minutes he doesn't share with Jennings.  Exum won't fill Detroit's need for pure outside shooting, but his playmaking and length would instantly add a new dimension to the backcourt.  Exum's strength as a penetrator and passer would make for a good pairing with the finishing ability of Andre Drummond.


4th - Milwaukee Bucks - Joel Embiid - C - Kansas, Fr. - 7'0, 250
Bucks' odds of #4 pick: 35.7%

The funny thing about the Bucks tanking is, their odds of picking fourth are 10% higher than their odds of picking first.  Nonetheless, the Bucks get a potential franchise-changing big man in this scenario.  Embiid's back issues are a potential long-term issue, but his talent and size are undeniable.  Embiid should be an impact defender and rebounder from day one, and will likely show flashes in his rookie year of being an impact player on offense too.  In the long run, if he can stay healthy, Embiid looks like a perennial All-Star due to his size, footwork and athleticism.  The Bucks have Larry Sanders at C currently, but could look to trade him or move him to PF.

5th - Orlando Magic - Marcus Smart - PG - Oklahoma State, So. - 6'4, 225
Magic odds of #5 pick: 26.5%

Orlando has a glut of talented young players, but none of them are really seen as the type who can take over games on a regular basis*.  In Smart, they get a player who has that type of potential.  His size and athleticism are elite for the PG position and he has all the tools to make multiple All-Defensive teams in his career.  Smart averaged just under 3 steals per game as a sophomore at OSU.  Smart's mental toughness has been under question in the past few months due to a few unfortunate incidents.  However, none of the incidents should scare teams away if he can manage to stay clean between now and June 26th.  Smart and Oladipo in one backcourt would make for a great defensive pairing.

6th - Utah Jazz - Kyle Anderson - SF - UCLA, So. - 6'9, 230
Jazz odds of #6 pick: 16.0%

The Jazz seem like good candidates to trade down in this year's draft unless they land one of the top two picks and can get Wiggins or Parker.  They're fairly well set in the frontcourt with Favors and Kanter, and also at PG with Trey Burke.  If they re-sign Gordon Hayward, who can play SG and SF, they're left with few options here with the 6th pick.  It comes down to strategy; best player available (Randle) or best fit?  In this case, they go with the fit in Kyle Anderson.  Anderson brings more playmaking to Utah's wings and would allow Hayward to play more off the ball.

7th - Los Angeles Lakers - Julius Randle - PF - Kentucky, Fr. - 6'9, 250
Lakers' odds of #7 pick: 30.5%

This would be the best-case scenario for the Lakers if they're picking outside of the top three.  Randle is the best post scorer to enter the draft since DeMarcus Cousins.  Whether it's posting up with his back to the basket, or taking a defender off the dribble, Randle is hard to stop.  Has a big body with surprising athleticism and quickness for his size.  Randle doesn't do much defensively, and will likely never be a shot blocker but has enough footspeed to potentially become an average defender overall.  Would make for a great second option on offense until Kobe Bryant retires.

8th - Sacramento Kings - Noah Vonleh - PF - Indiana, Fr. - 6'10, 240
Kings' odds of #8 pick: 23.2%

Noah Vonleh is the least heralded among the top group of prospects, but his style of play should fit nicely alongside DeMarcus Cousins.  Vonleh is a legitimate 6'10 with a 7'4 wingspan and would add the defense and shot blocking that's missing from DMC's game.  Vonleh doesn't have the offensive polish of a Julius Randle, but should be a serviceable offensive option in the long run.  Has range out to 20 feet, as he made 16 of his 33 three-point attempts at Indiana this season.  Also a terrific rebounder, posting a 19.4 TRB% this season at IU.

9th - Cleveland Cavaliers - Aaron Gordon - PF - Arizona, Fr. - 6'9, 225
Cavaliers' odds of #9 pick: 81.3%

Aaron Gordon is the most raw prospect in the top ten, but with that comes huge upside.  Needs to fill out in order to play PF in the NBA.  Has what could turn out to be a very diverse offensive game at the NBA level.  Gordon has range out to the three-point line in catch-and-shoot situations and with time should be able to take bigs off the dribble.  Very sound defensively from a technical standpoint; should be a good rotational shot blocker.  Gordon doesn't have an immediate fit in the Cavs' frontcourt, but Tristan Thompson's time may be close to running out in Cleveland.

10th - Philadelphia 76ers (via NOP) - Nik Stauskas - SG - Michigan, So. - 6'6, 210
76ers' odds of #10 pick: 87.0%

The 76ers were the worst offensive team in the league this season at a pathetic .968 points per possession.  Adding a well-rounded scoring machine like Stauskas could go a long way towards fixing that.  Stauskas shot 44% from behind the arc on nearly 6 attempts per game at Michigan this past season.  Only one 76ers regular shot over 40% last season.  Stauskas can also create off the dribble (18.8 AST%) and score inside the arc (50 2P%).  Stauskas won't be a plus on the defensive end of the floor, but MCW's size would allow the 76ers to mask that.

11th - Denver Nuggets - James Young - SG - Kentucky, Fr. - 6'7, 205
Nuggets' odds of #11 pick: 90.7%

Young is a big, physical SG with a 6'11 wingspan.  His size and quickness should buy him time in the NBA to develop his perimeter game.  Provided the highlight of the NCAA title game by posterizing two UConn big men.  Young has good enough size, length and athleticism that he should be a good defender with some time in the league.  Could fit with the Nuggets if they are looking to replace Wilson Chandler.

12th - Orlando Magic (via NYK/DEN) - Doug McDermott - SF - Creighton, Sr. - 6'8, 230
Magic odds of #12 pick: 93.5%

The Magic would appear to be set at SF with Tobias Harris and Mo Harkless, but neither made huge strides this season.  With the lack of shooting on the roster, they could look to replace one of the two (likely Harkless) with McDermott and his scoring.  McDermott shot 45% from three this season on 6 attempts per game, and even managed 56.7% shooting inside the arc.  Doesn't have elite athleticism, so his game may change a bit at the NBA level, as he'll likely rely more on catch-and-shoot opportunities.  The Magic often like to play small at the 4, so McDermott could even provide a small-ball stretch four option to Orlando.

13th - Minnesota Timberwolves - Dario Saric - F - Croatia, 1994 - 6'10, 225
Timberwolves' odds of #13 pick: 96%

Saric would likely be projected higher if there were more certainty about his situation.  While his agent suggested Saric will enter the draft this year, there is no guarantee that he would come to the NBA right away after being picked.  If GMs don't believe Saric will come over from Europe for the 2014-15 season, he could slide out of the lottery.  Saric is a point forward whether he is slotted at the 3 or the 4, and functions well in the open court.  In the half court, Saric would work best in the pick-and-roll or cutting to the basket, as he's not currently a reliable jump shooter.  Has good natural size, but could stand to pack on some muscle.

14th - Phoenix Suns - Gary Harris - SG - Michigan State, So. - 6'5, 210
Suns' odds of #14 pick: 98.2%

The Suns face the possibility of losing Eric Bledsoe this offseason, as he'll be a Restricted Free Agent.  Whether Bledsoe leaves or not, Phoenix needs depth in the backcourt.  Harris would bring yet another dynamic scorer and defender to the Suns' guard rotation.  He struggled to shoot from the arc this season at MSU, but should be at least an average shooter in his NBA career.  Has enough shot-creating ability to be a reliable offensive option.


15th - Atlanta Hawks - Zach LaVine - G - UCLA, Fr. - 6'5, 180 

LaVine is one of the more divisive early entrants to the draft.  Jonathan Givony of Draft Express sees LaVine as a late first round pick, while others see him as a lottery talent.  LaVine got off to a great start for UCLA this season, but struggled down the stretch as his role diminished.  The bulk of the buzz over him is caused by his explosiveness in the open floor.  His offensive game is raw if you take away the open floor looks, and he isn't a talented defender. LaVine isn't a great shooter, but is a fine ball handler.  Would fit well with the Hawks playing on or off the ball.

16th - Chicago Bulls (via CHA) - Elfrid Payton - G - Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr. - 6'4, 180

Payton is a spectacular defender, using his great length (6'7 wingspan) and athleticism to hound ball handlers, averaging 2.3 SPG in his junior season at ULL.  On the offensive end of the floor, Payton's best assets are his quick crossover and finishing ability.  Payton only shot 25.9% from beyond the arc this season and probably won't improve much, if at all, at the next level.  Would be a great fit in Chicago's defensive scheme.

17th - Boston Celtics (via BKN) - Jusuf Nurkic - C - Bosnia, 1994 - 6'11, 270

Nurkic has been rocketing up draft boards lately on the back of his strong play over in Europe's Adriatic League.  He's a massive body with a traditional back-to-the-basket game in the mold of Al Jefferson.  Boasts a variety of moves from either block and uses them wisely in the proper situations.  Is great at reading his defender if guarded one-on-one.  Is reported to have poor conditioning, which may be his biggest weak spot at this point.

18th - Phoenix Suns (via WAS) - Adreian Payne - F/C - Michigan State, Sr. - 6'10, 245

Payne figures to provide whoever drafts him with a good mix of a stretch four and rebounding.  If Payne had produced in his first two seasons like he did in his last two, he likely would've found himself as a top five pick.  A good athlete with shooting touch and a feel for the game, Payne features a well-rounded offensive game.  Is a solid rebounder, but won't block many shots.  Had trouble with a foot injury this season.

19th - Chicago Bulls - Jerami Grant - SF - Syracuse, So. - 6'8, 215

Grant is a solid athlete with a 7'2 wingspan, which is his main asset on the court.  Great length and athleticism will likely make him a plus defender at the NBA level.  However, it's hard to see him as more than a rotation player if he doesn't make major improvements to his offensive game.  Did most of his scoring at Syracuse in the open floor, as he lacks a jump shot and solid handle.  Is also (like Elfrid Payton) a great fit to play for Thibodeau in Chicago.

20th - Toronto Raptors - Tyler Ennis - PG - Syracuse, Fr. - 6'2, 175

The Raptors enter the offseason with both Kyle Lowry and Greivis Vasquez entering free agency.  They'll likely at least need a new back up.  Ennis should develop into at least a good rotation PG in the NBA due to his great ability to value the ball.  Averaged 5.5 APG as a freshman at Syracuse against only 1.7 TOPG.  Was a reliable shooter for most of his freshman season, but struggled down the stretch and only finished at 35% for the year.  His ability to shoot could define what he is in the NBA, as he'll likely never have much of a scoring game inside the arc.

21st - Oklahoma City Thunder (via DAL) - P.J. Hairston - SG - D-League, 1992 - 6'5, 225

Hairston has played pretty well in the D-League after being booted from UNC's program.  Playing for the Texas Legends, Hairston averaged 21.8 PPG on 46.5% shooting.  He demonstrated a knack for getting to the FT line (5.6 FTA/game) and scored efficiently inside the arc as well (55 2P%).  Being tossed out of your university never looks good, so he will likely be looked at closely before the draft.  OKC doesn't seem sold on Jeremy Lamb, so adding depth on the wings is an option with one of their picks.

22nd - Memphis Grizzlies - Rodney Hood - SF - Duke, So. - 6'8, 210

Hood will make his mark in the NBA as a scorer, and he's a good one.  He averaged 16.1 PPG at Duke this year as the 2nd option for the Blue Devils.  Claims a 59.6 TS%, boosted mostly by shooting 42% from three on just under 5 attempts per game.  Isn't a high-level rebounder, passer or defender, which will likely drop him out of the lottery and into the middle of the first round.

23rd - Utah Jazz (via GS) - Clint Capela - PF - Switzerland, 1994 - 6'11, 220

Capela is going to get drafted in the first round mostly off of his potential, due to his physical build.  Standing 6'11 with a 7'4.5" wingspan, Capela is also very good at getting out and running the floor.  Only managed 5 points and 3 rebounds with a block at the Nike Hoop Summit this year, tempering what had been a meteoric rise up draft boards.  According to Givony, has a tendency to rely too much on a streaky jump shot.  If he can put it all together, likely has the ceiling of a Serge Ibaka-type player.

24th - Charlotte Bobcats (via POR) - T.J. Warren - SF - N.C. State, So. - 6'8, 230

Warren doesn't really have a true NBA position, which is usually cause for concern.  Doesn't have the shooting range or ball handling to be a true SF, but isn't quite big enough to play PF full-time.  Either way, he knows how to score.  Warren converted 58% of his two point attempts this season, and is also a capable rebounder.  Good basketball players find a way to stick in the NBA even if they don't have a true position fit, and I think Warren is a good player.

25th - Houston Rockets - Shabazz Napier - PG - UConn, Sr. - 6'1, 185

Napier likely propelled himself into the first round with his run to a title with the Huskies.  Had a great senior season averaging 18 PPG on 40.5% three point shooting.  Isn't seen as a true PG by most, so he'll likely carve out a role as a scoring guard off the bench.

26th - Miami Heat - Glenn Robinson III - SF - Michigan, So. - 6'7, 220

Robinson failed to live up to the hype he had coming into the season when many saw him as a lock to be a lottery pick.  His lack of a perimeter game, both in terms of shooting and ball handling, are the main things holding him back.  Robinson has an NBA-ready body and the athleticism to boot.  If he ever develops a three point shot, he should be a quality starter down the road.  However, that is no guarantee.  Would be a good fit with Miami on their second unit.

27th - Phoenix Suns (via IND) - K.J. McDaniels - SF - Clemson, Jr. - 6'6, 200

McDaniels would be a great fit in Phoenix where he can get out, run and play above the rim.  Isn't a polished scorer, but is very physical and should be a good defender from day one.  Offensive game thrives in the paint and at the free throw line.

28th - Los Angeles Clippers - Cleanthony Early - SF - Wichita State, Sr. - 6'8, 225

Early was a very efficient scorer for Wichita State in his senior year.  Converted 57.9% of his two-point attempts, 37.6% of his three-point attempts and got to the FT line nearly 5 times per game where he hit 84.9%.  Good height and length for the perimeter, but big enough to play the 4 in a small-ball lineup.  Would be good depth for the Clippers at SF, where Barnes and Dudley haven't proven worthy.

29th - Oklahoma City Thunder - Nikola Jokic - C - Serbia, 1995 - 6'11, 250

Jokic is a bit of a project big man right now, but he has massive upside.  With good natural size, Jokic has a mid-range game both as a scorer and a passer.  Showed well at the 2014 Nike Hoop Summit, where he turned a lot of heads with his skill and size.  Seems like a candidate for a draft-and-stash arrangement.

30th - San Antonio Spurs - Bogdan Bogdanovic - SG - Serbia, 1992 - 6'6, 200

A bit older than the usual European draft prospect, as he's already 21 and will be 22 in August.  Said to have a 6'11 wingspan, which is massive for a guy his size.  Is a creator on offense and can be a lockdown defender.

2nd Round


  1. Like your picks.... great 2nd round ..... this draft has a lot of depth. For teams like the 76's , Magic, Jazz , Celtics ,Bucks & Kings, they have the chance to pick up solid building blocks added to next years ( loaded with bigs with the likes of Okafer, Towns, Alexander, Lyles, D.Johnson, CaulyStein , C.Walker, etc...) draft and several of these teams might be playoff bound.

    1. Thank you! I agree that a team like Orlando or Boston could instantly be playoff bound if they work their picks right. Next year's draft is probably deeper, and if the big men develop like they should, it arguably could be as good or better than this year's.

  2. Don't forget Turner, Muliday, B.Johnson , S,Johnson , K.Olbre , K.Looney , W.Sheldon, to name a few and its looking like the 2015 draft will be just as talented if not better than the 2014 draft.