2014 NBA Mock Draft 2.0
With the postseason only a couple days away, why not have another mock draft? And for all you naysayers, I don’t care what your witty response is. We’ve already heard plenty of big names like Wiggins, Parker and Embiid declare, so where would these guys and more get selected if the draft were today? Let’s mock.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, Duke, 6’8”, SF/PF
With question marks surrounding Joel Embiid’s long term health, the Bucks may opt to go with Jabari Parker. He’d immediately alleviate some of Milwaukee’s offensive woes and fill in the frontcourt nicely next to Larry Sanders.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, Kansas, 7’0″, C
Even though we haven’t seen Nerlens Noel play an NBA game yet, you can start to picture how dominant a Noel-Embiid frontcourt would be. With Noel protecting the paint and Embiid leading the low post offense, this could be a lethal one-two punch combination.
3. Orlando Magic: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, 6’8″, SF
Positionally speaking, it makes more sense for the Magic to choose their point guard of the future (cough, cough DANTE EXUM). However, Wiggins star potential is just too much to pass up on and totally worth it even if it creates a giant clog at the small forward position.
4. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, Australia, 6’6″, PG/SG
Even with Alec Burks emerging as a legitimate shooting guard, the Jazz may be best served drafting Australian phenom Dante Exum. He and Trey Burke would form one of the most dangerous passing backcourts in the league and allow Burks to thrive as a sixth man off the bench.
5. Boston Celtics: Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6’10”, PF/C
The Celtics have plenty of young talent in the frontcourt, but lack a true center that can man the middle on a nightly basis. Sorry Kris Humphries, you’re looking at Boston’s new center of the future.
6. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, Kentucky, 6’9″, PF
Small Forward, power forward and center are all vacant for the Lakers next season, so why not go with a bruising big man like Julius Randle? He’s a total beast in the lowpost and also rebounds exceptionally well despite his short wingspan. Hopefully he can handle the expectations of being Kobe’s next young apprentice.
7. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, Arizona, 6’9″, PF
The Kings need a defensive minded power forward to pair next to DeMarcus Cousins and it just so happens that Aaron Gordon fits the format perfectly. He’s by far one of the best frontcourt defenders in college basketball, leading the nation in defensive win shares with 3.3. Checkout this video for more detail on his superb defense: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=10263907
8. Detroit Pistons: Garry Harris, Michigan State, 6’5″, SG
One of the biggest reasons for Detroit’s failures this season has been their atrocious offense from beyond the perimeter, ranking second to last in three point field goal percentage and third to last in threes made. Gary Harris happens to be one of the most elite three point shooters in college basketball. Don’t screw this up Detroit.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doug McDermott, Creighton, 6’8″, SF/PF
McDermott did everything he could to boost his draft stock, leading the nation in total points and offensive win shares with 6.3 a contest. It remains to be seen how well his skills translate to the next level, but his offensive repertoire alone should be enough to keep him in the league for a long time.
10. Denver Nuggets (via Knicks): Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6’4″, PG/SG
Don’t assume Smart’s temper issues this season will affect his draft stock. Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress told Adam Zagoria from Zagsblog, “I don’t think this incident will affect his stock much either way,” he said. “More concerning is the way he’s been playing the last month or so. That could absolutely damage his stock.”
11. Philadelphia 76ers (via Hornets): Zach LaVine, UCLA, 6’5″, SG/PG
Zach LaVine’s numbers don’t scream lottery pick, but his elite athleticism and smooth jumpshot have teams interested in his long term potential. He’ll definitely need a few years to develop before he can make an impact at the next level, but the risk-reward ratio alone may have a team snag him off the boards pretty early.
12. Orlando Magic (via Nuggets): Tyler Ennis, Syracuse, 6’2″, PG
Tyler Ennis doesn’t posses top-notch athleticism or size, but he still intrigues scouts thanks to his uncanny ability to take over games in the clutch. With Jameer Nelson on the verge of a buyout this summer, he fits in perfectly with the young talented core in Orlando and could become their floor general of the future.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Dario Saric, Croatia, 6’10”, SF/PF
It’s still up in the air whether or not Saric will actually declare for this draft, but if he does he’s bound to garner some interest in the late lottery. He’s got the skills of a point guard in a power forward’s body and can stretch the floor with his perimeter jumpshot.
14. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, Switzerland, 6’10”, PF
Capela has recently emerged onto the draft scene, wowing scouts with his raw physical tools and ability to dominate inside. With the Suns needing a power forward of the future, it makes sense for them to pick him up.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Rodney Hood, Duke, 6’8″, SF
Hood had a phenomenal breakout campaign with Duke, lifting his scoring average by 6 points and shooting even more efficiently from the field after sitting out a year due to his transfer from Mississippi State. The Hawks desperately need an offensive-minded small forward to fill their starting lineup, so going with Hood as the 15th pick is a no brainer.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Bobcats): Nik Stauskas, Michigan, 6’6″, SG
Many scouts were quick to judge Nik Stauskas’s success from last season, believing his numbers were inflated since he had Trey Burke as a teammate. Fast forward to a year later, and you cannot deny Stauskas is the real deal, as he’s improved his numbers across the board and become Michigan’s number one option on offense.
17. Phoenix Suns (via Wizards): T.J. Warren, N.C. State, 6’8″, SF/PF
Warren is one of the most unorthodox scorers in college basketball, generating most of his points inside the arc and using an array of hesitation moves from midrange to fill up the stat sheet in a hurry. It’s still uncertain how his play style will translate to the next level, but he could end up being a huge steal in this draft for any team willing to take a gamble on him.
18. Boston Celtics (via Nets): Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7’0″, C
Defensively Cauley-Stein is a flat out beast, averaging 4.8 blocks and 10.2 rebounds per 40 minutes according to basketball-reference. Offensively, there’s a lot left to be desired, as Cauley-Stein can only get most of his buckets from simple putbacks and lobs. He’s definitely a long-term project, but the Celtics could utilize him as a reserve big man in the meantime.
19. Chicago Bulls: Montrezl Harrell, Louisville, 6’8″, PF
Harrell has a motor that never stops, constantly using his insane athletic ability to attack the glass and collect garbage buckets with ease. With the Bulls possibly amnestying Carlos Boozer this summer, they definitely could use a player like Harrell to fill in for Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah when they need a breather.
20. Toronto Raptors: Adreian Payne, Michigan State, 6’10” PF
Payne has been a beast for Michigan State this year, expanding his offensive repertoire to new heights and becoming one of the best power forwards in the NCAA. At 23 years old Payne lacks much upside, but could still be a serviceable player for any team that needs an offensive big man.
21. Dallas Mavericks: Kyle Anderson, UCLA, 6’9″, PG/SF
At first glance, Anderson’s physical tools make you believe he could be the next Magic Johnson… that is until you realize he’s a hell of a lot slower. If Anderson can get his slow-paced game to translate to the next level he could be an absolute steal, but that’s a big “if”at this point.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: James Young, Kentucky, 6’7″, SG/SF
Young can get a little too trigger friendly from behind the arc at times, but when he’s hot he’s nearly unstoppable. With the Grizzlies ranking dead last in three pointers made they definitely could use a sharpshooter like Young on the wing.
23. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Cleanthony Early, Wichita State 6’8″, SF/PF
Fun Fact: A few years ago Early was virtually unknown, playing at Sullivan Community College in Division III. Now he’s rose on to draft boards averaging a team high 16.3 points and 6 rebounds per game for the Shockers. Pretty SHOCKING right…? (sorry for the horrible pun)
24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Blazers): Jerami Grant, Syracuse, 6’8″, SF
Grant has shown flashes of his potential during his sophomore season with the Fighting Orange, but still needs quite a bit of seasoning if he’s going to be successful in the NBA.
25. Miami Heat: Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia, 6’11”, C
Introducing Jusuf Nurkic, yet another international big man to emerge onto the draft scene as of late. With the Heat needing a true center that can fill in for the injury-prone Greg Oden, Nurkic would be a perfect fit and could eventually take over as starting center in the lineup.
26. Houston Rockets: Elfrid Payton, L.A. Lafayette, 6’4″, PG
Payton does a great job utilizing his size on the defensive end of the floor, averaging nearly 3 steals per 40 minutes. His jumpshot still needs quite a bit of work, but overall he could serve as a decent backup for a team that could use a floor general.
27. Los Angeles Clippers: P.J. Hairston, Texas Legends, 6’5″, SG
After being dismissed from the University of North Carolina, Hairston opted to enter the NBA D-League with hopes of boosting his stock before the draft. His play has been shaky at best, with the guard putting up 31 points one night and 10 the next, but he’s still bound to get some interest in the late first round.
28. Phoenix Suns (via Pacers): Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, 6’1″, PG
Napier has clearly been the best player in the NCAA tournament, averaging 23.2 points, 4.5 assists and 6 rebounds in 35.2 minutes per game. Without this performance, I’m not sure he would even be considered a first round pick.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Markel Brown, Oklahoma State, 6’3″, SG
The sidekick to Marcus Smart had another impressive season, lifting his scoring average while improving his efficiency from the field. He’s got freakish athleticism and uses it to his advantage when he attacks the basket, however it’s uncertain how he will fare once he’s matched up with larger players.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Jordan Adams, UCLA, 6’5″, SG
With all the hype surrounding Zach LaVine and Kyle Anderson, UCLA’s Jordan Adams was in the shadow for most of the year despite leading the team in ppg with 17.6. For any team that needs a combo guard that can score points in bunches-here’s your guy.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops