2014 NBA Mock Draft 3.0
Jabari Parker is entering, Willie Cauley-Stein is heading back to the University of Kentucky and Mitch McGary has no choice but to enter or face a one year ban. Let’s mock it up in this post-season edition.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, Duke, 6’8”, SF/PF
The Bucks need the most surefire thing in this draft, and there’s no player more NBA-ready than Jabari Parker. His size and offensive skill set will allow him to succeed in the league from day one and become a force at either forward position for Milwaukee.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, 6’8″, SF –
It’s tempting to choose Embiid, but with center Nerlens Noel returning from injury it makes more sense for the Sixers to draft Wiggins and fill their need for a small forward.
3. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, Australia, 6’6″, PG/SG
Embiid slides past the Magic since they already have Vucevic as their center of the future, allowing Exum (A.K.A. Penny Hardaway Jr.) and Oladipo to form one of the most explosively athletic backcourts in the league.
4. Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid, Kansas, 7’0″, C
Sorry Enes Kanter, there’s no way the Jazz pass up on Embiid with the fourth pick.
5. Boston Celtics: Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6’10”, PF/C
The Celtics have plenty of young talent in the frontcourt, but lack a true big that can man the middle on a nightly basis. Although Vonleh is still relatively raw, he could easily become their new center of the future a few years down the line.
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.
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: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6’4″, PG/SG
The Pistons could use a versatile guard like Marcus Smart in their backcourt. He would fill in at either guard position for the team and be just the type of defensive-minded player they need to shore up their subpar backcourt defense.
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): Garry Harris, Michigan State, 6’5″, SG
With Randy Foye set to hit free agency this summer, it’d be smart for the Nuggets to select a three-point specialist like Gary Harris. Although slightly undersized, a Lawson/Harris combo would be hard for any opposing team to contain on the offensive end of the floor.
11. Philadelphia 76ers (via Hornets): Nik Stauskas, Michigan, 6’6″, SG
Introducing the tallest backcourt in the NBA: Stauskas and Carter-Williams, who combine for a jaw-dropping 13 feet in height.
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): Zach LaVine, UCLA, 6’5″, SG/PG
LaVine is still incredibly raw, but has the potential to flourish down the line if he can succeed in the Bulls system. Chicago is known for developing young talent (Gibson, Butler, Snell) and could have another stud in the making if LaVine reaches his ceiling in the Windy City.
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): 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 Celtics ranking third last in three pointers made, they definitely could use a sharpshooter like Young on the wing.
19. Chicago Bulls: 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.
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: 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.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: K.J. McDaniels, Clemson, 6’6″, SF-
K.J. McDaniels has emerged from obscurity, developing into one of the most versatile forwards in college basketball this season. Other than his three point shot, this kid really has no weaknesses in his game.
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): Glen Robinson III, Michigan, SF-
After a promising freshman campaign, many scouts were anticipating a breakout season for Robinson III. Unfortunately for the former Wolverine, his numbers along with his draft stock have slipped dramatically following a rather disappointing season.
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: 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.
28. Phoenix Suns (via Pacers): 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.
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: Vasilje Micic, Serbia, 6’5″, PG-
Micic is drawing comparisons to Mavs guard Jose Calderson, thanks to his smooth ball handling ability and pass-first mentality. Other than Dante Exum, there’s no better international floor general to take in this draft.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops