2014 NBA Mock Draft 5.0
With the lottery and NBA Draft combine complete, we’re finally starting to get a sense of where many of the top prospects could end up on draft night.
The next pivotal phase will be the evaluation period, where teams invite numerous prospects for private workouts and interviews, allowing them an opportunity to weed out weak links and better rank those that deserve to remain atop their respective draft boards.
So with the draft inching closer, here’s our latest mock for the entire first round.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, Kansas, 6’8″, SF/SG
It’s still up in the air as to which of the elite 3 will be taken first, but with Luol Deng bound to leave in free agency, the most plausible scenario would be for the Cavs to take Wiggins thanks to his two-way upside.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, Duke, 6’8”, SF/PF
Although replacing Sanders with Embiid is tempting, the Bucks select Jabari Parker to alleviate their horrific scoring production.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Dante Exum, Australia, 6’6″, PG/SG
With Nerlens Noel already manning the middle, the Sixers steal Exum from the Magic to form one of the most dynamic backcourts in all of the league (Just imagine a Bledsoe-Dragic backcourt on steroids)
4. Orlando Magic: Noah Vonleh, Indiana, 6’10”, PF/C
Vonleh joins Nik Vucevic in the frontcourt to provide much needed shot blocking, rim protection and three point shooting at the 4.
5. Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid, Kansas, 7’0”, C
The Jazz have plenty of young talent in the frontcourt, but lack a true big that can man the middle on a nightly basis (unless Kanter magically turns things around). Embiid slides to them at number 5 due to concerns about his back, becoming one of the biggest steals in the draft.
6. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6’4″, PG/SG
With Avery Bradley on the way out, Marcus Smart fills their need at the 2 and could potentially take over for Rondo if Boston decides it’s best to part ways.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, Kentucky, 6’9″, PF
Randle would be a great addition for the Lakers, supplying the team with low post scoring and toughness in the paint.
8. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, Arizona, 6’9″, PF/SF
The Kings need a defensive minded big man like Aaron Gordon to pair next to DeMarcus Cousins, who would do an excellent job shoring up their interior defense.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Nik Stauskas, Michigan, 6’6″, SG
Michigan sharpshooter Nik Stauskas will alleviate the team’s need for a legitimate three point shooter and floor spacer.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via Pelicans): Dario Saric, Croatia, 6’10”, SF/PF
Saric offers a unique blend of size and versatility, filling the Sixers vacancy on the wing.
11. Denver Nuggets: Doug McDermott, Creighton, 6’7″, SF/PF
Like Charlotte, the Nuggets need a perimeter threat like McDermott to help spread the floor more effectively.
12. Orlando Magic (via Nuggets): Zach LaVine, UCLA, 6’5″, PG/SG
Although it may take multiple years for LaVine to blossom, his jaw-dropping athleticism and killer three point stroke indicate he definitely has the potential to be a star down the line.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Garry Harris, Michigan State, 6’2″, SG
Minnesota’s bench was absolutely awful last season, ranking 25th in points per game. Drafting a scoring guard like Gary Harris could be just what the team needs to alleviate their lackluster second unit.
14. Phoenix Suns: Kyle Anderson, UCLA, 6’9″, PF/SF/PG
No prospect is more intriguing than Kyle Anderson, who offers a weird but distinct package of size and stellar point guard skills.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Rodney Hood, Duke, 6’8″, SF
The Hawks 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 Hornets): 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. Playing with the Bulls would benefit Young exponentially, as he would learn from the best on how to become a more elite defender.
17. Boston Celtics (via Nets): Tyler Ennis, Syracuse, 6’2″, PG
Ennis displayed tons of poise and veteran-like decision making in his lone season with the Orange. Even though the Celtics have plenty of options at the 1, Ennis is the type of player you don’t pass up on this late in the draft.
18. Phoenix Suns (via Wizards): Adreian Payne, Michigan State, 6’10” PF
If the Suns hold onto this pick, selecting Adreian Payne would allow them to part ways with Channing Frye after next season. In the meantime, Frye could serve as a mentor to Payne, who coincidentally has an almost identical style of play offensively.
19. Chicago Bulls: T.J. Warren, N.C. State, 6’8″, SF/PF
If the Bulls feel that going after Carmelo Anthony is a lost cause, selecting an unorthodox scorer like T.J. Warren could alleviate their woes on the offensive end.
20. Toronto Raptors: Elfrid Payton, L.A. Lafayette, 6’4″, PG
Payton is drawing comparisons to Celtics superstar Rajon Rondo, thanks to his ability to attack the rim fearlessly and find open teammates with ease.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Mavs) Jusuf Nurkic, Bosnia, 6’11”, C
With the Thunder possibly needing a true center that can fill in for Steven Adams (assuming Kendrick Perkins is amnestied), international big man Jusuf Nurkic could be just the answer.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Cleanthony Early, Wichita State 6’8″, SF/PF
The biggest hole in the Grizzlies lineup has to be the small forward position and Early is skilled enough to start from the get-go. In his last season with the Shockers he averaged a team high 16.3 points and 6 rebounds per game.
23. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Jerami Grant, Syracuse, 6’8″, SF/PF
Grant has the elite athleticism and superb physical tools scouts rave about in a wing prospect. The issue is he plays more like a power forward in a small forward’s body.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Blazers): P.J. Hairston, Texas Legends, 6’5″, SG
After being dismissed from the University of North Carolina, Hairston decided to enter the NBA D-League and join the Texas Legends. Believe it or not, four years ago this guy was one of the most hyped shooting guard prospects in the nation.
25. Houston Rockets: Clint Capela, Switzerland, 6’10”, PF
Capela is still a very raw prospect, but his 6’10” size and enormous 7’4″ wingspan alone will keep him from falling out of the first round.
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, Connecticut, 6’1″, PG
With Chalmers set to hit the open market, Miami brings in a point guard that LeBron has nothing but praise for. Apparently he believes Napier should be the first floor general taken in the draft… boy is he in for a surprise.
27. Phoenix Suns (via Pacers): K.J. McDaniels, Clemson, 6’6″, SF
McDaniels disappointing performance at the combine definitely puts a dent in his stock, but he’s still bound to have at least one team call his name before the first round ends.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Vasilje Micic, Serbia, 6’5″, PG
Micic is drawing comparisons to Jose Calderon thanks to his elite passing ability and smooth ball handling. Unfortunately, he also carries the same defensive limitations as well.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: 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.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Markel Brown, Oklahoma State, 6’3″, SG
Brown’s jaw dropping athleticism was on full display at the NBA Draft Combine, posting a ridiculous 43.5″ max vertical leap which tied for first with Jahii Carson.
Follow Evan Caulfield on Twitter @fieldhoops