26 June 2014

2014 NBA Mock Draft: Final Edition

(AP)
Well here we are, the day of the 2014 NBA Draft. And I feel comfortable in saying that the action tonight is going to be out of control as nobody really knows what just may go down tonight in Brooklyn. But it is a very good draft class it is going to be a fun night.

Here is my final NBA mock draft for 2014.

Draft Preview

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Andrew Wiggins, G/F, Kansas
Naturally, nobody seems to know what the Cavaliers are going to do with the first selection. They settled on Joel Embiid, he develops a broken foot. Then they seemed to focus on Jabari Parker, but he had an underwhelming workout with the team and Dan Gilbert seems to want the team to take Wiggins. I do think they will ultimately take Wiggins and it would be a better selection as he is a better fit for what the Cleveland roster currently is. I actually like Wiggins more than Parker and I think he has a higher ceiling than Parker as well. He should be an impact defender right away and has insane athleticism. There are concerns that he was not as assertive offensively as he should have been, but Tracy McGrady was like that at times as well and Wiggins looks like the next T-Mac.

2. Milwaukee Bucks - Jabari Parker, F, Duke
Parker seemingly wants to go Milwaukee ahead of Cleveland, hence why some have suggested he may have tanked his Cleveland workout. Hell, he's predicting that he will be drafted by the Bucks, so there is that. The team could certainly use an infusion of offensive pop and while one may wonder how Parker projects next to Giannis Antetokounmpo, he is too good to pass up. There is no question that Parker has prodigious offensive skills and I think he projects best in the NBA as a stretch four. The concerns with him are with which position he will defend as he may not have the stretch to defend in the post or the quickness to guard the perimeter.

3. Philadelphia 76ers - Dante Exum, G, Australia
Could the Sixers take Embiid? I could see it but I also think the franchise brass could be hesitant to take another center that will be out for the year due to injury after acquiring Nerlens Noel in the draft day Jrue Holiday trade. And I think that GM Sam Hinkie will be tantalized by the prodigious talents of the Australian teenager and being able to pair him with Michael Carter-Williams in the backcourt would be too much for him to resist. Exum is seen as this draft's man of mystery, particularly as many general managers have only seen him once in person. He looks like a two guard at the next level as one GM has compared him to a young Kobe Bryant.

4. Orlando Magic - Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana
I think that Embiid will certainly be in play here but I do wonder if Magic GM Rob Hennigan would want to take a player that likely will not play next year. Vonleh has been a rising prospect and he fits what the Magic could be looking for in a stretch four to play next to Nikola Vucevic. Vonleh can shoot it well from three point land and he has the ability to develop an inside game as well. He is a tremendous rebounder and his length helps him on the defensive end. He is still a little raw and was underutilized in Bloomington so his numbers are disappointing (although his advanced numbers are strong).

5. Utah Jazz - Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
Gordon is a little bit of a project thanks to an offensive game that needs a lot of work, but for a Utah club with little chance to compete next year, they can afford to wait. Especially for somebody that has a number of comparisons to former Jazz Andrei Kirilenko, or more likely Shawn Marion. Gordon is extremely athletic and already is a tremendous defensive player that also excels on the glass. He also is a quality passer for a forward, is unselfish and is of high character. He also works hard and when he develops an offensive game, look out.

6. Boston Celtics - Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
I feel that this is likely the latest Embiid could fall, although who truly knows how many teams may be scared off by Embiid's injury history and the latest being his foot issues that were reported last week. Personally, I think that even then, and the longer learning curve that a missed season will likely only ehance, Embiid is way too talented to pass up. This has the feelings of a vintage Danny Ainge selection. There is a reason why Embiid is being likened to a young Akeem Olajuwon with how much of a difference maker he is defensively and with how athletic he is.

7. Los Angeles Lakers - Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State
The Lakers are entering a rebuilding year so they could go in many different directions with this selection. Smart would give Los Angeles a point guard of the future and I think his competitiveness would jive well with Kobe Bryant's thirst for wins. Smart needs to work on his shot on the perimeter but he has the strength, size, length and instincts that you want out of a guard. He is not afraid to play physical and he excels at getting to the rim. Smart should also be a hound of a defender.

8. Sacramento Kings - Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
Sacramento seems to be shopping this pick for the hell of it and there is a good chance that they will not be making this selection tonight. But we will worry about that when, or if, it happens but in the meantime I have them taking McDermott. McDermott is certainly one of the more intriguing prospects in the draft due to his tremendous scoring talents and also his lack of a position. Whichever team that drafts him will be pleased if he is an average defender, but that could even be a stretch. However, he could give the Kings needed perimeter action to help space out the floor for Boogie Cousins.

9. Charlotte Hornets - Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan
The Hornets, or technically speaking the Bobcats as of last year, took a big step into the playoffs last year with one of the best seasons in franchise history. However, they still have plenty of room for improvement in the Eastern Conference and one way they really have to improve is with their perimeter shooting, which was a mess this past year. One way they could improve in that regard is to draft this Michigan sharpshooter. Stauskas plays hard and has a very nice offensive game for a two guard.

10. Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans) - Julius Randle, F, Kentucky
Could Randle fall to the tenth selection? Sure, why not? Maybe his foot issues could scare off a club or two, but I think Philadelphia would be more than happy if he fell into their laps. That would give them a talented Kentucky frontcourt pairing of Randle and Nerlens Noel, and the two complement each other well. Every team could seemingly use a Zach Randolph-type in the post and Zeebo's name is one you hear a lot when you break down Randle's game. Randle is a strong and physical player that loves to overpower opponents down low, although he won't be able to do that as much in the NBA. He also is a little undersized for a four.

11. Denver Nuggets - Gary Harris, G, Michigan State
The Nuggets took a noticeable step back this past season but can rebound with better luck with health and improved play from the two guard position. Harris is a little small for the position and his shot declined last year from the year prior, although he was playing hurt, but he has is a very good slasher that can attack the basket, or utilize a floater. He also is a tremendous defender and Denver could certainly use more of those.

12. Orlando Magic - Elfrid Payton, G, Louisiana-Lafayette
Payton has seen his stock rise and it would not surprise anyone if the Rajin Cajun point guard cracked the top ten. At this juncture with Orlando needing a point guard to pair Victor Oladipo with in the backcourt, they would be more than willing to take Payton. While his jump shot is inconsistent and he struggles from the free throw line, even though he is awesome at getting to the charity stripe, Payton is a tremendous defender thanks to his length and his lateral speed, plus his instincts allow him to nab some steals. He excels in transition and can finish at the tin as well.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves - Adreian Payne, F, Michigan State
Minnesota is going to be a fun team to watch in the pre-draft process as it appears that trade rumors featuring Kevin Love are going to flare up as it looks like Love is not interested in re-signing next summer. Therefore, this pick could be very fluid if a deal goes down. I think they will want to add another four regardless of whether Love remains on the team and I think Payne will be the guy. Yes, he is 23 and may not have the ceiling of other prospects but he is a versatile big that can shoot the three very well and do some damage on the glass.

14. Phoenix Suns - James Young, G, Kentucky
Phoenix surprised many an NBA observer in coming close to getting into the Western Conference playoffs, and a big part of their success was the play of their undersized backcourt in Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe may not be a pure shooting guard so bringing in a more natural fit for the position such as this Kentucky product could give the Suns even more options. He can fill it up offensively and his jump shot is nice to watch. He also has plus size and length for a shooting guard and is a good rebounder for his position.

15. Atlanta Hawks - Dario Saric, F, Coratia
Danny Ferry showed last year that he is truly a student of the Spurs school of drafting in taking a pair of foreign prospects that did not show immediate dividends. And I think he can very well do that by taking Saric, who will not be coming to the NBA for a couple of years. Saric is a unique prospect and he projects to be a point forward type due to his passing and playmaking skills. He is not extremely athletic and he may struggle defensively, plus his shot is a little inconsistent. But teams love players that bring the versaility that Saric brings to the table and he also is a strong rebounder as well.

16. Chicago Bulls (from Charlotte) - Rodney Hood, F, Duke
There is no question that the Bulls had offensive issues last year as once Derrick Rose was injured, again, and Luol Deng was dealt, they did not have many guys that can provide them with points in bunches. Hood is a pure scorer with an excellent stroke from the perimeter. And a strong defensive club like the Grizzlies with a brilliant coach in Tom Thibodeau can mask his defensive shortcomings.

17. Boston Celtics (from Brooklyn) - Zach LaVine, G, UCLA
LaVine has been a little all over the place in terms of where he may go. On one hand, LaVine is an athletic monster that has a tremendous ceiling as a result and he showed plenty of talent at times in Westwood. However, he is far from a finished product as he also was very inconsistent during his sole year as a Bruin. This seems like a Danny Ainge selection as he loves to take chances on talented guys in the hope that they turn out big.

18. Phoenix Suns (from Washington) - Kyle Anderson, G, UCLA
Phoenix has a trio of first round selections as I mentioned and thus can afford to take some risks, including on a guy like Anderson. Anderson has the size of a small forward but the game of a point guard. He is a tremendous passer, has great court vision and is comfortable setting up an offense. However, he does not have a great jump shot, is not extraordinarily athletic and he may not have a defensive position but his playmking skills are very intriguing.

19. Chicago Bulls - Shabazz Napier, G, UConn
Derrick Rose now has a legitimate injury history and considering how important he is to the Bulls, they are going to have to have strong backup options. Kirk Hinrich played really well for Chicago this year but he is a free agent, as well as pleasant surprise D.J. Augustin. I think Tom Thibodeau would want winners, people who want to win. And first and foremost, Napier is a winner as he showed in leading the Huskies to the national championship. He has a really nice offensive game and can shoot but he is not particularly big or athletic.

20. Toronto Raptors - Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse
Kyle Lowry was sensational for the Raptors this year and was a catalyst in the team getting back to the postseason, but with him being an unrestricted free agent, and his capable reserve Greivis Vasquez being a restricted free agent, there could be a big hole at the point. Ennis showed at the Cuse that he is an excellent floor leader and he is not afraid to take tough shots. He makes good decisions, takes care of the basketball, and is a team-first player.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Dallas via Lakers, Houston) - T.J. Warren, F, NC State
Warren is not much of a shooter from the perimeter but he has a great scoring touch around the basket and inside the free throw line. He has great instincts and works his tail off on both sides of the court. He has what may be considered to be more of an old-school kind of game and he is not the scorer the Thunder could use, but he can score in a variety of ways.

22. Memphis Grizzlies - P.J. Hairston, G, Texas Legends
The Grizzlies could use some more depth on the wing as Mike Miller is a free agent and Tayshaun Prince is a shell of what he once was. Also, they still struggle to score from outside and could use a shooter to help space out the offense. And Hairston has the offensive skills to help give the Memphis offense a little more pop. Hairston left UNC in December and played for the Legends in the NBDL due to concerns about him receiving impermissible benefits, particularly his usage of rental cars. Therefore, he has some character concerns that can cause his draft stock to drop.

23. Utah Jazz - Jordan Adams, G, UCLA
The Jazz may indeed be looking for guard with their second selection to improve their depth in the backcourt (and provide insurance if they choose to trade Alec Burks) and a name that seems to come to the mind here is this UCLA Bruin. What makes Adams an interesting product to break down is that Adams is a very good scorer without being a great athlete or particularly explosive. Instead, he takes advantages of his instincts and he loves to aggressively go at the basket as well as pop the threeball.

24. Charlotte Hornets (from Portland) - Jordan Clarkson, G, Missouri
Charlotte could use another point guard to work with Kemba Walker, and especially so with Luke Ridnour being a free agent. Clarkson is a bit of a combo guard but he should be able to play the point. He has nice size for a guard and plus length, and his natural scoring abilities will make him an important piece of a rising Charlotte club. Clarkson can shoot the three but he has to be more consistent from distance. He is actually somewhat of a similar player to Walker but which lead to some interesting lineups.

25. Houston Rockets - Cleanthony Early, F, Wichita State
Early is not the power forward the Rockets need but he can be a key contributor off the bench, something a thin Rockets team could really use. Early may be able to play a little bit as an undersized four but he looks more like a three at the next level. Early is an excellent athlete that has a nice explosiveness in him as well as plus leading ability. Above all else, Early knows how to put the ball in the basket and he can shoot a little from the perimeter.

26. Miami Heat - Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Colorado
It is looking like the Heat are zeroing in on Shabazz Napier and look to be willing to move up in the draft to take him, with LeBron James being an important fan. Now in the scenario that they do not land him, I do think they will go point guard, with Mario Chalmers being a free agent, and take the risk of the talented Dinwiddie, who is recovering from a torn ACL in January. Dinwiddie is a big point guard prospect that can also play a little shooting guard too. He is tremendous in transition and is very good at getting to the free throw line.

27. Phoenix Suns (from Indiana) - Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
As I said earlier, the Suns can afford to take some chances with the trio of first round selections that they have and therefore, one can easily see them taking a foreign prospect to stash overseas. I have seen Nurkic mocked as high as the tenth selection and as low as the beginning of the second round. Nurkic has only played basketball since 2009 and is only 19 but he has shown the abilities to take advantage of his size to be a real force in the paint, the likes of which Phoenix would greatly appreciate.

28. Los Angeles Clippers - Mitch McGary, F/C, Michigan
McGary is a bit of a wild card coming into the draft as his back injury that prematurely ended his sophomore campaign in Ann Arbor held him out of the draft combine. At the very least, McGary is a very active and hard working big man that has an NBA ready body even as his overall game could use some work. He is athletic, runs the floor well, rebounds well and is a fantastic passer for a big man. For a Clippers team that has no depth down low, they need all the contributors they can get.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Clint Capela, F/C, Switzerland
Another year with the Thunder having a pair of first round picks means they may very well use one of them on a project with high potential. Capela, if he is available at this pick, would certainly fit that mold as his ceiling is extremely high considering his absurd athleticism. However, his game needs a whole lot of polish. But if the Thunder are patient with him, they could have a heck of a player down low.

30. San Antonio Spurs - Bogdan Bogdanovich, G, Serbia
We all know that San Antonio loves to stash guys overseas and I think they are primed to do so at the end of the first round and I think the Serbian guard could be a logical selection. He has the ideal size for the shooting guard position and is a very good shooter from the perimeter. Bogdanovich also has the ability to score off the dribble and he works hard defensively. He probably is not ready to play right away, which is just okay for this franchise.

Check out more mocks at the WalterFootball database.

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