2014 NBA Mock Draft: Wiggins to Cavaliers, Parker to Bucks, Embiid to Celtics
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas – After months of speculation, we wind up right back where we were a year ago — with Wiggins as the No. 1 choice in this draft. Jabari Parker has been getting some love here since the Joel Embiid injury news, but Parker apparently looked liked the lost son of a Boris Diaw — Oliver Miller marriage at a recent workout with the Cavs.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke – There is also a story out there that Parker tanked the Cleveland workout on purpose because – get this – he wants to be in Milwaukee! When’s the last time we heard that from a would-be NBA superstar?
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Dante Exum, PG, Australia – “Exum to the Sixers” is gaining steam. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford even entertained the possibility that Philly could trade Michael Carter-Williams for more picks in this draft. Has a reigning NBA Rookie of the Year ever been traded before? This could also be a spot that some team in the 6-10 range (think Boston or LA) coughs up some assets in order to draft Embiid. The Sixers should take advantage of that if they’re scared off by Embiid sitting out a whole season like Nerlens Noel or even worse … becoming the next Andrew Bynum.
4. Orlando Magic: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State – For weeks we’ve had Exum being taken by the Magic. Here’s thinking they take the next best point guard if Exum is off the board.
5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana – Utah seems fixed on a power forward – of which there are plenty early on in this draft. The Jazz could also play the Embiid game with the Celtics or Lakers and wait to pick Vonleh.
6. Boston Celtics: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas – The Celtics will likely have to do some maneuvering to land Embiid, but the chatter says that Embiid wants to go to a historically significant franchise like the Celtics or Lakers. Boston and LA are reportedly getting a look at Embiid’s medical records while ringless franchises like the Magic and Jazz aren’t getting preferential treatment from Embiid’s agent and are left in the dark.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky – We’ve always had the Lakers locked in on Smart here, but the Embiid injury shakes everything up, obviously. There’s also the news that Dallas will push hard for Pau Gasol in free agency and if he was to sign with the Mavericks, LA would need a backup plan up front.
8. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona – A Google search of DeMarcus Cousins these days reveals headlines like “DeMarcus Cousins has tried to recruit Rudy Gay to stay with Kings,” “Cousins talks bright Kings future” and “Cousins finding his place in Hollywood.” In other words, Cousins finally seems at home in Sacramento. So why would Sacramento draft another big man? Because Gordon might not be a big man. At 6-foot-9, Cousins could very well morph into a 3. Or they could put Cousins at center and slide Gordon to the 4.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton – Charlotte wants to make a splash with its Hornets-loving, Bobcats-hating fans, but Michael Jordan would be smart to just keep this pick and draft the sharp-shooting McDermott, unless he’s overwhelmed by an offer.
10. Philadephia 76ers: Nik Stauskas, SG/SF, Michigan – Shooting is always in style, but after watching what the Spurs did in this year’s playoffs, it’s clear that guys like Stauskas will be coveted.
11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State – Nearly every team in the league is in need of a solid 2-guard. It’s difficult to remember a time in the league when the shooting guard position depth was so shallow. Point guard is the opposite.
12. Orlando Magic: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA - Anderson is slow but reads the floor tremendously well.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: James Young, SG, Kentucky – Maybe we’ll look back on Harris and Young (sounds like a TNA wrestling tag-team) as the two players who saved the 2-guard position.
14. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State – NBADraft.net compares Warren to Caron Butler. Not today’s plodding Caron Butler, but the Caron Butler that was once the key piece to a trade involving Shaq.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State - NBADraft.net compares Payne to Robert Horry. The Hawks would certainly welcome that, so long as it comes with a playoff clutch gene.
16. Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke – The Bulls need a capable swing man. If only they had a guy like a Luol Deng.
17. Boston Celtics: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA – This would be a classic Danny Ainge pick. LaVine has Gerald Green-like dunking ability and it wouldn’t be shocking to see his career play out like Green’s – early struggles with flashes of brilliance that eventually translate into solid production. Hopefully, for LaVine’s sake, it doesn’t take as long.
18. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland – If the Suns take a solid player like Warren at 14, they could supplement that with a raw project like Capela.
19. Chicago Bulls: P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina – Hairston appears ready to help a contender like the Bulls right now. Chicago might just give this pick up though if the Knicks – who are rumored to want Hairston badly – give them something (anything).
20. Toronto Raptors: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse – Believe it or not, when we started this mock draft process in May we thought we’d take some heat for taking Ennis here as he was – at the time – projected as a lottery pick. No longer.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse – The Thunder could stash Grant in the D-League for a bit … and then trade him. He was amongst the top players at the Combine for reach and wingspan, according to Syracuse.com. So he’s got that going for him.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington - It’s strange. The guys who stay in college like Wilcox ultimately get knocked for staying for four years because the question becomes, “If he was so good, why didn’t he leave earlier?” It’s the oddest red flag going, but it’s still a red flag.
23. Utah Jazz: Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State – Early can score in bunches. The Jazz would be smart to scoop him up here if he’s available.
24. Charlotte Bobcats: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette – Dante Exum lite. Maybe a team like the Lakers tries to get into this range to pick up Payton or Shabazz Napier.
25. Houston Rockets: Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn – The Rockets desperately need to give James Harden some help in the backcourt. Napier can play defense and can score despite his unorthodox shot.
26. Miami Heat: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia – LeBron needs a new “Big Z” -type in Miami.
27. Phoenix Suns: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA – Another guy with a solid wingspan.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia – His NBADraft.net profile compares him to Jiri Welsch – not exactly glowing praise.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Clarkson, PG/SG – Not the greatest shooter, but Clarkson can get to the rim.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan – Tim Duncan is back and the Spurs look as though they’ll make another run at things. They could stash Robinson away for a bit.
Follow Metro Boston Sports Editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter: @BurkeMetroBOS