2014 NBA Mock Draft: Noah Vonleh to Celtics, Dante Exum to Lakers
The NBA Draft Lottery is this Tuesday, May 20. A look at how things could play out on draft day on June 26 in the unlikely scenario in which the current order stays intact:
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas – Call him the Jadeveon Clowney of the NBA Draft. He’s been the No. 1 choice for over a year now and the few months of doubt were unfounded because people got bored.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke – Nerlens Noel (remember him?) will be manning the middle for Philly, so it’s likely they go swingman here.
3. Orlando Magic: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas – Depending on who you talk to, Embiid is either the next Hakeem Olajuwon or the next Greg Oden.
4. Utah Jazz: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky – Not that the Jazz are in the position to be picky, but taking Dante Exum when they already have Trey Burke could be messy.
5. Boston Celtics: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana – Vonleh is from Haverhill, Mass. – a 45 minute drive North from Boston – which could either be great or horrible for the impressionable 18-year-old should he land with the C’s.
6. LA Lakers: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia – Over the past few years it has been hinted that the Lakers wanted Rajon Rondo as their point guard. Exum’s game resembles that of Rondo and the bonus – there’s no prickly attitude.
7. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona – It would seem the Kings are set in the backcourt with Isaiah Thomas and Ben McLemore. They should be set in the front court with Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins. In sum, the Kings just need to take the best player on the board here and that’s Gordon.
8. Detroit Pistons: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State - New head coach Stan Van Gundy got the best out of Jameer Nelson as his point guard in Orlando. Smart is much more talented and Van Gundy could work wonders with him.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton – There aren’t many 6-foot-8 guys in this world that can shoot the ball as well as McDermott.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky – Young can score, score and score some more, something the Sixers could use a lot more of.
11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State – You never want to gamble on a guard whose weakness is: “can’t shoot.” Harris can shoot. His weakness is his handle, which can be improved relatively quickly.
12. Orlando Magic: Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia – Saric is crafty but his quickness (or lack thereof) could be exposed at the NBA level.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nik Stauskas, SG/SF – No, this pick won’t solve the Kevin Love dilemma.
14. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State – Warren seems like the type of player that could help a team like Phoneix right away.
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: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA – Anderson is slow but reads the floor tremendously well.
20. Toronto Raptors – P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina – Hairston appears ready to help a contender – or fringe contender – right now.
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 the Syracuse.com. So he’s got that going for him.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse – Yes, Ennis is sliding here. But if he doesn’t go in the 8-12 range, there’s a good chance he could fall to some top teams.
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: Mario Hezonja, SG, Croatia – Is Gerald Henderson the longterm answer at the 2 for Charlotte?
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 James needs a new “Big Z” 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: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette – Dante Exum lite.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor Matt Burke on Twitter @BurkeMetroBOS