More and more NBA executives are anonymously saying that Joel Embiid is the top talent in the 2014 NBA Draft. Credit: Getty Images
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas – OK, fine. We’ve caved. The Embiid love hasn’t let up and it doesn’t even seem as though a new injury rumor will derail the “Embiid is the next Hakeem” monorail to Lake Erie.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas – Wiggins is taking some draft heat for being too passive. Check back in a few weeks. This worry could be enough to make the Bucks take Jabari Parker instead.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker, SF, Duke – The Sixers are in a great spot, because they can’t fail. If whomever falls to them at No. 3 turns out to be a bust, they can simply say – “Hey, you all decided that there was a Top 3 in this draft and this is the guy who fell to us. There's nothing we could do.” Sam Hinkie’s job is safe for the next three years no matter what.
5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana – The Jazz will likely be tantalized by Vonleh’s athleticism and upside over the “you-kind-of-know-what-you’re-getting” Julius Randle.
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona – Danny Ainge said he has liked six players in this draft all along and also claims to have said this before the Celtics landed at No. 6. The pre-lottery audio is hard to find. He also claims that he would have drafted Durant over Oden in 2007 if the Celtics had landed the No. 1 overall pick. The pre-2007 lottery audio of this is hard to find.
7. LA Lakers: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State – The Lakers have been looking for a legit and non-injury prone point guard seemingly forever. Don’t get any player-coach ideas about Derek Fisher now that he’s available, Lakers fans. The man was born in 1974. It’s time to move on.
8. Sacramento Kings: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky – Randle has the potential to be the Johnny Manziel of the NBA Draft. He’s officially on “slide watch.”
9. Charlotte Hornets: Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton – It’s hard to imagine the Hornets NOT using this pick in a trade. The days of simply drafting lottery player after lottery player after lottery player appear to be over for Michael Jordan … and that’s probably a good thing.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia – A report came out this week that Saric would only play for the Celtics or Lakers. No word on if his favorite show is “Alf” or if he gets his workouts in while watching “Solid Gold.” Someone should tell Saric that the Sixers were good in the ’80s, too.
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 shooting guard position depth was so shallow.
12. Orlando Magic: 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.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Nik Stauskas, SG/SF – The Wolves are expected to be ACTIVE on draft night – as in, they probably won’t make a pick here.
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 – Could be the Hawks’ Josh Smith replacement … assuming they actually want to replace Josh Smith.
16. Chicago Bulls: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke - NBADraft.net compares Hood to Rashard Lewis. Presumably the Lewis that was on HGH.
17. Boston Celtics: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA - Highly unlikely that Ainge stays put at No. 6 as well as No. 17. Guaranteed movement at some point.
18. Phoenix Suns: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland - The Suns are another team that will likely do some maneuvering on draft night.
19. Chicago Bulls: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia - Watching him play alongside Joakim Noah might be fun, considering how similar their games are. It would give Chicago an agile frontcourt to say the least.
20. Toronto Raptors: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse - Of course, this all depends on the Kyle Lowry situation.
21. Oklahoma City: P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina - Jeremy Lamb is far too inconsistent at the 2 for OKC.
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse - Everything is in flux in Memphis (per usual). Who knows what the direction is?
23. Utah Jazz: Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State - Early is said to “struggle with decision-making,” which is not the type of label you want in the NBA. In the pros you have to decide … a lot. Oh, and you have to decide right.
24. Charlotte Hornets: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington – Do the Hornets really want to go forward with Gerald Henderson at the 2? Not saying Wilcox would provide an immediate solution, but he could spell Jr. while the front office figures this thing out.
25. Houston Rockets: Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn – It’s looking more and more likely that Jeremy Lin has played his last game for Kevin McHale.
26. Miami Heat: Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA – A.D.O.L. All depends on LeBron. Like all, as in everything.
27. Phoenix Suns: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA – One would have thought UCLA won the NCAA title with all of this first round talent.
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia – The Clips aren’t likely to find another rotation player here, which is what they’ll be coveting this summer, regardless of financial constraints. I hear their new owner is good with money.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Patric Young, PF/C, Florida – His NBADraft.net comparison is Brandon Bass. If the Thunder can't land the actual Bass in a trade, his 22-year-old doppelganger will do.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette - A.D.O.D. All depends on Duncan.
Follow Metro Boston sports editor and columnist Matt Burke on Twitter:@BurkeMetroBOS