We’re a little over 24 hours from the 2014 NBA Draft, so everyone everywhere is deciding to release their final mock draft. Fun! These all have extremely short shelf lives, and will all be immediately forgotten and irrelevant once the Draft is over with. But it’s fun, so here we are.
We aren’t doing trades in this mock, because that mucks things up and gets super convoluted way too easily. Straight chalk here with picks 1-30.
Kevin Roberts will kick things off with Cleveland at the top, and we’ll alternate from then on.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Andrew Wiggins, G/F, Kansas (View scouting report)
Jabari Parker’s workout with the Cavs stunk and Wiggins has more pure upside. Cleveland could easily go with Parker still or trade down, but Wiggins has been part of the #1 discussion all year. Why shy away from the potential glory of taking him here now? He might be a little more rough around the edges than Parker, but he’s arguably the better prospect.
Word on the street is that Parker prefers Milwaukee to Cleveland due to its proximity to his hometown of Chicago, so things work out nicely here. Parker will probably come in and lead the Bucks in scoring from day one, and they suddenly have the makings of an intriguing core with Parker and everyone’s favorite Greek phenomenon, Giannis Antetokounmpo. Some are worried about Parker’s conditioning, but he has the makings of being a perennial All-Star at the next level.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Dante Exum, G, Australia (Scouting Report)
Exum is shooting up draft boards so it’s starting to look like landing in the top three is a real possibility. There he could slide in and replace Michael Carter-Williams, who the Sixers have been rumored to be interested in trading for a while now. Exum is basically MCW but with more upside, so the switch makes some sense.
Embiid was the presumptive No. 1 overall pick no more than a week ago, but he’s slipped as a result of a stress fracture he suffered in his foot that could cause him to miss the majority of his rookie year. There are also concerns regarding his back that kept him out of the end of his lone season at Kansas, but the upside is too tantalizing to pass up on for Orlando. He’s incredibly skilled for a player that only started playing basketball competitively in the last few years, and he has high-end upside on both ends of the floor.
5. Utah Jazz – Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona (Scouting Report)
An athletic freak who could develop into a quality scorer down low, Gordon has rocketed up draft boards thanks to his electrifying play and high upside. Utah has some great talent down low, but taking another promising big could prompt them to trade either Derrick Favors or Enes Kanter.
6. Boston Celtics – Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State (Scouting Report)
Rajon Rondo has been involved in trade rumors for as long as I can remember, and he’ll be entering the final year of his contract. If Boston finally does part ways with Rondo, in steps Marcus Smart as his replacement. He’s as NBA-ready as any player in this draft, and the Celtics will be getting themselves a bulldog of a point guard that isn’t afraid to assert himself on both ends of the floor.
I still think Randle to the Lakers is lazy, but is also makes the most sense. Randle is a pretty skilled big man who could easily turn into a double double machine at the next level. With that said, he really over powered opponents in college and it will be interesting to see if he tries to rely on his size and strength as much in the NBA. If that’s the case, dominating could be a problem. Regardless, L.A. is rebuilding (which should also keep this pick very much in play to trade) and he’d be a nice place to start.
It’d be a bit of a surprise to see Vonleh fall this far, but if he does, you can be sure the Kings would be happy to jump all over him. He’s fairly raw offensively, but he’s a big body with the ability to shoot from outside, which should help the Kings space the floor around big DeMarcus Cousins down low. Vonleh’s incredible wingspan will be a huge asset in the shot-blocking realm, as well.
Is this a little early for Stauskas? Perhaps. Then again, if you look closely, Stauskas isn’t just one of the best outside shooters in the entire draft (or arguably the best one), he’s also a complete offensive player that can take his man to the hole and create his own shot. Stauskas could pack on some weight, but he already has the lateral quickness and overall athleticism to also hold his own on the defensive end. A complete player packaged as a sharpshooter, Stauskas is actually a bit of a steal – even at 9.
LaVine’s upside is as high as anyone’s in this class, and Sixers GM Sam Hinkie isn’t afraid to take risks. Drafting LaVine after taking Exum at No. 3 almost certainly means Philly will be parting ways with Michael Carter-Williams, but they’ll have themselves as dynamic a young backcourt as any team in the league.
Danilo Gallinari is still young but has a problematic knee to deal with, while the Nuggets could always use more offense to throw into their up-tempo scheme. Harris brings elite shooting and nice athleticism to the two spot, where he could thrive right away in Denver.
Saric announced recently that he’s signed a two-year contract overseas, so he won’t be in the NBA until 2016-17. The Magic already took a bit of a risk with Embiid at No. 4, but hitting on both lottery picks would be monstrous for Orlando’s future.
Small forward has been a mixed bag for the Wolves for a while now, as Chase Budinger can’t stay healthy and Corey Brewer is more of a jack of all trades than an elite presence. Hood brings great size and length to the table and gives Minnesota an instant outside and mid-range shooting threat. They could use the help on the perimeter and it wouldn’t make much sense for a player of his caliber to fall too much further.
McDermott is one of the more polarizing players in this class. Some believe he has star potential, while others believe his lack of athleticism and lack of a true position could limit his NBA effectiveness. Regardless, he’s arguably the best pure shooter in the draft, and is a guy that should be able to come in and join an NBA rotation right away. Both P.J. Tucker and Channing Frye will be free agents this summer, so the Suns can potentially help replace them with Dougie McBuckets.
Atlanta could use a more explosive scorer on the outside, but they actually have a good amount of shooting. It’s size and strength down low they lack, however, and it was never more painfully obvious than when Al Horford once again went down last year. Nurkic at the very least gives them more depth and beef down low. Possessing a massive frame with elite footwork down low, Nurkic can bang down low right away and has the upside to be a key player down the road if Horford’s injury issues continue to pile on.
Once Derrick Rose went down again last year, the Bulls found scoring to be extremely difficult. They have tremendous interest in Carmelo Anthony, obviously, but adding the guy that may be the best pure scorer in the draft can’t hurt, either.
Boston has some quality guards in Avery Bradley and Jerryd Bayless, but both are undersized and more combo guards than true number two options. Young gives them better size and length at the two, as well as the talent and upside to be groomed into a potential star down the road.
Shabazz Napier could go here if the Suns are worried about their chances of retaining Eric Bledsoe this summer, but they wasted a first-round pick on an overrated point guard just two years ago by taking Kendall Marshall in the lottery. They don’t make that mistake twice, as Payne is another NBA-ready forward that could go even higher than this. His main downside is that he’s already 23-years-old, but Phoenix appears to be a team closer to winning than most had previously thought.
The Bulls need depth down low and shooters outside, but they’ll reach for neither with the 19th overall pick. Instead, they’ll get one of the most versatile players in the draft in Anderson. Anderson is no freak athlete, but he does just about everything at a high level and is a very efficient shooter. Mike Dunleavy can’t be the plan at the three forever, so it’s probably time to get his future replacement (or Carmelo Anthony’s future backup – hardy har har).
Kyle Lowry will be a free agent this summer, though the Raptors expect to keep him. Still, though, Ennis could be the best pure point guard available and the Raptors jump all over him here.
OKC is still trying to replace James Harden. Caron Butler really didn’t work and now even Derek Fisher is gone, so coming up with some offense at the two spot and off the bench will be key. Cue Adams, who is relentless in trying to find ways to score the basketball and is also persistent and competitive on the defensive end. Adams isn’t an elite athlete, but he provides a scoring punch and carries the type of intensity the Thunder have been missing off their bench.
The Grizzlies need help scoring on the wing, which is exactly what Hairston can provide. He was fantastic after joining the Texas Legends of the NBA D-League last year, and should help the Grizzlies in an area they need major help.
A pure combo guard with a slick jumper and nice athleticism, Johnson could give the Jazz a needed scoring punch as well as depth at both guard spots. Johnson has an adequate handle and vision to allow him to fill in as a lead point guard, but is probably best suited as a pure scorer and/or spot up shooter. He’s undersized and a bit of a ‘tweener, but his skill-set translates well to the next level. He’ll more than likely be a spark off the bench – but one the Jazz sorely need.
The Bobcats need to find some consistent offensive firepower to support Big Al Jefferson down low, and Early emerged last season as a guy that can potentially provide that at the next level. He can score in a variety of ways, and should be a nice complement to the defensive-minded Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in the Hornets’ rotation.
Robinson comes with elite athleticism, a solid pedigree and good size. He’s also versatile and has the potential to evolve into a quality shooter and scorer at the next level, but could fall this far due to passiveness and an overall lack of consistency.