Monday, September 22, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

2014 NBA Mock Draft, version 3.0

This is the third in a series of mock drafts leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday, June 26. This mock draft will be updated regularly leading up to draft day. It does not take into account any potential trades.

2014 NBA Mock Draft, version 3.0

Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins (22) and center Joel Embiid (21). (Orlin Wagner/AP)
Kansas guard Andrew Wiggins (22) and center Joel Embiid (21). (Orlin Wagner/AP)

This is the third in a series of mock drafts leading up to the 2014 NBA Draft on Thursday, June 26. This mock draft will be updated regularly leading up to draft day. It does not take into account any potential trades.

Check out the first edition here, and the second edition here

Here's the latest take on how we see the draft playing out:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Joel Embiid, C, Kansas: Injury issues are the only thing that can keep Embiid for being selected first overall. Despite some conflicting reports, it seems that the center's workout and interview in Cleveland went well. The Cavs appear likely to select him first overall. 

2. Milwaukee Bucks - Jabari Parker, SF, Duke: The Bucks will have a lot of options at second overall. They reportedly can see any of Embiid, Wiggins, Parker, or Exum fitting with the franchise. Parker appears to be the most NBA-ready, and he projects to be a legitimate NBA scorer. That's something the Bucks need. 

3. Philadelphia 76ers - Andrew Wiggins, SG, Kansas: The Sixers want Wiggins, and his camp reportedly wants the Sixers. The long, athletic Wiggins would fit perfectly in the Sixers' up-tempo style, as he could make an impact on both sides of the ball. 

4. Orlando Magic - Dante Exum, PG, Australia: Orlando could use some frontcourt fortification, and Noah Vonleh could potentially be in play here. However, with Jameer Nelson's best days behind him and Victor Oladipo seemingly better-suited for an off-ball role, the Magic need a point guard. Exum is an intriguing option. 

5. Utah Jazz - Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana: Vonleh would provide the Jazz with an athletic forward who can stretch the floor. He'd complement current frontcourt men Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter, who are more productive in the paint. Aaron Gordon and Marcus Smart might be in play here as well, but it's likely that the Jazz will look to fortify their front line. 

6. Boston Celtics - Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona: If Boston ends up holding on to the pick, they may take the freshman forward out of Arizona. The Celtics were reportedly impressed with Gordon after his workout. His athletic ability could pair nicely with Rajon Rondo. 

7. Los Angeles Lakers - Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky: Randle has been slipping down draft boards due to concerns over a previous injury issue, but he remains one of the most solid and consistent prospects in the pool. With the potential departure of Pau Gasol, the Lakers will need someone to step in and fortify the frontcourt, both in the short and long terms. Randle looks like he could come in and be a double-double guy early on, with the potential to develop into even more down the road. 

8. Sacramento Kings - Marcus Smart, SG, Oklahoma State: Rumor is that the Kings are still willing to part with the pick for the right price. If they hold on to it, they may be looking to grab the best available player. Although they already have the undersized Isiah Thomas, Smart could play either guard position for Sacramento. That would give the Kings some backcourt flexibility - and a player whose ceiling might be higher than Thomas'. 

9. Charlotte Hornets - Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton: Any pick here is a plus for Charlotte, as some old-fashioned luck landed them in the lottery. The Bobcats-turned-Hornets needed that luck, as they have several issues to address. Two needs stood out the most last season: consistent outside shooting and someone to stretch the floor for Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson. 'McBuckets' brings that - though concerns  exist about his defense, speed, and ability to transition to the pro game. Still, McDermott was an elite offensive player in college, and if some of that offensive ability can translate, he could be a productive NBA player. 

10. Philadelphia 76ers - Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan: The Sixers also need players who can shoot well and can stretch the floor. Stauskas may be the draft's best shooter, especially off of screens, and he could immediately serve as a weapon on the offensive end. Stauskas' ability to space the floor and keep defenders honest could help to open up the paint for Michael Carter-Williams and whoever is selected third. That would help the entire offense become more efficient.

11. Denver Nuggets - Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State: If they keep the pick, Denver will be looking to add some offense. Harris can do a bit of everything. Although there are minor concerns about his size at the NBA level, Harris is a reliable outside shooter with range who can also take the ball to the basket. He also has the potential to develop into an above-average defender. 

12. Orlando Magic - Dario Saric, SF, Croatia: If Orlando takes Exum fourth overall, then they will likely go big here. Saric, although somewhat of an unknown, is very versatile and could be valuable for an Orlando team that is fragile in the frontcourt. There also remains the possibility that Orlando passes on Exum early and instead opts for a forward like Vonleh or Gordon. In that case, they would likely look for a guard here. Louisiana-Lafayette's Elfrid Payton and UCLA's Zach LaVine could come into play. 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves - James Young, SG, Kentucky: As is seemingly always the case, the Timberwolves need outside shooting. While Young is far from a complete player, he has some of the best range in the draft. He also has the ability to get to the rim, and has demonstrated some solid defensive ability. At only 18, Young still has a lot of room to grow as a player, both physically and mentally. He could develop into a solid selection.

14. Phoenix Suns - Rodney Hood, SF, Duke: The Suns, who are decently deep, will be looking for some perimeter production. Kentucky's James Young could be a good fit here, but if he is unavailable, the Suns may select Hood. At 6-foot-8, the Duke product has great size for his position. He could play a couple positions for Phoenix, space the floor, and help open up the paint for penetration. 

15. Atlanta Hawks - Zach LaVine, PG, UCLA: The Hawks have several areas that they need to address, including size, shooting, and guard play. LaVine gives the Hawks a guard with a sweet stroke who might be able to play a couple positions. He possess some of the highest potential in the entire draft class, and may be worth taking a risk on based off athleticism alone. He can jump out of the gym, and is excellent at attacking the basket. Because his skills are so varied, it's somewhat difficult to project his professional position. But in Atlanta he'd definitely be able to help Jeff Teague in the backcourt. 

16. Chicago Bulls - Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette: Everyone knows Derrick Rose is great - when he's on the court. He has missed the vast majority of the last two seasons. With Kirk Hinrich and D.J. Augustin both becoming free agents this summer, the Bulls need a new backup option. Payton has been rising up draft boards for the past few weeks, as all his workouts have reportedly gone well. With his size and skills, Payton could turn out to be the best point guard in the draft. 

17. Boston Celtics - Adreian Payne: PF, Michigan State: Payne could provide the Celtics with some versatility, as he can also play center if necessary. He has decent range on his shot, and might serve as a nice pick-and-pop option for Rajon Rondo. Boston could benefit from bulking up its bigs. Payne would fit that bill.

18. Phoenix Suns - T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State: Here's another scoring option for the Suns. Indeed, Warren may be one of the best pure scorers in the draft pool. His offensive ability should fit in nicely with the Suns' up-tempo approach and floor-spacing style, as he has a multitude of ways to put the ball in the basket. 

19. Chicago Bulls - Cleanthony Early, SF, Witchita State: After taking a point guard with their first pick, the Bulls will look to secure a scorer. In Early, the Bulls will get a solid shooter who brings energy and defensive intensity. His skill set could resemble Luol Deng's. 

20. Toronto Raptors - Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse: With Kyle Lowry hitting the free agent market, the Raptors are looking to add some security at the point. Ennis can run an offense and is effective playing the pick-and-roll. He also grew up in the Toronto suburb of Brampton, Ontario, which would give the team a nice selling point. 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Glen Robinson III, SF, Michigan: The Thunder need to make bolstering their bench a key goal this offseason. Robinson could provide the right kind of depth. He can shoot, run the floor, and finish at the rim, and at 6-foot-6 he has solid size.

22. Memphis Grizzlies - K.J. McDaniels, SG, Clemson: The Grizzlies need to improve their perimeter play, and they could use an infusion of length and athleticism on the wing. McDaniels fits the bill on both counts.

23. Utah Jazz - Jordan Clarkson, PG, Missouri: If the Jazz end up with Exum early, then Clarkson admittedly might not be in play here. But if they end up with a big like Vonleh, they may be very interested in Clarkson. He could play off the ball in a backcourt combination with current Jazz guard Trey Burke.

24. Charlotte Hornets - P.J. Hairston, G, Texas Legends (D-League): If not for concerns about off-court issues, Hairston likely would have landed in the lottery. He is one of the most NBA-ready players in the draft, due largely to having already played in the NBA's Development League. He has a smooth shot, and could come in and contribute right away, providing the Hornets with some much-needed offense

 

25. Houston Rockets - Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse: The Rockets need some depth at the wing spot, and if Chandler Parsons signs elsewhere, then they will really need some depth at the wing spot. Grant is an extremely athletic wing player who can get it done on both ends of the floor. He needs to improve his shot add some size to his frame, but he has a chance to be a very productive player.

26. Miami Heat - Shabazz Napier, PG, Connecticut: Mario Chalmers will be hitting free agency this summer, and who knows who else will be gone by the time next season starts. As the Heat look for insurance, it would be good to start at point guard. Napier's experience at UConn - including this past season's national championship - makes him a candidate to contribute in Miami right away.

27. Phoenix Suns - Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland: After adding perimeter depth, the Suns will look to fortify their frontcourt. Capela might be a couple years away from really contributing, but he has the potential to be a solid rebounder and rim protector. 

28. Los Angeles Clippers - Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia: The Clippers can score the ball, but they could use some size and rim protection behind DeAndre Jordan. Nurkic is a big body who could provide the Clippers with some frontcourt versatility off of the bench. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA: Adams could provide the Thunder with shooting and a potential spark off of the bench.

30. San Antonio Spurs - Mitch McGary, F, Michigan: Throughout their era of success, the Spurs have always had a deep rotation of post players. McGary can rebound, run the floor, and finish at the rim. As the last pick in the first round, it would be a low-risk pick with high-reward potential for the NBA champions.

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