The 2014 NBA Draft is slowly approaching and many of the top prospects still have time to prove themselves capable of playing on the next level. However, it’s never too early for mock drafts! In this latest mock draft, a new name takes the throne for the number one overall pick, and a popular name falls out of the top two.
Note: (Ranking order is based on current team records)
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Embiid has proven to be a viable top three pick in the draft. He has all the mental and physical tools to be a Hakeem Olajuwon prototype. Embiid has great footwork for his size and has a 7’5″ wingspan. In his last game against Iowa State, Embiid scored 16 points (7-8 shooting), nine rebounds, and five blocks. Embiid has shown his dominance, and with the emergence of Giannis Antetokounmpo at small forward, I don’t think Milwaukee can pass up on Embiid.
Concerns: He is turnover prone and needs to be a bit more physical in the paint.
2. Orlando Magic: Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke
Milwaukee gets their NBA-ready player in Jabari Parker, who resembles a Carmelo Anthony prototype. Parker has the range and height to be physically dominating his rookie season. Parker, has surpassed Wiggins this season in almost every category, but don’t be surprised if Milwaukee picks Wiggins because of his potential.
Concerns: Defense and an inconsistent jumper will hamper Parker’s potential until he fixes them.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Wiggins, SF/SG, Kansas
Philadelphia selects Andrew Wiggins, who has the highest ceiling in the 2014 NBA Draft. He is explosive, lengthy, and can rebound. The 76ers are in need of volume scoring and that’s what Wiggins could bring to the table, not to mention being a huge PR move as Wiggins would sell out almost every home game. Adding Wiggins to an already potential stacked team, Philadelphia could be looking to make the playoffs next year.
Concerns: Inconsistent jumper and is afraid to use his size at times.
4. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia
Exum has been somewhat of a quiet prospect because he does not play college basketball nor does he play in the United States. However, Exum is a combo-guard who has one of the quickest first steps in the 2014 draft class. Exum has all the physical tools to play at the next level, measuring at 6’6″, 188 pounds. Utah needs a go to player to complement Trey Burke, and Exum would fit the roster very well.
Concerns: Defense is lacking and he is an inconsistent shooter.
5. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Oklahoma State
Smart was a lock for the second overall pick last year, but he decided to go back to Oklahoma State for more experience. Although Rajon Rondo is set to be back, Boston cannot pass up on such a talented player in Smart. After all, we might not see Rondo in a Celtics uniform after this season. Smart is averaging 17 points, five rebounds, and four assists per game this year.
Concerns: He is not very explosive, needs to be able to run off screens when asked to play the 2- guard position.
6. Cleveland Cavaliers: Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Randle has shown strides at Kentucky. He has aslo shown that he is turnover prone and does not have a consistent jump shot. Randle is explosive and can rebound the ball very well, but he does have bust potential, which is why I have him dropping to the Cavs at number six. Cleveland is in dire need of a franchise player to complement Kyrie Irving, and after striking out on Anthony Bennett, the Cavs can’t afford to strike out again.
Concerns: Lack of athleticism, lackadaisical with the ball, a bit undersized to play power forward (6’9″) but will make up for it with his physicality.
7. Sacramento Kings: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
No one is entirely sure if LaVine will leave for the NBA, but if he does, he will most likely be taken in the lottery. The Kings could use LaVine in several different ways. They could start him at point guard and have Isaiah Thomas come off the bench, or vice versa. They could also start him at shooting guard and use Ben McLemore as sixth man. LaVine is listed at 6’5″ with incredible leaping ability and monster upside. Sacramento has already committed money at small forward (Rudy Gay), so don’t be surprised if they pick LaVine here.
Concerns: Not a high vocal player, poor half court scorer, poor decision maker.
8. Los Angeles Lakers: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
Gordon has been compared to Blake Griffin because of his explosiveness and his rare dunking ability. However, Gordon is listed at 6’8″, which is two inches shorter than Blake Griffin. Gordon is a “tweener”, much like we saw in Anthony Bennett. Although he has elite athleticism, his height and poor outside shooting ability has dropped his draft stock. I’m not saying Gordon can’t be good, but he needs to improve his game significantly if he wants to excel in the NBA. The Lakers need a player to start rebuilding with, and selecting Gordon couldn’t be a safer pick.
Concerns: A bit undersized to play power forward, poor outside shooting, poor free throw shooting.
9. Denver Nuggets (via New York): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
The Denver Nuggets make a surprise pick and select Gary Harris. The Nuggets are in need of a shooting guard after the departure of Andre Iguodala, and Randy Foye isn’t cutting it. After a lingering shoulder injury his freshman season, Harris is finally healthy and currently averaging 17 points, four rebounds, and three assists per game.
Concerns: Injury prone, needs to be more aggressive.
10. Atlanta Hawks: Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
After transferring from Mississippi State to Duke, Hood has been playing like a lottery pick. At 6’8″, Hood is able to elevate over defenders with ease. He is currently posting averages of 18 points, four rebounds, and two assists per game. Hood is shooting a whopping 51 percent from the field, while shooting 47 percent from three point range. Hood would be a perfect fit on a Hawks team that has yet to address a gaping hole at small forward.
Concerns: Not explosive, settles for jumpers over easy inside looks, ball handling is an issue.