Last night, we finally got to see where all the teams would be placed in the draft order for the upcoming 2014 NBA Draft. Somehow, in some way, which I really don’t understand, the Cleveland Cavaliers jumped from the ninth position to snag the number one overall pick for the second year in a row, and the third time in four years.
As far as for the Utah Jazz, after being positioned fourth heading into the lottery, we ended up falling back one spot to pick number five. I do think though, the Jazz have a pretty good opportunity to trade up. Dennis Lindsey said last night, that the Jazz could use a combination of picks to move up, but we will have to wait and see.
For now, here is the current draft order after last night’s NBA Draft Lottery, and here is what our first mock draft looks like.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jabari Parker
The Cavaliers need a scorer. They need a big man too, but I think if they really want to help Kyrie Irving out, they need to go scoring wing here. Last year with the number one pick, the Cavaliers took Anthony Bennett, which hasn’t really played out for them. They have a good core of young players, but besides Irving and Dion Waiters, nobody can score the ball. Parker is going to bring instant offense and should be who the Cavaliers take here.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Joel Embiid
The Bucks had a fantastic night last night. Not because they fell to the second spot in the draft, but because they got a lot of attention because of Milwaukee’s owner sending his gorgeous daughter to represent them at the lottery. Now everyone’s a Bucks fan. As far as who they should pick, they could go a couple different ways here, but I think they could go Embiid here and pair him up with Larry Sanders down low. Embiid and Sanders could make for a dangerous defensive presence for the Bucks.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Andrew Wiggins
The top three picks could really go in any order, but I can see Wiggins falling here. The Sixers are needing a wing. They also need a big man. After drafting the Rookie of the Year in Michael Carter-Williams last season, and potentially getting Nerlens Noel back from injury, along with Thaddeous Young, adding Wiggins to the mix will help the Sixers improve greatly from the terrible season they had this year.
4. Orlando Magic – Dante Exum
Orlando is needing a point guard, and falling to fourth, they still get the best one in this draft. Exum is a tall and lengthy point guard who impressed at the NBA Draft Combine last week. However, the biggest knock on him is that he is an inconsistent shooter. His athleticism and potential however, is something that is going to be hard to pass up for any team at the top of the draft.
5. Utah Jazz – Julius Randle
The Jazz fall back one spot to fifth and could take Randle here. Like I said before, Lindsey said there are possibilities of moving up, and I think the Jazz could do it. However, Randle getting picked here is not a terrible thing. Randle is a double-double machine and being paired alongside Derrick Favors could mean that we never lose a rebounding battle. Randle is also great at finishing around the basket and out of this “amazing” freshman class, was the only one to lead his team deep into the NCAA tournament, clear to the national championship. Don’t be depressed the Jazz fell back. Even if we stay at five, a good pick could still be made here.
6. Boston Celtics – Noah Vonleh
Vonleh measured the largest hands at the NBA Draft Combine last week in Chicago, and impressed in a lot of other areas. As far as watching Vonleh play, I only watched a couple games while he was at Indiana, but the couple games I watched, I didn’t see much that wowed me. However, he does have some skill sets that attract NBA teams and could potentially be a good player in the league. The Celtics need some big man help and could go this route.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart
There are a few different players I could see the Lakers taking here, but with the Lakers current point guard, Steve Nash, looking like his career might be coming to a quick close, they are going to need point guard help. With Smart, he can get to the rim and is a fantastic scorer. However, he is not a good shooter from beyond the three point line. Another good thing, he is a great defender and the Lakers could put him at shooting guard a little bit at times. Kobe Bryant will be back and will be scoring, but he is going to need another scorer alongside him and Smart could help.
8. Sacramento Kings – Doug McDermott
The Senior from Creighton is the pick I was hoping was going to be there when the Jazz drafted at number 23, but there is no way he will be there. The Player of the Year last season was fantastic shooting the ball. McDermott averaged 26.7 points and 7.0 rebounds per game his senior year. With the Kings in desperate need of scoring, this should be where they are looking with this pick.
9. Charlotte Hornets – Aaron Gordon
Like Vonleh, Gordon impressed a lot of people at the NBA Draft Combine last week too. He had a great vertical and his agility time was impressive. A lot of teams like Gordon and for good reason. The kid has a ton of athleticism and could potentially be a guy making a lot of highlights on ESPN in the future. If he can be anything close to what his potential is, pairing him with Al Jefferson could be a bright future for the Hornets.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Gary Harris
With already having Carter-Williams, Noel, and Young, and drafting Wiggins earlier, the Sixers could go for shooting guard here. Harris, I think, is a great prospect. Harris really shoots well from beyond the three point arc and could help the Sixers a lot. If they draft Wiggins, him and Carter-Williams are going to demand a lot of attention. That leaves Harris wide open for shots off of kick outs. This could be a good fit.
11. Denver Nuggets – Dario Saric
The point forward from Croatia has had a pretty big name pop up in his comparisons of who he plays like. A lot of guys say that he plays a lot like Magic Johnson, which if he can live up to that, is a steal at number 11. Personally, I have never seen him play, but after withdrawing from last year’s NBA Draft and staying overseas, Saric averaged 16.2 points and 9.2 rebounds per game this year. The Nuggets were riddled with injuries this past season, but with everyone healthy, and bringing a guy like Saric off the bench to help with scoring, the Nuggets could potentially be back in the mix next season.
12. Orlando Magic – James Young
Young is an interesting guy. I think he gets drafted right around here, I just don’t know for sure by who. He is another scoring wing player, which the Magic could use, but during his one season at Kentucky, played really inconsistent. He did, however, have a great NCAA tournament which helped his draft stock, but he will be a guy coming off the bench and if he continues to be inconsistent like he was in college, he could be no different than a C.J. Miles in the league.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Nik Stauskas
Stauskas, from Michigan, really scored the ball well last season. He averaged 17.5 points per game and shot 44.2% from the three point line. The Timberwolves are in an interesting situation, as their All-Star in Kevin Love, has told the front office that he will not sign an extension, will leave after next season, or needs to be traded now. If Love is not there this year, the Wolves are going to be needing some scoring and Stauskas can provide that.
14. Phoenix Suns – Rodney Hood
Hood was one of my favorite players to watch this season in the NCAA. On a lot of nights that Duke was playing, he outplayed Jabari. Hood has a lot of length on him, but is really light for his frame. He can score the ball though, there’s no question about that. If he can bring his scoring abilities off the bench consistently, he will be a great fit for Jeff Hornacek down in Phoenix.