This marks the last mock before the 2014 NBA Draft begins tonight. While there continues to be a ton of activity, even at the front of the draft, these are the best guesses as to the order each player will be selected and which team will acquire them. Based off all the chatter so far, we’re bound to see some huge changes before it’s all said and done, though.
Obviously the back-and-forth among Cleveland’s brass over Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker continues, but we think Cavs management wins out and Jabari goes No. 1. Here is the sixth — and final — installment of Dime’s mock draft:
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1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jabari Parker
6-8, 235 lbs. F
With David Blatt (an offensive guru) and David Griffin at the helm, they are looking for a prospect who can help them immediately and still have long-term potential. Right now it is about 60-40 for Parker over Andrew Wiggins with about a half dozen trade scenarios floating around the Cavs right now. Parker can come in and fill a void at the three, provide shooting, and a complimentary scorer to Kyrie Irving. If Anthony Bennett does not pan out then Parker can be the long-term solution to the small ball four spot for the team and help them forget about that pick.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Wiggins
6-8, 200 lbs. SF
Despite having the worst record in the league and missing out on the No. 1 overall pick, it might be a better situation for the Bucks to slide down here. They get to reap the rewards of whomever the Cavs do not pick. Adding Wiggins gives them another incredible athlete and defensive oriented wing to pair with Giannis Antetokounmpo who is a rangy 6-11 now. Wiggins’ offense is a ways away from catching up with his defense, so he will be a 2-3 year development project on that end, but right now he is a quality scorer in the effort categories like transition, on the offensive glass, and second-chance points. There is no better athlete in this class to build with and Wiggins has the potential to be an unconventional superstar that makes his impact on the defensive end while being a serviceable scorer.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Dante Exum
6-6, 196 lbs. G
Philly is tough to feel out as they are trying to move up, love Wiggins, but in the end might have to draft a player not named Wiggins or Parker, both of which were the catalysts for a 19-win season. There is intrigue in Exum as the best player on the board and a combo guard with a similar skill-set to reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. Right now Exum is not necessarily ready to compete on that level and needs to continue to develop his point guard skills. He is long, quick, and a terrific athlete for the point guard position who has shown signs of being a decent shooter and quality defender. Joel Embiid and Noah Vonleh are in play here as well.
4. Orlando Magic – Joel Embiid
7-0, 250 lbs. C
The Magic are not in “win now” mode and are trying to figure out who they are. They could use a point guard, but drafting the best available player has to always trump need this high in a draft and as talented as group of players is likely to be. Embiid falls a bit here landing in a situation where he can slowly come back from injury and ensure he is 100 percent before stepping on the court with Nikola Vucevic already in place. Embiid and Vucevic are not a tandem that would play together, but Embiid could be an upgrade allowing the Magic to move Vucevic for other needs in the near future. Marcus Smart is also in play here.
5. Utah Jazz – Noah Vonleh
6-9.75, 247 lbs. PF
If the Jazz stay put here at No. 5, then Vonleh is an ideal addition to the current young core they are building. Right now Trey Burke, Gordon Hayward, and Derrick Favors are the core of the team — leaving holes at the two and four, now due for an upgrade. Vonleh has the physical characteristics of a Chris Bosh when he came into the NBA, but with 20-plus pounds of added muscle. He is an NBA-ready defender and rebounder at the four as he showed at Indiana during his lone season there. Offensively, he is scratching the surface, but still produced a double-double average on the season playing with score-first guards. Long-term Vonleh could be the best player to come out of this draft.
6. Boston Celtics – Marcus Smart
6-3.75, 227 lbs. G
Oklahoma State, So.
There may not be a more aggressive team in terms of moving up and making a major splash in the trade waters than the Celtics right now. They are dangling Rajon Rondo for anything and want to move up in the draft as well. They have targeted Smart as a primary option if they stay put at No. 6. He’ll be used as a Rondo replacement. Smart is ready to contribute right away with his size, strength, and defensive ability. Time will tell if Smart becomes a great shooter, but the Celtics have plenty of time to develop him as the leader of the franchise.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Julius Randle
6-9, 250 lbs. PF
Put on a blind fold, grab a dart, and throw it at any position and that is what the Lakers need. They need talent. The best player available at this point is Randle despite his foot issues and recovery time if he has surgery. He is a great rebounder who is very much capable of averaging a double-double at the NBA level with his aggressiveness on both ends. Randle’s perimeter skills and ball-handling are intriguing at the four as someone who can face the rim and create offense for himself. The fact that when healthy Randle is about as NBA ready as any of the other freshmen with some long-term potential also plays in here. The Lakers need ready-now contributors.
8 Sacramento Kings – Aaron Gordon
6-8.75, 220 lbs. PF
The Kings could go point guard here with their uncertainty with Isiah Thomas as the point guard of the future or draft the best available athlete to compliment the young roster they are slowly, very slowly, putting together. Sure, the Cavaliers have had an embarrassment of riches in recent drafts, but so have the Kings with five consecutive Top-7 picks. With only two of them on the roster today bringing in an athlete like Gordon does a lot for this young team. Gordon is a high energy defender that allows DeMarcus Cousins and Ben McLemore to be elite level offensive players. This is a perfect marriage for both the Kings and Gordon.
9. Charlotte Hornets via Detroit Pistons – Nik Stauskas
6-6.5, 207 lbs. SG
The real winners of the NBA Draft Lottery were the Charlotte HORNETS with the Cleveland Cavaliers move to No. 1 allowing them to move into the lottery. Adding scoring and versatility to the offense is sorely needed to elevate the Hornets from a team that is happy to be invited to the playoffs to a team that is winning games. Stauskas is an above average ball-handler and playmaker at the guard position who can shoot lights out coming off of screens. He is a perfect backcourt mate to Kemba Walker, who can stretching the floor, thereby giving the team another ball-handler, and adding to the worst offense to make the playoffs this year.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans) – Dario Saric
6-10, 223 lbs. F
With Exum in the bag, there are very few big-man prospects worth a reach this high. The 76ers are not trying to be great overnight, so taking Saric, who will be in Europe for another two years, is a good move here for the future. He is a skilled play-maker and versatile weapon on the offensive end for being a 6-10 forward. Good overall rebounder and ball-handling skills allow Saric to initiate fast-breaks where he can make plays for himself and teammates. Sam Hinkie will pull something out here, and might possibly trade up or down.
11. Denver Nuggets – Elfrid Payton
6-3.75, 185 lbs. PG
Odds are this pick does not stay in Denver and if they keep it, the Nuggets need to change things up from drafting another 6-8 do-everything-but-does-nothing forward. Payton is a dynamic athlete with an elite first step on the offensive end, who can get into the paint at will despite lacking an efficient jumper. Great defender and athlete, willing to do what is necessary for team success as seen with Team USA; he was a designated defender off the bench and in the NCAA Tournament and defended everyone in a near upset of the Doug McDermott’s Creighton Blue Jays.
12. Orlando Magic (Via New York Knicks) – Doug McDermott
6-7.75, 218 lbs. F
The Magic need to add players with defined roles to a roster filled with versatility and potential. Embiid is already in there so adding a seasoned shooter (and overall scorer) like McDermott gives the Magic a guy who can play the three, shoot the NBA three, and do so at a very high level. Whether he can defend small forwards on the other end is a whole other matter.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Gary Harris
6-4.5, 205 lbs. G
Michigan State, So.
While Harris is not a point guard or a shooting guard at the NBA level in a pure sense, he can play both positions better than expected ell. He is the best guard defender in this class with classic combo skills on offense. He’s a solid ball-handler, good play-maker, and deadly shooter when it counts.
14. Phoenix Suns – Zach LaVine
6-5.75, 181 lbs. G
Suns general manager Ryan McDonough does things his way and his way is filling up the roster with dynamic, two-way players who are almost all terrific athletes. This might be a bit high for LaVine, but the team looked at him twice and they really value his potential down the line with raw talents that far exceed his peers in this spot.
15. Atlanta Hawks – James Young
6’6.75”, 213 lbs. SF
The NBA is filling up with players like Young who are not necessarily steady and reliable but dynamic enough to win games on their own. At Kentucky, Young showed he was able to get to the basket to make plays, shoot the NBA three, and score in transition. With his size and length Young is an ideal NBA wing who can play both the two and the three on the offensive end. He is a limited defender, but a terrific athlete who can learn to be a conscientious defender when he’s not expending as much energy on offense.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Charlotte Bobcats) – Adreian Payne
6-9.75, 238 lbs. PF
Michigan State, Sr.
It is very unlikely the Bulls keep their picks, including this one, but if they do, adding another capable defender — who also adds some skill on offense, with Payne’s shooting ability — has to be attractive. The Bulls will be without Carlos Boozer in the near future and Payne adds depth here.
17. Boston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets) – T.J. Warren
6-8.25, 220 lbs. SF
N.C. State, So.
Warren gives the Celtics a scorer on the perimeter who can create points in a variety of ways. They may not keep this pick, but if they do, a talented scorer like Warren could step in and contribute from day one.
18. Phoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards) – Rodney Hood
6-8.5, 208 lbs. SF
While Hood can be a good defender he did not show that during the last third or so of his sophomore season at Duke. His offensive game evolved, though, showing he can slash to the basket and score more in the mid-range. Still, he has to maximize his defensive potential. The Suns could use an upgrade on the wing long-term with P.J. Tucker and Gerald Green considered veterans on their young squad.
19. Chicago Bulls – Kyle Anderson
6’8.5”, 230 lbs. F
Again, this is likely not the Bulls pick to make, but if they keep it, Anderson would be hard to pass up here. The Bulls need offensive creators to offset the usage of Derrick Rose and regardless of what they do in free agency, Anderson fits the bill as a second-unit playmaker.
20. Toronto Raptors – Jordan Clarkson
6-5, 222 lbs. G
Whether you value Clarkson as a big point guard or a just a combo guard, he is a dynamic young athlete on the perimeter. The Raptors will look hard at point guards here and Clarkson has the most upside of the group on both ends of the floor.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas Mavericks) – P.J. Hairston
6-6.25, 228 lbs. SG
D-League (via North Carolina) 1992
Adding a big, strong NBA-ready scorer like Hairston gives the Thunder punch off the bench. He did well in the D-League with moments where he looked like the slashing scorer he was projected to be coming out of North Carolina. Good landing spot for both Hairston and the Thunder.
22. Memphis Grizzlies – Tyler Ennis
6-2.5, 181 lbs. PG
The Grizzlies were 14th in the NBA in assists, but seemed like a team that struggled to score, relying on Mike Conley Jr. more than any team relied upon one specific player. Ennis might be a lottery talent, but he falls into a great position for his game on a team that needs him and plays with a steady pace.
23. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors) – K.J. McDaniels
6-6, 196 lbs. SF
The Jazz can add the best perimeter prospect here and that is McDaniels on my board. He is not a great shooter, but very much improved as well as a five-tool defender and a great athlete.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland Trail Blazers) – Mitch McGary
6-10, 250 lbs. F/C
The Bobcats add more depth to their front line here with McGary. He can play the four and the five, exhibits great energy, and has a big strong NBA frame already. Mixing in McGary with Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller, Bismack Biyombo and Josh McRoberts [Ed Note: probably opting out] forms a deep front-court.
25. Houston Rockets – Jusuf Nurkic
6-11, 280 lbs. C
The Rockets traded their massive, expensive big man Omer Asik to the New Orleans Pelicans for cap flexibility in free agency the day before the draft. Here they could draft another massive, much less expensive big man in Nurkic and leave him overseas for a year or two to develop.
26. Miami Heat – Shabazz Napier
6-1, 175 lbs. PG
Napier could go much higher than this, but the point guard position is so fluid after you get past Smart and Payton. This is not a perfect fit because Napier is most effective as a ball-dominant playmaker, but LeBron likes him and the Heat need an upgrade at the point.
27. Phoenix Suns (via Indiana Pacers) – Clint Capela
6-11, 222 lbs. F/C
Draft-and-Stash has to be the most viable option here with three first-round picks (if they keep them all) and Capela falls to the perfect team. In a year, after he develops his basketball skills, Capela’s athleticism and size would be welcome additions to this young Suns team.
28. Los Angeles Clippers – Patric Young
6-10, 247 lbs. F/C
The Clippers need toughness and players who know their role on a team looking to contend for a championship for the next 2-3 years. Young is a physical specimen who defends, rebounds, and plays his role as well as anyone.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Bogdan Bogdanovic
6-6, 200 lbs. G/F
Draft-and-Stash for the second first-round pick with Bogdanovic. He has developed into a nice scorer on the wing and could help add to the Thunder bench in a year or two.
30. San Antonio Spurs – Spencer Dinwiddie
6-6, 205 lbs. G
The Spurs hit with their picks in some way or another every year. Due to an ACL injury, Dinwiddie falls in their lap. He is another 6-6 point guard who can do a little bit of everything, but at his own pace. He does not rely on athleticism, which fits right in with the Spurs’ team-oriented model.
What do you think?
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