It’s almost here ladies and gentlemen! Yes, the 2014 NBA Draft is tonight and there is a lot to be said before the teams make their picks.
Predictions of the lottery picks are below. Enough talk. Let’s see where some of the top prospects stand a good chance of landing.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers- Andrew Wiggins (6’8″, 197 lbs., SG/SF)
Wiggins needs to work on his skinny frame but his freak athleticism cannot be overlooked and he really impressed the Cavaliers with a terrific workout that displayed good technique on his jump shot. Plus, Wiggins already has chemistry with fellow Canadians Tristan Thompson and Anthony Bennett, so bringing Wiggins on board would be ideal.
2. Milwaukee Bucks- Jabari Parker (6’8″, 241 lbs., SF/PF)
Parker is hands down the most NBA-ready player in this draft but his conditioning is what can bring him down to number two. Word around the NBA is Parker weighed in at 255 pounds during his workout with the Cavaliers this week and Cavs owner Dan Gilbert has already gained a few grey hairs with Bennett’s weight issues last year. Parker is definitely a big-time player though. Therefore, he could be the centerpiece for a basketball revival in Milwaukee.
3. Philadelphia 76ers- Joel Embiid (7’0″, 240 lbs., C)
The Sixers probably would not choose Embiid as their first choice, but Parker and Wiggins are most likely going to be off the board once the Sixers get their pick at number 3. Credit that to Embiid’s current status of being out for 4-6 months due to surgery for a stress fracture in his foot.
This could cause a conflict because Nerlens Noel is said to be the Sixers’ center for the future but trust me Sixers fans, Embiid is a much better fit than Noel. That Olajuwon comparison can go right out the window but the kid can ball.
4. Orlando Magic- Dante Exum (6’6″, 196 lbs., PG/SG)
Exum is a perfect fit for the Magic. He and Victor Oladipo would do absolute damage in the backcourt together for years to come.
Exum might be the next Michael Carter-Williams. His perimeter shooting needs to improve but that will come in due time. 6-foot-6-inch point guards with skills like this don’t pop up very often.
5. Utah Jazz- Noah Vonleh (6’9″, 247 lbs., PF/C)
Vonleh is terrific on the boards and can step out and hit the jumper if necessary. This kid is a thoroughbred. Great body. Great motor. The Jazz are open to trading power forward Derrick Favors, which can allow Vonleh to step in and establish his position as a starter.
6. Boston Celtics- Doug McDermott (6’8″, 218 lbs., SF)
McDermott isn’t one of the greatest NCAA scorers ever by luck. This guy can really put it in the hoop. Don’t take this the wrong way but McDermott can work some magic like Larry Bird did back in the day for the Celtics. The athleticism and quickness is questionable but the intelligence and uncanny scoring ability makes McDermott a special player.
The C’s should move Jeff Green to power forward and put McDermott at small forward. Rajon Rondo will have something to look forward to for sure.
There is a lot the Lakers can do with Marcus Smart. He is a big-body point guard who can be a pest on defense and match up well with the “unguardables” out in the West such as Russell Westbrook. Smart can even play the shooting guard position.
There was a time where he was being compared to Dwyane Wade. Plus, Smart has a Hollywood game. The kid will look good in Lakers gold. His shot is weak but so was Westbrook’s coming out of UCLA and he turned out just fine. Give Smart a break people. He is pretty darn good!
8. Sacramento Kings- Aaron Gordon (6’9″, 220 lbs., PF)
To be honest, Gordon is not ready for the NBA but he has the “Blake Griffin” effect on fans, so why not bring him to California. Gordon has a lot of maturing to do and his free-throw percentage at Arizona was in the 40-50% range. However, Gordon had a vertical leap of 39 inches at the NBA Draft Combine, which was first among big men who participated. This kid can leap. Maybe his athleticism can override his flaws.
9. Charlotte Hornets- Julius Randle (6’9″, 250 lbs. , PF)
Man oh man! If the Hornets get Randle at number nine, opposing defenses are in for a beat down in the low post. Al Jefferson at center and Randle at power forward would be terrorizing.
Randle does not get the credit he deserves. He fights for rebounds as if the ball is the only thing he has to eat and he can put the ball on the floor if necessary. Randle just needs to find a jump shot for his game to go to new heights.
10. Philadelphia 76ers- Nik Stauskas (6’6″, 207 lbs., SG)
Stauskas can play a major role in getting the Sixers back on the winning track.
Let’s make this clear; the Sixers might have the worst shooting guards in the NBA. Stauskas can come right in and be the backcourt mate that Michael Carter-Williams needs to open up his game. A backcourt of two 6’6″ guards with great ball-handling ability combined with consistent scoring is what the Sixers can have if they bring Stauskas to The City of Brotherly Love.
11. Denver Nuggets- Gary Harris (6’4″ 205 lbs., SG)
The Nuggets’ problem last year was depth. They need a guy that can come off of the bench and light it up. Gary Harris can be that man. Heck, Harris might even bump Nuggets shooting guard Randy Foye out of the starting lineup. Not only can Harris score in multiple ways, but he is also an underrated defender.
Coach Tom Izzo taught him well. They don’t play games at Michigan State. Harris is a good talent and could fit in well with the run and gun style of play of the Nuggets.
12. Orlando Magic- Adreian Payne (6’10”, 240 lbs, PF)
Former college teammates seem to get picked back to back sometimes (as Wiggins and Embiid may) so why not Payne and Harris? Payne was a beast in every sense of the word at Michigan State. On top of his excellent rim-rattling jam sessions during games, Payne can also step out and hit the trey ball on a consistent basis.
The Orlando Magic need a young power forward. Jason Maxiell is washed up. Tobias Harris is not really a power forward. Payne needs to just step right in and bring the pain because judging from their record last year, the Magic need to stop being the ones who take the pain.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves- Dario Saric (6’10”, 225 lbs., SF/PF)
Kevin Love is on his way out of Minnesota. Therefore, they need someone to fill the void. That’s where Saric comes in.
He is like a point forward because of his ability to handle the ball as well as do work in the post. Saric has been compared to San Antonio Spurs power forward Boris Diaw. The only downside is that Saric has recently signed a deal with Turkish team Anadolu Efes, which will keep him out of the league for a couple of more years. Teams can still draft Saric and wait for his return to the NBA. Maybe the Timberwolves can let him bulk up some and then implement him into a big role if they choose to draft him.
14. Phoenix Suns- T.J. Warren (6’8″, 220 lbs., SF)
The reigning ACC Player of the Year can score from anywhere on the court and NBA fans know that the words score and Suns undoubtedly go together. Warren and the Suns are a perfect fit.
P.J. Tucker has given the Suns some nice years as their small forward but T.J. Warren could easily take over the starting small forward role. Warren has a big hitch in his shot but when a guy can get 15 to 20 points a night, who cares? Warren is a matchup nightmare. Warren and the rest of the Suns could wreak havoc on the hardwood if they decide to draft him.
Make sure to tune in on the draft action at 7:00 p.m. ET tonight. Will Wiggins or Parker be number 1? Can teams get a hold of who they truthfully want? Judgement day has arrived. All eyes on the highly touted prospects and there future skippers.