Predicting where the dominoes will fall in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, and for the first time in ages the Lakers have a natural pick ahead of the Clippers
With the 2014 NBA Draft looming in June, it will be the first time in years the Los Angeles Lakers have a legitimate natural first round pick several picks ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers. This year’s draft in contrast to last season, features some premiere talents and high-hyped names. Here is how the draft might shake down:
To say this will be a difficult choice for the 76ers is an understatement. There are three spots on their roster that they have filled, point guard and both forward spots. The question will be – Do the 76ers trust leading scorer Thaddeus Young enough to the point they don’t draft Jabari Parker or Andrew Wiggins? I believe they do, Young is averaging 18 points and he’s top five in the NBA in steals at 2.2 per game. They will select 7’0″ Embiid from Kansas. Embiid will make an impact immediately on defense with his length and athleticism. He is an excellent shot blocker and has a solid shooting touch for his size.
Best Comparison: Hakeem Olajuwon
2. Milwaukee Bucks - Jabari Parker, Duke
The Bucks will opt to take Parker over Wiggins as he is ready to score at the NBA level. Parker can play either forward spot and it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play the power forward spot like Carmelo does in New York. The 6’8″ freshman is an excellent scorer with a high IQ. Parker should be favorite to win Rookie of the Year.
Best Comparison: Carmelo Anthony
3. Orlando Magic - Andrew Wiggins, Kansas
Wiggins will fill the small forward spot they will need. With Victor Oladipo possibly filling the point guard slot, they will choose Wiggins over Marcus Smart and Dante Exum. Wiggins will give them an explosive athlete that will score off the ball. There is a chance that Wiggins might never be a guy that averages more than 20 points, but one thing is guaranteed: he will be an above average defender and great athlete.
Best Comparison: Rudy Gay/Demar Derozan
4. Utah Jazz - Julius Randle, Kentucky
Has loads of talent. Randle has the strength of NBA power forwards, with a small forward handle. Excellent rebounder but needs to improve defensively and his shooting range, as most power forwards are hitting the 16-18 foot jumper consistently.
Best Comparison: Zach Randolph with explosiveness
5. Boston Celtics - Dante Exum, Australia
With Rajon Rondo possibly leaving Boston, they will grab Exum, who is as complete of a player in the NBA draft. Exum is an all around talent that can play either guard spot and can shoot the ball well. He will be a player expected to produce right away.
Best Comparison: Brandon Roy
6. Los Angeles Lakers - Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State
The Lakers need a guy that simply locks down and Smart is that guy. The real question with Smart is whether he can be a true point guard. Smart is an inconsistent three point shooter but is capable of hitting a few triples. Smart is an excellent rebounding guard and can lock down players that play either guard slot and even some small forwards.
Best Comparison: Tyreke Evans
7. Sacramento Kings - Noah Vonleh, Indiana
Difficult decision for the Kings as they will take Vonleh over Aaron Gordon and Kyle Anderson. Inconsistent scorer with excellent size (6″10), that can rebound and block some shots.
Best Comparison: Amir Johnson (Maximized potential)
8. Detroit Pistons - Doug Mcdermott, Creighton
I can see Josh Smith or Greg Monroe leaving Detroit, which will open up the small forward spot for Mcdermott. Despite his defensive struggles, he will provide great three point shooting to a poor shooting team. On a team with a defender like Drummond inside Mcdermott will survive.
Best Comparison: Wally Szczerbiak
This man can simply do it all. He is a great passer at 6’9″ with improved range despite a slow release. Can handle the ball better than your average NBA two guard, despite poor speed makes up for it with length causing steals and some blocks. Only red flags are foot speed and athleticism. Will play on ball at times as Kyrie Irving can shoot the ball real well.
Best Comparison: Boris Diaw (in 05-06)
10. Philadelphia 76ers (receive New Orleans Pelicans pick) – Gary Harris, Michigan State
What better place to go than Philadelphia for the 6’4″ Harris? If he’s too small to defend a two guard, they can throw Carter Williams on him. Harris is an excellent shooter with tremendous feel for the game. Also a good defender with high basketball IQ.
Best Comparison: Bradley Beal
11. Denver Nuggets (receive New York Knicks pick) – Aaron Gordon, Arizona
Excellent athlete with solid handle and passing skills. Terrible free throw shooter, although he has a decent mid range touch. Has made 35 percent of his threes (limited attempts: 15-43).
Best Comparison: Blake Griffin (poor man version)
12. Orlando Magic (receive Denver Nuggets pick) – James Young, Kentucky
Very good scorer with shooting range. Can create his own shot and can play shooting guard and some small forward. Versatile player with solid athleticism. Can improve defensively and making plays for others.
Best Comparison: Nick Young
13. Minnesota Timberwolves - Rodney Hood, Duke
Excellent shooter with a smooth game. A true small forward with good size, despite needing to add weight. Good athlete, but can use improvement on defense.
Best Comparison: Thaddeus Young/Rashard Lewis
14. Phoenix Suns - Nik Stauskas, Michigan
Stauskas will fill in the shooting guard spot nicely as Eric Bledsoe could possibly leave, he will provide great three point shooting. Despite Stauskas mediocre defensive ability, he will survive at 6″6.
Best Comparison: Marco Belinelli (much better version)
15. Atlanta Hawks (swapped picks with Nets) – Dario Saric, Croatia
Very good size for position with loads of skill. Can improve defensively, but is a good rebounder. Above average court vision and handle for position.
Best Comparison: Lamar Odom
16. Chicago Bulls (receive Charlotte Bobcats) – Adreian Payne, Michigan State
“Grown man” power forward that can really shoot the ball well out to the NBA three point line. Has solid post moves but can use defensive improvement.
Best Comparison: Marreese Speights (with IQ)
17. Phoenix Suns (receive Washington Wizards pick) – Zach LaVine, UCLA
Potential potential potential. Might be in the D-League for a good portion in his rookie season, but has the potential to be a top three player in class in a few years. Excellent shooting range with great athleticism. LaVine is a true combo guard at 6’5″ that must add 10-15 pounds to his body.
Best Comparison: Jamal Crawford with much more athleticism
18. Boston Celtics (receive Atlanta Hawks pick) – TJ Warren, North Carolina State
Big time scorer with excellent touch out to 20 feet. Must improve his three point shooting and is only an average NBA athlete. Good rebounder for a small forward and can play off the ball.
Best Comparison: Josh Howard
19. Chicago Bulls - Tyler Ennis, Syracuse
Good change of pace guard with a tremendous IQ. Plays beyond his years. Needs to improve his shooting range and is a below average athlete.
Best Comparison: Mike Conley
20. Toronto Raptors - Jerami Grant, Syracuse
Smooth forward with raw potential. Needs to develop three point shot, as he has shown a nice shot inside 18 feet. True small forward with rebounding ability and is an active defender.
Best Comparison: Thaddeus Young
21. Memphis Grizzlies - Cleanthony Early, Wichita State
Smooth forward that lets game come to him. Can use improvement on his ball handling and passing. Good mid-range game and can even post up smaller defenders as shown in that Kentucky game. Excellent free-throw shooter as well.
Best Comparison: Cliff Robinson
22. Oklahoma City Thunder (receive Dallas Mavericks pick) – Jordan Adams, UCLA
Very good scorer from inside and outside the three point line as he possesses a lethal mid-range jumper as well. One of the best players in the nation at getting steals. Will be a good NBA player despite lack of athleticism.
Best Comparison: Wesley Matthews
23. Utah Jazz (receive Warriors pick) – Clint Capela, Switzerland
Good rebounder with solid athleticism. Good defender but must improve jump shot. A bit of a tweener.
Best Comparison: Ian Manhinmi (better version)
24. Charlotte Bobcats (receives Trailblazers pick) – PJ Hairston, USA
Was supposed to be a Junior last season at North Carolina, instead he dominated in the NBA D-League. Hairston is a good shooter with an NBA ready body. Hairston needs to work on becoming a bit more explosive and focus on defense as much as offense. Gifted player that can score in NBA right now.
Best Comparison: John Salmons
25. Houston Rockets - Elfrid Payton, Louisiana Lafayette
Do it all point guard, that can really defend. Needs to improve three point shot and free throw shooting. Good size for a point guard. Can be a steal in the draft.
Best Comparison: Devin Harris
26. Miami Heat - Shabazz Napier, UConn
Big time player when the game is on the line. Can really create his own shot well and a good rebounding guard. A bit smaller than the average point guard at the NBA level.
Best Comparison: Mo Williams
27. Phoenix Suns (receive Indiana Pacers pick) – Glenn Robinson
A bit undersized for a small forward, despite having the ability to defend shooting guards and even some power forwards. Good mid-range game.
Best Comparison: Michael Kidd-Gilchrist
28. Los Angeles Clippers - K.J. McDaniels, Clemson
Good rebounder for a small forward. Unbelievable shot blocker for a player that is listed at 6″6. Decent jump shooter, only problem is size.
Best Comparison: Jamario Moon
29. Oklahoma City Thunder - CJ Wilcox, Washington
Good scorer with excellent shooting range. Solid athlete with length. Can even block a shot a game (rare for a shooting guard). Needs to improve handle and must become a better rebounder.
Best Comparison: Courtney Lee
30. San Antonio Spurs - Mitch McGary, Michigan
Very active power forward with excellent size. Needs to improve shooting range. Good rebounder. Might fall in draft due to injury.
Best Comparison: Josh McRoberts