2014 NBA Mock Draft: Cavaliers Will Pick Andrew Wiggins No. 1, Bucks Go Jabari Parker At No. 2, Plus Rest Of First Round Selections

June 26, 2014

By Matt Straub

 

The NBA Draft doesn’t get the attention the NFL Draft does for a variety of reasons, from the NFL being America’s favorite pastime now to the way the NBA conducts the draft itself, not allowing teams to make deals public until after the first round, leading to plenty of confusion and hurting the experience of watching the draft itself. Finally, too many people get caught up in college basketball in March, when the tournament begins, meaning they’ll have only seen a player a few times and can’t get attached to the big names as easily as they do the top college football stars.

 

There are few events more important to a sport than the NBA Draft, however. With so few available spots on a roster, so few chances to find the right fit and with a format which creates more of a crapshoot every year, the degree of difficulty in nailing a pick in the NBA is higher than most sports, and the need to get it right is great. Only whiffing on a quarterback in the top few picks of the NFL Draft can be as costly to a sports franchise as blowing a Top 10 pick in the NBA Draft.

 

Those facts are why so many NBA teams are reworking their boards right now, checking it over and over in preparation for tonight’s draft. In a draft which is as talent-rich as any since 1984 but which also has so many question marks, having your board in the right order has never been more important.

 

The draft has also never been harder to predict. If you read last year’s mock draft I spent way too long putting together, you’ll remember I didn’t do so well. In my defense, it was mostly Cleveland’s fault for making one of the worst picks in the history of professional sports, taking Anthony Bennett and throwing the entire draft into chaos.

 

Now the Cavs are on the clock again, and the sure-fire top pick in this year’s draft suffered an injury the week before the draft which is expected to cause him to slide. The news of Joel Embiid’s foot problem has sent the Cavs scrambling, as you’ll read more about below. There is also expected to be a number of big trades involving picks and big-name players like Kevin Love, and teams like the Heat and Knicks are trying hard to move up in the draft, which would create a domino effect on the order of players picked.

 

All of this means it’s almost impossible to try and predict who’s going to go where and when tonight. That won’t stop me from trying, however. It just means you should follow this based on your favorite team, not necessarily the number they’re assigned. The team could be in a totally different spot by 7 p.m.

 

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Who they’ll take: Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas

Who they should take: Wiggins

The Cavs are as good as anyone at screwing up the draft, and the circumstances surrounding the top spot this year gives them every opportunity to do it again. Jabari Parker isn’t as good a fit with the team’s roster and Embiid is hurt, so Wiggins is the clear pick. Which is why the Cavs are trying to meet with Dante Exum today, because they’re the Cavs. If they take Exum here and blow up my whole board again, I’m going to be very upset, as will Cavs fans when their team has an unproven player at a position they have filled.

 

2. Milwaukee Bucks

Who they’ll take: Jabari Parker, F, Duke

Who they should take: Parker

Parker has tried to manipulate the process a bit to head to the Bucks at No. 2, apparently not wanting to be a part of the chaos in Cleveland. He’s a good fit both on and off the floor for the Bucks, and is the kind of character kid the Bucks need during their rebuild. He’s also the most ready player. Think a young Carmelo Anthony with a calmer head.

 

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Who they’ll take: Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana

Who they should take: Joel Embiid

This is where my draft could go off the rails, but I’m taking a risk here. The 76ers, unless they make a trade and get rid of Michael Carter-Williams, don’t need a point guard, so Exum is out. They’re picking too high to take chance on Embiid, though they should since they’re a couple years from competing anyway. This pick could be a trade, or it could be Julius Randle, but I believe the 76ers take the surest thing left. This is also a prime spot for someone to trade up and take Embiid or one of the big two if someone jumps up to take Exum.

 

4. Orlando Magic

Who they’ll take: Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma St.

Who they should take: Dante Exum

Exum makes all the sense in the world here for a team which has another lottery pick to use and is rebuilding. The Magic could let Exum develop, but something tells me they want more of a sure bet. Smart doesn’t have Exum’s potential, but he’s more likely to have a good NBA career. He gives the Magic another good defender on the perimeter, and he just feels like the right fit here.

 

5. Utah Jazz

Who they’ll take: Dante Exum, G, Australia

Who they should take: ExumIf

If the board falls this way, the Jazz have an easy call. Exum might not fill their top need, but he has a chance to be special and has the most “upside” left. The Jazz might try and move up to get Parker, but if they’re here and the Magic don’t take Exum, the Jazz have to.

 

6. Boston Celtics

Who they take: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Who they should take: No one

The Celtics are one of the keys to the draft, as they hold two first round picks, a ton of future picks and an intense desire to make some deals for veteran players or either Wiggins or Parker. Danny Ainge is known for his ability to make surprise deals, so it might not be Kevin Love they get, but I think they’ll move this pick for a big name of some sort, or with Rajon Rondo in an attempt to get into the top two. If Boston makes the pick, Embiid is the man. If Boston makes they pick it will be taking the time to rebuild, so waiting on a guy many believe could be one of the best centers ever when he develops would be worth the risk. Him falling this far thanks to a broken foot would be hard to pass up for Boston or whoever picks here, since there aren’t any sure-fire all-stars after this spot.

 

7. Los Angeles Lakers

Who they’ll take: Julius Randle, F, Kentucky

Who they should take: Randle

If the draft works this way, the Lakers need to run to the podium to take Randle. Rumor has it the Lakers are trying to trade this pick to make Kobe Bryant happy, but they don’t have much to trade and need to think about the future. Randle is going to be a great rebounder if nothing else, and those don’t grow on trees.

 

8. Sacramento Kings

Who they’ll take: Elfrid Payton, G, La-Lafayette

Who they should take: Aaron Gordon

The Kings are looking to move this pick and are set in the middle and on the wing. I’m not in love with their guards, even though they have some big names, so I think Payton could be a nice fit. Watch for the Kings to try and trade down to get him later and pick up a veteran. Or they could end up with Rondo. This is really going to be a wild night.

 

9. Charlotte Hornets

Who they’ll take: Gary Harris, G, Michigan St.

Who they should take: Gordon

The buzz is back in Charlotte, as the Hornets have returned. They need shooters, however, and Harris is a good guard to grab here. Gordon might be too much to pass up, but if the Hornets go by need, this is the pick.

 

10. Philadelphia 76ers

Who they’ll take: Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona

Who they should take: Gordon

If Gordon, who could go from 3-10, takes this Paul Pierce-style slide, the Sixers have to grab him. The guy has a chance to be a great scoring wing. There are questions about his shot, but he can run and jump and dunk like few others. The rest will come.

 

11. Denver Nuggets

Who they’ll take: Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan

Who they should take: Rodney Hood

The Nuggets could go in a million directions here as we start heading into the guessing game portion of the draft. I like Hood a little better on both ends, but there’s nothing wrong with taking a scorer here. This is where teams will start scrambling to move up to get the last couple of players they really like.

 

12. Orlando Magic

Who they’ll take: Zach LaVine, G, UCLA

Who they should take: LaVine

If they take Smart they could move this pick since they don’t need another guard, but the Magic are still collecting assets. This is another prime trade-in spot. Watch for Miami to try and jump in here to take Shabazz Napier.

 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves

Who they’ll take: Doug McDermott, G, Creighton

Who they should take: Someone much higher

The Wolves need to make the Love trade tonight or they might not get as much for him later. If they do, they probably won’t have this pick anymore, making it hard to predict. If they’re making it, they better be right, since Love is gone after the year. I personally don’t believe McDermott is going to amount to anything in the pros, but someone will take a shot on his shooting ability.

 

14. Phoenix Suns

Who they’ll take: Rodney Hood, G, Duke

Who they should take: Hood

The Suns get lucky in this scenario. I think Hood could be one of the steals of the draft. He’s not quite Parker, but he has a real NBA style game I believe translates well, and his versatility fits well with the Suns. This is a great match.

 

15. Atlanta Hawks

Who they’ll take: Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA

Who they should take: Anderson

The player is another potential steal with size and skill, but the team is a rudderless ship which could do anything. A trade here with Miami makes sense, as does taking a foreign player they stash away. Well, that doesn’t make sense, but they are the Hawks.

 

16. Chicago Bulls

Who they’ll take: Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia

Who they should take: Napier

The Bulls need more size, but they could also use Derrick Rose insurance. Either pick is a great option for the Bulls, who likely won’t mess this up, as so many teams seem to. Now that Nurkic is definitely coming to the States, he might actually go higher than this.

 

17. Boston Celtics

Who they’ll take: T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State

Who they should take: Warren

The C’s likely end up with this pick at the end of the night, but probably need a new wing if they move Jeff Green. Heck, even with Green they can use a new wing, since Green is among the most frustrating, inconsistent players in the world.

 

18. Phoenix Suns

Who they’ll take: Dario Saric, F, Croatia

Who they should take: Someone who won’t wait at least two years before coming over

The Suns can afford to stash someone here and Saric could be a steal a la Toni Kukoc someday, but I hate the idea of drafting someone in the first round who won’t be on the team until at least 2016. Still, someone will grab him, and it might as well be the Suns.

 

19. Chicago Bulls

Who they’ll take: James Young, G, Kentucky

Who they should take: Napier

Napier’s toughness makes him meant to be a Bull, and part of me finds it hard to believe they pass on him twice, but they need an outside shooter from this draft, so if they take a big with their first pick they go Young here. This is a good trade spot, too.

 

20. Toronto Raptors

Who they’ll take: Shabazz Napier, G, UConn

Who they should take: Napier

The Raptors could end up with a big hole at guard, but either way they should take Napier if he falls this far. He won’t be a star, but he’ll be a tough, effective player who can lead as well. Think Allen Iverson without the crazy.

 

21. Oklahoma City Thunder

Who they’ll take: Adrian Payne, F, Michigan St.

Who they should take: Clint Capela

The Thunder are too close to a title to afford to take someone they have to wait for here. Payne isn’t a starter, but he’s tough, can rebound, battle and shoot a little. He’ll find ways to help a contender, and he’s one of the best people you’ll find, a good fit for the Thunder.

 

22. Memphis Grizzlies

Who they’ll take: Glenn Robinson III, F, Michigan

Who they should take: Any small forward with two legs

The big front office shakeup in Memphis makes me unsure of what they’ll do, but they need some scoring from the wing since they’re set at the point and up front. Robinson seems a good fit.

 

23. Utah Jazz

Who they’ll take: Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse

Who they should take: Jordan Adams

Ennis doesn’t deserve to fall this far, but the draft is about need, which causes guys to slip in all sports. A tough, unselfish guard is a good match with Utah, even if they end up with Exum. Besides, they can always trade the pick or have Exum be a Westbrook-style two-guard who plays point.

 

24. Charlotte Hornets

Who they’ll take: Jordan Clarkson, G, Missouri

Who they should take: A big

The Hornets might just double up on guards in the hopes of one hitting. He’ll get to the rim and run pick-and-roll well, which could free up whatever shooter the Hornets get early in the draft.

 

25. Houston Rockets

Who they’ll take: Jarnell Stokes, F, Tennessee

Who they should take: Trade the pick for more cap room

The Rockets care only about getting LeBron James or Anthony, but having some pieces around them would help (right, Miami?). Stokes is an intriguing option here as someone who might be able to help off the bench.

 

26. Miami Heat

Who they’ll take: Mitch McGary, F, Michigan

Who they should take: Whoever LeBron asks for

I actually believe the Heat have drafted long before this spot, grabbing James’ Twitter buddy, Napier. If they’re here, though, they could really use a big. McGary, for all his problems, could be a steal here for someone.

 

27. Phoenix Suns

Who they’ll take: Jordan Adams, G, UCLA

Who they should take: Adams

The Suns won’t keep all these picks, and if they do, they’ll stash one in Europe. The other question here: How did UCLA only get to the Sweet 16?

 

28. Los Angeles Clippers

Who they’ll take: P.J. Hairston, G, North Carolina

Who they should take: Whoever LeBron asks for

The Knicks are said to want into this spot quite badly, which is part of why they picked up two lower picks last night, trying to move up to get here. They like Hairston, and this is a good place to get him. He’d fit well in L.A., too, however.

 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder

Who they’ll take: Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse

Who they should take: No one

The Thunder will likely get out of this spot by trade or sale. Grant could be a nice fit for someone as a long, athletic wing who can change games with speed and size.

 

30. San Antonio Spurs

Who they’ll take: Clint Capela, C, Switzerland

Who they should take: Capela

This is the perfect Spurs pick. A guy with size and potential who can develop further overseas or come now and learn the ways of Pop. Three years from now, we’ll be asking “where’d they get this guy?” That’s why the draft matters so much.

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