Wednesday, June 25-
KCOU’s Mike Bonomo and Chinmay Vaidya predicted the first round of tomorrow’s NBA Draft. With the rumors surrounding some of the top players in the class, the 2014 NBA Draft figures to be one of the craziest drafts in years.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
CV-Joel Embiid, C, Kanas- The Cavs find themselves with the top pick in the NBA Draft for a second consecutive year. After trying to shop the pick, Cleveland ends up keeping it and selecting Embiid. The center has tremendous potential and can make an immediate impact on the defensive end. Despite the injury concerns, Embiid should have enough time to recover by Opening Day.
MB– Jabari Parker, SF, Duke– At least we have some intrigue at the top of the draft again. Cleveland has quite a few options. They can still roll the dice on Embiid, trade the pick or keep it and take a player. After Anthony Bennett’s horrible rookie season, and with a loaded draft class, I can’t imagine Cleveland taking a risk with Embiid. If Cleveland keeps the pick, it sounds like Parker would be their choice. Parker is the most NBA-ready player in the draft. His offensive game will translate without a doubt, but there are concerns about him defensively. He isn’t quick enough to guard 3s or tall or strong enough to guard 4s with their back to the basket. Regardless, Parker will most likely make the biggest impact of any rookie next year and that is what Cleveland is looking for.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
CV– Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas- Much to the dismay of Missouri fans, the Jayhawks go 1-2 and Wiggins joins Milwaukee. He has the chance to be the best two-way player in the game and his defensive skills will automatically help the Bucks improve. The only concern with Wiggins is his motivation and ability to make those around him better.
MB– Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas- The Bucks have had their eye on Parker since day one and he fits better there than in Cleveland. With him off the board, the Bucks will go with the über athletic Wiggins over taking a risk on Embiid. They are hoping that they can get a bounce back season from Larry Sanders and have a dearth of quality wing players. Wiggins gives them a lot of upside on the perimeter and his athleticism will at least allow him to be a capable defender right away.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
CV– Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky- The 76ers probably would have taken Wiggins if he was still around and although Jabari Parker may be the obvious choice, Philadelphia needs help in the frontcourt. Randle is a double-double machine that has more defensive potential than Parker and has a similar impact offensively at this point. Combine him with a healthy Nerlens Noel and the Sixers could be dominant in the low post.
MB-Dante Exum,PG/SG,Australia- Embiid, Parker, and Wiggins were supposed to be the three stars of this draft, so with the third pick, it looked like Philly’s spectacular tank job was going to pay off. The Embiid news was a total downer for Philly to say the least. However there is a sizable group of people (of which I am definitely included in) who thinks Exum belongs in that class with those three and has the potential to be the best player coming out of this class. Exum can get into the lane, and is smart around the basket. His combination of length and quickness is frankly, insane, and will allow him to guard pretty much anyone. The jump shot is a concern and there are rumors that Michael Carter-Williams could be traded to get Exum.
4. Orlando Magic
CV– Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia- The Magic will take a look at Parker, but will opt for the combo guard to anchor the backcourt. Orlando will be hoping that Exum’s game translates to the NBA and he can adjust to the pace of the league. While Parker is the more talented player, Exum fills the bigger need.
MB– Marcus Smart,PG,Oklahoma State- Philly barely missed out on their guy and it looks like Orlando may too, as they’ve been tied to Exum since day one. They experimented with last year’s first round pick Victor Oladipo at the point, but he really should be a 2. They have a glaring hole at the lead guard spot and if Exum is gone I’d expect them to go with Smart, who was a consensus top-5 pick coming into the season. He should be able to take on a decent sized role right away.
5. Utah Jazz
CV– Jabari Parker, SF, Duke- The Jazz are starting over and are going to the take the best player available. Parker is an explosive player on the offensive end and will be the foundation player for Utah. While he won’t be the defender that will lock down opposing forwards, he can still make plays due to his length. Utah is hoping the Burke-Parker duo can deliver the franchise its first NBA championship.
MB– Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana- Hey look, another team that’s trying to trade into the top 2. If they can’t move up, they want Exum or Vonleh. A report came out early that Vonleh showed up to workouts out of shape, but now many have said he’s impressed. He can stretch the floor and protects the rim and will fit in with Enes Kanter. The presence of Derrick Favors will allow him to ease into a role.
6. Boston Celtics
CV– Noah Vonleh, PF Indiana- The Celtics could take Marcus Smart or Aaron Gordon with this pick, but opt for a big man. Kelly Olynyk showed flashes last year and the Celtics will want another post presence. Vonleh is a strong, athletic player who can make an immediate impact on offense and rebounding.
MB– Joel Embiid, C, Kansas- If anyone takes a gamble on Embiid, it’s probably Danny Ainge, and why wouldn’t he? I know Rajon Rondo has been in every big rumor since his knee injury, but there’s no better way to build a team than around an All-Star point guard and an All-Star center. Or they can blow it up, trade Rondo for picks, and draft a young point guard to grow with Embiid and another first round pick next year.
7. Los Angeles Lakers
CV– Aaron Gordon, SF/PF, Arizona- The Lakers take Gordon, the player with the best motor. While his offensive game is limited at best, Gordon is an elite defender and excels above the rim. He has a good three-point shot, but his midrange game and free-throw percentage is abysmal. The comparisons to Blake Griffin are not completely off, but Gordon’s offensive game will have to grow leaps and bounds to reach that level.
MB– Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky- Randle drew rave reviews from his workout with the Lakers, and despite a foot injury, looks like a lock to make an impact immediately. He can face up and has the strength and moves to get his from the post. He is a smart passer and quick enough to guard pick and rolls effectively. He’ll be a double-double machine in no time.
8. Sacramento Kings
CV– Kyle Anderson, PG/SG/SF, UCLA- The Kings have Isaiah Thomas at point guard, so they won’t take Marcus Smart. Even though Rudy Gay picked up his option for 2014, the Kings don’t know if he’s the franchise player. Sacramento takes the versatile Anderson and looks to run the offense through him. Anderson is an efficient player who has a complete offensive game. He will make the younger players better and continue to develop with Gay and DeMarcus Cousins.
MB– Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette- This is my bold pick. Do I personally think Elfrid Payton shoud go eighth overall? No. He can’t shoot (how many guards shoot 61% from the free throw line?) and he can be careless with the ball. But he does get into the lane with ease, forces turnovers and snags rebounds. The Kings once took Jimmer Fredette 10th overall, so Payton here wouldn’t be a complete surprise. Look for Doug McDermott, Nik Stauskas, and Gary Harris here as well.
9. Charlotte Hornets
CV– Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State- Although the Hornets have Kemba Walker as the point guard, Smart can work off the ball and is an asset defensively. Smart shot 42 percent from the field last season and in order for Charlotte to be successful, that percentage has to rise. The Hornets will need Smart on the defensive end to shut down elite guards and help rebound the basketball.
MB– Doug McDermott, SF/PF,Creighton- First off, everyone go buy some Hornets gear right now, because it’s the best. The Hornets need shooting. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Gerald Henderson, and Kemba Walker take up most of their wing minutes, and don’t offer a ton in the way of a jump shot. The man they call McBuckets has a ton of question marks, the fact that he won’t be quick enough to guard 3s or strong enough to guard 4s chief among them, but he is probably the best shooter in the draft.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
CV– Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton- The Sixers already drafted an interior offensive threat with Randle and still need a shooter to stretch the floor. Nik Stauskas is also an option here, but McDermott has the size to play inside while providing perimeter scoring. The Sixers can use McDermott in a variety of ways and even go big with McDermott, Randle and Noel on the floor at the same time.
MB– Aaron Gordon,SF/PF,Arizona- If the 76ers can pair Gordon and Noel in the frontcourt, holy athleticism. SB Nation called Gordon basketball’s version of a five-tool player and that fits. He has a little bit of point forward in him, in the sense that he can handle the pick and roll. He’ll be able to finish as the roll man too and he’ll pull down rebounds. He can get into transition and lead a fast break, and pairing him alongside Noel lowers concerns about him defensively as a 4. Steal here for Philly.
11. Denver Nuggets
CV- Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan- The Nuggets have enough talent in the frontcourt and point guard is not a concern. While Randy Foye was serviceable last season, the Nuggets need a younger, long-term option at the shooting guard position. Enter Stauskas, who carried Michigan to the Elite 8 on 47 percent shooting from the field and 44 percent from three-point range.
MB- Dario Saric, PF, Croatia- Saric decided to stay in the draft this year, but will not be playing in the NBA next year. While this obviously drops his stock, a team with multiple first-rounders like Denver would be more willing to take him anyway (assuming they don’t trade the pick, as they have been rumored to do.) Saric is athletic and can finish around the rim, with a decent post game and a good jump shot for his size. At 6’10 he can play the 4 or 5 and oozes potential.
12. Orlando Magic
CV– Dario Saric, PF, Croatia- After snagging Exum with their first pick, the Magic will build frontcourt depth by taking Saric. Saric should see immediate playing time as a power forward and will give Nikola Vucevic a much-needed running mate in the post.
MB– Jusuf Nurkic,C, Bosnia- There is no consensus on Nurkic. He’s 6’11, 280 lbs and being that big will usually allow you to dominate most foreign leagues. He is young and isn’t clueless when it comes to post moves, but needs to develop. After taking Smart earlier, Orlando would want a big and Nurkic is really the only one in this range.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
CV– Gary Harris, PG/SG, Michigan State- The Timberwolves have a situation with Kevin Love that will be addressed at some point during the season. In the meantime, the T-Wolves will look at other players and eventually take Harris for his combo guard abilities. Harris should take the pressure to score off Ricky Rubio and make Minnesota’s backcourt more efficient.
MB– Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan- Stauskas’s improvement from his freshman year to his sophomore year was incredible. He grew into a total offensive threat as opposed to just a shooter. He still can shoot it from deep though and with Ricky Rubio as your point guard, you really need to find shooting elsewhere. If he grows half as much defensively as he did offensively, he’ll have a very good career.
14. Phoenix Suns
CV– Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA- The Suns are going to package picks attempting to deal for a superstar, but nobody will take their offer. Phoenix ends up keeping the pick and takes the high-flying LaVine and hope he develops as a shooter and defender.
MB- James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky- One of the picks that I feel rather confident in is Young to the Suns. They have been linked to a lot of point guards despite the magnificent production they got from Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe last year, but with another pick later in the first round I think they take Young here. He has a very good jump shot and guards multiple positions.
15. Atlanta Hawks
CV- Cleanthony Early, SF, Wichita State- The Hawks have an electrifying point guard and a solid 1-2 punch in the frontcourt. As effective as DeMarre Carroll is, the Hawks need a scorer at small forward. Early had a monster showing in Wichita State’s loss to Kentucky and should develop into a dynamic scorer.
MB- Gary Harris, PG/SG, Michigan State- Total value pick here by Atlanta. Harris won’t be a star, but should be a very good player. Another guy who has a great jump shot and can defend. He looks to be more of a 2 but Atlanta would probably try him at both guard spots just to see what works.
16. Chicago Bulls
CV– James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky- The Bulls need offense and that’s exactly what Young provides. He is lethal from behind the arc and can explode to the basket. Young provides the Bulls with a secondary scoring option behind Derrick Rose and while the Wildcat may not start right away, he will contribute heavily off the bench.
MB– Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State- The Bulls don’t plan on using the 16th and 19th picks. They either want to bundle them to move up or use at least one to add a current player. If they were to keep these two, I’d bet on Payne here. He could slide into the second unit as a stretch four with good range and he won’t be eaten alive down low.
17. Boston Celtics
CV– T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State- The Celtics addressed the frontcourt problems by taking Vonleh. Now, they take a young scorer that can gel with point guard Rajon Rondo. Warren was the ACC Player of the Year and averaged 24.9 points per game on an efficient 52.5 percent shooting.
MB– Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn- Napier had good workouts and could be gone by now. But if the board falls this way I would bet, Boston scoops up the NCAA Tournament MOP. If nothing else, Napier would be a good scorer off the bench. If Rondo is traded, the Celtics feel safe moving forward with Napier as the starter.
18. Phoenix Suns
CV- Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State- The Suns will take Payne because of his abilities to stretch the floor and defend in the post. Payne will be able to make an immediate impact off the bench and can develop into a solid frontcourt player.
MB- Zach LaVine, PG/SG,UCLA- LaVine drew a ton of attention after a picture of his 46-inch vertical made the rounds on Twitter. His combination of size, quickness and athleticism is tantalizing and if the Suns are really considering moving on from one or both of their point guards, LaVine would be a good pick.
19. Chicago Bulls
CV– Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse- Chicago cannot feel great about Derrick Rose’s recent injuries and takes Ennis as the backup point guard. Ennis has the playmaking instincts and elite ball-handling skills to adjust to the NBA quickly. Should Rose continue to be in and out of the lineup, Ennis will bring stability to the point guard position.
MB– Rodney Hood, SF, Duke- The Bulls need offense. It doesn’t matter if Derrick Rose comes back as himself, or if Carmelo comes to town, the lack of offensive skill on the wing especially is horrifying. Hood gives them that, plus the ability to guard multiple positions which Tom Thibodeau values. Gar Forman and John Paxson seem to have a thing for Duke guys.
20. Toronto Raptors
CV– Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette- Kyle Lowry may be on his way out and Payton is the replacement. Even if Lowry stays, Payton can back him up or potentially run with him as the shooting guard. Payton scored 19.2 points on 50.9 percent shooting last season and is a complete player. His three-point shooting needs work, but his rebounding and passing abilities complement his scoring well.
MB- Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse, The Raps want a point guard and this is the sure pick at this spot. The only other point guard left in this range is Jordan Clarkson, and Ennis is a better pick. He protects the ball, is a good distributor and has a decent jump shot. He’s also from Ontario.
21. New York Knicks(CV), Oklahoma City Thunder(MB)
CV– Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn- The Zen Master strikes. Phil Jackson deals Raymond Felton and Iman Shumpert to Oklahoma City for the pick. A future draft choice may also be involved. The Knicks begin their case to keep Carmelo Anthony by drafting Napier, a championship point guard who can take the scoring burden off Melo.
MB- P.J. Hairston, SG, UNC – The Thunder could use a center or a two guard with a reliable three-point shot. Hairston should come in immediately and help them in the second area. He is also very long, something the Thunder value, and with Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Reggie Jackson in town he shouldn’t need to do much creating.
22. Memphis Grizzlies
CV- Jerami Grant, SF, Syracuse- Tayshaun Prince isn’t getting younger and while Memphis lacks offensive firepower, the organization isn’t going to change its identity. Grant is a capable two-way player who will replace Prince and fit right into the Memphis system. While he may never become an offensive threat, Grant’s defensive ability will lead to a long, productive NBA career.
MB– Jarnell Stokes, PF,Tennessee- Jarnell Stokes plays hard and he plays defense. He is strong and does the dirty work. He played collegiately in the same state that the Grizzlies play in. You might say he is gritty or a grinder. How does Memphis not take him?
23. Utah Jazz
CV- Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA- The Jazz continue to address needs and shooting guard is one of them. Adams is a capable scorer and ball-handler who can alleviate the pressure off Parker and Burke. Adams could become the third component of a championship-caliber trio in Salt Lake City.
MB– Jordan Clarkson, PG,Missouri- The Jazz want a point guard, and the reviews of his workouts have been great. Clarkson can get into the lane and has good size. His jumper was looking good early in the season but worsened as the season wore on, though this drop started around the time his father was diagnosed with cancer, which may or may not have affected him. He needs to improve his decision making when driving but is a solid pick here.
24. Charlotte Hornets
CV– Rodney Hood, SF, Duke- The Hornets need shooters to space the floor for Al Jefferson and Kemba Walker. After taking Smart early, the Hornets grab Hood to add perimeter scoring to their offense. The downside here is that Hood can’t do much besides shoot and will have to battle Michael Kidd-Gilchrist for playing time.
MB– C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington- Probably a reach here, but Wilcox can shoot from long range, which the Hornets desperately need. There isn’t a lot of other shooting that would fit in this spot.
25. Houston Rockets
CV- Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan- If the Rockets go all-in on Carmelo Anthony and end up losing Chandler Parsons in the process, Robinson is the answer. Robinson is an efficient scorer who doesn’t need to launch 20+ shots to be productive. However, he needs to improve his rebounding game and three-point shooting to thrive in Houston’s offense.
MB– T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State- Warren doesn’t exactly fit what the Rockets need, but he’s a huge value this late in the draft and Daryl Morey isn’t one to pass that kind of value up. He can score from the 3 and the 4 right away.
26. Miami Heat
CV– Jordan Clarkson, PG, Missouri- The Heat have point guard problems and while Mario Chalmers has shown signs of becoming a decent one, a little competition never hurt. Clarkson is a big, physical player who can drive with ease and make tough shots in the lane.
MB– Kyle Anderson, PG/SG/SF, UCLA- I honestly have no idea what the Heat are going to do, with LeBron James reportedly opting out while the futures of Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade are uncertain. So I’ll give them Anderson, who is the best player left here. He’s drawn many Boris Diaw comparisons, so after Diaw just helped the Spurs to a title over them it would make sense.
27. Phoenix Suns
CV– C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington- After adding a flashy athlete and a big man, Phoenix continues to bolster its shooting with Wilcox. The Washington product will fit right in and, depending on the situation with Eric Bledsoe, could get playing time right away.
MB– Clint Capela, C, Switzerland- Capela is the best international prospect left on the board, and it wouldn’t make a ton of sense for the Suns to take on three rookies. Capela has potential but isn’t ready, which makes him an ideal stash candidate. His talent has drawn looks in the lottery.
28. Los Angeles Clippers
CV– Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia- The Clippers have no depth behind DeAndre Jordan at the center position and while Nurkic isn’t the most polished defender, the potential is there. The Clippers might keep him in Europe for a few years before bringing him to the league.
MB– Cleanthony Early, SF,Wichita State- The Clippers could use some wing help and Early gives them some shooting, along with the type of guy who fits right in to Doc Rivers’s preachings of Ubuntu.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
CV-Nick Johnson, PG/SG, Arizona- After dumping Raymond Felton from the Knicks trade, the Thunder still need a backup point guard and a scorer off the bench. Johnson was Arizona’s best player and despite the inconsistency, he is a solid passer and shooter. The Thunder can use him off the bench at either guard position and that versatility is valuable in the NBA.
MB– Mitch McGary, PF,Michigan- The Thunder don’t have much in the frontcourt beyond Serge Ibaka and McGary more potential than most guys this late. He was projected to go in the lottery last year if he declared, but injuries limited him this year before a marijuana suspension led him to enter the draft. Far from a sure thing, but OKC needs something down low.
30. San Antonio Spurs
CV– Clint Capela, C, Switzerland- The Spurs are getting older. Duncan is getting older. Even though the league’s most consistent organization is still delivering results, there will be a day when Duncan, Parker and Ginobili will no longer be in San Antonio. Capela is physically ready to play in the NBA, but his offensive game will need more polish. The Spurs will likely stash him abroad and bring him over once they need him.
MB– Glenn Robinson III, SF,Michigan- Robinson is such a Spurs pick, he has his flaws, and is a bit of a tweener but could thrive in the right situation. Doubly so if he can improve his jumper and the Spurs famed shot doctor has a good history of helping prospects in that regard (see: Leonard, Kawhi).