- Game 7 Preview: There’s More than Just a Trophy On the Line
- Let’s Not Overlook What the Thunder Accomplished This Year
- 5 Tips to Help You Win Your NCAA Bracket Pool
- Don’t Sleep on the Boston Celtics Come Playoff Time
- I’m Bored of Steph Curry: A Few Ideas to Make the Game Fair Again
- Cam Newton & Steph Curry are Leading a New Revolution in Sports
- New York Giants: Odell Beckham Jr. Messed Up, But He’s No Monster
- The Pickup Game Podcast #5: Jets vs. Giants Preview with Lucas Frankel
- The New York Giants Are in an Oddly Familiar Situation, and It Could be a Great Thing
- The Pickup Game Podcast #4: UConn’s Women’s Team, Kevin Durant, Jahlil Okafor & David Price
NBA Lottery Mock Draft 3.0
- Updated: March 23, 2014
Once the NBA regular season ends next month, 14 teams will miss the playoffs and turn their focus to the NBA Draft. An extremely talented group of prospects gives teams and their fans plenty to be excited about this year.
The order of this mock draft is based on the current standings. The official draft order for non-playoff teams will be determined at the NBA Draft Lottery on May 20th.
So here it is. Standing O Sports’ third 2014 NBA lottery mock draft.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins – Kansas/SF/Freshman
The Bucks have been dismal this season and have a multitude of needs. Andrew Wiggins has all the tools to become a superstar in the NBA. As of late he has put his ability to score on full display. Wiggins possesses an insane amount of athleticism and his jump shot has improved tremendously this year with Kansas. He is also one of the best perimeter defenders in the country at the college level. Though his game is still a little raw, Wiggins is just scratching the surface and is too good to pass up.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Jabari Parker – Duke/SF/Freshman
Jabari Parker might be the most NBA-ready prospect in this year’s draft. His game is far more advanced than his age. Parker can flat out score the basketball in a variety of ways. Attacking the basket, posting up, mid range or knocking down perimeter shots — he can do it all. Parker will need to improve defensively, but he will still be a star in the NBA.
3. Orlando Magic: Joel Embiid – Kansas/C/Freshman
Joel Embiid was projected by many just a few weeks ago to be the top pick in the draft. However, his recent back issues could scare teams from taking him. If healthy, the combination of Embiid and Nicola Vucevic could be a dominant force in the NBA for years to come. Embiid has improved tremendously since he started to play basketball just a few years ago. He is already a monster on defense and his offensive game continues to improve each game he plays. Embiid also has an extraordinary amount of potential — leading a lot of people believe he could be the next Hakeem Olajuwon.
4. Los Angeles Lakers: Dante Exum – Australia/PG/18 years old
Dante Exum has made it known that he wants to be a Laker. He has been living and working out in Los Angeles, and has been seen frequently attending Laker home games. Exum and his agent Rob Pelinka will reportedly try to force their way to Los Angeles, which is why I have Orlando taking Embiid over the Australian guard. Exum is a 6’6″ point guard that can cause a lot of matchup problems for opposing teams in the NBA. He has the ability to break down a defense with dribble penetration and use his size and length to finish at the rim or find open teammates. Exum is also a tremendous athlete and has a high basketball IQ. He will need to develop a more consistent jump shot to really thrive at the next level.
5. Utah Jazz: Marcus Smart – Oklahoma State/PG/Sophomore
Richard Jefferson is currently the starting small forward for the Utah Jazz. Simply put, that is not good. Drafting Marcus Smart and putting him at shooting guard would mean Gordon Hayward would slide over to the small forward position. A starting five of Trey Burke, Marcus Smart, Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter could be very effective. Smart is an excellent leader and a fierce competitor who has drawn comparisons to Dwyane Wade. His jump shot needs more consistency, but Smart will be a solid player in the NBA.
6. Boston Celtics: Noah Vonleh – Indiana/PF/Freshman
Boston needs more depth with their bigs. Vonleh would help them significantly there. NBA scouts really like Noah Vonleh. He has good size for a power forward and he is versatile. He did not get enough minutes this season at Indiana to put his skills on display, which is why he has not been talked about that much. As time goes on, Vonleh will continue to improve his overall feel for the game. His ability to stretch the floor with his perimeter shooting and overall versatility will be difficult for NBA defenses to gauge.
7. Sacramento Kings: Julius Randle – Kentucky/PF/Freshman
Randle’s stock has dropped a bit since earlier in the season, but Sacramento would be taking the best player available with this pick. Randle has some versatility thanks to his ability to handle the ball. His strength down low will help Randle in the low post and on the glass. Look for Randle to try and improve his mid range, outside game and his passing ability in order to really excel in the NBA. He could potentially be a more agile Zach Randolph in a few years.
8. Detroit Pistons: Rodney Hood – Duke/SF/Sophomore
Greg Monroe looks to be on his way out of Detroit, considering he will get offered more money elsewhere and the Pistons will not want to pay that much when they have Andre Drummond on the rise. Monroe leaving means Josh Smith could move over and play power forward. That leaves an opening for Rodney Hood at small forward. Hood would be a great fit with the Pistons since he can score the basketball and shoot from the outside — something that Detroit currently struggles with.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers: Willie Cauley-Stein – Kentucky/C/Sophomore
It is difficult to tell what Cleveland will do with this pick. They have young prospects at every position. Their backcourt consists of Kyrie Irving and 22-year-old Dion Waiters. At small forward they have last year’s top overall pick Anthony Bennett, though he is not getting much playing time yet. Tristan Thompson is their young power forward, who is nearly averaging a double double this year. They have Tyler Zeller at center while Spencer Hawes is a free agent this summer and Anderson Varejao will turn 32 this year. Waiters looks more promising than Zeller so I believe they give Waiters more time and draft Cauley-Stein at number 9, even if it might be a little high. Willie Cauley-Stein plays a style similar to that of Tyson Chandler. He is an athletic seven footer with good length which allows him to block shots on defense and is very good at getting opportunities around the basket on offense. He will need to be set up for the majority of his points on offense, but his defense and rebounding will be how he will strive in Cleveland.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (Via New Orleans): Gary Harris – Michigan State/SG/Sophomore
I had the 76ers taking Jabari Parker with the 2nd overall pick, and I have them rounding out their starting five by taking Gary Harris with this one. Harris is a very effective scorer just like Parker, plus he is a solid defender as well. His game should transition extremely well into the NBA. Harris also comes from a program in Michigan State that has a winning culture thanks to head coach Tom Izzo — something Philadelphia could really use. The team has currently lost 24 straight games.
11. Denver Nuggets (Via New York): Nik Stauskas – Michigan/SG/Sophomore
Randy Foye is currently the Nuggets’ starting shooting guard. Nik Stauskas would be an upgrade at that position. Denver has talent at every position, but shooting guard is definitely the weakest link. Stauskas has improved immensely as the season has gone on. His scoring ability is exceptional. He can break down his defender off the dribble or pull up and shoot from the outside. He is an absolute knock down shooter. Stauskas also has a high basketball IQ, which is something head coach Brian Shaw will love. Getting Javale McGee and Danilo Gallinari back next year along with drafting Stauskas could certainly have Denver back in the playoffs next season.
12. Orlando Magic (Via Denver): Tyler Ennis – Syracuse/PG/Freshman
The Orlando Magic need a point guard. Tyler Ennis would be a great pick at number 12 for Orlando. Despite being a freshman, Ennis was Syracuse’s leader this season. He wants the ball when the game is on the line, a quality NBA scouts love. This was demonstrated by his ridiculous game winner against Pittsburgh earlier this year. Ennis is hardly ever rattled, always keeping his composure. He is very mature for a player his age and very smart with the basketball. He averaged only 1.7 turnovers per game this year while playing 35.7 minutes per game. He also averaged 5.5 assists per game as well. The Magic would be getting a quality point guard in Ennis.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Doug McDermott – Creighton/SF/Senior
Doug McDermott has been the best player in the country this year. Nobody has been able to stop him. He has lit up everyone by averaging 27 points and 7 rebounds while shooting 52.7 percent from the field and 45.5 percent from the three point line. He just understands how to play the game. How effective his game will be in the NBA against faster, bigger and more athletic opponents is something that might concern NBA scouts. Steve Kerr however recently said McDermott was like a smaller Dirk Nowitzki. If he is able to duplicate that in the NBA, McDermott will find plenty of individual success. Minnesota could use some scoring on the perimeter, especially at the small forward position — making this a good fit.
14. Phoenix Suns: Dario Saric – Croatia/PF/19 years old
The Suns lack depth with their big men. Saric is a versatile power forward at 6’10”. His high basketball IQ and passing ability allows him to play a point forward role. It is unclear if Saric will stay overseas or not to continue developing. Only time will tell. The Suns do have multiple first-round picks though so they could fill needs with those as well while they wait for Saric if that is indeed the case. The 19-year-old will be worth the wait for Phoenix.
Who do you think will go first overall? Who do you want to see your team select in the first round? Leave it below.