Joel Embiid's foot surgery means he'll miss the first few weeks if not a couple of months of his rookie season. That throws a big wrench in, let's face it, what was perfect mock draft...Ha! He falls from #1, but how far?
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Jabari Parker, SF, Duke
With the injury to Joel Embiid, Parker moves up to the top overall spot. Basic need for a big man is why I had the Cavs taking Embiid, but Parker is the best player in this draft. It’s going to be quite a sight to see Parker ball with Kyrie Irving.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas
If Jabari Parker is the best player in the draft class, Wiggins is 1(a). Adding a long, lanky Wiggins to a roster that already has a long, lanky Giannis Antetokounmpo could be disaster or a match made in heaven. They’ll be a great tandem, I imagine.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Dante Exum, SG, Australia
The 76ers may be tempted to go after a “TwinTowers” approach by taking a chance of Joel Embiid’s foot and team him up with Nerlens Noel, which wouldn’t be a bad option. I doubt they do it though. Exum is listed as a point guard, but many see him as a combo guard. Matching him up in the backcourt with reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams may be an amazing fit.
4. Orlando Magic – Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky
Some have the Magic going with a PG, but it’s a little early for Marcus Smart. Instead the Magic go for Randle despite the reports about an upcoming foot surgery, he’s the big with the highest ceiling in the draft.
5. Utah Jazz – Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana
Vonleh has a good inside/out game that will be attractive to many teams. With Randle gone, The Jazz opt for the next best big on the board.
6. Boston Celtics – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Boston can’t/won’t do much with Rajon Rondo as far as trades. He’s sticking around at least another year. He’s in the last year of his contract and the Celtics may try to get him a go-to big like Embiid if Randle and Vonleh are gone. Embiid’s foot injury is cause for concern, but the Celtics may be willing to take the chance he’ll rebound quickly and give Rondo incentive to stick around after next season.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma St.
The Lakers need playmakers and Smart is one with great potential. Steve Nash isn’t going to get the job done anymore and who better to learn from for Smart?
8. Sacramento Kings – Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton
The Kings need a power forward and shooting help and they could kill two birds with one stone here. It would be only fitting after the Kings took the last “Great White Hype” Jimmer Fredette a few years ago.
9. Charlotte Hornets – Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
The Hornets need a sharpshooter, which is exactly what Stauskas does. He shot 47% from the floor overall as a Wolverine and hit over 44% of his threes. He’s lacking on the defensive end, but a defensive-minded coach could help him become a well-rounded player.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona
With their 2nd top-10 pick the 76ers look toward frontcourt talent. Gordon is a guy who could play behind or even alongside Thaddeus Young. Young has the better touch shooting, so he could play as a big SF with Gordon at PF. That makes a potential starting five for Philly in ’14-’15 of MCW, Dante Exum, Young, Gordon and Nerlens Noel.
11. Denver Nuggets – Dario Saric, PF, Croatia
Saric is expected to be near the top 10, if not in it. He’s said to be a well-rounded player, but people also comment about his inconsistency shooting and lack of defensive prowess. He’s the best on the board and the Nuggets are looking for the best available.
12. Orlando Magic - Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA
This is when the Magic should address the Victor Oladipo at PG situation. Oladipo, really a shooting guard, was forced to run the point this past season and struggled. LaVine excelled at UCLA despite being a point guard forced into the shooting guard role. The Magic may strike gold if they can get both back to their natural positions.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan St.
With Kevin Love likely heading for greener pastures sooner rather than later, the T’wolves need someone to crash the boards. Payne does it better than just about anyone in this class. Payne also proved he can put up big points if needed to take over a game. He could be a 20-20 guy like Love if he develops more.
14. Phoenix Suns – Rodney Hood, SF, Duke
Phoenix needs scoring and Hood fills that role nicely. If they don’t trade the pick, Hood is the best option.
15. Atlanta Hawks – Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia
Nurkic is an up-and-comer and could be a nice piece coming off of the bench behind Paul Millsap and Al Horford. If either gets hurt, he’s in at center and the other playing the 4.
16. Chicago Bulls – Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracue
The Bulls must face facts that Derrick Rose can’t stay healthy and they need good backcourt scoring. Ennis could bring that. If he blossoms quickly, they could play a two-point offense with Rose playing more of a combo role.
17. Boston Celtics – Garry Harris, SG, Michigan St.
The Celtics have an opportunity to pick up two key pieces in the first round that could turn the franchise around and keep Rajon Rondo happy. Picking Embiid might pan out well, but it is a risk. A not-so risky pick here would be an NBA-ready backcourt mate for Rondo. Harris is a little undersized, but he has good stroke and is strong.
18. Phoenix Suns – Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland
If the Suns can’t find the right trade for this pick or the previous one, they should draft Capela and stash him overseas for a couple of years. The 20 year-old shows signs of developing into a key player, but is not immediately ready for primetime.
19. Chicago Bulls – Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee
Jarnell Stokes is an impressive, aggressive, intimidating player who could learn well from Carlos Boozer (if Boozer isn’t traded). Stokes is strong with good rebounding instincts. He attacks the basket regardless of the matchup.
20. Toronto Raptors – James Young, SF, Kentucky
This may be low for James Young. It would be a steal for the Raptors if he falls here. Young would provide some much-needed scoring for a team that tried to make a push in the playoffs. Not yet 19, Young possesses a lot of upside.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends
The former Tar Heel had a great season in the D-League averaging over 20 points per game. I can’t see the Thunder bringing back Thabo Sefolosha. Reggie Jackson, Jeremy Lamb and P.J. would give the Thunder more than enough weapons at the position.
22. Memphis Grizzlies – T.J. Warren, SF, NC State
The ACC Player of the Year gets no love from the gurus. He’s slated, in some cases, going 30 or lower. He’s an outstanding scorer that any team should be lucky to get. The Grizz don’t have much offensive fire power from the position, making this pick a no-brainer.
23. Utah Jazz – Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
If the Jazz are serious about Trey Burke being their point guard of the future (and they should be), they won’t draft another one in the 1st round, after just picking up Burke last year. They need scoring help and Anderson has a sweet stroke, is a good passer and is long. His biggest problem is a lack of spped and need for improvement on defense.
24. Charlotte Hornets – Elfrid Payton, PG, LA-Lafayette
A young back-up point guard for Kemba Walker could be a good way to go if there is no T.J. Warren. Payton is a scorer and a good defender. He averaged nearly 3 steals per game last season. At 6-4 he has the length and the speed to play in the NBA. His jump shot needs work though.
25. Houston Rockets – Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA
Adams is not just a young guy who can score, he’s a hell of a defender. He racked up 168 steals in two years at UCLA. The Rockets have struggled with perimeter D.
26. Miami Heat – Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn
I will not understand why some don’t feel Napier is not a 1st rounder. The Heat cannot stand pat on the PG position with Mario Chalmers and Norris Cole. Napier could be a young leader of veteran stars.
27. Phoenix Suns – DeAndre Daniels, SF, UConn
The Suns have three 1st rounders and should try to trade one or two. If they keep this 3rd one, they’ll go after a small forward. DeAndre Daniels improved is stock greatly in the Huskies’ run to the title. He needs some work to be successful at the next level, but very few rookies don’t.
28. Los Angeles Clippers – Mitch McGary, C, Notre Dame
McGary was a projected lottery pick before he sat out last season with a back injury. If he can return to form, he’ll make for a great backup to DeAndre Jordan. McGary is speedy for a big man and plays physical underneath.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson
When was the last time a Clemson basketball player did anything of note?
McDaniels just by being drafted on a potential championship team would accomplish something. McDaniels could be a good role player playing behind KD.
30. San Antonio Spurs – Glenn Robinson, III, SF, Michigan
The Spurs often draft best player available or an international guy they can stash away for later. As the team ages, stashing won’t help. At this point Robinson is the best guy on the board. He comes from good stock obviously, and is a threat to hit big buckets.