NBA Mock Draft 1.0(Top 10 only)
Now that all of the important prospects have made their decision on whether to stay in college or go to the NBA, we can look forward to the NBA Draft and predicting where some players will fall. The draft order is not yet set, however, due to the fact that NBA Draft Lottery still has yet to be held. For this mock draft, I will use the standings in determining which team drafts where for now, and when the playoffs end, I will break out a full mock draft for every team. Here is how I see the first ten picks playing out:
1. Milwaukee Bucks-Joel Embiid-C-Kansas
Even with some small injury concerns, Embiid is likely to be the 1st pick in the draft if the Bucks are awarded the pick. Embiid is still very raw, but has the best upside in the draft and can protect the rim like no other in this year’s draft. With the proper coaching on his footwork and post moves, and Embiid could really blossom into one of the games best players. It will be interesting to see how his back injury heals and how well he can develop, however.
2. Philadelphia 76ers-Jabari Parker-SF-Duke
Parker is the most NBA ready player in this year’s draft and will be a great pickup for a Philadelphia team who has the pieces to be a big time contender in the future with Michael Carter-Williams at the point and Nerlens Noel returning from injury. Parker can play either small forward or power forward, and will be asked to muscle down low with the big men, something he proved he was able to do at Duke, leading the ACC with 8.7 rebounds a game. Parker can score with ease, but his defense is suspect and will definitely need to be worked on.
3. Orlando Magic-Andrew Wiggins-SF-Kansas
Wiggins can very easily go first or second based on his upside alone. People do not realize that Wiggins has not put it all together yet and still managed to light up the scoreboard on many occasions this season. While he did have a few off games that raised some questions, Wiggins is the real deal and will develop quicker than most think. He has shown the ability to be a lock down defender, which may be the strong point in his game. His speed and length has really helped him when taking the ball to the basket and finishes better than almost anyone in the draft. Great pickup here for the Magic.
4. Utah Jazz-Dante Exum-PG-Australia
In my opinion, Exum will be the best player to come out of the draft. After watching him dominate the Nike Hoops Summit and making players like Jabari Parker, Andrew Harrison, and Aaron Gordon look just plain silly, you could tell that this kid was going to be a star. Exum can play either point guard or shooting guard, very reminiscent of Russell Westbrook, and has a similar style of play as Westbrook. His shooting is inconsistent, but his ability to get to the hoop is unmatched in this draft and has the most complete skill set I have seen in awhile. He will pair up very nicely with Trey Burke in the backcourt in Utah.
5. Boston Celtics-Julius Randle-PF-Kentucky
Randle is simply a man among boys, a player that Celtics fans will immediately fall in love with. He will bring an immediate scoring threat to the Celtics offense and will dominate the boards right from the get go. Randle can muscle up with the best of them in the NBA, but he will need to work on his jump shot a bit if he wants to really become an all around scorer for Boston. Randle will make an impact right away, just the player the Celtics need.
6. Los Angeles Lakers-Marcus Smart-PG-Oklahoma State
The Lakers are just waiting for the free agency class of 2015 to get out of the mess they are currently in. The Lakers can bring in Smart to learn the position better from Steve Nash, and to get his head on straight under Kobe Bryant’s wing. Smart will be brought in to make an impact right away and to try, along with Kobe, who will be back from injury, to lead the Lakers back to the playoffs. Smart is certainly NBA ready after spending an extra year at Oklahoma State to work on his game, and I can see him really making noise in LA next season.
7. Sacramento Kings-Aaron-Gordon-SF-Arizona
Gordon’s incredible athletic ability will be welcomed with open arms in Sacramento, who will be looking for a high-flying, exciting type of player. Although Gordon’s athletic ability will be what people come to see him for, his best feature may be his efforts on the defensive end. Gordon has one of the best upsides in this year’s draft, and is definitely one of the most exciting players. Watch for him to be on Sportscenter Top 10 quite a few times next season.
8. Detroit Pistons-Nik Stauskas-SG-Michigan
With the Pistons set in the post, they will be looking for a scorer from the perimeter. Enter Nik Stauskas. The Big 10 Player of the Year is the best shooter in this year’s draft, shooting 44% in 2 seasons at Michigan, and has improved immensely when it comes to scoring on the drive. Stauskas will stretch the floor and draw attention from defenders, which could create opening for Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and Josh Smith down low.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers-Dario Saric-PF-Croatia
Saric is a very versatile player, able to play small forward or power forward, can can defend all positions. Saric is a double-double machine in Europe, and can provide a backup plan should the Anthony Bennett investment not workout. It is not assured that Saric will come over to the NBA next season, so the Cavs will have an option in their back pocket here. They could also look to draft a shooting guard here, so there are a few different directions the Cavs can go here.
10. Philadelphia 76ers-Gary Harris-SG-Michigan State
After drafting Parker earlier in the draft, look for the Sixers to draft a perimeter player to play alongside Michael Carter-Williams. Harris is an all-around scorer who can hit very consistently from deep. Harris is also no slouch on defense, coming from one of the better defensive minded coaches at Michigan State in Tom Izzo. Look out for the Sixers in the coming years, they are full of young talent and have as good of potential as any team in the NBA.
Look out for my NFL Mock Draft 3.0 next week as the 2014 NFL Draft is only a couple of weeks away!