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Kels Dayton’s 2014 Mock NBA Draft

Andrew-Wiggins-draft-615x400

With the 2014 NBA Draft just hours away, we decided it’s time to bust out our own mock draft. (We’re betting it’ll be more accurate than anything ESPN.com’s Chad Ford or NBATV’s David Aldridge put out, anyway).

Kels Dayton runs through the first ten picks below.

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1. <strong>Cleveland </strong> Cleveland Cavaliers– Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas. Though they may regret not selecting Duke’s Jabari Parker, the more polished prospect, Cleveland will grab Wiggins at No. 1. The 6-8 wing has had scouts drooling about his “tremendous upside potential” since he was deciding whether or not to take AP English.

Wiggins wasn’t dominant at Kansas, disappearing at times and letting other players take over games. He didn’t show the killer instinct that a player of his caliber should, and scored just 4 points on 1-of-6 shooting in the Jayhawks’ second-round NCAA exit at the hands of 10th-seeded Stanford. He also didn’t prove to be a great rebounder–pulling down just six boards per game.

Still, Wiggins had flashes of brilliance–like his 41-point outburst at West Virginia on March 8, and his 30-point showing against Oklahoma State five days later. His athleticism, size and handle will be enough to get him drafted at No. 1.

Dante Exum

Australia’s Dante Exum is one of the least-known, yet most-ballyhooed prospects in this year’s draft. (AP Photo)

2. <strong>Milwaukee</strong>Milwaukee Bucks– Jabari Parker, F, Duke. The Bucks may end up with the steal of the draft in Parker, who has a natural knack for scoring, and at 6-8, has the requisite size to present matchup problems at the 3. Parker is the most NBA-ready prospect in the draft, having put up 19.1 points and 8 rebounds per game at Duke. He also won the National Freshman of the Year award.

His game has drawn comparisons to Carmelo Anthony, and those may be apt considering Parker’s size and robust weight (235 lbs). He’s already strong enough to play in the post in the league, and has above-average athleticism. If you’re going to bet on one player in this draft becoming a star, it’s Parker.

3. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Heat receive Sixers 2014 first-round pick. Top 14 protected in 2014 and 2015 or extinguished.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Philadelphia</strong></a> Philadelphia 76ers–Joel Embiid, C, Kansas. It’s a risky selection, given his injury problems and the fact that Philadelphia just chose Kentucky center Nerlens Noel–who missed the entire season last year with a torn ACL. The Sixers are reportedly trying to trade this pick and move down in the first round, but if they end up making it, Embiid will likely be the selection.

The Kansas big man has been called “Baby Hakeem Olajuwon,” and has exceptional mobility, hand-eye coordination and skill in the post. He’s raw and has only played organized basketball for a few years, but if he stays healthy, Embiid could be the league’s next great center–and this pick could be a steal. With all due respect to Wiggins, Embiid probably has the highest ceiling of any prospect in this draft.

4. <strong>Orlando</strong> Orlando Magic–Dante Exum, G, Australia. Orlando desperately wants to take a point guard that can run the show offensively and eventually become the face of the franchise. If he’s still available, Exum will almost certainly be the pick here. The Australian point guard was a workout wonder and has terrific size (6-6) and athleticism. He hasn’t faced incredible competition thus far in his career, but he shined in the 2013 U-19 World Championships, averaging 18.2 points, 3.8 assists and 1.7 steals per game.

He also led the International squad to a win over Parker, Julius Randle and the U.S. in the ’13 Nike Hoop Summit. The only downside for the Magic is that they selected Indiana point guard Victor Oladipo second overall last season, and he’s not a good enough shooter to move to the 2. But that won’t stop Orlando from taking Exum.

5. <strong>Utah</strong>Utah Jazz– Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana. The draft’s most under-the-radar prospect has seen his stock skyrocket in recent months after a terrific showing at the NBA Draft combine in Chicago. Vonleh wasn’t a standout at Indiana (he averaged 11.3 points and 9 rebounds as a freshman last season), but his size (6-10, 240 lbs.), quickness and athleticism have scouts raving about him. The 19-year old has a wealth of athletic gifts, but could end up being one of those prospects who never materialize into their in the NBA.

6. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title=' '  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Boston</strong></a>Boston Celtics– Julius Randle, F, Kentucky. Randle has tremendous size (6-9, 250 lbs), mobility and athleticism in the post, and plays like a young Zach Randolph. He doesn’t look like a standout athlete, and won’t blow you away in workouts (which is why his stock has slipped slightly), but on the court, he is one of the top three or four players in this draft class.

Randle was a virtual double-double machine at Kentucky, posting 24 of them last season (!). He averaged 15 points and 10.5 rebounds per game. Though some scouts wonder if he’s too portly to succeed in the NBA, we think he’s going to be a stud at the next level.

7. <strong>LA Lakers</strong>L.A. Lakers–Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State. The Lakers could use a young point guard whom they can build around and whom can run the team in the future. Smart accomplishes both. He’s got good size for a point (6-3, 227 lbs.), and did virtually everything at Oklahoma State, putting up 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game. Because of that, some see Smart as a bigger, more rugged Jason Kidd–maybe minus the other-worldly court vision.

Of course, Smart’s attitude came into question after he punched a Texas Tech fan in February. But that won’t keep him from being a Top 10 pick.

8. <strong>Sacramento</strong>Sacramento Kings–Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona. In a normal draft year, Gordon might have been the No. 1 overall pick. His combination of size (6-9) and jump-out-of-the-gym-athleticism had many scouts comparing him to a younger, lankier Blake Griffin. It’s not a terrible comparison–and Gordon looks like the real deal, having averaged 12.4 points and 8 rebounds at Arizona last season.

Though Sacramento would love to get its hands on Randle or Smart, Gordon is a nice consolation prize. Pairing him with DeMarcus Cousins could make for one of the NBA’s most entertaining frontcourt tandems.

9. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Hornets receive Detroit&#039;s first round pick.(top 8 protected in 2014 and 2015, unprotected in 2016)'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Charlotte</strong></a> Charlotte Hornets– Elfrid Payton, G, Louisiana-Lafayette. The 6-4 Payton isn’t a terrific shooter, but he’s got the size, athleticism, and basketball I.Q. to be a standout point guard in the NBA. Payton averaged 19.2 points, 6.2 rebounds, and 5.9 assists as a junior last season in helping lead the Ragin’ Cajuns to the NCAA Tournament.

He was impressive on the big stage as well–putting up 24 points and grabbing 8 rebounds in a hard-fought, 76-66 loss to Creighton in round 1. Charlotte already has UConn’s Kemba Walker at the point, but they may make room for Payton if he’s available here. Sacramento has also reportedly shown interest in him.

 10.<a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Sixers receive Pelicans 2014 first-round pick. Top 5 protected 2014-2019 or 2nd rounder in 2020.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Philadelphia</strong></a> Philadelphia 76ers–Rodney Hood, F, Duke. The 6-8 small forward’s stock has risen greatly of late, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the Sixers grab him at No. 10. Hood is one of the draft’s best three point shooters, (42%) and with his size, can be a matchup problem on the wing. Though he averaged 16.8 points per game as a sophomore last season, he probably won’t be a big-time scorer in the NBA. Still, Hood’s combination of size and deadly accuracy make him a very attractive player, and the Sixers, who desperately need someone who can put the ball in the basket, may not be able to resist him at No. 10.

Rest of the 1st round:

11. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Nuggets receive the Knicks&#039; 2014 first-round pick.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Denver</strong></a>Denver Nuggets–Gary Harris, G, Michigan State

12.<a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Magic receive Nuggets 2014 first round pick (or Knicks pick, whichever is less favorable)'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Orlando</strong></a> Orlando Magic–Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan

13. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Suns receive Timberwolves 2014 first-round pick. Top 13 protected in 2014, Top 12 in 2015 and 2016, or 2nd rounder in 2016 and 2017'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Minnesota</strong></a> Minnesota Timberwolves–Doug McDermott, F, Creighton

14. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Hawks have right to swap 2014 first round picks with Nets.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Phoenix</strong></a> Phoenix Suns–Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia and Herzegovina

15. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Bulls receive the Bobcats 2014 first-round pick. Top 10 protected in 2014 and top 8 in 2015, unprotected in 2016.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Atlanta</strong></a> Atlanta Hawks–Shabazz Napier, G, Connecticut

16. <strong>Chicago</strong> Chicago Bulls– Kyle Anderson, G, UCLA

17. <a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Celtics receive less favorable 2014 first-round pick and of Hawks and Nets. Hawks have right to swap 2014 first round picks with Nets.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Boston</strong></a> Boston Celtics–James Young, G, Kentucky

18.<a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Suns receive Wizards 2014 first-round pick. Top 12 in 2014, Top 10 in 2015-2019, unprotected in 2020.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Phoenix</strong></a> Phoenix Suns– Adreian Payne, F, Michigan State

19. <strong>Chicago</strong> Chicago Bulls– Zach LaVine, G, UCLA

20.<strong>Toronto</strong> Toronto Raptors– Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse

21.<a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Thunder receive Mavericks 2014 first-round pick. Top 20 protected 2014-2017, unprotected in 2018'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Oklahoma Cty</strong></a> Oklahoma City Thunder– Jordan Adams, G, UCLA

22.<strong>Memphis</strong> Memphis Grizzlies– TJ Warren, F, NC State

23.<a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Jazz receive the Warriors 2014 first-round pick.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Utah</strong></a> Utah Jazz– Dario Saric, F/C, Croatia

24.<a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Bobcats receive the Trailblazers 2014 first-round pick. Top 12 protected in 2014 and 2015, unprotected in 2016.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Charlotte</strong></a> Charlotte Hornets– Glenn Robinson III, G, Michigan

25.<strong>Houston</strong> Houston Rockets–Cleanthony Early, F, Wichita State

26.<strong>Miami</strong> Miami Heat– KJ McDaniels, G, Clemson

27.<a href='http://www.nbadraft.net/nba_draft_trades/2014'  title='Suns receive Pacers 2014 first-round pick. Top 14 in 2014-2019, unprotected in 2020.'  class='mock_team_link'><strong>*Phoenix</strong></a> Phoenix Suns–P.J. Hairston, G, NBDL/North Carolina

28.<strong>LA Clippers</strong> L.A. Clippers–Dwight Powell, F/C, Stanford

29.<strong>Oklahoma Cty</strong> Oklahoma City Thunder– Walter Tavares, C, Spain

30.<strong>San Antonio</strong> San Antonio Spurs–Clint Capella, C, Croatia

 

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