1. Milwaukee Bucks | Andrew Wiggins / SF / Kansas
Wiggins has too much superstar potential to be passed on with the number one pick. Wiggins has struggled this year at Kansas, but there were times that he flashed his NBA-Changing potential.
If Wiggins busts, not only will nearly every mock draft writer and NBA scout be proven wrong, but also the whole league will be disappointed. Wiggins could bring a young star this league has not seen since LeBron entered the league.
2. Philadelphia 76ers | Jabari Parker / SF / Duke
Jabari has shown more NBA ready skills than Wiggins this year, no doubt, but can he top him in the league in the long term? Jabari has drawn comparisons as an athletically superior Carmelo Anthony. This would be an ideal turnout for Philadelphia and Jabari. If Jabari fulfills his potential and teams up with MCW and Nerlens Noel as perhaps the youngest big 3 we have seen, Philadelphia could have a huge future ahead. And if he busts, the 76ers do have the 10th pick. Check out who ISH has them drafting at no. 10.
3. Orlando Magic | Julius Randle / PF / Kentucky
Julius Randle has shot up his stock this draft, leading Kentucky to the National Championship Game. While the Wildcats fell to the Huskies and Randle had a less than stellar game, Randle’s performance in the first 6 games was very impressive. So impressive, I have moved Randle above of Embiid in this mock draft. Embiid’s non-existent tourney performance did not help either. Orlando does have a bright young center in Nikola Vucevic, but a weak spot at PF. Randle would fit perfectly on this team and could end up being the top scoring option one or two years down the road.
4. Boston Celtics | Joel Embiid / C / Kansas
Embiid’s lack of tournament performance did not help his draft stock, but his potential is still enough to build a team around. Boston could use someone with his skill set to team up with Rajon Rondo. Embiid’s potential is that of Dwight Howard but could easily be an Alex Len type bust. Depending on if Boston is willing to be this risky on a pick will determine if Embiid is drafted here, or free falls to Los Angeles at 6.
5. Utah Jazz | Dante Exum / G / Australia
Dante Exum’s superstar potential flies under the radar since he is an international player. His competition has not been as great and his game cannot be viewed as tightly. Still, Exum could change this league. Similar to Russell Westbrook, this combo guard can play either position and play it well. Really well. Utah will not pass on him here and immediately start him at 2 guard next to Trey Burke to form a bright tandem at guard.
6. Los Angeles Lakers | Noah Vonleh / F-C/ Indiana
Noah Vonleh could not lead Indiana into the NCAA postseason this season, but that may not be a huge factor to NBA general managers.
Vonleh has drawn some generous Chris Bosh comparisons. While this comparison may be a bit too generous, LA would love another young star to pair with Kobe and to take over after him. The only issue would be would having Vonleh end any Love rumors? or would this pick end up being Minnesota’s from a trade for K-Love?
7. Sacramento Kings | Marcus Smart / G / Oklahoma State
Marcus Smart played so well in the tournament despite losing in the first round. Putting up 23 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists, and 6 steals gave NBA doubters something to chew on. Sacramento would choose between Ennis or Smart here, but if Smart is still on the board expect Sactown to grab him. Sacramento has struggled in the draft since taking Cousins with the 5th pick in the 2010 draft. Thomas Robinson, Jimmer Fredette, and Ben Mclemore headline their last few top 10 picks. That has not been a hugely successful list of players. Marcus Smart’s lowest potential is a Jameer Nelson-like player, which is not a terrible floor to have. Smart could lead Sacramento into a bright period of playoff play with a good young team with DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay.
8. Detroit Pistons | Rodney Hood / SF / Duke
Rodney Hood’s numbers this season have been pretty stellar, and getting drafted to the Pistons would be a good step for Hood. The Star Potential is not really there with Hood, but a consistent wing player similar to Corey Brewer with more upside is not a bad career to have for a 8th pick.
9. Cleveland Cavaliers | Kyle Anderson / SF / UCLA
Anderson’s draft stock has shot up the last few weeks. His versatility is something rare in this league and being the point forward that he is has impressed scouts. His numbers ( 14.8 PPG, 8.8 RPG,6.5 APG) are very good but will probably not hold up in the league. He could easily be one of those players that has a huge impact on the game but his numbers don’t reflect it. I have high hopes for this point forward Bruin.
10. Philadelphia 76ers | Dario Saric / SF / Croatia
Dario Saric has star potential. I said it. Dario is much like Dante Exum, having superstar potential but less-than NBA caliber competition the last few years. Dario could easily slide into the 4 spot in Philly next to Parker and headline a huge team. Ridding themselves of Thaddeus Young would be easy, but replacing him would be risky. But it could definitely pay off. While a Dirk comparison in the title of the video below is perhaps too much, Saric can really make a difference in this league. I would not be surprised if he outdoes Jabari Parker as the second best small forward to come out of this draft class. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV1VAv17ZBs
11. Atlanta Hawks | Zach LaVine / G / UCLA
LaVine could be the gem of this draft. What is interesting is how everyone is starting to see that. Coming off the bench and averaging less than 10 points a game does not necessarily scream “superstar”. His physical tools are extremely rare though, and LaVine could truly end up being the best guard out of this draft. He should start with proving to be the top UCLA product coming out of the draft, competing with Jordan Adams and Kyle Anderson for that title.
12. Denver Nuggets | Aaron Gordon / F / Arizona
Aaron Gordon’s Blake Griffin comparisons have fallen off as of late. That has been appropriate. In fact, comparing this projected 12 pick to the no. 1 pick a few years ago is a bit insulting to Griffin as well as over-complementing the 2014 draft class. Gordon will definitely be a good player in the association, but Griffin is too high. Gordon does have potential to be a high flying impact player in this league, though. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CflIpgNm92A Getting drafted to Denver may not be the best for Gordon. Most likely buried behind Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, J.J. Hickson, and Kenneth Faried under the forward depth chart, Gordon would have better chances at stardom in other places. Denver most likely won’t pass on him at 12.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves |Tyler Ennis / PG / Syracuse
This pick may confuse many people. So here I will make a bold prediction. That prediction is that Minnesota will rid themselves of Kevin Love and Ricky Rubio this offseason, and draft Ennis to fill the gap at PG. Their current core has shown that it will never be better than a bottom feeder in the Western Conference that can compete for the ninth place each season. It is time to blow it up. By drafting Ennis to replace Rubio and trading Love for, perhaps, the 6th pick in this years draft to LA as well as a few other pieces may give Minnesota the chance to save themselves from mediocrity. Ennis could be the piece this team needs to reboot.
14. Phoenix Suns | Nik Stauskas / G / Michigan
Nik Stauskas could be a career sixth man in the association. For Phoenix, that could be all he could be. With no room in the starting lineup (Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic) at guard, Stauskas would be relegated to a bench role. While that may not be ideal for a player with his potential, I doubt that Phoenix lets him pass at no. 14.
15. Orlando Magic | Jerami Grant / F / Syracuse
Jerami Grant really fits well in Orlando. With a potential lineup of Victor Oladipo, Aaron Afflalo, Tobias Harris, Julius Randle, and Nikola Vucevic, Orlando already has a team looking to win. Adding Grant to this team would be a great move by Orlando. Deepening the bench with this athletic oversized small forward would add depth to a team that has seen a few forwards (Kyle O’Quinn, Maurice Harkless) drafted and not live up to expectations.
16. Chicago Bulls | Doug McDermott / F / Creighton
Chicago could be looking at a major retooling this offseason. They will be pretty cap strapped if they sign a big name guy (Carmelo Anthony?). This pick and the 19th pick will be vital to their depth next season. Bringing in a guy like McDermott would bolster their bench substantially and also give them a starting option if they do not sign a big player.His offensive game is very mature and could replace the shooting Chicago has missed since trading Kyle Korver.
17. Phoenix Suns | Adreian Payne / PF / Michigan State
Payne has shown his ability to be a strong power forward this season. Coming in as a senior, it was his last chance to show the NBA that he has what it takes to join their ranks. He is a perfect fit in Phoenix. Phoenix is weak at the big man position, and Payne could really shine in this offense. His 41 point tournament performance should slide him into this mid first round area.
18. Boston Celtics | Shabazz Napier / G / UCONN
Shabazz Napier had one hell of a tourney run, leading UCONN to the national title game and winning it all over the near NBA rookie squad of Kentucky. Napier is going to go somewhere around here, and Boston is a great fit. He could plug right in at 2 guard next to Rondo, or he could be the PG waiting in the wings when Boston finally cuts ties with Rondo. Either way, pairing Napier, Rondo, and Embiid all on the same team would be a great start to a rebuild. I would not be surprised if Napier makes some noise in the association his rookie season and gets some ROY looks.
19. Chicago Bulls | Cleanthony Early / F / Wichita State
Early showed that he is NBA ready in Wichita State’s loss to Kentucky putting up 31 points and 7 boards. Early could really bolster Chicago’s bench, providing defense and rebounding that they do not have right now. Assuming Taj Gibson starts next season and Boozer finds his way off the roster, Early could be the first forward off the bench for the Bulls next season.
20. Toronto Raptors | Willie Cauley-Stein / C / Kentucky
The Jonas Valanciunas project result is still unknown. Enter the Cauley-Stein project. While his offense is basically non-existent, WCS could prove valuable as a rim protector with the ability to go up for the alley oop and has a lot of upside. He could fit well alongside the high flying wings in Demar DeRozan and Terrence Ross.
21. Memphis Grizzlies | T.J. Warren / G / NC State
T.J Warren has great offensive potential – something Memphis could use. While a wing would be better here to replace the aging Tayshaun Prince, Warren could be the spark on offense Memphis needs. Memphis could go a lot of different directions in this draft and the whole offseason, so this pick is up for grabs.
22. Oklahoma City Thunder | Montrezl Harrell / F /
Harrell on the Thunder would be scary. While it is doubtful he ever starts or averages double figures, Harrell is a man’s man and will go to work down low. The Thunder are pretty weak at the big man spot and could use this bruiser down low. Nick Collison only has so much left in him, and Harrell could end up replacing Perkins or Adams off the bench.
23. Utah Jazz |Gary Harris / SG / Michigan State
Utah needs depth. As it stands, behind Trey Burke, they have Diante Garrett and John Lucas. Almost anyone is an upgrade from those 2 not-so-household names. Utah could look to trade this pick, though, since they would now have a good young team full of prospects. They would be ready to win now if they do in fact grab Exum in the top 1o. Harris had a very disappointing tournament, but that probably won’t stop him from getting drafted in the first round. His workouts will most likely determine where he falls.
24. Charlotte Bobcats | James Young / G / Kentucky
James Young had an eye opening tournament performance. Scoring over 20 points in the National championship game and nearly leading Kentucky to the win by himself really helped his draft stock. Charlotte is his best fit at 24. Charlotte would love to add this shooter/scorer and would welcome him with perhaps a chance at the starting job. Young could be a key piece in Charlotte’s transition from rebuilding to playoff team. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb5lgEA2TJY
25. Houston Rockets |Andrew Harrison / G / Kentucky
The Rockets need a PG. Whether he starts or comes off the bench, Harrison will be a better option than Jeremy Lin. I am also shaky on if Beverly has what it takes to be a starting PG. Harrison’s clutchness has been on show all of March and April in the tournament. Hitting game winners versus Louisville, Michigan, and Wisconsin proved he has game. Whether he can take it to the next level is a different question. Houston is a young team that he could grow to be a good player on.
26. Phoenix Suns | Clint Capela / F-C / Switzerland
Clint Capela has potential to be a strong rim protector in this league, and that is exactly what Phoenix needs off the bench. Plumlee can manage the Center position by himself, but off the bench or as a starting 4, Capela could prove invaluable. Very similar to Bismack Biyombo, Capela could have a real impact on the Suns. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0Z35aXdpdU
27. Miami Heat | Jordan Adams / G / UCLA
Not that the Heat really need any more help, but Adams will help the Heat’s bench. Ray Allen may retire anyday now, and Adams could try and fill his role as a SG off the bench (minus the hall of fame all time leader in 3 point shooting part). This would be a great situation for Adams, getting drafted onto a contender like the Miami Heat. He could develop his game until he is needed as a crucial rotational piece.
28. Los Angeles Clippers | P.J Hairston / G / UNC-
P.J. Hairston has shown in 2 different leagues that he can be an impact player. As soon as he got to the D-league, Hairston started lighting up the box score. In LA he could join former Tar Heel teammate Reggie Bullock and develop alongside him until they are called up by Doc Rivers beneath the lights of LA and the glory of CP3 and Blake Griffin.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder | Patric Young / C / Florida
Personally, I think Patric Young’s performance in the tourney and physical attributes deserve for him to be a lottery pick. That is not the common perception, though. OKC would get an absolute steal here, bringing in a guy that could potentially replace Kendrick Perkins (sorry Steven Adams). Young showed some offensive potential, but his shot blocking and rebounding are already NBA ready. I mean look at him. He is huge.
30. San Antonio Spurs | Aaron Harrison / G / Kentucky
The Spurs are always looking for projects. Aaron Harrison has shown real potential to dish out some major assists in this league. Gregg Popovich could really do something with this kid. While his game is not as matured as his brothers, Aaron deserves a first round selection after this tournament performance.
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