The final mock draft of the season
June 26, 2014 @ 10:00 AM ET by The Lighter Side
Aaron Gordon, Adreian Payne, Cleanthony Early, Clint Capela, Dario Saric, Doug McDermott, Draft, Elfrid Payton, James Young, Nik Stauskas, Shabazz Napier, TJ Warren, Tyler Ennis, Zach LaVine
30. Bogdan Bogdanovic (Partizan Belgrade, Serbia). Bogdanovic is rumored to have a first-round promise, and there's a chance it's with the Spurs at 30. He's a very heady player who would fit well into their scheme. He's shown the versatility to play both guard positions and has solid experience. Bogdanovic is already playing at a high level for one of the top teams in Serbia and is a major contributor.
29. Clint Capela (Chalon, France). Capela scores very highly in analytics analysis, so a team with strong analytics ties like OKC makes sense for the Swiss national. Capela is a freakish athlete who fits a number of teams' idea of the perfect draft-and-stash type of pick. He probably won't be an NBA contributor for a few seasons, but for a team with patience, he's a great athlete who could be a force by the time he is 24-25. He doesn't always play with a high level of intensity, his main drawback, but when he's on he's a handful and he's only 20 years of age. His progression this season has been remarkable, with a number of big scoring and rebounding outbursts, giving him a lot of intrigue as a late first round pick.
28. Jerami Grant (Syracuse). Grant lacks readiness, but his athleticism is among the top players in this year's draft. Defensively, he shouldn't have any trouble guarding small forwards. But his skill level makes him a tweener as he is very raw in terms of passing and ball handling. He's a high-level athlete with great length and quickness. His offensive game showed solid development in his sophomore season at Syracuse. Jerami shows a lot of potential but whether he has given scouts enough to work with and can overcome the tweener label to be a Top 20 pick is the question. The team was not as effective when he went down to injury, but he bounced back quickly and is one of the draft's top overall athletes.
27. CJ Wilcox (Washington). Wilcox isn't flashy but has a solid all-around game and underrated athleticism, as his combine numbers verified. He's got solid length with a 6-foot-8 wingspan and can fill it up from outside with one of the purest strokes in the draft. Wilcox flew under the radar throughout his college career, but could end up hearing his name called in the first round. He is well liked by scouts due to his composed, mature game and outside shooting ability. While not great at creating offense for himself, if he's put next to a quality point guard, he could become an excellent catch-and-shoot scorer.
26. Cleanthony Early (Wichita State). Early impressed scouts all season with his energy level and outside shooting ability. His excellent tourney performance against Kentucky sealed the deal for him as a likely first-rounder. He's without question a tweener for the next level lacking great size to play in the post and skill level to play on the perimeter. But looking at his strengths, he's an above average athlete who plays with good energy and has excellent touch from the perimeter.
25. Jordan Clarkson (Missouri). With a developing contender, the Rockets would probably like to add some stability at the PG spot with either Ennis or Napier here. Clarkson is more of an upside guy but could end up being better than both. Clarkson transferred from Tulsa and became one of the top playmakers in the nation. The fact that this team underachieved is chalked up by most to bad coaching. Clarkson is a real talent, and when he decided to be a little more selfish and take over games, his talent became obvious. He's got the athleticism and skill level to be an NBA starter at the PG position and could be one of this draft's biggest sleepers.
24. Glen Robinson III (Michigan). Robinson brings a lot of athleticism if Charlotte does hold onto the pick. GRIII really had a disappointing season, struggling to live up to preseason 1st Team All-American hype. He often found himself as the third option with more assertive teammates Nik Stauskas and Caris LeVert taking over games late. His tourney performance was solid, but he had far too many ups and downs for scouts. Regardless, he should make an excellent role player and could be underrated due to a down sophomore season. He's a player who some thought could be a mid-lottery pick coming into the season, so he might be viewed as one of those inefficiency in the market type of prospects.
23. Jordan Adams (UCLA). Adams to Utah appears to be another promise here at 23, according to sources. The Jazz have been enamored with Adams scoring ability since very early in the process. Adams struggled in the combine testing with painfully low athleticism numbers, but has good length and strong all-around skills. He's a dead-eye shooter that cannot be left open and has been doing well in individual matchups in front of teams. He stands a good chance of grabbing one of the last 10 spots in the first round.
22. James Young (Kentucky). Young has lottery level talent, and could still go as high as 11, but someone has to fall and we've got him sliding a long ways. Young proved what an explosive athlete he can be with his dunk over UConn's big men in the national championship game. He is an athletic lefty two guard with a sweet shot, and plays with good intensity. Though he ran into some bumps during his freshman season and did not shoot as well as scouts would have liked, he proved to be UK's second best prospect and shows a real competitive fire. Young was projected as a one-and-done lottery pick entering the season, and he ended the season in strong fashion, but scouts worry about consistency and all-around feel for the game.
21. TJ Warren (North Carolina State). The sophomore spring boarded off of a solid freshman campaign to become one of the most prolific scorers in the country, third in the nation at over 24 per game. Though just an average NBA level athlete, Warren shows a knack for taking what the defense gives him and one of those guys that makes the game look easy. He still needs to extend his range and add a three-point shot to his repertoire, but he shows good form on his shot and should be able to improve that over time. Warren's incredible season taking home ACC POY honors virtually locks up a first-round selection, and he could even get looks in the late lottery.
20. Tyler Ennis (Syracuse). With Lowry a pending free agent, grabbing a PG here that can provide some stability and insurance, in case they lose Lowry, would probably be a good idea. Ennis, a Toronto native, turned into one of the most consistent and valuable freshmen in the country, leading the Orange to an undefeated record through more than half the season. Although he lacks elite level athleticism, he does a good job of changing speeds and getting by defenders into the paint. He's very good at finding teammates for baskets while on the move. His command of the PG position and decision-making were advanced for a college freshman. Ennis' game likely would have benefited from another season or two in college, but as a possible lottery pick, and probable first rounder, he made the right decision from a financial standpoint. It's unlikely his stock would have ever been any higher.
19. Shabazz Napier (Connecticut). With two picks three spots apart, the Bulls will probably hold off and grab a PG with their second pick as insurance for Rose. Napier is a proven leader who could be a starter and would be the ultimate back up. Nobody's stock improved more with a tourney performance than Napier's, leading the Huskies to their (and his) second national championship in four seasons. Napier went from a player who some criticized for lack of chemistry in past years to the ultimate leader. He refused to allow his team to lose, repeatedly putting the Huskies on his back to survive and advance. Though he's not an explosive athlete, his talent has never been in question as he shows great quickness and belief in his abilities. His tournament performance has made him a lock for the first round and a player that could challenge to be one of the top point guards selected.
18. Adreian Payne (Michigan State). The Suns could use a player like Payne as their frontcourt lacks shooting ability, and Payne can knock down outside shots and spread the floor. Payne proved to be a clutch performer and a true weapon as a three-point shooter. While he still has some work to do as a post threat, his potential to be an inside-outside big forward, with high-level athleticism makes him attractive. He was a top recruit and stayed four years, developing a once questionable work ethic under Coach Izzo. His jump shot has become extremely accurate with excellent form and rotation. His standout tournament performance helped him.
17. Kyle Anderson (UCLA). Anderson had among the greatest impacts of any player to their respective team in college this season. His ability to set up teammates and handle the ball at 6-foot-9 is extremely rare. Slow Mo showed excellent improvement between his freshman and sophomore seasons, cutting down on turnovers and developing his offensive game. He became much more comfortable creating offense for himself and others and his once inconsistent jump shot is much more reliable. He's even become effective from the college three-point line. While there is still concern about his lack of speed and quickness, his skill level and length make him an intriguing prospect. Anderson's off court behavior (partying) has drawn some concerns from teams and could drop him some on draft night.
16. Zach LaVine (UCLA). LaVine blew away scouts with the 46-inch vertical that he registered in the Lakers group workout. While he struggled late in the season, LaVine garnered a good deal of national exposure. He's got a highly intriguing combination of explosiveness and shooting ability. He's a player who will likely take some time to become a contributor, but his upside makes him this year's ultimate boom-or-bust pick.
15. Dario Saric (KK Cibona, Croatia). We have heard that Atlanta has a promise in place with Saric at 15, with Saric only working out for them. The Hawks tend to mirror the Spurs with GM Danny Ferry being a disciple, so a Diaw type of versatile player would make sense for Atlanta. His highly polished skill set may be a better fit for Europe, however his toughness and feel for the game gives him intrigue for the NBA. What he lacks for in speed and athleticism he makes up for in skill level and desire. Saric was a point guard as a youth, and retains a tremendous feel and the vision and passing to create for others. His jump shot continues to be a work in progress. His lack of speed on the perimeter likely makes him a PF in the league.
14. Doug McDermott (Creighton). The fifth leading scorer in the history of the NCAA, something tells me Dougie Fresh will figure out how to score at the next level. In today's NBA, having one standout skill can be better than being just good in many areas. McDermott is an elite level shooter with a tremendous feel for the game. A player that can spread the floor as well as pass and competes with a high level of intensity would be a solid fit. McDermott may never be much of a defender due to lack of foot speed and athleticism, but his offensive arsenal should be enough to make up for that.
13. Nik Stauskas (Michigan). The Timberwolves have not had much luck in securing a fixture at the shooting guard spot, and Stauskas would certainly benefit playing next to a table setter, and there aren't many better passers in the league than Ricky Rubio. Stauskas is one of the nation's premiere shooters and has developed some of the other aspects of his game showing an adept ability to run the pick-and-roll and be a facilitator. The Big 10 Player of the Year has garnered enough hype from scouts that he has a chance to be selected in the lottery. He's drawn comparisons to Kyle Korver and JJ Redick and could end up one of the better three-point shooters at the next level. He may always struggle with the speed and athleticism of NBA 2 guards, but he shows the athleticism to finish off drives with dunks. He lacks great foot speed and doesn't show much lateral quickness, but pure shooters are always highly regarded in the league.
12. Rodney Hood (Duke). Orlando could use a wing scorer after likely grabbing a PG or PF with their top pick. Hood provides outside shooting and length at the SF position. How much a dismal tourney performance will hurt his stock remains to be seen, but some scouts do not have him pegged as a lottery pick. We are still high on him due to his versatility and scoring ability. One of Hood's main areas of weakness is lack of physicality and strength so that will be something that he will need to focus on leading up to draft workouts. Despite impersonating a ghost in the NCAA tourney, Hood stands a chance to grab a spot in the late lottery, though after the top 6-7 picks, things become extremely murky.
11. Jusuf Nurkic (Cedevita Zagreb, Croatia). The Nuggets are shopping this pick, so look for another team to move to this spot. Nurkic might be seen by some as a reach here at 11, but he is extremely well liked by scouts as some teams have him in their Top 10. He's a difficult player to project due to his dimensions and lack of explosiveness. But he could be a very effective center due to his strength and mobility. He's surprisingly nimble for a player his size and shows good lateral quickness. He also shows a lot of personality and some touch. He's a bit of a wild child, and some wonder if a guaranteed first-round NBA deal could derail his focus.
10. Gary Harris (Michigan State). Harris combines upside with a certain level of safety. He played sporadic, in particular his shot selection, but in general he's seen as a cerebral player with underrated athleticism. Though a tad undersized at 6-foot-4, he has solid length and good quickness. He also shows a textbook shooting form and range from deep. He didn't have the type of season shooting the ball that many anticipated, though he did finish the season strong and played well in the tournament. His ability to potentially be a combo guard gives him added intrigue.
9. Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette). The Hornets have a recent history of drafting conservatively and as long as MJ doesn't see too much of Adam Morrison in McDermott, he also appears to be a big possibility. The question here is whether the Hornets really see Kemba Walker as their long-term answer at the PG position. We question that idea. Payton is a guy with a lot more upside due to his length. How Kemba would react and whether it would disrupt harmony on the team might be a consideration. Payton has elite-level quickness, great length and innate PG skills. He made a name for himself by being a valuable contributor to the U19 USA team that won gold in Prague at the World Championships, where he received high praise from all of the coaches. He followed up a tremendous summer by leading the Raging Cajuns into the Big Dance. Although his shot remains a work in progress, it showed signs of improvement towards the end of the year. Payton has a chance to be a standout starter in the league, which is something that cannot be said about many PGs on the college level. He's still got a long ways to go, but being the age of a sophomore gives him added intrigue. Look for Payton to get looks beginning at the end of the lottery and find a spot in the mid-first round. He has even drawn some comparisons from scouts to another former Payton (Gary) due to his defensive prowess.
8. Aaron Gordon (Arizona). The Kings are a team looking for talent and character as they really need to change the culture of losing. Gordon rates highly in the character department but is a bit of a reach here as his potential isn't what some may envision. Scouts point to Gordon's age, he is very young for his grade, as a selling point for his potential. Despite being a tweener with limited offensive skills, he's an elite level leaper with a tireless motor. He had a solid freshman season providing energy to Arizona. He has impressed teams in interviews and has proven himself as a focused, team-oriented player. He also made an excellent impression on scouts last summer winning MVP of the Under 19 Championships in Prague. He started out the season determined to turn himself into a small forward, but it is apparent that his future is as a 4. His main weakness is very concerning. To be blunt, his jump shot is broken (similar to MKG) and while it can look solid in 1-on-0 situations, the mechanics break down when he is forced to shoot it within the speed of a game situation. While some envision a future star at the next level, look for Gordon to ultimately become an excellent defensive-oriented, energy role player as a small 4.
7. Julius Randle (Kentucky). The news that Randle has screws in his foot is cause for concern. With a foot issue that reportedly hasn't healed properly, there is speculation that Randle could slide on draft night. His range seems to widened from being a Top 7 lock to possibly sliding into the 8-10 range. While he may lack the franchise-changing ability of the Top 3, he's a strong bet to be a productive NBA player. His combination of power and skill set him apart. He's received positive reviews from scouts about his willingness to be coached and learn, though there was some frustration from Coach Cal about his ability to manage his minutes late in the season. While his face-the-basket skills are ahead of his back-to-the-basket game, he has the strength and footwork to develop into a quality inside/outside threat in the league. Randle seems to be one of the prospects whose success will be contingent upon landing in the right situation.
6. Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State). Boston is said to be high on Aaron Gordon, but with Rondo a fixture on the trading bock, this is the draft that Ainge likely targets a point guard. Would 6 be too high for Payton? There's also the chance of a 4 and 6 Orlando-Boston swap if neither team can get into the Top 3. Smart rates extremely highly among analytics projections. He struggled in his sophomore season as questions arose about his shooting ability and maturity and he could slide some on draft night, though he remains our top PG available. He had some bumps in the road including the incident shoving the Texas Tech fan, but his character is not in question, according to scouts. He's a natural leader and the kind of player that makes everyone around him better just with his presence. While he's obviously a work in progress, scouts really like his competitiveness and will to win. He appears to be a guy that will work hard to correct all of the deficiencies in his game. Comparing Smart to past NBA guys is very difficult, as he's such unique player.
5. Noah Vonleh (Indiana). Vonleh is a player who will likely need a few seasons before things fully click. He made a surprisingly quick transition to the college level, but remains raw in terms of skill level. He lacks much in the way of post moves. He shows some solid instincts around the basket and has learned how to use his size and length to his advantage. His rebounding has turned into a real weapon. He's a bright, coachable kid who works hard and showed steady improvement as the season progressed. While Vonleh lacks the offensive polish and explosiveness of Julius Randle, he may have more upside due to his length. With a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Vonleh is well liked due to his length, upside and desire to improve.
4. Dante Exum (Australian Institute of Sport, Australia). It's uncertain whether Orlando would feel comfortable with another athletic combo guard, adding Exum to their backcourt alongside Oladipo, but there's a chance this pick gets traded. The Magic are looking to move up, having offered Afflalo and their picks (4 and 12) for one. Another potential deal would see a swap of 4 and 6 as Boston is actively trying to move up, and Exum feels like an Ainge pick. Exum is the biggest wild card of this year's draft. He's a terrific kid with a great deal of talent, but without question he's still very unproven as his biggest accomplishments have been in the form of international matches playing against low level of competition. He was very impressive playing for his Australian National Team in competitions such as the Under 19 World Championships in Prague. He's got a ton of upside due to his versatility, potential to play either guard position and extreme quickness off the dribble, and has drawn comparisons to Penny Hardaway. He may scare away some teams due to unfamiliarity. He has some kinks to work out such as a shot that lacks much trajectory. Is he a PG or SG at the NBA level? Scouts appear to be split down the middle on this. He must learn to either become a facilitator or learn to play off the ball. But surely a kid with a bright future.
3. Joel Embiid (Kansas, Cameroon). Despite injury concerns with his back and now a broken foot that will keep him from attending the draft, Embiid remains our top overall prospect. He has been all but scratched from being a Top 2 pick by the team's owners who are anxious to win now, but Embiid is still the player with the most superstar potential. Boston at 6 would seem to be his safety net. If he can shake the injury bug, Embiid stands a real chance of becoming the league's best center in his prime. It's extremely rare to find a kid with his package of attributes. He's got a tremendous basketball body with not only great athleticism but the ability to add size and strength to his frame. The fact that he's shown an ornery side and has been willing to mix it up is only seen as a positive by scouts. He already shows signs of being an enforcer defensively with his length, explosiveness and timing on blocks. He must learn discipline on fakes and how to stay out of foul trouble and he will be a force. Embiid is a raw talent who has come a long way in a very short time. He shows terrific form and touch on his shot, plus amazing footwork, giving his potential as an offensive center great intrigue.
2. Jabari Parker (Duke). Jabari Parker is a legitimate franchise player to build around, and the fact that he could be used at the 4 makes him an excellent fit along with the Greek Freak in Milwaukee. Despite an unimpressive tournament performance, Parker may lack the long-term potential of a Joel Embiid or the freakish athleticism of an Andrew Wiggins, but his offensive polish and maturity makes him an intriguing option even at 1. He's both polished and versatile and understands what it means to be a professional having grown up around the game with his father, Sonny Parker, a former standout. Parker is a much better athlete than he appears at first glance. Lacks great foot speed and some scouts are worried about his ability to defend on the perimeter.
1. Andrew Wiggins (Kansas). Dan Gilbert has made it clear that the front office wants Jabari Parker and that he wants Andrew Wiggins. Last year Gilbert was against the Bennett pick and we saw how that worked out, so this year it appears that he will exert his power and make the selection. Whether or not Cleveland keeps the pick and drafts him or a team like Philadelphia offers enough to move up is the question. Wiggins is as physically talented as any wing player to come along since LeBron James. He still has only begun to scratch the surface in terms of skill development and realizing his abilities. He really began to emerge in the season's final month putting up a 41 and 30 in back-to-back games, though he struggled with just 4 points in Kansas' season-ending tourney loss to Stanford. His defensive potential is far superior to Jabari Parker's, though he seems likely to struggle to score initially.