2014 NBA Draft Analysis – First Round

2014 NBA Draft Andrew Wiggins Jabari ParkerMy favorite night of the year has arrived!

I love the anticipation and the speed of the NBA Draft. You don’t have fifteen minutes in-between picks like the NFL and you actually know these players, unlike the NHL and MLB.

If you can stomach two-three hours of Bill Simmons, it will be a fun night.

We give analysis for every pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins (Kansas) – No surprise here. Cleveland is looking to rebuild and they don’t need a player like Jabari Parker to be an instant boost. They loved Embiid, but they couldn’t risk a #1 overall pick on a player who is a major injury risk.

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker (Duke) – Milwaukee has eyed Parker since the NBA Lottery selection show. They were just nervous Utah would call Cleveland and offer a Godfather deal for the #1 pick to draft Parker. He gives Milwaukee an instant star that they can put on their program to sell tickets. I love this selection.

3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid (Kansas) – Philly is in the business of collecting assets. They’ve been doing that since they traded Jrue Holiday to New Orleans. A future front-court of Nerlens Noel and Embiid is scary. They have his medical records and if they feel confident enough in drafting him this high, they know more than everyone else.

4. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon (Arizona) – This is a surprise. I’ve heard for a month how much they loved Dante Exum. This pick also surprised me because Gordon can’t shoot…at all. We’ll see what happens in future, but he has a high probability of a bust.

5. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum (Australia) – I doubt Utah really expected Exum to still be on the board. They clearly needed another guard to pair with Trey Burke. It’s a perfect fit.

6. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State) – I don’t like this pick. Smart isn’t really a point guard and doesn’t shoot well enough to be a shooting guard. I believe his ceiling is Ben Gordon and that’s not high praise.

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle (Kentucky) – I’m surprised Randle was available here. I thought Boston would take him. Randle has the ability to shoot the ball, but didn’t shoot beyond the paint at Kentucky. It wasn’t needed since Kentucky needed inside offense. I love the Zach Randolph comparison.

8. Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas (Michigan) – I have a feeling this pick is headed to Detroit in the rumored Josh Smith trade. The pick doesn’t quite add up with the Ben McLemore selection last year. If they keep Stauskas, he will definitely help them. The Kings struggled to find a consistent threat behind the arc. Isaiah Thomas shot 35%, but was extremely streaky.

9. Charlotte Hornets: Noah Vonleh (Indiana) – I like Vonleh as the ninth pick. I never thought he was a top-five pick, I actually had him going to Sacramento at #8 in my mock draft. I like pairing up Al Jefferson and Vonleh in the post and having Cody Zeller come off the bench. Charlotte will be a monster team on the glass.

10. Orlando Magic (via Philadelphia): Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette) – Payton jumped 10-15 spots in the last two weeks. He’s a long point guard and Orlando desperately needed a point guard. He will be interesting next to Victor Oladipo. Neither shoots fairly well and both came into the NBA with a high turnover rate in college. Defensively, Payton and Oladipo can matchup with any NBA backcourt in the league.

11. Chicago Bulls (via Denver): Doug McDermott (Creighton) – DOUGIE McBUCKETS!!! I love four-year white basketball players. This site was actually inspired by unathletic white guys like Adam Morrison and Tyler Hansbrough. McDermott is more athletic than those guys, but if you wear a t-shirt under your jersey, you are loved by us! Chicago needs scoring and McDermott can do that from all over the floor.

12. Philadelphia 76ers (via Orlando): Dario Saric (Croatia) – He’s my YouTube crush. He showed up in big games in Europe and could turn into something special. He will stay overseas for a couple years to develop. Philly has the luxury to do this with a second pick in the Lottery.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach LaVine (UCLA) – LaVine is often compared to Russell Westbrook due to his athleticism. He didn’t start much at UCLA and I’m always scared drafting a player who came off the bench in college. He could develop into someone as good as Westbrook or his downside could be in the Gerald Green/Shannon Brown region.

14. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren (NC State) – Phoenix will score 140 points per game. Okay, I’m embellishing a bit, but they are putting together a team that could go toe-to-toe offensively with the Nash era Phoenix teams. I love this pick.

15. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne (Michigan State) – I love this pick too! Payne was a favorite of mine last season. When he was out last season, Michigan State struggled. They didn’t look like a championship contender until he returned. He made a huge difference and I’m excited to see him play with Al Horford.

The NBA selected Isaiah Austin (Baylor). I love this symbolic gesture by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the entire league. Austin was expected to be drafted tonight, but during pre-draft medical testing, they found out he had Marfan Syndrome. Due to the complications from this illness, he is no longer able to play competitive basketball. He was expected to be the first partially-blind player in the NBA. We wish him all the best in his future.

16. Denver Nuggets (via Chicago): Jusuf Nurkic (Bosnia) – Denver will probably keep Nurkic overseas for awhile. He’s a big guy and could turn into the cog Denver has needed in the paint since they traded Nene.

17. Boston Celtics: James Young (Kentucky) – Young was really good at Kentucky. He was a top-five recruit when Kentucky signed him. He didn’t get as much shine as the Harrison twins and Randle, but I like him a lot. He was key in their long NCAA Tournament run. I didn’t like the Smart pick earlier, but Boston got a steal with Young at pick 17.

18. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ennis (Syracuse) – Man, so many teams are making smart picks this year. Ennis isn’t ready for the NBA just yet. He needed to stay in college, but he lucked out. The Suns have Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe, so they don’t need him immediately. He can learn from a very good backcourt tandem.

19. Denver Nuggets (via Chicago): Gary Harris (Michigan State) – Harris is my other man crush in this draft. I’ve been on the Harris bandwagon since the 2012-13 college basketball season. He hustles for points and plays more athletic than he actually is…if that makes any sense. He’s a smart player and can out-play more athletic players.

20. Toronto Raptors: Bruno Caboclo (Brazil) – Whoa. I guess he’s called the ‘Brazilian Kevin Durant’…yet he’s three or four years away from being ready to play in the NBA? Did Toronto’s GM get REALLY sucked into the World Cup in Brazil? I’m sure I’ll eat my words in four years, but I don’t get it.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary (Michigan) – I’m glad McGary didn’t drop too far in this draft due to his back injury (and a failed drug test due to smoking pot during NCAA Tournament). I actually thought he would drop all the way to San Antonio or farther. This is a solid pick for OKC. He could develop into a major piece of the Thunder’s future.

22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Adams (UCLA) – I ‘like’ Adams on Memphis, but I don’t love it. I thought he’d be a better fit on OKC. He’s a pure scorer and has a nice outside shot. Memphis will probably lose Mike Miller and no one currently on the team is effective from behind the arc. His skills are needed. I thought Shabazz Napier would be a better complement to Mike Conley.

23. Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood (Duke) – Hood is an overall solid talent. He’s a nice outside shooter and is good to average at everything else. He’s not great at any other specific skill. He will be a solid role player/rotation player for years to come. Solid get for the 23rd pick in any NBA Draft.

24. Miami Heat (via Charlotte): Shabazz Napier (UConn) – Dammit. I was excited when Charlotte drafted Napier…because Miami didn’t get the point guard that LeBron James coveted. Well, that went downhill. I think Napier will be a very good point guard in the NBA. I’m just mad it will be in Miami.

25. Houston Rockets: Clint Capela (Switzerland) – This is a clear ‘we need cap space, so let’s draft a European and keep him over there’ pick. He’s good and I’ve watched my fair share of YouTube videos, but Houston may even end up trading him in the future.

26. Charlotte Hornets (via Miami): P.J. Hairston (North Carolina) – I hinted at this in my mock draft that Hairston will end up in Charlotte. Michael Jordan can’t help himself. He will always draft a Tar Heel if he’s on the board. I’m worried he won’t shake the negative influences that caused his dismissal at UNC. I’d feel more comfortable projecting his career if he was farther away from home.

27. Phoenix Suns: Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia) – With three first round picks, you almost need to draft a guy to stash. You just don’t have the roster space. I don’t know much about him other than his YouTube videos. I like his shot and shooting always translates to the NBA. As if Phoenix REALLY needed more scoring.

28. Los Angeles Clippers: C.J. Wilcox (Washington) – The Clippers needed a Nick Young-type wing in the draft. Wilcox is a better defender, but he’s a shooting specialist. This is the area of the draft that you’ll see skill-specific picks.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Huestis (Stanford) – OKC does need defensive wing help and Huestis fills the need. I thought he was a mid-second round guy, but if you like a player, take him when you can.

30. San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson (UCLA) – Wow! How did Anderson drop this far? I actually had him rated higher than Jordan Adams. He’s a big guy who plays smart. He’s really good at a lot of things and will be a rotation player for years to come. He has ‘Spurs pick’ written all over him.

 

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sweetbob-author-picAbout the Author…

Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot ClicksGuyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.

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