As we get closer to March it is becoming clear who the top NBA prospects for the 2014 Draft are. While a lot can change between now and the draft, the below mock draft represents where players stock currently stands.
1. Milwaukee Bucks – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas
Joel Embiid has really grown as a player over the course of this season. He has been dominant on both ends of the floor and shows the athleticism and footwork to be a great pro a few years down the road.
Stats: 10.9 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 62 percent FG
2. Orlando Magic – Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas
Andrew Wiggins came into this season as the consensus favorite to be the number one pick in the 2014 draft. While there is still a chance of that happening, right now Wiggins has been knocked off of the top spot. Even though his point totals don’t always show it, Wiggins is getting more comfortable every game. As he learns to be a dominant offensive player, he is still an elite defender.
Stats: 16 PPG, 6 RPG, 44 percent FG, 37 percent 3-pointers
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Jabari Parker, F, Duke
Of the elite five prospects in this draft, Jabari Parker is by far the most lethal scorer. His offensive arsenal is unique in that he can score just about anywhere on the court. His size and underrated athleticism make him a sure-fire scoring machine at the next level.
Stats: 19.2 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 48 percent FG, 37 percent 3-pointers
4. Boston Celtics – Dante Exum, G, International
Dante Exum recently declared for the draft and his stock is now picking up steam. Unlike most of the other prospects in this draft, Exum has not played college basketball this season, therefore he has avoided being exposed. While scouts dissect the games of Embiid, Wiggins, Parker and Randle, the Australian phenom, Exum benefits from not playing as crazy as that sounds.
5. Utah Jazz – Julius Randle, F, Kentucky
Julius Randle started his freshman campaign off looking virtually unstoppable but he has since cooled a bit. He is still averaging a double-double but there are growing concerns about him being extremely left hand dominant and struggling against lengthy opponents.
Stats: 16 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 53 percent FG
6. Sacramento Kings – Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State
If there is a player at the top of the draft that is slipping down draft boards quickly, it’s Marcus Smart. Smart is known for his leadership, his toughness and harassing defense. While Smart has improved since last season, so far his improvement hasn’t been drastic enough to warrant him coming back to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season. He hasn’t put to bed any of the concerns scouts have with his game. On top of that, NBA personnel will find it hard to overlook Smart having trouble keeping his cool lately.
Stats: 17 PPG, 5 RPG, 4 APG, 40 percent FG
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Dario Saric, F, Interntaional
Dario Saric is a bit of an unknown to those in the states. The 6’10, 19-year old is very skilled and can be used in a multitude of ways. He excels in transition where he demonstrates solid athleticism and great body control for a player his size. He can score in the post, work off the ball to create offense or penetrate. He isn’t particularly great at one skill, but he is one of the more well-rounded players in this draft.
8. Cleveland Cavaliers – Rodney Hood, F, Duke
Rodney Hood has had a fantastic season at Duke. Playing alongside freshman, Jabari Parker, the two have become one of the better combo’s in the college basketball this season. Hood has NBA size and an NBA game to match it. There are a lot of struggling teams that can use his shooting and versatility.
Stats: 16 PPG, 4 RPG, 49 percent FG, 45 percent 3-pointers
9. Denver Nuggets – Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
Before it’s all said and done, I think Aaron Gordon will return to Arizona for his sophomore season but for now he is still pegged as a lottery choice. His offensive game is still years away from being NBA ready, but he can serve as a quality utility player until then. His combination of defense, rebounding, athleticism and unselfishness make him valuable now, even as his offensive game develops.
Stats: 11.5 PPG, 8.1 RPG
10. Charlotte Bobcats – Gary Harris, G, Michigan State
Every team can used depth at the shooting guard position in the NBA. Under great coaching at Michigan State, Gary Harris is one of the more NBA ready players, particularly at his position. He has a knack for scoring and really exemplifies the overall toughness needed to make it at the next level.
Stats: 14 PPG, 4 RPG, 41 percent FG
11. Philadelphia 76ers – Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana
Noah Vonleh has quietly been one of the more consistent and effective freshman in college basketball this season. He is a double-double machine and protects the rim. Recently, he has been showing off his ability to knock down the 3-point shot. If he continues to play this well, he will move up draft charts and possibly surpass Julius Randle as the best power forward.
Stats: 11.7 PPG, 9.5 RPG, 54 percent FG
12. Minnesota Timberwolves – James Young, F, Kentucky
James Young is a pure scorer. The lefty can score the ball in a variety of ways but what makes him most attractive to scouts is his ability to knock down the 3-point shot. Young hasn’t shot the ball particularly well this season, but after watching him in high school and Kentucky practices, scouts still believe he can be very valuable at the next level.
Stats: 14 PPG, 4 RPG, 41 percent FG, 33 percent 3-pointers
13. Orlando Magic – Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse
Every year there is a freshman that no one is considering to be an impact player and they eventually work their way to lottery status. This year, that is Tyler Ennis. The former McDonald’s All-American has been arguably the best point guard in college basketball this season and is one of the major keys to Syracuse undefeated start. Ennis has a tempo and a controlled pace to his game that most point guards don’t pick up until later in their careers. He is a player to watch the rest of the season, as his stock continues to rise.
Stats: 12.1 PPG, 5.7 APG, 3.3 RPG, 2.3 SPG
14. Memphis Grizzlies – Zach Lavine, G, UCLA
Zach Lavine will likely return to UCLA for his sophomore season but if he decides to forgo his eligibility he will be a project for an NBA team, loaded with potential. The 6’5 combo-guard has the athleticism that reminds many of Russell Westbrook. Unlike Westbrook in college, Lavine excels making jump shots and can be deadly from beyond the arc. His body needs time to develop and he is still figuring what position he is most comfortable playing but down the line, Lavine has the potential to be one of the better players in this draft.
Stats: 11 PPG, 2 APG, 49 percent FG, 43 percent 3-pointers
15. Chicago Bulls – Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
Willie Cauley-Stein is one of the better rim protectors in college basketball. He is still very raw offensively but coming back for his sophomore season has served him well because there is clear progress in his game from last year. His offensive game will likely always be limited but right now scouts see him as a Joakim Noah/Tyson Chandler type of player.
Stats: 8 PPG, 6 RPG, 3 BPG, 60 percent FG
16. Atlanta Hawks – Chris Walker, F, Florida
There is still much to be seen of Chris “Sky” Walker, but of the limited action he has gotten this season, he has shown the raw foundation of an NBA forward. Athletically, he sets himself a part from most prospects. There just aren’t many 6’10 players out there that are as fluid and coordinated as he is. He runs like a gazelle and can jump with best of them. Once his basketball IQ catches up with his raw talent and he adds weight to his thin frame, he can be a very good player.
17. Chicago Bulls – Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse
Jerami Grant is an intriguing prospect because like Chris Walker, he stands out because of his athleticism. At Syracuse, he has proven to be one of the keys to their 2-3 zone because of his ability to guard players on the wing, protect the rim and rebound. Lately his offense has been picking up and if he can sustain that, he will climb up draft boards quickly.
Stats: 12 PPG, 7 RPG, 48 percent FG
18. Phoenix Suns – Glenn Robinson III, F, Michigan
Glenn Robinson III hasn’t lived up to the expectations placed on him after his freshman year, but he is still a productive player. If you don’t have a lottery pick, taking a chance on Robinson in the second half of the 1st round is worth it.
Stats: 13 PPG, 4 RPG, 49 percent FG
19. Boston Celtics – Andrew Harrison, G, Kentucky
Andrew Harrison has done anything but live up to expectations this season. He hasn’t been the scorer many thought he was and he hasn’t shown he is a true point guard. It is easy to dissect his game and point out his faults, but he is still a 6’5 point guard with the physical tools most point guards don’t have. It is best for him to return for his sophomore season but if he decides to come out, he is worth a gamble at the back end of the first round. There is just too much potential there.
Stats: 10 PPG, 3 APG, 39 percent FG
20. Toronto Raptors – Jordan Clarkson, G, Missouri
The NBA is a guard driven league and Jordan Clarkson fits the mold of what every coach wants in a guard. At 6-5, he can play point guard but is naturally gifted as a scorer. He may not project as an NBA starter but he has the talent to be a lethal player off of the bench.
Stats: 19 PPG, 4 RPG, 3 APG, 47 percent FG
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
Doug McDermott has been the best player in college basketball this season. The senior is averaging 25 points, while shooting 49% from the field and 42% from 3-point range. There are questions as to whether he is a small forward or power forward at the next level but those concerns shouldn’t hurt his stock. He is who he is and there is no denying his ability to score.
Stats: 25 PPG, 7 RPG, 50 percent FG, 42 percent 3-pointers
22. Utah Jazz – PJ Hairston, G, D-League
PJ Hairston wasn’t able to play for UNC this season, but he hasn’t taken full advantage of his opportunity in the D-League. Hairston has shown he can score the basketball in a variety of ways and is a lethal shooter from 3-point range. Roy Williams said that in practices this year, Hairston was as dominant as any guard he has ever coached. If he continues to excel in the D-League, he may find himself in the late lottery.
23. Phoenix Suns – Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA
Kyle Anderson is the most unique players in college basketball. In his sophomore season, he has done everything anyone could want from him. He leads UCLA in almost every statistical category. On defense he spends a lot of his time in the paint, but on offense he is everywhere, including running point guard duties. The question isn’t if Anderson can play in the NBA, it is will the right team select him and know how to place him in a role where he can thrive.
Stats: 15 PPG, 8 RPG, 6 APG, 49 percent FG, 50 percent 3-pointers
24. Houston Rockets – CJ Wilcox, G, Washington
CJ Wilcox can spread the floor. He is a senior with a lot of experience. In the right system, he can be an effective player off the bench. He is a career 40% shooter from long distance and with the 3-point shot becoming more and more important in the pro game, a player like CJ Wilcox can carve out a niche for himself.
Stats: 19 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 APG, 46 percent FG, 41 percent 3-pointers
25. Los Angeles Clippers – Adreian Payne, F, Michigan State
Adreian Payne fits the mold of a Michigan State big man. He is tough and plays with a full heart and tons of passion. His ability to step away from the basket and knock down jump shots will make him attractive to a lot of teams. He can be a Udonis Haslem type of player at the next level.
Stats: 17 PPG, 7 RPG, 52 percent FG, 44 percent 3-pointers
26. Charlotte Bobcats – CJ Fair, F, Syracuse
CJ Fair has been the backbone to recent Syracuse teams the last couple of seasons. His combination of tough and an inside/outside game make him a very good college player. There are questions as to what position he can play in the NBA and if he is a tweener, but if you go by his college resume, he should develop into a decent pro.
Stats: 16 PPG, 6 RPG, 44 percent FG
27. Miami Heat – Nick Johnson, G, Arizona
Nick Johnson has been the key to Arizona’s success this season. At the next level, he will be considered a tweener, because at 6’3, he is undersized for a shooting guard but doesn’t have the skillset to be considered a point guard. Nevertheless, there is no denying his talent and at the back end of the 1st round, teams are just looking for rotational players.
Stats: 16 PPG, 46 percent FG, 34 percent 3-pointers
28. San Antonio Spurs – Vasilje Micic, G, International
Vasilje Micic is becoming one of the more popular names from Europe. At point guard, he is effective with his 6’4 frame and advanced basketball IQ. He creates for others but can also get his own shot. He may not be NBA ready yet, but he could be worth a 1st round pick – draft and stash.
29. Phoenix Suns – TJ Warren, F, North Carolina State
TJ Warren is an underrated player. He is currently averaging 22 point and 7 rebounds per game. As a combo-forward, he has a knack for scoring from all over the floor. Toward the back end of the 1st round, he is worth a draft pick. The NBA can never have enough scorers.
Stats: 22 PPG, 7 RPG, 51 percent FG
30. Oklahoma City Thunder – Semaj Christon, G, Xavier
Semaj Christon is a combo-guard that isn’t on the national radar. He is a smooth ball handler that can score the ball. What scouts really want to see from Christon is that he can be a true point guard. If he can do that, his stock will rise as we get closer to the draft. Christon fits the mold of a Reggie Jackson type of player.
Stats: 17 PPG, 4 RPG, 2 APG, 49 percent FG