Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 12:24 PM
IT’S TIME FOR OUR NBA MOCK DRAFT
(AND ODDS ARE THIS ONE’S GONNA BE THE WILDEST DRAFT NIGHT IN YEARS!)
Ready or not, here comes the NBA Draft!
It only seems that us media folks have been kicking around all the pick-by-pick possibilities since last winter but the reality of the situation is that come Thursday night at 7 p.m. when the team representatives/crowds at Barclays Center in Brooklyn settle in, you’re liable to get the ride of a lifetime.
For starters, the broken foot suffered late last week by seven-foot center Joel Embiid (Kansas) has really shaken up the whole draft and right now the $64,000 question is where exactly will Embiid go and will someone trade up for his services even though he’s expected to miss the first few weeks of the 2014-15 season?
And that leaves the other monster question hanging out there in the hoops world:
Who will go with the #1 pick – and will the Cleveland Cavaliers (slated to make the first pick in the draft for the third time in the last four years) be the ones doing the picking?
We warned you … this could get dizzying!
NBA MOCK DRAFT
- PHILADELPHIA (trade with Cleveland) -- Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas: You can debate whether or not the Cavaliers were turned off by that recent “tanked workout” by Duke F Jabari Parker but the bottom line is Philly owns five picks in Round II and the Sixers are happy to unload a couple of ‘em plus that #3 overall draft choice in order to move up and take the draft’s highest-ranked prospect. Wiggins has been sharp in his recent workouts but does he have the fire to be a star in Adam Silver’s league? Hmmm.
- MILWAUKEE – Jabari Parker, SF, Duke: We’re gonna take the new Bucks management team at their word which is they’ll simply grab whichever star is standing here … either Wiggins or Parker. The truth is Milwaukee prefers Parker even if he appeared to be a tad heavy for his recent workouts and so this works out well for Milwaukee but can anyone really be a difference-maker for this long-time floundering franchise
- CLEVELAND (trade with Philadelphia) – Dante Exum, SG, Australia: Something tells us the Cavs don’t want a “damaged” Embiid here and so they rebut any/all trade offers for this #3 pick and land this 6-foot-5 shooting guard who could make PG Kyrie Irving reassess his future.
- UTAH (trade with Orlando) – Joel Embiid, C, Kansas: Okay, follow us here as the Jazz trades up one spot and surrenders a second-round pick as well (the #35 pick) in order to grab this shot-blocking big man. Utah’s hearing noise that two or three teams picking lower are trying to move up but Magic wants a top-five pick plus more and so Utah satisfies ‘em here
- ORLANDO (trade with Utah) – Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona: The Magic would have taken Exum if he was standing here but nevertheless get great physical specimen here with this 6-foot-9 jumping jack. May take Gordon a couple of years to refine his offensive skills but young Orlando team quite willing to be patient.
- BOSTON – Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky: Was Celtics GM Danny Ainge “blowing smoke” all along with talk he was eyeballing the above-mentioned Gordon? Not sure but Boston loves Randle’s ability to carve out space in the post and create his own shots. A rock-solid choice
- LOS ANGELES LAKERS – Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State: Call us gullible but we’ve been hearing all along the Lakers want this high-strung offensive star who may or may not be 6-feet-4 and so they grab ‘em here but a note of caution that if Randle’s sitting here at #7 the Lakers could change their minds!
- OKLAHOMA CITY (trade with Sacramento) – Noah Vonleh, PF/C, Indiana: Here’s another earth-shaking deal in the early stages of this draft as Kings have been trying for weeks to trade out and get extra picks and do so here as Thunder sends ‘em picks #21 and #29 in this draft and a second-rounder next year so OKC can get some board help and a third scoring option to go along with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Keep in mind Vonleh – like most of these early picks – was a one-and-done player in college (this would make six of the first eight picks one-year college b-ball guys)
- CHARLOTTE – Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan: Simply stated, think this pick comes down to Stauskas or Creighton’s Doug McDermott and it’s a flip-a-coin move by Michael Jordan’s team. P.S., not buying trade rumors here that Hornets will move down a couple of slots because neither Stauskas/McDermott will be there beyond the top 11 or 12 picks.
- PHILADELPHIA – T.J. Warren, SF, N.C. State – The Sixers want a catch-and-shoot artist to help Rookie of the Year PG Michael Carter-Williams to be a nightly 10-or-11 assist guy and they opt for this sharpie over the aforementioned McDermott
- PHOENIX (trade with Denver) – Doug McDermott, F, Creighton: Two things in play here as Nuggets have been shopping this choice ever since Croatia star Dario Saric opted to sign contract in Europe plus McDermott fell out of top 10 and right into their sunny laps. So, Suns zoom up and deal two of their three first-round picks (that’s #14 and #27 going to Denver here) and land one of college basketball’s all-time leading scorers.
- ORLANDO – Kyle Anderson, SF/G, UCLA: The Magic gets a one-two punch from the Pac-12 after nabbing Arizona’s Gordon earlier and gotta say we think this pass-first swingman will be a major star in this league. Most mock drafts have ‘em going in the 15-to-18 range but we agree with Orlando that kid’s better than advertised. Sees the court as well as any player heading into this draft
- MINNESOTA – Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State: The Timberwolves will get ready for life after Kevin Love (he’s going somewhere on this night!) by nabbing best available big man and remember this former Sparty star has feathery touch and is a great free-throw shooter too.
- DENVER (trade with Phoenix) – Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State: Don’t expect the Nuggets to pull off major deal with Minny for Love (although Denver could make it very tempting!) and so pick here is this 6-foot-4 guard who needs to get a bit more aggressive on the offensive end and a little nastier on the defensive end of the floor
- ATLANTA – Rodney Hood, SF, Duke: The Hawks sit tight here despite mucho trade rumors and grab best available talent although some draft scouts claim he’s not ready to step into any team’s starting lineup just yet.
- CHICAGO – Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA: The Bulls own two of these next four picks and they reach a bit here for a guy who might also have solid point guard skills should oft-injured Derrick Rose go down again
- BOSTON – James Young, SF, Kentucky: The Celtics land their second UK Wildcats star here on Draft Night ’14 and the next thing you know John Calipari will be the C’s next coach … we’re just kidding, of course!
- PHOENIX – Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse: The Suns love how all this pans out as now they can shift Goran Dragic to an exclusive two-guard and let the mature Ennis run the show … maybe a Carter-Williams type year for this former Orange star
- CHICAGO – Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland: According to in-the-know folks, the Bulls want to “stash” a player picked here and so expect the 6-foot-10 (and growing) Capela to play in Europe for one or maybe two more years.
- TORONTO – Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn: Gotta believe the Raptors need to protect themselves in case Kyle Lowry leaves plus this two-time National Championship winner could play anywhere in the backcourt (and score from anywhere)
- SACRAMENTO (trade with Oklahoma City): Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State: Remember we have the Kings getting two picks here in the latter stages of Round I after dealing away the eighth overall choice and their first order of business here is to grab a seasoned college player and Early fits the bill. Remember Kings still get another first-round pick ahead.
- MEMPHIS – K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson: The Grizzlies could go in any number of directions here but they see a major “up-side” with this former ACC star who could be solid 15-to-18 ppg scorer from the get-go but we’d like to see ‘em add a few lbs. before he gets to camp
- UTAH – P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina: The Jazz needs some offensive punch and soon but may be taking a gamble here as Hairston did not play at UNC last year after a number of off-the-court issues. Truth is Utah really wanted either Early or McDaniels but both get snapped up in the immediate picks before this Jazz selection. Tsk, tsk!
- NEW ORLEANS (trade with Charlotte) – Elfrid Payton, PG, UL-Lafayette: The Pelicans are one of five NBA teams without a first-round draft pick (the others are New York, Brooklyn, Golden State and Portland) but N’Orleans “corrects” that shortcoming here and lands an in-state star that could be energizer type missing from this franchise ever since the Chris Paul days of yore
- HOUSTON – Jerami Grant, PF, Syracuse: The Rockets need to give Dwight Howard a hand with rebounding/dirty work and so they turn their focus on this 6-foot-8 sophomore who is far from a finished product.
- MIAMI – Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee: The Heat’s lack of board strength killed ‘em this year and boss-man Pat Riley is hoping this NCAA Tournament star can be major glass-eater for aging team. What, you thought we were gonna have a “replacement” for LeBron James
- DENVER (trade with Phoenix) – DeAndre Daniels, SF, UConn: Wonderful NCAA Tournament really boosted his stock to first-round status and no way should he be listed as the 37th-best talent in this draft as seen on one recent sports web site.
- LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA: Home town star stays home in LA-LA land as post-Donald Sterling Era starts with popular pick who could score a bundle with Mr. Paul dishing it his way. Don’t believe “King James” will ink with the Clips but if he does then Adams gets to learn from the master and sits most of the next two years
- SACRAMENTO (trade with Oklahoma City) – C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington: The Kings stay with their motto to rebuild with college veterans and after nabbing Wichita State star Early they’ll be happy to land this former Husky who could be sneaky-good for 15-to-18 ppg and major minutes.
- SAN ANTONIO – Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia: Surprise, surprise … the champion Spurs opt for an overseas star who sports a nice shooting touch but let’s see if he’ll play in the NBA this year and absorb all that valuable knowledge from living legend PF Tim Duncan.
Note: Catch our NBA Draft re-cap in Friday’s edition of Jim Sez – tomorrow we have Draft News plus MLB News/Notes.