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2014 NBA Mock Drafts: Gary Parrish

Gary Parrish
By Gary Parrish College Basketball Insider

Reasonable minds can disagree on Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker, and reasonable minds do. But I've always believed that, with the No. 1 overall pick, the goal should be to select the prospect who will be greatest if he actually reaches his potential, and in this draft (thanks in part to Joel Embiid's medical issues) that prospect is Andrew Wiggins.

The best longterm version of Wiggins > The best longterm version of Parker.

It really is that simple in my mind.

Granted, you don't always get the best version of a prospect, which is what makes these things difficult. But I still think that's the way you ought to go about thinking, and that's why I think that, ultimately, Cleveland should settle on picking Wiggins even though I think Cleveland will ultimately take somebody else.

NBA Mock Draft - 06/26/2014
Round 1
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jabari Parker, SF, Duke: My colleague Ken Berger reported over the weekend that Cleveland is leaning toward Parker, and that seems to be the case. To be clear, I disagree with the pick; like I said, I'd take Wiggins No. 1. But the Cavaliers are supposedly interested in adding the more NBA-ready of the two prospects, and that's why Parker will likely be the first player to walk across the stage and shake Adam Silver's hand Thursday night. (Previous: 2)
2. Milwaukee Bucks
Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas: If Parker goes first then Wiggins will absolutely go second, especially since one of Milwaukee's co-owners has publicly eliminated Embiid from the conversation. Once upon a time, the Bucks figured to have a tough decision to make -- presumably between Paker and Wiggins. But now they'll just take whichever falls, and it appears Wiggins will be who falls. (Previous: 1)
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Dante Exum, SG, Australia: The Sixers drafted an injured Nerlens Noel last season, point being that they're clearly not above doing it. But a torn ACL on a big is significantly less concerning than a bad back and a bad foot, and that's why I'd be surprised to see them do it again. Thus, the pick is Exum. He could theoretically play with Michael Carter-Williams or be the reason MCW is eventually traded. Either way, Exum should be the third prospect off the board. (Previous: 3)
4. Orlando Magic
Joel Embiid, C, Kansas: If you're Orlando, I guess, you're more nervous than thrilled here, but you're still kinda thrilled because you're getting the best talent in the draft with the fourth pick, and, man, if this turns out OK it really could be a boon for the franchise. On the other hand, if Embiid proves to be basically injured forever, then you'll forever be the franchise that wasted the fourth pick in a deep draft on a center with documented back and foot problems, and that would stink. Regardless, Orlando has another lottery pick in this draft, meaning the Magic are in a position to gamble, and I think a roll of the so-called dice on Embiid here is a bet worth making. (Previous: 4)
5. Utah Jazz
Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana: Vonleh was the rare bright spot for an all-over-the-place Indiana team who basically averaged a double-double in 26 minutes per game, and his upside is too good for him to go much lower than this -- especially considering the way he measured at the combine. For weeks, Jazz fans have been debating whether Vonleh or Julius Randle makes more sense. I've always leaned toward Vonleh, and I suspect the Jazz will do the same given reported concerns about the lingering effects of a foot injury Randle suffered in high school. (Previous: 5)
6. Boston Celtics
Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky: Yes, that previously mentioned foot injury matters, but it shouldn't prevent the Celtics from grabbing Randle here. His upside might not be that of Embiid, Parker, Wiggins, Exum or even Vonleh. But he's a talented prospect with an incredible motor, and that motor is what basically makes him bust-proof. There's just no scenario, barring injury, where Randle isn't a relevant NBA player for at least a decade. (Previous: 6)
7. Los Angeles Lakers
Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State: Smart's stock took a hit in his sophomore season thanks to a suspension and his continued inability to make jumpers. But scouts still love his intangibles, for the most part, and the combo guard probably won't slip much farther than this. I think Kobe Bryant would like Smart and appreciate his competitive edge. He makes sense for the Lakers. (Previous: 7)
8. Sacramento Kings
Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona: I don't love Gordon as much as most others, but the Kings would be silly to pass on him if he falls this far based on -- stop me if you've heard this before -- the tremendous upside Gordon possesses. No, he wasn't Arizona's most important player. But that doesn't have anything to do with whether he's worthy of being picked in the top 10. (Previous: 8)
9. Charlotte Hornets
Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton: At worst, McDermott will be a stretch-the-floor forward who bangs 3-pointers every night. At best, he can become an All-Star, and I'm not ruling the latter out. He's a nice fit for a Charlotte team that needs another scorer, and the Hornets will not regret taking McDermott here despite the lingering memories of past drafts gone wrong. (Previous: 9)
10. Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans)
Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan: Suddenly, if things break this way, the Sixers could have a core of Michael Carter-Williams, Dante Exum, Stauskas, Thaddeus Young and Nerlens Noel. (Intriguing, right?) And please don't stereotype Stauskas. He's not just a shooter. He's a basketball player, and a good one. (Previous: 10)
11. Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State: Harris didn't measure well at the NBA Draft combine, and that surely matters to some franchises. But he's still an elite high school player who was also an elite college player, and prospects who fit that description tend to turn into relevant NBA players way more often than not. (Previous: 11)
12. Orlando Magic ((via Denver))
Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State: It's rare for juniors who are projected as second-round picks to return to school and become lottery picks. But Payne, who could be a really good pick-and-pop forward in the NBA, somehow beat the odds, and the Magic would be wise to add a player ready-made for the NBA after, presumably, taking Embiid with the fourth overall pick. (Previous: 12)
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Rodney Hood, SF, Duke: Hood spent his one season at Duke totally overshadowed by Parker. But the Mississippi State transfer developed into a reliable shooter on the wing, shooting 42 percent from 3-point range. (Previous: 13)
14. Phoenix Suns
T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State: Warren is a creative scorer who should be able to get buckets at the NBA level even if he's neither a great athlete nor terrific shooter. By most accounts, he's competed well in workouts and sometimes dominated what amounts to pickup games against other prospects. (Previous: 14)
15. Atlanta Hawks
James Young, SF, Kentucky: Young didn't shoot it all that well in one season at Kentucky. But his stroke is fine, and NBA people trust it enough to make him a lottery pick. (Previous: 15)
16. Chicago Bulls ((via Charlotte))
Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA: Anderson, despite being a not-so-great athlete, figured out a way to be a great college player, and the guess here is that he'll figure out how to also succeed in the NBA and take advantage of what is excellent size for his position. (Previous: 17)
17. Boston Celtics ((via Brooklyn))
Dario Saric, SF, Croatia: Saric has reportedly reached an agreement in principle to remain in Europe for at least two more seasons, but that shouldn't be a concern for the Celtics. Boston can attain his rights here, get great value and bring him to the NBA at a later date when the franchise will likely be in a better position to compete for something of note. (Previous: 16)
18. Phoenix Suns ((via Washington))
Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland: Capella is already one of the best rebounders and shot-blockers in the top professional league in France -- and he's only 19 years old. He makes sense for Phoenix, which has three first-round picks and can thus afford to gamble on an international prospect. (Previous: 18)
19. Chicago Bulls
Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette: Payton declined a workout with Memphis, which suggests he's pretty sure he's going higher than 22nd. And, honestly, it could be even higher than this. He's impressed multiple franchises in multiple workouts, and everybody is intrigued by the size he brings to the point guard position. (Previous: 19)
20. Toronto Raptors
Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse: Would the Raptors really pass on a Canadian point guard with the 20th pick -- especially one that could theoretically go in the lottery? I doubt it. (Previous: 19)
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA: LaVine has potential that's worthy of the lottery but production that was worthy of Steve Alford's bench. Either way, that potential will get him picked right around here, if not higher. (Previous: 21)
22. Memphis Grizzlies
P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina: Hairston has lottery talent and will only slip out of it because of the way his career ended at UNC. He's one of the 10 or so guys who I think can actually make an impact in the NBA next season, and the Grizz shouldn't hesitate taking him if he's available here. Hairston could add the scoring from the wing that Memphis needs desperately. (Previous: 22)
23. Utah Jazz ((via Golden State))
K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson: McDaniels was barely a top-150 prospect coming out of high school. Three years later, he was the ACC Defensive Player of the Year who should be able to guard his position from the jump. (Previous: 23)
24. Charlotte Hornets ((via Portland))
Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State: That 31-point, seven-rebound effort against Kentucky in the NCAA Tournament literally made Early millions of dollars. He was the best player on that court on that Sunday afternoon in St. Louis. (Previous: 24)
25. Houston Rockets
C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington: Nobody in the NBA attempts more 3-pointers than the Rockets, and Wilcox took more than seven 3-pointers per game this season at Washington. So this is a nice fit. (Previous: 25)
26. Miami Heat
Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn: LeBron James is on record (via Twitter) saying he loves Napier. So this is an obvious way to please The King, and why wouldn't you want to please The King before he has to decide whether to become a free agent? (Previous: 26)
27. Phoenix Suns
Jerami Grant, PF, Syracuse: I'm not sure where Grant will play in the NBA, exactly. But he's a top-shelf athlete from a top-shelf program, and he's worth taking a flyer on here. (Previous: 27)
28. Los Angeles Clippers
Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee: Stokes is too short to be a traditional four and not athletic enough to be a traditional three. That's a problem. But he averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds for an NCAA Tournament team, and he'll find a spot in the NBA -- perhaps with a Clippers team that needs frontcourt depth. (Previous: 30)
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia: The Thunder are good enough now to spend late first-round picks on young and intriguing prospects, and Nurkic is a perfect candidate for that. (Previous: 29)
30. San Antonio Spurs
Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA: Adams is the kind of crafty shooting guard Gregg Popovich could probably work wonders with. He's been really nice in workouts, and his NBA stock has rocketed in recent weeks. (Previous:47)
Round 2
31. Milwaukee Bucks
Nick Johnson, SG, Arizona: Johnson was the best player on a team that won the Pac-12. He's a little small for his position. But he's a terrific athlete with splendid genes. (Previous: 31)
32. Philadelphia 76ers
Jordan Clarkson, SG, Missouri: Clarkson is a guard with size who shoots it well. He's reportedly been impressive in workouts and thus has a legitimate shot to go in the first round. (Previous: 32)
33. Cleveland Cavaliers ((via Orlando))
Walter Tavares, C, Cape Verde: Tavares is a 7-foot-3 center who is raw because he didn't start playing basketball until he was 17. He'll be the tallest player in the NBA as soon as he signs a professional contract in the United States. (Previous: 33)
34. New York Knicks ((via Boston))
Mitch McGary, PF/C, Michigan: The loss of Trey Burke always had the potential to adversely effect McGary's draft stock. A back injury didn't help, and neither did testing positive for marijuana during the NCAA Tournament.(Previous: 36)
35. Utah Jazz
LaQuinton Ross, SF, Ohio State: Some people question his motor. But nobody questions the natural talent of this junior wing who led the Buckeyes in scoring this season. (Previous: 34)
36. Milwaukee Bucks ((via Minnesota from Phoenix from L.A. Lakers))
Jahii Carson, PG, Arizona State: Carson is small but plenty quick enough to succeed in the NBA. He'll need a coach who believes in him, though. (Previous: 35)
37. Toronto Raptors ((via Sacramento))
DeAndre Daniels, SF, Connecticut: Daniels really helped himself during UConn's run to the national title. He averaged 16.2 points and 7.2 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament. (Previous: 37)
38. Detroit Pistons ((via Cleveland))
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia: Bogdonovic averaged nearly 15 points in the Euroleague this season. He's a nice shooting guard with good size and a knack for scoring. (Previous: 38)
39. Philadelphia 76ers (via Cleveland))
Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan: Robinson is another Michigan player whose NBA stock dropped in his first season without Burke. There's probably a connection there. (Previous: 39)
40. Minnesota Timberwolves ((via New Orleans))
Deonte Burton, PG, Nevada: Burton might be the most athletic point guard available. He'll stick in the NBA provided he gets with the right team. (Previous: 40)
41. Denver Nuggets
Johnny O'Bryant III, PF, LSU: O'Bryant never shot better from the field (or scored more) than he did this season for the Tigers. He could be a nice role player on a good team. (Previous: 41)
42. Houston Rockets
Russ Smith, PG, Louisville: Smith will never be a true-enough point guard to be called a real point guard, but he's expanded his game, undeniably. Somebody will draft him and, I think, ultimately be glad that they did. (Previous: 42)
43. Atlanta Hawks
Vasilije Micic, PG, Serbia: Micic is a another nice Serbian prospect with good size for his position. He could come to the NBA now or get drafted and remain in Europe a little while longer. (Previous: 43)
44. Minnesota Timberwolves
James Michael McAdoo, PF, North Carolina: McAdoo will never be the player some projected he'd be coming out of high school, it seems. But he was still a solid contributor for a great ACC program, and there's still a spot for him in the NBA. (Previous: 44)
45. Charlotte Hornets
Semaj Christon, PG, Xavier: Christon is a point guard with good size and a nice first step. He's a terrific value, I think, at this point in the draft. (Previous: 28)
46. Washington Wizards
Patric Young, PF/C, Florida: Young did not have the type of four-year college career most anticipated, if only because almost nobody anticipated he'd be in college four years. Still, his frame alone gives him a chance. (Previous: 46)
47. Philadelphia 76ers ((via Dallas from Brooklyn))
Spencer Dinwiddie, SG, Colorado: A midseason knee injury wasn't ideal. But Dinwiddie remains a solid NBA prospect worthy of consideration for teams picking in the second round. (Previous: 51)
48. Milwaukee Bucks ((via Phoenix from Toronto))
Roy Devyn Marble, SG, Iowa: Marble averaged 17.0 points as a senior. He has good size for his position, which, if nothing else, will provide an honest look from NBA franchises. (Previous: 48)
49. Chicago Bulls
Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri: Brown averaged 19.9 points while shooting 41.0 percent from 3-point range this season. He would've been a legitimate All-American candidate if Missouri would've been a better team. (Previous: 49)
50. Phoenix Suns
Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee: McRae was a big scorer for a Tennessee team that made the NCAA Tournament. He's worth a look this late. (Previous: 50)
51. New York Knicks
Keith Appling, PG, Michigan State: Appling was rarely 100 percent this season, which is among the reasons Michigan State rarely looked the way it should've looked. (Previous: 52)
52. Philadelphia 76ers ((via Cleveland from Memphis))
Dwight Powell, PF, Stanford: Powell averaged 14.0 points and 6.9 rebounds in his final year at Stanford, which just so happened to help save Johnny Dawkins' job. (Previous: 53)
53. Minnesota Timberwolves ((via Golden State))
Joe Harris, SF, Virginia: Harris spent four years at Virginia averaging double-figures and making at least 38.0 percent of his 3-point attempts each year. (Previous: 54)
54. Philadelphia 76ers
Khem Birch, PF, UNLV: Birch is a good shot-blocker despite being just 6-foot-9, and the reason is because he's a great athlete with long arms. (Previous: 55)
55. Miami Heat
Cory Jefferson, PF, Baylor: Jefferson probably didn't help himself with NBA scouts this season as much as he'd hoped. But he'll likely get picked anyway. (Previous: 56)
56. Denver Nuggets
Bryce Cotton, PG, Providence: Cotton did everything for Providence this season and showed he can handle the ball well enough to play point guard. That'll at least give him a chance at the NBA. (Previous: 57)
57. Indiana Pacers
Melvin Ejim, SF, Iowa State: Ejim is an undersized wing who isn't a great shooter, and that'll make things tough. But he averaged 8.4 rebounds at the high-major level, point being that he might be able to overcome his physical limitations. (Previous: 58)
58. San Antonio Spurs
Jordan Bachynski, C, Arizona State: Ejim is an undersized wing who isn't a great shooter, and that'll make things tough. But he averaged 8.4 rebounds at the high-major level, point being that he might be able to overcome his physical limitations. (Previous: 60)
59. Toronto Raptors ((via New York from Oklahoma City))
Markel Brown, SG, Oklahoma State: Brown is a super athlete who benefitted with scouts from the spotlight Smart brought to Oklahoma State. (Previous: 59)
60. San Antonio Spurs
Damien Inglis, SF, French Guiana: There would be no more fitting way than for the Spurs to end the draft by selecting an international player who could join the NBA in a few years and help San Antonio compete for more championships. (Previous: NR)
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