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2014 NBA Mock Drafts: Zach Harper

Zach Harper
By Zach Harper NBA Writer

We're a couple days away from the 2014 NBA Draft and things have been shaken up quite a bit from the news of Joel Embiid's broken foot. He was almost a lock to be the top pick in the draft, and now the Cavaliers will decide between Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins, or a trade to move down. This news, coupled with the news that Dario Saric won't come over for a couple years has thrown huge wrenches into what was already going to be a hectic draft night.

My latest mock draft is an attempt to make sense of the lay of the land and try to project either who will be selected in certain slots or what I think that team should do. Comments about the picks will reflect which seems likely and which decisions could be pipedreams for the teams making them.

NBA Mock Draft - 06/25/2014
Round 1
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Jabari Parker, SF, Duke: The rumors that Jabari Parker tanked his workout with the Cavaliers shouldn't deter them from going with the high scoring forward. The Cavs are serious about winning now and Parker gives them the best chance of doing that as a very talented 3 or 4. The reason for him over Andrew Wiggins is the Cavs will have their second gun next to Kyrie Irving from Day 1. (Previous: 2)
2. Milwaukee Bucks
Andrew Wiggins, SF, Kansas: The Bucks probably would like Parker to drop here as well, but ultimately ending up with Wiggins will be a nice gift for them. Wiggins has higher potential and if the Bucks' ownership and front office are truly serious about rebuilding properly, Wiggins will be the guy to gauge that rebuilding. As Wiggins grows, so will the franchise and they finally have their star after almost a decade without one. (Previous: 1)
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Dante Exum, SG, Australia: The Sixers are the wrench in this draft process. We simply don't know what they might do. They could take the chance on Joel Embiid and be patient on his recovery like we saw with Nerlens Noel. Or they could grab Julius Randle or Dante Exum as their next star. Picking Exum here either pairs him into a backcourt of defensive dominance with him and Michael Carter-Williams, or it makes MCW excellent trade bait. (Previous: 4)
4. Orlando Magic
Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana: The Magic can't get their hands on Exum so they turn to Vonleh instead. Randle could also be a fun guy to throw next to Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris, but Vonleh helps the team spread the floor and have oodles of lineup options. The combination of Vonleh and Vucevic allows the Magic to be aggressive in how they shop the rest of their forwards for future trades. (Previous: 5)
5. Utah Jazz
Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky: If the Jazz aren't able to trade up in the draft, grabbing Randle at 5 is a fantastic consolation prize. You can pair him with Derrick Favors right away and you have a four-man big rotation of Favors, Randle, Enes Kanter, and Rudy Gobert. Throw in a re-signed Gordon Hayward with emerging backcourt of Alec Burks and Trey Burke. There aren't many better young cores than that. They can develop or use assets as trade bait. (Previous: 7)
6. Boston Celtics
Joel Embiid, C, Kansas: Would the Celtics be the team to take the chance on Embiid? If they can't trade for Kevin Love in this madness, they'll need a rim protector and true center next to Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk, and Jeff Green. A healthy and mobile Embiid is the home run the Celtics were hoping to hit in this draft. Plenty of concern about the risk involved here but the reward may be too much to pass up. (Previous: 3)
7. Los Angeles Lakers
Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State: When Kobe Bryant reclaims the court during Lakers' training camp, he's going to want warriors on his team. Marcus Smart is the tough guard you can throw next to Kobe that will make him happy. Smart is going to be an excellent defender, he can run an offense if needed, and if his 3-point shot comes around, he'll be an explosive scorer. (Previous: 8)
8. Sacramento Kings
Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona: What would a frontcourt of DeMarcus Cousins, Rudy Gay, and Aaron Gordon look like in Sacramento? I'm not quite sure but it's just weird and volatile (in a good way) enough to intrigue me. They'd have loads of versatility, a good defender for Michael Malone to mold, and Gordon's game above the rim could bring a ton of excitement to a team looking for momentum on the court. That is assuming they keep the pick, which there are doubts about. (Previous: 6)
9. Charlotte Hornets
Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan: Is Gary Harris at 6-4 too short to pair next to Kemba Walker? It's a legitimate concern if the Hornets are looking to add outside shooting to an anemic offense. If they don't feel comfortable with Harris' height, Nik Stauskas is the play. He's the best shooter in the draft, he's a legitimate 6-6, and he'd be joining a good defensive system that can potentially hide him if needed.(Previous: 10)
10. Philadelphia 76ers ((via New Orleans))
James Young, SF, Kentucky: I'm not sure I buy James Young as a shooter in the NBA after what he showed at Kentucky, but if your 3-and-D guy can give you the 35% from downtown Young gave the Wildcats, you'll take that along with everything else he brings. Young's versatility and aggressive offensive style could be great for the Sixers' attack. They could still take Saric and stash him for a couple years. (Previous: 12)
11. Denver Nuggets
Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State: It doesn't seem like the Nuggets want this pick very much, but let's pretend they keep it. Gary Harris can't drop much lower than this with his talent. You can put him next to Ty Lawson in the backcourt and you've got a great 1-2 punch. If the Nuggets want to add a solid shooting guard and use their other roster pieces to bring in the power forward Brian Shaw craves, this is the play.(Previous: 9)
12. Orlando Magic ((via Denver))
Doug McDermott, PF, Creighton: The Magic are going to need shooting and with a loaded forward corp, McDermott seems a little bit like a reach. But throw him next to Vucevic and Harris or Vucevic and Vonleh and you've got a guy the defense has to respect. Can he rebound at the NBA level? Can he put the ball on the floor? Will you need to hide him on defense? Those are all questions we don't have answers to, but we know he'll shoot it. (Previous: 15)
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State: I can see Kyle Anderson or Gary Harris going here if they're available, but I still don't see the Wolves passing on Adreian Payne. The fit is absolutely perfect for replacing Love. Yes, he's 23 years old but that means you can play him right away without worrying about the big learning curve. He can play both ends of the floor too and would be a nice pairing with Nikola Pekovic or Gorgui Dieng. (Previous: 13)
14. Phoenix Suns
Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA: Anderson might not be the quick athlete you envision with the Suns, but he's the playmaker you envision with them. He can sling the ball around the court, he has an incredible wingspan to take up space on defense, and he'll help nicely on the boards. He might even remind fans of the Boris Diaw they once called their own. (Previous: 14)
15. Atlanta Hawks
Rodney Hood, SF, Duke: Not positive Hood will be able to defend right away at the NBA level, which could be a concern for the team taking him, but imagine his 3-point shot and playmaking ability in MIke Budenholzer's offense. Hood next to Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver, Paul Millsap, and Al Horford is a video game lineup you can love. (Previous: 22)
16. Chicago Bulls ((via Charlotte))
Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana-Lafayette: I've had a point guard slotted at 16 for the Bulls for a while and I still believe that's the play. It gives them insurance for Derrick Rose in case he's not healthy, and you may even be able to play them some together. With Payton, he's not a shooter but he can do everything else. He's a big guard too who will be able to defend intensely. Thibodeau loves that. (Previous: 20)
17. Boston Celtics ((via Brooklyn))
Zach LaVine, SG, UCLA: It's looking more and more like LaVine could jump up quite a few slots in this draft, maybe even into the top 10. But having him drop to the Celtics here would be perfect for them. You pair a big guard next to Rajon Rondo in the backcourt, and LaVine can stretch the floor for the Celtics. If Brad Stevens is firm with him, he can harness all of that ability and athleticism. (Previous: 17)
18. Phoenix Suns ((via Washington))
Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland: Months ago, we were applauding the Suns for all of the first round picks they had. Now we're trying to figure out how they fit into this roster construction. You can start with a project like Clint Capela and have your rim protector of the future. Is he the next Serge Ibaka? He's explosive around the rim on both ends of the floor but he'll need some time to develop. (Previous: 18)
19. Chicago Bulls
Dario Saric, SF, Croatia: Saric's new contract will keep him overseas for a couple of years, at least. The Bulls have experience in waiting for the European invasion, meaning they won't be scared to take a chance on Saric if he falls to them at 19. The talent is certainly there for him, but he needs time to continue developing his craft. Bulls can afford to be patient too. (Previous: 11)
20. Toronto Raptors
Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse: Kyle Lowry insurance may be needed if he's ready to bolt Toronto, and Ennis would be nice competition with Greivis Vasquez for the starting job right away. Even if Lowry stays, you can be creative with the lineups to have Ennis getting valuable minutes for a nice playoff team. You want to continue to have options if you're Toronto and he gives them plenty. (Previous: 16)
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Dallas via Houston and LA Lakers)
Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA: Jeremy Lamb has been good in bunches, but adding some competition for that eventual starting spot could help determine whether he's worthy of it or not. Jordan Adams is just the guy to challenge him for minutes. You're getting a very good and active defender, along with a player who can put the ball in the hoop. He needs to be a consistent outside threat at the NBA level though. (Previous: 21)
22. Memphis Grizzlies
T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State: I'm not quite sure why T.J. Warren is the guy for Memphis here, but it feels just weird enough to fit their roster. They need another tough wing but one who can provide some scoring. He's not the shooter they ideally would select, but he's a good player who could fit in right away. It takes minutes from Tayshaun Prince and it keeps James Johnson working for minutes. (Previous: 19)
23. Utah Jazz ((via Golden State))
Cleanthony Early, PF, Wichita State: I refuse to give up on the idea of Cleanthony Early on the Jazz. It's such a perfect fit that the only thing that could ruin this is if a team above Utah is smart enough to scoop him up before we get to 23. He can shoot from outside and he can play multiple positions. If you want to get truly crazy with your cap flexibility, they could even find a new home for Hayward in the process.(Previous: 23)
24. Charlotte Hornets ((via Portland))
Shabazz Napier, PG, UConn: The Hornets need some backcourt depth and adding Napier to his UCONN friend Kemba Walker would be a nice fit. Steve Clifford will appreciate the style in which Napier attacks a defense, and they can use a guy who shot 40 percent from 3-point range his last season. The Hornets could also opt for more wing help here too. (Previous: 26)
25. Houston Rockets
P.J. Hairston, SG, North Carolina: Think about what the Rockets' D-League affiliate likes to do with 3-point shooting, then think about how often the Rockets let it fly. Hairston fits perfectly into this style of play and he can easily provide an outside threat off the bench. No more relying on guys like Francisco Garcia or Omri Casspi to fill key wing minutes. (Previous: 24)
26. Miami Heat
Jarnell Stokes, PF, Tennessee: The Heat could use some toughness and size inside still. Throwing Jarnell Stokes into the mix gives them some serious strength. If the Pacers want to play rough with Miami in the playoffs, they can throw stokes out there and allow him to do damage in the second unit. He'll help on the boards and he can probably get you a few buckets here and there. (Previous: 37)
27. Phoenix Suns ((via Indiana))
Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia: It's very possible some team believes in Nurkic much earlier in this draft and he gets selected. It's also possible his slow, plodding style of play scares off teams embracing the new NBA which is built on speed and perimeter play. He's a bruiser and he can score a lot like Pekovic does for the Wolves. Even as a role player, Nurkic isn't a bad option to stay and develop. (Previous: 29)
28. Los Angeles Clippers
K.J. McDaniels, SF, Clemson: The Clippers need some size off the bench but a healthy, athletic wing who could potentially develop a 3-point shot down the road is also nice. Jared Dudley and J.J. Redick broke down on them at times and there was too much relying on Matt Barnes. McDaniels and Reggie Bullock could develop as a nice wing duo a couple years from now. (Previous: 31)
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
Jordan Clarkson, SG, Missouri: Jordan Clarkson has adopted a new 3-point shot in workouts and it's shooting him up mock drafts. If he can play a lot of point guard at the NBA level, he's a great option for a Thunder team that may not be crazy about Reggie Jackson's next contract. Clarkson can play at either guard position and he'll provide a nice attack at both. (Previous: 36)
30. San Antonio Spurs
Spencer Dinwiddie, SG, Colorado: Dinwiddie's torn ACL kept him from being a definite first round pick, but the Spurs feel like the kind of team that would scoop up his talent and let him prove his health. Manu Ginobili won't be playing forever and Dinwiddie is the kind of playmaker the Spurs love to mold. (Previous: 30)
Round 2
31. Milwaukee Bucks
C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington: Bucks were 20th in the NBA in 3-point percentage last season and they need reasons not to play O.J. Mayo. Enter C.J. Wilcox who could be one of the big steals of the draft thanks to his incredible 3-point shooting and athleticism. (Previous: 25)
32. Philadelphia 76ers
Jerami Grant, PF, Syracuse: Jerami Grant could really use a 3-point shot in his arsenal, but at worst he'll be a very athletic forward who can defend multiple positions. Sixers can utilize his ability in the half court game. (Previous: 32)
33. Cleveland Cavaliers ((via Orlando))
DeAndre Daniels, SF, Connecticut: The Cavs have struggled to put proper wings on the floor over the last four years, but after grabbing Parker and now Daniels, they won't have that problem. Daniels is long and athletic with a nice outside shooting touch. (Previous: 38)
34. Dallas Mavericks ((via Boston))
Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan: Mavericks have a couple of wings (Shawn Marion, Vince Carter) as free agents this summer, so this is some nice insurance for the depth of the roster just in case they both leave. Robinson's athleticism can be harnessed on both ends but he needs a consistent outside shot. (Previous: 33)
35. Utah Jazz
Vasilije Micic, PG, Serbia: The Jazz can grab Micic and stash him in Europe for a couple of seasons until he's seasoned. They struggled with point guard depth this past season and he'd be a great backup option for years behind Trey Burke. (Previous: 35)
36. Milwaukee Bucks ((via Minnesota from Phoenix from L.A. Lakers))
Mitch McGary, PF/C, Michigan: It's concerning that McGary won't do a physical, especially considering he had a major back injury. It will likely keep him from being a first round pick but his talent and potential makes him too hard for the Bucks to pass up. Low risk, high reward. (Previous: 34)
37. Toronto Raptors ((via Sacramento))
Patric Young, PF/C, Florida: The Raptors could use a big, tough interior player to come off the bench and throw guys around on defense. Patric Young can absolutely fill that role while allowing them to forget Tyler Hansbrough was ever on the team. (Previous: 28)
38. Detroit Pistons
Nick Johnson, SG, Arizona: Nick Johnson was a solid 3-point shooter his last two years at Arizona and he's athletic enough to make up for his short height as a shooting guard. Stan Van Gundy can work with a talent like that coming off the bench. (Previous: 41)
39. Philadelphia 76ers ((via Cleveland))
Walter Tavares, C, Cape Verde: Walter Tavares has a new contract overseas that will allegedly make it easier for him to come over to the NBA. However, he needs some time to develop before he does and the Sixers can be patient with their five second round picks. (Previous: 39)
40. Minnesota Timberwolves ((via New Orleans))
Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia: Wolves need backcourt depth on their roster, but they also don't have the roster spots open to keep all three second round picks. They scoop up Bogdanovic here, put him in Europe for a few years, and end up bringing over a solid scorer soon. (Previous: 35)
41. Denver Nuggets ((via New Orleans))
Roy Devyn Marble, SG, Iowa: This is a reach for the Nuggets at 41, but Marble is versatile and tough enough to play multiple perimeter positions and provide Brian Shaw with a guy he can trust handling the ball. His outside shooting will determine just how much he can contribute right away. (Previous: 60)
42. Houston Rockets
Artem Klimenko, C, Russia: Rockets may need some size depth in a few years without Omer Asik in the mix anymore and Klimenko is a mobile big who would fit in. You don't love him as a starter in the future, but he can be a solid backup. (Previous: 27)
43. Atlanta Hawks
Johnny O'Bryant III, PF, LSU: Hawks need depth inside and Johnny O'Bryant is the best big man available here. He'll help on the boards, he can clog up the lane defensively, and if you can grab your fourth big here, that's a win. (Previous: 43)
44. Minnesota Timberwolves
Russ Smith, PG, Louisville: Wolves need backcourt depth that can contribute now and Smith gives them a backup point guard who can do what they wish JJ Barea would do. He's more of a scorer than a distributor but this bench needs scoring help. (Previous: 40)
45. Charlotte Hornets
Damien Inglis, SF, French Guiana: Inglis is one of the most intriguing international prospects in the second round, and the Hornets stashing him for a few years is a nice move for them. They add a future contributor on the wing and leave roster flexibility open right now. (Previous: 44)
46. Washington Wizards
Nikola Jokic, C, Serbia: The Wizards need a guy to help off the bench now inside, but Jokic is too nice of a prospect to pass up. I'm not sure you want him taking threes in the NBA like he's done overseas, but his versatility is a plus. (Previous: 46)
47. Philadelphia 76ers ((via Dallas from Brooklyn))
Jahii Carson, PG, Arizona State: Tony Wroten was great for them in a backup role on a team not trying to win, but creating some competition for the backup point guard position is a good idea. Carson can easily win the job and his high-flying nature will be a hit with the fans. (Previous: 45)
48. Milwaukee Bucks
Thanasis Antetokounmpo, SF, Greece: Let the Antetokounmpo brothers have their training camp together, make it a reality show, and win the internet for a few months. Not sure he sticks around in the league but it'll be fun while he tries. (Previous: 48)
49. Chicago Bulls
Dwight Powell, PF, Stanford: Strong, tough power forward who can be a good defender in the NBA and helps on the boards. Tom Thibodeau loves guys like Powell. (Previous: 49)
50. Phoenix Suns ((via Phoenix from Toronto))
Deonte Burton, PG, Nevada: Want to add an exciting backup option to both guard positions in Phoenix? Deonte Burton is electric on the court and he can be a good backup point guard in this league. (Previous: 47)
51. Dallas Mavericks
Khem Birch, PF, UNLV: The Mavericks do need some size depth after being anemic there last season. Birch isn't more than a 12-15 minute per game big man, but he's athletic and can help a bad rebounding team get better on the glass. (Previous: 54)
52. Philadelphia 76ers ((via Cleveland from Memphis))
Nemanja Dangubic, SG, Serbia: He's a 6-8 shooting guard you can stash for years and use as an asset. It's unlikely the Sixers keep all of these second round picks but they have plenty of options in stocking the overseas cupboard. (Previous: 53)
53. Minnesota Timberwolves ((via Golden State))
Christiano Felicio, C, Brazil: Wolves get to keep their overseas cupboard stocked nicely as well, and keep an eye on the development of Felicio in the process. If he ever comes over, he's solid depth inside. (Previous: 52)
54. Philadelphia 76ers ((via Milwaukee from Houston))
LaQuinton Ross, SF, Ohio State: I'm not sure Ross is a guy who can stick around in this league, but the Sixers use their D-League affiliate properly. He'll get a chance to earn an NBA roster spot there. (Previous: NR)
55. Miami Heat
James Michael McAdoo, PF, North Carolina: Bob McAdoo, a distant cousin, is a long-time assistant for the Heat and James Michael McAdoo could provide some decent depth inside with Udonis Haslem getting up there and Chris Andersen opting out of his deal. (Previous: 55)
56. Denver Nuggets ((via Portand))
Jabari Brown, SG, Missouri: Nuggets need backcourt depth that isn't the wild hands of Randy Foye and Nate Robinson. Jabari Brown gives them a backup option to develop for the future. (Previous: 50)
57. Indiana Pacers
Markel Brown, SG, Oklahoma State: He's a high-flying combo guard off the bench who can bring a little energy to the Pacers. They can use someone to inject life into this second unit. (Previous: 57)
58. San Antonio Spurs
Ioannis Papapetrou, SF, Greece: The Spurs stash a player in Europe and then he probably ends up being a key role player from them in five years during a title run. (Previous: 58)
59. Toronto Raptors ((via New York from Oklahoma City))
C.J. Fair, SF, Syracuse: He's a freak athlete who needs to prove he can defend at the NBA level. It's the only way he'll earn a roster spot in this league because nobody will allow him to be a volume shot-taker.(Previous: NR)
60. San Antonio Spurs
Jordan McRae, SG, Tennessee: McRae can provide some competition in training camp for the Spurs and he'll get a chance to develop somewhere in the D-League. He needs a consistent shot. (Previous: 56)
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