The NBA: 2014 Draft Preview

The NBA Finals finished earlier than most expected and that officially ended season 2013-2014 of the NBA. In a couple of days, season 2014-2015 will begin with the 2014 NBA Draft to be held in New York City.

The aspiring rookies of this season are projected to be among the very best. There are some ramblings that this draft class can be compared to 2003 and 1984. I will reserve my opinion until I have seen these players play in the NBA level. That being said, there are around five players (maybe more) who can definitely be impact players from Day One. Here is a preview of what might happen during the selection of lottery picks (the first 14 picks that belong to teams who missed the playoffs).

Andrew Wiggins (left) or Jabari Parker? The choice changes daily.
(Image from: Bleacher Report)
  1. Cleveland Cavaliers - With the first pick 3 times in the last 4 years, the Cavs are hoping to finally make the playoffs for the first time since LeBron left. Choosing between Jabari Parker and Andrew Wiggins is an enviable position and an awesome problem to have. You can't go wrong with both. I think the Cavs will pick JABARI PARKER. He is more polished than Wiggins and a better shooter. Parker can immediately help the Cavs be competitive and make the playoffs. Two players that can be compared to Parker's game are Glenn "Big Dog" Robinson and Carmelo Anthony.  
  2. Milwaukee Bucks - If the Cavs select Parker, then the Bucks will definitely pick ANDREW WIGGINS. Book it! In another words, whoever the Cavs don't pick between Parker-Wiggins will become a Buck. The interesting thing about the Bucks landing Wiggins will be his partnership with the "Greek Freak", Giannis Antetokounmpo. Both guys have massive wingspans and will be a terror in the open court. The big problem, both guys lack a reliable jumper. However, Wiggins has elite athleticism that can elevate him into an All-Star sooner rather than later. Two players that can be compared to him are: Tracy McGrady and Paul George.  
  3. Philadelphia 76ers - Initially, the Sixers thought of getting Joel Embiid to pair him with last year's pick Nerlens Noel who didn't play last season due to his recovery from injury. But the injury to Embiid changed that thinking. The Sixers will probably pick DANTE EXUM and pair him with Rookie of the Year, Michael Carter-Williams to form a potent, young and athletic back court. Exum is a slightly better shooter than MCW but MCW is a better passer and facilitator. Exum can play both guard positions so playing with MCW should not be a problem. A poor man's version of pre-injury Penny Hardaway can be compared to Dante Exum. 
    Can Dante Exum excel in the NBA?
    (Image from: Bleacher Report) 
  4. Orlando Magic - The Magic drafted two stud centers in their franchise history (Shaq O'Neal and Dwight Howard), so it won't come as surprise if they decide to roll the dice and draft JOEL EMBIID even if he is injured. Embiid already has back problems and now a foot injury affected his draft stock slightly. His recent injuries might scare a few teams but he is still worth the risk especially since former players have recovered from a similar foot problem. Embiid is raw offensively but his length and defensive awareness are above average. He has a lot of potential and becoming a topnotch center isn't out of the question. Embiid can be likened to a taller Serge Ibaka or a more polished scorer than DeAndre Jordan with the same shot blocking prowess. 
  5. Utah Jazz - The Jazz already has Enes Kanter, Derrick Favors and Jeremy Evans in their frontline but they won't hesitate to draft a potential double-double machine who can shoot from the perimeter. That guy is NOAH VONLEH. Vonleh is a solid rebounder and decent defender. His outside shot is blossoming so becoming a stretch 4 might be in his future especially if he is unable to develop a more reliable post-up game. Vonley can be somewhat compared to Chris Bosh who used to play closer to the rim but evolved to primarily a shooter.  
  6. Boston Celtics - The Celtics have two blossoming, young frontline guys (Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk) and Jeff Green. That being said, their back court needs help and here is where MARCUS SMART can help them. Smart is a combo guard who can play both guard positions ("tweener"). He has an okay outside shot but his three-point shooting needs to improve drastically. One of his best assets is his ability to drive to the paint and finish. He is big enough to out-muscle smaller PGs and maybe long and strong enough to defend taller SGs. Smart reminds me of Eric Bledsoe.   
    Marcus Smart had an altercation with a fan in the NCAA.
    Can he avoid that in the NBA? He should if he wants to stay.
    (Image from: ESPN) 
  7. Los Angeles Lakers - The probable departure of Pau Gasol opens up playing time up front. Even if Gasol stays, the Lakers have holes with their big men. This would be the perfect opportunity to get a prototypical PF, JULIUS RANDLE. While his outside shot needs improvement, Randle is an above average low post player and his ability to draw fouls is excellent. Randle is also a solid FT shooter so going to the line is a plus. He can rebound with the best of them and his strength is grabbing offensive boards. That should help the Lakers a lot especially with all the missed shots coming from Kobe. 
  8. Sacramento Kings - Rudy Gay's decision to stay one more year with the Kings and remain grossly overpaid made things more complicated for the Kings and their 8th pick. If Gay departed, the Kings could pick Doug McDermott to replace the missing offense but with Gay back, the better and safer pick might be AARON GORDON. Gordon is a superb athlete and a very good open court player. He can finish around and above the rim. Two names that can be likened to him are Shawn Marion and a poor man's version of Blake Griffin.  
  9. Charlotte Hornets (from Detroit) - The Hornets (Bobcats) are starved for offense. A scorer/shooter immediately fills a need. One such guy (if still available) is DOUG MCDERMOTT who can light up the scoreboard with ease. He is an excellent shooter and is considered the best among his draft class. He can shoot anywhere from the court and has three-point range. However, his defense and positioning needs work. His size and height slots him as a SF and he might be able to masquerade as a SG but his lack of athleticism and foot speed might limit that. McDermott reminds me of a smaller version of Ryan Anderson.  
    A young Kyle Korver? Maybe so and a bit more.
    Doug McDermott can shoot anywhere on the floor.
    (Image from: USA Today) 
  10. Philadelphia 76ers (from New Orleans) - Canadians have started to make an impact in the recent drafts, so it won't be a surprise that another Canadian could be drafted in the first round, NIK STAUSKAS. He is a prolific scorer and shooter, arguably the 2nd best marksmen of this batch (after McDermott). Stauskas could be their backup SG if the Sixers pick Dante Exum with their 3rd pick. Stauskas is also a capable pick and roll ball-handler. He might be able to play PG for spot situations and that helps him launch his impressive off the dribble jumper. Stauskas is a bigger and taller version of Jeff Hornacek.   
  11. Denver Nuggets - The Nuggets like to run on transition and a player who fits that philosophy is GARY HARRIS. He is a little undersized for a SG (kinda like Bradley Beal) but his above average wingspan and athleticism more than makes up for his lack of size. Harris is very good in the open court and he can occasionally make his outside shots. He can defend both guard positions. Apparently, the best part about Harris is his maturity at 19 years old.  
  12. Orlando Magic (from New York via Denver) - The second overseas player that might be drafted in the lottery is DARIO SARIC. This Croatian player is pegged at 6-10 and his versatility allows him to play both forward spots and a third position called "Point Forward". He has exceptional court vision and his ability to grab rebounds and bring the ball up to initiate transition opportunities can make any coach salivate. One problem though, are you willing to wait at least 2 years because he has a contract in the Turkish league? A couple of international players that are somewhat similar to Saric are Hedo Turkoglu and Boris Diaw.  
    Patience is a virtue. Waiting at least 2 years before
    Dario Saric comes to the NBA might be worth the risk.
    (Image from:
  13. Minnesota Timberwolves - IF the T'wolves decide to trade Kevin Love, then they should draft ADREIAN PAYNE, a solid PF who is NBA-ready. He is athletic, strong and has the makings of a typical PF. His offensive skills are developing and he can make a living in the paint. While he isn't quite the shooter like Love, Payne has decent shooting numbers and he might be able to increase his range up to the 3-point line. Think of Payne as a possible hybrid version of Derrick Favors and Paul Millsap.
  14. Phoenix Suns - Do you remember that monster dunk during the NCAA Championship game? Well, that was JAMES YOUNG. He can shoot from the perimeter and he has enough length and skill to attack the paint (see the dunk). Young is an above average spot up shooter and his skill set fits in with how the Suns currently play. Young can also run the break and his ability to finish or take jumpers opens a lot of possibilities for the Suns. Lastly, Young is a better option at SF than current starter PJ Tucker. Young somewhat reminds me of a young James Harden. A guy who can score but lacks the defensive skills (or effort). 

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