Ell’s NBA Draft 2014 1st Rd. Analysis

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July 6, 2014 by Ell and Mike Sports

NBA Draft 2014 Analysis

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1. Cavs – SG/SF Andrew Wiggins (Kansas)

The Cavs decide to go with the most athletic player in the draft in Wiggins. He is a good scorer with a nice drive game using his athleticism to get to the hole, but he needs to improve on his shooting. Wiggins is a decent defender and will improve in that area also. The Cavs have drafted a solid wingman for the long term to pair with star PG Kyrie Irving. With Waiters already on the roster, Wiggins doesn’t have to be rushed on the court in this situation; however, expectations will be high, especially following PF/SF Anthony Bennett who saw very limited minutes.

2. Bucks – SF/PF Jabari Parker (Duke)

Luckily, the best and most NBA ready player (arguably) in the draft falls in the Bucks lap at the #2 spot in Parker. Parker has good size at 6’8 235lbs and elite scoring ability as he is a threat from anywhere on the court with good rebounding to match which has drawn comparisons to star SF/PF Carmelo Anthony and SF Rudy Gay. Parker will bring a nice scoring touch to the Bucks and they are a team in desperate need of points and a franchise player; now, they have him. Despite Parker’s ability to score as he pleases, he needs to play defense in the NBA as guys will be tougher and more experienced.  However, this is a good start for the Bucks franchise.

3. 76ers – C Joel Embiid (Kansas)

The 76ers would have loved for one of the top 2 players in this draft to fall in their lap, but luckily Embiid is another prospect who could have easily went 1 or 2; however, he is recovering from an injury. Embiid has all the skills to be a big man with the ability to contribute on both offense and defense and he has good size at 7’0 250lbs. His skills on defense are the highlight as he has good footwork so he can defend with range (away from the basket) and he is a shot blocking machine. On offense he is still raw, but he still finds ways to score. The 76ers may have finally found their long term center, but the question is can Embiid stay healthy and can he dominate NBA competition.

4. Magic – PF/SF Aaron Gordon (Arizona)

The Magic shocked everyone when they didn’t go with Exum, but Gordon was a good pick and may have been the right pick. Gordon plays with great athleticism and good defense inside and outside with good footwork. He has the ability to score and he is a tough defender and shot blocker. However, Gordon must improve on his shooting which has been inconsistent and his horrible free throw shooting. If he is asked to play at the PF spot, then he will need to add some bulk to his frame. However, he fits nicely on a young team that is trying to get out on fast breaks allowing him to contribute nicely on both ends of the floor.

5. Jazz – PG/SG Dante Exum (Australia)

The Jazz really need a SF/SG, but the best two were off the board #1/#2 already, therefore they had their pick of whoever they thought could be a star. They decided to select Exum who is the biggest mystery in this draft being an international player, but he definitely has the skills and age to potentially be a star. Exum wanted to prove he is a PG, but will be a SG in this offense playing off a scoring PG in Trey Burke which would allow him to show off his combo guard skills. Exum has great handles and a nice drive game with an improving jumper in which scouts would like to see more consistency. He is also improving on the defense end which will be the key to him being on the floor more next season, but as he gets more comfortable in the league expect to see his potential show.

 

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6. Celtics – PG Marcus Smart (OK State)

The Celtics could have gone anywhere with this pick as they are in a transition period as a team so picking the best player on the board should have been the draft strategy. The Celtics selected Smart who would have went higher if he came out last year and has shown in workouts that he is still one of the top prospects in this draft. Smart is a tough guard with good size and strength with a great drive game and the body to push through bigger defenders to score and/or draw the foul. Smart is a good rebounder for his size and a good perimeter defender, but he needs to become a better shooter and passer. Most people think that this means the end of the Rondo era, but I always said I liked Smart as a SG to start and they could make a nice duo.

7. Lakers – PF Julius Randle (Kentucky)

 The Lakers didn’t know if any of the top players would fall into their lap, but thanks to a late injury Randle fell to the Lakers giving them a nice big man for the future to replace or play next to PF/C Pau Gasol. Randle is a tough interior scorer with a lot of post moves in the paint to make sure he gets his shot and a good free throw shooter. He is also a good rebounder on both ends of the floor and an improving defender. However, he has limited offensive and defensive range, but if he adds a mid range jumper to his game then he would be deadly. Randle has the body to contribute now and once he regains form he will be a fixture in the Lakers lineup.

8. Kings – SG Nick Stauskas (Michigan)

Most people thought the Kings would go with a PG or a big man to play next to Cousins, but they chose to go with Stauskas who could provide insurance if Rudy Gay leaves or maybe even push last year’s rookie SG/SF Ben McLemore for playing time. Stauskas is a known as a player with good work ethic who can really knock down shots and he might even be the best pure shooter in the draft. He is athletic with good size showing an improved ability to drive to the basket which is a good plan B for players who are primarily shooters. However, he must continue to improve on defense if he wants to see a lot minutes on the floor.

9. Hornets (Bobcats) – PF/C Noah Vonleh (Indiana)

The Hornets were in a nice position to pick the best player available and luckily Vonleh falls in their lap, a player many people had going in the top 5. Vonleh is the freak of nature in the draft with good size some of the biggest hands (long fingers) people have ever seen and a long wingspan. Vonleh has good offensive moves with the ability to score from anywhere on the court and he is a good rebounder. He is a good shot blocker, but he must continue to grow on defense and continue to gain strength to handle the bigger competition.

10. 76ers (Traded to Magic) – PG Elfrid Payton (Louisiana Lafayette)

This was originally the 76ers pick as many people thought they could come away with 2 starters, but the Magic moved up to get their long term PG. Payton was very much under the radar as a player, but the prospects liked what they saw in workouts. Payton is a big PG with good leadership and good passing abilities. He is also a good defender and rebounder for his size, but he needs to get stronger. Payton needs to improve his shooting, especially from the free throw line, however he will be a good do it all PG for a young athletic team.

 

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11. Nuggets (Traded to Bulls) – PF/SF Doug McDermott (Creighton)

This pick originally belonged to the Nuggets, but they decided to trade after selecting McDermott. He is a very well-liked prospect by many scouts and coaches as he has good shooting ability with an array of post moves and deadly 3-pt shot; he is the son of a coach who was also his college coach. McDermott is a decent rebounder, but he needs work on the defensive end and he isn’t every athletic. He is too slow to guard the better SFs in the league and not strong enough to defend the better PFs in the league, so he might need to bulk up for more minutes at PF. He will be a nice 3-pt shooter to space the floor off the bench for the Bulls.

12. Magic (Traded to 76ers) – PF Dario Saric (Croatia)

The Magic traded this pick to the 76ers, as mentioned earlier in this post, but international prospect Saric was selected and he is considered to be the next Dirk Nowitzki. Saric is still raw like many international prospects, but he continues to improve and get bigger. He is known as a high IQ player and has good court vision as he has the ability to push the ball and find the open man which is rare for big men. Saric is a good rebounder and he continues to improve on the defensive end. He must add more strength if he plans to play the PF spot in the league because he is not quick enough to be a SF and he needs to continue to improve his scoring. Saric will spend at least 2yrs overseas to fulfill his contract obligations, so 76ers fan will have to wait for this one.

13. T-Wolves – SG/PG Zach LaVine (UCLA)

The T-Wolves were in need of a SG to pair with PG Ricky Rubio or a SF to play next to Kevin Martin or eventually replace him and they found the latter with a nice combo guard in LaVine. LaVine is an athletic prospect with good scoring ability whether shooting or driving to the rim. He has good passing ability and lean frame which is why most team projected him as a PG, but he should be the SG for the long term. LaVine is still raw and wasn’t even a starter in his one year of college so he has a lot to learn. He needs to add more strength to his frame, play with better shot selection, and clean up his game, but his potential is very high.

14.  Suns – SF/PF T.J. Warren (N.C. State)

The Suns have (3) 1st round picks in this draft and with their 1st one they select Warren who has the ability to score at will, coming off a good sophomore year where he won ACC player of the year. Warren can score from anywhere on the court, drive to basket with toughness to draw fouls, and he is a good rebounder. However, he needs to improve his 3-pt and free throw shooting and play better defense. Warren could be a nice contributor off the bench as he pushes for minutes and he could also provide insurance, in case, the team loses SF P.J. Tucker.

15. Hawks – PF Adreian Payne (Michigan State)

The Hawks may have gotten one of the most NBA ready prospects in the draft in Payne as he is coming off a good senior season and he is known as a high character guy on and off the court. Payne is a nice stretch PF with the ability to score inside and outside (3-pt), as well as, knock down free throws. He has a nice jump hook and can also handle his own defensively. However, he needs to get stronger and continue to improve his rebounding, but he should be a contributor from the beginning off the bench.

 

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16. Bulls (Traded to Nuggets) – C Jusuf Nurkic (Croatia)

This pick was originally for the Bulls, but was traded in the McDermott trade mentioned above, Nurkic was selected here as another international center to be groomed by the Nuggets organization. Nurkic has great size 6’11 280lbs he plays with toughness, good offensive post moves, and he is an improving rebounder especially on the offensive end. He needs to improve his defense as he is not very athletic and is prone to getting in foul trouble. His maturity needs to improve and he just a raw prospect at this point, but he will improve as his minutes increase and he having a year or two to polish overseas. He is known to have the skills of a good pick and roll big man with the ability to shoot, drive, and pass.

17. Celtics – SG/SF James Young (Kentucky)

The Celtics get a young explosive, athletic wingman in Young who can play on both sides of the ball. Young has the ability to knock down jumpers efficiently especially from 3-point range and he has the moves to go to the basket and draw the foul or get a nice dunk. He has a long wingspan and he is a good rebounder with plenty of upside. Young needs to improve on his shot selection, like most young players, and he needs to take his defense to another level; expect him to see the floor often for the young Celtics.

18. Suns – PG Tyler Ennis (Syracuse)

The Suns, like many teams, really coveted Ennis coming off a good freshman college season where he displayed all-around skills and he should be able to contribute immediately off the bench. Ennis is a good passer, rebounder, and defender, but his scoring is average and needs improvement; he is a pure PG. It will be interesting to see if his defense suffers as he played a zone defense at Syracuse. Ennis needs to get stronger and continue to improve on the offensive end including drive to the basket more often, but the potential is there.

19. Bulls (Traded to Nuggets) – SG Gary Harris (Michigan State)

This pick was originally for the Bulls, but it was traded to the Nuggets in the McDermott trade mentioned above where they selected Harris who should be a nice SG to develop on the bench for now. Harris is a bit undersized at 6’4 205lbs, but he is a good scorer and defender with good athleticism to finish at the rim. He is also a good rebounder and appears to be a perfect fit as a shooter off the pick and roll. However, he needs to be more consistent from the 3-pt line, improve his ball handling, and continue to gain strength.

20. Raptors – SF Bruno Caboclo (Brazil)

The Raptors could have used someone who could have helped them build off their playoff run, but they decided to go with Caboclo a nice young prospect who was named the 2013 Basketball Without Borders Americas MVP. Caboclo has the ability to really knock down 3’s and he is a solid rebounder and shot blocker. However, he is still raw and needs to add bulk to his frame, but he could be a contributor in a couple years and he will be only 19 this year.

 

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21. OKC – PF Mitch McGary (Michigan)

The Thunder just needed to continue to build depth to their team with the starting lineup pretty much set; therefore, selecting McGary was a smart pick as he is considered a nice replacement for PF Nick Collison. McGary has good size with the ability to score inside and he is a solid rebounder. He is a known as a smart player with good energy and he doesn’t mind getting physical. A suspension has caused people to question his character off the court and he has suffered a back injury which ended his sophomore year. However, he should be a solid contributor off the bench for a quality team which shouldn’t ask him to do too much.

22. Grizzlies – SG Jordan Adams (UCLA)

The Grizzlies were in need of a nice wingman to help score the ball as the team already plays pretty good defense with Randolph and Gasol inside and Conley and Allen outside. Adams is a long armed shooter with the ability to knock down the 3 ball which would help them space the floor. He is a good rebounder with the ability to drive to the hole and a decent defender. However, he needs to add more bulk to his frame and he must continue to work on his defense as he will play against increased talent most of the time man to man.

23. Jazz – SF/SG Rodney Hood (Duke)

As mentioned earlier in the post, the Jazz still needed a wingman for the long term as veteran SF Richard Jefferson seem rejuvenated, but Hood fits the bill. Hood is a good scorer and passer with the ability to play with and without the ball. He is also a decent rebounder and defender, but he needs to get stronger and improve in these areas. Hood has a nice upside and his year at Duke has really helped him learn a lot, but he should start off as a nice athletic scorer off the bench. He is a legit 3-point threat who will be able to space the floor and draw attention.

24. Hornets (Traded to Heat) – PG Shabazz Napier (UConn)

The Hornets originally made the pick of Napier, but the Heat wanted him so they moved up to get him; most people have linked this to star F LeBron James mentioning him as the best PG in the draft. Napier is an experienced combo-guard who has come in a long way after coming off a big tournament and championship led by his solid play. He is an all-around great shooter with the ability to knock down shots from anywhere especially from the 3-pt line and he doesn’t mind taking and making the big shots in the clutch. Napier is a solid defender and a good rebounder, but he is undersized which he makes up for in quickness. He needs to get bigger to handle the NBA season and he needs to continue to work on his passing similar to star PG Stephen Curry when he came out.

25. Rockets – PF Clint Capela (France)

With the Rockets hoping to make more noise via trade or free agency, they decided to select Capela as a defensive international prospect to develop for a couple years overseas. Capela is a good athlete with the ability to run the floor well making him good in the transition game. Capela is a good shot blocker and decent rebounder with the ability to get put backs around the basket. However, he is raw on the offensive end and needs help in all aspects including free throw shooting. He needs to improve his basketball IQ, put on more bulk, and show better work ethic. Capela is only 20 years old and still has room to improve.

 

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26. Heat (Traded to Hornets) – SG P.J. Hairston (UNC/Texas Legends (D-League))

This pick was originally for the Heat, but they really wanted Napier and got their guy as mentioned above, but the Hornets were able to select Hairston who should bring nice depth to the wing. Hairston is a legit scorer with a NBA ready body which allows him to drive to the paint and slam it home or draw the foul. He has perfect size for the SG position and can also play defense to go along with his good offense, but he needs to improve the consistency of his play. Hairston also needs to work harder to continue to develop his game and conditioning, as well as, improve as a passer. He has taken a harder route to the NBA and should be ready mentally and as a scorer, but hopefully he can continue to reach his potential as a complete SG.

27. Suns – SG Bogdan Bogdanovic (Serbia)

The Suns have already added two good prospects in this draft adding depth to the roster so grabbing a prospect to stash overseas in Bogdanovic was a decent selection. Bogdanovic is a good shooter with a nice 3-pt shot, but he still has the ability to get to the rim and draw fouls. He was used as a point-forward, so he has a nice ability to pass the ball and make good decisions; he also took over at PG for a stint due to an injury to the starter. Bogdanovic needs to improve on defense and must prove that he can handle playing against the more athletic competition in the league. He will be 25 this year and may spend another year or two overseas, but he will only get better.

28. Clippers – SG C.J. Wilcox (Washington)

The Clips needed to continue to add depth with the loss of a few veterans that were on 1yr contracts leading to the selection of Wilcox. Wilcox is a nice scoring guard with the ability to shoot from anywhere on the floor especially from deep, but still contribute on defensive end using his long arms to block shots; he is a Doc Rivers type of player which he refers to as a 3 and D (defense) player. He is a good passer and has good size with a long wingspan, but he needs to add bulk at only 197lbs and 6’5. Wilcox needs to continue to polish his game and his shot selection, as well as, improving his driving and handles to finish at the rim better and draw more fouls. His minutes might be limited this season, but he has potential to grow into a bigger role.

29. OKC – SF Josh Huestis (Stanford)

The Thunder just needed to continue to add good young prospects and they may have found a good one in Huestis. Huestis has good size at 6’7 230 and a good all around game as he can defend, rebound, and score even from deep. He has a long wingspan which he uses to be a solid defender to defend against multiple positions and he is a good shot blocker leaving Stanford as the all-time leading shot blocker. Huestis is known as a clean-cut guy and a hard worker which many hope will translate into a NBA ready prospect. He needs to improve his free throw shooting and continue to polish and improve his offensive game to be more of a threat. Some believe that he could replace Sefolosha’s role on the team as the defender and sometimes offensive spark.

30. Spurs – SF/PF Kyle Anderson (UCLA)

The Spurs might have struck draft magic again in Anderson as he was a player most scouts had in their top 20, maybe even top 15. Anderson is a nice do it all SF with great court vision to put a nice pass on the cutting big man, score inside and outside, rebound efficient, and even defend. He has good size at 6’9 230lbs and can really fill up the stat sheet. However, his nickname is Slow Mo so he doesn’t move very quickly and he’s not the greatest athlete, but he can get it done. He’s need to get stronger as he will see most of his minutes at the 4 and he appears to be the perfect replacement if PF/C Boris Diaw doesn’t re-sign.

 

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