Skov: Pre-Lottery NBA Mock Draft


USA Today Sports

Behind the Buck Pass staff writer Alex Skov projects the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft in advance of Tuesday’s lottery. Look for updated editions and more in-depth analysis as the June 26 draft approaches.

1. Milwaukee Bucks 
Andrew Wiggins, G/F, Kansas, Fr.
This draft’s epitome of athleticism, Wiggins is not a wholly developed basketball player and holds an upside higher than any other entrant. If the Bucks snag the top pick (or potentially the second pick, depending on other teams’ ranking of Jabari Parker), the prospect of a Wiggins/Giannis Antetokounmpo tandem would be hard to pass up.
2. Philadelphia 76ers 
Jabari Parker, F, Duke, Fr.
Almost as polished as he’ll get, Parker would be the “reliable scorer” building block on a Philly team that is filling up with young talent.
3. Orlando Magic 
Dante Exum, G, Australia 
Exum can play either guard spot, as can Victor Oladipo. With teams increasingly running multi-PG looks, the Magic could hang it’s hat on this duo for years to come, particularly in light of Jameer Nelson’s age and trade interest for Arron Afflalo.

4. Utah Jazz 
Joel Embiid, F/C, Kansas, Fr.
Utah’s front court is already loaded, so the Jazz would probably prefer to select a guard in the lottery, but adding Embiid to the mix could make for a legitimately intimidating group on both ends of the floor, if the Jayhawk has healed properly from a back injury.
5. Boston Celtics 
Julius Randle, F, Kentucky, Fr.
There’s a significant drop-off in talent between the top five prospects and the next tier of draftees, and the Celtics aren’t necessarily set at power forward as the franchise continues to retool.
6. Los Angeles Lakers 
Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State, Soph. 
The Lakers only have one pick and must nail it. This season showed how painfully thin the team is at point guard and Smart is the best (read: most experienced) PG available here.
7. Sacramento Kings 
Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana, Fr. 
Plenty of room for growth as a player, but already a solid defensive talent that could immediately impact a team that only had one player average at least one block per game.
8. Detroit Pistons 

Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona, Soph.

Stricken with bad contracts and an overflowing set of big men, Greg Monroe seems like an odd-man out to me. The Pistons could deal him for depth elsewhere while adding Gordon, an all-around athlete with a glue-guy reputation who won’t require as many touches on offense as Monroe.

9. Cleveland Cavaliers 
Doug McDermott, F, Creighton, Sr.
The Cavs have needs and they aren’t in the backcourt. McDermott’s 3,150 points over four years in college could be prophetic of his career in the NBA, specifically if paired with a talented point guard like Kyrie Irving. The Creighton product projects as an immediate contributor at either forward position.
10. Philadelphia 76ers (from NO) 
Gary Harris, G, Michigan State, Soph. 
He’s a product of Tom Izzo’s Michigan State so Harris will commit to defense, and his consistent shooting makes him a wonderful complement to Michael Carter-Williams while ceding the offensive workload to MCW and Parker.
11. Denver Nuggets (from NYK) 
James Young, G, Kentucky, Fr.
A potential-based pick, being that Young is just 18 years old. He can run either the two- or three-spot and already has a considerable scoring prowess. Young could fit in with a Ty Lawson/Randy Foye/Kenneth Faried combination right now and be the Nuggets’ premier wing in the future.
12. Orlando Magic (from DEN) 
Dario Saric, F, Croatia 
Saric could solidify the small forward spot alongside Tobias Harris and Nikola Vucevic while adding efficient scoring and rebounding from the start.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves 
Rodney Hood, G/F, Duke, Soph. 
The Wolves would covet his 45 3P% after going multiple years without a consistent long-range threat, but Hood can score in a multitude of other ways and has the combination of length and athleticism to defend at least two positions at the professional level.
14. Phoenix Suns 
Nik Stauskas, G, Michigan, Soph. 
Stauskas would space the floor for Phoenix’s already impressive guard corps while utilizing his deadly triple and underrated passing abilities.

15. Atlanta Hawks 
Kyle Anderson, G/F, UCLA, Soph.
Highly touted coming out of high school, Anderson’ freshman year struggles at UCLA damaged his draft status, which could make the versatile stat-collecting sophomore a steal at No. 15.
16. Chicago Bulls (from CHA) 
T.J. Warren, SF, North Carolina State, Soph.
As long as Derrick Rose (or Kirk Hinrich or Joakim Noah or anybody) gets Warren the ball, he’ll find a way to score. That typically isn’t the top priority in Chicago, but the tune could change if head coach Tom Thibodeau leaves. Regardless, the Bulls need a point-producer, and Warren is exactly that.
17. Boston Celtics 
Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse, Fr.
A pass-first point guard to perfectly complement Randle (or any other big the Celtics may take early). Head coach Brad Stevens routinely got the most out of lesser talented players at college mid-major Butler, so he should be able to work around Ennis’ imperfect athleticism.
18. Phoenix Suns (from WAS) 
Adreian Payne, F/C, Michigan State, Sr.
This pick feels like a trade, but Payne’s been climbing draft boards since returning to full health. His body size allows him to work the blocks; add an adept outside shooting touch and he fits the mold of a big in Phoenix’s system.
19. Chicago Bulls 

Shabazz Napier, G, UConn, Sr.
Napier is a leader, winner and a pit bull. Excuse the cliché, but he finds ways to elevate his team, whether it’s through scoring, facilitating or nabbing steals. Napier would be an overqualified backup on his worst day.

20 Toronto Raptors 

Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse, Soph.
Young, athletic and long with a knack for being explosive in the paint, Grant fits the mold of general manager Masai Ujiri’s Raptors.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder 
K.J. McDaniels, F, Clemson, Jr.
He did a little bit of everything at Clemson. McDaniels will work both ends of the floor, but is definitely a project – something the Thunder can afford with their already deep roster.
22. Memphis Grizzlies 
P.J. Hairston, G, D-League
Hairston’s 27 points per 40 minutes adjusted and 73 made threes in 26 games are the closest thing to proof that the former North Carolina Tar Heel will be able to score in bundles at the NBA level, and Hairston is the best available option to fill the Grizzlies’ scoring niche.
23. Utah Jazz (from GS) 
Zach LaVine, G, UCLA, Fr.
LaVine plays well in transition and off-ball, meaning he could play alongside Trey Burke or Alec Burks, if the latter guard continues learning how to kick the ball back to the perimeter after penetrating.
24. Charlotte Bobcats (from POR) 
Elfrid Payton, G, Louisiana-Lafayette, Jr.
Payton would serve as the go-to guy on the Bobcats’ second unit, supplying the bench with a scoring or facilitating tear as needed while terrorizing opponents on defense (he averaged 2.3 steals per game this season).
25. Houston Rockets 
Jordan Adams, G, UCLA, Soph. 
He’s no Troy Daniels, but Adams could take part – and succeed – in a shooting-guard-by-committee situation in Houston.
26. Miami Heat 
Mitch McGary, C, Michigan, Soph.
Erik Spoelstra let Chris Bosh roam outside the three-point line, got a taste of letting a big man roam the perimeter, and NOW HE WILL NOT STOP. (Seriously, though, who even knows what will happen with Miami’s selection?)
27. Phoenix Suns (from IND) 
Cleanthony Early, F, Wichita State, Sr.
This pick, too, could be dealt to another team, but Early hits big shots, makes good decisions in transition, and plays defense when he’s engaged in the offense. Doesn’t that sound like someone who could fit into the Suns’ rotation?

28. Los Angeles Clippers 
Walter Tavares, C, Gran Canaria 
The Clippers need a proper backup for DeAndre Jordan. Tavares didn’t touch a basketball until 2009, in his late teens. He’s the kind of raw, relatively untouched talent that makes coaches salivate. The Clips could stash him overseas or bring him into Staples Center to freelance in the paint while Doc Rivers doesn’t call plays for him.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder 
Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland 
His numbers in the EuroCup and league play reveal uber-efficient scoring with a nose for rebounds and blocks. OKC is stacked, but Capela would look good next to Hasheem Thabeet and Perry Jones III on the bench.
30. San Antonio Spurs

Vasilje Micic, G, Serbia

Manu Ginobli was born in 1977. Tony Parker was born in 1982. It’s Micic or trading down for Rasmus Larsen, currently tucked in the Spanish ACB league.

Who do you think the Bucks should take with their first round selection? Let us know in the comments or hit us up on Twitter @BehindTheBucks. And check out Nick Whalen’s first round mock draft HERE.