Before the 2013-2014 college basketball season started, the much anticipated 2014 NBA Draft was being compared to the 2003 NBA Draft where LeBron James graced the NBA world with his presence. In fact, many people said that Andrew Wiggins was the next LeBron James. In reality, many basketball analysts and critics were disappointed about the college basketball freshman class. Sure, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, Julius Randle and Jabari Parker were all solid contributors, but none of them turned out to perform on a superstar level as many people had predicted. Not that failing to meet these expectations were the freshmens’ fault, the media yet again can take the blame for that. Still, this NBA draft is full of talent. Below is how Sports Agent Blog believes the lottery for the 2014 NBA Draft will play out.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins. Before his lone season at Kansas University, Wiggins was projected to be the next LeBron James. While he had a solid freshman season averaging 17.1 PPG and nearly 6 rebounds, Andrew was criticized by many for going through the motions during games. Yet, Wiggins’ ceiling of potential has yet to be tapped. He can jump out of the gym and will only continue to improve his skill set. The Cavaliers may not be selecting the next LeBron, but let’s face it, Wiggins is an explosive and fun player to watch. He will be an all-star in a few years.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker. Jabari was the most well rounded freshman during last year’s college basketball season. Parker spent one season at Duke and at times showed flashes of greatness often being compared to the likes of a young Carmelo Anthony. Jabari averaged 19 PPG and 9 rebounds during his lone college season. Milwaukee will enjoy this kid and alongside Brandon Knight, the Bucks may be flirting with the 8th playoff spot in the all too terrible eastern conference.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Noah Vonleh. Noah played one season at Indiana University where he averaged 11 PPG and 9 boards per game. Vonleh flew under the radar during his freshman season because the Hoosiers had a subpar year, yet many NBA scouts proclaim that Noah has the most upside of any power forward in the draft. The 76ers may have drafted Dante Exum or Joel Embiid here based on Sports Agent Blogs best available player ratings, yet, for team needs, the 76ers need an athletic, young power forward to play alongside Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams.
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum. Dante is a 6’6 point guard out of Australia. While Exum decided not to play in college, his YouTube mixtapes generated a tremendous amount of fans in America. With Orlando’s point guard Jameer Nelson reaching the end of his career, the Magic need a young point guard to come and shake things up alongside Victor Oladipo.
5. Utah Jazz: Joel Embiid. Before Joel Embiid fractured his foot, many believed that Embiid would be the number one overall draft pick heading to the Cavaliers. Yet, many team offices are questioning whether the big seven footer from Kansas will be worth the risk due to his injuries. If healthy, Joel has the most upside of any player in this draft, including Wiggins. The big man may just fall in Utah’s lap and could potentially be the most valuable pick in the draft.
6. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle. As a freshman last season,Randle led the Kentucky Wildcats to the National Championship game. This week, Jay Bilas stated that Julius Randle is the most physical player around the basket in this draft. Randle averaged a double double his lone season in college and will suit the Boston Celtics well at the power forward position giving Rajon Rondo a big target in the paint.
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Marcus Smart. Everybody was surprised when Marcus Smart came back for his sophomore season at Oklahoma State. He may have improved his game, but his stock remained about the same if not dropping a tad from the previous year. Still, Marcus Smart has undeniable scoring ability. He is a 6’3 point guard who will contribute right away in the NBA. With Steve Nash’s career undeniably coming to a close, Smart will be an explosive point guard to lead the Lakers, especially after Kobe gets a hold of him.
8. Sacramento Kings: Aaron Gordon. Gordon is yet another freshman to enter this year’s NBA draft. This 6’9 power forward is athletically superior to most others entering this draft. He may be raw, fundamentally, but Gordon will be a very nice player in the NBA. He will head to Sacramento to play alongside Demarcus Cousins.
9. New Orleans Pelicans: Doug McDermott. With comparisons to Larry Bird, McDermott torched the college basketball field last year averaging 27 PPG and 7 rebounds per game. His basketball aptitude and IQ are off the charts and he will be a long term player in the NBA due to his skill set and ability to shoot and score the ball from anywhere on the floor. While he may not be as athletic as others in the NBA draft, his head fake should mask that weakness, right, Larry?
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Nik Stauskas. Nik Stauskas was a phenomenal shooter for the Michigan Wolverines last season. He led his team to an elite 8 appearance and really improved from his freshman to sophomore season. The 76ers are hurting at the shooting guard position and NIk Stauskas will act as a JJ Redickish type player for their team.
11. Denver Nuggets: Zach Levine. Another talented freshman in this year’s draft, Zach is a long armed 6’6 two guard who showed flashes of brilliance last year at UCLA. Levine has much to improve on, but in the future he could be a valuable asset to the Nuggets.
12. Orlando Magic: Jusuf Nurkic. The Magic need a backup center to give Nikola Vucevic a breather during the games. Nurkic is a 6’11 19 year old from Croatia. He is a project, but could pan out to be a diamond in the rough for Orlando.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Elfrid Payton. Payton played three seasons at Louisiana Lafayette before declaring for this year’s draft. Obviously, Payton did not receive much media attention at such a small school. Yet, we all know great players can come from mid majors i.e. Damian Lillard. Payton is a 6’4 solid point guard who will add depth to back up Ricky Rubio.
14. Phoenix Suns: James Young. Surprise, another Kentucky freshman making it into the NBA draft lottery. Young is a streaky shooter, yet plays smooth and has an NBA type game. He averaged 14 PPG at Kentucky and almost brought home another championship to the bluegrass state. He needs to improve in many areas, the main one being passing along the perimeter.
Other players who could potentially slip into the lottery:
Gary Harris: Harris spent two years at Michigan State and is a prolific scorer/shooter.
TJ Warren: Warren is an athletic small forward who averaged 25 PPG for NC State last season.
Rodney Hood: Hood transferred from Mississippi State to Duke and it was a smart decision. Hood is an explosive lefty scorer who will provide a scoring threat off the bench in the league.