Razzball Nation! You’ve seen a dime a dozen… And no I’m not talking about lady parts or buttcheeks on Game of Thrones…. But mock 2014 NBA Drafts! And since Game of Thrones is the hottest thing on TV, Slim and I decided to join the fray. Let’s pretend he’s built like Drogo, the facial hair is fa rizz folks, and I back-and-forth with him like whatever the hell that giant was north of the wall. But not like that! Wait, this just got way off track…
What we did differently is alternate picks to adjust our thoughts and expectations accordingly. Slim thinks Embiid to the Cavs, I think it’s Wiggins, many others think Parker… We then have to make new thoughts as we go, and track players falling to get them to their upcoming destinations. We both go into why we made that pick for the team, and a quick blurb on their fantasy impact on said destination should it come to fruition. Here’s how we see the 2014 NBA Draft’s First Round going down:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins – SG-SF (JB)-
Wooooo! The lotto balls have exalted us! At least, that’s what I imagine the Cavs saying to themselves. After a disappointing season, the Cavs need a 3 after the Luol Deng rental/travesty. If you missed my top 50 Way Too Early Ranks, I might lead the consensus on Spencer Hawes (assuming Cleveland resigns him, which they’ve deemed “very likely”), and they still have Anderson Varejao and Tristan Thompson to man the front court (Varejao does have a pretty pricey team option that seems unlikely to be exercised, but we’ll see). Of course they could bring back neither C, but I think at least Hawes stays, so it comes down to Wiggins vs. Parker to me. And I see Wiggins’ ability to be a 2 or a 3 giving them a little extra leeway in deciding how to formulate their team through free agency, and how to pair him with Dion Waiters. I also think he has the most upside in the draft.
I’m not gonna sugarcoat it – I’m not as versed in college hoops as I once was – but it seemed to me Wiggins struggled early and didn’t dominate as many hoped. He ended up being a multi-cat guy, but I don’t think it will translate as well to the Pros, at least this year. He’ll probably be overvalued no matter where he goes for his rookie season, but he’d have a very bright future if he and Kyrie Irving stay in Cleveland a while.
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Joel Embiid – C (Slim)
In this exercise we are going to assume the Cavs don’t fall for the old ‘Oden over Durant’ rope a dope and take Embiid first overall. Instead Embiid falls to the Bucks, who have to fill a void at center that’s so big you can’t fill it by downing a bottle of Cristal and breaking it over the head of the closest person to you. With Embiid now a Buck, Larry Sanders can be shipped out of town and the rebuilding Bucks can sell tickets by boasting of their youthful potential and hopeful future success.
In this scenario, a front court of Giannis Antetokounmpo, John Henson, and Embiid would have as much upside as any in the game today. Personally, for fantasy, I would like to see those 3 along with Nate Wolters at point guard and Brandon Knight at the 2. I like Khris Middleton as much as the next guy but I think his best role will be off the bench.
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Jabari Parker – SF (JB)
Even if the Sixers went first, I think Parker is the best fit for them. They’ve got huge cap room to make some changes, and Parker is NBA-ready as well – easily the most so of the big 3. This pick would assume Philly doesn’t trade this pick (they also have the 10th) in a run for Kevin Love or something. Pairing him with Thaddeus Young would be a pretty nasty 3/4 front line alongside Michael Carter-Williams.
Parker didn’t hit the treys too well in college, but has the developing perimeter game with a better-suited multi-cat outlook than Wiggins. He’s going to be tough to pass up on in draft day if any other rookie has already been drafted.
4. Orlando Magic – Dante Exum – PG-SG (Slim)
Orlando is in the middle of a rebuild that should have them thinking upside over all else. They say Exum is going to be a star in this league. I don’t know who “they” are but have you seen Exum play? Yeah, neither have I. But “they” tend to be pretty smart, so paired with Victor Oladipo and a developing young front court Exum should fit in rather quickly.
Something’s got to give with Jameer Nelson and Arron Afflalo eventually, but I don’t think anyone expects Exum to play big minutes immediately anyway. After this pick not much should change for Orlando in terms of fantasy for next year.
5. Utah Jazz – Julius Randle – PF (JB)
Came into the collegiate year as a possible top-5 pick, and did nothing to really hurt the speculation. I think the Jazz could start him right away next to Derrick Favors. Gives them some grit and athleticism on the frontline they were sorely missing from the 4 (Enes Kanter is an awful defender, and Richard Jefferson was, well, Richard Jefferson), and should be a good piece in their youth movement.
It looks like he could turn into Slim’s nightmare – a scorer/boarder. He didn’t contribute much anywhere else in the college stat sheets, so virtually anywhere he goes – he’ll be a better real-life NBA rookie than fantasy option.
6. Boston Celtics – Marcus Smart – PG (Slim)
This pick was a tough one to make and for me it came down to Smart v Vonleh. Ultimately, I assume Rajon Rondo gets shipped out of town and the Celtics should now be set for years to come with a high upside point guard ready to step in on day 1 if needed. With the young power forwards already on the Celtics, Vonleh just didn’t fit in. The wildcard though is the Celtics also have the #17 pick, where there should be several options at point guard still waiting, but none have the upside of Smart.
Even though this pick assumes Rondo’s departure Smart could contribute immediately even if it is in a bench role backing up both the 1 and 2.
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Doug McDermott – SF-PF (JB)
A little bit of a reach here, I know. But as we try to think about what teams are thinking in the future of thinking… It’s just too much thinking! So I’m inventing the narrative that Kobe Bryant wants every chip possible on the table to win now, and whom better than McDermott who is coming out as a senior and is as NBA-ready as anyone in the draft. Can hit shots, knows how to win, and fits a positional need.
He could be a really good late-round steal as a ThrAGNOF PF. I’m thinking Channing Frye with more points and no blocks. That assumes he lands somewhere where he’ll play and be able to find shots right away.
8. Sacramento Kings – Noah Vonleh – PF (Slim)
Vonleh is a perfect fit for the Kings and might just start opening night at power forward. The other option here was Gordon, but since Vonleh can stretch the defense with his outside shooting I think he’s a better fit next to DeMarcus Cousins.
Power forward has been a black hole of production for the Kings for several years but with Vonleh on board those days should be over. As for the rest of the power forwards the Kings rotated in and out last year, they will immediately become obsolete.
9. Charlotte Hornets – Aaron Gordon – PF (JB)
If this came true… Oh man, I’d buy his jersey right now. I love Aaron Gordon’s upside, and he’d be a perfect fit for the new Hornets branding. Can play the 3 if need be, or split time with Cody Zeller at the 4. I’m of the mind the Hornets try him as a three, with Zeller at the 4, for one of the biggest starting line-ups in the league. He doesn’t have much range on the perimeter which might make this wet-dream scenario unrealistic, but any way it works, I want Gordon on my now hometown Hornets (the Bobcats might as well have played in Vancouver).
Could legit be a rainbow line threat every night, in a Antetokounmpo sort-of way. But with even more upside. Anywhere he goes, Gordon will be a guy I might reach for.
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Gary Harris – SG (Slim)
JB and I are in complete agreement with this pick and along with Parker, Harris gives Philly a much needed scoring punch. There are other wings that I’m sure the 76ers are considering, but since Harris is a strong defender and can do his damage off the ball, I don’t see why they would take the others.
11. Denver Nuggets – T.J. Warren – SF (JB)
I’m making another reach here, but Warren was absolute boss in the ACC last year. The Nuggets need everything, and when you need everything, it’s good to start with points. He’s not the best defender or biggest upside guy, but I think a team will go a bit higher than I’ve seen in most mocks. A great fit next to Ty Lawson if you ask me.
Won’t be the best fantasy option. Gives you mid-range scoring and some steals, and is another better real-life fit than good-looking fantasy option.
12. Orlando Magic – Dario Saric – SF-PF (Slim)
I think we’ve established that Orlando isn’t playing for this coming year and should take as much upside as they can find. Croatia is a long way to look for it, but Saric has as much upside as anyone outside of the top 3.
I’m not sure Saric gets too many minutes next year in a young, loaded front court, but as a point-forward he does something unique for the Magic and could potentially force his way on the floor sooner rather than later. How this pick effects the playing time of Tobias Harris and Maurice Harkless is still yet unknown.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Jusuf Nurkic – C (JB)
Back-to-back European imports, he’s a big dude with a ton of athleticism at 280 lbs. Twin tower this guy with Gorgui Dieng and “baby, you got a stew goin’!” More offensively inclined in the mid-range, I think he’d make a great addition to a rebuilding Wolves team assuming Kevin Love is shipped off.
He’s still young, so minutes and inconsistency out of the gate will make him a deep league-only flyer, but he really does have the upside to develop into a multi-cat threat. Showed in limited minutes in European appearances he can steal and block.
14. Phoenix Suns – Nik Stauskas – SG (Slim)
Maybe Phoenix goes with a big here, but after last year’s pick and Miles Plumlee looking like a solid player… maybe not. Obviously the Suns aren’t in need at point guard so that leaves us with a wing and there are plenty to choose from. Stauskas is probably the safest and could help Phoenix with their final push into the playoff conversation.
Since Stauskas should only help off the bench, I don’t see this altering the Suns too much from a fantasy perspective. As long as he’s hitting 3s though, he should play and I would imagine that would be at the expense of P.J. Tucker.
15. Atlanta Hawks – James Young – SG-SF (JB)
Yet another one-and-done in this draft, the Hawks need some wing depth and they get some upside here as well. Kyle Korver is a free agent, Lou Williams is pretty solid but a vet in his last year, so it fits a need. Will give the Hawks a replacement perimeter shooter for the future.
A ThrAGNOF in college, will be a ThrAGNOF in the pros.
16. Chicago Bulls – Adreian Payne – PF (Slim)
If the Bulls are healthy they should be able to compete next year. A backup point guard would be nice, but with Carlos Boozer already having one foot out the door Chicago could use some front court depth. Payne can give them a big body and someone who can step outside for a 3-pointer. Payne should be able to play alongside both Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson which is a real good selling point for a team lacking depth.
Payne should immediately play the 20-25 minutes that were Boozer’s, albeit off the bench. It’s been reported Gibson will start next year and I don’t see anyway Payne pushes him for the starting job.
17. Boston Celtics – Tyler Ennis – PG (JB)
This would be an absolute steal if Ennis lasted this long. I’m not a huge Ennis fan, but in virtually all mocks he’s gone earlier. For my last four picks (Hornets, Nuggets, Wolves, Hawks), teams haven’t needed a PG, so he’s fallen. Building off Slim’s 6th pick and the C’s losing Rondo, Ennis could move Smart to SG for an explosive backcourt ala the Suns. On a rebuilding team, a talent like Ennis would be near impossible to pass up with this pick no matter the depth.
It’s tough to assess what fantasy impact he’d have here, as he could start if Rondo is traded, could come off the bench, and it’s likely he goes earlier. A starting spot on a team needing offense like the Celtics would make him an intriguing upside grab.
18. Phoenix Suns – Clint Capela – C (Slim)
I know, I said the Suns weren’t looking for a big earlier, but Capela makes sense for a team who doesn’t need anyone to come in and play big minutes immediately. With another 1st round pick still to go, I expect the Suns to be busy looking to trade up long before this pick is taken.
For fantasy next year, Capela shouldn’t do much of anything in Phoenix. Maybe he’ll push for 20 minutes but it’s unlikely on such a deep team.
19. Chicago Bulls – Kyle Anderson – SF (JB)
A do-it-all 3, Anderson would fit right in to an athletic/defensive-minded Bulls team in the second unit. His defense is sometimes questioned, but I think he’ll be fine (and protected by defense around him to hide it), and provide some needed offense to the Bulls second unit.
Whatever offseason additions the Bulls make will really dictate the role Anderson would have, but if it looks like he could get a mid-20’s MPG opportunity, he could be a great Pts/Reb/Ast/Stl contributor. He’s one to track heading into drafts next year wherever he lands.
20. Toronto Raptors – Elfird Payton – PG (Slim)
Everyone in Toronto is praying that both Kyle Lowry resigns and their next mayor isn’t a crackhead. I can’t speak to the latter, but Elfrid has starter potential in his future and could fill in immediately if Lowry does not resign.
If Payton ever starts, I want him on my fantasy team… But that’s a ways away and I mean much farther than opening day than opening day next year.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Rodney Hood – SG-SF (JB)
Adding depth to the second unit with Caron Butler likely gone, Hood and Jeremy Lamb would be a nice compliment of wings off the bench. Hood coming out after two years of college ball on top of a redshirt year, makes him closer to a veteran these days! I think he’s ready to beef up the win-now Thunder.
There wouldn’t be much of a fantasy impact backing up Kevin Durant, as he’d be a bench ThrAGNOF.
22. Memphis Grizzlies – Cleanthony Early – SF (Slim)
Memphis needs everything, but most of all they need a playmaker in the mold of Rudy Gay. The only question that remains now is which name is better? Cleanthony or Elfrid? An Egyptian lovechild or Batman’s butler? I’m torn.
One of the reasons I think Memphis makes this pick is that Early could start and play 30 minutes on arrival. For fantasy he could be… We’ll get to that later. But needless to say, I will want Cleanthony in even a 12er if he falls to Memphis.
23. Utah Jazz – Zach LaVine – SG (JB)
A huge upside pick, LaVine is mad athletic and will need some time to develop. And Utah has that luxury. There’s not too much data out there and he probably should’ve stayed in college another year, but he should be available at this spot in virtually any scenario and I think Utah will make the gamble.
As mentioned, he’s a bit of a project. Not a guy that will factor much – especially early on – in even the deepest of leagues.
24. Charlotte Hornets – Shabazz Napier – PG (Slim)
Napier won’t luck into an opening day job in Charlotte, but he could get valuable backup minutes and if Kemba Walker continues his FG% pace then the Hornets might have a fallback point guard with as much upside as Kemba ever had.
I don’t think Napier and Kemba will play together so nothing but backup minutes and very little effect on any other Hornets player’s minutes.
25. Houston Rockets – P.J. Hairston – SG (JB)
The Rockets were anemic at times with their second unit, so Hairston would give them a scorer. Character issues from the former Tar Heel are the obvious concern as his dismissal was well-publicized, but if a team is convinced his “hanging out with the wrong crowd” days are over, he should crack a mid-to-late first-round pick.
A bench ThrAGNOF to spell arguably the league’s best SG James Harden. Deep league source of treys and that’s about it.
26. Miami Heat – Glenn Robinson III – SF (Slim)
The Heat have a history of missing on risky late 1st rounders so why wouldn’t they try for another? Robinson has all the upside in the world but for now all he needs to do is camp in the corner and hit his 3s and he should play.
Since this is a project pick, I don’t expect any fantasy implications. What happens with the Heat’s all-stars however would very much impact Robinson.
27. Phoenix Suns – Jerami Grant – SF (JB)
Three first round picks! Must be nice for Phoenix, who I think can take an explosive wing with big upside. He and my former boyfriend Archie Goodwin would be a really disruptive/slashing second unit 2/3.
Depending on the role, Grant could eventually be a multi-cat contributor. The minutes will have to be there and I doubt he’ll be a scorer any time soon, but could be a surprise with a few rainbow lines this year.
28. Los Angeles Clippers – Jordan Adams – SG (Slim)
The Clippers aren’t getting any younger so why not add a high upside scorer? Adams may have been a lottery pick in last year’s draft but with the depth this year – even the end of the 1st round could yield an immediate contributor on a championship contending team.
Maybe a small bench role to start, but with the age the Clippers have on the wings it’s almost a foregone conclusion Adams number will get called upon in LA.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Mitch McGary – C (JB)
How vulnerable did the Thunder look in this series against the Spurs without Serge Ibaka? McGary gives them a polished, NBA-ready reserve center, as the ghost of Hasheem Thabeet is a UFA and adds depth. Nick Collison and Kendrick Perkins both have a year left in their deals, plus Ibaka and Stevan Adams are mainstays. But past next year, McGary could be a pretty solid minute filler off the bench.
If this is where he lands, only a rash of big man injuries would see him having even a remote impact on fantasy.
30. San Antonio Spurs – Kristaps Porzingis – PF (Slim)
Maybe the Spurs go with Vasilije Micic, the Serbian point guard, but I’m not breaking any news by saying the Spurs like their players from a different continent than the one they play on.
No effect for fantasy. From either player since apparently I just drafted two.
And there you have it! Is there a better name in the upcoming draft than Kristaps Porzingis?! I’m going… no! If you’ve got any thoughts on the draft or any guys we didn’t select, shoot below and happy offseason!