Updated: February 20, 2014
HoundSports 2014 NBA Mock Draft
Check Out Picks 16-30 with our 2014 NBA Mock Draft Part 2
2014 NBA Draft Fact or Fiction:
“The 2014 NBA Draft is a draft worth tanking for because it is loaded with franchise saving players?” Fiction.
“The 2014 NBA Draft is indeed a very deep draft, just no clear-cut superstars.” Fact
This is a good draft, don’t mistake skepticism for negativity, there are many awesome players that I would be thrilled to add to my favorite NBA club. However, it is appearing less-likely that there are obvious franchise-saving superstars in the 2014 NBA Draft.
There are two kinds of superstars though. There are the kind of players who were always going to be a superstar regardless of the team they were drafted to. Kevin Love is a fine example of a guy who was always going to be a superstar. He was drafted to a bad team, with a coach who couldn’t recognize his talent and possibly even stunted his development as a player, but Love prevailed and has turned into one of the 10 or so best players in the NBA.
On the other hand you have Paul George. He was kind of a dicey pick, an inconsistent player who drifted through most of his two seasons at the smaller Fresno State, but he went to the perfect team. The Pacers put George on a strong program and brought him along at the appropriate pace and Paul George himself deserves a lot of credit for working at his game to get to that point.
I am confident there are no Kevin Love’s in this draft. There is not a single player who isn’t going to be situation-dependent on developing his talents. However, I do think there could be a lot more guys in the Paul George style of “how to get a star” then is let on. From Embiid and Parker at the top of the draft to Jordan Adams, James Young, Noah Vonleh and others…there is a lot of talent, but it’s not a guarantee.
I’ll note this later, but James Young is a guy I think is the perfect example of how cruel the NBA Draft can be. If I wasn’t confident in my team’s culture, I would be terrified of drafting him but if I was a stable organization with a good foundation of leadership there is a chance Young could be a very good scorer on the perimeter as he certainly has the raw athletic ability to do so.
The NBA Draft is a good reality check for where your organization is at. Draft productive players early, take fliers later. The 2014 NBA Draft will be one that has a positive impact on a number of teams, but as always there will be trap picks to steer clear of.
1) Joel Embiid—7’0, 250 Freshman Center, Kansas:
2/18: The word is out on Joel Embiid. He’s no longer that “sneaky guy who might be the best player in the draft but could go 3-5 instead of 1,” but now it seems he almost stands on an island by himself as the clear-cut best prospect in the draft. That doesn’t mean he will automatically be the best player, but he’s on the fast-track towards stardom.
1/3: I’m going to call it right now: Joel Embiid will be an All-Star center as long as he can fix one issue in his game. He needs to stop fouling. Of all the amazing thing Joel Embiid does his 6.5 fouls per40 minutes are holding him back from truly putting together one of the best season by a center in recent college basketball history.
While his foul situation limits him to only 21 minutes per game, Embiid is still capable of making a huge impact on the court in his time. Want to know a funny stat? Andrew Wiggins, who I like and still think he’s got a shot at being pretty special in the NBA, is averaging 1.4 assists per game in 31 mpg, while Embiid is averaging 1.3 apg.
NBA Comp: Marc Gasol
Still like the Marc Gasol call for Embiid. Not too many big men that can move, pass, defend, shoot and do all the crazy things Embiid can do, but Gasol is one of them. Embiid has the attitude and work ethic of a winner and I can’t wait to see what he does in the NBA.
2) Jabari Parker—6’9, 225 Freshman Forward, Duke:
2/18: Guys who can score with volume, do it with efficiency and contribute in other areas of the game are very rare. We get 10-20 players a decade that have the potential ceiling Parker has.
He’s got a chance to average more than 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks per game to go along with his tremendous scoring and rebounding ability. I am continually amazed at Parker’s well rounded game and he still has made a very compelling case for the first pick in the draft. Ultimately it might come down to fit between Embiid and Parker.
NBA Comp: Dirk Nowitzki
While Parker might end up being a little more freakish on the defensive end than Dirk is (Dirk also being underrated defensively), I think he will be an instant contender for the best forward for the next ten years once he steps on to the court. Similarly to Dirk, I imagine the best road to success is a defensive powerhouse center, a good pick and roll point guard and a slew of shooters to compliment Parker’s talents.
4) Dante Exum—6’6, 195 Guard, Australia:
2/18: After digging deep into video and statistical analysis of Exum’s game, it’s clear he is an elite prospect in this draft. The awkwardness of trying to scout internationally and compare it to collegiately seems to be recipe for sleeping on really good international players in most drafts. However, in Exum’s case it appears this won’t be an issue.
Exum is going to be in the top 3-5 contenders for “most athletic” player in this draft, but his amazing handle and ability to get to the rim are what separates him from the rest of the players in his peer group. He is lightning quick with his first step and his handle and mixing in his incredible size it makes him nearly unstoppable in the international league.
Exum’s max ceiling might be higher than anyone in this draft, but for him to ever fully realize his potential he’s going to have to improve his outside shooting. His career three point percentages is in the 30% neighborhood and that is going to have to at least get to about 35% for him to fully turn into the player he can be.
NBA Comparison: Penny Hardaway
3) Marcus Smart—6’4, 200 Sophomore Guard, Oklahoma St.
1/30: Marcus Smart gets the nod above Andrew Wiggins. I was chatting with a friend about draft stuff and he asked me “gun to your head are you going Smart or Wiggins,” and honestly I said Smart so naturally I felt I had to represent it that way as well in my Mock Draft. I like Wiggins, but I am so comfortable with Marcus Smart that, unless it’s situational driven, I’m not sure I could take Wiggins over him.
Smart has been doing this for 2 straight years: he’s a prolific playmaker and defensive player, who struggles to be consistent with the 3 ball but otherwise is a pretty good scorer. You know what you are going to get. He has a much higher floor than Wiggins and possibly an equivalent ceiling.
Why I say that is, Smart’s usage is incredibly high (30%) and it is very unlikely an NBA team uses him this much. If his usage is lowered to a more realistic 20-24% for an elite point guard, his weakness: three point shooting efficiency and turnovers are likely to improve. If you watch Smart play he takes a lot of late in the shot clock 3 pointers and occasionally will try and force plays that aren’t there because he has to carry so much of the load for Oklahoma State.
I love Smart. He’s one of the safest picks in the draft and also has some pretty high upside that is requisite of being a top 5 pick.
NBA Comp: Chauncey Billups
The credit for this: My buddy @vjl_bball gets the nod for the Chauncey Billups comparison. If you love the NBA and enjoy statistical analysis I would HIGHLY recommend following him on twitter, he’s easily one of the best basketball minds on the internet. And I’m including guys like Marc Stine and Chad Ford in that conversation as well.
The Billups comparison is so spot on. A bigger point guard, excellent athletically, a great play maker and defensive player while needing to improve his jumper before he can be an elite guy. Billups ended up being one of the best point guards in the NBA for about 8 years and I think that is kind of the ceiling Marcus Smart has.
5) Noah Vonleh—6’10, 240 Power Forward, Indiana
2.18: If I have a top 7 pick in the 2014 Draft and I need a Power Forward, Noah Vonleh would be my target and not Julius Randle. Vonleh has a similar scoring upside as Randle, he’s averaging 18 pp40, 54% FG%, 22% USG% and a sneaky 35% 3P%, which shows he has the ability to score the basketball and is a significantly better athlete than Randle as well.
In terms of off-ball prowess, there are few who can equal Vonleh as a post. He gets you 2.3 blocks, 1.5 steals and nearly 15 rebounds per40, which puts him in epic company as far as the 2014 Draft is concerned.
Vonleh is both production-wise a superior prospect and upside-wise a superior prospect to Julius Randle. He was a very highly-touted recruit as well and could easily be the guy in the 2014 Draft that teams instantly regret passing on.
NBA Comp: Serge Ibaka
I’m feeling pretty good about Vonleh as one of my absolute must draft guys for people not in the top 3 of this draft. Ibaka was a sleeper coming into the pros and in a similar way I could see Vonleh being that as well. His offensive game is more fluid and natural than Ibaka’s looked earlier in his career, I think Vonleh could quickly exceed Ibaka on offense but I like the style Ibaka plays as the comp for Vonleh. He’s a long and athletic defensive ace who is competent around the hoop and has some decent range.
6) Andrew Wiggins—6’8, 200 Freshman Small Forward, Kansas:
I’m starting to get back on the Andrew Wiggins bandwagon. I admit, I was one of the guys who jumped off farily early on, but I think the guy has shown enough to justify a top 5 pick in this draft…Just maybe not enough to tank for. You can read my full feature on Wiggins here.
2/18: Knocking Wiggins down to 6 is not a slight on him, but more that I have a much more defined opinion on a few other players ahead of him. Could Wiggins certainly turn into a superstar? I think he has that upside. He’s an excellent defender already and has potential to incredibly improve in that area as well. He score at the rim and shoot the three pointer as well…it’s just getting to the rim that is the problem.
The lack of an even college-level handle has really held Wiggins back in his freshmen season and could be the single most important aspect of his professional development as well. If he can take notes from Paul George and do whatever magical ball handling program he did (if there really is a Paul George ball handling program, he should be selling it to every suburban AAU kid on the planet) Wiggins could have a chance at reaching that superstar potential. Personally, I hope Wiggins drops in the draft a little bit just to light a fire under him. He could use a wake-up call to make sure he takes his development seriously.
1/30: Wiggins has looked a lot better as of late. In his past three games he is averaging 24.3 points per game and I shooting well over 50% from the field (and 3’s, which is encouraging). It looks like he might be starting to figure a few things out scoring-wise. He’s gotten to the line 6, 10 and 12 times in the respective games which I LOVE to see.
Not to be the Debbie-downer, but the reality is he has only recorded an assist in one of those three games (in which he did have 5). He hits the boards well and plays solid defense, but he absolutely need to improve his overall playmaking if he wants to be an elite prospect in the 2014 NBA Draft
7) Julius Randle—6’9, 250 Power Forward, Kentucky:
1/30: I am very close to dropping Randle down a few spots in my Mock Draft, but he continues to do just enough to make it tough for me to believe he won’t be a top 5 pick. He can score and he can board, and guys like that generally have a place in the NBA.
If it ends up he’s not athletic enough to score at-will on professionals the team drafting him could be looking at the next Anthony Bennett type scenario though.
For reference sake
PPG RPG BLK% STL% 3P% USG%
Player 1 16.1 10.2 2.8% 0.8% 18% 27%
Player 2 16.1 8.1 5.6% 1.5% 38% 27.5%
Player 2 is Anthony Bennett. Be worried.
NBA Comp: Jamal Mashburn
Mash was kind of miscast in the older days of the NBA. He was still a very effective Small Forward for nearly a decade, averaging 18 points, 5 rebound and 4 assists but I wonder what would have happened if they would have played him at the 4? I think Julius Randle might be a roundabout way of seeing what that could have been like.
8) Willie Cauley-Stein—7’1, 250 C, Kentucky:
I have liked WCS dating all the way back to last year’s draft. He has the potential of an absolute stud defensive player and that has only grown this season. His per40 numbers are 5.3 blocks, 2 steals and 14 rebounds which puts him in absolute elite territory. To match his impressive defensive ability he also has a very efficient offensive game that shows a player who knows what he is and doesn’t try to do too much, but is very effective in his role.
He’s an athletic 7 footer that can move on the defensive end. On that alone he is worth a top 10 pick.
NBA Comp: Omer Asik
Asik is one of the absolute best defensive centers in the NBA with a DefRAPM of 5.4 which puts him in Joakim Noah, Marc Gasol and Dwight Howard company and he has a very competent but limited offensive game. I project WCS to be a similar type of player, an absolute monster defensively who won’t kill you (while not helping you) type of offensive player.
9) Jordan Adams—6’6, 220 Shooting Guard, UCLA:
Look, I don’t know what to tell you. Jordan Adams is a killer-freaking good prospect and is being criminally underrated by the more popular draft websites right now. He’s James Harden like on offense (25 points per 40, 64% TS%) and Victor Oladipo like on defense (13% DREB, 6.6% STL). Adams is looking to be the perfect off-guard prospect in a league where the off guard position is incredibly thin.
I don’t know if there is something other scouts are seeing that I am missing, but even when I watch him play he seems like an incredibly active guy who is always involved in the offense and a menace on defense. I’m calling it now, come NBA combines you’ll start to see Adams rising to the top 8 of the NBA Mock Drafts…remember you heard it here first.
NBA Comp: Wes Matthews
I’m going to play this comp a little safer than I want to deep down. I mean there is a legitimate case to be made that he could be the next James Harden offensively, while being a significantly better defender. However, Wes Matthews seems like a very realistic comparions for Adams to reach in his NBA career. Matthews is a feisty defender, excellent scorer and can create plays for others. Matthews is also fairly underrated
10) Kyle Anderson—6’9, 230 Forward, UCLA:
UCLA pulls off the rare hat-trick of having 3 criminally underrated draft prospects on one team. I wonder if there is something about playing in Southern California that just downgrades your draft stock by 20% (remember Kevin Love went AFTER Michael Beasley and OJ Mayo). I can understand part of the issue with Anderson being that he plays really, really…..really, really slow.
Anderson is billed as not being very athletic, but I can’t imagine that is the issue. He’s getting 3.9% BLK% which is good for a very good center prospect, 2.7% STL% which is good for a very good guard prospect, 32% AST% which is great for a very good point guard prospect and 16% TRB% which is good for anyone. It’s quite puzzling that a guy who impacts the game on nearly every single level is not getting very much publicity but it must be because aesthetically he doesn’t appear to be all that impressive. If you check his stats though, he’s tough to ignore.
NBA Comp: Andrei Kirilenko
The concerns I have about Anderson’s game are similar to the issues AK-47 had over his whole career, he’s not really a 3 or a 4. It’ll be an issue most of Anderson’s career, but if he can get on the right team he should be able to be an AK-47 type of impact super-stud.
11) Aaron Gordon—6’9, 220 Forward, Arizona:
1/30: I’m starting to get a little bit better feel for Aaron Gordon’s game. He’s going to be a very effective player in the NBA, but I’m still a little fuzzy as to what extent that will be. I think there is a possible Blake Griffin upside with Gordon as he finishes well at the rim, is very athletic and has a decent handle for 4, but there is also the possible reality that he gives you all of Blake’s shortcomings (FT shooting, not being an overly great individual defender) without nearly as much of what make’s Blake awesome.
NBA Comp: Giannis Antetokounmpo
The best way to compare a very bizarre prospect like Gordon is to compare him with a very bizarre NBA like Giannis. Gordon has the raw tools to be pretty special, but much like Giannis, but he’s going to need some seasoning before realizing his potential.
12) Tyler Ennis—6’2, 180 Point Guard, Syracuse:
2/18: Ennis is just going to be a rock for whatever team he is drafted to. He never turns the ball over and makes all the right plays in leading Syracuse to being one of the favorites to win the NCAA tournament. His stock is flying high after his epic game-winning buzzer beater vs Pittsburg a few weeks ago.
Tyler Ennis is exactly the kind of player who could see his draft stock rise immensely with the kind of tournament that he is capable of having, but it would be wise to maintain expectations for the young man. Is he going to be a star? Maybe he ultimately makes an all-star team in his career, but I don’t expect him to ever be considered a “franchise” point guard, but what he could be is a very steady player who is always making his teams better.
Much like my Vonleh>Randle opinion, if I needed a point guard and I had a lottery pick I would certainly be trying to get Marcus Smart first, as I believe he has a higher ceiling, but I wouldn’t be too worried if I ended up with Tyler Ennis.
NBA Comparison: Ty Lawson
Maybe not in terms of style, as Lawson is a shorter speed demon and that’s not quite Ennis’ game, but I think he probably will go about 5 picks later than he should and make a bunch of teams look stupid for taking other players ahead of him.
13) Gary Harris—6’4, 200 SG, Michigan St.
2/18: What you are seeing happen with Gary Harris is the effect of a significant increase in role from year-to-year. As a freshmen the Spartan’s used Harris as a reasonably important aspect of their offense to the tune of a 20% usage rate and he responded by being a very effective player in his off-ball role. Since productive freshmen shooting guards are a rare creature in this day and age, Harris was considered a top 10 pick in the 2013 NBA draft (honestly may have been the best player considering how poorly the 2013-14 Rookie class has performed). Now in his sophomore season he has seen his game take nearly a 30% jump in usage, from 20% to 28% and as a result his overall efficiency has dropped a little.
That being said, I think I’m more encouraged by this version of Gary Harris than I was last years’ version. The freshmen version of Gary Harris didn’t look like he could ever be more than a complimentary player, suited for an off-ball role but not a legit cornerstone of a contending team. After taking on a heavy load and still being an efficient and effective player, I’m coming away thinking Harris might have some upside that wasn’t shown last year.
NBA Comp: Arron Afflalo
Arron Afflalo is probably the ideal comparison for someone who can take on a heavier usage role on a bad team but is likely best suited as the 4th wheel on a very good team. Harris shares the same smart brand of basketball Afflalo has played the past couple years as he has established himself as one of the more reliable wing players in the NBA.
14) Doug McDermott—6’7, 225 Forward, Creighton:
2/18: If I were McD’s publicist and I was tyring to establish his draft stock I would simply come up with the slogan “Doug McDermott: Because you can trust me” and that’s all I think you would need to get McDermott into the lottery of this draft. There are a lot of variables, a lot of unknown talents in the 2014 draft but the one constant is: Doug McDermott can shoot the basketball.
Both fairly and unfairly he is compared to Kyle Korver, who is an excellent and underrated player himself, but McDermott is more than just a shooter. He is a pure scorer. He’ll hit you with crafty post moves, make the right cuts at the right time and run a pick-and-pop to perfection. Will he be a star? Probably not, but he’s going to be a weapon for whatever team drafts him. You can trust Doug McDermott.
1/3: At some point his production just can’t be ignored. McD will surely have a tough time finding a spot to play in the NBA, being he isn’t overly athletic for 3 and doesn’t really have the size for 4 in the NBA, but his athletic limitations haven’t stopped him once in four years so far. He has a completely outstanding 65% career TS%, including 46% from beyond the arc and he has ramped up his Free Throw Attempts from a career average of 6 per game to a near-mythic 9.1 to start off his senior season. McDermott is a terrific rebounder and actually carries a very respectable Defensive Efficiency Rating giving up 100 pts/100 possessions which is counter what is commonly thought of his prowess on the defensive end.
Obviously any conversation about McDermott needs to include his main issues, which are bound to haunt him until he proves otherwise, being his unfortunate tweener status. He has played the majority of his college career as a 4 and hasn’t really shown any skills that would suggest he has the ability to be a 3 in college, not to mention the pros. A career average of less than .5% STL% and 9.8 AST% are not very encouraging and he is obviously not the most physically gifted guy in the world.
I can say one thing for certain with McDermott: he is legitimately a good basketball player. At some point physical limitations will win out, but I think McD has enough in him to make himself a viable professional basketball player and utilize his incredible offensive skill set.
NBA Comp: Ryan Anderson
I’m not sure Anderson is a great comp for McDermott, but he’s an awkward player to comp for. An extremely efficient scorer who also is an excellent rebounder? I think I like his chances of being some variation of the Ryan Anderson type of player, maybe not as effective but in that ballpark.
15) Zach LaVine—6’5, 190 G, UCLA
UCLA is a weird team, they will have three guys I consider to be very strong NBA prospects coming out in 2014 but they aren’t a great team themselves. Either way, Zach LaVine storms into my top 10 with a hyper efficient scoring game which helps solidify him as one of the most athletically gifted players in this whole class.
Even after he has cooled off a bit, LaVine still qualifies as an intruiging prospect with his combination of size, athleticism and skill. I could see him being a very effective player in the wide-open style of many of the modern NBA offenses.
NBA Comp: Shawn Marion
Check out the rest of HoundSports 2014 NBA Mock Draft Here With Part 2
Follow me on Twitter @JustinPinotti
My name is Justin I am from Minneapolis, Mn. I have a double major in English and Communications, was a basketball and football athlete in high school. I play in many pick up games and adult leagues across the Twin Cities area and occasionally tweet my pick up basketball stats (but only if I have a freakishly good game). I like Fantasy Football, Awesome Television shows, movies and I enjoy writing/creating music as well. I am an absolute Minnesota TWolves homer and I won’t apologize for that (the 8th seed is ours this year!!!!) My years of being a Minnesota Sports fan additionally has lead to a huge passion for both the NFL and NBA Drafts. I love prospect watching and mock drafting. I’m excited to write for HoundSports!You can follow me on twitter @JustinPinotti