A 2014 NBA Mock Draft just one day after the 2013 NBA Draft? Of course. Only 364 days to go! I did this exercise last year (I do it for football, too), and as you can see from that link, it was built on hype and high school reputation and potential. Only two of the 14 lottery picks were remotely accurate. More than half the players listed stayed in school. I have a feeling this year’s effort will be much closer because the talent will be so much higher. As for the NBA order … total guess on who will suck, and who will fail in free agency. My 2014 NBA playoff teams are at the bottom.
Spencer Dinwiddie, G, Colorado. If he improves his shooting, he could go this high, slide into the backcourt with Teague.
*14. LA Lakers – Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan. Think his stock will fall without Trey Burke, but he’s an ideal PF for Gasol’s final years.
13. Boston - Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA. Think he was held back last year by team’s awful chemistry. I really, really wanted to put Aaron Craft of Ohio State here. Barring injury, I’m 100 percent certain he goes in the first round.
12. Portland – Kaleb Tarczewski, C, Arizona. Last shot at keeping LaMarcus Aldridge? Or will they trade him in-season?
11. Philadelphia (via New Orleans) – CJ Fair, F, Syracuse. Wanted to go shooting guard, but the length the 76ers will have with MCW, Noel and Parker, plus Fair, will be impressive. Pretty sure this pick – from the Holiday trade – is only Top-5 protected.
10. Minnesota – James Young, SG, Kentucky. For Young, it could be a Westbrook/Holiday-at-UCLA situation. UK is loaded, Young was great in high school, but he’ll be what, 4th option?
9. Toronto - Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State. Like Mason Plumlee, Payne probably falls out of the lottery due to his age (23 in Feb.), but the Raptors are a frontcourt away from being a playoff team, and Payne will make for a very athletic PF.
8. Washington – Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky. Some folks like the Wizards in the playoffs. The East is that weak. I see some JaVale McGee in Cauley-Stein.
7. Milwaukee – Andrew Harrison, PG, Kentucky. Will make them forget about Brandon Jennings.
6. Atlanta – Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State. Best shooter in the draft, super sleeper for National POY in 2013-2014.
5. Philadelphia – Jabari Parker, F, Duke. Rebuilding will go quicker with Parker, who should start from Day 1. If Rodney Hood is injured, look for a huge year from Parker in Durham.
4. Phoenix – Julius Randle, F, Kentucky. Would have been taken 1st in the 2013 draft. Should be a 16-10 guy as freshman in Lexington.
3. Dallas – Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona. The next Blake Griffin? Highly-skilled forward takes the torch from Dirk. If Wiggins weren’t in the draft, Gordon is a contender to go 1st.
2. Charlotte – Marcus Smart, G Oklahoma State. If he entered the ’13 draft, he probably goes 1st. I expect him to lead the Cowboys on a Final Four run in ’14.
1. Sacramento – Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas. I worry a bit about expectations – best high school talent since LeBron!. Feel bad he’s got to go to purgatory in Sactown, but he’ll make lemonade there.
June 28th playoff teams in the East, no order (reminder: Pre-Free Agency): Miami, Chicago, Indiana, Brooklyn, New York, Cleveland, Detroit, Orlando.
June 28th playoff teams in the West, no order (reminder: Pre-Free Agency): Oklahoma City, Houston, LA Clippers, Denver, Utah, San Antonio, Memphis, Golden State
* I’m assuming Kobe’s injury has him miss at least 25 games.