The 2014 NBA season is nearing its conclusion and for fans of teams like the 76ers, the draft couldn’t come soon enough. Here is my projection for the 2014 draft.
1. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker F Duke
The Bucks will need to really hit on this pick as they are hoping for more of a quick turn around to the franchise. No player appears more ready to produce than Parker. At 6-foot-8 235 pounds, Parker already has the size necessary to play amongst the big men of the league and his ability to stretch the floor and score from almost anywhere on it could provide an instant rejuvenation to a bad Bucks team. While his defense is still a weakness, Parker is only 19 years old and will have time to develop that part of his game. His offensive talent speaks for itself, he’s one of the best pure scorers in the draft.
2. Philadelphia 76ers: Andrew Wiggins F Kansas
Andrew Wiggins has been the 76ers target since that fateful night when GM Sam Hinkie stunned the basketball world and traded All-Star point guard Jrue Holiday to the New Orleans Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and a first round pick in this year’s draft. With rare athleticism, a lightning fast first step and elite defensive ability, Wiggins has scouts drooling. However, he still faces questions about whether or not he has the drive and fire necessary to truly be a game changer.
3. Orlando Magic: Joel Embiid C Kansas
I know, I know. The Magic already have Nik Vucevic at center. While true, I simply find it difficult to see Embiid fall past three. Questions about his back are overblown as he was expected to return to the NCAA tournament at some point. I expect him to wow teams during the pre-draft process and the Magic will simply take value over need. Embiid is a two-way stud, with an arsenal of post moves reminiscent of Hakeem Olajuwon. Defensively, Embiid is a true rim protector who can shut down the paint area in ways Vucevic never will be able to. The best player available is simply too talented.
4. Boston Celtics: Julius Randle F Kentucky
Randle is a double-double monster who moves like a freight train, has a non stop motor, a developing mid-range game and is more athletic than your typical power forward. If he can become more consistent on the perimeter, and prove his bully-ball play-style can translate, Randle would be near impossible to stop.
5. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum G Australia
At 6-foot 188 lbs, Exum gives you length not found in your typical guard. He’s also 18 years old and will need to improve his strength and shooting consistency. But he possesses the scoring ability, defensive talent and intangibles you want in a franchise player. While a relative unknown player to the typical hoops fan, NBA scouts are salivating at his potential and comparisons have been made to a young Michael Jordan.