The NBA Draft is tomorrow night, and I’ve got a new number one pick. Joel Embiid’s foot injury sure has moved a lot of things around. This will be fun.
This final version of my mock draft will include ceiling and floor NBA comparisons that basically give examples of the best a player may become, and the worst.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers -Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas
Perhaps the highest potential for a wing in recent drafts, Wiggins is superbly athletic and has all the ball skills to be an offensive juggernaut in the NBA. Needs to bulk up a little bit. And add a consistent jumper.
Ceiling – Dominique Wilkins
Floor – Trevor Ariza
2. Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker, F, Duke
Parker may be the best player in the draft “right now,” so he falls into the what-you-see-is-what-you-get category. Parker is a very polished player at all aspects of the game and can play the three or the four, and is said to have an extremely high basketball I.Q. He also has a reported promise from the Bucks that they’ll choose him.
Ceiling – Carmelo Anthony
Floor – Corliss Williamson
3. Philadelphia 76ers – Dante Exum, G, Australia
Philly has an affection for Dante Exum. He is a scoring guard that draws similarities to Kyrie Irving. He is very long, and can cause problems for guards with his wingspan. Exum is considered a combo guard, so whether or not Philly moves Michael Carter-Williams, Exum can find a home with the Sixers.
Ceiling – Penny Hardaway
Floor – Shaun Livingston
4. Orlando Magic – Joel Embiid, Center, Kansas
The Magic aren’t going anywhere soon, so why not take the gamble on someone who was supposed to be the first overall pick? Embiid has all the potential in the world to be the NBA’s next great big man, and if the foot and back injuries don’t nag him, he’ll become just that.
Ceiling – Hakeem Olajuwon
Floor – Greg Oden
5. Utah Jazz – Noah Vonleh F, Indiana
Originally I had Julius Randle here, but I feel that he’s slipping down the draft board each day, especially with the red flags on his foot. Vonleh is a freak athletically, and the Jazz can’t pass that up.
Ceiling – Serge Ibaka
Floor – Anthony Randolph
6. Boston Celtics – Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona
Gordon is another athletic big that a lot of teams would love to have. I’ve heard that the Celtics love Gordon. There’s no denying the Blake Griffin comparison, but we’ll have to wait and see on that. Huge impact player to help a team.
Ceiling – Blake Griffin
Floor – Shawn Marion
7. Los Angeles Lakers – Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
What more could the Lakers ask for than a solid point guard prospect to land in their laps? Actually, the Lakers are at the point where they could really use anything, but Smart seems like a perfect fit for the point guard-less Lakers. Smart is like a linebacker at point guard.
Ceiling – Dwyane Wade
Floor – Randy Foye
8. Sacramento Kings – Julius Randle, F, Kentucky Randle is falling down the draft board, at least in this mock draft. He’s got the tools to be an impact player, but I think teams would rather gamble on the upside of other players than a player who’s already close to his ceiling.
Ceiling – (More athletic) Zach Randolph
Floor – Tyler Hansbrough
9. Charlotte Hornets – Doug McDermott, F, Creighton
McDermott is another one of those NBA-ready studs that will easily translate his game into the association. McDermott is like a more athletic Dirk Nowitzki, but that’s a ceiling comparison. The basement isn’t too low, however. I’d give him a worst case scenario of a shooter like Kyle Korver. He’s had as high praise as any prospect, getting comparisons to Larry Bird and if he becomes an improved rebounder, Kevin Love.
Ceiling – Larry Bird
Floor – Kyle Korver
10. Philadelphia 76ers – Nick Stauskas, G, Michigan
Stauskas is a strong ball-handler and shooter, as well as a pretty good playmaker. Stauskas is also sneakily athletic.
Ceiling – Mike Miller
Floor – Luke Ridnour
11. Denver Nuggets – Jusuf Nurkic, C, International
Sort of an unknown to most, Nurkic is a young, gifted big man. He’s seen a big move in my mock drafts, deservedly so.
Ceiling – Nikola Pekovic
Floor – Zaza Pachulia
12. Orlando Magic – James Young, G/F, Kentucky
Young is a very nice scorer from the wing, and that is something that the Nuggets will love to add to their team. Consistency was so-so for Young at Kentucky, but the upside is there.
Ceiling – Michael Finley
Floor – Wesley Matthews
13. Minnesota Timberwolves – Zach Lavine, G/F, UCLA
Lavine is another sleeper in this draft that I think could be worth a much higher pick. This draft is so deep with talent, and between picks 10-25 can be argued to be very similar in talent level.
Ceiling – Russell Westbrook
Floor – Gerald Green
14. Phoenix Suns – Rodney Hood, G/F, Duke
Hood has potential to be a top 10 pick in this draft, but for now, we’re just squeezing him into the lottery. A dynamic lefty that can score from beyond the arc and attack the rim. Defense is a question, but the runnin’ Suns can develop him into a better defender.
Ceiling – Rashard Lewis
Floor – Mickael Pietrus
15. Atlanta Hawks – Gary Harris, G, Michigan State
Atlanta gets a solid scorer and defender at the guard position. There are teams behind them that are going to want Harris, so we may see a trade here as well. Harris should develop into a nice pro.
Ceiling – Bradley Beal
Floor – Gary Neal
16. Chicago Bulls – Elfrid Payton
Payton has seen a steady climb in mock drafts across the boards. He could end up being the best point guard out of this draft.
Ceiling – Rajon Rondo
Floor – Patrick Beverly
17. Boston Celtics –T.J. Warren, F, N.C. State
Some may have him a little lower, but Warren can fill it up and he can do so against talented players. Maybe a reach, but there is a lot of parity in the mid-first round.
Ceiling – Caron Butler
Floor – Jarvis Hayes
18. Phoenix Suns – Adreian Payne, F, Michigan State
Payne is another versatile big that can shoot it from the outside and has great touch inside. Payne dominated in the NCAA Tournament, and helped carry Michigan State to yet another Elite Eight appearance.
Ceiling – Al Horford
Floor – Drew Gooden
19. Chicago Bulls – Clint Capela, F, International
Terrific athlete from Europe. Capela is a banger inside because of his athleticism. Capela is a little raw on the offensive end, but is as good an athlete as anyone has seen from overseas.
Ceiling – Kenneth Faried
Floor – Amir Johnson
20. Toronto Raptors – Tyler Ennis, G, Syracuse
As far as pure point guards come, nothing is better in this draft than Ennis. He could turn into an Eric Bledsoe, or Darren Collison, as far as becoming a backup point guard that works his way to a starter.
Ceiling – Jrue Holiday
Floor – Shaun Livingston
21. Oklahoma City Thunder – Shabazz Napier, G, UConn
Napier was the darling of the NCAA tournament. Just like Kemba Walker, he led his team to the NCAA championship with heart, and toughness. Napier is a very solid basketball player, and is a capable scorer ready for the NBA.
Ceiling – Kemba Walker
Floor – JJ Berea
22. Memphis Grizzlies – P.J. Hairston, G, D-League
Hairston spent time in the D-League last season and will be draft eligible. He played some solid ball at North Carolina, and is even more NBA-ready because of the D-League experience he got.
Ceiling – Isaiah Rider
Floor – Rashad McCants
23. Utah Jazz – Dario Saric, F, International
Saric is said to be one of the most talented international players to come out for a draft in a long time. He has an overall game that has a lot of GM’s drooling, but of course remain cautious because of the translation to the NBA.
Ceiling – Toni Kukoc
Floor – Jan Vesley
24. Charlotte Hornets – Mitch McGary, F, Michigan
People forget about McGary because he was out for the entire 2013-2014 season for the Wolverines. McGary was a solid power forward for the second place Wolverines in 2013, with strengths in rebounding and overall touch.
Ceiling – David Lee
Floor – Tyler Hansbrough
25. Houston Rockets – Jerami Grant, F, Syracuse What a perfect fit to add to the Rockets depth. Grant is a lengthy forward who can score and rebound, as well as provide nice defense because of that length. Seems like a great fit to give Chandler Parsons some breathers, or help replace, throughout the season and really contribute to a playoff team.
Ceiling – Thaddeus Young
Floor – Lamond Murray
26. Miami Heat – Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA
Another talented and diverse player from UCLA. Anderson played as a point forward (see, LeBron) at UCLA, and can make all the plays offensively and defensively. Another guy I think could go higher than this.
Ceiling – Jalen Rose
Floor – Alan Anderson
27. Phoenix Suns – Jordan Adams, G, UCLA
Yes, another Bruin off the board. Had the talented Bruins not run into a great Florida team, all of these kids would’ve had the opportunity to shine even further. Adams was another great scorer, rebounder (for his size), and defender for UCLA.
Ceiling – Eric Gordon
Floor – Anthony Morrow
28. Los Angeles Clippers – K.J. McDaniels, G/F, Clemson
McDaniels had a very nice season for the Tigers. McDaniels averaged 17ppg and 7rpg at the forward position. Yet again, another solid wing player.
Ceiling -Iman Shumpert
Floor – Jeffrey Taylor
29. Oklahoma City Thunder – Patric Young, F/C, Florida
Young was a banger down low. Great rebounder and defender, along with being a very vocal leader. Young led the assault to achieve the number one overall seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Ceiling – Brandon Bass
Floor – Reggie Evans
30. San Antonio Spurs – Jarnell Stokes, F, Tennessee
A born rebounder, Stokes led the NCAA in rebounds per game in 2014. Stokes is a bit undersized for the power forward position as far as height, but his weight and intelligence make up for it.
Ceiling – Robin Lopez
Floor – DeJuan Blair