Mock Draft: How Far Will Embiid Slide?
JUN 24, 2014 4:33p ET
Our panel of NBA team curators and division experts predict how the first round of Thursday's draft should play out.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Jabari Parker, F, 6-8, Duke.
The Cavs are playoff-hungry and Parker is the most NBA-ready player at the top of this draft. Andrew Wiggins could turn out to be a regrettable -- but both as a "missed out on him" guy or a "should've passed on him" raw talent, who never develops. Cleveland isn't rolling the dice here. -- John Wilmes
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Andrew Wiggins, SF, 6-8, Kansas.
Andrew Wiggins is simply too talented to pass up on. The Bucks' top choice would've been Parker -- an immediate contributor who takes some of the developmental pressures off; Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the rawest, most compelling young players in the league, is already a handful. But this is where the domino effect of Joel Embiid's new foot injury lands them. -- Wilmes
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, C, 7-0, Kansas.
Embiid's slide ends here. The Sixers would mull over trading the pick (and may ultimately do so), but they desperately need talent, and Embiid is the most talented prospect available. The decision would also alleviate some pressure off of Nerlens Noel in his first season. The risk is there, but what’s the worst case: another tanked season? -- Kyle Soppe
4. Orlando Magic: Dante Exum, G, 6-6, Australia.
The Magic look to snag their point guard of the future to team with Victor Oladipo. The move puts Jameer Nelson's future in Orlando into question, unless the front office sees him as a mentor for the Aussie phenom. Despite all the mystery surrounding Exum, this is a no-brainer. -- James Carr
5. Utah Jazz: Noah Vonleh, PF, 6-10, Indiana.
Torn between upside (Vonleh) and instant production (Julius Randle), the Jazz opt for who, if developed properly, could be a Chris Bosh clone. Vonleh's terrific wingspan and athleticism enable him to guard both down low and on the perimeter, while his perimeter jump shot will only increase in range as time goes on. -- Jordan White
6. Boston Celtics: Aaron Gordon, F, 6-9, Arizona.
The Celtics will decide between Gordon and Marcus Smart here, but reports indicate Gordon is the likely option. His athleticism and versatile skill set are less of a risk than Smart’s brash, fiery attitude. The Shawn Marion comparisons don’t hurt, either. -- Soppe
7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, PF, 6-9, Kentucky.
Julius Randle vs. Marcus Smart is basically a tossup, but Randle is the safer, more NBA-ready pick, and quality size is hard to come by. He’ll improve the Lakers’ frontcourt from Day 1, and if he can make good on his potential as Zach Randolph 2.0, Los Angeles has a potential franchise cornerstone on its hands. -- Jovan Buha
8. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, G, 6-3, Oklahoma St.
With Isaiah Thomas likely commanding a steep price in free agency, Smart offers the Kings a younger and cheaper alternative. If Sacramento keeps Thomas, Smart could play alongside him, since he possesses the requisite size, strength and athleticism to defend bigger guards. The only drawback is teaming him up with DeMarcus Cousins, another player with notable maturity issues. -- Buha
Charlotte addresses its immediate need of outside shooting with this selection, and the Hornets have enough size and athleticism down low if McDermott isn't up to speed defensively. -- Carr
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Rodney Hood, G/F, 6-9, Duke.
Philadelphia hopes Julius Randle or another top-tier big man falls here, but opts to take a polished left-handed junior who has a smooth jumper, is younger than most of his classmates and played at an elite college program. -- Soppe
11. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG, 6-4, Michigan St.
The Nuggets are in dire need of guard depth, specifically one who can defend. Though Harris is small, he's strong with a great wingspan. He's a good, willing defender who can score in a variety of ways. He'd make an immediate impact on both ends of the floor or the Nuggets. -- White
12. Orlando Magic: Nik Stauskas, SG, 6-6, Michigan.
Orlando is reportedly shopping Arron Afflalo, and potentially this pick, so keep an eye on a draft-day move. Drafting Stauskas overloads their talent at the guard position, which provides insurance in case the Exum pick doesn’t work out or they need to dangle Stauskas in a trade. -- Carr
The Timberwolves need depth, period. Getting Payne here, a burly stretch four that provides instant offense, is a great get at this spot. Payne doesn't have as much potential as some other prospects in the draft, but he's a player who can step in immediately and contribute to a team. -- White
14. Phoenix Suns: James Young, SF, 6-8, Kentucky.
Gerald Green just had a career year for the Suns, but they still could use some extra firepower on the wing. Young provides some youth, athleticism, and above all else, the ability to shoot the basketball from deep. -- Thomas Massimino
15. Atlanta Hawks: P.J. Hairston, SG, 6-5, D-League.
Atlanta lacks offensive creativity on the wings and takes a chance on Hairston, a dynamic scorer who improved considerably in the D-League last season. He could be the missing piece in Mike Budenholzer's system. -- Carr
16. Chicago Bulls: Tyler Ennis, PG, 6-3, Syracuse.
The Bulls’ punchless offense was hard to watch in this year’s playoffs. In Ennis they’ll have a playmaker to put next to (or behind) the returning Derrick Rose. And regardless of what happens to Rose’s tragic knees, coach Tom Thibodeau will now have some extra oomph to his offense if he can develop this Syracuse standout. -- Wilmes
17. Boston Celtics: Zach LaVine, G, 6-6, UCLA.
LaVine, like Gordon, is an explosive athlete that is ready to produce right away. If the Celtics decide to hold on to Rajon Rondo, LaVine makes sense as a skilled running mate with unteachable size and talent. -- Soppe
18. Phoenix Suns: Dario Saric, PF, 6-10, Croatia.
Saric reportedly won’t join the NBA for at least two more seasons, but when he does he gives the Suns a solid playmaking stretch 4. For a team that finished 29th in assists with two dynamic scoring guards, a passing big could be just what the doctor ordered. -- Massimino
19. Chicago Bulls: Kyle Anderson, F, 6-9, UCLA.
Anderson is a fascinating young talent who’s been compared to Boris Diaw for his combination of playmaking abilities, size and movement. If the Bulls can develop him quickly, he’d be a great player to take some weight off of the ever-hustling Joakim Noah. -- Wilmes
20. Toronto Raptors: Elfrid Payton, PG, 6-4, Louisiana Lafayette.
Ennis -- a native Canadian -- is the dream pick here, but Payton is a nice consolation prize as a combo guard that is capable of taking over the point-guard duties should Kyle Lowry sign elsewhere this offseason (Toronto is still believed to be the leader in that respect, but an insurance policy doesn’t hurt). -- Soppe
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: T.J. Warren, SF, 6-8, North Carolina St.
The Thunder don't need much, but they could always use more scoring. Warren, one of the best scorers in the draft, would give them instant punch off the bench, giving opponents match up problems with his ability to play both the three and the four. -- White
22. Memphis Grizzlies: Jusuf Nurkic, C, 6-11, Bosnia.
The Grizzlies are best known for their brute strength and size inside. But Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol won't be around forever, and since having really big people is important in basketball, selecting one of the most promising center prospects in the draft seems like a good idea. Nurkic is 6-11 and 19 years old. This type of player doesn't grow on trees, and the Grizzlies would be wise to scoop him up. -- Michael Pina
23. Utah Jazz: K.J. McDaniels, SF, 6-6, Clemson.
McDaniels brings grit, defense and athleticism to a team that needs it. What's more, McDaniels is still developing offensively -- if he gets a reliable perimeter jumper, he'll prove to be a steal at this spot. -- White
24. Charlotte Hornets: C.J. Wilcox, SG, 6-5, Washington.
The Hornets aren't taking any chances on outside shooting. Wilcox shot almost 40 percent while attempting over seven three-pointers per game. He could be a long-term pairing alongside Kemba Walker. -- Carr
25. Houston Rockets: Jerami Grant, F, 6-8, Syracuse.
The Rockets are on the verge of title contention, but their weaknesses are glaring and must be addressed sooner than later. One of which is perimeter defense, and that's exactly where Syracuse's Jerami Grant comes in, a versatile forward who can guard two or three positions with an overwhelming wingspan. Offense is taken care of. It's time Houston shored up the other end. -- Pina
26. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG, 6-1, Connecticut.
After subpar playoff performances from their point guards last season, the Heat opt for pedigree and championship blood. Napier is a good scorer and facilitator who would work well with Miami's array of weapons. -- Carr
27. Phoenix Suns: Cleanthony Early, F, 6-7, Wichita St.
With Young and Saric already on board, the Suns should take the best player available, which is Early. He has lottery-level talent, but his age (23) and tweener status lower his stock. Still, he fits with Phoenix nicely as a dangerous finisher in transition and a long-range threat, capable of learning from and possibly replacing the Morris twins. -- Buha
28. Los Angeles Clippers: Clint Capela, PF, 6-11, Switzerland.
Capela is a long, athletic rebounder and shot-blocker in the same mold as Serge Ibaka. He may not join the NBA for another year or two, and his offensive game is raw, but his ceiling is incredibly high (he'll be a defensive game-changer at the very least). If the Clippers prefer a quick fix they can take Tennessee's Jarnell Stokes, but Capela's a valuable long-term asset for a team in serious need of interior depth. -- Buha
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Jordan Adams, SG, 6-5, UCLA.
What Adams lacks in athleticism (and he really does lack it) he makes up for in his ability to flat out score from any spot on the floor. He's a hyper-efficient player, posting a Player Efficiency Rating of 28.7 last year at UCLA while scoring nearly 18 points per game. An Adams, Jeremy Lamb, Perry Jones, Warren, and whomever the Thunder get to back up Westbrook bench would be scary good. -- White
30. San Antonio Spurs: Thanasis Antetokounmpo, SF, 6-6, D-League.
The Spurs could probably select a Trader Joe's bag boy with this pick, turn him into a 3-and-D weapon and win the title next year. They have no major areas of weakness. But, still, maybe instead of the bag boy, they take a raw 21-year-old who handled himself well in the D-League last season. Odds are pretty good Antetokounmpo wins Finals MVP by 2017. -- Pina