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2014 NBA Rookie Predictions
- Updated: July 2, 2014
The 2014 NBA draft is over, I hit on 7 picks, and had 9 players to the right team for my 2014 NBA Mock Draft and now the focus moves to free agency in the NBA. But we don’t need to move our focus away from the draft just yet (I feel lonely when I don’t have mock drafts to do) so let’s go through my NBA rookie predictions for each first round pick in the 2014 NBA draft.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Kansas, Freshman.
Measurements: 6’8, 200 pounds, 7′ wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 17.1 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.5 APG, 45% shooting.
Wiggins went off the board first–which has been the prediction since his senior year of high school started. It was a close race between Wiggins and Jabari Parker, but Wiggins offers more upside as a two-way star, which is why Cleveland went after him. Wiggins should be starting right away for the Cavs next to Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters, giving Cleveland a very athletic 1, 2 and 3 combination. Irving is the number one option for the Cavaliers on offense, and Waiters loves getting his shots up as well. Wiggins will possibly be just the third scoring option for the Cavaliers, depending on what happens with Waiters.
2014 Predictions: 14.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 42% shooting.
2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke, Freshman.
Measurements: 6’8, 241 pounds, 7′ wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 19.1 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 47% shooting.
Parker is the guy in this draft class that stands to make the biggest impact immediately. Parker will come in and be the number one scoring option for the Bucks. Parker will have to really work on his defensive quickness to guard small forwards in the NBA, but offensively he will get his buckets. The Bucks have an intriguing situation with Giannis Antetokounmpo possibly playing shooting guard. That’s a lot of size at wing for the Bucks, and a lot to be excited about for the future.
2014 Predictions: 18.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG, .7 BPG, 44% shooting.
3. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, C, Kansas, Freshman.
Measurements: 7′, 250 pounds, 7’5 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 11.2 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 2.6 BPG, 63% shooting.
Philadelphia is committed to tanking for at least another year or two, and they showed that by taking Embiid with the 3rd pick. But the ultimate goal of tanking is to set yourself up for success in the future, and taking Embiid does that as well. The 1st pick in this draft if he didn’t have injury concerns, Embiid has a smooth game on both ends of the court, and after coming back from foot surgery should hopefully contribute well for the 76ers this year. He will get his minutes to adjust to the NBA, it’s not like Philly’s trying to win.
2014 Predictions: (If he plays) 9.7 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 53% shooting.
4. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona, Freshman
Measurements: 6’9, 220 pounds, 7′ wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 12.4 PPG, 8 RPG, 1 BPG, 50% shooting.
I definitely did not see Aaron Gordon with this pick, especially with Dante Exum still on the board, but the Magic went with the high-flying forward. The Magic need a rim protector next to Nikola Vucevic, but Gordon is not that. However, Gordon is an intense defender, who can slash to the basket and finish above the rim. Gordon has a ton of long-term potential, and in his rookie season will be a great role player. Gordon will do whatever the Magic need him to do to the best of his ability.
2014 Predictions: 10.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG, .8 BPG, 46% shooting.
5. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, PG, Australia, 18 Years Old.
Measurements: 6’6, 196 pounds, 6’9.5 wingspan.
I didn’t have the Jazz in the market for a point guard, but they could definitely use the size and skill of Exum in their back court. Exum will operate as a secondary ball handler for Utah in his first year, playing the 2 alongside last year’s first round pick Trey Burke. He needs to work on his jumper, and he obviously needs to adjust to the NBA and the elite competition, but Exum has loads of potential, and even at 18 can contribute immediately.
2014 Predictions: 13.3 PPG, 3.9 APG, 1.1 SPG, 40% shooting.
6. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, PG/SG, Oklahoma State, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’3, 227 pounds, 6’9 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 18 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.8 APG, 42% shooting.
To me this pick signifies either Rajon Rondo or Avery Bradley is going to be moved this year. For my article, and for our site founder Tyler Arnold‘s sanity, let’s assume it’s Avery Bradley on the move. Smart can play right away at shooting guard, but needs to improve his shot immensely, as neither he nor Rondo has a great outside shot. What Smart can do, however, is lock down as a defender and score around the rim. Smart is tenacious as a basketball player, and projects to be Boston’s future at the point guard position. (Sorry Tyler).
2014 Predictions: 12.1 PPG, 3.2 APG, 3.7 RPG, 39% shooting.
7. Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky, Freshman.
Measurements: 6’9, 234 pounds, 7′ wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 15 PPG, 10.4 RPG, .8 BPG, 50% shooting.
Los Angeles got their guy with Julius Randle at pick 7. I would even label the pick as a steal, even though it’s a top 10 pick. Randle would have gone number one in last year’s draft, and was thought of as a top 3 pick before the year began. Randle should come in and start immediately at power forward for LA as they unfortunately enter a rebuilding period. But Randle can do big things year one. He can bang on the block, and he has a surprisingly respectable jump shot. Randle may be a bit of a liability on defense, but his wingspan measured in at 7′ which was longer than expected, so that with his physicality could turn him into a respectable defender.
2014 Predictions: 13.1 PPG, 8.3 RPG, .7 BPG, 46% shooting.
8. Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’7, 207 pounds, 6’8 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 17.5 PPG, 3.3 APG, 47% shooting, 44% 3 point shooting.
The Kings drafted like the Kings again. Sacramento reached for a 3 point shooter again in the top ten. Sacramento drafted Jimmer Fredette with the 10th pick in 2011, and just last year drafter Ben McLemore who was supposed to be the answer at shooting guard and struggled mightily during his rookie campaign. Jimmer is off the Kings, and McLemore could be gone soon. Stauskas is a stud 3 point shooter, who will be pretty relegated to a catch and shoot role in Sacramento as we all hope his career does not flame out by going to Sacramento.
2014 Predictions: 10.1 PPG, 2.4 APG, 46% shooting, 42% 3 point shooting.
9. Charlotte Hornets: Noah Vonleh, PF, Indiana, Freshman.
Measurements: 6’10, 240 pounds, 7’4 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 11.3 PPG, 9 RPG, 1.4 BPG, 52% shooting.
Vonleh shot up draft charts so much prior to the draft that him falling to the ninth pick seems like a big fall. Even with him “falling” to the 9th pick, Vonleh is destined for a bench role as a rookie behind Cody Zeller and Al Jefferson. Vonleh needs time to develop, so this makes sense for Charlotte, and he can still contribute as a rebounder and defender. Vonleh also has offensive potential that needs to be realized, it just won’t all be realized year one. But don’t get me wrong, Vonleh has major potential in the NBA to become a stud.
2014 Predictions: 6.8 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 1 BPG, 50% shooting.
10. Orlando Magic (From Philadelphia): Elfrid Payton, PG, Louisiana Lafayette, Junior.
Measurements: 6’4, 185 pounds, 6’8 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 19.2 PPG, 5.9 APG, 6 RPG, 51% shooting.
The Magic definitely needed to draft a point guard in this draft, and after passing on Dante Exum and Marcus Smart the Magic traded with the 76ers to take Elfrid Payton with the 10th pick. Payton lit it up in his junior season, and screams star potential at point guard, but he isn’t exactly there yet. Payton will be part of an exciting back court with Victor Olapido–the 2nd overall pick from last year–but it will be interesting to see who handles the ball more. Oladipo played a lot of point guard last year, and the dual guard team will be interesting to watch as both guards are more keen to score around the basket, and neither has a good outside shot. Payton will have some growing pains, but will be exciting to watch.
2014 Predictions: 11.6 PPG, 4.9 APG, 3 RPG, 42% shooting.
11. Chicago Bulls (From Denver): Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton, Senior.
Measurements: 6’8, 218 pounds, 6’9 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 26.7 PPG, 7 RPG, 53% shooting, 45% 3 point shooting.
The Bulls got their primary target in the 2014 NBA draft as McDermott fell out of the top ten and to the Nuggets who had been talking trade with Chicago for a while. McDermott has the opportunity to do something with the Bulls that hasn’t happened in the Tom Thibodeau era, and that is start as a rookie. Imagine the Bulls do somehow grab Carmelo Anthony in free agency, but have to lose both Carlos Boozer and Taj Gibson, as well as Mike Dunleavy in the process. That leaves the Bulls with ‘Melo at power forward, and no one at the 3. Enter McDermott. A starting five of Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler, Doug McDermott, Carmelo Anthony, and Joakim Noah screams championship potential. McDermott would be a spot up shooter, waiting around the 3 point line primarily while on the floor, and he can put up some respectable numbers during his rookie year.
2014 Predictions: 11 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 46% shooting, 41% 3 point shooting.
12. Philadelphia 76ers (From Orlando): Dario Saric, PF, Croatia, 20 Years Old.
Measurements: 6’10, 223 pounds, 6’11 wingspan.
The 76ers continue their tanking for a brighter future by drafting Saric here. Saric is staying in Europe for at least two more years, but say he waited those two years and declared for the 2016 NBA draft–he’s a top 5 pick, possibly top 3. Saric has a lot of talent, but still needs to hone his game for a while. Philadelphia knows they aren’t winning now, so they took a chance on a guy who is more valuable than pick 12, but just can’t contribute right away. That’s fine by Philly, for in 2 to 3 years, they get a highly skilled big man who will be ready to play right away.
2014 Predictions: N/A (Europe)
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach LaVine, PG/SG, UCLA, Freshman.
Measurements: 6’6, 181 pounds, 6’9 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 9.4 PPG, 2.5 RPG, 1.8 APG, 44% shooting.
LaVine came into the draft with so much hype and potential that he became one of the talks of the draft. He also came into the draft as a bench player at UCLA. LaVine will see more bench time on the Timberwolves, and certainly won’t be the guy that convinces Kevin Love to stay–as LaVine won’t truly be NBA ready for at least a couple years. LaVine does have a great looking shot, a solid handle, and of course he can jump out of the gym, he just needs to put it all together. If he does that, he’s an All-Star for years, but he won’t have it all together year one.
2014 Predictions: 7.3 PPG, 1.6 APG, 1.4 RPG, 38% shooting.
14. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warrren, SF, NC State, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’8, 22o pounds, 6’10 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 24.9 PPG, 7.1 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 53% shooting.
The Suns needed wing help from this draft, and went after the very productive scoring forward T.J. Warren. Warren needs to work on outside shooting, but he finds creative ways to score around the rim and in the mid-range. Warren isn’t the best athlete, but he can be a capable defender as evidenced by his 1.8 steals per game last year. Warren may not start right away for the Suns, but expect him to certainly see the floor often.
2014 Predictions: 8.9 PPG, 3.7 RPG, .8 SPG, 45% shooting.
15. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State, Senior.
Measurements: 6’10, 239 pounds, 7’4 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 16.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG, 50% shooting, 42% 3 point shooting.
The Hawks went with insurance here, and picked the guy who–while he won’t become a star–is capable of coming in and making an impact immediately. With the injury history of Al Horford, the Hawks need insurance Bigs, and Payne is a great one. Payne can stretch the floor, play defense, and bring intensity and leadership to the floor. The Hawks didn’t make a sexy pick, but they made the right one.
2014 Predictions: 7.1 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 46% shooting, 36% 3 point shooting.
16. Denver Nuggets (From Chicago): Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia, 19 Years Old.
Measurements: 6’11, 280 pounds, N/A.
I thought the Nuggets were drafting Nurkic as a draft and stash prospect, but he will be with the team next year. This makes Nurkic a prospect that needs time to develop on a team that has two at least average centers above him on the depth chart in Timofey Mozgov and JaVale McGee. I don’t expect Nurkic to make an immediate impact, but he has the ability and potential to blossom into a much better center option for the Nuggets in a few years.
2014 Predictions: 4.1 PPG, 2.9 RPG, .8 BPG, 54% shooting.
17. Boston Celtics: James Young, SF, Kentucky, Freshman
Measurements: 6’8, 213 pounds, 7′ wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 14.3 PPG, 4.3 RPG, 1.7 APG, 41% shooting.
The Celtics got a slashing wing at pick 17 in another clear sign they’re looking to the future. Young isn’t ready to make a day one impact for Boston, but he has the potential to turn into a great wing. Young needs to continue to develop as a shooter, but there’s reason to believe he will, and eventually be a threat from deep. If Boston guts the roster this year, he’ll have a lot of playing time for him, but I will play it conservative.
2014 Predictions: 6.3 PPG, 2.4 RPG, .5 APG, 37% shooting.
18. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ennis, PG, Syracuse, Freshman.
Measurements: 6’3, 182 pounds, 6’7 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 12.9 PPG, 5.5 APG, 3.4 RPG, 41% shooting.
The Suns were looking for a backup point guard, and got one through the draft in Tyler Ennis. I was never as high on Ennis as some other people were, but he can be a serviceable role player off the bench. Ennis can control an offense well, and is working on his shot and overall game. He needs to improve around the basket, as he should be making more shots around the rim to be taken seriously penetrating. Ennis still has work to do, but he has the capability to develop into a solid point guard.
2014 Predictions: 5.9 PPG, 3.6 APG, .9 RPG, 38% shooting.
19. Denver Nuggets (From Chicago): Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’5, 205 pounds, 6’7 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 16.7 PPG, 4 RPG, 2.7 APG, 43% shooting.
The Nuggets got a big steal here, as Harris fell out of the lottery and into their laps at pick 19. The issue is that the Nuggets just traded for Arron Afflalo, and will have a pretty packed back court now. Harris can carve out a role as a solid defender and great team player, but he may be limited year one unless the Nuggets trade away Randy Foye or another wing. Harris will have a place in the NBA for a long time, but his impact will not be felt on a full scale just yet.
2014 Predictions: 6.3 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 1.2 APG, 39% shooting.
20. Toronto Raptors: Bruno Caboclo, SF, Brazil, 18 Years Old.
Measurements: 6’9, 200 pounds, 7’7 wingspan.
Two things you may ask about Bruno Caboclo: 1. Who? and 2. HE HAS A 7’7 WINGSPAN? Well if you don’t know who Caboclo is, there’s a good reason, he wasn’t on many first round radars (I would have said he wasn’t on any radars, but clearly he was on one). I had Caboclo as late 2nd round pick – undrafted, as the lengthy forward is years away from being able to contribute in the NBA. Caboclo is being compared to Kevin Durant, more based on length than skill–though a lot of his game can remind you of an unpolished KD–but we won’t find out what he can do in the NBA for 3-4 years.
2014 Predictions: N/A (Brazil)
21. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’10, 250 pounds, 7′ wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 9.5 PPG, 8.3 RPG, .8 BPG, 55% shooting.
I had the Thunder taking McGary with the 29th pick, but they nab him here. It may be a bit of a reach, but McGary brings energy, toughness and rebounding immediately. The Thunder are putting together a decent front court for the future, and let’s hope we can forget about the Kendrick Perkins era sooner rather than later. Hey OKC fans, remember when you traded Jeff Green for Perkins? Just thought I’d remind you. McGary will be depth right away, and will develop into a solid NBA role player.
2014 Predictions: 4.8 PPG, 3.7 RPG, .5 BPG, 47% shooting.
22. Memphis Grizzles: Jordan Adams, SG, UCLA, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’5, 209 pounds, 6’10 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 17.4 PPG, 2.3 APG, 2.6 SPG, 49% shooting.
Jordan Adams will fit in as a wing in Memphis with his defensive ability. While Adams isn’t the lock down defender Tony Allen is, he plays passing lanes well, and anticipates where the ball will be to generate a high number of turnovers. Adams is an uninspiring athlete to put it kindly, and he still has work to do from 3 point land, but the shooting guard still has offensive abilities. While Adams won’t be finishing above anybody, he will certainly go through them to the rim. Adams is big and strong, and will be a solid role player throughout his career.
2014 Predictions: 6.8 PPG, 1.2 APG, 1.1 SPG, 40% shooting.
23. Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood, SG/SF, Duke, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’9, 208 pounds, 6’9 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 16.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 46% shooting, 42% 3 point shooting.
Utah gets a steal here with Rodney Hood, a sharp shooting wing from Duke. Hood has the ability to play a role as a complementary scorer, just not a primary one as he doesn’t have the handle needed or the ability to create his own shot and create for his teammates well. Hood can, however, straight up drain three pointers. Utah was pretty awful on offense last year, Hood can come in immediately and contribute solid minutes off the bench.
2014 Predictions: 7.4 PPG, 1.3 RPG, 43% shooting, 39% 3 point shooting.
24. Miami Heat (From Charlotte): Shabazz Napier, PG, UCONN, Senior.
Measurements: 6’1, 175 pounds, 6’3 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 18 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 4.9 APG, 43% shooting.
The Heat were clearly worried either the Hornets would take Napier themselves, or the Rockets would at 25 because they jumped up to grab LeBron’s favorite point guard in the draft. Napier is a proven winner and leader, and even shot a hair over 40% from deep during his senior season. Napier can come in for the Heat and–depending on what they do
cheating spending in free agency–either start or be a valuable role player off the bench. If the Heat grab a free agent point guard and hold onto Norris Cole, Napier will have to fight for some minutes, but he’s a great player who can contribute immediately for a team trying to win championships now.
2014 Predictions: 6.8 PPG, 2.2 APG, .9 RPG, 40% shooting.
25. Houston Rockets: Clint Capela, PF, Switzerland, 20 Years Old.
Measurements: 6’11, 222 pounds, 7’5 wingspan.
The Rockets did what they needed to do in this draft to assure themselves they can try to chase big name free agents by drafting a guy who won’t be playing in the NBA next year. Capela is huge, and has loads of potential as a big man, but he isn’t NBA ready yet–and the Rockets aren’t ready for him either. Capela grabs rebound, blocks shots and can play above the rim, but he needs to be more refined before making an impact in the NBA.
2014 Predictions: N/A (Europe)
26. Charlotte Hornets (From Miami): P.J. Hairston, SG, Texas Legends, 21 Years Old.
Measurements: 6’5, 229 pounds, 6’9 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 21.8 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 45% shooting.
The Hornets needed depth at shooting guard, and get it here with Hairston. Hairston is NBA ready after playing in the D-League for a year and honing his game, and has the opportunity to play major minutes behind Gerald Henderson–and the possibility of starting if Henderson is finally traded. Hairston is great offensively, and can contribute well on defense as well–which will fit in with the Hornets’ scheme. The Hornets are looking to make the playoffs again, and Hairston helps that cause.
2014 Predictions: 10.3 PPG, 1.7 RPG, .8 SPG, 43% shooting.
27. Phoenix Suns: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG, Serbia, 21 Years Old.
Measurements: 6’6, 200 pounds, 6’11 wingspan.
The Suns were not going to take three rookies on their roster for next year, and they made sure of that by taking Bogdanovic here. Bogdanovic won’t be in the NBA for at least a year or two, so don’t expect to hear much about him until then. When he does come over, the Suns will get a lengthy shooting guard who has a solid handle and an improving jump shot.
2014 Predictions: N/A (Europe)
28. Los Angeles Clippers: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington, Senior.
Measurements: 6’5, 201 pounds, 6’10 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 18.3 PPG, 3.7 RPG, 45% shooting, 39% 3 point shooting.
The Clippers really could have used a small forward more, but they went with one of the better scorers and shooters in the draft with C.J. Wilcox. The Clippers, however, have a lot of shooting guards. Wilcox will get some minutes as a Clipper, but don’t expect him to see the floor very much.
2014 Predictions: 3.7 PPG, .8 RPG, 38% shooting, 36% 3 point shooting.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Huestis, SF, Stanford, Senior.
Measurements: 6’7, 213 pounds, 7’1 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 11.2 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.9 BPG, 45% shooting.
The Thunder can be viewed as having reached twice in the first round, grabbing McGary at 21 earlier, and taking Huestis–seen as a 2nd round pick–at 29. Huestis is athletic and long, but his offensive skills are very raw and not NBA ready. The Thunder will be focusing on his defensive skills, as Huestis can come in and start to lock other bench players down immediately. He won’t see the floor very often, but he will be a stout defender while on the court.
2014 Predictions: 3.2 PPG, 1.1 RPG, .3 BPG, 40% shooting.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson, SF/PF, UCLA, Sophomore.
Measurements: 6’9, 230 pounds, 7’3 wingspan.
2013-2014 Statistics: 14.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 6.5 APG, 48% shooting.
I see the Spurs resigning Boris Diaw, but they also drafted a very similar player here in Kyle Anderson. Anderson isn’t ready to play big NBA minutes just yet, though, so say the Spurs bring Diaw back for three years then move on–they’ll have an NBA-ready Kyle Anderson waiting in the wings. Anderson can do a bit of everything on the court, albeit not very quickly. Despite his lack of elite athleticism, Anderson is my favorite player in this draft, and I think he will do great things in the NBA, especially on a team like the Spurs. San Antonio doesn’t need to play Anderson often year one, and they probably won’t, but he can develop into a great role player.
2014 Predictions: 2.9 PPG, 1.7 RPG, .7 APG, 41% shooting.
Well there we have it, my predictions for every first round pick from the NBA draft. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Leave a comment below and I’ll respond! Also, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter! You can also follow me on Twitter so we can talk sports all the time.
Author: Rob Wegley
Co-Owner of The Runner Sports, Senior Editor for The Runner Sports, Writer for The Runner Sports focused on the NFL and the NBA. Located in the Chicago area. Professional journalist since 2012.