Mock Draft 3.0: Saric, Nurkic, Capela stay in as pool finalized
POSTED: Jun 19, 2014 12:27 PM ET
With Dario Saric and other internationals staying in this year, the 2014 Draft retains its depth.
The pool for the June 26 draft was finalized Monday and released by the NBA on Tuesday as the deadline for international players to withdraw from consideration passed with only one decision likely to be felt in the first round: Latvian power forward Kristaps Porzingis, No. 18 in the previous NBA.com mock, chose to remain in Europe at least one more season.
Dario Saric, the top name NBA teams were still waiting on and a possible for the top 10, stayed in. Lottery candidate Jusuf Nurkic, the second-best prospect at center, stayed in. Clint Capela, projecting to the mid-to-late teens, stayed in. Vasa Micic, among the point guards who could come off the board in a run late in the first round, stayed in. In short, the draft retained a lot of its depth.
The updated mock with one full week to go before selections, based on conversations with executives and scouts from around the league:
The call belongs to Cavs doctors as much as Cavs management. A healthy Embiid, cleared from the fractured back that ended his one-and-done college career early, is probably No. 1 with room to spare, so he moves back into the top spot unless bad news surfaces in the final weeks before Cleveland is officially on the clock.
Parker is the most NBA-ready top prospect, without the same high ceiling as the others but also without the same risk. That could become the deciding factor for a general manager who likes job security. Plus, some teams see Parker as a power forward, an added appeal for the Bucks with Giannis Atetokounmpo coming off a promising rookie season at small forward.
The son of former Bulls, Rockets and 76ers guard Mitchell Wiggins improved in the second half before exiting the tournament with the much-publicized 1-for-6 shooting against Stanford. Teams still see great upside, with the stunning athleticism as a starting point, while acknowledging Wiggins is partly a victim to massive preseason hype. There are also concerns about not playing hard all the time.
This is as much about Orlando's belief in whether Victor Oladipo can really become a point guard or it should call off the experiment and put Oladipo at shooting guard, his natural position. The problem is, Exum, for all the hype, is no clear answer. Some teams see him as more of a combo guard, or even more shooting guard, than playmaker. The Magic could dodge the entire problem and take one of the power forwards to partner with Nikola Vucevic.
Utah is in a tough spot, with point guards and power forwards on the board and Trey Burke and Derrick Favors on the roster and soon after a big financial commitment to Favors. But Randle, with a physical presence and a nonstop motor, has a chance to be special. Take him as the best player and consider trade possibilities, even with the report that he will need foot surgery and miss summer league.
Vonleh can play physical inside or step outside and hit shots from the perimeter, a promising start after one season as one of the fast-risers on the board. That offensive versatility is one reason some teams like him more than Randle. Vonleh is going in a very good direction.
A guy who does a lot for a team that needs a lot. Gordon's lack of perimeter game is a concern for someone who might play small forward, but he is an elite athlete who should grow into being able to defend multiple positions, only plays hard and has an advanced feel for the game for someone who doesn't turn 19 until about six weeks before training camp.
Smart will be a physical force, has a chance to be very good defensively and has a great attitude, but the team that takes him will have to see true point guard through an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.8-2.6 on a college squad with other NBA prospects. Some front offices do see it.
A small forward who can shoot joining a roster with non-shooter Michael Kidd-Gilchrist at the position? Sold. McDermott has range and the experience of four years in college. The lack of athleticism will hurt on defense and in his ability to create on offense.
He shot 47 percent overall, 44.2 percent on threes, packed a lot of experience in pressure situations into two college seasons -- the Big Ten Player of the Year checks a lot of boxes anyway, but especially for the 76ers. Philly needs shooters, and shooters with deep range, and would have a new running mate in the backcourt for Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.
A strong possibility for last year's lottery before withdrawing late, Saric stayed in the Draft this time and continued to impress with very good instincts and the ability play in transition or halfcourt. The concerns are that he is turnover prone and has an inconsistent shot.
Hood went from Mississippi State to sitting out last season as a transfer to pushing into lottery contention as a catch-and-shoot specialist with 3-point range. The 42 percent from behind the arc and 80.7 percent on free throws draws attention.
A solid pick for someone in the teens and especially for a team that might have to find a new power forward. The 41 points in the Spartans' tournament opener, while suffering from mononucleosis, was merely the public notice to the masses. Payne showed an expanded offensive game all season and added muscle, the kind of upward trajectory front offices love to see. He already has the athleticism.
Maybe Phoenix goes for the bold strike and moves Kristaps Porzingis all the way into the lottery and lets a rising star at power forward spend another year overseas. Harris' stock took a hit as a shooting guard who went from 45.6 percent from the field as a freshman to 42.9 in 2013-14 and from 41.1 percent on threes to 35.2. He has good strength and can get to the rim, even though a little undersized.
Hairston finished his season with the Texas Legends at 21.8 points and 32.3 minutes in 26 games, reinforcing his standing as a first-rounder who can score from the perimeter or go hard to the rim. Teams will look hard at his background after being suspended by the NCAA, in part over some acquaintances.
This is too low for the best true point guard available, though without physical wow factor of Exum or Smart, but it's tough to find a team with a pressing point guard need around 10 to 14 if the Magic choose Exum near the top. Ennis won over front offices and went from prospect for the future to the immediate impact of one of the best freshmen in the country with steady play and composure beyond his years.
Nurkic does not show star potential, but he is on an upward trajectory of improvements, a consistent physical presence and good energy. More importantly for his draft stock, he is the second-best center in the draft, a strong selling point. The Celtics could use a long-term starter there.
He moved well into the first round with good showings in France, then pushed into lottery contention by flashing mobility to go with the size and toughness inside. The Suns don't want multiple rookies on the roster and will almost certainly spend one of the picks on a player who will spend another season overseas. Capela would fit that as a prospect who has the chance to develop into a top-10 player.
Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown called him a human stat sheet. McDaniels scores, rebounds and blocks shots as a mega-athlete who will be able to use those physical gifts to overcome the size disadvantage waiting for him in the frontcourt in the pros. He has been getting workouts high up in the first round, indicating a possible late climb up the boards.
The chance to let LaVine develop behind Lowry is worth strong consideration amid questions from teams whether he is a true point guard. UCLA didn't play him there last season, but LaVine, an electric athlete, insists that is his true position. If he proves it, there is a real big upside.
For depth, because Oklahoma City seems to be in decent shape at small forward with that Durant guy. Without any consistent three-point range, Warren can score in bunches, has nice instincts and does damage on the boards. That makes him a nice boost for the bench, even if shooting guard is the pressing position need. That can be addressed later in the first round or, better, by acquiring a veteran via trade or free agency.
Though he doesn't have ideal athleticism, Young will be a nice scoring addition for any team. Memphis in particular can use the points, and especially from the perimeter. Playing when defenses have to pay so much attention to Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph inside would be a good way to break into the league.
Adding depth at point guard is one of the next items on the Utah to-do list. Payton has good size, ball skills, defends and experience with the United States under-19 national team last summer. He didn't face top competition much in 2013-14, and when he did: six of 19 against Baylor, three of 11 against Louisville, nine of 20 against Creighton. The jumper has been a question all along.
24. HORNETS, Vasa Mici, Serbia, PG, 6-4, 190
While he won't beat people off the dribble, a potential problem, Micic is a pass-first point guard with vision, size and the ability to deliver the ball at the right time and place. He would be a nice complement off the bench to the smaller, quicker Kemba Walker.
He can handle the ball for a forward, is versatile, has good size and a nice feel for the game. A lack of athleticism that will hurt his ability to create and defend, though, and some teams see the possible future role as a point forward oversold because NBA defenses will take away a lot of what made him effective in college.
Few players at any position would be more prepared to handle the expectations of Miami's win-now approach after four years in a championship program that produced other NBA talent. Napier plays fearless with composure and heart. He improved as a distributor as a senior, an important development since he would never be good enough as a scorer to make an impact.
Harvey's son/Horace's nephew, a reserve for the Orangemen, scores, rebounds and has the kind of wingspan and athleticism that indicates he could become a standout defender. If the Suns don't trade the pick and don't use No. 18 for a player who will stay overseas next season, it's a virtual lock this one will be used on an international prospect as a stash pick.
McGary is expected to begin working out for teams next week as part of his recovery from a serious back injury. If he does well in the limited looks, unlike most players on the bubble for the first round who usually visit a lot of teams, and the medical reports go well, he has a chance to be part of a big-man rotation. The Clippers have been looking for more than a stop-gap as a third big man.
Oklahoma City has obvious issues at shooting guard, with Thabo Sefolosha having quickly played his way from years as a starter to somewhere near the end of the bench by the Western Conference finals. Adams may be the third UCLA player taken, yet could turn out to be the best, thanks to scoring instincts in transition or half court and a tenacious attitude.
He went from being a key part of the U.S. team that won the under-19 world title to helping to lead Tennessee to the Sweet Sixteen, an ideal platform for a power player on the rise. Stokes is slightly undersized but uses strength and a long wingspan to rebound at a high rate, especially on the offensive boards, and score inside.
Bogdanovic developed into one of the top players in Europe this season as a consistent threat from the perimeter who can also score from other spots and handle the ball well enough to probably be a secondary playmaker in the NBA. Given the Bucks' need for depth at shooting guard, he would have a chance to play right away if he comes over now.
It's in the range that could put Big Dog's son in Milwaukee, but the Bucks have Giannis Antetokounmpo at the position and the Sixers need big possibilities. That's GRIII, who was too passive last season and didn't capitalize on the opportunity of Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. moving to the pros and Mitch McGary being hurt. Robinson has a lot of skills, though, and more upside than some who will be picked in the 20s.
Early will almost certainly have to transition from playing a lot of power forward in college to mostly small forward in the pros. And he is 23, an age when the NBA wonders how much more development a player has left. But he was a versatile scorer for one of the best teams in the nation last season, leading the pros to believe he can be a nice weapon off the bench.
Shawn Marion is 35, Vince Carter 35. The older brother of Milwaukee's Giannis Antetokounmpo, not merely an infusion of youth for the wing, has athleticism, size and the potential to become a very good defender. His decision to leave Greece and face tougher competition in the United States as a member of the Delaware 87ers paid off.
If Utah goes point guard at 23 and has no need for Deonte Burton or Jordan Clarkson here, Tavares becomes especially intriguing as a very raw big man who could develop into a talent of first-round proportions. He is 22 and has been playing basketball only a few years, yet has drawn a lot of attention from front offices because of a rare mobility for his size, plus a large wingspan. If there's a project worth a flier, it's Tavares.
Milwaukee does not lack for point guards, but Burton or Jordan Clarkson become too hard to pass up at this stage. Despite playing for a 15-17 team, Burton emerged as a first-round candidate with a mix of strength to score inside, elite athleticism to play fast and the ability to create shots. The question is whether he can get others involved.
Dinwiddie is coming off a torn knee ligament that ended his junior season in January and made it impossible to go through the series of individual workouts before the Draft that could have helped his stock. He said he hopes to be going 100 percent by early August, a schedule that means no summer league but full participation in training camp. Healthy, Dinwiddie has 3-point range and the experience of extended work as a ballhandler, making him a good fit off the bench in a lot of backcourts.
Clarkson had rough stretches in his transition from shooting guard to point guard, raising concerns he is a tweener with limited range on his shot and a low ceiling on how good he can become as a distributor. A potential combo guard for the bench who can get to the basket and have a size advantage if he plays the points is a decent investment in the second round, though.
Inglis isn't the best available player, but he is the best available player who can stay overseas another season, a valuable consideration for a team that will already be making its fourth pick and will have a carryover rookie, Nerlens Noel. Inglis is a good prospect anyway, with an NBA body at 19 years old, good instincts and the chance to be a defensive standout.
Wilcox is the latest move for Minnesota to add shooters, a priority since the 2013 Draft and still an issue after finishing 23rd in field-goal percentage and 26th from behind the arc. He had a larger role as a senior after the departures of Terrence Ross, Tony Wroten and Isaiah Thomas through the years, giving him the chance to show he has range and can handle the ball.
While the wiry body is a concern, especially if he hopes to use his speed to attack the rim and draw contact, Daniels has expanded his game by becoming consistent 3-point threat. His standout play in the tournament as a major piece of the UConn run to the national title showed a player who thrives in pressure situations.
Harris has boosted his stock since the end of the regular season, first by being named MVP of the ACC tournament, then with a prominent role as the Cavaliers reached the Elite Eight and finally with a good showing at the Chicago combine. Houston played Francisco Garcia and his 40.1-percent shooting at small forward last season. Harris, or maybe C.J. Fair, would boost the bench.
Atlanta could have a new look even without the Draft, especially inside if Al Horford comes back healthy and 2013 first-rounder Lucas Nogueira makes the jump from Europe. Fair or another wing would have a chance to stick. The Hawks are also in a position to take another international (Alessandro Gentile, Ioannis Papapetrou) as an investment pick for the future, hoping choosing in the 40s now leads to the return of a player who could have gone in the 20s.
Front offices noted the inconsistent play last season, a concern in general but especially for a senior, yet Powell continued to impress as a smart big man with a smooth offensive game that includes a nice shooting touch from several spots, mobility and passing skills. If he becomes dependable, a team will have a solid role player.
Young would fit well alongside Al Jefferson or Cody Zeller, a physical presence inside who wouldn't take shots from Jefferson's post game and could be the inside muscle to the athleticism of Zeller. Young doesn't have the upside of some second-rounders, but he is the kind of tireless digger who can make a team, then contribute heart and muscle.
Marcus Smart's running mate in the backcourt in Stillwater will be slightly undersized at the next level, but able to compensate as a mega-athlete who will be a terror in the open court and may be able to defend both guard spots. If the jumper continues to improve, after nice gains last season, his career hopes will take another step forward.
Philadelphia could go for two draft-and-stash picks and still have a big rookie class in camp. Carson would be an intriguing choice for the Sixers, a warp-speed point guard as the complement/backup to the size of Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. Amid the obvious concerns about his size and ability to get others involved after being asked to carry a large scoring load in college, Carson plays at the pace that changes games.
O'Bryant has a versatile offense that creates scoring opportunities inside and a mid-range game, along with playing tough on the boards. A lack of explosiveness means the potential for trouble under the basket at the next level.
A key player at the University of Texas as a freshman before returning to his native Greece, Papapetrou lacks ideal small-forward athleticism, but he does have good size, 3-point range and experience in Europe and NCAA play. Chicago is a good candidate to look overseas at some point in the Draft, with two picks in the first round plus the possibility that Nikola Mirotic will come to the NBA this season.
The Australian impressed this season with physical play, high energy and a soft touch on a mid-range jumper, part of a big move up draft boards as a senior. He won't be able to overpower opponents the same way in the pros.
This is the land of taking one of the best two or three guys on the board and not targeting a specific position -- finding someone who makes the team makes it a successful pick -- but Bachynski lines up well. He should go somewhere in this range anyway and also addresses the Dallas need for shot blocking. He would become one of several Canadians to be picked, but the rarity of a product from the prairies of Alberta.
If anyone is in position to take a flier on Austin, it's Philadelphia, home to hundreds of picks. Austin has first-round talent, and once was prominent in the lottery conversation, but he spent the last two seasons apparently determined to give money away by turning off NBA teams with a lack of intensity. Beyond the focus issues, he needs to get stronger.
The nephew of Hall of Famer Dennis Johnson faces a very difficult move from shooting guard to almost certainly having to play point guard in the pros because of his size. The flip side is that Nick has such an elite level of athleticism that teams will want that long look and see if he can be developed with practice and the D-League.
A 7-footer with that much mobility and a standing reach within six inches of the rim? Yeah, that's worth No. 54. Maybe he doesn't come over for two years. Maybe he doesn't come at all. But maybe ....
A worker who doesn't need shots to make a difference. Birch started his college career at Pittsburgh, transferred to Las Vegas and became a two-time Mountain West Conference defensive player of the year, a non-factor on offense who was among the best shot blockers in the nation.
Brown led the SEC in scoring and broke 20 on 19 occasions, the most by a Missouri player in 14 years, since another NBA-bound shooting guard, Anthony Peeler. Brown is especially dangerous from behind the arc, making 41 percent of his attempts last season.
The unanimous All-Big East selection is an aggressive, attacking threat with the size to absorb contact when he goes to the rim. That starting point alone makes him a worthwhile investment in the second round. Christon still has rough edges, though, needing to improve his shot, in selection and execution, and reducing turnovers as part of making better decisions as a distributor.
Ejim's game should translate well enough in the move from college power forward to his best chance for an NBA future at small forward, with aggressive play inside for scoring and putting up big rebounding numbers. He won't come close to the production of 9.3 boards per game as a junior and 8.4 as a senior, but it shows his approach and attitude.
He needed two seasons to go from lottery candidate who decided to stay in school to second-round pick, and maybe not even that. McAdoo struggled to be consistent once the stars left and the Tar Heels became more of his team. That either indicates someone who is not getting better with time and doesn't want the expectations, or a prospect who is made to be a solid complementary player capable of contributing.
Already a veteran of the Italian leagues at age 21, Gentile has continued to get better with a combination of strength on the wing, scoring ability and confidence that reaches arrogance. While temperament has been a concern, and would be a real red flag for an organization that prides itself on the proper personality, some NBA executives believe Gentile is dropping the attitude and maturing with the years.
Scott Howard-Cooper has covered the NBA since 1988. You can e-mail him here and follow him on Twitter.
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