Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2014 NBA Mock Draft 2.0: How far does Embiid drop? (31 items)

By Brandon Judd, Lafe Peavler, Carter Williams, Jay Yeomans, Mitch Kunzler, Aaron Morton and David J. Smith

June 8, 2014

With the 2014 NBA draft just days away (Thursday, 5 p.m. on ESPN), six Deseret News writers and contributors did their best in trying to simulate how the draft will go down.

We divided up the NBA's six divisions among the six writers. We drafted over the course of three days using email. Here's how it went down and why. Did we make the right picks? Let us know in the comments section.

The Cleveland Cavaliers, you're on the clock.

1 of 31. 1. Cleveland Cavaliers

Andrew Wiggins, F, Kansas

Last week's stunning news of Joel Embiid's broken bone in his foot and resulting surgery has thrown a huge monkey wrench into the NBA Draft.

It looks like the Cavs have been scared off so they will have their choice between two of the most hyped prospects since LeBron James — Jabari Parker and Wiggins. Luckily for them, either choice will benefit their team in a big way.

While Parker is the more NBA-ready player right now and more polished on the offensive side of the ball, Wiggins is by far the better defender, and that combined with his athleticism, gives him the greatest potential.

If Wiggins does live up to his full potential then his jersey may just be hanging in the rafters of the Quicken Loans Arena when his career is over.

— Mitch Kunzler & Aaron Morton


2 of 31. 2. Milwaukee Bucks

Jabari Parker, SF, Duke

Sorry, Jazz fans.

Landing Parker would be ideal for the Bucks. He's a sure thing, good-character guy the Bucks are looking for. He would slide right into Milwaukee's starting lineup. He comes from an athletic family, which knows what it takes to succeed at this level — his father, Sonny played in the NBA.

Did we mention he grew up less than two hours away in Chicago?

If the Cavs don't take Parker first and if the Bucks are scared off by Embiid's injury concerns, Parker would be a no-brainer.

— Aaron Morton


3 of 31. 3. Philadelphia Sixers

Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana

Now that there's a major red flag flying over Embiid, perhaps no team is feeling worse about its draft situation than Philadelphia. Multiple reports have the 76ers vying for Wiggins, but chances are Wiggins will be off the board before the third pick. I originally had Parker here, but he's likely gone now too. So where do the Sixers go with this pick? They could easily package a deal to trade up to the first pick. If so, they'll take Wiggins.

If that situation doesn't happen, the Sixers will have to settle for something else. Vonleh could be the guy slated to move up if teams aren't willing to take the Embiid risk. He's long and has good size. He's athletic and can crash the boards well. More importantly, he fits with the athletic ability that the Sixers are building and is a better defender than many of the other 6-foot-9 options in this draft.

While some draft pundits have Embiid or Dante Exum going here, keep in mind the Sixers have last year's Embiid, Narlens Noel, on their roster already. Would Philadelphia draft a center that wouldn't play back-to-back years? Possibly, but unlikely. Exum is a good, athletic guard, but Philly could use its 10th pick on a better shooter.

— Carter Williams (No relation to Michael Carter-Williams)




4 of 31. 4. Orlando Magic

Dante Exum, PG, Australia

Could the Magic swipe up Embiid just before the Jazz would have a shot at him? Absolutely. He would make a nice compliment to Orlando big man Nikola Vucevic.

But there are indications the Magic may go point guard with the fourth pick, leaving them with the options of Exum or Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart. Orlando may look to team Exum with last year's second overall pick, Victor Oladipo. Oladipo had a solid rookie campaign, averaging 13.8 points, 4.1 assists and 4.1 rebounds per game, but the Magic could move Oladipo over to his more natural position, shooting guard, by picking Exum and joining the forces in their backcourt.

Exum is a wild card in the draft, coming from Australia and having less exposure to NBA scouts in live-game action. Even so, the Magic go with the safer bet here, picking up a man to run the offense over a player whose foot injury hurt his draft stock.

— Brandon Judd

5 of 31. 5. Utah Jazz

Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

How quickly things can change in the NBA. One week ago, Embiid was largely viewed as the most likely No. 1 pick in the draft. Now his foot injury casts a shadow on not only his status Thursday evening, but also his future career.

This case is the epitome of a high risk, high reward possibility. Embiid could have the highest potential of any draft prospect. His mixture of size, agility and basketball instincts make him incredibly tantalizing for lottery teams needing an injection of talent and hope. While he has not been playing long, he made consistently strong progress during his time at Kansas. To put it in perspective, the most common comp that scouts have been using is the great Hakeem Olajuwon.

The risk is clear. His foot injury, coupled with his back issues the past four months, conjure up images of Sam Bowie and Greg Oden. There have also been others who underwent the same surgery as Embiid and went on to have productive, successful careers.

The Jazz are looking for star power. While it may prove difficult to trade up to a top-three slot, having someone of Embiid’s caliber slip to the fifth pick is a risk that might be worth taking.

— David J. Smith




1. JazzMan
Centerville, UT,
June 9, 2014

Trade Kanter and Hayward and whatever else for 3rd pick and get Parker.

2. coleman51
Orem, UT,
June 10, 2014

While I agree with the first 10, maybe 15 picks that were selected by the Deseret News, I doubt seriously that the Jazz will draft Kyle Anderson at 23. There are much better picks at that spot that would help the Jazz and certainly more athletic players. Besides, the idea that a trade might happen is certainly a possibility. I do believe, however, that Noah Vonleh will be selected by the Jazz if they can't move any higher.

3. Tyler C
Provo, UT,
June 10, 2014

wow, those top 5 picks are really good. thats exactly how i think it will play out. I agree that embiid will bethe best nba player if he is healthy. and i bet the jazz take vonleh. i dont think they will take kyle anderson at 23 though.

4. Americanvet
Ivins, UT,
June 25, 2014

If Embiid is available when the Jazz pick ( I don't think he will) I bet the Jazz will be on the phone constantly during the 5 minutes they have before they make their pick. A lot of teams will be offering the Jazz various assortments of players or draft picks so they can pick up Embiid. I think the Jazz would move the pick in a trade. However, if not I would be thrilled to bring the big guy to Utah!!

5. byronbca
Salt Lake City, UT,
June 25, 2014

I would be pretty disappointed if that's how things turned out, Embiid is too big of a risk and might not even play next season. I also don't like the idea of drafting a guy nicknamed slow mo, I don't think Anderson is athletic enough to make it in this league.

If the Jazz stand pat I would go Randall then Gordon then Vonleh, but I think those 3 are really close and all would be a great fit.

At 23, this is where I would try and move up for Young, Ennis or Payton.

My ultimate dream draft scenario would be Exum falling to us at 5, then the Jazz trade Trey Burke and the 23 to Sacramento and we draft Gordon too