I have no connections to NBA front offices scout, so I make no effort here to pretend otherwise. This mock draft reflects what I would do with relation to fit given my understanding of the goals of ownership, the team roster, and prospects available. If each team asked me to make their selection in what I feel is in their best interest, this is what I would do. With the Peachtree Hoops Draft Board in mind, let's mock the draft:
Peachtree Hoops Mock Draft (5/28/2014)
JOEL EMBIID, C, KANSAS. If the back is not an issue, it is simply too hard to pass on one of the few human beings who has the potential to be a legitimate two-way center. I don't think any of the top 3 would be the wrong pick, but Embiid makes the most sense. Plus, if it does not work out, the Cavs can select Jahlil Okafor with the #1 pick next year.
JABARI PARKER, SF, DUKE. The Bucks are not quite the disaster perceived this season from a roster and talent perspective. A lot of injuries added up to an odd mix. Milwaukee has plenty of players with high ceilings and that could be enough to choose the more seasoned Parker over Wiggins in hopes of competing for a playoff spot.
ANDREW WIGGINS, SF, KANSAS. Given the mixed feelings on the top 3 players, the Sixers actually were winners on Tuesday night. They can pick whoever is left of the 3 without worrying about making the wrong choice. The top 3 players could go in any order here and whatever Wiggins failed to be against high expectations, he was still productive.
DANTE EXUM, PG, AUSTRALIA. I could see the Bucks consider Exum given the roster, but that is highly unlikely barring a trade down. The Australian combination guard could be an understudy to Jameer Nelson for a year before joining Oladipo in a dynamic backcourt. I feel more strongly that Exum will go #4 than any of the top 3 choices going to the teams designated above.
5. Utah Jazz
MARCUS SMART, PG, OKLAHOMA STATE [PROFILE]. Trey Burke had a strong season in Utah, but I am not sure that he is a franchise player. Utah will take the best player available who is not a big. Smart edges out Ennis, because his size would allow him to play alongside Burke for stretches.
JULIUS RANDLE, PF, KENTUCKY [PROFILE]. Picks 4-6 seem as locked in as 1-3 with only order as the variable. If Utah should choose Randle, the Celtics will probably go with Smart. Randle falling to #6 and ending up with Brad Stevens is an ideal fit for him to thrive. Viewed as a top-3 pick going into the season, he probably lands in a better situation for development than the top 3 prospects.
AARON GORDON, PF, ARIZONA. The Lakers should trade down or out here. Either trade the pick for a legitimate player, or swap with the Bulls to bring in two players. The Lakers need a lot of help. If they keep the pick, Gordon has too much ability to pass up and I think he could handle the glow of the Lake Show better than others.
TYLER ENNIS, PG, SYRACUSE [PROFILE]. Rumors abound that the Kings want a veteran in exchange for this pick. Well, Ennis plays like one and Sacramento has enough talent, but no floor leader. If Ennis works out, then the Kings can look to move Isaiah Thomas at the trade deadline. Ennis is a much better fit to take advantage of the talents of Ben McLemore, Derrick Williams, and DeMarcus Cousins.
NOAH VONLEH, PF, INDIANA [PROFILE]. The Hornets probably go best player available here which could be Saric. They need shooting and post defense. Vonleh brings both, but not sure how long before that can be shown in significant minutes. With the need for shooting, this could be a spot for James Young to off the board a little early.
10. Philadephia 76ers (via Pelicans)
DARIO SARIC, SF, CROATIA [PROFILE]. This pick will largely be dependent on who the Sixers take at #3. There are some good wings still on the board, but no reason to block their development if they already have Wiggins. With Saric expected to play at least one more year overseas, Philly can allow him to develop without starting his contract as they focus on developing numerous young assets.
11. Denver Nuggets (via Knicks)
JAMES YOUNG, SG, KENTUCKY [PROFILE]. The Nuggets do not have a specific need and could go international here. I expect Saric to be gone and Nurkic or Capela would seem a bit of a reach. Young's shooting and ability to play both wing positions gets him the nod.
12. Orlando Magic (via Nuggets)
K.J. MCDANIELS, SF, CLEMSON [PROFILE]. If Exum is in the fold, the Magic need to add a wing to complete a very intriguing young roster. McDaniels and Oladipo give Orlando two players with the potential to be elite wing defenders. I would consider him as early as #5. Given the consensus view, it would seem #12 is about as high as a team could choose him without it seeming like a reach.
GARY HARRIS, SG, MICHIGAN STATE [PROFILE]. I will need to be consoled if Harris goes off the board here as my three favorite targets will have been selected at 11-13 just before the Hawks' pick. Harris would seem to be a no-brainer for a Wolves team in desperate need of perimeter defense, shooting, and offering hope to Kevin Love.
14. Phoenix Suns
JUSUF NURKIC, C, SERBIA [PROFILE]. The Suns have three picks in the first round and could package them to move up. I would be surprised if they use all three choices as they have a good roster. Should they stay here, Nurkic would be a great player to develop down low unlike the choice of Alex Len last season.
15. Atlanta Hawks
KYLE ANDERSON, PF, UCLA [PROFILE]. I don't love this choice for Atlanta from a value standpoint, but his passing and rebounding fill a need while being able to shoot. He is a player more ready to contribute next season than many selected ahead of him and could compete for rotation minutes if Mike Scott departs. Rodney Hood or Kyle--both quality players that fit a need--would be the worst case scenario picks for Atlanta at the 15 spot.
16. Chicago Bulls (via Hornets)
NIK STAUSKAS, SG, MICHIGAN. Some day the Bulls will value players who can shoot. Stauskas is not as bad defensively as some suggest and has the potential to develop on that end. He is not a primary point guard, but he can handle the basketball and make plays for stretches if needed.
17. Boston Celtics (via Nets)
ZACH LAVINE, SG, UCLA. LaVine is a freak athlete who has flashed enough skill to be considered more than a project. His greatest potential is at shooting guard and he could be an ideal partner for Rondo. The two on the floor together would present havoc athletically. With his potential to slide to point, LaVine could replace Rondo if he leaves or is traded.
18. Phoenix Suns (via Wizards)
T.J. WARREN, PF, N.C. STATE [PROFILE]. Warren is an elite scorer of the basketball without elite athleticism. There are plenty of questions as to how his game will translate at the next level. He has some potential to develop a better shot from the perimeter and should provide some bench scoring as soon as next season.
19. Chicago Bulls
RODNEY HOOD, SF, DUKE [PROFILE]. Chicago could double-down on shooters in the draft or move #16 and #19 to get into top-10 if they really like a prospect. Thibodeau would do wonders for Hood's defensive deficiencies if he remains in Chicago, while Hood would give the Bulls a lefty wing who can shoot from everywhere on the floor.
20. Toronto Raptors
DOUG MCDERMOTT, SF, CREIGHTON [PROFILE]. Toronto appears to be ready to take another step forward next season and McDermott has an elite shooting skill ready to help immediately. I am not sure what position he will play in the big picture, but there is no doubt that he can help an NBA bench both now and long-term with his stroke.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Mavericks)
ADREIAN PAYNE, PF, MICHIGAN STATE [PROFILE]. The rich get richer if Payne is available for the Thunder. They need size and crave shooters. Payne would bring both while being ready to play right away. If Atlanta does move down, I suspect Payne could be a target.
P.J. HAIRSTON, SG, D-LEAGUE (UNC). A real wild card as it is difficult to evaluate Hairston's sensational and uneven play in the D-League--especially following a disappointing run at North Carolina. If the Grizzlies believe Hairston is committed to developing on the defensive end, he certainly could help knock down some shots for a team desperate for help on the offensive perimeter.
23. Utah Jazz (via Warriors)
CLINT CAPELA, PF, SWITZERLAND [PROFILE]. An outstanding athlete who had produced in the French league while remaining raw, Capela could be the name everyone forgets in the draft only for him to explode later. He needs another year or two of seasoning overseas, but he could be a star to bring over when the Jazz have other rookie contracts expire.
24. Charlotte Hornets (via Blazers)
JERAMI GRANT, PF, SYRACUSE [PROFILE]. The son of NBA player Harvey Grant can defend 3 positions, but may not have a place on the other end of the court beyond rebounding misses. Paired with MKG, the Hornets would have two versatile defenders capable of dunking each other's bricks.
25. Houston Rockets
JORDAN ADAMS, SG, UCLA. The sabermetric darling has incredible hands and a smooth stroke while lacking athleticism. Complementary to both Lin and Harden, Adams does not need the ball to be productive and will defend his position. Houston would probably love Grant to fall to them here as he could help defend athletic power forwards where Houston struggled.
26. Miami Heat
SHABAZZ NAPIER, PG, UCONN [PROFILE]. Lebron said Napier was the best college prospect this season. They could very well be teammates next season. With Chalmers possibly gone soon, Napier might be a better fit in Miami and could ease the play-making burden placed heavily on Lebron when Wade is gimpy.
27. Phoenix Suns (via Pacers)
ELFRID PAYTON, PG, LOUISIANA-LAFFAYETTE. Pretty good chance someone else picks for Phoenix here, but Payton is a point guard more ready on the defensive end as his finishing around rim and jumper both need work. A 20-year-old junior with three years of productive college experience, Payton has a lottery-level ceiling and could be a steal.
CLEANTHONY EARLY, SF, WICHITA STATE [PROFILE]. Another potential steal late in the first round, Early could fall due to being an older prospect who may not be able to correct his weaknesses. He showed no fear of big moments in college and could be a top-5 rookie if his perimeter shot and athleticism translate immediately for a contender.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
KRISTAPS PORZINGIS, PF, LATVIA. An extremely athletic big with the potential to shoot from outside and defend inside, Porzingis is a player the Thunder could stash for a year or two and have ready to play when Serge Ibaka's contract is up. DeAndre Daniels [PROFILE] may be in play here as well, but Porzingis makes the most sense with Payne already selected at #21.
BOGDAN BOGDANOVIC, SG, SERBIA [PROFILE]. If Bogdanovic falls to Spurs here it is simply unfair. The Serbian was one of the most improved players in Europe and could be a two-way wing with good handles and few flaws. San Antonio does not have a player from the Adriatic region, so Bogdanovic would incredibly add another country to their roster.