Huffpost Sports
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Andrew Wild Headshot

NBA Mock Draft: Picks 1-10

Posted: Updated:
JOEL EMBIID
Kansas City Star via Getty Images

The ping pong balls have had their say and although the draft order is set, the same can not be said about who each team plans on taking or if and picks will get traded. But if everything holds as it is, let's take a look at how the first ten picks should go.

#1 (Cleveland)- Joel Embiid C

It would be tough for any team to pass up on a big man with the kind of potential Embiid has, and I don't think the big-men troubled Cavaliers will be able to hold off. Embiid isn't as sure of a pick as Jabari Parker but it's hard not to draw up the comparisons between the wonderfully skilled and fleet-footed Embid and Hakeem Olajuwon. Once in a generation 7-footers will always go above wing prospects in a league constantly on the prowl for the next great center.
NBA Comparison: Hakeem Olajuwon (Hopefully)

#2 (Milwaukee)- Jabari Parker SF-PF

Jabari isn't the athletic freak or defender Andrew Wiggins is, but he did show off an extremely polished offensive game at Duke that Wiggins never displayed. Jabari was able to make his own shot off the dribble, play both big men spots even though he's a more natural small forward, and finish strong at the rim in transition. Some people think he's a tweener between the two forward spots, but I think he'll be able to comfortably slide into the small forward slot in the NBA and excel at making plays from the perimeter and moving inside if that's what his team needs.
NBA Comparison: Paul Pierce

#3 (Philadelphia)- Andrew Wiggins SG-SF

Wiggins didn't live up to the hype he produced coming into his freshman season at Kansas, but people are still optimistic about his chances at succeeding in the NBA. He's absurdly athletic, but struggled with his offense throughout the season. He doesn't have a great jump shot and isn't a very advanced ball-handler, tending to dribble only with the right hand and not passing well at all. Wiggins isn't like to turn into a knock-down long rage shooter, but his midrange game has a lot of potential, and if he can combine his Paul George like athleticism and defense with something that resembles Wade's midrange game he could become a force to be reckoned with.
NBA Comparison: A more advanced and defensive minded DeMar DeRozan

#4 (Orlando)- Dante Exum PG-SG

I expect Orlando to try and recreate what Phoenix has done in their backcourt and start two combo guards and let them play off each others strengths. Incumbent guard Victor Oladipo had flashes of greatness in his rookie season but probably can't handle full time ball handling duties going forward. Australian prospect Dante Exum profiles as a more advanced passer and ball-handler than Oladipo, and the thought of potentially having such a skilled and athletic guard combo should have Magic fans very excited.
NBA Comparison: Michael-Carter Williams

#5 (Utah)- Aaron Gordon SF-PF

I don't think Aaron Gordon is quite deserving of the 5th pick, but the Jazz probably have to take a perimeter player considering their young big men duo of Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors and taking point guard Trey Burke with their first pick last season. Drafting Gordon would probably mean moving incumbent small forward Gordon Hayward to shooting guard, which might be a welcome change after the way Hayward struggled last season. Aaron Gordon has freakish athleticism to rival Andrew Wiggins, but showed little else in his time at Arizona. The Jazz may be able to find him some time at power forward, but expect him to play a lot more small forward which could lead to a Detroit like clogged front court.
NBA Comparison: Shawn Marion, Josh Smith

#6 (Boston)- Doug McDermott SF-PF

Doug McDermott is definitely not the best player left on the board, but unless they trade Rondo before the draft (always a possibility) or think they can somehow move Jared Sullinger to center they have little use for Marcus Smart or Julius Randle. Based off his success in college, McDermott has the potential to bloom into a multi-faceted scorer, but I don't see it working out for him in the NBA. He has a great shot but doesn't seem quick enough to play on the wing or strong enough to move inside. Drafting by need could backfire here for the Celtics.
NBA Comparison: A more versatile Kyle Korver

#7 (Los Angeles)- Marcus Smart PG

As a Lakers fan, I'm praying Smart falls all the way to #7. A supremely talented player who struggled on and off the court in his sophomore season, Smart went from a sure fire top-three pick in the 2013 draft to a relative unknown commodity in the 2014 draft. Smart is great attacking the rim, passing the ball, on the block, and on defense. His jump shot needs a lot of work but that's ok for a young point guard. His speed and size (6'4 and 225 pounds) make him look ready for the NBA from day one, not needing to husk up like Wiggins or Exum. The incident with a fan this year was ugly, but I think Smart was a kid who made a mistake and not a thug with a bad attitude as some in the media portray him. Lakers fans should be ecstatic if Smart finds his way to Staples Center.
NBA Comparison: James Harden when he still played like a point guard

#8 (Sacramento)- Noah Vonleh PF

The Kings have drafted and acquired a bunch of power forwards over the last couple years to pair with center DeMarcus Cousins, but Vonleh might be the final answer. I have Vonleh over Randle here because I think Randle is too similar to Cousins, a hefty rebounder with a decent but limited offensive game. Vonleh is more of a project, but could develop to be a more versatile and skilled player that will play very well of Cousins in the future.
NBA Comparison: Less athletic Kenneth Faried but with a post game and defense

#9 (Charlotte)- Julius Randle PF

I have Randle's slide finally ending with Charlotte, giving him a chance to play with the excellent big man Al Jefferson and hopefully learn to emulate his game. Most scouts compare Randle with Zach Randolph, but I think Randle will be more successful if he tries to become more like Big Al. Randle is already a beast on the boards and Big Al can help Randle unlock the low post game he showed off in college. Randle would probably be upset to fall this far, but it might be his best shot at becoming the nightly 20-10 guy he so wants to become.
NBA Comparison: Somewhere in between Zach Randolph and Al Jefferson

#10 (Philidelphia)- Jusuf Nurkic C

I originally had a different international big man here, Croatian Dario Saric, but with news that he will only come to the NBA if drafted by the Celtics or Lakers I doubt the 76ers will take the gamble on him with the 10th overall pick. Instead, they'll add the promising young center from Bosnia to their rebuilding project. He probably won't start his rookie season, and when he finally sees the court the 76ers can move Nerlens Noel to power forward. Nurkic has a polished offensive game, finishing pick and rolls and making plays with his back to the basket. He needs to improve heavily as a defender but he's a promising player that could be one of the final pieces to Philly's youth movement.
NBA Comparison: Nikola Pekovic with lot less defense and some more offense

From Our Partners