by Ian Palmer
As most experts predicted, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected 19-year-old Andrew Wiggins of Canada with the first overall choice in the 2014 NBA Draft on June 26. The small forward had been playing at the University of Kansas. Wiggins was projected to go with the number one pick after his Kansas teammate, center Joel Embiid, recently underwent surgery for a stress fracture in his foot.
The 6-foot-8 Wiggins Was regarded by some as the top prospect since LeBron James. But while he was excellent defensively with Kansas he was erratic offensively. Wiggins averaged just over 17 points per game along with six rebounds. Cleveland looked at Wiggins as having a lot of upside though and are hoping they can develop him into the finished product.
Let’s take a look at who rounded out the top 10 picks of the 2014 NBA Draft:
The Milwaukee Bucks took 6-foot-8 power forward Jabari Parker from Duke with the second selection. He averaged 19 points and close to nine rebounds per game this season. However, her often struggled defensively and was inconsistent offensively. He played power forward as well as center for Duke, but will likely be used as a small forward in the NBA. Parker has plenty of offensive talent, but needs to work on his defense.
The Philadelphia 76ers had the third choice and took 7-foot center Joel Embiid from Kansas. He dropped down to third after having surgery on his foot. He averaged 11.2 points along with 8.1 rebounds this season and blocked 72 shots. He was named the Big 12 defensive-player-of-the-year. Embiid possesses the speed of a guard when it comes to running, shooting and defending.
The Orlando Magic used the fourth pick to select 6-foot-7 power forward Aaron Gordon out of Arizona. The 18-year-old averaged 12.4 points a game as well as eight rebounds. He’s considered a little small for a power forward and shot just 42 per cent from the free-throw line.
The Utah Jazz chose 6-foot-4 Australian Dante Exum with the fifth overall pick. The 18-year-old point guard/shooting guard was ranked as this year’s top international prospect. He’s a good shooter and will be able to put some muscle onto his frame.
Boston Celtics had the sixth pick and took 6-foot-2 point guard Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State. He was the top-rated point guard in the draft even though he’s a bit of a loose cannon off the court and was suspended last season for pushing a fan. His wingspan is just over 6-feet-nine inches and he was ranked as high as number one for last year’s draft. Smart remained at Oklahoma State though and slid down the rankings in this year’s deeper draft. He could be used by the Celtics to replace or back up Rajon Rondo.
The Los Angeles Lakers were next up and chose 6-foot-8 power forward Julius Randle from Kentucky with the seventh pick. Randle posted some excellent numbers at school, but fans are wondering if he can do the same in the NBA. He averaged 15 points per game to go along with 10.4 rebounds. He’s strong and has a good shot, but isn’t overly tall for a power forward.
The Sacramento Kings used the eighth overall selection on 6-foot-5 shooting guard Nik Stauskas of Michigan. He showed last season that he’s one of the nation’s top shooters. He scored close to 18 points per game and was the Big Ten player of the year. He can also jump and could be close to beginning his NBA career already.
Charlotte Hornets drafted 6-foot-8 power forward Noah Vonleh from Indiana with the ninth pick. The 18-year-old Vonleh possesses the second-biggest hands ever seen at the NBA combine as they’re 9 3/4inches long by 11 3/4 inches wide. Vonleh is rated as an excellent rebounder as he averaged nine rebounds per 26 minutes played, which was tops in the Big Ten. His three-point range shooting was 49 per cent last season and he also has a 7-foot-4-inch wingspan.
The Orlando Magic also had the 10th overall pick and used it to select 6-foot-3 point guard Elfrid Payton from Louisiana Lafayette. He averaged close to 20 points and six assists last season against Sun Belt opposition. His percentage form the three-point range was just 26 per cent though and he also averaged close to four turnovers per contest. Payton’s a good defender, but needs to work on his shooting.