The Lottery Picks of the 2014 NBA Draft (1/19 Update)

Kansas Men's College Basketball; Joel Embiid

The Lottery Picks of the 2014 NBA Draft (1/19 Update) 

The NBA Draft is comprised of 30 franchises attempting to select a young player primed to help them win an NBA title. In this draft, the 16 teams who made the playoffs the previous season are awarded the last 16 picks of each round. The 14 teams who missed the playoffs are relegated to the lottery: a ping-pong-ball picking extravaganza to determine which teams end up with the top selections. But which draft-eligible players are worthy of being selected so high? These are the Lottery Picks.


1. Jabari Parker (Last Week: 1)

Hanging on to the number one seed very precariously, Jabari Parker's last game against NC State showed why he is a top prospect. His 23 points on 14 field goal attempts reminded folks of the fact that he started his college career with seven consecutive 20-point games.


2. Joel Embiid (4)

Joel Embiid could not play another college game and his game tape from the Oklahoma State victory would be enough to have him drafted in the top five. He gets better every single time he takes the floor.


3. Julius Randle (2)

Nothing that Randle did or could have done would have stopped Embiid from leaping him in the draft projections. He simply does not possess that level of unfiltered upside. Randle is still a tremendous power forward prospect though.


4. Marcus Smart (5)

It is dangerous to put too much stock in one game, but Marcus Smart's performance against Kansas was wondrous. His shot wasn't falling all game, and his outside shooting has been the biggest knock against him. However, his overall effectiveness in the game was splendid. The numbers don't even do him justice. He is a menace on defense, and Smart is a real leader on the court.


5. Andrew Wiggins (3)

Andrew Wiggins is on the precipice of dropping to sixth in these rankings. He simply disappears too often in games. All the excitement built up from his games against Kansas State and Iowa State was dashed with the putrid performance he displayed against Oklahoma State. The foul trouble was one thing, but when he was on the court, he looked lost and useless on offense and like nothing special on defense.


6. Dante Exum (6)

Exum may see a bump in his projections any time now. As top prospects ahead of him get picked apart, the unknown becomes more valuable than the known quantity, even if Exum isn't as good of a player. This spot also represents the end of tier one. Players one through six are a step above the rest of the pack.


7. Gary Harris (8)

Harris, along with teammate Keith Appling, may very well form the best backcourt in college basketball. 23 points on 7-of-9 shooting last time out hopefully means Harris' shooting woes are behind him.


8. Aaron Gordon (9)

Gordon remains a key cog on the best team in college basketball. Scouts wish there was more in the way of game-changing plays on defense though. Gordon has just two blocks and three steals in his last six contests combined.


9. Rodney Hood (11)

Hood needs to prove his is capable of doing more than just shoot to keep his hold on a lottery spot. The assist numbers have picked up a small bit in recent games.


10. Doug McDermott (NR)

Doug McDermott may very well be the favorite to win the player of the year award right now. He is averaging 24.9 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. The fourth-year senior is attempting the most shots he ever has, yet his percentage from the floor has remained stellar at 49.7%. McDermott is right on the edge of the fabled 50-40-90 season where a player shoots at least 50% from the floor, 40% from three and 90% from the foul line. Right now he is at 50-42-90 if we round his field goal percentage up.


11. Willie Cauley-Stein (7)

After great progress, especially on the offensive end, Willie Cauley-Stein had two terrible games in a row. He produced just two combined points in the games while getting his minutes cut back by foul trouble and ineffectiveness.


12. Jerami Grant (10)

Jerami Grant is still playing as a super effective player. However, he still has no outside game to speak of, a warning flag for a small forward prospect, and his teammate Tyler Ennis is beginning to overshadow him on a daily basis.


13. Montrezl Harrell (NR)

Harrell is turning into a dynamo on the defensive end and when it comes to rebounding the basketball. If he continues to develop a jump shot, as he displayed in spurts during the Connecticut game, Harrell will continue to climb draft boards.


14. Dario Saric (12)

There is no update on Saric. Much like Exum, he may see his stock rise and fall simply on the whims of his draft peers. It is hard to develop too much of an opinion based on overseas statistics and playing time just because the quality and level of competition is not always known.