The Lottery Picks of the 2014 NBA Draft (1/27 Update)

Kansas Men's College Basketball; Andrew Wiggins

The Lottery Picks of the 2014 NBA Draft (1/27 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)

Jabari Parker has not been shooting the basketball well in recent games (a combined 8 for 25 in Duke's two games last week). However, he is doing other things as well as he has all year. He grabbed a total of 29 rebounds in those two games, his highest two-game total of his young career. He also has been getting to the line: eight times in the win over Miami and nne times in the win over Florida State.


2. Joel Embiid (2)

Right now, Joel Embiid's game is in a holding process. There are already a number of teams who would grab him right now if they had the first pick in the 2014 draft. However, he is not ready to contribute to an NBA game like Parker would be.


3. Andrew Wiggins (5)

Andrew Wiggins hopped back up the draft board more by default than anything. There are real questions developing for Randle and Smart. Wiggins certainly has his own question marks, but he also possesses a higher upside than either of those players. The good sign for Wiggins is it appears as though the Oklahoma State game two weeks ago was a write-off; his worst game of the season.


4. Julius Randle (3)

Scouts are finding it harder and harder to justify Julius Randle staying atop draft boards. He has simply not approached the dominant force he was at the very beginning of the season. Four of his first five career games were 20-10s. Since then, he has reached that mark just twice the rest of the year. He is also not blocking shots at an elite level and rarely grabs a steal at all. Randle's shot attempts are also down, but that may just be a sign that his teammates are becoming more comfortable creating their own offense.


5. Marcus Smart (4)

Marcus Smart's shooting is becoming a real issue. Although he has an all-around game and can control an offense without scoring himself, an NBA guard needs a jump shot. Look at what is happening with Ricky Rubio. Defenses are sagging so far off of him that it clogs up his team's offense. Now Smart is not as bad as Rubio, but unless he starts to make his outside shots, his draft stock will continue to fall.


6. Dante Exum (6)

Joe Kaiser over at ESPN's Rumor Central recently posted an article predicting a possible slide for Dante Exum (and Smart) on draft day not because of anything he's done, but because not many teams drafting after the top three will be in need of a point guard necessarily. This is quite possible, but Exum still is comfortably a top six player in this draft.


7. Gary Harris (7)

It is hard to say I would have wanted more from Gary Harris in Michigan State's loss to rival Michigan over the weekend. After all, with his team down a couple starters, Harris poured in 27 points on just 16 field goal attempts. He is averaging 18.8 points per game for the season.


8. Aaron Gordon (8)

Aaron Gordon remains just a cog in the Arizona Wildcat machine. He is a very talented cog for sure, but Gordon is remaining ahead of more productive players based off of potential alone.


9. Rodney Hood (9)

The ability to get to the foul line is something Rodney Hood's game had been lacking for most of the year before last week. The Florida State contest was the first time Hood had gotten to the line at least ten times in a game since November 19.


10. Dario Saric (14)

No news is good news for Dario Saric. As long as nothing debilitating happens during his 2013-14 European season, Saric should expect to fall into the lottery. Teams will not base too much off of the actual numbers he produces this year.


11. Willie Cauley-Stein (11)

While Willie Cauley-Stein remains a defensive fiend, his offensive game seems to be regressing as the year goes on. He managed an amazing six blocks and six steals in Kentucky's last game but grabbed just three rebounds and scored eight points. Even earlier this month, Cauley-Stein was taking half a dozen to a dozen shots per game and scoring in double figures.


12. Doug McDermott (10)

While Doug McDermott could enter an NBA game tomorrow and be able to hit shots, he does not project as the matchup nightmare some presume. McDermott is only 6'8". While that is good size for a man with his shooting touch, it is nothing like, for example, Kevin Durant, who stands a solid 6'11" no matter what his internet profiles tout. McDermott also lacks the athleticism and quickness to be a franchise player.


13. Noah Vonleh (NR)

Noah Vonleh is revealing himself to be a more offensively-talented version of Montrezl Harrell. While Harrell comes by his double-doubles with pure athleticism and strength, Vonleh seems capable of having an offense run through his post game and perimeter shooting. He is also bigger than Harrell in stature.


14. Zach LaVine (NR)

Scouts are falling all over themselves for Zach LaVine. The 6'5" freshman point guard is not currently a starter for UCLA. That has not stopped him from producing though. Shooting 52.9% from the field and 45.9% from three, LaVine has shown great touch as well as size not normally seen on a point guard.