The Lottery Picks of the 2014 NBA Draft (2/9 Update)

Oklahoma State Men's College Basketball, Marcus Smart

The Lottery Picks of the 2014 NBA Draft (2/9 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)

With three 20-point games and two double-doubles in his last four contests, Jabari Parker is continuing to prove he is the most NBA-ready prospect heading into the draft. The only knock against him right now is his spotty outside shot, which hasn't been a weapon since November.


2. Joel Embiid (2)

Although his offense has deteriorated a bit recently and he's gotten into lots of foul trouble in recent games, there is no denying the upside of Joel Embiid. He will remain in the top three for the season barring something drastic.


3. Andrew Wiggins (3)

The shooting touch is still nowhere near where it needs to be for Andrew Wiggins. He is a top three prospect right now but not a top three player on a game-to-game basis.


4. Julius Randle (4)

Julius Randle must have been listening to the skeptics. After collecting a total of one steal in his first 14 collegiate games, Randle has stolen the ball 11 times in the last nine games. His offense has also picked back up a tad, although it is still not at the level it was back in November.


5. Dante Exum (6)

The move up for Exum has everything to do with Marcus Smart's decline and nothing to do with news of Exum. The young Australian did officially declare himself for the NBA draft though, which is good news for hopeful NBA franchises and bad news for those colleges who had some strain of hope that Exum would attend their university.


6. Marcus Smart (5)

The tailspin of the Oklahoma State Cowboys has been directly tied to the downward spiral of Marcus Smart's reputation. Along with a fan altercation this past week, Smart's game on the court has been spotty for much of the season, especially shooting the basketball. However, his overall contribution to a potential NBA team is still off the charts, keeping him in the top six, if just barely.


7. Gary Harris (7)

Gary Harris continues to shine for an undermanned Michigan State squad. After a down game against Iowa, Harris rebounded to score 20 his next time out. While he is surely taking on more of the scoring load than either he or Coach Tom Izzo anticipated coming into the season, Harris has proven himself a capable shooting guard on both ends of the floor.


8. Dario Saric (10)

Bad games and declining stock for college players is good news for Dario Saric. The 19 year old Croatian is still 6'10" with handle and scoring prowess. According to ESPN's Chad Ford, some NBA general managers would have expected Saric to be in the top five easily if he were playing in the United States this year.


9. Aaron Gordon (8)

In one of the more disappointing developments this calendar year, Aaron Gordon has appeared to be in steady decline. With the loss of Brandon Ashley, Arizona has needed more from Gordon and he has not yet delivered on that request. Poor shooting splits combined with the worry that Gordon may be a defender/athlete and nothing more push his stock back a bit for the time being.


10. Willie Cauley-Stein (11)

Scouts are split on what to make of Willie Cauley-Stein. On the one hand, he puts up performances like his game against Ole Miss: 18 points, 11 rebounds, 6 blocks, 2 assists on 7-of-8 shooting. On the other, he can be the player he was against Missouri, where he was a non-factor because of foul trouble. His defensive presence will keep him afloat in the lottery, assuming his offensive game comes along at all.


11. Rodney Hood (9)

Rodney Hood is actually of similar height as Doug McDermott. While the Creighton power forward is thought of as a giant matchup problem, it is really not the case. Hood can be just as deadly from outside, while possessing superior skills in other areas. As long as he shoots the ball well all season, Hood should be the first dead-eye-shooter type off the board.


12. Doug McDermott (12)

Scoring is a skill, and Doug McDermott has it. He lacks the upside and athleticism of some of the other lottery prospects, but McDermott can score from anywhere on the court. With 71 points in his last two games, another 800-point season seems all but an afterthought.


13. Noah Vonleh (13)

Noah Vonleh has been continuing his double-double performances, putting up two more in his last two games. Vonleh turns the ball over too much for someone who takes his amount of field-goal attempts (just 7.1 per), but his offensive game is still on the rise.


14. P.J. Hairston (NR)

After a tumultuous half-season sitting on the bench at North Carolina, P.J. Hairston left UNC and made his way to the NBA D-League where he has flourished. In ten games thus far, Hairston is averaging 26.3 points on 47.8% shooting against what are technically just a hair below NBA-level defenders and opponents. He has added in 4.5 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game as well. Right now, Hairston seems like a first-round lock based on his shooting. If his all-around game keeps up, he will be a lock for the lottery as well.