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"In September, we launched our first Mock Draft of 2014.
Yes, it's a bit absurd to try to project players to teams when we haven't even played a game.
But this isn't any draft, and teams are already paying close attention. The NBA season just got underway, and the college season is just around the corner.
Teams have started practicing, and scouts have been out in force trying to get an early read on players.
Based on that intel, plus an updated ESPN Forecast to project the upcoming season and a big Wizards-Suns trade that netted the Suns a potential No. 4 pick in the first round, we thought it was worth making a few tweaks to the Mock Draft based -- let's call it Mock Draft v. 1.1: Preseason edition.
Editor's note: The online version of Mock Draft 1.1 will differ slightly from the print version on newsstands due to the Marcin Gortat-Emeka Okafor trade in late October.
MORE DRAFT CONTENT:
2014 Top 30 Big Board | Ford's Top 100
1Andrew WigginsPhiladelphia 76ers
COLLEGE: KansasAGE: 18HT: 6-8WT: 195POS: SG
Sixers' forecast record: 16-66 | 25 percent to win lottery
Analysis: I've been very bullish on the 76ers this summer; having the best shot at Wiggins is why. Wiggins is one of the best prospects to come into the draft in a decade. He has NBA size, elite athletic ability and does just about everything well. Yes, he's already getting criticized for not living up to the hype from some of the same people who hyped him in the first place. But scouts who have been watching him still think he's the best prospect in the draft. He might not put up the biggest numbers, but the potential is so tantalizing, they'll be willing to be patient. With young anchors in the middle (Nerlens Noel) and at the point guard position (Michael Carter-Williams), the Sixers could add an uber-athletic wing to the mix. Combined with the No. 11 pick (see below), they suddenly have one of the most exciting young cores in the NBA. Even if the Sixers don't win the lottery, a player like Julius Randle, Dante Exum or Jabari Parker would add another potential star to the team.
2Julius RandlePhoenix Suns
COLLEGE: KentuckyAGE: 18HT: 6-9WT: 225POS: PF
Suns' forecast record: 19-63 | 19.9 percent to win lottery
Analysis: Like the 76ers, the Suns feel they have their big man (Alex Len) and their point guard (Eric Bledsoe) of the future. Randle would be a perfect complement to Len on the front line. He's the type of versatile 4 that most teams covet. He possesses virtually every attribute scouts look for in a prospect. The Suns have two other first-round picks (Nos. 18, 25) to fill out the team and are also optimistic about the long-term future of Archie Goodwin. While I don't like the baseline talent quite as much as I like Philly's, the Suns could end up easily rivaling Philly as the best young team in the NBA in another year.
3Marcus SmartOrlando Magic
COLLEGE: Oklahoma St.AGE: 19HT: 6-4WT: 225POS: PG
Magic's forecast record: 24-58 | 15.6 percent to win lottery
Analysis: This will be a tough call for the Magic. They'll likely grab a point guard if they're drafting here and will have their choice of Dante Exum, Marcus Smart or Andrew Harrison. Exum has been rocketing up boards this summer, and scouts are already beginning to peg him as a rival to Wiggins for the overall No. 1 pick. Harrison was ranked as the top high school point guard in 2013, and the Magic would have selected him with the No. 2 pick if Smart had declared for the draft last season. But the odds remain in Smart's favor. Orlando loves his combination of toughness, defense and energy. Imagine having to play against a Victor Oladipo-Smart backcourt? They'll terrorize the league. Obviously, if Smart doesn't improve his jump shot and handle this season, he'll move out of the picture. But for now, it's Smart's spot to lose.
4Joel EmbiidBoston Celtics
COLLEGE: KansasAGE: 19HT: 7-0WT: 250POS: C
Celtics' forecast record: 26-56 | 11.9 percent to win lottery
Analysis: GM Danny Ainge may be tempted to grab Jabari Parker here. He's actually a great fit for the Celtics. With a super-skilled frontcourt of Jared Sullinger and Kelly Olynyk, and an athletic backcourt of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, Parker fits well in between.However, the buzz surrounding Embiid has been enormous. There are scouts who say he has Hakeem Olajuwon-like potential and that -- while he's unlikely to dominate as a freshman -- he has the potential to be the best big man to come into the draft in a long time. That much potential in a 7-1 frame might be too much for Ainge to pass on.
5Dante ExumCharlotte Bobcats
COUNTRY: AustraliaAGE: 18HT: 6-6WT: 188POS: PG
Bobcats' forecast record: 27-55 | 8.8 percent to win lottery
Analysis: Draft after draft, the Bobcats continue to miss their shot at a real franchise talent. That should change in 2014. I expect they'll be praying for Exum if they miss out on Wiggins. They need an explosive scoring guard in the worst way, and Exum's ability to play both the point and the 2 makes him a perfect fit in Charlotte. With Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Kemba Walker and Cody Zeller already in place, adding Exum finally would give the Bobcats a player worth getting excited about.
6Jabari ParkerSacramento Kings
COLLEGE: DukeAGE: 18HT: 6-8WT: 241POS: SF
Kings' forecast record: 29-53 | 6.3 percent to win lottery
Analysis: The Kings' two building blocks right now are big man DeMarcus Cousins and athletic 2-guard Ben McLemore. Adding Parker would give the team a skilled small forward -- something the Kings desperately need. And Parker might be the most skilled forward in the draft.
7Aaron GordonUtah Jazz
COLLEGE: ArizonaAGE: 18HT: 6-8WT: 210POS: PF
Jazz's forecast record: 30-52 | 4.3 percent to win lottery
Analysis: The Jazz drafted their point guard of the future, Trey Burke, in June. They have great young anchors on the front line with Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter. And Gordon Hayward can play both the 2 and the 3. Gordon might be another great fit. He is an explosive player who excels in the open court. He's trying to make the transition from the 4 to the 3 this year at Arizona. If he improves his handle and jump shot, he could be a lethal combo forward in the NBA and give the Jazz another elite young prospect to build around.
8Andrew HarrisonMilwaukee Bucks
COLLEGE: KentuckyAGE: 18HT: 6-5WT: 207POS: PG
Bucks' forecast record: 32-50 | 2.8 percent to win lottery
Analysis: If the Bucks somehow can get their hands on one of those top three point guards, they'll do it. The team acquired Brandon Knight in a trade this summer, but he doesn't have the long-term potential of Exum, Smart or Harrison. Harrison has as much talent as Smart and Exum but slides a bit because of questions about his attitude. If John Calipari can get him to mature -- remember when John Wall had all the same questions surrounding him before he played for Calipari at Kentucky? -- then the Bucks could potentially land the best point guard prospect in the draft.
9Dario SaricToronto Raptors
COUNTRY: CroatiaAGE: 19HT: 6-10WT: 223POS: SF
Raptors' forecast record: 35-47 | 1.7 percent to win lottery
Analysis: The Raptors' biggest hole is at the 4 and Saric could be a very interesting fit. Once again, he was dominant in summer tournament play and is widely regarded as the top young prospect in Europe. A point power forward, he shows off remarkable court vision and is a terrific rebounder. His so-so jump shot and lack of elite quickness keep him from being an elite prospect at the 3, but he could complete a very big front line alongside Jonas Valanciunas and Rudy Gay.
10Glenn Robinson IIILos Angeles Lakers
COLLEGE: MichiganAGE: 19HT: 6-6WT: 210POS: SF
Lakers' forecast record: 36-46 | 1.1 percent to win lottery
Analysis: At some point the Lakers are going to have to start rebuilding, and if our Summer Forecast voters are correct, it's going to start this season. The team really needs help everywhere. There isn't a young building block at any position. Robinson has drawn some positive reviews from observers the past few weeks. He should be carrying a big part of the load for Michigan this season and will gain valuable experience. If he can prove he has a reliable jumper, he'll have a long pro career.
11Montrezl HarrellPhiladelphia 76ers (via New Orleans Pelicans)*
COLLEGE: LouisvilleAGE: 19HT: 6-8WT: 235POS: PF
Sixers' forecast record: 38-44 (for Pelicans) | 0.8 percent to win lottery
Analysis: Putting Harrell on a team that already includes Noel, Carter-Williams and, if they win the lottery, Wiggins is just plain greedy. Harrell is a bouncy energizer who would be a great fit in Philly. He has a terrific motor and is an excellent rebounder, and he proved this summer that his offensive game is coming along nicely. If he has a big sophomore year at Louisville, he might not be around at No. 11. But if he is, he'd be another great building block for the Sixers.
12Willie Cauley-SteinPortland Trail Blazers**
COLLEGE: KentuckyAGE: 20HT: 7-0WT: 220POS: PF
Trail Blazers' forecast record: 39-43 | 0.7 percent to win lottery
Analysis: The Blazers actually are trying to make the playoffs in a very crowded Western Conference. But if they don't, the draft is the upside. Cauley-Stein hasn't even begun to realize his potential. He was very raw at Kentucky last season, but when he got it going, everyone could easily see great things to come. The Blazers don't really need another center, but Cauley-Stein's versatility might allow him to back up LaMarcus Aldridge.
13Wayne SeldenCharlotte Bobcats (via Detroit Pistons)#
COLLEGE: KansasAGE: 19HT: 6-5WT: 230POS: SG
Bobcats' forecast record: 40-42 (for Pistons) | 0.6 percent to win lottery
Analysis: Selden has received raves from scouts all summer, and he has been one of the fastest risers on our Board. He's the sort of scoring, power guard who can get his shot off from anywhere, which is what the Bobcats lack. In short, he's a long-term upgrade over Gerald Henderson.
14James YoungPhoenix Suns (via Minnesota Timberwolves)***
COLLEGE: KentuckyAGE: 18HT: 6-7WT: 200POS: SF
Suns' forecast record: 42-40 (for Wolves) | 0.5 percent to win lottery
Analysis: Young is the true wild card of the draft. Scouts have been raving about him in Kentucky's practices, and if he ends up dominating this season the way he has in the preseason, he'll probably move another 10 spots up the board. If he plays more of a supporting role, he lands here. Adding Randle, Harris and Young to a young core that has Eric Bledsoe at the point and Alex Len at center gives the Suns an amazing young talent base to rebuild on.
15Chris WalkerCleveland Cavaliers
COLLEGE: FloridaAGE: 18HT: 6-9WT: 195POS: SF
Cavaliers' forecast record: 40-42
Analysis: The Cavs' biggest need right now might be at the 3 and adding Walker would be a nice fit. However, his stock has slid a bit as he has struggled to earn academic eligibility at Florida. Walker has lottery talent -- so he'd be a steal if he lands here.
16Gary HarrisPhoenix Suns (via Washington Wizards)&
COLLEGE: Michigan St.AGE: 19HT: 6-4WT: 210POS: SG
Suns' forecast record: 42-40
Analysis: Harris isn't as accomplished as some of the other prospects here, but he quietly put together one of the best freshman seasons in the country last season, and he did it with an injured shoulder. A great athlete, he can defend and shoot with range. He could end up in the lottery if he ever gets healthy.
17Sam DekkerAtlanta Hawks
COLLEGE: WisconsinAGE: 19HT: 6-8WT: 215POS: SF
Hawks' forecast record: 41-41
Analysis: Statheads are in love with Dekker. So are teams that value athletic wings who can shoot. Dekker had a very solid freshman season, and teams are expecting a breakthrough campaign. A savvy, stat-centric team like the Hawks are sure to pounce on him -- especially with Kyle Korver as the only real 3-man on the roster at the moment.
18Mario HezonjaDallas Mavericks
COUNTRY: CroatiaAGE: 18HT: 6-6WT: 200POS: SF
Mavericks' forecast record: 39-43 | 0.5 percent to win lottery
Analysis: Donnie Nelson, the Mavs' president of basketball operations, has always loved international players and probably will be bummed if Saric is off the board. But not too bummed. Many scouts and fans in Croatia say Hezonja might actually be the better long-term prospect. A number of scouts I spoke with have Hezonja ranked as a top-10 player in this draft. The small forward could be a long-term solution to a hole at the 3.
19Mitch McGaryDenver Nuggets
COLLEGE: MichiganAGE: 21HT: 6-10WT: 250POS: PF
Nuggets' forecast record: 43-39
Analysis: McGary is so tough to place right now. If he plays the way he did in the NCAA tournament last spring, he'll be five to eight spots higher on the board. Assuming he comes down to earth just a bit (and teams do have concerns about his troubled back), this is his likely range. The Nuggets could really use a low-post scoring option, and McGary's defensive toughness and motor would make him valuable to Denver.
20Isaiah AustinOrlando Magic (via Knicks)##
COLLEGE: BaylorAGE: 19HT: 7-0WT: 215POS: PF
Magic's forecast record: 46-36 (for Knicks)
Analysis: If the Magic go with a point guard with their first pick, adding another big man to the roster would make sense at No. 20. Austin is another player who isn't gathering much consensus at this point. Some see him as a lottery pick. Others see him in the second round. Given his size and emerging skill set, he might be worth the gamble here.
21Jerami GrantMemphis Grizzlies
COLLEGE: SyracuseAGE: 19HT: 6-8WT: 203POS: SF
Grizzlies' forecast record: 50-32
Analysis: Tayshaun Prince obviously isn't the long-term solution in Memphis, but Grant has the potential to be. After a so-so freshman season, Grant impressed scouts this summer while playing in tryouts with Team USA. A bout of mononucleosis kept him from games but scouts expect big things this season.
22Doug McDermottUtah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors)++
COLLEGE: CreightonAGE: 21HT: 6-7WT: 210POS: SF
Jazz's forecast record: 51-31 (for Warriors)
Analysis: The Jazz always could use more shooting, and McDermott made a name for himself this summer with his shooting display during the Team USA national team minicamp. He could become a solid role player with Utah.
23Alex PoythressBoston Celtics (via Brooklyn Nets)^
COLLEGE: KentuckyAGE: 20HT: 6-7WT: 215POS: SF
Celtics' forecast record: 52-30 (for Nets)
Analysis: Poythress has the potential to be a high lottery pick. He struggled as a freshman at Kentucky, but the natural athletic abilities and talent are undeniable. If he can earn a starting spot on this Kentucky team and assert himself, he could be a steal this late in the draft.
24Jarnell StokesHouston Rockets
COLLEGE: TennesseeAGE: 19HT: 6-8WT: 250POS: PF
Rockets' forecast record: 54-28
Analysis: The Rockets are set at virtually every position, but Stokes could be a good fit at power forward. He is very efficient, has a soft touch around the basket, and will be one of the more NBA-ready players in this draft.
25Semaj ChristonPhoenix Suns (via Indiana Pacers)+
COLLEGE: XavierAGE: 20HT: 6-3WT: 187POS: PG
Suns' forecast record: 54-28 (for Pacers)
Analysis: The Suns already are netting a new power forward, small forward and shooting guard in this draft. Why not add a point guard, too? Yes, Eric Bledsoe should be the starter for years to come, but Christon's size and toughness could give welcome depth.
26Vasilije MicicOklahoma City Thunder
COUNTRY: SerbiaAGE: 19HT: 6-4WT: 185POS: PG
Thunder's forecast record: 55-27
Analysis: Oklahoma City is the rare team loaded with both veteran talent and interesting young players at virtually every position. The Thunder don't really need anything right now, making Micic an attractive option. Micic was terrific in the U-19s this summer and proved he could hang with some of the top collegians on Team USA. He might be the headiest point guard in the draft and could be a nice long-term fit in OKC.
27James McAdooSan Antonio Spurs
COLLEGE: North CarolinaAGE: 20HT: 6-9WT: 223POS: PF
Spurs' forecast record: 55-27
Analysis: The Spurs have a way of reclaiming lost prospects and turning them into something special. I could see McAdoo having that sort of turnaround if he lands on a team like the Spurs. He's blessed with a number of physical tools but looked overwhelmed as a sophomore. If he really gets it going this season, he won't be around when the Spurs are drafting. But if he continues to struggle, I could see Gregg Popovich helping him turn the corner.
28Dakari JohnsonChicago Bulls
COLLEGE: KentuckyAGE: 17HT: 610WT: 223POS: C
Bulls' forecast record: 57-25
Analysis: Johnson isn't even likely to start for Kentucky this season, but that won't stop him from getting mentioned as a possible first-round pick in 2014. He's big, has an NBA body, and likes to mix it up in the paint. If he shows any real promise, someone will take the gamble. The Bulls lack real depth in the middle and might be willing to take a shot on him.
29Jahii CarsonLos Angeles Clippers
COLLEGE: Arizona St.AGE: 21HT: 5-10WT: 223POS: PG
Clippers' forecast record: 57-25
Analysis: Darren Collison will take Eric Bledsoe's place of in the Clippers' offense this season, but given the tiny deal Collison signed, he figures to opt out next summer. Carson seems like a perfect fit -- a small, super-quick guard who can light it up from anywhere on the court. If he were a few inches taller, he'd be a lottery pick.
30Aaron HarrisonMiami Heat
COLLEGE: KentuckyAGE: 20HT: 6-5WT: 210POS: SG
Heat's forecast record: 60-22
Analysis: Harrison often is overshadowed by his brother Andrew, mostly because Andrew is considered a point guard and Aaron plays a less desirable position. He has talent and could add a potential big scoring threat to the Heat backcourt.
* The Pelicans will send their first-round pick to the Sixers if it falls somewhere from 6-30.
** The Blazers will send their pick to the Bobcats if it falls somewhere from 13-30.
# The Pistons will send their first-round pick to Charlotte if it falls somewhere from 9-30.
*** The Timberwolves will send their first-round pick to Phoenix if it falls somewhere from 14-30.
& The Wizards will send their first-round pick to Phoenix if it falls somewhere between 13-30.
## The Nuggets own the Knicks' first-round pick. They have agreed to send the lesser of their own pick or the Knicks' pick to the Magic.
++ The Golden State Warriors will send their pick to the Utah Jazz.
^ The Nets owe Boston a first-round pick. However, this could be either the Nets' or the Hawks' pick. The Hawks have the right to swap picks. Given our forecast, it's unlikely the Hawks will swap picks with the Nets.
+ The Pacers will send their first-round pick to Phoenix if it falls somewhere from 15-30."
I'll just say this for commentary: The Suns will be a scary, scary team if they end up getting that haul.
I never knew twins could be 2 years apart in age
why do they assume Exum is coming out?
Wow- Dekker at 17? I really like his game, but it just seems like there are other guys with a higher ceiling than Dekker at this spot. Although, his floor is pretty high too.
Also, and I qualify this as a Syracuse fan, I don't see the attraction for Jerami Grant. At least not yet anyway. I think he will be a solid NBA player, but what is his strength? He is a smart player who can knock down the mid range jumper but is not agile enough to play the SF position and not heavy enough to play the PF. I think the pedigree is speaking volumes on Grant right now. I hope I am wrong.
Parker won't drop out of top 5
Aaron Gordon too high at 7
WCS too low at 12
Jazz are not taking a PF. I hate chad ford.
Why in the world would the Magic be choosing between Exum, Smart and Harrison when Jabari Parker is still on the board? Playing two combo guards just doesn't work in the NBA anyways. The Magic already have a solid 2 guard who defends and scores in Arron Afflalo. All three might end up being better player than Afflalo but I guarantee none of them will end up being as good as Parker.
If you look at a lot of teams, they will probably trade players for younger players that they believe are more talented. Magics are young but talented at almost every position.
Oladipo will be the point guard or shooting guard. Afflalo is a very efficient sg who play defense. Moe Harkless make take a Paul George like jump soon and Tobias Harris is a beast. Vucevic is a pretty decent center. Afflalo could get traded to make room for a point guard while Oladipo plays the 2 spot. Harkless and Harris can play both forward spots and if Magics take a 4 , one should be traded.
Suns really only need a starting sf and possibly pf because Archie Goodwin looks to be a solid shooting guard and a steal for where he was taken. Also Bledsoe has a backcourt mate Dragic who is playing pretty good right now.
Philly will probably pick up a sf and could deal Young or Turner. Hawes, MCW, and Noel are not going anywhere.
Lakers need to add a young point guard or a Center. They are good at shooting guard with Kobe/Xavier Henry. Small forward is easy to find to put in Mike D' Antoni's system. I like what Jordan Hill does at the Power Forward going forward.
Charlotte should realize that MKG is not the answer and take Parker. Kemba and Henderson are solid and Zeller, Jefferson and Biyoubo make a pretty solid front court.
Some of these picks will be traded because a team should not have a lot of young players, you have to mix young players with veterans.
All of us are just making complete speculations and here are mine:
1. Jabari Parker won't drop out of the top 2.
2. Rodney Hood and PJ Hairston will play their way into the lottery.
3. James Michael Macadoo will be a 2nd round pick.
4. Aaron Gordon will be a late first round pick.
5. James Young will be a top 5 pick.
I don't see Aaron Gordon leaving Arizona if he's not projected late first round
Montrezl Harrell was measured at 6'6. I like him, but he wont be a top 20 pick. Nor will Sam Dekker. I also see Dakari Johnson going much higher, IF he actually entered.
Where was he measured at 6'6? I've only ever seen him measured at 6'8. And anyway he has a 7'0+ wingspan. Mark my words, he will be a top 20 pick.
U19 world championship. 6'5.5 without shoes/6'6.5 242 lbs. 7'3 wingspan is do doubt impressive, but without expanding his game from energy/rebounder he's borderline 1st round at best
While this website is better, I like ESPN's picks a lot more.
My top 7, incredibly likely to change are:
1) Andrew Wiggins
2) Joel Embiid
3) Julius Randle
4) Jabari Parker
5) Dante Exum
6) Andrew Harrison
7) Marcus Smart
Don't kill me over Marcus Smart pick. 40% FG doesn't translate in the NBA. If he goes back and shoots 46% this year, I'll delete this post because everything else he does is great.
I'm really sticking to my top 2. I just can't get over Embiid's abilities (sorry Jabari-ites). Even if he plays poorly this year. Potential, potential, potential.
I'm really torn over Parker. I over-rate super athletes and under-rate average athletes. He's the smartest and most skilled guy in the draft, he can hit a shot from any angle, and I have zero doubt he'll hit the outside shots in the NBA. But he's not swift or highly crafty driving through the lanes. If he steps that up in college, I'll also delete this post.
Jabari parker si a top 3 pick
I don't see Rasheed Sulaimon and PJ Hairston.
My top 10:
Gordon is going to be a near lock for the top 10. nbadraft.net might be the only website that is inaccurate compared to everyone else. He definitely isn't as effortless a scorer in the half-court as Wiggins or Randle or Parker but that is all you can criticize. What about defense? Shaka Smart said that Gordon is the best pressing forward he has ever seen and has INFINITELY higher upside defensively than someone like Parker. He will easily be taken ahead of Selden or Cauley-Stein Draft Express and Chad Ford have it right.