2014 NBA Draft Preview

With the top pick in tonight’s NBA Draft (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), the Cleveland Cavaliers still seem undecided on their choice. Before last week, the league consensus was that the Cavs would pick Kansas center Joel Embiid. But with news concerning Embiid’s injured foot, which could potentially sideline him for the entire season, the Cavs shifted course.

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With the top pick in tonight’s NBA Draft (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), the Cleveland Cavaliers still seem undecided on their choice. Before last week, the league consensus was that the Cavs would pick Kansas center Joel Embiid. But with news concerning Embiid’s injured foot, which could potentially sideline him for the entire season, the Cavs shifted course.

Now, the choice seems to be between forwards Jabari Parker (Duke) and Andrew Wiggins (Kansas). Sources have reported an organizational split between the Cavs’ front office, who prefer Parker, and owner Dan Gilbert, who likes Wiggins. There’s also a small possibility the Cavs may trade down and secure a proven veteran in order to entice LeBron James to sign with Cleveland again, but this option is more unlikely.

In the end, Wiggins is the best choice here. His skill-set is somewhat reminiscent of a young Scottie Pippen. And while his offensive game is not as advanced as Parker’s at this point, Wiggins’ athleticism is off the charts and his potential is unlimited.

Further down, there will be much intrigue as to what the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers will do. If Embiid drops, the rebuilding Celtics may snatch him up with the 6th pick.

The Lakers meanwhile, are interested in Embiid and Australian guard Dante Exum. But Exum is almost certainly a top 5 pick, and Embiid is also unlikely to drop. Look for the Lakers to potentially draft Kentucky forward Julius Randle, whose game resembles a more athletic Zach Randolph.

Finally, with the unbelievable depth in this year’s draft, some top quality players could be available in the mid- to late-first round. These sleepers include guards James Young (Kentucky), Shabazz Napier (UConn), Elfrid Payton (Louisiana-Lafayette), P.J. Hairston (Texas Legends of the D-League) and Zach LaVine (UCLA), and forwards T.J. Warren (North Carolina State) and Cleanthony Early (Wichita State).

In particular, pay attention to Napier, who is climbing up draft boards. The Miami Heat (and LeBron James) covet Napier but would probably have to trade up from the 26th pick to draft him.