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2014 NBA Draft Recap: Top Ten Draft Winners

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(Image courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer)
(Image courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer)

BROOKLYN —  With the 2014 NBA Draft now in the books, various teams helped themselves in either adding a potential franchise piece, or adding a key element to a potential playoff and championship roster.

Here are my top ten winners from the draft below.

Cleveland Cavaliers (Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF): Some may argue that Jabari Parker should have been taken or that the Cavaliers should be traded down, Cleveland resisted the urge to trade and selected—perhaps the best player with the most upside—the 19-year old Canadian high-flying swingman out of Kansas, whose energy and team-oriented mindset, will prove to be a much-needed asset and running mate alongside Kyrie Irving in Cleveland.

Milwaukee Bucks(Jabari Parker, SF/PF): Considered by many experts to be the most NBA-ready prospect, the former Duke Blue Devil has the potential be the front-runner for Rookie of the Year thanks to his polished skills of offense, Jabari Parker landed in the perfect situation in Milwaukee. While the Bucks have some talent in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Ersan Ilyasova, John Henson and Brandon Knight to build around, look for Parker to establish himself as the main go-to guy for the Bucks in 2014-15.

Miami Heat—via the Charlotte Hornets—(Shabazz Napier, PG): Not too often that a two-time champion and NBA Finals runner-up is considered a winner in the Draft, but considering the Miami Heat’s 4-1 humiliation at the hands of the San Antonio Spurs, landing the former UConn Huskie point guard via a draft-night trade with the Charlotte Hornets for P.J. Hairston—is both a steal and an upgrade at the biggest weakness of the Heat.

Napier, the Most Outstanding Player during UConn’s improbable championship run, averaged 18.0 points, 5.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.8 steals upgrades a lackadaisical and suspect backcourt in South beach that has Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Toney Douglas.

Given the current possibility of LeBron James leaving in free agency, the question is will the addition of Napier be enough?

Los Angeles Lakers (Julius Randle, PF): A perfect fit for a perfect situation, 6’9, 250-pound left-handed power forward, Julius Randle could give the Los Angeles Lakers some much-needed scoring in the post. With Pau Gasol a free agent and Ryan Kelly an average back-up, Randle should be able to step in immediately and produce.

Chicago Bulls—via the Denver Nuggets—(Doug McDermott, SF): The man known as “McBuckets”, Doug McDermott lands in a great situation in Chicago that could see the return of Derrick Rose and the possible addition of Carmelo Anthony. The fifth all-time leading scoring in NCAA history(3,150 points), the three-time All-American and 2014 National Player of the Year, has a chance to make Bulls fans quickly forget about Kyle Korver.

Boston Celtics(Marcus Smart, PG): Physical, aggressive and talented, former Oklahoma State point guard, Marcus Smart has the chance to form on of the most deadly backcourts in the NBA alongside Rajon Rondo in Boston. The former second-team All-American averaged 16.6 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.5 assists during his 64-game career in Stillwater.

Phoenix Suns(T.J. Warren, SF): One of the sleepers in the draft, former North Carolina State forward T.J. Warren falling to the Phoenix Suns at 14th is a blessing for an up-and-coming team such as the Suns. Already having the new Steve Nash in Goran Dragic, Eric Bledsoe, Channing Frye and Miles Plumlee makes Phoenix a winner in landing the 6’8, 203-pound Warren—who averaged 24.5 points a game for the Wolfpack—and an even more dangerous team in the West.

Memphis Grizzlies(Jordan Adams, SG): If there is one area that the perennial playoff-contending Memphis Grizzlies lack in is that of a quality guard opposite Mike Conley. While veteran Tony Allen is a solid guard, is mainly known for his defensive prowess and not such for his scoring. In picking the former UCLA shooting guard 22nd, Memphis adds a scorer in Adams as he averaged 17.4 games during his sophomore year in Westwood and 16.4 for his career. In Memphis, Adams will get his chance to produce behind Courtney Lee and Allen.

Utah Jazz(Dante Exum, PG): On of the most intriguing and physically gifted international prospects in a long time, 18-year-old Australian point guard, Dante Exum. The 6’5, 190-pound point guard would be taken by Utah in hopes of forming one of the best young backcourt NBA tandems in Trey Burke and Exum. A little thin by NBA standards, Exum makes up for his lack of build with on-court intelligence and ability to score.

Charlotte Hornets(Noah Vonleh, PF): Don’t look now but the buzz is back in Charlotte. After a memorable playoff run that ended in a for-game sweep at the hands of the eventual Eastern champion, Miami Heat, the Hornets added another piece to a formidable front line in tabbing the 6’9, 247-pound former Indiana power forward in Vonleh. Already loaded with Al Jefferson, Cody Zeller and Bismack Biyombo, the addition of Vonleh—who averaged 11.3 points and nine rebounds in his only season in Bloomington.

The NBA Drafting Baylor C Isaiah Austin: in perhaps one of the most heart-warming and touching moments in all of sports, NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that the NBA would draft former Baylor power forward/center, Isaiah Austin, who was recently diagnosed with Marfat’s Syndrome. During his three-year career at Baylor, Austin averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists before being forced to end his NBA dreams early.

According to The Marfat Foundation, it is a genetic disorder that affects the body’s connective tissue that can affect and weaken blood vessels, the eyes and the skeleton. According to media reports, the 7’1, 225-pounder plans to finish his studies and raise awareness of the disorder.

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Robert D. Cobb
Founder, Publisher and CEO of INSCMagazine. Works have appeared and featured in places such as Forbes, Huffington Post, ESPN and NBC Sports to name a few. Follow me on Twitter at @RobCobb_INSC, email me at [email protected]

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