When you have a draft analyst as talented as Noam “Democratic Republic of the Congo Renault” Schiller, you have to make use of his skills. Here, Noam offers up his instant analysis of the 2014 Hardwood Paroxysm NBA Mock Draft. For the actual draft, click through to FanSided.
7:00 P.M. Eastern: Hey there folks! It’s Noam here, reporting live from
Madison Square Garden Barclays Center as we await the 2014 NBA draft. The atmosphere is great, the kids look excited, and I have 4 mobile devices to navigate tonight. Going to try hard to work both the twittersphere and our live, updating draft analysis page here at HP, but you’ll have to forgive me if I concede a scoop every now and then.
7:02 Commish looking dandy as he opens the festivities and gives the Cavs 5 minutes to make their picks. Sources tell me he smells like cinnamon and is kinda maybe up for a snack but not totally famished.
7:05 Ha. No, but seriously. Sincerely doubt that happens. Hearing Embiid. RT @highkin Can’t wait for the Cavs to take McDermott.
7:07: The Cavs get us started with Joel Embiid at #1, a pick that promises to be much more Kyrie Irving than Anthony Bennett. Embiid might not become a once-in-a-generation-big, but he could definitely be a thrice-in-a-generation one. That’s enough for the highest upside in the draft, bar none. The only reasons to pass on him are concerns about his back and impatience from ownership – the Cavs seem to have overcome the latter to wager against the former.
7:12: The Bucks gladly snag the remaining Kansas freshman in Andrew Wiggins. Honestly, this was a no-brainer for Milwaukee, who just had to take the guy Cleveland didn’t. In Wiggins, they get a potential superstar who could combine with Giannis Antetokounmpo to create the league’s most frightening defensive wing rotation, lead an offense, and just generally spend a decade not being Carlos Delfino. What few concerns exist regarding offensive passivity will be dealt with in due time.
7:15: Hearing Philadelphia is starting to grease the trade wheels. Byron Mullens could be headed elsewhere. Hold on to your hats.
7:18: And things just get interesting with our first reach of the night, as Philadelphia goes Julius Randle at number 3! This pick would have looked a lot better in the preseason, but it’s certainly baffling in this context. A non-spacing power forward who seems to offer more of an immediate impact rather than long term upside seems like an odd frontcourt pairing with a raw offensive non-entity such as Nerlens Noel. Personally, I am shocked Jabari Parker gone past number 3, but I guess GM Jordan White sees something in Randle.
7:20: Yet another Jordan White letdown, as rampant trade talk leads to nothing more than Byron Mullens for Dwight Buycks. Philly has spent the past year gambling on young, borderline NBA talent while hoping that increased opportunity leads to a breakthrough; one can debate whether Buycks is capable of this, but he’s certainly a better bet than Mullens. Not sure what Toronto gets from this – trading for Mullens activates his player option for 2014-15 while Buycks was unguaranteed for the same period.
7:23: The Magic gladly nab Parker. There’s been a lot of pre-draft talk that Exum is their guy, with point guard assumed to be their biggest need, but Maurice Harkless isn’t all that when Jabari is still on the board. Orlando gets the draft’s most polished scorer, and can proudly hitch its wagon to Victor Oladipo on defense and Jabari on offense from here on out.
7:26: Gossip time! My juiciest offering – as Utah prepares to make the 5th pick, be advised that they may not be picking for themselves. I’m told there has been aggresive discourse surrounding this pick. Specifically, Oklahoma City GM Ian Levy seems intent on breaking into the top 5 with basically anybody but Durant, Westbrook and Ibaka being made available. Also talkative – Orlando is sniffing out for an extra late first rounder, Charlotte could move one or both of their picks for the right veteran, and virtually every GM present agrees John Salmons needs to be traded and is just trying to figure out how to make it happen.
7:28: The Jazz take Dante Exum at number 5. Exum is this year’s biggest question mark – he’s considered the best guard in the draft, but nobody is totally sure what he looks like. He’s an excellent athlete, though, and if the Jazz keep him he, Gordon Hayward and Alec Burks could make for some physical backcourt play. Note I didn’t mention Trey Burke, there – my hunch (aka #Sourcez) is that if Utah keeps Exum, Burke immediately hits the market.
7:30: The biggest name supposedly available tonight is, of course, Kevin Love. However, don’t expect anything on that front. One source tells me the offers he’s hearing teams are throwing at Minnesota are “comically inadequate”. Other sources offer several puns.
7:31: We interrupt your smooth Love Boat sailing to bring you news of a likely trade. Hearing it’s Utah and Orlando. Stay tuned.
7:32: Break out your 2009 Celtics hats, the Ray Allen-Stephon Marbury special is in town! Orlando and Utah swap their back to back picks, with Jabari Parker and Tobias Harris going to the Jazz for Dante Exum and #23. Might be some cash going Orlando’s way too. Arguments can be made for the better player between Parker and Exum, but both teams end up with what they wanted. Utah gets their marketable superstar in Parker, whose Mormonism could elevate his local status. Orlando gets themselves a point guard – or, at least enough of one to share ball handling duties with Oladipo, yet another hybrid. As for the Harris/#23 part of this, it still remains to be seen who’s available, but my gut feeling is this is pretty much a wash.
7:34: Amid Utah GM Kevin McElroy celebrating a trade well done by exclaiming “I AM NOW THE KNICKS” (#sourcez), the Celtics reach a bit for Doug McDermott. McDermott is a polarizing figure in this draft. He’s skilled to be sure, but translating to the NBA game athletically is hardly a given for him. This might have been a bit too optimistic a pick at 6. I’m not sure if Boston GM Karl Maloney sees McDermz as a 3 or a 4, but I hope it’s the former – the McDermott-Sullinger-Olynyk frontcourt might be the league’s most abhorrent defensive monstrosity in all of history.
7:36: We’ve had only one trade so far, but there is madness behind the scenes. Denver, Phoenix, Philly and Charlotte essentially trying to trade anything available. One league source claiming this draft night could pass as “digital artistics installation” and another makes a Dumb and Dumber reference.
7:38: The Lakers nab Marcus Smart, in what I can only assume is a somewhat begrudging manner. It’s not that Smart isn’t good – though Noah Vonleh and Aaron Gordon are both higher on my board and still available – but I’m pretty sure the Lakers preferred to move this pick for a game-changing veteran. In the meanwhile, Laker fans can salivate at the prospect of an elite point guard prospect getting one year of Steve Nash tutelage before Captain Canada rides into the sunset.
7:43: The Kings nab Aaron Gordon at number eight. Gordon is an interesting pick that could go multiple ways – power forward was hardly Sactown’s greatest need, and if they’re already going with a 4 I probably would have preferred Noah Vonleh’s upside and range on offense. That said, Gordon is hardly a slouch – he may instantly become Sacramento’s best defender and there are some interesting hybrid forward lineups to be played among him, Derrick Williams and Rudy Gay.
7:45: As the Charlotte Hornets get their 5 minutes of clock time, they’re still looking for veterans wherever veterans may roam. Even if they make a pick for themselves, expect them to try and wiggle out of it throughout the night.
7:48: Charlotte makes Garry Harris their first pick of the new Hornet era. Again, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s eventually moved for a veteran, but I actually really like this pick. Harris fits really well with the type of versatile slashing wings Charlotte has consistently stockpiled over the past few years and could immediately see playing time alongside Gerald Henderson and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. My only criticism is that he, like those other two, isn’t much of a three point shooter.
7:50: As we await pick number 10, it’s looking more and more likely that Philly doesn’t make it for themselves. Hearing Phoenix is very close to moving up here, and the only question is the price. As one source says – “GM Cole Patty is negotiating against himself”. Expect picks 14 and 18 to go the other way, only question is whether that’s enough.
7:53: Trade announcement! The Sixers indeed toss #10 to Phoenix for #14 and #18. Picking for the Suns, the Sixers take Noah Vonleh. Frankly, I don’t have the remotest of clues why Vonleh slipped so low, and the Suns have got to be thrilled with this development. Vonleh’s range and athleticism might as well be Channing Frye and both Morrii combined. While the Suns’ amazing 2013-14 run has somewhat accelerated their long term schedule, this move could pay huge dividends a few years down the road when a Bledsoe-Vonleh 1-2 punch terrorizes the league.
7:55: AND THE MOVES KEEP ON COMING! Fresh off the best regular season in franchise history, Toronto pulls off a stunner of a move, as the Raptors announce they have traded Amir Johnson, Greivis Vasquez, John Salmons and the #20 pick for Kenneth Faried, Wilson Chandler, Nate Robinson and #11. The trade is tricky because Vasquez is a restricted free agent but the entirety of the league has decided that, meh, it’ll work. Gut take here – long term move for the Raps, as going from Johnson to Faried hurts the Raptors defensively and rids Kyle Lowry of a great pick and roll friendship, but moving up in this draft and getting Faried to grow alongside Jonas Valanciunas is probably worth it. As for Denver, they get out of the Wilson Chandler contract and no longer need to pay Faried’s upcoming extension, but I’m a bit miffed as to whether Amir, guaranteed to be an immediate Brian Shaw favorite, is enough of a difference maker is enough to justify a 9 spot difference. Vasquez is a nice add if the contract he’s signed and traded too isn’t excessive, though.
7:58: Raps use their newly acquired pick on Dario Saric. Saric is a tricky prospect – a breathtakingly versatile talent who might struggle physically in the NBA if he even bothers to leave Europe. That said, Toronto has dealt with a messy overseas buyout in the past with Jonas Valanciunas, and with Chandler and Faried now on board has enough of a forward rotation to succeed in the short term as it waits. Savvy pick from GM Dane Carbaugh, here, as the internet begins preparations for some Dario and VaLuigi photoshops.
8:01: Orlando needs virtually no time to debate its 12th pick, jumping all over Michigan’s Nik Stauskas. Hard to argue with the pick – the Magic’s young core of Dante Exum, Oladipo, Harkless and Nik Vucevic is almost as bricktastic as it is athletic, and Stauskas is the best shooter in the draft. He should be able to contribute from day one as a floor spacer with room to grow alongside his young brethren. As one source says – “this is [Orlando GM] Dub Hennigan, he is not fucking around”.
8:04: Denver may not be done. Hearing Randy Foye is “very available”. Also hearing several Aaron Sorkin jokes. Something about strolling and corresponding or something like that.
8:06: The Wolves take James Young at #13. While I like Young in a vacuum, I’m not sure about the immediate fit – Minnesota is a win-now team that’s gasping for any semblance of outside shooting, and Young is a project wing, with his 3 point range being the biggest hole in his game. That said, you have to like GM Evans Clinchy going for the long term here – Young’s athleticism makes for salivating upside and unlike future teammate Ricky Rubio, his shot looks more underdeveloped than downright broken. “He doesn’t fit next to Corey Brewer” isn’t exactly the reason why not to draft a guy, ya know?
8:12: The Philadelphia Hinks use the #14th pick they acquired from Phoenix on T.J. Warren. Hearing Philly isn’t super pleased with this one – sources say they tried to pick Doug McDermott here while completely ignoring the fact he was off the board, bringing into question whether they ever really knew what a draft is, anyway – but I guess they thought Warren was the best player still on the board. Allow me to disagree. Warren is a phenomenal scorer, but he’s a bit lacking as an athlete and I worry his defense might make Sixer fans miss Lou Williams. Aw, who am I kidding – we all miss Lou Williams.
8:17: With a second consecutive reach, the Hawks use their 15th pick on K.J. McDaniels! The buzz around the draft was that McDaniels got a guarantee from #DubHennigan at 23, but I guess Hawks GM Bo Churney wasn’t having any of it. McDaniels is an uber-athletic athletic defensive forward – in fact, he kind of reminds me of current Hawk DeMarre Carroll. Probably could have gotten him lower.
8:23: Draft is now full on in that sweet pick-to-pick rhythm, like a Jamal Crawford probe dribble. The Bulls sweep up Adreian Payne at 16, who, beyond clearly being confused regarding conventional first name spelling, is a great pick here. He’s a good defender, he can stretch the floor, and he’s as ready as they come at 23 years old. Might not be too much upside here, but this could pay some Taj Gibsonesque immediate payoff for the Bulls. The Stacey King catchphrases write themselves.
8:25: Bulls are hardly done here, with the #19 pick still in tow, but they might even be more active. Hearing they aren’t psyched about anyone still available and could look to trade out. Payne isn’t totally out of the clear, either – though Chicago likes him he’s available for the right offer.
8:28: Boston’s second pick looking much better than the first one as they steal Zach LaVine at #17. The concerns about LaVine are well known – is he a point guard or is he too selfish? – but he’s an athletic freak who is huge for a lead ball handler. The Franchise That Developed Rajon Rondo has got to feel good about their ability to bring out the best in him.
8:30: Holy mother of god, the Sixers do NOT want to pick at #18. Hearing Jordan White is doing everything in his power to move down for some extra somthin’ somthin’, from trying to acquire Toronto’s already-moved-to-Denver 20th pick to generally just stalling a lot and bringing to light the difference between a live draft and an email thread. In the meanwhile, hearing Orlando has finally managed to buy back into the first round and likely have a deal for Chicago’s 19th pick, probably involving the maximum $3 million allowed going to Chicago for a bunch of veteran flotsam.
8:33: Panic! at the green room. The Magic barely announce that they’ve sent Jameer Nelson and $3 million to Chicago for the #19th pick, Kirk Hinrich, Nazr Mohammed, Ronnie Brewer and Lou Amundson (source: “Lou Amundson is in the league?”), and they’ve already turned on the spot to send that very #19th pick and the #23rd pick they acquired from Utah to Philly. The reward – #18 and Thaddeus Young. Pretty impressive work here by #DubHennigan, who has somehow turned Tobias Harris, what was left of Jameer and spare change into an Exum-Oladipo-Afflalo-Young-Vucevic core starting five with youth on the wings.
8:33: Fresh off the mad trade wheel, Orlando takes Cleanthony Early at number 18, adding to an impressively expanding cadre of versatility. I assume Stauskas beats out Early for minutes early out of the gate, since shooting is a more dire need than general havoc, but Early is no slouch, either. And while he’s already 23, you know what they say – it’s never too Cleanthony Late to learn.
8:33: I apologize.
8:36: Not draft related, but the Bucks have trade John Henson (WHY) and Carlos Delfino, who has just spent a decade not being Andrew Wiggins, to Charlotte for Cody Zeller and Jeffery Taylor. Bucks are clearly trying to get younger here, but Taylor is coming off a major injury and Henson is probably the best player of the bunch. I guess you can make a case for Zeller’s potential, but I don’t see it outweighing Henson. I do not like this for Milwaukee, great get for the Hornets.
8:37: Hearing Clipper GM President Jack Armstrong Winter, desperately trying to leverage his #28 pick for a third big man, is distraught that John Henson is no longer available. Begrudgingly switching focus to his second choice, Darrell Arthur. Math around it could be tricky, though.
8:38: Another deal from Philadelphia, and this one is a woozy – the Sixers trade picks #19 and #23 to Utah in a sign and trade for Gordon Hayward, further proving that the HP Mock Draft cares not that Restricted Free Agency comes a week after the draft ends. Correct order of operations means nothing to us. We piss on PEDMAS.
8:39: The Jazz subsequently take Rodney Hood at #19. With Hayward having been expensive to keep, and Jabari as the face of the franchise from day 1, moving Gordon for two first rounders makes sense. And if you want a second wing to complement Jabari, why not go with his college teammate? Lest you be worried, this is not just familiarity speaking – Hood is good value at this point in the draft. Like Parker (and most rookies, honestly) he will struggle defensively early on, but dude can shoot like it’s nobody’s business.
8:43: Couldn’t describe it better than this source: “Larry Sanders is available… Bueller? Bueller?”
8:44: The Nuggets pick P.J. Hairston at #20, giving them a shooting guard that is taller than 6’1″ for the first time since Voshon Lenard. Of course, this is Brian Shaw, so he may just move to point guard for #TriangleReasons.
8:47: Half of Toronto GM Dane Carbaugh’s sandwich is available, but I’m hearing teams are weary of trading for it after weeks of refusal to release its condiment records.
8:49: This may just be a testament to how deep the draft is, but teams keep getting great value from low picks. Most recent example – Oklahoma City nabbing Tyler Ennis, who for a few weeks was talked about as the best point guard in the draft, at #21. Now, Ennis isn’t the best point guard in this draft, but he could be a very nice floor general for OKC’s second unit from day one, enabling them to either move Reggie Jackson to the starting lineup or off the ball.
8:51: Players that I hear are available – all of the Bobcats, and one Danilo Gallinari. Hmmmm.
8:52: Orlando continues to stockpile assets, swapping Andrew Nicholson for the #24 pick. Nicholson stagnated badly in his sophomore season and was a bit surplus to requirements with Thad Young now on board – another pick will definitely come more in handy. That said, Nicholson could do well in a new environment, and getting somebody better than him is hardly a surefire thing in the late first round. I like this deal for both sides.
8:55: Controversial moment, here, as Denver GM Caleb Nordgren tries to assume control of the Detroit Pistons in order to sign-and-trade Greg Monroe to himself. Commissioner Silver is unmoved by pleas that this should be allowed “since nobody is running them” and “That trade makes sense for both teams!”. And you thought David Stern was a hardball.
8:56: Memphis takes Elfrid Payton at #22. Payton is a classic Grizzlies player, a dogged athlete who can’t shoot much. He wins the backup point guard battle by default with Nick Calathes suspended to start next season, but he may be flat out better than Calathes regardless. He is also set to become the first Elfrid in NBA history.
9:01: After WASTING EVERYONE’S TIME GOING TO THE MOVIES, Utah uses the pick that it traded away to Orlando only to get back from Philly on Bosnian project Jusuf Nurkic. Utah’s track record with stash picks is all over the place – Kyrylo Fesenko was and still is a comedy god, whereas Ante Tomic has remained in Europe with a negligible entertainment value at best. Lets hope Nurkic is closer to the former.
9:06: After smoking the competition throughout much of the night, Orlando GM Dub Hennigan takes Mitch McGary at 24 and can finally inhale. I’ll be blunt – love this pick for the Magic. By switching Andrew Nicholson straight up for McGarz, Orlando weeds out its frontcourt weak spots without even needing to sweeten the pot. There are some back issues with McGary that still need to be hashed out, but I think he cannabeat them.
9:08: I’m being told that Neighbors was a good-time comedic romp but that might just be smokescreening.
9:11: The Rockets, with plenty of youth on the roster already and not much need for more, take a classic stash guy in Vasillije Micic. A bit of a reach at 25, Micic is a big, passing point guard who is unlikely to come over right away. Also, between Vasillije and old stash pick Sergio Llull, Houston is cornering the market on European Ls. Personally, I’d pick Ws. #HotSportTakes
9:15: The Heat take C.J. Wilcox at 26. At 23 springs, Wilcox is a bit too old to count on as a prospect, but he’s an excellent shooter and can contribute in that department from Day 1. Also, people might confuse him with Chris Wilcox and try to trade for him because everybody assumes Chris Wilcox should stay in the league at all times.
9:20: Phoenix uses their 27th pick on yet another stash guy, Kristaps Porzingis, as they have more than enough youth on the roster. Sources deny that Phoenix GM Cole Patty celebrated this pick by calling other GMs, yelling “PorZINGis!”, and hanging up.
9:26: The Clippers draft Patric Young at #28 after trying all night to trade that pick for a Patric Veteran. Young has developed alarmingly slowly during 4 years at Florida, but the qualities he had going into college – an NBA body and not being Ryan Hollins – are still there. We’ll see if Doc Rivers trusts him and/or distrusts the rest of his frontcourt to get Patric some minutes.
9:31: The Thunder use pick #29 take the versatile Kyle Anderson, a 6’9″ power forward who can nonetheless lose minutes to both Kendrick Perkins and Derek Fisher.
9:35: In a shocking twist of events, the San Antonio Spurs use their pick on a Eurostash guy (Damien Inglis, who I’m sure you all love and cherish). The Spurs could not be reached for comment because if you tried to reach them for comment THEY WILL SMITE YOU DOWN. SMITE. YOU. DOWN.
9:40 As Adam Silver wraps things up and leaves the second round to Mark Tatum, so too will I go, because, lets be honest, I have no idea who’s still available in the second round and enough e-mails were spilled as is. Meet y’all again in 2015!