NBA Top 10 Mock Draft: February
February is a great month for basketball fans. We get the NBA all-star game and the start of league play in the NCAA, which to this point has been phenomenal. Like the previous mock drafts I have done, I will only be predicting the first 10 picks for the 2014 draft. My mock is based on teamneeds – not just who the best players are. This allows me to consider the team assets and needs as well as the players’ talent. Only one team left the bottom 10 teams this month and that was the Pelicans. Anthony Davis is just so good that he seems to be making sure the Pelicans don’t enter the lottery again any time soon. The team that took their place was the Detroit Pistons. So let’s get to it:
1st [1st] Milwaukee Bucks 9-43 – The Bucks have held the top pick in now all three mock drafts and, as mentioned last time, are looking like a lock to finish with the worst record this NBA season. This make things easy; Joel Embiid (Kansas) is still the pick the Bucks should make. I am concerned that he is banged up considering that he is the biggest player on the court every night in college. I don’t think that this is as much of a sure pick as one month ago.
2nd [3rd] Philadelphia 76ers 15-39 – The 76ers fell to the 2nd worst record and look like a team that could be a seller at the trade deadline on Thursday. They have two players that are not moving and they are Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel. In the last mock I had them taking Andrew Wiggins SF (Kansas) at pick three and even now that they are in the two slot I see nothing different. He has shown the ability to take over the game on both ends of the floor. Only two players in college can do that and they are the top two picks in this mock draft.
3rd [2nd] Orlando Magic 16-38 – The Magic moved back a spot in the last month but this does not change their pick either. Their biggest need is at the point guard position, so Dante Exum PG (Australia) is the only place to go. He is the best point guard in this draft class and has the size that can help a point guard a la rookie MCW of the 76ers. Taking him at three will also ease a little bit of the pressure for him to perform sooner.
4th [6th] Sacramento Kings 18-35 – The Kings are still a mess even with Rudy Gay and DeMarcus Cousins playing out of their minds. If the Kings knew that this would be the Rudy that would show up every night, season after season, I might have gone in another direction. However, anyone that knows anything about basketball know this is not happening. Jabari Parker SF (Duke) is going to be a player that can produce the numbers that Gay does but in a much more efficient manner.
5th [7th] Los Angles Lakers 18-35 – This is the highest the Lakers have been in any of my mock drafts so far and it’s going to pay off. To this point, they were a team that had a slightly later pick and were going to have to take a flier on potential. Now they are in position to get possibly the most polished and NBA ready player in the draft. Julius Randle PF (Kentucky) is that player. He is what Kobe would want; a player that could help him win now. His game would also fit perfectly with Pau Gasol. I don’t think that he would fit in the Mike D’Antoni system, although I have a feeling he won’t have to.
6th [4th] Boston Celtics 19-35 – Boston has not played as well with Rondo back in the line-up as most thought they would. There are rumours circulating that they are shopping him once again. This makes perfect sense. I have never seen him as a superstar and we all know that he has an attitude. As a result, I have them taking Marcus Smart PG (Oklahoma State), just as I had in January. Even with his blow ups in the last few weeks I think that his talent is too much to pass on here.
7th [5th] Utah Jazz 19-33 – I said during my last mock that the Jazz were winning more games then they would like and that trend continued this past month. They have fallen to the seventh spot in the draft. This is the point of the draft where you are forced to look at future potential over immediate returns on the court. Trey Burke looks like the real deal so, to me, it makes sense to bring in a running mate for him. Why not someone he knows from his college days in Gary Harris SG (Michigan State).
8th [9th] Cleveland Cavaliers 20-33 – I still don’t see Deng resigning or Lebron coming back to town with the way that they are currently performing. They really have one player that I would deem untouchable in Kyrie Irving, but are so log jammed in the front court that small forward. Rodney Hood SF (Duke) is still the most sensible pick for them. Although, they have a history of going in the opposite direction of logic.
9th [4th] Denver Nuggets via New York 20-32 – It’s hard to get a read on the Knicks. They play well for a week and then horrible for a week. The Nuggets can only hope that there are more bad weeks than good ones. There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about dealing Kenneth Faried which would open up a lot of other options for the Nuggets. The player with the most upside at this spot is Aaron Gordon PF (Arizona). He is a player that still really doesn’t have a position but if Faried is gone they can try him at SF or PW.
10th [ND] Detroit Pistons 22-30 – This is the Pistons first visit to the bottom 10 of my mock drafts. This team was supposed to be set up as a playoff team with the off-season acquisitions of Brandon Jennings and Josh Smith. However, the reality is that the mix of players that they put on the floor every game does not work. They have real NBA talent at four of the five positions. Their position of need would be at SG. Zach LaVine PG/SG (UCLA) might just be the best player available at this spot and just happens to play SG. He can also slide over and play some PG and give Jennings some rest or allow them to get rid of Jennings all together. That would be my preference.
Not drafted this time around:
Noah Vonleh PF (Indiana)
Check back on the 18th of next month for my next mock draft top 10.
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