Tomorrow is the 2014 NBA Draft, which will be held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. We’ll be there covering the highs and lows as the future stars of the NBA enter the league. But before the real draft takes place, our summer interns pulled together a mock draft and some interesting factoids on the top prospects in the 2014 draft class.
Who did they think would go first? Check out the SI Kids draft board below!
First to Go
At the beginning of June, it seemed Joel Embiid would be a lock for the No. 1 pick. But after an injury requiring surgery just a week before the draft, Andrew Wiggins will likely have his name called first. As just a freshman, Wiggins led Kansas in scoring with 17.1 PPG. His explosive 41-point performance against West Virginia is an indication of his NBA potential. And like during his time at Kansas, Wiggins will need to step in and be an effective player immediately, this time for a struggling NBA franchise.
How does the rest of the Draft shake out? Here’s how we think the top 14 picks will go:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers — Andrew Wiggins
2. Milwaukee Bucks — Jabari Parker
3. Philadelphia 76ers — Joel Embiid
4. Orlando Magic — Marcus Smart
5. Utah Jazz — Dante Exum
6. Boston Celtics — Julius Randle
7. L.A. Lakers — Noah Vonleh
8. Sacramento Kings — Aaron Gordon
9. Charlotte Hornets — Doug McDermott
10. Philadelphia 76ers — Nik Stauskas
11. Denver Nuggets — Gary Harris
12. Orlando Magic — Zach LaVine
13. Minnesota Timberwolves — Adreian Payne
14. Phoenix Suns — Rodney Hood
Most Interesting Man in the Draft
Can you guess which draft prospect wants to write a children’s book, studied film in college, and grew up using a milk crate as a basketball hoop? Answer: Jabari Parker. His personality captivates just as much as his game, demonstrated by his ACC Rookie of the Year award. Parker also has voiced ambitions about returning to Duke to finish his degree, proving he values life off the court as much as time on it.
Are we sure Zach LaVine is human? We haven’t seen him play an NBA game yet, but based on this picture from a workout with the Lakers, we are ready to see him in the next dunk contest. The 6’6” LaVine has recorded a 46-inch vertical and has a standing reach of 8’4.” That means he’s about a Subway sandwich in length away from being able to put the ball in the hoop without leaving the floor. He’s only 19-years- old, so his game has time to grow, but his athletic ability will support him until he gains experience.
Biggest Question Mark
Kansas center Joel Embiid has been compared to all-time great big men Hakeem Olajuwon and Tim Duncan. There’s no doubt he’s capable of a standout professional career. But first he will have to overcome a major obstacle: a stress fracture in his right foot. Embiid was a crucial defensive presence for the Jayhawks, averaging 2.57 blocks and 8.1 rebounds per game. This 7-footer’s greatest weakness is unfortunately out of his control. He seems to be injury prone. And whether or not he can come back healthy from this most recent injury will determine his NBA future.
Most Talented ‘HORSE’ Player
Doug McDermott is best known for surpassing the 3,000 point mark this past season and for ranking fifth in all time NCAA scoring. What we recently found out, though, is he’s a masterful ‘HORSE’ player. In this video, McDermott shows off just how skilled he is at trick shots, taking on 99 challengers and beating all of them:
Now we know the fade-away jumper he added last season is not the only shot he’s been practicing.
Possible History Maker
LeBron James. Kobe Bryant. Kevin Garnett. These are three guys who went straight from high school to the NBA and became legends in the league. Commissioner Adam Silver is pushing for an NBA rule change that would raise the entry age from 19 to 20, which could make Dante Exum the last player to enter the NBA with no collegiate or professional experience. Can he be the next—and possibly final—LeBron or Kobe?
Who do you think will be selected first overall in the 2014 NBA Draft? Let us know in the comments section below!
Photos: Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images, Lakers