Ranking the 2014 NBA Draft First-Round Picks From Worst to First

By Chris Ross

Ranking the 2014 NBA Draft First-Round Picks From Worst to First

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With the 2014 NBA draft now in the books, it’s time to reflect and figure out just how well every team did. In a draft loaded with talent, the first round predictably was filled with excitement and intrigue, but that doesn't necessarily mean every pick made was a good one. With that said, let’s take a look at every first-round pick from worst to first.

Honorable Mention: Isaiah Austin, C

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Honorable Mention: Isaiah Austin, C

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In what was one of the most touching moments in NBA draft history, the league drafted Baylor center Isaiah Austin. Despite having his NBA career taken from him due to being diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, Austin was able to enjoy his draft moment.

30. Toronto Raptors: Bruno Caboclo, SF

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30. Toronto Raptors: Bruno Caboclo, SF

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Nobody saw this one coming. Bruno Caboclo, a relatively unknown prospect from Brazil, was easily the biggest reach of this draft, and a poor selection for the Toronto Raptors. Caboclo is several years away from being anywhere near an NBA-caliber player, and it just feels like the Raptors wasted this pick.

29. Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas, SG

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29. Sacramento Kings: Nik Stauskas, SG

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I like Nik Stauskas as a player, but I hate the fit in Sacramento. Ben McLemore has the exact same skill set as Stauskas, and it’s unlikely Stauskas and McLemore can play together as both need the ball to be effective.

28. Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Adams, SG

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28. Memphis Grizzlies: Jordan Adams, SG

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A reach in the first round, the Memphis Grizzlies pick of Jordan Adams is even worse when you consider the fact that a guy like Rodney Hood was still on the board. Adams will be a good enough rotational piece, but there were better options on the board.

27. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon, PF

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27. Orlando Magic: Aaron Gordon, PF

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Aaron Gordon himself is a phenomenal player, but his fit in Orlando is questionable. He’s a lockdown defender and that’s all fine and dandy, but there are bigger areas of need on the roster, and Gordon doesn’t help fill those needs.

26. Orlando Magic: Elfrid Payton, PG

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26. Orlando Magic: Elfrid Payton, PG

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Acquired in a trade after being drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers, Elfrid Payton just isn’t really a good value for the Magic. I know they needed a point guard, and I know Payton has potential, but to be honest, I’m not sure Payton is the guy that will be the team’s long-term answer.

25. Denver Nuggets: Jusuf Nurkic, C

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25. Denver Nuggets: Jusuf Nurkic, C

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The Denver Nuggets wanted a big man that could help protect the rim, but Jusuf Nurkic doesn’t look like that guy to me. Nurkic is versatile and athletic, but there are more pressing needs on Denver’s roster.

24. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ennis, PG

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24. Phoenix Suns: Tyler Ennis, PG

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As a player, Tyler Ennis is good enough to eventually become a starting NBA point guard, but in Phoenix, he’s not really needed. With Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe both on the roster, Ennis will provide depth, but not much else.

23. Philadelphia 76ers: Dario Saric, PF

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23. Philadelphia 76ers: Dario Saric, PF

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An unproven prospect who is still two years away from playing in the NBA, Dario Saric isn’t anywhere near enjoying success at the NBA level. The 76ers just can’t seem to stay away from big men who won’t be on the court for them.

22. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, PG

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22. Boston Celtics: Marcus Smart, PG

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Marcus Smart is another player whose skill set I love but whose placement I hate. The Boston Celtics have Rajon Rondo on the roster, and barring a trade, Smart is likely heading for a spot on the bench, and that’s just a waste of his talent.

21. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach Lavine, SG

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21. Minnesota Timberwolves: Zach Lavine, SG

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Although Zach Lavine is a tremendous talent on the court, he was visibly disappointed after being drafted by the Minnesota Timberwolves, and that has to raise questions about whether Lavine will give the team full effort. If Lavine gives 100% for the Timberwolves, he could be a star, but that’s a big if.

20. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, SF

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20. Phoenix Suns: T.J. Warren, SF

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A reach for the Suns at No. 14 overall pick, T.J. Warren could struggle at first in his NBA career. He has a lot of natural scoring talent, but Warren needs to become a more complete player if he wants to last in the pros.

19. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne, PF

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19. Atlanta Hawks: Adreian Payne, PF

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This is an alright pick for the Atlanta Hawks. On one hand, Adreian Payne fills a position of need for the team. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine Payne really developing into much more than a Josh Smith-type player in that he has the talent to dominate, but he’s just too inconsistent.

18. Houston Rockets: Clint Capela, PF

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18. Houston Rockets: Clint Capela, PF

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A long-term developmental prospect, Clint Capela has the potential to one day be a dominating defender in the league. In the meantime however, Capela will likely bide his time on the bench, learning behind more experienced players.

17. Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Huestis, SF

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17. Oklahoma City Thunder: Josh Huestis, SF

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A reach in the first round, Josh Huestis wasn’t the best available player, but he’s still pretty decent. He gives the Thunder length and defensive ability, but he’s still years away from making an impact.

16. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG

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16. Denver Nuggets: Gary Harris, SG

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A sharp-shooter, Gary Harris should provide the Nuggets with an explosive scorer behind newly-acquired Arron Afflalo, but he'll provide little else. Harris needs to improve in some of the finer aspects of the game before he’s ready to take on a big role.

15. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary, PF/C

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15. Oklahoma City Thunder: Mitch McGary, PF/C

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A solid talent with potential to be an imposing defensive presence, Mitch McGary was drafted with an eye toward the future. The Thunder are one of the few teams that can give McGary the opportunity to develop properly for the future.

14. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, PG

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14. Utah Jazz: Dante Exum, PG

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The only thing I don’t like about this pick is the fact that either Exum or Trey Burke will be forced to slide over to the shooting guard spot, a position they aren’t particularly suited for. Exum is an electric playmaker, but the trick for the Jazz will be getting him and Burke playing efficiently together.

13. Phoenix Suns: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG

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13. Phoenix Suns: Bogdan Bogdanovic, SG

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In Bogdan Bogdanovic, the Suns are getting a tremendously talented player with the potential to one day be a star. Bogdanovic is probably a year or two away from the NBA, but expect him to be productive once he gets to the league.

12. Los Angeles Clippers: C.J. Wilcox, SG

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12. Los Angeles Clippers: C.J. Wilcox, SG

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The Los Angeles Clippers really wanted to add a shooter in the draft, and they got just that in C.J. Wilcox. Wilcox can simply score, and that will fit right in with the Clippers.

11. Boston Celtics: James Young, SF

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11. Boston Celtics: James Young, SF

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A very polished, talented player that should step right in as a starter, James Young was a steal for the Celtics. Young gives the rebuilding Celtics a very good asset moving forward.

10. Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Hairston, PG

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10. Charlotte Hornets: P.J. Hairston, PG

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P.J. Hairston is not only an elite athlete, but he also gives the Hornets an explosive scorer and great shooter. Hairston is still raw, but his athletic tools will help him develop into a starting player down the road.

9. San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson, SF

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9. San Antonio Spurs: Kyle Anderson, SF

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Widely considered to be a huge steal with the last pick in the first round, Kyle Anderson is exactly the type of player the Spurs covet. He’s a fantastic passer and a solid shooter, and he will last in the league for a long time.

8. Chicago Bulls: Doug McDermott, PF

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8. Chicago Bulls: Doug McDermott, PF

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The Chicago Bulls knew they needed to add a scorer to the offense, and Doug McDermott is perfect for that role. McDermott is a light-out shooter, and with some development he will be a star in Chicago.

7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, PF

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7. Los Angeles Lakers: Julius Randle, PF

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One of the top prospects in the entire draft, it was surprising to see Julius Randle last until the No. 7 overall pick. That said, the Lakers got an excellent player in Randle going forward. Randle is a high-character, hard-working player and he will succeed at the next level.

6. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, C

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6. Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid, C

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If he had a clean bill of health, Joel Embiid would be even higher on this list. That said, the 76ers still got an excellent player in Embiid going forward, so long as he is able to avoid the injury bug. Embiid has dominant skills, he just needs to stay healthy.

5. Charlotte Hornets: Noah Vonleh, PF

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5. Charlotte Hornets: Noah Vonleh, PF

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Despite the fact that Noah Vonleh has plenty of bust potential, I love the bold move the Hornets made by selecting him. Vonleh is a potential star in the making, and he will show up big in Charlotte.

4. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG

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4. Miami Heat: Shabazz Napier, PG

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In my opinion, this was one of the best moves of the entire draft. The Miami Heat desperately needed to add more talent to the point guard position, and Napier was one of my favorite prospects in this draft at the position. Napier has the potential to one day become a starter, and Miami was smart to pick him up.

3. Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood, SF

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3. Utah Jazz: Rodney Hood, SF

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The Jazz needed a small forward, and with the No. 23 overall pick, Rodney Hood provides a great value. Hood is extremely efficient on the offensive end, and with some development on the defensive side of the court, Hood could be an all-star down the line.

2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF

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2. Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker, SF

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This is the pick that will put Milwaukee basketball back on the map. Jabari Parker was the second best prospect in this draft class, and he has star written all over him. The Bucks are going to look back on this selection as one of the best in franchise history.

1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SF

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1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Andrew Wiggins, SF

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This was the best pick in the draft, and it’s really not even close. Andrew Wiggins is the best prospect since LeBron James back in 2003, and his play will reflect that. Wiggins has faced massive amounts of adversity already in his career, and that has helped prepare him for life as an NBA star. Mark my words, Wiggins will be a star.

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