The 2014 NBA Draft is a little more then six days away, and there is a lot of excitement. Assuming that they aren't injured or stashed in Europe, every player in the first round has the potential to make a significant fantasy impact. In this post I am taking DraftExpress' mock draft, as of Friday June 20, and commenting on the fantasy impact of each of the first ten picks.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers Andrew Wiggins (Kansas): Before the season, Wiggins was the unanimous number one pick, and that he was the guaranteed next Lebron, but this season in Kansas exposed flaws. He's no where near the dominant overall player that Lebron is, but he is still a capable fantasy player. Wiggins will provide scoring, 20.8 per 40 last year, when used along side Kyrie Irving, though don't expect anywhere near as much, due to the drop in his usage rate, when he has to share the ball with Irving, and possibly Lebron. He doesn't get many assists, but his 7.1 reb per 40 is impressive for a shooting guard.
2. Milwaukee Bucks Jabari Parker (Duke): Because of his ability to play both the three and the four, his scoring, and lack of defense, Parker often gets compared to Knicks' star Carmelo Anthony. Parker and Anthony had almost identical per 40 stats in college, Parker averaged 25 points as opposed to 24.4 by Melo, 11.4 rebounds, as opposed to 11. They were almost identical shooting the two, but Parker was a more efficient shooter, with a .588 True Shooting %, 5.1% higher then Melo's. Expect a large fantasy impact by Parker, cause the Bucks will give him almost free reign on the offense.
3. Philadelphia 76ers Dante Exum (Australia): Honestly I don't know much about him outside of his showing at the FIBA U19 Championship, and his combine measurements. He's listed as a point guard and shooting guard, and will play the latter if he shares the court with Michael Carter-Williams. He's a big 6"6' with a 6"9.5' wing span which will help him get steals for your fantasy team (1.6 per game), and ran top ten sprints and shuttle runs at the combine, which could help him get on the break and score points.
4. Orlando Magic Joel Embiid (Kansas): The now injured center will provide be a consistent double-double for his owners, as he averaged 19.4 points and 14 rebounds per 40 minutes in Kansas, when healthy. He'll give both offensive and defensive rebounds, 4 OReb per 40, in addition to the rebounds and points he will also provide blocks, a stat in which he averaged 2.6 per game last year. His biggest weaknesses right now are turnovers, 4.1 per 40, free throw percentage, 68%, and injuries.
5. Utah Jazz Noah Vonleh (Illinois): Vonleh measured in at 6"9.5', which is small for an NBA center, but still has a massive 7"4.25' wingspan. Vonleh has similar stats to Embiid, although not as good. He averaged 17 and 13.6 per 40. Vonleh also averaged two less blocks then Embiid, but was better at the line, 72%, and averaged one less turnover. Vonleh will only add to the jam of big men that the Jazz have, so I'm no sure how many minutes of fantasy impact he could provide.
6. Boston Celtics Marcus Smart (Oklahoma State): in this scenario, the Celtics would be letting Avery Bradley walk in free agency, and playing a two point guard set with Smart and Rondo. Smart's a good overall player, with a two year stat line of 20.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 5.4 assists per 40 minutes, and he'll also provide his owners with a fourth category, steals, which he averaged three a game in college. He's not a great shooter, 29.5% from three, but can still help fantasy owners in the three point category.
7. Los Angeles Lakers Julius Randle (Kentucky): The Lakers have an empty roster right now, so Randle will basically be the star of the team. Another big man in this loaded draft, Randle averaged 19.4 points and 13.5 rebounds per 40 minutes for Kentucky last year. Fantasy owners can expect those numbers to rise, on the Lakers, where there's no one of skill to take away his minutes, shots, or rebounds, and the team plays at a very fast pace, giving him a lot of possession opportunities.
8. Sacramento Kings Doug McDermott (Creighton): Yes McBuckets scored the seventh most points in a single season, ever, but you want to know who else scored a ton of points? Jimmer and JJ Redick. The un-athletic tweener doesn't have a game that will translate to the NBA at all, his scoring was inflated by having the ball 36% of the time he was on the floor, and he played in the Big East. He might be able to provide fantasy owners some rebounds, but he'll basically only provide threes, which he shot 56% in his four college years.
9. Charlotte Hornets Nik Stauskas (MIchigan): Speaking of shooting, move over Kyle Korver. Nik Stauskas made more threes in college then he did twos, shot 44% from three, had a 59% eFG%, and was fifth in the nation in offensive win shares. Stauskas is basically McBuckets, but with more athleticism, more catch and shoot, and with more minutes because he has a set position at shooting guard, like with Korver, don't expect anything other then shooting.
10. Philadelphia 76ers Aaron Gordon (Arizona): Great real life player, not as good fantasy wise. Gordon averaged 15.8 points and 10.2 rebounds per 40 minutes, which is disappointing for a forward with his level of athleticism, but still really good. Gordon gets both a steal and a block a game, and doesn't turn the ball over often which are things that will help owners, but his 42% on free throws will kill his value, if it doesn't improve, though it's reported that his shooting is better with the new form he is working on.