Redrafting the 2014 NBA Draft

Redrafting the 2014 NBA Draft

The 2014 NBA Draft is a memorable one because it featured two superstar centers, one of which (Nikola Jokic) wasn't drafted until the middle of the second round. The rest of the first round consisted of a number of high-level role players along with some players with loads of potential, but inconsistent production. There were also a couple of huge busts like Dante Exum and Nik Stauskas, so this draft a had a bit of everything.

Let's see how things would shake out if we redrafted things today.

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1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Nikola Jokic (41)

Cleveland Cavaliers - Nikola Jokic (41)
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Andrew Wiggins

This may come off as a surprise given Joel Embiid's otherworldly talent, but Nikola Jokic is simply a better, more reliable NBA player. Yes, Embiid is, by far, a more impactful defender. He can also dominate opponents in the post in ways only the likes of Shaquille O'Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and other Hall of Fame big men could. However, Jokic can dominate basketball games too - look no further than his career playoff averages (24.7 ppg., 11.7 rpg., 6.8 apg. with 51-42-84 shooting splits in 33 career playoff games) - it just involves less brute force, and more skill. In fact, the Joker is arguably the best passing big man ever (7.1 apg. over the past two season). And the final separator for the no. 1 redraft choice: reliability is the best ability. Jokic, unlike Embiid, never misses games. He's played an average of 76.2 games per season during his five year career (he spent 2014-15 overseas) whereas Embiid has only played 52.3 games per season during his four year career (and that doesn't even take into account the two FULL seasons Embiid missed with injuries to start his career). 

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2. Milwaukee Bucks - Joel Embiid (3)

Milwaukee Bucks - Joel Embiid (3)
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Original Pick: Jabari Parker

With the Joker off the board, Joel Embiid is the obvious choice here at no. 2 for the Bucks, who passed on him for Jabari Parker back in 2014. When he's on the court, Embiid is a Hall of Fame level player. His career averages are 23.9 ppg., 11.5 rpg., 3.1 apg. and 1.8 bpg. with a 24.8 PER. His On/Off numbers (how his team performs when he's on the court vs. off the court) have been greater than plus-10 in three of his four seasons. In fact, in the 2018-19 playoffs, the 76ers were plus-20.5 with Embiid on the court and minus-21.1 with him off the court - a preposterous 41.6 points per 100 possessions difference!! If you're the Bucks, you take Embiid without any reservation and you reap the rewards when he and Giannis (drafted in 2013) start to hit their respective primes around the same time.

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3. Philadephia 76ers - Aaron Gordon (4)

Philadephia 76ers - Aaron Gordon (4)
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Original Pick: Joel Embiid

With the two All-NBA level guys off the board, a typical team drafting third would need to weigh both potential and fit. Fortunately, this was the beginning of "The Process" for Philly, so all they really worried about is potential. Enter Aaron Gordon. Stuck playing small forward for the poorly run Magic through his first six seasons, Gordon has barely scratched the surface of his abilities as a small-ball four in the NBA. Despite playing off of position, Gordon has managed to average 16.0 ppg., 7.6 rpg. and 3.3 apg. the past three seasons for Orlando. At some point - and you'd hope that that point would be much earlier in his career if the Sixers had drafted him - a smart team is going to turn Gordon into a hyper-athletic version of Draymond Green. While he doesn't have the playmaking chops Green possesses, he can pass well enough to be a great roll man off of pick-and-rolls, and his crazy athleticism will be enough to overcome any shortcomings he might have on either end of the court.

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4. Orlando Magic - Jusuf Nurkic (16)

Orlando Magic - Jusuf Nurkic (16)
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Original Pick: Aaron Gordon

The Magic haven't had adequate spacing for modern-day basketball since Dwight Howard left. So we know that they'd most likely choose a big man, which means they'd be choosing between Jusuf Nurkic and Clint Capela - both good big men, but each has a vastly different skill set. Nurkic is the choice here because he offers more offensive versatility than Capela. Despite having a terrible leg injury late last season, Nurkic has returned to his pre-injury form and averaged 17.6 ppg., 10.3 rpg., and 4.0 apg. in eight regular season games and similar numbers in the playoffs. 

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5. Utah Jazz - Clint Capela (25)

Utah Jazz - Clint Capela (25)
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Original Pick: Dante Exum

At pick no. 6, the Jazz make amends on their Dante Exum pick by selecting a better overseas prospect, Clint Capela. Capela became a full-time starter in his third season and has averaged 14.3 ppg., 11.1 rpg., and 1.6 bpg. and shot 64.5 percent from the field. He's an above-average rim-runner and rim-protector, and would be a great centerpiece for the Jazz to build their defense around for the rest of the decade.

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6. Boston Celtics - Marcus Smart (6)

Boston Celtics - Marcus Smart (6)
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Original Pick: Marcus Smart

Certain players and teams - like Marcus Smart and the Boston Celtics - just seemed destined to be together. Smart is the heart and sole of the Celtics, and he's coming off the best season of his career where he averaged 12.9 ppg. and 4.9 apg. and made First Team All-Defense. His impact on the game goes beyond the stat sheet, however. His ability to guard (and agitate the hell out of) any position from point guard to power forward makes him as valuable as an All-Star level player to a team like the Celtics.

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7. LA Lakers - Andrew Wiggins (1)

LA Lakers - Andrew Wiggins (1)
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Original Pick: Julius Randle

Coming off of an Achilles tear in 2013, Kobe Bryant was only able to play six games in the 2013-14 season. His rapid decline in production had begun as had his urge to be great at other endeavors in life, so he spent little time with the team the next two seasons. But what if the Lakers had had the opportunity to draft Andrew Wiggins? It's not impossible to think that Kobe would have taken an interest in mentoring the Canadian basketball prodigy. Imagine the player he could have developed into had he been supplemented with some Mamba Mentality. There aren't many people blessed with the kind of God-given ability Wiggins possesses, but Kobe Bryant was surely one of them. Maybe he could have helped Wiggins get a little more out of himself.

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8. Sacramento Kings - Zach LaVine (13)

Sacramento Kings - Zach LaVine (13)
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Original Pick: Nik Stauskas

Having signed Zach LaVine to a big contract as a restricted free agent (which the Bulls surprisingly matched), it's clear that the Kings organization covets Zach LaVine. Fortunately for them, they'll get a reprieve after drafting a bust in Nik Stauskas back in 2014 and select the high-flying guard out of UCLA instead. LaVine, much like Andrew Wiggins, is blessed with the kind of vertical athleticism you only see in a handful of NBA players and utilizes it well on offense (averaged 25.5 ppg. last season). Unfortunately, that athleticism hasn't translated much to the defensive end of the court, so the Kings will need to play him alongside some strong defenders, or else they'll never go far.

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9. Charlotte Hornets - TJ Warren (14)

Charlotte Hornets - TJ Warren (14)
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Original Pick: Noah Vonleh

Had we done this exercise a year or two ago, TJ Warren probably goes outside the lottery. Hell, even before the Bubble, Warren probably doesn't go this high. However, in his first six bubble games, Warren averaged 31.0 ppg. and 6.3 rpg. on 58-52-89 shooting. This incandescent stretch seemed to justify, or at least make us think twice about glossing the fact that he's averaged 19.3 ppg. the past three seasons. Blessed with this knowledge, the Hornets take Warren and try to develop him into a big-time scorer earlier in his career. 

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10. Philadelphia 76ers - Joe Harris (33)

Philadelphia 76ers - Joe Harris (33)
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Original Pick: Elfrid Payton

After selecting the uber-athletic Aaron Gordon with the third pick in the redraft, they'll select the exact opposite at pick no. 10: Joe Harris. But don't roll your eyes, Harris can play. He's one of the most effective three-and-D players in the league and has averaged 12.9 ppg. and shot 43.9 percent from three the past three seasons. With the direction basketball moved the past decade, Harris would develop into an ideal starter on any team.

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11. Denver Nuggets - Spencer Dinwiddie (38)

Denver Nuggets - Spencer Dinwiddie (38)
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Original Pick: Doug McDermott

After tearing his ACL in college, Spencer Dinwiddie fell a bit on draft night, landing at no. 38. It took him a few seasons to develop, but last season he averaged 20.6 ppg. and dished out 6.8 apg. for the Nets. Although they traded the no. 11 pick back in 2014, the Nuggets will keep the pick here and grab the overlooked Dinwiddie and hope to make him their point guard of the future. 

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12. Orlando Magic - Bogdan Bogdanovic (27)

Orlando Magic - Bogdan Bogdanovic (27)
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Original Pick: Dario Saric

Although he won't make it over to the NBA until the 2017-18 season, Bogdan Bogdanovic would be well worth the wait for the Magic here at no. 12. The Serbian playmaker can light it up from deep (career 37.2 percent three-point shooter) and make plays in the pick-and-roll. He'd be a less expensive, better version of what the Magic currently have in Evan Fournier

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13. Minnesota T'Wolves - Jerami Grant (39)

Minnesota T'Wolves - Jerami Grant (39)
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Original Pick: Zach LaVine

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14. Phoenix Suns - Julius Randle (7)

Phoenix Suns - Julius Randle (7)
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Original Pick: T.J. Warren

This seems like a bit of a draft day slide for Julius Randle, who has averaged 16.1 ppg. and 9.0 rpg. in his career, but if you assume that today's data and advanced analytics are available in the redraft, then this slide makes more sense. Whether it's a product of being on bad teams or not, Randle just isn't a winning player in the NBA thus far in his career. Hopefully, going to a slightly better situation than the Lakers were in 2014 would help Randle's early-career development, especially on the defensive end of the court.

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15. Atlanta Hawks - Dwight Powell (45)

Atlanta Hawks - Dwight Powell (45)
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Original Pick: Adreian Payne

Believe it or not, Dwight Powell is actually third in Win Shares in the draft class of 2014, trailing only Nikola Jokic and Clint Capela. If it weren't for his torn Achilles this past season, he might be more of a household name because he was one of the more effective pick-and-roll players in the league with Luka Doncic. The Hawks select Powell at no. 15 and fortify their front line alongside Al Horford and Paul Millsap.

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16. Chicago Bulls - Gary Harris (19)

Chicago Bulls - Gary Harris (19)
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Original Pick: Jusuf Nurkic

Ironically, the Bulls actually selected Gary Harris with the 19th pick in 2014, but then traded Harris along with the Nurkic to the Nuggets for Doug McDermott (whoops!). They'll keep Harris this time around and hope that he develops into the player that averaged 17.5 ppg. in 2017-18 and defended at an above-average rate. 

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17. Boston Celtics - Elfrid Payton (10)

Boston Celtics - Elfrid Payton (10)
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: James Young

Elfrid Payton never developed into the Rajon Rondo-type point guard that his ceiling suggested he might be when he was drafted in 2014. However, he's still a solid guard in the NBA and can make set up teammates fairly well (7.2 apg. last season) and make some plays on defense. The Celtics take him at no. 17 and turn he and Marcus Smart loose on defense.

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18. Phoenix Suns - Dario Saric (12)

Phoenix Suns - Dario Saric (12)
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Original Pick: Tyler Ennis

Though his development was tripped up a bit when he was traded twice in the past two seasons, Dario Saric seems to have regained his footing in Phoenix, so we'll expedite the situation a bit here and have the Suns select him in 2014. With Saric, they're getting a nice stretch four who has averaged 12.2 ppg. and 6.2 rpg. over four seasons in the NBA.

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19. Chicago Bulls - Jabari Parker (2)

Chicago Bulls - Jabari Parker (2)
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Original Pick: Gary Harris 

Once upon a time, Jabari Parker was arguably the most promising player in this draft class. Hell, before he blew out his ACL, he'd averaged 20.1 ppg. in 2016-17, and looked like he might develop into a Carmelo Anthony-lite. Unfortunately, his career didn't play out the way people expected it to, and Parker is now a slightly above-average scorer who stinks on defense - there aren't a ton of NBA teams looking for that player these days. The Bulls will select the Chicago-prodigy and pray that his knees hold up.

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20. Toronto Raptors - Dante Exum (5)

Toronto Raptors - Dante Exum (5)
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Original Pick: Bruno Caboclo

In a different world where he didn't get so unlucky with injuries, Exum could have been a two-way force in the NBA as he's blessed with great size and athleticism at the guard position. Unfortunately, due to those injuries and a lack of playing time, Exum had his growth as a player permanently stunted. In this redraft reality, perhaps the Raptors give him more minutes a little sooner than the Jazz did and Exum turns into the player everyone thought he would be.

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21. OKC Thunder - Doug McDermott (11)

OKC Thunder - Doug McDermott (11)
© Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Mitch McGary

As has been well-documented over the years, the Thunder lacked three-point shooting and floor spacing during the Kevin Durant-Russell Westbrook era. I'm thinking Dougie McBuckets could have helped on that front as he's a career 41.2 percent three-point shooter. He doesn't have the athleticism to score like he did in college, but he would have been an important contributor for OKC - much more important than Mitch McGary ever was.

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22. Memphis Grizzlies - Kyle Anderson (30)

Memphis Grizzlies - Kyle Anderson (30)
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Original Pick: Jordan Adams

Kyle "Slo Mo" Anderson seems to have carved out a decent niche with the Grizzlies as a playmaking forward, so let's get him to Memphis a little earlier in his career. A jack-of-all-trades, but a master of none (especially shooting), Anderson is a poor man's Boris Diaw and makes for a nice second unit player who can help run an offense with his advanced ball-handling and passing skills.

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23. Utah Jazz - Jordan Clarkson (46)

Utah Jazz - Jordan Clarkson (46)
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Original Pick: Rodney Hood

We've got another player going to his current team sooner via the redraft as Jordan Clarkson heads to the Jazz at no. 23. Clarkson is a microwave scorer off the bench who plays every game with a pickup hooper's mentality. Before a very nice stretch with the Jazz last season where he averaged 15.6 ppg. on 46-37-79 shooting, Clarkson was usually viewed as a ball hog who was detrimental to his team's success. Was last season an anomaly? Or has Clarkson truly turned a corner as a contributor?

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24. Charlotte Hornets - Rodney Hood (23)

Charlotte Hornets - Rodney Hood (23)
© Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Shabazz Napier

Ah, the infamous Shabazz Napier pick...recall, that the Heat actually dealt for Napier in an attempt to appease LeBron James a few weeks before he went home to Cleveland. This time around, the Hornets keep the pick and take this draft's Jeff Green in Rodney Hood - a player who flashes spurts of immense talent, but is maddeningly inconsistent and, ultimately, nothing more than a high ceiling role player. Hood has averaged 12.5 ppg. for his career.

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25. Houston Rockets - Noah Vonleh (9)

Houston Rockets - Noah Vonleh (9)
© Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Clint Capela

Noah Vonleh, a highly-touted prospect from hailing from Indiana University, looked like he was going to be a bust early in his career with Charlotte and Portland. However, he turned things around and developed into a good defender. He goes to the Rockets in the redraft and perhaps is encouraged to shoot more three-pointers early in his career so he can adapt to the modern game.

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26. Miami Heat - Glenn Robinson III (40)

Miami Heat - Glenn Robinson III (40)
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Original Pick: PJ Hairston

GR3 finally flashed some of the three-and-D potential we'd been waiting for this past season when he averaged 11.7 ppg. on 39.1 percent three-point shooting for the Warriors and 76ers. He's dealt with some injuries early in his career, but the Heat will hope that he stays healthy this time around and turns into one of those rangy wings the Miami Mafia is known for developing.

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27. Phoenix Suns - Shabazz Napier (24)

Phoenix Suns - Shabazz Napier (24)
Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire

Original Pick: Bogdan Bogdanovic

Largely forgotten about after the Heat dealt him following a blah rookie season, UConn's two-time champion, Shabazz Napier, has quietly become a decent backup point guard in the NBA. He averaged 10.3 ppg. and 4.7 apg. for the T'Wolves and Wizards this past season. The Suns select him here and hope that he's ready to provide some stability in their guard rotation.

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28. LA Clippers - Jordan McRae (58)

LA Clippers - Jordan McRae (58)
© Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: CJ Wilcox

It's slim pickings at this point in the draft, so teams are basically just looking for an occasional contributor. Jordan McRae essentially has one skill: scoring. In fact, despite only appearing in 123 career games, McRae has score 35 or more on four separate occasions. The Clippers snag him here and see if he can provide a scoring punch off the bench once or twice a month.

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29. OKC Thunder - Khem Birch (Undrafted)

OKC Thunder - Khem Birch (Undrafted)
© Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Original Pick: Josh Huestis

Khem Birch becomes the first and only undrafted player to hear his name called on the redraft. He's a backup center who has played well enough on defense to steal minutes from Mo Bamba in Orlando the past two seasons, so he should be able to give Steven Adams a blow here and there for the Thunder.

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30. San Antonio Spurs - Nik Stauskas (8)

San Antonio Spurs - Nik Stauskas (8)
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Original Pick: Kyle Anderson

Originally selected by the Kings ("Stauskas? Stauskas."), Nik Stauskas was a complete bust for Sacramento and probably doesn't deserve to get redrafted. Then again, what if a player blessed with his shooting touch was drafted by the Spurs? Think they'd figure out a way to turn him into a solid NBA rotation player? My guess is yes. 

Pat Heery began his sports writing career in 2016 for The Has Been Sports Blog. He practices real estate law during the day and runs pick & rolls at night. Follow him on Twitter: @pheery12

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