Re-Drafting the 2014 NBA Draft Class

When the 2014 NBA Draft was nearing, all the hype heading in was about Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker. The two wings were expected to be can’t miss prospects. We know how things played out, Wiggins’ production has not matched his pure talent levels, and Parker has not been able to stay healthy. 

In this re-draft, we bypass the narrative that those two will headline the class, and select the players who turned into all NBA level talent. 

Also as for the trade at the top of the draft, Wiggins for Kevin Love, we assume that it didn’t go through so the Cavs have the top pick.  

1. Cleveland Cavaliers Select Joel Embiid

The trade likely still goes through as the Cavs and Lebron were focused on winning now, but either way the top pick is Joel Embiid. 

When healthy, which is a huge concern, Embiid is an all world talent. Even coming into the draft it was a concern. He had a foot fracture that scared Cavs GM David Griffin off of drafting him, despite Griffin calling him the second coming of Hakeem Olajuwon. Embiid hasn’t been Olajuwon, but he’s been dominant when on the floor. But six years later, the same debate continues, is the upside worth the inevitable games missed due to injury. 

The numbers say the risk is worth it. Just last season he became only the 12th player in league history to average 27 points and 13 rebounds. He also averaged 3.7 assists, 1.9 blocks and 1.2 three-pointers per game. Embiid is elite on both ends of the floor. 

2. Milwaukee Bucks Select Nikola Jokic

Now if you believe the best ability is availability then Nikola Jokic would be ahead of Joel Embiid. And even when it is not, these two are extremely close. 

Can you imagine a Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetokounmpo duo coming at you? That would have been possible if the Bucks knew what Jokic would have turned into. 

When you look at Jokic through an analytical lens, he is far and away the best player in the class. Joker still leads this group in virtually every advanced category. He has contributed 48.0 win shares; no one else has more than 36.4. He has a 7.1 box plus/minus; Embiid is next at 4.5. Jokic has accrued 25.0 value over replacement players; Embiid again takes second at 10.0.

The sole reason for Embiid over Jokic is the upside a healthy Embiid has. 

Beyond the advanced stats, Jokic deserves to be top 2 in this class. He has turned into a walking triple double, and is the best passing big man in a generation. The only weakness in his game has been his defense and occasionally his stamina. 

Jokic is one of only 3 NBA players in NBA history with career averages of 16 points, nine rebounds and 5 assists. To say his skill set is unique would be an understatement. 

3. Philadelphia 76ers Select Zach Lavine

This may come as a surprise but when you look at the makeup of Lavine’s game, it makes sense for him to be selected this high. Only Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins have a higher career points per game average than Lavine’s 17.7. 

When you compare Wiggins and Lavine, you realize that Lavine is the player you would rather have. Lavine is a much better distributor and shooter than Wiggins. He also appears to care more about the outcome of the game, which is not hard when the long time knock on Wiggins is his body language and demeanor on the floor. 

Lavine has proven to be capable of being a team’s number one scoring option with his time in Chicago, but on a good team we are looking at Lavine as a second or third option. 

4. Orlando Magic Select Aaron Gordon

This was the selection the Magic actually made on draft night 2014. I don’t think Gordon is the best player left on the board but he fit the needs of this Magic team. He provided scoring, athleticism and excitement to a rather boring roster. 

Gordon has yet to crack through to all star level but hes been solid for Orlando. In his best season Gordon averaged 17.6 points and 7.9 rebounds and a steal per game. Gordon has shown flashes of being a top level two way player. He has stretched where he appears to be a lockdown defender and other stretches where he looks like a solid number two scoring option. But these stretches are few and far between for him to reach all star level. 

With that said, I think the Magic make the same selection.

5. Utah Jazz Select Marcus Smart

With the original pick the Utah Jazz selected Australian combo guard Dante Exum. Exum has not lived up to the hype backing him into the draft. This time around we get the Jazz a guard that will be productive: Marcus Smart. 

Coming into the daft, Smart was raw offensively. Not much has changed as his shooting slash marks are 37.4 % from the field, 31.8 from 3, and 77.4 from free throw. But he was never expected to be great on that side of the ball. 

Smart makes his living playing tough nose defense, completely taking the opposing players out of their comfort zone. In the era of positionless basketball, you will see Smart guard players ranging from Isaiah Thomas to Lebron James. 

Smart made the All NBA Defensive team last season and leads all players from the class with 15.3 defensive win shares.

6. Boston Celtics Select Clint Capela

With the Celtics original pick off the board, we look in another direction that also provides defense, and that guy is Clint Capela Capela, who originally went 25th, has proved he’s able to protect the pain and be an efficient score off the pick and roll. For the past three seasons Capela has been a crucial part to the Rockets success, averaging a double-double in each season. 

For the Celtics, Capela will be an anchor in the paint, and thrive with playing with the Celtics point guards over the years of Rajon Rondo, Isaiah Thomas, Kyrie Irving and Kemba Walker. 

7. Los Angeles Lakers Select Spencer Dinwiddie

This was the beginning of a long stretch of the Lakers drafting in the lottery. They originally selected Juluis Randle and it was not a bad selection. But as other players from the draft class surpassed Randle, I got the Lakers going in another direction and selecting Spencer Dinwiddie. 

The Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls were sitting on Spencer Dinwiddie for years and failed to recognize the talent they had. Dinwiddie eventually went on to Brooklyn where he was a finalist for Most Improved Player in 2017-18, and made a name for himself as a dynamic combo guard. 

You might be surprised considering the talents in this draft, but Dinwiddie is one of two players from the class to have career averages of 12 points and 5 assists. 

Giving the opportunity to play in the backcourt with Kobe Bryant, I think Dinwiddie would have developed faster and became what he is today much sooner. 

8. Sacramento Kings Select Andrew Wiggins

This is probably the most surprising moment of the redraft, having Wiggins who went first, slide all the way to eighth. I don’t even think it is fair to call Wiggins a bust considering he leads this draft class in minutes and career points. His basic statistics are not bad either. However his game has major flaws, which is why he hasn’t lived up to the expectations. 

Wiggins has produced the third fewest win shares per 48 minutes of all no.1 overall draft picks Only Anthony Bennett and Micahel Olowokandi have produced worst win shares. That is not a good company to be in. 

Wiggins struggled being a number one option in the NBA and the Timberwolves learned that the hard way. In this scenario with the Kings, Wiggins would be a complementary piece to Demarcus Cousins. This would allow Wiggins to gradually develop without all the focus being on him. 

9. Charlotte Hornets Select Julius Randle

When Julius Randle was drafted 7th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers, he was the highest drafted Laker since James Worthy was selected in 1982. So the expectations of LakerNation were high. Randle was good during his tenure in Los Angeles but never became efficient enough to be viewed as a part of the long term plans. 

In Charlotte, Randle will be able to have the growing pains all young players have, but not under the bright lights of Staples Center. Randle should be able to thrive as the roll man in the pick and roll with Kemba Walker. It would make him more efficient at an earlier age. It remains unclear if Randle’s play translates to winning since he hasn’t yet been a part of a winning team. We wouldn’t find out in this scenario either. 

10. Philadelphia 76ers Select Jusuf Nurkic

If it were not for Nikola Jokic, Jusuf Nurkic would still be the starting center for the Denver Nuggets. But he found a home in Portland, solving a well needed issue. Nurkic game them a well needed balance between backcourt and frontcourt play. 

In this scenario with the 76ers selecting Lavine at 3 and not Embiid, there’s a vacancy at Center. Nurkic will bring the same ability and toughness to the city of brotherly love, being a solid fit alongside Lavine. 

In Case You Missed Them:

Re-Drafting the 2013 NBA Draft Class

Re-drafting the 2012 NBA Draft

Re-Drafting the 2011 NBA Draft


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