The 2014 NBA Draft was one to remember, since it featured a variety of good players all full of potential. From athleticism, shooting, post play to play-making, nearly every team was able to grab an impactful player that possesses at least one of these attributes. The draft was aired on ESPN with subsequent coverage on NBA TV via DirectTV. It was the most watched draft in the last 19 years with 3.45 million viewers, and was highlighted by unexpected selections, trades and an honorary acceptance by Commissioner Adam Silver – definitely an upgrade from last year’s draft. To no one’s surprise, the Cleveland Cavaliers selected former Kansas Jayhawk, Andrew Wiggins, as their #1 pick. With the sudden injury to Joel Embiid late in the NCAA season, the Cavs knew they were in safe hands by selecting one of the most athletic players the league has ever seen. Although it may take him time to develop, combining raw talent and athleticism gives Wiggins the potential to be a top 5 player in the NBA someday. Following the #1 pick, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Midwest native Jabari Parker, whom many had projected to go first. Parker recently expressed his interest in going to Milwaukee because of its short distance from his hometown, Chicago, IL. Parker is the most NBA-ready player in the draft and will look to lead the Bucks in scoring and put some winning mentality into their organization Since Parker and Wiggins were already chosen, it was only fitting for the 76ers to choose the best player left despite his injuries. The 76ers selected skilled center, Joel Embiid as the #3 pick. Embiid possesses Hakeem Olajuwon-like skill which is something the NBA has not seen since “The Dream” retired. This gives the 76ers the opportunity to form a modern version of the Twin Towers in Tim Duncan and David Robinson. Although Wiggins, Parker and Embiid were the three most important picks in the draft, there were definitely some gems selected by a few other teams. The athletic Aaron Gordon, who has been compared to Blake Griffin, joined the Orlando Magic and one player we know very little about, Dante Exum, was selected by the Utah Jazz. At this point, the best available player still in the draft, Marcus Smart, was chosen by the Boston Celtics – which made people wonder about the future of Rajon Rondo. The left-hand dominant power forward, Julius Randle, was happy to be chosen at #7 to join Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers. “Kobe was my idol growing up,” stated Randle. The Sacramento Kings made things interesting by drafting sharp shooter, Nick Stauskas. This pick was especially interesting because the Kings used the NBA’s first crowdsourcing program to determine whether the team should keep or trade Stauskas. The Kings’ owner, Vivek Ranadive, is reportedly accepting offers and calling all shots for this crowd-sourced pick. Noah Vonleh was chosen at #9 by the Charlotte Bobcats to serve as a reserve for veteran forward Al Jefferson. The #10 pick, Elfrid Payton was drafted by the 76ers, but then traded to the Orlando Magic. Payton being drafted to the 76ers caused some confusion, mainly because guard Michael Carter Williams thought that he was going to be traded. Fortunately for Elfrid, he was traded to a team that actually needs a point guard. Other top prospects like Doug McDermott, Zach Lavine, T.J. Warren and Tyler Ennis were chosen later in the draft, but will likely still be key players on their respective teams. Shabazz Napier was chosen at #24 to join the New Orleans Hornets, but was soon traded to the Miami Heat to satisfy Lebron James and his decision to stay with the Heat. Lebron expressed his love for Napier in a tweet stating, “My favorite player in the draft, #Napier.” During the draft, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver made an honorary mention to Baylor forward, Isaiah Austin, who will not be able to play in the NBA due to a genetic disorder. Silver stated, “Like the other young men here tonight, Isaiah committed himself through endless hard work and dedication to a potential career as a professional basketball player, and we wanted to make sure he fulfilled at least this part of his dream. So it gives me great pleasure to say, that with the next pick in the 2014 NBA draft, the NBA selects Isaiah Austin from Baylor University.” The statement Silver made, unsurprisingly, became instant trending topic on social media:
Best part of NBA draft night: Commissioner Adam Silver’s tribute to Isaiah Austin. Pure class. NBA in great hands with Mr. Silver. — chuck swirsky (@swirsk054) June 27, 2014
As one of the most popular draft classes, the NBA is hopeful that these players can take the league to the next level and live up to their hype. Every team received a player that could contribute to the betterment of their play this season. The 2014-15 NBA season will most definitely be an exciting season as these rookies transition from college to the pros.
This post was written by Jared Hill. Jared is a freelance sports and entertainment blogger for direct-ticket.net who specializes in NBA coverage. You can follow him on twitter @JaredHill341 [featured image source]