23 October 2020

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Redrafting the 2014 NBA Lottery

The 2014 draft had one of the most stacked classes of the decade. Although they only had three all-stars, there were countless great role players and border-line all-stars to come out of this draft. Three of these great players, two of them being all-stars, were drafted in arguably the best second-round in NBA history. A lot would change if NBA teams could go back and redraft this class. Here’s what that would look like:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers

With the first pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Cleveland Cavaliers select: Nikola Jokic

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Indiana Pacers v Denver Nuggets
Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images

Jokic was originally selected 41st overall by the Denver Nuggets. That’s right, this possible future MVP was selected in the middle of the second round. Because of his lack of athleticism, no one really wanted him which is what caused him to fall. Unlike most second-round picks, he immediately proved every team wrong. He made the all-rookie first team putting up 10.0 points per game and hasn’t looked back since and is now a two-time all-star.

The Cavaliers originally selected Andrew Wiggins with this pick. Despite what most will say, Wiggins is a good player, he just didn’t live up to the hype of being in the conversation for the greatest player of all time. After some disappointing seasons in Minnesota, which is where he went in the Kevin Love trade, he is now on the Warriors where is in a good position to get himself a ring next season.

Had Jokic been drafted by the Cavaliers, they would’ve had no need to trade for Kevin Love. A team of Irving, James, and Jokic would’ve done just fine, probably better. This trio would’ve been near unstoppable and give the Warriors a much better fight, especially after Irving would leave since James would still have a superstar playing with him.

2. Milwaukee Bucks

With the second pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks select: Joel Embiid

PHILADELPHIA, PA - JANUARY 28: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers, wearing #24 to honor Kobe Bryant, looks on during a game against the Golden State Warriors on January 28, 2020 at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Embiid was originally selected third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers. He didn’t play in his first two seasons, but when he came, he came strong. The one issue with him is that despite being such an incredible talent, Embiid has yet to play more than 65 games in a season. Despite that, he is still an incredible player and a no-brainer for a team in need of another big.

The Bucks originally selected Jabari Parker with this pick. Like Embiid, Parker has struggled with injuries beating 65 games in a season just once. The difference is that Parker isn’t putting up all-star numbers. He is currently on the Kings where he played just one game before the NBA shut down.

Embiid on the Bucks would be incredible to watch. A team of Middleton, Antetokounmpo, and Embiid would rival the Lakers and Clippers today. Embiid also wouldn’t have as much pressure since Antetokounmpo would be the leading role. Embiid wouldn’t be as injury prone since he wouldn’t have to do as much. If they had selected Embiid, this would be a dynasty in the making.

3. Philadelphia 76ers

With the third pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select: Zach Lavine

Miami Heat v Chicago Bulls
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Zach Lavine was originally selected 13th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves. He was the key star in the Jimmy Butler trade that landed him in Chicago where he has thrived. The team has not had the same success, though, and Lavine’s days in Chicago may be numbered if the Bulls can’t find him some help soon.

The 76ers had originally selected Joel Embiid with this pick, but he was now drafted by the Bucks at #2.

Lavine is the next best player in the draft and the 76ers are trying to get as many young, talented players as they can. Lavine is a nice consolation prize for Embiid and some might argue that it’s better because he’s not injury prone. Either way, Lavine now becomes the face of The Process and not much changes for him since he hasn’t made the playoffs yet in his real career either.

4. Orlando Magic

With the fourth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select: Spencer Dinwiddie

Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie looks to pass during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Wednesday, March 4, 2020, in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
Kathy Willens/Associated Press

Dinwiddie was originally selected 38th overall by the Detroit Pistons. After two seasons with Detroit, they traded him to Brooklyn where he thrived. He is now averaging 20.6 points per game and is in talks of being an all-star next year.

The Magic originally selected Aaron Gordon with this pick. Gordon is a good player who provides valuable minutes for the Magic today. He is one of the most athletic players in the game and should be a two-time Dunk Contest champion.

The Magic wouldn’t be upset with just taking Gordon again, but Dinwiddie is too good a player to pass up on. He is one of the best scorers in the league and is likely to become an all-star in the near future. He’s the Point Guard the Magic have always needed and will help lead the Magic to some success in the playoffs after a few seasons.

5. Utah Jazz

With the fifth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Utah Jazz select: Andrew Wiggins

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY SportsDale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Wiggins was originally selected first overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although he didn’t live up to the hype, he’s still a great scorer and provides valuable minutes for any team. He’s going to get the chance to prove that when the Warriors are back to full strength next season.

The Jazz originally selected Dante Exum with this pick. Exum was considered the most talented Point Guard in the draft, but his career was quickly derailed by injuries. He is currently in Cleveland where it looks like his career is slowly coming to a close.

Andrew Wiggins gives the Jazz an interesting look. Wiggins would play Shooting Guard, a position he is solidly comfortable with, and join Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert as one of the more dangerous teams in the West. This also means that their current starting Point Guard, Trey Burke, will get the chance to truly develop instead of being in intense competition with Dante Exum.

6. Boston Celtics

With the sixth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Boston Celtics select: Marcus Smart

Matt Stone/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald

Like in the original draft, Marcus Smart becomes a Celtic. His stats aren’t as flashy as some of the other players who are still available, but stats can’t describe what he does. He is a great energy guy and lockerroom presence and is one of the hardest workers in the NBA. His defense and high basketball IQ have made him a vital piece for the Boston Celtics and even though he’s not as talented as some of these other players, his mentality is incredible and the Celtics wouldn’t be the same without him.

7. Los Angeles Lakers

With the seventh pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Los Angeles Lakers select: TJ Warren

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

TJ was originally selected 14th overall by the Phoenix Suns. After his rookie season, he quickly established himself as a great scorer. He is currently on the dark-horse contending Pacers as the starting Small Forward averaging nearly 19 points per game.

The Lakers had originally selected Julius Randle with this pick. There was nothing wrong with this pick and Randle has played almost exactly how one would expect a #7 overall pick. Randle is currently the #1 option on the disastrous Knicks and is likely to be shopped in the offseason.

Warren of the Lakers would replace Kobe as the main scorer on the team. Kobe would play just two seasons with this draft class before retiring and Warren would then become the first option after learning the Mamba ways. The Lakers would still have their playoff drought as Warren is no replacement for the Black Mamba, but he’d be a solid building piece in the right direction.

8. Sacramento Kings

With the eighth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Sacramento Kings select: Julius Randle

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks reacts during the second half of their game against the Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center on October 25, 2019 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)

Randle was originally selected seventh overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Randle had an unfortunate rookie season where he only played one game before getting injured, but he rebounded and quickly became one of the better Power Forwards in the league.

The Kings originally selected Nik Stauskus with this pick. Even for a #8 pick, he is one of the bigger busts of the decade. Coming out of Michigan, he was one of the most exciting Shooting Guards in the game, but after just five seasons, he finds himself out of the league and unlikely to return.

Randle gives DeMarcus Cousins some help in the frontcourt. The two of them would be an interesting duo. Both can hit the three and play solid defense. The two of them together would have the potential to lift the Kings to the playoffs, a mark the Kings are still trying to hit today.

9. Charlotte Hornets (Via Detroit)

With the ninth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Charlotte Hornets select: Aaron Gordon

Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon (00) sets up a play during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets Saturday, Nov. 2, 2019, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

Gordon was originally selected fourth overall by the Orlando Magic. Gordon has been a solid player who can do a bit of everything on offense. He is still on the Magic today where trade rumors are beginning to emerge as his play has stalled off a bit.

The Hornets originally selected Noah Vonleh with this pick. Vonleh is another top-ten bust in this draft who couldn’t even beat the nine points per game mark. He is currently playing in Denver where his career is on the brink of ending.

Gordon is a much better Power Forward to pair Kemba up with. The two of them would have great potential to be a solid playoff team in the East that would be just a piece or two away from really contending in the Eastern Conference.

10. Orlando Magic (Via New Orleans)

With the tenth pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Orlando Magic select: Jabari Parker

Milwaukee Bucks v Boston Celtics - Game Two
Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

Parker was originally selected by the Milwaukee Bucks with the second overall pick. His injuries cause him to fall all the way down to ten where the Magic scoop him up. Even though Parker is incredibly injury-prone, he is also a great talent that could help any team. 

The Magic originally selected Elfrid Payton with this pick. Payton is a good player but the Magic already selected Spencer Dinwiddie so they now have no need for another Point Guard.

Parker would give valuable minutes to the Magic. Knowing his injury history, though, they’d need to be careful, but Power Forward is really the only position the Magic need in order to be a full team.

11. Chicago Bulls (Via Denver)

With the 11th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Chicago Bulls select: Rodney Hood

DENVER, CO - MAY 1: Rodney Hood #5 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts to play against the Denver Nuggets during Game Two of the Western Conference Semifinals of the 2019 NBA Playoffs on May 1, 2019 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bart Young/Getty Images

Hood was originally selected 23rd overall by the Utah Jazz. Although he was drafted so late, he is an incredible role player who, before his injury, was one of the best three-and-d players in the NBA. He’s a player who knows his role and makes his team better. His injury made it clear just how important he was to the Trail Blazers as the team is currently not in the playoffs after he was a crucial piece in their Conference Finals run last year.

The Bulls had originally selected Doug McDermott with this pick. McDermott is a good role player and has been a great shooter for the Pacers. The one issue is that he isn’t great at defense. His three-point shooting alone, though, is good enough to be a rotational player on any team and he is a big part of the Pacers’ bench.

Rodney Hood would’ve been an immediate help for the Bulls. The Bulls still had a solid Derrick Rose, a rising superstar in Jimmy Butler, and a great defensive player in Joakim Noah. Adding that crucial role player would’ve been a huge addition when the Bulls matched up against LeBron and the Cavaliers in the second round.

12. Philadelphia 76ers

With the 27th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers select: Bogdan Bogdanovic

Sacramento Kings guard Bogdan Bogdanovic (8) in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2019, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

Bogdanovic was originally selected 27th overall by the Phoenix Suns. Bogdanovic grew into one of the greatest scorers in the NBA. He is currently on the Kings where he is averaging 20.2 points per game on 41.4% shooting from deep. He is a player that many teams are now looking to trade for as he is coming closer and closer to an all-star.

The 76ers had originally selected Dario Saric with this pick. Saric didn’t even play in the first two seasons as he continued to play overseas. He is a good player offensively and has starting potential if he is able to keep working. He is currently in Phoenix where his lack of defense is being put on full display.

The 76ers need to scoop up as many young assets as possible since they were still in the midst of their controversial ‘Process.’ Bogdanovic would be a much better asset than Saric and he is a position that the 76ers still need to this day. 

13. Minnesota Timberwolves

With the 13th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select: Jordan Clarkson

Utah Jazz Guard Jordan Clarkson Is A 6th Man Of The Year Candidate
Chris Gardner/Getty Images

Clarkson was originally selected 46th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Despite being drafted in the middle of the second round, he quickly became one of the better players in his class and he managed to get onto the All-Rookie First Team. He is currently the sixth man on the Utah Jazz and is helping Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert contend in the West.

The Timberwolves had originally selected Zach Lavine with this pick, but he was now selected by the 76ers.

Clarkson is a solid consolation for Lavine. He is a great scorer and will be a good addition to Minnesota. The Timberwolves likely wouldn’t be able to do the Jimmy Butler trade anymore, but it means that their core will stay intact for the future.

14. Phoenix Suns

With the 14th pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, the Phoenix Suns select: Joe Harris

Brooklyn Nets v Denver Nuggets
Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images

Joe Harris was originally selected 33rd overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers. Although he had a slow first two seasons, he eventually arguably the best three-point shooter in the NBA. He actually managed to shoot 47.4% from deep on 5.1 attempts per game. He is currently on the Brooklyn Nets where he is the starting Small Forward until Durant gets back.

The Suns originally selected TJ Warren with this pick, but he was now taken by the Lakers.

Harris would be a great player next to Devin Booker, who will be joining the Suns next year (assuming the draft order wouldn’t change). The floor spacing on the Suns would be one of the most dangerous the league would have. They’d be an incredible scoring duo and the Suns would have an even brighter future.

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