In the final weekend before the 2014 NBA Draft, SB Nation bloggers representing each of the league's teams with a pick assembled, via email, for a massive mock Draft covering the entire first round. Check out the complete mock in this StoryStream at Ridiculous Upside, SB Nation's blog about NBA prospects.
Yours truly selected on the Orlando Magic's behalf. Here's why we made the picks we did.
With Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins, Duke forward Jabari Parker, and Australian point guard Dante Exum off the board at no. 4, the Magic picked Kentucky power forward Julius Randle. From our write-up at Ridiculous Upside:
Julius Randle looks to be the best prospect on the board, one whose game ought to translate well to the NBA. His ability to score inside even against defenses keyed on him will add variety and firepower to a dismal Orlando offense. And even if his offensive game needs time to develop as he faces NBA-caliber defenders, he'll nonetheless be productive thanks to his elite rebounding.
We also considered picking Indiana big man Noah Vonleh here, but ultimately we feel like Randle has more potential--particularly at the offensive end--and will be more ready to contribute immediately. Despite his terrific talent level, we did not seriously consider adding Kansas center Joel Embiid, given the questions the fracture in his right foot raises about his ability to contribute at the NBA level long-term.
In April, OPP contributor Tyler Lashbrook went into great detail to explain why and how Randle would fit with Orlando's current young core.
With the 12th pick, we chose Syracuse point guard Tyler Ennis after some players we valued more highly went off the board. Ennis isn't a sexy pick--steadiness and average athleticism aren't sexy--but point guard can be a thankless position. In just one year at Syracuse, Ennis proved effective at running an offense, posting an assist-to-turnover ratio of better than three-to-one. Here's more info on that selection, from Ridiculous Upside:
The Magic need talent at nearly every position, but perhaps no need of theirs is more pressing than point guard. Jameer Nelson turns 33 in February and has served the Magic well in his 10 seasons, but the team needs to usher in a new era with a new lead guard. Victor Oladipo, the runner-up for Rookie of the Year honors in 2013/14, showed promise in his first NBA season, but didn't show enough to inspire confidence that he'll one day be able to play the point at a full-time basis.
We really liked Michigan State swingman Gary Harris and Michigan off-guard Nik Stauskas here, but feel as though the Magic can address their need for perimeter shooting and defense via free agency. A competent, young point guard with potential--such as Ennis--seems a more valuable commodity to add via the Draft.
The SB Nation NBA blogger mock Draft continues Tuesday, June 24th at Ridiculous Upside. For reasons which will become clear as the mock progresses, you will want to stay tuned to that Ridiculous Upside StoryStream. Trust me.