The 2014 NBA Draft is nine months away, but it's already one of the most anticipated Drafts in league history, given the volume of franchise-level players available. ESPN Insider Chad Ford submitted Monday his first 2014 NBA mock Draft, based on the final 2013/14 standings which ESPN's expert panel predicted earlier in the summer, and he has the Orlando Magic selecting Oklahoma State point guard Marcus Smart third overall. The first two picks in the mock are Andrew Wiggins (Philadelphia 76ers) and Julius Randle (Phoenix Suns).
Smart averaged 15.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 4.2 assists, and three steals per game in his freshman season before he made the surprising choice to return to Stillwater for another NCAA season. Ford says "the Magic would have selected him with the No. 2 pick" had Smart entered the 2013 NBA Draft, a pick which they used instead on Indiana shooting guard Victor Oladipo. Ford believes pairing Smart and Oladipo would make Orlando a strong defensive team that could "terrorize the league."
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Oklahoma State coach Travis Ford told Gary Parish of CBSSports.com in July that Smart would have been Orlando's pick "no matter what."
Chad Ford says Smart could be Orlando's pick in 2014, but that it'll have a tough choice between him, Dante Exum, or Andrew Harrison if it's selecting in the number-three range.
With the WoNK pick, 20th overall in this mock, Chad Ford pegs Orlando taking a flyer on Baylor big man Isaiah Austin: "Given his size and emerging skill set, he might be worth the gamble here," he says. Austin averaged 13 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 1.1 assists as a freshman.