Draft strategies differ. Some GMs focus on team need, while others preach that you should always select the best player available. Whatever their reasons, though, each GM’s selection means that some player already on their roster will find his role—even his chances of making the team—greatly reduced with this injection of new blood.
Based on the most recent mock drafts, we have a decent idea of where certain players might land. That means we also have some sense of which players are going to be a little grumpier on June 27. Who could be demanding a trade or made available in one? Which player becomes immediately redundant at the precise moment that another’s life-long dream comes true? We’ve addressed all that in the 2014 NBA Redundancy Draft.
1.) The Cleveland Cavaliers select … Andrew Wiggins, SG/SF, Kansas.
The three-spot has been a South Beach-sized hole in Cleveland’s roster since 2010. Even after trading for Luol Deng, the team often went small, playing the 6’4″ Dion Waiters at the three. Deng is a free agent, along with swingman C.J. Miles, but drafting a three likely means the team passes on Alonzo Gee’s team option. Gee is a good athlete and capable defender worthy of an end-of-the-bench spot somewhere.1 of 14
2.) The Milwaukee Bucks select … Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke.
The Bucks feature an intriguing young frontcourt of John Henson, Larry Sanders and Giannis Antetokounmpo, so the addition of the offensively-gifted Parker could make incumbent stretch-four, Ersan Ilyasova, the odd man out. Ilyasova hit over 40% from three for two straight years before falling off in 2013-14 and could be a key contributor off the bench for a team willing to take on the nearly $16 million he’s owed over the next two years.2 of 14
3.) The Philadelphia 76ers select … Joel Embiid, C, Kansas.
This would mark the second straight year the Sixers have brought in a talented rookie center. Unfortunately, at the start of the 2014-15 season, last year’s number six overall pick, Nerlens Noel, will have played in exactly as many pro games as Embiid: zero. Does the team look to move Thaddeus Young and his nearly $19 million over two years to give Noel and Embiid all the on-the-job learning they can handle?3 of 14
4.) The Orlando Magic select … Dante Exum, PG/SG, Australia.
By drafting Exum, Orlando virtually guarantees they won’t be picking up Jameer Nelson’s $8 million player option. An Exum/Victor Oladipo backcourt, along with emerging combo-forward, Tobias Harris, and center, Nikola Vucevic, solidifies the Magic’s young core moving forward and could make veteran swingman, Arron Afflalo, and his roughly $15 million over two years available should teams come calling.4 of 14
5.) The Utah Jazz select … Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State.
The Jazz create an instant logjam at their point guard spot by adding Smart to a roster that also features 2013 first rounder, Trey Burke. But the addition of a bigger PG gives new coach Quin Snyder a different strategic option. Neither Burke nor Smart are good enough shooters to consider playing them together, but should either emerge, the team can move forward pairing one with Alec Burks, giving them a strong, athletic backcourt, and find a point guard-starved team (hello, New York Knicks!) interested in dealing for the other.5 of 14
6.) The Boston Celtics select … Julius Randle, PF, Kentucky.
Randle would be joining a rotation featuring Jared Sullinger, Kelly Olynyk and Brandon Bass, all post players with underwhelming athleticism. While Sullinger and Olynyk are still developing, though, the team pretty much knows what it’s getting with Bass. What they get is mostly good, but Randle projects to be better, which could encourage the Cs to clear Bass’s $7 million off their books.6 of 14
7.) The Los Angeles Lakers select … Noah Vonleh, PF/C, Indiana.
The only way the Lakers upset a player currently on your roster with its 2014 pick is if they choose a shooting guard. That’s because, of the three players currently under contract for next season, the only one expected to play big minutes (health permitting) is Kobe Bryant. After that? Nick Young probably picks up his option. Even still, it’s not like selecting Vonleh means the team is pushing Robert Sacre out the door.7 of 14
8.) The Sacramento Kings select … Doug McDermott, SF/PF, Creighton.
Should McDermott’s elite scoring touch translate to the pros, a deal-ready team should be able to take its pick from Jason Thompson, Derrick Williams and Carl Landry. All make between $6-7 million and either haven’t lived up to how high they were drafted (Williams), their contract (Landry), or both (Thompson). Williams might still be the easiest to move, with Landry and Thompson’s deals both going until 2016.
9.) The Charlotte Hornets select … Dario Saric, SF/PF, Croatia.
Saric needs to put on weight, but he has been one of the top players in one of the top European leagues this year. Last year’s starter, Josh McRoberts, won’t likely be shuttled to the bench, but Saric could most realistically play the three in the NBA and send light-scoring wing Michael Kidd-Gilchrist looking for minutes.9 of 14
10.) The Philadelphia 76ers select … Aaron Gordon, PF, Arizona.
If Thad Young wasn’t being moved to clear frontcourt minutes after the Sixer’s first lottery pick, he sure could be now.10 of 14
11.) The Denver Nuggets select … Jusuf Nurkic, C, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Nurkic played well in the Adriatic League this season. While the Nuggets could certainly elect to stash Nurkic in Europe for another season or two, should they decide to bring him over this year, it is likely at the expense of Timofey Mozgov’s roster spot. But don’t be surprised if the team, instead, tries to find a taker for JaVale McGee and his 2-years and nearly $24 million remaining.11 of 14
12.) The Orlando Magic select … James Young, SG/SF, Kentucky.
Over/under on how long after this pick, Pacers’ President, Larry Bird, tries to swing a deal for Arron Afflalo: 1.5 seconds. Afflalo’s been hinting for a move to a playoff team and any acquisition here should either be a trade piece or someone who can replace his scoring.12 of 14
13.) The Minnesota Timberwolves select … Nik Stauskas, SG/SF, Michigan.
The Wolves have waited for two years for Chase Budinger to be the Chase Budinger they thought they were signing to a deal at $5 million per. If the small forward has gotten himself healthy enough to put up numbers closer to his Houston days, Minnesota might find itself a taker. Otherwise, it’s not difficult to see Stauskas’s shooting ability to force the team to cut ties with 2013 first rounder, Shabazz Muhammad.13 of 14
14.) The Phoenix Suns select … Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
The Suns assembled one of the league’s more exciting backcourts last season, pairing Eric Bledsoe with Goran Dragic. Gerald Green found a productive home splitting time between the shooting guard and small forward spots, and you can imagine Harris, a hard-working two-way player, fitting into that rotation. That would make Archie Goodwin, the club’s 29th overall pick in 2013, the odd-man out and D-League bound.14 of 14