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NBA AM: 2014 NBA Draft Mock Lottery

Where will Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker go? Check out our 2014 NBA Draft mock lottery … Paul George, Roy Hibbert leading Pacers to promised land?

Alex Kennedy

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Miami HEAT big man Chris Bosh addressed the media at All-Star Weekend.

2014 NBA Draft Mock Lottery

After talking to a number of league sources in recent days, I decided to put together a mock lottery for the 2014 NBA Draft. A lot will change between now and draft night, but here is an early look at the top of the draft:

A few notes:

  • Executives remain infatuated with Joel Embiid and his upside. More and more executives believe that he’ll be the No. 1 overall pick. However, it really depends on which team wins the lottery. If it’s a team that already has a long-term answer at center, Embiid may go slightly lower than expected.
  • Noah Vonleh is someone to watch throughout the pre-draft process. The 18-year-old is 6’10 with a 7’4 wingspan and executives rave about his potential and his ability to score inside and out.
  • You probably recognize the name Dario Saric from last year’s pre-draft process, when he received some hype before ultimately pulling his name out. This year, he’ll be a lottery pick.
  • Jabari Parker slips to No. 5 because I’ve talked a few executives who are concerned that he’ll be a tweener in the NBA.

For more coverage of the 2014 NBA Draft, check out our NBA Draft section.

Basketball Insiders launched our first digital magazine last week, an in-depth 2014 NBA Trade Deadline Guide. The issue can be purchased on Turn-Page, which allows you to view the magazine on your desktop, tablet and smart phone. It can also be purchased through the app store for Apple devices and Android devices. Here are some excerpts from the magazine’s features.

George, Hibbert May Lead Pacers to Promised Land

At the 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, Roy Hibbert pulled Paul George aside and made a prediction. The teammates were in town for different reasons – Hibbert was making the first All-Star appearance of his career while George was participating in the Rising Stars Challenge and Slam Dunk Contest – but Hibbert predicted that they would be soon be perennial All-Star teammates.

At the time, it was far from a sure thing. George had averaged just 7.8 points as a rookie and he was still extremely raw as a sophomore. But Hibbert, who is four years older than George, saw just how hard the Fresno State product worked on his game and was blown away by his potential.

Hibbert, of course, was right. George would go on to make the All-Star team in his third year and this season, the both Indiana Pacers represented the Eastern Conference at All-Star Weekend in New Orleans. When George starts talking about how everyone doubted him, Hibbert likes to chime in and remind him that he had at least one ardent supporter and believer early on.

“If you ask him who was the first person to say the sky is the limit [for him], he’ll tell you that I was the one,” Hibbert told me last year. “I’ll take all of the credit for that. I remember being with him in Orlando last year for the All-Star break and I told him the sky is the limit. I told him that he’s going to be an All-Star and he’s going to be great. He’s been putting in the work and he deserves everything.”

Hibbert is excited about how George has developed, and he believes he still has room for more growth. He’s starting to do the little things that separate good players from great ones, such as changing his nutrition, spending time in the weight room and having a consistent sleep schedule among other things.

“He has grown up a lot, on and off the court,” Hibbert said of George. “Last year, he used to eat pizza for breakfast on game days. Now, he is taking his health and nutrition [seriously] and getting sleep. He comes in early and gets some shots before games. He took it one step further than what Reggie [Miller] did – he lifts before every game and then sometimes lifts after games at home too. He is developing into a nice pro.”

Now, George and Hibbert are the Pacers’ catalysts. The team is built around them – two players who are capable of dominating on both ends of the floor and strive to do just that. George is filling the stat sheet on a nightly basis and averaging 22.2 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals. Hibbert is one of the NBA’s best interior presences, averaging 11.8 points, 7.7 rebounds and a league-best 2.5 blocks. Both players excel in head coach Frank Vogel’s system and put their team’s success over their own. They were honored to make their second All-Star appearance.

“I appreciate the coaches seeing my body of work,” Hibbert said. “I just try to play the game the right way and I’m happy I got picked by the coaches. … It’s great. I’m happy to be here.  I was nervous, thinking that I wasn’t going to get in, but team success helped me get in and my body of work.  I’m happy the coaches [chose me], and I’m happy for Paul to be able to go out there and start.”

“I’m still wide eyed,” George said. “Even with this being my second one, there is still a lot of stuff that is new to me.  I just learned from the first experience that the main thing is having fun.  It’s a real loose and fun environment here, and I’m happy to share it with Coach Vogel and Roy.”

While everyone is talking about Kevin Durant vs. LeBron James in the Most Valuable Player race, Hibbert believes his young teammate should hoist the trophy.

“Paul [is the MVP],” Hibbert said of his teammate. “I mean, we’re the number one team in the East. He plays both sides of the floor.  To me, it’s not just about scoring; he distributes the ball and he does literally everything.  … I’d say it goes Paul, Kevin, LeBron.”

Hibbert’s improvement in recent years has been remarkable as well. He’s the frontrunner for this season’s Defensive Player of the Year award because few players can affect a game defensively like Hibbert. Not only does he swat away nearly three shots per game, he alters many others and scares the opposition from going in the paint. Rather than just relying on his size and natural abilities, Hibbert studies what other players do on offense so that he has a better chance of shutting them down.

“It’s knowing tendencies,” Hibbert said. “I watch a lot of film on guys to see how they shoot the ball.  I try not to jump off my feet to contest shots around the basket and definitely not further away from the basket.  So knowing tendencies [is helpful]. When they pump, I put my hands up, crowd them and then they’re probably going to pass it back out.”

Now that the Pacers are once again an elite team with likeable stars, fans are responding in Indiana.

“There is a good vibe,” Hibbert said. “Before, people never used to come to the games, but were slowly getting them back.  We have had a couple sellouts during the week as opposed to just the weekend.”

Both Hibbert and George have come a long way since the center made that prediction in Orlando. They’re now two-time All-Stars signed to max contracts on the best team in the East. All that’s left is getting past the Miami HEAT and winning a title. This could be their year.

Alex Kennedy is the Managing Editor of Basketball Insiders and this is his 10th season covering the NBA. He is a member of the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

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Mock Drafts

NBA Daily: The Top of The 2018 Draft Is Getting Crowded

The top of the projected 2018 NBA Draft is starting to get interesting, mainly because so many potential draft prospects are having incredibly dominant seasons.

Steve Kyler

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Things Are Getting Interesting

While the projected 2018 NBA Draft class doesn’t seem to have a future superstar sitting at the top of the board, there are potentially four players that are really looking the part of future NBA All-Stars and it’s making the top of the class very interesting.

Say what you want about stats, but there is little doubt that the numbers some of the top prospects are posting so far this season are pretty compelling.

Duke’s Marvin Bagley III is averaging 21.1 points per game to go with 10.9 rebounds. His 61.7 percent field goal average is impressive, especially when you consider he’s knocking in 34.6% of his three (9-26 on the season). Bagley has a 32.2 PER with a 64.6 True Shooting percentage and a 26.7 usage rate. In short, highly productive almost everywhere without having to own the basketball.

Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton is posting similarly ridiculous numbers, 19.5 points per game with 11.4 rebounds. His 61.7 percent from the field also comes with an impressive 30.4 percent three-point average (7-23 on the season). Ayton’s 32.3 PER is a nose higher than Bagley. He is also posting a whopping 65.6 True Shooting percentage with a 26.7 percentage usage rate. Again, highly productive in every way without being so ball-dominant to skew the numbers. Ayton hit the ground running at Arizona and really hasn’t had a bad game yet.

Oklahoma’s Trae Young has burst into the top-five discussion in a huge way. His 6’2 180-pound frame looks small on the court, but his game has been tremendous. Young is posting 28.7 points per game with a monster 10.4 assists per contest. He is grabbing 3.5 rebounds while shooting 48.5 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from two-point range and a scorching 41.1 percent from three (44 of 107 on the season). Young’s 38 PER is tops in all of college basketball. He has a 65.2 True Shooting percentage and a 36.1 usage rate. Unlike Bagley and Ayton, Young does control the ball, but that’s typical for an impact scoring point guard. He offsets the ball dominance with incredible assist numbers. He is also pretty spectacular to watch.

International phenom Luka Dončić is having a solid season in his own right, although his averages are lower because he doesn’t play the same volume of minutes as the NCAA collegiate prospects. In 26 games in both the Euroleague and the ACB, Dončić is posting 16.8 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.3 assists per contest. He is shooting 48.4 percent from the field and 35.6 percent from international three (48 of 135 on the season). Dončić is posting a 28.2 PER in Euroleague play and a 23.7 PER in ACB play. Dončić’s True Shooting numbers in Euroleague play are impressive at 66.2 percent. In ACB play his number drop a bit to 58.1 percent. His usage numbers illustrate the same slip. In Euroleague play, he posts a 30 percent usage rate while posting a 26.6 percent usage rate in ACB. Dončić typically plays more minutes and a larger role in Euroleague play. Hence the stat shift. If you haven’t seen him play, he’s so instinctual and gifted it easy to see why many see him as the top pick.

There are some compelling storylines to watch towards the top of the NBA draft board, which is likely why so many NBA executives seem split on who they would peg as the top talent in the projected 2018 Draft class.

So, with that out the way, lets jump into the latest first-round 2018 NBA Mock Draft:

Here are some of the pick swaps and how they landed where they are currently projected:

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers’ 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015. The 76ers traded that pick to the Boston Celtics as part of the draft pick trade that became Markelle Fultz before the draft; it has 2 through 5 protections and based on the standings today would convey to Boston.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets’ first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer. The Brooklyn Nets traded several unprotected picks to Boston as part of the Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce trades in 2015.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks’ first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would not convey.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Jazz/Wolves Ricky Rubio trade this past summer. The Jazz acquired the pick as part of the Thunder’s deal to obtain Enes Kanter in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves’ first round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors’ first round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets’ first round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects http://www.basketballinsiders.com/top-100-nba-draft-prospects/

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @MikeAScotto, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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NBA Daily: Another 2018 NBA Mock Draft – 12/13/17

Basketball Insiders’ publisher Steve Kyler drops his latest 2018 first-round NBA Mock Draft.

Steve Kyler

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A little less than a month ago we dropped the first 2018 NBA Mock Draft, which was met with a lot of disdain. Which is often a good thing because it sparks the discussion in NBA circles.

Since that Mock dropped, we’ve seen a bit more play out of some of the top prospects and many of the assumptions made almost a month ago are starting to settle into place a little more clearly.

The prevailing thought from NBA scouts and executives is that the possible 2018 NBA Draft class has a lot more questions than answers. The common view is that outside of the top 3 or 4 players there could be a very wide range on who the next 10-12 players will be; so expect for the second tier to evolve a lot over the course of the college basketball season.

A couple of things have started to surface among NBA scouts and executives, there seem to be three camps emerging around the top overall player – Duke’s Marvin Bagley III and international phenom Luka Dončić, seem to be the leading names mentioned most, with Arizona’s DeAndre Ayton making a strong push into the discussion. We can safely call this a three-horse race at this point.

The prevailing belief is that none of the three is far and away better than the other as a professional prospect, making it more likely than not that the top player selected will have a lot more to do with which team ultimately lands the pick, more so than the player themselves.

This class also seems to be brimming with promising athletic point guards, which unlike last year’s draft, could provide a lot of options for teams still trying to find that impact point guard.

There also looks to be 27 players in the projected top 100 that are 6’10 or bigger, eight of which project in the top 30. To put that into perspective, there were 11 players 6’10 or bigger drafted in the first round of the 2017 NBA Draft, and 17 total in the 60 2017 NBA Draft selections.

As we get into the 2018 calendar year, we’ll start to do deeper dives into the tiers of players and their possible NBA strengths and weakness.

So, with all of that in mind, here is the second 2018 first-round NBA Mock Draft.

Here are some of the pick swaps and how they landed where they are currently projected:

The Philadelphia 76ers are owed the LA Lakers 2018 Draft pick, unprotected, as a result of the 2012 Steve Nash trade with the Suns. The Suns traded that pick to the 76ers as part of the Michael Carter-Williams three-team trade with the Milwaukee in 2015.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this past summer.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Ricky Rubio trade this summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would not convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would not convey.

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors first round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets first round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

Check out the Basketball Insiders’ Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects http://www.basketballinsiders.com/top-100-nba-draft-prospects/

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Mock Drafts

NBA AM: The First 2018 NBA Mock Draft

With College Basketball getting underway and things starting to get interesting in the standings of the NBA, what better time to drop a 2018 Mock Draft than on Thanksgiving.

Steve Kyler

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The Thanksgiving 2018 NBA Mock Draft

With College Basketball getting underway and things starting to get interesting in the standings of the NBA, what better time to drop a 2018 Mock Draft than on Thanksgiving.

So with that in mind here is my first Mock Draft of the 2018 Season, look for more of these are we march on (and hopefully you like the new Mock Draft table design.

The Cleveland Cavaliers are owed the Brooklyn Nets first-round pick as a result of the Kyrie Irving trade this summer.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Miami HEAT’s first-round pick as part of the Goran Dragic trade in 2015, it is top-seven protected and would convey to Phoenix based on the current standings.

The Phoenix Suns are owed the Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick as part of the Eric Bledsoe trade. The pick only conveys if the Bucks pick lands between the 11th and 16th pick, which based on the standings today would convey.

The Minnesota Timberwolves are owed the Oklahoma City Thunder’s first-round pick as part of the Ricky Rubio trade this summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Minnesota Timberwolves first round pick as part of the Adreian Payne trade in 2015. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Brooklyn Nets are owed the Toronto Raptors first round pick as part of the DeMarre Carroll salary dump trade this past summer. The pick is lottery protected and based on the current standings would convey.

The Atlanta Hawks are owed the Houston Rockets first round pick as part of a three-team deal with the LA Clippers and Denver Nuggets involving Danilo Gallinari and taking back Jamal Crawford and Diamond Stone. The pick is top-three protected and based on the current standings would convey.

Check out our Top 100 NBA Draft Prospects http://www.basketballinsiders.com/top-100-nba-draft-prospects/

More Twitter: Make sure you are following all of our guys on Twitter to ensure you are getting the very latest from our team: @stevekylerNBA, @MikeAScotto, @LangGreene, @EricPincus, @joelbrigham, @TommyBeer, @MokeHamilton , @jblancartenba, @Ben_Dowsett, @SpinDavies, @BuddyGrizzard, @JamesB_NBA, @DennisChambers_, and @Ben__Nadeau .

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