The NBA Draft is one of the most important elements of the NBA season and success or failure at the Draft stage can shape a team’s season. This is an annual element which all of the 30 teams in the NBA can draft players. While these players will traditionally come from US college basketball teams, it is also possible to draft international players who meet the eligibility criteria. The NBA Draft usually takes place around June but before the NBA Draft, comes the NBA Draft lottery.
The NBA Draft Lottery is also an annual event and this is what determines the order of the draft. All of the teams that missed out on the Play-Offs take part in the lottery, so this means that 14 teams participate in the draft lottery. There is weighting applied so the team that finishes the season with the poorest record stands a better chance of picking up a high draft pick. It doesn’t always work like this but at least there is an attempt to bring balance to the teams. The NBA Draft Lottery outlines the initial 3 picks of the draft and after this the order is determined by taking a team’s loss-win record into consideration. The phrase “lottery pick” is used to signify a team whose position has been worked out through the lottery process and the teams called “lottery teams” are the remaining non Play-Off teams. The NBA Draft Lottery has been in place since 1985.
Cavaliers up first in the 2014 NBA Draft
The Cleveland Cavaliers have the first pick at the NBA Draft for 2014. The Cavaliers only held a 1.7% chance of picking up the first pick but on Thursday June 26th, they will be team making the first call in the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The first 5 teams picking are:
- Cleveland Cavaliers
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Orlando Magic
- Utah Jazz
Who will be the first pick?
There is always a great deal of expectation place on the first pick in the NBA Draft, and last year, this honour fell on Anthony Bennett. It took Bennett a while to get to grips with the NBA but in January and February of 2014 he achieved some double-scoring and then double-double scores which indicated that his game was improving. There is no denying that the 2013/14 season was a difficult one for Bennett but the player, aged just 21, still has plenty of time to live up to the expectations placed on him at the Draft. However, it is important to note that not every first draft achieves the career that is mapped out for them.
There will be plenty of players looking to avoid the sort of season that Bennett has just experienced and there are high hopes for a number of top prospects who are eligible for this year’s draft. These are just some of the players that teams are on the trail of and you may wish to keep an eye out for:
Standing at seven foot tall, this is a basketball player that stands out in a crowd and one of the most startling things about Joel Embiid is that he only turned to basketball in 2011. You would think his height made him a natural fit for the game but he dabbled with soccer and volleyball before deciding that basketball was the sport for him. This freshman from Kansas, whose position is center, is tipped to be one of the first picks in this year’s draft. With experts already seeing a great range of skills in the player, and massive potential, Embiid is a player that will be in demand.
Also hailing from Kansas Unievrsity, Andrew Wiggins, coming in at 6’ 8”, shows fantastic potential in the role of perimeter defender but he is considered versatile enough to hold a defensive position on either wing. The playmaking abilities of Wiggins have not gone unnoticed and there is a belief that teams looking for a level of creativity will benefit from his style of play.
At just 19 years old, there is a lot of praise and positive talk being placed on Jabari Parker, a small forward from Duke. Many experts have pointed to an extraordinary level of game intelligence for such a young player and again, this is a player that you should keep your eye on. Any basketball player that gets referenced as “the top high school player in the country” is clearly a player that should be heading to the upper echelons of the game.
Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State is a point guard who is receiving a lot of praise and he is likely to feature in the upper echelons of the draft while Dario Saric, currently playing for KK Cibona Zagreb, is hailed as one of the brightest talents of European basketball in recent years. Saric is far from being the complete basketball player, certainly at NBA level, but he shows a determination and focus that means certain flaws in his game can be easily overcome.
With just over a month to go until the NBA Draft, many basketball fans are getting excited about which new players will light up courts across the country in the 2014/15 NBA season.