The NBA Draft Lottery takes place tonight when one lucky franchise gets the first overall pick to draft Duke star Zion Williamson. However, there is no way to know how the pick will work out right away. Every single player has to adjust to the NBA, and it isn’t fair to judge teams for their selections until a few years later. Today, we look back at the 2014 NBA Draft, as these players have been in the association for five years.
1. Andrew Wiggins – Minnesota via Cleveland
The Timberwolves traded Kevin Love for Andrew Wiggins, who was supposed to be a sure fire star in the NBA. However, Wiggins has quite lived up to that bill in Minnesota. He did sign a max extension with the T-Wolves, and is a fine second fiddle to KAT. However, he doesn’t look like he will ever be that star that he was touted to be, and that you need with the number one overall pick in the draft.
Grade – B
2. Jabari Parker – Milwaukee
Jabari Parker is on his third team in just his fifth season in the NBA, and also hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him. Parker has been as advertised on the offensive end, but he is a major liability for any team that he suits up for when he doesn’t have the ball. Just imagine how much scarier the Bucks would be if they happened to hit on the second pick in the 2014 draft.
Grade – C
3. Joel Embiid – Philadelphia
Talk about a home run. Joel Embiid was always thought of as a talented player, but he had injury concerns, and still does. However, that does not take away from the fact that this pick was a major win. Embiid is a top three big man in todays game, and is one of the most exciting players both on and off of the court. The only thing keeping this grade from an A+ is Embiid’s non-ability to stay healthy.
Grade – A
4. Aaron Gordon – Orlando
Aaron Gordon isn’t quite Joel Embiid, but he is still a fringe All-Star every single season. He is the perfect fit for an NBA big man today, being able to step out and hit from long range, but also being able to roll to the rim and slam home an exciting dunk. His three point percentage has increased every single year, and is now a respectable 35%. If he can get that up to 40%, Gordon is a sure fire all-star.
Grade – A-
5. Dante Exum – Utah
Dante Exum has only played 122 games for the Jazz in the past four seasons due to injuries, which makes this pick almost an instant failure. Combine that with the fact that he is simply ineffective for the Jazz’s offense, and this pick is a bust. It is easy to see why scouts and teams fell in love with Exum, but his game has not translated to the NBA. He is a career 30% three point shooter, and isn’t athletic enough to be a difference maker.
Grade – D
6. Marcus Smart – Boston
Marcus Smart isn’t going to jump off the box score if you are just taking a look at them in your daily newspaper, but he is a critical piece to the Boston Celtics. Smart is one of the best defenders in the NBA, using both his athleticism and mental gymnastics to get inside the head of some of the NBA’s best scorers. Smart has improved his three point shooting, making him one of the NBA’s most underrated two way players.
Grade – A-
7. Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers
Julius Randle is another underrated player from the 2014 draft class. He really broke out this past season in New Orleans after not being brought back to Los Angeles. He started to take, and hit, more three pointers this past season, fitting the role of a current day stretch four. He is also a decent passer for a big man, but does have issues on defense at times. Still, he would look good in a Lakers jersey right now.
Grade – B+
8. Nik Stauskas – Sacramento
Nik Stauskas was supposed to be one of the best pure scorers from this class, but now finds himself on his fifth NBA team in his fifth year in the league. Stauskas struggles athletically against more talented NBA two guards, and finds himself lost on the defensive end at times. He is a good scorer off the bench, but is exposed over long periods of time spent on the court.
Grade – D
9. Noah Vonleh – Chicago
Noah Vonleh was one of the more exciting players in this class. He was viewed similar to Aaron Gordon, as a four who is very athletically gifted, but had question marks in other areas of his game. He has only played over 70 games twice in his five year career, but was a starter for a poor Knicks team this past season, averaging over eight points per game. Vonleh probably carved out a role as a role player for the next few years, but isn’t anything special.
Grade – C
10. Elfrid Payton – Orlando via Philly
Elfrid Payton may be the most under-appreciated player in this entire draft class. However, similar to other players from this class he has had a difficult time staying on the court during his young career. He is very similar to Marcus Smart, as a combo guard who isn’t afraid to get in your face on the defensive end. He is a starting caliber point guard if he is able to stay healthy, but that is a big question mark at this point in his career.
Grade – B
11. Doug McDermott – Chicago via Denver
Douggie McBuckets was one of the biggest name in this draft class due to his ability to hit the three ball, and his exciting runs under his father at Creighton. McDermott has been exactly what everyone thought he would be in the NBA. A pure shooter who wasn’t going to have much else to offer to his team, and will be challenged on the defensive end. Still, he is a valuable role player that can knock down three pointers with the best of them.
Grade – B-
12. Dario Saric – Philly via Orlando
Dario Saric has been one of the more surprising players from this class, averaging double digit points per game in all of his NBA seasons. He is your prototypical stretch four, that will hit a three but doesn’t offer much in the low post. However, that isn’t much of an issue with the way the current NBA style of play has gone. If Saric was a better rebounder he would be a surefire starter, but until that is improved upon he will be an above average role player.
Grade – B
13. Zach LaVine – Minnesota
Zach LaVine was one of the best value picks in the entire draft. LaVine was always known to be very athletically gifted, but the rest of his game was a question mark. However, all of those questions have been answered. LaVine hits the three ball at a 37% clip, and sees the court very well for a two guard. He is also good for a few highlight plays every single time he steps on the court.
Grade – A
14. T.J Warren – Phoenix
T.J Warren was one of the NBA’s biggest breakout players this past season, and moved past just being a lockdown defender. He averaged 18 points per game, albeit for a bad Suns team. This comes after averaging nearly 20 points per game in the 2017-18 NBA season. If he can keep hitting threes anywhere near the 42 percent that he did this past season he will be a fringe all-star for years to come. T.J Warren is a key piece to the Suns rebuild, but will already be 26 next year.
Grade – A