Kane's 2014 NBA mock draft 1.0

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Kane's 2014 NBA mock draft 1.0

When the dust settled at Tuesday night's NBA draft lottery, the Sixers came away with the No. 3 and No. 10 picks in a deep draft. Here is an early look at how the first round could shape up:

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Andrew Wiggins, SF, 6-8, 200, Kansas
The unbelievably fortunate Cavs will likely decide between former Kansas teammates Wiggins and Joel Embiid. After gambling on Anthony Bennett with the top pick last year, the Cavs will opt for the surer thing this time around. Wiggins is a freak athlete and lockdown defender who will develop into a perennial All-Star.

2. Milwaukee Bucks - Joel Embiid, C, 7-0, 250, Kansas
The Bucks won't be able to resist Embiid's potential. Health concerns are a legitimate issue, but Embiid has all the tools to become a dominant force on both ends of the floor, and he hasn't even scratched the surface of his abilities.

3. Philadelphia 76ers - Jabari Parker, SF, 6-8, 235, Duke
Nabbing Parker with the third pick would represent tremendous value for the 76ers. He is the most polished offensive player among the elite prospects in this draft and should have little difficulty transitioning into a 20-point scorer on the pro level. His defensive instincts were below average during his one collegiate season, but Parker's offensive game is too good to pass up.

4. Orlando Magic - Dante Exum, PG, 6-6, 195, Australia
The Magic happily take Exum here and pair him in the backcourt with Victor Oladipo for years to come. Exum is a long, lanky point guard in the mold of Michael Carter-Williams. His shooting stroke is suspect but his playmaking skills and disruptive defensive tendencies are NBA-ready.

5. Utah Jazz - Julius Randle, PF, 6-9, 250, Kentucky
Randle is a Zach Randolph clone who will be a force immediately on Utah's frontline. He was a double-double machine at Kentucky. Randle is tenacious attacking the glass on both ends of the floor and will develop into a consistent shooter from 15 to 18 feet.

6. Boston Celtics - Aaron Gordon, SF, 6-9, 225, Arizona
Gordon is as athletic as any prospect in the draft. His offensive game needs a great deal of polish, but he will be an impact defender the moment he steps onto the floor as a rookie.

7. Los Angeles Lakers - Marcus Smart, PG, 6-4, 220, Oklahoma St.
The Lakers need an infusion of youth in the backcourt, and Smart fits that role nicely. His athleticism and floor game are outstanding, but his jump shot is a work in progress. Character issues won't negatively affect his draft stock.

8. Sacramento Kings - Noah Vonleh, PF, 6-10, 240, Indiana
Vonleh's numbers were solid if not spectacular as a freshman at Indiana, but his measurables and athleticism stood out at the combine. The Kings will take him here based on his potential rather than his production at the college level.

9. Charlotte Hornets - Doug McDermott, SF, 6-8, 225, Creighton
McDermott has the most well-rounded offensive skill set of any prospect in the draft. He is an elite shooter, can score on either low block and is terrific without the ball. He's also a willing defender with underrated athleticism and an unmatched understanding of the game.

10. Philadelphia 76ers - Nik Stauskas, SG, 6-6, 205, Michigan
Brett Brown stresses the importance of surrounding Carter-Williams with shooters. Nobody in this draft shoots the ball better than Stauskas, who was a 44 percent three-point shooter in two seasons at Michigan. He improved his all-around game significantly as a sophomore, attacking the rim more frequently and displaying tremendous passing skills.

11. Denver Nuggets - Gary Harris, SG, 6-4, 210, Michigan St.
Harris' production increased during his sophomore season at Michigan State, but his shooting numbers dipped. He should find his niche as a combo guard in the NBA, but I'm not sold on his ability to succeed as a long-term starter.

12. Orlando Magic - Dario Saric, SF, 6-10, 215, Croatia
After taking Exum with the fourth pick, the Magic continue the international theme by grabbing Saric here. Saric is billed as a young Toni Kukoc, a creative player in transition who can play the point forward role in halfcourt sets.

13. Minnesota Timberwolves - James Young, SG, 6-6, 215, Kentucky
Consistency was a problem for Young at Kentucky but athleticism and fearlessness were not. Young is a good outside shooter capable of attacking the rim. He could end up being a steal with the 13th pick.

14. Phoenix Suns - Rodney Hood, SF, 6-8, 215, Duke
Hood has a lot of Thaddeus Young in his game -- from his size to his left-handed jump shot. Hood is a better shooter than Young was coming out of college, but he has work to do before he can match the other aspects of Young's game.

15. Atlanta Hawks - Zach LaVine, SG, 6-5, 180, UCLA
LaVine didn't always stand out at UCLA, but his potential makes him an enticing mid-first-round pick. In a draft loaded with shooting guards, LaVine is viewed more as a project.

16. Chicago Bulls - Kyle Anderson, PG/SF, 6-9, 230, UCLA
The Bulls grab LaVine's college backcourt mate with the very next pick. Anderson is a diverse offensive player with offensive skills that call to mind Jalen Rose. He is a big point guard who controls the game without the benefit of explosive athleticism.

17. Boston Celtics - Adreian Payne, PF, 6-10, 245, Michigan St.
The Celtics take another stab at improving their frontcourt with the selection of Payne, who can also step out and knock down the perimeter jumper. Payne is an experienced player who should crack Boston's rotation immediately.

18. Phoenix Suns - T.J. Warren, SF, 6-8, 215, N.C. State
Warren is a great fit for how the Suns like to play under Jeff Hornacek. The ACC Player of the Year last season at N.C. State, Warren has little trouble getting to the basket.

19. Chicago Bulls - Shabazz Napier, PG, 6-0, 180, Connecticut
No player helped his stock in the NCAA tournament more than Napier, who led Connecticut to a surprising national championship. He has the makings of an explosive backcourt scorer and might be better suited in the sixth man role in the NBA.

20. Toronto Raptors - Cleanthony Early, SF, 6-7, 210, Wichita St.
The Raptors made significant progress in the Eastern Conference this season, and Early is the type of polished player who should help them immediately. He's a versatile forward capable of scoring in the paint and on the perimeter.

21. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jerami Grant, SF, 6-8, 215, Syracuse
Grant is a risky pick but one the Thunder can afford. His upside is tremendous -- he's a great athlete with NBA bloodlines (son of Harvey Grant, nephew of Horace). Time will tell whether he can become a consistent performer at the pro level.

22. Memphis Grizzlies - P.J. Hairston, SG, 6-5, 230, NBDL 
Hairston is a forgotten man in this draft. He was dismissed from North Carolina at the beginning of last season and eventually landed in the NBDL. Talent isn't the question, but whether Hairston is able to avoid trouble off the court is.

23. Utah Jazz - Glenn Robinson III, SF, 6-7, 210, Michigan
Another prospect with pro bloodlines, Robinson often took a backseat to Stauskas, Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr. during his time at Michigan. But Robinson has the size and athleticism to contribute on the NBA level.

24. Charlotte Hornets - Tyler Ennis, PG, 6-2, 180, Syracuse
The Hornets don't necessarily need a point guard, but Ennis would be a great value pick this low in the first round. He was terrific as a freshman at Syracuse, an old school point guard who controls the flow of the game and always makes the right decisions.

25. Houston Rockets - DeAndre Daniels, SF, 6-9, 210, Connecticut
Daniels went from a non-factor in the 2014 draft to potential late first-round pick thanks to a strong showing in Connecticut's national championship run in the NCAA tournament. The raw tools are there, but he'll need to harness them to be an impact player in the NBA.

26. Miami Heat - Mitch McGary, PF, 6-10, 260, Michigan
McGary's sophomore season at Michigan was derailed by a back injury, but he showed enough promise as a freshman to warrant consideration here. He is a gifted post player with a reliable 15-foot jump shot. McGary's back is a significant red flag, but if he's healthy he could be a steal for Miami.

27. Phoenix Suns - C.J. Wilcox, SG, 6-5, 205, Washington
Wilcox is one of the top outside shooters in the draft and a proven scorer at the collegiate level. He could be a nice rotation piece to help the Suns make the leap to the Western Conference playoffs next season.

28. Los Angeles Clippers - Semaj Christon, PG, 6-3, 190, Xavier
Christon is a dynamic scoring guard capable of getting his own shot in the NBA. Whether he can be a consistent performer is the question. At the very least he gives the Clippers backcourt depth and learns under Chris Paul.

29. Oklahoma City Thunder - Jarnell Stokes, PF, 6-9, 260, Tennessee
With Kendrick Perkins on the decline and Serge Ibaka coming off an injury, the Thunder could use some size inside. Stokes is that and then some. But he's more than a bruising presence in the paint; he has underrated ball skills on the offensive end.

30. San Antonio Spurs - Nick Johnson, SG, 6-3, 200, Arizona
Johnson was a first team All-American last season at Arizona, and he provides the Spurs with a much-needed shot of youth in the backcourt. He's a savvy scorer who will benefit from being around San Antonio's veteran cast.

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

Nerlens Noel joins Sixers in New Orleans, may play Sunday vs. Pistons

NEW ORLEANS — Nerlens Noel made another step toward his return from arthroscopic left knee surgery by joining the Sixers in New Orleans for their game against the Pelicans.

Noel arrived on Wednesday with Robert Covington, who is slated to start after missing the last three games with a left knee sprain. Noel is not cleared to play, but Brown doesn’t think it will be long until he suits up. 

“I don’t think far away,” Brown said of Noel’s regular season debut after shootaround.

When asked about the possibility of Noel playing this weekend when the Sixers face the Pistons on Sunday in Detroit, Brown replied, “Maybe.” 

Noel has missed the entire regular season recovering from elective surgery for an inflamed plica in October. He completed the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Ala. and has been continuing his work with the Sixers. This trip to New Orleans is the first time he has been with the Sixers on the road. 

“[He is] integrating with the team, studying a lot of tape, scripting with his teammates with the understanding that we have a chance to see him soon,” Brown said. “All that trying to ramp it up where he can go to an NBA court more comfortably.”

Noel spoke out about his displeasure with the Sixers crowded frontcourt at the start of the preseason. He recently stuck with his stance, saying, “I don’t think the roster’s changed.”

Brown is working to keep the team moving forward as a unit while still being aware of and recognizing Noel’s perspective. 

“It does,” Brown said when asked if Noel’s open frustration concerns him as it pertains to team cohesiveness. “But I feel like it’s so much a part of what we try do around here that it’s not like you’re going to blink and you’ve forgotten something that equals camaraderie, that equals team, that equals trying to keep this together, and you’ve left it for a week … 

“It’s a day-to-day focus for me and it’s a very candid conversation with me and the player. The team hears it, the individual hears it, we all understand it … We need to coexist and we need to understand the reality of it all, too. There’s a human side you understand. It’s also pride, it’s competitiveness, it’s do your job, it’s nothing is given, you’ve got to take stuff, draw your own line in the sand, competitors rule the day.”

Last season Noel averaged 11.1 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per game. The Sixers will look forward to having him back on the court in that once-crowded frontcourt that is now shorthanded. Jahlil Okafor remained in Philadelphia with gastroenteritis. Ben Simmons still is rehabbing from a right foot fracture. 

"Soon you’re going to see Ben Simmons coming to a team bench where he doesn’t come out with boots and have to push him in some type of wheely apparatus," Brown said. "We’ve dealt with so many injuries trying to find that balance of dealing with their health and so on, and then trying to integrate them back into a team is part of growing a program."

Sixers-Pelicans 5 things: Joel Embiid takes on dominating Anthony Davis

Sixers-Pelicans 5 things: Joel Embiid takes on dominating Anthony Davis

76ers (4-18) vs. Pelicans (7-15)
8 p.m. on TCN and CSNPhilly.com, Pregame Live starts at 7:30

The Sixers will try to snap their eight-game losing skid when they take on the New Orleans Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center on Thursday night.

Let's take a closer look at the matchup:

1. Walking wounded, part II
After the Sixers were limited to nine available players in Tuesday's loss to the beat-up Memphis Grizzlies, things won't be much better in the health department in New Orleans.

Sure, Joel Embiid's expected return after sitting out the second half of a back-to-back set for rest will be a welcome boost. However, the Sixers are still dealing with a host of other ailments that will likely limit them to just 10 healthy bodies on Thursday night.

The Pelicans surely won't shed a tear for the Sixers because they have their own injury issues. New Orleans could have as many as five players sidelined, including former Sixer Jrue Holiday with turf toe.

2. The next big thing
All of the injuries won't decrease the game's intrigue, mainly because of the matchup at center between Embiid and Anthony Davis.

Embiid is coming off a subpar performance in his last outing against the Denver Nuggets, but the big man has still been as advertised this season. The rookie is putting up 18.5 points, 7.6 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 23.3 minutes a game. Embiid is also shooting 46.8 percent from the field and an even 50.0 percent from three-point range.

On the other side, Davis has been an absolute monster for the Pelicans this season, even if it hasn't translated into many wins. 

The three-time All-Star leads the NBA in scoring with 31.6 points per game on 50.3 percent shooting. While carrying the scoring load, Davis has still been able to average a career-high 11.5 rebounds, 2.8 blocks, 2.2 assists and 1.8 steals a night.

This should be the first of many meetings between two big men that look to dominate the future of the league.

3. Glass repair
With Embiid out on Tuesday, the Sixers were dominated 69-54 in the rebounding battle against the Grizzlies.

They should find things a little easier in that department against the Pelicans. Despite Davis' best efforts on the boards, New Orleans has allowed a league-high 48.9 rebounds to opponents this season. 

With Embiid back in the lineup, Ersan Ilyasova coming off a 17-rebound game and Richaun Holmes always active, the Sixers should be able to control the rebounding category.

4. Injuries
Robert Covington (knee/illness) is available to play. Jahlil Okafor (illness), Jerryd Bayless (wrist), Nerlens Noel (knee) and Ben Simmons (foot) are out for the Sixers.

Holiday (toe) and E'Twaun Moore (toe) are questionable. Tyreke Evans (knee), Dante Cunningham (knee) and Quincy Pondexter (knee) are out for the Pelicans.

5. This and that
•  The Sixers are trying to avoid a franchise-record 24th straight road loss.

•  The Sixers and Pelicans split the season series in 2015-16 with each team winning at home.

•  Ilyasova is averaging 16.2 points and 8.2 boards so far in December.