Kane's 2014 NBA mock draft 2.0

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Kane's 2014 NBA mock draft 2.0

It's been two weeks since my first mock draft. Here is how I see the first round will shape up with my latest mock (you can compare my latest with John Gonzalez's and Amy Fadool's.):

1. Cleveland Cavaliers - Andrew Wiggins, SF, 6-8/200, Kansas
Despite the on-going exodus from the Andrew Wiggins Fan Club, I'm holding strong. Mounting speculation suggests Cleveland is sold on Wiggins' college teammate Joel Embiid, but I'm not buying it. After gambling on Anthony Bennett with the top pick last year, the Cavs will go the safer route this time around. Wiggins is a freak athlete and lockdown defender who will develop into a perennial All-Star. Pick apart his weaknesses all you'd like, I'll focus on his strengths. And there are plenty of them. 

2. Milwaukee Bucks - Joel Embiid, C, 7-0/250, Kansas
The Bucks will gladly take Embiid, who has the highest upside of any prospect in this draft. Health concerns are a legitimate issue, but Embiid has all the tools to become a dominant force on both ends of the floor. He's just starting to scratch the surface of his abilities -- a scary thought considering how much he's developed in the last two years.

3. Philadelphia 76ers - Jabari Parker, SF, 6-8/235, Duke
Nabbing Parker with the third pick would represent tremendous value for the Sixers. 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 at 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 Michael 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 - Adreian Payne, PF, 6-10/245, Michigan St.
The Hawks immediately improve 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 Atlanta's rotation from Day 1.

16. Chicago Bulls - 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.

17. Boston Celtics - Elfrid Payton, PG, 6-3/190, Louisiana-Lafayette
Payton might be the most overlooked prospect in this draft. Don't put much stock into his mid-major background, he can play. He's a scoring point guard with tremendous athleticism. He was the only player in the country to average 19 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals last season. Payton calls to mind Damian Lillard, the former Weber State star who went the mid-major to NBA All-Star route.

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 more in the NCAA tournament 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 player 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. Time will tell whether he can become a consistent performer at the pro level.

22. Memphis Grizzlies - Kyle Anderson, PG/SF, 6-9/230, UCLA
Anderson is a diverse offensive player with offensive skills that call to mind Jalen Rose. He is a big perimeter player who controls the game without the benefit of explosive athleticism. He can play three different positions for the Grizzlies, who will benefit from his versatility.

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 at the NBA level.

24. Charlotte Hornets - 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, it's whether Hairston is able to avoid trouble off the court. But he's a great value pick this low in the first round.

25. Houston Rockets - Tyler Ennis, PG, 6-2/180, Syracuse
This would be a steep fall for Ennis, who was once viewed as a lottery pick. 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.

26. Miami Heat - Mitch McGary, PF, 6-10/260, Michigan
McGary's sophomore season at Michigan was derailed because of 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 was 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.

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

WAYNE, Pa. — Three steps. 

That’s all it takes before Ben Simmons is recognized walking through the streets of Philadelphia. 

This year’s No. 1 pick has been in the spotlight long before the Sixers drafted him in June, and now he's experiencing what it's like to be known as an NBA player in his new city. 

“I’ve been enjoying walking around South Street, getting some Ishkabibble's,” Simmons said Tuesday after a special appearance at the Sixers' Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy. 

At 6-foot-10, Simmons towers above most on the court, let alone on the sidewalk. Fans have been eager to welcome him to Philadelphia for a new chapter of the organization after three years of struggle. 

“Positive things,” Simmons said of the comments he receives. “I think a lot of people are excited, so I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Simmons understands the impact a professional athlete can have on young fans, and was excited to be at camp Tuesday.

Growing up in Australia, he never had the opportunity to hear from NBA players when he attended basketball camps. Now that he's in that position, the 20-year-old was glad to provide that memory to the 240 campers. 

“That would mean a lot if I was able to experience that,” Simmons said. 

Simmons demonstrated skill drills, such as passing fundamentals, interacted in a Q&A session and signed autographs for each camper. He also took individual photos for those who traveled internationally, including from Nigeria, Italy and Greece. 

“I’m just like them, but older,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to be a good role model to them.”

Simmons plans to spend most of the offseason in Philadelphia as he gets settled into the city. He still has to move into his new home, but at least he knows where to get a cheesesteak in the meantime. 

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

Two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that the Miami Heat have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent guard Dion Waiters.

The two sides came to agreement on Monday. Waiters will make $2.9 million. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

Waiters averaged 9.8 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, but had several big games in the playoffs. He played particularly well against Dallas and San Antonio in the playoffs before his role was reduced in the seven-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Waiters will give the Heat another scorer off the bench (see full story).

Blazers: C.J. McCullom inked to four-year extension
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A person familiar with the deal confirms that guard CJ McCollum has agreed to a four-year, $106 million contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because the deal hadn't been formally announced by the team. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

McCollum, who was named the NBA's Most Improved Player, averaged 20.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Blazers during the regular season. He raised his scoring average by more than 14 points over the previous season.

As the 10th overall pick for the Blazers in the 2013 draft, McCollum bided his time on the bench for his first two seasons. He became a starter in the backcourt with Damian Lillard last season after four of the team's starters departed in the offseason (see full story).

Michael Jordan donates $2 million to ease racial tensions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan is trying to help ease tension between African-Americans and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner said Monday he's giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The aim is to help build trust following several shootings around the country.

Jordan says in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that "as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers," (see full story).

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

The Sixers continued to add to their roster Monday, announcing the signing of guard Brandon Paul. 

Paul participated on the Sixers' summer league squad in Las Vegas, where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 19.5 minutes. He also played for the Hornets in Utah. 

The 25-year-old went undrafted out Illinois in 2013 and has been playing overseas and in the D-League since then. Last season, he led FIATC Joventut (Spain) in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Paul also has been a member of the Canton Charge (D-League) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). 

Next season he could play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Paul is one of several offseason additions for the Sixers. The team has signed Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, James Webb III and Shawn Long. The Sixers also have reportedly agreed to a deal with Cat Barber.