Haughton's 2014 Sixers mock draft 1.0

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Haughton's 2014 Sixers mock draft 1.0

Between now and the draft, our draft pundits will provide their latest Sixers mock drafts. They will make selections for each of the Sixers' seven picks (or some of the picks and trade the others). Dei Lynam's ran first and then John Finger's. Here's Matt Haughton's:

First round (third overall): Jabari Parker, SF/PF, Duke
Things just got even more interesting.

By now you’ve certainly heard that Joel Embiid suffered a stress fracture in his right foot that could throw the entire top of the NBA draft out of whack.

While conventional wisdom suggests that the Cleveland Cavaliers and Milwaukee Bucks merely reconfigure their draft boards to move Embiid out and focus on top wing prospects, Andrew Wiggins and Parker, I see it a little differently.

Embiid’s injury also opens up the window for Australia’s Dante Exum. Exum will now work out for the Cavs and he has already gone through a session with the Bucks.

Teams -- including the Sixers -- are definitely intrigued by the guard’s size and ability. That’s enough for Cavs owner Dan Gilbert (he did draft Anthony Bennett No. 1 overall last year) or the Bucks’ new ownership group to pull the trigger on Exum.

With that said, Sam Hinkie apparently covets Wiggins, but in life you don't always get what you want. However, the Sixers end up with exactly what they need in Parker: a big-time scorer.

Parker brings the ability to put the ball in the basket from in the paint, beyond the three-point line and everywhere in between. He's the most polished offensive player in the draft class, which has to be a welcomed sight for a Sixers team that finished last season ranked 19th in scoring and 29th in field goal percentage.

Parker's defense leaves much to be desired, but the same could be said for the rest of his new teammates. He'll improve in that aspect and get a boost from having Nerlens Noel camping out around the rim.

First round (10th overall): Nik Stauskas, SG, Michigan
Starting to get the theme? The Sixers add some more scoring at No. 10 with Stauskas.

With the Sixers' roster full of players that like to get to the rim, Stauskas will provide the necessary outside shooting (44.2 percent from three-point range last season). Plus, at 6-foot-6 he gives the team plenty of size in the backcourt with Michael Carter-Williams and another ballhandler to take some of the pressure off MCW.

Don't sleep on the two-guard's athleticism either.

Second round (32nd overall): Patric Young, PF/C, Florida
After racking up on offense, the Sixers go for the other end of the floor by taking Young with the first of their five second-round picks.

Young, a four-year player for the Gators, will provide some intensity and activity to the Sixers’ frontline. Not to mention he’ll add some beef. Young’s 6-foot-9, 240-pound frame would help take some of the burden of banging down low off Thaddeus Young and Nerlens Noel.

While Patric Young failed to show much growth offensively during his time in college, this move is strictly to help boost a defensive unit that allowed a league-worst 109.9 points per game.

Second round (39th overall): Walter Tavares, C, Cape Verde
The Sixers may have to do some maneuvering with that haul of second-rounders if they suspect another team is eying Tavares, but they still end up with the mammoth center.

Tavares’ main selling point is his size -- 7-foot-3, 265 pounds. That type of frame combined with a 7-foot-9 wingspan doesn’t exactly come around every day.

Tavares has been playing basketball for only a few years, so his rather raw skill set will continue to grow.

Second round (47th overall): Vasilije Micic, PG, Serbia
The Sixers keep the international flavor going by taking Micic, a heady point guard.

The 6-foot-4 Micic is a natural PG with extremely good vision and passing ability. He uses a lot of ball fakes and crafty moves to get where he wants on the floor. Plus, he’s a master at making the right decision in pick-and-roll situations.

Micic’s lack of overall speed and athleticism could be a concern when transitioning to the NBA, but it shouldn’t prevent him from being a viable option off the bench for Brett Brown.

Second round (52nd and 54th overall): Trades
Hinkie will package these two picks to gain some other draft assets in the future. Perhaps even more second-round selections.

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores 36 as Raptors down Nets, 119-109

Best of NBA: DeRozan scores 36 as Raptors down Nets, 119-109

NEW YORK -- DeMar DeRozan had 36 points and 11 rebounds, Cory Joseph scored a career-high 33 and the Toronto Raptors beat the free-falling Brooklyn Nets 119-109 on Tuesday night.

Toronto won its fourth straight game and extended Brooklyn's losing streak to 11 in a row. The Nets have not won since Dec. 26.

Terrence Ross added 15 points for the Raptors, who opened the game with an 11-0 run but fell behind after the first quarter.

Brook Lopez had 28 points for the Nets. Caris LeVert and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson scored 14 apiece.

Toronto took a 92-85 lead into the fourth quarter and never looked back. DeRozan led the way with 10 points in the third period, equaling LeVert's total in the quarter.

Lopez and Joseph each scored 14 in the second (see full story).

Mavericks edge Bulls, 99-98, for 3rd straight win on late Matthews' 3
CHICAGO -- Wesley Matthews made a go-ahead 3-pointer from the wing with 12 seconds left, and the Dallas Mavericks beat the Chicago Bulls 99-98 on Tuesday night for their first three-game winning streak of the season.

Six players scored in double figures for the Mavericks, including all five starters. Harrison Barnes had 20 points, Seth Curry added 18 and Dirk Nowitzki finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Dallas trailed 98-96 after Jimmy Butler made a long jumper over Matthews with 23 seconds left, but Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle decided against a timeout and Deron Williams drove into the lane before kicking out to Matthews for the 3.

Chicago had one last chance, but Dwyane Wade missed a potential game-winning jumper from the corner on his 35th birthday as time expired (see full story).

Dragic scores 21 and Heat stun Rockets, 109-103, despite Harden's triple-double
MIAMI -- Goran Dragic had 21 points and eight assists, Wayne Ellington scored 18 off the bench and the Miami Heat overcame another triple-double from James Harden to beat the Houston Rockets 109-103 on Tuesday night.

Dion Waiters scored 17, Tyler Johnson had 16 and James Johnson added 15 for the Heat. Hassan Whiteside finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

Harden had 40 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists for the Rockets (32-12), his 13th triple-double of the season. He shot 12 for 30 from the field and got his triple-double with an assist to Montrezl Harrell with 12.6 seconds left, an uncontested dunk with the Heat simply waiting for the clock to run out.

Harrell had 13 points for the Rockets, who got 12 from Patrick Beverley.

There were 19 ties and 15 lead changes in a game that was back-and-forth for 42 minutes, before the Heat finally took control (see full story).

Leonard's 34 points rally Spurs past Timberwolves, 122-114
SAN ANTONIO -- Kawhi Leonard had 34 points and the San Antonio Spurs overcame a strong start by the Minnesota Timberwolves for a 122-114 victory Tuesday night.

Leonard's fourth straight 30-point game helped him become the first San Antonio player to score 950 points in the season's first half since Tim Duncan in 2003.

Coming off a career-high 38 on Saturday against Phoenix in Mexico City, Leonard was 12 for 17 from the field.

LaMarcus Aldridge added 29 points on 12-for-20 shooting, spoiling Minnesota coach Tom Thibodeau's 59th birthday.

San Antonio had difficulty with Minnesota's explosive starting lineup. Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 16 rebounds, and Ricky Rubio added 21 points and 14 assists. Zach LaVine scored 18, Gorgui Dieng had 17 and Andrew Wiggins 10 (see full story).

NBA Notes: Chris Paul to undergo surgery for torn ligament in thumb

NBA Notes: Chris Paul to undergo surgery for torn ligament in thumb

LOS ANGELES -- Chris Paul will undergo surgery on Wednesday to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb and is expected to miss six to eight weeks.

The Clippers said Tuesday that their All-Star guard will continue to undergo treatment and evaluation by the club's medical staff.

Paul was injured on a first-half play involving Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook in Monday night's victory over the Thunder. Paul didn't return in the second half.

The Clippers are 26-9 in 36 games with Paul in the lineup this season. He is averaging 17.5 points, 9.7 assists and 5.3 rebounds, and leads the NBA with 2.25 steals per game (see full story).

Knicks: Anthony tells Jackson he wants to stay in New York
NEW YORK -- Carmelo Anthony still believes the Knicks can win and still wants to be in New York when they do.

Another January collapse makes it easier to wonder if either will happen.

The Knicks have fallen off the playoff pace, again proving they can win headlines but not games. It seems like the same old story in New York, even though Anthony still thinks they can change the ending.

"Yeah, we will," he said. "I still believe."

He reiterated that Tuesday in a meeting with Phil Jackson, telling the Knicks president of basketball operations that he wanted to remain with the team, according to a person with knowledge of the discussion.

The question is how much Jackson still wants him.

A Fanragsports.com piece by Charley Rosen last week was heavily critical of Anthony, saying his legs are "going, going, almost gone" and that "the only sure thing is that Carmelo Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York."

Criticism of Anthony is nothing new, but this came from a longtime confidant and former assistant coach of Jackson, leading to speculation that those were the same thoughts as the Knicks executive (see full story).

Hornets: Clifford blames poor defense for Hornets' losing streak
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Hornets coach Steve Clifford points to one factor when explaining his team's five-game losing streak -- a lack of defense.

Charlotte went 0-5 on its recent road trip, surrendering an uncharacteristic 109.6 points per game during that span. The Hornets return home Wednesday night to face the Portland Trail Blazers, part of a stretch of five-game home stand which Clifford hopes will help turn things around.

But Charlotte's fourth-year coach said nothing will get better until the Hornets start playing better man-to-man defense.

"It starts with our ability to guard our guy," Clifford said. "When you get blown by a lot on the perimeter where you are constantly in need of help, then you are going to give up 3s -- and that's what is happening."

The Hornets raced to a 14-9 start this season and were third-best in the league in points allowed through 23 games.

Since then, things have steadily fallen apart, culminating with Charlotte giving up at least 100 points in eight straight games. The Hornets have since dropped to 12th overall in points allowed (see full story).

Kings: F Omri Casspi out for up to 2 weeks with calf injury
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sacramento Kings forward Omri Casspi will miss up to two weeks with an injured right calf.

The team said Tuesday that an MRI showed Casspi strained a tendon in his calf during practice on Monday.

Casspi is averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game this season.