The 2014 NBA Draft features very few bright spots. Andrew Wiggins was picked first followed by Jabari Parker to the Bucks. It’s safe to say neither player would be drafted in that spot again. On the other hand, the 76ers made the most impactful selection of the decade, drafting Joel Embiid No. 3 overall and Denver made the best second round selection, drafting Nikola Jokic with the 41st (!) pick.
The remainder of the draft is highlighted by high-level role players like Zach Lavine, T.J. Warren and Gary Harris and there are no other all-stars apart from the aforementioned big men.
As the 110 Sports NBA Draft Re-grade rolls on, it’s time to re-grade the front office decision-making on draft night in 2014.
Picks (Pick No.): Dante Exum (No. 5), Rodney Hood (No. 23), Jarnell Stokes (No. 35)
Utah missed badly, picking Dante Exum with the fifth overall pick. After playing 148 games in his first two seasons, injuries have plagued Exum and he hasn’t played more than 42 games in a season since. He’s currently on Cleveland’s roster, playing less than 20 minutes per game. Hood, in most cases, is of much higher value in this class than his position as the No. 23 overall pick. He’s averaged double figures every season except for his rookie campaign and found a new home in Portland after a weird stint in Cleveland. Unfortunately, Hood tore his left achilles in December of 2019 and hasn’t played since then.
Grade: B | Hood’s value at No. 23 improves the grade, but missing as badly as Utah did with Exum puts a pretty low ceiling on a possible grade.
Los Angeles Lakers
Picks: Julius Randle (No. 7)
Randle has turned into a formidable big man in today’s NBA. He played in just one game as a rookie, breaking his right leg in his first NBA game. Since then, Randle has improved every season and has played in at least 73 games in every full season since he returned from injury. He’s fifth in points, fifth in points per game and second in rebounds in this draft class and averaged 19 points and 9.7 rebounds for the Knicks in 2019-20.
On top of a solid pick in Randle, the Lakers walked away from the 2014 draft with Jordan Clarkson, who they acquired from Washington. Clarkson is second in points in this draft class.
Grade: A | It’s not quite an A+, but it was still a really solid draft for the Lakers relatively speaking.
Picks: Nik Stauskas (No. 8)
Stauskas was elite at Michigan, but he was ultimately not the right NBA pick at No. 8. Stauskas’ NBA career started strong. He played in at least 73 games his first three seasons and averaged 9.5 points while playing 27 minutes per game in 2016-17. Stauskas’ value quickly decreased as he bounced around the NBA, playing for four different teams from 2017-2019. He spent the last year playing for Baskonia in Spain, but it’s not out of the question that Stauskas will find his way back on to an NBA roster. With that being said, he wasn’t the right pick at No. 8.
Grade: C- | Stauskas wasn’t the right pick, but the Kings ultimately traded him away and got back the pick that they used to draft De’Aaron Fox.
Picks: Doug McDermott (No. 11), Nikola Jokic (No. 41), Devyn Marble (No. 56)
As discussed on the Eastern Conference side of this draft, the Bulls traded up to draft McDermott and Denver ended up with Jusuf Nurkic and Gary Harris. While both of those players have turned into above average NBA players, the real eye-opener was who they drafted at No. 41, Nikola Jokic. Jokic has quickly become one of the best big men in the NBA — and one of the best passers — averaging 16.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists for his career. He’s top five in all three categories in this draft class. That’s a good draft pick if he was selected No. 1 overall, it’s astronomical value in the middle of the second round.
Grade: A+ | Denver drafted a super star at No. 41 and another player that is a starter on the third best team in the west today. There’s no other appropriate grade.
Picks: Zach LaVine (No. 13), Glenn Robinson (No. 40), Markel Brown (No. 44), Alessandro Gentile (No. 53)
The season that followed this draft was not good in Minnesota to the tune of 16-66. With that being said, they made a couple of decent picks in the draft. LaVine has never played for a good team but is the best player in Chicago, averaging 25.5 points, 4.2 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 2019-20. He also averaged double figures every year in Minnesota and is top five in both points and assists in this draft class as the No. 13 pick.
It took him awhile, but Glenn Robinson III has become a formidable rotation piece in the NBA. Minnesota waived him before he could evolve into that as a Timberwolve. Nonetheless, only three players drafted before Robinson in the second round have played more NBA games.
Grade: A | LaVine would be drafted five or six spots higher in a re-draft and Robinson was ultimately a high value pick at No. 40. That’s a solid draft no matter how you spin it.
Picks: TJ Warren (No. 14), Tyler Ennis (No. 18), Bogdan Bogdanovic (No. 27), Alec Brown (No. 50)
The Suns drafted multiple guys in 2014 who are high level players in 2020. TJ Warren is the leading scorer for a Pacers team that is currently fifth in the East and Bogdanovic, although he didn’t make his NBA debut until 2017, has already proven he can score at the NBA level, averaging double digit points each of his first three seasons. He’ll be the next guy the Kings will have to decide if they want to pay or not.
However, Ennis was ultimately a miss at No. 18. He played for four teams in four seasons and has bounced around between playing in Turkey and the G-League since 2018.
Grade: B+ | This draft would be an A for Phoenix if they hadn’t drafted Ennis at No. 18. But they did, so the ceiling is a B+.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Picks: Mitch McGary (No. 21), Josh Huestis (No. 29)
It’s a good thing the Thunder had the core that they did with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook because they didn’t do themselves any favors in this draft. With two first round picks, they selected two guys that played a combined five years in the NBA and played in just 128 games. They don’t get too much grief because of their situation at this point in 2014, but they certainly aren’t getting rewarded in any way.
Grade: C- | Getting virtually nothing out of two first round picks is never good.
Picks: Jordan Adams (No. 22)
General manager Chris Wallace strikes again. In 2014, he drafted Adams who played in 32 total NBA games and then was out of the league and also traded a 2016 second round pick for Jarnell Stokes, who played 28 games in his NBA career. It’s not a mistake that the Grizzlies started making smart choices after they let Wallace go.
Grade: F | This is mostly to spite Wallace, but it’s hard to have a more useless draft than this.
Picks: Clint Capela (No. 25), Nick Johnson (No. 42)
Capela is third in rebounds, first in field goal percentage and second in win shares out of this draft class as the 25th selection. His last three years in Houston he was a consistent double-double guy, peaking at 16 points and 12 rebounds in 2018-19.
Grade: A | It wasn’t quite an A+ because Johnson did nothing in the NBA, but Capela certainly turned out nicely and would be a lottery pick in a re-draft.
Los Angeles Clippers
Picks: CJ Wilcox (No. 28)
At this point, the Clippers were at the peak of their “they have the talent to win a title” run. In a related issue, they didn’t have a great draft position. Wilcox played three seasons in the NBA and was last part of an NBA franchise in 2018 when he signed a two way contract with the Pacers.
Grade: C | The Clippers didn’t need much at this point in franchise history, but still not a good pick.
San Antonio Spurs
Picks (Pick No.): Kyle Anderson (No. 30), Jordan McRae (No. 58), Cory Jefferson (No. 60)
Anderson made so much sense as a Spur when he came out of UCLA. Slo Mo has never been a great scorer but does a lot of things right and impacts a game. San Antonio traded up from No. 58 so McRae never played in San Antonio but has become a solid NBA player.
Grade: B+ | Getting a player that impacts the game like Anderson with the No. 30 pick is worthy of a reward.
Photos by: Keith Allison / Wikimedia Commons