It’s not a secret that Draft night can help share the future of a franchise. For better or for worse. The decisions general managers make that evening can make them look like geniuses or haunt them forever, even costing them their job.
Still, there have been some Draft classes that haven’t been that loaded with talent and beside a couple of players with superstar potential, it mostly consists of solid role players or guys that can be the team’s second or third scoring option at best.
That seems to be the case with the 2014 NBA Draft class, which featured players with seemingly unlimited upside that never lived up to their potential, a couple of All-Stars, and some underrated ballers that outplayed their Draft stock. Today, we’re going to re-draft that class:
1. Cleveland Cavaliers
Original Pick: Andrew Wiggins
Re-Draft Pick: Joel Embiid
Andrew Wiggins was a no-brainer top-3 pick back then. He had a Kobe Bryant-ish skillset and the sky seemed to be the limit for him. However, looking back, it feels like he should have never been the 1st overall pick and Joel Embiid should have taken his place.
Joel Embiid is one of the most purely talented players in NBA history. He’s already a dominant defender both inside the pain and in the perimeter, and his foot-work is also elite. He’s a perennial MVP and DPOY candidate and the only thing that could hold him back is his – lack of – durability.
2. Milwaukee Bucks
Original Pick: Jabari Parker
Re-Draft Pick: Nikola Jokic
If Andrew Wiggins was the best prospect in the world, Jabari Parker was pretty close. In fact, some experts thought he was going to end up as the best player in this class. Needless to say, they were wrong, and by a very long stretch. But hey, that’s how it goes.
The Bucks should have turned their attention towards Nikola Jokic instead. Jokic was a diamond in the rough and didn’t look slightly ready to make the jump to the NBA from a physical standpoint. He slipped all the way to the 41st overall pick and is now one of the best centers in the world and most prolific playmakers the league has seen in ages.
3. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Joel Embiid
Re-Draft Pick: Andrew Wiggins
The Philadelphia 76ers took a chance on Joel Embiid despite his long history with injuries and it clearly paid off. Embiid is their franchise cornerstone and it’ll be like that for as long as he stays healthy. But, with him out of the question, the Sixers would have to go with Andrew Wiggins.
Wiggins is still pretty young and he can still turn into a superstar. The lack of drive, motivation, and improvement has held him back early on his career but the physical upside is clearly there. He’s a freak of nature in terms of athleticism and is finally on a proper environment that can help them bring the most of his skill set.
4. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Aaron Gordon
Re-Draft Pick: Zach LaVine
The Orlando Magic took Aaron Gordon with the 4th overall pick and he looked bound to turn their franchise around for good. He was physically ready to endure the challenge of the NBA but he’s struggled to take that leap forward and become a superstar.
The Magic would have been better off if they had drafted Zach LaVine instead. He was the most athletic player in this class and even though he looked a couple of years away from being NBA-ready, he proved to be a prolific scorer and playmaker right out of the gate. They’ve been looking for a scoring combo guard for years and he would have been it.
5. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Dante Exum
Re-Draft Pick: Julius Randle
Dante Exum looked like a stud in the making entering this Draft. He was very long for a point guard and quite savvy and experienced for his age. His defensive instincts, ability to score in the post, and playmaking skills were quite promising.
However, it’s pretty clear that Julius Randle should have been the 5th player taken off the board in the 2014 NBA Draft class. He’s been quite productive everywhere he’s been. He’s a hustler that will never be outworked on either side of the glass. His handles and playmaking have improved consistently and he has the potential to be a perennial 20-10 kind of guy.
6. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: Marcus Smart
Re-Draft Pick: Aaron Gordon
The Boston Celtics took Marcus Smart with the 6th overall pick and it’s pretty clear that they haven’t regretted that call whatsoever. He’s the heart and soul of their defense, a nice playmaker, and even a much-improved three-point shooter.
However, with Aaron Gordon still up for grabs, Danny Ainge would have had to pull the trigger there. Gordon is an impressive athlete with great defensive instincts and an outstanding finisher above the rim. He’s undersized to play the five and lacks the range of modern forwards but can still be a productive second or third scorer on any contender.
7. Los Angeles Lakers
Original Pick: Julius Randle
Re-Draft Pick: Bogdan Bogdanovic
The Los Angeles Lakers made the most of their 7th overall pick by landing Julius Randle. He was clearly one of the most talented players in the class and even though they ended up letting him go a couple of years later, it was the right pick back in the day.
In this re-do, Bogdan Bogdanovic would get the nod for the purple and gold. Bogdan is a savvy and smart player with a high basketball IQ. He can create for his teammates, play on and off the ball, knock down shots from deep, and his skill set would perfectly fit the Lakers’ current needs.
8. Sacramento Kings
Original Pick: Nik Stauskas
Re-Draft Pick: T.J. Warren
The Sacramento Kings knew they had messed it up by taking Ben McLemore so they took Nik Stauskas with the 8th overall pick to become their new starting shooting guard. He was the best three-point shooter in college basketball before the Draft but that ability didn’t translate to the NBA whatsoever.
The Kings could have used that pick to get T.J. Warren instead. Don’t get me wrong, he’s by no means a superstar, but he’s the kind of player that can do all the little things and fill the stat sheet on a nightly basis. He can match up vs. the best scorers in the world in the defensive end and is also a great rebounder.
9. Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Noah Vonleh
Re-Draft Pick: Marcus Smart
The Charlotte Hornets took ‘Chris Bosh 2.0’ on Noah Vonleh. Vonleh had a sky-high upside and looked like a stud in the making but he just wasn’t ready for the NBA and never got the chance to actually prove his worth. Instead, they should have taken Marcus Smart.
The only reason why Smart slipped to the 9th spot is because of his somewhat limited scoring ability. Still, he’s a willing passer, a decent shooter from beyond the arc, and arguably the most versatile defender in the league. Despite his size, he can guard one through five and won’t hesitate to take a beating if that means getting a stop.
10. Philadelphia 76ers
Original Pick: Elfrid Payton
Re-Draft Pick: Clint Capela
The Philadelphia 76ers took Elfrid Payton and traded him to the Orlando Magic. Payton looked like the second coming of Rajon Rondo with his long arms, rebounding and playmaking abilities, he was a nightly triple-double threat coming out of high school.
Little did they know that they could have used that pick to get Clint Capela instead. Capela vastly outplayed his Draft stock and became an elite pick-and-roll player, rim-runner, rebounder, and rim protector. He’s the old-school kind of big man most contenders need.
11. Denver Nuggets
Original Pick: Doug McDermott
Re-Draft Pick: Gary Harris
Drafting Doug McDermott is one of the biggest mistakes in Chicago Bulls history not because he was bad for them but because they gave up a lot for him. The Nuggets drafted him for the Bulls as he was a lights-out scorer at Creighton and looked ready to dominate in the NBA as well.
In this case-scenario, either the Nuggets or the Bulls would have been better off by taking Gary Harris. Harris is one of the most underrated two-way players in the league. His efficiency speaks volumes. He’s a great backcourt defender, a prolific scorer below the rim, and an unselfish playmaker.
12. Orlando Magic
Original Pick: Dario Saric
Re-Draft Pick: Dario Saric
The Orlando Magic used their 12th overall pick to Draft Croatian star Dario Saric and trade him to the Philadelphia 76ers. He was long, strong, mature, experienced, and had the kind of skill set that made people compare him to Toni Kukoc.
Saric was great for the Sixers early on. He could play and guard both forward spots and even some center. He can literally do it all on the court even though he doesn’t truly stand out on any aspect of the game. He’s the kind of role player all teams would die for.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves
Original Pick: Zach LaVine
Re-Draft Pick: Jusuf Nurkic
The Minnesota Timberwolves took a flier on Zach LaVine with the 13th overall pick. He was the best athlete in this class and was worthy of a risk right at the bottom of the lottery. But with him not available anymore, the obvious choice would be Jusuf Nurkic.
Nurkic could have been pretty solid for them early on, either coming off the bench or as a trade asset once Karl-Anthony Towns came around. He’s a strong, physical presence below the rim, a solid rebounder, and the kind of bruiser no one wants to mess up with.
14. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: T.J. Warren
Re-Draft Pick: Spencer Dinwiddie
The Phoenix Suns got some strong value with their 14th overall pick by taking T.J. Warren out of NC State. Sadly for them, he would no longer be available. Even so, perhaps they would have been even better if they took Spencer Dinwiddie instead.
Dinwiddie was a late bloomer and plenty of teams gave up on them too early. He’s now proven to be a great scorer both off the bench or starting and the perfect backup point guard for the modern NBA. The Suns have been looking for a point guard for years and he could have been it.
15. Atlanta Hawks
Original Pick: Adreian Payne
Re-Draft Pick: Jerami Grant
The Atlanta Hawks used their 15th overall pick on Adreian Payne. He was big, strong, physical, and looked like the kind of power forward that could have a very long career in the league before some off-court controversies and his lack of improvement got the best of him.
Payne isn’t even in the league anymore and they should have used that pick on Jerami Grant. Grant is long, smart, versatile, and quite smart. He’s a solid defender in the perimeter and below the rim and continues to improve his offensive skills as well.
16. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Jusuf Nurkic
Re-Draft Pick: Joe Harris
The Chicago Bulls used their 16th overall pick as a part of the Doug McDermott trade and drafted Jusuf Nurkic. However, now that he’s no longer available, either them or the Denver Nuggets would have had to lean towards Joe Harris.
Harris is nowhere near becoming an NBA superstar but he’s got the skill teams look for the most nowadays: he’s an incredibly efficient shooter from beyond the arc. He’s been a valuable asset for the Nets thanks to that and it’ll grant him a long career in the league.
17. Boston Celtics
Original Pick: James Young
Re-Draft Pick: Kyle Anderson
The Boston Celtics took a gamble on James Young out of Kansas University with the 17th overall pick. Young was a walking bucket in college and some scouts had him as the biggest sleeper of his class given his upside. Needless to say, that didn’t happen.
Young spent most of his time in the G-League and the Celtics would have been better off with Kyle Anderson, the 30th overall pick of that Draft. Anderson is smart, hard-working, and can do a little bit of everything – at his own pace. He’s ok.
18. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Tyler Ennis
Re-Draft Pick: Jordan Clarkson
As we mentioned earlier, the Phoenix Suns were craving a starting point guard entering this year and that’s why they took Tyler Ennis with their 18th overall pick. Sadly for them, Ennis never turned the corner and isn’t even in the NBA anymore.
The Suns would have been better off if they had used that pick on Jordan Clarkson. Clarkson has the prototype of the perfect Sixth Man. He can play both guards spots and score at a high clip from all three levels. He can provide instant offense off the bench.
19. Chicago Bulls
Original Pick: Gary Harris
Re-Draft Pick: Rodney Hood
Once again, the 2014 NBA Draft comes back to haunt the Chicago Bulls. They used their 19th overall pick to get Gary Harris and send him away to the Denver Nuggets as a part of the McDemorr trade when they should have kept him instead.
But now that Harris is out of the picture, the Bulls would have no other choice but to give Rodney Hood the nod. Hood is a streaky scorer with a lot of talent but his inconsistency and struggles with injuries have held him back for the most of his career.
20. Toronto Raptors
Original Pick: Bruno Caboclo
Re-Draft Pick: Elfrid Payton
The Toronto Raptors were the laughing stock of the night when they took ‘Brazilian Kevin Durant’ Bruno Caboclo with the 20th overall pick of the Draft. He was “2 years away from being 2 years away”. Six years later, he’s still not close to being a productive role player.
In this case-scenario, the Raptors could have used Elfrid Payton as their backup point guard. He could even play next to Kyle Lowry to allow him to play off the ball at the two and slide DeMar DeRozan to the shooting guard spot. He could have also enhanced their backcourt defense.
21. Oklahoma City Thunder
Original Pick: Mitch McGary
Re-Draft Pick: Dante Exum
The Oklahoma City Thunder took little risks by drafting Mitch McGary with the 21st overall pick. McGary was physically ready for the NBA and could make his presence feel on both sides of the glass but his lack of improvement condemned his NBA career.
This time, the Thunder would have used their pick on Dante Exum. Exum’s once-promising career has been derailed by devastating and countless injuries but the talent and physical traits are there. He could have backed up Russell Westbrook and focus entirely on defending.
22. Memphis Grizzlies
Original Pick: Jordan Adams
Re-Draft Pick: Jabari Parker
The Memphis Grizzlies were entitled to the 22nd overall pick that time and they used him to draft Jordan Adams, who hasn’t done anything to deserve a spot on an NBA roster thus far. He’s not even playing in the league anymore after spending most of his time in the G-League.
They could have used that pick to get Jabari Parker instead. Parker was once the statistically worst defender in the league but he could play off the bench and give an offensive boost. His rebounding skills could also come handy in short stretches.
23. Utah Jazz
Original Pick: Rodney Hood
Re-Draft Pick: Doug Mcdermott
The Utah Jazz had been lacking a scoring punch for years so they thought Rodney Hood was the obvious choice with the 23rd overall pick. Honestly, it wasn’t a bad pick at all, but in this case-scenario, Hood would have been long gone already.
So, they would have to go with Doug McDermott instead. McDermott shot lights out and broke all kinds of records in Creighton university. Perhaps the Jazz would have known how to make the most of his shooting expertise. Perhaps not, who knows.
24. Charlotte Hornets
Original Pick: Shabazz Napier
Re-Draft Pick: Dwight Powell
The Charlotte Hornets took U-Conn hero Shabazz Napier with the 24th overall pick to trade him to the Miami Heat. Some claim it was a trick to convince LeBron James of staying at South Beach after the King openly lauded him for his play in the NCAA’s tourney.
That trick didn’t work and James wound up leaving instead. The Hornets or the Heat would have been better off with Dwight Powell. He’s proven to be a reliable and trustworthy backup bit man both at the four or the five. He’ll never be a star but he’ll put his body on the line for his team.
25. Houston Rockets
Original Pick: Clint Capela
Re-Draft Pick: Maxi Kleber
The Houston Rockets got one of the biggest steals of the Draft with Clint Capela out of Switzerland at 25th overall. Nobody thought he’d end up being one of the league’s top-tier rebounders and rim protectors just three years after making it to the league.
In this re-do, the Rockets would have to take another hard-working defender and rebounder from Europe. Maxi Kleber isn’t nearly half as good or athletic as Capela but he’s still a productive and reliable big man off the bench and with an expanded offensive range.
26. Miami Heat
Original Pick: P.J. Hairston
Re-Draft Pick: Torrey Craig
The Miami Heat took P.J. Hairston with the 26th overall pick and traded him away to the Charlotte Hornets as a part of the Shabazz Napier trade. That pick has paid off nicely for the Hornets but they could have had an even better player.
The Hornets should have turned their attention towards Torrey Craig instead. Craig went undrafted and spent some time in the NBL before catching the eye of the Nuggets. Now, he’s a steady contributor for their rotation as a shooting guard or small forward.
27. Phoenix Suns
Original Pick: Bogdan Bogdanovic
Re-Draft Pick: Tyler Johnson
The Phoenix Suns used their 27th overall pick to get Serbian star Bogdan Bogdanovic. Sadly for them, he never played a single minute for the Suns and joined the Sacramento Kings three years later after being traded for the rights of Marquese Chriss.
In this case, the Suns would have used that pick to get Tyler Johnson, who went undrafted that year and later earned a huge paycheck from the Miami Heat. Johnson is a solid combo guard but that doesn’t mean he’s not one of the most overpaid players in NBA history.
28. Los Angeles Clippers
Original Pick: C.J. Wilcox
Re-Draft Pick: Shabazz Napier
The Los Angeles Clippers used their 28th overall pick to get C.J. Wilcox. He barely played during two seasons with the team, then joined the Orlando Magic and hasn’t even played in the Association since the end of the 2017 season. So there’s that.
The Clippers would have been way better off with Shabazz Napier. Napier never became the star – or even starter – some people (LeBron James) thought he’d be but he’s still a solid backup point guard any Championship contender could use.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder
Original Pick: Josh Huestis
Re-Draft Pick: Langston Galloway
The Oklahoma City Thunder took Josh Huestis with the 29th overall pick of the Draft. Huestis stood put for three seasons and even made 69 appearances during the 2017-18 campaign but he hasn’t even been in the league ever since.
Their pick would have come to much better use if they had taken Langston Galloway instead. Galloway is by no means a star but he’s got that Sixth Man of the Year kind of skill set. He’s a solid scoring combo guard that could have come handy for them.
30. San Antonio Spurs
Original Pick: Kyle Anderson
Re-Draft Pick: Noah Vonleh
The San Antonio Spurs were pretty lucky (what a surprise, huh) when they got Kyle Anderson at 30th. He slid right away into their rotation and proved to be a solid asset before he joined the Memphis Grizzlies. Sadly for them, he’d no longer be available.
They would have to use that pick on Noah Vonleh instead. Vonleh never turned to become the dominant two-way big man scouts thought he’d be but if someone knows how to make the most of their players that’s definitely Gregg Popovich.