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Biggest Winners of the 2014 NBA Draft

The NBA draft is an annual anticipated event that causes over excitement, anxiety, questionable decisions, and debatable fashion.

Organizations spend a great deal of time deciding which player(s) best fits their team. After months of the decision making process, watching tape over and over and going through piles data and paperwork, the day finally came to make the big pick.

With just five minutes on the clock to make a choice, many teams had the opportunity to change their original pick and choose a player they didn’t imagine would still be up for grabs. For example, nobody was sure if the Cavaliers or the Bucks would go with predicted #1 draft pick Joel Embiid. Neither team did, which assumingly had a lot to do with his injury and recent surgery. The Philadelphia 76er’s choosing Embiid at No. 3 makes them a winner in this draft. His physical health is a risk, but what pick isn’t a risk? The skill level Embiid showed while playing with Kansas was outstanding. And when the Cameroon native is fully healthy, he can be exactly what the 76er’s need in rebuilding their organization. The Sixer’s added a number of second round picks as well including Clemson stand out KJ McDaniels, Syracuse small forward Jerami Grant, International prospect Vasilije Micic and Tennesse Volunteer Jordan McRae. It may not be a great first season, but rebuilding takes time. It was a good move.

The Utah Jazz also got to make a “game time decision” when Dante Exum was still available at No. 5. Exum matched with point guard Trey Burke and perimeter player Gordon Hayward, provided he re-signs, will make for an impactful scoring trio. Rodney Hood who was also drafted to Utah at No. 23 can score pretty well from the perimeter too. Both Exum and Hood are quality picks for the team to progress making the Jazz another winner of this year’s draft.

Julius Randle Selected By The Lakers 7th Overall

Julius Randle was predicted in most mock drafts to go top five, however, the Los Angeles Lakers had their eye in his direction and definitely wanted him if he was still available at No. 7. Luckily for them he was, making the Lakers a big winner in this draft. The Lakers had a rough season with Kobe’s absence, the team not being able to carry on without him, and big coaching issues. So Randle was a perfect pick for the purple and gold. He will fill the power forward position and seemingly be the impact LA needs offensively. He can use work on his defensive skills but he’s definitely NBA ready and a good look for the Lakers. Jordan Clarkson was also drafted to LA at No. 46. He is a solid scorer who averaged 17.5 points at Missouri.

One team that didn’t have to worry about which players would already be taken was the No. 1 pick Cleveland Cavaliers. For me, it wasn’t exactly surprising that the Cavs chose Andrew Wiggins. Although it was a discussion in weeks leading up to the draft of which player they would choose, Wiggins, Embiid or Jabari Parker.  Embiid’s injury was too big of a risk for them. Parker is arguably the most NBA ready player in the draft but Wiggins is the best fit for Cleveland. His capabilities are impressive and the potential his talent can reach seems limitless. Pairing him with point guard Kyrie Irving makes for a strong, youthful backcourt. Some may think LeBron is returning to Cleveland but on a scale of zero to ten, ten being the highest possibility, I give that a one. Wiggins is the perfect player to help revamp the history of the Cavs. It was a great decision. The Cavs also drafted University of Virginia shooting guard Joe Harris at No. 33. In four years at Virginia he shot 44.5 percent from the floor, and 40.7 percent from behind the arch.

Now that the draft is over, the leagues free agency period comes next. It will be interesting to see who stays and who goes where. The way it’s looking, next season should be one to remember.

Who were your top winners of the 2014 NBA Draft?

My name is Shayna Calandro. I'm a graduating senior at Howard University majoring in broadcast journalism, with a minor in sports administration. I live in off-campus in Washington, DC. I am currently interning with the Howard University Athletics Department, and writing for The Hilltop Newspaper and a sports blog I founded (EliteInsiders.com). I'm also a on-site reporter, videographer and editor for WHUT-TV Spotlight News. I just finished interning with Comcast SportsNet in the production and reporting division. And I've also interned at Madison Square Garden in the Communications Department.

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