The NBA Draft marks a time of hope for struggling teams as they try and find the next great NBA superstar. Here is a look at some of the top picks and how they could contribute to their new teams in the coming season.
Pick 1, Cleveland Cavaliers – Andrew Wiggins
Andrew Wiggins has been expected to be a top pick in the NBA Draft since he was dominating basketball in Canada. Wiggins didn’t have quite the success that some expected during his freshman year at Kansas and many questioned whether or not he would still go at the top spot in the draft. The Cleveland Cavaliers have had three of the last four #1 picks in the league. They struck gold with Kyrie Irving three years ago, but their pick of Anthony Randolph last year ended up being a bust. They’ll hope that Wiggins avoids being a bust, while pairing with Irving to bring the Cavs back to the Eastern Conference playoffs after a 33-49 campaign in 2014. In his 35 games at Kansas, Wiggins averaged 17.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game. The Cavs have now moved their way up to 18/1 odds to win the NBA Championship this next season.
Pick 2, Milwaukee Bucks – Jabari Parker
With the second pick in the NBA Draft, the Milwaukee Bucks selected Jabari Parker, who they hope can start rebuilding a team that finished with the worst record in the NBA last season. Parker played just one year at Duke, but he started in all 35 games and averaged 30.7 minutes per game. He also averaged 19.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists per. Parker was named the ACC Freshman of the Year and the Bucks hope that those accolades will transfer over at the professional level. The Bucks still sit with the lowest odds in the league at 300/1 to win the NBA Championship in 2014, but Parker will hope to improve this team that has struggled as of late.
While Parker and Wiggins both came into college as highly touted recruits, the story of Joel Embiid is quite different. He burst onto the scene at Kansas and immediately became a dominating factor. Embiid was named the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year, as he averaged 8.1 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. The biggest concerns for Embiid may be the fact that he injury problems leading up to the draft. And the fact that the 76ers already had to miss out on a year of play from last years top pick, Nerlens Noel, this pick may have been a bit of a gamble. If it pays off, they’ll have two dominate inside players. However, if it doesn’t, we could see another long season for Philadelphia, after they already set the NBA record for consecutive losses in a season this past year. The 76ers find themselves at 250/1 odds to win the NBA Championship in 2015. You can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers during the season to see how Embiid and the rest of the 76ers are expected to do, as well as the rest of the top picks in the draft.
Pick 4, Orlando Magic – Aaron Gordon
Aaron Gordon was yet another freshman to forgo the final three years of college and enter the NBA Draft after just one year at Arizona. As a freshman, Gordon averaged 12.4 points, 8 rebounds and 2 assists in 31.2 minutes per game. He also started in all 38 games for the Wildcats, while being named to the All-Pack 12 first team. The Magic have struggled since they lost Dwight Howard to Los Angeles a few years ago, but they’ll hope that Gordon can change all of that. After finishing the 2014 season with a 23-59 records, the Magic are at 150/1 odds.