NEW YORK — And the No. 1 pick in Thursday night’s 2014 NBA draft is ... Kansas swingman Andrew Wiggins, by the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Cavaliers chose potential over power.
By selecting Wiggins over Duke’s Jabari Parker, the Cavs are getting a talented, perimeter player who could blossom into a superstar.
The 19-year-old Wiggins, who averaged 17.1 points and 5.9 rebounds as a freshman at Kansas, would have likely been the top pick a year ago, when the Cavs took forward Anthony Bennett.
“All of our scouts felt he had the most upside,” Cavs general manager David Griffin said.
The Cavs debated over Wiggins and Parker for days before finalizing their choice in the last hours leading into the draft. There was a reported rift between Griffin, who preferred Parker, and owner Dan Gilbert, who wanted Wiggins. However, two hours before the draft started, Gilbert posted a photo of the team’s decision room on his Twitter account with the words: “United and busy.”
Cleveland’s busy all right.
The selection of Wiggins came one day after the Cavs introduced new coach David Blatt, and it’s just the next step in a two-week stretch that could re-shape Cleveland’s franchise for the next decade.
On Tuesday, the team can begin contract negotiations with All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving on a five-year contract extension. That’s also the first day free agents can negotiate with teams.
With at least $25 million in salary-cap space, and the potential to create more, the Cavs are expected to make a strong run at LeBron James, who informed the Miami Heat earlier this week that he’s opting out of the final two years of his contract.
Landing James might be a longshot, but so was winning the NBA lottery for the second straight year. The Cavs feel that with Wiggins, whose father, Mitchell, played in the NBA, they have at least filled the small forward position that has been so problematic since James left in 2010.
Griffin said the Cavs, who also have the No. 33 pick, had “spirited” discussions about trade options that were available to them but they’ve been fixated on Wiggins.
“We knew for quite some time in our minds who we wanted to take if we kept the pick,” Griffin said.
Even to this day, James casts a giant shadow over the Cavaliers. And it will likely stay that way.
There’s a chance he could return to Cleveland as early as this summer, but the Cavs will need make more improvements to a team that went 33-49 last season and missed the playoffs in the much weaker Eastern Conference.
Wiggins might make the Cavs more appealing to James, but they’ll probably need to do a lot more to convince him they’re ready to contend for a title.
At least one major decision is out of the way.
The Milwaukee Bucks selected Duke forward Jabari Parker, a pivotal selection for a team in transition.
The one-and-done star immediately becomes a face for an organization with new ownership seeking to invigorate its fan base following a franchise-worst 67-loss season. The 6-foot-8 Parker has been lauded for his maturity and offensive skills. He would join 19-year-old forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and scoring guard Brandon Knight as promising team cornerstones.
General manager John Hammond likes Parker for his ability to fit into multiple positions in the frontcourt. Parker’s defense, though, is considered a work in progress.
Parker figures to have an easy transition in Milwaukee. He’s from nearby Chicago, and former Blue Devils assistant Steve Wojciechowski is now head coach at Marquette.
The Bucks had three more picks in the second round. The new additions will arrive in Milwaukee just as New York investment firm executives Marc Lasry and Wesley Edens take over as owners.
Lasry and Wesley Edens bought the Bucks for $550 million this spring from former U.S. Sen Herb Kohl, who wasn’t fond of using the word “rebuilding.”
But that seemingly left the team without a clear, long-term philosophy in recent years. The Bucks have drafted relatively well under Hammond, though some veteran signings haven’t panned out. The new owners have said they hope to build a championship contender within three to five years, about the same time frame in which they hope to build a new arena.
That makes this draft especially important for the Bucks. Parker will be relied on to add scoring punch as well as help put fans in the seats.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected injured Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid.
Embiid had surgery last week to repair a stress fracture in his right foot, and could miss anywhere up to a full season depending on how rehabilitation goes.
The versatile 7-footer had a fantastic freshman season with the Jayhawks, averaging 11.2 points and 8.1 rebounds while blocking 72 shots to earn Big 12 defensive player of the year honors.
Embiid already had some health questions, mostly regarding a balky back. Now he’s had foot surgery and could be out for up to six months.
The Sixers also had the 10th overall pick in the draft. They also have the Nos. 32, 39, 47, 52 and 54 overall picks.
The Orlando Magic selected Arizona forward Aaron Gordon.
The 6-9 Gordon was the Pac-12 freshman of the year last season and helped the Wildcats to a 33-5 record this past season. He also averaged 12.4 points and eight rebounds per game, to go along with eight double-doubles.
He joins a Magic front court that already includes 7-footer Nik Vucevic, and will have at a chance to contribute immediately.
It’s the first of two picks the Magic have in the first round. They also have the No. 12 overall pick.
Earlier Thursday, Orlando also picked up the 56th overall pick from Denver by trading swingman Arron Afflalo back to the Nuggets for point guard Evan Fournier.
The Utah Jazz selected Australian guard Dante Exum.
The 6-6 teenager burst onto the scene at the U19 FIBA World Championship in Prague as his team advanced to the semifinals. He averaged 18.2 points during the tournament and decided to enter the draft instead of playing collegiately in the U.S.
Exum, 18, had limited exposure until that event and did not work out for the Jazz in the weeks leading up to the draft. But his father, Cecil, won a national championship at North Carolina in 1982 with Michael Jordan and James Worthy.
Exum, who led his high school to the 2013 Australian School Championship, is believed to be able to play alongside Trey Burke at shooting guard or play the point.
The rebuilding Boston Celtics drafted guard Marcus Smart from Oklahoma State.
The 6-3, 227-pound Smart averaged 18 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.8 assists as a sophomore last season. He can play both guard positions and could team up with point guard Rajon Rondo or make Rondo expendable in a trade. Rondo’s contract expires after the upcoming season.
Smart plays with a competitiveness and physical nature that NBA coaches covet. He’s a solid defender but needs work on his offensive game.
The Celtics are continuing to rebuild after going 25-57, the third-worst record in club history, in their first season under coach Brad Stevens.
The Los Angeles Lakers selected Kentucky forward Julius Randle.
The Lakers began their rebuilding process from their worst season in more than 50 years by choosing Randle, the 6-foot-9 power forward with impressive physical skills and relentless rebounding prowess.
Randle was the SEC’s freshman of the year while helping the Wildcats to the NCAA championship game. He had 24 games with at least 10 points and 10 rebounds, the second-most by a freshman in Division I history.
Randle had an individual workout with the Lakers’ front office earlier this month, saying he would love to be selected by the 16-time champions.
The Lakers still haven’t hired a coach to replace Mike D’Antoni, who resigned after the season.
The Sacramento Kings selected Michigan guard Nik Stauskas.
With many needs heading into Thursday’s draft, the Kings opted for one of the top shooters available in Stauskas.
Stauskas is from Mississauga, Ontario, and followed top pick Andrew Wiggins as the second Canadian taken in the draft.
The 6-6 Stauskas became one of the nation’s most well-rounded offensive players, averaging 17.5 points last season on the way to winning Big Ten player of the year honors. Stauskas shot 44 percent from 3-point range in two years in college and improved his ball handling and defense in his second season.
The Charlotte Hornets are becoming a pipeline to the NBA for Hoosiers.
For the second straight year the Hornets used a lottery pick on an Indiana player, taking power forward Noah Vonleh.
Last year the team selected Indiana power forward Cody Zeller with the No. 4 pick.
The 6-foot-10 Vonleh gives the team some added height and a potential replacement in case the team is unable to re-sign Josh McRoberts, who opted out of his contract earlier this month.
Second-year coach Steve Clifford emphasized size as a big need for the Hornets this offseason and Vonleh, with his 7-foot-4 wing span and 9-foot standing reach, brings just that to the table.
The 18-year-old Vonleh averaged 11.3 points and nine rebounds and was the Big Ten freshman of the year last season. He spent only one season at Indiana, but led the Big Ten in rebounds and was eighth in the conference in blocked shots.
He’s expected to compete for playing time with last year’s starter McRoberts – should he be re-signed – and Zeller.
Since 2006, Charlotte has had eight lottery picks but none of them have turned into All-Stars.
The Philadelphia 76ers selected Louisiana-Lafayette point guard Elfrid Payton.
Payton was Philadelphia’s second pick in the top 10. They selected injured Kansas Jayhawks center Joel Embiid with the third overall pick.
The Sixers acquired the 10th pick from New Orleans in a deal made last season. They also had the Nos. 32, 39, 47, 52 and 54 overall picks.
The 6-3, 190-pound guard averaged 19.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists last season. He plays the same position as NBA rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams, meaning of the two could be traded before the season starts.
The Denver Nuggets picked Creighton small forward Doug McDermott.
Several outlets are reporting that McDermott will be traded to Chicago for the 16th and 19th picks.
McDermott led the nation in scoring last season with a 26.7 average while shooting 52.6 percent from the field. He finished his college career as basketball’s fifth-leading scorer.
The 6-foot-8 McDermott captured quite a few accolades last season, including the Wooden Award. He also was picked as player of the year by both the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and The Associated Press.
Earlier in the day, the Nuggets were reunited with Arron Afflalo, picking up the veteran guard from Orlando for guard Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick in the draft.
Note: It was reported late Thursday that the Bulls acquired the draft rights to McDermott.
The Nuggets took McDermott at No. 11 and reportedly dealt him to Chicago for the 16th and 19th picks. The deal is pending NBA approval.
The Orlando Magic selected Croatia’s Dario Saric.
Saric was named 2013 FIBA Europe Young Player of the Year and averaged 16.7 points per game in helping Cibona VIP to a league title.
He also competed for Croatia’s national team in the 2013 Eurobasket qualifying round.
It was the second of two picks the Magic made in the first round. The 6-foot-10 Saric joins Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, who was selected fourth overall.
The Minnesota Timberwolves took UCLA guard Zach LaVine.
The 6-6 LaVine averaged 9.4 points and shot 37.5 percent from 3-point range as a freshman for the Bruins last season. He is considered one of the most athletic players in the draft, and the Timberwolves are in the market for a dynamic perimeter player to run the fast break with Ricky Rubio.
LaVine averaged under 25 minutes per game for the Bruins last season. But the Wolves believe the 19-year-old has a lot of room to grow and can develop into a playmaker on the wing.
The Timberwolves were also in conversations with several teams about trading All-Star forward Kevin Love.
The Phoenix Suns selected T.J. Warren of N.C. State.
The 6-8, 215-pound small forward was the ACC player of the year after averaging 24.9 points and 7.1 rebounds per game as a sophomore last season.
Warren, a second-team All-American, became the third player in ACC history to lead the conference in scoring and field goal percentage.
Last season, he scored 41 points against Pittsburgh and a career-high 42 in a win over Boston College.
He also scored 36 against North Carolina and 34 against Wake Forest.
The selection was the first of three first-round picks for the Suns.
The Atlanta Hawks selected Michigan State power forward Adreian Payne.
The 6-10 Payne, a second-team All-Big Ten selection, helped the Spartans advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in his senior season.
The Hawks are coming off a 38-44 season under first-year coach Mike Budenholzer, losing a first-round playoff series in seven games to No. 1 seed Indiana.
The Hawks currently have all five starters – Jeff Teague, Paul Millsap, Al Horford, Kyle Korver and DeMarre Carroll – under contract and five other reserves – Lou Williams, Dennis Schroder, Mike Muscala, John Jenkins and Pero Antic – signed through 2014-15.
General manager Danny Ferry wants to re-sign forward Mike Scott and guard Shelvin Mack as restricted free agents.
Between 15 and 16
Between the 15th and 16th picks came a very special selection.
Commissioner Adam Silver announced at that point that the NBA would let Isaiah Austin fulfill the dream of every young player, making him a ceremonial pick.
Just over a week ago, the sophomore center from Baylor was diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a rare genetic disorder that affects the heart. It ended his playing career.
The illness was discovered during a physical for the draft.
The crowd at Barclays Center rose to its feet as Austin, sitting in the waiting area with most of the first-round picks, hugged family members and put on a generic NBA cap. He went up to the stage and posed with Silver, just as all the drafts picks do when they are called.
During the season, the 7-foot-1 Austin revealed he had a prosthetic right eye after multiple operations couldn’t repair a detached retina.
Austin, expected to be a high pick when healthy, said he felt he has “a great story to share.” He said Baylor coach Scott Drew has already offered him a coaching position with the Bears.
The Chicago Bulls selected Jusuf Nurkic, a center out of Bosnia.
The Boston Celtics selected guard-forward James Young from Kentucky.
The Phoenix Suns selected point guard Tyler Ennis of Syracuse.
The Chicago Bulls selected Gary Harris, a shooting guard out of Michigan State.
The Toronto Raptors selected Bruno Caboclo, a small forward out of Brazil.
The Oklahoma Thunder selected Mitch McGary, a power forward out of Michigan.
The Memphis Grizzlies selected Jordan Adams, a shooting guard out of UCLA.
The Utah Jazz selected Rodney Hood, a shooting guard out of Duke.
The Charlotte Hornets selected Shabazz Napier, a point guard out of Connecticut.
Note: The Miami Heat reportedly acquired the draft rights to Napier in a trade with the Hornets late Thursday night.
Miami gave up the Nos. 26 and 55 picks in the draft for Napier. The trade has not been formally approved by the NBA.
Napier was taken at No. 24 by Charlotte, two slots before Miami drafted former North Carolina guard P.J. Hairston for the Hornets.
“My favorite player in the draft!” Heat superstar LeBron James tweeted in reference to Napier.
The Houston Rockets selected Clint Capela, a power forward out of Switzerland.
The Miami Heat selected P.J. Hairston, a shooting guard from North Carolina. (See note above.)
The Phoenix Suns selected Bogdan Bogdanovic, a shooting guard from Serbia.
The Los Angeles Clippers selected C.J. Wilcox, a shooting guard from Washington.
The Oklahoma Thunder selected Josh Huestis, a power forward from Stanford.
The San Antonio Spurs selected Kyle Anderson, a power forward from UCLA.
This concludes the first round. For results from the second round, as well as trade updates, go to NBA.com.