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Which 2014 First-Round Pick Will Have The Biggest Impact?

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Edited by Tiffany Villigan

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

When your name is announced on draft day, all your dreams instantly come true. You made it, you're in the NBA. Now the hard part starts, though. Now you've got to work your butt off to make sure everyone knows you belong. This is the pros, and you need to stake your claim. Here's how we believe this year's first-round picks will do.

Tier 5: The Others

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Rank Player Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
30 Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers 26 30 29.0
29 Josh Huestis, Oklahoma City Thunder 28 30 28.6
28 Bogdan Bogdanovic, Phoenix Suns 17 30 27.1
27 Bruno Caboclo, Toronto Raptors 25 29 26.6
26 Clint Capela, Houston Rockets 19 28 25.0
25 P.J. Hairston, Charlotte Hornets 20 27 24.6
24 Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City Thunder 23 25 23.6
23 Tyler Ennis, Phoenix Suns 22 26 23.5

Remember that this is not a list of the most talented draft picks or the best fits for a team. This is a list of which picks will have the most impact. For the second straight year, the Philadelphia 76ers will be without their top pick, as they selected center Joel Embiid, who is scheduled to miss the entire season with a stress fracture in his foot. Other players in this tier include D-Leaguer Josh Huestis and Bogdan Bogdanovic, who will remain overseas.

Tier 4: The Question Marks

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Rank Player Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
22 Jusuf Nurkic, Denver Nuggets 17 22 21.0
21 Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz 12 24 20.5
20 Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies 17 25 19.5
19 Dario Saric, Philadelphia 76ers 11 29 18.3
18 Shabazz Napier, Miami Heat 13 21 17.4
17 C.J. Wilcox, Los Angeles Clippers 14 20 17.0
16 Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs 9 21 16.0
15 Gary Harris, Denver Nuggets 13 17 15.8
14 Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves 10 21 15.1
13 Elfrid Payton, Orlando Magic 11 25 15.1

These players could wind up being difference makers, or they could wind up in the D-League. These are the ones we don't know about. Elfrid Payton will most likely be named the starter in Orlando, with Victor Oladipo finally moving to his natural position at the 2. Will he stay there for long? If he fails to perform, Luke Ridnour will be there to take his spot. Husky shooting guard C.J. Wilcox will look to bring his shooting to the Clippers, but is he superfluous with Reggie Bullock already on the roster? The Heat traded to get Shabazz Napier solely for the purpose of appeasing LeBron James. Now they have to see what they have in him.

Tier 3: The Fringe

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Rank Player Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
12 James Young, Boston Celtics 7 15 12.0
11 T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns 6 15 10.0
10 Adreian Payne, Atlanta Hawks 8 12 9.9
9 Noah Vonleh, Charlotte Hornets 8 14 9.8
8 Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics 5 14 9.0
7 Doug McDermott, Chicago Bulls 4 12 7.8

This tier features players who could become major players for their teams, but most likely will be role players. Adreian Payne is an interesting player, a stretch 4 who can leap out of the gym. Marcus Smart could become the new starting point guard in Boston if Rajon Rondo is dealt. Dougie McBuckets can score, we all know that, but what else can he do?

Tier 2: The Difference Makers

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Rank Player Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
6 Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic 3 8 5.8
5 Nik Stauskas, Sacramento Kings 3 9 4.9
4 Dante Exum, Utah Jazz 2 9 4.6
3 Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks 1 7 3.5
2 Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers 2 5 2.9

These are the players who, we expect, will have a sudden impact on their teams. Aaron Gordon is a freakish athlete and looks to bring excitement, if nothing else, to the Magic. Nik Stauskas will probably have shooting contests with Ben McLemore to determine who will start for the Kings. Jabari Parker is arguably the most NBA-ready player drafted. I say arguably because a good case could be made for Julius Randle as well.

Tier 1: The One

Rank Player Highest Rank Lowest Rank Average Rank
1 Andrew Wiggins, Minnesota Timberwolves 1 2 1.1

It was near unanimous, with Dontae as the sole holdout, that Andrew Wiggins would make the biggest impact this season. The top overall pick has already changed location, being traded from Cleveland to Minnesota. That could wind up being a huge boon for his productivity, as he will now be the #1 option on offense. The biggest question surrounding Wiggins will be how quickly he can adapt to the pro game, but we believe he will have a major impact on the Wolves this season.