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How College Basketball Teams Will Replace Their First-Round NBA Draft Picks

Rasheed Sulaimon

Rasheed Sulaimon

College basketball coaches have known for several months the rosters spots they’d have to refill. For many, NBA draft day only reinforced that some of the replacement players are true replacements in name only.

Creighton likely won’t have a player like Doug McDermott again. Michigan State  and UCLA lost players with unique skill sets in Adreian Payne and Kyle Anderson.

The usual teams, though, will be in their usual position of reloading after the draft. Kansas and Duke lost players in the top three and will plug in more McDonald’s All-Americans.

Here’s how each team that lost a first-round draft pick Thursday plans to replace him.

1. SG Andrew Wiggins, Cleveland Cavaliers
3. C Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers
Leave it to Bill Self to reload after losing two of the top three picks in the NBA Draft. Wayne Selden, a five-star recruit in the Wiggins/Embiid class, was inconsistent for most of the season but flashed his potential with 20-point games against Oklahoma, Kansas State and Texas. Selden could fill the scoring punch, but decorated freshmen Cliff Alexander and Kelly Oubre could take spots in the starting lineup.

2. SF Jabari Parker, Milwaukee Bucks
23. SG Rodney Hood, Utah Jazz
Parker and Hood gave Duke a unique look with their versatility and provided more than 45 percent of the Blue Devils’ total scoring last season. With a true center (freshman Jahlil Okafor) and a new point guard (freshman Tyus Jones) will have a more standard lineup. Two veterans will be worth watching as much as the highly touted incoming freshmen. Rising senior Quinn Cook took his lumps at point guard last season, and junior wing Rasheed Sulaimon spent much of the season in the dog house.

4. PF Aaron Gordon, Orlando Magic
Arizona will miss Gordon’s defensive ability, but the Wildcats have no shortage of experience to fill his minutes. Brandon Ashley is progressing from the broken foot that cost him the end of last season, but his return will be key. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson enjoyed a solid freshman year, capped with 14 points per game in the NCAA Tournament.

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Oklahoma State
6. PG Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Point guard depth was a problem last season after the dismissal of Stevie Clark, hastening Travis Ford’s need to add point guards in this year’s recruiting class. Ford added two. Jeff Newberry redshirted one season as a freshman at Ole Miss before going to junior college. The Cowboys also grabbed Tyree Griffin, a 5-10 point who was previously committed to UTEP.

7. PF Julius Randle, Los Angeles Lakers
17. SF James Young, Boston Celtics
In a rare season for Kentucky, the Wildcats may have veterans to step up to replace their two leading scorers. That said, another McDonald’s All-American-laden freshman class will give John Calipari options off the bench. Kentucky’s frontcourt is going to be loaded even without Randle. Freshman Trey Lyles (6-10, 245) is another power forward to go with Willie Cauley-Stein and Marcus Lee while Karl-Anthony Towns will give Calipari another center to go with Dakari Johnson. Alex Poythress will give Kentucky a veteran at forward, but the Wildcats will have a number of intriguing combinations with point guard Tyler Ulis and shooting guard Devin Booker in the backcourt.

8. SG Nik Stauskas, Sacramento Kings
21. PF Mitch McGary, Oklahoma City
Zak Irvin averaged 15.3 minutes per game last season but managed to make 64 of 151 3-point shots (42.4 percent). A five-star recruit in Michigan’s 2013 class, Irvin is a good bet to emerge as a full-time contributor in 2014-15. Michigan hoped to have McGary back for his junior year before an impending NCAA-mandated suspension forced him to declare for the draft. Forward Mark Donnal redshirted last season due to UM's depth in the frontcourt, but that has quickly dried up. True freshmen may have to step into both frontcourt spots, including versatile small forward Kameron Chatman and 6-9 forward D.J. Wilson.

9. PF Noah Vonleh, Charlotte Hornets
Indiana will miss Vonleh’s impact on the glass. He averaged nine rebounds per game while no one else averaged more than 4.4. Junior Hanner Mosquera-Perea has averaged fewer than seven minutes per game in his career. The 6-9, 225-pound junior could be a solid rebounder, but he needs to take a major leap to show why he was a top-50 prospect.

UL Lafayette
10. PG Elfrid Payton, Philadelphia 76ers (traded to the Orlando Magic)
Draft picks don’t often find their way to UL Lafayette — the last was in 2005 with second-rounder Orien Greene, who started his career at Florida. Hayward Register is a local product who is touted as a “pure scorer.”

11. SF Doug McDermott, Denver Nuggets (traded to Chicago Bulls)
First off, Creighton won’t be able to replace McDermott, the National Player of the Year and a three-time All-American. Second, the Bluejays also lose Ethan Wragge, Grant Gibbs and Jahenns Manigat. Rebuilding is a nice way to put it. Zach Hanson, a 6-9, 245-pound forward from South Dakota, averaged only 5.1 minutes per game as a freshman last season. Greg McDermott will look to him to break out now that playing time is available. Hanson had a number of high-major scholarship offers out of high school, including Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa State and Gonzaga.

13. PG Zach LaVine, Minnesota Timberwolves
22. SG Jordan Adams, Memphis Grizzlies
30. PF Kyle Anderson, San Antonio Spurs
UCLA has gone from having one of the most unique point guards in the 6-9 Anderson to having no true point guard. LaVine’s surprising exit didn’t help (though LaVine was the only lottery pick of the bunch). Sophomore Bryce Alford and redshirt freshman Isaac Hamilton, who backed out of his letter of intent to UTEP, will split the role. The two combo guards could also take the spot of Adams, who was a late addition to the early entry pool. Five-star freshman forward Kevon Looney (6-9, 220) will replace Anderson’s size.

NC State
14. SF T.J. Warren, Phoenix Suns
Warren is going to be near-impossible to replace after the high-volume scorer carried NC State into the NCAA Tournament late last season. Twin wings Caleb and Cody Martin are top-40 recruits who will play alongside freshman Cat Barber, a breakout candidate for 2014-15.

Michigan State
15. PF Adreian Payne, Atlanta Hawks
19. SG Gary Harris, Chicago Bulls (traded to Denver Nuggets)
Michigan State will have a pair of veteran guards will step in for Gary Harris in Denzel Valentine and Travis Trice. Both were named team captains. Together, they averaged 14.7 points per game and made 96 3-pointers. Payne’s skill set won’t be easily replicated. Center Gavin Schilling had offseason sports hernia surgery and Matt Costello was sideline with mono for part of last season.

18. PG Tyler Ennis, Phoenix Suns
Syracuse assistant Mike Hopkins has compared incoming freshman Kaleb Joseph to Jonny Flynn as a “a new school point guard” and to Michael Carter-Williams as a player whose competitiveness sometimes gets the better of him. Sophomore Tyler Roberson might not be replacing the play of Jerami Grant, a potential first-rounder taken in the second, as much as he’s trying to step into the shoes of leading scorer C.J. Fair. Roberson played a total of 162 minutes last season, but he was a top-40 recruit out of high school.

24. PG Shabazz Napier, Charlotte Hornets (traded to Miami Heat)
Napier’s backcourt mate Ryan Boatright likely steps in as the Huskies’ offensive focal point. The handoff from the Kemba Walker era wasn’t that smooth after the last UConn national title, so this will be worth watching. Boatright will be joined in the backcourt by NC State transfer Rodney Purvis, a McDonald’s All-American who averaged 8.3 points per game as a freshman.

North Carolina
26. SG P.J. Hairston, Miami Heat (traded to Charlotte Hornets)
North Carolina doesn’t really have to replace Hairston, who was suspended and eventually dismissed last season. In his absence, Marcus Paige became one of the nation’s top point guards and North Carolina’s leader. Paige will need Nate Britt or incoming freshman Joel Berry to find a way to help at the two guard spot.

28. SG C.J. Wilcox, Los Angeles Clippers
Sophomore guard Darin Johnson steps into a more prominent role at shooting guard after averaging 5.9 points and 16.1 minutes per game. Johnson started the season strong, but his opportunities were limited in conference play. He scored more than 10 points just once after Jan. 2.

29. SF Josh Huestis, Oklahoma City Thunder
Reid Travis is not the same kind of player as Huestis, a standout defender who can hit the 3. Travis, a four-star power forward, will play closer to the rim and hit a jump shot. He’ll be an impact freshman on a team with three returning seniors.

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