Andrew Wiggins was the front-runner entering the season, but I cautioned people that there was a good chance he wouldn't end up going No. 1 come June.
Wiggins is still in the mix for the top spot, but after talking to numerous NBA executives and general managers, it's his teammate -- skilled 7-footer Joel Embiid -- who has surged to the front. In fact, Wiggins could slide all the way down to No. 3.
Most NBA folks agreed that the top five -- at this point in time -- is fairly solid. However, it gets complicated after that group, as there's a significant drop-off. This draft is loaded with quality wings, and eight of the top nine guys are freshmen, with the lone exception hailing from Australia.
Remember, this isn't a mock draft based on what I would do. It's based on information gathered from NBA executives, college coaches and other industry sources. The draft order is based off of Chad Ford's NBA 2014 Lottery Mock Draft tool and reverse standings as of Sunday, Feb. 9.
1. Joel Embiid | C | Milwaukee Bucks
College: Kansas | Age: 19 | 7-0, 250
Bucks GM John Hammond will choose the player he thinks has the best chance of being a star. Right now it's a three-man race, but sources indicate Hammond loves the skill, size and rapid progression of Embiid. The Cameroon native is new to the game and has tremendous upside. Embiid can help the Bucks on both ends of the court, and while he recently told ESPN.com he might return to school, most feel that he'll be in June's draft.