Arizona Wildcats forward Aaron Gordon will likely be picked in the top 10 selections of the 2014 NBA Draft. It's 99 percent unlikely he goes in the top three picks, and a worst-case slide wouldn't drop him out of the lottery. Considering who is picking and assuming no non-lottery team jumps up the board to grab Gordon, here's how he would look on each team from the fourth to the 10th picks.
The Magic own the fourth and 12th picks in the draft, and it would be an interesting move if they picked Gordon. While he's certainly talented enough to join a young core that includes former USC center Nikola Vucevic and last year's second round pick, Victor Oladipo, Orlando already has talented young combo forwards in Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris, the latter of whom is the cousin of Channing Frye. If the Magic drafted Gordon, it might indicate they don't like what they see in the development of one or both of Harkless and Harris.
Gordon certainly could go with the fifth overall pick and fill out a talented frontline of Derrick Favors, Enes Kanter and Rudy Gobert. The Jazz face Gordon Hayward's free agency and if they lose him could more immediately push Gordon into a playmaker role. Former Wildcat Richard Jefferson started a number of games as the lone veteran of a rebuilding club but is also a free agent likely to leave a hole. Even if Utah re-signs Hayward, there would be immediate need for Gordon, who could play alongside Hayward, though it's unclear how they would play without a head coach hired at this time.
There are quite a few rumors floating around that Danny Ainge and the Celtics could really like Gordon. There's a need for star power, of course. Boston still seems OK with retaining Rajon Rondo, and giving him another player to create offense with in pick-and-rolls -- sorry Jared Sullinger -- would help. The Celtics have a shooting big man in Kelly Olynyk who is young himself, but that would help take away the concerns about Gordon's inability to stretch the floor. Additionally, Gordon would do well under talented head coach Brad Stevens.
Los Angeles' roster is in shambles. Kobe Bryant is essentially the only known returning player, but even if the Lakers use their financial ability to grab a talented free agent, they could still find it hard to pass up Gordon with the seventh overall pick. Without a head coach hired, however, it's hard to see where Gordon would fit. Joining the Lakers is at least an interesting twist for Gordon's personal development, as he would be learning under one of the most competitive players in the game.
Sacramento could trade out of their spot, and if they didn't it would seem like an ill fit for Gordon to join them. Though he'd be close to home, the Kings are already stocked at small forward with Rudy Gay and Derrick Williams, the latter of whom is still trying to find his own identity in the NBA as a combo forward. Developmentally, it wouldn't make sense for Gordon to end up here.
In the ninth draft spot, the newly-branded Hornets might see Gordon as a power forward. They already have a similar small forward without a jumper in Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, and Gordon could fit well backing up Josh McRoberts. McRoberts, however, could leave as a free agent -- he has a player option and might have earned himself a better deal -- and Gordon would then be able to fill in. Either case, Gordon brings the same things as McRoberts if he can hit spot-up three-pointers, though he would be undersized. Like McRoberts, he would be a playmaker next to over-utilized point guard Kemba Walker.
Philadelphia has yet to prove it can develop young players. The system -- and roster of unknowns -- didn't help the Sixers this past season. While falling to Philly's 10th pick would give Gordon an immediate way to impact a team playing alongside reigning rookie of the year Michael Carter-Williams and fellow undersized power forward Thaddeus Young, it would be a question of whether Gordon would be able to develop well or if he would begin playing with bad habits.
The final word
Gordon's appearances on mock draft make a selection from the fifth to ninth spots spot on with where he could find success, with the exception of the Kings. Going to the Celtics, Lakers, Jazz or Hornets would give him the opportunity to play right away but also develop in a winning culture.