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What They Said: Rundown From 2014 NBA Draft Night

One of the most anticipated NBA Drafts in recent memory has come and gone. A number of minor trades were consummated, but no major names swapped hats as Adam Silver commanded his first draft as commissioner at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

A deep draft class means there was plenty of consternation regarding who would end up where and that many of the league’s newest players were in attendance on the biggest night of their life. Here’s a rundown of what they had to say moments after realizing their dream.

1. Andrew Wiggins – Cleveland Cavaliers

On the significance of being the second consecutive Canadian player drafted first overall: “It’s a great thing for Toronto. Great thing for Canada, actually. Before this, no player from Canada has been No. 1, and now we have back-to-back No. 1s. So It’s a huge accomplishment for Canada.”

On reports that LeBron James may want to come back to Cleveland: “I want to win. If he wants to win, we’d be good together.”

2. Jabari Parker – Milwaukee Bucks

On how he feels he fits in with the Bucks: “They’re a young team. I feel like I can contribute right off the bat. I feel like I’m going to be able to grow with that organization, and I’m trying to be a throwback player, only stick with one team. This might bite me in the butt years from now, but right now I just want to stick with whoever’s rolling with me.”

On comparing himself to Wiggins: “It’s not my job to compare. I’m going to leave it to y’all. It’s your duty and your job to stir up controversy, and y’all keep it.”

4. Aaron Gordon – Orlando Magic

On growing alongside Orlando’s young stars: “It makes it easy for me because Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris, they’re both good pros already. They’re young, and we can grow together. Very gritty, hard-working people. That’s who I am. I couldn’t be happier to be playing with them. I really couldn’t be.”

5. Dante Exum – Utah Jazz

On ending up with the Jazz, who he didn’t workout for prior to the draft: “Looking at the Draft and where I was paced, me and my agent thought that I wouldn’t get down to 5, but anything happens in the draft, and you see I’m lucky enough that Utah believed in me and picked me up at five.”

6. Marcus Smart – Boston Celtics

On working with Rajon Rondo: “Rondo is a wonderful point guard, a wonderful player. He reminds me a little bit of me. He plays defense. He’s long, his wingspan, and he has big hands. Just being able to learn from a guy who’s been in the league and been in my seat and my situation, it’s an amazing feeling and a great opportunity.”

On how the Celtics sold him on their tradition: “They had a video playing in the locker room [during his workouts in Waltham]. We got done working out, and it just kept replaying and replaying and replaying over and over. It was just talking about the history and the guys that’s been through there and the work, the blood, the sweat and tears they put into that program.”

7. Julius Randle – Los Angeles Lakers

On playing alongside Kobe Bryant: “I’m going to learn a lot. He may get tired of me because I’m going to be bugging him learning, trying to learn stuff from him.”

On reported foot injury that may have lowered draft stock: “I really wasn’t worried about it. Whatever organization or team I went to. I would be blessed to go to. That’s where God wanted me to be. But happily, it’s in L.A.”

8. Nik Stauskas – Sacramento Kings

On playing with guys like Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson, Mitch McGary and Tim Hardaway, Jr. at Michigan: “Playing with guys like Trey and Tim my freshman year, it helped me a lot because I saw the level of commitment and the talent and the work ethic and everything that they put forth. To see them this year have that success in the NBA just made me confident in myself because I know I can do what they did.”

9. Noah Vonleh – Charlotte Hornets

On what made him NBA-ready at just 18: “Just the gifts from God. I’m 6-foot-9 and a half. I’m 250 pounds. I was blessed with big hands and just a great body. Just the skills I possess, it’s just a blessing from everything – a gift from God to have these abilities. I thought that’s why I was NBA-ready. I just had a good year at Indiana, also. It’s always been a dream of mine to play in the NBA, and I thought it was time to come out.”

10. Elfrid Payton – Philadelphia 76ers (traded to Orlando Magic from New Orleans)

On what will get him on the court quickest: “I think my defense is going to get me on the court. All coaches sure love defense because that’s what wins championships. Once I get on the floor, I can show them maybe my passing, things like that, and my rebounding ability.”

11. Doug McDermott – Denver Nuggets (traded to Chicago Bulls)

On going to a defensive-minded team led by Tom Thibodeau: “I’ve just got to be a sponge and soak it all in from all the guys on the team and the coaches. They know what they’re doing. The numbers don’t lie, how good a defensive team that have been.”

On learning from Thibodeau with an eye on coaching after his playing career: “Definitely. A guy named Kyle Korver, who played at Creighton and who’s on the Hawks now, played for the Bulls for a couple seasons. He told me – he just got off the phone with me. He’s telling me, I’m going to love it in Chicago.”

12. Dario Saric – Orlando Magic (traded to Philadelphia)

On describing his game: “I think a player like – all around player like Lamar Odom, Toni Kukoc. I got good ball-handling for 6-foot-10. I see myself in Philadelphia because Philadelphia got tow athletic, big guys, got smart playmaker, and I think I can and this team can improve to bring another level.”

13. Zach LaVine – Minnesota Timberwolves

On what he’s learned from another players out of Seattle: “There’s so many. Seattle is a big ground for basketball. There are so many players that have been brought up. So many players in the league. I played with Tony Wroten in high school. I work out with Jamal Crawford, Will Conroy, Terrence Williams, I.T., all them dudes helped me out. It’s incredible.”

14. T.J. Warren – Phoenix Suns

On fitting in well with the Suns: “I think my style of play fits very well. I like to get up in transition for easy baskets, running the floor very hard. Their style of play matches my style of play. So it’s a perfect fit.”

15. Adreian Payne – Atlanta Hawks

On the meaning behind his draft night outfit: “It really has meaning behind it. I wore this for the -- dedicated to Lacey Holsworth -- and it’s the color of her cancer that she had, leukemia, and I wear a band every day. As you can see, the band is the same color as the suit. So that’s why I wore it and that’s where I got my inspiration from.”

17. James Young – Boston Celtics

On the history of the Boston Celtics: “I really don’t know that much about it, but I got to start doing my history now, I guess.”

On inviting Rihanna to a game in Boston: “Yeah, I mean, of course I will. Who wouldn’t? If she wants to come, then yeah, I definitely would.”

18. Tyler Ennis – Phoenix Suns

On Canada providing competition for the United States at the 2016 Olympics: “I think we could put together a really good team. 2016 might be early. The U.S. is going to have a tough team regardless of what year it is. I think once we get in the gym together, getting chemistry and just get all the talent in one gym for the first time, I think that will be a big moment for Canada. I think not only in 2016, but the follow Olympics I think we’ll be able to make a run at it.”

23. Rodney Hood – Utah Jazz

On looking forward to playing the teams that didn’t draft him: “Most definitely. All the teams that I talked to, I didn’t get a negative report. It just happens like that sometimes.”

24. Shabazz Napier – Charlotte Hornets (traded to Miami Heat)

On whether or not his presence will help the Heat re-sign LeBron James: “I don’t know if I’m bringing him back. I would love it. Me and LeBron’s relationship, he’s a great guy. I’ve been to his camps. Me and him chatted  a few times at his camps. He’s just a special thing.

“My agent just told me that he Tweeted something out about me just now. It’s just something special to know that one of the best players in the world thinks about you and appreciates your talent. That’s something that I’m so humble for.”

32. K.J. McDaniels – Philadelphia 76ers

On starting immediately for the 76ers: “I fee like with my work ethic, I could come in and possibly start. I’m appreciate just that I was picked, so I’ll have to go in there and work hard just like everybody else.”

Isaiah Austin – Honored by the NBA after career with derailed by Marfan syndrome.

On getting invited to participate in the draft by commissioner Adam Silver: “It was heart warming. I remember Commissioner Silver, he didn’t personally call me, but he called my agent Dwon Clifton, and he let me know that he wanted me to be his personal guest for the night. It was just joy. I forgot about the syndrome for a while. I just couldn’t stop thinking of, I’m going to New York, I’m going to New York for the NBA Draft. It’s always been my dream to go to New York. I got here, and I remember it was so surreal, just a surreal moment. I’m here today, and I’m blessed, and I’m thankful.”

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