The 2013 NBA Draft is right around the corner. With just over three weeks remaining, it is time for FanSided’s weekly mock draft.
Team workouts are now taking place and players about to fulfill their life-long dream of playing in the NBA are helping themselves, hurting themselves, or doing just well enough to stay put.
Here is how we believe the first round may unfold.
1. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky
Comments: Despite their serious interest in Otto Porter Jr., Nerlens Noel will be the first overall pick in this June’s draft. However, there is speculation building that Cleveland may trade this pick. If that is the case, they will look to move down just one or two spots to select Porter. That is, unless, another team offers a young asset. Perhaps Kevin Love?
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, Kansas
Chad Ford of ESPN has Oladipo going here, but his similar playing style to Maurice Harkless may be what seals the deal for the Magic to go another direction. Regardless, Orlando is still open to numerous possibilities. The likelihood of a trade to the first pick to select Noel is unlikely though. Orlando simply lacks the appealing pieces to convince Cleveland to move down. There are questions surrounding McLemore’s mental approach to basketball, including his aggressiveness, but his potential will make it hard to pass on for a struggling Magic franchise.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter Jr., Georgetown
This one is practically a no-brainer. John Wall has said that he would like the Wizards to take Anthony Bennett of UNLV, but as long as Porter is still available, that is highly unlikely. Porter is quite possibly the safest pick in the draft. With what is easily the highest basketball IQ in the draft, he is as close to a sure thing as the 2013 draft class offers.
4. Charlotte Bobcats: Victor Oladipo, Indiana
Charlotte needs just about as much help as they can get. A perennial basement dweller, the Bobcats need to take the safest pick available to them at number four. If Oladipo is still on the board, his athletic ability, mental approach, and defensive mindset may be enough to get Michael Jordan and company to pull the trigger.
5. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, UNLV
The last time Phoenix took a guy with the rare ability to score inside and out with size did not pan out as well as they had hoped for. That does not make Bennett’s package any less appealing. At 6’8″ with the ability to overpower smaller defenders and beat bigger defenders from the perimeter, Bennett is a lethal scorer. His upside is undeniable, but guys with his skill set often run the risk of the dreadful tweener label.
6. New Orleans Pelicans: Alex Len, Maryland
Anthony Davis was the easiest selection New Orleans has ever made in its history. This year may not be that much harder. If Len is still available and the top five goes the way that is predicted above, it is close to a no-brainer. With size, length, mobility, and potential, Len may possibly be the second piece of a dominating front court a few years down the road.
7. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, Michigan
Recently being viewed as the biggest threat to Nerlens Noel being first off the board, Burke has now slipped substantially, with the possibility of falling completely out of the top ten. His lack of lateral quickness and supreme athleticism draws doubts from NBA scouts across the league. However, Burke was the best player in college basketball a year ago. If he does fall in the draft, the team that does select him has what may possibly be the biggest steal in the draft.
8. Detroit Pistons: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse
Some of you may be asking the question, “Doesn’t Detroit take a point guard in the first round every year?”. To answer that question, it does seem that way. However, the Pistons think very highly of Brandon Knight, but think he may be more effective off the ball. Given Carter-Williams size and playmaking ability, this may be a match made in heaven.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh
New general manager and president of basketball operations Flip Saunders has made it known that he plans on stressing the importance of shooting well as he takes over the Wolves organization. If shooting is what Flip wants, shooting is what Flip will get with McCollum. McCollum shot above 50% from deep a year ago at Lehigh and even has the versatility to play either guard position, allowing Rubio and himself to split time at the point.
10. Portland Trailblazers: Kentavious Caldewell-Pope, Georgia
Portland has been rumored to be interested in possibly moving up to draft Victor Oladipo, but with Trey Burke’s sudden fall and Oladipo’s upward trend that seems unlikely. Regardless, it seems as though they will be interested in taking a guard. Caldwell-Pope has the most upside of any of the guards remaining at this point.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana
It is no secret that the 76ers need a big man in the middle. With the uncertainty of Andrew Bynum’s future, with the team and with his knees, they will likely look to acquire a promising young big via the draft to grow with the rest of their young team. Zeller was at one time viewed as the cream of the crop. Due to a lackluster sophomore season at Indiana, the hype has died down, but there has to be some truth to the reasons he was thought of so highly by so many.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh
With Oklahoma City set for the next few years with superstars Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook locked up, they have the luxury of drafting a player purely on upside. If there is a big with upside left, it is Adams. His big frame and work ethic are already NBA ready. If his skills develop as he matures, Adams could be a big improvement from Kendrick Perkins at the center position.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Shane Larkin, Miami
Dallas is in desperate need of a point guard. When they won the championship in 2011, the recently retired Jason Kidd was running the show. Darren Collison was not the player that Mark Cuban thought he was getting when the Mavs signed him, and coach Rick Carlisle was forced to play Mike James as his starting point guard down the stretch. It is to no surprise that Dallas will look for an offensive improvement from that position. Whether it be via the draft, free agency, or trade is left to be unseen. Larkin can shoot the ball from anywhere, in catch-and-shoot situations, and off the dribble. He can light it up in a hurry and make defenses pay for not picking him up at half court.
14. Utah Jazz: Dennis Schroeder, Germany
Utah could go either one of two ways here. In this particular situation, they take Schroeder. Schroeder is the best point guard left on the board, and while Mo Williams was not bad this past year, there is the possibility that he may not return. Regardless, their point guards struggled off the bench. Former Indiana Pacers starter, Jamaal Tinsley, contributed next to nothing for the Jazz this season. Utah may also look to add a big here after potentially losing Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap and getting nothing in return.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State
With reports that Monta Ellis will leave Milwaukee via free agency, the Bucks are in a dilemma. Point guard Brandon Jennings is also a restricted free agent as of July 1st, and the Bucks already made it public that they prefer Ellis. With all that said, Milwaukee will want to address their back court issue. Franklin is the best guard left on the board and the most ready to contribute right away.
16. Boston Celtics: Dario Saric, Croatia
With the rumors that Paul Pierce may not return to Boston pretty much at a minimum right now, it still remains a possibility. Regardless, Pierce is aging and Jeff Green is a capable replacement. However, that leaves their bench shorthanded. Saric has drawn a lot of interest from various NBA teams, and for good reason, he is a 6’10″ small forward with ball skills.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA
Despite the knit-picking of Muhammad’s game right now by scouts, picking him 17th overall is a pretty low-risk, high-reward decision. There is a possibility that he turns out to be one of the best players in this class, and in Atlanta’s case, I’m not sure that they can pass up on that at the moment.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, France
Atlanta is set at the center position for quite a while with Al Horford under contract. However, Gobert possesses something Horford, along with many NBA players, do not. That is a 7’2″ body. His height alone will alter shots in the paint and get him rebounds. Gobert has the upside and size that you just can not teach.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers: Sergey Karasev, Russia
This is possibly the hardest pick to decide on. With countless unknowns such as whether or not they will trade the first pick, what they can get for it, whether they get Porter or if they get Noel. This pick depends entirely on what the Cavs do with the first overall pick. In this instance, there are no trades, and Cleveland has already taken Noel. If that is the case, they may possibly go with another wing to pair up with Dion Waiters. Karasev adds to the list of unknowns. There is a possibility that he goes in the top ten and there is a possibility that he falls right onto the laps of Dan Gilbert and company.
20. Chicago Bulls: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville
Chicago is know for their defense, particularly their big men. Joakim Noah is the anchor of the starters, and last year, Omer Asik was a stellar back-up. With Asik signing in Houston, the Bulls were forced to play Nazr Mohammed probably a little more than they wanted to. Dieng is a defensive presence that clogs the paint, blocks shots, and changes shots. When he was out of foul trouble, he was the anchor of the champion Cardinals’ defense. More importantly for the Bulls, Dieng knows how to play team defense and is spot on with his rotations, which is exactly what coach Tom Thibideau looks for.
21. Utah Jazz: Mason Plumlee, Duke
Utah is in desperate need of a big off the bench to replace soon-to-be starters Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors. With Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap likely walking away from the Jazz, they will lack depth in the front court. Kanter and Favors are more than capable replacements, but the strength of the Jazz was the depth of the front court with those two off the bench. Plumlee will be able to contribute right away rebounding the ball, something the Jazz will be in dire need of.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga
Brook Lopez is a stud offensively. Nobody is doubting that at this point. His post skills are polished, his touch around the rim is solid, and his scoring instincts are impreccable. However, the Nets do not really have a true back-up, and Andray Blatche may leave via free agency in favor of becoming a starter for another team. With all of that said, Olynyk, like Lopez, is an offensively gifted center, and the game plan wouldn’t have to change that drastically when whoever the Nets select as their coach goes to his bench.
23. Indiana Pacers: Tony Mitchell, North Texas
Indiana can go a lot of different ways here, and can also wait on a player to develop before expecting him to contribute consistently at a high level. With the possibility of David West leaving, a power forward would make sense. Mitchell has a high upside and is very versatile. Also, Frank Vogel likes athletes. Mitchell is an athlete who could develop into a good pick-and-roll man.
24. New York Knicks: Allen Crabbe, California
New York shoots the ball. There is no doubt about it. They launch threes in their half court sets, in transition, and from three feet beyond the arc. Crabbe fits that style of play. He is a good shooter and would be another wing for Mike Woodson’s squad. J.R. Smith has a player option for next year and is likely to deny it, so if the Knicks choose to not pay him and let him walk, Crabbe could potentially fill that spot off the bench.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Jeff Withey, Kansas
DeAndre Jordan fits the Clippers’ high-flying offensive, and his ability to block shots is a big asset to the team. However, Ryan Hollins and Ronnie Turiaf were the back-ups this year, with Lamar Odom even seeing some time. Withey was Kansas’ all-time leading shot-blocker and has defensive instincts that could prove valuable to an NBA that drafts him late in the first round. If Chris Paul re-signs with the Clippers, there future is pretty much set in stone around him and Blake Griffin. However, Withey is not a high-profile player that needs the ball to make a difference.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Giannis Antetokunmpo, Greece
With two first-round picks, the Wolves can afford to sit and wait on a player to develop his potential. If potential is what this pick is based on, Antetokunmpo is the pick. NBA scouts are already saying that he has possibly the highest ceiling of any player in the draft. If Minnesota can get him here and he reaches that potential, this could be an incredible pick.
27. Denver Nuggets: Reggie Bullock, North Carolina
Denver showed its weaknesses against the trigger-happy Warriors team. The Nuggets struggled to shoot the ball on a nightly basis. They relied on getting in to the paint time after time after time. While it did work efficiently in the regular season, everyone knows that defenses improve come the postseason. If George Karl’s team plans to take the next step, they need to add shooting. Bullock is one of the better shooting prospects in the draft and would be a good pick here.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Glen Rice Jr., Georgia Tech
Everybody knows that the Spurs are the cream of the crop when it comes to the draft and developing players. Year after year, they have late first-round picks, and year after year, they surpass all expectations given to them by scouts and experts. Rice is one of the most ready to contribute players this draft has to offer. With Kawhi Leonard emerging as an up-and-coming player, Glen Rice could be a sufficient back-up down the road.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lucas Noguiera, Brazil
Everyone knows that Oklahoma City and its fans are tired of Kendrick Perkins. With that said, they are stuck with him for at least another year unless they use the amnesty clause. Noguiera is an intriguing prospect for an already contending team. He possesses the potential to be a difference-maker but is a long way away from that being the case. Regardless, with the outstanding shape that the Thunder organization is in, Noguiera may be hard to pass up on.
30. Erick Green, Virginia Tech
Phoenix has struggled in just about every area in the post-Nash era. Regardless, they need to draft purely on talent. Green was the leading scorer in college basketball a year ago and can play either guard position. The suns desperately need to get back to scoring the ball the way that they did in the Mike D’Antoni “Seven Seconds or Less” teams. Green could be a step in the right direction toward that goal.
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