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8 NBA Teams in Prime Position to Strike It Rich in 2013 NBA Draft

Jonathan WassermanNBA Lead WriterDecember 13, 2014

8 NBA Teams in Prime Position to Strike It Rich in 2013 NBA Draft

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    For the most part, it's the same cast of characters looking to cash in at the NBA draft.

    However, there will be some new, unfamiliar members to the lottery sweepstakes in 2013.

    It may not be the most star-studded crop of prospects, but there are plenty of serviceable players that can help these poor teams rebuild.

    A top-three pick might actually help some of these teams get over the hump.

Washington Wizards

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    The Washington Wizards are starting to look like the 2013 lottery favorites.

    With one of the saddest frontcourts in the NBA, there should be a number of solid options at the top of the draft.

    Shabazz Muhammad sounds good on the wing, Nerlens Noel is a fit in the middle and Cody Zeller works at the post. When you review the strengths of these three players, they all offer something the Wizards are missing.

    If you're a Wizards fan, don't look at the season as half empty. The franchise is still a ways from being taken seriously, but any one of these players should be considered a legitimate building block moving forward.

    Unlike Trevor Ariza, Martell Webster and Emeka Okafor. Yuck.

Toronto Raptors

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    Toronto actually doesn't have a bad roster. It could be just one piece away from becoming a routine playoff team—if that piece turns out to produce the way a top pick should.

    Shabazz Muhammad would take Landry Fields' place in the starting lineup faster than you can say "overpaid."

    Nerlens Noel would be an interesting option. Pairing his defensive presence alongside Jonas Valanciunas' offensive skill set would be a tough interior duo.

    This could allow Toronto to slide Andrea Bargnani down to the 3—which is essentially what he is anyway—and still have a Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan backcourt.

    James McAdoo also seems like a good fit up front to give the team some athleticism it sorely lacks at the 4.

    With a top pick, Toronto could find a long-term keeper to help push them over the hill.

Cleveland Cavaliers

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    Calling all 3s, 4s and 5s—the Cavaliers are interested.

    With the Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters era in full effect, the Cavs shouldn't have a difficult time identifying their team needs for the 2013 NBA draft.

    Shabazz Muhammad seems like the ideal match, and would probably help form one of the most promising young 1-2-3 trio's in the league.

    Cody Zeller and Nerlens Noel would also fit, regardless if Cleveland decides to sell Anderson Varejao at the trade deadline.

    For the most part, any frontcourt player in the top seven would probably be an upgrade for Cleveland.

    There's no reason the Cavs shouldn't leave the draft better than they were before it.

Charlotte Bobcats

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    Call me a pessimist or call me a realist, but I'm sensing a letdown by the Bobcats sometime in the near future.

    Charlotte should once again get a top-five or so pick in the draft, which it could use as much as any team in the league. 

    The Bobcats need help at the 2, 4 and 5 spots. With a top-five pick, you can expect Cody Zeller and Alex Len to be in play as offensive-minded post players.

    While Byron Mullens' development is promising, he's attempting five three-pointers a game and shooting 37 percent from the floor. He's more of a stretch-4 than a pure 5. 

    If Charlotte doesn't end up in the top five in the draft, a point guard might not be a bad target.

    Kemba Walker looks good this year, but he's not fooling anyone. Walker is a scorer best suited in a sixth man role, where the harm caused by his 40 percent field goal percentage can be diminished.

    Marcus Smart wouldn't look bad in a Charlotte jersey.

Orlando Magic

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    The Orland Magic appear to be in a "best player available" situation, with a lot of young players and unknown futures.

    It's a position general managers like to be in, since they aren't pressured into passing up talent for needs, which can be a slippery slope.

    After witnessing some impressive college point guard play early on, the three-year contract the Magic gave to Jameer Nelson seems a bit silly.

    This might be a slow, painful rebuilding process, as Orlando didn't obtain many valuable draft picks or any game-changing talent in the Dwight Howard trade.

    How big Orlando wins in the draft depends on the lottery. I have a feeling after 82 games, its chances will be good.

New Orleans Hornets

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    Eric Gordon's knee pain is making my head hurt.

    It's tough to tell what New Orleans has when one of its two franchise players can't get on the court.

    Either way, the team is stuck with him after giving Gordon max dollars under the new collective bargaining agreement.

    This means the number one priority should be to go out and get a point guard.

    A point guard would make life easier for Anthony Davis, get Ryan Anderson open looks and keep Eric Gordon from dominating the ball for long stretches.

    This also lets Austin Rivers slide into his natural position as a scorer, which he could do effectively as the team's sixth man.

    A point guard is the clear-cut need here, and there will be a few nice ones to choose from.

Sacramento Kings

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    No matter how many attractive pieces the Kings pile up, they still can't get it together.

    While they have about 20 different guys in line to run the point, none of them are naturally very good at it.

    With multiple pass-first pure facilitators available, this is an opportunity to right the ship, suck it up and admit that Isaiah Thomas, Aaron Brooks, Tyreke Evans nor Jimmer Fredette are realistic long-term or short-term options.

    Michael Carter-Williams, Marcus Smart and Lorenzo Brown are all pass-first distributors who take pride in creating offense for others.

    The Kings need some unselfishness and leadership in the lineup. They should be scouting these guys as we speak.

Phoenix Suns

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    I hate to say it, Suns fans, but this roster stinks.

    Phoenix could probably use an upgrade at three or four different positions, most notably the 2-guard slot.

    Ben McLemore of Kansas, Jamaal Franklin of San Diego State and Archie Goodwin of Kentucky are all high-upside shooting guards who should be around when Phoenix hits the clock.

    The Suns also sport one of the least athletic frontcourts in the league with Luis Scola, Marcin Gortat, Markieff Morris and Jermaine O'Neal.

    Tony Mitchell from North Texas, James McAdoo of North Carolina and Alex Poythress of Kentucky would all make an impact on both sides of the ball, and make Phoenix a more feared team with what these players bring to the table.

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