2013 NBA Mock Draft: Midseason Edition
With the NBA season unfolding and the lottery odds starting to clear up, we've decided to include a mock draft order that's been generated by team projections.
Also, if the player has future all-star potential, it will be noted atop each slide.
Some notes for the first round:
Oklahoma City gets Toronto's first-round pick, which the Raptors acquired in the James Harden deal from Houston.
If the Lakers miss the playoffs, their pick goes to Phoenix, which is something we anticipate.
Portland gives up a top-12 protected pick to Charlotte from the Gerald Wallace-Joel Przybilla trade in 2011.
The Atlanta Hawks receive Houston's top-14 protected pick in the Joe Johnson deal they made with the Nets.
Team needs were taken into account, although rosters are likely to change once June rolls around.
Draft order accurate as of January 29, 2013.
1. Washington Wizards: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, C, 6'11''
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Nerlens Noel seems to be the only NBA prospect scouts aren't torn on.
He's a game changer whether his offense comes around or not. Noel was credited for 12 blocks against Ole Miss, his sixth consecutive game swatting six or more shots.
Noel knows when an opponent is going to shoot before the shooter even knows himself, timing his jump by anticipating the release. With the athleticism to elevate off the ground and the length to cover most of it, no shot goes unchallenged within five feet of the rim.
Few players in this draft have the potential to change the culture of an organization. Noel's defensive presence makes him a strong candidate to eventually do so.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas, SG, 6'5''
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The Bobcats are best off dealing this pick for established talent, but if they decide to play ball, they need to do so with caution.
Ben McLemore is the safest prospect on the board with elite shooting accuracy, physical tools and defensive potential for a off-guard—a position that lacks talent across the NBA landscape.
With the ability to score without the dribble and stretch the floor off the ball, he's best off complementing a ball-dominant guard who creates offense off the bounce. McLemore would make life easier for Kemba Walker, who would have the option to drive and dish instead of drive and force an off-balance runner.
The Bobcats need someone who can make shots and defend the perimeter, and those happen to be McLemore's specialties.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SG/SF, 6'6''
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Cleveland should be thrilled if Shabazz Muhammad, who would offer scoring on the wing at a more high-percentage rate, is available at No. 3.
The Cavs should be looking to add offensive firepower, and Muhammad's arsenal would fill a need and a want. He put UCLA on his back the other day against Arizona, scoring 23 clutch points while demonstrating takeover ability.
Muhammad has some glaring weaknesses, like a right hand and perimeter defense, but he's the most pure scorer left in the draft and still offers No. 1 overall upside if his ceiling is reached.
4. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, SF/PF, 6'7''
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Phoenix needs to inject some life into an uninspiring lineup of blah.
Cue Anthony Bennett.
He's an explosive athlete who can fly down the court using his legs or his wings. Bennett possesses one of the higher ceilings in the draft class because of his offensive versatility—he's strong enough to play the 4 and quick enough to play the 3.
As a perimeter threat, Bennett is knocking down threes at a 37.7 percent clip and beating defenders off the bounce with a deceivingly quick first step. Down low, he's a physical presence, averaging 8.6 boards and throwing down routine poster dunks.
One of the fastest risers in the 2013 draft class, Bennett is one of the few prospects to offer star power.
5. New Orleans Hornets: Cody Zeller, Indiana, C, 6'11''
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New Orleans has done a nice job of building a balanced rotation, but it could really benefit from some high- and low-post scoring.
Cody Zeller's ability to score with his back to the basket and draw the double team will open up opportunities for Ryan Anderson spotting up and create space for Eric Gordon in isolation. He could also be a source for easy baskets in the half court as well as in transition with Greivis Vasquez, who likes to get up the floor.
Zeller's post game should complement Anthony Davis' face-up game, giving defenses two different looks throughout a game.
6. Orlando Magic: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, PG/SG, 6'5''
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The Jameer Nelson show is going to get canceled eventually, and Orlando needs to be ready for it. Michael Carter-Williams isn't fully there yet, but the Magic aren't going anywhere anytime soon.
With unusual size and length for a pass-first playmaker, Carter-Williams has the chance at being something special down the road. He's got explosive athleticism in the open floor and the quickness off the bounce in the half court, and he can finish at the rim or create shots for teammates.
Though it needs work, he has confidence as a shooter and has hit a number of clutch shots from the perimeter for the Orange.
While Nelson plays out the next couple years of his contract, Carter-Williams could tighten up his ball-handling and work on his jump shot. He's got a lot to learn, but the upside is worthy of a pick this high.
7. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): Alex Len, Maryland, C, 7'1''
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Oklahoma City gets Toronto's pick from the James Harden deal, which was acquired by Houston in the Kyle Lowry trade.
Looking ahead, the Thunder should already be targeting Maryland center Alex Len, whose 7'1'' frame and above-the-rim offensive presence are something that Kendrick Perkins doesn't bring to the table.
Len is a serious threat on the low block with quick feet and a physical approach. He's no pushover defensively, averaging 1.9 blocks a game while displaying fearlessness as a rim protector.
He's still working on his offensive game, but he's capable of finishing in traffic and scoring on the low block.
With gigantic size, Len is bound to make an impact once he develops some true go-to moves.
8. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, PG/SG, 6'4''
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Sacramento needs a true pass-first facilitator to replace the shoot-first crew of point guards it throws out there on a routine basis.
Marcus Smart is a rare quarterback with the size, strength and toughness of an attacking 2-guard.
Unlike the rest of Sacramento's point guards, Smart is more of an orchestrator who lets the offense come to him before going into attack mode. He's a high-IQ player with a mature approach to the game, and he shows tremendous intensity on both sides of the ball.
Sacramento could use some leadership from the floor general position, which would allow the other guards to do what they do best—score.
9. Detroit Pistons: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, PG/SG, 6'3''
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Detroit should ignore needs and concentrate on adding talent. C.J. McCollum is the most polished scorer of any prospect left on the board and offers an NBA-ready package with considerable room to grow.
McCollum was the nation's second-leading scorer before breaking his foot. He was illustrating a diverse offensive skill set on and off the ball.
The Pistons have to at least be questioning whether Brandon Knight is a long-term answer at the point guard position. McCollum could probably help them figure that out while putting points on the board in the process.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Mason Plumlee, Duke, C, 7'0''
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Plumlee's size and athleticism should allow him to play alongside or behind Andrew Bynum and Spencer Hawes.
He's one of those "don't mind me" type of players. He fits into any lineup whether someone is occupying his position or not because of his ability to make plays off the ball and adjust to what's out there.
While Bynum is more of a half-court offensive option, Plumlee can help Jrue Holiday get out in transition and score easy buckets on the move. He's also a cleanup man at the rim and can score with his back to the basket when the go-to options are resting.
Plumlee doesn't have all-star potential, but the only thing teams will be looking for 10 picks into a weak draft is someone capable of playing a role.
11. Phoenix Suns (via L.A. Lakers): Otto Porter, Georgetown, SF, 6'8''
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Otto Porter would give Phoenix some length and athleticism in the middle of its lineup while providing a team-first presence that Michael Beasley doesn't offer.
Porter makes his teammates better by making the extra pass or keeping balls alive, and he can finish as a slasher or scorer on the perimeter.
He's now scored at least 17 points in six straight games, converting from practically every spot on the floor and every possible angle.
Considering Phoenix took Kendall Marshall in 2012 and signed Goran Dragic to a multiyear deal, it would presumably be looking for someone to man the wing or someone to play inside.
With Porter, they get a little of both.
12. Dallas Mavericks: Isaiah Austin, Baylor, PF/C, 7'1''
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Mark Cuban may be loyal, but he's not stupid. Dirk Nowitzki is on the decline, and the Mavericks should start looking to groom some potential replacements.
Why not start with a 7'1'' face-up scorer who can step out behind the arc or attack the rim in the post.
Austin isn't NBA ready, but the Mavericks are unlikely to find anyone in the late lottery who can help them in the short term make a push for the playoffs.
The talented Baylor big man offers high upside as a unique offensive player. He's averaging 14.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game and shooting 36.2 percent from downtown.
Austin needs to add bulk, but his rebounding numbers are promising and his shooting mechanics look sharp. With a wingspan around the 7'3'' mark, nobody's contesting his jumper if he starts getting it off with consistency.
13. Minnesota Timberwolves: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, SG, 6'5''
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The Timberwolves could use some athleticism in the backcourt with Luke Ridnour holding it down at the off-guard position.
Archie Goodwin is an explosive athlete who's at his best attacking the rim north and south from the perimeter. He's not much of a ball-handler, but he's difficult to contain when given room to accelerate. Goodwin has the physical strengths to finish over traffic, which he does at least once a game with style and flash.
Goodwin's size and quickness for a guard present a promising combination despite his lackluster jump shot. His athleticism alone would be a welcomed addition to Minnesota's lineup.
14. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland): James McAdoo, North Carolina, SF/PF, 6'9''
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While many have jumped off the James McAdoo bandwagon, don't underestimate the North Carolina connection.
Michael Jordan could be sucked in to selecting McAdoo, who has all the talent in the world but not a clue how to use it. He's one of the more versatile forwards in the country with the mobility and athleticism of a 3 and the size and strength of a 4.
But picking and choosing when to attack has not been a strength, as his bizarre shot selection has affected the way scouts view him as a prospect. Too many of his attempts come on the move, and rarely does he get balanced looks at the rim.
McAdoo could use some more concentrated guidance and a defined role to keep him from overstepping his offensive limitations. If it clicks, he becomes a steal anywhere outside the lottery because of his elite physical tools and glowing natural talent.
15. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SF/SF, 6'7''
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Atlanta needs some athleticism at the wing position, whether Josh Smith returns or not.
While Kyle Korver and Anthony Morrow can do their thing from 25 feet away from the rim, I'm not sure either has sniffed the area that circulates above it.
Jamaal Franklin's athleticism, length and ridiculous leaping abilities allow him to make plays off the ball that few are physically capable of making. He's relentless on the glass, averaging 9.4 boards despite having the size of a natural shooting guard.
There won't be star power for the Hawks to choose from, so filling the gaps should be the plan until they find some. Franklin is a fine gap-filler with numerous NBA-level tools on both sides of the ball.
16. Utah Jazz: Trey Burke, Michigan, PG, 6'0''
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Utah needs a point guard with some burst, something they don't get from Mo Williams or Jamaal Tinsley.
Trey Burke's flair and offensive leadership are just what Utah lacks.
Super quick on the move and crafty with the ball, there hasn't been a team in the country that's been able to knock Burke off balance.
Burke's dribble creativity and ability to penetrate the heart of the defense will provide scoring opportunities for Utah's big men and open looks for its shooters.
Now that he's scoring nearly 18 points a game and shooting 37.1 percent from behind the arc, Burke has transformed into a complete point guard who can attack or distribute with balance.
17. Boston Celtics: Alex Poythress, Kentucky, SF, 6'8''
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A highly coveted recruit out of high school, Alex Poythress has had an up-and-down freshman year under John Calipari.
At 6'8'', Poythress can face the rim and attack the lane or finish above the cylinder on putbacks or alley-oops. When his motor is activated, Poythress goes into beast mode and comes up with every loose ball and offensive rebound.
He's incredibly efficient as a finisher, shooting 62.7 percent from the floor, but creating his own offense is not currently in his repertoire.
It's unclear what Boston's roster will look like in June, but Poythress is a safe bet to go in the 15-20 range.
18. Milwaukee Bucks: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, SF, 6'5''
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The Bucks drafted Glenn Robinson first overall in 1994, so it would only be fitting if they took his son when he declared.
Whether or not that happens with Glenn Robinson III in 2012 or 2013 remains to be seen, but chances are he leaves Michigan with Trey Burke and Tim Hardaway Jr.
Robinson would give Milwaukee some much-needed athleticism on the wing with his ability to finish at the rim or spot up in the half court.
Without many opportunities to currently create his own offense, Robinson is more of a project who needs to get some more reps and experience under his belt. But his athleticism, feel for the game and basketball genes are all promising.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Rudy Gobert, France, PF/C, 7'2''
Atlanta needs some new faces on the frontcourt portion of the bench.
Rudy Gobert's skill set is unlike anything we've seen thanks to a 7'9'' wingspan that covers an inordinate amount of ground. And because of his mobility, he can play alongside Al Horford as a 4 or play behind him as a 5.
He's more of a finisher than a scorer. Point guards can throw it to him above the rim, or he can make a play off the ball.
Gobert isn't making much noise overseas, playing a limited role for Cholet, but his intrigue alone might be worth a look in the lottery if teams are unimpressed with American prospects.
20. Denver Nuggets: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, C, 7'0''
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If Willie Cauley-Stein's season ended today, I'm not sure his draft stock changes from now till June.
Cauley-Stein is a project—one that has produced given limited minutes in a crowded frontcourt.
He offers a completely different set of physical tools from Denver's current crop of centers. At 7'0'', he's powerful, agile and athletic, and though he doesn't have the basketball skills of Kosta Koufos, he's too physically overwhelming for most interior defenders.
A former high school receiver, his coordination allows him to finish at awkward angles without having the footwork of a polished post-up scorer.
Cauley-Stein is more of a long-term project, though it could pay off down the road with proper direction.
21. Chicago Bulls: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, SG, 6'5''
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Tim Hardaway Jr. has been impressive all year, playing on and off the ball while maintaining consistency as a scorer.
Chicago lacks firepower at the off-guard slot, and Tim Hardaway Jr. can provide that in the half court or in transition. He's explosive in the open floor and can take over a game on the perimeter with the ability to put points up in bunches.
He's more accurate as a catch-and-shooter and is up to 41.1 percent from three after shooting just 28.3 percent as a sophomore. Hardaway's shot selection has visibly improved, and it's made him a better player and more attractive NBA draft option.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Doug McDermott, Creighton, SF, 6'7''
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Brooklyn needs shooters to help space the floor for its ball-dominators. You won't find a better one than Doug McDermott, who's averaging 23.9 points per game and shooting 51.6 percent from downtown.
At 6'7'', he has good size that should allow him to get clean releases on the perimeter as a catch-and-shooter.
Though he's capable of finishing inside and converting in the mid-range, it's his long-ball services that should attract NBA suitors. If Kyle Korver and Steve Novak could make legitimate NBA careers, so can McDermott.
23. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Tony Mitchell, North Texas, SF/PF
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Tony Mitchell is still trying to find his place in the game, but his size and athleticism are too staggering to ignore.
Considered a lottery prospect to start the year, Mitchell has regressed as a sophomore playing in a subpar mid-major conference.
You could argue he's the most electric athlete in the draft pool with the ability to play above the rim and the strength to humiliate defenders inside. But without a three-ball, which has suddenly dipped to 28.8 percent (after 43.9 percent as a freshman), Mitchell could be stuck between a 3 and a 4.
Getting that percentage back up while finding ways to score off the dribble would help maximize his draft stock.
24. Indiana Pacers: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, SG, 6'4''
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You'd imagine the Pacers scouting department is pretty familiar with Indiana Hoosiers basketball. Victor Oladipo seems to be just the type of player with which the Pacers are looking to build.
He's quickly gaining recognition as the top perimeter defender in all of college basketball; the batteries in his motor just refuse to die. Oladipo's length, athleticism and quickness allow him to lock down scorers and take them out of their comfort zones.
An improved offensive player, Oladipo now offers prospective teams a two-way package and physical tools that translate directly. Coming off the bench, Oladipo can make Indiana a pest to play for 48 straight minutes.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis): Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, C, 7'0''
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Kelly Olynyk has shot up draft boards thanks to his 18.2-point average on 65.8 percent shooting.
With 7'0'' size and the ability to score from baseline to arc, Olynyk is an attractive option anywhere outside the lottery, though he's not your everyday NBA athlete.
Guys like Spencer Hawes and B.J. Mullens have found roles in the league possessing similar all-around games. Expect Olynyk to do the same.
26. New York Knicks: Jeff Withey, Kansas, C, 7'0''
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The Knicks need someone who can come in right away and allow Tyson Chandler to get some rest.
Jeff Withey's ability to protect the rim and finish around it should be valued by a team whose backups are dropping like flies.
Withey is currently No. 3 in the nation in shot-blocking and has expanded his skill set at the basket to the point where he's finishing with both hands.
He's a backup NBA center without much upside, but if you're looking for reliability, depth and size at a shallow position, Withey is worth a shot anywhere outside the top 20.
27. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Miami): C.J. Leslie, N.C. State, SF/PF, 6'8''
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Teams might be hesitant to target C.J. Leslie, who presents risk as an undersized power forward and lacks the strength to consistently bang inside.
However, because of his talent, Leslie becomes a value pick late in the first round, the way Perry Jones did in 2012.
Leslie might have turned teams off with his inconsistent efforts and low-IQ brand of ball, but his upside, if reached, equates to lottery value.
The Cavs could use some versatility at the 3 and 4 positions, and they would get that from one of the more talented players in the class.
28. L.A. Clippers: Mike Muscala, Bucknell, C, 7'0''
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Mike Muscala has erupted onto the NBA radar with his 19.5-point, 11-rebound averages.
He's got a refined post game, something that the Clippers' DeAndre Jordan can't yet say for himself. Unfortunately, Muscala isn't nearly the athlete of most NBA centers and will have challenges to face when going up against stiffer competition.
Playing at Bucknell, he doesn't exactly face NBA-level talent on a consistent basis.
But scouts love Muscala's size and skill set, which consist of a face-up high-post game and the ability to score with regularity at the rim.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State, PG, 6'5''
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Lorenzo Brown is a talented playmaker with a pass-first mentality and exceptional point guard physique.
He's a 6'5'' athlete who can weave in and out of the defense and set up open looks for teammates by breaking down the perimeter.
San Antonio doesn't really have a true backup point guard whose primary instinct is to create opportunities for others. Brown could be that guy for anyone drafting outside of the top 20.
30. Oklahoma City Thunder: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, PG, 6'0''
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The Oklahoma City Thunder have two backup point guards, neither of whom can shoot.
Isaiah Canaan can put the ball in the hole from 27 feet out (at least 40 percent from three in every year at college) and is a capable ball-handler and floor general running the show.
The Thunder need some relief at the point guard position, and Canaan is a guy to trust, something Murray State has done routinely for four straight years.