2013 NBA Mock Draft: Predicting Where the Top Players Will Land
Although the NBA season is still in full swing, it is never too early to think about the NBA draft.
Many teams are already planning for the future and looking at ways to improve while others will simply look for one more piece that could put them over the top.
A lot can change between now and June, but here is the latest mock for the 2013 NBA draft.
Note: Draft order based on standings as of Feb. 6.
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Although Ben McLemore is not the top player on most teams' big boards, the Bobcats need a go-to scorer, and he is the best one in the class.
The Kansas freshman has everything that you look for in a shooting guard, from size to athleticism to defensive ability. He also is an incredible shooter and is currently hitting 45.5 percent of his three-point shots.
Charlotte might need help up front, but none of the top big men in the class are skilled offensively. With Bismack Biyombo already taking the role of solid defensive player with little scoring ability, the team does not want to waste another one.
There are no safe picks in this draft, but McLemore is as solid as they come.
2. Washington Wizards: Nerlens Noel, PF, Kentucky
With John Wall and Bradley Beal, the backcourt is set. This gives the Wizards an opportunity to draft the top big man in the class, Nerlens Noel. He is an excellent shot-blocker and should develop an offensive game over time.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
The Cavaliers are putting together the pieces to make a winning team. Shabazz Muhammad would fill out a solid starting lineup of young players, as he has lived up to his lofty expectations in recent weeks.
4. Orlando Magic: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Orlando needs help pretty much all over the floor. Alex Len could help at least one spot.
The Maryland center has shown the tools to be an elite threat on both offense and defense. However, he has struggled to put it all together consistently. At the next level, he should be solid.
5. New Orleans Hornets: Alex Poythress, SF, Kentucky
This is the first reach of the draft, but Alex Poythress fits perfectly with the Hornets.
He is similar to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in last year's class as someone who is already great defensively and has the potential to be good on offense.
Right now, his issue has been his lack of aggressiveness. He is shooting over 60 percent from the floor with a nice shooting touch, but he averages only 12.5 points per game.
New Orleans is a team that has talent but could use some more efficiency. Poythress would be a great option to bring the squad to the next level.
6. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the Kings heading into the offseason. DeMarcus Cousins looks like he is staying, but even that is a question.
Regardless of who is on the roster, Michael Carter-Williams is someone who could make everyone better. He currently leads the nation with 8.5 assists per game and has the size to excel in the NBA.
7. Phoenix Suns: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Anthony Bennett is one of the more versatile players in the country. He can rebound with the big boys, and he can shoot as well as a guard. This will make him a great choice for any team.
8. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
It is almost unfair for the Thunder to get this high of a pick, but they are certain to make a good selection. Cody Zeller has dropped in recent weeks, but he is still a solid player who runs the floor well and knows how to finish around the basket.
9. Detroit Pistons: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Otto Porter will not put up big stats on a slow-paced Georgetown team, but he does almost everything well on a basketball court. He has great handle for his size and is a prototypical NBA wing.
10. Minnesota Timberwolves: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
The John Calipari system works again, as Archie Goodwin will be the third Kentucky player taken in the lottery. He will provide Minnesota with scoring from the outside, something that has been a little inconsistent this year.
11. Dallas Mavericks: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
Marcus Smart is more of a scorer than a passer from the point guard position, but Dallas needs both, as it looks to get younger across the board.
12. Philadelphia 76ers: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor
Isaiah Austin is one of the more intriguing players in the entire class. He is 7'0", but he spends most of the time out on the perimeter shooting threes.
However, it is important to note that he also plays great interior defense. On the season, the freshman is averaging 9.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game.
Even when Andrew Bynum returns to the lineup, the 76ers will not have much depth in the frontcourt. They need someone who can rebound and score consistently to match the talented guard play.
Austin is someone who can do that well.
13. Phoenix Suns (from Los Angeles Lakers): C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
With the Suns drafting Bennett with the first pick, they will now look for backcourt help. C.J. McCollum is one of the top scorers in the draft, even though he recently suffered a bad foot injury.
Those that question the transition from Lehigh to the NBA should look to the success that Damian Lillard is having this season.
14. Boston Celtics: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Mason Plumlee is a very athletic, skilled inside scorer who is also a great rebounder. While he does not have much range, he would be a good match for the Celtics.
15. Charlotte Bobcats (from Portland Trail Blazers): James Michael McAdoo, PF, North Carolina
While James Michael McAdoo has fallen down draft boards since the beginning of the season, Charlotte is not afraid to take a reach with its pick.
The power forward is arguably the most athletic player in the country and will provide balance up front after taking McLemore with the first overall pick.
16. Milwaukee Bucks: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
The Bucks have a great scoring backcourt, but they can use some inside help. Rudy Gobert is a bit of a project, but he has great size and has the potential to be a really strong selection.
17. Atlanta Hawks (from Houston Rockets): Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Although he has a tendency to disappear at times, Victor Oladipo steps up when he is needed. The athletic guard is one of the most efficient players in the country and has the ability to defend the best guards in the league.
18. Utah Jazz: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Utah has used a few different veteran point guards this season to varying degrees of success, but they need to solidify the position for the future.
If Trey Burke falls to them, there is no way that the Jazz do not select the talented floor general.
He has incredible court vision and intelligence, each of which allows him to find the best option each time down the floor. Sometimes, that means that he takes the ball himself, which he often turns into baskets.
The fact that he is on one of the top teams in the country will also get him more notoriety in March.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
From one Michigan player to another, Glenn Robinson III showcases a great deal of athleticism every time that he is on the floor. He is a good rebounder for his size and can spread the floor when he needs to.
While he will not be able to replace Josh Smith if he leaves, he would be a solid member of the rotation right away.
20. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Scouts are only down on Jeff Withey due to his low ceiling, but he is already one of the top defensive big men in the country. He could immediately help out the Nets, as they try to make themselves into a contender.
21. Chicago Bulls: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Scoring ability? Check. Rebounding? Check. Athleticism? Check.
Jamaal Franklin has his faults (25 percent shooting from three), but he can be a solid option for the Bulls, who need long-term help at the position.
22. Indiana Pacers: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
The Pacers are one of the deeper teams in the league, so it would not be a problem to look for long-term help. Saric is very young, but he is already very skilled and could be one of the best passers in the draft.
23. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Willie Cauley-Stein, C, Kentucky
After selecting a point guard with the first pick, the Jazz will look to help the frontcourt with the big, strong Willie Cauley-Stein. He is very raw, but you cannot teach size.
24. Denver Nuggets: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas
Denver does not have many needs, so it has the option of selecting the best available. That player is Tony Mitchell, who plays much bigger than his size.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Memphis Grizzlies): C.J. Leslie, PF, North Carolina State
He has struggled at times this season, but C.J. Leslie is still an impressive forward with great post moves around the basket. His athleticism should also carry him a long way in the NBA.
26. New York Knicks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
The Knicks could use some more help filling out the bench in the frontcourt. Kelly Olynyk is advanced for his age and would be able to contribute to the rotation on his first day.
27. Los Angeles Clippers: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
There are few better defensive players in this class than Gorgui Dieng. He is always in the right place and has great timing with blocks.
Louisville really started to struggle on that end of the court when he missed a few games due to an injury.
However, he is still raw offensively and cannot do much besides dunk and score on putbacks.
Still, the Clippers would not mind another athletic player who could also bring credibility to the defensive side of the ball.
28. Cleveland Cavaliers (from Miami Heat): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Steven Adams has to improve in a lot of areas before he will be able to succeed at the next level. Fortunately, the Cavaliers have time to wait while the young team learns to grow together.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lorenzo Brown, PG, North Carolina State
Lorenzo Brown is very different from Russell Westbrook, but he could provide the team with some depth as a quick, pass-first point guard with good size.
30. San Antonio Spurs: Le’Bryan Nash, SF, Oklahoma State
The Spurs have a habit of taking overlooked players late in the first round and turning them into stars. Le’Bryan Nash is someone who fits that description and has the athleticism and defensive ability to succeed at the next level.
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