2013 NBA Mock Draft: How the Entire First Round Shakes out Heading into March
The projected top of the 2013 NBA draft class had a week they wish was erasable, resulting in a new No. 1 on our updated board.
However, Georgetown's Otto Porter made a bold statement that's been difficult to ignore. He single-handedly torched Syracuse's defense and has jumped a few spots in our latest mock draft.
Trey Burke is also on the way up, while Cody Zeller got exposed against a more athletic front line.
The projected order has changed, as we've taken into account the win-loss records of current NBA teams and adjusted accordingly.
Notes for the first round
Oklahoma City gets Toronto's first-round pick, which the Thunder acquired in the James Harden deal from Houston (it originally acquired the pick in the Kyle Lowry trade).
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, which they obtained from the Brooklyn Nets in the Joe Johnson deal.
Stats current as of February 26, 2013.
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'11'', C
Though it seemed like Nerlens Noel's knee injury couldn't have come at a worse time, you could argue right now that the timing couldn't have been better.
Prior to going down, Noel had separated himself from the pack. He had just blocked 12 shots against Ole Miss, had gone for 19 points and 14 rebounds in an overtime win over Texas A&M, and double-doubled with five blocks against Auburn.
And this will be the last thing scouts remember seeing before his fall against Florida.
Since going down, others competing for the No. 1 spot have all shriveled in the spotlight. Ben McLemore had gained steam as the new big man on campus, but has been badly exposed over his past couple games.
Shabazz Muhammad, Cody Zeller and Anthony Bennett haven't done much, either, in terms of justifying No. 1 overall value.
You could say that Noel was considered the favorite for the top overall pick based on process of elimination, which still might hold true today.
With the lack of NBA-ready talent in this year's field, a few missed months of the regular season shouldn't cloud anyone's judgement on Noel's potential long-term impact.
2. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5'', SG
Ben McLemore had his worst game of the year against one of his direct draft-day competitors, Marcus Smart of Oklahoma State.
McLemore was nearly invisible despite having numerous chances to show his face.
He repeatedly passed on open jumpers and his shaky left hand was badly exposed. When given the ball with the game on the line, McLemore threw up a bizarre air ball that never had a chance. It just didn't look like a guy you'd feel good about taking with the top pick.
Against Iowa State, in a game Kansas deserved to lose, McLemore disappeared again despite playing 38 total minutes. He finished with seven points on only six shot attempts.
Nobody said he was NBA-ready, so it shouldn't affect his draft stock too much, however. The lottery will likely decide when and where McLemore ends up.
3. Phoenix Suns: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, 6'6'', SG/SF
Shabazz Muhammad has been slightly erratic of late, finishing 4-of-13 in a loss to California before scoring 25 points in a win at Stanford, followed by one of his least productive outings where he finished with just two made field goals against USC.
He's still one of the better half-court scorers in the country, given his ability to create offense on the ball and finish plays off it.
When you look around, there's just not many prospects who have more promising long-term tools. He may not have the go-to repertoire of a primary NBA scoring option, but there's no doubt he can put the ball in the cup from any spot on the floor.
He's averaging 18.2 points per game on a respectable 45.9 percent shooting, along with an impressive 43.3 percent three-point clip.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, Georgetown, 6'8'', SF
Otto Porter went bananas in Georgetown's final win at Syracuse as members of the same conference, scoring 33 points in front of a record-breaking audience.
Nobody else on Georgetown's roster made more than two field goals the entire game.
Porter put on a one-man show against one of the toughest defenses in America, and it was a hit. He was making shots from all over the floor, including five from behind the arc.
The Cavaliers could use his length on the wing, motor on the interior and overall reliability as a two-way forward.
He's as close to a sure thing as you'll find in this draft, which should go a long way considering the uncertainty surrounding this class.
5. Washington Wizards: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'7'', SF/PF
Anthony Bennett left with a shoulder injury against Wyoming, but it doesn't appear to be anything serious.
Other than that, UNLV only played one game this week, which turned out to be a solid two-point win over Colorado State. Bennett was pretty quiet, finishing 4-of-7 from the floor in 30 minutes. But it just goes to show that even during off-days, Bennett is able to remain efficient and keep from disrupting the offensive flow.
He'll get looks anywhere from No. 1 overall to No. 10, but I can't see the Wizards passing on his frontcourt athleticism five picks deep.
6. Sacramento Kings: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6'4'', PG/SG
While Isaiah Thomas is playing well for the Kings, his skill set would be better used as a spark off the bench than in a starting point guard role.
We've been preaching Marcus Smart to Sacramento for quite a while now, with his leadership qualities and ability to set the table for his scorers. The stats don't tell the story, and a team isn't likely to base its draft-day decision on them.
Teams looking for a new floor general should be targeting Smart, regardless of their position in the lottery.
7. New Orleans Hornets: Cody Zeller, Indiana, 6'11'', PF/C
Cody Zeller got manhandled by Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe, a red flag for a player whose strength and toughness are in question.
He was also outplayed inside by 6'8'' Rodney Williams, an elite NBA-caliber athlete.
Zeller is more effective playing against bigger, slower defenders, than he is against smaller, more athletic forwards.
The Hornets could use a wing or a post-scorer, and if Otto Porter is off the board, then Zeller could be their man. That is, if he outplays Alex Len during pre-draft workouts.
8. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'0'', PG
Playing at Michigan, you can be sure the Detroit Pistons have had their eyes on point guard Trey Burke.
He's been spectacular as of late, playing the position as well as you can play it. Burke went for 26 points, eight assists and one turnover in a win over Illinois, after going for 29 points, five assists and zero turnovers in a win over Penn State.
Burke has been extremely productive while remaining efficient in a ball-dominant role.
The Pistons are clearly unsure of what to do with Brandon Knight, but they won't let him force the team to pass on talent. Burke has leapfrogged Michael Carter-Williams in our point guard rankings as the No. 2 prospect at the position.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, SG, 6'5''
Victor Oladipo's three-point stroke has cooled off but his motor remains hot.
The question marks surrounding his possible transition have been erased. Now it's just a matter of who needs his particular skill set.
The Timberwolves have a glaring hole at the off-guard spot, and Oladipo's athleticism could give them a two-way spark as a finisher and defender.
We'll see after the NBA combine whether he'll even be available at the back end of the lottery.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1'', C
Since going for 19 points and nine rebounds in Maryland's win over Duke, Len scored four points in a loss to Boston College and nine points in a win over Clemson.
It just goes to show that he's still a raw offensive project.
He flashes serious potential on individual plays, but hasn't yet been able to incorporate them into his daily routine.
Oklahoma City could use size at the center position, and Len gives them a skill set they don't currently employ.
11. Dallas Mavericks: Mason Plumlee, Duke, 7'0'', C
The Mavericks will be without a center next year assuming they don't re-sign Elton Brand or Chris Kaman. Duke's Mason Plumlee should get a long look from Dallas, who could use his front-court athleticism and ability to play above the rim.
He's one of the few players left on the board who can actually help them right now and give them a push into the back end of the playoffs.
Plumlee bounced back after a disaster game against Maryland, finishing with 19 points, 15 rebounds and four assists against Boston College.
12. Philadelphia 76ers: Glenn Robinson, Michigan, 6'6
Glenn Robinson may not be NBA-ready, but he might have the most upside of any prospect left on the board.
It's difficult to recognize, considering he's fourth in Michigan's pecking order, but if you evaluate and analyze Robinson's individual contributions, he's flashed big-time potential given his NBA physical tools.
Unlike Evan Turner, Robinson makes most of his plays off the ball, which will blend nicely with what Philadelphia currently has in its lineup.
13. Phoenix Suns (via L.A. Lakers): C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3'', PG/SG
There haven't been any setbacks noted since his foot surgery last month, so C.J. McCollum should be on schedule to participate in pre-draft activities.
He's going to enter the draft with a label that reads, "scorer and secondary ball-handler." Since the Phoenix Suns don't have either (McCollum is more NBA-ready than Kendall Marshall), McCollum should be a target for Phoenix at the back end of the lottery.
He was second in the country in scoring before going down with an injury, showing off an uncanny ability to splash the nets.
14. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland): Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, PG
Michael Carter-Williams takes a dive down the board while Syracuse take a dive down the Big East standings.
As defenses adjust to Carter-Williams, Carter-Williams has failed to counter.
With so few lottery teams in the market for a point guard, one of the prospects is going to slip toward the mid-first round. Right now, Trey Burke and Marcus Smart look like more reliable options.
Carter-Williams would be a great get for the Bobcats, who can use his natural point guard instincts and upside down the road.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: James McAdoo, UNC, 6'9'', SF/PF
After trading Tobias Harris, the Milwaukee Bucks have a serious hole in the middle of the lineup.
Ersan Ilyasova, Mike Dunleavy and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute all lack the athleticism and the explosiveness that James McAdoo will make a living off.
Unfortunately for McAdoo, his team has been inconsistent and so has his play as the leader.
With his stock slipping, this is a chance for the Bucks to land a value pick in the middle of Round 1.
16. Boston Celtics: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7'0''
I'm not breaking any news by saying the Boston Celtics need to add some athleticism up front. They were on the verge of acquiring DeAndre Jordan before the deadline, but Willie Cauley-Stein wouldn't be a bad Plan B.
Cauley-Stein is still overly raw, but he's able to make an impact despite lacking a refined offensive skill set.
He recently went for 20 points and three blocks against Vanderbilt, and followed with a 12-rebound, seven-block game in a win over Missouri.
Cauley-Stein might have the most potent blend of physical tools of any big man in the field. If he learns how to use them, someone will have found themselves a steal.
17. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, 6'5'', SF
Jamaal Franklin is really starting to solidify his status as a legitimate NBA prospect. He dropped 23 points on Nevada and 20 on Wyoming this week, shooting a combined 14-of-19 from the floor.
When his jumper is falling, it opens up the rest of his game. Franklin shot 5-of-9 from downtown between the two games, which allowed the rest of his strengths to naturally take over.
He's one of the most athletic wings in the draft, and with Kyle Korver currently occupying the 3 and Josh Smith likely on his way out of Atlanta, Franklin makes sense here for more reasons than one.
18. Utah Jazz: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, 6'1'', PG
Isaiah Canaan has the build of a point guard and the skill set of a scorer, but is capable of managing a game and running a half-court offense.
He's averaging over 21 points per game, lighting teams up from behind the arc and attacking the rim from the perimeter.
You can question his natural position and his physical limitations, but Canaan is an NBA point guard. With Mo Williams and Jamaal Tinsley in the backcourt, the Jazz should have been scouting Canaan all season.
19. Atlanta Hawks: Isaiah Austin, Baylor, 7'1'', PF
At this stage in the draft, Isaiah Austin is an appealing prospect based solely on upside. I'd see a problem taking him too early without having a clue as to what position he'll play. But outside the lottery, you couldn't hate on Isaiah Austin, considering his 7'1'' size and ability to play on the perimeter.
He's averaging 13.4 points and nine boards per game and has a moderately high ceiling with the assumption he finds a niche in the league.
20. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Alex Poythress, Kentucky, 6'8'', SF/PF
Whoever selects Alex Poythress will be selecting Alex Poythress the athlete, not the basketball player.
He's got tremendous potential, but right now he lacks a specific skill he can rely on for routine points.
Poythress had his best game in months in Kentucky's win over Missouri, finishing 8-of-10 from the floor for 21 points and seven boards.
Teams who lack versatility and athleticism on the wing could give Poythress looks anywhere in the middle of the first round.
21. Brooklyn Nets: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, 6'5'', SG
Archie Goodwin has played well of late, scoring 16 against Vanderbilt and 18 against Missouri.
With a lane in front of him, there's nobody who hits it harder. But it's creating that lane and showing he can counter when it's clogged that will propel him to the next level.
Anyone looking for an athletic off-ball slasher could target Goodwin in the mid-first round and put him on the three-year plan.
22. Chicago Bulls: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 6'6'', SG
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has maintained his scoring production despite having nobody on the roster capable of setting him up.
For Chicago, he's a definite target considering his position and the services he offers. Caldwell-Pope is a long, athletic shooting guard with excellent 6'6'' size and a pure long-range stroke.
He's averaging 17.6 points per game without much help around him. Assuming the Bulls will be targeting some 2 guards, expect Caldwell-Pope's name to come up.
23. Denver Nuggets: Trevor Mbakwe, Minnesota, 6'8'', PF
Trevor Mbakwe is going somewhere in this draft, and after dominating Indiana and Cody Zeller for 21 points and 12 boards, it looks like his first-round swagger is back.
It looks like he's gotten some of his explosiveness back, yet he still maintains the same refined offensive post game.
The Nuggets could use power forward depth and a true post-scorer, and with Mbakwe's grown man's game he'll be able to contribute sooner rather than later.
If the testing and interviews go well, Mbakwe still has a chance at some first-round attention.
24. New York Knicks: Nate Wolters, South Dakota State, 6'4'', PG
It's almost unfair how little publicity Nate Wolters gets at South Dakota State.
He's the third leading scorer in the country at 22.9 per game, showing off incredible shot-making skills and the ability to get them off. At 6'4'', he's got excellent size for a point guard and makes up for a lack of athleticism and strength with a crafty handle and deceptively quick first step.
In the month of February alone, Wolters has scored 53, 36, 28 and 32 points all within a two-week span.
Though his numbers might suggest he's a scorer, Wolters is a ball-handler who can create. Without much of a supporting cast, it just happens to be for himself.
New York has question marks in the backcourt, and Wolters could be a sneaky good answer.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis): Rudy Gobert, France, 7'2'', PF
Rudy Gobert would be a nice pickup for the Minnesota Timberwolves this late in the draft. Gobert's appeal stems from his length and mobility, the latter of which Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Love don't really have.
He's more of a role player in France, and any team looking to draft him will do so based on his physical measurements. But with a weak field, it would be hard to blame anyone for taking a chance on Gobert.
26. Indiana Pacers: Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State, 6'5'', PG
If the Pacers could use an upgrade at any position, it has to be at the point.
Lorenzo Brown has the size and point guard instincts that D.J. Augustin doesn't.
He leads the ACC in assists, and is as natural of a point guard as you'll find in this class. With such a deep field of PGs, someone is bound to get a steal late in the first round or the second. The Pacers should be targeting one of them, and Brown fits the bill as a candidate.
27. Los Angeles Clippers: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, 7'0'', C
The college game just doesn't have an answer for Kelly Olynyk. Over his past three games, Olynyk has missed a total of six shots, and made a total of 25.
It's almost too easy.
He's not a great athlete, but he actually complements DeAndre Jordan in every way possible. He's an under-the-rim scorer who can shoot from the outside, averaging 17.7 points on an absurd 66 percent shooting.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tony Mitchell, North Texas, 6'8'', SF/PF
Tony Mitchell is a strong candidate to slip in this year's draft after returning to school and seeing his production decrease. And like last year, when Perry Jones fell to them late in the first round, the Thunder will be in position to pick up the scraps once again.
Mitchell is a terrorizing athlete who just needs to figure out what position he plays. If Mitchell can turn the tweener label into a combo-forward label, it will maximize his strengths and versatility.
29. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Miami): Mike Muscala, Bucknell, 6'11'', PF/C
After scoring at least 25 points in three of his last four games, Bucknell's Mike Muscala is making himself tough to pass on.
Muscala is in the top five in the country in rebounding and possesses an NBA skill set despite the inferior competition he faces on a nightly basis.
At some point, you have to believe your eyes and realize that this kid is a baller. He simply can't be stopped at the college level, and with good size, a sweet perimeter touch and the aggressiveness on the glass, there's no shame in reaching on him late in the first round.
30. San Antonio Spurs: C.J. Leslie, North Carolina State, 6'8'', SF/PF
If I'm San Antonio, I'm looking to add some athleticism to my frontcourt alongside Tim Duncan, Boris Diaw, Tiago Splitter and DeJuan Blair.
C.J. Leslie fits the bill as a first-round talent with NBA-caliber athleticism, yet still has to cut down on his in-game brain farts.
With San Antonio, he'll learn quickly.