Early Recommendations for Cleveland Cavaliers 2013 First-Round NBA Draft Picks
While the Cleveland Cavaliers' play on the court has been much better as of late, this season is still very much about developing young talent and preparing for the upcoming draft.
Looking ahead to the big day on June 27th, the Cavs should have a number of players on their radar.
Owners of two first-round picks and four overall in the draft, the Cavs will certainly be active in looking to trade up if possible and put themselves in position to draft the best talent available.
Assuming the first pick will fall somewhere in the top five and the second around Nos. 16-20, we can start to take a look at the most likely draft prospects for the Cavs at each selection.
Here are some of the best players Cleveland should be scouting for both draft spots.
First Pick: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Height/Weight: 6'8", 205 pounds
NBA Comparison: Rudy Gay/Tayshaun Prince
I believe Porter would be a perfect fit on the Cavs.
He plays their biggest position of need at small forward, has a great motor and can help out in a number of different areas.
At just 19, Porter has become arguably the Big East's best overall player. This season, he's putting up a complete stat line of 16.6 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.0 blocks and 2.0 steals per game. His three-point shooting is much improved from his freshman year, and this season it stands at an impressive 46.9 percent.
Porter has a great motor, much like Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, who went second overall in last year's draft. Currently though, Porter is built like Tayshaun Prince and could stand to add some muscle to his frame.
I really like the idea of Porter with the Cavs. He may never be a superstar, but Porter contributes in so many ways to a basketball team that he may never have to be.
Second Pick: Isaiah Austin, C, Baylor
Height/Weight: 7'1", 220 pounds
NBA Comparison: Very poor man's Anthony Davis
Austin is like a watered-down, diet, sugar-free version of last year's first overall pick, Anthony Davis.
Their frames are similar, with both needing to add muscle to enjoy a lasting career in the NBA. For Austin, a move to power forward may be necessary, as he's generously listed at 220 pounds.
One thing that sticks out for both is their ball-handling abilities for big men. Austin brings to the table the dribbling ability of a small forward despite his seven-foot frame. He can also shoot all the way out to the three-point line and has some nifty post moves inside.
If a team can get Austin in NBA shape, they may have the steal of the draft on their hands.
First Pick: Alex Len, C, Maryland
Height/Weight: 7'1", 250 pounds
NBA Comparison: Zydrunas Ilgauskas
Len jumps off the screen at you when watching tape of Maryland basketball games. His size truly sets him apart, with a 7'1" frame and 7'5" wingspan. Despite his size, Len is very mobile and can run the court like a forward.
It's important to note that Len is just 19 years old and has a ton of room to grow and develop. His mid-range game is already solid to go with an ever-developing post game.
Len is already a great shot-blocker, something the Cavaliers desperately need. Cleveland is currently tied for dead last in the NBA in blocked shots per game. If small forward is their weakest position, you can bet center isn't far behind.
I compare Len to Ilgauskas because of their size and ability to knock down an 18-foot jumper. Z could really help mentor Len and help him reach his incredible potential.
Len would be a bit of a project but could step in right away as a defensive presence. You can't teach size, and Len has plenty of it as a future NBA center.
Second Pick: C.J. Leslie, SF/PF, N.C. State
Height/Weight: 6'9", 210 pounds
NBA Comparison: Taj Gibson
Leslie would be a great player to have coming off the Cavs bench.
A junior this season, Leslie brings three years of experience from one of college basketball's toughest conferences. He can play either forward position and is a tremendous athlete with great defensive potential.
Leslie may be at his best in transition, when he can use his athleticism to run and finish fast-break plays. His jump shot needs work, and he's not much of a three-point threat at all.
He's currently enjoying his best season at N.C. State thus far, averaging 15.1 points and 7.6 rebounds per game.
The Cavs could certainly use his versatility off their bench and should be thrilled to snag him with their second first-rounder.
First Pick: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
Height/Weight: 6'11", 215 pounds
NBA Comparison: Dikembe Mutombo
Noel was one of the most sought-after high school recruits last season, and he was having a great freshman season before suffering a torn ACL on Feb. 13th.
If it's rim protection the Cavs value, there would be no one better to draft than Noel. His 4.4 blocks per game were leading all of college basketball and is more than the Cavs currently average as a team (3.8). A great athlete and leaper, Noel would add a great dose of athleticism to Cleveland's center position.
The big question now is whether Noel will remain the same athlete after his surgery. Most mock drafts seem to think so, as Noel is still widely regarded as a top-five pick.
Still developing an offensive game and coming off major surgery, Noel will certainly be a gamble but may present the most upside of anyone in the draft.
Second Pick: DeShaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
Height/Weight: 6'7", 225 pounds
NBA Comparison: Corey Maggette
Thomas is another combo forward who would look great in Wine and Gold.
The current Buckeye is a dynamic scorer who would immediately improve most team's second-string offense. His size and skills most likely project to a small forward in the NBA.
A talented shooter and scorer from anywhere on the court, Thomas has really elevated his game this season in an increased role for Ohio State. His 19.8 points per game are a career best and lead all scorers in the Big Ten this season.
Thomas is currently projected to go in the late first to early second round, so the Cavs could conceivably land him with their third or even fourth pick if they do indeed hang on to all four.
As it stands, Thomas would be a solid second pick and really help the Cavs' offensive output off the bench.