2013 NBA Mock Draft: Breaking Down All 30 First-Round Selections
While there hasn't been much action among the top prospects in the country, there's been a development in the NBA that affects the middle of the 2013 draft's first round.
With the Los Angeles Lakers currently occupying the No. 8 seed in the West, the draft order sees a major shakeup in the middle.
If the Lakers make the playoffs, which they're currently slotted to do, the Cleveland Cavaliers will swap places with them using the Miami's Heat's draft pick (which Cleveland acquired in the LeBron James sign-and-trade) as part of the deal that sent Ramon Sessions to L.A.
And once the Lakers get moved to the Miami Heat's drafting spot, that pick goes directly to the Phoenix Suns as part of the Steve Nash sign-and-trade.
To sum it up real quick, if the Lakers miss the playoffs, the Suns get the Lakers' pick in the lottery. If the Lakers make the playoffs, they switch places with the Miami's Heat's pick, owned by the Cavaliers, which then goes to the Suns at the back end of the draft.
Cavs fans, root for the Lakers. Suns fans, root against them.
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 (originally acquired in the Kyle Lowry trade).
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 March 12, 2013
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5'', SG
Ben McLemore Pro-Player Comparison
Though Baylor waxed Kansas off the floor, Ben McLemore added some more impressive material to the shelf of game film that scouts will inevitably have to assess.
McLemore scored 23 points on 8-of-16 shooting, and he looks to have regained some of the confidence he lost during the last two weeks of February.
Though not your typical franchise-changing talent for a No. 1 overall candidate, McLemore offers a sense of safety and NBA-readiness you can't get from others in the field.
2. Orlando Magic: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, 6'4'', PG/SG
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If Ben McLemore is off the board, you have to imagine the Orlando Magic will be thinking point guard or trade.
Marcus Smart still looks like the best bet for a lineup looking to add a new floor general.
He was awesome in an upset win over Kansas State, going for 21 points, six assists and six boards in a complete performance that sums up just what he brings to the table.
Smart is the rare breed of combo guard with a pass-first mentality, yet he maintains a 2-guard's strength and scoring repertoire.
Orlando could use scoring and playmaking, especially once the Jameer Nelson era ends, and it'll be able to get both in Marcus Smart.
3. Washington Wizards: Otto Porter, Georgetown, 6'8, SF
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The emergence of Otto Porter could trigger a draft-day slide for Nerlens Noel, as Porter appears to have solidified his status as one of the better bets in the field.
Teams like Washington and Charlotte might opt to bypass an injured Noel and go with a more NBA-ready talent with a guarantee on the label.
Porter is a lock to make the transition with all the necessary physical tools and a wide array of offensive services.
Washington could sure use his on-court discipline in the lineup, as well as his presence and skill set on the wing.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'11'', C
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Unfortunately for Nerlens Noel, others have picked up the slack in his absence, and it could cost him dollars at the top of the draft.
If Noel falls to No. 4, which seems more and more possible as others increase their appeal as prospects, the Cavaliers could end up with a true value pick.
While Anderson Varejao has proven to be an admirable man in the middle, he's under contract for two more years before he hits unrestricted free agency. Paying big bucks to retain him sounds silly when you can find a replacement in the draft and use those valuable dollars elsewhere.
Teams shouldn't let Noel's current ACL surgery cloud their judgment on his future outlook as an NBA player, especially outside of the top three picks.
5. New Orleans Hornets: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SG/SF
Shabazz Muhammad Pro-Player Comparison
Shabazz Muhammad would fit nicely with the New Orleans Hornets, a team missing a scoring wing who can play on and off the ball.
Muhammad has lost some of his luster since the start of the year, though he's proven to be a reliable spot-up shooter and scorer on the move.
Scouts' concern with Muhammad focuses on his inability to create open looks for himself off the dribble, which limits his upside and gives him a more realistic ceiling of a No. 3 offensive option, as opposed to a No. 2.
Muhammad's shot-making abilities are undeniable—he's a confident catch-and-shooter at 41.7 percent from three—but it's his shot creativity that might cause star-seeking general managers to hesitate at the top of the draft.
Regardless, Muhammad offers solid value outside of the top three without many sure-fire studs in the field.
6. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'7'', SF/PF
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Anthony Bennett is still struggling to recover from a shoulder injury, and it's clearly holding him back on the court.
Regardless of what Bennett has done over the past month, he's already flashed the upside of a prospect worthy of a No. 7-10 selection.
Between John Salmons, James Johnson, Patrick Patterson and Jason Thompson, Sacramento essentially has seat-fillers occupying its wing and power forward positions.
Bennett's versatility as a combo forward would be an ideal get for a lineup lacking athleticism on both the perimeter and the interior.
He's averaging 15.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per game despite a stat-killing month where an injury has affected his minutes and production.
7. Phoenix Suns: Cody Zeller, Indiana, 6'11'', PF/C
Cody Zeller Pro-Player Comparison
Cody Zeller stepped up big-time in Indiana's wild comeback win over Michigan, finishing with 25 points and 10 boards, including the game-winning bucket in the closing seconds.
Say what you want about Zeller struggling with physicality—when he's in position to score, he knows the best route to do so.
It's when he's out of position that he has to learn how to counter or adjust.
With Marcin Gortat likely on the way out after his contract expires in the 2014 offseason, Zeller presents Phoenix with the most NBA-ready skill set and someone who can generate offense in the post.
Other candidates could be Alex Len, who's more of a project, and Kelly Olynyk, whose lack of athleticism limits his upside on the defensive end and the glass.
8. Minnesota Timberwolves: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'5'', SG
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We've had Victor Oladipo locked into this spot for a while now without many teams ahead in need of a 2-guard.
In terms of efficiency, his stats are mind-blowing. Against Michigan, he shot 7-of-18 for 14 points, marking only the second time all year he's finished a game shooting below 40 percent, with the only other time being a 1-of-3 night in a 28-point blowout over Purdue.
It's not that Oladipo is making every shot he takes; he simply puts himself in position to earn easy scoring opportunities before recognizing and capitalizing on them.
I have a lamp next to my bed that's more athletic than any off-guard in Minnesota's rotation. Oladipo would be an excellent two-way option to complement the Timberwolves' more ball-dominant players.
9. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'0'', PG
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There's been a lot of debate over what the Detroit Pistons need heading into the draft. And while there seems to be a glaring hole at the wing, this draft doesn't offer many viable options at the position.
The Pistons need a point guard. Brandon Knight continues to prove he's more of a natural fit in a combo guard role as a scorer first and distributor second.
Jose Calderon and Will Bynum will be unrestricted free agents, which leaves nobody to man the point once the 2012-13 season ends.
Trey Burke has been spectacular all year, leading the Big Ten in assists and the nation in assist-to-turnover ratio.
These are signs of a true point guard, and with secondary scoring tools and the leadership qualities of a floor general, Burke should be considered a target for the Pistons in Round 1.
10. Philadelphia 76ers: Willie Cauley-Stein, Kentucky, 7'0'', C
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
With so many big men available, you wonder if the Philadelphia 76ers will feel inclined to spend the money to bring back Andrew Bynum, whose knee problems have cost him the year and potentially more down the road.
While the team could really use another off-guard, there's no point in reaching for one in the lottery this year. Willie Cauley-Stein would be an upside pick who matches Bynum's physical tools and purpose in the middle.
Since Nerlens Noel went down with an injury, Cauley-Stein has averaged 10 points, eight boards and 3.5 blocks per game for Kentucky. He's flashed some post moves down low and the ability to protect the rim and finish above it.
Passing on talent to go with a need would not be the recommended strategy here. Cauley-Stein may not pay off in 2013-14, but he should a few years down the road.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder: Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1'', C
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Alex Len might have top-10 upside, but he's not doing himself a favor by hiding it.
His coach and Maryland's guard play deserve a fair share of the blame, but Len hasn't asserted himself all year. In a must-win game, Len finished 2-of-9 with 10 points and seven rebounds in 36 minutes, resulting in an overtime loss to Virginia that essentially ended the team's hopes of an NCAA bid.
Len will be directly competing with five other guys on draft day: Nerlens Noel, Willie Cauley-Stein, Cody Zeller, Kelly Olynyk and Mason Plumlee.
Somehow during workouts, he must find a way to separate himself, which could be a lot easier to do in a more concentrated setting where he doesn't have to rely on guards feeding him the ball.
Oklahoma City needs size and offense at the 5, and Len would be a solid option.
Expect this to be his basement if he slips. There's just too much long-term promise for him to drop any further down the board.
12. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, C, 7'0''
Kelly Olynyk Pro Comparison
Kelly Olynyk put on a show for NBA scouts in the West Coast Conference title game against Saint Mary's.
He finished with 21 points and 12 boards, but it was how he got those stats that earned him praise.
Though not the most explosive leaper, Olynyk threw down a highlight-reel slam on the move that seemed to silence the nitpicking critics. It looked like Forrest Gump when he first shed his leg braces while running from the bullies.
With an advanced skill set and tremendous mobility for a center, Olynyk has one of the most deceivingly effective offensive repertoires of anyone in the class.
Dallas will need a center heading into next year, and the 7'0'' Olynyk works as a source for half-court points.
13. Charlotte Bobcats (via Portland): C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3'', PG/SG
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C.J. McCollum has been waiting patiently to get back on the floor after breaking his foot early in January, and he should get the opportunity to do so during workouts prior to the draft.
The Charlotte Bobcats aren't in a position to be picky here, and they should be looking to add offensive firepower and the best player on the board.
McCollum could be that guy, and he can certainly add offensive firepower. He was averaging 23.9 points per game before going down, showing the ability to take over games and light it up from the perimeter.
Michael Carter-Williams could be an enticing option here, but a lineup without many scorers or finishers is not a good setting for M.C.W. to excel.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, 6'6'', PG
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With the Los Angeles Lakers making a late push into the playoffs, the Utah Jazz could find themselves at the back end of the lottery.
This will give them a better chance at landing a new point guard, and one with upside like Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams.
He's certainly struggling right now, but it's important to remember this is his first year running the point on a full-time basis. Carter-Williams has excelled for most of the year without being familiar with the position, as he wasn't used as a natural orchestrator in high school.
Unsurprisingly, he struggled against a Georgetown zone defense that eliminated his driving lanes. He'll be much more effective once he gains confidence in his pull-up jumper so he doesn't feel inclined to force his way into the lane.
The Jazz need a point guard badly, and Carter-Williams offers the most promise at the position after Marcus Smart and Trey Burke have gone.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Glenn Robinson, Michigan, 6'6'', SF
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Whether the Milwaukee Bucks are able to retain Brandon Jennings or not, they still need to add an athletic presence on the wing.
Glenn Robinson III is an upside pick who may not be ready for another few years. But in small doses, he's shown off an Andre Iguodala-like two-way package.
When Robinson's confidence is up, he's stepping into jumpers off the dribble and knocking them down as a catch-and-shooter.
Right now, you can rely on him to defend and finish off the ball. When it's all said and done, Robinson should fill the role as a complementary scorer and key member of an NBA team's nucleus.
16. Cleveland Cavaliers: Isaiah Austin, Baylor, 7'1'', PF
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If the Lakers make the playoffs, the Cavaliers have the option of swapping Miami's pick (which they own) with L.A.'s.
Midway through the first round, the Cavs can get a need and a want in Isaiah Austin.
Austin can play with this back to the basket in the post or facing up on the perimeter. And with 7'1'' size and fluid mobility, the ceiling here is high.
He's got to add muscle and bulk to make his life easier on the interior, but he's only a freshman and time is on his side.
The risk is worth the potential reward, especially with a second pick in the first round.
17. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Mason Plumlee, Duke, 7'0'', PF/C
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The Atlanta Hawks frontcourt needs some work, and one of the top five big men is bound to fall.
With Al Horford strictly a half-court option, Mason Plumlee's athleticism and mobility would act as a complementary set of strengths.
He's not yet polished enough to where he's an everyday threat in the post, but his physical tools and improved feel for the game allow him to strike while the iron is hot.
Considering Atlanta's supporting frontcourt cast and projected 2013-14 lineup, Plumlee would probably see minutes early on as a rookie. He's averaging 17 points and 10 rebounds as a senior.
18. Atlanta Hawks: James Michael McAdoo, UNC, 6'9'', SF/PF
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
If the Atlanta Hawks were looking for a cheap replacement for Josh Smith, James Michael McAdoo wouldn't be a bad guy to look at.
Offensively, he's very similar. At 6'9'', he's essentially a small forward with a power forward's body.
McAdoo might not make the defensive impact that Smith does, but he's a picturesque athlete with the ability to create his own shot in the half court. He'll be a lot more effective on the floor when he starts converting them with consistency.
His stock has slipped due to inefficiency and questionable decision-making, but these can be fixed in time. I consider McAdoo a value pick anywhere outside the lottery.
19. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, 6'5'', SG/SF
Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The Utah Jazz could use athleticism at the 2 and 3 spots, and Jamaal Franklin offers it at both. He's a true wing without a refined skill set for either position.
Franklin's elite physical tools are the driving force behind his production. He's scoring 17 points and grabbing 9.4 rebounds per game by getting up and down the floor and playing above the rim.
He's a natural off-ball playmaker you can plug into a lineup to give it a jolt.
20. Boston Celtics: Rudy Gobert, France, 7'2'', PF
Picking in the mid-to-late first round, the Boston Celtics aren't going to have many NBA-ready options to choose from.
Rudy Gobert offers them a need at the power forward spot and a want in terms of upside and adding a potential mismatch.
At 7'2'' with a wingspan of 7'9'', you just won't find these types of measurements anywhere else. Whether Gobert hits his ceiling or not, he'll still be able to contribute as a defensive disruptor and playmaker above the rim.
21. Chicago Bulls: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, 6'5'', SG
Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports
Archie Goodwin has been putting points on the board, although not many have come from the perimeter.
His scoring average is up to 14.1 points per game, but he's shooting just 43.4 percent from the floor, 27 percent from downtown and 62.8 percent from the stripe.
His strengths revolve around attacking north and south and finishing at the rim. His upside will depend largely on how much his in-between game develops, which will allow him to stop before traffic to pull up and take a jumper.
Extending his range and improving his decision-making are both on the to-do list, but these are areas with room for growth.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Alex Poythress, Kentucky, 6'8'', SF
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Alex Poythress is all about potential, upside and patience.
He's incredibly raw, though he shows flashes of greatness as a finisher in traffic and above the rim. Poythress can attack the basket in line drives, though changing direction is still not in the repertoire.
Many have questioned his motor as well, which doesn't always seem to be maxed out.
But the versatility he could offer down the road is too compelling to ignore. There are kinks that need to be worked out, but Poythress' upside should make the risk worth it 22 picks deep into the draft.
23. Indiana Pacers: Erick Green, Virginia Tech, 6'4'', PG/SG
Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports
The Pacers could be looking to add a new backup point guard since D.J. Augustin's contract and initial upside are both expiring.
Erick Green might not be your natural point guard, but he's capable of operating as your secondary ball-handler and coming off the bench as a combo guard.
Currently leading the nation in scoring, Green is averaging over 25 points per game on 48.2 percent from the floor and 39.2 percent from downtown. He's scored at least 21 points in 28 of Virginia Tech's 31 games played, illustrating a rare blend of volume scoring, consistency and efficiency as the go-to guy.
Green is automatic in the mid-range and deadly in transition. With the ability to knock down shots off the dribble from any spot on the floor, he's in scoring position whenever the defense gives him room to release.
At 6'4'' with a skinny frame, it's going to be tough for him to create as much separation against NBA 2's, and finishing at the rim won't come so easy. But Green's scoring prowess and adequate playmaking skills can be useful in a lineup lacking backcourt depth.
24. New York Knicks: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, 6'1'', PG
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Isaiah Canaan's back finally imploded after carrying four other guys for the stretch of the season.
He finished with 22 points, 10 assists and nine boards in Murray State's overtime loss to Belmont, but neither his individual stats nor the loss tell the story of who this kid is.
Canaan has guts and confidence that shine when the going gets tough. This is the type of kid New York would love, and one it could use given the uncertainty surrounding the team's backcourt depth.
He's eerily similar to Raymond Felton in terms of his build and approach, and he should be a target for the Knicks on draft day if this is the position they look to improve.
25. Denver Nuggets: Doug McDermott, Creighton, 6'7'', SF
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The 23 points per game that Doug McDermott scores at the college level may not translate, but the 40-plus three-point percentage over his three-year career should.
Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post has reported the Nuggets will be in pursuit of impending free agent Kyle Korver, but they could get similar production for a whole lot cheaper if they select McDermott late in the first round.
He's making 2.2 three-pointers per game at a 49.7 percent clip, a number that's hard to comprehend.
26. Los Angeles Clippers: Tony Mitchell, North Texas, 6'8'', SF/PF
Andrew Fielding-USA TODAY Sports
The Los Angeles Clippers appear to have a thing for athletes. And while Tony Mitchell's skill set is still in question, his elite athleticism is not.
He's had an underwhelming year, and his team has been irrelevant. But in the right place with the proper guidance, Mitchell has the physical tools you can't go buy at the store.
He'll have to find a niche in the NBA so he doesn't get stuck between positions, but Chris Paul is usually pretty good at helping maximize a teammate's abilities.
27. Minnesota (via Memphis): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 6'6'', SG
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Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was recently named the SEC's Player of the Year, after averaging 18 points and nearly seven boards per game on 37.1 percent from three.
While Minnesota could use his length and athleticism at the wing, the Timberwolves could really add his three-point stroke and on-ball perimeter defense to the lineup.
He produced in a Georgia offense that had little to no playmakers, so his ability to consistently contribute offensively is more impressive than his average suggests.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Lorenzo Brown, North Carolina State
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The ACC's assists leader has demonstrated top-notch playmaking skills as a facilitator, but he still turns the ball over at a ridiculously high rate (3.6 per game) while shooting it 28.8 percent from downtown.
Brown's size and athleticism are ideal for a natural point guard, and with the vision, dribble creativity and pass-first mentality, he has the package to fulfill a backup gig in an NBA rotation.
With improved ball security and perimeter accuracy, Brown has the rest of the tricks that a starting job requires.
29. San Antonio Spurs: Mike Muscala, Bucknell, 6'11'', PF/C
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While the San Antonio Spurs could go abroad here, it's just too early to tell exactly what they're thinking.
If San Antonio were looking for a more NBA-ready addition, Mike Muscala's mature offensive skill set could go hand in hand with how Tim Duncan is used.
Muscala plays at the high post or the low block with the ability to score with his back to the rim or as a jump shooter on the perimeter.
And at 6'11'' averaging 11.2 rebounds per game, his presence on the boards is likely to translate.
The Spurs typically target high-IQ, high-character prospects, and Muscala fits that bill.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami): Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, 6'5'', SG
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Tim Hardaway Jr.'s bounce-back year shooting the ball has put him on the first-round radar.
He's raised his three-point percentage from 28.3 percent to 38 percent, a significant improvement considering how much of his offense comes from the perimeter.
Hardaway will have a role at the next level as long as he remains a consistent shot-maker. Like Jordan Crawford, now of the Boston Celtics, if he's missing his jump shots, he's of no use to the offense.
The Suns could use a scorer at the 2, which Hardaway can give them if he sustains this type of efficiency.