The 2013 NCAA tournament has both helped and hurt the draft stock of several big-time 2013 NBA draft prospects this spring, but taking the hottest player on the board isn't always the best solution for a struggling NBA franchise.
A team with a handful of young point guards isn't going to improve by targeting Oklahoma State's Marcus Smart, and the same goes for a floor general-less squad in pursuit of Kentucky's Nerlens Noel.
Below we'll run through a first-round mock of the 2013 NBA draft, breaking down all 30 selections and highlighting the best first-round solutions.
2013 draft order as of April 3. Best first-round solutions are italicized.
No. 1. Charlotte Bobcats: Ben McLemore, Kansas, SG
Although Kansas' NCAA tournament run ended in heartbreaking fashion, Ben McLemore left NBA scouts and coaches with a sweet taste after scoring 20 points on 8-of-15 shooting in the Jayhawks' loss to Michigan in the Sweet 16.
At 6'5", McLemore is comparable to Bradley Beal, who was taken in the top five a year ago.
No. 2. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, C
Nerlens Noel is no Dwight Howard, and there are still some serious concerns considering he's coming off a severe knee injury suffered in mid-February. But the 6'10" shot-blocking big would be an ideal first-round solution for the lowly Magic.
No. 3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Cody Zeller, Indiana, C
The Cavaliers already have one Zeller on board, and considering the fact that Cleveland ranks 24th in the league in rebounding, adding the 6'11" Indiana star makes lots of sense. Zeller is still growing offensively, but he's by far the best big man available this year behind Noel.
No. 4. Phoenix Suns: Otto Porter, Georgetown, SF
Phoenix used to be able to score with ease, averaging well over 100 points per game during the Steve Nash era. But this season the Suns have been awful on the offensive end, ranking 22nd in scoring and 15th in assists.
Georgetown's Otto Porter would bring a much-needed scoring punch to the desert.
No. 5. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, PF
UNLV's Anthony Bennett is a legitimate top-five pick given his body, athleticism and potential. At 6'8", the freshman power forward brings a lot to the table for a team like Detroit, who's looking for a dominant player to help assist Greg Monroe on the interior.
Bennett is a sensational rebounder and score both inside and out.
No. 6. New Orleans Hornets: Trey Burke, Michigan, PG
Greivis Vasquez is playing well at the point for New Orleans this season, but Michigan's Trey Burke is a talent too good to pass up on for a team like the Hornets in need of a game-changer.
Burke has put the Wolverines on his back during the team's NCAA tournament run this spring, and he's shown the ability to both carry the scoring burden in addition to making everyone around him better.
No. 7. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Alex Len, Maryland, C
Maryland's Alex Len would be an excellent project player for a championship contender like Oklahoma City. He isn't going to make an impact right away, but he doesn't need to since the Thunder are already loaded and have no problem lighting up the scoreboard.
No. 8. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, PG
Syracuse's Michael Carter-Williams has really improved his draft stock this spring, helping lead the Orange back to the Final Four for the first time since 2003. The 6'5" floor general has been sensational on the defensive end and as both a scorer and a playmaker.
Sure, Carter-Williams has room to grow as a player, but that doesn't mean he couldn't step in and make an immediate difference for a team like the Kings, who lack a playmaker at point guard.
Not a single Kings player is averaging more than 3.9 assists per game this season, while Carter-Williams is averaging 7.4 dimes per outing for the Orange as a sophomore this year.
No. 9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, SG
If Victor Oladipo plays with the same motor he has for Indiana over the past three seasons, then his NBA future looks bright. We're talking about a lockdown defender who shot 60 percent from the floor last season with the Hoosiers.
No. 10. Washington Wizards: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, SF
Washington has a solid mix of young and veteran talent on its roster, but it could really use a gifted slasher like UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad to get over the hump in the Eastern Conference and perhaps make a playoff appearance next season.
No. 11. Philadelphia 76ers: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, C
The Sixers are going to need more than Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen mixing it up in the paint in order to challenge in the East in the years to come. Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk may be a bit of a reach at No. 11, but he's a determined seven-footer with a lot to offer offensively.
No. 12. Portland Trail Blazers: Gary Harris, Michigan State, SG
Michigan State freshman Gary Harris has a lot to offer offensively as a phenomenal shooter who can also handle the ball and slash to the basket.
He shot better than 41 percent from beyond the arc in his first year with the Spartans in 2012-13.
No. 13. Dallas Mavericks: Jeff Withey, Kansas, C
As difficult as it is to imagine Kansas' Jeff Withey being a lottery pick this June, the guy is a shot-blocking machine (3.9 per game last season) and the sort of rim protector that the Dallas Mavericks desperately need in order to improve upon their 27th-ranked scoring defense next season.
No. 14. Utah Jazz: Marcus Smart, Oklahoma State, PG
You didn't think Marcus Smart was going to make it past the lottery, did you?
Sure, Smart has some weaknesses and the Cowboys' early NCAA tournament exit didn't exactly help his cause, but a team like the Utah Jazz can't afford to bypass a point guard of his caliber. Mo Williams and Randy Foye are both serviceable options at the 1-spot, but neither possess the sort of upside that Smart has as a 19-year-old.
No. 15. Milwaukee Bucks: Mason Plumlee, Duke, PF
Adding a player like Duke's Mason Plumlee would give Milwaukee an energetic big who could come off the bench and rebound and block shots. He isn't a prolific scorer, but he can finish around the basket and make plays in the mid-range game.
No. 16. Boston Celtics: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, SG
Lehigh's C.J. McCollum is being projected as a potential lottery pick by some, and for good reason—the 6'3" shooting guard can flat-out score the basketball.
McCollum has been averaging over 19 points per game since he was a freshman and offers the perfect first-round solution for the Boston Celtics as leading scorers Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett enter the twilight of their legendary careers.
Plus, Jason Terry isn't getting any younger and Avery Bradley is a defensive-minded player who isn't the sort to create his own shot.
No. 17. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, SF
Michigan's Glenn Robinson III is a super athletic player who can score from anywhere and disrupt on the defensive end. Cleveland would be a great fit for a swingman like Robinson to blossom.
No. 18. Chicago Bulls: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, SG
San Diego State shooting guard Jamaal Franklin has averaged 17 points per game for the Aztecs over the past two seasons and boasts the sort of length and leaping ability that wows coaches and scouts.
Aside from Derrick Rose, Chicago's backcourt lacks explosion, which makes Franklin a solid solution at pick No. 18.
No. 19. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Rudy Gobert, France, PF
At 7'1" with a 7'9" wingspan, French power forward Rudy Gobert can run the floor, rebound and jump out of the gym.
He would bring another dimension to Atlanta's front line in the future and could become a consistent contributor for the Hawks once he packs on some muscle and develops some post moves.
No. 20. Atlanta Hawks: Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, SG
Despite the fact that he shot just 26 percent from three-point range last season with Kentucky, there's a lot to like about Archie Goodwin. He was born to play on the perimeter and can create for himself, something that sets the top NBA players apart from the marginal ones.
No. 21. Utah Jazz (via Golden State Warriors): Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, C
Louisville's Gorgui Dieng has been steadily improving his draft stock this spring, helping led the Cardinals to the Final Four for the second straight year. The 6'11" center boasts a 7'4" wingspan and loads of potential as a shot-blocking, rebounding big in the NBA.
No. 22. Brooklyn Nets: Dario Saric, Croatia, SF
A 6'10" small forward with tons of skill, Croatia's Dario Saric looks to be a first-round pick this June given his ability to create, rebound and handle the ball.
Saric has his weaknesses, starting with his lack of strength and game-changing athleticism, but he brings a lot to the table as a potential matchup nightmare for a team like the Brooklyn Nets.
No. 23. Indiana Pacers: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, SG
Georgia's Kentavious Caldwell-Pope would be an ideal fit for the Indiana Pacers late in the first round this summer.
The 6'5" guard averaged more than 18 points per game last season for the Bulldogs and would bring a much-needed scoring punch to a Pacers' rotation that is already dominating on the defensive end. On top of that, Caldwell-Pope is a superb defender who would more than hold his own on that end of the floor.
Caldwell-Pope would give the Pacers a more deadly three-point shooting option than current shooting guard Lance Stephenson, who's hitting less than 33 percent from downtown this season.
No. 24. New York Knicks: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, C
Pitt's Steven Adams is a physical seven-footer who looks poised to excel as a rebounder and a shot-blocker at the next level. Considering the Knicks don't feature a reliable rebounder outside of Tyson Chandler, Adams would be a great solution for the league's 26th-ranked rebounding team.
No. 25. Los Angeles Clippers: James Michael McAdoo, North Carolina, PF
The high-flying James Michael McAdoo would be an excellent fit with Lob City, a team built on transition basketball and around athletic floor-runners.
No. 26. Denver Nuggets: Isaiah Austin, Baylor, PF
Denver is one of the most explosive and exciting teams in the NBA, but where the Nuggets are shallow is in the frontcourt. Adding Baylor's 7'0" Isaiah Austin would give Denver another shot-blocking presence around the rim and a player who can get up and down the floor with ease.
No. 27. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Allen Crabbe, California, SG
Cal shooting guard Allen Crabbe would be a smart pickup for the Minnesota Timberwolves this June, considering the Wolves lack perimeter scoring. Crabbe is a tremendous shooter with plenty of range.
At 6'6", he can also defend big guards and help out on the boards.
No. 28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Adreian Payne, Michigan State, PF
The Oklahoma City Thunder could really benefit from a first-round selection like Michigan State's Adreian Payne. The 6'10" power forward could bring some more athleticism to the Thunder's rotation and some additional scoring to the frontcourt.
No. 29. San Antonio Spurs: Myck Kabongo, Texas, PG
Every year it seems the San Antonio Spurs are among the deepest teams in the NBA, and with that said, the Spurs have plenty of options at No. 29 this summer.
If San Antonio is looking to take one of the top players available, it could draft Texas point guard Myck Kabongo, an unselfish floor general who could learn a lot playing behind an All-Star in Tony Parker.
No. 30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): Patric Young, Florida, C
With the last selection in the first round this June, the Suns could look to add a talented frontcourt player in Florida's Patric Young. Although he has ways to go on the offensive end, the 6'9" wrecking ball can assist Phoenix on the glass and around the rim on defense.
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