NBA Mock Draft 2013: Terrific Moves for Every 1st-Round GM
The 2012-13 NBA season may not be over yet, but we already have a pretty good idea of which positions teams will need to address in the offseason.
Whether it be projecting which free agents leave, or simply knowing each team's greatest needs, it's not too early to begin constructing mock drafts as we look ahead to the big day on June 27.
Here's my latest 2013 NBA draft.
*Draft order compiled before games on 4/10
1. Charlotte Bobcats (18-60): Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky
The Bobcats may have Bismack Biyombo, but he's a project. Nerlens Noel has the most potential out of any player in this class. He tore his ACL in February, but he's expected to make a full recovery. He's already shown the potential to be an elite shot-blocker and rebounder at the next level.
2. Orlando Magic (19-59): Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
With veteran point guard Jameer Nelson aging, it's time for the Magic to find their next starting point guard. Marcus Smart does need to work on his jump shot, but he's a strong, physical guard with excellent defensive skills.
3. Phoenix Suns (23-55): Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Ben McLemore showed some inconsistency down the stretch for Kansas this past season, but he's still only 20 years old and has excellent potential as a pure shooter, something the Suns desperately need.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-53): Otto Porter Jr., SF, Georgetown
The Cavaliers have pieces in play at every position except for small forward. Landing Otto Porter Jr., the best small forward prospect in the class, would be a dream come true. The do-it-all 19-year-old is an asset on both sides of the ball and could become a star in the NBA.
5. Detroit Pistons (26-52): Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
While the Pistons' greatest need is at small forward, Shabazz Muhammad is a reach here in my mind. Victor Oladipo has the potential to eventually take over for Rodney Stuckey, who isn't the answer at shooting guard for the Pistons. Oladipo is a fantastic prospect with the explosiveness, defensive ability and improving jumper to eventually be a great pick for Detroit.
6. New Orleans Hornets (27-51): Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
While Al-Farouq Aminu has shown promise this season, I still think the Hornets would be wise to add depth at the small forward position. Shabazz Muhammad may be a bit of a reach here, but he does have the potential to be a strong scorer. He's also shown the work ethic to continue to improve.
7. Sacramento Kings (27-50): Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
The Kings don't have a point guard with the distributing skills needed at the position. Trey Burke has an all-around game and a toughness that would make any NBA team happy.
8. Washington Wizards (29-49): Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
Anthony Bennett is not only one of the top prospects in the draft this year, he fills a need at power forward for the Wizards. Emeka Okafor isn't the long-term solution, and Jan Vesely and Kevin Seraphin still have plenty of developing to do. Bennett already has the size for the NBA, as well as electric scoring ability.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves (29-48): Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
A shooting guard would be ideal here, but—with Michigan State's Gary Harris likely to return to school—I expect the Timberwolves to draft a wing player in Glenn Robinson III. Robinson is raw, but he's shown explosive spurts. He could be an all-round player down the stretch, possessing the finishing ability, mid-range game and the shooting ability to be an asset in Minnesota.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors) (30-48): Alex Len, C, Maryland
Alex Len didn't have the overall season we expected, but his explosion in the NIT tournament gave us an idea of the kind of potential the 7'1" big man has. Len needs to fill out a bit for the NBA, but he has the potential to be a nightly double-double threat who can block shots in the pros.
11. Philadelphia 76ers (31-46): Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
The "Andrew Bynum Experiment" failed miserably. It's only logical that the 76ers would select one of the top center prospects in the class. Cody Zeller needs to add size (not to mention toughness) to make an impact in the pros, but he has the natural skill set to become a solid player in the league.
Will Mitch McGary be a lottery pick if he declares?
12. Portland Trail Blazers (33-44): Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan
Anybody who read my stuff during the NCAA tournament knows I'm a big fan of Mitch McGary. He possessed the ability to be a constant double-double threat in the NBA during March Madness, even showing off a nice mid-range jumper that gave Syracuse's 2-3 zone trouble in the Final Four. McGary hasn't declared yet, but I think his draft stock is high enough for him to go ahead and leave Michigan. He could replace J.J. Hickson if Hickson departs Portland via free agency.
13. Dallas Mavericks (38-39): Mason Plumlee, C, Duke
Mason Plumlee has a nice combination of size and athleticism. He's also displayed the rebounding skills and finishing ability to be an asset at the center position.
14: Utah Jazz (41-38): Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Michael Carter-Williams had a miserable game against Michigan in the Final Four, but that doesn't take away what he displayed during the season. He's a pure point guard—which the Jazz need—and he's also an excellent on-the-ball defender who can rack up steals.
15. Milwaukee Bucks (37-40): Jamaal Franklin, SG/SF, San Diego State
Jamaal Franklin has the versatility to play both wing positions for the Bucks. He can hurt you in a variety of ways, whether it be his scoring ability, rebounding, passing skills or defense. After sending Tobias Harris out of town, the Bucks would be wise to grab a wing player.
16. Boston Celtics (40-37): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
The Celtics could use someone to pair up with Jared Sullinger down the line. Kelly Olynyk is right behind Mason Plumlee at the center position on my big board. He needs to develop more of a post game, but the seven-footer can score from the high post and runs the floor well.
17. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers) (41-37): Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
As a defender and shot-blocker, you can't find a better center prospect in this year's draft class than Jeff Withey. The Cavaliers, who rank dead last in opponents' field-goal percentage as of this writing, could certainly use a formidable post defender.
18. Atlanta Hawks (42-36): Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
With Josh Smith likely headed out of Atlanta in the offseason, the Hawks need to add a small forward. It's still uncertain whether Dario Saric will enter the draft, but he has a variety of skills, from his finishing ability to his passing to his handles. He could be a steal down the line.
19. Chicago Bulls (42-35): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
This would be a dream pick for the Bulls. They've been searching for a shooting guard who can knock it down with regularity from beyond the arc for years. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a very dangerous shooter with deep range who is also a big-time defender. He's everything the Bulls could hope for and more.
20. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets) (44-34): C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
Devin Harris' contract is set to expire and Shelvin Mack isn't someone the Hawks can feel comfortable about at backup point guard. C.J. McCollum may be more of a scorer than a pure point guard, but he does have the ability to get into the lane and dish it to his teammates and, he'd offer solid scoring punch right away off the bench for Atlanta.
21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors) (45-33): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
I wrote about Gorgui Dieng after Louisville's title run. Not only is he an impressive rebounder, defender and shot-blocker, he improved his offensive game down the stretch this year. He's risen up draft boards. He could provide depth at the center position for the Jazz with Al Jefferson likely to depart during free agency.
22. Brooklyn Nets (45-32): Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
Doug McDermott is one of the best pure shooters in this year's draft class. He's not an explosive athlete, but he showed against a physical Cincinnati team in the NCAA tournament that he can rise to the challenge against more athletic players (27 points, 11 rebounds). The Nets could use a legit threat to space the floor.
23. Indiana Pacers (49-29): Rudy Gobert, PF, France
There appears to be a lot of buzz surrounding Rudy Gobert to the Pacers. It makes sense, given he possesses the potential as an athletic finisher who can be disruptive with his 7'9" wingspan. He's raw, but developing to eventually succeed David West would be a smart move.
24. New York Knicks (51-26): Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor
Isaiah Austin reminds me of that other raw Baylor player who declared for the draft last year, Perry Jones III. He's an athletic specimen who has the potential to be a monster on both sides of the floor, but he definitely needs to work on honing his game and being more consistent. At No. 24 overall, he's not a bad gamble for the Knicks here to provide depth in the frontcourt.
25. Los Angeles Clippers (51-26): Allen Crabbe, SG, Cal
With the potential to add more perimeter shooting, it would be hard for the Clippers to ignore Allen Crabbe here. You certainly don't draft him for his defense, but he can go on the kind of scoring surges that reminds me of J.R. Smith.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies) (53-25): Glen Rice Jr., SG, Georgia Tech
After being dismissed from Georgia Tech last year, Glen Rice Jr. has been raising eyebrows in the D-League for the Rio Grande Vipers. Kentucky's Archie Goodwin is a possibility here, but it's going to take a while before Goodwin can make a major impact in the NBA. Rice is more NBA-ready and the Timberwolves need to start showing signs of improvement.
27. Denver Nuggets (53-24): James Michael McAdoo, PF, North Carolina
James Michael McAdoo did not have the season at North Carolina we expected, but the potential is still there. He's raw offensively, and he needs to work on his handles, but George Karl will gladly take an explosive athlete off the bench in the meantime. There is a chance McAdoo stays with the Tar Heels, but he'd be a nice fit in Denver if he ended up declaring.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder (57-21): Tony Mitchell, SF/PF, North Texas
Tony Mitchell has a lot of work to do if he wants to make a consistent impact in the NBA, but his athleticism is certainly NBA-ready and he could come off the bench for the Thunder until he develops his game more.
29. San Antonio Spurs (57-20): Kyle Anderson, SF, UCLA
A point power forward who can pass and rebound? Not a bad player for Gregg Popovich to plug into the roster and groom. He's drawn comparisons to Boris Diaw.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Heat) (61-16): Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State
Adreian Payne finally showed the potential we all knew he had in his junior season at Michigan State, displaying the athleticism, rebounding ability, defensive skills and scoring range to be a solid player in the NBA.
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