The NBA’s regular season is wrapping up, meaning fans of 14 franchises across the league already have nothing to look forward to but the upcoming offseason—and more specifically, the 2013 NBA draft.
Most of these supporters are hoping that their team nabs an electrifying prospect with a ton of upside and potential that fills an area of major concern on the roster.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t always happen—with some general managers electing to take the best player on the board or take a risk on a major project that could take years to develop and often doesn’t pan out.
We’re here to pinpoint the best fits for each organization and try to make the first round of the draft as smooth as possible for all parties, so take a look.
1. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
With the Bobcats once again stuck in the basement of the league, they’ll need to swing for the fences if they nab the top pick in the draft lottery.
Noel is a top-notch talent with more upside than most players in this class, even if his freshman season was derailed by an ACL injury. As long as the lengthy, athletic big man is recovering properly, there is no reason Charlotte shouldn’t upgrade its frontcourt here.
2. Orlando Magic: Marcus Smart, PG, Oklahoma State
With the Magic in the midst of a full-blown rebuilding effort, it doesn’t make much sense for the team to employ an aging Jameer Nelson at the starting PG.
Smart would be an ideal replacement that would immediately come in and push the veteran for minutes, as he has incredible size, vision, facilitating ability and scoring prowess for the position.
3. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Suns direly need a franchise player that can shoulder the scoring load on a nightly basis.
While McLemore may not be near that level yet, his ceiling as a point producer is through the roof and he could eventually become the top dog out in the desert.
4. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Cleveland is fortunate enough to have a legit superstar in Kyrie Irving and a young, productive supporting cast surrounding him.
This frees up the organization to select Porter, who isn’t a volume scorer, but projects as the most versatile swingmen—due to his ability to efficiently score, defend, rebound and more—in this class.
5. New Orleans Hornets: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
Burke may be the hottest name in college basketball right now, but he would have to compete with a rejuvenated Greivis Vasquez for the starting PG spot in New Orleans.
Fortunately for Burke, his sensible playmaking, scoring talents and overall star power make him a better long-term option for the soon-to-be Pelicans.
6. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
While frontcourt play isn’t the most pressing issue in the Motor City, Bennett is far too much a value to pass up here—especially if Detroit wants to go big against the competition.
With the league trending towards small ball, the Pistons should go the opposite direction and employ a lineup featuring Greg Monroe, Andre Drummond and Bennett—a big, powerful post presence that has the range and quickness to play the 3.
7. Sacramento Kings: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
This is another instance of a pick not filling the biggest need, position wise, but Oladipo’s intangibles are exactly what Sacramento requires.
After a listless 2012-13 campaign in which no one wanted to share the ball or defend with any regularity for the Kings, this franchise cannot afford to let the Hoosiers' product slip by.
Oladipo is an efficient scorer that won’t require a ton of touches, a top-tier defender and high-energy motor guy. He’s going to bring 100 percent on every single possession, every single night. That’s exactly the kind of teammate DeMarcus Cousins and the other young, promising talents on this roster would benefit from.
8. Washington Wizards: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
Muhammad’s stock is down after the world found he was actually 20 years old—and not 19 as originally thought—but the Wizards are desperate for a scoring wing to complement John Wall and Bradley Beal. We can’t see him falling further than this on draft day.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State
Harris is probably heading back to East Lansing for another year of tutelage under Tom Izzo, but he would likely be a top-10 pick if he were to declare.
The Michigan State star is already an elite scorer that will only improve the rest of his game in time.
10. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): Mitch McGary, PF, Michigan
McGary has been flying up the big board after his epic 2013 NCAA tournament performance, in which he was arguably the most impressive player of the event and helped lead the Wolverines to the championship game.
There’s plenty of chance he remains in Ann Arbor for another season, but there’s likely not going to be another time when the big man’s stock is through the roof like this.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Sixers need to nab a big man after the failed Andrew Bynum experiment submarined their 2012-13 campaign. Len is the best on the board, although he has some issues with his willingness to take over a game and isn’t anywhere near becoming a nightly presence.
If Len pans out, Philly will have an offensive force at the pivot position that will completely open up its offense. If not, he’ll just another big man draft bust.
12. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
Zeller is a complete player that is ready to contribute in the NBA from Day 1. The Blazers need some immediate assistance on their bench and possibly in the frontcourt—assuming garners a new contract from another franchise.
This Hoosiers' star may not have the upside as some of the other prospects available, but he’s a sure thing and that’s what a team on the cusp of making the playoffs would benefit from the most.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan
Robinson III alleviated the doubts many had about his skills against top-notch competition when he played some great ball during March Madness.
He may not be ready to take the reins right away, but eventually the Wolverines swingman may become an NBA star. With Dirk Nowitzki aging and no elite 3 on the roster, the Mavs could do much worse than making this pick.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse
The Jazz must find a productive point guard that can facilitate in this draft. 6’6” Carter-Williams is the perfect player for this team and would be an absolute steal here at No. 14.
He’s not much of an offensive dynamo, but MCW proved his worth as a top-notch defender and brilliant set-up artist during the Orange’s Final Four run. As long as he can help put the up-and-coming bigs on the Utah roster in scoring position, this team should be out of the lottery by next season.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Plumlee is never going to be an NBA star, but he’s the type of talent that every great team will need on the roster.
Because of his hustling, athleticism, defensive tendencies and non-stop motor, the Blue Devils' senior will find a way to get minutes and make a positive impact whenever he’s on the floor. The Bucks could use an energy guy like this if they ever desire to be more than a fringe playoff contender.
16. Boston Celtics: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
More than anything, the Celtics need some size. Olynyk may be a great potential replacement for Kevin Garnett, as the ‘Zags' big man is an elite offensive force with enough range to stretch the defense.
There are certainly questions about his athleticism and defensive capabilities, but he’s too valuable to pass up at this point in the draft.
17. Phoenix Suns (via Lakers): C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
McCollum’s value to each team depends on whether or not he’s thought of as a potential point guard or not.
Phoenix wouldn’t use him as a PG, but they do need a volume scorer capable of lighting it up from anywhere on the court. He’s a steal at No. 17 and might eventually play a Damian Lillard-type role for this organization, although likely from the off-guard position.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Franklin is an athletic specimen that jumps out of the gym and is capable of rebounding like a big man. His jumper needs some work, but this youngster should develop into a legit contributor in the league.
19. Chicago Bulls: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
Caldwell-Pope is a fast-rising prospect that has unlimited range, solid size and great athleticism.
Advanced scouting statistics love this young man, even if he didn’t exactly make shockwaves during his time with the Bulldogs. Considering Chicago is desperate for some productive play in the backcourt, Caldwell-Pope might just find success in the Windy City.
20. Atlanta Hawks: Isaiah Austin PF, Baylor
The Hawks could go a number of directions with this pick, but nabbing a high-upside forward like Austin makes a ton of sense.
This seven-footer has to add some bulk, but eventually he would be able to add some intrigue to a massive lineup that may boast both Al Horford and Josh Smith—making ATL one of the lengthiest teams in the NBA.
21. Utah Jazz: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
Utah is loaded with youth and is on the cusp of contending, so a Euro prospect like Saric would be a wise call at No. 21.
This young man looks to be one of the more gifted passers and playmakers in the class, although he’s likely still a few years away from contributing in the Association.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
Withey is a polished defender that blocks shots and stays out of foul trouble. He’s not an offensive force, but there’s definitely a place for him in the NBA.
Brooklyn should jump at the chance to give this young man 10-to-20 minutes a night, primarily backing up Brook Lopez and coming off its currently terrible bench.
23. Indiana Pacers: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
The Wolverines' star proved to scouts that he has great range, a short memory on misses and the penchant to take big shots as the leader of a young Michigan team.
While his handle and shot selection could use some work, the Pacers would be better with a sniper like this coming off the bench.
24. New York Knicks: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
The Knicks' aging frontcourt could greatly benefit from an injection of youth and athleticism. Enter Dieng, the big man that helped the Cardinals win a national championship and put together one of his best games ever during the final contest.
He may be a bit raw in some areas, but Dieng should soak some significant minutes as early as his rookie campaign.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
Goodwin is oozing upside and athleticism, but he’s more than likely a few years away from being a regular contributor in the NBA.
Until he learns to play in control and hones his jumper, he’s a project at best.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves: Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA
“Slow-Mo” has an apt nickname for the deliberate pace in which he plays at.
The point forward prospect is a great rebounder, incredible passer and intriguing talent with a game that isn’t comparable to anyone else.
27. Denver Nuggets: James Michael McAdoo, PF, UNC
McAdoo was once a lottery prospect, but his regression in 2012-13 has him free-falling down to the latter portion of the first round.
Denver could find a use for his versatility in one of its many different lineups under coach George Karl.
28. Oklahoma City Thunder: Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas
OKC has the luxury of plucking the best player available off the board here.
While Mitchell was nothing short of a disappointment during his tenure with the Mean Green, the forward projects as a great rebounder, solid defender and amazing athlete. He may not be the scorer many envisioned, but the young stud will have an NBA career.
29: San Antonio Spurs: Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton
The Spurs love using screens and other means on offense to free up shooters to knock down open shots.
McDermott is making a career out of finding different ways to get his shot off—despite the defense keying in on him in every game. It’s a match made in heaven.
30. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Miami): Rudy Gobert, PF, France
The Cavs should grab a potential trade piece here instead of trying to develop yet another youthful project.
Gobert can be stashed in Europe until he’s ready to come over or winds up being traded by this organization as part of a package for a more veteran piece.
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