2013 NBA Mock Draft: Safest Plays for Every First Round Team

Alex KayCorrespondent IApril 17, 2013

LEXINGTON, KY - FEBRUARY 05:  Nerlens Noel #3 of the Kentucky Wildcats walks down the court during the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Rupp Arena on February 5, 2013 in Lexington, Kentucky.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

When it comes to drafting prospects, every NBA team seems to have a different philosophy.

Some prefer to take a chance on high-risk, high-reward talents and others look for college studs that have a winning pedigree.

There are those that look for something in the middle—prospects that have a respectable body of work but still have youth and a high ceiling—and those that look to fill glaring holes on the roster

In our latest mock, we’re focusing on selecting the safest and smartest option for each franchise in the first round.

Let’s take a look at where the top prospects in the 2013 NBA are projected to land.

1. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens  Noel, C, Kentucky

As long as NBA doctors determine that Noel remains on track for a full recovery, he’s a perfect first-round pick for the Bobcats.

The big man brings great shot-blocking, defensive intensity and athleticism to a team that sorely lacks those traits in the frontcourt.

2. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

With Jameer Nelson aging and not exactly fitting into the youth movement that began in Orlando after the Dwight Howard trade, you can expect this organization to look for a PG at No. 2.

With Marcus Smart returning to Oklahoma State, Burke is the best on the board. His scoring prowess, passing ability, court vision leadership qualities and other winning ways should make him a fixture in the Magic Kingdom for a long time to come.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

The rebuilding Cavs will have a legitimate starting five if they can add Porter, a versatile swingmanthat defends, rebounds, takes efficient shots and hustles.

He’s not a franchise scorer, but the team doesn’t need him to put up a ton of points to generate wins. The Hoyas product is an incredible fit.

4. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore SG , Kansas

Phoenix has been searching for a go-to guy in the offense and can finally nab one here at No. 4 with McLemore.

The Jayhawks guard is a natural scorer that can light it up from anywhere on the court, but has to become more consistent if he’s going to carry a team.


5. New Orleans Hornets: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

The Hornets brass would have to think long and hard before passing on arguably the best player available here.

Bennett is considered a tweener, but that would be a good thing for the current roster in New Orleans. The Rebels star could slide over to the 3, as he has the range to be respected on the wing and athleticism to guard the position.

He can also play the 4 in most situations, and his versatility would be excellent for a young, rebuilding team that will see plenty of roster shakeups in the near future.

6. Detroit Pistons: Shabazz  Muhammad, SF, UCLA

Detroit needs to put a top-tier wing in with its blossoming frontcourt of Greg Monroe and AndreDrummond, so the Pistons should stop Muhammad’s fall here.

While the UCLA product’s stock is down due to his age scandal, he still projects as an elite scorer. He’ll have to hone the rest of his game, but his ability to get to the cup and knock down open shots will be useful.

7. Sacramento Kings: Victor Oladipo SG , Indiana

The Kings may not need another shooting guard, but they do need an energy player that doesn’t need the rock to make an impact.

Oladipo can win games by hustling for easy buckets, getting his teammates motivated and locking down his man on defense. Those qualities are all missing from the current Sacramento squad.


8. Washington Wizards: Giannis Adetokoubo, SF, Greece

You will be hearing a lot from Giannis Adetokoubo in the near future, as the "Greek Freak" is soaring up draft boards everywhere. 

He's a 6'10" athlete that can play point guard through power forward, but ultimately projects as a 3 in the NBA.

He's flying under-the-radar right now, but you can bet your bottom dollar that this young man makes a Bismack Biyombo-like surge up into the lottery--especially with so many top talents returning to school.

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gary Harris, SG , Michigan State

The T’Wolves searched high and low for a suitable off-guard to pair with Ricky Rubio in their backcourt, but find they are still empty-handed with the 2013 draft on the horizon.

If Harris declares, he would be the perfect pick at this point in the lottery, as the Spartans star proved he can score on anyone, from anywhere on the court. The rest of his talents will flourish in time.


10. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): Mitch McGary , PF, Michigan

OKC has the luxury of developing a lottery pick on its bench, as the team will be contending for the Western Conference crown for years to come.

McGary showed a ton of promise during the Wolverines' NCAA tournament run and improved his stock more than any other prospect in March Madness. He’s a big man with nice touch around the rim, innate rebounding senses and a blue-collar work ethic.


11. Philadelphia 76ers: Alex Len, C, Maryland

Len’s scoring ability for a big man is a rarity these days, especially the variety of low-post moves he utilizes to get his numbers.

He’s still raw and tentative, but the Sixers can’t afford to go another season without a serviceable center in the lineup.

12. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller , C, Indiana

Portland shouldn’t expect Zeller to become a star, but this team is on the cusp of contending for the playoffs and needs immediate help.

The Hoosiers center could come off this team’s awful bench and provide a big boost to the second unit. He’s NBA-ready, runs the court like a gazelle and has a high basketball IQ.

13. Dallas Mavericks: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan  

Robinson III is another Michigan man that blew up during the tourney, showing up scouts that doubted his effectiveness against top-flight competition.

Dallas direly needs to develop a high-upside swingman to take the reins from the aging Dirk Nowitzki in a few years. The Big Dog’s son could be their man.


14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, G, Syracuse

Unlike most NBA teams, Utah has a plethora of respectable bigs and young talent in the frontcourt, but hardly any serviceable guards.

The Jazz can start changing that by drafting Carter-Williams, a 6’6” PG that is one of the finest passers and top defenders in the class. His handle and jumper aren’t quite there, but should come with time.


15. Milwaukee Bucks: Kelly Olynyk , C, Gonzaga

As the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference, Milwaukee needs to shape up or it will find itself back in the lottery sooner than later.

Olynyk provides an instantaneous boost to a frontcourt severely lacking in capable scorers. While the trio of J.J. Redick, Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings isn’t likely to be together in 2013-14, the guard position isn’t an area of concern just yet.


16. Boston Celtics: Mason Plumlee , PF, Duke

The C’s are desperate for size. Plumlee may not be a long-term replacement for Kevin Garnett, but the Blue Devils star brings a lot to the table.

He’s a gifted athlete and plays with a rare intensity, marked by hustle on every possession, the desire to win and willingness to do all the dirty work required to get those victories.


17. Chicago Bulls: Kentavious  Caldwell-Pope, SG , Georgia

Caldwell-Pope could be the shooting guard that Chicago has long coveted.

The Georgia product possesses prototypical size, elite range on his jumper, the athleticism to guard other 2s and immense upside. He isn’t a great ball-handler, but he won’t need to do much else but score on open shots with Derrick Rose in the backcourt.

18. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): C.J. McCollum SG Lehigh  

The Cavs could get an elite sixth man by nabbing McCollum here. Whether he backs up KyrieIrving at the point or Dion Waiters at the 2, he’s going to score in bunches.

McCollum may be a bit undersized, but he’s a top-notch scorer that will spark instant offense off the bench.

19. Atlanta Hawks: Jamaal Franklin, SG , San Diego State

Franklin is flying a bit under the radar, despite being one of the best athletes and rebounders of any prospect in this class.

The Hawks could use another productive, bouncy talent like this, especially if they aren’t able to retain Josh Smith in free agency this summer.


20. Utah Jazz (via Golden State): Dario Saric , SF, Croatia

Saric’s tremendous upside, top-notch passing and high basketball IQ make him the ideal prospect for Utah.

Unfortunately, the 19-year-old a bit raw and may be a few seasons away from making an impact in the NBA. However, he should be well worth the wait, especially as a potential steal at this point in the draft.

21. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Jeff Withey , C, Kansas

If the Hawks nab Withey, Al Horford could slide to his natural PF position and Josh Smith, assuming he re-signs, would be able to play the 3.

It’s a win-win situation for everyone, including the Jayhawks seven-foot shot-blocker.

22. Brooklyn Nets: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor

Power forward is the biggest area of concern for Brooklyn, especially off the thin bench.

While Austin has to bulk up to make a contribution in the low post, his shooting prowess and height should help him see a bit of time as a rookie.


23. Indiana Pacers: Tim Hardaway  Jr., SG , Michigan

Indiana could use a fearless scorer with deep range on the roster.

Hardaway Jr. proved he can shoot the lights out when he’s feeling it, but he has to get better with his shot selection and handle to become a nightly threat.

24. New York Knicks: Gorgui  Dieng , C, Louisville

Don’t sleep on Dieng going much earlier than this on draft day.

However, the Knicks would be delighted to steal him at No. 24, as the big man showed immense promise during the Cardinals’ championship run in 2013. He’s as athletic as they come and is able to block shots and score easily with his big, 6’11” frame.


25. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis): Kyle Anderson, F, UCLA

Anderson is leaning towards returning to school, but still has time to change his mind. If he does, we think he’s a great late-first round selection for Minnesota.

His nickname is “Slow Mo” for the cautious pace in which he plays, but he’s a deceptive athlete that can lull his defender to sleep off the dribble.

Factor in his absurd passing abilities and you are looking at a unique point forward that could helpRubio distribute, lead the break after a rebound and much more.


26. Los Angeles Clippers: Archie Goodwin, SG , Kentucky

Until Goodwin develops a method to his maddening style of play, he’s not much more than a raw talent.

His jumper needs some polish and his reckless drives to the hoop must be more controlled before he can be trusted with significant minutes. 

27. Denver Nuggets: Rudy Gobert, PF, France

The Nuggets are a stacked team with a deep rotation, meaning the front office has the luxury of taking a chance on an international prospect.

Gobert is drawing a lot of attention for his size and wing span, but he's not ready to contribute significant minutes to an NBA team just yet. If he's drafted this year, we likely won't see him stateside for a couple more seasons. 

28: San Antonio Spurs: Doug McDermott, SF, Creighton

Because of McDermott’s special talent for coming off screens and utilizing well-set picks to free himself for open jumpers, he’d fit in nice with the Spurs.

Coach Gregg Popovich is always cooking up plays and would find a way to get the most out of this sharpshooter.


29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Myck  Kabongo , PG, Texas

Kabongo is an intriguing player for a team like OKC, as he’s a pass-first point guard that shows flashes of Rajon Rondo in his game.

He’s an athletic, drive-and-dish type player that would make everyone around him better. As a potential backup, the Texas star could be a nice change of pace from Russell Westbrook.

30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami): Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas

Considering his lofty expectations, Mitchell may seem a disappointment to many.

However, to the Suns, they should see a high-upside, strong rebounding, defensive talent that could eventually come into his own as a scorer. At No. 30, he’s a steal. 


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