2013 NBA Mock Draft: Best Fits for Every Lottery Team
Now that the NBA regular season has come to an end, the lottery odds have been established.
Of course, nothing is set in stone until the ping-pong balls are drawn, but if the odds play out the way they're supposed to, this is what it will look like.
We're also still in the process of hearing who's staying and who's going. Marcus Smart shook up the field when he decided to return to Oklahoma State. James Michael McAdoo did the same when he chose to return to North Carolina.
Until I hear otherwise, I've left off Gary Harris of Michigan State, Spencer Dinwiddie of Colorado and C.J. Fair of Syracuse.
Remember, this is a fluid process and the field of eligible prospects is subject to change at any moment.
1. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'0'', PG
Odds at No. 1 pick: 25 percent
Orlando is in an interesting spot here with Marcus Smart choosing to return to school.
With a bunch of wings in Arron Afflalo, Tobias Harris and Moe Harkless, and an emerging center in Nikola Vucevic, the Magic really need a point guard for the future.
I don't see why Trey Burke can't be that guy.
He led Michigan to a national championship appearance, improving in every aspect of the game as a sophomore, and led the country in assist-to-turnover ratio while scoring nearly 19 points per game.
If his only question mark is his 6'0'' size, then consider me sold on Burke's long-term potential. I wouldn't bet against this guy.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'11'', C
Odds at No. 1 pick: 19.9 percent
You can bank on the Charlotte Bobcats looking to trade this pick, but if they are unable to do so, Nerlens Noel should be the guy.
He's the "splash" selection—really the only prospect on the board with the ability to change the direction of the franchise, assuming he returns to full strength.
Noel was leading the country in shot-blocking before tearing his ACL and showed some offensive promise that shouldn't be ignored.
Ben McLemore, Anthony Bennett, Alex Len and Otto Porter either present too much risk, too little upside or don't fit the roster.
Taking an injured player obviously isn't ideal, but neither is any other choice on the board. Noel is the only one capable of providing Charlotte with a new centerpiece. And I'm pretty sure Michael Jordan likes to gamble.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, Georgetown, 6'8'', SF
Odds at No. 1 pick: 15.6 percent
Otto Porter is your safest play on the board, yet he also has the skill set ideal for Cleveland's lineup.
The Cavs lack a presence on the wing who can make things happen. Porter's ability to score, pass, rebound and defend allow him to contribute across the board thanks to his unique versatility.
There simply aren't any question marks about his game, which is why I love him as a top-five pick in a draft filled with uncertainty.
Porter may not have All-Star upside, but there's a good chance he'll be starting in the pros till 2023.
4. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5'', SG
Odds at No. 1 pick: 11.9 percent
Without over-analyzing, Ben McLemore's core strength is his ability to make shots. Coincidentally, the Phoenix Suns' weakness is their lack of offensive threats.
Outside of Goran Dragic and Marcin Gortat, who will be entering the final year of his contract, Phoenix doesn't have any potential long-term starters.
McLemore has the chance to start right away because of his elite athleticism and ability to convert scoring opportunities at the rim, in the mid-range and behind the arc.
His upside is top-five worthy, and without many reliable options on the board, McLemore offers the best risk-to-reward ratio of any remaining available prospect.
5. New Orleans Hornets: Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1'', C
Odds at No. 1 pick: 8.8 percent
With the way the current roster is constructed, New Orleans needs a center who can provide them with easy scoring opportunities and another half-court option for points.
At 7'1'', Alex Len offers two-way services as a post scorer and rim protector. His ceiling also justifies a position in the top six, so the Hornets here would be getting a need in a center and a want in a high-upside prospect.
Robin Lopez is serviceable, but he's not a starter for a winning team. Len might be more long term, but the Hornets aren't going anywhere soon anyway.
6. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, 6'6'', PG
Odds at No. 1 pick: 6.3 percent
The Sacramento Kings need a floor general, and preferably one over 5'9''. Isaiah Thomas has been a potent offensive player, but his services are better suited as a jolt off the bench—not to facilitate a half-court offense.
At 6'6'' with a pass-first approach, Michael Carter-Williams has the upside and mentality that should appeal to the Kings.
His ceiling will go as far as his jumper takes him, but he's shown flashes of promise and should improve with added practice and game reps.
7. Detroit Pistons: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'7'', SF/PF
Odds at No. 1 pick: 3.55 percent
Anthony Bennett has big-time upside thanks to his versatile skill set and explosive athleticism. The Pistons need a presence on the wing who can power his way to the rack, knock down shots on the perimeter, and play up front when one of the big men need a rest.
There's some risk here considering he doesn't play a true position, as we've seen Derrick Williams struggle in the pros with similar skills and physical tools.
But Bennett looks like he has the talent to exploit slower forwards on the perimeter and weaker ones inside.
He's got top-five upside, and he would end up being a great get if he slips into Detroit's lap.
8. Washington Wizards: Glenn Robinson III, Michigan, 6'6'', SF
Odds at No. 1 pick: 3.55 percent
Glenn Robinson III's potential really shined over the last month of the season. He demonstrated his off-the-ball skills as a finisher, defender and spot-up shooter, illustrating long-term upside that justifies a top-10 pick.
Robinson may not produce immediate results, but the Wizards aren't gunning for a championship soon anyway.
He's one of my favorite players in the draft based on his versatile skill set and huge NBA ceiling. The Andre Iguodala comparison sounds good to me.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'5'', SG
Odds at No. 1 pick: 1.7 percent
The Minnesota Timberwolves desperately need some athleticism and defense at the 2-guard position.
Victor Oladipo would be ideal here, as he's emerged as an offensive threat and lock-down perimeter defender.
The Timberwolves need a motor somewhere in that lineup, and Oladipo has just the one to power this rotation.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3'', PG/SG
Odds at No. 1 pick: 1.1 percent
Portland needs some offensive firepower off that dull bench of theirs. C.J. McCollum is your classic combo guard who can handle the ball in a secondary role or light up the boards as a prolific scorer.
McCollum can play on the ball as a creator or off it as a finisher. Portland needs a backup point guard and a microwave off the bench.
The Blazers would kill two birds with one stone in McCollum, who's averaged at least 19 points per game in every year in college.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Cody Zeller, Indiana, 6'11'', PF/C
Odds at No. 1 pick: .75 percent
Cody Zeller's stock has slipped since the start of the year, but he offers solid value at No. 11 in this year's draft.
Philadelphia doesn't have a scoring presence in the post, and with Andrew Bynum's future uncertain, Zeller would be a cheap yet effective replacement.
His biggest concern is his strength and toughness, as his talent and skill set have both been established. But some forget he's only 20 years old and he'll have plenty of time and room to add some muscle to his frame.
It might take a few years, but his combination of talent, agility and overall feel for the game project favorably once he adjusts to a physical brand of ball.
12. Oklahoma City (via Toronto): Mason Plumlee, Duke, 7'0'', C
Odds at No. 1 pick: 0.75 percent
The Oklahoma City Thunder don't have many needs, but a center who can play above the rim is one of them.
Out of all the centers, Plumlee is likely the safest bet because of his athleticism and ability to make things happen without the ball. His presence is felt on loose balls above the rim, where he can rebound, finish and block shots with ease.
This year, he expanded his offensive game to the point where he's a face-up threat with the ball in his hands.
But in OKC, Plumlee could allow the game to come to him.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, 7'0'', C
Odds at No. 1 pick: 0.6 percent
Dallas doesn't even have a center under contract in 2013-14. The Mavericks are a half-court team, and Kelly Olynyk will be a solid option for points with the game slowed down.
He came out of nowhere to average 17.8 points on a ridiculous 62.9 percent shooting this year, playing with his back to the rim or facing it on the perimeter.
Olynyk has joined the top tier of centers, and he has the talent worthy of a pick this high.
14. Utah Jazz: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 6'6'', SG
Odds at No. 1 pick: 0.5 percent
The Utah Jazz backcourt is slightly depressing at the moment. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a rising prospect after earning SEC Player of the Year honors, averaging 18.5 points per game.
Caldwell-Pope has excellent physical tools for a guard at 6'6'' with long arms and fluid athleticism. His core strength is his ability to connect from the perimeter, with a pure stroke and NBA three-point range.
He also projects favorably on the defensive side of the ball, and his athletic abilities should allow him to score a few easy buckets per game.
The Jazz need to strengthen their backcourt, and Caldwell-Pope seems like an effective solution.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, 6'5'', SF
Jamaal Franklin is one of the top athletes in the draft with a versatile skill set that can't be matched.
He was the only player in the country to lead his team in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals, with the ability to do it all as an offensive and defensive threat.
The Bucks don't have any athletes on the wing, and Franklin's physical tools and talent would be the perfect first-round match.
16. Boston Celtics: Giannis Adetokunbo, Greece, 6'9'', SF
When Danny Ainge flew out to Greece to get a look at Giannis Adetokunbo, he was quoted as telling the Greek media that he reminded him of a young Scottie Pippen (via Sheridan-hoops).
Now referred to as the "Greek freak," Adetokunbo went for 19 points and nine boards with the Celtics general manager on hand.
He's incredibly fluid for a 6'10'' wing, and his ability to handle the ball and create off the dribble only increase his appeal as a rising international prospect.
The Nicolas Batum comparison has been floating around, and after watching the tape, it's not hard to understand why.
17. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, 6'6'', SF
With the Los Angeles Lakers clinching the playoffs, the Cleveland Cavaliers will get a second first-round pick. And there's a good chance Shabazz Muhammad could be available.
Muhammad's draft stock has fallen big time. Scouts are disturbed with the fact he averaged less than one assist per game, and without the ability to create off the dribble, his ceiling seems somewhat limited.
He also projects as a poor "workout" prospect. Muhammad relies on his physical tools and instincts instead of fundamentals, which is what workouts test for.
I predict a major draft-day slide for Muhammad, which could be good news for a team like the Cavs, who need some extra shot-makers in the rotation.
18. Atlanta Hawks: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, 7'0'', C
The Atlanta Hawks need all sorts of frontcourt help at both the 4 and 5 positions.
Though Steven Adams is a project, he's one that could help Atlanta out on both sides of the ball by the time the New Zealand native is a finished product.
Adams showed some promise down the stretch, though it's clear the game is new to him.
He's an exceptional athlete at 7'0'' with the mobility to move freely up and down the court. His skill set is still unrefined, but he's got a soft touch inside and just needs some moves to allow him to use that touch.
Don't expect results as a rookie, but there's certainly long-term upside here.
19. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Rudy Gobert, France, 7'2'', PF
Rudy Gobert's unprecedented 7'9'' wingspan, advantageous 7'2'' size and unique mobility is what drives his appeal as a prospect.
He projects as a defensive disruptor who can provide energy and off-ball playmaking as a finisher above the rim.
Gobert should claim a ton of 50-50 balls around the basket. Whether he's a need or not, he becomes too tough to pass on at a certain point in the first round.
Atlanta could use his size and athleticism up front to give this team a few easy half-court baskets.
20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, California, 6'6'', SG
Allen Crabbe is awfully similar to Rip Hamilton, only he's longer, more athletic and a whole lot younger.
He's an off-ball scorer. Crabbe does most of his work coming off screens and curls while shooting off the catch from long and mid-range.
The Bulls need some more life at the 2-guard position, and the fact that Crabbe is in the process of gradually improving and expanding his arsenal should make him an attractive target during the upcoming weeks.
He's struggled a bit to create at Cal, but that won't be his role in Chicago. He's a shot-maker, and a pretty damn good one, once he gets into a rhythm.
21. Brooklyn Nets: Doug McDermott, Creighton, 6'7'', SF
The Nets could use a three-point specialist to help space the floor for their more ball-dominant scorers.
Doug McDermott has shot between 48 and 49 percent from downtown in each of his past two seasons, numbers you won't find anywhere else on the board. He's the top shooter in the class, and at 6'7", McDermott can do some damage inside the arc as well.
With McDermott, Brooklyn would be able to fill a need without having to dip into the free-agent pool.
22. Utah Jazz: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, 6'1'', PG
The Jazz need a point guard, and in the mid-first round, they'll have plenty to choose from.
I can't read minds, but I have Canaan as my best available point guard because of his ability to light up the perimeter and break down the defense.
He's lightning quick with a strong NBA frame and has shot at least 40 percent from downtown in three-out of four years. His 21 points per game were good for No. 8 in the nation.
Canaan is a gamer and someone you trust with the ball in his hands late in games. Think Raymond Felton.
23. Indiana Pacers: Erick Green, Virginia Tech, 6'4'', PG/SG
The Pacers need to add a couple of offensive weapons to the rotation, but they could also use a secondary ball-handler.
Erick Green offers both, after leading the country in scoring at 25 points per game while dominating the ball for Virginia Tech.
He's a combo guard at 6'4'', whose first instinct is to score and second is to facilitate. But in a role off the bench, his limitations can be managed.
Green's ability to score off the dribble is what should propel him into a rotation once he reaches the next level.
24. New York Knicks: Mitch McGary, Michigan, 6'10'', PF
We're still waiting for Mitch McGary to decide whether he wants to stay or go, but if he chooses to declare, the Knicks are likely to be all over him.
New York needs a bruiser—someone who isn't afraid of contact and thrives off physical play. McGary's ability to crash the offensive glass, run the floor and finish inside would all be welcomed in the Knicks frontcourt.
The Knicks need depth up front, and McGary's motor and improving offensive skill set could be just what the doctor ordered in a backup role.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis): Archie Goodwin, Kentucky, 6'5'', SG
Archie Goodwin's decision to declare for the NBA was probably a sign he'd been told the first round was a strong possibility.
The Timberwolves lack athleticism at the off-guard slot, and Goodwin happens to be one of the most explosive guards in the class. He lacks a refined skill set, but his upside justifies a lottery selection if he ever reaches his ceiling.
Goodwin could end up being a value pick this late, but would also fill a need at the shooting guard position for Minnesota.
26. Los Angeles Clippers: Tony Mitchell, North Texas, 6'8'' SF/PF
If you're an athletic specimen with a specific skill set to go with it, the L.A. Clippers is a great spot to land.
Tony Mitchell is bound to kill it at the NBA combine. He's an electric athlete at 6'8'' with an incredible wingspan and ridiculous leaping abilities.
But he lacks a position and a refined offensive game.
A point guard like Chris Paul puts his teammates in the best position to succeed, even if they aren't the most talented scorers.
Mitchell makes sense for the Clippers, and the Clippers make sense for Mitchell considering the floor general running the show.
27. Denver Nuggets: Adreian Payne, Michigan State, 6'10'', PF
Adreian Payne hasn't declared yet, but there have been whispers that say he's leaning toward an early exit.
Denver has one true power forward in Kenneth Faried, who plays strictly on the interior. Payne's ability to step out behind the arc, as well as to overwhelm on the interior with his monstrous frame and massive wingspan would be an excellent complement up front.
He really turned the corner as a junior, finding more ways for himself to put the ball in the hole.
Payne is one of the top interior finishers on the board, but his expanded offensive game and superior physical tools should land him on first-round radars. The back of Round 1 to a team in need of a 4 seems like a reasonable landing spot.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Dario Saric, Croatia, 6'10'', PF
The Spurs love going fishing overseas, and Dario Saric could be a guy they target. At 6'10'', he's able to put the ball on the deck and create off the dribble, a rare skill for a wing his size.
He's also shown a soft touch in the mid-range and behind the arc, but needs to improve his shooting consistency.
Saric's biggest challenge will be on the defensive side of the ball, but he's still a young kid and offers value late in the first.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Isaiah Austin, Baylor, 7'1'' PF
With few needs and plenty of draft picks, the Thunder will be operating in best-player-available mode at the end of Round 1.
Isaiah Austin is a strong candidate to slip down the board after an inconsistent freshman year where he failed to establish a position for himself.
He's skilled for a 7'1'' forward but lacks the strength to play full time inside and the fluidity to operate on the perimeter.
Chances are he belongs at the high post with his polished post game and ability to make shots, but he'll need to add strength and improve his shooting consistency to make an impact at the next level.
Austin still offers good value this late in the round.
30. Phoenix Suns: Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, 6'11'', C
The Suns will need a center once Marcin Gortat hits free agency next summer, and Gorgui Dieng could be a steal with the last pick in the first round.
He certainly has the size and instincts to protect the rim, but now that we've seen a reliable mid-range jumper and the ability to finish at the rim, Dieng's stock gets a boost.
The fact that he's improving in front of our eyes only increases his appeal as a prospect. For Phoenix, he fills a need and a watch at the same time.