With the completion of the 2012-13 NBA regular season, 14 teams have seen their season come to a close. The remaining 16 are postseason bound and preparing to pursue a title, all the while sharing a common question with those watching from home.
Every first-round team is looking for the ideal draft situation.
With numerous stars declaring themselves eligible for the draft, almost every team is looking to find its next great franchise player. In that same breath, countless players have decided to return to school and left teams in question.
So how would it all play out with this pre-lottery draft order?
1. Orlando Magic: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan Wolverines
When it comes to who the best player is on the board, there are numerous options more appealing than Michigan Wolverines point guard Trey Burke. The fact of the matter is, the Orlando Magic need a franchise point guard, and Burke is the best available.
The fact that Marcus Smart is returning to Oklahoma State for his sophomore season is a major factor in this decision (via USA Today Sports).
Nerlens Noel is the best player available, but the Magic already have a franchise center in rebounding machine Nikola Vucevic. Ben McLemore could be attractive, as well, but the rise of Maurice Harkless and Tobias Harris neutralizes the immediate need for a perimeter player.
That leaves Burke as the only rational pick in this situation, unless Orlando opts to trade down.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, C, Kentucky Wildcats
The Charlotte Bobcats managed to improve their winning percentage by .141 points from 2011-12 to 2012-13. A major reason for their improvement has been the rise of Kemba Walker and the arrival of Michael Kidd-Gilchrist in an up-tempo style of play.
The question here is simple—does Charlotte round out its perimeter with a shooting guard or improve its interior?
The Bobcats rank in the bottom five in three-point field-goal percentage for the second consecutive season. It doesn't help that their leading three-point shooter, Ben Gordon, is the player they're most desperate to trade.
With that being said, the Bobcats are sixth in opponent points in the paint and are more likely to find a sharpshooter than an elite defensive presence in the second round—Nerlens Noel is the choice here.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown Hoyas
The Cleveland Cavaliers would have selected Noel if he had fallen to third overall. With Noel off of the board, however, it would be most ideal for the Cavs to fill their greatest void at small forward.
Where better to look than do-it-all swingman Otto Porter?
The word "everything" is scarcely used when it comes to prospect evaluation, and with good reason. Few, if any players, are truly well-rounded in the sense that they lack any definitive weaknesses.
Outside of a lack of elite athleticism, however, Porter is a top-tier prospect in every basketball category—shooting, on-ball defense, leadership and facilitating, to name a few.
4. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas Jayhawks
Ben McLemore was once a lock for the top pick in the 2013 NBA draft, but he suffered mightily by going 2-of-14 during his first two games of the 2013 NCAA tournament. In turn, the Phoenix Suns receive a gift by landing their franchise shooting guard at this spot of the draft.
It couldn't have worked out any better.
Phoenix has two quality players at shooting guard in Jared Dudley and Shannon Brown. Both have evolved into reliable two-way threats, although neither has lived up to star potential as they enter their prime.
Phoenix needs a reliable shooter who can take it off of the bounce and shoulder the scoring load—McLemore has that upside.
5. New Orleans Hornets: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana Hoosiers
According to John Reid of The Times-Picayune, the New Orleans Hornets will attempt to trade shooting guard Eric Gordon during the upcoming offseason. While they could land a franchise off guard in the process, they're more likely to search for one via the draft.
Who better than superstar-in-the-making Victor Oladipo?
Oladipo's basement is that of lockdown perimeter defender who rebounds as well as any other player at his position. His ceiling is a perennial MVP candidate whose efficiency on both ends of the floor is to marvel.
This is a low-risk, high-reward move that would give the Hornets a shooting guard they can trust.
6. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse Orange
The Sacramento Kings could explore the idea of drafting Anthony Bennett out of UNLV. Between he and DeMarcus Cousins, the Kings would have one of the most powerful and offensively versatile frontcourts in the NBA.
With that being said, the Kings are desperate for a facilitating point guard.
Michael Carter-Williams out of Syracuse fits the bill, as he ranked third in the nation in assists per game. Furthermore, Carter-Williams is a rangy defender who is as dynamic a ball hawk as any in the nation.
At 6'5", Carter-Williams is also a player with phenomenal size for the position—something Sacramento lacks with the 5'9" Isaiah Thomas as its only viable option at lead guard.
7. Detroit Pistons: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA Bruins
The worst-case scenario has transpired for the Detroit Pistons, as both Trey Burke and Michael Carter-Williams have come off of the board. Fortunately, the Pistons are in need of an athletically dynamic small forward.
Shabazz Muhammad is projecting to be more of a shooting guard, but that just so happens to be another question mark for Detroit—this is a low-risk pick in every sense of the word.
Muhammad is one of the most electrifying scorers in this draft class, pairing power dribble penetration skills with a lethal spot-up jump shot. Muhammad is also a fierce competitor with a great motor and an excellent base defensively.
As a potentially elite rebounder for his position, Muhammad should fit in perfectly alongside Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond.
8. Washington Wizards: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV Rebels
Muhammad would have been the ideal pick here, but the Washington Wizards are in need of a more reliable option at power forward. While Nene Hilario has been quite effective when healthy, injuries have been the story of his Wizards tenure.
Anthony Bennett's powerful post game and jump-shooting versatility should work wonders alongside John Wall and Bradley Beal.
Wall is rapidly becoming one of the best point guards in the NBA and would benefit greatly from having an athletic dynamo to work the pick-and-roll with. Bennett can serve as that player, all the while stepping out for the pick-and-pop to add a new dynamic.
One way or another, Bennett would find his niche in Washington and serve as a quality long-term upgrade in the frontcourt.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Gary Harris, SG, Michigan State Spartans
The Minnesota Timberwolves could be looking for a center here, but re-signing Nikola Pekovic is likely to remain a priority. With this in mind, the T-Wolves will target two of their most significant weaknesses with one pick.
The lack of a true shooting guard and their 30th-ranked three-point shooting.
Michigan State shooting guard Gary Harris can stroke it at a clip higher than 40 percent from beyond the arc, as evidenced by his freshman season in the stacked Big Ten. Harris is also a physical player who defends as well as any 2 in this class.
Drafting Harris is the proverbial killing of two birds with one stone.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh Mountain Hawks
When it comes right down to it, there is no reason for the Portland Trail Blazers to pass up on C.J. McCollum out of Lehigh. Not only is their bench dead last in scoring, but their team collapsed down the stretch due to a lack of depth resulting in massive playing time for their starters and eventual injuries.
There are few scorers as efficient as McCollum in this year's draft, and that's exactly what Portland needs.
McCollum can take it off of the bounce, shoot from outside and finish well around the basket. He is also a capable hybrid guard who can facilitate a second unit.
McCollum's upside is debatable, but there is no question that he's a quality enough scorer to help save Portland's bench with Will Barton.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Alex Len, C, Maryland Terrapins
The Philadelphia 76ers have a decision to make this offseason, and it's entirely focused on the center position. That choice, of course, is to either re-sign pending free agent Andrew Bynum or let the injury-prone big man walk after he failed to play a single game in 2012-13.
We'll stray on the side of logic and say that the most ideal decision is to land an interior presence in this draft—regardless of what happens with Bynum.
The Sixers were rendered helpless in 2012-13, as their offense was designed under the impression that Bynum would be down low. With or without him in 2013-14, Philadelphia will need a player who it can pass it down low to.
Alex Len may have bust potential, but he is a dynamic playmaker in the high post and could facilitate, score and defend the rim at a high rate.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Raptors): Cody Zeller, C, Indiana Hoosiers
If Len were available, the Oklahoma City Thunder would likely take a gamble on his upside as an elite back-to-the-basket force. With the Philadelphia 76ers taking him off of the board, however, the Thunder land Cody Zeller of Indiana.
A player who fits their team identity to perfection.
Zeller is a player with an excellent motor, rapidly developing back-to-the-basket skills and a quality face-up game. Zeller was also Indiana's go-to player during clutch situations, which is a testament to his mental toughness.
OKC needs a player who can work out of the post, and Zeller could be that role player for them.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville Cardinals
The Dallas Mavericks have gone from an elite force to a borderline postseason team since the departure of center Tyson Chandler. It's only right that their first order of business in the 2012-13 NBA draft is to find a replacement.
There is no one better for that role the Gorgui Dieng of the national champion Louisville Cardinals.
Dieng is an elite defensive prospect, as his combination of length and athleticism permits the potential for dominance. Fortunately for the Mavs, he is already polished on defense in terms of footwork and anticipation.
Dieng has Defensive Player of the Year upside and the basement of a quality defensive role player.
14. Utah Jazz: Glenn Robinson III, SF, Michigan Wolverines
The Utah Jazz have one of the better frontcourts in the NBA, regardless of who leaves for free agency. Al Jefferson should be a perennial All-Star, Paul Millsap isn't far off in his own right and the tandem of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter has elite upside.
What Utah lacks, however, is a slashing scorer who can turn defense into offense—enter Glenn Robinson III.
GRIII was superb during the Michigan Wolverines' run to the 2013 NCAA Championship game. Not only did he prove to be a force on the glass, but he routinely played the passing lanes and created transition scoring opportunities.
If Robinson III ever develops his stroke from outside, he could be a dangerous player along the perimeter.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
The Milwaukee Bucks have to be disappointed that Robinson III isn't available here, as they could certainly use an upgrade at the 3. Fortunately for the Bucks, there's another promising small forward available in Dario Saric of Croatia.
For those unfamiliar, Saric is a 6'10" forward with the potential to serve as a point forward.
Brandon Jennings is a dynamic playmaker and doesn't receive the credit he deserves for how far he's come as a player. With that being said, Jennings is a restricted free agent, and Monta Ellis plans to follow suit (via The Journal Times).
Saric would be a welcome addition, even if Jennings does return.
16. Boston Celtics: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas Jayhawks
You could make the case that Mitch McGary of Michigan and Kelly Olynyk out of Gonzaga have a higher upside than Jeff Withey. With that being said, Withey is one of the most prolific shot-blockers of his generation.
That's exactly what the Boston Celtics need.
Kevin Garnett remains a valuable asset on defense, and Fab Melo could potentially develop into a quality big. With that being said, the Celtics are a team that is looking to win right now, and they need a rim protector to do that.
Withey, who has accumulated 286 blocks over the past two seasons, is the perfect player to fill that role.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh Panthers
The question at this point of the draft for the Atlanta Hawks is simple. What do they feel is their most important need, and how eager are they to address it?
While they may have two selections within the next four picks, they cannot risk allowing their center of choice falling to another team.
McGary and Olynyk are options here, but the Hawks need a player who can protect the rim. With that interior defender, the Hawks can feel comfortable moving Al Horford back to his natural position at the 4.
With the offensively gifted Horford and the promising defensive presence of Steven Adams, Atlanta would have a promising interior for the future.
18. Chicago Bulls: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga Bulldogs
Outside of Derrick Rose, the most significant absence on the Chicago Bulls' roster in 2012-13 has been that of an energy player down low and a sharpshooter. With Jimmy Butler shooting 46.7 percent from beyond the arc since the All-Star Break, however, that void could be filled.
With this in mind, the Bulls could find their replacement for Omer Asik in Olynyk out of Gonzaga.
Olynyk is the type of player who never stops giving an effort on either end of the floor. Not only would he be a welcome addition behind Joakim Noah, but he has the upside and work ethic to learn from the big man and pattern his game in the same manner.
Olynyk could be a true difference-maker on a team whose current backup center is Nazr Mohammed.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Suns, from Lakers): Mitch McGary, PF/C, Michigan Wolverines
According to Nick Baumgardner of MLive.com, Michigan Wolverines big man McGary has backed off of his original statements in reference to remaining in school. While the possibility is there for McGary to stay at Michigan, we must evaluate him as a prospect until he has officially declared.
That works perfectly for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are in need of a center for the future.
One of the most pleasant surprises in 2012-13 has been the development of power forward Tristan Thompson. Both as an offensive product and a rebounder, Thompson has been rapidly developing into a high-quality player.
McGary has the perfect blend of size, build, motor and rebounding prowess to fill the center position alongside him. With that being said, we must acknowledge another possibility.
Cleveland could choose not to trade up if a shot-blocker is not available.
20. Atlanta Hawks (via Rockets): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
The Atlanta Hawks found a center to solidify their defensive interior and must now look to improve their perimeter. With Lou Williams and John Jenkins at the 2, that leaves an opening at small forward.
Although the qualified swingmen are off of the board, Jamaal Franklin's supreme athleticism, power and length makes him too intriguing a prospect to pass up on here.
Archie Goodwin could be another option, but Franklin's positional versatility makes him the selection in this instance. Not only is Franklin a powerful athlete with elite penetration and finishing skills, but he is a multi-positional defender and a dominant rebounder.
Atlanta could trade down here to pursue a small forward, but Franklin makes the most sense if the team stays put.
21. Utah Jazz (via Warriors): Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke Blue Devils
The Utah Jazz found a quality performer at the 3 when they landed Robinson III earlier in this scenario. Up next is addressing their need for interior depth with both Al Jefferson and Paul Millsap preparing to enter free agency.
With lottery upside, the Jazz hit the jackpot with Mason Plumlee out of Duke.
At worst, Plumlee is a quality role player that can run in transition and rebound at a high rate. At best, his low post game will continue to develop and he can be the perfect complement to Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
Not only could this provide Utah with depth, but it could also land the Jazz a potential trade piece in future years.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Rudy Gobert, PF, France
Whether they choose Isaiah Austin or Rudy Gobert, the Brooklyn Nets will be looking at a project player at power forward. With this in mind, why not go for the player with the 7'9" wingspan?
That would be Gobert.
Gobert fits into Brooklyn's recent draft initiative of going international, as it landed Mirza Teletovic and Tornike Shengelia in 2012. Gobert just so happens to have the highest upside of all as his unparalleled length permits greatness on both ends.
It's a risky pick, but one that could pay dividends.
23. Indiana Pacers: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor Bears
The Indiana Pacers are a complete team with quality players at virtually every position. While the Pacers would be wise to re-sign David West, they must think long term and target the power forward position.
At pick No. 23, the value doesn't get much better than Isaiah Austin out of Baylor.
Austin is a 7'0" monster with a 7'3" wingspan and supreme athleticism. He has three-point range on his jump shot, rapidly improving shot-blocking abilities and the versatility to play either frontcourt position.
Austin is a project player, but how many All-Stars do you expect to find at No. 23?
24. New York Knicks: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia Bulldogs
The only player on the New York Knicks younger than 27 is defensive-minded guard Iman Shumpert. To complement him and keep the pace in the Eastern Conference, they'll need to replace their aging legs in the long term with young athletes.
Although it would be more ideal to improve their interior, the Knicks cannot overlook the value of sharpshooter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
Caldwell-Pope, the 2013 SEC Player of the Year, is a dynamic scorer who can take it off of the dribble or step out from beyond the arc. While J.R. Smith remains the rational option at the 2, the Knicks can never have enough shooters in their system of play.
Caldwell-Pope makes New York significantly younger and fits the team's style of play.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky Wildcats
Whether Los Angeles Clippers fans want to admit it or not, Eric Bledsoe will eventually leave the team if Chris Paul remains in town. Not only is Bledsoe's stock rapidly rising, but he's only 22 and is likely to desire a leading role for another franchise.
In order to make up for his absence, the Clippers must acquire something they currently lack—a genuine shooting guard.
Archie Goodwin not only comes from the same school as Bledsoe, but he has upside that is just as intriguing. Goodwin is a powerful dribble-penetrator and one of the few players on the Kentucky Wildcats whose motor wasn't questioned.
Goodwin could be an All-Star-caliber slasher, and there's no better player to learn from than Jamal Crawford in that regard.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Grizzlies): Allen Crabbe, SG, California Golden Bears
The Minnesota Timberwolves landed an actual shooting guard in Michigan State freshman Gary Harris earlier in this mock draft. Considering their only other option at the position is combo guard Alexey Shved, depth is the best option here.
Especially when the player they're landing is of Allen Crabbe's build and ability.
Crabbe has the size at 6'6" to play small forward in pinch situations. Crabbe is also a physical defender who handles the ball well and shoots at a high clip.
When you're the worst three-point shooting team in the NBA, it takes more than just one player to truly improve in that area.
27. Denver Nuggets: Mouhammadou Jaiteh, PF, France
The Denver Nuggets have a world-class rebounder with All-Star upside in Kenneth Faried at power forward. For the sake of improving their half-court defense and offense, however, they must improve their depth.
They won't find a better option than French power forward Mouhammadou Jaiteh.
Jaiteh stands at 6'11" with a 7'4" wingspan and an NBA body. While he must improve his fundamentals on both ends, Jaiteh has great hands and has a reliable mid-range game.
This may not be the flashy pick that Nuggets fans are looking for, but the organization has proven to be trusting in French prospects before—Evan Fournier, anyone?
28. San Antonio Spurs: Matthew Dellavedova, PG/SG, Saint Mary's Gaels
The San Antonio Spurs are dealing with the unfortunate truth that Manu Ginobili is aging fast and battling injuries. While he remains an elite postseason contributor, the Spurs must find a younger alternative for the regular season and long-term future.
There aren't many better options than Australian combo guard Matthew Dellavedova.
Dellavedova is experienced in international play, as he joined current Spurs point guard Patty Mills on the Australian national team during the 2012 London Olympics. Dellavedova also has supreme size for the point guard position at 6'4".
If he does play the hybrid 2, as Ginobili does, Dellavedova's shooting ability will complement his top-tier pick-and-roll skills.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: C.J. Wilcox, SG, Washington Huskies
The Oklahoma City Thunder can be very flexible here, as they've already filled their biggest void with a center earlier in the draft. With this in mind, they can feel comfortable by potentially reaching on a sharpshooting 2.
Keep in mind, Kevin Martin is a pending free agent and Jeremy Lamb is far from a guarantee.
Washington Huskies shooting guard C.J. Wilcox is a superb jump shooter with deep three-point range. While his minutes would likely be limited early, any 6'5" shooter who averaged 1.0 block per game is intriguing.
Wilcox could be a high-quality player at the next level.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Cavs, Heat): Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina Tar Heels
The Phoenix Suns landed a sharpshooter with star potential in shooting guard McLemore. They can't stop there, however, as the Suns need much more than just one shooter.
Enter small forward Reggie Bullock out of North Carolina.
Bullock is a physical player with an NBA body and deep three-point range. At 43.6 percent from beyond the arc, he proved just that during his junior season at UNC.
As a quality ball-handler and a physical defender with great length, this could be a high-value pick for Phoenix with the 30th pick.
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