2013 NBA Mock Draft: Highlighting Biggest Potential Busts of Round 1

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 28, 2013

AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 22:  Shabazz Muhammad #15 of the UCLA Bruins shoots a free throw while playing the Minnesota Golden Gophers during the second round of the 2013 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at The Frank Erwin Center on March 22, 2013 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Every team hopes that its first pick will turn out to be a superstar, but many players in the NBA draft turn out to be busts.

We have seen plenty of early selections in recent years fail to live up to expectations due to various reasons, from Greg Oden to Michael Beasley to Hasheem Thabeet and others.

This year's class features more risk than usual as scouts start to look more toward upside than safety. Here is a full mock draft, with extra emphasis on those with the biggest bust potential.

Note: Highlighted players in italics.

1. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

While Nerlens Noel might be the consensus No. 1 player on the board, Ben McLemore is a better fit on Orlando. Not only is he a great perimeter scorer that will instantly boost the offense, but he is the type of player that can get fans excited.

The Magic need someone that can sell tickets now that Dwight Howard is gone, and the shooting guard is the man to do it.

2. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, PF, Kentucky

Charlotte has needs all over the court, so it would be smart to grab the player with the most potential in the class. 

When healthy, Noel is a dominant defensive player who will be able to contribute immediately. If the offensive game eventually matches the defense, watch out.

3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

The Cavaliers have been quietly filling the starting lineup with quality players across the board. What they need is a wing who can score, play defense and generally fill up the box score in multiple categories.

This is obviously a tough assignment, but Otto Porter can do it all and would be well worth the No. 3 pick. 

4. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

Victor Oladipo might not ever be a superstar in the NBA, but elite on-ball defenders that can make an open three will always have a place in the league.

Phoenix struggled on both ends of the court last season and would love to add an impact player like this early in the draft.

5. New Orleans Pelicans: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA

Shabazz Muhammad has dropped a bit on draft boards, but he is still one of the best pure scorers in the entire class. 

He averaged 17.9 points per game in his only year at UCLA and showed that he can get points in a number of ways, including as both a shooter and a slasher.

New Orleans needs someone who can simply get buckets after finishing 25th in the league in scoring, and Muhammad would fill that need.

Unfortunately, he is a bit one-dimensional, which could be a huge problem if that one skill does not come through. Without a great mid-range game, Muhammad could end up being out of the league in a hurry. 

6. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

The Thomas Robinson pick did not work out for Sacramento this past season, so why not double down at power forward?

Anthony Bennett has much more versatility than last year's lottery pick and in turn has a lot more upside. As an athletic player who can shoot well from the outside, the power forward would be a nice addition on this struggling team. 

7. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Detroit needs a point guard of the future, and there are none better in this draft than Trey Burke. While he is a bit undersized, he showed this past season that he will do anything necessary to help his team win.

With great ball-handling skills, shooting ability and court vision, Burke will be a top point guard in the NBA for a long time. 

8. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C, Maryland 

After solidifying the backcourt with John Wall and Bradley Beal, the Wizards need to turn their attention to the frontcourt.

Alex Len is still raw as a player and lacks a great motor, but he has shown plenty of potential on both ends of the court to believe he can be a big-time player at the next level. 

9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh

This would be a great spot for Michigan State's Gary Harris, but the guard decided to return to school

Instead, Minnesota gets another big-time scorer in C.J. McCollum, although he comes with a lot more question marks. He must prove he is over the foot injury that kept him out for most of the season, and he must show he has the athleticism to compete at a higher level.

Still, this fills a big need for a perimeter scorer on the Timberwolves.

10. Portland Trail Blazers: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

The Trail Blazers could use another interior scorer to take the pressure off LaMarcus Aldridge, and Kelly Olynyk is as solid as they come on the offensive end.

All last season, the Gonzaga big man showed his ability to score as a shooter from the outside and around the basket. He also has a good amount of athleticism that allows him to finish strong at the rim.

However, his lack of competition in the West Coast Conference could come back to haunt him. He did not have to play with too many players stronger than him, which allowed Olynyk to do whatever he wanted.

At the next level, the center could get pushed around and taken out of his game. Without strong defensive abilities to fall back on, this could keep him on the bench.

11. Philadelphia 76ers: Mason Plumlee, C, Duke

Even with Cody Zeller still on the board, Mason Plumlee becomes the pick for the 76ers because he is a better fit in the frontcourt.

The Duke star is a better back-to-the-basket scorer and his elite rebounding ability will translate well to the NBA. This will give Philadelphia balance inside after lack of an interior presence all season.

12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors): Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

With a fast-paced attack, Oklahoma City needs big men who can get up and down the floor in a hurry. Cody Zeller can do that as well as anyone in the class, and he knows how to finish when he is near the basket.

The forward will be able to contribute right away and help the Thunder remain contenders for a long time. 

13. Dallas Mavericks: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse 

With few teams needing a point guard above them, the Mavericks would get their dream scenario by landing Michael Carter-Williams.

The Syracuse point guard has great size for the position at 6'6" and will be able to get Dallas back into the postseason with his leadership and ability on both ends of the court.

14. Utah Jazz: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a bit inconsistent as a scorer, but he is one of the best shooters in the class. He will be able to stretch the defense, allowing the talented interior players to have more space to score around the basket.

15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State

Teams will shy away from Jamaal Franklin due to his struggles as a shooter. However, he knows how to score in other ways and he uses his athleticism to be a top-notch defender.

While the team could use more frontcourt help, perimeter defense is also a huge need on the Bucks after barely sneaking into the postseason.

16. Boston Celtics: Rudy Gobert, PF, France

It is time for the Celtics to start thinking long term with a roster that is generally too old to contend for a title.

Rudy Gobert is incredibly long and athletic, and his upside could make him a star in the NBA. Still, it would require patience on the part of the Celtics, which is something the organization might not have at this point.

17. Atlanta Hawks: Isaiah Austin, PF, Baylor 

Isaiah Austin is 7'0", can be a nuisance on the defensive end and can shoot like a guard. The problem is that he is way too skinny and was often pushed around in college.

If he can put on some muscle and learn some consistency, he could be a great player for the Hawks. 

18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston Rockets): Tony Mitchell, SF, North Texas

Based on pure basketball skills, Tony Mitchell could be a lottery pick. He has shown an insane amount of athleticism at times, good defensive ability and strong shooting.

The problem is that he has rarely been able to put it all together at once. 

Mitchell is coming off a terrible year at North Texas where he was unable to put up big offensive numbers on a bad team in a weak league. It does not seem likely that he will be able to turn it on once he faces NBA competition.

Still, scouts will drool over his ability and he will likely still go off the board somewhere in the middle of the first round.

19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Los Angeles Lakers): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville

Cleveland desperately needs help on the defensive end, and Gorgui Dieng can provide that as soon as next season. The Louisville center was one of the best interior defenders in the nation last year and he can make things easier on everyone on the roster.

With an improving offensive game, Dieng has as much potential as anyone in the class.

20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California

When Derrick Rose returns, the Bulls will once again be one of the top contenders in the NBA. While Allen Crabbe is a bit of a reach at this stage, his shooting ability will help him contribute immediately as Chicago tries to bring home its first championship since the Michael Jordan years. 

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

Despite being listed at 6'10", Dario Saric has the skills to be a point guard in the NBA. He is a solid ball-handler and has good vision to find open teammates.

Still, he is best suited as a small forward who will fill up the stat sheet and help his new team in multiple ways. 

22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

Brooklyn could use not only depth in the frontcourt, but players who will be able to enter the rotation in their first year.

Jeff Withey fits that description as a polished center with elite defensive ability and enough offensive game to stick around in the league for a long time. 

23. Indiana Pacers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia

With a deep roster without many holes, the Pacers can afford to take on a long-term international option like Sergey Karasev.

The guard is a good slasher who might also play wing at the next level, and he could be a good addition in the future for this up-and-coming team. 

24. New York Knicks: Adreian Payne, PF, Michigan State

Although Adreian Payne has not yet decided whether or not to enter the NBA draft, he would be a good fit with the Knicks.

The power forward could provide the team with youth, athleticism and the ability to play right away to give the team some depth up front.

25. Los Angeles Clippers: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece

While Los Angeles might want to draft a player who will be ready to help more quickly, Giannis Adetokunbo represents more upside than anyone else at this stage of the draft. 

The wing has a solid skill set with the ability to handle the ball and shoot when he has the opportunity. He is a long-term prospect, but he might be worth the risk for the Clippers.

26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis Grizzlies): Reggie Bullock, SF, North Carolina

Ricky Rubio has the ability to put his teammates in a position to score. Reggie Bullock will take advantage of those opportunities as an elite shooter with the size to get his shot off even when contested. 

While he might not have a lot of room to improve, his high floor makes him a worthy pick at this point.

27. Denver Nuggets: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

It is a nice luxury to have enough depth that you really do not need your first-round pick to contribute right away.

That is what the Denver Nuggets have going into the offseason, which will allow them to take more of a long-term project in Steven Adams.

The center has good size and athleticism, but his complete lack of offensive game and overall coordination will cause him to fall down draft boards.

This would be a good low-risk selection late in the first round by the Nuggets, but any team that takes him earlier will be wasting a pick on a sure-fire bust.

28. San Antonio Spurs: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky

Archie Goodwin showed potential in his only year at Kentucky, although the whole team had a season to forget. Still, he is incredibly quick and it is very tough for opponents to keep him out of the lane.

The Spurs could use a young player with speed to provide depth in this aging lineup. 

29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami

Oklahoma City is about to see how valuable Russell Westbrook is after he went down with a knee injury in the first round of the playoffs.

Shane Larkin does not have the athleticism of Westbrook (few do), but he is quick to the basket and can shoot as well as anyone at the position. Without any true point guards on the roster, Larkin would be an excellent addition to give the team some depth.

30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami Heat): C.J. Leslie, PF, North Carolina

It's tough to figure out what kind of NBA player C.J. Leslie could be. He is not a good rebounder and might lack size to play inside, but he has great handle for his position and can score consistently around the basket.

Regardless of his position, he would certainly be a contributor to the Suns, especially on the offensive end of the floor.


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