2013 NBA Mock Draft: Top Talents That Are Sliding Down the First Round
It is early in the pre-draft process, but based on their performances in postseason tournaments, a few NBA draft hopefuls have seen their stock dip a bit.
The tournament is not the final determination of a player's worth. There are pre-draft workouts and video of the player's collegiate career to reference.
However, teams do consider how well the player performed in the biggest games. At the college level, nothing is bigger than March Madness.
This mock draft will focus on the players who must work to regain favor with NBA general managers. These selections will appear in italics; they will also feature an image and a video comparison from a B/R Draft expert.
The draft order is based on the final regular season records and all picks affected by trades that can be determined.
1. Orlando Magic—Nerlens Noel—6'10" 228 pounds—PF/C, Kentucky
Every team knows they will have to be patient with Noel early on if they draft him. In addition to recovering from a torn ACL, Noel's impact will be delayed because he is still a bit raw.
At 19-years-old, he was just beginning to grasp the game when he went down with the injury. Noel has spoken of a debut around Christmas, which should be fine for a team like the Magic.
They can't realistically hope to contend for at least a year or two. Because of Noel's upside as a defensive player and rebounder, Orlando could look at him as one of the vital cogs in their rebuilding effort.
2. Charlotte Bobcats—Ben McLemore—6'5" 195 pounds—SG, Kansas
At points during the season, McLemore looked to be running away from any competition in the chase to be the No. 1 overall pick.
Inconsistent scoring outputs and a poor performance during the NCAA tournament has caused his stock to dip.
He did score 20 points in the Kansas Jayhawks' heart-breaking loss to Michigan in the Elite Eight, but he was absent down the stretch.
Some of that was due to Elijah Johnson's less-than stellar point guard play. However, parts of it is because McLemore can't get his own shot. In the four games prior to the Michigan game, McLemore averaged just seven points.
He shot 30 percent from the field during that stretch. That is a far cry from the 15.9 points and 49.5 percent shooting he produced during the regular season.
McLemore is still the top shooting guard prospect in the draft, but no team should be looking at him as a cornerstone just yet. His underdeveloped ball-handling and lack of assertiveness make me worry about him as a star-level player.
I do agree with the Ray Allen-comparison, though McLemore is more athletic.
As far as potential, we have to see how much he develops his game early on. That will tell us what his ceiling is.
Nevertheless, he is still a smart pick for the Bobcats at No. 2.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers—Anthony Bennett—6'8" 240 pounds—SF/PF, UNLV
The Cavs need another scoring option besides Kyrie Irving. So while they could stand to consider a player like Georgetown's Otto Porter for his defense and versatility, it will be hard to look past Bennett.
He's a tweener, but his long arms, perimeter game and good athleticism will allow him to get buckets inside and out.
Which player would be the best pick for the Suns if they select at No. 4?
4. Phoenix Suns—Otto Porter—6'8" 205 pounds—SF, Georgetown
Porter isn't the ideal pick for the Suns, but if they end up selecting at No. 4, he would be the most sensible pick. They could always trade back—which would be smart in this scenario—to get a player that fits better.
This is no knock on Porter, he has great value as a stat-sheet stuffer, but the Suns need a No. 1 scoring option. Porter isn't that type of player.
Shabazz Muhammad of UCLA would be a reach here, but his skill set is what Phoenix needs. If they can't trade back, Porter would still play immediately in Phoenix.
He just won't make as big of a splash.
5. New Orleans Pelicans—Trey Burke—6' 190 pounds—PG, Michigan
This is perhaps the biggest no-brainer in the lottery. The Pelicans need a big-time talent running the show.
Greivis Vasquez is a restricted free agent at the end of the 2013-14 season. From a talent standpoint, he's a solid backup on a playoff-caliber team.
If the Pelicans hope to ascend to that level, they need a player like Burke at the point.
6. Sacramento Kings—Victor Oladipo—6'4" 215 pounds—SG, Indiana
Oladipo's game is like a mixture of Tony Allen and Leandro Barbosa. He's a strong, physical hard-nosed defender; but he has an electric first step. The Kings need a player from a disciplined environment like Indiana to help change their culture.
No matter where this team plays basketball next season, a new approach to talent and character evaluation is in order. Selecting Oladipo would help start the next chapter of the franchise.
7. Detroit Pistons—Shabazz Muhammad—6'6" 225 pounds—SF/SG, UCLA
It was an up and down season at UCLA for Muhammad. Last year, Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports had him in the mix as the possible No. 1 overall pick. Things have definitely changed since then. Muhammad's reputation has taken a hit.
In addition to that, he couldn't prevent the Bruins from being dropped early in the NCAA tournament.
Muhammad did average 17.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game, but he was dogged by criticism and potential scandal.
He was briefly suspended for a violation of the NCAA's amateurism rules. Many called him selfish and scrutinized his on-court behavior. Most notable were his actions during a game against Washington on Feb. 7.
With the game tied at 57 in the waning seconds, Muhammad was screaming for teammate Larry Drew II to pass him the ball. Instead, Drew took and made the game-winning shot.
Instead of joining his teammates in the celebration, Muhammad walked off the court with the demeanor of a player who had just lost a game. Check out the video:
No one can claim to know what he was thinking at that moment, but he would definitely get an F for body language.
It was also discovered that Muhammad is 20-years-old, instead of 19 as was previously thought. This age issue will likely affect his draft status to a degree.
On the floor, Muhammad has a nose for the rim and a scoring instinct you can't teach. He's also mentally strong, another quality that can't be taught. He does need to improve his ball-handling, but as far as pure scorers go, he's one of the best in the draft.
He has an Alpha Male personality, which is why he fits the Suns best. However, the Pistons would also benefit from having dependable perimeter scorer like him.
8. Washington Wizards—Cody Zeller—7' 240 pounds—PF/C, Indiana
Few big men in the draft are as athletic as Zeller, That said, he desperately needs to add some bulk to his frame. As he is now, NBA big men will feast on him in the paint.
At the beginning of the season, Zeller was Goodman's choice as the top pick in the draft, but he didn't really progress much from his freshman season.
Take a look at the statistical comparison of his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Obviously, both campaigns were above average, but the growth wasn't there. The last thing NBA scouts want from a player taken this high is limited upside.
Instead of rising to the occasion during the NCAA tournament, Zeller's numbers sunk even more. He averaged only 12 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
Zeller's ability to run the floor should be attractive to the Wizards with John Wall at the point. However, he won't offer much muscle in the half court on offense or defense.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves—Alex Len—7'1" 225 pounds—C, Maryland
Len has great length and good low-post scoring potential. He has decent athleticism, but he will struggle to defend athletic bigs who can finish around the rim.
The top 10 is high for him, but in a league where size is at such a premium, a player like Len will always be coveted. The Wolves need to add young bigs as Nikola Pekovic is a free agent this summer.
As a needs-based selection, Len would be a logical pick.
10. Portland Trail Blazers—Rudy Gobert—7'1" 220 pounds—C, France
The Blazers have Meyers Leonard, but depth in the middle could be an issue shortly. J.J. Hickson is a free agent so the team has to address the frontcourt.
Gobert is a long and athletic shot-blocker. He is very raw offensively, but his length (7'9" wingspan) and athleticism suggest he has good upside.
He's very thin, but at only 20-years-old, he has time to fill out.
What player will average the most points per game as a rookie?
11. Philadelphia 76ers—C.J. McCollum—6'3 190 pounds—PG/SG, Lehigh
Philadelphia was the lowest-scoring team in the NBA during the regular season. They need to add a scorer badly.
I referred to Muhammad as "one of the best pure scorers in the draft" because McCollum can lay claim to the title as well.
Were it not for a foot injury that cost him most of his senior season, McCollum had a shot at leading the nation in scoring. When he went down, he was averaging 23.9 points per contest. There is definitely a Jamal Crawford-like quality to his game.
As a sixth man for Philly, he could have a huge impact.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (Toronto Raptors)—Kelly Olynyk—7' 240 pounds—C, Gonzaga
With Russell Westbrook presumably returning at 100 percent after his torn meniscus, the Thunder's main weakness would still be a lack of an offensive presence in the post.
The team does have to address the shooting guard situation with Kevin Martin headed for free agency, but adding a big like Olynyk would be a smart choice.
He can make the 17-foot jump shot, and score with his back to the basket. Imagine adding the pick-and-roll/pop to Westbrook's arsenal.
Olynyk isn't the best low-post defender, but playing alongside Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins would help to hide that.
13. Dallas Mavericks—Michael Carter-Williams—6'6" 185 pounds—PG, Syracuse
Big, athletic point guards like MCW are extremely rare. However, his inconsistent shooting makes him a very unfinished product.
He enters the draft as a relatively raw 21-year-old offensively, but it is impossible not to see his vast potential.
MCW has great quickness, defensive instincts and leaping ability. But scouts may have expected to see him improve his jump shot a little more.
He shot just 29.4 percent from beyond the arc this season. His play in the tournament had its peeks and valleys. After a solid game in the Sweet 16 against Indiana, his production declined.
MCW's college career culminated with an underwhelming a two-point, five-rebound, two-assist performance against Michigan in the Final Four. Had he finished stronger, he would probably be a top-10 pick.
The Mavericks have to basically build from the ground up. Darren Collison and Rodrigue Beaubois are restricted free agents this summer. The team has to find young players to man the backcourt next season and beyond.
The physical package and natural point guard instincts MCW brings makes him a good pick for the Mavs.
14. Utah Jazz—Mason Plumlee—6'11" 240 pounds—PF/C, Duke
Utah's biggest need is at point guard, but with Burke and McCollum presumably off the board, there are no lead guards worth taking this high.
The Jazz have the 21st selection from the Golden State Warriors, that would be the spot to address their primary need.
With both Al Jefferson and Paul Milsap headed for free agency, the Jazz have to think about adding bigs. Plumlee is a ridiculous athlete and he'd fit in well with the Jazz's youthful frontcourt of Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.
15. Milwaukee Bucks—Gorgui Dieng—6'11" 236 pounds—C/PF, Louisville
The defensive anchor of the NCAA champion Louisville Cardinals could grow to occupy the same role for a team in the NBA. Dieng is one the best rim protectors in the draft.
The Bucks have Larry Sanders, but having another stellar defensive presence off the bench would be an asset.
16. Boston Celtics—Jeff Withey—7' 240 pounds—C, Kansas
Even if Kevin Garnett doesn't retire or isn't traded, the Celtics need to get a young big man on the team that can succeed him.
Withey's shot-blocking ability and rebounding prowess is perfect for the Celtics. He blocked 3.9 shots per game as a senior. In the NCAA tournament, he blocked 5.6 in three games.
17. Atlanta Hawks—Jamaal Franklin—6'5" 200 pounds—SG/SF, San Diego State
With the first of back-to-back picks, the Hawks would be wise to take Franklin. He is a do-it-all, high-energy player.
He rebounds at a crazy rate for a wing player, he's a great athlete and not afraid to step up offensively.
In the 2012-13 season, he pulled down 9.5 rebounds and scored 16.9 points per game. He is the biggest sleeper in the draft, in my opinion.
18. Atlanta Hawks (From Houston Rockets)—Giannis Adetokunbo—6'9, 196 pounds—SF/PF, Greece
This kid has some of the largest hands I've seen. It really appears to serve him well as a finisher around the basket. Take a look at this scouting video from Draft Express.
Adetokunbo is a good athlete, but understandably a bit raw offensively. The Hawks can afford to take a player like him here. They have two picks in the first round and a plethora of cap space to lure free agents.
If Adetokunbo gets an opportunity to develop behind a veteran, he could be special in a couple of years.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers—Kentavious Caldwell-Pope—6'5" 205 pounds—SG, Georgia
With Irving at the point, the Cavs need wings that can knock down open looks. KCP is a very good spot-up shooter. He's an elite athlete who finishes well and excels on the defensive end.
In the 2012-13 season, he averaged two steals per game.
KCP doesn't offer much off the dribble, but his skill set would seemingly be a natural fit along side Irving.
20. Chicago Bulls—Reggie Bullock—6'7" 205 pounds—SG/SF, North Carolina
With KCP and Franklin gone in this scenario, the Bulls may miss out on their top choices at 2-guard. That said, watch for Bullock's stock to rise.
He's an underrated outside shooter with great size. If he defends—which has never been an issue for him—he would get an opportunity to play for Tom Thibodeau. His ability to make the deep ball would also be key.
Bullock made 43.6 percent of his threes in 2012-13. He is another possible sleeper in the first round.
21. Utah Jazz—(From Warriors)—Dennis Schroeder—6'1" 180 pounds—PG, Germany
A player like Myck Kabongo of Texas could improve his stock and move into the first round. That would make him a possibility for the Jazz here. But for now, I'll place Schroeder here.
The only point guard the Jazz have under contract is Alec Burks. He has yet to take the reins at lead guard. Utah has to look for a player who can fill that role.
Schroeder is only 19-years-old, but he has star-potential. He has good length for the point guard spot, but he is very thin. It may take some time for him to find his stride, but the upside is clear.
22. Brooklyn Nets—Dario Saric—6'10" 225 pounds—SF/PF, Croatia
The Nets are in a tough spot. They have a payroll that would suggest they are ready to win now, but they are clearly not a serious contender.
They could use a player that can spread the floor for Deron Williams and Brook Lopez. Joe Johnson is obviously capable, but when he's not on the floor, the team struggles to knock down perimeter shots.
Saric is an excellent outside shooter with size. He is not a great athlete, but he has good instincts for the game.
At one time, it was believed he would wait a year before declaring for the draft. But with an especially strong class expected in 2014, Saric declared this season.
23. Indiana Pacers—Shane Larkin—5'11" 178 pounds—PG, Miami
The Pacers will only have George Hill under contract at season's end. They need to add depth to the position.
Larkin is a little smallish, but he's quick and he has shown the ability to make perimeter shots consistently.
During the 2012-13 season, he made 40.6 percent of his three-pointers. He'd be a good addition to the Pacers' second unit.
24. New York Knicks—Steven Adams—7' 250 pounds—C, Pittsburgh
New York would probably love to get a crack at Withey or Dieng. They have a dire need for youth at the center position.
Adams is one of the most athletic big men in the draft, but he is also one of the most raw. His lack of refinement led to a disappointing freshman season, but the talent is there.
Though it may not be the most ideal pick, it would be the one that makes the most sense for the Knicks.
25. Los Angeles Clippers—Lucas Nogueira—6'11" 215 pounds—PF/C, Brazil
Which international player will have the greatest impact?
The entire immediate future of the Clippers hinges on re-signing Chris Paul. Assuming they can get that done, adding depth to the frontcourt is a smart move with this pick.
Nogueira is a long and athletic shot blocker. He doesn't offer much in the way of offense just yet and he may never develop that aspect of his game.
However, considering the only center the Clips have under contract after this season is DeAndre Jordan, they need to target a big in the draft. Nogueira is likely the best available here.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (From the Memphis Grizzlies)—Archie Goodwin—6’4” 195 pounds—SG, Kentucky
The Wolves don’t have a dependable scorer on the wing. Goodwin needed another year to hone his skills, but with the epic class coming into Kentucky, I understand why he left.
He showed the ability to get to the free throw line consistently as a freshman, which is encouraging. In 33 games, he averaged 6.2 free throw attempts per contest.
Unfortunately, he only converted on 63.7 percent of those attempts. Still, he has some raw skills that can be cultivated.
27. Denver Nuggets—Sergey Karasev—6'7" 205 pounds—SF, Russia
Signing Andre Iguodala will be the Nuggets top priority during the offseason. From there, they can actually take the best player available.
Denver is in a dangerous place. It is good enough to make the playoffs consistently, but not quite good enough to seriously contend for a championship.
At No. 27, the team isn't going to find a player who can make a huge impact early. Taking a developmental project like Karasev is wise.
He's not an athletic wing, but he can flat shoot it from deep. He's an intriguing option for a team with a penetrating point guard like Ty Lawson.
28. San Antonio Spurs—Tony Mitchell—6'8" 235 pounds—PF/SF, North Texas
Mitchell is an exceptional athlete and a very good defender. He also plays with great energy.
It just seems like he is the type of player the Spurs organization would develop into a contributor. San Antonio has had great success finding players late in the draft.
Mitchell could keep the trend going.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder—Erick Green—6'3" 185 pounds—PG/SG, Virginia Tech
The Thunder could lose Martin to free agency. If they do, they could look to Jeremy Lamb as a replacement.
Drafting a talented scorer like Green is also an option to fill the void. Obviously, he isn't as proven as Martin, or Lamb for that matter. But the skill set to be a solid sixth man is there.
He is a little short for the 2-guard position, but he averaged 25 points per game as a senior. He has a future in the NBA as an instant-offense guy off the bench.
30. Phoenix Suns—Nate Wolters—6'4" 195 pounds—PG, South Dakota
The Suns can't bank on finding a star this late, but Wolters is another sleeper pick in this draft. He lacks elite athleticism, but he has very good size for the point guard position.
Wolters is also a solid shooter. He knocked down 48.5 percent of his shots from the field and 37.9 percent from three-point range. He hails from a smaller program, but the 22.3 points per game he averaged is nothing to sneeze at.
With a great handle on the little nuances of the dribble-drive game, he knows how to create space to get his shot off. Wolters excels at using hesitations moves to draw fouls.
He's an 82 percent free-throw shooter, so that quality is big in his overall game. With the final pick in the first round, the Suns would do well to grab Wolters.
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