The 2013 NBA draft class is now officially set—kind of.
April 28 marked the deadline for early entrants to make a final decision on their future. There weren't many surprises—Marcus Smart or Gary Harris didn't quietly put their names into the draft hat when no one was paying attention—but it's easier to give an outlook of the first round with an official complete early-entry list.
International stars still have until June 17 to declare, and events such as the combine and draft lottery will certainly further shake up the draft, but let's take a look at where we currently stand.
1. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
Every new time I take a gander at my mock draft, I always want to slot Trey Burke here—the Magic need a point guard, and the Michigan floor general has the look of a future superstar. I'm getting closer to making the jump, but for now, I'm sticking with Ben McLemore.
The Kansas 2-guard has daunting athleticism and a dazzlingly beautiful jump shot. He may come off the bench for a while with Orlando's depth on the perimeter, but he would be absolutely deadly against other teams' second units.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, PF/C, Kentucky
An ACL tear ain't what it used to be.
Don't get me wrong, the ugly injury is still highly serious, but players all over the world in every sport are beginning to make quick (well, relatively quick), successful comebacks.
Noel is 19, has the talent and explosiveness to be an all-defensive first-team member (4.4 blocks, 2.1 steals per contest) and can anchor the Bobcats—who have been relying on B.J. Mullens and Bismack Biyombo—down low.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Without taking into account free agency or any other offseason tasks, the projected Cavaliers starting lineup looks like this: Kyrie Irving, Dion Waiters, Alonze Gee, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller (with Anderson Varejao injured).
Dan Gilbert's team needs a small forward, and Porter is unequivocally the best in draft. The Georgetown star has length, intelligence and can contribute positively in every aspect of the game—especially on defense.
4. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
Just four picks in, we've got my favorite player in the draft.
Oladipo may be limited offensively, although he is an absolute danger in the open court, but no one will care when he showcases that menacing defense of his.
Fueled by gaudy athleticism, elite quickness, a chiseled 6'5", 210-pound frame, an endless motor and active hands, the former Indiana superstar is undoubtedly the best perimeter defender in this draft.
He averaged 2.1 steals and 0.8 blocks per game last season, and that doesn't even begin to tell the story of how he was able to affect the game.
For a Suns team that ranked second to last in offensive efficiency this season, he'll be to continue that success at the next level.
That isn't Oladipo, but at this position it would be a huge mistake to pass on the Indiana superstar. Simply put, he makes your team better—at any level.
5. New Orleans Pelicans: Anthony Bennett, SF/PF, UNLV
Al-Farouq Aminu took a step forward as a defender and rebounder this year, but I see no way Anthony Bennett drops out of the top five.
You can call him a tweener or talk about his underwhelming NCAA tournament, but the former Rebel has rare combination of strength, athleticism, ball-handling and stroke. NBA teams drool for his type of talent.
6. Sacramento Kings: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
On the surface, it might not seem like the Kings need another point guard, but Toney Douglas and Jimmer Fredette aren't the future at the position, while Isaiah Thomas would be downright enthralling (and dangerous) as a sixth man.
If the Kings are going to take a real step forward, they need a team leader capable of carrying the team and making everyone around him better.
There's no question that player is Burke, who has out-of-the-gym range, is electric and efficient off the pick-and-roll and is an elite distributor.
There are questions about his defense at 6'0" and just 180 pounds, but he put to rest during March Madness any doubt that he would make most NBA teams better.
7. Detroit Pistons: Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
With Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond installed as the frontcourt of the future, the Pistons can now concentrate on the perimeter.
I'm not yet sold on Muhammad—he's an inconsistent defender and has shown little ability to be a playmaker.
Nevertheless, he's a fierce competitor who can fill it up in a hurry and contribute as an important role player right away. He may be slightly limited, but he's going to produce offensively if he has weapons around him.
8. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Wizards are clearly on the up-and-up, but it wouldn't be surprising if they were working to move on from Emeka Okafor and Nene down low.
Len, who has an intriguing offensive skill set and rare back-to-the-basket game, is a true center (7'1", 255 pounds) who could help them do that. He's a project, sure, but this is a nice pick for the future while Okafor enters the last year of his contract.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: Cody Zeller, PF/C, Indiana
It will be interesting to see how Minnesota moves forward with Flip Saunders replacing David Kahn, but Nikola Pekovic is still entering free agency.
If the Wolves let Pek-tacular get away, frontcourt will be the focus.
Zeller left everyone with a sour taste in their mouths with his performance against Syracuse, but he is an agile seven-footer who can run the court, block shots and hit the mid-range jumper.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
Plumlee has size (6'11", 245 pounds), athleticism and the ability to contribute right away. Not only will he give the Blazers important depth, but he'll serve as a backup option for J.J. Hickson, who hits the free-agent market this summer.
11. Oklahoma City Thunder (From Toronto Raptors): Rudy Gobert, C, France
Gobert starts the run of what should be several international players going off the board in the first round.
The Thunder don't have any glaring needs, but the Frenchman will be nearly impossible to pass up. He's raw, but a 7'9" wingspan and impressive mobility will intrigue Sam Presti, whose weakest position is arguably center.
12. Philadelphia 76ers: C.J. McCollum, PG/SG, Lehigh
The 76ers obviously have Jrue Holiday, who will be entrenched at the point guard position for a long time in Philadelphia.
But in addition to being able to handle the ball, McCollum can play off it—he's an electric, versatile scorer from either position.
For a Sixers team in desperate need of another scorer, this makes plenty of sense.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
In 32 games for Gonzaga this season, Olynyk averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 rebounds. He shot 62.9 percent from the field, 77.6 percent from the line and 52 percent on two-point jumpers.
He's 7'0", 238 pounds, and was one of the most efficient (third in America in points per 40, fourth in points per shot) offensive players in America. His defense leaves a little bit to be desired, but the combination of size and versatility screams lottery pick.
14. Utah Jazz: Michael Carter-Williams, PG, Syracuse
Say hello to this year's Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
Carter-Williams' Jekyll side will tell you that he is the best distributor (7.2 assists per game), has unreal vision, can be a hound on defense (2.8 steals) and has rare size (6'6") for a point guard.
His Hyde side, however, saw him turn the ball over 3.4 times per contest, shoot 29.4 percent from deep and make countless bone-headed decisions.
At No. 14, he's a risk worth taking for the Jazz, who need a point guard.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Bucks could quite possibly lose Monta Ellis, Brandon Jennings and J.J. Redick this summer.
As such, focusing on the backcourt wouldn't be the worst idea in the world—and Caldwell-Pope is quickly skyrocketing his way up draft boards (via ESPN's Chad Ford):
Chad Ford @chadfordinsider
New Big Board is here. Nerlens Noel still No. 1. CJ McCollum & Caldwell-Pope rising. http://t.co/z1sNNk0h6P (insider)5/2/2013, 4:16:03 PM
The former Georgia star has NBA size (6'5", 205 pounds) and the ability to score in bunches.
16. Boston Celtics: Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
The Celtics need a center to eventually replace Kevin Garnett, and I'm not so sure Jared Sullinger—who is more of a 4—or Fab Melo are the guys to do the job.
As such, Dieng, who is an elite defender at 6'11" (7'6" wingspan) and 245 pounds with terrific passing ability, a budding back-to-the-basket game and solid mid-range jumper, is a no-brainer at this spot in the first round.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas
From one center capable of contributing right away to the next, Withey is an elite shot-blocker who proved to be more than just an offensive liability in his final season at Kansas.
The Hawks will see almost their entire frontcourt—Josh Smith, Zaza Pachulia, Johan Petro and Anthony Tolliver—hit free agency this summer, making Withey a logical addition.
18. Atlanta Hawks (From Houston Rockets): Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece
There are few players in this draft more enticing that Grecian Giannis Adetokunbo. His highlight videos are downright fun to watch, but Draft Express' Jonathan Givony gives us a look at an entire game:
Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress
Here's a full game of Giannis Adetokunbo in the Greek U18 Playoff Finals from this week: http://t.co/w1bZ0LKT6T - What do you think?5/2/2013, 10:21:00 PM
Adetokunbo has size that suggests he's an NBA small forward (6'9", 196 pounds), but the ball-handling and athletic ability to suggest he can play a little bit of the 1.
I have a feeling as we get closer to June, the 18-year-old will only be moving up draft boards.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (From Miami Heat, Swap With Los Angeles Lakers): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
What exactly do the Cavs want to do with Anderson Varejao? There was lots of talk of trading him after his scorching start to this season, but his injury quickly put a halt to that.
Should they go that route again, adding some frontcourt depth would be vital.
Adams is a project (he played just 23.4 minutes per game with Pittsburgh), but he's a solid rebounder (62nd in America in rebounding percentage), terrific defender (51st in block percentage) and burgeoning offensive game.
20. Chicago Bulls: Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Jimmy Butler has emerged as a clear-cut starter for Chicago, but Richard Hamilton and Marco Belinelli could both be out the door when free agency hits.
Not only does Franklin add backcourt depth, but he's a versatile athlete (led San Diego State in points, rebounds, assists and steals per game, and was second in blocks) who can be a great defender at the next level.
21. Utah Jazz (From Golden State Warriors): Tony Mitchell, SF/PF, North Texas
The combine and pre-draft workouts may not be as important to anyone in this draft as they will be to Mitchell.
An athletic forward with drool-worthy tools, the former 5-star recruit had an incredibly disappointing year with North Texas, but good workouts will remind everyone why he was projected to be lottery pick back in November.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Dario Saric, SF, Croatia
The Nets have next to nothing (Jerry Stackhouse, Andray Blatche) scheduled to come off the books for the 2013-14 season, so expect this pick to be used on the future.
The 19-year-old Saric is a prospect, through and through. He has intriguing physical attributes and a nice feel for the game, but his jump shot and defense still need work, meaning he may be a year or two away from playing in the NBA.
23. Indiana Pacers: Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
Shane Larkin is only 5'11", 162 pounds, but he's an electric playmaker with big-time ability and unrivaled quickness. He would serve as an intriguing change-of-pace backup to George Hill, as D.J. Augstin is expected to hit free agency.
24. New York Knicks: Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany
Schroeder is right there in the mix with Larkin. He is only 19, but he's lightning fast, is adept in the pick-and-roll and can be an annoying on-ball defender.
His performance at the Nike Hoop Summit quickly put him on the map:
The Knicks should be building for the future, and Schroeder is the perfect way to do it.
25. Minnesota Timberwolves (From Memphis Grizzlies): Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Minnesota Timberwolves played Luke Ridnour and Alexey Shved at the 2 for most of the season.
Shved still has some potential, but it's apparent that Saunders needs to add some depth at the shooting guard position.
Crabbe has ideal size (6'6", 205 pounds) and is a terrific, smooth shooter—especially coming off screens. He could do a significant amount of damage next to Ricky Rubio.
26. Los Angeles Clippers: C.J. Leslie, PF, North Carolina State
Maybe this is just my subconscious telling me that I want to see C.J. Leslie play with the alley-oop-happy Los Angeles Clippers.
There's no question about the former NC State star's talent level—he has a 7'1" wingspan and trampoline athleticism. Unfortunately, he hasn't always produced with consistency or brought the same level of intensity.
Nevertheless, those physical gifts will be difficult to pass up in what is regarded as a weak draft.
27. Denver Nuggets: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
Much like Leslie, Hardaway has been plagued with inconsistency during his career at Michigan.
Still, he has an intriguing combo of size, athleticism and pedigree, and when he gets it going from the outside, he is tough to stop offensively.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Sergey Karasev, SF, Russia
Karasev was another international prospect who impressed at the Nike Hoop Summit:
The Spurs don't need much help now, but if they land Karasev, there's a solid chance it will look a steal in a year or two after the 19-year-old continues to develop.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Erick Green, PG/SG, Virginia Tech
Kevin Martin could be departing this summer, opening up room on the pine for an instant-offense-type player.
Coincidentally enough, there are few other ways to describe Virginia Tech's Erick Green.
The 6'4" combo guard averaged 25.0 points per game (first in the country) on 47.5 percent shooting. He knocked down almost two threes per game and got to the free-throw line an amazing 8.3 times per contest.
He can absolutely fill it up.
30. Phoenix Suns (From Los Angeles Lakers): Andre Roberson, SF/PF, Colorado
Roberson tops my list of underrated players in this draft. Most see him as a middle second-round pick, but I wouldn't let him fall out of the first round.
The former Buffalo is only 6'7", so it's unlikely he'll fit at power forward, but he is a high-energy player who is impossible to keep off the glass and has the athleticism to be dominant defensively.
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