2013 NBA Mock Draft: Latest Landing Spots for Most Buzzed-About Stars
The NBA draft is around the corner, with the next wave of NBA talent ready to figure out which teams they will be joining. Franchises will be changed in a variety of ways based on how they handle their draft selections.
There is a lot of talent in this draft class, but there isn't a slam-dunk top pick. That might have been Nerlens Noel before his knee injury, but now the door is open for a number of different players to be selected first overall.
Here is a look at where the most buzzed-about players will land, with special emphasis placed on players in italics (draft order subject to change).
1. Orlando Magic (20-62): Trey Burke, PG, Michigan
While Nerlens Neol will tempt the Magic, they desperately need a point guard. They have a solid young center in Nikola Vucevic and have gotten good production at power forward from Glen Davis and Andrew Nicholson. With a better point guard, the Magic would once again have a sense of direction following the Dwight Howard trade.
Burke may not be the best player in the draft, but he's close enough to Noel and Ben McLemore to justify selecting him. Burke showed throughout the NCAA tournament that his impact goes behind the stat sheet. He's a tremendous leader who will instantly improve this basketball team.
2. Charlotte Bobcats (21-61): Nerlens Noel, PF, Kentucky
Noel is a perfect fit for the Bobcats, who are once again near the bottom of the league. With Kemba Walker and Noel as the centerpieces, the Bobcats would finally have some attractive pieces to build around.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers (24-58): Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown
Another strong fit, Porter to the Cavaliers just makes sense. With Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters at the guard spots, the Cavaliers don't need a strong scoring presence but rather a player who can do it all. Porter isn't great at anything, but he does everything.
4. Phoenix Suns (25-57): Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas
The Suns desperately need to add some scoring this offseason and should have a chance to do that with the fourth pick. McLemore is a dominant wingman that can both shoot and drive to the hoop. He adds some much-needed athleticism to the Suns.
5. New Orleans Pelicans (27-55): Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV
The Pelicans have Anthony Davis, but adding Bennett to the mix as well gives them a strong presence down low. This pick is simply taking the best player available and trying to build up their big stable of big men.
6. Sacramento Kings (28-54): Cody Zeller, C, Indiana
The Kings' status for next season seems set, but either way, the team is getting a new ownership group. The smartest thing to do is to add a polished center that can be a piece of the puzzle regardless of how they deal with the rest of the roster.
Zeller's size and fundamentals should help him make a smooth adjustment to the NBA. With so much change coming to the organization, Zeller should be a constant for years to come. Adding Zeller would allow the Kings to separate themselves from Demarcus Cousins.
7. Detroit Pistons (29-53): Michael Carter-Williams, SG, Syracuse
The Pistons have some pieces in Brandon Knight and Greg Monroe, but they need some athletic players on the wing. Carter-Williams gives them a replacement for the role that Tayshaun Prince used to have with the team.
8. Washington Wizards (29-53): Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana
The Wizards having scoring guards in John Wall and Bradley Beal, but the value with Oladipo is too good to pass up. Oladipo proved during his time at Indiana that he plays bigger than his 6'4", 214-pound frame.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves (31-51): Shabazz Muhammad, SF, UCLA
After a terribly disappointing year filled with various injuries to many players, the Timberwolves return most of their pieces. They are a talented bunch but will get even more talented with Muhammad in the mix. The big wing man should contribute right away with his smooth game.
10. Portland Trail Blazers (33-49): Alex Len, C, Maryland
The Blazers need a center to pair with their strong core. This team is ready for a playoff run next season, but they need an impact from a big man to replace J.J. Hickson. Playing out of position, Hickson piled up double-doubles but lacked the defensive skills the Blazers needed.
11. Philadelphia 76ers (34-48): C.J. McCollum, SG, Lehigh
Nick Young and Jason Richardson combined for solid minutes at the shooting guard position, but the 76ers could use a younger player there. McCollum has tons of potential to be a successful combo guard in the Pistons offense. Defensively, he's solid as well.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto Raptors (38-44): Mason Plumlee, PF, Duke
The Thunder don't need another scoring guard or forward—they need a big man to take up space on both ends of the court. With Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant taking up the majority of the offense from the outside, the Thunder could benefit from a big man to clog up the middle and take attention off of them.
Plumlee's size should allow him to acclimate quickly to the NBA and contribute right away. He is sound fundamentally with his offensive game, but his biggest impact will be felt defensively, as he can take pressure off Serge Ibaka and Kendrick Perkins.
13. Dallas Mavericks (41-41): Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh
Chris Kaman is a free agent this summer and the Mavericks would be better off going to a rookie center to fill the role. Steven Adams is very raw, but he has a ton of potential to be a great center for years to come. He's got the size at 6'11" and the power needed to be an NBA center.
14. Utah Jazz (43-39): Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG, Georgia
The Jazz have a ton of flexibility this offseason with only a few players under contract heading into next season. They can afford to grab the best player and hope he pans out. At this point, Caldwell-Pope has a ton of potential as an all-around scorer.
15. Milwaukee Bucks (38-44): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga
After trading Andrew Bogut last season, the Bucks still need a big man to fill the middle of the floor. Larry Sanders was great last season and can be moved to power forward. A combination of Olynyk and Sanders would give the Bucks great power down low.
16. Boston Celtics (41-40): Rudy Gobert, C, France
As of now, the Celtics are banking on Fab Melo or Jared Sullinger becoming the center of the future. Neither player has fully looked up to the part and the Celtics should move to get another player in the mix. Gobert has nice athleticism for his size and would great running the floor alongside Rajon Rondo.
17. Atlanta Hawks (44-38): Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky
The Hawks' only true shooting guard on their roster is John Jenkins. He played in a total of four games last season. Adding Goodwin gives them another athletic player whom they can throw into the mix of Jeff Teague and Devin Harris at guard. Goodwin is strong with the basketball and easily gets to the basket because of his athleticism.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Brooklyn and Houston): Gorgui Dieng, C, Louisville
In addition to getting another scoring option, the Hawks should add a strong, powerful center. Dieng was vital to Louisville's title run, as he added a shot-blocking threat in the middle of the floor. The Hawks have Al Horford, but without any other big men signed for 2013-14, they need another option.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via L.A. Lakers): Jeff Whithey, C, Kansas
The Cavaliers have one of the brightest young rosters on paper but remain toward the bottom of the league standings. After getting a talented, lengthy small forward earlier in the round, the Cavaliers should look to beef up at the center position. While Anderson Varejao has been great for them, he's struggled with injuries.
Adding Whithey gives them some relief in the case of another injury to Varejao and provides solid depth. Tyler Zeller showed some potential down the stretch, but adding Whithey would make sense should the Cavaliers get something from the backup center position, whether it's Whithey or Zeller.
20. Chicago Bulls (45-37): Allen Crabbe, SG, California
The Bulls have a tremendous need at the shooting guard position as they've had to rely on Kirk Hinrich. They need a true shooting guard who can knock down shots after Derrick Rose penetrates and sucks in defenders. Crabbe is a smooth shooter who is capable of getting hot from the outside while also being able to drive to the basket.
21. Utah Jazz (via Brooklyn and Golden State): Jamaal Franklin, SG, San Diego State
Franklin could turn out to be a huge steal for the Utah Jazz. This pick could also turn out to be a huge mistake for the Jazz. They need playmakers on offense in order to allow some of their more expensive players to leave via free agency. Adding two shooting guards is risky, but the Jazz need the weapons.
22. Brooklyn Nets (49-33): Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia
The Nets could use another scoring option who can back up Joe Johnson at the shooting guard position. Karasev is more than capable of knocking down shots with his smooth jumper. Putting him on the wing with Deron Williams driving and kicking him the ball would be lethal for the Nets.
23. Indiana Pacers (49-32): Giannis Adetokoubo, SF/PF, Greece
The Pacers are in a position of having great overall depth on their team. Paul George is emerging as a star among the talented core. Adding a strong forward would be a huge help to the team should they lose David West in free agency. Adetokoubo can play various positions with his sweet mixture of size and athleticism.
24. New York Knicks (54-28): Tony Mitchell, SF/PF, North Texas
Coming from a small school, Mitchell didn't play against the best players in college basketball, but his size should translate well to the NBA. He's a strong slasher that is capable of taking the ball to the basket just as easily as he knocks down shots from outside. The aging Knicks need some more athleticism to pair with Carmelo Anthony, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert.
25. L.A. Clippers Clippers (56-26): Erick Green, PG, Virginia Tech
The Clippers could be in trouble this summer should Chris Paul decide he wants to play elsewhere. While it's unlikely, free agency can lead to anything happening. The Clippers still have Eric Bledsoe, but if Paul is brought back, Bledsoe's a tradeable asset. It'd be smart for the Clippers to bring in another point guard as a safety net for this summer.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Houston and Memphis): Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan
After grabbing Muhammad with their first pick in the draft, the Timberwolves should look to grab another young scorer. Hardaway has the potential to be a solid player at the next level, but he needs to improve his overall consistency and work on his ball-handling skills.
If he is able to improve his game, Hardaway is another potential late-round steal. With very few players signed past next season, the Timberwolves should look to get as many young options as they can. Hardaway presents them with a low-risk, high-reward pickup late in the draft.
27. Denver Nuggets (57-25): DeShaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State
Thomas is a great fit for George Karl's team. He has great length and plays solid defense, which will fit in well amongst Denver's roster. His overall effort level and ability to run the floor would be a joy to watch with this team.
28. San Antonio Spurs (58-24): Lucas Nogueira, C, Brazil
The Spurs may not bring back Tiago Splitter and DuJaun Blair is headed to free agency. That means a hole in the center of the floor next to Tim Duncan. The Spurs love their foreign players and adding the Brazilian Noguiera could be great for them down the road.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder (60-22): Shane Larkin, PG, Miami
By trading Eric Maynor to Portland at the trade deadline, the Thunder left a sizable hole behind Russell Westbrook. They are paying the price right now in the playoffs with Reggie Jackson as their starting point guard. Shane Larkin offers the Thunder another athletic option to put alongside Kevin Durant.
30. Phoenix Suns (via L.A. Lakers and Cleveland and Miami): C.J. Leslie, PF, NC State
The Suns have holes all over the court and simply need to take the best player available at the end of the round. At this point, that's C.J. Leslie. The strong power forward has tremendous athleticism and plays hard on both ends of the floor. He's a strong all-around player who makes his impact felt in a number of ways.
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