NBA Mock Draft 2013: Brilliant Moves for Every NBA Franchise

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 8, 2013

Whether a general manager is looking to improve the roster for next season or for the future, it is important to pick the right players in the NBA draft.

This year's class features few safe selections as teams will be forced to take more risks. There are plenty of players with loads of potential, although not all of them will reach expectations.

Still, there are players available that could help every franchise in this draft. Here are the best selections from each team's perspective in the first round.


1. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

The Orlando Magic had some players who stood out, especially toward the end of the season. However, the squad could use help in a number of areas.

Ben McLemore might be behind Nerlens Noel on a lot of boards, but you know what you are going to get out of him. He is a pure scorer that knows how to get points in a number of different ways, and he should immediately become a go-to player on the Magic.

After losing Dwight Howard before the season, Orlando cannot afford to miss with this pick. The shooting guard is a safe option and should be able to bring a new level of excitement to the fans.


2. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, PF, Kentucky

Nerlens Noel has the length, athleticism and instincts to be a great shot-blocker in the NBA. While the rest of his game still has room for development, teams should at least feel comfortable in this one attribute being above average.

He would provide a great improvement to one of the worst defenses in basketball last year.


3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

This would be an absolute perfect fit for the Cavaliers if he is available. Otto Porter does a little bit of everything to make his team better, and his contributions are seen all over the court.

Cleveland has a bunch of talented players already in place on the roster, and the Georgetown star can bring them all together. 


4. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

While Victor Oladipo might never be a star in the NBA, there is little doubt he will play a huge role on whichever team is lucky enough to grab him.

The guard is an elite defender and can hit open shots on offense. This combination will keep him in the league for a long time. 


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

Many people are clamoring for New Orleans to draft a point guard, but Greivis Vasquez had more assists than anyone else in the NBA last season.

Instead, the Pelicans will be better off by grabbing an elite scorer that could either play with Eric Gordon or instead of him as he nurses yet another injury. Shabazz Muhammad might be one-dimensional at this point, but he is still very good at putting the ball in the basket.


6. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

Anthony Bennett might be one of the more versatile players in the draft. He is strong and athletic enough to score down low, but he also has the shooting ability and the handle to play on the perimeter.

The Kings need help at both small forward and power forward, and this pick could solve either problem.


7. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Trey Burke was the most impressive player in college basketball this season, and he should be able to overcome his lack of size to be a great NBA player as well. 

The point guard does everything you could need from the position. He can drive to the lane and score near the basket, he can shoot from outside or he can find open shots for teammates.

With the Pistons, Burke could allow Brandon Knight to move off the ball where he is more comfortable, and the two would combine to make one of the better young backcourts in the league.

Plus, Detroit fans would likely enjoy rooting for the Michigan man after his local success over the past couple of years.


8. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C, Maryland

This could be one of the more high-upside picks in the draft, as Alex Len has shown plenty of raw skill in his two years at Maryland.

Washington needs young help in the frontcourt, and the center could pair with John Wall and Bradley Beal for years to come if all goes well.


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

Minnesota is a much better team when healthy, but it could still use a big-time scorer in the backcourt. C.J. McCollum showed he could be that player after an impressive career at Lehigh.

Based on the success of Damian Lillard this past season, teams should no longer be afraid to grab small-school players. 


10. Portland Trail Blazers: Cody Zeller, C, Indiana

Even if J.J. Hickson decides to remain with the team, Portland still needs a great deal of depth in the frontcourt. Cody Zeller has the size to be a true center and contribute on both ends of the court right away.


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

As an elite rebounder with good athleticism and a strong touch around the basket, Mason Plumlee is certain to make a quick impact in the NBA. 

Philadelphia had very little production in the low post last season, and it could use someone who knows what it takes to play basketball at a high level. 


12. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Toronto Raptors): Kelly Olynyk, C, Gonzaga

While Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are as good as they come in the NBA, the Thunder could use another player that can score points and take some of the pressure off these two.

Kelly Olynyk is one of the better offensive players in the class as someone who can create his own shot from either inside or outside. Additionally, his ability to run the floor will fit in well with this fast-paced offense.


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

Dallas needs a point guard and Michael Carter-Williams is the best one available. He has great size at 6'6" and uses it well to either create his own shot in the lane or find others.

He might struggle to adjust back to man-to-man defense after playing zone at Syracuse, but he should be fine in time. 


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

It is unknown if veteran players Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson will be with the team next year, but the club still wants to get a look at young players Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter.

This leaves an opening for a perimeter scorer like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Although the guard can be a bit inconsistent, there are few better when he is hitting his shots.


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

There are some split opinions about Jamaal Franklin. At 6'5", he might be too small to play the wing, although he is not a good enough shooter to be a guard.

However, the San Diego State star has plenty to offer whichever NBA team decides to draft him.

He is a great slasher and knows how to get points without forcing jump shots. He is also a very good rebounder who plays bigger than his listed height.

A smart coach will be able to find a place for Franklin at the next level, and he should excel in the right situation.


16. Boston Celtics: Rudy Gobert, PF, France

Whether Kevin Garnett has played his last game with the Celtics or not, he does not have many years remaining with the team. 

Rudy Gobert is the type of long-term prospect with skill and athleticism that could eventually take over and become a star in Boston for a long time.


17. Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric, PF, Croatia

Of all the international prospects, none of them have as much upside as Dario Saric. The 6'10" forward has great handle and has the ability to run the point if needed, although he is better suited off the ball.

He is still very inconsistent at this point of his career, but he can be an All-Star if he reaches his potential.


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

Tony Mitchell is one of the more risky prospects in the class after having an awful year for North Texas. However, his athleticism is almost unmatched in this draft.

Between Saric and Mitchell, the Hawks would double the chance that one of these boom-or-bust prospects pans out. 


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

Gorgui Dieng has been known as a great defender throughout his college career, but he showed plenty of potential on the offensive end in his final year at Louisville.

Cleveland could use his defensive skill immediately and hope he develops more in the next few years.


20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California

When Derrick Rose returns, Chicago will once again be one of the top contenders in the league. This could cause the squad to grab a prospect that could help right away.

Allen Crabbe is one of the better shooters in the class and would provide positive minutes in his first year with the Bulls.


21. Utah Jazz (from Golden State Warriors): Dennis Schroeder, PG, Germany

Dennis Schroeder impressed scouts at the Nike Hoop Summit with his quickness and court vision, and he has likely played himself into the first round of the NBA draft.

He can be a long-term answer at point guard for a team that has been only mediocre at the position for the past couple of seasons.


22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

Brooklyn could use depth in the frontcourt, and Jeff Withey would be the perfect fit if he is still on the board.

You know what you are going to get out of the Kansas star. He will block shots and get the occasional dunk, and this should be enough for him to be a nice contributor at the next level. 

Withey is one of the safest selections in the draft, and many times that is smarter than taking someone with higher upside.


23. Indiana Pacers: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece

The Pacers have enough depth to take a chance on a long-term prospect and hope he eventually becomes a big-time player.

Giannis Adetokunbo is likely a few years away from being able to contribute, but Indiana does not have much room for a rookie right now anyway.


24. New York Knicks: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky

John Calipari's players are usually regarded well enough to be taken early in the lottery, although there are none of those this year. Still, Archie Goodwin is better than Kentucky's season would indicate.

The guard showed that he can create his own shot and be a high-volume scorer if needed, which would help the Knicks get even more depth heading into next season.


25. Los Angeles Clippers: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia

Unlike many of the other international players, Sergey Karasev is likely ready to contribute right away next season.

The Russian guard has a great outside shot and should be able to help the Clippers get to the next step in the young team's development. 


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

Minnesota does not have many outside scoring threats on the roster. It needs someone to catch the crazy passes from Ricky Rubio and finish with a basket.

Reggie Bullock can shoot well and has enough size to get the ball off, even against good defenses. While he might not be a starter at the next level, he should be a solid rotational guy.


27. Denver Nuggets: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

Teams that need help right away should shy away from Steven Adams. The big man looked incredibly raw in his only season at Pittsburgh and obviously has a long way to go before he can help on either side of the court.

Fortunately, Denver has enough contributors on the roster already that it can wait for the young player to develop and hope for the best.


28. San Antonio Spurs: Tim Hardaway Jr., SG, Michigan

Tim Hardaway Jr. was a big-time scorer on one of the better teams in college basketball, which is certainly worth something. He played at a high level almost every night and showed an ability to get points in a number of ways.

Plus, the guard would showcase his athleticism at times by finishing huge dunks over defenders in the lane.

The Michigan star does not have the handle that his father did and can sometimes take ill-advised shots, but he could succeed at the next level in the right role.

With the Spurs, he could infuse some youth to an aging roster and help the contending team right away.


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

Reggie Jackson has played as well as Oklahoma City could have hoped while filling in for Russell Westbrook, but he is not a true point guard. In fact, there is no one on the roster that looks to pass the ball first.

Shane Larkin would be a great bench player as someone who can find teammates or score himself if he is left open.


30. Phoenix Suns (from Miami Heat): Deshaun Thomas, SF, Ohio State

Deshaun Thomas is someone who will do his best to put points on the board. He might not always do it in the most efficient way possible, but he will score if given the chance.

Phoenix struggled to do that last year and could do worse than grabbing an experienced played like this at the end of the first round.



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