NBA Mock Draft 2013: Smart Strategies for Every NBA Team

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMay 15, 2013

Every general manager attempts to make smart picks in the NBA draft, although not all of them succeed.

Players drafted highly who do not pan out can set a team back for years. However, one great pick can turn around an entire franchise. This puts a lot of pressure on organizations picking early in the draft.

While this class does not have many potential superstars, there are a lot of players who can make a big impact at the next level. This means there are plenty of great options for every team picking in the first round.

Here is a look at the best selections for every squad in the draft.


1. Orlando Magic: Ben McLemore, SG, Kansas

While Nerlens Noel has a chance to become an impact player, Ben McLemore could be the leading scorer on a good team. He has the shooting ability, quickness and athleticism to average close to 20 points per game in the NBA.

For a team that needs a boost of excitement, the guard would be a great selection.


2. Charlotte Bobcats: Nerlens Noel, PF, Kentucky

Any team that drafts Nerlens Noel will need to hope that he can develop some offensive game to match his defensive abilities.

The good news is that, at the very least, he will be an elite defender with his skill as a shot-blocker. If he puts on a little weight, he could be one of the better post men in the league. 


3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, SF, Georgetown

Despite the poor record, Cleveland has quietly been putting together a very good lineup of young players. The biggest need remaining is at small forward.

Otto Porter is someone who will help in a number of areas to make this team better right away. He is a good shooter and scorer who will complement the guards on the roster. He is also unselfish and is capable of being productive without getting points.

As a strong defender, he can also match up with the other team's best player and take him out of the game.

Porter is someone who will fill up every category of the box score and will certainly help his next team win a lot of games.


4. Phoenix Suns: Victor Oladipo, SG, Indiana

With size, strength and athleticism, Victor Oladipo is the best on-ball defender in the entire class. However, he also showed this season that he is capable of producing on the offensive end as well.

The guard was not always aggressive with the ball, but he made 59.9 percent of his shots, including 44.1 percent from behind the arc, and he will be a starter in the league for a long time. 


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

After Greivis Vasquez had a breakout season at point guard, New Orleans can shift its focus to finding more scoring. Eric Gordon is solid when healthy, although that is not very often nowadays.

Shabazz Muhammad is not the most complete player, but he knows how to put the ball in the basket, which will help the 25th best scoring offense in the league.


6. Sacramento Kings: Anthony Bennett, PF, UNLV

Last offseason, the Kings drafted Thomas Robinson to be the power forward of the future, but the team gave up on him quickly and traded him to the Houston Rockets. 

The results should be better this time around if they draft Anthony Bennett. He is a very versatile player who is a bit undersized for the position but has a good motor and a solid outside shot that will help him succeed.


7. Detroit Pistons: Trey Burke, PG, Michigan

Trey Burke showed this past season that he can do anything necessary to help his team win games. He will not let his short stature stop him from continuing this in the NBA.

Detroit could then keep Brandon Knight off the ball and have a nice corps of young players along with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond. 


8. Washington Wizards: Alex Len, C, Maryland

The fact that Alex Len will miss time after undergoing ankle surgery is not a big problem. He will be drafted for his long-term potential instead of his immediate impact. In fact, it is more encouraging to know that his injury reduced his effectiveness for much of the college basketball season at Maryland.

Still, he has the tools and the height at 7'1" to be a big part of the future for the Wizards.


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

C.J. McCollum can score points as well as anyone in the class. He is a great shooter and has the ability to run the point if needed. Of course, that is a non-issue if he is selected by the Timberwolves.

Instead, he can be a go-to scorer on a team that could use someone who can spread the floor.


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

Portland not only needs depth in the frontcourt, but it needs size after using the 6'9" J.J. Hickson at center for much of the year.

Cody Zeller brings that height with an ability to run the floor well and finish around the basket as well as any big man in the class. 


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

Thanks mostly to the absence of Andrew Bynum, the 76ers received very little production in the low post. However, there are talented backcourt players on the roster who could allow this team to do well if it had help down low.

This could cause Philadelphia to draft someone who can help right away rather than a riskier prospect.

Mason Plumlee might not be the most versatile player, but what he does, he does well. He is an excellent rebounder, has good athleticism and can score extremely well around the basket. 

This type of player can make a huge difference for Philadelphia going into next season.


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

Unlike many teams drafting in the lottery, Oklahoma City does not have major needs. However, it could really use more depth in the frontcourt, especially someone who can contribute on the offensive end.

Kelly Olynyk is someone who can keep up with the pace of the Thunder and find a way to produce points either around the basket or behind the arc. 


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

Dallas needs a point guard of the future, and Michael Carter-Williams is the second-best point guard in this class. His size at 6'6" will allow him to translate his skills directly to the NBA and should be able to rack up a ton of assists on this squad.

The only question is if he can improve his shooting numbers from this past season.


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

With good, young players ready to step up in the frontcourt, the Jazz need perimeter help to balance out the attack. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was inconsistent in college, but he has the tools to be a good shooting guard in the NBA.


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

Jamaal Franklin is an excellent slasher who knows how to get points around the basket, and he has a good enough motor to rebounder better than his size would indicate.

While his shooting numbers leave a lot to be desired, he has the ability to overcome this issue with his other talents. 


16. Boston Celtics: Rudy Gobert, PF, France

Rudy Gobert is 7'1" and has a 7'9" wingspan. Combine this with very good athleticism, and there is a very good chance the forward makes an impact at some point in the future.

Boston now has that ability to be patient and wait for this to happen.


17. Atlanta Hawks: Dario Saric, PF, Croatia

It would not be surprising to see Dario Saric go in the lottery due to his huge upside. He is 6'10" and can handle the ball like a point guard. On the other hand, he is incredibly raw and might not be able to contribute for a few years.

While other teams might pass on this opportunity, the Hawks should not. 


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

Like Saric, Tony Mitchell has the tools to be a great player but has not shown that all at once.

The North Texas star had an awful season for a terrible team and actually regressed from last year. Still, his athleticism alone will keep him high on draft boards as he has the ability to contribute somewhere down the line.


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

Gorgui Dieng might make more sense for a team that needs immediate help, but the good interior defender has also shown plenty of promise on the offensive end if given the chance to succeed.

With Cleveland, he could get plenty of minutes while improving his overall game. In a few years, he could be a very good starting center who is a regular double-double threat. 

He knows how to play with quick guards, and he would fit in well in both the long- and short- term with the Cavaliers. 


20. Chicago Bulls: Allen Crabbe, SG, California

Chicago has dealt with injuries all year, but, even when healthy, the team could use additional scorers from the outside. Allen Crabbe is one of the better shooters in the class and should be able to help this contending team right away next season.


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

While Mo Williams had a solid year at point guard for the Jazz, he is far from being the team's long-term solution at the position.

Dennis Schroeder was impressive at the Nike Hoops Summit and showed he has the tools to be a legitimate starter in the NBA.


22. Brooklyn Nets: Jeff Withey, C, Kansas

Brooklyn is in need of impact players who can contribute right away and help the team advance deep into the playoffs. Jeff Withey is as good of an option as you will get at this point as someone who should be in a rotation next season.

He is one of the best low-post defenders in the class, and his shot-blocking ability will be very valuable to a Nets squad that needs someone besides Brook Lopez to contribute on that end of the court.


23. Indiana Pacers: Giannis Adetokunbo, SF, Greece

The Pacers would not be opposed to adding depth that could help right away, but the team has the ability to grab more of a long-term prospect to help the future.

Giannis Adetokunbo is very young and has not shown much against good competition. Still, his ability to score would help any professional team. If he reaches his potential, Indiana will be glad it took a chance on him.


24. New York Knicks: Sergey Karasev, SG, Russia

Of all the international players available, Sergey Karasev will probably be the first person to contribute at a high level.

The Russian is an excellent shooter from deep and would fit in perfectly with the Knicks' style of play. They certainly need someone on the roster without an AARP card.  


25. Los Angeles Clippers: Archie Goodwin, SG, Kentucky

There were not a lot of memorable moments from this past season with Kentucky. It is also likely true that Archie Goodwin only declared for the draft because he would not get much playing time next season.

However, none of that takes away from the fact that he has a lot of talent as a shooting guard.

Even in a bad year, Goodwin showed an ability to create his own shot as well as be a good on-ball defender.

Los Angeles could use help in both of these areas, and the guard would be a solid bench player early in his career.


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

The Timberwolves could use perimeter scorers, and Reggie Bullock fits that profile well. He has the size to make his shot difficult to defend and the consistency to make it when he is open.

Although he lacks a ton of upside, his relatively high floor makes him a safe selection for this improving team.


27. Denver Nuggets: Steven Adams, C, Pittsburgh

There will likely be a team that takes a chance on Steven Adams earlier in the first round, but that would be a mistake. The center is way too raw to contribute and should have spent at least another year in college.

On the other hand, the Nuggets have enough depth to keep him on the roster for a few years and hope he develops into the center that scouts thought he could be coming out of high school.


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

San Antonio always seems to get talented players at the end of the first round that the rest of the league simply forgot about. While Tim Hardaway Jr. has his faults, his shooting ability and athleticism should allow him to contribute in a hurry.

The shooting guard will also provide some youth to a team that desperately needs it.


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

Even though Russell Westbrook is not going anywhere, the Thunder need a true point guard who can distribute the ball to his teammates. 

Shane Larkin would be a great backup as someone who can step in and keep the offense going when the starter needs a break.


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

Deshaun Thomas is a bit of a one-trick pony, but that trick is something that the Suns need. Thomas is a talented scorer who led the Big Ten with 19.5 points per game this season.

Although he will not be as successful in the NBA due to a lack of athleticism, Phoenix could use anyone who can make shots on a consistent basis. 


Don’t forget to catch the 2013 NBA Draft Combine action on Thursday, May 16th and Friday, May 17th. The event will be broadcast both days from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. ET on ESPNU and 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET on ESPN 2. For re-airs of the NBA Combine, NBATV will be airing Day 1 coverage on Saturday, May 18, at 12 p.m. ET. Day 2 replays will be Sunday, May 19th, at 12 p.m. ET.


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