2013 NBA Mock Draft: Pre-Lottery Edition
With the NBA combine wrapped up, we've updated our latest mock draft to reflect the results. This will be the last mock until the NBA lottery is conducted on Tuesday, May 21, when we'll have a better idea of the actual draft order.
Some of the prospects shone at the combine. A few actually moved the needle, which rarely ever budges during an event like this one.
Between measurements, athletic testing and simple drills, scouts and decision-makers were able to get a look at the field standing side by side.
1. Orlando Magic: Nerlens Noel, Kentucky, 6'11'', C
The ice under Nerlens Noel is getting thinner by the day.
Speaking of thin, Noel weighed in at just 206 pounds at the NBA combine. This number raised some eyebrows, though it's still unclear how it will affect Orlando's stance.
Fortunately for Noel, there aren't many threatening challengers. Trey Burke would be the guy to watch out for, but depending on whom you speak to, some scouts and general managers might have been turned off by his below-average agility score.
Despite not being able to work out, Noel is likely to impress during interviews, while his rehab seems to be going smoothly. Until we hear otherwise, he's going to stay at No. 1 on our board to Orlando, though that could change with the lottery rapidly approaching.
2. Charlotte Bobcats: Anthony Bennett, UNLV, 6'7'', SF/PF
Without too many attractive options, the Charlotte Bobcats might be inclined to go with the guy who has the most NBA upside.
Anthony Bennett won't be able to work out for teams after undergoing surgery on his shoulder, but that shouldn't affect the way teams view him as a long-term prospect.
Ben McLemore will be another name for Charlotte to consider, though he doesn't give the Bobcats the offensive mismatch they'll be looking for. Bennett is an explosive force with the versatility to beat 3s on the perimeter and overpower 4s inside.
There's no more risk in taking Bennett with a short-term injury than there is in taking McLemore, whose inability to create and disappearing act in the NCAA tournament could be viewed as potential red flags.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers: Otto Porter, Georgetown, 6'9'', SF
Otto Porter and the Cleveland Cavaliers are a perfect draft-day match. Porter registered solid measurements and athletic testing numbers and raises little concern in terms of making the transition.
His ability to score, pass, rebound and defend will provide some versatility to a lineup that needs better overall balance.
He's a safe pick in a draft filled with loads of uncertainty. Think Tayshaun Prince.
4. Phoenix Suns: Ben McLemore, Kansas, 6'5", SG
Ben McLemore Pro-Player Comparison
Ben McLemore's 42" vertical was his combine highlight, though nobody had really ever questioned his athleticism. He's a high-flier who can light it up from 26 feet away, possessing a blend of strengths you rarely see.
McLemore is likely to be a target for Phoenix considering how few offensive weapons are in that rotation.
Anthony Bennett is also likely to be targeted, though it wouldn't be surprising if Charlotte pulled the trigger first.
5. New Orleans Pelicans: Trey Burke, Michigan, 6'1'', PG
Depending on how much stock you put in these athletic tests, Trey Burke either came out a winner at the combine or a loser.
Skeptics were quick to point out Burke's 11.2 agility time, which ranked in the bottom half of the point-guard group. Some see that as a red flag for his defensive outlook.
I see it as a "who cares" statistic. Avery Bradley did it in 11.47 seconds, and he's one of the top defenders in the league. Damian Lillard and Iman Shumpert both did it in 11.1. Big deal.
But to some, it might be.
If I'm the Pelicans, I'm taking Burke based on the fact he's the best available player in the field. He measured in at a legit 6'1.25" in shoes, eliminating the undersized argument from conversation.
Beggers can't be choosers this year. Whoever lands Burke is getting a favorable draft-day grade.
6. Sacramento Kings: Michael Carter-Williams, Syracuse, 6'6'', PG
Michael Carter-Williams had an excellent combine, generating buzz during the athletic-testing portion of the event.
He breezed through the agility drill and got up to 41" during the max vertical leap.
Measuring nearly 6'6" in shoes, Carter-Williams would be an upgrade at point guard for the Kings, who currently start an under-six-foot scorer.
He's a true table-setter and natural facilitator who can get the ball where it needs to be. He'll inevitably get looks from teams whether they have a point guard or not based on his huge NBA upside.
7. Detroit Pistons: Victor Oladipo, Indiana, 6'4'', SG
Victor Oladipo Pro-Player Comparison
Victor Oladipo's 42" max vertical leap confirmed what we already knew: He's one of the most explosive athletes this draft has to offer.
There's no risk with Oladipo. He's a high-energy, high-effort player whose motor helps make plays on both sides of the ball.
Detroit desperately needs to get more athletic on the wing, as well as add a player it can rely on for years to come. Nobody would argue Oladipo here as a safe play in a dangerous draft.
8. Washington Wizards: Cody Zeller, Indiana, 7'0'', PF/C
Cody Zeller had a strong combine, finishing first amongst the centers in four of the athletic drills.
He also measured in at 7'0'' and 230 pounds and seems to have added muscle to his upper body.
Zeller is bound to have some great workouts for NBA teams. He's fundamentally sound and is likely to surprise many coaches with his touch from the perimeter.
The Wizards have too many needs to reach on a small forward here. Zeller is the best player available, and as a seven-foot scorer, he can add to the lineup.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves: C.J. McCollum, Lehigh, 6'3'', PG/SG
Flip Saunders, president of basketball operations for Minnesota, told Andy Katz of ESPN during the combine broadcast that he was looking for shooting, which makes sense given Ricky Rubio's ability to create.
Not only can C.J. McCollum shoot (52 percent from three in 12 games this year), but he's arguably the most polished offensive player in the draft. He can also give Minnesota a scorer who can generate his own offense, something it doesn't currently have in the backcourt.
McCollum put up some solid numbers during the athletic tests and will end up getting looks from a number of teams in the top 10.
10. Portland Trail Blazers: Kelly Olynyk, Gonzaga, 7'0'', C
Kelly Olynyk Pro-Player Comparison
The Portland Trail Blazers lack depth up front, and they could be in jeopardy of losing J.J. Hickson if they aren't willing to overpay in free agency.
Of all the big men left on the board, Kelly Olynyk is the most NBA-ready. He looked sharp during drills at the combine, showing off his jumper and ability to put the ball on the floor.
With Meyers Leonard in the development stage, I'm not sure adding another project like Alex Len would be such a great idea. Olynyk is one of the most advanced offensive players in the field, and as a legitimate seven-footer, those skills should translate.
11. Philadelphia 76ers: Alex Len, Maryland, 7'1'', C
Foot injuries to big men are worrisome. Alex Len won't be able to work out for NBA teams after doctors revealed he had a stress fracture in his foot. And with guys like Cody Zeller and Kelly Olynyk expected to impress during workouts, Len might slip a few spots on the board.
This would be good news for Philadelphia, who would get an excellent prospect with loads of upside. Len has the size and skill set to become an offensive mismatch and defensive rim protector.
It doesn't appear that the 76ers are intent on overpaying to retain Andrew Bynum. Len would be a more cost-effective solution.
12. Oklahoma City Thunder (via Toronto): Mason Plumlee, Duke, 6'11'', C
No surprises for Mason Plumlee at the combine, as he measured in at 7'0.5", the number we all wanted to see.
He confirmed his athleticism during Day 2 and has painted a clear picture of himself for scouts to evaluate.
Teams looking for an above-the-rim center who can run the floor, pick up easy buckets and help on the glass will all be giving him a look.
Based on Kendrick Perkins' offensive limitations, Plumlee is a fit in Oklahoma City.
13. Dallas Mavericks: Shabazz Muhammad, UCLA, 6'6'', SF
Shabazz Muhammad Pro-Player Comparison
Scouts were disappointed when Shabazz Muhammad measured in at 6'4.75" in socks. To make matters worse, he shot poorly during drills, a bad look for a player whose jumper was one of the only things holding him up.
He did test well athletically, however, and his 6'11" wingspan might help make up for a lack of height.
It's possible that big men fly off the board in this draft, letting someone like Muhammad slip into the lap of the Dallas Mavericks. They could use an upgrade at the wing and small forward positions, and they should be considering the possibility that Muhammad will be available this late.
Muhammad would be a fit in Dallas and offers good value toward the end of the lottery.
14. Utah Jazz: Shane Larkin, Miami, 5'11'', PG
Shane Larkin tested as the best athlete at the combine, at one point getting off the ground for a 44" max vertical leap. It was the second-highest anyone has ever jumped at the event.
There's currently a cloud of electric buzz over Larkin's head. He's gaining steam at just the right time.
The NBA guys love athletes, and considering Larkin's dominance at the combine, they might be able to overlook the fact he measured just 5'11.5".
Utah needs an athlete in its backcourt more than ever. Waiting til No. 21 overall might be too late at this point.
15. Milwaukee Bucks: Jamaal Franklin, San Diego State, 6'5'', SF
Jamaal Franklin sat out the drilling and testing portions of the combine with a sprained ankle, but his measurements all received thumbs up.
At 6'5.25" with a 6'11.25" wingspan, Franklin's size should allow him to spend time playing and defending both wing positions.
Milwaukee's wing is brutally dull. Franklin is a playmaker with a motor that allows his presence to be felt. He improved his ability to score with the game slowed down, adding step-back jumpers to the arsenal and improving his ability to get to the rack.
Franklin will continue to be a hot name as the process picks up.
16. Boston Celtics: Steven Adams, Pittsburgh, 7'0'', C
No prospect helped himself more than Steven Adams did at the combine. He impressed scouts with his touch as a shooter. Adams' jumper seemed to have been hidden by Pittsburgh's system and his role in it.
He also measured 7'0" in shoes with a massive 7'4.5" wingspan.
Boston isn't finding anyone in this draft who's going to help it win a title tomorrow. Adams is a tremendous prospect given his size, strength and athleticism. And now that we know he's not as raw as we'd thought, he could end up being a steal anywhere outside the lottery.
17. Atlanta Hawks: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Georgia, 6'6'', SG
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope didn't generate much buzz at the combine, though he didn't set off any alarms either.
He tested fine athletically and should be in position to receive plenty of workout invites.
Caldwell-Pope is a 6'6" off-guard who shoots well and defends the perimeter. He's got work to do on his in-between game, but he's more of a complementary scorer than a go-to one.
The Hawks could really use athleticism on the wing once Josh Smith inevitably bolts in free agency.
18. Atlanta Hawks (via Houston): Gorgui Dieng, Louisville, 6'11'', C
The Atlanta Hawks have to go big with one of their two picks. Gorgui Dieng missed out at the combine because of a sprained ankle, but everyone's seen enough to know what he brings to an NBA table.
He's a space-eater in the paint, which is thanks to his 7'3.5" wingspan. Dieng shows good footwork on both sides of the ball and has improved his mid-range jumper to the point where's he's a legitimate pick-and-pop threat.
Dieng is a safe option for a team looking to beef up its front line. He's probably not Atlanta's first choice, but he could be the top option on the board given who's already been taken.
19. Cleveland Cavaliers (via Lakers): Rudy Gobert, France, 7'2'', C
The rumors were true. Rudy Gobert measured a whopping 7'2" in sneakers with an unprecedented 7'8.5" wingspan and 9'7" standing reach.
That standing reach essentially means he can touch the rim on his tippy toes.
He showed off his raw offensive game at the combine and demonstrated adequate touch inside.
Whether the guy learns how to play or not, at some point, you can't ignore those measurements. He's got the chance to be one of the NBA's secret weapons.
20. Chicago Bulls: Tony Snell, New Mexico, 6'7'', SG
Tony Snell was a big winner at the combine, finishing second in shooting drills amongst all the participants after measuring over 6'7" in shoes with a 6'11.5" wingspan.
He aces the eye test, possessing a potent mix of athleticism and finesse.
Snell has the mobility, size and length to defend multiple positions effectively, playing the same role Kawhi Leonard does for the San Antonio Spurs.
He's going to turn heads in workouts based on his physical tools and shooting accuracy. I like Snell as one of those surprise first-round picks.
21. Utah Jazz: Tim Hardaway Jr., Michigan, 6'6'', SG
Tim Hardaway Jr. made 19 of his 25 attempts during three-point drills at the combine, putting on the top shooting performance of any participant.
Anyone who has seen him work out over the past two weeks has given him nothing but rave reviews. He also measured in at over 6'6" in sneakers, a really strong number for a shooting guard.
If Hardaway lights up workouts the way he did at the combine, he'll earn a decent amount of first-round looks.
With Utah securing a point guard at No. 14, look for it to add some backcourt scoring at No. 21.
22. Brooklyn Nets: Sergey Karasev, Russia, 6'7'', SF
This match just makes too much sense.
Sergey Karasev has a picturesque three-point stroke, yet he also has the IQ to pose as an effective ball-mover on the wing. He's a floor-spacer—someone who spreads the defense as a shooter but can also put it on the deck and set up a teammate off the bounce.
Gerald Wallace saw a ton of open threes this year. Brooklyn would be a lot more dangerous offensively if those open threes actually went to someone who can make them.
23. Indiana Pacers: Dennis Schroeder, Germany, 6'2'', PG
Chad Ford reported during ESPN's broadcast of the combine that Dennis Schroeder had received a promise, though when asked about it by Andy Katz, Schroeder said he hasn't heard anything.
These "promises" are typically smokescreens created by agents to generate buzz, so it's tough to know who and what to believe.
But after watching the Nike Hoops Summit, it's fairly obvious Schroeder is indeed a first-round talent. He's got the build of an NBA point guard with the breakdown quickness coaches love.
Indiana could be looking for a new backup point guard next season, and Schroeder has starter potential.
24. New York Knicks: Ricky Ledo, Providence, 6'6'', SG
Ricky Ledo has the size, athleticism and offensive skill set that's tailor-made for NBA workouts.
With J.R. Smth expected to opt out of his deal and Chris Copeland likely to get offers in free agency, the Knicks need to find a new cheap source of offensive production.
Though he's probably not NBA-ready after sitting out the year (academically ineligible), Ledo was a top recruit and one of the nation's most lethal high school scorers.
He's got lottery upside if he reaches his ceiling, given his physical tools, shooting stroke and ability to create off the dribble.
25. Los Angeles Clippers: Dario Saric, Croatia, 6'10'', SF/PF
Dario Saric has his supporters and his doubters. At 6'10", he's got that unique ability to put the ball on the floor and create off the bounce. He just has a natural feel for the game, and given his size and basketball skill set, his upside is towering.
Saric's basketball IQ is praised by many, though his attitude is not.
He was recently fined for partying late at night and breaking curfew, and his character has been put into question. Defense is another potential issue, as he doesn't appear to have the strength to defend stronger 4s or the quickness to guard 3s.
Saric's upside is worth a first-round pick, but until we hear of a promise, the 20s sounds more realistic based on the red flags and questions.
26. Minnesota Timberwolves (via Memphis): Giannis Antetokoumpo, Greece, PG/SF
ESPN's Chad Ford reported during the broadcast of the combine that his source had told him of a potential first-round promise for Giannis Antetokoumpo, though it seems like a stretch considering he hasn't worked out individually for anyone yet.
The Greek Freak can handle the ball like a point guard despite possessing the size of a power forward. He offers a package of skills that we rarely come across, which inevitably triggers intrigue amongst NBA general managers.
The Timberwolves are usually well-versed with international talent, so it wouldn't be a surprise if they were the ones who made "the promise," if indeed one was actually made.
27. Denver Nuggets: Allen Crabbe, California, 6'6'', SG
Allen Crabbe shot the ball well at the combine, finishing in the top five amongst all participants in the spot-up drill.
His athletic-test results were all positive, as were his measurements, which listed him at over 6'6" with a big-time 6'11.25" wingspan.
Everyone seems on the same page with Crabbe: He's a prolific perimeter scorer who struggles to create and defend.
Teams will likely give Crabbe a label that reads, "shot-maker," something Denver could use assuming Danilo Gallinari will miss a big chunk of next season after recently tearing his ACL.
28. San Antonio Spurs: Glen Rice Jr., D-League, 6'6'', SG/SF
A lot of attention has been paid to Glen Rice Jr. after he led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to a D-League championship.
He was booted from Georgia Tech's team last year following numerous violations, but his dismissal might have ultimately been a blessing in disguise.
Rice has been putting up big numbers against former NBA players and draft picks in a league that offers stronger competition than Division I college hoops.
San Antonio could use his scoring prowess on the wing to back up Kawhi Leonard.
29. Oklahoma City Thunder: Isaiah Canaan, Murray State, 6'0'', PG
Isaiah Canaan put up great numbers during the athletic testing, specifically a 40.5" max vertical jump.
He also drew praise during basketball drills, where he was able to show off his ability to score and create.
Physically, he's got a strong build in the shape of Raymond Felton. He's also one of the top shooters in the country and possesses that "it" factor that shines in pressure spots late in games.
Oklahoma City might think of Reggie Jackson more as an offensive spark than a backup point guard. Canaan could be considered a viable option as Russell Westbrook's substitute.
30. Phoenix Suns (via Miami): Tony Mitchell, North Texas, 6'9'', SF
Tony Mitchell measured in at 6'8.75", a better number than expected. During drills at the combine, Mitchell was looking to show off his athleticism by throwing down dunk-contest slams whenever the opportunity presented itself.
He also added a 38" max vertical to the resume, though his athleticism was always his strong point.
Mitchell will have to show in workouts what he's capable of contributing offensively. He's a high-risk, high-reward option no matter what spot he's taken in this draft.